Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Cinco de Mayo!

The long awaited cheap-o Mexican holiday is on baby! Rico and I scored two rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel in Puerto Villarta at the smokn' hot rate of $49/night! (he's an employee of a large hospitality company and has the connections... it's all legal don't worry.) We're using companion fares and upgrade certificates to fly down for less than our hotel will cost us - and we're staying for 9 nights! It's going to be fabulous AND thrifty my favorite things!

Do you see that third chair on the left? That will be mine! The hotel doesn't have a traditional spa so we may have to outsource the 90 minute deep tissue massage but a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do!

His new gal won't be coming with us, but we're still getting separate rooms - tp gal snores (sorry, I know that kills the fantasy that I'm hot AND perfect) which will be great for our personal space.

We'll be there the 2nd of May through whenever which means we'll be partying it up for Cinco de Mayo. (I think it's a made up holiday to sell more tequila to gringo's but tp gal don't care!)

You know what this means: tp gal + bathing suit = two months of pre-vacation dreadmill action. Look for a posting tomorrow to proclaim that I actually did it. Until then aidios!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cognitive Dissonance: To help or not to help - rebuttal

I suppose this is how the no-longer-a -wordprocessing-operator probably used to feel when I—facing serious deadline pressure—would sometimes trouble her to help me with a formatting problem in MS Word that would have taken me an hour to resolve because, let's face it, unless you have a graduate degree in Advanced Word, it's very much a WYGINWYW user interface (What You Get Is Not What You Want). But she would bite her tongue and fix whatever the problem was in about three minutes so I could get the document out and help keep our enterprise functioning.

Assuming the "darned tool" in this case is some arcane software tool, rather than some person, I can really sympathize with someone not mastering it if he only needs to use it very occasionally.

Anyway, I'll have to differ with my friend Peter here. If it's really a few minutes of assistance every couple of months, I'd say just suck it up because doing anything else would only expend more of your time and, potentially, burn a bridge for little reason. maybe someday you'll need something this annoying fellow can provide.

Well - in fact it is not the same thing. What I have asked him to do in order to help himself is to take the time to write an e-mail that says "I need access to this tool" and then to go to the tool and click the big "EXPORT TO EXCEL" button.

I'm irritated by the complete lack of acknowledgment that I may not be on this earth to assist him because he's too short sided to follow through or the implication that his work is more important. At the firm, I appreciate the nuances of the Attorney, 'No-longer a word processor' hierarchy (if anyone ever referred to me or one of my staff even administrative staff in that manner I would call them out on the carpet and explain the nuances of Employee Relations to them) but imagine a fellow Attorney who kept coming to you because it was easier for you to do something than for her to take 5 minutes (sometime during the month) and figure it out.

This I'm sure would get under your skin. Maybe not the first time, and not the second but the third probably would raise your ire just a tad. I could not be convinced that in the last 3 months he hasn't had 5 -10 minutes to resolve this for himself.

I'm not the kind of co-worker who gathers favors. If I can help I will, if there's something I need from someone else I try to be as respectful as possible while making the request. However, at the end of the day we're both being paid to do the same thing - keep the company running. I'll do my part and figure out how to do my job and he should do the same. I have been more than accommodating; this is the third time he's demonstrated the failure to plan ahead and my "team attitude" is all shot to hell. That's all I'm saying.

Cognitive Dissonance: To help or not to help

There's this guy at work who really makes me struggle with my own values. He's a total wanker who seems to succeed within his own little division-sphere (which isn't mine).

We use to report to the same senior manager and now through the Wheel of Reorganization now do not. In November he IM (instant message where folks pop up on your desktop all urgent and blinking orange) asking me for help to get a report from the darned tool that holds lists of applications. (woo hoo). I told him I would help, but that if he needed the report in the future to request access to the tool himself. Fine.

December - here's wanker again asking for the information about how to get access to the tool because he needs the report super fast. Well there's lead time on these things so I had to pull the list again.

So, here it is end of February and here he is again asking for my help,
what do I do?

