Thursday, August 31, 2006
Sunday in San Francisco

Rose had the day packed with fun. Thankfully it started with a large pot of coffee.
Before I finished my third cup, LittleNick (my soon to be stepbrother, not to be confused with MyNick, the studly and cuddly love o' my life) had already done three science experiments, most of which involved the microwave.
Here he is modeling what's left of a frozen waterballon.

When I helped him make a diet pepsi and mentos geiser that was taller than we were, in the middle of the street, I think he decided that I was cool.
We went to breakfast at a nearby cafe. I had an omlette and a mimosa. LittleNick had half a canister of sugar in his grapefruit juice. A man offered to sing us an aria.
Ain't life grand?

We were joined by my adorably odd Uncle Bo. And when I say odd, I mean ODD. In the best possible sense. I heart him.

Then we went sailing with Rose's friends.

See more pictures here.

Miss Kendra knitted. I took pictures. My father tied LittleNick to the mast. I couldn't believe it could be that cold in August. It was lovely.

Then Rose took me to see the buffalo in Golden Gate Park. They do exist!!

Then off to dinner in Chinatown, yummy, and home to crash, exhausted.

Here's a shot of my sparkly shoes on the sparkly sidewalk.

To be continued .........

Another Actual Conversation
Bride's Mother - "Awwwww, I'm so glad he didn't smoosh the cake in her face."

Sarah Smile - "Yeah, with her, THATS like grounds for an annulment."


Sarah Smile - "Damn. It's too early to joke about annulments, isn't it?"

Happiness is ........
......... hearing customers and coworkers tell you that in the mere two days you were gone, they missed you. That's nice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Sarah Smile - *looks out of Nick's office door, across the parking lot, and cocks head to the side* "What's with the coffee mug up in the tree?"

Nick - "Oh THATS where I left it."

Happiness is ....
........... driving all night without stopping to get home earlier than expected, and getting thoroughly kissed and cuddled by a warm and sleepy Nick. It was damn worth it.

Happy Birthday Nick.

(This is as little a fuss as I'm capable of making.)

San Francisco!
My alarm went off at 3:30am.
That was so traumatizing that I went back to bed for half an hour to recover.

A sleepy and cuddly Nick almost talked me into not going.
(What? He's REALLY cuddly.)

But by 5am, I was out the door, with luggage and camera.
But a smidge after 7am, I was out front of the illustrious Miss Kendra's house.
She was waiting, clutching luggage and knitting bag.

Once she was safely tucked into the car, we headed north. We stopped at a gas station in the middle of what appeared to be fields growing tinsel, and a man tried to sell us a 180 lbs dog. I love road trips.

We followed trucks of tomatoes almost all the way into San Francisco. I didn't know MK hadn't been there before, but I could tell when her jaw just dropped. I was just amazed that we found close, affordable parking.

We prowled the city for a few hours.

The entire city matched MK's outfit.

Next stop, dinner and drinks at E&O with the luscious and endearing (*wink*) Chantel, JenL and XT! I may or may not have seen someone's boobies.

Blogger is getting weird about pictures, so this post is to be continued .......

Another Actual Conversation
Sarah - *playing with the fingerpuppets she just bought*

Woman on the Cable Car - "Child development major?"

Sarah - "Uh, no."

Woman on the Cable Car - "Oh."

Sarah - "I just like finger puppets."

Woman on Cable Car - *scoots farther away*

It's Good To Be Home

Friday, August 25, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Boss - "Who's that on your shirt?"

Coworker - "Nelson Mandela."

Boss - "Who's that?"

Receptionist - *gasp*

Boss - "You know who he is?"

Receptionist - *pause* "Well, not really, I just know enough to know that he's someone you should never admit to not knowing about."

Another Actual IM Conversation
I don't know why exactly, but this story thrills me.

I can tell you why.
1. The title.
2. the subject.
3. The conclusions they have drawn.

Here Comes Trouble
Dear Coco and Lou,
Thank you for letting me play. I get to be a teenager again.

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Cashier - *odd look* "So these are both yours? The beer and the snow cone?"

Sarah - "Yes."


Sarah - "This feels like the time I demanded they give me a Snoopy bandaid over my birth control shot."

Ways To Proactively Waste Time
(by request from 'Rezzie)

Take a long soak in the bathtub.
Make sure you can hear the music, take a magazine, a glass of wine and a sandwich. And the magazine has to be something like US Weekly, no Real Simple or anything you might learn a useful tidbit from.
Anything past 15 minutes cannot be considered cleaning, and is therefore a wanton waste of time.

Expensive trip catalogs.
You know, the sort you can't afford to take.
Plan all the details, down to who will housesit the mansion you don't have either, and what you'll wear to all the gala balls that will be thrown for you on the trip.
By the time you become rich and famous, some other place will have captured your imagination so this is a total waste of time.

Mentally repaint and remodel any houses you've seen that have good bones but tasteless owners. Trust me, nobody lets a stranger fix their tasteless decor unless that stranger has a tv show, so this is a pointless waste of time.

Watching TV for 8 hours is certainly a waste of time, but it's usually accidental, like, "Wow I can't believe I just watched tv all day," and is therefore not proactive. You have to set out with a goal, like tivo-ing a whole season of Most Haunted.
I don't think I need to explain why this is a delicious waste of time.

Reading trashy romance novels (TRNs) is like eating white bread. From a distance it gives the impression of nourishment, but it's just empty calories. Even if you wear smart looking glasses, this is a deceitful waste of time.

And of course, get a blog. But since the side effects can be fame, affirmation and true love, this might not be such a waste after all.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Another Actual Conversation - Part Two
Part One

Lola - "Hey, there's a pirate flag by your pool."

Nick - "Yeah."

Lola - "I don't know why, but that seems fitting somehow."

Sarah - "I know, doesn't it?"

