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.