Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Die Die Die!

Thank goodness it's only a few more days away from this year being history. A decade in review:

2000 - major surgery 6/23/00 #2
2001 - bought my first new car (2001 Chevy Cavalier, blue)
2001 - drove cross country for the first time
2003 - quit my job of 10 years
2003 - took a management role at the mortgage company
2003 - car accident, wrecked and repaired
2003 - I got braces
2004 - bought a new car (2005 Chevy Equinox, blue)
2004 - refinanced my home into a 5 year fixed/6 month Libor loan.
2005 - I took home two kittens
2005 - my dad died
2005 - took an analyst's role at the same mortgage company
2005 - the braces came off my teeth
2006 - son graduated high school
2006 - home burglarized
2007 - the mortgage company I worked at went BK
2007 - laid off from work
2008 - mortgage company folded
2008 - became a contractor/business consultant
2008 - car accident that totaled my vehicle
2008 - bought a used car (2007 Chevy Equinox, gray)
2008 - ended a 5 year affair
2009 - my Libor mortgage note adjusted... downward! HAHA
2009 - laid off from work
2009 - mom had heart surgery for the umteenth time
2009 - took an role at a credit union

Thursday, December 24, 2009

This is a first...

I've worked for banks, I've worked for a mortgage company, but this is the first time I've worked at a credit union. Collateral perfection, assignments, Vault, trailing docs, Notary. I'm charged with these tasks in the organization. All of the paperwork and background checks were intense and for now, at least, I'm on contract. Now, I have to push a mass amount of paperwork through to an Agency by the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Damn, it's cold

Old man Winter showed his face today in California and damn, it's cold. It won't even be 60 degrees today and the nights are in the high 30's to low 40's. I slept with the heater on all night.  If I don't my throat gets soar.

Friday, December 4, 2009

For the love of Thai Food

I am 43 years old white woman, I've lived in Orange County, California since 1992 and I'm just taking the time to figure out what the deal is about on Asian cuisine.

Thai is the best for me. It's recipes are based upon healthy, fresh ingredients with no flour, cheese or cow's milk.. I love that. I love being able to go out to a restaurant where I can order something from the menu and know that afterwords I'm not going to feel sick from eating it. I went so far as collecting three Thai cook books and searching out the grocery stores and farmer's markets in my area that carry Thai ingredients so that I can cook dishes at home.

Japanese is second best. It also concentrates on fresh, healthy ingredients. Noodles are an integral in many dishes, which is not so good, but in it's defense, Japanese eat more fish, so I love sushi, but especially sashimi. I found out it's extremely easy to make miso soup at home because it comes in these kits like the ramen noodles that everyone is so used to in California. You can add bok choi, thinly sliced shallots and/or green onion and cubes of firm tofu, if you want, or just eat the noodles and the broth - it's that easy.

I found out that I like Pho, which is a type Vietnamese soup available in just about any city you go to.You don't have to guess what you are going to be served there because Pho is usually in the name of the restaurant. Once upon a time, there was a restaurant in my neighborhood called Hung Phat. I kid you not. I read that, deemed the name disgusting and never tried the place. Later they changed the name to Golden Chopsticks. I later discovered that the term Hung Phat is a common phrase in Vietnamese and nothing to be afraid of.

Chinese food is the most unhealthful of all the Asia food, next to tempura in Japanese cooking. Chinese food almost always is served with some sort of corn starch based sauce and sometimes even deep fried items like in the calamari, sweet and sour dishes, and the wonton noodles. The easiest thing to whip up for a meal is stir fry, which comes from Chinese cooking. I have one prep bowl and slice everything up before i start cooking. I then cook the meat, lay on the prepared vegetables, let it steam for a few minutes and then mix it up in the wok until it's all hot and incorporated and pour some sticky sauce over it. I serve it with rice on the side. Another dish I make at home sometimes is the egg drop soup. It's chicken broth, scrambled egg and thinly sliced green onion. That's it. Simple and quick. Sometimes when you aren't feeling so good and the weather is cold, only egg drop soup will do.

I bought a new rice cooker over the summer. Man, is that thing great. Perfect rice in 20 minutes. Fry's Electronics had only one model like mine. I later found out that H Mart carries a ton of them, thank you.

And speaking of which, I found H Mart and I love it. It's chock full of Japanese, Korean, Thai and Vietnamese products and, to me, is the Pavillions of Asian food markets.

OK, that's better

I have an interview on Monday for two different jobs with the same company. When lightening strikes, I guess... For weeks I have not been able to find anything local. I even went so far as applying to a job near Phoenix, AZ. To me, it's the closest thing to California without water, but damn. I'm not looking to relocate unless it's something I absolutely must do.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Location, location, location

I found a job I can do... near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I don't want to work in Wisconsin. This is not good.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Conflict of Interest?

I just read I can't be an Elite if I maintain a business listing (as a Notary) on Yelp.com, so I closed the business account. That sucks.


2009 Thanksgiving Menu:

Roasted Turkey Breast
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Roasted Carrots
Steamed Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
Sweet Potato Pie
Cranberry Jelly

My Thanksgiving Day started at 6AM and me on the road to go pick-up my mom from El Cajon who decided it was OK to have Thanksgiving with me this year, especially after her recent heart trouble.

I returned back home with mom in tow, a bag of crochet and a change of clothes at 10AM. It took me about an hour to prep and two hours to cook. We ate at 1PM. It was me, my son and my mom.

We later went to Walgreen's in search of cracked heel ointment with emu oil. No luck. Walgreen's doesn't carry it anymore. I use it to alieve the exema on my right hand that develops on and off due to stress.

Anyway, I cleaned the house more while the food was cooking and then mom went to sleep in my bed. I slept on the couch and watched TV until about 10PM which was probably too late. My throat was achy and my eyes were burning which meant I was toast and needed rest.

The next morning, I made coffee for the both of us and left for El Cajon at about 7:45AM. Mom wanted to go to Fresh and Easy so we found one on the way to her house. This one was located near Lake Murray.

I got back home by 1PM.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Life, Part 2

A friend called me last night and wanted to talk about a situation he's in. Sadly, after hearing his plight, what he's going through is nothing new and it's something I have heard men complain about before. After years of marriage, his wife is unhappy and won't take action herself to fix a sexual dysfunction in their relationship. And she thinks that the problem is everything else but her own behavior. She points fingers at this, that or the other thing and the man is at a loss because he can't fix her. This situation my friend's in is compounded by the fact that his wife is quickly loosing her identity as a mother because her son is 18, grown and not a baby anymore and she doesn't know what to do with herself now. She's had the luxury of being a housewife and now she has no one to fuss over but her husband and she knows if she fusses over him, he's going to take it as she's interested in him sexually and she's not. So she doesn't put forth any affection whatsoever to show him she loves him anymore. He's at that certain point of frustration where something's got to change.

I was glad to hear he said he has an appointment to go to counseling with her because he thinks his marriage to her is worth working on, but if she turns marriage counseling down and refuses to go, it makes you wonder what's going on in her head and her life that he doesn't know about because he's at work.

Easy Auto Maintenance: Changing the Air Filters on my '07 Chevy Equinox

This entry is a reminder to myself that doing these two things at every other interval my oil is changed on my car saves me $43. Jiffy Lube wanted to charge me $80 for parts and labor and I said, "No, I'll do it myself."

1. In Cabin Air Filter Replacement

Open the hood on the engine compartment. This filter is located under a plastic shroud the covers the air filter on the passenger side towards the fire wall. There are three pop pins in the engine compartment to remove and two that are exposed to the exterior near the windshield wiper blade. Once the pop pins are removed, you can take off the shroud and see the filter. There are no clips holding it in, it's just kind of wedged in there. Take it out and replace it. Return the shroud to it's original position, reinstall the pop pins and you're done.

2. Main Air Filter Replacement

Open the hood on the engine compartment. This filter is located under a square plastic shroud that covers the air filter near the intake manifold on the passenger side near the front of the car. There is a large black accordion tube with clamps on either end. Loosen the clamp that is attached to the intake manifold. Also unfasten the two clips on the box in which the the accordion tube is connected to. Remove the tube from the intake manifold and  then the shroud and remove the dirty air filter. When replacing with a new air filter, note that there is a tab on the edge to use as a guide in it's proper placement. Align the guide and drop the filter into place. Replace the shroud, fasten clips the box and insert the accordion tube back onto the intake manifold. Use a flat head screwdriver at the rubber block to push the tube back into it's proper position, if needed. Tighten the clamp and you're done.

Doing these two things at every other interval my oil is changed on my car saves me $43. Jiffy Lube wanted to charge me $80 for parts and labor and I said, "No, I'll do it myself."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year... yeah right.

I wish 30 days before a holiday was the limit on decor, hype and such. It's just way too over commercialized for my taste anymore. Xmas trees in the shops before Halloween... It's as though the holiday "season" starts right after Labor day and doesn't quit until the after new years sales events are over.

And how dare you call the holidays a "season". A season is when the weather has distinct changes, not when a date on the calendar guilts you into buying things for people that they probably don't need or want in the first place.

And now for something you'll really like...

I woke at 6AM and the water was turned off. I'm glad I didn't have to be anywhere this morning. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm glad it's back on after 2 1/2 hours.