Think Like Your Own Publicist.
Why is it that when someone asks us personal questions, we feel guilty if we don't immediatly provide an answer? Even when we know it will only lead to more nosy questions?
Screw that, I say.
We're not obligated to give an answer for everything to everyone.
Life is too short to spend it justifying yourself to people who, if they needed to know, probably already would.
Of course we're not talking about your inner circle of friends, mostly because they prolly don't have to ask anyway.

So the next time an aquaintance asks you when you plan to have kids or why you didn't bring a date or what went wrong in your last relationship, remember that the following are all perfectly polite, acceptable answers.

"I'd rather not discuss that, I'm certain you understand."
"Why would you ask that?"
"I've already briefed everyone who needs to know."
"No comment."
"Why don't you ask that person directly?"
"I don't feel that's an appropriate question for me to answer."
"I don't feel that's an appropriate question for you to ask."
"I don't have an interesting answer to that question, so lets move on."
"Thats very personal."
"I appreciate your concern. How are YOU?"

If you don't want to answer a question, you don't have to.
Unless it's a judge or your best friend asking, it's as simple as that.

I Want One.
A hippo crab.

Right, they don't exist.

But as this person clearly shows us, they should.

So could somebody genetically engineer one for me?

Another Actual IM Conversation
Jonny says:
Write about poo. So little is known about poo from the female perspective.

Thérèse says:

SarahSmile says:
I never poo at home.

Jonny says:
I don't believe that.

Thérèse says:
read, and you'll know all sorts of things about poo from the female perspective.

SarahSmile says:
I poo at work.

Col says:
no kidding!
for a month i could not poop w/out thinking about heather.

SarahSmile says:
I've gotten into such a habit of that, that I never poo on weekends.

Col says:
we should write her fan mail all poop-based

Jonny says:
Steve hates pooing anywhere apart from home. He says he can't truly relax and enjoy an unfamiliar toilet.

Thérèse says:

Jonny sayswhat?

Thérèse says:
i enjoy the sweet release each time, almost not matter where i am.
the only exception is when i am gripped with stage fright.

Jonny says:
I'm going for a poo right now.

SarahSmile says:
There is a vague satisfaction in pooing at work, because I don't have to clean that toilet.

Thérèse says:
i never enjoy the actual toilet.

SarahSmile says:
I save time and toilet paper.

Thérèse says:
ha ha h!

Col says:
and water
and any clogging issues
or smell issues

Thérèse says:
when you look at it that way, it's downright stupid to poo at home.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
This Is Why I Will Miss Her.
Lola stuck one of my wanted posters in the back window of my car, and I forgot about it and I've been driving around all week with it still there.
I wonder what my neighbors think.


I Bought This.

I'm insanely happy about it.
Who's coming over to play?

And I'll Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In My Hair.
I leave this Sat morning. First stop, pick up Miss Kendra in LA.
That's right.
You heard me.

Wallow in your jealousy, unless you live in the SanFran area.
'Cause that's where we expect to be by Sat. night, baring any breakdowns, mechanical or mental.
Care to grab dinner or a drink?

Then on to Hotel Rose!
Rose has sweetly offered to put us up, and planned a perfect Sunday.
First breakfast at "Mama's".
Then sailing on the bay.
Then we go see the buffalos in Golden Gate Park.
Then dinner and shopping in Chinatown.
See why I like her?

Monday morning we roll out to Sonora, for my baby Bug's wedding!
Yes, she's getting married on a Monday.
She's an actress in a stage show, and thats their weekend, so bless her heart, she gets married on a Monday and the show goes on!

And then home, in time to kiss my wonderful boyfriend on his 22nd birthday.

Monday, August 21, 2006
Happiness Is ........

......... Lou's 16th birthday party. It was a classic movie theme, so I bought Nick and I dog and cat masks. First person to tell me what movie that's from gets a candy bar in the mail.

I Don't Have To Like It.

I met Lola at a comedy show. A painfully long, unfunny comedy show.
While we were washing our hands in the ladies room, we chatted to avoid going back to our seats. I made some joke about crashing a baby shower. Her face lit up and she said, "Lets do it!" and a friendship was born.

And since then she's been the sort of friend you can call on a really good day or a really bad day. There aren't many friends like that. A friend who can be honest with you, without judging you. There aren't many friends like that. A pretty girl who isn't afraid to get dirty, a smart girl who doesn't mind making a fool of herself. There aren't many friends like that.

She's moving away.
To Portland.
She's wanted this for awhile now.
And so I want it for her.
And I'll toast the news, plan the goodbye party, wrap her buddha statue in bubble wrap, but I don't have to like it.

Friday, August 18, 2006
Pictures From Last Night

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

Only Me
So I was trying on a dress. It looked kinda like this, in black. It was cute, but I wasn't digging the sleeves and it was bit tight across my boobs.
So I went back into the dressing room to take it off.
The trim little waist of the dress wouldn't slide down over my hips, and when I tugged it up, it balked at going back over my boobs.
A fight ensued.
I ended up turning it inside out in the process, and when it finally gave way, the force of my pulling on it actually threw it ouside the dressing room onto the floor. I peeked out and pulled it back in with my toe.
Then I noticed something.

"Fuck," I said. "There was a ZIPPER?!?!?"

How You Know You've Positively Affected Today's Youth
When Coco demonstrates (with flair) that she knows all the words to Copacabana.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
I Got Crabs Last Night.
Fiddler crabs!

I named them Walter and Imogen.
They live with the danios in the bathroom tank.
I'm so happy!

The Holy Trinity of Mischief Rides Again!!!!!!

*evil laughter*

Coco. Lou. Me. Loose on the streets. Tonight. Lock up your coffee, your plastic forks, your Daniel Kendricks, your shopping carts.

I drank two big energy drinks in preparation.

