Friday, March 30, 2007

So this is what it's like (part one)

My appologies for the lack of posts. One of Tom's best friends died this week, and it really didn't seem right for me to sit down and write about how much I love my awesome new job.

When one of your peers is suddenly gone forever, it's a fairly major mortality reality check. You want to believe such a thing will never happen, that you'll all grow old together, raise your kids together. But it happens, and you're floored, and dealing with it is something for which nothing can prepare you.

Things will be quiet around here for a few more days, but I'll be back thereafter.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's that time again

I've had the same template for almost a year now. Figured it was time for an update. Comments, criticism, suggestions?

Lessons from the mall

1. JC Penney + sale = time spent in stores other than JC Penney is time wasted!

2. Buy shoes last, so the shoe box doesn't stab you through the bag the whole rest of the time you're shopping. This is especially important if you're inclined to carry the bag over your shoulder a la Santa Claus.

3. Lady, if your toddler is so exhausted that she's wailing "I'M TIRED! I'M TIRED!" pretty much incessantly, it is time to exit the fitting room and call it a day. Or go put the kid in the car so she can take a nap (with the windows cracked, of course...and leave her a bowl of water...what do you take me for, some kind of savage?).

4. Even Orange Julius and Sbarro fare will look like manna of the gods after six hours of shopping (probably less true for seasoned mall veterans).

5. Yes, Virginia, there really is an Easter Bunny.

6. Last, but definitely most important, beware the neck mannequins!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My theme song for the day

Gotta get some new pants for the new job (ones that aren't all stained and nasty). So I'm off to the mall. Tuh-day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sweet, sweet freedom

Boy oh boy, where do I even start? Last Friday, as you may recall, was my last day of work at the much-despised old job. Seeing the last of that place, forever more, didn't suck, let me tell you. There may have been some maniacal laughter, possibly emanating from my vehicle, as I drove out the gate for the last time. Maybe. I can neither confirm nor deny any such mania.

Saturday we finally got to take our new toy out to the range to see what she was capable of. As expected, she performed admirably.

Exhibit A: A Sig is a wish your heart makes...

Exhibit B: My first target with the new weapon (twenty rounds, at about twenty feet)

Exhibit C: My second target with the new weapon (ditto rounds and distance)

Saturday we also played some racquetball and went out to dinner with friends. Sunday I had to go get a pre-employment physical for my new job. Apparently there is some truth to the myth of my bionic hearing; the NP was impressed by my test results in the little audio booth thingy. I, however, was even more impressed by my blood pressure - 98/70. Who knew how relaxed quitting my job would make me?! I mean, really...

Yesterday began my glorious vacation week between jobs. I hung out with Yaya yesterday and Gram Gram today. We went out for some really excellent lunches both days, so it's a good thing that I am thus far managing to keep up with my goal of going to the gym - or performing equivalent aerobic exercise - five times per week. I'm almost halfway through week three, and I have to say, I've gotten kind of addicted to it. Tomorrow I'm going to try swimming for an hour instead of step aerobics-ing, which I haven't done for a while, so I'm looking forward to that.

All right, enough bragging and day-to-day mundanity. I'll come up with something more substantive to write about in a day or so. Til then, happy trails and all that. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I can be pretty poetic sometimes...

"One more day, and then the festering pustule of my discontent will be a thing of the past."

Last day of work tomorrow! Yeeeee!

Our New Arrival

Got our Sig today, and boy, is it a beaut! Whee! Photos on the morrow.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

First Lobster

Well, now I can cross another thing off the list. On Saturday night, I ate my first lobster.

A week or two ago, one of our diving friends caught a bunch of lobsters (which, among scuba divers, are known as "bugs") and was waiting for an opportunity to share them. When I told him on Friday about quitting my job, he said we had to celebrate and have a surf & turf night, grilling at some other friends' house. So we did. Tom & I bought a tri-tip, which we marinated in soy sauce, honey, minced fresh ginger & garlic, and lime juice, with a little salt & pepper thrown in there for good measure. EB supplied the lobsters and some chicken, and Shay made garlic mashed potatoes and got veggies for grilling. It was a veritable smorgasbord (-orgasbord, orgasbord...).

