We saw A Mighty Wind last night, which was really funny. I definitely recommend it to anyone who has a quirky sense of humor (which obviously means any friend of MINE).
I got my hair cut today. Here's a plug for my friend and stylist--if you want a fantastic cut, see Jennifer Bailey at Faux Salon in Campbell (408-378-FAUX). In addition to a great cut, you'll get to see pictures of Jennifer's darling baby Sadie who is just a little older than Seana. My hair looks wonderful, as usual (that is, as it usually does on the DAY I get it cut, which I generally fail to duplicate once I leave the salon). I've still got it cropped real close which suits me well and makes it very easy in this warmer weather. Can't have too much hair blowing around in the Miata! :) Oh, and I'm back to my natural color, for those of you who were wondering what happened to the blonde. And for those of you who WEREN'T wondering, I was blonde for a while :).
I really have to find a way to post some pictures here. We've got pics from Alcatraz and Grampa's birthday, plus I want to take some pictures of the jewelry I made (a pendant and a ring) in my jewelry class. Yes, it was an 8 week class and I only finished 2 projects, but that's not THAT bad for a beginner :). I'll have to put Kevin to work on the picture thing but it may take a little while as he's bogged down at work.
Last night we ventured up into the city to see David Sedaris, a humor essayist. This was our second time seeing him in person and he is absolutely hysterical. He is truly one of the wittiest writers alive today. Don't miss his fantastic collection of essays in Me Talk Pretty One Day.
Tonight we're planning on a Bento Xpress dinner (hey, that's fine dining!) and then heading off to see "A Mighty Wind." Despite the title, the movie is not about sailing. It's a Mocumentary of 60's folk singers who have a reunion in the present time. It's made by the same people who brought you "Best in Show," "Waiting for Guffman," and "Spinal Tap." The ad libbed lines are always hysterically funny, and "Best in Show" is a must-see for any dog lover.
We just got back from LA where we went to celebrate my Grampa's 90th birthday. The party was a smash hit. Grampa was thrilled and smiled the whole time. My cousins Kurt and Andrea and their two babies (Addison, 18 mo. and Ethan 5, mo.) came in from Chicago so it was great to see them again and to meet Ethan for the first time. The baby trio was complete with my niece Seana (6 mo.). There was a lot of cuteness going around.
Seana got her first haircut: Katrina cut off the baby mullet. Apparently some of the other babies at day care were tugging on her long back hair so it got trimmed. Seana definitely got the Rosiak hair--she has a big cowlick just like my brother and has the point in the back like we both have. Seana just gets cuter every time we see her.
Getting down to LA was a nightmare. Normally we take 101 to Gilroy, hop on the 152 ("Pacheco Pass") through the hills, and hook up with the 5 all the way down. (on a side note, you can tell that I'm a Southern CA native by the way I refer to freeways as "THE 101." Up here in No. CA everyone just says "101") Anyway, taking the 5 is the quickest route and the trip usually takes about 5 and 1/2 hours with potty breaks.
Friday was terrible. There was a fatal accident on the 152 which closed the road completely. We and 50,000 other cars were diverted to a side road which was packed. We finally bailed out but it took us a full 2 hours to get back to the 101 (a span of maybe 15 miles). We then took the 101 all the way down but that route is about an hour longer than the 5. We made it to LA, exhausted, and then the worst hit. Right as we were at the exit of the freeway at the last possible moment, Kevin got pulled over and got a speeding ticket. The cop said we were going 90 in a 65 but there's no way we were going that fast--we estimate between 80 and 85. The cop wrote 80 on the ticket. But anyway, there we were at Midnight getting a ticket (and we'd left home at 4). Altogether the trip took us about 8 hours--not our longest (9 hrs.) but close. We were wiped out. Fortunately the trip back was much shorter and without incident.
Attention Women: Worried about breast cancer? Well you should be worried about heart disease instead, because heart disease kills more women than all of the cancers combined each year. Time Magazine has a good article about women and heart disease here. READ IT! And I'm not just saying that because I have a heart condition. I'm saying that because I think the breast cancer industry has done woman a huge disservice by inciting fear and diverting precious research dollars away from the things that are actually killing women (and that's 1 in 3 women for heart disease compared to 1 in 8 women for breast cancer). Breast cancer is one of my "hot topic" buttons. That and John Ashcroft. Don't EVEN get me started on John Ashcroft.
I had my final jewelry class tonight. I finished my project just in the nick of time. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially since it was my second try at the same thing. The first was terrible and I just melted it down again. I took a casting class where I learned how to make things out of wax and then turn them into metal. It was challenging and fun, and I realized that while I am creative, I'm NOT an artist. Then again, I'm NOT an idiot like some other people in my class.