I may pee from excitement. Or that might be the energy drinks.

*hysterical frenzied dancing*

That Smell.
Not the smell of fireplaces or BBQ smoke.
That smell of things that weren't meant to burn burning.

I'm not sure if it was that smell that woke me, or Mau's little nose persistantly headbutting into my hand.
I got up. A quick check confirmed that the smoke was coming from outside, not inside. A wave of nausea passed. I really hate that smell. Bad memories.
My throat burned and my eyes stung.
I called to Nick and looked out the window. Small fire, relatively speaking, but within a block.

We stumbled into shoes, and walked outside.
It was the Kurdish church and community center.
Which was a small relief, because it would be empty at night.
But what a loss to our Kurdish community. This center was their little slice of home. A daycare, english classes, parties. Gone.

We watched until we could see that the firemen had it under control.

But I couldn't get back to sleep.
My head still hurts and my eyes still sting.

I had cookies for breakfast.

(Article here)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Sarah - "I really like this song. Luckily, it seems to be the longest song in the world."

Nick - "Actually, I'm pretty sure it's stuck and repeating."

Sarah - "Oh."

*long pause*

Sarah - "Well, please don't fix it for another half hour or so."

My First Task As A Cult Member.
My dear spontaneous disciple,
The two freckles on your lip are electromagnetic, nuclear voice modifiers that give you the unique ability to communicate intelligently with every animal in the world. Your first task, therefore, is obvious. Having first consulted with a pet or other animal of your choosing, you must right to your elected representative (this might be a Congressman or a Senator, I'm not sure exactly how it works in the USA) a letter explaining why this animal should be allowed to stand for election to represent the state of California, or your city, or county (again, however your system works there). The letter should outline the animal's views on taxation, public transport, the separation of church and state, foreign affairs and other politically relevant topics of the day.
Remember, this task is open to an impossibly wide degree of interpretation. Nevertheless, if your leader can be convinced you have satisfactorily fulfilled it, you will be granted the enormous privilege of setting a task for one of your fellow disciples. Remember as well, carrying out this task should be maximally spontaneous and effortlessly adventurous.
To a more spontaneous and fulfilling existence,
The Leader.

Dear Congressman Hunter,
I'm writing on behalf of my cat Maximus "Mau" Lloyd Vincente. When he learned that cats are not allowed to run for public office, he hid under the bed and hasn't come out since. When I tried to coax him out, he said "Meow, bitch" and you have to admit he has a point.
I consulted my Leader in The Cult of Spontaneous Fulfillment and Ridiculous Adventure, and he agrees, so I am writing on all our behalf.
We feel that Mau, and animals of all kinds should be allowed to represent the living creatures of 52nd Congressional district. We are all children of the Mother Owl, and this great country was founded on representation for all.
I'm hoping that with your support, we can open the government elections to representatives of all species, and end Mau's hunger strike.

Sister Dandylion Moon, High Priestess of Naming Everyone Else.

Another Actual Conversation
Sarah - "So see that construction guy standing kneedeep in that hole? At first I thought he was a midget. I mean, I know you're not supposed to call them midgets, or admit to being amused by the idea of them working in construction, but .............. I'm so going to hell."

Nick - "But it wasn't a midget, so you're ok."

Sarah - "So I'm allowed to laugh at the idea in the abstract but not at an actual example?"

Nick - "Yeah, no laughing if you see a little person using a jackhammer *funny muffled noise* standing on a five gallon bucket ..... *dissolves into laughter*"

Sarah - "At least you're coming with me to hell."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Irony -
When your boss interrupts you busily making an elaborate rubber band ball to give you your paycheck.

Colsy Sent Me Questions About Pets
What were the three more exotic pets you have ever taken care of?
One time I found a giant turtle on my front lawn and I fed it lettuce and water until it's owner showed up a few hours later. I had a couple of angora rabbits that looked like ewoks. Found and kept a catapiller once, and got to watch it turn into a butterfly.

What is your fantasy menagerie?
Noah's Ark.

How does one take care of a rat?
It's relatively simple. They need a decent sized cage, a water bottle, a food dish, and clean bedding (paper works well but you have to change it more often, cedar chips can cause upper respitory infections). I reccomend a toy or two, like a ball, a wheel, and something (non-toxic) to chew on. I find that bird toys work great, and have a much bigger selections. And they really enjoy something they can hide in.
Watch for sniffles or sneezes, that means they need a vet.
They can eat most of what you eat, so treats are easy. They can have plenty, as long as it's a good healthy variety.

What pets have you had the worst time keeping away from each other - due to predator/prey habits? I haven't had any trouble with any of my pets, but Mau got out once and brought me back a dead baby rabbit. That was pretty horrible.

What pets have you had to keep off of each other - due to mating habits?
Maddox and Hazel, my finches. Actually, I just took away the nest box. That worked.

Have you ever dressed up your pets, made them fancy dinners, birthdays, or celebrations?
They each have stockings on Christmas, and I buy them each a present. I don't know most of my pets birthdays, but I give both the cats tuna on Mau's birthday.

What is the perfect pet for the following locations:

1. Drafty room in a tower of an old castle
Not many animals thrive in those conditions, but a bear might.

2. Hermit's hut in the forest by a lake
A owl.

3. City - highrise
Cat. They like heights.

4. A post office
Fish. They can lick the stamps for you.

5. Old woman's closet
A rat. They like the dark.

6. Underneath your desk
A rabbit. Very little telltattle noise.

7. Behind a school
A horse. He can eat the teacher's apples.

8. In a zoo keeper's office
A two headed snake. A zoo keeper has a rep to keep up.

9. Dashboard of a car
Maybe certain types of desert lizard, but most things don't appreciate that kind of heat. So maybe just a stuffed animal or pet rock.

