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Monday, December 04, 2006

Emily and Matt are Engaged!

Engagement - Emily and Matt
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.


Engagement 022
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.

Sword Arch

Engagement 027
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.

Engagement Kiss

Engagement Kiss
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.


Emily's Engagement Ring

Emily's Engagement Ring
Originally uploaded by LacyLu42.

Beautiful -- and exactly what she wanted, from what I hear!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bishop Jefferts Schori

Next weekend the Episcopal church will be installing our new presiding Bishop, Kathleen Jefferts Schori. She will be the first female Primate of the Episcopal church in almost 520 years of its existence. History in action.

The cool thing is, her instillation will be webcast live next Saturday at 11AM EST on the Episcopal News Service website (link will be posted as it becomes available). Bishop-Elect Jefferts Schori will also preside over All Saints Day services next Sunday from the National Cathedral in Washington D.C., which I believe will also be webcast on the same website.

Can I just get a woot for the National Episcopal church? It's a good time to be a part of the Anglican Communion.

Friday, October 27, 2006

whistle while you work

Today was one of the more fun days at work.

We got about 2 dozen samples of jewelry from Robert Wander in, and we needed to photograph it and upload it to the website for the editors at Elite Traveler. They will look at all the pictures and decide which pieces they want to request for a photo shoot next week.

So! Alex, Mara and I spent the morning photographing each piece of jewelry (and trying things on, of course). Then, Alex tweaked all the photos in Photoshop while I put together a website template. Now I'm just waiting for the photos so I can fit each one into the template and voila! Instant virtual "look book."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

happy citizen kane day!

Just to tell you how much my husband is made of awesome, when he came home yesterday, he had a dozen red roses. When I squealed with joy and asked what they were for, he said, "Happy Citizen Kane day!"

Turned out, he also had already purchased the tickets for the show, and a bag of my favorite movie candy, Raisinettes.

I love this man

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

rosebud was a red herring

So, as many of you know, I was a film major in college (or a Moving Image Arts major, as my college so pretentiously called it). This makes me, by default, something of a film nerd. I can't help it; when you spend four years of your life living, breathing, sleeping, and eating some of the most amazing films ever made in the art form's short history, you learn to love it or hate it. I happen to love it.

I do, however, try to keep my filmic ramblings to a minimum for my own sanity and yours. I discovered my freshman year of college that movies (regular movies, the kind you pay 12 bucks to see at the google-plex) had been ruined for me by my ongoing education. I could not just watch a film any more; I had to analyze it -- the camera angles, the lighting, the direction, the mis-en-scene -- as though it were my assigned film and I were preparing my 20-page freshman thesis (true story). I was horrified!

It took some time (and an intervention and a 12-step program), but eventually I learned how to relax. Now, I'm proud to say that I can sit back and watch Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby without tearing my eyeballs out of my head. I can actually even manage to be marginally amused by it. Marginally.

As a matter of fact, the further I get from my college graduation (HOLY CRAP where did those three years go???), the more I find I have to really put my game face on if I want to actually analyze a film. I've gotten a bit out of practice.

But film geeks never really die, they just fade to black.

Every once in a while, something will stir these feelings in me again. I was driving home from work last week when I saw just such a thing. It was the marquee for the little art house theater at the corner of my block. Two summers ago, they started showing classic films there at 9:00 every Wednesday night (though, their idea of classic might not be everyone's as it includes Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure).

This week, the marquee reads: "Citizen Kane Oct. 25 | Maltese Falcon Nov. 1."

I nearly died of joy right there in the middle of the road. Two of my FAVORITE films, and, arguably, two of the best films of all time. In fact, I think this little theater may be paying me a loving farewell as we get ready to leave this fine state, because this is their lineup for the next five weeks.

I cannot even begin to express my love.

And, speaking of film geekery, being the crazy party animal that I am, I plan to spend my Halloween night here watching The Phantom of the Opera (1925), Buster Keaton's Haunted House (1921), and a Felix the Cat cartoon with orchestration provided by live musicians. This too has me doing the film geek dance of geeky joy.

Somebody tape LOST for me tonight, kay?
Top Ten Reasons Why Ants Are Better Goal Setters Than You Are

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Feeling cultured today, as last night we attended a concert at the new Segerstrom Concert Hall which is one of the new buildings in the OC performing arts center. My choir director had a bunch of free tickets to see tenor Rolando Villazon and I snapped them up. Culturally enriching and free? I'm there.

It was really very enjoyable. We walked (yes, walked -- the performing arts center is literaly about three blocks from our apartment) to the new concert hall and took in the architecture before the performance. It's a beautiful building and the acoustics are amazing. Rolando was enchanting and did about six encores -- but he seemed to be having such a good time, who could blame him. I was thrilled to pieces that he sang Per la Gloria d'adorarvi from Griselda and Faure's Apres un reve, both of which I have sung in my very modest singing career. He did a much better job than I ever have, and it was fun to hear them sung so beautifully.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


What Should I Read Next? is a web site that will recommend books for you based on what you read last or what you're reading now.

Seems like a pretty cool service, although it didn't recognize some books I put in -- like "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" or "Peace Like a River." But when I did get it to recognize a book ("The Thief Lord"), the list of recommendations seemed pretty cool.

The same site is also betaing a a film and music recommendation site.

Monday, October 09, 2006

before there was blogging

One of the first things I loved to do on the internet was find cool sites and share them with friends and family. In college, I ran a tiny little weekly "newsletter" -- mostly to friends and family, but a few perfect strangers! -- that listed cool, useful, and interesting sites I came across on the net. My "freshman thesis" as they called it back then, was an ENORMOUS web site I called "The College Student's Guide to the Internet" which listed dozens of useful sites for college students.

Well, the love of sharing interesting and useful websites has never quite faded. As some of you know, I now have an account with that lets me (and you!) access an organized list of websites I've bookmarked. You can always visit there to see what I'm looking at lately, but here are a few of my latest finds and faves:

Lifehacker is my new daily (if not more-than-once-daily) destination for all things awesome. "Lifehacker recommends the software downloads and web sites that actually save time." I've already bookmarked about half a dozen articles that I'm going to want to come back to in the near future.

Apartment Therapy is a blog based on the book of the same name all about living with thoughtful design. I'm big into design lately.

Achieve IT! is a blog about goals -- another kind of lifehack, I think. I've just started reading it, but so far it seems interesting.

Speaking of goals, Joe's Goals is a nifty little free, online application for tracking your progress toward achieving your goals. Elegantly simple and uncluttered, like the life we all strive for.

And speaking of nifty free apps, my mom clued me into 37 Signals for fantastic free web-based software to help you get organized. I've started using Backpack every single day as a sort of landing page to make lists, notes, and record thoughts.

Thrifty Planet is "The largest free directory for thrift stores, antiques, recycled merchandise, earth friendly items and more."

