Saturday, December 29, 2007

Puppy Love

I know, I still haven't written up Zumanity, I'm getting there.

Last night Genius called and wanted to borrow the Trailblazer to pick up Desi in Idaho. The storm was far worse up north, she was snowed in in Burley so he didn't go get her after all. He called later and I asked if he could run me to Target; I wanted clearance Christmas cards for next year. Yes, that's my dirty little secret; I use leftover cards! He said sure and he had something to show me.

The something is an eight month old saltandpepper, almost silver, Schnauzer. So sweet! She'd been hit by a car, and her owners couldn't afford the vet bill; they abandoned her at the clinic. Her pelvic bone was broken, but that healed, her diaphragm had ruptured and she had surgery to repair it. The vet says she should be spayed right away, a litter might kill her. She's been living in a kennel for about two months; the vets and the vet techs all have too many rescued animals already. The vet could either give her to the Humane Society, or sell her. Genius paid a dollar for the little dog.

She needs to be socialized to people and other animals. She went for Cricket's food dish, but didn't know how to eat out of a bowl! She also is not housebroken, and has no idea how to behave on a leash. She's young enough that she can be taught these things, Schnauzers are bright and learn quickly. She does have the Schnauzer Shiver, and barks at perceived intruders just like Cricket does.

Genius had groomed her, she has one of the softest coats I've felt on a dog. We went to Petsmart and she rode around in the cart like a little lady. She did growl each time she spotted another dog, but was well behaved. Well behaved or traumatized, we're not sure which. We tried on many coats and sweaters, nothing fit right; Desi will have to sew one up. Next I helped him choose a collar and leash and harness and a toy. I picked up some Feline Pine and a poinsettia collar for Cricket and a Santa Loofah dog for Oide (kill! kill! the Loofah dog!). Then we stashed the poor little doggie in the kennel in the back of the Trailblazer, we knew she'd be warm enough, we couldn't take her into Target.

I was a Bad girl in Target. Not only did I buy clearance cards, but also holographic wrapping paper and bows, a crystal "L" ornament for Larry and a BC ornament, the only box of LED lights left, an electric eye plug, two Santa hats, too much clearance candy, some Bolthouse lemonade (not on sale), and My Little Ponies for Desi. Best score of the night? Genius found it; a snowglobe which will be perfect for my White Elephant B-Day. It plays Let It Snow, and has Darth Vader holding a naughty list! R2D2 and Luke and Hans are all crossed out, while there's a lot of the baddies on the list. Ab-so-freakin-lutely hilarious. There was a Yoda globe too, but the music box in it was broken.

When we got home, the little pup shivered, ate more of Cricket's food, and pretty much ignored the older Schnauzer. Cricket pranced and pawed at me, trying to prove she was cute too. How dare that skinny bitch enter her domain! We needed a name for the pup; she's quite slim, and has the most incredible long eyelashes, I mean freakishly several inches long! She poses and has good posture, and an eating disorder (can't eat out of a bowl, must flip the food on the floor). Cricket is a squat toad in comparison, poor Cricket! I told Genius she was a super-model dog, that she needed a super-model name. We tried Christy and Cindy, no response, but I hit on Heidi. Up went the ears! She answers to it, as much as she can. Genius likes the name because it is German, great for a Schnauzer.

Oide was curious about her, but we kept him across the room as he swats with claws out. Cricket is terrified of him. eventually Harry wandered in, Heidi growled at him. He froze and studied her carefully. Then he began to puff up. Harry is a large cat anyway, when his fur puffs, he's enormous. I gently nudged him out into the front room. Oide might swat, but Harry would seriously mess up a small dog.

A wonderful thing about the breed, they don't shed. Nice!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Santa Wants a Drink!

Okay, I've been dragging my feet about writing up Santa Rampage. I know, Bad Maggie!

As we know, Santarchy or Santacon is an annual event all over the world. The Vegas Version happens to be called Santa Rampage. This year the location selected was Fremont Street, the old downtown heart of Las Vegas, now a covered pedestrian walk.

MyLarry and I dressed up early Friday evening, intending to eat supper, take a picture with Father Christmas at the Excalibur, then say hi at Coyote Ugly and take the shuttle to Fremont Street. MyLarry have a traditional red suit from Target and carried a Santa Sack full of candy canes. I was wearing my full length red velvet dress and cape I had sewn, with a white wig and a poinsettia crown, also made by hand. The crown, not the wig! I put on the wig and WOW! I look like Mom.

Dinner first, at the Sherwood Forest Cafe, because we were saddled with dining coupons for that restaurant. We had calamari, MyLarry had a grilled chicken cesaer salad, I had a bleu cheese with apples and walnuts salad. The chunks of bleu cheese were as big as my fist, the entire salad was huge enough to feed three people! MyLarry ran my coat out of the truck upstairs while I waited to be seated. The best part of the meal was when a Dad walked a tiny little boy over to say hello. He was the cutest kid ever! One of the cardinal rules of Santa Rampaging is never, ever mess with kids. He was delighted when I gave him a candy cane and told him that all the Santa helpers were having a party tonight because we'd all be busy for Christmas.

After supper, we went over and had our picture taken with Santa. Hilarious! we left the picture there to pick up the next day, I need bifocals but don't wear them, and on the proof I didn't notice my eyes were closed. Still, a nice holiday portrait. We crossed the skywalk over to New York, New York, couldn't take two steps without being stopped to take pictures. Signed up with Tahitian Village timeshare to get tickets for Zumanity ... more about that in a different blog. The reps were taking tons of pictures too! We finally got on the shuttle, and again, many, many pictures were taken.

Fremont Street, we got there just as Santa was moving away from the big Christmas tree into a casino for drinks. I quickly lost track of which casino or bar we went into, but it was a mad mob scene and so much fun! I got to see so many of our Vegas burner buds, most excellent. Now and then we'd stop to watch the overhead light show, very amazing. We wore Santa nametags, MyLarry was Larry Santa, I was Anti Santa (from Anti M). Security would nervously grab their comms when we entered, but then would relax when they saw we weren't being destructive or too rude. We'd walk down the street chanting, "Santa wants a drink! Santa wants a drink!" Now and then you'd hear "Santa wants a lapdance!" Again, I had my picture taken many times, I must have looked more approachable than the Sexy Santas. That, and I'm slow on my short little legs, always at the back of the pack.

We had a Snowflake, and Elf, a Backwards Santa, a Jewish Santa, Little Red Riding Santa, a Dark Santa, a Mexican Wrestling Santa, an Insanity Claus, A Pirate Santa, a RollerGirl Santa, a Pimp Santa ... and well, lots of Santas! Forty or fifty and we picked up one or two others along the way. The street preacher yelled at us and followed with his homophobic signs, I turned and took his picture. He looked startled. At the bar where the girls were dancing behind the stage, we also danced a lot, but got asked to leave when Santa wanted to dance with the girls. Next place, we had cheap shrimp cocktails and the bartenders loved us ... Bennions? At Glitter Gulch, they wanted $20 a head to come in, "Oh NO! Santa got to go!" And so, down to Hogs and Heifers, where all the Mrs. Santas and the Elf danced on the bar. This Mrs. Santa was a big hit, although I had to struggle to get up there. Plenty of helping hands! There are neon signs from Old Vegas on the street as sculptures for the Neon Museum, way cool. Back to Fremont, I got everyone to chant, "Hot Monkey Santa Sex! Hot Monkey Santa Sex!" Then a tropical bar with live music, where again, many, many pictures were taken. The Rampage went on, we caught the shuttle back to the casino.

The night was youngish, only two a.m., so we dropped in at Coyote Ugly. MyLarry knows all the security guys, and all the girls by name. He's there so often he's a mascot of sorts. Mrs. Santa was Very Naughty, dancing on the bar, getting shots poured down her throat, and finally, doing a mini strip-tease which showed no flesh but resulted in her vivid red bra hanging from the airplane in the rafters. I got that sucker up there with one throw! And the girls were laughing and saying how they were permanently on the Naughty List now. We closed the place down! I paid for all this merriment heavily for two or three days, my muscles were so sore from sexy dancing I could scarcely walk. Apparently I can still move it, I had a handsome, well-dressed young man in a suit and overcoat approach me to compliment my dance moves. Sure thing, honey! I was flattered, but freaked out!