10. Your shoulder
A bird. They like shoulders and hair and earrings and talking to you.

Side by Side
I found this add amusing, because of it's placement next to this particular picture of Dooce's.
And on my myspace, these two pictures appear next to each other in my top friends, and I find the resemblance funny.

I'm Joining Jonny's Cult.
Read/Join here.

Here are my ten facts.
They might even all be true.

  1. I have two freckles on my lower lip. I have always felt this was significant in some way, and I'm just waiting for someone to tell me how.
  2. I got two roses yesterday, as a gift, from women I don't even know. They didn't even leave their names. They were just giving out roses to working women.
  3. My cat is cuter than yours.
  4. My boyfriend is cuter than yours.
  5. Tonight I will prolly wash my car.
  6. I smell like jasmine lotion and coffee.
  7. Someone walking through the lobby is giving me a funny look because I have Gloria Estefan's "Heaven's What I Feel" playing.
  8. I'm really craving a Purple S'creme slurpee, but I'd settle for a Mountain Dew soda.
  9. I'm sitting cross-legged in my chair.
  10. I'm stepping away from my desk for a minute. Why? Re-read #6 and #9.

Another Actual Conversation
Nick - "Hm. There's a pirate flag flying over the pool."

Sarah - "Hm. That kinda figures though. Somehow."

Monday, August 14, 2006
Only Me *Updated*
Ok, so as I bent to buckle the ankle strap on my shoe, I accidently buckled in the cord to my headset. Then when I tried to stand up, I fell out of my chair, taking half of the contents of my desk with me. And I lay there, hog-tied to my own desk, laughing hysterically, and yet heartbroken that there was no one there to see it.


I wanna make Manamana puppets, who's with me?

Oh, and if you see this re-enacted outside your bedroom window one night, please don't throw rocks.

Armed and Purpled Tongued.
Whenever we go for bike rides, Nick and I stop off at the corner and pick up a couple of slurpees. Partly because we've discovered the wonder and joy the new Purple S'creme flavor at 7-11, and partly because of rude drivers.

See, just about everyone here is very nice and sweet and traffic-savy about bikes, but there is always that one idiot who hasn't figured out that bike are, amazingly enough, allowed in the BIKE LANE. Shocking, I know.

But since they have to roll their window down to yell obscenties and "Get off the road" .......... well, you can prolly guess where I'm going with this.


What? Slushie isn't assault.

Another Actual IM Conversation
Sarah Smile says:
I was born in a hospital only a few miles from where I now live. Except that they sorta condemed the building and are tearing it down.

eGan™ says:
ditto that VJ... I live about 15 miles from where I was born

Ikey says:
that's awesome it's like burning the candle from both ends.

Sarah Smile says:
And my mother had her tubes tied.

eGan™ says:
except mine's not be condemned

Sarah Smile says:
Someone was determined to close THAT portal I guess.

Colsy says:
they just wanted to make it so you couldn't be returned.

Que Sarah, Sarah
I've decided to blog under my real name.
To explain why, I should start with the reasons I didn't use my real name before.

For one, I never associated my name with anything pleasant.
It was what I heard when I was in trouble, when someone was annoyed with me, when a nurse was calling me out of a waiting room.
But you know what they say about love, it changes everything.
And I certainly can't grind my teeth at the old unpleasant association when my name is being said so lovingly by Nick.
Like so many old wounds and scars, I find them healed, just by loving and being loved.

Secondly, when I started my blog, I thought that my blog and my "real life" could be kept separate.
In a sense, I was using "Valancy Jane" to say things I couldn't or wouldn't say as myself. Thinking that anonymity would mean privacy.
Well, I learned better, and to be honest, thats ok. It forces me to be more honest in my "real life" and only good things can and have come out of that.

If you know me as VJ, please feel free to call me that. And while going to the trouble to change all this on my blog might seem silly, it means something to me.
It feels good, it feels more honest, it feels like owning all my thoughts and words as my own. It feels like hugging my arms to my chest and twirling.

Friday, August 11, 2006
Tomorrow Makes Three Months That He's Been Here.
Years ago, I observed that all my relationships last either two and half months (almost to the day) or for years. In other words, two and a half months is about as long as I need to know if it's serious.
It's been 3 months, and reality has definately set in. I've seen Nick's faults, and since I've got at least an equal number of them, I'm sure he's seen mine.
And I like it.
Because with each thing I learn about him, the higher I can raise my chin and my voice, the more confidence and joy I can put into the words, "I love this man."

And oh, how I love this man.

The first time I met ZezZee, she was five years old, and I was 12.
Due to her amiable nature and marked resemblance to a china doll, I too made the comman mistake of underestimating the strength of her will.
As her babysitter, I picked out a dress for her to wear that day, and quickly learned that nobody tells her what to wear. Nobody.
And I loved her for it.

I thought of that last night while she and I were out shopping. I saw so many cute dresses that I thought were simply made for her trim little figure and while she did try on a few dresses that I shoved at her, she merely smiled at her reflection and each time said, "It's nice. It's very you."

ZezZee leaves for college on Weds. Full scholarship to the film school at USC. I think I've been in denial all summer that she's really going. But last night it hit me that my favorite sidekick doesn't really live here anymore, and her visits home would be only that, visits.

And of course, because I love her so, I think it's inevitable that I worry about how the world out there will treat her. Despite my wishes, I know it won't all be good. But I put my faith in that imfamous backbone, and her wit and charm and diplomacy will smooth over the rough edges.
Nobody will tell my little ZezZee who she is. Nobody.
I couldn't wish a better life on her than the one that I forsee, to be happy and loved, on her own terms.