And I just found this one today, CHOW magazine has now gone entirely online, including a cool food media blog called The Grinder.

TTFN! Ta-ta for now!

Saturday, October 07, 2006


It is a GORGEOUS day, and I have already been to the UCI farmer's market where I purchased a dozen organic brown eggs; a loaf of whole wheat Irish bread (don't ask me what makes it Irish, I don't know) which the gentleman said was good for sandwiches -- not as good as the regular Irish bread, but better for you; two pounds of the most beautiful, adorably tiny, and sinfully sweet green raisin grapes I have ever tasted; a little bundle of toothpick-thin late-season asparagus; two yellow squash; an ENORMOUS zucchini; and a very adorably petite butternut squash which, the nice lady with the baby on her hip told me, was picked yesterday.

I may be very excited about this. I think I am going to make a vegetable omlete for lunch.


Several people requested the recipe for the Spicy Pumpkin Cake I took to critique group on Thursday (and which subsequently ended up splattered all over the front seat of my car) and so I deliver.

Spicy Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Chunks
From the Kraft "Food & Family" Fall 2006 magazine:

1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened, divided
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
6 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip
2 Tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, reducing water to 1/2 cup and increasing oil to 1/2 cup. Add half of the cream cheese, the pumpkin, cinnamon and ginger. Beat on medium speed until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate. Pour into greased 12-cup fluted tube pan or 10-inch tube pan.

Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Mix remaining cream cheese, whipped topping, and sugar until well blended. Spread on top of cooled cake. Cut into 16 slices.

Lacy's Additional Notes:
I made this cake almost exactly as directed, except that I substituted 1/3 less fat cream cheese and fat free Cool Whip. I baked the cake for more than an hour, and it still came out rather more gooey than I would have liked.

Making it a second time, I might reduce the oil to the 1/3 cup called for on the cake mix box. I imagine you could reduce it even more if you added the entire can of pumpkin puree. Also, I think that using egg beaters instead of the regular eggs (called for on the cake mix, and not listed in this recipe) would have worked just as well. Also, it would have been just as good (maybe better) without the chocolate. I like the combination of dark chocolate and pumpkin, but this cake was already so dense, I think it could have done without the added richness.

The recipe also notes that you can use yellow cake mix in place of the spice cake mix if you prefer, but I thought the spice cake mix gave it a lovely pumpkin pie-type flavor.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

birthday photos

YAY! Star Wars Party for Brandon's Birthday!!!!

Brandon's 30th Birthday
You can't really tell, but it's a Star Wars themed party banner up there.

Brandon's 30th Birthday
He got an Obi Wan Kenobi transformer. "TWO GREAT THINGS IN ONE!!!"according to him.

Brandon's 30th Birthday
The DVD came in the exercise ball box from his sister. I was hoping it was an actual exercise ball, just for the comedy value.

Brandon's 30th Birthday
He actually had to get out the directions to figure out how to transform the star fighter into Obi Wan Kenobi...

Brandon's 30th Birthday
But he was ultimately victorious.

Brandon's 30th Birthday
Darth Vader loves pie.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Am planning SUPER SEKRIT BIRTHDAY PARTY OF DOOM for husband today. Photos to follow!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

SCBWI photos

FINALLY! I got the dumb disposible camera developed that I took with me to the SCBWI conference. I only had it the night of the shindig, but there are still some fun pics.

First of all, you have to understand, people took the "Jade Jubilee" theme very seriously. Some came dressed like this, or this, or even this (the blonde can-can dancer with her back to the camera is actually a dude).

But my friend Sonja and I came like this:


And Andy from my writing group came like this:


And I think we were a pretty good looking group, don't you?

Aha-ha-ha-ha-ha... wipeout

This weekend, I got to meet one of my internet buddies, who (on the net at least) goes by ninjajab. She is incredibly cool -- like, I can't even begin to tell you how cool. Like, one of her more innocuous stories starts with, "So I was waiting in line for coffee in Hollywood, and Elijah Wood came in and gave me a huge hug and said, 'Viggo said you were stressed out. How are you? Are you OK?'"


And she was down in San Clemente filming a big huge world surf competition (I know nothing about surfing except that this was a big deal, and she is best friends with all the surfers) (except Kelley Slater)so she came up to my house to meet me and Brandon.

After an evening of talking to her, I began to feel like my life is just a shade boring. I mean, most of my stories have to do with my boring job, or... yeah. That's about it.

So yesterday I woke up feeling the teensiest, tinsiest bit jealous and dissatisfied with my life. Hey, it happens to the best of us, right? Brandon suggested I do something that was a little bit scary to break myself out of my rut. So I did.

I went to the beach by myself, rented a boogie board, and body surfed for an hour (because that's all I could afford).


I have been boogie boarding once before with my friend Rebecca. She taught me the basics, and I caught one or two good waves when I was with her.

Yesterday, I caught half a dozen good ones and about a dozen more OK ones. And it was so much fun! I only wiped out once where I kind of went head over heels in the whitewater and cut up my knee pretty good, but I was right back out there.

I can't wait to go again. Next time I get eight bucks, I know how I'm going to spend an hour.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Finally! I've finished uploading and tagging all our pictures from our Colorado fact-finding trip!

To view of slideshow of all our pictures, Click Here!

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites:

Here is Brandon, in front of the Capitol building, exactly one mile above sea level.

Some elk in Rocky Mountain National Park

Snow and doughnuts at the top of Pike's Peak!

Sherrif Brandon in Sedona, Arizona

Lacy at Sedona Camp
And me, looking tired after a week of driving.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


We got great coverage for the Gala event I attended Sunday night in today's issue of Women's Wear Daily -- I posted the article on my live journal if you want to read it!

This is what I do for a living, folks.

Monday, August 28, 2006

gia 75th Diamond anniversary gala

  • Survived the GIA Gala relatively unscathed.

  • Saw Madeline Albright -- she is very wee.

  • Saw a 108 karat D-flawless diamond (price? roughly $33 million), enormous raw tourmalines, Jacqui O's mother's wedding tiara, Joan Crawford's diamond bracelet and an entire small museum-full of amazing historical and rare gems and jewelry.
  • Got to wear this:

The AMAZING topaz cross in this picture is very similar to the one I got to wear by designer Robert Wander (his website is crap because we haven't redone it for him yet). EVERYONE and their mother commented on it. I felt like quite the belle of the ball.

Mara took a picture of me, which I will post when she sends it to me.