It only takes 3 minutes to pull the report and I'm the hero - "living
the brand"
It irritates me that he won't plan ahead and get the access he needs, but as long as I help he won't do it.
Am I hurting a larger more important process by refusing to help when I can - even though I'm not his f*cking assistant?
At what point do I stop being helpful and turn into a door mat?
Does whining about this to anyone at work do anyone any good? Wouldn't it just make me look like an ass?

I did give him the list but asked him to please request access - what good that will do - who knows.

When I'm on the other side of this table (being the useless twit who won't do my own work) I do make a point to thank the person publicly via their manager but Wanker is (I think) hiding his total incompetence behind my inner need to do the right thing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wow Mommy, this circus sucks.

Thanks to CNN and MJS for a little mid-day tee hee.

Gunman kills 2 clowns in Colombian circus

I know... the clowns didn't think it was funny.

crazy pricing makes me mad

Dear Catalog Retailer (PotteryBarn, Illuminations, Crate & Barrel),

I enjoy getting your glossy pages in my mail box, I don't mind being on your lists. In fact, when you don't write I often surf over to your Internet stores to get a fix. I know my life would be so much better if I only had the versatile Bedford Corner Desk in antique white or the Caprice Votive Cups and Hammered Pillar Plate that cast mesmerizing light in complementary shades of soft green.

Your prices are reasonable in fact it's almost like you know how much I make and can spend on these delights. But my yearning for the Bronze Leaf Wall Sconces or the newest Kitchenaid mixer in SeaFoam grinds to an abrupt halt at the way you tier your pricing.

The price should be the price - there shouldn't be any little add on surcharge if it's being delivered. Yes, I will pay for the cost of delivery - but not and inflated price to have it delivered - especially if you don't offer it in your store. This is what runs through my head:

1) I want that, ooh available online only ok
2) Shipping is $15.95
3) The cost is $100 ($20 additional delivery charge)
4) Why in the hell isn't the cost of the item $120? You suck.

If I can buy the thing in your store fine with the extra shipping charge, but if not - the price should be the damned price.

End of rant

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mixed Media

Brittney shaves her head - Page 1
Anna Nichole -who's the daddy? Page 3
More American soldiers die in Iraq - page 10
Death and AIDS overwhelm Darfur - page 15

What's important? Grrr

Monday, February 19, 2007

Note to self: don't cheat on a dictator

In an attempt to use my President's Day holiday wisely I chose to seek out a movie with good Oscar buzz. Forrest Whittaker has won almost every award possible for the movie The Last King of Scotland so I figured it was best to see it before Oscar night.

I will admit that the idea of a movie chronicling the oh-so-stellar and upbeat life of Idi Amin wasn't high on my list, but I was and am giving the tpGal official thumbs up. General Amin - was not someone that you would invite to dinner and I don't think anyone will be building shrines in his honor anytime soon. The film did a good job of slowly exposing the truth and brutality of a man who was rumored to be 'charming'. Rather than hitting the audience over the head with the horrific crimes of this man, we are slowly drawn into a frightening scenario of seduction and power. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is almost as bad as the moment that it does.

Obviously not a film for kids, but I will say that it was excellent.

If you do much reading on the topic (try the Guardian's Obit for Amin) you'll find that Amin had a flexible moral compass and dealt with his problems in a permanent and memorable way. You should pay attention in case you ever find yourself about to cross the line from fidelity to not. Glenn Close ain't got nothin' on Idi Amin.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Yo Grover Cleveland!

It's President's Day Weekend and instead of honoring one of the prez' that get all the press and attention in public school I thought I would highlight for you one of the "lesser known" presidents. Mr. Cleveland, or the Grovernator as his friends called him was elected after the Civil War, and the only Prez to leave the White House and return for a second term four years later. Which might have been a blow to the ego of #21 (Chester Arthur) had he not declined to even run for a second term. Anywho....

