Sunday, December 31, 2006


While lounging at Casa M&M-H in Portland this weekend I picked up the pile of magazines and catalogues and started to flip through them. I've always loved catalogues. As a kid the Sear's WishBook would arrive and I would spend hours and hours deciding which toys I needed to have. Then I would go through it with the rule that I had to pick out one thing on every page - even the "boy" pages. I would carefully circle every selected item and dream about how much fun it would be to play with the chosen.

As an adult its not the WishBook that brings hours of fantasy but the Pottery Barn Bed and Bath catalogue or the William Sonoma kitchen gadgets that are exciting to me. I know that the $2 scraper from Fred Meyer will scrape just as well as the $12 scraper from Crate & Barrel but the more expensive one is more fun to use. What is that? I'm such a consumer.

I am aware that if I stop spending dinero on the $12 items that I can save up the cash and buy a bigger ticket item or better yet save for the future so that when I'm old that I don't have to live under a bridge or worse at your house.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy New Year

Well - it's been a year. Many wonderful things happened this year, but it was also a hard one. I'm hopeful that 2007 will be the year of TP.

I don't make formal resolutions but I do plan to continue to work on the debt to fun ratio, reduce the ass on couch time and increase the amount of time I spend sweating to the oldies.

I'm on the train tomorrow to Portland to finish up the holiday week. I love taking the train... it's so wonderful not to have to drive. So, take care and goodbye to 2006.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas the Recap (and photos!)

The trip to Yakima was an easy one. The weather service said to leave Friday so I skipped work and headed out after a long visit with the cat. It only took 2 hours to drive over the pass and it was lovely - bright, dry and little traffic. As I headed over the hills from Ellensburg into the Yakima Valley - this was the view
pretty! Socked in, but pretty.

I haven't seen the sun since, but we did have a white Christmas. Upon arrival I checked out the house and the new dog. He's a nice dog and well suited for my parents lifestyle. I fell into like with him instantly and as you can see he has personality. Unfortunately Bear is a little passive. He and I went for a walk on Saturday morning and we ran into the dog who lives up the lane. That dog was a friendly but aggressive male with sexuality issues. He instantly mounted my mom's dog and started to assault him in an unkind way. Bear froze in his tracks and only faught back upon penetration. I was horrified and tried to get the big dog away but it was clear that I was not in charge. Finally, the scary lady in the house with the flamingos came out and shooed the rapist dog away. She shamed me by being able to shoo him away by yelling from afar when I had been so ineffective in my attempts.

Upon the return to the house I told my parents about our horrific outing and dad said "yeah, we shoudl have told you about that, we usually walk the other way." Thanks for the heads up!

We spent Christmas Eve with Glenda the good aunt and Sandy & Ed. They watched football and after it was clear that we would not win the game we played board games. Mostly it was fun. One of the "sisters" tried to pitch a fit at dinner but we were able to get out of it without a major blow out. (Sometimes it's a little volatile in our family - the aunts don't have the best 'go with the flow' skills and when anyone tries to take over and manage the other sparks are guaranteed.)

Mom, Dad & I opened presents that night and everyone seemed happy wtih their haul. Mom and Dad bought me some nice queen sized sheets and I think its a hint to get a bigger bed so that they can be comfortable when they visit. That's ok, it's on the list.

We had dinner at Sandy & Ed's and played cards until dad was ready to drop. My cousin Vernon brought his girlfriend and she was subjected to all the stories but I think we came off less crazy than we actually are. It was nice to see him so happy.

It was snowing like crazy this morning so I quickly packed the car and left. I don't have studs on my tires and didn't want to have to chain up. I did stop near Cle Elum to pop the chains on, but found out the VW Golf chains don't fit the VW Jetta. I decided to just go and found that 400 yards down the road the worst was over. I had planned on stopping and buying chains - but decided to wait until I got home. Who wants to pay the "its snowing and you need them so we can charge you anything" price? Not me.

I did take some pictures before I left.

Grape vines

These are the trees in the pasture behind my parents house. Our first dog Barniby Jones "Barney" is burried in this grove. A nice place to be if you ask me.

Look what I got for Christmas!