Oh, we have so got to do this next year too!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Santa Rampage

Well, here it is, Christmas morning and I remember why I don't like most of my family:

Christmas ... Bah Freakin' Humbug. It always makes me remember why I hate interacting with my family. My niece-in-law made a beautiful scrapbook for my dad, all about my Mom. She did a wonderful job. Each of my brothers has a page or two, and there's a lovely pic of mom and the three boys labeled "The Children." Me? I'm not in that picture, I'm not in the book. At all. I'm sure she simply didn't have baby pictures of me, or shots of me with mom, but she has a PHONE doesn't she?! Anyone looking through the book wouldn't know I even existed. My brother David was there, her FIL, and he was laughing about it. I'm very angry because you aren't supposed to cry on Christmas morning. I still have freakin' dinner with my other SIL this afternoon; that should be fun. Riiiight.

That was my rant on the scifi forums. And relatives wonder why I prefer my burner family. Anyway, Santa Rampage in Las Vegas. My, my, my. I will start with taking the steel loads down; because I have to talk about the Annoying Persistence of Timeshare representatives, Santa Rampage, Coyote Ugly and the Flying Bra, then wrap it up with Zumanity by Cirque de Soleil. Wow. And that's a lot of blogging in a day!

MyLarry picked me up at the Perry Port of Entry on Thursday morning. They rolled the big trucks through the scale; he was freaking out because he had been the lead truck and now had fallen behind. I told him to relax, that he would catch up. He did. There were four Central semis carrying oversized loads of steel. The beams were monstrous assemblies; mylarry's gross weight was 140,000 and he was 16 foot 6 inches wide. That's big. Four trucks and eight pilot cars. The whole pilot car thing was interesting; the car up front would call back on the CB to let the drivers know about guardrails and narrow spots and whatnot. We did not head down I-15 through Salt Lake; instead we detoured west to Wendover, then south through Ely, NV to Vegas. The construction in the Virgin River Gorge had reduced the traffic lanes to fourteen feet, no way would the big beams fit through.

I did not like the woman pilot in charge, she was bad-mouthing mylarry to the other drivers. The other drivers weren't too pleased, they're his friends. We had stopped for fuel for us and the trucks and I was buying sandwiches inside with the others while mylarry fueled the semi. "Lynette" was going on about mylarry "talks like he's a rocket scientist, and he's no smarter than the bottom of my shoe." I gave her the Look of Death, but she didn't know who I was. The other drivers jumped in to defend him, telling her he was ex-Navy, the senior driver, and he did know a lot of things. The next day at another stop we were introduced. She had the good sense to look a little sheepish. The pilots were talking on the Cb about the time zone change, and mylarry nearly got on to say, "It's a time zone, it isn't rocket science." I wouldn't let him. I should have!

We had to spend the night in a truckstop at Ely; oversize loads cannot be moved at night. Brrr! Cold little dump of a town. Snowy up on White Pine Pass; but once the trucks were rolling there was no place to stop or turn around. Scary and slidy! Larry was so wide the edge of the steel beam was over the guardrails; he tok out one milemarker and two orange barrels. This is a two lane highway, not an interstate so there was traffic coming toward us. The lead pilot would call, "four back" or "eighteen back." That's a car or a semi. Number of wheels, yes? She would also call ahead, "Big truck, there's four seventeen foot wide trucks coming at you." They'd give us all the room they could, riding on the rumble strip. Once we got back onto I-15 heading into Vegas, each truck straddled a white line and took up two lanes. The pilots guided us into the SME staging area which is a coned off portion of Frank Sinatra Blvd., then they took off. The construction guys came and got the trucks one at a time. They blocked traffic, traffic which was detoured in the first place, so the street is confusing. Mylarry was so wide he had to go down the southbound lanes heading north. Cars followed him onto the wrong lanes! What a mess with flaggers only on the north end. When the time came to deliver, the construction site had to use the giant crane to lift the loads instead of the usual giant forklifts.

I have pictures and will upload them later.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Sitting here waiting for the word to go out to the Perry Port of Entry to meet MyLarry in the big truck. He's carrying a huge load of steel, one of the largest the Pocatello plant has ever produced. I don't know if it is a single beam or not; I rather think it is. I am all packed, the Mrs. Santa dress is complete down to the floral headpiece. I do not have red socks, but I'll live. Cold and a rain-snow mix that is never pleasant.

My brother and I agreed we were not exchanging gifts this year unless it was token this and thats. His wife, my Insane SIL, called this past weekend with the kids' wish lists, and what she would like. HUH? I told her what had been agreed upon, but she brushed it off. She would like work clothes, size 3X. I am NOT buying clothes for her. She mentioned utensils and measuring cups, maybe, maybe. Then she wanted a gadget my brother wants; I do not have the time or money to find it online this last minute.

Then there's the kids. John is 21, but he's handicapped and lives in a group home. I have a coffee and snack basket done up for him. He bought a coffee maker and thinks it is cool. The other niece and nephew are 23 and 19. Uh, not exactly kids. They do get me things at their mother's urging, but they shop the dollar stores. I am underwhelmed. If I saw them other than at the holidays I'd be more charitable, but they don't make an effort to see me. So I am NOT going to buy a Wii game or gold earrings. Nope, nu-uh, no way. I will find a cool "guilt gift" at the truckstop for my brother; it will amuse him. That's what he calls the amazing array of shiny baubles and useless crap truckers buy for their families while on the road.

My brother does silverwork; he usually makes something for me each year. This year the SIL has the work room torn apart; he cannot get to his workbench. He's sad and so am I. "This is the last year I can realistically make things for people." We can pretend he's not dying because he feels good and is working, but there it is. Merry Fucking Christmas, SIL. She won't let us help, she wants a certain shade of paint and they can't afford it right now. Yes, there is some deep-seated resentment there. I want to rip her rose-colored glasses off her silly face ... and well, I should be more forgiving. But I'm not.

I'm going to Vegas to party with my hubby. I declare this holiday family obligation crud over and done.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Solstice 2007

I wanted to go to the Solstice burn, but I had been so sick I thought better of it. MyLarry packed the Boo, even put Bucky in the backseat. Genius got off work and showed up in his Ranger gear. Dang darn dagnabbit, I could not stay home alone! I bundled up while the guys reloaded everything into the Trailblazer instead. Boo just ins't that big. A t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a polar fleece pullover (with flames) and a faux fur mink. I was toasty.

Traffic down I-15 was slow, but there were no wrecks, just a lot of cars making bad decisions. We missed the first two little burns, but that's alright. The Cake was on fire when we got there. Our FaerieBoi had morphed into a Hippie Mudsplatter, but the Tuxmeister was alive and kicking, so good to see him. We are sad though, he lost his silver ranger pendant. If it fell in the mud, it will be found during MOOP Patrol. Hugged and said howdy, spent some time in the Dive Shop, sat in a chair and did not do the NekkidPaganHappyDance around the Big Fire. A sun, of course, Saturn Eating his Children. Very cool. Fire spinners and hoopers and drummers, oh my. And Happy Nekkid Pagans.

As usual, we stopped at Lakepoint and scarfed down some flying J deli food. Don't worry, we've acquired immunity from the spacefood worms. As usual, ninety percent of the food at the potluck was vegan and impossible for mylarry or I to eat. Dang food allergies. We munched sun chips and baklava. Yeah, I know, I should call it the Pot-Unlucky. I did not drink enough water, although I emptied half my flask of Bacardi Ciclon. That's two swigs I think. Oh You Partay Aneemall.

My nose did not produce snotcicles. I did not catch pneumonia. I am still sick, but in a minor way. I am so glad I saw my friends. Pictures on Tribe. I looked rough, wow.

To be discussed in later blogs: my birthday plans (Bad Maggie's White Elephant- Pink Elephant and Bad Movie Revue), Solstice gifts at midnight, and the Aggravating Wish List of the Insane SIL.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow What and the Seven Memes

If you'd like to play ... you know how.