It reminded me that we live in a place where we take for granted that public utilities are always on and functioning properly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Everybody's got an agenda. Everybody's got a motive. It took two phone calls and two emails to figure out someone wanted me to work for them for nothing and they wanted me to use my own money as well to promote their book. Yeah, that football book I wrote about before about my hometown. I was hung up on. My feelings weren't hurt and I really don't care. Hire a marketing firm and stop bugging me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Job? What job? Part 2

My son went to an interview at BevMo. So many people applied, they conducted a group interview outside their front door. There was 12 people. My son got a callback for the background check and drug screening at 5:30PM while he was at school. He returned home after the manager went home so he didn't get the info he needed. The next day he called in, he said there were no hours available to place him on the schedule. It seems the 11 other people may have called in. Grrr. Getting and education is tough if people don't have a cell phone. He gave his up a few weeks ago because he couldn't afford to pay for it anymore without having a job.

In Other News...

Read: ADAAA Notice

This is good news for people with Crohn's Disease. If it's an ADAAA approved disability, it must be taken seriously. I've never claimed to be affected until I worked for ResMAE and they were good to be about it. I always liked solitary work anyway, but I just wanted to sit by someone so being near the 30 day + collections team and REO was fine by me.

Job? What job?

So I get a call from a recruiter on Wednesday who tells me about a job and then Friday he calls to say an internal candidate is getting first dibs at the interview. Grrr.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crazy Dream #649,352

I had a dream. I was at a small mid-western church with an inter-racial wedding party. The woman was black, seeming shorter than I was and she had her hair done in these beautiful medium ringlets. She was wearing an old fashioned white wedding dress with lots of hand made lace and these white shoes from the late 1800's. I think I was the wedding planner and I was making sure that the Notary was present to officiate the marriage of these two people I don't even know. Someone asked the bride if she had gotten the marriage license and for no reason at all, she hadn't. And the last words I heard said to me was I don't know that man (of the Notary who was sitting in a line of wooden chairs chatting with people sitting next to him ), he's not in the play book.

Now this dream may be stemming from the fact that I just re-connected with a girl from my past and found out that she lives in Wichita, KS, the same place I'm going to be sending a baby blanket I'm making shortly because another friend from school lives in the same town. And the term "play book" to me, only comes from the sport of football and I'm not a huge fan of it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's not the most wonderful time of the year. It's the bleak dating season. Ever since November hit, no man is choosing to communicate with me. ACK. I know it's the holidays that's doing it and it will probably continue like this until Christmas is over. Why? There's nothing worse than having to spend time with someone you don't like all that much or even to have to buy a present for them. Yeah, I get that. And then once NYE rolls around, it's you're choice to either sleep through it or share it with someone.What am I feeling now? Just cold and lonely, but I won't settle for anything less than someone who is worthy of my love and affections. So stop messaging me Spaniard. It just ain't gonna happen. Nor with your freaky footie friend either.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Frank Sinatra

I titled this entry "Frank Sinatra" because he was a pig headed old man who did not take good care of his health and ultimately died of a heart attack. He's buried in plot B-8 #151 at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, CA.

My mom returned to her home last Thursday from having an additional 2 stents installed  next to her heart - this time one big and one small. This brings her grand total up to 6. I would probably have not known this if it wasn't for the efforts of her best friend Rose who called me at the last go with the same issue.

So this time, Wednesday before the procedure, she picked up the phone and called me to tell me what was going on. I went to Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa on Thursday thinking she would be in for another day, but they released her at about Noon on Thursday. I followed her home because she drove herself to the hospital. I took her to the pharmacy twice. Once to deliver the laundry list of drugs she now has to take and once for a pick up. She's up to 15 different medications, 14 of which she takes regularly. The 15th is nitroglycerin she only takes as needed. I made her lunch of tilapia fried in olive oil and a broccoli slaw salad.

She is a great example of what happens to women when they don't take great care of their health. She is the atypical American who only worries about health when something goes wrong, if even that. She is also one of those people who think if you ignore the problem, it will go away. Too bad that's not the case with being overweight and all it's associated diseases.

Obesity leads to diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Diabetes leads to heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke leads to death. After having to deal with my mom and her issues, it lead me to think of what happened with my dad. A man who worked until his health got to the point where his potential employer said you're a liability until you get your health in order. At that point, he had a belly button hernia, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure from years of being overweight and diabetes. He claimed he had congestive heart failure, but I think it was just the diabetes showing it's ugly in the form of high cholesterol and heart disease he didn't want to face. He had a stroke when he was 70 at work when no one else was around and died three weeks later in the hospital of complications of his diabetes. He had cirrhosis of the liver from the cholesterol medication he was taking for years and his kidneys failed. At some point, he was just bleeding from everywhere, because his body gave out. That's when I decided on comfort care for him and watched as he had is final heart attack and died right before my eyes.

But back to my lecture on my mom. I called her last night to check up on her and she hates the fact that she's on a ton of medications and I told her it stems from her having diabetes. I think she's had ot for a long time but she told me that she has only been treated for it for the last four years. Thank you Medicare. Now she's complaining about tingling in her one foot. Yup, that's diabetes for ya. She may only has been treated for a few years, but that tingling sensation tells me she's had it for a good long while and she doesn't do enough diet modification to keep it under control.

The human body is a funny thing. It mostly craves what is bad for it. That would be the holy grail of human anti-health... sugar, salt, grease, caffeine and alcohol.

What do you need to eat for optimum health? Vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, whole grain and beans. After picking up and reading a few Thai cookbooks, I know it can be done because a whole culture eats like that. But again, the industrial revolution has effected how we eat. Even though I like to hop into my car and drive to far flung places to buy things, the industrial revolution wasn't generally a good thing for humans. But that is an entirely different discussion.

All I know is the better I eat, the better I feel and if I feel good, I'm more motivated towards life...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

In Deep.

Jesus, after today's cooking adventure, you'd think some lucky man would marry me.

I bought my first deep fryer today.

I can fucking make restaurant quality egg rolls and fried wonton noodles now.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I went out last night to a dive bar in Huntington Beach called Perq's to watch a friend play drums in a band he's in. It was jam night at Perq's, but they did their regular classic rock set with every song they normally do. Their set was good highlighted by their cover of Wild Cherry's "Play that Funky Music" aka the audience participation song. The next band only did blues. I pooped out on the second band's third song and bailed. It was after 11.

It was the first time since I went to the South Coast Rep for a Yelp event that I went out. I didn't drink anything. I got to talk to Manny after the gig about what was going on in his life and about what happened to him after he was laid off in 2000. Life insurance. Ultimately, the business was something he grew a distaste for because of so many uneducated people and he then got into industrial sales. He's one smart cookie.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I don't know

The Spaniard got in contact with me after almost 2 years had passed. I don't know why guys contact me after years for sex. It kinda bothers me. Why? Because I rather be in a relationship to get sex regularly than to go through all the trouble of finding a great partner every time I want it. I know, I know... I have to find the great sex partner before I can have he relationship I want, but then I keep finding guys with excuses and I really hate excuses.

Married, separated, working hours, distance, kids, family. Life gets in the way. One of these days the stars will align and it will happen. I feel it.

Last weeks date was OK, but he was a workaholic with control issues. The guy was telling me he was active and went to the gym 2-3 times a week but he had a gut and generally looked out of shape. When I got to the coffee shop, I didn't wait and bought myself a soy late soon after I arrived and didn't wait for him at the front of the shop. 30-60 minutes later, (because I checked the time on my cellphone out of boredom. I know- bad) after discussing appreciation of cars, his business, my unemployment, music, food, and Yelp.com after taking notes on the coffee shop we met at, he invited me to Lawry's Carvery for dinner. The half of a french dip sandwich I ate was undercooked and made me sick. I went to the bathroom and he bailed saying his neighbors said he needed to pick up a key and he'd call in a few days. When things get tough, do I want a guy who can't handle it? No! And I read his excuse to leave as "kiss off". There was little chemistry due to his inflated ego and I didn't really find him attractive. And he didn't call me again nor am I going to pick up the phone to call him either. Bye-bye.

Helen Keller

I once had a manager that gave me a placard for Christmas which read:

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows ... Helen Keller".

Basically, it says to stay positive.

It's been exactly two months since I was laid off. Yesterday, I received a phone call out of the blue from a recruiter about a FHA shipping position. Today, I found a VA shipping position online. It's not exactly the work I want, but it will allow me to pay my bills and get on with my career without having to move to Texas. I'm so over qualified for these jobs, but you never know...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Life Goes On

I had a first date last night with a guy named Ron from Costa Mesa. It was the first date (as a result of my membership on plentyoffish.com) I've had in a while since I was spooked by that sadomasochist in MV (from okcupid.com - another free dating website I'm no longer on). We went to a local coffee shop, but not Starbuck's. All of my Starbuck's dates in the past had been disasters. I didn't want that stigma bouncing around in my head, so a day before, I changed the venue he had me pick.

The coffee shop was fun and the date was fine, but a little awkward in places which I'd say was pretty normal as far as first dates go. We sat there talking and drinking at the coffee shop and I thought everything was going OK, when he asked me to go to dinner at SCP. OK, I'm game. We take both cars it's maybe a little over a mile away. He took off before me and I get caught in the light signals. He thinks I've ditched him - not true. So I walk up and he's on his phone. He says he's calling me, but my phone never rings. Hrmm.

Eat dinner and the french dip was a little too undercooked and it went right through me, so I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. He said he would wait. I know I took longer than I should and I felt bad about it. I bet he thinks I snuck out the back door. When I get back to the table, he's gone. Seconds roll by and he calls while I'm composing a text message and he says his neighbors called him to pick up their house key. Ehy? Maybe that was his way of getting out of saying goodbye and he set up the call while I was walking up in the parking lot. By now, it's between 8:30 and 9PM when the mall closes. I gave him my card earlier and he said he'd call in a few days. I don't know... I just don't know. Strong beginning, OK middle, weak finish to this date. Jesus... how much roast beef did I actually have between my teeth? LOL.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Healthy Insurance Ideas...

