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Thursday, 6 July 2006
A Year
Mood:  sad
Topic: Random Stuff
One year ago today, my family's life changed forever. One year ago today, my brother, my only sibling, lost the battle with whatever demons he was fighting. He took his own life. And we'll never be the same.

The ironic part is that every other aspect of my life is drastically better than it was a year ago. So much so, that this morning when I woke up, the only thing that was on my mind was what all I needed to do to get ready for our camping trip this weekend. I'd been dreading this day for a couple of months now, and it took my husband calling me this morning to ask how I was doing to remind me that this was the day.

A little part of me felt so guilty that Scott wasn't the first thing that popped into my head when I woke up, but then I decided that maybe that's how it should be. I've grieved and mourned and cried so much. And I'm sure I'll shed some more tears before the day is through. But I'm thankful that I've got a full and happy life to lead that keeps me from dwelling on the sadness.

I just wish Scott had felt the same way a year ago. I miss you bubby. Rest in peace.

Posted by catherino at 4:51 PM PDT
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Wednesday, 7 June 2006
A Good Time Was Had By All, If I Remember Correctly
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Random Stuff

You know what's weird? The whole week we were in Jamaica, there were about 400 different times I thought, "Oh I'll blog that when I get home - that's so funny!". And now I've been home for over a week and you know how many of those awesome things I remember? ZERO. I am blaming it entirely on Beth's (the housekeeper at our villa) kick-ass rum punch. And the Red Stripe Lights. And the pina coladas on the beach. And the vodka slushy fruity things. Yummy. was hot and humid. It was both lovely and sad, the juxtaposition of the natural beauty and the oppressive poverty. The villa where we stayed was incredible:

We met some very cool local people and did some wonderfully fun things:

And I got some amazing pictures, mostly of flowers according to my husband. But they were beautiful!:

So...maybe next time I'll bring a notepad. Or you'll all just have to come with me!

Posted by catherino at 1:39 PM PDT
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Tuesday, 16 May 2006
VACATION - All I ever wanted?
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Random Stuff
On Saturday night, my husband and I take off for 7 fun-filled days and nights in Jamaica. I have approximately 47 different lists in various places around the house to insure that I don't forget a single thing or leave any question unanswered for the grandmothers who will be watching our kids. I have several type-written pages of notes on the refrigerator that spell out everything from emergency medical contact information to warnings about the fate that awaits anyone who dares to pour water directly onto Nicklaus' head when shampooing his hair. FYI, in case you're ever shampooing my youngest child's hair, given ample warning he will tilt his head back at such an angle that contortionists gasp in amazement at his flexability, thereby allowing the shampooer to rinse ONLY his hair and avoiding getting so much as a single drop on his face.

I've been thinking lately about the things I will be SO happy to get a break from and will not miss in the least, contrasted with the things that I'm fairly certain I will miss so badly I will ache.


1. The nightly begging, pleading, cajoling and bargaining to get boys to eat their dinner.

2. Frustrating attempts at potty-training.

3. Changing poopy Pull-Ups.

4. Hearing conversations that contain words like "diaper-head" and "poopy" over and over and over and over.

5. Buckling car seat straps.

6. Reminding someone to a.) use the bathroom b.) flush the toilet c.) wash your hands with soap and water and d.) obviously, all of the above.


1. Hearing heartfelt prayers for Superman, Wonderwoman, and all the Power Rangers (the red one, the blue one, the yellow one, oh yeah - and the pink one too).

2. Snuggling with warm little boys at bedtime and hearing things like, "Mommy - I want to give you a hug and a kiss and a butterfly kiss!".

3. Good morning hugs from sleepy-eyed boys.

4. Hearing Nicklaus say, "Mommy - you're the bestest mommy I ever had!".

5. Building robots out of Legos with a 5 year old.

6. The sound of innocent laughter (as opposed to the drunken laughter of the people we're going to Jamaica with)

As excited as I am to go, I know I'll be even more excited to get back home. And isn't that the way it should be?

Posted by catherino at 12:14 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006 2:24 PM PDT
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Monday, 24 April 2006
He'll Be Back...
Mood:  cool
Topic: Random Stuff
So what did you do this weekend? Ours was pretty busy, what with a baby shower, my nephew's birthday party, a friend's birthday dinner...oh yeah, and schmoozing with Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Yes, the governator himself was in town for a campaign fundraiser at the home of some friends. For only *cough* $1,000 per person, we got to say hello and shake his hand. No pictures for us though - that cost $5,000 per person. I guess running for re-election isn't cheap?