For example, I am apparently the only person who can properly use a torch. It's really very simple. There are two little knobs and they are gas and oxygen. You turn on the gas very slightly and light it (mistake #1--turning the gas on full blast and nearly lighting up the room, thank you Rebecca). Then you turn the oxygen on only until the yellow flame goes away (mistake #2--turning on too much oxygen and blowing the flame out, thank you Amnon, who did this like 5 times until the teacher took over). Then you turn the gas up a little bit, then the oxygen (see mistake #2 above). Then you heat your metal and PAY ATTENTION so you don't melt other things (mistake #3, thank you Ralph). Then you turn off the OXYGEN first and THEN the gas IN THAT ORDER. If you do it the other way, that's mistake #4 and it makes a very loud popping sound, thank you Rebecca, Larry, Amnon, AND Ralph. For more commentary on my jewelry class, read below:
This guy Amnon (it's a name from the bible, he says) was a complete weirdo. The teacher explained that you can cast anything that will burn and this completely fulfilled his greatest dreams. First, he takes one of those spiney tree things--you know the ones, they look like brown ping pong balls with a thousand spikes. He wants to turn this into sterling silver. The teacher tells him he has to fill in all the holes with wax or else the casting won't work. "But," the teacher says, "it won't look anything like it does now once you fill those holes with wax." Says Amnon, "I'll take a chance." (I forgot to mention he has a very strong German accent) It takes him 3 weeks to fill the thing with wax while the rest of us are making pendants (I made quite a lovely silver pendant with an amethyst). Once done, he's set to go. Makes the thing in silver, but when he's done it looks nothing like what it started out. Surprise! Now he's got a big old ball of silver with spikes. Worse--he spends another 2 weeks sanding and polishing it! Someone asked him (in a much more polite way than I would have) why he did this and his explanation was "I like to bring nature indoors." This would prove to be true later.
Next he moves on to a small plastic horse. Turns that into solid silver. Polishes it. Whatever. Then, while the rest of us move on to carving wax into rings, he goes forth with clock parts. He's got one of those little travel alarms with the plastic hands and he wants to turn the plastic hands into silver. He asks "will this work?" and the teacher says "you can turn it into silver but when you reassemble the clock the second hand will be too heavy to turn." "Well," says Amnon, "I'll take a chance." Makes little silver hands for the clock. Reassembles the clock and is holding it flat on his hand and watching with delight as the hands tick away. He proudly brings it to the teacher and says "Remember how I took a chance on this? Look! It works!" The teacher holds it upright and watches at the second hand slides down to 6 and feebly twitches. It works if you keep it on a horizontal surface, dimwit.
While the rest of us are filing, carving, melting, and sanding our wax rings, he moves on to leaves and something unidentifiable that fell off of a tree. "what is that?" the polite person (not me) asks. "I don't know but it fell off of a tree" is the response. He holds up the thing, "Can I cast this?" "Yes, but it will be almost impossible to polish" (this is critical because when things are cast they come out with a dull finish which must be sanded and polished away). "I'll take a chance." He asks the same about the leaves. "Yes, but you'll only have the detail on one side and the other will look flat and weird-shaped." "I'll take a chance." I'm thinking someone should send this guy to Vegas. Anyway, he casts both and SURPRISE, he has trouble polishing the unidentified object and the leaves only look like leaves on one side. Completely undaunted, he then solders the unidentifiable object to the leaves. "Oh that's interesting" says the not-me polite person. "Is that a pin or something?" "No, I just like to bring nature indoors." In sterling SILVER? Why not get a nice houseplant or something? It's cheaper and far less work. Throughout the ENTIRE class he makes not ONE thing that would be considered jewelry.
Well I've been running all over today. I had a heart appointment and everything still looks good. My heart rate is still a little high so the doctor wants me to try to raise my evening medications a little bit. We'll see how that goes. I don't have to have another appointment until July and we'll get another echo at that time to see if I continue to make progress. One of the most delightful developments is that Stanford opened their new parking garage. The hospital had woefully inadequate parking previously, but now there's a new 4 story underground garage. It's weird because when this whole heart thing started, they were still digging it and now it's done.
I caught up on all of my German homework yesterday so I'm all set for class tonight, except I'm exhausted so hopefully I'll stay awake!
I ate the hamburger.
And realized an eternal truth: no matter what you do, french fries really aren't that good the second time around. It's amazing how a food item could be soggy, yet thoroughly dry at the same time.
Kevin would be proud. He complains that I don't ever eat leftovers and eat too much Bento Xpress. I argue that when he's at work he gets to buy a freshly prepared lunch every day, so why shouldn't I? Hey, it gets me out of the house. Besides, certain items (like soup, for example) are better the second day, while other items (read: french fries) just don't live up to their former glory.
Wow, I really don't like the color scheme of this new template. We'll have to work on that.
I wonder if the neighbors are listening in. Ever since I started bitching about The Song, they have both lowered the volume of their music and started playing other songs. They're still singsongy children's songs (and still in Spanish) but at least they're not blasting La Bamba anymore.
Today was my last day of physical therapy :). They measured my legs and the muscles are actually bigger so it has had a positive effect. I got a t-shirt for my graduation. On the back it says "Just Five More!" which really cracked me up. Unfortunately they only had XL t-shirts so it looks like I've gained a nightshirt.
