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So I’ve signed up again this year. Somewhat foolishly, perhaps, but as the saying goes, I’ll try anything twice.

Hey, last year I made it all the way through 1/3 of the month! Then, I just forgot to post. So this year, while the overall goal may be to post every day (and we all know how well that’s gone in the last two weeks), my perhaps more realistic goal is to post for at least 20 days straight.

Work my way up to 30, you know?

I’m guessing there may be a certain number of posts containing pointless drivel or small random observances, but I’ll do my best to be entertaining.

I can pull off “entertaining” for 30 days, right?

So, how was your Halloween? Ours was pretty good.

We went to Shelly and Nate’s house, and actually got to help hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Okay, fine, we missed the trick-or-treaters, but we did try to give candy to the Chinese food delivery man. Sadly, he refused any.

Shelly, Cara (dressed as Princess Leia in her pajamas) and I (dressed as a cat disguised as a human–I had cat ears and plenty of cat hair, so it seemed natural and required little work) also went and toured Shelly’s neighborhood, where a bunch of people had decorated their houses up for Halloween the same way some people do for Christmas. It was pretty cool, and there were a lot of cute kids out and about. Our respective boys stayed back at the house, lounging.

We spent the rest of the evening playing Guitar Hero World Tour (I officially have no rhythm, and thus having me play drums was a baaaad idea) and Killer Bunnies. Guitar Hero never sounded like all that much fun to me, but it’s growing on me–I think it’s mostly the time with friends and the laughing that ensues, but I’m beginning to see the appeal. Granted, I should never be allowed to do anything but Bass Guitar, and only on Easy, but still. And Killer Bunnies was as fun as ever. Crack, I tell you.

Also, for the first time in a week, I managed to eat a complete meal without gagging and leaving to go to bed. Whoohoo!! Still not feeling completely normal, but I’m on my way back.

After a long night’s sleep, the plan was work for a bit, then tailgating and then the Stanford football game. Of course, my stomach rejected coffee, so the plan was changed to couch for a bit, make it to the tailgate just in time to walk to the stadium, and then the Stanford football game.

Where it rained like cats and dogs. Stupid rain. I’m not even all that excited about football, and the tickets were free. Don’t ask me why I went, I didn’t have a good reason. Rhiannon and Sam bailed at halftime, and as the score was 31-0 to us, I was sopping wet (Cabela’s jackets are apparently only waterproof until they get wet), and still had to go into work to check on plates, I bailed with them.

I just checked to score upon returning home, and it’s now 51-0. I’m glad I left. So not worth it.

So now I’m going to sit here on the couch with some hot chocolate, thawing, and waiting for John to get home. We’ve decided the ending to this day should involve chili and cornbread.

It’s definitely now the time of year for cosy sweatpants, fleece jackets and warm comfort foods.

How goes your November first?

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The combined therapy of drinks and a long evening of chatting with Rhiannon, some good stuff going on at work, a relaxing evening watching Sharks hockey with John, and a relaxing evening with James F and Cara (which involved enchiladas, more drinking, Fiji pictures, and some geeking-out time), and I’m feeling a bit better.

Not that this changes the situation with niece/nephew #7, or the potential pitfalls already facing this kid and the BIL and current Baby Momma.

But, that said, what’s done is done. And I’m done stewing. Now we just have to figure out how to help out as best we can, potentially hoping for an adoption or (best case scenario but least likely) a massive straightening-up on life by the two “adults” in this situation.

Thus. Funk over. For now. Ask me again in 8 months or so.

So back to Fiji stories now….

I’ve made it to the end of the week, thank goodness. At times, it felt like it would never come, but now it’s here, there are fun plans (and some not so fun) for the weekend, and there was football last night.

Now, I’m not a huge football fan. It can be fun, but it can also be boring. It also requires a much longer attention span than I’m willing to give to sports at times. Basketball is pretty much over and down with in around 2 hours. Football? 3-4 hours.

Last night, Stanford had their season opener against Oregon St. It was, at times, a battle to see who could win, but also at times, to see who could lose. I saw the first safety I’ve seen in person–for us, thankfully–as well as some pretty spectacular screw-ups by the Oregon St boys. Oh, and my complete lack of faith in undergrads being human has thankfully been restored by the girl behind me who screamed profanities for 4 hours, punctuated with “!$!%$^, BABY!” in a Dickie V way of talking. I hate Dickie V. And I wasn’t real fond of her by the end of the evening.

