Friday, November 30, 2007

In sickness and in health…

Monday night I had a tiny scratch in my throat. Tuesday morning, I could swear a truck had run me over in my sleep. By Wednesday evening I was a mess. In my cough/cold medicine induced fog, I drove home from work and found myself on the far left hand side of the freeway wondering… when did I change lanes?

I came home, dropped my bag on the floor, and collapsed on the couch. My toes cramped so bad they resembled a hobbit…minus the hair of course. Whatever crummy cold virus I caught started attacking my right eye so I couldn’t close or open it. It was stuck at that awkward halfway point, which surprisingly was a good thing because it covered the white of my eye… which was no longer white but a bright red.

After a couple hours, I had grown tired of constantly wiping my nose so I jammed a tissue up it. I was holding onto my toes in an attempt to get them turned the right way, and the constant ‘I’m going to sneeze feeling’ caused my eyes to water so much it looked as if I had been sobbing.

That’s when Chris came home and I sincerely wondered if I had ever looked worse. I looked at him – well, with one eye anyway - and thought, ‘Please, please love me anyway’.

I could romanticize it and say he picked me up, carried me to bed, and fed me soup while I watched Judge Judy but… that’s not what happened.

Instead, he laughed at me.


But I’m feeling so very miserable that I’ve actually been watching what I eat in an attempt to get better. I’ve been taking vitamins, adding whole wheat and grains into my meals, and I’ve stopped eating sweets completely.

This is a big deal because…

I’ve modified my diet precisely two times in my life. Once, when I was 19, I tried a go at anorexia. It my twisted teenage mind I thought, ‘Well it worked well for my sister, so it should work for me.’ I had made my decision to become an anorexic at 8AM. At 12PM the same day, my friend asked me to go to lunch. My bout with anorexia lasted exactly 4 hours.

The second time was when I hit 24. I was grazing 120 pounds but I thought I would look oh so svelte in my wedding dress if I were 110. Mom and Liz had done a ‘Liver Cleansing’ diet where you eat all healthy, natural foods for 8 weeks. I started but after a record 20 days I could no longer resist the temptation of a carne asada burrito. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad on it’s own but following it with 5 rolled tacos and carne asada fries…well. You get it.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m on day three of whole wheat bagels and lettuce with flax seeds and I’m starting to feel better.

As long as no one says, “Hilberto’s”, I’ll be OK.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No seriously... I don't like him...

I was editing a film for school on Sunday when I was interrupted by a loud banging at my front door. I opened it and was greeted by my very disheveled neighbor who was furiously upset and notified me that my dog had been in and out of her yard for the last four days. She followed that with a 20 minute lecture on ‘responsible dog ownership’.

I was tempted to interrupt and say, ‘Perhaps this is information you should have shared FOUR DAYS AGO’ but instead repeated in my head my ever present mantra… ‘I will not fight with the neighbors, I will not fight with the neighbors, I will not fight with the neighbors’. I started the mantra when the grouchy old lady across the street told me not to let my friends – even on rare occasions - park on ‘her’ side of the street – umm, silly me, I thought it was a public street.


I maintained my cool, apologized for my wayward dog, and promised to solve the problem then threw in a fake smile for good measure. She gave a glare, then trolled back to her house.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to wonder if Chris was correct in his assertion that my dogs are simply ‘glorified rats’. As my dog escaped back into my yard from a hole the size of a ping pong ball, I wondered if I should check him for collapsible ribs.

I decided to go high tech … and stacked a couple heavy rocks in front of the offending hole then patted myself on the back for being so smart.

Unfortunately, I’m soooo not.

My dog made another hole and escaped yet again after I left for work. The difference was, my brother was left to deal with our neighbor and their exchange was more along the lines of…


Mike answers the door with a smile - teeth gleaming like the White House crystal chandelier.

Neighbor: Hi. Umm. *Giggle* Your dog somehow got into my backyard *Giggle*

Mike: Oh gee, I’m really sorry. It’s actually my sister’s dog.

Neighbor: It’s no big deal *Giggle* Just thought I’d let you know. *Giggle* *Hair flip*

Mike: Great thanks. I’ll let her know.

Neighbor gives one of those stupid ‘girly baby' waves and saunters back to her house... still giggling like a school girl.

