I had a wonderful day yesterday and this morning. My niece Corie, age 9, came to stay the night with us.
I started the day by making a deposit and getting some cash from my bank's atm (this becomes important later). I drove to my brother's office to pick Corie up and arrived on an empty gas tank. I mentioned this and Corie said there was a cheap gas station just up the road--and she was right! $2.61 a gallon as opposed to the $2.71 in Anaheim (this was yesterday--higher today now). Score! But then I opened my wallet to pay and...no check card. Crap! So I called Kevin and asked him to go to the bank and see if he could get my card back or cancel the card if they didn't have it.
Corie and I then headed straight to Downtown Disney where we strolled around and ate pretzels. Corie got a cute mood ring. When we arrived home Kevin said they wouldn't tell him anything at the bank, so I rushed over there only to learn that they empty the machine at 3:00 and I should come back after then. Well okay, I can see why they won't give the card to Kevin (it's in my name only, even though the account is in both of our names), but they could have told him that much!
So we headed back home where I got out my craft supplies and my fancy dip pens and ink and we wrote letters and decorated envelopes. We then played a few games--some cards and Set and then we went back to the bank (where thankfully I got my card back) and to the grocery store.
Corie picked out dinner (Ham, mac and cheese, corn) and we cooked it together which was a lot of fun. After dinner we played some more games and then deep conditioned our hair and took showers. Then there was some painting, and by that point Corie could barely keep her eyes open so she went off to bed.
We had planned on making homemade cinnamon rolls, but I didn't read the recipe closely and somehow missed the "Allow 3 hours for dough to rise" part, so instead Kevin went to the store early this morning and got us some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. They were most excellent. We then played a couple more rounds of Set and I took her back to Brad's. All in all we had a great time!
Kevin and I decided to take a stained glass class. Our first day was Friday, which Kevin missed, and woo boy, this is going to be an interesting experience. I was thinking we would never be able to use up all of this time but having experienced day 1, I see that we really are.
Our teacher is very nice, but she's a hard-core Artist with a capital letter. She made it very clear that this is a college-level art class, not adult ed or art therapy. Which is interesting because I was thinking it was going to be like an adult ed class. Here I was, anticipating finding a pattern on the net and transforming it into a nice window. Nope. That's plagiarism, and we wouldn't want to do that anyway. Because this class isn't just about fabrication, it's about design and we're going to learn as much about design as we are about putting glass pieces together.
This is bad, because my design skills are nil, and my ability to draw or sketch or really anything is also nil. I'm very nervous about being able to keep up with the art majors or other talented people. I hope she doesn't judge too harshly.
She's very passionate about art. Art should change the world! Art should make a political statement! (I really wondered how she made political statements in stained glass, but apparently she's primarily a painter). Art is about creativity and original expression! Art is about saying something! And this is very much an art class. Actually it's a bit intimidating.
My very special Uncle Tom passed away today. It was expected--he had cancer and had stopped treatment, and the last couple of days had been in a nursing home and we knew it was a matter of days/hours. Still, it's always painful to lose someone you love so dearly.
I turned on the air conditioner today when the temperature in the house reached 89 degrees and outside it got up to 97. Also I checked and the temperature in Hollywood yesterday was a high of 92 degrees. Told you it was hot.
Please read the preceeding entry before this one!
Dr. Phil (or I should say Dr. Phil's advertisers) gave us a long list of gifts for being in the audience. It was awesome! He started announcing the gifts and the crowd went nuts. We were jumping around and clapping and screaming so hard that by the end of the list, we actually had no idea what it was that we were getting. However, once we got everything sorted out, it turned out to be quite the score. We got:
2 Annual Passports to Disneyland
Gold Mickey Mouse ears
New Balance 715 Training shoes
Cargo Cosmetics makeup set
Live Life Love Denim Jeans
(no picture, but here's the website!)
