From today's website for the Orange County Register (OC's largest news source):
Today felt like a very strange day. I've been consistently scheduled to work opening to afternoon on eithe MTW or MTWR for the past couple of weeks. I haven't worked a weekend day in about a month, even though I'm supposed to work at least one weekend day. So today I got scheduled from 3:00-10:30. The store closes at 10 but this isn't a closing shift since it takes at least an hour and a half (scheduled, usually longer) to close up the store (clean and restock everything, basically). The "summer" starts on June 10th after which we'll be open until 11:00 Sunday through Thursday and Midnight on Friday and Saturday. Grueling. Anyway, so it was weird to be working in the afternoon and into the evening. I saw a whole bunch of people I haven't seen in a while ("Oh, you're back? Where have you been?"--"uhhhh, mornings?") and a whole bunch of new people. Fortunately tomorrow I'm back to my opening schedule, so at least that will feel more natural.
This morning we got a phone call from Kong lao shi (our teacher, Mrs. Kong). She's writing a textbook for Chinese 101--something that is very sorely needed since apparently the only one in existence is the one we "use" (or not) and it is really pathetic. Since Kevin is such a great student, she's using his power point presentation and voice recording prominently in her book. This morning she needed another signed release. One of the pictures in his presentation is from our wedding, with the two of us and his parents and brother. Apparently this picture is going to be featured very, very prominently in the book. I think we're introducing the chapter on "family." That would be my guess anyway, since we didn't do a section on "weddings" in my 101 class. Who knows--if this book goes national then generations of Chinese students could be gazing upon my visage!
I just love YouTube. People put the weirdest things up there. Right now I'm busy singing about a pug who licks the air a lot. It's called Charles Has A Licking Problem. Beware--it's both cute and catchy.
Good news! Comment spam is not just porn anymore! Sure, there are lots of women who want to send me their pictures and have a little chat, but come on, don't we all get lonely sometimes? However, I've gotten some other useful visitors lately. For example, if anyone wants to buy cheap car insurance, just browse through my comments and you'll find multiple resources. On the same token, if you need to feed your Oxy Contin habit, my commenters are here to help!
Today at work I was at the registers and it was nice and slow so I got a chance to chat with each guest as they came through. I had this darling little old couple buying a couple of bears for their grandchildren. I asked, as I usually do, "Are you here on vacation or do you live nearby?" (remember, I work right outside of Disneyland). The woman said, "Oh we're from [I can't remember]. We're here celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary!"
How cute is that???
So I said, "well congratulations! What a wonderful thing." The woman then looked at my hand and said, "That's a beautiful ring--are you married?" I thanked her and said that we'd been married for 5 years, and we really hoped to make it to 50 (although when I say that now, it sounds like "god, I hope we make it to 50 but it's not likely" which is not at all what I meant). The man piped up and said, "I'll tell you the secret!" I was like "Yeah!" He said:
"It's compromise and communication. You always have to talk about things [woman nods her head]. And you have to compromise. For example, she doesn't like sports [woman shakes her head] but she will go to ball games with me because I like them. And then I'll go to... [thoughtful pause, followed by the woman saying, "...the Garden and Flower Show..."] yeah, the Garden and Flower Show, because she likes it. And the other thing is that you have to say "I love you" every day. And you have to say it out loud. Some men say [*in a gruff voice*] "Well she knows I love her" but you have to say it out loud anyway. Because some men don't think that's manly, but it's important [woman nods her head]. And that's it!"
So there you have it, folks--the secret to a long, happy marriage!
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my job?
At Build-A-Bear we give out birthday stickers and sing Happy Birthday (our own, special way) to guests who come in on their birthdays. Nobody is immune. In fact, today I made a sticker that said, "Gramma Is The Birthday Bear! I'm 83!"
Today I had three darling little girls--there was Birthday Girl, her friend, and her little sister. Birthday Girl was turning 8. I asked her if she'd like the workshop to sing to her and she said that she did. We have an upstairs, and on the landing there's a bit of a counter where you can see the entire 1st floor of the workshop, which is where we sing happy birthdays. So I lead Birthday Girl up there, and Friend says, "Can I come too?" sure! And then little sister who wasn't more than 4 said, "Can I come too?" Sure!
While we're up there, Friend says, "I was here on my birthday and you didn't sing to me."
Me: "Oh I'm sorry! Can we sing to you today?"
Me: "When was your birthday?"
Friend: "April 3rd."
So off we go, singing Happy Birthday to Birthday Girl and Friend. Then Little Sister is jumping up and down.
"Me too! Me too!"
Me: "Would you like us to sing Happy Birthday to you too?"
Little Sister: "Yeah!"
Me: "When is your birthday?"
Little Sister: "Um *screws face into the expression of the thoughtful* I don't know."
Birthday Girl: "I think it's in the summer."
Me: "Close enough--let's sing!"
That's the fun part.
And then there's Build-A-Bear for the geeks.
We usually adorn our birthday stickers with ribbons--3 of them at the bottom. Another Bear Builder was working on cutting the ribbons when one came up and stuck the sticker on another birthday girl. The first Bear Builder came over with the ribbons, and said, "Oh no, we forgot these!" and stuck them on. Then the following conversation ensued.
Mom: "Look Honey, you got some flair!"
Me: "Flair is mandatory."
Mom: "But she doesn't have enough."
Me: "She needs 12 more pieces"
Mom: "At a minimum."
(it's a quote from the movie Office Space, if you're not already tuned in).