I’m going to ghost write a book for Mike and title it:

‘The terrifically difficult life of a young firefighter: It’s not my fault everyone thinks I’m really ridiculously good looking and showers me with love, affection, and the occassional gift’

Friday, November 23, 2007

Napa… last one I promise…

Chris and I decided to go on a romantic nature walk early in the morning. As we slowly strolled down the path hand in hand I felt my long hair skim my shoulders and chest. I flicked away the stray strands but the persistent itchy ‘hair’ feeling stayed with me. Annoyed, I looked down to pull the stray strand of ‘hair’ off my chest only to see a big, black, hairy spider creep down the front of my tank top.

I screamed. And not a cute ‘I’m such a girl’ scream - it was a loud ‘I just ran into the murderer from America’s Most Wanted and there’s nothing between me and him but a bloody chainsaw’ scream.

I yanked down the front of my shirt – not caring in the least if anyone saw - and turned to Chris while screaming, ‘SPIDER, SPIDER, SPIDER!!!!’

Let’s make something clear here. I was wearing a WHITE shirt, my bra was WHITE, and my skin is practically translucent it’s so WHITE, so seeing a nasty BLACK spider should be easy.

Instead, my ‘loving’, ‘caring’ husband just stood and stared with a lopsided grin on his face.

I ran backwards (as if the spider would fall off or something), leaned backward, leaned forward, shook my arms, and even blew on it but the stupid thing was hell bent and biting me – and it’s not like my ‘dear’ husband was helping.

I finally mustered all my bravery and flicked the stupid thing until it fell off.

Meanwhile, Chris was still standing… staring.

When I started to yell at him for not helping he said, ‘I couldn’t see it!’

But the grin he was trying to hide said everything.

Thank you sweetheart. One day, I hope to return the favor.

For the next two days, we went from winery to winery to winery on tour buses and cars. So really, it wasn’t a surprise when Chris – at winery number five of the day – said, ‘Forget Hawaii, Napa is our new tradition’.

And so it is.

Stupid spiders and all.
Our AMAZING B & B - soooo much better than the crappy hotel!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And Napa continues...

According to my spreadsheet, Saturday’s agenda was:

Hike the Sonoma Trail
Bike around Sonoma
Walk the outdoor city square

None of which could be done in the current conditions.

Chris and I woke up to… foggy, rainy gloom.

Chris smiled and looked at me expectantly, ‘So what’s plan B?’

‘Plan B??!! PLAN B?!?!? THERE IS NO PLAN B!! How could I not have a plan B!!??’ I panicked.

I had spent weeks pouring through books and websites until the wee hours of the morning and I hadn’t thought to create a plan B?!?!?

We went to breakfast at a mom and pop diner while I was feverously praying for sunshine. As we walked outside and the rain soaked everything we were wearing, we caved and bought umbrellas.

I was left to…

and I can’t believe I have to say we had to…

Wing it.

I am NOT a ‘wing it’ girl.

I DO NOT fly by the seat of my pants.


I have to say, our choice of driving from winery to winery wasn’t such a bad idea… for me anyway.

Poor Chris was trapped in the car with me and my iPod playlist. All he heard for the next several hours was Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera belting out Christmas tunes.

I may have thrown in a little John Denver, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers – but it’s simply not Christmas in November without them!

Chateau St. Jean


We also stopped by to wish Chris' grandpa a happy 75th!

And to check out his office.

Yeah, because it's oh so normal to have pictures of you with three of the US presidents, many many world leaders, and you on the cover of magazines.

Wow. I was amazed, but I think I hid it well by only saying 'Oh my gosh' 100 times instead of the 250 times I thought about saying it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Napa part II…

For our first full day, we woke early (OK, I woke up early and got ready loud enough to ‘accidentally’ wake Chris – thank you hairdryer) and drove to Bodega Bay where they filmed Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, The Birds. This eerie little town had ghostly moss growing over all the trees that hung down in perfect sheets that moved slowly as you drove past.

I was willing to hang out for as long as Chris wanted… in daylight hours. Nighttime with that kind of creepy gives me the chills!

We walked along the cliffs overlooking the ocean and Chris noticed a tiny trail off the edge that led down to a desolate cove and beach. He thought it would be a good idea to climb down the cliff. I started to follow him then freaked out about silly things like rocks at the bottom of the horrendous fall I’d make if I took a wrong step. Deciding I liked my brains on the inside of my skull rather than out, I hightailed it back up to safety.

We drove to the Armstrong Redwood Forest and were amazed by the beauty of the towering redwoods. We hiked the ‘easy trail’ according to the map and found ourselves quickly out of breath.