London Sole Shoes (our choice from 12 of their most popular styles)
Triple Pave' Rolling Band ring from Inspiredsilver.com
(no picture but you can see it here)
Shania Twain "Shania" Perfume
(not yet released, so check it out here)
Jennifer Lopez "Live" Perfume
CD Single of Bonnie Raitt's "I Will Not Be Broken"
Maxx New York Purse
(can't find a picture but it's red suede and leather)
And two Dove bath products:
First, the question everyone is asking--"my" episode airs on September 12th, which is the season premiere. Please consult your local listings--Dr. Phil is moving from NBC to CBS and may appear at a different time slot in your market. Second, the other question everyone is asking--will I be seen on TV? The answer in a nutshell is NO, unless by some miracle a passing shot of me in the crowd comes on. And now for the details...
Emily and I woke up at 4:00 am and headed into Hollywood at 5, arriving at about 6:10. When we got there, there were about 200 women in line ahead of us (we were supposed to arrive between 6 and 7). We feared not getting on the show at all, but as the line behind us grew and grew, we worried less. The first step was check in, where we showed our IDs and got a t-shirt. As you may recall, we had to specify which body part we were the least happy with. So Emily and I were thrilled to find that the t-shirts were a dark blue with "Dr. Phil" on the back and our disliked body part in GIANT letters on the front. I spent the rest of the day in a t-shirt that screamed, "EXTRA FLAB" while Emily was sporting the attractive "THUNDER THIGHS." The other shirts were equally as flattering. I just missed a "JELLY BELLY" and was glad to avoid the "BIG BUTT," "BIG NOSE," "TOO BUSTY (or) FLAT CHESTED," and several others that were very complimentary.
It turned out that they had an audience of 1,000, of which the first 200 or so got to be in the studio. We missed that by, no joke, around TEN PEOPLE! Instead we were part of the 700 or so massed outside in on folding chairs in the "tank" on Paramount's lot. Then the torture began. We were H-O-T, hot hot hot. And we were sitting in DIRECT sunlight for over 4 hours. They didn't warn us to wear sunscreen, but we were all wearing dark t-shirts, dark tank tops underneath, dark jeans, and tennis shoes. Good lord it was hot. We absolutely fried. I'm sunburned and my nose took a direct hit--looks practically flourescent today. We had bottled water, but no food or anything and some people were dropping like flies. Nobody had to go to the hospital but it was close.
The first half of the show was actually quite boring. Dr. Phil was inside the studio and we were watching him on a large screen. Every time he went to commercial the cameras panned over us and our screams, waves, and excitement waned as the heat dragged on.
If you've seen Dr. Phil, the show was just the same as every other show. The theme of the show seemed to be "weight issues" and his first guests were a mother and her daughter--both overweight. The mother was horrible and abusive toward the daughter and while the studio audience had been warned (I think) not to boo, the outdoor audience had no such compunction. Then a celebrity with an eating disorder came on and she was quite nice. Her segment went on for a while so there is sure to be editing there. Following were 3 women in the "FLAT CHESTED" category who really wanted breast surgery. Did they get it? You'll have to watch the show and find out! The next story was very sad, about an anorexic woman, and they capped off the show with Bonnie Raitt making an appearance and performing 2 songs for us. The taping portion itself took about 2 hours, which they will condense into the 1 hour time slot.
Mind you this was all taking place in the studio while the rest of us baked in the sun. It was pretty awful for us. We were bored and hot. And to make matters even worse, Emily and I sat in front of the world's biggest complainer. Every time Dr. Phil took a breath on the show or there was a pause anywhere she had something negative to say. She kept saying "It's hot!" which came out sounding like "It's HAT!" and the way she carried on you'd think that the sun was shining on her alone while the rest of us sat in the shade eating ice cream.
Then the gift giving began and all was forgiven. You know how talk shows often give out gifts? We thought we might get a mug and a book--and obviously my attractive EXTRA FLAB t-shirt, but boy, did we SCORE!!! More on that in a separate entry--but as a teaser I'll let you know that we walked away with around $1000 worth of stuff.