Sometimes simple ideas are the best ones.
  • What if it were illegal for health insurance companies to charge to more than 10% of an individual's or family's total monthly gross income for comprehensive health care?
  • What if it were illegal for insurance carriers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions?
  • What if there were no such thing as a co-payment or a deductible?
  • Knowing that smoking and obesity are a contributing factor in 30% of health care issues and 50% of all American's are overweight, what if people who smoked and were morbidly obese were required to be under a doctors care until they were deemed healthy?

Would that make health insurance more affordable? Would that get more people insured?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

MSN Astrology Today: What makes you nuts?

Mercury is your planet, Gemini, the guy with the wings on his head and his feet, symbolizing his quicksilver abilities when it comes to mental and physical speed. So, understandably, nothing makes you crazier than someone who just won't cut to the chase when they're telling a story or refuses to take a shortcut when they know they're running late - although it's hard to imagine how they could resist, with all the tapping and fidgeting you do while you're waiting.

Safety, security, and your home and family are what matter most to you, Cancer, and there's nothing you love more than spending an evening at your place, surrounded by loved ones, snuggled up under a quilt. So what makes you nuts? Being dragged out by a well-meaning friend who's decided that you "need more socializing." That's grounds for . . . well, for all kinds of things. Second, though, is having to eat someone else's cooking, which is seldom, if ever, as good as yours.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daily Affirmation

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.


I just heard there are 6 jobs seekers for every job posted.

It feels like it.

No positive responses, just auto generated "We received your resume" emails.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bombing the Moon on 10/9/09

From the NASA website:

"LCROSS launched with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on June 18, 2009 at 2:32 p.m. PDT. The LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V’s Centaur upper stage rocket executed a fly-by of the moon on June 23, 2009 (LCROSS lunar swingby video stream coverage) and entered into an elongated Earth orbit to position LCROSS for impact on a lunar pole. On final approach, the shepherding spacecraft and Centaur will separate. The Centaur will act as a heavy impactor to create a debris plume that will rise above the lunar surface. Projected impact at the lunar South Pole is currently: Oct 9, 2009 at 4:30 a.m. PDT. Following four minutes behind, the shepherding spacecraft will fly through the debris plume, collecting and relaying data back to Earth before impacting the lunar surface and creating a second debris plume.

The debris plumes are expected to be visible from Earth- and space-based telescopes 10-to-12 inches and larger.

The LCROSS science payload consists of two near-infrared spectrometers, a visible light spectrometer, two mid-infrared cameras, two near-infrared cameras, a visible camera and a visible radiometer. The LCROSS instruments were selected to provide mission scientists with multiple complimentary views of the debris plume created by the Centaur impact.

As the ejecta rises above the target crater’s rim and is exposed to sunlight, any water-ice, hydrocarbons or organics will vaporize and break down into their basic components. These components primarily will be monitored by the visible and infrared spectrometers. The near-infrared and mid-infrared cameras will determine the total amount and distribution of water in the debris plume. The spacecraft’s visible camera will track the impact location and the behavior of the debris plume while the visible radiometer will measure the flash created by the Centaur impact.

NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., is overseeing the development of the LCROSS mission with its spacecraft and integration partner, Northrop Grumman, Redondo Beach, Calif. LCROSS is a fast-paced, low-cost, mission that will leverage some existing NASA systems, commercial-off-the-shelf components, the spacecraft expertise of Northrop Grumman and experience gained during the Lunar Prospector Mission in 1999. Ames is managing the mission, conducting mission operations, and developing the payload instruments, while Northrop Grumman designed and is building the spacecraft for this innovative mission. Ames mission scientists will spearhead the data analysis."

This made a bunch of questions and emotions well inside of me.

1) Ultimately, this means life on earth as we know it is not sustainable and people are looking for alternative natural resources.

2) Great, now we're litering the moon.

3) Is this a good idea?

4) Whats the next steps if they do find water on the moon?

5) If they do find water on the moon, will they go from building the international space station to building the international moon outpost?

6) Where is the money to build this going to come from?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Me editing the Sports Editor...

This is good example of why newspapers are dying. Read: New book on Steelers creates stir

The sad, sardonic ramblings of a sports editor compelled me to edit him.

New book on Steelers creates stir
Louis Brewster, Sports Editor,
From: The Sun: San Bernardino and the Inland Empire
Posted: 10/05/2009 09:36:52 PM PDT

As a high school football player, Dennis Paulson was an undersized nose guard at Fontana during the Steelers' glory days, an era he relives in his first book, "The Fo." The paperback dropped in August and is the subject of some buzz, mostly in Fontana. It's the second book with Citrus Belt League football as the backdrop following the 2004 book "A Citrus Test: Football in Black and White" by Obrey Brown.

Whether or not it is well-received depends on the reader. One of the book's main characters, former Steelers coach Dick Bruich said he's not going to read it and stated, "I lived through it. Why do I want to read somebody's take on it?"

Lance Ozier, the current Fontana football coach, hasn't read it and probably won't "until I get a free copy. I know what went on. I'm not paying to read about that."

One who did read the book and was close to the Fontana program said, "It was full of half and quarter truths." That may be evident only to those who played on the Dick Bruich teams or were very close to players and coaches.

But as the author of the novel, Paulson is entitled to his own observations and opinions. After all, this is not an autobiography nor a history book. It's about his personal account of football when Fontana was atop the world.

Paulson apparently wants to option his book to make it into a movie. Which brings up the interesting question: What Hollywood type is best suited to play Coach Bruich? James Denton as the early Bruich, with Tom Selleck as the more mature Bruich? Or are Jack Black and Vince Vaughan more in the Bruich mold? ...

If you find Dennis Paulson's distant memories of playing high school football something hard to swallow, imagine what he feels like as a former coach for San Bernardino Valley College.

In the past, we've taken those in charge at San Bernardino Valley College to task for their seemingly ho-hum attitude toward athletics. A once-proud program is struggling to establish credibility in the community.

So give it up for Kevin Emerson, who directed the Wolverines to their biggest win since the late Patrick Swayze in "Red Dawn." It didn't look good initially when he officially was hired hours before the first practice.

But the 19-game losing streak is over and we expect SBVC to be competitive in the American Division of the Mountain Conference.

Chris Rock Quote on The View 10/7/09

Chris Rock commenting on David Letterman's past bad behavior today on ABC's The View:

"If the bad guys are after you, you call the cops.
If the cops are after you, you call a lawyer,
but if your wife is mad at you, there is nobody to call."

If you love her, you conceed and apologize, make amends, don't do it again and move on.

And if you don't? You simply move on.

I got the 'Review of the Day' on Yelp!

From my Twitter:

Hey! Hey! RE @yelpoc - I got the ROTD on www.yelp.com today! http://tiny.cc/aFbVW

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Thought Provoking Question on C-Span Today

The question posed to callers on C-Span today was, "Do you see signs of an economic recovery?"

It provoked a lot of different answers, many of which reflected confused and disgruntled citizens, in my opinion. How the host was able to keep a straight face when some of the people rambleed on regurgitating the news blurbs that are spoon fed to them, was beyond me. I imagine it's a very high stress job and that's why the host constantly changes.

The one gentleman who seemed to be conscious and on topic was, thankfully, engaged by the host to answer a few more questions.

If I ever had the nerve to call into this show, this is what I'd have to say on the topic.

California's economy is in a shambles and it's mode to recovery is sadly "one step forward-two steps back".

We see new business development in the form of Kohl's Department stores opening up in spaces where the bankrupt Mervyn's once stood, stimulating the economy of the cities where they are located bring tax dollars once again, but the majority of the jobs in these stores are low wage, part-time and come with no benefits.

We see road construction along our major highways, but that construction was spurred by bond measures the people voted for years ago and will have to pay for in the years to come while the repair of our city streets lay waiting. I recognize that one of President Obama's initiatives was to fix this country's roads. Those companies who fix roads the people who work there are in that business specifically and you're not going to find an out of work roofer or framer or an automobile dashboard assembler being hired on a road crew to repair potholes or widen streets. You may be able to employ that water truck driver or that materials hauler or the heavy equipment operator for a time, but that is not enough.

...and this is where the discussion turns from economic recovery to economic despair.

In this instance, the goal was big, but not big enough. Modeled after an era where train track was necessary to connect one community to another, public transportation in the form of high speed trains should of been the top priority to replace an ailing government owned AmTrack system. Look at the devastating train accident that occurred in Chatsworth, California, on September 12, 2008. Look at the technology that could have, that should have been in place to stop a train from an impending collision. It harkens back to 1895-1900 at Grand Central Station in New York City when it took human tragedy to make mass transit safer. Why does it always have to come to the loss of lives to make things change for the better?

Our century old water infrastructure is crumbling under our feet because cities across the state asked it's citizens to cut back on their water usage and only water their landscaping certain days of the week, but the ebb and flow of the pressures have created great strain and we have seen more water main breaks than at any other time in history.

California laid off teachers because property tax revenue dwindled due to the credit crisis and the ensuing mortgage industry downturn. Everything good in a prosperous economy is tied to housing. If you build a house, you just put people that manufactured the products that go into that house to work; you employed construction workers to build that house, you created service jobs to maintain and improve that house and people with jobs will buy that house, people working at a mortgage company will make a loan and now a home owner will pay taxes to benefit the community. A homeowner will want to buy new furniture for their home and get a better job and a new car because of their higher income and on and on it goes. But people are fleeing California because the cost of living here is too high. The cost of establishing and running a business in California is prohibitive when you have to consider taxes and health care insurance. When employers hire unskilled labor pools due to these high costs, people desperate to support their families both here and in foreign countries, it drives down wages and there becomes a bigger disparity between the seemingly middle class and those who struggle constantly with poverty.