In lieu of an extensive post, I'm just going to point you to an e-card I created just for you. Click on the flowers on the left, then on the right.
Happy Mother's Day, all!
Yes, it's been hot, but tolerable in the store, at least for me. It's presentation time in my Chinese class. We are supposed to get into groups and create a skit--either perform the skit in front of the class on Skit Day or videotape it and show it. My group decided on the latter. We are kind of at a disadvantage, since we're the only group in the entire class without a native Chinese speaker in it, but we did the best we could. Our skit was a "Jeopardy" parody (parody being it looked like Jeopardy but was actually nothing like it). Tim, our cameraman, took the footage and then took it home to edit it. The next class meeting he reported that the video was "spotty" and "do any of you want to look at it?" That was a unanimous
"no" "we trust you, Tim!" I think it should be just fine. We inserted some humor into our script thanks to yours truly. The Jeopardy theme was actually our second choice, but we couldn't figure out the logistics of a skit entitled "Crouching Classmate, Hidden Blackboard" (our vocabulary is extremely limited). Anyway, we've got one more week of class and then finals week. Hard to believe another semester is over! Well, almost.
Monday in Anaheim:
Sunny and unseasonably hot, 93 degrees F
Winds SSW, 8 mph
This is what I have to look forward to.
Sometimes I wish I didn't have that cool little weather widget on Firefox.
The power of technology to make our lives convenient is truly amazing. I just had my first Carelink ICD report. I have to get my ICD read 4 times a year. The ICD is programmed via a magnet, so to read the device they just place something that looks very much like a computer mouse over it (over my clothes and everything) and it transmits information. Sometimes they'll check my thresholds, which means that they'll dial up my heartbeat in the computer to see if its pacing function is working. That is really trippy.
Well at my last visit, I was offered the Carelink Monitor. It's basically the same monitor they use in the office except I use it at home and it transmits the data over my phone line. This weekend was my scheduled reading time, so I finally dragged out the box (I know I should have checked it out months ago, but I've been lazy). The first thing I pulled out was a cool looking monitor box. The second thing I pulled out was a videotape that said, "Patient Instruction Video: 36 mins." 36 minutes? How hard can this possibly be???
I decided to take my chances with the instruction book and my own wits. The steps were as follows:
1. Insert batteries (it actually came with fresh batteries)
2. Check phone setting switch--"none" if it didn't need to dial an extra digit for an outside line and "tone" for a touch-tone phone.
3. Plug one end of the phone cord into the monitor and the other end into the phone jack.
4. Turn the monitor on
5. Position the mouse-type-reader over my chest until the first green light comes on
6. Hold it there until all 5 green lights light up
7. Remove the reader when the monitor beeps
8. Listen to make sure the monitor dials the phone
Voila! The thing already comes programmed with the correct number and everything. Having followed these instructions, I can't imagine what the other 34 minutes of the 36 minute video is about.
Way back in 2002 when I couldn't walk 5 feet without stopping to rest, my doctor authorized me for a handicapped parking placard. Even then, I always felt a little guilty using it and tried not to use it if there were close spaces nearby because, you know, just in case a more handicapped person came along. Then, lo and behold, I got better, so I threw the permit away (being the good citizen that I am). Each placard is good for 2 years and expires in June. In 2005 I received a renewed placard in the mail. Once again, I threw it away. And then today--I got my renewal! I'm good to park until 2009! The funny part is that by law, you are required to return the placard if the person no longer lives at that address or if the person is deceased. That's it. I guess nobody ever gets better. How pessimistic of our government.
I may send it back, or I may just be lazy and deal with it in 2009.
Hooray! My Spring Cleaning is actually coming to fruition! Last week we sold the Ikea bed and mattress that had been taking up space in my room on Craigslist for $35. See ya! Today we got rid of our Big Ticket Item--our old oven. The oven was perfectly useable and in great condition (it was, in fact, cleaner than our current oven, I'm embarrassed to say), but it was very much a base model and we really wanted more bells and whistles. Like a window in the door. Not that we ever use the window in the door, but it looks much nicer that way. I listed the oven on Craigslist once before and got a lot of email interest but nobody bothered to call after my very simple reply saying, "Yes, the oven is still available. Please call us at 123-456-7890". I re-listed it and finally we got a bite. The person flaked yesterday (grrrrr) and it looked for a while like they were going to flake today (they called Kevin and told him they were on their way--almost an hour later they hadn't shown up). But luckily, show up they did! They hauled away the oven and left $100 cash in its stead. Huzzah! I actually hadn't expected to get the full $100 asking price for it, but hey, who am I to argue? So that's happiness to the highest degree here.
A third item we got rid of was our old lighting fixture. I also put that up on Craigslist but nobody wanted to pay "$10 OBO" for it. So that one I put up on Freecycle. If you're not familiar with Freecycle, it's basically a web-based group where you post stuff you don't want anymore and will give away for free, and other people come and pick it up from you. The idea is centered on the old adage, "One man's trash is another man's treasure" (women too!). That is, you offer up something that you would otherwise throw in a landfill, and someone who actually wants what you don't want will be able to get it for free. Everybody wins! Our lighting fixture went to a very nice gentleman not too far from us in Anaheim (each Freecycle community is geographically-based). I'm glad it went to a good home.
Up next--our old Ikea wine rack. We can't keep our wine there because one, we have no place in the house to put the rack (it holds 72 bottles) and two, it gets hot enough here that we can't keep it in the garage. Nobody is interested on Craigslist so far, so it may go off to Freecycle soon.