Ramblings on a Thursday


Today was a day of car and San Mateo. Kris had a doctor appointment in San Mateo at too-early o'clock, and needed me to drive him to the appointment and pick him up from the appointment. We've done this deal before, so I knew what to expect with the two to three hour wait. What I wasn't expecting, though, was having fewer than four hours of sleep the night before and needing to sleep.

After waiting with Kris in the doctor's office's waiting room until he was called in for his appointment, I went out to the car, crawled into the back seat, and passed out. I didn't manage a deep sleep of any sort, but I did manage to doze well enough that only the combination of many doors slamming in the car next to me and the screaming of a full bladder could wake me up. And wake me up they did.

I am, for the record, still amazed at how many people think that standing next to your car means you're leaving, and that they have the right to honk at you to enourage you to hurry up, even when you're not leaving. I succeeded in having two cars wait in the lot behind me, turn signal on, waiting for my parking spot, as I crawled into the back seat to pass out again after going to the bathroom. Because, you know, I must be leaving my parking spot, right?

After Kris was done with his appointment, and the two of us back home, I managed to work. That I managed to work among the cacophany of life happening in the house is a testament to my ability to focus. Between Heather's cooking and cleaning (did I mention bestest-roomie-evar? Thought so.), and the dogs' confusion that both Kris and I were home AGAIN oh-boy-this-means-food-and-walkies-and-lots-of-petting, the house was teeming in movement. Of course, my concentration actually meant putting up a gate and closing the door to the doggen, but, hey, sometimes we need a crutch, right?

Tomorrow, the Emerald City Classic starts, a three day ultimate tournament in Seattle. It used to be Spawnfest, I think, for the Mixed Division, but the division has become large enough to catch the attention of the Open and Women's tournament director, and the two merged. I could be wrong about that, but I think that's what happened.

Originally I had planned to go to the tournament and take stats. I don't really know why I keep torturing myself in this way. I enjoy playing with the team. I feel so lucky to be a part of such and amazing group of people. Standing on the sidelines, however, knowing that you won't go in and run run run, feel the grounds as you push off, the thunk of the disc as it stops spinning in your palm, the clench of the stomach as you pour everything into your legs getting them to move fast enough under you to keep from falling over forward, gosh, that's torture, even if the numbers that you get from the stats are fun and entertaining and quite enjoyable.

OF course, heading over to see Ben and Lisa afterward for a couple days, trying to fit into their schedule, was the real reason for heading off this weekend, and the biggest reason I'm disappointed I won't be going. Although I'm finding the 10-12 billable hours a day refreshing for the bank account, I'm finding missing out on that visit more disappointing.

Heather, however, is going to Seattle. She needed a ride to Mountain View to meet up with Warren and Steffi, who were driving up to the airport to catch their flights also to Seattle. Since I was heading back up to San Mateo to hang out briefly with Pickett, I offered to take Heather to SFO. When Mark asked for a ride, I knew I had volunteered well. Instead of a solo ride to San Mateo, I could drop both Heather and Mark off, too. Fun.

Hanging out with Pickett is awesome. I didn't stay long, my body wanting to shut down, despite my backseat nap this morning. I did manage to see his new garden, from the soil and seeds I dropped off two weeks ago as a thank you for taking care of me during my last migraine. I was sad to see the compost I gave him had lots of grass seeds in the compost, but Pickett seemed good natured about it.
Pickett and Nichole are talking about raising chickens in their small urban lot. She had selected the breeds she liked and had found a source, also. Pickett, however, was worried about the start of work for him after the summer off and the influx of family coming into town over the next few weeks.

You know, I think Pickett is the only other person with garden square footage rivalling mine. His strawberries are far more productive than mine are, though.

Oh, and 280 is so much faster that 101 at 5:30 in the evening.


I'm going to bed early tonight.

Settlers game night and eggs 18, 19, 20, 21




Heather arranged for a game night tonight. Andy came over early with six eggs, to bring our 30 eggs up to 36 eggs. Fortunately, we used up four of them immediately with our double crepe recipe, to feed the group who was heading over: Heather, Andy, Chookie, Doyle, me, maybe Shirley and maybe Kris after his geetar lesson.

We started the evening with tile rummy, when only Chookie, Andy, Heather and I were around. I think we spent more time explaining the tiles and the game than we actually spent playing. The game was close, with all of us having one tile until Andy had none.