Thank you Puget Sound Energy!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Day 7

Thanks to Rico for a night at his Man-pad. He wasn't there so I washed tons of girl laundry, infected his tv with the lifetime channel and ate bon bons while soaking in a bubble bath in the man-tub. It was glorious.

Puget Sound Energy tells me that by tonight there will be power - but I don't believe them. I spent the morning with the cat - burned a presto log for heat and packed my car for the journey over the pass. The weather service said that today was the ideal travel day and were they ever right. I left the PNW around 11 and descended into the foggy Yakima Valley around 1:30. It was an easy drive. Hopefully the return trip won't be horrific.

The parents remodeled house is good. It's still a small house but it has better flow and I have a room to sleep in. The new dog really is sweet (a combo Akita/Chow) and the cats pretty much leave him alone.

No Christmas tree tho. That's kind of sad. We'll be going over to Glenda the good aunt's for the football game on Sunday. (um, maybe the Seahawks? I'm so not into football - but whatever.) Then we'll be doing Christmas dinner with Aunt Sandy & Uncle Ed. S&E are fun - Ed has a wicked sense of humor. During my childhood they were the most fun to hang out with. They always had things planned when we visited so it seemed to us like they spent all summer camping and boating. The poor boat hasn't been out in a hundred years and is basically dead. They still have it and I suggested that they bury it in the front yard as a shrine but Sandy doesn't want to mow around it. Plus, it's a little W.T. if you know what I mean.

Have a nice Christmas. If anything exciting happens I'll let you know.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day 6 (revised)

Still without power, still relying on the kindness of friends, still anxious to go home.

The paper this morning reported that Puget Sound Energy (PSE) is now saying that some of the power outages are 'our' fault for not letting them de-tree in areas. I personally own none of that responsibility, but it is a sign that the goodwill and heroic after storm actions are starting to fade. I wouldn't be surprised if in short order all hell breaks loose and those of us in the dark start to rise up and revolt.

This morning, I packed my car with all the things I have had at Becky's (she said to just go ahead and use her name, she thinks my pseudonyms are easily crackable) and will go home tonight in hopes that today is the day. Power Day....

I'm feeling really bad for my cat. Peter has been home alone for days now, and I don't think the nightly check in is enough to keep the poor dude happy. It has been cold enough to leave out cream for him to clog his arteries with, but I haven't done it. I am a bad bad mommy.

Power or no, I'll probably sleep at home tonight because the beast needs some human contact before I leave him for the Christmas weekend. I'd take him with me to Yaki-vegas but mom and dad have enough animals. Katie - the loving and super cute black cat, Iris - super bitchy standoffish calico cat. (She was in the home first and is a little more than angry about Katie moving in, but it's the new dog that really has her in Michael Douglas "Falling Down" mode.) The new dog (whose name hasn't been told to me yet) is the most adored being in the house. I think adding my cat to the mix would really throw Iris over the edge. She'd probably step up her bitchy behavior and just set the house on fire. No one needs that drama, so Pete will have to suffer.

Mom has told me that they got a dog three or four times now. (I love that she can't remember when she's last spoken to me. I would feel unimportant except that she's so excited to talk to me that I know she's happy about it - she doesn't recall what we've talked about. It's not Alzheimer's...'cuz that's what you're thinking, she's just caught up in her world.)

Um... what else is there to report... Nothing!---er... previously posted content has been removed because my attorney friend reminds me that it's not really anonymous and how would I feel if something unkind (but true) was posted about me by someone I worked for? Not good. I will now fall back on revisionist history in order to gloss over my lapse in judgement. Everything everywhere is ok, I never said there were "ACTUAL" weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jury Dootie

As if having a home that I can't actually live in was bad enough, not only am I encroaching on Becca's family (she hates the name Becca so we're in the process of identifying a new one. "The girl who makes me snort" is true but a little lenghty). Back to the point--three days before Christmas I've got Jury Duty. Grumble.

Its not that I mind giving up year end work activities to do my civic duty because I don't. Its the hours and hours of sitting around that displeases me. Plus there's the odd assemblage of people who are my peers? Sorry Wolf Sweater lady we aren't peers!

I've got the laptop and will try to keep up with work. (Shouldn't be too hard, I received like five work related emails yesterday.)

