Showing posts from January, 2012

When Parrot Heads Meet Croatians

A few of us have decided to explore other cultures in 2012. By explore, I think it means we’re going to hit up their parties and drink. So, not so much different than our current culture.

Last Saturday, we went to the Croatian American Club in Phoenix. They were having a dinner and dance (with a Tamburitza Group playing). The options were:

1.  Pay $5.00 to get in the door; $15 for dinner; and pay as you go drinks $3-5 throughout the night.
2.  Pay $30 - for everything above including unlimited drinks for the night.

As you can imagine, option 2 was the choice for most of us.

We got there early to make sure we reserved a full table as there were eleven of us. As we were standing around, waiting for them to get ready for us to pay, Crash and I looked longingly at the bar. Damn, we were thirsty.

Like good doobies, we stood in the line to pay and get our tickets for the event. They were handing out 1 ticket per dollar paid so we each got 30. Now, if I were doing tickets, I would probably count …

A Thought From Flying The Friendly Skies

Here are reasons why I think people become flight attendants: the chance to travel on someone else’s dime or cheaply on your own, opportunity to meet a lot of people and an interesting schedule.

Here’s a reason that I don’t think factors in to that career decision: having to shill duty-free products.

Every time I fly to and from Calgary, they make the attendants go down the aisle with a cart hawking cigs, booze, jewelry and perfume. Just like the vendors on the beach in Mexico only the attendants have wireless credit card machines. I suspect the Mexican vendors will some day, too.

I suspect it’s not what the attendants signed up for but the airlines are trying anything to make a buck. They should run a Kino game. There’s a revenue generator for sure and it would keep the passengers entertained.

Any airline who takes up that idea owes me a cut.

Another Small World Story

Some friends of mine and I have decided to try out some different cultural events this year. We've already been to the Pulaski club a few times and last night was our visit to the Croatian-American Club which is in a sketchy west Phoenix neighborhood. They were having a dinner and music party.

As were getting settled in, a guy from the table next to us said to me, "What's your name?" I said, "Kathy." He then asked, "Kathy Pfister?" I froze like the proverbial deer.

See, this is the reason I have to always behave myself in public. I never know when someone's going to recognize me then report on my improper behavior. Before you think I'm self aggrandizing here, what are the odds someone's going to know me at the fracking Croatian-American Club? (Besides the Croatians that I already know.)

He asked me if I looked familiar and he did but then when I saw him with his wife, I connected all of the dots. Mac and Diane were people that worked a…

Book Review - Lunatics

Lunatics: A Novel by Dave Barry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Damn, I wish I were creative enough to pull out a story that's as funny and outrageous as this one. A series of increasingly implausible events lead to the hysterical adventures of two guys from New Jersey. Rude and crude Jeffrey Peckerman and peaceful and kind Philip Horkman find themselves on the run after the authorities believe they tried to blow up the George Washington Bridge. That incident came about because of a lemur and a diabetic's insulin pump and it just got more outrageous from there.

Told in alternating chapters from the point of view of each man, the story has lots of potty humor, violence and general mayhem. It's also a brilliant satire on the politics of the world.

I laughed a lot.

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Farewell, Chuck

I just finished watching the two hour series finale of Chuck that aired last night. Watched it with tears rolling down my cheeks at the sweetness, the memories, the fondness for Chuck and Sarah's love story and because I'm going to miss this show. A lot.

It wasn't always a smooth ride. The show had some weak moments and too often was on the edge of being canceled. Ultimately, enough fans, and Subway, came through for support and we got five years.

There were some great moments and the "where are they all going" closure scenes and photo montage at the end showed how far the show and characters have changed. Zachary Levi is a handsome dude. I'd forgotten just how nerdy he was at the beginning. So was Joshua Gomez. Man, those dudes needed serious hair cuts.

I loved the open ended finish to the series. All might not be right in Chuck and Sarah's world but I still feel those two crazy kids will come out OK.