...and this is where the discussion turns from economic despair to political opinion.

US Citizens should get a free education. You have to be able to take care of yourself and your own before you can take care of others. That was big screw up #1 that helped to drag down the California economy. Butter it up with NAFTA and you added insult to injury and drove manufacturing jobs away. The auto industry seized up and those good paying jobs that were there for so long, for generations, are now gone and won't ever be coming back.

And this next sections outlines how the medical and insurance industry failed.

The next paragraph was taken from The Centers for Immigration Studies, "Guestworker Programs for the 21st Century": "The United States has had two agricultural guest worker or Bracero programs with Mexico, and one program, H-2 and H-2A, that permits U.S. farmers to recruit foreign farm workers in any country, although most come from the Caribbean and Mexico. None of these programs fulfilled their stated purpose: to add workers temporarily to the U.S. work force without adding permanent residents to the population, and to do so in a manner that does not adversely affect U.S. workers. Instead, the Bracero programs laid the groundwork for one of the world's great mass migrations — that from Mexico to the United States — and the H-2A program has been wracked by costly disputes."

Since our country's borders were not secure enough, now you have a growing population of undocumented workers having babies to create an anchor child. You now have a population of citizens of poor workers with compromised health care. And you wonder why our health care system is failing? Everyone knows that hospitals won't turn away a patient who comes through the emergency room doors regardless of their ability to pay.

I'll go on and write more later, but once I started to touch on the health care crisis, as I was laying down on my stomach on the bed typing on my laptop, in my distress over the subject due to the fact that I have a preexisting health condition and cannot secure health insurance on my own, I had to take a shit.

I'll be writing more later on: Redefine the path to citizenship. Make English our national language. Making college mandatory.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yin and Yang about Whole Grain

The lastest food buzz is about whole grain. Why eat whole grain you ask? It's a fiber thing. Fiber makes you poo more and if the poo is flowing out at a faster rate due to more fiber in your diet, supposedly you'll absorb less calories which could turn into fat and as a result, you'll weigh less.

An added benefit to eating more fiber, too, is you'll feel fuller longer and that should lessen your hunger pains.

What happens if you don't eat fiber? Constipation, hemeroids, colon cancer, diverticulitis, etc.

So eat your Cherios.

I'm Moving

Don't worry. It's nothing that major.

I'm moving all of my recipes away from my general "My Life in Orange County" blog and into a new specialized blog entitled "My Red Recipe Book". Indeed, I do have a red recipe book at home that I add recipes into when I find something that peeks my interest and due to my severe lactose intollerance, the majority of the recipes I collect are dairy free or modified to be dairy free so I can eat them. I will only post general food topics here going forward.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dinner at the Diner is Out!

Read: Two-meal diet aids in oldest man's longevity

If you believe that learning from others mistakes is vital, you should read the link above about the diet and lifestyle of the worlds oldest man. There is nothing fancy about it, no tricks in the least. And it makes sense.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Family Extortion

So my mom calls me up and says she needs money to fix her car so she can go to her doctor's appointments. I just was fired from my job and fresh off of a nice driving trip with my son to San Jose. I don't and I won't tollerate this type of demand from anyone knowing that I can fix things myself when I don't have the funds. O.K. mom, I'll be down to your place at around dinner time.

Assessing the problem from what she told me on the phone, she needs maybe fuses and a flasher. I don't know anything about the car she drives, so I locate the manual and parts at my local Kragen. And I'm off.

On Labor Day weekend, I drive to El Cajon and it takes over 3 hours in traffic. I'm not a happy camper in traffic because my last job required me to drive in traffic for a minumum of 3 hours a day. I'll fidget with the radio, take sips of water, chew gum, sing, watch for accidents, avoid idiot drivers, try to stay in the lanes that are moving, look at other peoples rides, anything to pass the time. The drive was grueling. By the time I got to the Oceanside rest stop, the base fire truck was parked on the side of the road and clearly everyone was rubber-necking to see what the hell was going on. All they were really doing was slowing down the flow of traffic wih their presence - nothing going on! ARG! So after I pass that, they traffic picks up a bit and starts to flow nicely after Carlsbad.

I get to my mom's place and make her test all of the lights with me since she said her blinkers are out on the inside of her car. See, Jiffy Lube does this shit for me, so I don't have to worry about it. But anyway, OK Mom, left, right, stomp on the breaks, turn your lights on and off. She had a side light out on the front left. Great. I snip the plastic ties are holding up her felt formed under dash cover, locate the flasher near the steering column, pop it out of the holder and switch it with the one I bought. Then I go to the other side of the car and open up the fuse box and with the needle nose pliers, pull each fuse out and examine it for a break. And it turns out none were broken. OK, so I position myself under the front end of the car to pop out the housing to where the blown light is and retrieve the bulb. It's corroded, yuck. I have to remove the corrosion and clean off the connection so it will work again.

So then I hop in my car with my mom and she's got something to return to Kragen while I have to pick up the tiny light bulb so her blinker on the outside will work. And we go to the Kragen in Lakeside. It's not a long drive, but it's not around the corner or in the neighborhood either. Grr. Thank God, this little dopunk auto shop (and I mean so dopunk that it comes equiped with a southern accented hick - good lord) has got the part. We get back and I finish up the car and by this time, I'm not hungry, just hot and irratated. So I decided to spend the night at my moms. This equates to sleeping on the floor in the living room because she lives in a senior complex full of efficency apartments.

The next morning, we get to talking and I asked her, "What would you be doing if I wasn't here today?", and she says "walking". I can do that. So blah blah, after I find some sort of breakfast - oatmeal with no sweetner - I said lets go walking in Balboa Park. She doesn't like to drive into San Diego. I don't know why she doesn't, but she doesn't mind that I do. So the GPS is not working, and I just decide to turn it off and go by my internal compass which works a good 95% of the time unless I get turned around, but that's not hard to fix, now is it? 8W, 5S, look for the signs to go to Balboa Park and we're there in no time flat... it's 9:30AM on a Sunday morning and nothing is open. All the museums open at 10AM and so we park near the entrance across from the natural history museum. We get around the corner and the first thing out of her mouth is, "I'd like to go there". I must have "Sucker" written on my forehead, huh. I said we can go there once we are done with our walk. I walk with her to the botanical gardens and around he fountain, then over to the art museum and she needs a break. I love to hear the bells chime and off in the distance... a pipe organ? Oh, I got to see that... I didn't know Balboa Park had a pipe organ pavillion... cool. We walk back to the visitors center because you know how old people like collecting stupid colorful cards to places they will never go... it sounds as though she wants me to pay for a gd sd bay tour on a fucking boat. Shit. I hate visitor's centers now... And then we walk to the back and go out to find a cafe coffee cart. Atleast it smelled good. We walk a little further down the sidewalk and I hear the pipe organ again and I'm drawn to it's sounds.

As we were walking by, we had to pass the Japanese Frendship Garden. It's a separate area with a separate fee I guess with a special garden inside. Well, ya seen one Japanese garden, you pretty musch seem them all. Koi pond? Check. Highly sculpted bushes? Check. Maple tree? Check. Tea house? Check. Pagota? Check. Yup, same stuff. And it didn't open until 10AM either.

It turns out the Spreckles Pipe organ pavallion has a concert every Sunday afternoon for free and I had caught some of the warm-up from the organist. The stage doors were closed and locked and my mom is complaining that she's hot yet again. So we walk back to the visitor's center and rest.

After she's ready, we walk in the shade of the buildings back up to the Natural History Museum and eariler she said she wanted to go there, so hell, why not? And it's got A/C so maybe she'll stop complaining she's hot. Nope. We go through the two floors of exhibits using the elevator because she can't handle stairs anymore or atleast thats what she tells me and then on the third floor she's pooping out again. So I said it was time to go.

So I drive back to El Cajon and it's lunch time and we're hungry. Mom wanted for me to go to a greasy diner, but I wasn't feeling it. I drove by this place called the Downtown Cafe atleast three times and it looked fun so that's where we went. And I paid. I paid.

What did I pay? A day and a half of my time, the gas it took to get there and back and from el cajon to SD and el cajon, the museum tickets, the lunch and car parts. But I didn't "loan" her any money I wouldn't get back and I gave her some advice about her debt. She won't file for bankruptcy to get rid of those damn credit cards. And it pisses me off.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Away: Day 2 - San Jose, Santa Clara and Mountain View

We had a hard time sleeping due to all of the traffic noise from staying in the cheap motel. Granted, it was clean, it has a good wireless internet connection, and a free meatless continental breakfast that at least my son seemed interested in, but after stepping out into the morning air and being pummeled with the stench garlic in the air you just couldn't seem to get away from, it was time to go.

Driving to San Jose 40 miles north of Gilroy in rush hour traffic was not my idea of fun, but I did it anyway. 101 N to 82 takes you straight into downtown San Jose. Check-in is at 3PM and the museum my son wants to go to doesn't open until noon, so we definitely have some time to kill. What to do? Well, I'm hungry and thirsty since I haven't ate breakfast yet, so we find a bagel shop in Mountain View.

They end up having a couple of local rags and my son finds out that Intel has their own museum in the area and it opens at 10AM. O.K., plans are now forming up nicely. I finish my bagels, banana and apple juice and we head on over to Intel thanks to the GPS. From where we parked, I didn't see the front of the museum entrance, so I just followed to where everyone else was walking. Turns out that was an employee entrance where a guard it.

