Sunday, January 29, 2012


I tried our tiny neighborhood grocery and big chain supermarket Dominick's, but they were both out of Twinkies yesterday.

Is it the beginning of the end?

My favorite color is PINK

I have a new iPad cover that's bubblegum PINK and it makes me happy.

My co-workers were surprised when I told them my favorite color is PINK. I think this is because:

1. They know I like winter, gray skies and avoid sunlight.

2. At work I wear a lot of conservative, professional colors, such as black, brown and gray (but I also wear more PINK and red than anyone else).

3. I'm not the most optimistic, chirpy person in the building.

Does one's favorite color usually reflect one's personality as others see them? I come across as a serious person with a dry sense of humor who doesn't like going outside when the sun is shining, but I have always loved PINK, without shame.

I just wanted to clarify.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Today I am exactly 45 and a half years old. In this photo I am three years old and my sister, Judy, is two (I have just one sibling). At this time, we lived in Los Angeles, California USA, but we were visiting a snow-covered Mt. Wilson, which is in Los Angeles County, but (clearly) at a much higher elevation. It was March 21, 1970 (impressively, my parents put dates on the backs of all photos. Now I do, too).

We're sitting on a picnic table piled with snow. The ground is also covered and Judy is holding a fledgling snowball. I wonder what she did with it. Another reason you can tell we're not in L.A. is that we never wore boots and mittens like that in Los Angeles (ha!). That was our serious snow attire.

Yes, Judy was the cute one. In my face you can see the beginnings of worry and overfunctioning and in my hair you can see an early stage of the mane. I had great hair for the 1980s, but then the '80s ended...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sopa, not SOPA

Yesterday's actions against the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation seem to have been effective. I like to think Cindylu's blog, Loteria Chicana, did its part, too. Cindylu created this excellent photo. I love it! Please see her blog for the explanation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


My first and only trip out of the United States happened between August 28th and September 10th, 2010. One more reason to regret going was that traveling in Peru and Bolivia prevented me from donating blood for a whole year. I resented that.

Last night, for the first time since July 2010, I gave blood. It was great. I had tried to make an appointment a couple of times since September 2011, but last night I finally got past all the obstacles that had kept me from it and bled!

I like giving blood because it’s one way you can save lives when it’s convenient for you (rather than, say, running out into the cold to beat off an attack at four in the morning). My dad worked in a hospital for decades and I remember seeing him come home with the “Be Nice to Me, I Gave Blood” sticker. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to start giving.

In fact, I took the first chance I got as a freshman in college. I didn't quite make the weight minimum, but I didn’t care. I wanted to give so badly I lied to the intake nurse who looked at me doubtfully. Giving blood felt fine and I gobbled cookies and juice with joy afterwards.

Later in my English class, I didn’t feel so great, but in decades of giving blood, I never had that reaction again. I gained weight quickly in the U.C. Berkeley dorms and have stayed well above 110 pounds ever since (OH yeah, NO problem).

Why would anyone turn down the chance to save up to three lives when it costs you nothing and you can do it in your spare time, whenever your schedule allows?

Donate blood, damn it. If you can’t give, please recruit someone who can. It's a wonderful thing to do, plus you never know when it’ll be you bleeding on the pavement.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dogs don't need this stuff

When we first got our dog from the shelter last fall, we took him to the veterinarian. Among other things, I asked if a lean, short-haired dog like Ozzie would need protection from the weather. Should we get him a coat or some shoes? She said no. Dogs don't need weather protection.

I like how a veterinarian put it who was interviewed for National Public Radio. She said, "I've never seen a dog with a condition that made me think if only this dog had been wearing shoes."

That's good enough for me. Even in 10F/-12C degrees, Ozzie will go "barefoot" and "naked." I just keep him moving and keep the walk short.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hostess Snack Cakes in trouble

Yesterday Hostess filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. I suggest one of the following responses:

"Thank goodness. If we can finally get rid of that junk food, so much the better."

"Quick, go out and eat some Hostess snack cakes. It's for the good of the American economy!"