This is one series that I'd love to watch from be…

Book Review - Miracle Cure

Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love Coben. This a re-release of a book he published in 1991.

Michael Silverman is a player for the Knicks. His wife, Sarah Lowell, is a television journalist. Michael becomes ill and the diagnosis is AIDS. (Remember, this is 1991 and it was still thought to be a "gay" disease.) Michael starts treatment at a secret clinic where AIDS patients appear to be cured only to be brutally murdered by a serial killer.

Lots of twists and turns and some good characters. I would love to see another book featuring Max "Twitch" Bernstein, the NYC cop who solves the case.

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Oh, Really?

One of my co-workers, Kyle, is selling squares for the Super Bowl so we're getting a higher than usual amount of traffic in our area.

A guy came up the backstairs today and started talking to Kyle. We're all in cubes so everything can be heard even when you're not trying and the guy said something that made me think he was in our fantasy football league. I peaked over the cube and I don't think I've ever seen him before even though I've worked there for 13 years and he's worked there for years, left and came back.

It was, indeed, the guy who won our work fantasy football league this year. I sat up in my chair and entered the conversation and I don't think he knew me from Adam, either. Maybe, I should say Eve since I'm a chick.

We were talking about how happy we were to beat certain teams in our league and he asked, "Kathy, did you really run your team because I heard your husband was actually doing it?"

My response was, "First, I don'…

Taking My Body For Granted

Knock on wood, I've had very few physical issues in my life. The last year or so were not so good but before that the worse that ever happened is that I would hurt my back and suffer for a week or two. Oh, and there was that one bout with sciatica. That was not fun. But, I've been lucky.

I have once again tweaked my back and it's killing me right now. I don't blame it. I know I should have been stretching on a consistent basis and should stop making it carry around so much excess weight but I don't pay any attention to all that until it's broken in some form.

Ibuprofen has been my friend and I'm not missing a dose as it wears off like clockwork. I'm trying to avoid bending and twisting but that's quite the trick when you're trying to get in and out of a car. I look like an old lady. And old, decrepit lady.

The only bonus about getting into the car is that once I'm in, I can crank up my heated seat. That feels so good that I don't want to…

Banned for Inappropriate Content

We went to the Yardhouse for dinner before the hockey game on Tuesday. Tim and I ordered half yards of tasty brewed beverages. He got a Moose Drool and I ordered the Black and Tan made with Guinness and their Pale Ale.

Chuck started in on the glass. First by saying it's too awkward to drink from then by saying it looked like something from a medieval doctor's collection with the implication that it should have body fluids/parts stored in it.
Dude, that's not making my beer very appealing.
Somehow, this led him to the subject of a Civil War medical kit that he saw on an antique show. He was apparently amazed by the catheters because he went on and on and on about them. About their weird shape, how you would insert them (which he acted out) and how they got progressively bigger but you wouldn't care how big they were if you were going to die because you couldn't urinate.
Based on his description, I think this is what they looked like:
This was not an appropriate topi…

The People Watching May Have Been Better Than The Game

Two of my work buds, Steven and I went to the Coyotes-Senators hockey game last night. Tim found the tickets on Stubhub and they rocked! 9th row, just off the penalty boxes. We paid $44 each with fees and the list price was $120.

On a side note, I think our hockey ticket prices are high but Tim told me they're twice as much in Calgary for the Flames. He said the good seats at the Saddle Dome are $240. That's a lot of money for just one game.

We were settled in to our seats when three women and one man came and sat in front of us. It was all too soon before we noticed that at least one of the women was drenched in perfume. Seriously, I found myself leaning back just to have to smell it less and noticed the guys doing the same.

We narrowed it down to the actual culprit. Let's just say she didn't appear to be your average hockey game attendee, in my opinion. First, she had on this feathered headband with a big fake gem on it. It sort of looked like the picture below witho…

Thanks, Anonymous!