Now before you go thinking, "Who the hell are these snotty brats who have thousands of dollars of disposable income and choose to squander it on the chance to meet a movie star/politician?", I should note that we didn't actually part with a single cent. My father-in-law however, does. And did. BUT, as it turns out, he had to be out of town over the weekend. Lucky us! And since we are good little Republicans, unlike his other son and daughter-in-law, we scored the tickets.

So, we parked our very dirty Explorer a discreet distance from the Porshes and Mercedes and Lexuses (Lexi?) and headed on in. We made a beeline for one of full bars and noshed on some delicious hors'doeuvres and waited to catch a glimpse of the man. After several ass-kissy speeches from some other state politicians, the governor stepped up to the podium.

Initial impressions:

1. He's much shorter than you might imagine. Maybe
5'10" or so.

2. He's much smaller than you might imagine. Although he still has pretty broad shoulders, he's very trim overall.

3. He's been spending WAY too much time at Mystic Tan. His skin is disturbingly taut and disturbingly orange.

4. He dyes his hair. But evidently NOT his eyebrows, because they were sprouting some grays.

5. He's very, very cool.

I have to say, I was really impressed with him. It's easy for me to forget the state of our state before he was elected. But he very kindly reminded us all that just a few short years ago, California was over 20 BILLION dollars in debt. And the solution our former (recalled) governor proposed was to tax the HELL out of us to make up the difference. I'd forgotten that worker's comp insurance rates were so astronomical that not only was our state not able to attract any new businesses, but we were losing the ones we had at a record pace. And under Schwarzenegger's leadership, a whole bunch of that has turned around. California is now growing its economy in a big way.

All of that is good, and is why I'll most likely vote for him again. But the thing that struck me the most was how he delivered all of this information. He did have an index card on the podium in front of him, but I never saw him look at it one time. He didn't give a speech, he TALKED to us. He talked about all these complex issues and gave us statistics and showed a real passion for everything he said - all while looking at his audience. Nothing sounded scripted or rehearsed in the least. Is that the sign of a great politician or a great actor?

Either way, he's very impressive. It was a neat experience. Would we have given him $2,000 of our own money? Hell no. But I'll give him my vote again. I think he probably will be back.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Posted by catherino at 12:54 PM PDT
Updated: Monday, 24 April 2006 1:28 PM PDT
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Thursday, 30 March 2006
A Mixed Bag
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Random Stuff
Inspiration for a somewhat interesting or entertaining blog entry is severely lacking lately. So here's a random assembly of mostly uninteresting and unentertaining things that have been happening lately - because I fear if I wait for something 'blog-worthy' to happen before I write again, more days and weeks will go by. So here ya go.

Noah Has A Girlfriend

One of those little pre-school hussies has snared my darling boy. To hear Devyn's side of the story, she'd have you believe that Noah was the pursuer. According to her mommy, Noah's sauve approach was as follows:

"Carson's not your boyfriend anymore. Now I'm your boyfriend".

To hear Miss Kelley (the teacher) tell it, Devyn is basically calling all the shots and leading my sweet boy around by the nose. "Come on boyfriend! Come with me now."

I think it's probably a valuable life lesson for him. The fact that he learns early on that the woman holds the relationship reins will serve him well for the rest of his life.

At the same time, it's a shocking reminder of how fast my baby is growing up. Hearing him say, "I hope my girlfriend's at school today!" was a little disconcerting at first. But by the next day, he was content to have played "for a little while with Devyn, but then I played with my boyfriends too". I know the days are numbered that he's still innocent enough to call his female friends "girlfriends" and his male friends "boyfriends". That makes my heart hurt a little.

Roomba Rocks

I am now the proud owner of a robotic vacuum cleaner. Yay me! I've been hearing from all sorts of people how awesome the Roomba is and when I saw them advertised in a sale flyer for Big Lots for over $125 less than they were selling for anywhere else, I jumped on it.

I've had it for a couple of weeks now and I'm really digging it. It's terrific for a house like ours that has only hardwood and tile floors. It does a great job on the area rugs too. And the amount of dust and hair it retrieved from under my bed, nightstand, sofa and chairs was impressively disgusting!

The dog haaaaates it with a fiery passion, which is alternately amusing and infuriating.