Four jobs I have had in my life
1.) Nanny in Project Artuad
2.) Drink station girl at the first Wendy's in Utah
3.) Electronic Technician, Uncle Sam's Canoe Club
4.) Substitute Teacher

Movies I've watched more than once:
1.) RHPS/Shock Treatment
2.) Animal House
3.) Lady Jane
4.) Clockwork Orange

Four places I have lived:
1.) Ogden, UT
2.) Shiraz, Iran
3.) Virginia Beach, VA
4.) Yokosuka, Japan

Four T.V. Shows that I watch:
1.) Survivor
2.) Stargate Atlantis
3.) Criminal Minds
4.) NCIS

Four Places I have been:
1.) Nice
2.) London
3.) Yellowstone
4.) Diego Garcia

People who e-mail me:
1.) Zee
2.) Insane SIL
3.) Huh. No one else on a regular basis
4.) Whoever I flat forgot

Four of my favorite foods:
1.) Baklava
2.) See's Bordeaux candy
3.) Okonomiyaki
4.) Swedish pancakes with Lingonberry sauce

Four places I would rather be right now:
1.) Big Island
2.) Thailand
3.) San Francisco
4.) Seychelles

Things I am looking forward to in the next year:
1.) Bucky Family Art Project
2.) Farscape convention
3.) Trip to S.F.
4.) Getting healthier

Friday, December 14, 2007


Burning Man tickets go on sale on January 16th! Yay! I'm buyin' me a birthday present! Oh yeah, mylarry too, can't go without my Energizer Bunny man.

And I'm thinking Solstice is out tomorrow night. No way can I spend a night out in the freezing cold when I'm not even feeling good sitting at the keyboard. So much for frozen nekkid pagan dances. The temps will be in the teens; I've done it in 28 degrees and 22 degrees, and once with freezing fog. But if I can barely breathe, I doubt I'd be happy even sitting in the Trailblazer or the Dive Shop.

Yes, the Dive Shop in inland Utah. Deep natural warm salt springs at Seabase, they teach scuba. Ain't nature grand? One of the pools has sharks, they're imported. No, no lasers on their frickin' heads. Not even ill-tempered seabass to keep them company.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sick Day

I have a cold, an honest to goodness, leaky nose, feel crappy cold. Ick. I did not have it when I got up. At least, I had no symptoms!

I did however, get the tree dressed before my snot decided to cascade down my face. Very pretty little tree. At first I was frustrated, the branches didn't all light up! If you plug a layer into itself instead of the other layer of lights, well, that happens. The red wooden beads were next, and the red velvet tree skirt. I put on the red and gold and green swirled Murano topper, and dug out all my glass icicles and drops and candy canes. The glass candy canes are actually swizzle sticks from Pier One. Of course I hung all my Swarovski snowflakes and stars, I have every one since 1995, plus little stars and a few other crystal ornaments. I took all my crystal suncatchers and chandelier drops off the plant stand and hung them too, plus a variety of very shiny blown glass teardrops and spikes. Then I took my mother's and grandmothers' rhinestone brooches and earrings and put them on the tree too. Lovely, and a wonderful way to remember them. It is a very sparkly tree. It will not photograph well.

If someone broke in to rob me, they should skip the wrapped gifts and take the ornaments. Especially the Swarovski! Granted, they aren't worth nearly as much out of their boxes. Yes, I have all the boxes, of course I do.

I even started on the kitchen, but don't feel like climbing now. I wander in and do one or two things, then go back to bed. I am too snotty and restless to sleep, but too headachy to watch TV or read. Sewing is out of the question.

It is snowing, very light and rather pretty. I worry though, MyLarry is headed home in it in his big truck. I guess a semi is one of the safest places of all, isn't it? But he will have to commute home in the dark in our little Boo, a tiny Toyota.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bells, Bows and Balls.

I love holiday decorating. I got a slow start this year, sometimes I am just Not Into It. This is One of Those Times.

I had mylarry drag the boxes into the front room, except for the big silk garland box, and the biggest ornament box, and the blown glass box. I haven't had a full sized tree in a while, I could never fit all the ornaments on one of these little ones. He left the lightbox down in the basement too, that sucker is heavy. I hit the red velvet bows first; the carriage lamp outside looks like a giant candy cane and the porch has several big bows and a wreath to the side of the door. I don't hang the wreath on the front door because my glass storm door smushes it. I have a long red bow with streamers for the door. Pretty.

I got the bows done and tackled the three inflatable ornaments next. I huffed and puffed and blew them up, shiny plastic balls in bright colors. They aren't up, I can't reach the under-eave hooks myself. I took in the snowflake banner and hung out the ornament banner. While I was at it I decided to put the gold wreath above the fireplace. Hmmm. I had to take down my rusty metal stars to do it. Then I realized I hadn't used the balls last year, I had put out the stars and the giant metal jingle bells. So out come the giant bells. They're rusty and rustic like the stars and it all looks terrible with red velvet bows. Maybe I can swing the red bells with the red bows.

The kitchen gets green velvet bows, and a few red ones, and red wooden bead garlands. I have to climb up on the counter to do that, so guess what isn't done quite yet? I did get the tree up, scratching my arm pretty well in the process. Of course the bottom layer of lighted branches are not lighted. They are unlighted branches for now. I'll have to disassemble the darn thing and find the burned out light.

The stockings are hung from the back of the file cabinet with care. Let's see, find the tree skirt , last place I had it we were wearing it as a cape at DeCompression. Decide which tree topper to use, the Murano glass finial or the Swarovski Starburst? Throw some holly garland up down in the basement, toss the poinsettia crappola around the front room. Find the tree finial and switch it out with the Waterford seahorse on the lamp. Throw more lights in the window. Wrap a few gifts, send some packages on the way, do the cards. Bake? Perhaps, I only bake for the neighbors these days. They love that we go door to door with plates of fresh cookies and mylarry's homemade candles.

I really need to finish the Mrs. Santa dress; the house may be left half-done but I do not want to run around Vegas half-dressed. I'm a little bit beyond that phase. I'd do it in a heartbeat though if I were properly double-dog dared.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Responses and Foodie Dreams

Reading Mallozzi's blog brought up some random thoughts:

Re: the table and the explosion. Obviously the man has not spent time blowing things up for fun and profit.

Emily's dinner. We have things in common, Emily and I. I was a substitute teacher for seven years on base in Yokosuka. Enjoyed it immensely, although I tried to duplicate the experience here in the states, it was not the same.

I too have played a video game without the quarters. Some days my experience of the 70s is better left unremembered.

Food. What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? (Weird? Strange? Unusual?) Anyway, I think I have had camel, but considering my Farsi was sorely lacking and the man's English was worse, it could have been goat. At any rate, it was delicious. At the caravanserai we could get chicken in rice topped with butter and um, a berry I thought was a currant but is not. Yum. I will have to look that dish up specifically. And Weinerschnitzel at the German rs restaurant, and limeade made fresh from Persian limones. Currywurst in Berlin. Now I'm getting hungry.

Japanese food, well, are we talking odd ingredients or odd interpretations of Western dishes? I loved squid pizza at Shakey's, the corn pizza was second. Favorite Japanese fast food: teriyaki MOS burgers, with the big wad of lettuce and a glob of mayo. Their fries were killer and so was their coffee shake. I think the MOS is Mountain Ocean Sky. McDonald's served corn chowder, perfect in winter. Mashed potato salad served in a hot dog bun? Pizza with mayo? Not so much. French Pastry shops? I understand the meaning of "to die for." And Dunkin' Donuts, the 24 hour refuge of the strung-out partier waiting for the subways to resume operation.

When I went on the bus tour with my houseowner, we had lovely bentos in an old ryokan. I was intimidated by the "beef sashimi" but as it turned out, I really liked that also. Apparently Kobe beef is just as good raw as cooked. And a sad note, I don't like sashimi. I have had plenty of excellent sashimi, and it tastes fine, but I cannot get past the texture. Squishy. I don't like oysters for the same reason. There was a little bar and grill place near the train station, not a single word was in Romanji much less English. I could read some Hiragana and Katakana, but truthfully, I don't know the names of half the dishes I tried. "Kaki" is oysters. "Kaki Furai" Is Fried Oysters. Fu-rai = fry. Phonetic, try it out. I heartily dislike Kaki prepared in any fashion. I couldn't afford fugu, probably just as well. That's blowfish, deadly poison if prepared incorrectly.