I'm leaning towards the second one.

(Who the heck would build their wedding cake out of Twinkies?)

[Update on 16 Nov 2012: Wow, they're really disappearing! It's surreal. It's shocking. No more Hostess, no more Twinkies, although there's a good chance someone else will pick up the Hostess lines and start producing them. Maybe we'll have Keebler's Twinkies or Nabisco's Ding Dongs. Yeah, it doesn't feel the same...]

Saturday, January 07, 2012

If the world were ending...

But if the world really were going to be destroyed in December 2012, what would you spend the next year doing? I like this question because it precludes all that "leaving your mark" crap or preparing others for when you're gone. In this scenario, we'll all be gone.

So let's say you, and only you, know that the world is guaranteed to end on, say, 31 December 2012. What would you spend the time doing, knowing that there's no question of leaving anything or anyone behind?

I'd spend the time focusing on my friends, family and dog. I'd probably also eat everything in sight. At the end of the year, Bob and I would blow our savings and 401k's on some incredible four-week vacation. Then we'd all die. (Bob says we should do this anyway.) My aunt pointed out that if the world doesn't end after all, this would leave me broke and fat. True, and sadly I think that's what happened to some people who fully believed they were going to heaven last May 21st.

But let's say it's guaranteed to end. Most of my friends who I've asked have said they'd spend the year traveling. Maybe that's a typical answer. What would you do?

Free time with my husband

One of the odd things about my marriage is how little our work schedules sync up. We don't even have the same days off. I work a regular paper-pushing job with business hours. Bob works in a restaurant that's open 365 days a year (no holidays off) and his days off are Tuesday and Wednesday.

This works out well for our dog, Ozzie, who's rarely alone compared to most dogs owned by fully employed people. Four days a week he has a whole human to himself, and Bob and I tend to spend lots of time in the apartment. Two days a week Bob often works the second shift, so Bob might leave Ozzie around 10a or 11a and then I'm home by 6:00p. Only on Mondays do Bob and I both leave early. Mondays are long for Ozzie, but we have a dog walker who he likes.

This scheduling problem doesn't work out so well for our marriage. The last time Bob and I had the same day off was in November, and that was our first day off together since August. We only have days off together if I use my vacation days, which I'm planning to do again soon. That one Friday we both had off in November was a total miraculous fluke and we were going to take full advantage of it only I came down with bronchitis (that was my first full day of crappiness).


So watch this space for the exciting announcement of when Bob and I are going to spend a Tuesday and Wednesday together, every second, for 48 hours! I can't wait.

Monday, January 02, 2012


The Christmas season is over and I often feel sad during the first few days of January, but this year I don't. It's possible that coming down with bronchitis during the long Thanksgiving weekend and then taking weeks to recover from the resulting pneumonia had an effect on my Christmas spirit. I notice that because the holidays didn't grab as much of my attention, their departure doesn't feel like as big a loss as it has other years.

I'm also more grateful than ever for Chicago's cold weather. Now that I have to walk a dog most days of the week, I've become even more sensitive to the negative effects of sunlight and heat. I dread summer, when going outdoors causes me a sun rash (different from a burn). Walking our new dog last September, and during that warm October, was a big, uncomfortable drag. But when the days get short and the sun recedes from the northern hemisphere and the temperatures drop, walking outside becomes much more comfortable for me.

I also like how much quieter the city is when the air is frigid. Not only does crime go down when temperatures drop, but far fewer idiots hold their arguments outside at 2:00 a.m. in February than in July. People close their windows, hold their parties indoors and do a lot less standing around outside, talking and shouting. Winter is my reprieve from the general city noise of people who refuse to go inside and be quiet unless it's colder than 40 degrees F.

Winter is quieter and darker in Chicago than it can ever even approach in my home state of California. That's why I moved here 18 years ago. I love Midwestern winter.

It's not hard to let go of the sparkling celebration of the winter holidays for me. Sure the big party is over, but at least I have four or five months ahead of me before the heat comes back. Ahhhh, winter. My favorite.