Friday, April 28, 2006

No Silence

The two women who share the same side of the room I work in quit last week. April 18th was there last day. True, I use to complain about how one of them would listen to Star radio all day long, which means we heard the same three songs every day, all day long but when they left, the radio and their chatter on their telemarketing phone calls went with them. It’s been lonely, although not silent since a customer call center inhabits the other side of the room

Rather than pound my head against the desk going stir-crazy from the silence, I went shopping.

This lovely little gadget has been a life saver. It has AM/FM radio, a rainbow color changing display but the true selling point that cinched the deal was the plug in feature. I can plug in a CD player or, more importantly, an MP3 player. So my handy dandy iPod mini – which I never take out of my bag- has been providing me with groovy tunes all week long. My big bro was kind enough to dig into his drawer of electronic cords and find the correct connecting cable for me and I was good to go!

And the best part? I got it on sale at my favorite French store - Le Target, for under $15.00.

How’s that for a deal?

Hate is still alive

I check out the news online pretty much every day. Yesterday I read a story that turned my stomach. Two white teenagers, 18 and 17 attached a 16 Mexican teenager at a party. The victim was not found until the following morning. He lies in the hospital in critical condition.

These two teenagers put this younger guy in the hospital. And the entire time they were attacking him, they were using racial epitaphs.

As much as I would like to dream that racism will one day be snuffed out, I fear that stories like this will continue to come out.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Say “eye”!

Yesterday was my appointment with the specialist in LA to see if I could fix my eyes. I found out some very interesting information.

Ophthalmologists measure vision in Diopters. This is the +1.5 or –1.5 you might have as your glasses or contact prescription. The amount of correction needed falls into four categories, mild, moderate, severe and extreme. I am nearsighted or myopic. For myopic patients, the levels correspond like this: Mild ( less than –3.00), Moderate (-3.00 to –6.00), Severe (-6.00 to –9.00), and Extreme (Greater than –9.00).

With my hard contacts, my prescription was in the –12.00 to –13.00 range. After three weeks of not wearing my contacts, which did help hold the shape of my eyes, I am in the –14.00 to –15.00 range.

The good news is that the Phakic Intraocularlens implants are meant for patients up to –20.00. The main concern of the doctor is if my cornea is thick enough for him to implant the lens. The good news is, they are.

I am scheduled for surgery on May 15th. The process is a little more drawn out than I realized. They do one eye at a time and depending on healing time, they surgery’s can be scheduled minimally a month apart. In addition, three to four months later, they will want me to come back in to do a final touchup of vision correction and to fix my Astigmatism. This will be done by either Lasik or PRK. It depends on what needs to be done.

So there you have it. I should be fixed by the end of the year. Yes, there is some risk involved but Dr. Maloney has had very successful surgery rates.

In the meantime, I continue to wear my glasses until May 15th. I will have to wear one contact after that, although I am not quite sure how I will handle removing the last contact when I have one eye fixed… I guess that I will need to pop out one lens in my glasses so I can see. Yeah, that’s going to be attractive. Anybody wanna set me up on a blind date? (That is just a joke people)

And in case you were wondering, my glasses prescription is the same as what my contacts were in the –12.00 to –13.00 range. This is what I wear everyday. Driving and reading and working and all.

So if you see me driving down the street, get off the sidewalk.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A "Wild" Time

Oh yeah, I had a swinging time this past Friday night.

This Friday was my nephew James 3rd birthday. It is amazing how quickly children grow up. I took some time off of work to spend with the little darling. James loves animals and Disney’s new movie “The Wild” was released on the 14th. He was talking about what animals he would see from the previews on TV and he was very excited. The original plan was for James, his mom and my brother to go to the movie in the morning and I would come join them in the afternoon for hanging out time.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Mom was busy with making James cake and dad stayed home to help with baby brother Thomas, so they didn’t get to the movies that morning. So by the time I arrived home, mom asked me to take James to see the movie - by myself. I have babysat for James and spent plenty of time with him in Italy, but it has never been the two of us out in public alone. I was a little worried that he wouldn’t want to be at the movies with out mom. Adding to my nervousness was because he needs to be in a car seat, I was driving his dad’s brand new Toyota Corolla.

Wait, it gets better. The car had been delivered that afternoon from the dealership and when I looked at the odometer, it only had 134 miles on it. I found out later that dad hadn’t even driven the car- mom drove it on an errand that morning and then I drove it to go to the movies.