But the game was good, the beer beforehand was free, the company was good (Rhiannon, Sam, Amelia, various classmates and co-workers), and we did win the game. I suppose that means we’re currently atop the rankings for the Pac10. Let’s see how long that stays in place…

Also, I went and bought my and John’s All-Access passes today, which should allow us into all Stanford sporting events, especially basketball. And they only charged me $100. Total. Instead of $136 for him and $75 for me. Whoo-eeee! Of course, I turned right around and bought a parking permit for $282…

So I guess this week is picking up a bit. We are going to the funeral tomorrow, which should be bundles of fun. We didn’t know this kid all that well, but we did know him, and his sister is our good friend. But then there’s camping and maybe diving and lots of football and relaxation.

Hope you all have a fun Labor Day weekend!

A mutual high-school friend is coming to visit Elizabeth this weekend, and I’m picking her up at the airport tomorrow morning, then she and I are going to lunch while Elizabeth finishes up at work.

I haven’t seen this girl in at least 4, if not 8 years. I haven’t talked to her in that long. We’ve Facebooked each other, but that’s about it.

I’m hoping there’s enough “what have you been up to in 8 years” there to keep us in delightful conversation throughout lunch.

We were pretty close in high school, and I’m just crap at keeping in touch with people. I’m a bit nervous that it’s going to awkward, but it will also hopefully be fun.

In the meantime, it’s dinner with Rhiannon and Sam to repay them for taking care of our cats ages ago, and then massive amounts of cookie baking since John’s work is having a sale this weekend and I always take it upon myself to keep their blood sugar high.

Snickerdoodle and oatmeal raisin are the requests.

I suppose if my friend and I lose track of things to talk about, I can always take her to my place and put her to work packing cookies, eh?

I’ve been running, running, running all week to do what needed to get done. And now we’re packed, except the last load of laundry, and the house has at least been vacuumed, and I’m breathing for the first time all week.

Amelia found my parking permit, which made the week much easier. Rhiannon and Elizabeth provided lunchtime entertainment, and Amelia a dinner and coffee companion. And the rest of the time, it was work like crazy. Inevitably, when I’ve got 4 days worth of work, and 4 days before I go home, nothing works like it should, screwing up my very limited time frame. But I kept plugging away, and got a decent amount done. And there were baby duckies in the pond on the way too and from work, where I might have lingered a bit to keep my sanity in check.

Also, we treated the cats and rabbit, and I haven’t been bitten since. This is good news. The bites I do have are almost gone. Unfortunately, I really wanted to test Laura’s advice on how to drown the fleas and never got the chance. I fell into bed almost every night and was somewhere in almost-asleep-land when the “put out a soapy pan of water” thought floated into my head…and floated right back out as I continued to fall asleep. Next time, and I’m sure there will be a next time, I’ll try it. For now, everyone gets treated once a month for three months.

And now, it’s Friday night.

Tomorrow I fly home to see my mom.

I’m currently pretty apprehensive. I’m so looking forward to seeing her, but I haven’t seen her since she started to look sick–tired, hairloss, etc. It’s going to be hard, I know that. But at the same time, seeing her will take away some of the worry created by being so far away.

It’s going to be a hectic week, with spending as much time as possible with family, helping my parents with their field season, and a wedding in the middle of it all. But it will be with our families. Which is the important thing right now.

They have internet now, faster than a 56k modem. I’ll report back.

Ok, some of you are going to get the previous post twice, due to your feeds. Basically, I was bored, and whiney, and I wrote it, then went off to shower and actually do stuff. Whereupon, I decided it was boring to whine, came back and deleted it. Not soon enough for it to not show up to Laura from Almost Never Boring and Bratfink from Bratland. Both gave me some lovely advice involving fleas, and it’s in the comments of the last post.

Anyways, long story short, the cats have brought fleas into the apartment (this is probably the 3rd time in 4 years it’s happened), the fleas eventually make the move to the rabbit, and all three are happily infested. Then I start getting bit. And with my allergies, I get big, nasty, swollen bites. That itch. A lot.

Last time, when we finally asked the vet about it, they assured us rabbits couldn’t have fleas. Despite treating the cats, and finally bombing the apartment, we didn’t get rid of them. Then Fred the Bunny’s hare started to fall out. Not shedding, falling out. So I took him to a (different) vet, who said he had fleas. We treated all three of them and that was that.