The Intel Museum, located in Santa Clara in the same general area, turns out to be located in the back of the Intel company store and is an homage to the founders of the company for starters. The rest of the museum is about their advertising, their processes and their technological advances to the computer industry. Yeah, Intel! I had enough corporate controlled shenanigans for the day. Get me out of here.

We then drove back to Mountain View where the Computer History Museum is located. We got there just about the same time they opened. We went through the visual storage room which took almost 2 hours. It's a graveyard of all things computer. All things. Think of every major computer name and brand you can - now. Yup, they have it. Amazing place. My dad would of loved to see the Difference Engine No. 2. An engineering wonder. It was the first mechanical adding machine ever made. It's about as big as maybe three refrigerators pushed together.

After going though yet another display, I was tired, my son was hungry, so we decided to drive back to San Jose to have lunch. I drove around trying to orient myself to the hotel location, but I was having a hard time doing that. I finally decided to park and get out and walk. Everything is so close, so why not? I ended up parking under the federal courts building two blocks away.

From the local rag he picked up earlier, he saw a restaurant he wanted to try, but after we read their lunch menu posted on the outside of the building, we decided it didn't sound too good. I peeked my head around the corner of the building to find a noodle house. It ended up being a thai place which was fine. They has good basic food which I was very happy to discover so I didn't get sick on it. My son had beef with egg noodles and yellow curry which was supposed to be medium heat, but he was sweating practically all the way through the meal and drank two Mexican Cokes and an ice water before he gave up.

Later, we checked into the hotel and found it to be very nice. It was Thursday night and my son decided to get lost for awhile and do something he wanted to do as I went to the city park near the hotel to listen to some live Beatles music with about 3000 of newest friends from San Jose.

We were still full from lunch, so we skipped dinner. I was running on empty energy-wise at this point from all the go-go-going since Tuesday night, so after the concert was over, I enjoyed the comfortable feather bed in the hotel room and kicked back for awhile. I sent Stephen out for a soda after he got back from the card shop. I had no idea where the nearest convenience store was but for some strange reason, he did and it came in handy. He got me a Pepsi.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Away: Day 1 - Gilroy, CA

I drove to Gilroy, California, today. It took six and a half hours between the four pit stops and all the driving. You're probably saying to yourself, "Why Gilroy?" Well, why not? As we quickly realized though, Gilroy is a lot like Lake Elsinore in many ways. The city has only one seasonal attraction (The Garlic Festival which happens in July so we missed it), an outlet mall (Gilroy Premium Out Mall which is akin to the one in Cabazon), a revitalized downtown area and not much else going on. Actually, after comuting to and from Simi Valley for the past year and a half, I didn't know how long I could stand being on the road, so I comitted myself to Gilroy and a cheap hotel room with free wireless internet access for the night and I was proud of myself for making it. Driving long distances without the stress of rush hour traffic I can do.

At 1PM as we neared out hotel, across the street is a quaint themed family restaurant called The Black Bear Diner. Bears and bear paw prints surround you as you dine on their good food. After that we cruised downtown and then made our way over to the outlet mall before checking in.

6:30AM departure
top off gas tank at Arco
5 N
breakfast at Noah's Bagels at Stevenson Ranch
pit stop at Travel America past Gorman
pit stop and gas a Harris Ranch. Cleaned the windshield.
152 W
101 N
Leavesley exit.

Tomorrow, we will spend the day in Mountain View and San Jose.

That was fun

I went to a Community Manager Yelp.com Event tonight at a gay bar in Huntington Beach. I like guys and no, I'm not gay in the least but places like these don't scare me. Live and let live. The one drink the host bought for me, a well cosmo, was so strong, I nursed it for the two and a half hours I was there. Nice mellow crowd and I'm not one normally to toot my own horn, but thanks to Steph W., WE WON THE JOHN HUGHES TRIVIA CONTEST! WOOHOO!! The prize was a "Pretty in Pink" DVD and a yelp t-shirt for me (My first one) and a DVDPLanet.com gift card and a yelp t-shirt for Steph. YEAH! As of tomorrow morning, I'm going to San Jose for a few days. You can read about what I'm up to while in the Silicon Valley on annazzz.yelp.com.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Aches and Pains

Why does my mouth hurt? My job is so boring, I find myself resting my hand underneath my chin for long stretches of time because there is nothing to do and then later, my gums and jaw aches. Yet another thing I won't miss when this contract ends tomorrow. Nor the back spasms, the paper cuts, the dust or the dry skin I've acquired because of all the hand washing either.

I've been taking my personal things home over the week and today will be the last of it. On Friday, I'll walk out a little after 3PM with my two computer bags and then will turn in all of my computer equipment at the DTLA office.

I've got two leads for jobs already and I'm not even out the door yet. I hope its a good sign that the economy is warming up.

And since I haven't had any significant time off for 17 months, I'm planning on a mini vacation to Northern California with my son before he starts back to college.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's almost over

The contract job I'm on is almost over. I am being released on Friday, the 21st.

I won't miss:
-getting up at 4:45 AM every weekday
-driving to and from Simi Valley every day
-the time wasted sitting in rush hour traffic
-traveling through the Orange Crush and the East LA interchange twice a day with, I feel, some of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the state
-the parade at 10AM and 3PM of the people walking to and from the big vault
-the food in the cafe which made me sick most of the time
-the food in Simi Valley which was very 'hit or miss'
-not having a social life

I will miss:
-that 'hot mess' of a co-manager, LOL
-my manager because having one in Dallas instead of breathing down your neck is so much cooler
-obviously, the pay check

I'm not sad about it. It was a learning experience. I could write a book about race relations, but more on that, maybe, later.

Monday, August 17, 2009


I went to Elsinore on Sunday and visited my son's grandmother for a bit on the way to my mom's house. She just bought an REO home for $149K cash. It's 10 years old, a 4 bedroom, three bath, 2 car garage with a pool and fire pit in the backyard and RV parking on the side on a cultisac. All of the corners are bull nosed. All of the moulding is double stacked. It's got vaulted ceilings in most of the main rooms. All she had to do was paint and lay new carpet to move in.

It's nice, except for the kitchen which needs help. There is no large pantry you'd think a large house like that would have. It's only got a two door one like I have in my tiny condo built in the early 60's. She agrees, the lack of kitchen storage is frustrating. And she's a cook - she should know. It needs an additional pantry or island or something else in the way of storage.

It was empty for two years, so most of the landscaping is gone. My son was helping with that. She is planning on zero-scaping the front so there will be minimal maintenance needed. It's the same thing I'd like to do on my back patio.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I guess I should be happy it didn't say "Jewish"

I'm bored today. It's slow at work and so I'm I'm cruising the internet until it gets busier and I come across something on the New York Post about Justin Timberlake buying a property in Greenwich. And I start to look further on the site and find a gallery collection of photographs and one is entitled "Hebrew Hunks". I guess I should be happy it didn't say "Jewish".

Link: Hebrew Hunks Gallery on The New York Post

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

10 Days

It's been 10 days since I've last blogged. I can't remember if it was Saturday or Sunday when I asked Jay to go to the movies with me, but he declined due to him having plans to go to his mom's for her birthday. I'm fine with that. Maybe I'll go right after work instead on Friday. It should make my drive home a lot easier then. My Monday started out with me having a dream about a snake in my house. It startled me awake so I've felt a little unsettled and odd so far this week. Since Twitter has been wonky, I've been occupying my time over on yelp.com. I wrote a lot of reviews and posted on their talk section this past weekend. Yesterday, I received an email from a guy I dated last year. I'm sure it was an error. I asked for my email address to be deleted. He replied it was an intern's fault. No, it was yours because you don't care to proofread what the unpaid staff does because you're a pompous jerk. Shew. This morning, as my SUV crested the Santa Susana pass, there was a thick wall of fog which hung in the atmosphere over the valley signaling to me that summer is almost over. It's a wonder I even made it to work today as a gasoline truck almost cut me off while traveling through the East LA interchange. I saw his signal before he saw me in his side view mirror. Yes, I threw him the bird. Pissed me off. It took me a little over an hour to get to work today because of the raging hormones. Thanks stupid truck driver. I have to make pillows and go to my mom's this weekend. More time on the road and I'm not happy about it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


It's August 1st, Saturday morning and I'm online reading the restaurant reviews on Yelp.com and they are making me hungry again. Sure, I already ate a bowl of strawberry mini wheats with vanilla Westsoy plus soy milk for breakfast as well as the fact that I have other stuff in my frig I could make, but what I really want is cherries. It amazes me that they are available at the beginning of August because I always thought of cherries as being a fall season fruit.

Bristol Farms: $3.99/lb
Von's or Albertson's: $2.99/lb
Sprouts: $1.99/lb
Stater Brothers: $ .99/lb

Friday, July 31, 2009

Creative Writing 101: There She Was

It was an uncommonly chilly morning when the clicking of her hard soled heels commanded my attention. Tall and somewhat sinewy, I saw her walking towards me with no sweater on, no jewelry and her nipples somewhat erect showing through her top. Her hair was long to the middle of her back and black with bangs in the front, combed but slightly wet as if she quickly took a shower and then had to be somewhere else. She wore what could well have been the same clothes she wore the night before at the local bar. A white cottony tank top with embroidery at the neckline. A black pencil-slim skirt. Stiletto stacked black patten leather heels with an open toe and a tiny strap around each ankle. Her skin was olive and her face was drawn from too many years of being in the sun and smoking. Her eyes searched for the one thing that could make her day a little better at sometime before seven AM in the morning: the local Starbucks.