I came into work today and noticed my chair had been pulled out from my desk. Curious. Then, I saw that someone had left me some gifts. Sweet! (Literally.)

The cow pie is from Baraboo, WI. I imagine the logo bar is from Wisconsin as well.

Apparently, there's a Cheesehead Elf somewhere in the building who wants to give me presents. I'm good with that.

Dammit, George!

These containers of shampoo and conditioner sat on the dining table for two days. Outside of the bag I brought them home in because George was constantly gnawing it. Yesterday, I moved them to the bathroom sink and this morning I found them like this.
Both containers have tooth marks on them and the conditioner one was actually punctured and spilling its contents out.
After ignoring them for two days, what was it about moving them to the bathroom that made George decide to chew them up?

I know, I know, there's no answer beyond that she's a demon.

Book Review - Mr. Monk on Patrol

Mr. Monk on Patrol by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gosh, I really love these books and I'm sad that Goldberg will stop writing them soon.

Monk and Natalie head off to New Jersey to help out Randy who's not only the Sheriff in town but also the acting Mayor thanks to wholesale corruption in the city government. As it usually happens around Monk, someone gets killed, multiple crimes are solved and Monk continues to amaze with his talents.

It's nice to see Natalie and Monk progressing as characters and fun that Randy and Sharona were in the story. The book ends on a cliffhanger which makes me want to read the next one that much sooner.

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It's Like They Planned For Me To Come

I did some clothes shopping yesterday. My favorite pair of jeans finally wore out. They went past the velvety soft worn stage to worn through. Bummer, because I loved the way they fit.
I managed to find two new pairs (and also got some layers for Calgary) but the best find was my new ring.
I love the baubles!
Those retailers know what they're doing. First, these rings are stretchy so they can fit a wide range of people. Second, they have them all jumbled up at the check out. Third, they're all big and bold which is what I've been buying lately. Since you have nothing else to do while they're ringing you up, of course you're going to browse. Well, you are if you're me.

I couldn't resist this piece. Not only is it cool looking, it will match several of my lia sophia items. As an added bonus, I already got a compliment on it today in the break room. Sweet!

On a side note, can someone tell me when my hands started looking like my Mother's? Sigh.

Preparing to Brrrr

I’m heading back to Calgary again soon and am considering taking literally all of my clothes so I have enough layers. Well, I’ll leave my bathing suit home because I see no need for that.

One of the employees from our Calgary office was in Phoenix last week. She picked a good time to come as it was -40C last Monday. That’s the magic number where Fahrenheit meets Celsius. It was so cold that even the Canadians were shutting things down.

Can you imagine -40? I think the coldest I can remember is one Christmas Eve in Wisconsin when the high was -23 but I don’t think it got much lower than that. That was the last Christmas I spent (and will probably ever spend) in Wisconsin, by the way.

It’s warming up, though, and I hope the trend continues. I can take highs in the 30s (well, not without complaining). If it stays like that, I think I can get away with just the really heavy hoodie that my Mom got me for Christmas. My heavy jacket is just so damn bulky. Though, it makes for a damn fine pillo…


Despite having literally dozens of toys, nothing inspires George to action more than plastic. Sandwich bag, grocery bag, shrink's all irresistible. If I want to store anything in a baggie, I have to lock it in the microwave or she'll chew right through the bag. I've lost count of home many bags I've given to people and said, "George wanted to put her mark on it".

I came home tonight with three bags from various stores and, within minutes, she had chew marks on all of them.

I wonder what it's like to have a "normal" pet.

What Do These Say About Me?

I got two unsolicited gifts this week from two different friends.

I think these selections say I'm a spoiled, alcoholic Princess.

They also say I have some really nice friends.

Yet Another Cooking Show To Watch

I'm now hooked on Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-off. I saw a few previews and wasn't interested until I found out who the celebrities were. Truthfully, only two of them were the enticement.

The contestants are Cheech Marin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Coolio, Joey Fatone, Taylor Dane, Summer Sanders, Aaron Carter and Alyssa Campanella. Some of them are not household names. I can't tell you the last time I heard a Taylor Dane song on the radio (and I think she went to Kenny Rogers' plastic surgeon), I wouldn't have recognized Olympic swimmer Sanders and I had no idea (nor a care) that Campanella is Miss America. The latter is way too skinny, by the way. The celebrities are playing for a $50,000 donation to the charity of their choice and they're very serious about the competition.

Cheech and LDP were who got me to watch. I love Cheech and LDP is a big foodie so I expected them to do well. Fatone is always good for a laugh, too, so he was an added bonus.

The first epi…

Must Learn ASAP

This is the audio control on my bitching new car. VOL is obviously volume, MODE takes you through AM, FM and XM and the up and down arrows take you through the channels.

It became very obvious to me that I need to learn how to operate these all strictly by touch through a harrowing experience.

I was happily driving along and listening to an XM station when Stevie Nicks came on. This was followed by "Ack, Stevie Nicks, change the channel, change the station, change something, no, not volume! Ack, ack ack!"

I'm surprised I didn't crash the car.

Book Review - While I Was Gone

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was my book club selection for the month and we had some interesting views on it.

I loved the writing but I didn't love the main character, Jo. Jo's a middle-aged Veterinarian in a happy marriage with three daughters who are out of the house. When someone she knew from 30ish years ago reappears in her life, she relives those days and manages to make some terrible choices in the current day. I found her to be completely self-absorbed and perhaps some of that was because the book was told in the first person.

It was still a good read despite my lack of empathy for Jo.

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I have 14 meetings on my work calendar on Monday through Thursday this week. I don't know why no one's booked up Friday yet but it's only a matter of time. Usually, I would just stay late to get my non-meeting shit done but I can't because I have something every night this week. And, this weekend. And, going into next week.

Here's the social schedule:
Monday - stop by the parents' to say good-bye to my Aunt who went back to Milwaukee today
Tuesday - host book club at my house
Wednesday - meeting an old bookseller friend
Thursday - getting my free beer from Eileen who won our Fantasy Football league
Friday - club happy hour
Saturday - party in Tucson
Sunday - lunch with chick poker gang
Monday - dinner with my friend Cheryl

The thing is, I wouldn't want to miss any of those events so I'm not complaining. I'm just anticipating being very tired.

I do have to admit that I am slightly bemused with myself that I continually schedule myself so that I have …

I Keep Getting Dumber and Dumber

I swear I’m not doing this boneheaded stuff just so I have blog fodder.

I went to make my new fave dish for dinner. Hot Italian sausage, chopped greens, onion and garlic with pasta. I put a pot of water on the back burner set to high to boil and my cast iron pan on the front burner set to medium-low to heat up so I could brown the sausage.

I cut a hole in the end of the sausage casing and squeezed out its contests into my pan. I had an instant, dramatic sounding sizzle and a boat load of smoke. By the time I got the pan off the stove, my smoke alarm was blaring. I put the stove fan on high and went to open the front and back doors. George was hiding behind her kitty condo at the front door and looked at me with terror in her eyes. I felt bad but was happy to know that something actually scares her.

The sausage was scorched in places so much so that I had to slice the burnt parts off. My pan was carbon coated so I had to scrub it before I could use it again. This time, though, I put some …

I Will Soon Be On Hoarders

Sugar Daddy gave me a really great eight color printer for Christmas years ago. It prints out fantastic photos. It’s also fairly speedy on the regular black and white printing, too.

Because I have no other room for it, it sits on the part of my kitchen counter that’s open between the kitchen and dining room. (OK, I do have a second bedroom that would have room for it except that it’s filled with so much crap (like three vacuums) that I can barely get in there. You would think that George would use it as her hiding spot because there’s just that much stuff but she consistently goes to the far corner of my bed which makes it easy to find her and defeats the purpose of hiding. But, I digress.) Although it takes up space, it’s handy for printing because I can set my laptop on the counter and wire them up.

I went to print something out a while ago and the paper wouldn’t feed. Bummer. There’s a certain point with printers where it’s not worth repairing them and I suspected, since I’ve had it …

Calling Dr. Freud

I have no idea what inspired this or what it means but it was so strange that I feel compelled to tell the story. At least there was no cigar.

I had a dream in the wee hours of this morning. Well, it could have been as late as 5:30 but it was still dark out.

I was at a hotel where I often stayed on business (not in real life, just in the dream). For some reason, George was with me. As I was sitting on the commode and talking on my cell phone (something I don’t do in real life and greatly disapprove of) I could see across the room to a window to the outside.

Suddenly, a shape pushed its way through the curtains into the room. It was a rooster and looked suspiciously like my nemesis from Key West. The rooster ran across the room and jumped on my lap. I screamed and told the person I was talking to that I was attacked by a chicken. George hissed, made one swipe at the rooster then ran away while I yelled at her to come help me.

Without quite realizing how, I was up, and so were my pants, as…

Cleaning Tasks Me - Part Two

This is the second message I received from the cleaning gods that leads me to believe I should just give up.

I tried to check my Yahoo account on my MacBook Pro and the page wouldn’t load. It said I didn’t have an internet connection. Here’s what I did to troubleshoot:
Turned the airport off and back on.Closed and reopened the browser.Flipped over to my virtual windows machine and tried it there.Completely shut down and restarted the machine.Unplugged my wireless router for a minute then plugged it back in.Hit the reset button on my wireless router.Fired up my Dell laptop to see if it connected.Unplugged my cable modem for a minute then plugged it back in.Plugged the Mac directly to the modem to see if the router was bad.

At this point, I assumed the problem was with Cox. How to look up Cox’s phone number since I don’t keep paper phone books became the next problem. I tried to load their page through the browser on my Droid. Their page is clearly not designed for mobile because it took f…

Cleaning Tasks Me - Part One

OK, I admit cleaning house is not my thing. I do the bare minimum to not look like one of those crazy hoarders people until I have someone coming over then I actually do “real” cleaning. But, the cleaning gods are trying to send me messages that it’s not worth it.

This was message one.

I have a dark rug in my living room. Dark rug plus cat with all white belly fur is not a good combination. Dark rug plus cat with all white belly fur plus cat who got and shredded green glitter balls for Christmas is an even worse combination.

I pulled out my vacuum cleaner and started in on the carpet. After a few sweeps across the floor, I noticed it was not getting any cleaner. In fact, there were big clumps of matter being deposited on the rug.

Nothing to do but tip the vacuum over and check the suction. Yeah, it was blowing air (and what was in it) out instead of in. I suspect a broken or slipped belt. I think I have a spare somewhere but no clue where it is.

So, I went to the vacuum that I thought I g…

It Might Be Cold Outside, But I'm Still Hot

I absolutely love the seat warmers in my new car. We’ve had some cool mornings where it’s been in the 40s when I leave for work and the first thing I do is click that warmer on high. Toasty!

But, I find I’m using the feature when it’s even warmer outside. It as 63 last night when I left work and the car was cold to me so the seat warmer got turned on. When I went to pick up my lunch today, it was 58 and it went on again. I’m thinking I should just keep it on until summer.

My friends in the cold country will find my behavior absolutely ridiculous. If it gets anywhere near 60, they’re in tank tops, shorts and flip flops. I’m still in layered sweaters, jeans and closed toed shoes with socks.

Living in Arizona since I was nine years old has made me a weather wimp. Having seat warmers in my car is just going to make me even wimpier. But, I don’t care since for the first time in years I can legitimately claim that I have a hot ass.

Beware Of Visiting The Demon Lair

Besides Chick Poker and Book Club, I don’t have a lot of people over to my house except for The Rocket Scientist and Steven. George is used to both of them. Used to, as in she growls at TRS as he walks up to the door and hides under the bed when Steven is inside.

Tracy and Julie came over to do some club business and I didn’t tell George they were coming. She was sitting on the dining room table overseeing my computer work when she heard someone walking to the front door. There was a leap to the kitty condo to investigate then a hasty retreat to the floor and the corner of the dining room table that is furthest from the door.

That’s where she decided to growl at Tracy. As soon as Tracy was in the house, George ran off to the bedroom. Oh, so not brave. I’m not even sure Tracy saw her.

Julie showed up and the three of us ate dinner and talked business. I saw George come creeping down the hall and pointed her out to Tracy and Julie. She slunk around for a while then actually approached Juli…


I always get apples in my organic deliveries. At least four, often six. If I followed the old adage of one a day consumption, I'd be set. But, for some reason I just don't think to eat them and they keep forever so I had a bunch built up in reserve.

Something triggered the thought to make applesauce out of them. While I won't think to eat a plain apple, I will definitely eat applesauce. I googled the interwebs for recipes, studied a few, then modified one and used it.

Here it is:

8 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

I used my new Tupperware peeler and it did a great job. It didn't take me long at all to prep the apples.

I put the apples, sugar and cinnamon on med-low heat and covered the pan. Total cooking time was about 35 minutes and I stirred every 5-10 minutes. The apples cooked down to about four cups and I probably should have diced them into smaller pieces because it was really chunky. I ran the mixer…

Book Review - Fire

Fire by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was described as a companion book to Graceling. You could read them in either order but I would suggest Graceling first.

Fire is a young monster. While she's human, she also possesses the power to enter and impact others' minds. Without trying, she also attracts extreme attention and devotion from anyone in her vicinity. Fire and her friend/lover Archer get involved in the intrigue and war between the rulers in the Dells, an area across the mountains from the Seven Kingdoms of Graceling.

Despite it being a feudal society, Cashore creates quite an egalitarian world. Women can be soldiers, command an army, stay single, have children but not get married or decide to never have children and non-marital sex isn't frowned upon and birth control is available (although the women have to take it).

I like these books and am putting the next one on my to-read list.

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Netflix Is Like The Boyfriend With One Last Chance

I read in the business section yesterday that Netflix’s stock value has gone down 61% since last year. It’s not surprising considering their boneheaded move to split streaming and DVD services while greatly increasing the price. Sure, it wasn’t a gazillion dollar increase but it ticked people off and they left in droves. Their CEO (whom I can’t believe hasn’t been fired) has apologized and promised never to screw with the customers again. It’s a start but it didn’t stop people from bailing.

I shut down my DVD option but I’m still streaming. And, I love it. Especially in those weeks of the year (like the past two) where the networks aren’t showing new shows because of all of the holiday specials, sporting events and, well, the conflict of the holidays. Who has time to watch TV?

Well, I have time thanks to my DVR that makes TV viewing time so much shorter (although I am really out of the loop on trending commercials) and my Netflix.

It’s interesting to note how much of an Anglophile I am.…

Book Review - Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really good story.

Katsa is a Graceling, someone who has a super skill and is identified by having two different colored eyes. The skill can be something minor like being able to hold your breath for a long time but Katsa's skill is killing. Her Uncle, one of the kings of the Seven Kingdoms, uses her to scare and punish those who defy him.

Working with others, Katsa forms the Council. A group determined to protect the people against the unjustness of their rulers and others, the Council helps free an old man from captivity. Looking for the old man is Po, a Prince from another Kingdom. He's soon in the Council and he and Katsa join forces to save a young girl.

Cashore has created an interesting, medieval world and populated it with real characters. I enjoyed the book quite a lot.

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