Post-gifts, Dr. Phil and his wife came out to greet us, the giant crowd. He immediately started sweating in his suit and you could tell he was uncomfortable, but nobody had any sympathy for him (and the woman behind us took the opportunity to yell out "It's HAT!" and "We've been here for 4 hours!" a couple of times when he paused). He gave a little pep talk and then his weird wife gave us a pep talk too. She can't weigh more than 120 lbs but she felt free to talk to all of us about how "us women" must accept our bodies and our flaws and blah blah blah. Seeing the two of them together was a lot like watching the old Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
Dr. Phil headed back inside and Bonnie Raitt performed two songs (in the studio). Then Dr. Phil came back out and we filmed a million promo shots. They even had a helicopter flying over us filming us, and we had several rounds of screaming and hand waving, and a couple of "looking serious" (which I think will be a bit strange). They're using the group shots as promos which should be starting next week. We weren't sitting near the cameras so like I said, the chances of picking us out are quite small.
Then we were herded off to get our goodie bags (which we waited an hour for) and headed home. All in all it was exhausting and hot--we got sunburned and endured 4 hours of bitching from Ms. "It's HAT!" but we got great gifts and it was worth it!
Yes, at 5am tomorrow morning I go to meet my fate with Dr. Phil. Okay, maybe not as drastic as that, but I get to be in the audience at least. And this show is different--we had questionnaires, submitted pictures, have a dress code, get a t-shirt, and we're all women. This is no ordinary "take the first people that come in" audience! Will we get a makeover? Will we all get free plastic surgery? Will we get to mud wrestle? Only time will tell, and that time is coming soon!
My friend Emily has just left San Diego to come up here to spend the night. I found clean sheets for the bed, cleaned the comforter, put on a new pillowcase--only to have a certain canine duo hop up and make themselves comfortable. Digory just laid flat out ON the pillow. Nice. I also made the mistake of vacuuming the house (well that wasn't a mistake, but) and vacuuming the couches, which were immediately transformed back into fur-lined beds.
Oh, the excitement! Stay tuned--you'll hear all about it--including the air date--right here!
I visited my Grampa Rosiak (my father's father) yesterday and had such a wonderful time. He's 92, and I can always remember his age because my dad is exactly 30 years older than I am and Grampa's 30 years older than he is. So that makes me 32, Grampa 92, and Dad holding steady at 39.
We've put together a photo album for him so he and I sat looking through the pictures. He can identify and remember nearly all of us--he has a bit of trouble with Kevin (my husband, of course) and with Katrina, my brother's wife, remembering their names, but considering the two of them joined the family 5 years or so ago, I think we can cut him some slack.
He always recognizes Seana, the baby--my brother's daughter and just loves her smile. I'm really glad I made the trip to see him
So we're supposed to wear jeans, a tank top, and white sneakers. Well somehow I interpreted that to mean a white tank top, so we went to Target on Friday morning for new jeans (mine are ratty and not TV-worthy) and a tank top. After MUCH agony I finally decided on a nice white one.
Then I got home and got the email with all of the details. And I'm supposed to wear a dark tank top. So today I headed back to Target and got a nice brown one.
The email had some other alarming instructions. We are supposed to submit a full-length picture of ourselves. And we're supposed to have a 3 minute video explaining what about our appearance we'd like to change and why. A video?! My next action was to shoot off an email to the production assistant asking for a video exemption--granted. But I'm still on the hook for the picture. Kevin took one Friday night and it's awful. Of course, that kind of picture is unflattering to everyone. I have a feeling they're going to give makeovers and need "before" pictures. Well mine is really crappy but if you're getting a makeover, the whole point is to have a crappy "before" picture anyway, right?
So I thought that wasn't a big deal either, until I got another email today from the production assistant who said my picture didn't come through and could I send it again--they really need it. Ack! So I sent Ms. Ugly off again. Emily and I can't wait to see what this is all about!
My application to be in the audience of the Dr. Phil Show has been accepted! And I've only seen the Dr. Phil show once in my life!