We try hard not to let the cats out, but the Gray One has become a bit of a Houdini lately, trying to escape at every turn, and all it takes is one momma flea on him when we bring him back. He also meows incessantly when the doors are open, which grates on your nerves after a bit. I think he made a friend during one of his longer escapes, but he’s been de-maled, so nothing will come of it. Tubby McFatterson, or the White One, really doesn’t give two figs about being outside. But a couple weeks ago, while we were in the backyard, John let them both out, hoping it would cure the Gray One of his meows. It didn’t. And now there are fleas.

Since Thursday, possibly Wednesday, I’ve discovered 10-15 bites. 7-8 yesterday, but I’ve got several new ones that have popped up in the last few hours, and I don’t realize they’re a bite until I’ve itched it enough to raise the skin a bit, at which point I’m doomed and the bite is off to the races. And the bites are all in fun, socially awkward places. The back of my knee. My lower hip. Right under my bra’s underwire line. My neck.

So Laura has suggested giving the fleas a dip of their own, and Brat has suggested salting them.

Mwahaha!

I’ll report back. In the meantime, if anyone’s got any ideas, I’d love to hear them before we resort to bombing the apartment and generally poisoning the place we and our animals live.

Anyways, other things that I have learned this week that I’ve been meaning to write…

If you boil some test tubes at 110 degrees, and then take them out of the heat rack, they will be at 110 degrees, which is a wee bit warmer than your skin might appreciate. I’m just sayin’.

I have made several new mutant viruses. Or just managed to contaminate everything. I’m suspecting option number 2. (Pick three, my lord, pick three! (Brat, I know you know this one.)) We’ll know by the end of this week.

I’ll be home in less than a week. I’m both excited and terrified. According to Pamela, John’s mom, my mom’s looking good. And Beatrice, John’s grandma, is out of the hospital. More on this later this week, probably. And then we’re off to a wedding. More on that later, too.

Oh, and I’ve got an appointment with a counselor about my snake phobia. I decided it was time to do something about it. I’ll let you know how that goes, too.

Rhiannon’s birthday party last night was actually much more entertaining than I had anticipated. We don’t know a lot of her other friends, so weren’t sure how it would go down, but a Bourban Peach Smash and a Mojito sure made things much more entertaining. Key word there being “smash”. John and assorted others had several pitchers of Hurricanes. It was a fun night. There were some phrases I wanted to remember and report back to y’all, but they’ve been lost in the fuzziness. Oh well. We had a fun dinner, and then graciously bowed out of going to play Guitar Hero at some unknown person’s house.

If you rant about something that might make you sound a bit prejudiced, you might want to check your audience. I’ve got to remember to just keep my damn mouth closed, I think. Scratch that, I know. Or just let go of it already now that the problem child will never return and I’ve almost solved the problem that was left to me.

One of my cloning enzymes (science, sorry) is cutting at a sight it’s not supposed to recognize. And thus deleting 400bp of an essential gene, and not my gene, either. New mutant, anyone? Bah. Freakin’ 5-step cloning process. I hate cloning. But what would a Mad Scientist do without it??

Husbands who get up and go to work at obscene hours of the weekend morning and leave behind a coffeepot with two cups in it are wonderful.

On the other hand, cats who want to nuzzle your cheek and lick your earlobe at said obscene hour of the weekend morning are not so wonderful. Especially when they bring fleas with them.

*This was originally posted yesterday, Saturday the 17th, then deleted. Now I’ve reposted it. Sorry.*

(”Y’all” just for the benefit of Amelia.)

I’m bored. I’m about to whine–feel free to skip all this.

My mother used to tell me, only boring people are bored. Maybe today I’m being boring. Or there’s just nothing on my to-do-list that’s at all entertaining. It’s the weekend, and I want to be entertained.

John’s at work, and Amelia’s at home visiting family for a couple days. I have no one to play with. Wah, wah, wah.

There’s no more email to read, and I’ve finished my book.

There’s laundry to do (John got rib sauce down the front of his shirt and on his shorts last night at dinner), but that’s not fun. There’s a house to clean, but it’s too hot to move. Ditto on that for riding my bike, which was a vague plan I had. What I was planning to do at work today crashed and burned because yesterday, things didn’t go as planned. (That’s science, bitches. It works…sometimes.) There’s a present to be bought for Rhiannon (her birthday tomorrow, thus dinner plans tonight). There’s Safeway to be visited to buy milk and flea medication.