Doyle showed up while we were playing tile rummy. Now, I'm very excited Doyle showed up. Last time we played, Kris beat Andy and I in all three games. I needed Doyle to show up and take Kris down a notch. That Doyle has won nine games in a row is of no consequence in my mind.

Our first game was much longer than I expected it to be. To my surprise, on the round before the end, I realized if I snagged the longest road (as Doyle says, "the false god") from Andy, and built a city, I could go from last place to 10 points and win. So I did.

Not only did Kris not win (since he wasn't playing, this was a given), but I did. WOW! Not bad for my fourth time playing. Though, I guess that's part of the charm of Catan: a lot of the game play is designed to level the playing field, so that even sucky-suck players can get lucky sometimes.


It was a Wicked and ...


No, no, the wind was Tuesday, not today. Today was a trip to San Francisco to see Wicked with Heather and her friend, John. Kris was originally supposed to leave work relatively early, swing by Doyle's office where I was working today, and pick me up, before heading up to the City to meet up with Heather and John for dinner. Sure, and I was SUPPOSED to take the train, too. Neither of those happened, Kris had to work late, so I drove up to the City to meet up for dinner at Osha Thai, having been disorganized enough myself that I drove into work instead of catching the train.

We ended up having dinner so early that not only were we able to finish dinner, we were also able to park and repark my car three times, each time a block or two closer to the theatre, inching (blocking?) our way to a shorter return walk to my car after the show.


Where we had no problem parking and sauntering to the theatre, Kris had the opposite experience. Worse, BOTH of my cell phone batteries were dead, and I had to borrow Heather's cell phone to wait for Kris to arrive at the theatre. As I stood waiting next to the theatre entrance, happily people watching the groups of people walking by on their way to the show, I started to worry when the time remaining decreased to fifteen minutes, ten minutes, eight minutes.

He ran up, to my relief, about five minutes before the doors were going to close, giving us not only enough time to find our seats, but me time to reconnoiter the restrooms. Of course, these are the restrooms that inspire rants, so I pretty much knew what to expect.

We made it to our seats in time for the show's start. Of course no photography was allowed, so, of course, I took a picture. I swear, next time I'm going to sit in the last row, so that I can take a whole bunch of pictures without the people behind me ratting me out.


The seats we had were fairly good seats, other than the fact that Heather's seat sat 4" low and my seat sat 4" high. I'm sure I annoyed the people behind me, sitting so tall that I blocked the view of at least four rows behind me. Heather and I switched seats, which meant Kris and I held hands on Heather's lap during some of the "You're perfect! No, you're perfect! We're perfect together!" songs. I think she rolled her eyes at us. I just smiled.

Pull up your pants!


After the tournament, Lyndsay (and her roommates) hosted the team (and other teams) at their house in Santa Cruz. As a sidenote, the house (the downstairs being all I had really seen of it) was great, with the grounds spectacular. They have a tightrope made of nylon strapping that was quite entertaining to watch people use.

In the car on the way over, Andy drove me, Steffi, Andy Fisher and Heather over to the house. We used the navigation system in my car, which means we didn't go the most efficient way to the fields. As a matter of fact, we ended up stopping at a slew of stoplights, driving down small streets, and meandering through the neighborhood in a most circuitous way.

At one of these particularly annoying stoplights, I turned to see a couple walking along the sidewalk beside the car. The couple were both heavyset, with glasses and a slouched appearance. They walked arm in arm and seemed quite happy together. Someone, it might have been me even, made the comment that people tend to attract those similar to themselves: ultimate players date ultimate players, Techers date Techers (okay, no one said that), sporty people date sporty people, that sort of thing, leading to the comment that slightly overweight people date slightly overweight people.

The couple, then turned the corner. As they did, I started to roll down my window. Everyone knew I was going to say something to the couple walking by, the timing was too close for anything else.

And so I did.


The guy was walking along with his pants in the style of today's youth, with his pants' crotch in line with his knees. His steps were abbreviated. I find the look incredibly retarded, stupid, inefficient, ugly and dumb. Yes, I repeated myself with three synonyms - that's how annoying that look is. Worse, that look will be back around in 20-30 years. Argh.

After my call, the guy pulled his arm from around his girl friend and lifted up his hand. I, and everyone else in the car, expected the usual response, and the response I certainly would have given had I been in his place.

I expected the finger.

Instead, he reached down, and pulled up his pants.