It was the altitude… (OK, so maybe we were only 1500 feet above sea level)

But it was the grade! (OK, so that may have been .02 but it FELT a lot steeper!!)

In our defense, I did take a wrong turn… or two (or 6) so our .7 mile ‘easy walk’ ended up somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 very hilly miles.

Mental note, next time, make Chris be the navigator.

We made a quick stop at the Francis Ford Coppola winery and took a tour. Yummy!! He had his awards there from the Godfather... can we say, 'Closest I'll ever get to an Oscar?!?'

We then drove to Sonoma Lake to see the famed ‘Overlook Bridge’ that I’d read a lot about in my tour books. You can imagine my disappointment when we arrived at the Sonoma Lake Visitors center and walked out to the bridge behind it suspended over a…


Literally. I could probably jump into the middle and still be knee deep. I’m not even sure why they had a bridge!

Disappointed, we decided to drive up a hill and see if there was a view of Napa at the top. We made a few random turns and discovered a parking lot at the top with a… wait, is that a bridge?!?!

Walking out on a suspended deck past the trees, we suddenly noticed … the most amazing view of a HUGE lake.

Apparently I had guided us in the wrong direction yet again and this was the real bridge.

OK, so my navigation skills leave a lot to be desired.

Friday, November 16, 2007

What a trip!!

First off, a very, very happy birthday to my sweetheart. 26 today!!!

Our trip to Napa in one word?


I’m going to have to write this in parts because… we just had sooooo much fun!

We arrived at the Oakland Airport to pick up our rental car and were pleasantly surprised at our luck (and answered prayers). Being the miser I am, I booked the cheapest ‘wild car’ which in essence means, ‘whatever we have left over’. We received a brand spankin’ new red Chrysler Sebring which was pretty darn cute!

Thank you Lord!

I hate taking maps everywhere so we rented a GPS that Chris promptly named Cinnamon. Fine name… for an exotic dancer! Geez! People kept giving him strange looks when he’d talk about ‘Cinnamon’ and her fabulous work.

GPS thingies are super cool and I would recommend taking them EVERYWHERE… except San Francisco. There’s these things called - Super Tall, Super Obnoxious Buildings – all over San Fran and they block the GPS communication with space. The transmitter can travel light years through stars and bad weather but trips out over a silly building. Don’t you love technology?

‘Cinnamon’ would be saying, ‘At the next intersection turn le…’ then the satellite would cut out. I was getting kinda upset but when she abandoned us in front of Macy’s… I took it as a sign from God.

Thank you Lord again.

On the other hand, when she abandoned us in front of health food stores, men’s shoe stores, or investment firms… those were accidents - NOT divine interventions.

We drove over to the House of Nanking (Hays tradition - or a James tradition that we all copied because he IS the coolest). We looked at the menu (silly they even have a menu since they tell you what they are going to bring you) and the owner stopped by our table to ‘recommend’ (ie: order for us) some yummy dishes.

We arrived at our hotel in Santa Rosa (which I booked on a website that will remain unnamed) that we paid, well, let’s just say I bought a gallon of milk at Target and it cost more than our room. On the outside, our hotel was nice. On the inside… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t bring my kids here unless they had fully developed immune systems and were up to date on their shots… measles, mumps, HPV, HIV, PBS, QVC, HSN, and Hepatitis A – Z.

As we opened the door and flipped on the lights, they flickered for a good 60 seconds before giving in and turning on. I smelled the comforter and immediately decided… nope, not washed… and threw it on the floor (fortunately the sheets smelled clean). The box spring, which had been artfully covered by the comforter, had a huge streak of a dried brown/red fluid across of the bottom that was far too much to be blood – unless someone was fully stabbed to death. I told Chris I guessed it was someone who died and started decaying but since they change the sheets so infrequently (changing sheets is a $10 fee according to the plastic sign in the bathroom), the body wasn’t found for ages and the blood and guts slowly leaked out for weeks!

By the look on his face….someone doesn’t like my active imagination.

But most important, I discovered something important about myself…

I am VERY, VERY, obviously not high maintenance.

Thank you Lord again!

OK, well, that’s enough for now. I’ll update you on the rest later. BUT, here’s the mattress photo. Any guesses as to what exactly that is???!!??

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What a wonderful world!

Chris and I agreed to not buy each other anniversary presents this year because of our trip.

When you say, “Let’s not buy presents”… doesn’t that mean, “let’s not buy presents?!?!”