Updating My iPod

In preparation for our upcoming trip to Jamaica in May, I've been adding songs to my iPod. I'm not sure whether my musical tastes should be described as eclectic or multiple personality driven. I've got everything from Metallica, Neil Young and U2 to James Taylor, Elton John and Al Green. While that in itself probably isn't too strange, the addition of P!nk and The Gap Band (You Dropped a Bomb on Me is a CLASSIC) just seem to stand out as odd choices. But that's the great thing about this little toy. My musical tastes aren't really so different from my personality. Let's call it multi-faceted, shall we?

Posted by catherino at 11:02 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 30 March 2006 12:16 PM PST
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Sunday, 19 March 2006
You Must Try This
Mood:  special
Topic: Random Stuff

Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate - Roasted Pistachio Toffee

It just may be the world's most perfect food. If there's not a Trader Joe's in your town, by all means gas up the car or buy a plane ticket or whatever you have to do to get to the closest one and buy this stuff. It's that good.

Posted by catherino at 1:53 PM PST
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Thursday, 16 March 2006
I Will Not Eat Them in a Car, I Will Not Eat Them in a Bar
Mood:  hungry
Topic: Random Stuff
I have always been a very adventurous eater. I grew up in a family of "foodies" and from a pretty early age I thought nothing of snarfing down escargot or raw oysters or liver pate. There aren't too many things that I'll refuse to even try.

Last night Mike and I were treated to dinner by our friend and realtor (a thank you for the fat commission she made off of us) at a local restaurant that features "Basque night" every Wednesday. Here in the central valley of northern California, there's a huge population of Portuguese people, so Basque restaurants and Basque food in general is pretty common. At the Basque restaurants I've been to, you're usually served an insane number of courses and more food than you can possibly ever eat. The key is moderation and saving yourself for the good stuff. At this particular restaurant, your first course is a hearty minestrone, followed by a green salad, a macaroni salad, lamb stew, beans,...and pig's feet - all before your entree even arrives.

Yeah. Pig's feet. Now, growing up in Georgia, I can remember going into certain stores and seeing a huge glass container of this gnarly looking cloudy liquid sitting on the counter - full of pickled pig's feet. It looked like a mad scientist's experiment gone awry. It was both creepy and disgusting and not EVER the sort of thing that anyone in my family would consider touching with a ten foot pole. Snails? Bring 'em on. After all, anything covered in all that garlic and herb butter can't be that bad! Foie gras? Ohhhhh, so good. (And if you try to tell me about the poor mistreated ducks which are force fed in order to grow their livers so big, I will put my fingers in my ears and say, "LA LA LA LA LA LA! I CANNOT HEAR YOU!!!". Okay? Considering I get to eat it maybe once every few years, I'm not exactly driving the market.

So. Last night instead of telling our waitress that she could just keep the damn pig's feet, thank you very much, we said...well, just bring us one little one and maybe we'll try it. So she brings out this little dish of something that smelled heavenly - lot's of garlic and olive oil. So we thought, "Hey! This can't be THAT bad. Right?". But the problem arose when we tried to figure out just what in the name of all that is holy we were supposed to eat!?! There was hard, bony looking stuff - which I presumed was the actual "hoof" part. Then there were these vaguely translucent-looking parts which certainly didn't seem edible. But that must have been the part you eat, I'm guessing. I'm guessing because after I'd poked and prodded and turned it over, under and sideways and still couldn't find anything that looked like it would be chewable, I gave up. Oh well. I tried.

So it got me thinking about some of the things I eat and enjoy which are actually pretty disgusting if you stop and think about it long enough. And about some of the things that I will not, won't not, Sam I am try even if you double-dog-dare me and get me drunk first.

5 Kinda Gross Things I Have Eaten and Enjoyed:

1.) Snails Although now that I have 3 & 5 year old boys who can spend hours collecting snails off our shrubbery and have to come running to introduce me to EVERY SINGLE BLESSED ONE, I'm not exactly craving escargot.

2.) Foie Gras Don't try to guilt me out of it either.

3.) Sweetbreads Okay...I'm not entirely sure where this comes from. The thymus gland? I think that's right. But from what animal? I think I'm just better off not knowing. Don't tell me.

4.) Alligator (or 'gator tail, more specifically). It was...meh. Tastes like tough, chewy chicken.

5.) Frog legs I've had them fried. I've had them broiled in garlic butter (at a Basque restaurant, now that I think of it) and they were delicious. Kind of creepy looking.