Yes, fleas. John brilliantly let the cats out in the backyard a week or two ago, and now I have seven, make that eight, random bug bites (just realized the random spot my knee that I was scratching wasn’t quite so random). Last time this happened, it was the beginning of the end. Or at least, fleas on the cats and the rabbit, and bites on me. I get covered in them. John doesn’t get bitten, but he’s at least sympathetic to the huge, swollen, red, nasty bites I get.

Ugh. Hope the Safeway sells is good enough. Last time, we had to go to the vet, and that was a wee bit expensive. Dear god, flea medication can cost a lot.

I should just get up off my lazy ass, go start the laundry, wait until I can throw it in the dryer, go get Rhiannon’s present, stop by Safeway, and voila! it’ll be time to head to dinner.

But. I. Don’t. Wanna.

I’m just being whiney. I know. Sorry. But it’s hot, and I itch.

Any ideas?

Yes, that’s right. Go to Ben&Jerry’s and get a FREE ICE CREAM CONE!!!

So what did I do for my birthday? I didn’t turn 29 again, for one thing. Give me three years, Brat, and I’ll do it for the first time. However, as John so helpfully points out, I’m now closer to 50 than to my birth. And apparently 55 is the next birthday I get to look forward to, since it’s the next birthday that means something. In this case, I can get Senior Citizen’s discounts.

Anyways, my birthday was low-key and fun, just what I wanted. Minimum amount of time spent at work, then pedicures with Amelia. Hey, after that bike ride, we totally deserved to have someone rub our calves and feet, right? And now our toes are pretty, too. Then Thai food with Amelia, John, James, Cara, Nate and Shelly. Small and perfect and lots of fun. Amelia and I were both pretty tired, so dinner didn’t last too long, but James did manage to get the restaurant to put together a birthday dessert. In this case, fried bananas and ice cream. Mmmm.

Today, there’s cake at work, and ice cream tonight with Steven, Rhiannon and Sam. And John, when he gets done at work. And Amelia, but she’s opting out to go see some friends that just moved and are totally excited about showing her their new house. I had her last night, they can have her tonight, so it’s all okay.

AND DID I MENTION THAT THE ICE CREAM WILL BE FREE? AT BEN AND JERRY’S? FREE CONE DAY? YES? OKAY.

I also talked to my parents, sister, and grandparents, who are all in various stages of doing as well as can be expected. Amy just ran a half marathon, so she and I are both in that horrible “moving like we’re 97” stage of recovery, Mom’s doing okay but has some cankor sores acting up, Dad’s fine though a bit forgetful and didn’t include me on the “here’s what the family is doing and by the way happy birthday to Sarah” email, and my grandparents are just slowing down. But it was good to talk to all of them.

Now I’m contemplating putting my head down on my desk and napping until cake time. Gotta save up energy for all of that digestion!

I go away for 5 days, then am incredibly busy for 2 days, and next thing I know there are 205 new posts on my RSS feed.

Wow.

But the last two days have been full of experimentation, sadly not on the undergrads, no matter how annoying they may have been, so there’s been little time to play catch up. Let’s put it this way: I ate lunch at 7pm today.

Bah.

So, a couple points, just to clear them out of my brain:

1. I’m damn proud to be at Stanford, but it’s the sense of entitlement I get from the undergrads and loutish drunken behavior that also make me damn glad I’m a graduate student and not one of them.

2. This current experiment sucks. 4 Tuesdays of lots of stuff to do. Today was a 9 hour day and I skipped lab meeting. This doesn’t bode well for the next 3 to go. You add in lab meeting, and it becomes a double-digit hour day, easily.

3. Rhiannon caught a whale (Pacific Life was a sponsor, thus they threw out whales to the crowd) for me at the Pac-10 Tourney. It was during the Arizona-Stanford game, nonetheless. In honor of the Arizona player Jerryd Bayless, I’ve named it Jerryd Whayless. Haha, I’m funny. (Or John is–he thought of it.)

4. I’ve finally gotten to the uber-hard sudoku in my book. Yes, I’m a dork. Big dork. But it makes me happy.

5. Taxes suck. Especially when you’ve theoretically been paid $20K more than you actual got. Wish I had the money. In which case, I’d happily pay the taxes on it.

6. It’s nice to be home in your own bed.

7. We’re going wine tasting tomorrow night with Amelia. Fun. The Ex is supposedly going to be there. Not fun. Stay tuned.