I was sad to hear that another storm with high winds will hit our area tonight. I suppose I should just move in forever with Babs--- no that won't work, um what about Becks?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas Card From Puget Sound Energy

Power-Restoration Status for South King and Pierce Counties
As of 11 a.m. PST, Dec. 19, 2006

For the Renton, Renton Highlands, and Fairwood areas
In the Renton area, we are working to repair the local distribution lines to restore customers' power by Wednesday or Thursday. Because of severe damage to the transmission lines serving the Fairwood and Lake Youngs areas, restoration efforts will continue there into the weekend.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Still no power

Filled with hope I finished my plate of Becca's yummy chicken lasagne wraps. During the day I had received many reports of power around my homestead. As I drove towards home lights were plentiful across the hills and I started to think about what I might do first --check voicemail, play on the computer... But my heart began to sink as I turned the bend on the freway and saw a hillside of darkened homes.

As I made the turn to my condo all hope faded. Pitch Black. It looks as though most of my neighbors have also left. Never before has there been so much parking available.

I popped inside, fed the pissed off cat, picked out some new clothes --hopefully not blue and black and finished throwing the rest of the food away. Then I drove back over to Becca's.

I feel a little homeless at the moment.

No Power; No Showers

Seattle Seahawks week night games terrorize this city. The first prime time game brought horrific rain and flooding, the second was met with freezing temperatures and paralyzing snow , the last game on a Thursday of all nights a record breaking wind storm that knocked out power to about a million folks across the state.

The wind storm was amazing, loud and somewhat scary. It literally roared and when the power clicked off at 1:15 it was not a surprise. The blue arcs from the transformers lit up the sky like fireworks. I could hear firetruck alarms all night. That was Thursday, today is Monday four days later and I’m still one of the unlucky who have no power at home.

Rico used his hotel connections to get me a room at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Seattle. I extended an offer to Yazmine to come with me. Her husband left for a dudes weekend in Bend, Oregon so she was grateful and quickly packed a bag in the dark and met me for a return trip into the city.

Our night was nice; we walked over to Bucca di Beppo and ordered a pizza and a “small” salad which we took back to our room. We watched Lord of the Rings, Return of The King and then turned off the light and as we drifted off to sleep we discussed what items in our refrigerator or freezer we would be most saddened to have to throw away. For me it was some steaks and seafood.

We spent the day Saturday braving the horrific University Village holiday shoppers. Thankfully the valet parkers were still in a good mood and let us pick up my car even though the valet ticket had gone missing from my pocket.

Upon returning home Saturday afternoon I realized just how much time TV and the Internet sucks up when I cleaned my room and organized a couple closets in no time at all. I had been putting off these tasks for ages and with no distractions it was done in a heartbeat.

I made up the bed with all things wonderful, flannel sheets, quilts, the down comforter and the feather bed. I was ready for the sun to go down and for a long winter night. In the living room I set up candle after candle and hoped they would give off enough heat to make the room cozy. (WRONG) I wrapped the rest of the adopt-o-family gifts and had a delightful dinner (pb&j). Around 8 I finally gave in and went to bed. By moving 10 or so of the candles into the bedroom I was able to read for a while. This plan was not well thought out because I had to get OUT of bed to blow them out to prevent the house from burning down. Brrrr.

As a kid I use to think it would be so cool to go back in time and live like Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie– well I was fucking WRONG! Those people had a suck-ass life – it is cold with no heat and boring with no TV. No wonder they had 19 children there was NOTHING TO DO after the sun went down except for sex.

Sunday – still no power. I willingly got out of bed and headed to church for a little warmth. After lunch I headed back home and decided that I am not rugged nor am I cut out for ‘roughing’ it. After dropping the gifts at our adopt-a-families home (which was roasty toasty) I darkened the door of Becca and her family. They have a guest bedroom with built in twin beds that are surprisingly comfortable.

They have a wonderful 4 year old son who increased the size of my heart tenfold, when he figured out I was staying the night responded with a little dance and “I’m so HAPPY!!!” Awe shucks kid, I like you too.

