Coal Creek


Coal Creek hike with Mom yesterday. We took a wrong turn and almost finished the hike in 45 minutes. I set us straight, we back back-tracked on the trail to go the long way. 3 hours later, and Mom was too tired to be angry with me.

I really should realize that not everyone is an ultimate player with a start-stop-start-stop all day fitness mode.

Then maybe Mom wouldn't need to be mad at me.



At one put a couple weeks ago, when we were driving from Andy's house to 280, Andy commented there was a new restaurant along the route named Merlion. "Merlion?" one of us asked. "Is that like a cross between a lion and a fish?"

"Yes it is," was Andy's answer.

And, sure enough, when we drove by, there, standing proud, was a statue of a lion with a fish tail, spewing some water into the pool around its feet.

We had to go.

Yesterday, I asked Andy if we was up for going to Merlion with Mom, Kris and me. When he said yes, I made reservations, and the three of us, Mom, Kris, and me, went to pick up Andy last night to check out the new place.

The first thing we noticed was that the door you think is the front door, the one on the side nearest the big-ass Merlion statue-fountain along the major busy road, isn't.

The first door we went to said "go to the next one over." The next door over said, "go to the next door that way" without giving a direction associated with the "that." We eventually wandered all the way around the building, going the long way past the Potsticker King, before encountering the baby Merlion: a statue merely half the size of the fourteen foot statue we'd seen from the street and wandered past, twice, on the way around the building to the front door.

We entered, and were greeted by another Merlion, this one as big as the first, but not quite as spiffy: it was blind. Don't know what I mean? Go to the Merlion on Steven's Creek and see. Or don't. It can't see you.

So, we ordered our meal, after debating whether or not to order the $900 bottle of wine, eventually opting for the $40 bottle of wine instead (what's $840 among family and friends?).

Behind us, a large group was gathering. The tables were pushed together, and people hurried in to sit before the guest of honor arrived to celebrate his birthday.

Before the birthday boy could arrive, just after Mom had her meal set down in front of her, the lights went off.

We looked around, slightly perplexed. Power going out in a restaurant is never good. We figured if the power didn't come on in a few moments, candles would arrive for mood lighting.

Before long, the restaurant manager came up and apologized for the lights being off. The whole complex had lost power, not just their building. We didn't care much, as the rest of our meals were arriving. We had enough light to eat by, so eat we did.

As we ate, we noticed the place start to fill up with smoke. The power loss had, unsurprisingly, stopped the overhead fans in the open kitchen, though the grill was still on to finish cooking the orders placed before the power went out. When the birthday boy arrived a short time later, he and his brood of 30 were out of luck for ordering meal.

As we continued to eat our meals, the manager stopped by to apologize to us for the loss of power. We still didn't care since we had our food, so we kept shooing him away. Eventually, however, it became clear that he was concerned because, with the power out, he had no way to process credit cards, we'd have to pay cash.

Darn, Andy commented, why didn't we order the $900 bottle of wine. They can't expect us to carry $900 in cash with us to a restaurant, can they?

For some unknown reason, I happened to have a $100 bill on me, and was able to pay for the meal in cash. I have no idea what prompted me to bring that bill, as I normally have less than $25 in cash on me at any time, $20 of that being the emergency $20 that should be for emergencies only, but seems to be spent whenever.

We left our Merlion adventure shortly thereafter, passing the birthday boy brood trying to figure out where to take 30+ people at 8:00 on a Friday night without reservations. As we left, Andy turned to Kris. "Potsticker King next time?"

Mom and Shirley clean up


One of the tasks on Mom's "list of things to do when at Kitt's house" is my long time favorite: clean out the garage.

This has been on my list since, oh, forever? When Kris and I first moved in, my car went into the garage every night. I had the more expensive car at the time (come to think of it, I still do. hmph), so it made sense to park it in the garage.

Sometime between move in and now, around maybe 2 years ago, the amount of crap in the garage has become so overwhelming that there are the narrow paths through the junk piles. Many of the boxes in those piles are full of paper of some sort: blank paper, art paper, or printed paper with pages I read at some point and thought they were important enough to keep.



Shirley needed to make some money doing manual labor (ooooo, and making me peanut butter cooooooooooookies), so she came over today to help.

Mom and I needed it.

We had bags and boxes of crap to throw out. We had bags and boxes of crap to donate. And we had bags and boxes of crap to put back on the shelves. The amount in the latter category was, thankfully, less than the amount we took off the shelves, but it was still a lot of crap to put back.