  • We did get to eat, and Mara was obsessed with the dessert buffet, so we ate a LOT of desserts and I had a cappuccino, but we didn't partake of the open bar. :(
  • Chris Isaak did a concert, which I listened to from the press table because Liz is in love with him (???) and Mara wanted to take a picture of him for her parents. He played only one song of his own that I recognized (Wicked Ways? Wicked Games? Whatever.) and a lot of Elvis. (again, ???)
  • There was this thing called the living fountain which everyone thought was the coolest thing ever.
  • I did get to go out to the terrace to watch the really spectacular fireworks show they had for the grand finale. It was really beautiful and very well done. And then Mara and I hit the desserts again. They had tiny adorable little SHOTS of hot chocoloate. So cute.
  • Stole a couple of goodie bags, the contents of which include an individual sized bottle of champagne, and a tiny airplane sized bottle of starbucks liqueur complete with tiny chocolate shot glass for drinking it. Good times.

All in all, not a terrible way to spend an evening, and not nearly as horrific as I could have imagined it to be.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Home again! Our week-long road trip to Colorado was a great success. Expect many pictures -- I took three rolls of film!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006



I'm back from my four day writing conference in LA, and I'm blogging about it over on my Live Journal because I've got a shed load of readers over there who are also writers. But come by and check it out, if you're interested! I'm taking it in little bites, cos there was just too much to talk about all at once, so it will be updated periodically over the next week or so.

*The acronym for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lacy 2.5

I filled out an alumni survey for CSF today. Kind of neat to change the "Ms." to "Mrs." and add "-Renner" to my last name. (Yes, I'm still sort of going by Boggs-Renner, because I am lazy and haven't officially changed my name at all yet.)

It was also kind of nice to put down a career that I'm not ashamed of. Not that I have ever had a job that I actually needed to be ashamed of, but "temp" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Freelance Public Relations." ;)

Maybe next year I can put "Writer."

As it is, it got me thinking about the fact that I am a late bloomer. Generally, when people say that, I used to think of girls who didn't really "get pretty" until their later years in high school, or even after high school, and while that is certainly true of me (I've definitely grown into my looks over the years, so that I'd definitely say I'm "prettier" now than I was back then), I think now that I would also use it to refer to my brain. I am a late bloomer in a lot of senses of the word, and in fact, I'd say I'm still blooming.

I was definitely behind the curve socially, and now, when I finally feel like I might be catching up, it's not nearly as important. But it does make me want to add an addendum to my alumni profile. Something like:

"Lacy has undergone several upgrades over the last three years. Lacy 2.5 is a vast improvement over versions 1.8 through 2.3. She has more self-confidence, while still retaining the spunk and spitfire that endeared her to you in previous versions. She is also a lot less geeky now and has a job in a really cool industry. She met an amazing man who has changed her life forever for the better. She even got married for goodness sakes, and finally feels like something more akin to an adult. Vast improvements have been made in this new version. If you liked her then, you'll love her now."

Or something like that.

Monday, July 31, 2006

more kitty trauma

To make a very long story short...

Cleo got sick again last week. Thursday night she was acting really strangely, and we took her to the hospital Friday morning. Her blood pressure was double what it should be and she may have had a small stroke episode.

The good news is that after a single dose of blood pressure medicine, her blood pressure came down. The bad news is that the doctors have no idea why she is hypertensive. They ran some more tests, but didn't come up with anything conclusive. They wanted to run an echocardiogram (sp?) but, according to the doctor, she was so full of "piss and vinegar" by that point, that she wouldn't let them do the test.

So, she's home now with a blood pressure pill and vitamin solution added to her daily regimen, but it's still not as bad as the six medicines, three times a day we were administering after her surgery.

Thankfully, she seems comfortable and alert. She's playful and eating well, and we've even been able to decrease her steroids to one pill every other day.

Hopefully we are on the road to recovery.

We have an appointment for a "meet and greet" with a pet sitter Brandon found online on Wednesday. She's licensed and bonded and insured and Lord knows what else, so hopefully she'll do a good job, and thankfully, she's not very expensive.


My writing instructor and critique group leader posted some pictures of our group last Thursday on her blog. Check it out!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

baby picture

Hey! There's a photo of Baby Seth on Eric's myspace page at -- go see the baaaabeeee!

Friday, July 28, 2006

If you haven't seen this post on Cute Overload about a baby opposum in a toilet, then you are missing out.

Of course, now I look before I sit, too...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


I'm an AUNT!!!

Seth Ian Justice was born at 2:11 this morning to my beautiful sister-in-law Heather and her husband Eric. Baby and mother are doing well, recovering from a C-section. (I assume dad and grandparents are doing well, too!)

He has blond hair like his mum. =)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

As if the weather this week all over the country weren't strange enough, I am now sitting smack dab in the middle of an all out electrical storm. But not a drop of rain.

This is going to be great for fire season.

Must conserve computer battery, cos I'm sure as hell not plugging it back in until this blows over.

Update: RAIN! Curiouser and curiouser...

Monday, July 17, 2006

top of the top

Money Magazine has published its list of the 100 best places to live in the US, and Fort Collins, CO topped the list, with Longmont and Colorado Springs also making the list.

They also have a list of the top 50 best jobs -- "writer" came in at number 25 and "biotechnology research scientist" came in at 35.


the blog hog

As many of you know, I am something of a blog hog -- I love 'em! I love to write blogs and read them.

Some of my favorites are on the left hand side of this page, but I don't update that list as often as I should. For a full list of what I'm reading, you can go to this page -- my account. is a great web site for people like me who work on multiple computers, say home and work. Create a free account and you can create bookmarks, organize them by "tags" or keywords, and then access them from any computer with an internet connection! Pretty cool.

I also love useful websites like, and I just found this site called jobster -- sort of like a facebook for us worker bees! I'm kind of excited to see if it will grow into a useful networking tool. Registration is free.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Colorado or bust!

We spent the majority of the afternoon today working out our plan for our Colorado trip. Originally scheduled for June, it had to be postponed due to unexpected kitty craziness, so now we are planning to go the third week in August.

And I'm so excited! It's looking to be such a great trip. We're leaving Saturday the 12th and we're hoping to get as far as Zion National Park in Utah, where we plan to camp overnight. We're hoping to get in on one of their cool shuttle tours of the park before heading on to The Peck House in Georgetown, Colorado.

Georgetown is about 45 miles west of Denver, and one of Colorado's original gold mining towns, and The Peck House is a five star restaurant and bed and breakfast in the mountains. We're hoping for a really relaxing dinner and stay there Sunday night before heading to Rocky Mountain National Park on Monday morning.

We have a reservation at the Moraine Park campground and plan to spend Monday driving and hiking around the park. I am particularly excited about the prospect of summer "Campfire Talks" given by the rangers. Because I am a dork for stuff like that.

Tuesday we will head into Denver proper, probably by way of Boulder. We have a reservation at a hotel in Denver for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights. We plan to drive around the city, trying to get a feel for the different neighborhoods and where we might like to end up. We definitely want to spend some time downtown, probably in the area of the 16th Street Mall and LoDo, and we're also talking about making a visit to the zoo, the Natural History Museum, and probably at least one brewery.