Japanese street festival cooking is a whole other category. Okonomiyaki. I adore Okonomiyaki. Kind of a pancake with noodles and cabbage and seafood and an egg and ... well, yummy. And Tako Balls, although the real name slips my mind now. No, Octopii do not have testes; these were dough balls with a bit of octopus in the middle, sauced and sprinkled with norii. While I do like squid, I never got the taste for squid on a stick or squid jerky. Yakisoba is not exotic, but you can't have a festival without a yakisoba stand. Yaki = stir-fried and soba = noodles. Loosely. I also ate late night drunken cart food, udon or soba or yakitori. Udon is a fat noodle. Tori is chicken (most of the time) so it a was chicken on a stick. Yum. The chicken livers on a stick? Not so yum. Chicken feet on a stick? I have no clue, I skipped those treats. Eating is so much fun when you're freezing, the ground is swaying because you're this much too drunk, and the men want to fondle your American hips. I miss Japan.

Every New Year, our neighbor would bring us a beautiful bento box with delicacies she had prepared herself. The emphasis was on pickled things, the kampo was the best. I think that's a pickled gourd. The Golden Roe, I am ashamed to admit it, the very expensive Golden Roe got fed to the cats. Don't tell. Another neighbor made bamboo shoot rice for us each spring. We had a bamboo hill in the front yard, MyLarry dug up shoots and distributed them to the neighbor grannies. I never got the hang of cooking fresh bamboo. I did prepare fish pretty well, now and then MyLarry and the guys would get up at three a.m. and hit the Yokohama fish market. Vietnamese Black Tiger Prawns, doesn't get much better than that.

Passing through the Philippines, I had the chance to try dog and balut, but took a pass. Balut is the fermented chicken embryos. Fear made me sensible. I gorged on a variety of lumpia though, mmmm, like egg rolls, but so much better. Never made it to Thailand, but MyLarry says the roasted bugs aren't half bad. I will have to take his word on that.

Best seafood ever? Straight out of the Indian Ocean on Diego Garcia, cleaned, and onto the grill. Or into the wok or ... well, we had a bunch of appliances and the BBQ grill, and the guys had been fishing on the Mike-Boat all day. Shark and grouper and what else I don't know, but they were tasty fishies. Had hand-caught lobsters too, except they were languista (sp?). And beer and strawberry dacquiris. Life was good. The alcoholic donkey only made the outings more festive.

The Angel Tree, or Hurrah for Clearance Skulls!

Monday, Monday .. I ache, I feel beaten and I don't know why. Oh wait, could it be I was up and moving? Perhaps.

Saturday afternoon when MyLarry got home, I had a list of chores for him. The hot water heater needed the accumulated mineral sludge drained from the bottom; I had been washing my hair and ran out of hot water. Then he had to rescue the wisteria; the arbor holding it up had finally collapsed under the weight of snow and ice. And there was shovel the drive and clean out the critter cage ... and so on. That evening we went to see The Golden Compass with friends. I rather liked it; although the one person who had read the book did not. I didn't find it anti-religion, I found it anti-establishment. Guess it is all about perspective. The bears were cool. We had a nice late evening afterward, came home and drank wine and chatted in fronmt of the fireplace; the guys played Go and the women discussed sex. When Swarmed came on, we had to open a second bottle of wine. "Take a drink!" I forget the rules, but the movie certainly was fun.

We did not get our tree up. We did however, give our new neighbors my entire collection of Disney ornaments. These are the 3-D figures by Grolier and Hallmark. I am no longer into Disney, and never use the ornaments anymore; they were stored in a teabox. The couple has lived next door for around a year, nice kids, and now they're expecting their first baby. Someone had given them a little pre-lighted tree, and they did not have a single ornament for it. The plan was to wait until after Christmas when everything went on sale. We went over and asked if they would like some ornaments, they hesitated at first, but said yes. MyLarry carried the box over and we started unpacking ornaments. Each one is in a little box of its own. They had the greatest time, oohing and aahing over each one, recalling the movies they loved as children. We sat in the living room while they decorated their tree, Larry told stories about his pet snakes, how he caught an Eastern Timber rattler in mid-strike (no, really, he did) and how he delivered a baby on a speedboat (no, really, he did). A real Hallmark moment.

Borderline and Genius have their hands full with their families and the holidays. Apparently the FIL has decided that everyone should not be concerned with themselves, that the focus should be on making Christmas better for other people. Borderline and I decided that means participating in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. I have always wanted to do this, but need an accomplice. We went and picked out an Angel; a sixteen year old boy. I have more of an affinity for teenagers, little children frighten me. I was disgusted by the Angel card from a four year old asking for an MP3 player. What does a four year old know from MP3? Anyway, "our" boy is a big person, size 36x36 pants, XL shirts, and size 14 shoes. We searched and searched, but could not find pants that size. I settled on a 36x34 with a gift receipt. For gifts, the young man asked for vampire movies and MP3 headphones. The earphones were an easy find; Skull Candy brand, excellent choice, we all use them ourselves. Vampire movies, easy to find, nearly impossible to find ones NOT rated "R". I hope he has a good sense of humor; we got old classics with Christopher Lee. Shirts were simple, the Hot Topic clearance rack. Hope he likes the bands of the shirts we picked, Avenged Seven and Converge. I was in despair about the shoes, most stores don't carry size 14. We had found a pair of white athletic shoes, but I wasn't feeling it. We went into Zoomies (not how it is spelled), a snowboarder and skater shop in the mall. They had piles of shoes on clearance. The biggest was size 13. Then I spotted another pile over against the wall, nearly hidden behind a rack of hoodies. There on the bottom was a box labeled 14. Borderline dug it out. Indeed, there was a pair of size 14s, black suede slipper or loafer style, printed with SKULLS! Skulls! On clearance! Less than $20! The find of the year! Hurrah for clearance skulls! Borderline's FIL will get a nice card with the Angel Tree card tucked inside for his gift. Life has a way of balancing out.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I Will Not Garden in Cashmere, or Fallen Mums.

Brrrr ... Cold, wet and miserable outside. Raining steadily and there's a cold front pushing the moisture. We don't have snow ... yet. The rain should turn by tonight and we should have six to nine inches on the valley floor tomorrow. Snow, don't be wicked, I was talking snow. (MyLarry won't be home until late Saturday or early Sunday, I'm gettin' nuttin' on my valley floor tonight.) I decided it would be prudent to scoop the front yard before the snow fell. The fat dog hasn't wanted to go out; she stands on the porch and shivers, I know she needs to go. I made her come out with me. Scooping soggy turds in the cold rain is less fun than it sounds. And the dog still wouldn't come away from the dry sliver under the eaves. To kill time, I went out back and looked for poo. None to be found, but the maple has dropped the rest of her leaves. Bitch. Cricket followed me into the backyard, but wouldn't put a paw out from under the patio roof. I grabbed the clippers and headed out front and snipped my fallen mums, which I should have done weeks ago. Without my gloves too, my gardening gloves are in the wash and all I had in my pockets were my good cashmere set. I will not garden in cashmere. So NOW the dog gives in and makes a tidy pile after I put the shovel away. Sigh.

The rain makes my flowerbeds sad. We didn't crop the raspberry canes or dig up and replant the front iris bed; both sets of plants are drooping over and full of dead leaves and rotting vegetable matter. Once I warm up, I may hunt up my work gloves and tackle the raspberries. My gardening gloves won't even work for that. I just have the dreadful feeling my leather work gloves made it into the leather box with the spiked suspenders and the studded gauntlets. If I'm right, that box is somewhere in the garage, and we know how I feel about going into mylarry's garage!

Random advice for the day: don't try to clear dead maple leaves from the raingutter opening above your rain chain while it is raining. You get cold water down your sleeve and soak your inner cuffs. Then you say Bad Words.