One of the lobsters was freaking ginormous. I had never been so close to one of those things before, and honestly, it was a little disgusting and more than a little creepy. It had teeth. I didn't know lobsters had teeth. I wish I'd thought to take a picture of it, but then, I wouldn't want to be responsible for giving y'all nightmares and stuff.

Instead, here's a photo of the lobsters after they were grilled. See if you can find "Mr. Bigg."

Yep. There he is.

As it turned out, EB decided that I should be the one to eat the ginormasaur, since it was my job quitification we were celebrating. So on to my plate he went, along with some veggies, potatoes, and a slice of tri-tip.

Naturally, I needed some help to finish the big guy off. But oh my was he tasty. I can see why people are so fond of dining on these ugly little things.

I mean, uh, I couldn't eat it. Not at all.


Monday, March 12, 2007

I've been to a land down under

Friday night we met up with some friends a little after 8:00, piled into one friend's pickup truck with all our gear, and took off for a night dive. We drove down to Laguna Beach (about an hour away), parked the truck & walked down a fairly formidable (paved) hill to assess the conditions. There were only small waves and a bit of current, so the dive was a go. Back up the hill, where we donned our wetsuits and assembled the gear. Back down the hill, this time with forty-plus pounds of stuff on our backs. Trudged across the sand and got ready to make our first shore entry.

Here's something you may not know: pulling on full-foot fins in 4.5 feet of water, with waves, and with a full complement of gear on your back...not very easy. Fortunately, I was with good friends who held on to me and made sure I didn't drift away every time I ducked underwater to tug at the fins, and I eventually was ready to go. A short surface swim later, we descended into the darkness.

I'd heard good things about this dive site and was excited about the possibility of seeing some neat things. I was not disappointed! Not five minutes into our dive, we came across a moderately-sized ray (not sure what kind) and a big ol crab. I'm talking 3-4 feet wide, this thing. Could have been a spider crab or a sheep crab; hard to tell which. There were, of course, the usual complement of urchins, though not as many fish as I've seen in other places. We saw a tiny halibut, about two or three inches in diameter.

At one point, I was swimming along when I noticed something moving underneath me. I looked down to see this:

A little horn shark was down there just chilling, swimming beneath me in the opposite direction, close enough that if I hadn't had my arms pulled up against my body, I could have touched it. (Before anybody gets all freaked out, they are really pretty docile.) Super cool. :)

Half an hour after we descended, we were making our way back up to the shore. The waves had really picked up during that time, so we got tumbled around a little bit trying to get out, all weak and tired and trying to get our legs used to the idea of not being weightless anymore. On our way back across the sand, we passed some people who had come down for a beach party or something. They said we were insane; they may have been right. ;) At last, one final challenge remained. We had to get back up the hill to the truck. Standing at the bottom looking up, Tom reminded me of how hard we thought it was to just stand by the pool wearing all that gear, that first weekend of our certification class way back when. I agreed that yes, had someone at that point shown me a picture of this hill and said, "You're going to haul all your stuff up that, after a dive, in the dark, soaking wet," I'd have said they were out of their freaking mind. In the end, it was of course a bitch - Stair Master, I laugh at you - but we managed. Taking my tank and BCD off up at the truck never felt so heavenly. Got dried off and packed up, and we were on our way home again.

Tune in tomorrow for photos from the celebratory surf & turf dinner we had the next night!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Laguna Beach: Dorky Diver Edition

We're going on a night dive near Laguna Beach tonight! Total spontaneous scuba action! I am stoked! I can't stop exclaiming!

Okay, I even annoyed myself with that. ;) I remain, however, quite stoked. I think the constant countdown to my last day of work has me in a great mood all the time. Also, I managed to go to the gym every day this week, as planned, except for today (because I'm going diving instead!). So far, so good. I am actually finding myself enjoying that hour of aerobics in the evening. Yay!

Gotta eat some dinner before we head out. Tell you all about it tomorrow. :)

Update (2:30am): We return, triumphant but very tired. Saw tons of cool stuff, had a great time. More after some much-needed sleep.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

I'm gonna drive the choo-choo!

That's right. In a few short weeks, I will be an engineer. I applied and interviewed for an engineering job last month and was finally offered the position this afternoon. It was with no small amount of glee that I handed my resignation letter over to my boss. I have tried not to make too much of it here, but I've been less than pleased with my job for a while now and am eager to get a fresh start at a new, significantly less toxic* place.