Creative Writing 101: A Passive Voice

Hi J.
How are you doing today
Is this a bad time for you
Because if it is, I can go
We can talk some other time
When it's convenient for you
You seem like you're busy
I'm so sorry-
I don't want to be in the way
You can call me later
If you want (or not)
Whatever. Have a good day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I went shopping

I went shopping on Saturday specifically for a new black leather purse and then to Costco. I went to Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Mornings and Ross and couldn't find any one purse that I liked. My inability to find something I liked made me feel like fashion is passing me by and made me feel old at 43.

Going shopping at Costco when you have a two person household for me is like me shopping at Lane Bryants - everything is way too big. I ended up getting a 3 pack of led lights for my closet, a 4 pack of toothpaste, a double package of tortellini and a carton of pulled pork sans BBQ sauce.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday night = Date night

I decided that in life, I've finally come to the conclusion that you've got 50/50 odds of things either turning out well or not when you date. I found a guy online that seemed to be on the same page as me for a change. We chit-chatted online a bit for a week or so and things seemed to go well, so I asked him to meet me in a public place and he agreed. I previously participated in a sing-along under the same 'Active Arts' program and found out there was to be this public dance to learn the New York hustle at the Music Center Plaza in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night and the event was at a time that did not conflict with me schedule, it sounded fun and I really didn't want to go alone, so I asked him. And he said 'yes'. The dance turned out to be a dud. Too many single women on the designated roped off dance area and the band wasn't that good, so while we were talking, I saw there was a bar and grill off to the side at the same location and suggested we go there to sit and talk. I ordered the fish and he wasn't so hungry and ordered the chicken satay and we both ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale to drink. The beer was heavier than I like, but the fish dish was O.K. He ordered the chicken satay, but it was spicier than he liked. He's a really funny guy and he's got a lot going on as he's in the process of taking back his life and learning a new job. But somehow I don't think I'll be seeing him again soon because of his impending divorce and due to the fact that he said he's interested in moving back to Pasadena instead of staying where he is now. And both places are, in all honesty, geographically undesirable to me. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why did the housing market colapse?

Q: "Why did the housing market collapse?"

I was on Yahoo! Answers when I saw this question and started to answer it, but I decided to make it into a blog entry instead.

I have a unique insider's perspective on my ability to answer this question because I've worked within the secondary mortgage market industry as a professional document custodian since 1992. What happens to your loan after the investment banks buy it? Well, its separated into two distinct file folders and each part sits in one of many loan vaults across the country. And that's how I make my bread and butter. I am a caretaker of that part of your loan file with the note, among other documents, inside.

A: The housing market collapsed because the secondary mortgage market got greedy and took on too much risk buying overvalued sub-prime mortgage loans. When those borrower's defaulted, the property values fell and borrowers who got their mortgages at the height of the market or those who used their homes as if they were ATM's and took out all of the equity became 'underwater' owing more than their property was worth and couldn't refinance. Credit became unavailable to make more loans for those homeowners because there was no equity left and if they lost their jobs in the process, due to the trickle-down economy, they lost their homes, too, continuing to drive down prices the housing market.

Since a home is probably the biggest single purchase anyone makes in their lifetime, many goods and services are tied to this asset. And if people can't buy or maintain this asset, people who have jobs associated to the housing market get laid off. We go into an economic recession and that's where we are now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Recipe code cracked?

Read: Don’t tell the colonel! KFC recipe may be out

Now if I only had a pressure cooker...

Healthcare Reform

Dear President Obama,

Please make sure that your campaign promise for health care reform gets passed this year. All of the citizens of the United States are counting on you. Many, many people who are currently out of work can't afford to pay COBRA and go without health care and the one's who are underemployed can't afford it either. I also feel so very sorry for those of us who have a pre-existing condition designated as a chronic illness that get locked into an employers insurance and cannot leave the job for a better one because of these health facts. I, personally, am working on contract and when my recruiting agency invited me to join the health plan they offered temps, the ratio split was 60/40 and I was liable for the 60% fee which was a higher amount than I ever had to pay when I had regular employment. Because of the high cost, I had to decline. I rather pay cash for the doctors appointments and the associated lab work I have to have each year (female, eyes, dentist) and for my medications directly because in doing so it's cheaper than paying for the insurance monthly. I also get to deduct 100% of these fees on my taxes because the money is coming out of my pocket. I wouldn't even mind if I had to pay a small fee each time I saw a doctor or got a prescription, just so long as I don't have to shell out a significant chunk of my paycheck to have quality health care again.

Thank you.

Read: No time for delay on health care

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sing, Sing A Song

As a frequent user of Yelp.com, I was invited to become an elite member (annazzz.yelp.com), so I go on the site frequently to read a lot of what other people write about to get ideas on stuff to do and places to shop. I read a posting about a Sing-Along at The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles of Beatles tunes, and I thought it would be fun way to wind down my work week.

I scoped out all the details and got there in time to wait in line for the coveted ticket. The event was free, but you had to obtain a first come, first served ticket in order to be seated in the W.M. Keck Amphitheatre with the band. So I got in line a little after 6:00PM after driving directly from work. It was a good thing, too, since the line was beginning to wrap it's way around the garden area by the time I got to the end. The tickets were handed out at 6:45PM, and then you had to wait again until 7:15PM to be seated.

The handed out lyric sheets on the way in and tore half of your ticket away to evidence your acceptance into the event. I sat in the first section in the middle about four rows up near some hand rails. I could see the band, not get blasted with the sound system and still be surrounded with singers. I ended up sitting between two families with children. One of the children I nicknamed the 'harbinger of rain' because she was wearing a long gray rain hoodie that didn't fit and looked more like a dress on her. The other child I nicknamed the 'harbinger of fall' because she played with a large yellow leaf she found in the courtyard all most all of the time we were singing until she discovered she could turn the hand rails into her personal jungle gym.

So, we sang our hearts our for a solid hour and a half and all the while the harbinger of rain got tired and laid down stretching out upon the laps of her parents. The dad was English and would be classified as what my son would call an 'aging hipster'. He wore a tie-died t-shirt, Birkenstock, cargo shorts and some sort of baseball hat to cover the fact that he gained a bald spot surrounded by his chin length wiry brownish blonde and graying hair. This, to me, wreaked of tourist, which very well might have been the case. The mom's clothing was unremarkable, but her German accent stood out. We chit chatted a bit before the event started. So as the harbinger of rain got comfortable trying to find the sweet spot and fall fast asleep, she kept kicking my purse and me. Nice. The mom did her best to stop it. I'm glad she paid attention to her child. All the while the harbinger of fall between all of the leaf play and the climbing and then taking down off of the hand rails, began to get fussy and start to cry. The mom hustled her out of the amphitheatre as all good mom's should. And the singing went on and we even got to sing an encore of "Twist and Shout" which ended up being a nice way to end the event. Everyone got up and danced as if it were the 7th inning stretch at a baseball game before leaving for the night.

My drive home was kind of strange. By the time I merged into the 5S, it was about 9:30PM and the freeway was dead stopped to watch the fireworks off in the distance. I figure they were either from Knotts or Disneyland.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

7/14/09: MLB All Star Game Opening Pitch

I'm proud to have a president who can get his pitch over home plate while he wears the colors of his favorite baseball team, blue jeans and sneakers to the All Star game. And the AL won it's 7th straight All Star game. Gravy.

I hate Greg Behrendt

I woke up this morning to discover that my left shoulder did not want to function properly with it's normally full range of motion. i.e. I slept wrong. And then my next immediate thought was "I hate Greg Behrendt". I listen to Rawdog comedy on XM 150 quite a lot because shit is just too damn serious in this world sometimes and you've got to lighten up and laugh a bit and I have to sit in the car for 2 hours on my commute driving home, so I need laughter. He does this comedy routine talking about how getting old sucks and you can't do anything about it. And on a part of his routine from "Uncool", he talks about unyielding words that you find you have to add to your vocabulary when you get old. Words like ointment. Why do you need to talk about ointment? Because I needed one. Well, why did you need one? Because when I woke up I was sore. Why were you sore? I slept wrong. How in the hell do you sleep wrong? Is there a right way and a wrong way to sleep? Apparently so because I did it the wrong way and now my shoulder feels like crap.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Sunday Plumbing Sunday

Old condos leak from everywhere until you fix them. I had this happen to the maze of pipes underneath my kitchen sink last week and I had to fix it over the weekend. I practically had to rebuild it to make it stop leaking. And then I decided if I have to go through all that trouble, I'm getting a new faucet out of the deal. I found one to my liking for $99. It's got a high arch and a swivle head with three different spray settings and that suits me just fine. I don't need the hose thingie. So after three trips to Lowe's, breaking out every piece of plumbing tools I own plus my Dremel to cut one of the pipes, my kitchen leaks no more. I hope. I'm going to check it again when I get home from work tonight.

Sidebar: I took my son with me to Lowe's and he thought it was important for me to know the names of the pipe parts inorder to buy them. He was amazed that I could look at the pictures and find what I needed to fix the sink. Maybe I was a plumber in a former life. Or maybe I just hate to pay the fees my regular plumber charges. Yeah, that's more like it. When I was poor, I did stuff like this all the time because I didn't have the money to spend. Now that I do have the money, I don't want to spend it on stuff I'm perfectly capable of doing myself. When my hot water heater when out the day before 9/11, I called a plumber to fix it. When my toilet leaked, I rebuilt it. When my supply value began to leak, I called a plumber and told him no way when I heard the fee, so in my utter disgust at the potentional bill, I called a guy friend for strength and fixed it.