The turkey carcass is making stock right this minute. My carver was not home in a timely fashion, he came by for a couple hours then headed to Idaho. Now he is headed for West Valley, then down to Vegas. Without a man to wield the blades, I dismembered the turkey with my bare hands. Pretty easy actually, and I got the meat off in large chunks with little shredding. It fell apart at the seams so to speak. I felt barbaric or medieval, and/or both. I may have growled during the ripping apart, I am uncertain. Now I am boiling bones. Take that, Genghis Khan!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Another Day, Another Turkey

MyLarry was to be home, so I cooked a wonderful bird, a 14 lb. turkey I'd been thawing. After a cold water bath in the sink, I shoved an onion and an apple up its bum, massaged it with oil, doused it liberally with garlic and celery seed and lemon pepper and sage and paprika. (The bath was for the bird, not me. I bathe in hot water in the tub.) Then I made little foil wingtip covers, poured a bottle of black ice tea in the pan, threw it on the rack and slapped it in a Very Hot Oven. A bit later I turned down the heat and let the bird bake. I did not baste, I did not use butter in the cavity as I normally do. Three and a half hours later, I stuck a thermometer in it and called it good. The smell drove me mad all afternoon. When I took it out, the bird was a beautiful allover brown with an herbal crust, crinkly and crunchly skin. I let it rest and finally whacked a chunk off. Oh my, this was the tenderest, juiciest turkey I had ever cooked. And Larry wasn't home to enjoy it. Or carve it for that matter. He got home at 3:30 in the morning, turkey was the last thing on his mind. (If you know MyLarry, you know what was on his mind, even at zero-dark thirty. Poor me. Not!)

The bird now rests in the fridge, swaddled in foil. I did not slice and dice it; turkey carving is not one of my skills. The entire kitchen still smells of spices and roasted happiness. I am glad I skipped Thanksgiving cooking; I have leftovers all my own now.

I did not make gravy. I did not feed the funky interior meats to my cats. I did not give any turkey to Cricket as she has unreliable plumbing.

Oh, did I mention this was a $.49 a pound bird? Hah!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Boring New Year

There are times when boring is good. Boring lets me do chores like change the cat box and clear the kitchen table. Boring lets me wash blankets and cut up the cookie bars. Boring lets me read some of my new F&SF issue. Boring means I started on my Furlow goggles rather than my Santa dress. Bad Maggie!

I did not dream about StarGate. I had boring dreams. The cat woke me up.

Boring is not boring enough for me to do the filing however. Filing has a deadline; it must be done in 2007. The New Year is important; I am compelled to pay as many bills as possible and clean up loose ends, and do as much housework as humanly possible. December is when I haul the slag, Depression and Jade-ite glass down from the top shelves in the kitchen and wash it all. I can go into the new year broke and exhausted, but not dirty and in debt. I picked this mindset up in Japan; paying your debts before the turn of the year is a Japanese cultural norm. The mortgage and car payments don't count unless I hit the lottery. In which case, I should begin buying lottery tickets up in Idaho.

Boring should mean writing out the holiday cards anytime now. Shoot me an email if you'd like a card. Seriously, I'll send cards to just about anyone. No, I am not stalking unwary readers. I'm not that bored. Yet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sweet dreams

Swilling my morning coffee, blogging before six in the morning. Why? The dreams from last night are bugging me. I do dream a lot, every night, I remember a lot of those dreams, and they're all in color in incredible detail. I do not usually have fictional characters in my dreams, or if I do they fade out almost immediately. Not this time, so I figured I'd get the main dreams down. Teach me to read the comments on other people's blogs!

I was on Altlantis (SGA you geeks), dating Rodney McKay. Huh? I had a cluttered little office with all my history and literature books from home stuffed in filing cabinet drawers and files everywhere. He was being sweet about my Liberal Arts education and that I was doing meta-analysis of the Atlantean culture rather than being a brilliant scientist unraveling mysterious technology. "That's so much better than your last job as cook." And my non-dreaming self who watches a lot of my dreams remarked, "What is McKay doing boffing the cooks?" Not that I dreamt about boffing, mind you, I did not.

I was important, as only I could see the city was infested with invading replicators. I was like a mole, spotting the enemy. But then I made the terrible discovery that the replicators were actually the aliens from V! (is the exclamation point mandatory?) And I had to infiltrate them, so there was a shower scene with the V-plicators ala StarshipTroopers. Nice to have my twenty year old body back, and all the aliens were hot alien babes. Soapy hot alien babes. My dream monitor self was disappointed at the lack of male shower-takers, I'm straight!

I was trying to escape with the knowledge of the V-plicators, to return to Earth and warn mankind, but the mid-point gate had been taken over by aliens unknown, and I ended up on some strange world. There was Daniel Jackson, also stranded on this world, looking fetching dressed in black. "Great!" My dream monitor said, "hot DJ shower scene!" No such luck. Daniel and I had been close friends at the SGC, co-workers with a history. So I decided to help him with collecting the crystal skulls and arranging them into a gate address to return home. I was deeply suspicious of the price tags stuck to each one; was I actually trying to expand my skull collection on his dime? We were sheltering in either a treehouse or sailing ship and had to share a splintery, rough-planked cabin. I was doing calligraphy in gold ink, Magda was my name. Daniel leapt away from me. "Magda? You're a Russian spy, you're stalking me! You want to harm my wife and child! And how could you date Rodney McKay? I thought you liked me!" He ran from the room while I wept, confused. How could he marry and have babies when I was stuck on Atlantis, so far away? "Magda?" my dream monitor remarked, "Actress who played Furlow on Farscape? How'd she get in here? Just because you're planning a costume for the con next November doesn't mean you should have her in a StarGate dream." Hey, it all made sense in my head!

There was much more, including a not-so-daring rescue by Rodney, but then it de-volved into other dreams, like waiting for Daniel for drinks on the steps outside a German church, anticipating attending the best Berlin raves, only to have Rodney show up to tell me we were actually in Lithuania and Daniel would never find me. In the end, hubbers showed up and took me home. My subconscious has a LOT to answer for! I mean, mylarry was dressed in a red satin top with a bow and a green and red kilt and red satin heels! Oh wait, nevermind, that's what he actually wore to Decompression, sans tiara. I'm still holding out for the Hot Daniel Shower Scene. Can't disappoint the Harem!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hamsters shouldn't rattle.

Last night, mylarry took Yakums out of his cage for a bit of petting and handling. Friendly hamster, begs to be picked up, funny looking with all that long, long hair. Larry had given The Rodent pistachios earlier; Yak gets all the closed shell ones to chew. Larry picked up Yakums and of course he wiggled. Rattle, rattle. Larry shook him gently, softly. Rattle, rattle. He had pistachios in his cheeks, and the nuts were rattling in the shells. Best remark I've heard lately, "Hamsters shouldn't rattle!"

I'm in stitches.

Well, not quite. I did get the Santa dress pattern adjusted (I hope) and the fabric cut. I am beginning to really hate the panne velvet. It wiggles and holds on the itself and stretches out. My edges look ragged and chewed. But hey, hey, I have it cut out. The cats helped; Harry ButtLicker got under the cutting board and Oide walked on the pattern. Then Harry curled up on the extra yardage, weighing it down with all of his 14 pounds, and Oide ate the pattern edges. Hmmm.

Actually simple pattern, bodice front and back with a neck band, sleeves, skirt front and back and a zipper. The faux fur trim counts for almost nothing as it is so easy to attach, merely time consuming. The crinoline arrived today as did the wide fur trim. I am set ... all I have to do is start pinning and basting and darting and sewing.

That leaves the Elf Jacket to make and that will be more difficult as I have to cobble together a pattern. The bodice for my Flame Coat has the right neckline; I have some 80s looking jacket patterns which have the right sleeves and body. Joy joy. Must dig up the bag of jingle bells, I have dozens of the things. Plenty of narrow fur trim, no problem. Now, do I want to line it? I can, I lined the Flame Coat. Hooks and eyes or frogs?

Random thought of the Day

Chocolate almond milk on multi-grain Cheerios tastes like Cocoa Puffs. Kinda. But not so sweet.

I have got to start eating real food.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Random Senior Moment

I had a nice lunch, chicken with raspberry sauce, and peas. I put the leftover peas in a glass dish, snapped the cover on, opened the dishwasher and set it in the top rack. I stood there and stared until I realized I had just put my dirty plate in the fridge.

Got Snow?

There wasn't supposed to be major snowfall in the valleys this far north, but we got it. Larry says it is snowing in Idaho Falls right now too. we have four inches where the snow is piled up on things such as my hanging garden lights, and twoish+ on the drive and walk. Still falling. The temp is right around freezing, but just above, so under all that delightful powder is slush. I bundled up and shoved snow around; I shoved a path into the backyard so the doggums can get back there. I shoved the snow off the porch and the front pad and the driveway to the neighbor's lawn so the mail carrier can get through. I shoved two tracks down the driveway to the street and did a bit of the gutter so we don't get an ice dam when it all freezes up. And it will. The slush under the snow was heavy, I did have to do some minor lifting, but I stayed low and used the knees. My knees are still in working order at least! I even broke a sweat, and was out of breath, but in that good I've been moving way. I have no doubt my back will talk to me tonight.

I don't know where Larry has stashed the ice melt; the pad and steps are going to be sheets of ice by tonight. I think there is a bucket of it in the garage, but mylarry's garage is foreign territory; I am not going in without a map and guide.

I let the dog out early, way before I shoveled. She went out the front door when I got the paper. She came back with snowballs attached to her feet and belly. She patiently let me fluff them off, but still tracked in a LOT of snow. She goes out the back door only! I'd forgotten!

I wore my old ski gloves. They're vintage now, turquoise leather. Tres 80s. Funny thing is, I live in Utah and I don't ski. When I lived here as a teen and twenter, I didn't ski then. I've only been skiing in Nozowa, Japan. Not well either. The trip was horrible because I had split with my ex and he still went on the trip with the sole purpose of making me unhappy. Still, I put on the dang gear and took the gondola to the top of the mountain. Anne taught me to ski; she let me put my skis between hers and lean on her back. I know, that's how kids learn. She's one of those gorgeous Amazon women who stand six feet barefooted. Not kidding, she is tall, beautiful and athletic. Married my good friend Greg and made lovely babies. Anyway, skiing, I was very good at straight downhill, rather poor on turning and stopping. I never got off the bunny run, I'd seen the field of moguls on my way up, and other hazards, including a single ski speeding its way down the mountain unaccompanied by a skier. We stayed in a funky Japanese inn, not nice enough to be called a ryokan. The snow was up to the eaves on the village roofs and all roads were snow-packed. The traffic was horrible, an eight hour bus drive took nearly 24 and we had no way to stop or turn around or find a train station to go home. It was interesting to say the least. Actually, I used the ski gloves to keep my hands warm when we rode the Harley in winter.

Friday, November 30, 2007


The cape is done, I did the hand sewing this morning watching the news and The Price is Right. Drew is not Bob, but I likes him! Obviously my hands did not hurt this morning. They hurt now so this will be brief. Mrs. Bucky is wearing the cape, she looks fabulous. I guess being bone thin does that for a person. I will post pics to Tribe for sure and here if I figure it out. Not tonight, I have SGA to watch and sacking out to do.

I have the paper pattern cut, I hope to make adjustments for the dress and get the fabric cut for it. I have ordered a crinoline to wear with it; my six hoop skirt is simply too unmanageable.

I have my referral, the letter should be here in a week or so. The AF doc said I'd done all the "other" stuff, injections, PT and so seeing a specialist was not unreasonable.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cherry Cordial

I still think "Cherry Cordial" is a good stripper name.

The nap attack happened, I slept for three hours this afternoon. That's a loooong daytime nap for me. My brother called to borrow the Trailblazer, so I got up and got dressed. I decided to sew and tackled the capelet I had cut out for the Mrs. Santa suit.

Panne velvet is drapey, stretchy, lightweight fabric which likes to curl up on the edges and cling to itself. Not the easiest stuff to work with. I am using a cherry red panne velvet for the Mrs. Claus dress and shoulder cape. I am not making the apron and ruffles version. Santa Rampage in Las Vegas calls for a dressier Santa Mate rather than a sugar and spice granny. The cape is lined, I'm using a pale pink. White would make me look as pale as a zombie. Or zamboni. I think maybe I should have gone with red after all, but what I had on hand clashed with the tone of the velvet.

Fortunately I have learned to doublecheck my pinning before stitching, and indeed I had pinned the cape and lining together backwards. So I fixed that. Then the sewing did not flow smoothly, I am not used to curved seams. I got through it anyway. I did a lot of topstitching which was not in the directions, but looks nicer. The hood was a booger to do, the tucks were not as big as they needed to be, and more curved seams. My slip-stitching looked like whipstitches, I pulled it out and did it once more, now it looks presentable. I still have to add a white frog at the throat, and the white fur trim around the bottom and the hood.

With the cherry red velvet, pink lining and white fur, I am going to look like a cherry cordial, not the liqueur, but one of those awful cream-filled cherry chocolates they sell by the box in drugstores. I'd rather be a dark chocolate cherry cordial, the kind with the booze-soaked cherry from Germany. Oh. Yeah. Or even the boozeless version from Sees. No creepy, seepy "creme" in those! Yum! Hope I will look yummy, but I know I will just end up lumpy and squat as usual.

Little Magic Pill

My brother ran me out to base this morning; I picked up prescriptions. I'm off Mobic and on Celebrex. I've taken this before, it worked well, but I was pulled off it during the Vioxx flap, about the time I started the Tamoxifen. Mobic isn't working at all anymore, so I hope the celebrex is worth taking the blood-clot risks with the anti-estroegn drug. We shall see.

I have an appointment tomorrow so my PCM can evaluate me for a referral. If he thinks I'm not bad enough to see a specialist, I'll sic my oncologist on him. She wants to refer me, but she can't,it has to go through base. Still, she's formidable, I'd hate to be on the receiving end of a pissed off phone call from her. I wonder how the "pain management" talk will go. I don't often have the major, overall pain like I did yesterday, but if I slip up and consume the wrong food, then it hits me like a ton of bricks. I'd like a bottle of ton o' brick pain reliever just in case. A small bottle at that, a dozen would last a whole year. But this is an Air Force doctor and they're notoriously bad at giving pain killers. Unless it is post-op, they hand out the opiates like candy post-op.

The joints are better today but I'm exhausted. I didn't think the pain had that much draining effect. It does. I did get minimal stuff done yesterday, although taking apart the coffee maker took some time. Even got all the stained glass and sun-catchers down so I can put up lights in the picture window. I want to sew today, and may be hit the scifi forums later. Sound Advice week and I'm slacking. I'm cranky though, and may just nap, many naps, big naps, micro naps, I can have as many naps as I like.

I also got a flu shot today. It itches. It itches a lot. And I feel ooky and headachy, but that's normal for me after a flu shot. Pfeh!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Early Morning Pity Party

Last night I grabbed a couple burritos from the freezer, slapped the roasted chilipotle raspberry sauce on them and chowed down before NCIS and DWS came on. I wanted hot food fast, and nothing else seemed good. Woe is me. One of them was a bean and cheese burrito, I didn't notice until I was more than halfway into it. I finished it anyway, how bad could it be? Bad, very bad, that's how bad. My hands begin to hurt right around ten and grew increasingly painful. Then my left hip pitched in, no position was comfortable. That spot between my shoulder blades began to throb, eventually it felt like there was something lodged in the bones. I got up and hunted up my left-over Lortab. That is not a fast-acting drug. I sat at the computer and played Solitaire with music on. I was edgy and restless and couldn't sleep even though I was terrifically drowsy. When the music began to buzz at me and hurt my ears no matter the volume, I went back to bed. I did doze off, with a cat on each side, but as usual, Oide got up and prowled Mylarry's bedside table, patting the humidifier. That cat has never touched the water from that thing, but he still tries all the time. Then he came back and bothered Harry until both cats were wrestling and jumping on the bed. Grrr. That was at three. And I was semi-conscious at five and then slept until just after seven. That was all I could stand. Now I still have pain in my hands this morning and a headache. I am pissed, can't I have more than one good day? And I still have not heard from the clinic nurse, I am tremendously annoyed with the base medical staff at this moment. You get what you pay for, I guess. This no airy thing is a pain, or conversely, dairy is a real pain. A literal pain, true pain, pain which is teaching me caution. I was hoping I could eat all the tiny tubs of yogurt I have on hand but no, I don't dare. And Larry doesn't like them much, he has become lactose intolerant. Dammit.

