Monday, October 31, 2011

Ramdom Thought # 9

Why can't they make movies that don't suck anymore? Are there no more original ideas anymore? Come on Hollywood make something that's entertaining and has substance.

My Family's in Town

We are a normal group. A very functioning, dysfunctional bunch. I grew up a block away from my aunt and uncle. After my grandparents died, they moved to Hawaii. It was very strange because we went to seeing them every week to once a year. I did love visiting them in Hawaii, though. It was like my home away from home. My dad’s best friend also moved to Hawaii around the same time. When we would visit, we would stay a week in Honolulu to visit my dad’s friend then fly to Kauai to see my aunt and uncle. In Kauai before they built their house, my aunt and uncle lived on a fruit plantation. We would walk out the door and pick a grapefruit for breakfast or a starfruit or plantains right off the trees. It was heaven. Five years ago the unthinkable happened. My uncle decided to move. To Alaska. I have no idea why but I’ve never really wanted to visit Alaska. Before they moved, my cousin, their daughter, and I decided to visit one last time. We were both looking forward to going out to the bars at night and having fun. Then the week before we left she found out she was pregnant. We still went and had fun but I still have not been to a bar in Hawaii. Her son just turned four in September. My aunt and uncle have decided to move back to Washington. Four years of Alaska has been enough. They are back looking for some property. This weekend was like family weekend. I got to babysit my nephew (really second cousin) with my aunt. We went to Chucky Cheese. And we had some big family dinners and it was like they never left. I love my aunt’s cooking. I like my uncle’s stories. I’m glad they’ll be back.

Canada, Harness Racing and Pumpkins

I was supposed to go to a party for Milly’s Dad on Saturday. It was his sixtieth birthday and there was a surprise party in the works. A potluck and I was going to bring the deviled eggs. Unfortunately, I forgot that I made plans with my mom. We were going on the Senior Center Bus to Canada to Fraser Downs to see the harness races. On Friday night I went to Milly’s house to make the eggs I had promised. On Saturday we met the bus and saw that there was also a van. They tried to split us up but I insisted on staying with my mom. It was pouring down rain and I don’t care for the bus driver, he is aggressive, speeds and tailgates. Thankfully we got to ride in the van. The driver’s name was Leonard Skinner, freaking awesome. I asked him if he knew that his name was very similar to a certain band. He knew of course and we chatted on how they named their band. He was a very good driver and I felt much safer in the van, I even took a little nap. As we approached Bellingham, traffic slowed down considerably and I counted four separate accidents. I can’t believe that people who drive in the rain on a daily basis still don’t know to increase distance. It boggles the mind that people in western Washington have no idea how to drive in the rain. Leonard decided to get off the freeway and went around the stopped traffic. Which was a good idea. We met the bus by the border and made our way into Canada. I love Canada. It’s so friendly and inviting. We made it to Fraser Downs with time to spare. The casino was open so I quickly lost ten dollars on the slots. I couldn’t help it. It was a Wizard of Oz penny slot. It was made for me. Shortly after, they opened the doors to the Gameclub where the horse betting took place. They had a buffet. I’m not a big buffet fan but it was very good food. After the food was served, the horses started racing. Harness Racing looks a little like the horse is pulling a rickshaw. We stayed for seven races. I won on the second and seventh race. I became the runner for our table since I was the youngest one with a bunch of seniors. All in all our table did very well. Nothing big since none of us bet more than $2. The entire group left in a timely manner and some of the ladies wanted to stop at the Duty Free. My mom quickly jumped out of the van and hustled in. I’m a little broke so I decided to stay in the van. We made it back through customs with no trouble and got back in the states. I took a nap on the way home. It was a very fun day and to be completely honest I think I had more fun with the seniors then I would have had at the party. The next day my friends and I had a pumpkin carving party. It was Annie, Milly, Dom and I and Dom’s seven-year-old son, Brandon. Brandon was excited to get to carve his very own pumpkin by himself. His dad watched over his shoulder while he made an adorable pumpkin that had a little tiny face. It looked obese. Milly made her pumpkin look like a redneck with buckteeth and big ears and Annie made a cat face. I decided to make a scary pumpkin this year so mine had with fangs and slanty eyes. I love this time of year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Human Bowling