Grov a democrat, was single when he took office and a also tad bit portly. Not quite portly enough for Eddie Murphy to mock, but he'll get there eventually. Power and love being what it is, Grov managed to land himself a filly. He is the only President to ever marry at the White House.

Cleveland believed that special favors to any economic group should be banned. He likened federal aid to "paternal care" and it weakens the "sturdiness of our national character. . . . " It makes me wonder what he would think of our subsidied food supply in America today.His popularity was greatly impacted by his "fend for yourself" policies and he was no nominated to run for a third term by his own party.

He also vetoed many private pension bills to Civil War veterans whose claims were fraudulent. When Congress, pressured by the Grand Army of the Republic, passed a bill granting pensions for disabilities not caused by military service, Cleveland vetoed it, too.

He also signed the Interstate Commerce Act, the first law attempting Federal regulation of the railroads.

In December 1887 he called on Congress to reduce high protective tariffs. Cleveland was defeated in his re-election campaign in 1888; although he won a larger popular majority than the Republican candidate, he received fewer electoral votes. (deja vu?)

Not one to let go of a fight (teaching economics at college?) he was elected again in 1892, Cleveland faced an acute depression and in response obtained repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and, maintained the Treasury's gold reserve.

He left Washington and moved to New Jersey where he eventually went to the great Camp David in the sky.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm famous at PNB!!!!

Funny turn of events today, I called the Pacific Northwest Ballet to exchange some tickets and during the transaction I ended up renewing our subscription and getting tickets to something else (the phone rep was really really good apparently). The point is that I was on the phone for a while with this guy and we ended up talking about Swan Lake. I said it was lovely as always but that there was a family behind me eating... and he interupted me by yelling "Peanut Butter Cheerios!!!!"

Oh my lord how on earth did he know that? Apparently one of my readers forwarded my posting to someone at PNB and it made the rounds. I'm glad I didn't mention how much I want to kidnap dancer Jonathan Porietta and force him to be my husband/sex slave. That would have been an embarrassing revelation.

I can guess the 6 degrees of peanut butter cheerios of as to how this happened, but unless they fess up I will live the dream that my posts are so meaningful that they've touched the mass market. Perhaps the Peanut Butter Cheerios incident will knock the "who knocked up Anna Nichole" story off the front pages.

Hold on, the phone is ringing... gotta go it's reality calling.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sonics Pick Renton

I guess now on game nights I'll go to Queen Anne and kill time while the world takes an already clogged Interstate 405 to my neighborhood.

Having moved from Sonics land 15 years ago I thought I was done with that... guess not.

Who knows, maybe I can sell my condo for way too much money and move to poor abandoned lower Queen Anne (again).

Welcome to Renton Sonics!

Happy VD

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Swan Lake and Peanut Butter

Swan Lake Pacific Northwest Ballet puts on a lovely Swan Lake performance. It's beautiful and makes me cry a little. So pretty.

Of course I do have a complaint. It is me for pete sake. There was a family sitting behind me. Dad, Kid, Younger Kid and Mom. Kid was directly behind me.

K & YK were about 3 and 4 maybe 5 years old. TOO YOUNG TO SIT THROUGH A THREE HOUR BALLET. Thank you very much.

Mom and Dad were thinking about the timing so they kindly brought cherrios in plastic bags for act 1 and those horrific peanut/nut orange-colored crispy things for act 2 and 3. The orange treats were especially nice because as the children shoved them mindlessly into their mouths the peanut butter smell grew with each handful.

The bags nicely crinkled with each tiny monstrous hand movement.

Just in case I became deaf because of the food noise, the children were kind enough to kick my chair in time to the music. Every once in a while I would hear a parent "whisper" something (not in English) to the spasming children. I would NEVER disrupt other patrons to speak during the performance and as my seats are mid-row there's no calling an usher. I attempted to give the father the look of death during the first intermission but they were quick to remove the little darlings to the lobby.

Sadly, the parents brought food items for acts 1-3 but there are 4 acts in Swan Lake. The little princess with her fake angelic eyes and little ribbon in her hair was so bored during act 4 that she started rubbing her cute pink rubber boots together and fiddling with the zipper. Zip up, squeak, zip down, zip up, squeak, zip down, unintelligible "whisper", whine, squeak.

I tried my darnedest to go to my happy place, use my skills at tuning out others to pinpoint my attention on the stage. ZIP. But as I was watching the swans dance across the SQUEAK stage my mind drifted ZIP to ways to punish a parent for CRINKLE placing their children in such an inappropriate situation. ZIP. I don't blame the children.

The little girl next to me (unrelated) asked her daddy if he could make them be quiet SQUEAK. Then he pulled out a gun and made them leave. The entire audience and the dancers gave the dad a standing ovation and then we watched the rest of the ballet in peace. (I wish.) I lived through it without hurting anyone but be careful the next time I hear the squeaking of rubber boots it could be ugly. PBSS... post ballet stress syndrome?

(For the record... I am NOT making light of PTSS. I'm just saying I might understand it a little more now.)

Tomato & Herb Pasta

No picture of this one but it was lovely!

3 cups of halved grape tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
black pepper
16 fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons of chopped fresh oregano
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh Romano or Parmesan (grated)

Pasta (I used penne because it's pretty)

Heat oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onions, pepper and pancetta - saute until onion is clear - about 6-8 minutes. Add tomatoes (and any juice) cook another 5 minutes. Add in basil and oregano. Season with salt.

In a pan mix 1/2 of this tomato bacon goodness with your cooked pasta, cheese and mix. Transfer to the serving dish or "plate" and then top with the remaining mixture.

Chop your herbs and veggies ahead of time
Serve cold in summer as a salad
Serve hot in winter as the main course

Pancetta Crisps

I had some folks over for dinner last night and served a yummy Italian themed meal that started with the simplest appetizer.

Lay strips of pancetta (Italian bacon) on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 until crisp (careful not to go longer than 12 minutes as at this temperature the oil will begin to smoke in a most unfortunate manner.)

Remove the crispy rounds and top with a drop of goat cheese and a sliver of ripe pear.

Add a sprig of thyme to garnish.


  • leave the cheese out to warm up to room temperature, it will make scooping easier
  • slice the pears thin and if you can't slice as you garnish, use a citrus fruit juice (lemon) to prevent oxidation of the pear meat. This does change the flavor of the pear so I chose to deal with the 'browning'.
  • slice the pancetta a little thicker than paper thin, or if using the pre-sliced deli kind use two slices per round.

Adapted from

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Furniture GONE!!!!!!!

We were able to get the big thing out without too much trouble so I'm pleased.

The fung shue (or whatever) is sooo much better!

Once my pork loins are seared I'm taking a shower and a nap. Woo Hoo!

It was too good to hope for

The saga of my furniture goes on and on...

The damned buffet delivery people charged me more than they quoted over the phone. My call to the company (Northshore Delivery) was very unsatisfying. Sometimes you want more than a "sorry" but since I'm unlikely to have a need for their services in the future my options are limited. I did place a call to CostPlus World Markets to let the manager know. He seemed very interested.

The damned Hope Chest charity people didn't come this morning as scheduled. Normally I wouldn't care but as it's like the 63 rd weekend in a row that I've spent a saturday hanging around the house waiting for someone to come it was irritating. Plus, I invited people over for dinner tonight and I wanted the house back to its new normal. Oh dear lord -- what if this IS the new normal?

Alas, I shoved all the donation furniture into the office and will simply shut the door. Lisa from the Hope Chest called to apologize and then asked if I had anyone to help move the furniture. Uh, no that's why I called you. At this point if we break the damned media cabinet I'll just take a sledge hammer to it and work out some aggression towards people who don't know how to use a calendar or a phone.

I did cover the chipped desk with some butcher paper and then got excited and covered the paper with clear packing tape (for spills) but it was a mistake because my arms stick to the tape. But... if I was typing with my wrists up off the table as Mr. Lux instructed me in high school typing class my arms wouldn't be resting on the table. For you kids, Typing was a class where we sat at electric typewriters (sort of like a computer with no monitor that's connected directly to a printer) for an hour each day while he walked around the room calling out letters.