Friday night we are hoping to stay in one of the camping cabins at the Garden of the Gods just outside Colorado Springs. They just look so kitschy and cute! We also hope to take the Pike's Peak Cog Railway to the top of Pike's Peak to get a panoramic view of the state before heading home.

Saturday we will head south, probably stopping in Flagstaff or Sedona, or wherever we happen to end up (no reservations for Saturday night) and on home by Sunday.

More details as we finalize them!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Sometimes, I find it positively eerie how accurate my horoscopes can be. Take today for instance:

Pisces Pisces
You're continuing down a path of self-discovery. The trouble is that what you're searching for is still a bit unclear to you. It may seem like everyone but you has a passion in life, or a direction to follow. If you're feeling lost or a bit overwhelmed with your options, plan some alone time to figure it all out. It doesn't have to be a weekend getaway -- a simple hour or two alone, perhaps on a long drive or wandering through the park, will give you some distance from the stress.

Sounds like I need a trip to the beach!

Monday, July 10, 2006

10 more reasons you might be battling the bulge

10 Factors in Rise of Obesity

1. Inadequate sleep -- average amounts of sleep have fallen among Americans, and many studies tie sleep deprivation to weight gain.

2. Increased consumption of endocrine disruptors, substances in some foods that may alter fats in the body.

3. Climate-controlled environments. Air conditioning and heating limit calories burned from sweating and shivering.

4. Decrease in tobacco use. Smoking is often linked to appetite suppression.

5. New prescription medicines that promote weight gain.

6. Changing demographics -- there are now more middle-aged and Hispanic Americans, groups that have higher obesity rates.

7. Women giving birth at an older age, which correlates with heavier children.

8. Genetic influences during pregnancy -- a so-called "fetally-driven positive feedback loop."

9. Natural selection -- heavier people tend to survive tough times better than skinnier humans.

10. Assortative mating, or "like mating with like" -- meaning fat people procreating with others of the same body type, gradually skewing the population toward the heavy end.

Source: International Journal of Obesity &

Sunday, July 09, 2006

six reasons I am done with California

  1. Yesterday, the Mister and I decided to go to a mall to have some dinner and walk around and shop a little. The parking garages at the newer malls out here have little counters that tell you how many available spaces there are on each level. The parking garage was ENTIRELY full except for the roof which had 17 spaces available -- at 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon.
  2. We went to P.F. Chang's and were told that it would be a 45 minute wait, but we waited it out because it would have been at LEAST that long at any restaurant in town, including Denny's and McDonalds.
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean was started showing at 6am and was sold out all day on four screens at the 21 plex, and the lines for people waiting to get into the theater were ridiculously long.
  4. I waited almost 15 minutes for a dressing room to try on a green dress.
  5. We ended up sitting in "traffic" in the parking garage for -- quite literally -- more than half an hour when we were trying to leave, and witnessed people doing the most asinine, ridiculous, dangerous things I have ever witnessed in a parking garage.
  6. It has been HOT here. And this is not "Oh! It's 85! It's so HOT!" No, no. This is 96 degrees and three thousand percent humidity hot.

And frankly, if the weather isn't going to be gorgeous all the time, then why the HELL would ANYONE want to live here? No one here understands my pain. They think this sort of overcrowding is normal, the poor sods. They've been brain washed by the Gubinator.

Also, 6a. The Orange County Fair started on Friday, which is about two or three miles from our house, which means that for the next three weeks, the traffic on the freeways near our house is going to be ABYSMAL. Joy.

Friday, July 07, 2006

book fair

From July 4 - August 4, the World eBook Fair will be taking place! Download any of 1/3 million classic works of literature that have been digitally scanned for FREE! This is an excellent opportunity to browse the Guttenberg Project ebook library, and there are also some free audio books and poems available.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

it's all in the timing

I've recently recommitted myself to whole living -- that is, trying to live my best life by doing things that are positive, like eating better, exercising more, reading more, writing more, etc. But I'm really prone to jumping in with both feet, starting a really rigorous "program" of diet or exercise, or both, and then falling off the wagon just a few days in because it is too much, too fast.

Knowing this about myself (after MUCH trial and error), this time I'm slowing everything waaaaay down. I'm just taking one little tiny baby step each week. First, it was wearing my pedometer.

It's pretty simple; it just counts my steps and tells me how many miles I've walked, but it's really motivating to see how much (or how little) I've walked in a day. It was a real eye-opener to realize, when I first started wearing it, that I was walking sometimes less than a mile in an entire day! Now I'm shooting for a goal of 10,000 steps a day (about 3.5 miles).

(You might have noticed the US map in the column on the left hand side of this page -- it's a web site I found that lets me put in my steps every day, and it tracks my progress as though I were walking across the country! As you can see, I haven't even gotten out of California yet!)

Someone recently asked me how I managed to get all that walking in every day, and to tell the truth, it's really not that hard. Our apartment is in a really great location, so we can easily walk to the mall, the movies, tons of different restaurants, and our pick of two grocery stores and a Target, not to mention lots of other places like our bank, the dry cleaners, our hair salon -- the list goes on and on. The trick is just choosing to walk to do those errands instead of hopping in the car.

Lots of people don't have that advantage, I know, so I thought I'd post this article I saw that lists a lot of ways to increase your activity during the day.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get up and move my bum.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

looooong weekend

Happy Belated Fourth of July!

The Mister and I did absolutely nothing this weekend, and it was glorious -- nay, decadent in all its lethargy. Saturday we managed to make a trip to the library for new books and a picnic in the Huntington Beach central park, and then we spent the entire rest of the weekend reading and trying to stay cool.

But then, out of the blue, some friends called us last night to find out if we had any firework watching type plans. (Their previous plans fell through and they asked themselves, "Who do we know who has no life and is probably sitting at home bored right now? The Renners! Of course.") Since our firework watching plans were a little half-baked at best, we gladly accepted the invitation to go watch fireworks with them at Tustin High.

It was a really nice little event. We didn't bother trying to get into the stadium, but instead found a comfy little patch of lawn and enjoyed the fireworks over the wall of the school. There's just something about relatively home-grown fireworks that is so much more exciting than the perfectly choreographed, timed, synced-to-music variety.

And then we got to see some amateur fireworks enthusiasts totally busted with their highly illegal fireworks on the walk home. Good times.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

livin' the dream

You are looking at a bona fide new member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators -- an international group of like minded writers working in (or toward) the children's market. I've got a membership card and everything.

I've been thinking about joining this society for over a year now, ever since I attended the Children's Writer's Bootcamp and found out about the organization. I kept putting it off, and putting it off, but when I saw that they were having their summer conference in LA in August, I knew the time had come.

So, I not only registered to become a member of the Society, I also registered for the conference! August 4-7, I will be up in LA learning all about what it means to be a working children's writer. Now my only dilemma is which workshops to go to during each session -- "35 Writing Secrets for Beginners" or "How to Write a Bestselling Series?" "Writing Characters Who Will Make Your Readers Laugh and Cry" or "Channeling Your Inner Teen?" The possibilities are endless.

In fact, I may try to find someone (or several someones) online who might be interested in sharing notes. That way, I can go to "Writing Young Adult Literature: Seven and a Half Truths" while they go to "Naughty or Nice: WhatÂ’s Happening inYA Novels" and then we can share the wealth.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

pet insurance

So, after our recent jaunt down the road towards bankruptcy because of our sick kitty, Brandon and I are considering pet insurance.

I'm wondering if any of you guys have any experience with pet insurance or access to any inside information (Allison? Kris?) about which is best, which have good or bad reputations, etc.

Please share if you have had ANY experience with pet insurance, because we are totally new at this. We don't even know if she would be eligible, as she now has a diagnosed chronic condition (IBD), but it seems like something we should think about, considering the outlay we have already made to get her well again.

Monday, June 19, 2006


She's eating like a wee little horse and drinking like a camel and pissed off at us when we have to give her her meds, of which there are about thirty-five, but SHE'S HOME!

two good milestones

First of all, thank you to everyone who has been sending positive thoughts to us for our Cleopatra. It means an awful lot to us, because it's been a rough two weeks not knowing WHAT to expect.

She is doing better. She hasn't had any vommiting in 36 hours, and she has been eating on her own. The doctor is switching her to oral medication today, and if she can keep that down and continues to eat normally, she should be able to come home soon. So keep your fingers crossed!

Second, this is post number 500 on this blog! WOW! Thanks for reading, guys.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

duck and potato

The saga of the sick kitty continues. Yesterday we took Cleo back to the hospital because she had started vomiting again and wasn't eating or drinking. We knew it was serious when, rather than being her crazy, hellacious public self, she was docile and quiet. When we weighed her, she came in at 7.6 pounds -- TWO POUNDS lighter than only a week ago.

Not good.

According to the docs, it was probably the inflammatory bowel disease flaring up again. They got her on IV fluids and gave her some prednizone and when we visited her yesterday, we actually coaxed her to eat a little.

Apparently she is eating and drinking well today, and we will be able to take her home, although we now get to add a steroid to her medication schedule and buy her fancy, expensive, hypo-allergenic "duck and potato" cat food.

She's going to be eating better than we do!

Monday, June 12, 2006

I have never been this excited about cat poop before

Cleo is home and doing well. She gets three kinds of medicine, twice a day -- a process she does not enjoy in the least. But she is eating on her own, and today, she pooped!



According to the Vet, she may have some sort of irritable bowel, which may have been what was causing her kidney to be inflamed, but the good news is that the biopsies did not show anything horrible -- like cancer,m or dead kidney tissue, or anything like that.

She goes back on Friday to have her sutures removed, and then hopefully we can remove the cone. She's not a big fan of the cone any more than she is a fan of us shoving pills down her throat.

We keep telling her it's for her own good, but I don't think she believes us.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Cleo came home today. We have three medicines, baby food, boiled chicken and rice, and a very tired kitty who is currently sleeping under my desk.

We still don't know the results of the biopsies, but she's home. So I don't really care right now. :>

this blog is just full of fun faluppa

I really, REALLY like the word "frippery."

frip·per·y (frĭp'ə-rē) pronunciation
n., pl. -ies.
  1. Pretentious, showy finery.
  2. Pretentious elegance; ostentation.
  3. Something trivial or nonessential.

[French friperie, from Old French freperie, old clothes, from felpe, frepe, from Medieval Latin faluppa, worthless material.]

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

kitty update

Cleo came through surgery fine. They did not find any foreign bodies in her intestines, which is a very very good thing. They took "a bunch" of biopsies of her kidney and, I expect, her intestines to see what's going on with the kidney and make sure nothing else is wrong. Unfortunately, since they had to check out the intestines to make sure nothing was in there, she has a "zipper incision," which I'm assuming means that it's about three or four inches long. That's pretty big for a 10 pound kitty.

They told us that she was hissing and fighting pretty good when she came out of the anesthesia yesterday, but that now she's curled up in the back of her cage. She's still on an IV, so she hasn't eaten anything on her own yet, but they will try to give her some food later today. They're going to keep her until at least tomorrow, and we won't know the results of the biopsies for three or four days.

She's on antibiotics and pain killers and she'll have to wear a cone for a while. I'm sure she just loves that.

We're going to go visit her tonight, although I'm not entirely sure that she will be happy to see us. The doctors suggested we bring some food and maybe a toy -- something familiar.

My poor baby. =(

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Our kitty, Cleopatra, is in the hospital.

On Saturday, she threw up some tin foil and a piece of red thread, and we didn't think much of it. She was acting normally, and she's forever eating weird stuff off the floor or the sofa cushions or whatever, and she threw it up, which is much better than keeping it down.

But by Monday morning, it seemed to me that she ought to be yowling at me to fill up her food dish, only, it was still half full, exactly as it had been all weekend. She wasn't acting strangely, so I gave her a couple of treats to see if she would eat them. She wolfed them down and promptly threw them up again about 20 minutes later.

Now I was worried.

I called Allison, who works as a veterinary assistant, and she talked to her Dr. and they thought I should take Cleo to the vet. So, I did, and I left her there for them to do x-rays and blood work.

When they called at around 5:00 and told us that the doctor wanted us to come in so that he could speak with us, I knew it wasn't good.

What everyone was worried about was that there might be more string in her intestines, but they couldn't really tell from the x-ray. What they could tell is that her right kidney is enlarged and has a lot of white spots in it. Could be kidney stones, could be calcium deposits, could be something else. Her blood work wasn't good either. The first doctor kept saying "kidney failure," which didn't go over well with us.

So, we were told to take her to a 24 hour animal hospital, which we did. Now, what you have to understand about Cleo is that she is the sweetest, most lovable kitty in the world when we're at home. She cuddles. I have NEVER met a cat who cuddles as much as she does. She's just amazingly sweet and lovie. This is NOT the case when she goes to the vet. She transforms into the hell beast of doom, hissing, growling, swatting and biting at anything that moves, including us, so she has to be sedated for even the most routine procedures so that the vets and vet techs keep all their limbs intact.

The hospital doctor decided that the best thing to do would be to keep her overnight, get some fluids in her and some antibiotics, and see if her bad kindey levels went down. They didn't. When we called this morning, he recommended that they do exploratory surgery; since she would have to be sedated for any procedure, he figured they might as well do the one that would tell them the most about what was going on. They were going to check out her intestines for damage, and also biopsy her kidney to try to find out what was going on with that.

That was at 9:00 this morning. We haven't heard since.

I forced myself to wait until noon to call the hospital, but the kind receptionist said that the doctors were unavailable and would have to call me back.

I'm worried, and I want my baby back. Brandon and I aren't taking it too well, really. He's such a goober. When I first told him it was going to be around $500 for the x-rays and stuff at the first hospital, he said, "For $25 we could get a whole new cat," but when he saw her when we moved her from one place to the other, he was all kinds of worried. We just miss her and want her home and well.

Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

i feel very american

I'm making cherry cobbler for the church picnic tomorrow because the theme of the picnic is ethnic food, and we're supposed to bring something from our ethnicity.

I figured "Southern" was about as close to an ethnicity as I really get, so cobbler it is, cos I don't make fried chicken or fried okra, and nobody but me would eat turnip greens if I made those.

i see rude people...

I hate rudeness.

I am thinking of two specific incidences that have incensed me and stuck with me after the actual event.

First, our next door neighbor has a very bad habit of being inordinately loud. Our walls are thick enough that it doesn't matter when she's in her own apartment, but unfortunately, she's a smoker and so she spends a lot of time out on her patio, which is RIGHT next to our bedroom window.

Now, it's already a little annoying that she goes out on her patio to smoke, because this is Southern California, and we LIVE with our windows open. This means that we get to enjoy her second hand smoke unless we get up and close the windows and doors in time. But it's her patio, her apartment, her life. Right?

Wrong. At least, wrong when she comes home at 11:30 or 12 o'clock at night and is drunk and SHRIEKING at the top of her lungs with her friends. It used to be a rare occurrence. The first year we lived here, she was going through some sort of bad break up and would have screaming profanity-peppered phone calls with her boyfriend at 2am. Now she just comes home drunk with friends and sits out on the patio and talks REALLY loud. So loud, in fact, that even if we get up and close our window, we can still hear her.

This happened on Thursday night, and I lay there FUMING about it for nearly an hour after she woke us up. I was plotting how I would write a nasty anonymous note and leave it pinned to her door, or how I would wake up REALLY early on the weekend and bang pots and pans outside her bedroom window, or how I would get up and go shout at her for waking us up.

None of which I did, of course.

Her patio is RIGHT next to our window. She cannot help but notice this. She also cannot help but notice that it is NIGHT, generally a WEEKNIGHT and that the rest of the apartment complex is quiet. Maybe it's just because she's drunk, but how can she think that's OK? There are certain rules of etiquette that people should obey when living in such close quarters with other people. And being quiet and courteous at night should definitely be one of them.

The second thing that happened took place this morning.

Brandon and I were walking in the mall near our house after going to the French cafe for breakfast, when I heard my name called. A friend I hadn't seen in a while came over. We exchanged pleasantries, when suddenly she turned to my husband, reached for his stomach, and said, "Well I can see she's feeding you! You're not thin!"

In exactly those words.

I was horrified! How could anyone say that? That is the most ridiculously rude thing I can think of. Didn't her parents teach her that it is impolite to make personal comments? On what planet is that sort of thing acceptable?

It's not even as though she was just ribbing a friend; she has only met my husband on a few social occasions. They aren't buddies, and they certainly don't have the sort of relationship where she might conceivably think it was OK to tease him about his weight.

I realize that I may be more sensitive to weight issues than most people, but that is just plain rude.

When did that become OK? How do people get along in this world without some basic understanding of politeness and decency? Doesn't anyone care about anyone but themselves any more?

Is this yet another symptom of living in the Land of Fruits and Nuts (TM), or is it this bad all over?

I swear: if I have children, they are going to grow up understanding the importance of being polite to the people around them. I refuse to contribute to this growing apathy towards the social niceties.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So the husband and I were all ready for a nice leisurely lie in this morning -- we'd been talking about it all week, how we would sleep in on Saturday. Apparently, the cat had other plans.

We were woken at around 5:30 by the sound of Cleopatra tearing the foil off of Brandon's terrarium. He, of course, leaped out of bed to chase and chastise, and by the time he got back, we were both wide awake.

So we have spent the last three hours lying in bed, watching the early, early news and have now switched to cartoons. We have had coffee and toast.

It's a good Saturday after all.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm sitting in a coffee shop with a bunch of community college rejects "studying" really loudly, a 50-something guy in a leather motorcycle jacket letting two slightly younger women "in" on the sordid world of Hollywood, and a kindred spirit -- a man with a powerbook in his lap and a moleskine notebook propped open, scribbling wildly all by himself in a corner.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Subtlety much?

I was feeling down on myself today. My hair wasn't doing what it was supposed to, or my face was broken out, or my clothes didn't fit the way I would like them too, or my cramps have returned in force, or I don't exercise the way I should, or I don't eat as I ought. Or whatever it was today.

And I was getting into that very negative spiral of comparing myself to people I admire (envy?), saying I wish I were as together as Friend A, or as empathetic as Friend B, or as cool as Friend C. I wish I were more like my sister in this way, more like my husband in that way, more like all these women in my SELF magazine.

And I was feeling down because I didn't measure up.

But, trying to make the best of a quiet, lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon, I put on my shorts and my tank top, and hid my shame at my blubbery whiteness behind a pair of sunglasses and headed to the apartment complex pool to soak up some sun, and there weren't too many beautiful people there, so I stayed. I lay on my back, reading my book for a while, and then I flipped over, facing the pool, to get some sun on my back.

That's when a man and his wife came through the gate. And I thought to myself, "How brave they are, a middle aged couple, not caring about the beautiful bikini-clad people, intent on enjoying some--"

And that is when I realized that the man had two prosthetic legs.

I suddenly had a whole new concept of brave as I circumspectly watched him unstrap his prostheses, climb down off his chair onto his knees, and crawl over to the edge of the pool where he laughed with his wife about how cold the water was before diving right in.

He wasn't physically fit, or any great body beautiful. He wasn't ashamed, either. He was laughing with another man sunbathing by the pool's edge, enjoying the sun and the water and his ability to move unfettered in it.

And I started to cry just a little bit. Because I was worried about being too pale, or 15 pounds overweight, or about having a little acne.

Yeah. OK, universe. I get it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Life. Don't talk to me about life.

It's Friday, I only have to work a part-day, and I'm doing my damndest not to do any *actual* work today, hence you find me updating this blog which has been sadly neglected over the last few weeks.

It seems, from where I'm sitting, that not a lot has been going on, but I know that at least a few things have, so, in no particular order:

  • I was going to go to Vegas with my bosses for the jewelry trade shows that go on there the first week in June, and I was all excited, and I had put in for a hotel room at the Wynn -- but now it looks like that's not going to happen. They were unable to finagle free day passes to the Couture show for me or any of my coworkers, and are unwilling to actually purchase badges for us (at $1300 a pop), so they have decided that our presence, once so vital to their wellbeing and success at the shows, is no longer required. Guess it's good I didn't run out and buy a new suit.
  • The first term of my writing class ended this week, but the next one starts up next week, so I'll still have something to keep me out of trouble. I'm enjoying it, and everyone liked the piece I turned in for my last assignment, so that's a bonus.
  • Also, I somehow got elected to lead an outside writing group for some of us from the class and our first meeting is tomorrow. Color me excited.
  • My medicines are making me less wonky every day. At first I was really sick to my stomach and lethargic a lot, but that seems to be getting better. On the other hand, I've had one or two instances of shooting pains again, so that's not so good. But, at least it's not every day now. Vast improvement there. Supposed to go back to the doc to check on everything in another month or so.
  • The French dinner was a great success. The leek soup, somewhat less so. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and my tummy decided that two days (really, I only got through one day) of leeks was WAY too much of a good thing.
  • Speaking of leeks, we had a weird leak in the ceiling of our bathroom. Luckily, the ceiling has been painted over so many times, none of the water was actually leaking into the house -- it just formed this huge distended bubble in the ceiling that was squishy to the touch. Very odd. We were coming up with alternative plans of where to shower should the need to tear out the wall arise, but the handy man came and just took out a section of the ceiling, fixed the leaky pipe, and put a new piece back in the ceiling. (No telling if this actually fixed the whole problem -- like, what about mold, right? But we're not going to be here long enough to care, we hope. *Fingers crossed.*)
And honestly, I think that's it. I told you nothing interesting was going on out here. Y'all may think I'm holding out on you, but really I'm just sparing you from "Today I watched TV and went to bed," type posts.

You can thank me later.

Friday, April 28, 2006

a la francaise

I bought French Women Don't Get Fat last week, and have slowly been reading it and digesting the advice. I like the idea of it. It's much more a common sense approach to staying slim and healthy than even Weight Watchers. I really love the idea of being encouraged to eat my favorite foods rather than trying to find substitutions for them. I have always vaguely thought that it can't really be any healthier to eat "diet" foods that are packed with chemicals to make them lower in fat and calories -- even as I was scarfing down diet cookies and chips. A reduced fat tortilla chip that is healthier because it is fried in healthier oil is one thing, but a cookie with nothing in it that even resembles the Toll House recipe you're trying to replace can't be good for you.

Anyway, I really like the idea of identifying my biggest offenders and slowly reducing them. Nothing dramatic that I can't stick to. Nothing horrendous.

I have a plan for this weekend. Or, I am forming said plan as we speak. Tonight, I want to create a really great dinner for me and the husband. A true menu in the French sense. Then, I'm going to make the magic leek soup for this weekend and just lay low a bit. Maybe, if I feel up to it, I will go to the OC swap meet and look for some pretty accessories for my table. I really want to embrace the idea of eating with purpose.

Because, it ocurred to me today: the "secret" to being happy is just doing what you love. What do I love? I love food. There has to be a way to love it and still stay slim and healthy.

In any case, I will do the magic leek soup weekend and then begin fresh on Monday. I also want to try to clean and organize the kitchen a bit. Nothing makes me want to cook LESS than a messy dirty kitchen.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

on this day in history

An interesting day for history. Casts of a fossil (above) discovered in Canada are set to be put on display in London this week depicting an animal which appears to be part fish, part land animal.

Two points to Darwin on this one.

And, in another interesting story, the National Geographic Society is putting pages on display today of what they believe may be the lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot. From an interview on the NPR website describing the content of the document:

Judas is a different kind of character. He's the person who is asked to make the ultimate sacrifice. And that sacrifice is to sacrifice the life of Jesus in order that Jesus may attain eternity and immortality. And Judas is the one who enables all of us to help find that inner spark within ourselves. I think that the gospel of Judas Iscariot is actually a very reverent document coming from approximately the 2nd century -- well after the four gospels accepted as the canonical gospels were actually written. We don't really know 100 percent that it's Judas' account. We know that a writer in the 2nd century told this story, which is the story of the encounter between Judas Iscariot and Jesus some time after the Resurrection. Judas is actually Jesus' best friend. Judas is the one who enables Jesus to fulfill his mission -- to die and to release that inner spark within himself and within all of us that is the divine.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Up with grups

An awesome article from New York Magazine about my generation and who we're turning out to be.

mmm... forbidden croissant...

This whole life thing? Isn't going so well for me.

Yesterday was hard. I had to go to the DMV, AND to work, AND sell my car. It was an emotionally tumultuous day. Plus it rained all day long and Californians just really can't handle that.

Fortunately, the DMV wasn't terrible. I got there before it opened, and so I was only there for about an hour total, including the time I waited in line before it opened, so that wasn't bad. I had packed books and peanutbutter sandwiches in case I was stuck there all day, but I wasn't.

Then, I had planned on being stuck there all day, so I had told the work folks that I wouldn't be in until around noon, so I went to a coffee shop and hung out and tried to write. It was OK. I felt guilty pretty much the whole time though. Forbidden croissants are never as tasty as you think they'll be.

Then I came home, and the whole reason I went to the DMV was to re-up the registration so we could sell my Camry, so Brandon wanted to go right then and sell it. So we had some dinner and then went to the place and sold it.

And I was sad. Very sad.

And wet. Because of the hurricane, which was really only rain, but.

Then, when we came home, our entire block was blacked out, and we couldn't get into the parking lot because the gate is electric. So we parked across the street and got REALLY wet walking back to the apartment, and then we had to scramble around and try to find candles and things, and it was just very exhausting.

It was a very long day. I feel like I need to sleep for about another twelve hours or so, but I'm here, at work, in my office, in the non-rain, and my intern girl is supposed to come today, so I have to act normal and do stuff.

But I don't wanna.

Monday, April 03, 2006


(I really don't want to do any work today, but my intern here and she is working hard, bless her heart, so I feel like I have to do stuff. CURSES!)

reading material

I go through a lot of women's magazines at work (for the jewelry ads -- I swear!) including bridal magazines, and I have a few thoughts.

1. They should not all arrive on the same day. When they arrive all on the same day and I forget to bring my handy-dandy canvas Trader Joe's shopping bag, it makes for complicated parking and walking into the office procedures.

2. JANE is very hard to read. From a design standpoint, it's probably the coolest, but only if you just want to look at the pictures. If you actually want any information, fuggetaboutit.

3. Marie Claire is definitely the stinkiest, and also one of the trashiest of the expensive magazines. (Last month's issue informed me that 70% of Costa Rican men have problems with premature ejaculation. WHY DO I CARE???? Are there so many Costa Ricans in my life that I should be concerned about this, even tangentially?)

4. Britany Spears keeps Us Weekly in print. (Yes, the boss lady gets Us Weekly. I don't read that one, but I can tell what side their bread is buttered on just from the covers.)