We were dumbfounded.

The light turned green. Andy accelerated through the street intersection, and we all burst into laughter.

The guy had actually pulled up his pants. Unbelievable.

Wine tasting day


We start the day

First wine tasting room

Highlight from the first wine tasting room

Second wine tasting room

Highlight from the second wine tasting room

Third wine tasting room

Highlight from the wine tasting room


Fourth wine tasting room

Drive over the curb already


New life experience!


Kris, Heather and I are planning on spending the weekend in Santa Barbara. Heather has arranged a group wine tasting in celebration of Andy's birthday (that would be HER Andy's birthday, note the tag, we're going with Chenoweth here, not Crews).

We managed to drive all the way to Morgan Hill before disaster struck, where disaster is a minor bump in the road. Well, bump if bump is a bots dot and minor if a flat tire is minor.

Kris was just changing lanes from lane two to lane one when the rumble over two bots dots was particularly loud. "What was that?" I asked.

"I just changed lanes," Kris answered.

"Is it a flat tire?"

"No, just the bots dots."

We listened.

"Uh, that's flapping. That's a flat tire. Pull over."

"Oh. Yeah."

When all of this was happening, none of us thought to look out the window to see where we were. It was 8:15 at night, we were on 101 heading south. We had passed Morgan Hill. Great. That's all we knew when Kris commented, "Time to call Triple A."

"No it's not. Your membership isn't any good," I answered, fumbling with the console between us. "They cashed our check, then denied your membership, and we have no way to prove it because Netbank went under and f---ing took seven years of our banking data with them."

Kris looked at me aghast.

"Time for Audi Roadside Assistance!" I called out, triumphantly pulling out the card I had placed in the car just last week, finding it on one of my organizational crusades.

After a few minutes, the fifth or so question I was asked by the Audi operator was "Do you have a spare?" Well, crap. Did I?

Yes! And it was a full spare, no less! And it was full! Yay!

Five minutes after hanging up with the operator, we received a call back: the car service guy would be at our vehicle in 40 minutes. "That's too long!" Heather cried out. "Let's change the tire ourselves!"

Out of the car we tumbled out, hair and jackets whipping around in the cold wind blowing along the freeway, tousling everything. Heather found the jack and wrench from the back, handing them to Kris as she pulled the spare out of the back. After a few moments, Kris handed the jack to me, asking me out to work it, the mechanism's leverage point not immediately apparent. I cranked it, told him how to place the jack, then hopped back out the car, car manual in hand, to show him where to place the jack, then putting the jack where it needed to go.

Kris cranked up the car as I ran back into the car to get my camera. Only after I had taken a few pictures did I realize his folly, and told him to drop the car back down. "Why? I just lifted it."

"Because you can't loosen the lug nuts with the tire spinning."


Down went the car. Off went the lug nut covers (the car has lug nut covers? What kind of car has lug nut covers?). Loose went the nuts (after some heavy duty stopping in the left direction) and back up went the car.

You know, physics is great. With the proper leverage, even a scrawny woman can lift a car.

Part way though this escapade, our surroundings lit up. A police office had pulled up behind us, shining his lights on the car. He hopped out of his car, and stood behind us, flashlight shining down on the tire. His car lights helping much more than his flashlight did.

I would have helped Kris and Heather more, but I was too busy either taking pictures or talking to the car service guy, who called 30 minutes into the ordeal, after we had already changed the tire. I hopped back out of the car in time to roll the flat tire back to the back of the car and drop it back in the spare well, but not soon enough to let Kris know that when tightening lug nuts (or, as in the case I learned with: clutch plates), you want to tighten in a star pattern, and not around in a circle.

The police officer let us know that the Kris-arm tightening was sufficient, that we didn't need to jump on the lug nuts to tighten them, and that I needed to check the alignment of the car, as the tire wore then blew on the insides of the tire, indicating poor alignment. Great.

My thoughts were, huh, this flat tire wasn't so bad. I had fears of a disastrous tire blow like you see in the movies. "That's crazy, Kitt!" you think, "You're retarded." Maybe. But talk to my brother's ex before you say that, and ask about the Honda rolling after a blowout ("That's one [flip]. That's two. I wonder when I die. That's three."). Then ask me not to worry.

Heather's thoughts were, "HEY! New life experience! That wasn't so bad!" She had never changed a tire before, and was worried about it. She was happy the car had a good manual, as well as all the tools for changing the tire.