So that's my good news. I'll get to analyze process problems for a living, rather than mix giant tubs full of nasty solvents. Yay for me!

*I do mean that not only figuratively, but also literally. My current office doubles as a chemical storage room.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Turn brain inside out and shake

There are reasons I haven't managed to post more than once or twice a week, lately. Granted, not all of them are very good reasons. Mostly I just haven't felt like I've had all that much to say. I am hoping that I'll be able to (finally!) report some good news tomorrow, but I'll not get ahead of myself now. Life recently has been an odd mix of busy and repetitive. I get up early, I go to work, I run errands/go to the dive shop/go home/go to the gym, I make and eat dinner, I watch TV, I shower, I sleep, I wake up and do it all again. By the time the weekend rolls around, there are chores to do and errands to run and sometimes fun stuff to do as well. Before I know it, Monday's here again and it's, "Okay! Places, people! Let's take it from the top!" The weeks roll by like stones that sure as hell aren't going to gather any moss. I mean, it's already March, for Pete's sake. Summer will be here in all its hideousness before we know it. Who's supposed to find blogging time under these conditions?

I know, I know. Finding the time is exactly the point. But since I can't seem to manage that, I'll go with a bullet-style update on the various stuff I've been up to, amid the daily grind and whatnot.

  • I have been making a concerted effort to go to the gym more often. I started out by "running" on the elliptical trainer thingy a few times a week for twenty or thirty minutes. That evolved into actual running on treadmills at about the same frequency and duration. I also tried to catch the yoga classes whenever I wasn't stuck late at work. I even went to a kickboxing class at my friend's gym a couple of weeks ago (could barely move for two days as a result, but it was fun!). For a while now, I've had my eye on the hour-long aerobics classes they have at the gym in the evenings. Last week I went to two of them, and starting tomorrow, I'm going to make it an every day thing. And yes, I'm saying that here so that if I slack off, I will be forced to hang my head in miserable, miserable failure. ;)

  • We've had dinner a few times now at Chipotle. It's kind of like Subway meets Taco Bell, only not disgusting. Actually, it's quite delicious. You pick out your entree (burrito, soft tacos, crispy tacos, bowl, salad) and then follow it down the line adding your fillings of choice. It's fast food that doesn't suck out a little bit of your soul every time you eat it.

  • This book I'm reading, A Perfect Red, is all about how Spain secured a monopoly on red dye for something like three hundred years when they discovered cochineal in their Mexican colonies. Cochineal is an insect that lives on the nopal cactus (native to South America), which the indigenous population had worked to cultivate for centuries. The insects were collected, dried out, and crushed to produce a red dyestuff that could be unequaled by any other in those days. The rest of Europe wanted it, but the insects were so lacking in fortitude that the slightest change in living conditions would kill them, so attempts to smuggle them out of the country in order to start up cultivation elsewhere were mostly in vain. I had no idea how big a thing this was in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Truly a captivating read.

  • We watched Kiss Kiss Bang Bang a few weeks ago. It was hilarious. I didn't expect it to be quite as funny as it was. Another amusing recent rental was Harold & Kumar go to White Castle. Not high art or anything, but definitely good for a laugh. Many laughs, in fact.

All right, that's all I can come up with for now. Time to get some sleep, because the alarm will be a-blaring soon enough. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll be able to post that good news tomorrow.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I heart...

We bought a gun today. Specifically, we bought a Sigarms P226R, 9mm. It will be in our hot little hands a couple of weeks from now, due to California's mandatory ten-day waiting period.*

We have had the opportunity to shoot guns of this make, model and caliber in the past, and they are awesome. The nice, light trigger makes it easy to take a slow, steady squeeze, rather than the shaky jerk you get when firing something like a Glock. This results in the bullets going almost exactly where you want them to, which is of course a good thing. Together, the P226 and I will conquer the number 3 target yet!

More on the beauty when it arrives.

*I am perfectly okay with said waiting period, though I kind of have to agree with my dad that if someone wants to obtain a handgun and for whatever reason would not pass the requisite background check to buy one legally, he or she will figure out some other way to get one. And do so in a lot less time than ten days.