One of the good things about cleaning out the garage is that the low-hanging fruit, the easy pickings, is gone. In that "gone" is a lot of crap I'm quite happy to be rid of. I'm frustrated, though, that there is still so much left. We piled all my "to go through" boxes onto one shelving unit (well, on one and a lot next to it). Kris' pile of "to go through" boxes consisted of 2 boxes, one of which was full of computer games.


Having one of everything is tough sometimes.

My gifts suck!


Mom turned old this week. Honestly, she keeps turning old every year, only to redefine what old is and push it back a year. When I look at her, spend time with her, I know what's in store for me in 20, 25, 30 years. I know what I'm going to look like, how I'll walk, how wise I'll be, and, though it's normal to want to be young forever, seeing her makes the years seem almost easy.

I'm loathe these days to purchase gifts for most people, my parents in particular. I know Mom is in a declutter, reduce, simplify phase, much as I am, much as most people are. Overcoming my packrat mentality is not an easy task, so I'm hesitant to contribute to others' piles of stuff.

Since I missed purchasing Mom a Mother's Day, we talked and agreed we would head off to some designer garden store near her when I visited (this was last week), and get her a gift she truly wanted. There were a few pots she'd been eyeing as of late, and giving someone something she wants but wouldn't purchase for herself is giving the perfect gift.

We never made it to the store.

Two or three times in conversation in the first few days I was visiting, Mom or Eric mentioned the vacuum cleaner. In particular, how old and ineffective it had become. They had been looking at new vacuums, but neither was willing to buy a new one, at full retail or sale price. Bunch o' cheapskates (I say in the most loving of terms).

So, breaking from the don't-buy-household-cleaning-items-as-gifts rule, I listened to what Mom and Eric said, found the vacuum cleaner she wanted, and pulled the trigger. Instead of a Mother's Day present, it's now a Mother's Day, birthday, wedding and Christmas present all in one.

Because I'm as cheap as they are.

Mom used it after I had left, and graciously sent me a note after she used it. Her note?

"It sucks!"

The fam


Oregon Stop Pizza


Last night, I flew into Phoenix to spend the week(ish) with Mom and Eric. That Sam and Jackso-own are also here is just icing on the cake.

Well, maybe they're the cupcake. That Beej drove up from Tucson to visit with me and the fam also was the icing on the cake. I think I can never get enough of Beej: he has to be the best brother a girl could ever have. Can I say that without Mom getting mad at me for not saying something about Chris, too? I mean, sure, parents aren't supposed to show bias to a particular child. Heh. Me. Without bias. Who are we kidding?

We talked all day, watched the boys in the pool as Mom went to work in the afternoon, played games with them, and generally relaxed. Watching two boys play, and keeping them entertained, is definitely easier with two people having man-on-man defense, rather than one person having to play zone defense.

In the evening, Eric came home from work, then Mom came home, and both asked where we wanted to go for dinner. Beej immediately piped up, "Oregon Stop Pizza. Andy was telling me about it, and ..." Turns out, a friend of his had gone a lot when he was still at home in high school, but B had never gone. Tonight, with two kids in tow, would be a great time to go.

So, into the car we pile, and off we go to the Oregon Stop Pizza. I had a few calls I needed to make to arrange portopotties for the weekend's tournament, the Sunnyvale Savage Seven, which I've been wanting to host at the local school for years now. I offered what I wanted on my pizza and wandered outside to make my calls. Guaranteed, I was the only person in the Phoenix metropolitan area wearing a hoodie outside at that point.

I walked back in after my calls, as Eric was walking out to find me and make sure everything was okay. As we walked back to the table together, flashing lights and loud music blasted from the dining area. I looked up and around and realized we weren't at the Oregon Stop Pizza place, we were at the Organ Stop Pizza place. The restaurant has one of the largest organs in North America (putting even the one at St. Paul's to shame), complete with spinning organ that drops into the stage and pipes that make the upstairs balcony rumble (recommended for anyone to try).

Mom had never been to the restaurant, so Beej asked her what she thought.

"Well, we've had worse pizza."

"How's the wine?"

"Well, we haven't had any worse."

Fingers in a door


Once, when I was around four years old, my family arrived from out somewhere I have absolutely no idea where. I was in the back seat of the car when my mom opened the car door and hopped out. She immediately turned, and shut the car door, turning back to the house. As she turned, she heard a high pitch muffled little "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

A moment later, she realized that I had reached up on the door jam when she opened the car door, and she had closed the door on my fingers. She opened the door quickly and released my fingers.