Dr. Phil is recruiting women in the Los Angeles area to be in the audience of his show on the subject of plastic surgery. Someone brought my attention to it on an internet board I frequent and I thought what the hay, I'll apply. Surely they're not going to pick me. They asked what one thing about your appearance do you wish you could change. I said my stomach. Then they asked "will that make you happy?" and I thought now there's a trick question. Of course all these people are going to be like "OMG, my life would be perfect if I didn't have Thunder Thighs" and he's going to be all "Get over it and go to the gym--reducing your thigh circumference isn't going to make you happy" so I thought hell, I'll say "no." And I did. I said it wouldn't make me happy but it would help me accept myself, and then I expounded on my heart condition and waxed poetically for a while about the profound changes in my life that my heart condition brought about including my change in metabolism and weight gain and blah blah blah. And apparently they liked it because when I was in the shower today (of course) they called.
So I get to get up at the crack of dark (it won't be light yet) and drive to Hollywood on Wednesday for the taping. I'm supposed to wear jeans, sneakers (mine are in the washing machine right now--they've gotten pretty gross in the year and a half since I bought them), and a tank top. A tank top??? My farmer tan is not something I want broadcast on national television. Luckily they said they're giving us a t-shirt so that's okay.
My friend Emily, who lives in San Diego, is coming up Tuesday night and is going with me. That should be super cool. So I don't know when the program with air but I'll definitely keep you all updated when it does. I'll be the screaming maniac in the audience waving my hands wildly.
Kevin and I have signed up for an art class--stained glass--at Fullerton College, our local community college. I hope that we'll be able to make a stained glass window for our home--not a built-in window but the kind you hang from a chain-type-thing. I'm sure we'll be learning other projects too. In fact, I'm sure we'll be learning a LOT because this class goes from 10:00am to 3:50pm every Friday until mid-December. Yes, that's right. Even if we get an hour for lunch (and I'm assuming we will), that's still nearly 5 hours every Friday for 17 sessions. I think by the end of that we'll be able to hire ourselves out to cathedral builders or something. I'm thinking something like this:
That's the famous Rose Window in the Cathedral of Notre Dame, by the way.
Saturday I dusted. Please call an ambulance if those chest pains continue.
Sunday I slept. I guess dusting wore me out.
Also, I found out that my graduate school alma mater, Southwest Missouri State University, is changing its name to Missouri State University. I kinda wish it had that name while I was there because the Soutwest part sounds kinda hick. But they still have an excellent children's literature program, which is why I went there in the first place.
Well now this is interesting! Here's a website with recipes for mixing up flavors of jelly beans to simulate the flavors of wine varietals, straight from Wine X magazine, Jelly Belly, and DeLoach vineyards. First you're supposed to eat the individual flavor and then find that flavor in the wine. Then you eat 'em all at once and it's supposed to reproduce the wine entirely. Since Jelly Belly beans are all sweetness and light, you'll have to substitute some Bertie Bott's flavors for the more baser notes.
The kits sold on the website seem a bit overpriced to me, particularly when you can visit your local bulk candy store and pick out as many of each variety you might want. But they do sell "shooters"--individual packets of varietals so you don't have to sort and count. I'm tempted.
Here's a sample recipe, for a "Typical California Pinot--Oaked (but not too much)"
1 French Vanilla
1 Buttered Toast (Bernie Bott's)
1 Pink Grapefruit
1 Pepper (Bernie Bott's)
Hat tip to Neil.
For years my friend Sherri has been singing the praises of Zankou Chicken, a Lebanese fast-food type chicken place (sort of like an independent El Pollo Loco except, you know, actually good). She kept pointing out the one in Pasadena but since we don't spend much time there, we've never gone.
Until lo and behold, we learned about one in Anaheim! Finally we have lived our destiny and discovered the ultimate in chicken cuisine. Close your eyes family members, but this stuff is actually better than my mom's. It was so flavorful and juicy (and they have an all dark meat option!) and the accompanying garlic sauce was amazing. It's also served with beets, tomatoes, and yellow chili peppers which I ignored, and with an awesome hommus (incl. a pita bread to eat it on)--much healthier than french fries (not that I don't love french fries, mind you, but a side dish like hommus made me feel very good about myself as I peeled off the chicken skin and ate it plain).