The Fix

I began, and I don't know when, receiving these text messages from 6245 telling me about expired bank accounts and credit cards I do not have. How irritating - text scamming. Not only are these communications unwanted, they are eating into my text message allotment. I called Sprint today and they gave me instructions on how to block the number. And this only works on a Sprint cell phone account. Text 9999 help and then you get a text message back from Sprint saying how to use their text messaging services. Problem solved in a little over three minutes talking to Josh. Why would I want to change my cellular carrier with customer service like that?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yelpity Good Bacon Fun!

Bacon? Did I hear bacon? I love bacon. I'm German so when anyone talks about cured meat, my ears perk up. And the folks at Yelp put together a fine VIP bacon themed event at the OC Fair the day before the fair opened to the public on Thursday, July 9th. Our group was at the bar/restaurant in the corner... Blue Bayou. It was located right next to the tent/trailer I don't remember which of the Weird Al Yankovic VIP party for the world preview of his OC Fair exhibition of "Al's Brain" going on at the same time. Being an "Elite" member of Yelp (no lie - it took me 4 years to get to that stage), I was able to bring two invited guests to our little party and I choose my son who's 22 and my co-worker who is new to Yelp. I couldn't give you an official headcount, but it felt like 200 people enjoying all these bacon tinged goodies like chocolate covered bacon, bacon wrapped meatballs covered in bbq sauce, bacon wrapped cocktail weenies (oh, just shove one directly into my heart already), Slaters 50/50 burgers that are made with half bacon (talk about flavor) and the premiere to California of Bakon Vodka. I know, you're thinking "gross", but I'm telling you this stuff makes the best bloody mary's ever. When our community manager Hazel told me in advance about it, we were talking about all of the food pairings... like Bakon Vodka and melon balls, fried green tomatoes, fried green beans, etc. There was more food than I could eat, but you can imagine. It was a biggest and best Yelp event yet.

ref: www.yelp.com or annazzz.yelp.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

I have a love/hate relationship with my job. I love what I do, but I hate the fact that I have to commute to do it. And because of the commute, any type of social life that I once had has pretty much ceased. I used to be able to go out with my friends in LA after work, but now all I want to do is go home since the drive home is that tedious.

So knowing that there are all of these things to do at any some odd day of the week since I live in Southern California, I decided to eek out a social life once more however tiny it may be. I decided to do that with the help of Yelp!. Yelp! helps get me out of the house because what it is is a website made up of peoples opinions about stuff to do, see and experience and these generally cannot be done at home. And that makes me be more social and have something to write about.

So... this week was the first time I attended an officially sponsored Yelp! event. It was a house err hotel warming of sorts in Huntington Beach. And it was held at about the same time I landed back in OC, which meant I could go! Yippee! So dressed in my work garb, I traipsed over to the hotel and found my way up the stairs to the restaurant's balcony where all the people were. I was there for maybe over two hours talking to all these amazing people who participate on Yelp! just like I do. It was a very cool evening and I was encouraged to go to next weeks event.

So, I got to work the next day and I told my co-worker about what a good time I had out last night with my fellow Yelpers. And he tells me this story. He told me that one of his friends is into Disneyana and joined a group and befriended a man in his 60's. At first, he was fine because he was into the group, but more and more he wanted to hang out and do other stuff to fill up the void his day. The old man had recently retired and basically had no one to socialize with so he placed that burdeon upon my friend's friend. And as time went on, his friend decided that the old man was just plain mean and disgruntled with the world in general and had no friends. So my friend's friend decided he was going to take him on a bus run to Palm Springs or Las Vegas, I don't remember which one, and force this old guy to socialize with other people his age to get him some friends.

And a light bulb went off in my head. AHHH! I don't want that to be me. I don't want to end up a mean old lady alone because people can't tolerate me and/or don't like me. I want to have something to say. I want to get out in the world. I need Yelp! and these outings to get me to be more extroverted and less introverted. And maybe that will lead to other good things in my life.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh, now what?

On Monday morning, the traffic signal went out on the street corner next to my house. At work, I filed most of the day. Hundreds of files. In a vault that holds almost 400,000 of them.

I woke up on Tuesday to the worst pain in my legs I've had in a long time. My co-worker called in sick. Then when I got to work, I found that some of the office lights were out. I toggled the switch and then even more lights went out. I had to make a call for service to get a commercial electrical contractor to come to the office and check the problem out. The lights are still not fixed. The office was 67 degrees and I wore a sweater all day. Outside it was 92.

My thighs still hurt so bad from filing on Monday its to the point where I am having a hard time getting up and sitting down or even walking. Shit, I am out of shape. Damn sedentary job. I weighed myself for the first time in awhile and the scale said 123. I got to loose 15 pounds. I typically gain some extra weight during summer, but this is ridiculous.

I got a blister on my heel from wearing my nice brown leather shoes.

At work, I had to fill out a compliance questionnaire for the new agency I will be contracting through. The base screen told me I was attached to the Los Angeles office. I live almost an hour away from it. I'm not happy about that.

Now I have a damn cat hair in my right eye that I cannot seem to get out.

I recognize these are all minor annoyances, but it's weird. No shit storms, please or I'm going to begin to talk about judgment day and the second coming.

Monday, June 29, 2009

About Last Night

I went to Long Beach for a few hours last night to get some air and clear my head. The only time I left the house over the weekend was to buy more groceries on Saturday night. How boring. I barely made it out into the patio to harass the cats. I did however remember to water the tomato plant. I think I have to move it to another location because it's not getting enough sun where it is now. Sunday was entirely too hot which reminded me I really should buy an A/C unit this year and install it. Maybe the whole ordeal would be easier if I just had it shipped to my house. If I could get free shipping that would be good. Anyway, developing 'The Pike' has changed the face of this area so much, it doesn't match to the faint memories of my childhood anymore. There are parking structures, a million restaurants, hotels, bars and clubs now. I walked around Shoreline Village to the end where the Parker's Lighthouse Restaurant is. Walked on Pine Street pier. Walked around the Ferris wheel that made strange groaning noises. My friend decided he wanted to explore what that BBQ smell was, so we walked over to Famous Dave's and he ordered - fish. It's a rubbed pork rib BBQ joint and he orders grilled fish. Whatever. I ordered a strawberry margarita because I was still full from lunch (a half of a homemade pepperoni pizza and a banana shake) but it was more like a slushie than anything and had no taste of alcohol. $6.95 for strawberry flavored ice in a goblet. I got home late and quickly found myself asleep.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

So Not "The One"

Sadomasochistic. I dated a man recently who exhibited this trait but was in denial it was what it was and I had to stop because his style of sexual talk creeped me out to the point where it left me feeling paranoid instead of an object of his love and affection. I thought that there wasn't enough trust and too much risk involved to my personal safety that I could bear and I couldn't allow that line to be crossed. After numerous sessions of hours of verbal foreplay and continual miscommunication about meeting up over a two month period, my hope for any type of healthy relationship with him died. His choice of verbiage was frequently repulsive and violent.

The three dates we had in the beginning were normal, nice and fine. But after that, I felt an increasing amount of pressure from him to hide the fact that we were involved and I won't be put into that situation. I'm a 43 year old grown woman and I see no need to "sneak around." I just don't feel the need to be devious. Life is too short. But now knowing what he has to hide, if I were him, I wouldn't want my kids to know either. Treating women like he wants to is not a lesson I'd be proud to pass down from father to son.

I feel sorry for any woman who gets into a dominating relationship such as he desires. Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised to hear his name on the evening news one day as a rape suspect. And he picked 'me' from am online dating website. Knowing that these kinds of men would maybe target me has shaken my confidence in dating....and he called *me* quirky.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Immigration Reform

Read: Obama wants immigration reform passed by this Congress

I read today that President Obama wants legislation to deal with immigration reform by the end of this year or early next year. I say one thing at a time. I say universal health care comes first. I can't afford it and I need, so something positive has got to be done. I'm a NIMBY when it comes to immigration, but if it can do something to alleviate the parking situation in my neighborhood, I'll be all for it.

Immigration reform can start by defining what an immigrant is. An immigrant is someone who is living and working in a country where they are not a citizen. They have civil rights but most of all, they pay taxes. After a predetermined period of time, you have to become a citizen or you have to be a registered alien worker. Either of these choices will come with the requirement of paying taxes. If you choose neither of these options, you will have to leave. There is no such thing as anchor babies. Only a citizens can bare citizens. One citizen and one illegal cannot bare a citizen. Two illegals cannot bare a citizen. This has got to stop. If I so happen to have a baby in a foreign country, I shouldn't have rights to stay there because of it. Babies have no ability to choose where they are born; they are babies. Adults make these decisions. And adults need to fix the illegal immigration problem.

And that's my 2 cents on the matter.


I started to write about the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson, but it just depresses me to think about all the turmoil that will ensue after the deaths of these people, so I decided not to.

Instead, I'm going to write about germs. I don't consider myself to be a germaphobe, but I do pay attention to them sometimes. Like in public restrooms. I try not to touch the doors of public restrooms, if I can help it. I will ball my hand up into a fist and open the door by pushing on it's middle instead of using the rectangle stainless steel push trim on the door. I think the door to the restroom is the #3 germiest thing you can touch. #1 is the handle on the inside of the restroom stall. #2 is the handle on the sink. But I only really freak out on the door. Some people use toilet seat covers as if their very lives depended on it. Not me. My ass is covered and the only thing it touches is the clothes I wear and the seat, so I'm not worried about that sort of thing. And I don't hover either if that's what you're thinking.

I think washing machines and dryers need to be revised for the 21st century. I don't think they should be appliances that sit in their own room for you to clean your clothes. I think they should be an integrated part of your closet. I think the closet should come with a washer and dryer installed. A built-in similar to what the kitchen has. I think you should be able to put your dirty clothes into one machine and have them wash and dried and then you can put them away immediately and not haul them through the house to do so. I think this because I don't think I've washed my clothes in over two weeks and the dirty ones are now becoming a mountain in my room. With smell comes germs and I don't like germs. I shouldn't have to live so close to all those germs. Incentive to wash my clothes more often.

They already make those types of machines and they used them in Europe. They are usually located in the kitchen so that people can use thier dining room table to fluff and fold. it's practical and I like that.

And yet, I'm not one to use hand sanitizer. I don't care how nice it smells. I don't feel that rubbing gellated alcohol onto my skin washes away the germs like warm water and soap can. I think it's a bad habit to use that kind of stuff. Like ChapStik. You use it once and you're hooked because it seems like your hands keep on getting dirty just like your lips continue to become chapped.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

U.S. Health Care My Way: 3-2-1

Since the Senate is working on a health care plan, I thought I'd develop a plan, too. Why not. I can't screw it up any worse than it already is.

Universal Premise: Everyone deserves a healthy life.
Problem: Nothing worth anything in life is free.
Solution: Instead of taxing everyone in order to provide health care, stop the insurance system entirely and make everyone pay fees as described in my 3-2-1 system.

Babies: We hope babies start out healthy. Some do not. Some do not because of the actions or neglect of their parents, while others do not because of genetics. If you are a baby, you parents pick up the fees for your health care in my 3-2-1 system.

Anyone giving birth pays $3. Medication utilized for the mothers comfort during the birth is $1. Any other equipment used is $2. C-Section is $3. circumcision is an outpatient surgical event and is $2.

New Mothers: Prior to birth, new mothers are required to take nutrition and parenting classes. They are taught how to manage stress, encouraged and taught how to breastfeed. New mother's are encouraged to breastfeed for at least 6 months. After that, the baby starts to eat solid foods. New mothers are then required to take nutrition classes in regards to infants and children.

Children: All will take P.E. in school without exception. All teens will pick a sport after school for participation. All will have nutrition classes every year they are in school and health classes focusing on hygiene, grooming, and sex.

Immunizations are required and $1 each.

If you're lucky enough to get through childhood without a health incident, you become an adult with the ability to pay.

Adults: here is how my 3-2-1 health care system works. The most important health events happen to you are those that are in the hospital or take you to one for emergency care. Anytime you go to the hospital for a planned health care event or a life threatening emergency, you pay $3.

Anytime you have an urgent care situation, a non-life threatening emergency, you go to see any doctor you choose, general or speciality doctor or an urgent care facility and you pay $2.

When you are prescribed medications, however they are delivered, each 30 day prescription is $1. It doesn't matter if you're getting aspirin to thin your blood or the most expensive cutting edge treatments while you are laid up in a hospital bed. It's 30 days = $1.

So let's take, for example, when I had my three wisdom teeth taken out. I planned this event $2 for the consultation and $2 for the day of surgery (special dr visit = oral surgeon) and it was an out patent surgery = $2. Medication was administered to put me into a twilight sleep = $1. I had pain killers prescribed to me = $1. My oral surgery would of cost how much? $8.

Now think of how many people put off health care because they can't pay for it or can't pay for the insurance alone. If oral surgery was as cheap as a fast food meal, which, by the way, you would be discouraged from eating because they are unhealthy and you'd learn that in your health education classes for 13 years, do you think American's would have healthier teeth, mouths, better digestion, a better overall health?

Or here's another example. Say, I'm not feeling so good today. I think I'm coming down with a cold. I go to the urgent health $2, they give me fever reducer $1,
and send me home with a note to go back to work when I'm well. I much rather be monitored by a health care professional than suffer in silence and alone while I'm feeling icky. Not only that, but I'm tired of people dragging their sickly selves to work and infecting the rest of the workforce. It's disrespectful and it's disgusting.

On top of it all: smoking would be discouraged... packs would be $10 each. Alcohol would only come in small qualities because no one needs a magnum bottle or a 40 oz, please. Illegal drugs would be legalized, regulated, and expensive as hell to discourage their use, too. Habitual users would have mandatory treatment.

And the mental health profession would play an active role in health care and not just when things go awry.

Seniors would be on my 3-2-1 plan, too.

The only people who wouldn't have to pay in my 3-2-1 plan are the permanently disabled, the mentally ill, and anyone on unemployment or welfare. These people got it bad enough, so hey need a break. But if you're able bodied? Pay up. And anyone who makes $1M or more can pay market rate full price and not 3-2-1.

This is all I've got so far. It's not supposed to be a solution, but just an idea.

The Handbag Fiasco

Why can't I find a handbag that I like? One that's all leather, black, spacious, but also has pockets inside to keep my things organized and tidy? A zipper on top and a shoulder strap that is, again, leather? I'm really starting to hate all of these cheap 'made in china' bags constructed of materials that wear out so quickly, you are almost forced to replace them year after year. I don't have an annual budget for a $100+ bag. I hate the idea. And if I'm going to spend anymore on a handbag, it better last. I'm not into designer names, I'm in to function and quality. I'm scouring over http://www.ebags.com today since they have a "Wild Wednesdays" sale with selected items 20% off with the hopes of finding something I like.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where's Sam?

I am in the process of researching my family tree. I started this project for my son who is an only child and doesn't have much contact with family since many live elsewhere. I wanted him to have a sense of connection to family even though he may not see them or know them personally.

During this journey of discovery, I found out my son related to George Washington. Yep, THAT George Washington, the father of our country. That was a big shocker. George's mom was a Ball and somewhere in the line a Ball married into the family who eventually migrated South during the Civil War and then West and because of the Crenshaw's and the Haas', my son has a whole slew of family specifically located in Texas.

But now, I'm looking at my father's side of the family. It seems many of the men in the family were transient and left for whatever reason or were lost track of which I find sad. I never knew my grandfather on my dad's side of the family who died in 1971 when I was 5 years old. My dad didn't know his father either. My grandfather was a lifer in the Army until his lack of hearing got in the way of him doing his job and then he was rejected during reenlisting. He was admitted to the U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteered Soldiers twice, in 1933 and 1935. And in reading the intake documents carefully, it seems my grandfather had a brother named Sam who lived in Cicero, Illinois.

So how do you find a man who doesn't want to be found? Like a puzzle, you find the pieces and put them back together paying attention to the clues that this type of research gives you.

The first thing I did when I found Sam's address was Google it. I wanted to see where this man lived or even if the house existed anymore. Unfortunately, the address doesn't not exists anymore. It's now a parking lot for a bankrupt grocery store called Delray Farms.

I then matched the address given as a contact, Sam's address, to the 1930's U.S. Census Records. This took some doing because I'm not familiar with the area nor working with census records all that much. I was able to track down an enumeration districts description page on the web which pointed me to the correct block. The address was found to be located in District 2038. The street address was 2308 South Cicero. There were two tenement houses filled with boarders that either worked for the electric works or the railroad which was right near by. Almost the whole neighborhood consisted of these types of housing in 1930. But as luck would have it, Sam didn't live in that specific house in 1930 and probably not for another three years...

Or, there is an alternate idea. I found a Sam Stutz in California. In San Diego County. This Sam Stutz was born in Illinois like my grandfather. This Sam Stutz gained a U.S. patented for a machine that sorted gold from slew. If he were an engineer, that would make sense since many of the Stutz's are big thinking people with highly technical jobs. I'm thinking that maybe my grandfather lost track of his brother and that the address he put down was old and Sam moved on a while ago. That would mean I may have undiscovered blood relatives as close as a two hour drive away I have never met before. It's exciting to think about if you're into genealogy to make a discovery like that. But one step at a time.

Potty Humor... literally

I am the solitary shitter. It's all I really want in life. I would like to shit in peace with no noise, no one around me and no interruptions. I don't think that's a lot to for ask, really. Whether it be in my own bathroom at home, in a semi-private stall like at work or in a public place... I wish people would just leave me he hell alone when I sit down to take a crap.

At home, my cat thinks that when it's my time for me to take a shit, that is the perfect time to get her pet on. She will come into the bathroom and dance around at my feet and rub on me until I relent and pet her until she's content, then go upon her merry way. Now she's even got her sister doing it, too. But it would be too much to ask for if both of them could be in my tiny bathroom at the same time, oh no, they have to come in one at a time - single file please, and perform this silly ' I want attention now because you're sitting down taking a shit' dance. What's funny is they won't stick around until I'm finished. When the shit drops and they get a whiff of it, their nose wrinkles up, the ears go back and they are out of there! quickly running the other way.

In a public toilet, I don't want to be sitting there trying to do my thing and have to listen to your keys jingling, your cell phone conversation with your whiny ass brat or your the mad fuck that you're planning on in the evening. I don't care. Why you have to come into the toilet with three of your closest friends and continue the same inane conversation about some other woman you hardly know, bitching and moaning, whining and complaining is beyond me. I'm there to leave a deposit and go on about my business. I don't need to know yours.

If people had to show their ass to other people more often, maybe if the concept of vanity and privacy were stripped away from the communal toilet experience making it a real public toilet; no walls, no stalls, just isles of porcelain for all to see, then maybe I could shit in peace. These irritating a-holes would then hopefully become the fastest shitters in the West. Speed shite. No time to dilly dally and make cell phone calls to your mother nor the free world. You'd have to actually pay attention to what you're body is doing and get going.

Maybe the Chinese got it right - squat toilets for all!

Now if we could only do something about the germs...