The cherry on the cake, this morning I found my wonderful new programmable coffee maker was dead. I got it apart, thinking a fuse had blown, but I can't see any fuses. I did see what looks to be a fried diode, the circuit board under it is crispy. No doubt that's the culprit. The question then is, can we find the right replacement diode? I know either of us can install it, that's what we did for an age and a day in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club. But if the diode fried, what did it take with it? The lights did blink last night, not enough to lose power or reset any electronics, but perhaps enough to kill the brewster. DAMMIT! Do Not mess with my morning joe!

Larry is in Colorado, post-Costco store delivery, although he may be on his way back by now. He has to stop to retrieve his chains and binders (load chains not snow chains) from a truckstop where a lady stored them for him. Something about weight and permits and divisible loads. Much bother and I'm glad I stayed home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Go Soak Your ... Head

Another random remark, another memory.

We were camping up in the mountains with the Rising Sons, the Japanese-American Harley group MyLarry rode with. Except they knew him as Howard because "Larry" just doesn't work in Japanese phonetics. We'd taken the van (long story) instead of my bike (longer story), so I was already a bit miffed. The weather was less than ideal and the tent sites were on platforms on the side of an extremely steep and muddy hillside. Knowing that Larry couldn't eat standard fare because of the nightshade thing (I was still okay), we'd brought our own eats. There had already been drama between our Shiba-ken and the Siberian Husky, and Larry "acquiring" a log footbridge, and so on. Then they sent some poor sap to our tent to collect the Y7,500 for the trip. I went over the edge. This was supposed to be Larry's farewell, and we weren't eating in the community kitchen, although I was perfectly willing to pitch in for the camp fees. I ponied up, grumbling. I knew the boys would be glad to see me go, I was not a docile wife. Their girlfriends were learning far too many bad habits from me, beginning with independence. The Sons saved the situation be gifting the money back to Larry at the bonfire later that evening. Riiiight.

The next morning, we got to use the hot springs. Sometimes these are co-ed, but this one was segregated. I went in and bathed in the shower area indoors, lovely pebbled floor and cedar bath stools and mats. The soaking pool was outdoors, it was crafted to look like it was surrounded by natural boulders and wild bamboo stands. You can bet every rock and leaf and pebble was carefully and artfully placed. Nature in Japan bows to the will of the artist.

There were two women in the pool, a mother and daughter I think. They were laughing and sitting on the jacuzzi jets along the inside edge of the pool. Riiiight. I sat along the boulders and closed my eyes. A light, cold rain was falling, but I was up to my neck in extremely hot water so I didn't care. Soon the ladies left and I had the place to myself. The view was stunning, the pool was on the side of a steep hill overlooking the valley. The pine trees were dark against the white fog, I knew there was a river in the bottom but I couldn't see it. The mountains and hills went up into the clouds, even though I knew they weren't all that tall, they seemed to go up forever. Absolutely gorgeous.

And yes, I tried out the jacuzzi jets, and yes, they made me giggle. No, of course I was not wearing a suit and did you even have to ask?

I miss my Japanese tub, as small and cramped as it was, I could soak like I did in the hot spring. I miss Japan a lot, although so much must have changed, a lot of things must be the same. The community family-style onsen are almost all gone. I'm sure the famous resort-style Roten-buro are still around and will be for a very long time.

I have so got to get a hot tub or sauna. No gazebo for me, I like the snow in my hair while soaking in the hot water.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Culinary 911

A random remark on the true false SGA thread brought up a memory of baking Christmas treats.

Now I am a fairly good and often adventurous cook, willing to jump right in there with new recipes. The military gave me that attention to detail schtick, so I usually turn out whatever I am trying to make given an intelligible recipe, plus the correct tools and ingredients.

When we lived in Yokosuka, we taught English to our house owner's nephew's children on Sunday afternoons. They served us beverages and snacks, we brought treats, eventually this grew into a weekly Sunday potluck dinner. Larry even got the husband interested in cooking because "all the great chefs are men." The very next week he had a green tea sponge cake prepared; he'd bought new pans and mixing bowls just for his creation. We thought that was great, his wife was happy he had even cleaned up the kitchen afterward.

We were invited to a Christmas party the kids were having, they were teens by this time. I made a star cookie tree. You make a series of star-shaped sugar cookies from very large to very small. Each cookie was iced with hard poured icing. Basically you boil the icing, tint it, and pour it over the cookies on a rack. The icing hardens as it cools leaving a beautiful smooth surface. Then you stack the cookies and decorate the tree with candies and gumdrops and piped icing. I had a star on top and birthday candles on every "branch." It was a lovely cake! One of the fanciest things I'd done to date, and all in my tiny Japanese oven. The oven was really a fish broiler, don't tell anyone. I had to bake the larger cookies one at a time, and made enough I had leftovers.

The party rolled on with drinks and games and gifts. The it was time to cut the cake, or at least present it and break it into edible chunks. We dimmed the lights. We lit the candles. It was lovely. The sugar icing caught fire and the whole thing went up in a spectacular blaze. Good thing most Japanese kitchens have a fire extinguisher or the entire house could have gone up! Larry got it put out quickly, and then we could laugh. I did cry a little bit later, but I still had a plate of lovely, tasty very flammable cookies to share.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

T-Day weekend Half-Time

Well, Saturday afternoon and mylarry is napping. No steel loads, so no work. Ah well, he's taken me shopping twice.

Turkey Day morning I was depressed and a bit angry. I just didn't want to do the dinner with the SIL. So when mylarry got a call from one of his driver buddies needing help, I said go for it. He wanted to move his alfalfa bales from the barn of a supposed friend. The driver used to live in Tooele and moved down to Orem; his wife trains horses and then sells then, or trains them for people. They'd been renting pasture and barn space from a friend, and he'd agreed to let them store their bales until they could move them later. Then the guy turns around and says "Move it or lose it." Meaning he'd use it for his own animals. Mylarry hooked up the trailer, we headed south and remarkably caught up with the driver buddy on I-80 (see me? I have my headlights on, behind the UHP). Got off at Lakepoint and headed into Tooele (Too-willa, but we call it Tooly). We pulled in to the driveway and driver-buddy had to hunt the guy up; his vehicle was blocking the access to the bales. Uh-huh. He grumbled and moved his car-jeep thing. Larry and his bud and bud's wife heaved and hauled while I sat in the SUV and listened to music. The buck and the paint in the corral kept watching us, intently asking with big horse eyes is we going to feed them? We didn't. The yellow rooster was obnoxious. The bales got moved over a couple blocks to another pasture, eventually they'll have to move down to Orem. Tooele still has homes with an acre or so of horse pasture as the backyards. The one home with the barn has new subdivision houses on either side, I wonder how long before the neighboring families complain about the manure. There was plenty of it! And we now have a trailer full of premium alfalfa sitting in the trailer in the driveway (covered load) waiting for Desi to take it to Idaho for her horse and her mother's animals.

So we came home and still made it to T-day dinner. Jeremy made a Fuzzy Navel for me, he's quite good at it. The food was good; not what I'd make, but still fine. John gave me some acrylic paints, I think that's my Christmas gift. Mi-chan made a from scratch no-bake cheesecake, which I couldn't have anyway, but it was cute to hear Jeremy tell her, "This is delightful." Very adult and gentlmanly. I'm not used to him being 19!

Friday morning we got up, not too early, and hit a few sales. Larry wanted an extra 19.2 volt battery for his power tools. I wanted fabric for our Santa outfits, so we went to Jo-Ann fabrics. Oh my. We pulled a cutting table number early, and a good thing too, we were there nearly five hours. It was worth it because I really needed the panne velvets, and we scooped up some holographic clearance fabric, silver lame snakeskin and red silky spiderweb fabrics, faux fur trim, linings, and some flame fleece to make a truck blanket for him. We hung around with the Mormon Moms who were all scooping up the fleece and flannel for Christmas quilts. They'd look in our cart and ask, "What are you making?" "Costumes." "Oh, for plays?" "No, for Burning Man and for Santarchy." Some of them thought it was cute, some of them just edged away from us. Hehehe. It didn't feel like we waited that long, Larry was running around chatting and helping all the ladies whose husbands wouldn't be caught dead in a craft shop. When I hit the cutting table, he got in the checkout line; he was at the front of the line when I finished. Perfect. Now I have to sew an Elf Jacket for him, and a Mrs. Santa dress and cape for me, and maybe a Naughty Santa's Helper outfit too.