Oh... you haven't heard of this new craze? Human Bowling? Maybe that's because I just started it Saturday night. It all started in a garage. Milly has a garage her dad built behind her house. It's three times bigger than her house and is a kind of orange color. It's hideous. Oh did I mention the forest green trim? Yeah. It could easily fit five cars in it. That's how big it is. He keeps a couple cars that he's working on in there but there is all sorts of other cool stuff in there. On Saturday night Josh came over and he, Dom, Milly and I decided to go hang out in the garage. After the boys talking about cars for what seemed like twenty-four hours I started to look around to find something to play with. I found a blue tricycle. It's cobalt blue, which in my opinion is the prettiest of all the blues. I got on the tricycle and started to try to peddle it around. Everyone stopped talking and watched me and decided this was much more fun than whatever they were doing. Then they all tried to ride it. Dom actually did very well which is surprising since he is the tallest in the group at well over six feet. Then out came the boards for making jumps and video cameras. There might have been a little alcohol involved. I was completely sober, which is why it makes no sense at all that I would find a repair creeper and have a genius idea. A repair creeper is the thing that has six wheels, it rolls, you lay on your back underneath cars. So I get this thing out and I'm like Human Bowling! We set up garbage cans and buckets and Milly got a helmet because "Safety First!" One person lies on the creeper, another pushes into the garbage cans and of course one person video tapes it all. It really is fun. And it doesn't hurt as much as you would think. I do however have a ton of bruises. It's definitely one of those things that bring you closer to your friends.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Random Thought # 8

Why do all the liquor stores in Washington state look like tiny little prisons?

Anatomy of a Cold

Disclaimer: The following is a complete whine fest!
I'm sick. In many ways. Now I can add physically. It all started last Monday with a general icky feeling. Tuesday brought on the sore throat. On Wednesday it was pretty clear I had to clear my schedule because I had a full blown cold. I don't get sick very often. In fact, I can't remember the last time I actually had a cold. I've had the sniffles a couple times but this time I was bed ridden for 5 days. I remember when I was a kid and getting sick was almost fun because you got to stay home from school and watch TV and your mom took care of you. Being an adult and getting sick is so boring. I spent five days in my bed. FIVE DAYS! It was awful. Really the sickness is the worst part, not being able to sleep because of the coughing and the body aches, headaches and blowing your nose till it's red. I'm allergic to cough medicine and after the first part of the head cold, it moved south to the dreaded chest cold. At first it felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. Every time I would try and cough it would get tighter and I felt like I couldn't breathe. Then it turned into a wheeze fest, with a really nice crackly cough but at least it was producing something. It's all bad but the boredom is mind numbing. After a day I realized there is nothing but crap on TV anymore. Then I turned to Netflix, after a day there's nothing but crap on Netflix too. Video games are impossible to play in between coughing fits. I've read all the books I own. I couldn't clean because I had no energy and it kicked up too much dust. Yesterday I started to feel like I just might live through this. Today I was like "Hot damn, I'm going to work!" I've never felt so happy to be at work before. I think that getting sick puts things in prospective. I'm really glad that I'm a mostly healthy person with a job to get me out of the house. Things could be a lot worse!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Grandma's Cooking

I've mentioned before that all of my grandparents have passed away. You see, my parents were in their late-middle years when they met. My parents had both already been married and divorced and surprisingly had no children from their prior relationships. Well they got married and a year later I was born.  My mother was in her forties when she had me. Her father had already passed away. My mother's mother lived in California and I only got to see her once a year or so*. My father parents were my main set of grandparents. Every holiday we would go to their house. My Grandma was one of the best cooks in the world. We would always have these elaborate dinners on Christmas eve. I miss them, my grandparents, and the dinners. When I was twelve my grandpa, then my grandma died. Eleven weeks apart from each other.  My grandma died two weeks before Christmas. It was pretty rough. I'm having a really hard time remembering them as I get older. So, I have this idea. I'm a decent cook. My mom always tell me I have a natural gift from my grandma. I want to use it to remember. I think in the next year or so I am going to try and cook one of her recipes once a week. The only problem is that she didn't write any down. My grandma was Swedish. She used to make a ton of traditional Swedish foods, and a lot of non-traditional foods. I know my aunt had some recipes written down but unfortunately she also passed away. I'm just going to have to wing it. I can call my cousins and the rest of my family and see what foods they remember. I'm pretty excited! I'll post each week with the food I made and how it turned out.