I ended up losing a couple fingernails, but gained an entertaining story.

When Kris and I leave in the morning for Velocity Sports, having switched to the 7am class for the "convenient" time and the personalized training with group rate prices, the car is often covered in dew. I've taken to wiping off the passenger side window before opening the car door, so that Kris can see outside my side of the car.

This morning, I forgot to wipe the window before entering the car, so I rolled the window down slightly. Kris hates when I roll the window all way, believing the water will roll into to inside of the door and rust it out. I stuck my hand out the window and started wiping off the window so that Kris could see.

Kris looked left, looked right, rolled the window down slightly so that he could see, looked left again, and, as he pulled out of our street turning left, reache down and pulled on the passenger window switch to roll it up.

With my entire hand still out the window.

Clearly my vocabulary has increased in the intervening decades. Instead of a high pitched muffled little "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Kris heard a very succinct, "OOOOOOOOOoooooooooWwwwwwwwwwwwwwWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

Poof! She's home


Here only a week, Mom left this morning. I dropped her off at the airport, then went to work. Unlike most people I know, I have a great relationship with my mom. Her leaving is sad, but her visiting is always fantastic.

She had originally come to visit to help me work on the house. We managed to get exactly nothing done while she was here.

Exactly nothing.

We were supposed to work on the garage, clean it out and give away most of the crap in there in the launch of reReuse. Yeah, that didn't happen.

Each time Mom wanted to be motivated, I distracted her. Each time I wanted to be motivated, Mom distracted me.

We're good for each other that way.

So, yeah. Maybe next time we'll be productive. This time, this time was girl time.

Fantastic girl time.

Pisser pissing


Mom's heading home tomorrow, so she asked if she could take me out to dinner on her last night here. We've been cooking most meals, and managed to eat all the leftovers, so heading out was a good idea.

After dinner, we were readying to leave the restaurant, but, never missing the opportunity, we went to use the toliets. As luck would have it, the women's was occupied, but the men's wasn't.

Yes, I went into the men's restroom. Both of them are single rooms, not stalls, so closing and locking the door meant no one would be shocked at a woman in the men's room. Just as I was closing the door, I thought, hey, maybe Mom doesn't want to stand outside there, wondering, cripes, is my kid going to get in trouble for this, so I invited her in.

Women. We can do this and not be embarrassed.

As I was sitting on the toliet, Mom looked at the urinal on the opposite wall, complete with a bright red liner that screamed, "TARGET! AIM HERE!"

"Hmmmm, I guess they put that in there to prevent backsplash."

"The red thing? I guess so," I responded.

"Wouldn't that be a pisser? You're wearing tan pants and you splash on yourself when you pee? At knee height, no less," she continued, marvelling at the urinal.

"Uh, pun intended? A pisser pissing?"

"Pun intended!"

A minute later, I was washing my hands and Mom was using the toliet.

"You know what would be a worse pisser, Mom?"

"No. What?"

"If I left right now."

"Yeah. Not sure how'd I'd explain that to the guy trying the door right now."

"There's someone outside the door right now?"


"Oh. I'll just wait then."

"You do that."

Examples of my baking prowess


Tomorrow's Master Gardener class is actually a tour of various Master Gardener projects. We're to head out some time this week to see the different projects and report back in small groups next week.

I'm heading out tomorrow with my mentor group, and Mom is going with me. I'm not sure we're going to spend the whole day touring projects, but we'll tour at least in the morning.

The group is doing a potluck lunch. I've been dying to make some of Shirley's peanut butter cookies, which she had made for me like six months ago after I helped her move a couch. Since I'd lost my sense of smell, most peanut butter cookies taste like cardboard. These, now these I could taste.

And I wanted some.

So, I told Mom we were going to make some tonight. We had dinner and watched the most recent episode of Heroes before starting on the cookies at 9:00 at night.

Only to realize the recipe calls for the dough to chill for 2 hours in the middle.

2 hours.

TWO hours.

Yeah, I'm not staying awake that long, I thought, we'll just chill them in the freezer for a few minutes, they'll still turn out.

Ten minutes of chilling, one minute of dropping balls of dough onto the baking sheets and twelve minutes of cooking later, I pulled the two dozen cookies out of the oven.

Now, for the record, they taste wonderful. Mom ate three lickety-split, and she doesn't eat cookies very often. I downed two before accidently dropping one on the floor and dodging out of the way of the doggie feeding frenzy.

So, they taste good.

They just look like little piles of doggie puke:

Maybe I won't take them to the potluck tomorrow.