The bus service to Becca’s is a little strange – almost impossible to work a full 8 hour day – so I’ll be (darn) leaving work early today. Hopefully there will be power tonight – but I’m not counting on it.

I’ll update you when I can.

Monday, December 11, 2006

July 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

ooh.... very very excited!

In the war on Christmas only the lawyer elf will win

Port of Seattle officials are reporting tonight that they will replace the Christmas Trees that were removed from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this weekend. The threat leavel of a law suit by inundated Jewish travelers has been lowered from dark blue to light blue... virgin mary blue maybe? (sorry)

I was thinking this morning as I stood in line at ChristmasBucks - Starbucks to get my tall eggnog latte (totally gross by the way) that those non-Christians among us must get irritated with the fact that Christmas is everywhere from the day before Thanksgiving until at least the first week in January.

Special lights on the trees downtown, boughs of red and green are everywhere, Karen Carpenter is thinly wishing you a merry christmas while you stand in line at Quiznos to get a non-pork product type sandwich. (For me, this is the one thing that would totally prevent me from coverting to Judiasim. Sorry chosen people bacon tastes really good.)

Last year there was a big stink about some politician - maybe even the idiot king himself sending cards that read "Happy Holidays" and some of the more red Americans were displeased because they thought it displayed a sacrifice of christian values not to use Christmas in the message. Uh hello a-holes Jesus was all about inclusiveness.

I'm happy to see the trees go back up because they are pretty, but I think we need to be sensitive that we Christmas celebrators aren't the only people on the earth. You'll notice when you get my card that I too have used "happy holidays" but it's not because I hate the baby Jesus but because I like the alliteration.

Hi ho hi ho its off to work we go

I love many things about technology, the Internet which allows you to read my version of the New York Times. Albeit tp gal is much less widely read and a little less well written but none the less important to our way of life. It also enables the wonderful tool e-mail, which none of us could ever pass the buck without. "What do you mean you didn't finish re-writing the Merger proposal, I sent you an e-mail?" E-mail also fills our work day with endless interruptions and is impossible to ignore thanks to the pop up window that appears at the bottom of my screen anytime someone has something to say. I love that e-mail is an easy way to keep in contact w/ friends (work and 'real') and responding looks like work. Sometimes the giggling gives it away that I'm goofing around, but the minions know a happy TPgal is a good TPgal. Cranky TPgal is no fun at all!

I know the "minions" reference is wrong. I am a hateful and ungrateful girl. In reality in the off-line world I am humbled to be able to work with such a hard working team. There's a lot of CRAP (crazy-repetitive-administrative-processes) that managers here (and everywhere I think) have to endure, and I'm hopeful that if I do my job well that the folks that work in my area aren't burdened with it and whether they know it or not I'm trying to make their lives easier.

The minion-hood grew by two last week. I gave birth (ick) to two project managers so now life will truly never be the same. I don't get to start making them wash my car and clean my catbox until January, but I've got a project plan for them. Oooh, a new kitchen!

So, the lead story in the mornings "MegaBank Today" splash page on our web site was all about the oh-so-exciting e-cards that the company lets us use to send SPAM to people we think are going a bang up job. (Bank Up Job?) Here's how it works Bob kills himself to get something done that Joe should have done last week and to thank him, Joe sends Bob a pretty e-card (basically a form letter) and Bob's manager gets a copy and all of a sudden Joe is relieved of any obligation to Bob.

Seriously, it's just noise and while I do pay attention to the e-cards my team receives from their customers I rarely (once) send them. When someone seriously knocks it out of the park for me I write a note to their manager and make sure to follow up at review time to remind them that they have been a credit to that team.

One last "work" story and then I'd better get right to it.

So, you may have noticed that I don't use the name of my company when I blog. If you're able to put your pants on by yourself you can totally figure it out, but I am technically toeing the company line when I don't identify myself as an employee of MegaBank. I have plenty of nice things to say about the company. I believe that the CRAP is the same stuff I would find at MegaSoft across the lake or any other big company; it's just branded as Quirky here. I know there are plenty of ex-co workers that don't share my opinion, but I've generally been pretty happy.