I came home from work and he had a beautiful pile of all my favorite types of chocolate. A perfect bouquet of red roses was in the kitchen sitting under a new cabinet mounted cd player. He told me that since I’ve been spending so much time cooking in the kitchen, he thought it might be nice to listen to some music.


As if it wasn’t bad enough that he broke the rules, he had to be…



Yeah. That’s upsetting.

Not to say I wasn’t grateful – I totally was, but I found myself slowly walking backward covering my ‘I love you berry much’ card.

‘Your gift is… on its way’ I lied.

Thank you honey. You are so sweet… even though you break rules.

Seriously, that’s mean.


A few days ago, my puppies disappeared.

I kinda have the kiss of death when it comes to dogs.

Tink disappeared 2 years ago in a winter storm.

My newest, Turkish and Thorny… well… $700 coyote bait?

I was thinking of putting this on my car as a warning to others.

After 4 days missing, I assumed they were goners.

Last night, mom called to let me know…

Dad put up signs on our mailbox, the mail lady recognized them from a found poster over a mile south, and called my mom.

My dogs are now safely home.

Some days are good days. Other days are great days.

Yesterday… was a great day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Happy Anniversary!!

It’s been three years and boy they’ve flown by. Here’s to many more…

I love you!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I was pretty popular in high school – and I’m not being sarcastic here…. Seriously, I was.

Sure there were only 22 in my graduating class… but all of them knew who I was. In fact, almost the whole high school knew me.

Random girls and guys (who I had no idea what their names were) would come up to me and say, ‘Hi Rebekah!’ then they’d try hard to start a conversation and befriend me.

Naturally I assumed the girls liked me because I was sweet, friendly, and fun - and I assumed the guys loved my… ravishing good looks.

I discovered (about half way through my sophomore year) that the girls (yup all of them) had killer crushes on the ‘hottest boys in high school’… who happened to be my twin brothers.

The boys attempted to befriend me because the ‘coolest boys in high school’ owned guns and were allowed to invite others up to skeet shoot on their property… those ‘cool boys’ were my brothers too.

Sure, my feelings could have been hurt, but they weren’t. I was too busy loving popularity.

I LOVED high school.

Well things haven’t changed much… in my wine class I was chatting it up with the girl who sits in front of me and she started talking about firefighters and the fire. I mentioned that I have two brothers who are firefighters… twin firefighters… twin 25 year old firefighters.

To which she responded… ‘Do you have pictures?!?! Is it getting hot in here?!?!?’

There was a collective screech of chairs.

Suddenly four girls joined our conversation.

Sooooo high school all over again.

‘Are your brothers single?’ a girl asked.



Sorry Lindsey and Casey.

Popularity is just so darn addictive!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

No I will NOT give you candy and don’t even think about egging my house!!

Katie offered to help me out last night (since Chris was at school) so we met at my house and left to run some errands. More than anything, I wanted to be there for our very first trick or treater, so we rushed through the stores (Katie did make some stops to chat with the guys at Target though – and no Katie, you DIDN’T know them). Mike stayed home to watch for early birds.

We stopped to buy more candy (I was fearful the 47 pounds I bought from Walmart wouldn’t be enough) and pick up the latest Christmas album.

Christmas. It’s never to early for Christmas. Anyway…

We returned to my house and I said breathlessly, ‘Did I miss any?’

‘Nope’ Mike said while entranced in his videogame – not that he would have heard them anyway.

I would get to give out the first candy after all!!

Did any come when I started making dinner?


Did any come when Katie and I split that bottle of German wine?


Did any come as I unpacked my Target bag?


Did any come when I made a 2 second bathroom stop?


Katie gave out the first candy. Thank you very much small bladder.

I wasn’t sure how much to give the little brats so I ended up holding out the bowl and telling them to knock themselves out.

And they did.

Our house won’t get egged by the kiddos… but I may have a few parents who would be tempted.

Giving out candy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be - especially when you are trying to eat dinner or watch a movie. By the end of the night, the candy was gone, my dinner was cold, and I’d seen 10 minutes of ‘License to Wed’.

Next year, the lights are going off and I’m snuggling up in my bed to watch a Judge Judy marathon… UNINTERUPPTED.

And for the record… XM radio is worth every penny.

The Holly Channel started today!! 24 hours a day of Christmas music!

So. If you come into my office and hear Vanessa Williams singing The First Noel at unearthly decibels… please don’t be surprised.

I gotta go. Bruce Springsteen just started his rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.