Kris commented it was the first tire he had changed, too, which surprised me. I hadn't expected to be the only person in the car who had changed a flat tire before.

When we arrived at the hotel, at 1:30 in the morning, much later than we had originally planned to arrive, Kris wandered into the hotel room, and wandered back out as I was walking in the door. "Huh, well, that's a new one," he commented, looking up at the canopy bed. "I've never slept in a canopy bed before."

"Another new life experience?"

I think I heard, "Yeah," through the toothbrush in his mouth.

I think I'll save the new life experience of "sex in a canopy bed" for tomorrow.

Heather and Andy games


Heather and Andy came over last night for games. That would Andy Fisher, not Andy Crews, which, if you've been keeping track, is a good thing to note. Today was supposed to start Kris' vegetarian week, but, well, we pushed it off for a day to make tasty pizza this evening with various ingredients the four of us had from our respective refridgerators.

Sidenote: I remember in kindergarten having to circle the pictures of the items that began with R. I circled the rat. I circled the rake. I didn't circle the refridgerator, and so had a big red X over the refridgerator. I cried foul in whatever way a five year old can cry foul, and said that doesn't begin with an R. "What is it?" the teacher asked. "It's a fridgerator." She didn't count that one against me. Why I didn't think the rat was a mouse, I have no idea.

To start the evening, I pulled out all the board and card games Kris and I have. I dug to the bottom of the office closet to retrieve some of them, pulling them out for the first time in years, I think.

Each of us vetoed two of the games for the evening: ones we were tired of playing, or tired of losing at when we played, or didn't want to learn the rules, or didn't like the color or shape of the box. Once that round was done, we still had a large number of games left to choose among.

At Heather's suggestion, we decided to play a game of UNO before making dinner. Usually, it's a quick game. In our case, it was a quick disaster, with my "hey! check this out!" distracted call as I walked around the table, bumping the Rumis box, which hit the Fast Figure box, which jammed the Password box, which knocked over the beer bottle sitting on the other side, which spewed beer all over the cards.

Yeah, party fouls come quick and furious when I'm around.

After spreading all the UNO cards out on nearly all the elevated horizontal surfaces in the house, Heather and I wandered into the kitchen to make dinner. Kris is planning on trying a fully vegetarian diet for a week or so, but Heather and I thwarted his start by fixing pizza with a beef topping. We managed to use up some ingredients from her kitchen, as well as ingredients from our kitchen, so, even though Kris was thwarted, I was not in my goal to use up instead of toss out (as in, eat before it spoils).

Kris and Andy spent the baking time out in the living room playing Parlay. The cards for the game have both normal playing card numbers on them, as well as a Scrabble-like distribution of letters on them. Each hand is played as both a Scrabble hand, make the best word you can with the seven cards you've been dealt, as well as a poker hand, make the best five card poker hand you can with the seven cards you have.

After the pizza was in the oven, I wandered out to the living room with Heather, to see what Kris and Andy were up to. The two of them were fairly evenly matched when we sat down, I next to Andy, Heather next to Kris. We figured this was a good way to distribute the poker talent, as well as the word creation talent: Heather vs me, Kris vs Andy.

If only Andy were so lucky.

He had been able to keep up with Kris mostly on the word games, but, gah, after I showed up, his luck with the numbers completely disappeared. We managed a few five letter words, which was great, but we couldn't even eek out a pair. One single pair would have been great. Maybe even an ace high hand would have been great, but, noooooooooo. We managed Jack high hands, and that's the best five cards from seven.

I did the best thing I could for Andy.

I walked away,

Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, his luck improved. Who would have guessed I could be such a bad luck charm?

After a few more rounds, even without the removal of his bad luck charm, Andy lost handily on an all-in, had-to-go-for-it move on the poker hand that lost handily to Kris' four a kind poker hand. Go fig.

The next game up in our night of games was Carcasonne. Now, I've watched Kris and Doyle and Mark and Chookie and Keith and Martha and Tyler and others play Carcasonne a lot, but I started playing only this year. I have played all of five times before, never making it past second place, behind Doyle, behind Kris, behind Keith three times. Tonight was my best shot: two beginners and Kris.

We played the game as we explained a bunch of the rules. I played for a strong end game, hunting a large meadow, fishing a large river system. I ran though a lot of cities during the game to keep the early points going, but I concentrated on cities with the little gold nuggets in them, finishing them whether or not I would receive immediate points, and concentrating on the bonus cards instead.