So, the rule is don't talk shit about your company in public even if it's "good" because the minute Dilbert Bank Teller stands up in front of the nightly news and says "I love the way MegaBank encourages us to donate 5% of our salary to United Way each year. It's so good for the community, and they are totally aggressive about the encouragement so they get like 99% participation!" The evil Media will miss his well intentioned point and pick up on the fact that MB practically beats the money out of its employees.

This has been the rule for ages and ages, but the internal communications department thinks we're missing out on lots of positive free advertising by not letting the employees post how excited they are about the MB on their mySpace sites.

Uh hello do Internal Communications and Public Relations not even speak anymore? I thought the guiding principal of communications was CONTROL THE MESSAGE. I'm not overly worried about folks posting how awesome they think their work life is, and really when they post how suck ass things are we generally have some recourse when they are malicious and inaccurate but what happens when they post something ugly that's totally true?

Anyway, we're getting the lawyers, public relations and the internal communications folks together to talk about it. The unhelpful bitter part of me wants to tell internal communications that the Internet is EXTERNAL and they need to get their nose out of it but I probably won't. I like being able to pay my mortgage.

So, get back to your regularly scheduled life.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Another bummer about single life

I am appreciative of the unilateral decision making process. It is pretty great being able to decide to spend money how I want, move the furniture where I want it, and put out girly purple towels in the guest bathroom. These are all very wonderful things, but I do wish I had someone to discuss big decisions with - especially relating to financial decisions.

I mull things over and talk them out with the cat, but he's no help when I'm unsure as to how to proceed. Talking it out with the trusted inner circle is an idea, but some think that it is crass to talk money, and then there's the worry that you'll spill the oh-so-secret salary level or the dreadful financial situation. All those charged shoes add up to a worrisome debt to income situation.

There are professionals to talk with, but I'm unsure as to how to find one that isn't trying to sell me something. Plus, isn't paying someone to talk to me a little reminiscent of the days of yore when my mom paid the kids in the neighborhood to be nice to me? I have to tell you I was pretty upset when I found out the reason why little Timmy came over every 15th and 30th like clockwork.

Anywho... I'm mulling over a new fictionary term in honor of our friends who are prohibited by law from marrying: Significan't Others.

Lastly, the shelf lady stopped by last night to pick up the shelf and upon seeing it realized it wouldn't fit in her car. Too bad I didn't include the dimensions of the item on my ad... wait I DID! She's supposed to be back tonight - we'll see.
I want the damn thing gone.

Bye bye shelf

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Whew, that was fast.

I'm such a late adopter of all things wonderful. June has been raving about Craigslist for ages and I've only poked around and any e-mail inquiries have gone unanswered which I thought was rude.

I've been hanging on to an IKEA bookshelf that has served me well, but doesn't work in the condo since I moved in 3 years ago. For a while it was in the office taking up space and when the pretty white bookshelves arrived it moved into the bedroom to get in the way. All attempts to talk P&J into taking it to their spacious new home have been met with laughter and general disdain.

MJ (ooh a new character!) at work suggested that I post it in the 'free' section on Craigslist and promised it would be gone in less than 10 minutes. Yeah right... it only took 2 minutes from the time it posted. 15 e-mail requests for the dusty shelves in 10 minutes. I had to take the dang thing off line.

Denise of the unpronounceable last name (Aksamit) and her "man" are coming tomorrow after 6 to pick it up. I'm so excited to have the damn thing gone I may dust it. If I end up murdered in my house you can look in my comcast e-mail box for her name and phone number. (I'll make sure they don't have to come all the way into my house and if I can find someone to come over at the same time I will.) I doubt this would be the perfect crime - respond to a craigs list ad and kill the poor spinster in her home and leave her body on the floor for the cat to eat.

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year and so here's my list of things I want for Christmas.

In addition to world peace and a different outcome in the 2000 presidential election (I know I need to get over it) the totally selfish and materialistic things I want are:

New living room couch and chair(s) I'm O-V-E-R the hand-me-down chair and the beat up 15 year old pink couch.
A queen sized bed.
Replacement carpet in the livingroom, bedroom and office
The oh so cool 80 gig iPod!
My two mortgages re-financed and consolodated into one with a lower payment.
An employed new boyfriend
The drive to get my *ss out of bed every morning and work out.
Ann Coulter to look in the mirror and realize just how not nice she is, and want to change.
Jury duty over the christmas break.