I'm hungry for lunch but of course with it being noon and all, there were no parking spots in front of my favorite restaurant, Bento Xpress. Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Bento Xpress? We live a block South of Japantown which is strangely enough populated with a ton of Japanese restaurants. While I don't like Sushi or Spam Musubi (rolled up just like sushi but with Spam in the middle instead of fish), I'm a big fan of other Japanese cuisine including my particular obsession: Gyoza (potstickers). I'm such a regular at Bento Xpress that the girl working there not only knows me but knows what I usually order--a #2 special (chicken teriyaki with rice, salad, and gyoza) or the gyoza appetizer + a small salad (I love their miso salad dressing too). Bento Xpress is a fast-food like atmosphere and they do a lot of take-out though you can sit and eat if you like.
I'll have to take my nap and head to Bento Xpress when it's less crowded. Or I could just eat the half of a leftover hamburger from Dave and Busters. I wonder how long leftover hamburgers last. If it looks bad, it's Bento Xpress for me.
The width problem appeared to be a bug in Internet Explorer. Imagine that! A bug in IE! Kevin says it works fine on both the Mac and with Netscape. No doubt by now you've said to yourself "Hey, something is different!" I'll let you run with that thought.
Today was uneventful. I had a doctor's appointment this morning (don't worry, not heart-related) and then took a nice long nap before attempting and failing to finish my German homework. I'm taking the class Pass/No Pass so it's not exactly motivating me to do my best. I know, I know, I'm only cheating myself.
I did welll in class tonight. I was called on 4 times despite deliberately sitting behind a tall guy (my teacher makes eye contact before she calls on you). The tall guy forgot his book so he betrayed me by scooting over to share his neighbor's book. Anyway I did well all 4 times. The only thing I screwed up was when she asked me what I had for breakfast yesterday morning and my response was "Pasta with sausage [sauce] and root beer." Her "root beer for breakfast!" comment tipped me off but then someone said "Oh I LOVE eating leftovers for breakfast!" which made me look slightly less clueless. Pasta was what I had for dinner yesterday.
Well it's good to see that Scout is reading my blog. She left a comment on the "Happy Easter" entry. I think she still has trouble with the typing though.
In my last entry I talked about The Secret Life of Bees. Cari, a high school English teacher and my good friend from Girl Scout Camp, has read the book and left the following comment, "I loved this book. I have told people to go out and buy it.:) Something about it really touched me. And I learned so much about bees. HA!" Since we've both read the book, I thought I'd do a little 2 person book club discussion (unless Cari doesn't respond, then it's just me talking to myself) :).
If you're interested in my analysis of the book, keep reading...
I think the appeal of the book is its portrayal of mothering. Lily, the main character, lost her mother at age 4 and after she runs away from home, finds 4 "mothers" in the black women who take her in (plus the nanny who ran away with her). I think that we all would like to have a mother like August (the main surrogate mother) who defines the phrase unconditional love. That's where I think it pulls on your heartstrings is in that shared desire to have a mother or mother figure like August.
My problem is that August is too perfect. The book tries to tackle some racial issues, but fails on some major points like the stereotyped black nannies who love you more than your fallible mother. Lily is, of course, lily white (subtle? Not.) and has a predictible crush on Zach, a black teenager (oh, the taboo!). The Zach-Lily relationship is so underdeveloped it slips into a "love at first sight" cliche'.
Excellently done is the character May, the sister who "feels too much" and is crushed by the weight of it all. Lily herself is fleshed out nicely and, except for the relationship, is a nicely complex character. The too perfect August is still very appealing, and Rosaleen, the nanny who runs away with Lily, is well rounded.
Overall I *did* like the book. It took me about a day to read and is a good lightweight, heartwarming story. If you are a fan of the Oprah books (and not to rag on Oprah because I liked a lot of those books) you'll like this one too.
Just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I think one of the Amazon reviewers put it best: the book is, "a sweet story [and] an engaging little read that doesn't quite make it to greatness." I liked it but I wouldn't tell people to run out and read it right away. It's a coming of age story set in 1964 South Carolina with your standard abusive father and 4 African American women who become surrogate mothers to the main character. If Oprah were still running her book club this would have been a pick.
It's Peep season! Behold the mighty Peep! If you've never been there, you must visit the Peep Research website.
Happy Easter and Passover, everyone. The Easter Bunny visited our house this morning, doing his usual thing of hiding eggs and leaving a basket of goodies. We now have enough candy to delight a dentist.
Zach and Kevin took Scout to the dog park where Scout hooked up with another beagle and went rolling in something gross with her new friend. Needless to say she got a bath when she arrived home. I had a bit of an upset stomach from yesterday (too much dairy, I think) so I passed on the dog park expedition.
Kevin just left to take Zach to the airport :(.
Notice a new look? Kevin has switched my blogging software from Blogger to Movable Type. Yes, I know "moveable" is spelled incorrectly and yes, it does bother me but not that much. Apparently Movable Type is a lot more flexible with more features, for example, COMMENTS! Yes, that's right. Show the world you're reading Shelby's Life and Whatnot by leaving a comment.
My old blog has been archived, just in case you missed me whining about my neighbor's day care, you can find it here.
Yes, I know the entries are too wide for the screen. There are still a few bugs. Kevin is working on that. Until then, just practice scrolling laterally.