My plan mostly worked, but not completely. Kris was hunting my largest meadow with me, with Heather sharing my river system. I had to play sneaky, but it didn't really help. In the second to last round, I was tied with Kris. Tied with Kris and he managed to connect a meadow he was hunting with the meadow we were sharing, giving him more guys on the meadow, pushing me out. In that round, however, my collect-the-bonus-cards plan came through, and I managed somehow to pull out the miracle card and claim the meadow for myself.

Yay, me! I won my first Carcasonne game! Whoo!

Spoons came next.

I remember watching my mom play spoons when I was younger. I remember the large group of people, all crammed in the dining room around the table, the cards passed around the table, the flurry of card matching, the mad scramble for a spoon as someone snagged the first one and everyone realized it.

Playing with three people changes the dynamic a lot: fewer spoons to grab, quicker cards being passed along, sneakier opponents snatching spoons with more subtly than a big group can manage.

After eight rounds of playing, with each of us taking two turns at dealing, each of Kris, Heather and me had lost 2 or 3 times, Andy hadn't lost a single round.

Not. A. Single. Round.

We decided to try to rectify that situation, and switched places. Since the table is rectangular, the persons on the ends were at a disadvantage for reaching the spoons or even passing cards. Andy and I switched, putting him on the end, and me on the side.

Didn't help.

We tried grabbing the spoons closest to him. We tried being subtle. We tried being obvious. We tried grabbing spoons and pushing the other ones away from Andy. Nothing helped.

Four rounds later, he still hadn't lost.

So, we tried another tact. We put the spoons in the far corner, close to Heather, and away from Andy. Around the cards went. When I had a matching four cards, I grabbed the closest spoon. Since I had to reach across the table, my gesture was quite obvious and Kris grabbed the spoon closest to him.

Heather and Andy immediately lunged for the third spoon. Both missed. Heather managed to toss the third spoon on the floor. Andy managed to grab my hand. "My spoon! Mine! Mine!" I cried out, as Kris called out, "The floor! Heather, on the floor!"

Andy heard Kris and lunged even farther in an attempt to launch over the table to reach the last spoon. Heather bent over and picked up the last spoon.

Ah, that victory was by far the sweetest.

Yay! Heather's home!



Heather is staying with us this weekend. Heather of the now short(ish) hair!

Unfortunately, I can't actually prove with pictures she's here. All I managed today was pictures of her backside.

Boo, my photo taking skills. Though, it's not like I'm not nearly famous for my backside pictures.

The Saga of Heather's Car


Heather called last night, sorta to talk, sorta to complain, sorta to ask advice on what to do about her car getting towed. She was clearly blue, so I listened, offered as much advise as I could, given that my car has never been towed (knock on wood, throw salt over the shoulder and touch the doorknob three times).

Kris knew what to do, and told me to call her back to tell her to call the police. Whenever a car is towed, the police will have a record of the towing, presumably so that when you call to tell them your call has been stolen, they can tell you it's been towed. After she called back, having talked to the police, and yes, the car was towed, it became very clear she needed someone to help her get her car back. What a crappy situation to be in, car towed and no way to get to the car to get it back.

I offered, she accepted, and I drove up to Oakland for the Great-Grand-Car-Retrieval.

Perhaps needless to say, there are parts of Oakland two women should not be in as night falls.

We waited in the wind for the towing company employees to come back to the facility so that she could pay for her car. We stood in the lobby waiting for the supervisor to release the car. We endured the supervisor's indignation when Heather (rightly) refused to sign the release form that waived all rights to claims for damages resulting in the towing before she saw her car and had a chance to inspect it. We followed the towing company guy from storage facility to storage facility, chasing away cats and claiming rights to short semis, looking for her car before we finally found it hidden in the prosecutor's garage where the good cars were stored.

We went to dinner afterward.

I felt bad for Heather. Having a car towed is stressful. Having to spend money on an unexpected expense is never fun. Ending a stressful week with an even more stressful event super suck-a-sauruses. I just hope the bottle of champagne (bubbly!) I bought for her helped ease the rough day. We toasted to the start of good days, beginning with that first swig.

(Note, I didn't feel badly. Feel is a linking verb requiring an adjective as the object of the sentence. To say I feel badly means I am unable to sense or touch something well, as if my nerve endings are shot.)