Wait... that one already came true. Thanks Santa!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Hometown Irony: Fire destroys Ilwaco fire station

By The Associated Press

ILWACO, Wash. — A late-night fire burned the town fire station and most of the equipment inside, including the department's only ambulance, officials said today.

"I can't believe that it happened. But I'm standing her looking at it and it's gone," Fire Chief Tom Williams said. "This little department has been here since 1887."

Nobody was in the station when the fire was reported at about 11 p.m. Thursday, Williams said. Firefighters were able to save one fire engine and a smaller truck, but the building and remaining equipment were destroyed.

Along with the agency's lone ambulance, the blaze wrecked a pumper truck, equipment for 27 volunteer firefighters, and a 1950s-era fire engine used in parades.

The fire wasn't considered suspicious. Electrical problems were one possible cause, because the fire apparently started on a wall that houses an electrical panel, Williams said.

Nearby departments at Long Beach and Chinook will provide backup fire service. Williams said Ilwaco's department may be able to operate by this weekend, using its remaining trucks and equipment donated from other departments.

The Ilwaco fire house, which was insured, also was used for City Council meetings and by the Red Cross, City Clerk Lori Mossman said.

Customer (lack of) Care

Best Western SUCKS.

This is the form letter response I received after lodging a complaint with BW corporate (the bolding is mine):

Thank you for contacting Best Western International. The Customer Care Department monitors all guest complaint files to ensure that a timely response is sent as required by the member property. Our files do not indicate that a reply has been sent to you by the management of the Best Western St. Christopher Hotel. I apologize that the hotel has not taken the opportunity to resolve this matter with you. We can only suggest that you continue to contact them directly to see if they have found the items you left at the hotel.

Since customer satisfaction is the primary goal of Best Western members,guest comments are greatly appreciated. Again, thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.

Are you fricking kidding me!? I am aware that by now my mom's stuff is gone but their complete lack of customer service angers me. I did get a phone call on my cell phone a week or so ago that said:

Miss Hall - we haven't found your iPod charger, but we will continue to look.

Yeah, if my name was Miss Hall or if I had left my iPod charger (which I totally wouldn't) this message would have been relevant-- but they suck so bad they can't even keep phone numbers associated with requests for lost stuff and they just continue to find ways to piss me off.


Sleepless nights, Madonna & a stop watch

I was pretty pooped yesterday, so after a trip to the grocery store *Hip Hip Horray for fresh Milk!* and a decent dinner I headed to bed and snuggled up to read. (I totally envy my friends with husbands and kids but I know they don't get to snuggle up in bed with a book whenever they want. I do remember to appreciate the single life freedoms just as I hope they appreciate the joys of kid adoration and the comfort of a spouse to share the good and irritating things in life.)

After 9:30 I found myself holding the book but realized my eyes were closed and I was 'thinking' about the last thing I read. (This is code for drifting off to sleep.) I decided to go for it and snapped off the light and gave in. All was dandy until 1:27 when I awoke. (In college Becca and I use to call this the wee wee hours - a phrase stolen from a Bruce Springsteen song.) Usually I can pop back into bed, move the cat out of the center of the bed and drift back to dreamland where Josh Lucas or Logan Echols is waiting to clean my house. Not last night, the longer I laid in the dark the more awake I became. It's not like I've got anything weighty on my head these days but I couldn't turn my brain off.

Giving up I snapped on the tv to find Madge (who use to be Madonna) performing a concert. It was pretty good, but not really intended to be watched by the 'I want to be asleep' demographic. Flashing lights and quick cuts from the dancers to Madge was enough to give me a seizure. Luckily for me there was a twilight zone episode on Spike. After 15 minutes of a man with a magic stop watch that could stop the world clicking stop... and then an obvious pause of the film I started to spend more time under my eyelids. I'm disappointed that I don't know what happened to stop watch man, I wonder if he like Adam Sandler had to "catch up" at the end of his life. Or if he realized he was a terrible actor and that this was the only job he was ever going to get? Either way, I'm sure Rod Sterling had some witty and thought provoking to say about it.

Have a delightful day!