8. If you don’t have Coke, rum goes well with Diet Dr. Pepper.

9. The back pain induced by a day in the car, 4 days in a stadium seat, and another day in the car sucks. Lots. I’ve been eating ibuprofen like candy. Should have bought the sugar-coated ones.

10. There’s nothing like the sympathetic ear of a best friend when you need to rant. Or at least, I hope so, given the ranting poor Amelia’s been pushed to in the last couple weeks. Good thing we took her on vacation for a couple days, and hopefully it did some good.

11. One of the students who failed to check his air and ran out at 80+ feet underwater on me and James F came back to the dive shop. He wants to take the Rescue class. Good for him for wanting to improve his skills and safety. You couldn’t pay me enough money to teach him. Not enough zeros in the business world.

12. I’m going to eat some M&M’s, finish my Rum and Dr. and go to bed. Maybe tomorrow, after work, wine tasting, and finishing my NCAA bracket, I’ll finally catch up on some of your posts. Slow down, will you? Just for a bit?

So Saturday morning, after sleeping in and then lounging around (it was another return to the hotel at 1am for us), we went straight to guest services. A very nice guy by the game of Gary basically said he didn’t have seats to move us but he’d do his best. He also said he’d talk to the usher people and all the security staff, and he said he’d put security cameras on the kids so that if anything like what happened Friday night happened again, they’d be able to catch all parties involved, not just those who the kids accused. Awesome.

It was, however, with resignation we went and took our seats, waiting to see how drunk they’d be when they showed up. One girl immediately needed a mixed drink to calm her nerves, and another couldn’t sit still she was so nervous. It’s just a game, people! However, the head of the 6th Man did offer to switch so we were sitting in front of them. I think he realized he’d pissed us off, and I think they’d seen Amelia and I talking to ushers. Good. So they switched, which meant we still got the rudeness and the abusiveness and the loudness (all well and good when you’re cheering, not jeering), but it was behind us and we could actually see. Also, they were surrounded by UCLA people, all of whom had been pissed off the day before, and I think the threat of murder kept the kids in line a bit. Additionally, a lot of them drove back to the Bay Area last night, and it’s hard to be stupid drunk when you’ve got to drive and/or have a 6 hour ride ahead of you. Sweet.

Well, so, Stanford’s band sat next to us (strike 1), UCLA scored first (strike 1 on them), Stanford was the lower seed (strike 3), and UCLA held Stanford to 64 points (strike 3–not 75). This doesn’t bode well, can you imagine?

It was a good game. One team would pull a bit ahead, and then the other would catch up and pull ahead. Back and forth. And Kevin Love injured his back. I felt bad for him–I have enough back problems that I can sympathize–but I figured it would help our chances immensely. However, in the middle of the second half, they pulled ahead and managed to prevent our comeback by going on a 22 and 8 run. That’s why they’re UCLA, the number 2 (?) team in the country. Anthony Goods had a good shot at a potential game-tying 3, but missed.

The game was basically for who got a good seed, so it didn’t matter too much. However, it so stressed out the one girl, and the other actually cried over the loss.

Now, I’ll fully admit that if Arizona had had to win that game to make it into the NCAA tourney, I might have teared up a bit. But I wouldn’t have bawled. It’s a game, people! Just. A. Game.

So we high-tailed it out of there. Any other team and we might have stayed to see them cut the nets, but it was UCLA and their ego doesn’t need stroking.

We took ourselves out for a nice dinner, then watched The Incredibles on TV.

And this morning, it was again up and on the road, though not quite at the crack of doom that it was on Wednesday. We made good time, despite the horrible winds, and dropped Rhiannon off. Then Amelia, John and I headed to our place to watch Selection Sunday.

Stanford’s a 3 and plays Cornell (awesome battle of the brains, that).

Arizona’s in (thank goodness for their SOS of 1), and a 10 seed to play West Virginia. Enough people on ESPN gave the game to Arizona, and I think if they play well, they can win. However, they have to play well. Chase Budinger has to be able to shoot and score. Jordan Hill has to not foul. They have to shut down West Virginia. If they don’t bring all they have, they won’t walk away winners.

Sadly, if they win, they’ll play Duke. Whom they lost to in the championship game in 2001. Whom I hate. With a passion. Because of that loss. Still a bit bitter, apparently.

I think I’m off to sit in a corner and rock back and forth chanting “Arizona” until late Sunday.

But at least I can sleep in my own bed if I choose.

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