5 Things I Won't Try and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!:

1.) Chitlins - Or tripe or any other word you want to use for intestines.

2.) Tongue - Just ick.

3.) Brains - I don't really think that requires any further explanation, but let me just go on record as saying that "Mad Cow Disease" is not going to be the way I leave this world.

4.) Testicles - There is an actual "Testicle Festival" in a neighboring town where I live. I am an adventurous eater, but bull balls will not be on my menu. Ever.

5.) Feet - Since I didn't actually try the pig's feet, I'm just going to issue a blanket ban on feet, snouts, or beaks in general, be they from a pig or a chicken or any other critter you freaking feet-eaters are pushing.

Well, it's almost lunch time now. For some reason, nothing sounds good except maybe a little salad. Hmmm.

Posted by catherino at 11:37 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006 11:39 AM PST
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Friday, 24 February 2006
Least Haunted
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: Random Stuff

I freely admit that I am a sucker for tv shows about ghostly, paranormal stuff. There's a show on Friday nights on the Travel Channel called "Most Haunted" that I never miss. It is so deliciously, cheesily spooky. I love it. They're always skulking around cool old castles and inns in Great Britain and they've got this very tanned, perfectly coifed and smartly dressed gay (my assumption) "medium" named Derek who all the ghosts seem to LOVE to talk to. He then relates their comments, with the help of his "spirit guide" Sam, who seems to be sort of a ghostly tour guide/translator for Derek. Handy to have if you're in that particular business I'm guessing. it. If you're wondering where I'll be at 9pm tonight, you'll find me curled up in bed and glued to the tv. Alone. Because my dear husband is going to be living it up at Pebble Beach playing in a golf tournament with some buddies. Bastard. (Kidding!)

Being the paranormal tv-watching person I am, I have noticed that it's not uncommon for dogs to be able to sense the presence of ghosts. Several episodes of Most Haunted have featured various dogs freaking the hell out and barking their heads off at a blank wall or a staircase or the corner of a room. Presumably (and Derek usually confirms this for us) they can see spirits that we mere humans cannot.

This morning as I'm getting the kids fed and dressed, our bassett hound puppy Libby starts growling and barking at something in my bedroom. My first reaction was, "what is your problem, you mental little weirdo?!". But the more she did it and the more upset she got, the more it started to creep me out. She seemed terrified of something that I couldn't see. She jumped back and forth, up and back, in the hallway outside my bedroom door, eyes fixed on an area around my nightstand. She barked and growled and whimpered. I went over to the area she was so fixated on and tried to find the source of her anxiety. The shutters? No, that wasn't it. The lamp? No, no ghost in the lamp. There are only 2 other things on my nightstand. The cordless phone and a box of Kleenex. The phone wasn't the problem.

But when I picked up that box of Kleenex, the mystery was solved. The freak-out escalated and she was now running down the hall to get away from the dreaded Kleenex box, then turning back to presumably come save me from a certain death, then changing her mind abruptly and deciding that running away was definitely the most prudent course of action. And I may or may not have then fucked with her by lunging at her with the Kleenex box in my hand. I'm not saying.

So I think I'll be okay tonight on my own. I've got my ever-faithful guard dog to watch over me. And if the Kleenex really is possessed by a spirit from the great beyond, I can always just blow my nose on him.

Posted by catherino at 11:25 AM PST
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Thursday, 16 February 2006
You Know What's Sadder Than a Bassett Hound's Face?
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Random Stuff
A Bassett Hound's face coming off a morphine high from being spayed today.

You know what else? I really, really, really hope that it isn't true that pet owners eventually begin to look like their pets. I mean, Libby can pull it off. But I'm not half the bitch she is.

Posted by catherino at 9:29 AM PST
Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006 9:48 AM PST
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Monday, 2 January 2006
Moving On
Mood:  rushed
Topic: Random Stuff

The pressure is on. Only 4 more days until the movers come! There are boxes of things lining every wall in every room of this house. I'm not nearly ready logistically, but I am SO ready mentally and emotionally to move out of this house and into our new one. I am SO ready to close the chapter of our lives that started when Nicklaus was born - just a couple of months after we moved to the house we're in now. It feels like all the bad stuff that has happened in our lives has happened in this house. And I'm fucking DONE WITH IT!

How appropriate that we're moving to the house of our dreams at the start of a new year. It's a new start for us all and I couldn't possibly be more ready for that. Happy New Year to us. We're finally moving on.

Posted by catherino at 2:57 PM PST
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