Think Like Mau.
I love the way my cat Mau reacts to impending danger.
If I'm rolling my bike across the floor to it's spot in the bedroom, and he is sprawled out in the only available floorspace between the living room and kitchen and he can SEE you coming, and he knows you can't go around him, he doesn't move at all.
He just glares at the bike like, "Hell no, bitch. I KNOW you don't think you're gonna roll on me."
Even if I act like I'm gonna roll right over him.
I would assume he's just calling my bluff, but on one occasion I didn't see him and was about to step on him by accident but at the last second I glanced down and saw him giving my foot that same glare.

Mau would win at chicken. Every time. Even against a train.

And now whenever I find myself facing someone who is about to trample me in some way, I say to myself, "Think like Mau" and I plant my feet and give my best imitation of his glare.

Another Actual Conversation
*watching 'The Right Stuff'*

Nick - "John Glenn kicks ass."

VJ - "If you ever dump me, I'm gonna marry John Glenn."

Nick - "Uh, he's like in his seventies."

VJ - "So please don't dump me."

Thursday, August 10, 2006
Oh, the Irony. *updated*
It's not lost on me that the exact day I am attempting to walk a fine line between contact and meddling with Nick's (very pretty) family, I get an email from my stepfather which demonstrates exactly what I'm trying so hard NOT to do.

Because of the things you have written about your mom in your blog I decided to write you without your mom knowing. As you can see I'm sending her a copy of this note.
Your mom and I have been married now for over a year and a half and I know she loves you very much. She's not the same person you knew now that she is secure and not depressed. Please consider giving her another chance. She is the only mom you are ever going to have. Bob

Coaching Judeo-Christian Principles with No Fee to You
Bob Garrett

What orginally followed was simply me getting a great deal of snark out of my system. While it was terribly theraputic and very, very funny (at least to me), that was its only real purpose, and I'm taking it down.

Now that I've got it all out, I've decided to simply ignore Bob and email my mother that she is, as always, free to contact me anytime. At no cost to her. (Ok, so there was a smidge of snark left.)

Also, and this is unrelated, but I'm eating a delicious pasta dish that Nick made last night for my lunch. Yummmmmmmmm. Thank you baby.

Waitwaitwait. There Are Still Buffalo Alive?
How many times did I hear that us white men killed them all? You know, when we built the railroads. I could have sworn that they taught us that they were all gone.

I mean, it's GREAT news, I'm just really surprised. Am I the only one who thought they were extinct?

And more importantly, how do I go about getting one as a pet?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Note To Self
When you find a green scented marker on the ground, en route to the ladies room, it's prolly best to leave it there and pick it up on your way back, because being seen exiting a bathroom stall with a green scented marker isn't good for your reputation, when said reputation already leans to the 'oddball' side.

Another Actual IM Conversation
Valancy Jane says: My stomach is hurting in an odd way.
Did you ever see Alien?

Jonny says: have some cheesy wotsits!
The film with Sigourney Weaver?

Valancy Jane says: *settles for pretzels*

Jonny says: And John Hurt?

Valancy Jane says: Where the Alien bursts out of her stomach?

Jonny says: Yes.
That bad, hey?
Are you wearing a white tee-shirt?
Because if not, you've nothing to worry about.

Valancy Jane says: No, brown scoopneck knit top.

Jonny says: You always know who's going to have an alien burst out of their chest. It's whoever's wearing a white tee-shirt and not saying very much.

Valancy Jane says: You know, it's fun to say 'settles for pretzels'.

Jonny says: I feel a drinking game coming on.

Valancy Jane says:Nothing dramatic every happened to someone wearing a brown scoopneck knit top.

Jonny says: Take one swig of whisky, then say "Settles for pretzels" ten times very fast.

Valancy Jane says: I don't have any whiskey, but I do have that other box of wine still.

Jonny says: Whoever gets it wrong first has to take of one piece of clothing...and so on.
You get the idea.
It's remarkable that there isn't a band called "Settles for Pretzels".
Their bassist would be really fat and have a goatee, and their singer would be half Portuguese.
How easy it is to find holes in the market these days.

Valancy Jane says: I shouldn't wear this top if I want dramatic things to happen to me.

Another Actual Conversation
Lola - "Knock knock."

Assitant Sales Manager - "Hello?"

Lola - "Could you show me where (Employee Who Used To Have That Office)'s new office is?"

Assitant Sales Manager - *slightly confused but very polite* "Um, sure. Right this way." *walks out of office*

Lola - *follows behind, pulls out a camera and takes a picture of Assistant Sales Manager's butt*

Assistant Sales Manager - *turns around* "What the the ....?"

Lola - "VJ!!"

VJ - *runs by, grabs camera and darts off, giggling*

Assistant Sales Manager - (to Coworker, She of the Lovely Curls) "Wow, you two finally pulled it off. I can't believe I didn't suspect, since your last attempt was only like 15 minutes ago. Who WAS that?"

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Dear Nick's Family,
*runs hands down skirt, wonders if hair is it's usual disaster, and turns a little pigeon-toed*
*deep breath*

I had this sudden realization.
I think I know how my own soon-to-be stepmother prolly feels. (This relates, I swear, just follow me for a sec...) (And hi, Rose.) (That's my soon-to-be stepmother.) (She reads my blog too.) (And seriously, I have a point here.)
Anyway, I imagine she really wants to get to know me and for us to all get along and for me to like her but she knows she can't force anything and that I've lived for all this time without her so why do I need to know her but wouldn't it be nice if I would just like her for who she is?

Anyway, that's how I feel.
About you guys.
Like you're all prolly capable of getting along just fine without me, but I'm hoping you might like me enough to want to know me.

I don't know how to gauge the temperature toward me.
I don't even know which one of you I'm talking to here. My stat counter just says someone in your house reads this.
I don't know if we're waiting for me to make a friendly move.
I don't know if I'm the horrible bitch that lured your son/brother away.
I don't know if we're just playing wait and see.