We took off with mom’s credit card since she purchased tickets on line and James was very excited, chatting away in the back seat as I drove. We ended up going to the wrong theatre so we were about 20 minutes late. I figure that James is not quite old enough to realize that we arrived late. The lights were already down by the time we arrived, and as luck would have it, it was a dark scene when we entered the movie. I carried James down the aisle since it was so dark and was barely able to see the seats to find some empty ones. I headed towards the front since I figured they would be empty, so we ended up sitting about five seats from the front. James sat on my lap for a little while and then wanted his own seat.

He didn’t say a word during the movie. His little face was glued to the screen, although he would occasionally look over at me or look over at the mom and son sitting to our right in the row behind us. He did well for our first outing out alone. It was a good trip and one I would be willing ot do again.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mac ‘N Cheese Update

My brother is becoming quite the cook and had recently asked me if he could look at all the Mac recipes and make one. I handed over the article and he picked the Crusty Mac 'N Cheese. Normally, using the word “crusty” in a description of something is not good. In this case, the recipe is referring to the top layer of the dish being baked to a golden brown and crunchy finish. Considering that it is not unusually for my brother, Dad and I to snitch the crispy noodle bits sticking up out of the traditional baked Mac ‘N Cheese before we all sit down to eat, a crunchy layer is a good thing

I liked it. The crusty part is caused by using real butter at the last moment below the final layer of cheese. It was a good texture. The taste was very light, as the recipe called for a lot of butter, but not very creamy. I think that the final step of the dish to get the crunchy layer is one that could be incorporated into another Mac ‘N Cheese recipe for an absolute stellar dish. I’ll keep you all posted as I try out the other recipes and when I start experimenting with the traditional recipe I use.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stickers and Soap

I like to support vendors who are trying to sell products that have a social conscious. I recently attended a Women’s History Conference at Cerritos College and collected a new business card.

The company is called Sticker Sisters and they make fabulous stickers, shoelaces “& other goodies with smarts & spunk”. Check out their website by clicking here. They have great items for feminists and feminists in training. Remember, feminism is not a dirty word. There are several different types of feminism, from women who use sex and their looks to manipulate men, to the woman who feels it is her place to stay at home and obey her husband, to women who think men are the scum of the earth and cannot be trusted. You don’t have to believe all of the above or any of the above to be a feminist.

My other favorite socially conscious business is Lush handmade soaps and cosmetics. The company began in England and is expanding all over the globe. Their business is headquartered in Vancouver Canada for the United States. You can find the store closest to you by using the store locator on the website. If there isn’t a store near you, you can order their products online and have them shipped directly to you. They don’t test on animals and don’t purchase their supplies from vendors who do not follow their own philosophy. This does mean that they cannot offer some products like sunscreen as they cannot get the quality and quantity of ingredients that they want. You can also sign up to receive their bi-monthly newsletter. It’s a good idea as they are constantly adding new products and have seasonal specials. Their Christmas spread is phenomenal.

If you can get to a store, I highly recommend it. The store has a wonderful smell, a mix of all their products that reminds me of an new age bookshop. Let me put it to you this way, it is such a distinct and delicious smell that I was able to locate the Lush store while on vacation in Venice, Italy by scent alone. I smelled the scent and thought, “Boy, that sure smells like Lush,” then turned the corner and saw the shop in front of me.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable and have probably used most if not all of the products. They also like to demonstrate their products in the store. And if you ask nicely, you can get a sample of a product to try before dropping the cash for the product. This is wonderful as some of their products can be a bit pricey. It’s worth it as they are high quality and usually last for a while. I have yet to meet a person who regrets their purchase at Lush. Going into the store makes all the difference. They have a fairly liberal return policy. It is a great place when you want to pamper yourself or someone else. I personally keep a running wish list of Lush products.

Monday, April 03, 2006


While browsing the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader website, I stumbled across a blog about some of Einstein’s more famous quotes. Below is one that gave me pause.

"The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."

This quote troubles me. I recently watched Fahrenheit 9-11 which is an amazing move. Being raised by a radical (Liberal is a dirty word in our household) academic focused father, I could see the points that Michael Moore was making and I did not disagree with it. I actually watched Fahrenheit 9-11 and Bowling for Columbine back to back within the course of one week.

The quote above brought up this issue for me. If it is true, then how can we extract ourselves from the war we are engaged in overseas? Our current leadership would be and I believe they are incapable of such an action. Ironically, there is an article online today about President Bush attempting to revive his lagging approval ratings. We have, what – 2 ½ years left of his presidency? I am left wondering if an end is in sight and what the future will hold.

Overcast days tend to make me reflective.