A - A -A - J - J -J- M M-M-M!

It was a surprisingly stressful class considering it required in fact demanded no thought whatsoever.

Friday, February 09, 2007

It's Ghandi!

There is peace and tranquility restored to my life. The pink couch is in it's new home.

The other furniture people will be here tomorrow and life will be perfect. I will be parking in my garage tonight!

Hip hip hurray!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

40!? No F*cking way!

So - time marches on and those of us who are lucky exit our 20's and 30's and turn 40. Boy aren't I surprised to learn that I'm still the same immature Duran Duran loving girl but just a little older.

I've been wanting to mark the occasion with something spectacular and since everyone I know is starting to turn 40 a big party seems "done." Don't think there won't be something fun - it will be a Saturday in the summer and I forsee a casual but fun evening out. I also predict a hangover, but that's another story.

Becky is marking her birthday with a tattoo and she thinks I might need to loosen up and get one too. I'm just not sure there's anything I feel so passionate about as to plaster upon my person forever. I love Daddy and Mommy would be creepy. "Becky Rules!" would also lead to a misinterpretation of my gender preference when dating. If one of you died suddenly I could have your name tattooed across my back in memory but you'd have to die in some spectacular tragic way. Please check with me first to see if your cause of death will be tattoo worthy before you confirm any plans. I would like to state that I would miss you even if I didn't mark up my body with your likeness.

Alas I really think an epic trip abroad is the ticket to mark the occasion of my 40th year. I was discussing this with Ali and she asked what my ideal vacation would be. That's easy a big sailboat in crystal clear water living in a swim suit and relaxing. She then said the craziest thing - "well, do that!" So I found a company that does this exact thing. They offer fully crewed outings in Greece and Turkey as well as smallish (10 people + crew) one to two week cruises for singles! This wouldn't be the same thing as a gigantic cruise ship with a thousand singles at a mixer - instead people without partners who like to travel. That's my speed.

I'm super excited and have already sent for information. Ali's new boyfriend "Captain Jack" is also a sailboat person so I'll quiz him on what I need to find out before I go to make sure I'm not going to end up as a tattoo on your back.

RIP TPgal... rotting away in a Turkish prison for disorderly conduct.

Yaz wants to go to Japan and heck with my new found wealth - I may do both!

Financial Freedom

After years and years of feeling like I was the underprivileged poor friend to everyone I am having to change my tune. No, I didn't win the lottery or get a massive raise at work I paid off a ton of debt.

I took the hard, but responsible path and applied my bonus and some stock toward credit card debt. It was actually pretty satisfying to see my debt drop by over 75%. The remaining debt, (not including the mortgage payments) can be gone within the year. It is a little weird to not having it hanging over my head.

The true proof to whether or not this is a long term fix is to see how the monthly budgeting goes. My savings should grow pretty quickly - especially after the debit card for that account is moved out of the wallet. I've been depositing a decent portion of my check each month into a separate account but with the debit card right next to my primary card it's been really easy to use it as latte money. Apparently that adds up over time. Who knew?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Movie Review: Children of Men

I should start with an acknowledgment that I deviated from the Oscar candidates to see this one. With nominated films available for viewing it is my own fault that this movie didn't score very high with me.

Children of Men is the dark exploration of a future world where humans lose their ability to procreate, but alas a miracle has occured a young woman is pregnant and her safety and passage to freedom falls on the shoulders of the lovely but mumbling Clive Owen. Doom and despair was expected, but somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking that the movie would end with a glimmer of hope for mankind and the future of our world.

I walked out of the theater in stunned silence of the complete pointlessness of this film. I am a semi-smart person I understand dark, I even like noir but this was like watching the 2000 election returns over and over again - (a painful experience where all the hope for the world drains out of your body while you sit helpless to do anything).

My rating: Only if it's free on tv and the Trya Banks show is a rerun.