Today we went to the mall. There's a new store with nice things from India and Nepal; I got a Shiva for my Idols collection; and a black and silver skirt, larry got a new purple-striped shirt. Then into the main mall. I picked up red gloves for my costume, larry got fuses and an elf hat with jingle bells and elf ears on it. Looks cool with his beard. I wanted black leather biker gloves for my Farscape costume, but couldn't find any. Ended up with more body wash from B&BW. He's napping now, poor guy must be tired to sleep in the middle of the afternoon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

LJ whine

Just move to the older post about laundry, far more entertaining. I posted on LJ about the Food Thing, a comprehensive list of what should not go into my mouth. Grrrrr. felt good to categorize it all, but it mad me angry with the design flaws of the human body. grrrr.

My Left Sock

So this thought has been bubbling and brewing ever since a remark was made on the SGA forum about the military being out of uniform. There's a long chain of thought that I'm not including here, but eventually my mind began wrapping around one concept. "Who does the laundry on Atlantis?"

I mean, did the Ancients leave a recognizable and functioning laundry facility behind? Would Earth fabrics be okay in it? And what do you use in the machines? Not quarters, surely. That's like every world speaking modern English ... oh wait, Nevermind.

I know how a ship's laundry works, and I'm assuming field laundries are similar. So that means everyone on Atlantis has their name stenciled in their underwear. No need for dogtags, just check the waistband of the Fruit of the Looms.

And if Earth sent along a fully operational laundry with washers and dryers and dry cleaning machines, what about the hook-ups? Where does the greywater go? Surely they wouldn't just dump it in the ocean; we should have learned that lesson the 20th century! And how much detergent do you need, and can you imagine the chaos if you ran out of fabric softener? All that would have to come from Earth, unless there was a trader in the Pegasus galaxy specializing in Downy and Cheer.

Atlantis is an all volunteer force, who volunteers to go to the Pegasus galaxy to do the wash? Here are Earth's brightest and best; the scientists, the researchers, the military. Adventurers, smart and sharp, and very, very busy. So who is the guy, or gal, probably plural, who attend to the laundry? How do you pick the best? Is it the person who never loses a left sock, never starches the underpants, never turns the T-shirts pink? Is there a reason the folks on Atlantis wear so much black? Not because it looks cool, but because it doesn't show dirt? And those sleek uniforms, are they wash and wear? Is there a mini uniform shop on Atlantis in case you lose your collar devices?

I shouldn't be allowed to think in a vacuum.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Back Home

I had completely forgotten how tiring truck travel can be, I'm beat. I decided to ride with MyLarry to Vegas; we headed down Sunday and came back Monday. We did nothing exciting, and I still feel like I've been on a three day bender.

The ride down was nothing remarkable, although the fire damage from the Milford Flat fires is still very evident. It was dark by the time we crested the hill overlooking Vegas, the city lights sure a purty in that black desert night setting. SME is the steel company sending down the beams and whatnot to the construction sites, they have a section of Frank Sinatra Drive (BLVD?) blocked off right behind The Excalibur. The view out our windshield was of the Luxor and the Mandalay Bay, very pretty. It didn't hurt that the big billboard in front of us was of the Thunder from Down Under men. Sigh. Half naked men, can't go wrong there!

We wandered around the Excalibur and ate at the buffet. It isn't cheap but with all the new food allergies, it is easy. Larry won me a wizard hat, tall and pointy, the way I like 'em. Left it in the truck, ah well. we talked about going across the way to New York New York to Coyote Ugly, but didn't really feel up to it. We went back to the truck and canoodled. Just as well, we were up at dawn to get the steel unloaded.

BTW, truck beds are singles, singles which are surrounded on three sides by padded truck walls. Cozy, very cozy. And I had forgotten the joys of baby wipe showers and camp toilets, because I was NOT going to hike a parking lot and a half and through a casino just to piddle. Larry had yesterday's coffee in the thermos and heated it in his plug-in mug. Yum, leftover joe and generic toaster pastries for brekkies. I forgot to take my meds, probably why I'm so stiff today.

So, in the morning the steelworkers came over with a forklift to move the sundry items Larry had hauled, ladders and cable and propane carts. The steel had to be taken into the pit. That's quite the maneuver. We had to drive onto I-15 and then exit, in morning traffic yet, and then drive onto the Strip. Now trucks aren't allowed on the Strip, but since that's the only way into the construction zone, there's permits and exceptions. So I got to see the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo on the fresh morning sun from eight feet up. Too bad I only had my point and shoot camera, and there's mirrors and such in the way on the passenger window, or I'd have had lovely pictures. And Vegas drivers are incredibly rude and aggressive, I mean, you KNOW your lane is ending, why try to force your way in beside the Big Honkin' Truck? I mean, we have far more lug-nuts, figure it the freak out!

As we pulled up to the construction, the flaggers came out and stopped traffic. There's a ramp down into the pit, it is very narrow. There's heavy equipment and cranes and forklifts and rebar and steel and pipes and more all around. The towers and buildings are soaring up above you, menacingly incomplete. A traffic guide walks in front of the truck until you are down in the pit. There were monster cranes on each side lifting beams into the towers; men were hanging and sitting up there guiding the beams into place hundreds of feet in the air. Even though I was in a semi, and a heavy haul semi at that, I felt tiny and vulnerable. One slip and squish! I couldn't get out to use the portos, I had no hard hat and that's the rules. I thought they would use a crane to lift the load, but no, there was a forklift for that. I always thought of forklifts as cure little things, nu-uh. Some of them are huge beasts, apparently.

There is not enough room to turn a semi around in the pit; Larry had to unhook from the trailer and turn the tractor around. They lifted the flatbed trailer up with the forklift, we had to drive past it. All those wheels in the air right at my eye level! YIKES! Then mylarry stopped, they put down the trailer and he coupled it up. Wowza. I'd never been down in the middle of a real construction job site as big as this one, massive scarcely begins to describe it.

The ride back up was almost uneventful, a big duststorm closed I-15; the fires have left the ground bare; any wind whips up dust like mad. and we detoured on a two-lane highway through Kanosh and Meadow. We detoured on a two-lane highway through Kanosh and Meadow; old Utah towns with the stone and brick homes. The highway is actually Main Street, all the sheriffs and fire volunteers were parked to see that the traffic behaved itself. The shoulders are as wide as a traffic lane, I could see why jerks might try to use them for passing on the right.

later we stopped to get a drink and take a break, I spotted some deer up on the lower foothills. Normally I never see them, but these were out in the late afternoon sun. Larry was counting them, but he was counting one herd and I was counting another. deer season is over and they're coming down before it gets cold up in the mountains. Dozens of them grazing near the cow pastures. We hit Happy Valley in time for the evening rush hour, it was full dark by the time we made it to West Vally. We got into Boo and headed home again, home again. I was so tired I fell into bed; this morning I'm stiff and out of sorts. My schedule is all messed up!

Friday, November 16, 2007

More? You want More?

Okay, why do I need a third venue for a journal? Simple as pie and cake. On Tribe, those people know me, Anti M, many of them face to face. Although I'd never say an unkind word, sometimes I need to vent into the great electronic void, faceless, anonymous. Tribe is too personal. That's where I can host pictures, that's my art space, my Burning Man-centric world. As is Eplaya, which is just a BBS, but more revealing than any blog in some ways. Livejournal also has folks who know me, but that's where I dump my really tough pity party stuff; the surgeries, the cancers. In fact, I'll go Whine and Cheese about being awake at 3 ayem with arthritis pain any moment.

What am I doing here as MaggieMayDay AllOneWord instead of my gentler Anti M self? Anti M is wise and patient, "a legend" no, really I got called that on Tribe, but MMD is the old Hayduke persona which has legs all its own. MMD doesn't much care. MMD wants to bite and kick and snarl, all while laughing at the absurdities of the multiverse. (Yes, I know, LJ is MMD also, but those who know understand that's Anti M before the new playa name stuck like glue).

So, where to find me:

Ah, I separate the blogs but provide links to them all. Yes, I am one confused woman.