Maybe you only read my blog because you want to hear about Nick. I actually try to mention him for you guys, so you know he's safe and ok and well-fed and very well-loved.
But I cross my fingers and hope that you see a bit of me here on this blog too.
At the least, you can't deny that I have impeccable taste in men.

And hey, I'm hella nice. I never tattle on other people's secrets and I always have mints in my purse and I never do that horrid gum smack thing when I talk. Kids and animals and old people always like me. I tip generously, and I don't cut people off on the road. I DO sometimes slide a coaster under your drink, but I swear I'm not obnoxious about it.

I'm hoping we could start a conversation. You might find yourself liking me, like I was surprised to like Rose so much. So maybe you could leave a comment. About something neutral and safe and pleasant.
Like, uhm ........... cookies!
Yeah, cookies.
Personally, I'm a gingersnaps or oatmeal raisin kinda girl.


-Valancy Jane

Think Like A Cactus, VJ.
It's what I get for working in a lobby that's essentially a greenhouse.
It's usually fine.
I like it warmer than most, and the AC keeps it very tolerable.
But the AC is out today.

One of the Admins asked me to show the AC repairmen to the broken unit when they arrive. I told her they could prolly just follow the dry cow skulls and buzzards, as long as they didn't get led astray by a mirage of a breakroom.
She asked if I was ok down here.
I wasn't sure how to answer that.

Another Actual Conversation
Assistant Sales Manager - "Nice box of wine you've got back there behind you."

Receptionist - *indignant* "That's not MY box of wine. Exec. Admin. Asst. is just storing it back here until she figures out what to do with it."

Assistant Sales Manager - "Oh, ok."

Receptionist - "MY box of wine is UNDER my desk."

So Then I Said .......
......... "Waitwaitwait. Are you trying to tell me that the technical details in Alien vs Predator AREN'T ACCURATE?!?!"

This Morning There Were Two Boxes Of Wine On My Desk.
Almost full.
Left over from the CEO's all employee meeting yesterday.

I suppose by virture of knowing how to open them, I get to keep them?
I'd better get started before someone comes looking for them.

P.S. Today would be a good day to come visit me at work. (Kidding.) (Mostly.)

Monday, August 07, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Nick *looking over the plants in our balcony garden* "What's this? Oh, grass." *starts to yank it up*

VJ - "NO!"

Nick - "What? It's grass."

VJ - "It's green and alive and growing of it's own initiative. This is southern California, and we can't afford to pull up ANYTHING fitting that description."

Another Actual Conversation
Exec. Admin. Asst. - *holding a box of wine awkwardly* "Would you happen to know .... ?"

Receptionist - "I'm terribly ashamed to admit that yes, I do know how to open these."

Happiness is .......
......... going to the nursery and picking out pepper and chive and parsley and basil plants and repotting the marigolds and getting our hands/kitchen table dirty and seeing them all lined up all happy along the balcony.

........ going to the pet store and buying three danio fish and naming them Alleris (meaning 'of a city by the sea'), Portia (meaning 'harbor') and Siren (a reference to the singing mermaids). They look pinstriped in some light, and glitterygold in others. They remind me of 1920's flappers, theater costumes and my new blog template, all at once. So you can see their names are very appropriate. *pats self on back*

Another Actual Conversation
Little Girl - "So Mommy, are we gonna get him?"

Mother - "Let me talk to this lady here, and call your dad to make sure he's ok with us getting a puppy."

Little Girl - "What should we name him?"

Bystander - *ears perk up*

Little Girl - "Spot?"

Bystander - *grits teeth*
*thinks 'Must. Not. Let. Girl. Name. Puppy. SPOT.'*

Little Girl - "Here Spot! Come here, Spot!"

Puppy - *ignores the call*

Bystander - *approves of puppy*
*frantically thinks 'If she starts at SPOT then there isn't much I can do toward infusing any creativity into her naming process. Anything I say isn't bound to do much. Can't make a suggestion that pushes too far. But Must. Not. Let. Girl. Name. Puppy. SPOT.'*

Little Girl - "Here, Spot!"

Bystander - "He looks like a Sparky to me."

Little Girl - *looks up, slightly confused*

Bystander - "Er, I'd better go."

Happiness is .....
........ when Nick put the streamers on my bike handles and we rode over to the Yogurt Mill for frozen yogurt and stopped at a couple of yard sales.

Friday, August 04, 2006
My Smooshable Kidden

I'd kiss his widdle feet if he hadn't just been in the litter box.

Another Actual Conversation
Assistant Sales Manager - "Have you seen [Sales Manager]?"

Receptionist - "He left a few minutes ago."

Assistant Sales Manager - "Did he say whether he'd be back?"

Receptionist - "He was on the phone, but I got the impression he was gone for the day."

Assistant Sales Manager - "How so?"

Receptionist - "Well, he looked happy."

Fun With Lou
A few weeks ago Lou went to Las Vegas. I told her to send me a series of postcards with only one word on each, so that I'd eventually be able to figure out the message.

So far I've recieved "never" "with" "angry" and "cocktails."

This is totally my new favorite game EVER.

Dear Mel,
I'm not impressed.

It's not about the DUI.
'Cause whatever, you got caught and will have a trial.

It's about your words, and then that apology that managed offend me as both a Jew and a respecter of faith in all it's forms.

"But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith."

Would that be the faith that teaches, "By this all men will know that you are my disciple, that you have love one for another"?

Don't use the Catholic faith as supposed evidence that you don't mean what you've been heard saying many times, drunk and sober. Faith isn't put on as a PR move.
I don't care which church's pew you park your ass on on Sundays.
If you want credit for it, you gotta LIVE it, 'cause your words have gotten really cheap.
Hypocrisy is against all our faiths, I believe.

-Valancy Jane

Thursday, August 03, 2006
Another Actual Conversation
Bartender - "And what can I get for you?"