Zankou Chicken gets a two thumbs up from me!
Big day yesterday--we hosted our first wine tasting for my parent's (and by extension now, our) weekly wine group. Since the wine group is Torrance-based we held it at my parent's house. Our theme was "Young Wines"--the kind you'd buy today and drink tonight. We chose this particular theme since our wine cellar is made up nearly entirely of young wines. For those of you who have never attended a FAWG (Friday Afternoon Wine Group) event (which would be most of you), you start with a theme and everyone brings a bottle following the theme (to their best ability--we wouldn't have done so well with the "'94 Cabs" tasting). Everyone also brings an appetizer or dessert and the host usually serves some larger snack, although it's not meant to be a dinner--just tasting and grazing.
Our party was a smashing success. We had about 35 people there and our wines were complimented widely. By the time everyone puts their bottles down it's hard to tell who brought what so we always eavesdrop on whether people mention the wine we brought. Another good rule of thumb is how empty or full a bottle is. Word gets around quickly (as it tends to do when you've got 10 people standing around a table of wine bottles with another 15 or so chatting and eating) so the good wines almost always go first. We did have one of our selections, a Petite Syrah (for which I was wearing the matching T-Shirt) that just tasted "funky." You couldn't put your finger on it, but it was just a bit off, so we took it off the table. Our biggest hit was the Nalle Pinot Noir that we pulled out about 1/2way through. Seriously, that bottle was gone within 15 minutes. And everyone is pouring a "light" pour--just a few swallows for tasting--so it's not like people were tanking up on the Nalle (well, that we saw anyway--hee hee). Not to mention Kevin's high school friend Quynh--also a wine afficionado--who showed up with an impressive and wonderfully delicious Justin Isoscoles, earning the admiration of wineauxs everywhere.
Anyway, we got numerous compliments and everyone had a lovely time. Hooray! Now if I could only make this headache go away...
According to the UPS website it's been delivered, so I thought I'd share with you the second Build-A-Bear I got for another beloved uncle. He's a Nascar fan, so I sent him this one:
I got a desperately needed haircut today. I actually got it in Orange County too, instead of driving out to Torrance for it. I liked the stylist. Not as good as my beloved Jennifer in San Jose, but quite good anyway. Now my hair is slightly shorter but nicely layered so that it will fall evenly. Before about half of it was flipping up, which was okay, I like the flipped up look--but I'd like ALL of my hair to flip up at the same time. I'll see if I can get Kevin to take a picture tomorrow.
The big test of any haircut is always Tomorrow. Sure, it looks great when you walk out of the salon--all coiffed--but what happens when your stylist isn't behind you with the hair dryer and round brush? What happens when you let it air dry as you do every day? Then you know whether you've gotten a good cut or a bad cut. Plus I've already taken a nap on it, so I'm not going to get a picture tonight anyway. Stay tuned...
Yesterday was a visiting day, seeing two people we love very much. Around noon we headed down to South County to see Uncle Tom, who is in the end-stages of cancer. He was having a good day and we visited with him for over an hour. We thought we'd bring a little gift--but what? Flowers? Balloons? Something that's not going to die or deflate in a few days. So we went to Build-a-Bear and got him this (minus the helmet and shoes):
Tom's a handyman, so the little tool belt was just too cute to pass up. He really liked the bear so it was worth braving the crowd at Downtown Disney.
Then later in the evening, we headed out to Torrance to surprise my dad on his birthday. My mom told him they were going to Chez Melange, his favorite restaurant, but she didn't mention that she'd invited Kevin and I to come along. We showed up at their home and Dad was really surprised. We had a wonderful evening with wonderful wine (of course) and it was really fun to celebrate Dad's birthday.
Guess what we're going to see on IMAX today?
"Everything in this room is eatable, even I'm eatable! But that's called cannibalism my dear children, and is, in fact, frowned upon in most societies." --Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory