Thursday, February 21, 2008

February Randomness

Converting the Suburban to run on vegetable oil is turning out to be harder than i thought. Lovecraft told me last year that it could do the conversion, but since then they have changed owners and GMCs aren't in their current repertoire. I need to have some discussions with their head mechanic and see what he recommends we do - we may still be able to work something out. I really, really don't want to do the conversion myself, mostly because i have a two little kids that get in the way of big projects like engine conversions. Plus we have had an electrical screw-up in the 'burb - we plugged in the cell phone charger and created quite a spark. Since then the dome lights don't work and the radio stopped receiving any signals. Now i have to get intimate with the wiring system, so i ordered an old Haynes manual on Suburbans. Hope it covers diesel 4x4's. Grrr.

My super-cool cousin Don (remember him from our 23-hour AZ escapade?) and his family are officially moving to China. He and his equally cool wife got jobs at the Suzhou Singapore International School, in Suzhou (pronounced "Soo-jo."). I am thrilled for them, very impressed by their bravery, and shamelessly excited about crashing at their place - because if you had the chance to visit China in the company of beloved family members, wouldn't you? Good gosh, we'll have to go in summer. how could i visit Asia and not spend at least a month there? I've always wanted Paul to learn Mandarin, as i think it's a language that offers better opportunities than Spanish, but there's kind of a dearth of Mandarin schools around here. Back to my cousins - they'll be selling their super-cool house (anybody want to buy a stylish, colorful house in Mesa, AZ?) and most of their possessions. the job comes with free furnished housing, so they are going to leave their best pieces in storage here and get rid of everything else. Wow. There is some talk of their oldest daughter coming out to stay with us for part of the summer, which I am excited about because she is a good kid and also a Japanophile like me.

our seeds have sprouted nicely and are now "hardening" in the office window. I have been lazy about getting anything in the ground but really need to do it soon. Now we are off to the park. I need to get a bike trailer so i can haul the boys behind me - we live right on the Aliso Creek trail and the park is less than a mile away on the trail as well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Siouxsie touched me!

I was literally right next to the

Nah, just kidding. But if i was an aggressive jerk, i could have touched her. Last night was the show - Dan & I met Stephen at the House of Blues (hereafter referred to by their obnoxiously ubiquitous acronym "HOB") to see Rasputina & Siouxsie. We ate dinner there, which was acceptable, and then got into the "dinner line" for the show. If you eat dinner there you get into a special line that gets into the show before the main line. This sounds like a good idea, but just wait - you'll read the truth.

We got in and promptly had no clue where to go, but eventually found ourselves in front of the stage on the main floor. HOB is general admission, and i haven't been to a GA show in YEARS so i was woefully out of practice. My rules for attending a General Admission show:

1. don't.
2. if you must go, do not carry a purse.
3. wear sturdy shoes - you will get stepped on.
4. consider wearing heavy bracelets and possibly elbow spikes.

So i broke every rule. i went, i carried my big ol' shiny red purse, wore ballerina flats and no jewelry of any kind. With my tomato-red dress and complete lack of makeup i was extremely conspicuous, as 95% of the crowd was in some combination of the following: dressed in black, pierced to the nines, tattooed, and heavily eyelinered (it was a Siouxsie show, ya know).

So after standing around in front of the stage for AN HOUR the show started. It was not the best Ras gig I have ever seen, the sound was horrible and Melora's vocals very muddled, but the energy was not helped by the unbelievably rude Siouxsie crowd. I have seen hostile crowds (Love & Rockets' farewell show was the pinnacle), but this was just complete apathetic rudeness - talking, texting, acting like jackasses. I would have sprayed perfume in their faces, but i didn't bring any. I'm going to send Ras a card and express my condolences for their shabby treatment. I wonder if the whole tours was that awful or if Orange County just has more faux-punk idiots than other places.

After Ras was done, the crowd got worse. Siouxsie was coming! Dan retreated but Stephen and i stuck it out. I wanted to see up S's famous nose, since we were only about 6 or 7 deep from the stage. I saw her once with the Creatures, which was great, but i was far away and this time i wanted to see the diva up close. The crowd started pressing hard and one particularly obnoxious bunch, headed up by a sneaky elbow-y chick was pressing hard on my left rear flank. Ohhh i wanted to turn around and spit on them but instead i had to find my satisfaction in repelling their attempts to get in front of me. They made one horrible final push to get in front and in my sheer stubborn obstinacy and determination to KEEP THAT GIRL BEHIND ME i rode the wave in front of them and then suddenly i was shoved in two deep from the stage. Ha! Stephen was several people behind me and there was no way to get him up to me.

Miss S came out and i was in the sardine can - no way out, no way around. But it was all good because hey, I was 5 feet from an icon. Cool. She looked really good - a few wrinkles on the face, but otherwise she looked fantastic, even in a ridiculous silver & gold spandex catsuit. She looked like a 70's glam rock queen. I stuck it out for 5 or 6 songs (she did Hong Kong Garden!) before i overheated and had to get out. Even then, i did my best to make sure Miss Elbow did not get my spot. Stephen came along with me and eventually we found Dan upstairs trying to watch the show on the monitors.

OK, my other piece of concert advice. Do not go to a show at the Anaheim House of Blues. It's awful. I am not sure i have ever been to a worse venue. Sure, it's clean and there's a LOT of security. Sure, they have big-screen monitors that you can watch the show on. But unless you are lucky enough to be up front or in the sardine crush of the main floor, you will not actually see the performer. If i want to watch Siouxsie on a TV screen, i will go buy a DVD and watch it at home and save myself oh, i dunno, $100 or so.

However, the freak show was fun, as it always is. We played the "guess the gender" game, the "what do you think they do for a living" game, and assorted other evil guessing games that are sooo much fun to engage in when surrounded by a bunch of extreme scenesters. the haircuts! the makeup! the dye jobs! the costuming! the jewelry! the dancing! all so deliciously mockable as we played it safe in our boring street-clothes. i need to keep reminding myself that as they are, so i once was. There were a few people who did the look and did it well, and a few hairstyles and lovely pink dye jobs i was very jealous of. Ahh, i wish i had cool hair.

Monday, February 11, 2008


OK, you all know what an ephemeral novelty it is to engage in snow sports in southern California. But the storms we had come through (while i was in bed with the Death Flu) left the mountains so sparkly white! Dan took Paul for their annual skiing trip last Monday, and on Saturday we packed up the kids and the gear and headed for Wrightwood. Egads, it tales a lot of time to gear two kids up for snow, particularly when we usually only do this once a year. Although I had managed to pick us all up snowshoes secondhand or at REI clearance sales, between babies and drought winters we had never managed to really use them. So this was our very first snowshoeing trip.

We went up past Wrightwood to Grassy Hollow and started out on the Pacific Crest Trail (which we plan to do a large section of once Paul is 9 or 10), but it only took us a minute to figure out that we could go wherever we darn well pleased. So we headed off over some hills and down some mild slopes, and I was surprised by how much everybody enjoyed it. Paul was a machine, forging ahead of Dan and bravely plunging down slopes. He did fall on his face a few times, but since he didn't complain I took that as a sign that he was really enjoying it. We stopped for a break and Dan & the boys (Eli rode in a baby carrier on Dan's back) had a snowball fight and made a snowman with a pine-needle mohawk. Then we snowshoed over to a large group of people and watched them sled while we drank lukewarm cocoa that i had been carrying in my backpack. They spoke Spanish and Paul was shocked - "Mama, they're speaking Spanish!" He always gets amazed when he hears people outside of school speaking it. I'm not sure why, as he knows lots of people speak Spanish. His pronunciation is really good now.

Our little day-trip helped me decide what we are going to do for President's Day weekend. I'm going to be brave, and we are going to Sequoia NP to car-camp and do some more snowshoeing. But since I'm a wimp, I'll be buying a tent heater.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

seeds among thorns

I was sick, really sick, for six days. It was The Death Flu. I am still weak and easily tired, food still tastes all wrong. I'm living on Target-brand slimfast ripoff drinks. I called my Primary president and cried on the phone because i was too sick and weak to do my job, so they took care of it. The Relief Society brought us dinner for three nights, and God bless them, two of those nights were casseroles. We don't usually eat casseroles - the boys are mystified by them and I'm kind of grossed out by food floating in cream of mushroom soup. But i am grateful, no matter how horrible a food snob i am. Dan pointed out that people probably don't eat the mercy meals i give out. Jerk. (love you, Dan!)

Today we went to evil Wal-Mart and i bought a seed-starting plastic greenhouse. Paul was going to help me plant, but he lost interest pretty quickly and started poking toys into the peat pellets so i finally shooed him away. We're starting white onions, green onions, four different kinds of carrots (including purple), tomatoes (Black Krim, Persimmon, and Costoluto), roasting peppers, and serrano chiles. You're not supposed to start carrots indoors, but it's an experiment and we have many, many seeds, so no worries. We also bought a 6-pack of red lettuce, another of Bibb lettuce, an artichoke plant (Paul's request, he really likes them), some Italian Parsley and a yellow pear tomato. I'm going to plant those in the front-yard terrace, as that gets sun almost all day long.

Spring Cleaning has officially commenced. I loaded up the Suburban and dropped off a huge donation at Goodwill yesterday. There is still so much more crap that I can get rid of. The most significant donation was my maternity clothes. The baby factory is closed; any further additions to the family will be via adoption/fostering. I have saved a few of the very best pieces of baby clothes (hard to find expensive stuff like down suits), but otherwise i am no longer saving clothes that Eli grows out of. There are plenty of hand-me-downs to be had from the boys' cousins if we ever end up needing any.