Valancy Jane - "A glass of red wine."

Bartender - "Here's our wine list, take a look and let me know, ok?"

Valancy Jane - *scans list of unfamiliar wines*
*sighs and feigns apathy*
"A cab please, surprise me."

Bartender - "Sure!"

Valancy Jane - (aside to Nick) "How could tell him I pick my wines by looking for an animal on the label?"

Why I Named My Plant 'Bob Ross.'
Besides the vague resemblence ......

I used to watch his painting show as a kid.
Not because I was a huge fan of his style of art or anything, or even oil painting in general.

But I loved to watch him paint a tree, and then paint another tree right next to it, saying, "This tree needs a friend, so lets paint one right here ...."

I remember watching in rapt attention, thinking, "Wow. An adult as batshit crazy as me."

Another Actual Conversation
Salesguy - "Whatcha doing?"

Receptionist - "Just cleaning and rearranging my desk. *studies desk* It feels cluttery now."

Salesguy - "Get a long straw and put your coffee on the floor."

Receptionist - "Of all the suggetions I've gotten, that's actually the most practical."

Grocery Shopping, When It's Done PROPERLY ......
You get tomatoes that actually have a smell. Preferably that smell is tomato. But under no circumstances do you get one of those scentless plastic-y ones. Ew.
Ideally, the tomatoes are still clinging to a piece of vine, and are plump and squishy enough that you get a strange urge to cuddle them.

At each ethnic market (because you will go to a minimum of two, of course), you purchase at least one tin of something of which you are only 64% sure of it's contents. Such as, "I think these are mushrooms. They might be eggs of ........ something. But prolly mushrooms."

A store employee searches around in the back for 'the last one' of something.

You choose your tea, olive oil and bread by which brand has the least amount (preferably none) of discernable English words on it's bottle or wrapper.

You poke things a lot. This gesture serves to help determine the contents, to call your boyfriend's attention to something, or in the case of the Asian market, to determine if the item in question is in fact still alive. (It happens.)

When you question a store employee about what something is, and he gets an evil glint in his eye and says it's a traditional delicacy, beware. This goes doubly if you suspect the item might be liquor. Trust me, the only person who will drink what you're holding is his great-grandmother, who lived through at least two major wars, and still gets up at the crack of dawn. This is only for the very, very adventurous soul.

If you wonder if you're in the right place, you're in the right place. If you are the only native english speaker in the building, you're in the right place. If eyes follow you curiously the entire time, you're in the right place. If you suspect they are raising the prices for you when they translate them, just go with it, because you're in the right place. If ringing up your purchases involves sign language, you're in the right place.

You get flowers. Fact - Flowers make people more civilized. They bring as big a change to a room as a lighting fixture.

You get sliced bread and non-sliced bread. Both should be of a quality that it can be eaten plain.

You buy spinach. If you don't know what to do it with it, ask me and I'll tell you.

Don't distain soup mixes. They can be easily jazzed up with fresh stuff, which gives the impression of 'real cooking' with minimal effort.

You buy more pasta than premade pasta sauces. Because pasta with olive oil and pretty much any fresh vegetable is a refreshing change.

You get at least one item of vegetables or produce that wasn't on your list, just because it's in season and looks good.

You buy ginger root. Either to actually cook with, or just because it makes you look cool.

You buy your aspirin and any sort of 'intimate' product at a large supermarket chain, because in moments of pain, you want familiar, not 'what the natives did.'

You just assume a rate of loss on tupperware, and just pick up a few more each trip. For your sanity.

You recycle and buy recycled. It's quite possibly the easiest way to make a positive difference.

You don't overbuy on the fruit and bread. No point in letting it go to waste before you can get to it. It's easy to stop back in a week later for bannas, and bread, and use the express checkout.

Spend a few minutes on that one of the aisle with the lightbulbs and extension cords and stuff. Odd are high that there is something there that you keep forgetting to put on your list.

You get an 'are you sure?' after you decline help to your car.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I was just informed by an IT guy that I was the number one internet user in the building today.
Out of 200 people here, I was using 19% of the internet.
I asked him if I got some kind of award for that, like a gold sticker that says, "I used the most internet today" or something.
He said no.

Things on my desk that make me happy.
Nick bought me a pin cushion plant. He's sweet like that.
I named it Bob Ross.

And of course, there is my pink windup crab, Lucy.
I love Lucy.
For reasons that are hard to define.
It's just that there is nothing so cheery in the world as winding her up and watching her sidestep across my desk.

Happiness is ......
...... working with people you adore.

So Then I Said
......"Kiss me, I'm caffinated!"

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
"Margaritas are the next best thing to air conditioning."

Almost 100 Questions.
There are a few missing, but they were already gone when I got this. I'm not responsible for their disappearance.

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? I had the doors removed when I moved in. I hate those sliding doors that never slide right anyway. So open, I guess.

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels? If I liked them.

3. Have you ever 'done it' in a hotel room? This doesn't strike me as the tYpE of queStion a lady should answer.

4. Have you ever stolen a street sign before? No, but I've accompliced a time or two.

5. Do you like to use post-it notes? Sometimes. But they can feel so clutter-y if there are two many of them.

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them? Rarely do I cut them out. I usually use them if I do cut them out though.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? Could it be Bart the Bear? That looks cuddly.

9. Do you always smile for pictures? If I'm aware that there is a picture being taken, then usually yes.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve? Hmmmm. I'm sure I have a few minor peeves, but nothing major.

11. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? I detest top sheets. I refuse to use them. I suspect them of conspiring to kill me in my sleep.

12. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No.

13. Have you ever peed in the woods? Ew. But yes.

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing? There is always music playing. In my head, anyway.

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? I hate the feel of a chewed up pen, and pencil erasers taste nasty.