*My mother's mom had some medical issues and eventually moved in with us when I was eight. I don't want to misrepresent her. She was involved with all of our holidays after she moved here from CA. She used to watch me after school and I loved her very much. It's just the point of this post is the cooking and she wasn't the greatest cook. And good God, she had a temper. She passed away when I was 18 and I miss her very much.

UPDATE: I've decided to make a new blog for this topic.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Housesitter Extraordinaire

For a little extra money, I house/pet sit. It started when I was sixteen, and my cousin was going out of town so she gave me one of her jobs. Ten years later, I have a bunch of regulars and get referred out all the time. I read somewhere that one of the biggest reasons people don't go on vacations is because of their pets. That's where I come in. I love animals. People can tell I love animals and that is why they feel comfortable leaving me alone in their houses with them. It's like a mini vacation, with responsibility. Not that I haven't had bad experiences, but for the most part it's easy money. And people pay big to make sure their pets are taken care of. I've made about $500 in the last three months. The most animals I've ever taken care of at one time was ten, including three horses. This whole family went out of town at once. Three houses. Fortunately for me they all lived on or around the same street. So I took care of two dogs, two cats and three horses at one house, two dogs at another and one dog at the last one. I stayed at the house with the horses. The first night, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and I look out the window and there's a horse looking at me. I think I jumped about three feet. Thank God I know how to put a lead on a horse. Then the dogs at the second house got out and took off. They were gone a whole day and I was told they do this sometimes and eventually come home. They did but I have to tell you, I was so scared. Then the horses got out again. All of them. I had to call a friend to help me get a hold of them all. She did not know how to put a lead on a horse and is only five feet tall. She was a little intimidated. I just told her to stand her ground and don't show fear because they are smart. She did and was amazed in the end she actually got a lead on the horse. It was incredibly funny watching her trying to yell at a horse. I found out where the break in the electric fence was and fixed it. That was an extremely stressful weekend. One of my biggest fears is having an animal die on me. I have watched many, many animals that were very close to the end. Only one has died on me. A Zebra Finch. I didn't know what to do so I wrapped him up in a paper towel and put him in a ziplock and put him in the freezer. I left a note and the lady called me and told me not to worry he was old. One time a little dog tricked me into giving him a treat every time he came in and gained two pounds in two weeks, a lot for a little dog. His owners were my bosses at the time and they teased me about it all the time. I guess he couldn't jump up on the couch, he was so heavy. This weekend I was house sitting for a new lady for the first time. She is a RN and she works with my best friend Milly. She left to visit her son in So. Cal. As she was showing me around her house, she mentioned that she had a small mouse problem but she was pretty sure that she had gotten them all. She had two mouse traps out. Everything went fine the first couple nights. She has a shih tzu and a beagle-lab mix. In the middle of the third night, Barney the shih tzu, started barking and woke me up. In my experience, dogs often bark at nothing in the middle of the night. I looked around the house didn't see anything and went back to sleep. In the morning, I found one of the traps had caught a mouse. A very large mouse. I'm not a fan of mouse traps. I feel they are inhumane but it's not my house, not my decision. I tossed the body in the woods and threw the trap away because it had blood all over it. Last night I was cleaning up and I noticed the other trap had sprung but not caught anything. I reset it. I heard it go off right before I fell asleep last night. I felt horrible. I know that mice are considered vermin but I still feel bad for the little guys. As I mentioned before I have always had cats. Whenever we had a mouse problem, the cat would take care of it. That doesn’t make me feel as bad because it’s the natural instincts of an animal. But I had killed this mouse. I drifted into a restless sleep around one in the morning. When I woke up around five thirty this morning, very early for me, I heard shuffling around in the room I was in. Both the dogs were in the bed with me and completely asleep. My blood turned cold. I knew it was a mouse. I also knew I wasn’t going to get back to sleep. I looked at the sleeping, useless dogs and woke them up. Then I heard scurrying in the kitchen. As I turned the corner from the bedroom to the kitchen I saw a GIANT rat. Dogs did nothing, I screamed and ran to the bedroom got all my stuff, threw it in my car and sat there a minute. I knew I had to go back in because the dogs were outside and I needed to let them back in. I decided it probably ran away and was hiding after I screamed. I gathered some clothes for the day, let the dogs back in and ran to the bathroom. I took the fastest shower ever and got dressed. Got the dogs in the designated room. And left a note. " I think I saw a rat this morning." I was at work two hours early. I hope the dogs will be ok. Seriously, it was huge! She comes home today. I’m waiting for the call. I’m going to tell her to get a cat.