16. How many people have you slept with this week? The same number of people I slept with last week, and the same number of people I'll probably sleep with next week.

17. Do you like popcorn from those big tins? Much to my chagrin, yes.

18. What is your "Song of the week"? Take Me Anywhere, by Tegan and Sara.

19. Is it okay for guys to wear pink? I'm all for people wearing whatever the hell they want.

20. You still watch cartoons? Sealab, Venture Bros, and South Park.

21. What's your favorite movie? I don't have a favorite movie, I have a favorite movie of the moment. This moment, I'd prolly say Amelie.

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? I'm not sure, but I do know that I'd shave my head, tattoo the treasure map on my head, then let my hair grow back in.

23. What do you drink with dinner? Water, iced tea, wine.

24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Spicy mustard.

25. What is your favorite food? Nick.

26. What movies could you watch over and over and still love? I dunno. Should I take the rest of the week off to do research on this?

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you? *grin* Guess. You'll be right.

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout? Nope.

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? Not on purpose.

30. Describe your perfect date? Nick. Anytime. Anywhere except a pap smear.

31. Do you know how to change the oil on a car? Yes. You take it to some nice oily man in coveralls and you give him money. Then you sit and read an old People magazine until he's done. Easy.

32. Ever ran a redlight? Once, but not on purpose.

33. Ran out of gas? Yep. I'm spacey that way.

34. Favorite kind of sandwich? Turkey on sourdough with avocado.

35. Favorite breakfast food? Beer. Just kidding. Toast.

36. What is your usual bedtime? 10, 10:30 ish.

37. Are you lazy? No, not about things that matter to me.

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? Hmmm. I recall a ladybug, an asian girl, a dog, and a greek goddess.

40. How many languages can you speak? English, fairly well. Estudio el espanol en my escuela por tres anos. Ig-pay atin-lay. Jr. High Girl (believe me, it's a language all it's own.) IM shorthand.

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes, but not on purpose.

42. Which are better legos or lincoln logs? Legos, hands down, any day of the week. Which isn't to say that lincoln logs aren't cool, just that legos are that much cooler.

43. Are you stubborn? Only when it matters.

44. Who is better...Leno or Letterman? Leno.

45. Ever watch soap operas? Sure, whenever I want to feel better about MY life.

46. Afraid of heights? Not at all. I love them.

47. Sing in the car? Yes. Sometimes loudly to passerbys.

48. Dance in the shower? Yes. But it's dangerous, and prolly how I'll die.

49. Dance in the car? In, around and in one case, on top of.

50. Ever used a gun? Yep. Does this thought scare you? It should.

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? My brother's wedding.

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? Often, but usually in a good way.

53. Is Christmas stressful? Not anymore.

54. Ever eat a pierogie? Not that I know of.

55. Favorite fruit pie? Peach.

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Pirate, race horse jockey.

57. Do you believe in ghosts? Yeah, I think so.

58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling? Rarely.

59. Take a vitamin daily? No. I prolly should.

60. Wear slippers? Only if my feet are cold.

62. What do you wear to bed? As little as possible.

63. First concert? I really can't remember. I remember being at concerts, but not who was playing.

64. Wal-Mart, Target or K-Mart? Target, I suppose.

65. Nike or Adidas? I've never owned either, but I'll say Adidas since Nick just bought some of their bike shoes.

66. Cheetos Or Fritos? Cheetos. Britney's got one thing right.

67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? Peanuts. Sunflower seeds are too much salt and too much work.

68. Ever hear of, "gorp"? Yes.

69. Ever take dance lessons? For years.

70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing? Philanthropy, perhaps?

71. Can you curl your tongue? No. I'm untalented like that.

72. Ever won a spelling bee? If you're reading this, I'm sure you've notice that spelling isn't my strong suit.

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Yes.

74. Own any record albums? Yes!

75. Own a record player? Yes, but it needs working speakers.

76. Do you burn incense? Not often. I don't think the cats like it.

77. Ever been in love? Hell fucking yes.

78. Who would you like to see in concert? Fiona Apple. Or my own children someday.

80. Hot tea or cold tea? If I had to pick one, I'd say hot.

81. Tea or coffee? Don't ask me to choose between those. That's like only loving one of your children.

82. Favorite kind of cookie? Gingersnap.

83. Can you swim? Luckily yes.

84. Can you hold your breath without manually holding your nose? Yes.

85. Are you patient? Not at all.

86. DJ or band, at a wedding? Band. As in, mariachi.

88. Ever have plastic surgery? *shifty eyes* Nooooooooooo. (Kidding. Seriously, no.)

89. Which are better black or green olives? Green are ok, black are GREAT.

90. Can you knit or crochet? I can crochet. Quite well, actually.

91. Best room for a fireplace? My room.

92. Do you want to get married? Sure.

93. If married, how long have you been married?

94. Who was your first crush? Matthew. I like him because he cried too when someone fed a mouse to a snake.

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? Only with companies that are jerking me around.

96. Do you have kids? Nope.

97. Do you want kids? Yep.

98. What's your favorite colour? Green.

99. Do you miss anyone right now? Hmmm. Only some people I've never actually met.

100. Who do you wanna see right now? 'Rezzie or Jonny. Oh, or the Snack Guy that comes around. I'm low on dried apricots and peanut butter pretzels.

So Then I Said ........
.......... "I'm just very satisfied with life at the moment."

See, we were in the car, almost home, with the windows down to a soft twilight breeze, surrounded by the spoils of the errands we'd run, the wrapper of a carne asada burrito, the bird seed we'd picked up at our favorite pet store where the white ringneck parakeet is still in love with Nick, the bike shoes Nick got at the bike store for a fraction of their original price, and the handlebar streamers that I'd finally admitted I really wanted, and feeling relaxed from the glass of wine we stopped for at the Brigantine bar.