5. Vogue is too damned pretentious. It has articles that say things like, "Fabulous Spring Fashions for Every Budget!" and then, the cheapest thing they mention is an $85 pair of sunglasses. No thanks. Good photography, though.

6. I gravitate much more towards the self improvement type magazines like Shape and SELF. I like the health info mixed in with the fashion tips, and I appreciate that they espouse a healthy lifestyle as opposed to anorexia. I tend to steal those from the office for my personal use -- and then I bring them back! I swear!!!

7. I take Brandon the Automobile magazine and Robb Report any time they have a car issue.

8. I love bridal magazines. They were my secret little indulgence when I was engaged, (and maybe a bit before) and now I get to look at them all for FREE! Also? We were way ahead of our time. Callas are STILL in, purple is the hottest look of the season, it is totally chic to have your bridesmaids wear different dresses, and I still haven't seen a wedding dress I like more than mine. So there.

Friday, March 31, 2006

getting back to my roots: free writing

(The original purpose of this blog was to have a place to put unfinished snippets of ideas I was working on. Here's one from my freewriting session in class on Wednesday night.)

Prompt: summer above please

In the summer, the skies above the houses on Mandarin Place took on a strange life of their own, glowing with an unearthly luminescence in the wee hours of dawn as though a host of heavenly watercolorists were splashing color onto the night in bold strokes of pink that faded to yellow that drifted into blue, and the clouds would wait in the wings wondering, "Please, when is it our turn to play?" Their turn would come when the decadent blue of afternoon would be blotted out by the raucous, rolling laughter of the thunderclouds as they wrestled overhead leaving mud puddles, umbrellas, and damp trouser cuffs in their wake; but before long, the gentle winds of evening would coax the clouds back to their den, their energy spent from playing, and the gentle evening breeze would clear away the last wisps, bringing with it the softly spicy scent of pine woods, the acrid tang of smoke from a warm chimney, and it would make a place for the stars, winking on and off in sleepy rhythm with the lamps switching on in the houses below.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

a little life in review

As many of you know, my work situation isn't the greatest. To sum up: I have one boss who is great, everything a manager should be -- and one who isn't. Unfortunately, the one who isn't pretty much makes my life there a living hell on a fairly regular basis.

I would quit this job point blank -- I have any number of good reasons for doing so -- except that I have a short list of reasons not to do so. First, I love being on flex time. I've done the 8-5 cubicle thing, and it is hard on my mental and emotional wellbeing. Don't get me wrong; I work 8 hours a day, most days of the week, but being able to take time off when I need to, go to lunch whenever I want, leave early when the work is done -- those things are priceless to me. The thought of going back to temping is, at this point, MORE depressing than staying in a crummy work environment.

Second, when I'm not dealing with my horrible boss, the actual work is interesting and even fun at times, and I'm learning a ton about the PR and marketing industry, which is something I could see myself pursuing further somewhere else. There are a lot of opportunities coming up for me to attend trade shows and make a lot of contacts if I can just hold out for a few more months. I'm not just talking about jewelry people here, but writers, editors, freelancers -- anyone and everyone I can shake hands with and slip a business card.

And finally, I don't have another job to go to.

However. Lately the not-so-great boss has been stepping up the abuse, and it's getting to the point where I don't know how much longer I can reasonably hold out. So, I've decided to take some proactive steps towards getting the hell out of dodge, whenever the need should arise.

I've started actively submitting resumes again, which I had fallen somewhat lax in doing, and I've signed up for a writing course through UCI. The class starts in a week and I'm absolutely thrilled about it. It's called "The Inner Game of Writing" and it sounds like EXACTLY what I need -- full of strategies to silence your inner critic, work through writer's block, and get back the confidence you need to write.

A friend of mine pointed out to me the other day that my dip in self-confidence about my writing lately is probably directly related to my toxic work environment. I spend all day defending myself against little nips and jabs at my worth, my competence, and my value, so that when I get home, my reserves are all used up. Little things that normally would not phase me are suddenly more than I can handle. The theory makes a lot of sense to me.

So, I'm working towards an out. Brandon says that if I sell my car for what we're asking, I can take a month off with that money and write or look for another job or whatever. It's tempting, but I'm not quite to that stage yet.

Luckily, the good boss is on my side and stands up for me. Without that, I think I would have been gone long ago. For now, though, I will try to shore up my reserves and go into each battle day telling myself that I am only using this as a good opportunity toward bigger and better things.

you know it's time to break out the rice cakes when...

The receiptionist asked me yesterday if I had any good news for her. I stared at her blankly. She clarified by saying that I was dressed very comfortably. (For the record, I was wearing one of my favorite shirts which is sort of a peasant style, and brown slacks.) I continued to blink in a manner suggesting that I had no idea what the hell she was talking about.

She was asking if I was pregnant.

I can never wear that shirt again.

Monday, March 20, 2006

birthday plot

On Saturday night I was chatting with a couple of you (*waves*) and I told you that Brandon and I were going to go to Denny's for dinner. This turned out not to be entirely true.

Brandon said that he wanted to go to Denny's for dinner. This isn't as strange as it sounds; we are poor newlyweds, and we sometimes go across the street to Carrows, so I figured he just wanted a change. I asked if he was worried about being shot, but he didn't seem concerned.

Then, he suggested that we get dressed up to go to Denny's. "It'll be fun," he said. "We'll freak out the waitresses." I thought he was joking until he started going through his closet for slacks and a button down shirt.

I was still skeptical, but he kept telling me how fun it would be, so I went to stare at my closet to see if there was anything I could wear. Then, I noticed that he was putting on black socks and I knew something was up. This is the man that had to be persuaded to wear black socks to his WEDDING and who frequently wears white athletic socks with black slacks and black shoes to church.

So I tried to call him on it, but he wasn't going to give. We both got dressed up, got in the car, and he said, "I only know of the one Denny's -- down in Newport."

"No," said I, "there's one just around the corner on Harbor."

So he dutifully drives to the one on Harbor, but just as we reach Denny's he says, "Wow, it looks crowded. Let's go to the other one."

So we drive all the way out to the other Denny's in Newport. By this time I KNOW something is going on, but I don't know what. But then, he actually pulled into the Denny's parking lot and parked. I was very confused. We got out and walked around, and then he looked in the windows and said, "Wow, there's a scary homeless-looking person in there. Let's not go to Denny's." So we walked BACK to the car.

At this point, I was very hungry and very confused. We turned around, headed back in the other direction, and then finally, parked in front of The Golden Truffle: one of the swankiest restaurants in Newport Beach.

He had 7:00 reservations and was trying to kill time. The little sneak.

Anyway, the restaurant more than lived up to its reputation. I had roasted duck in a raspberry peppercorn sauce, and Brandon had Guinness braised lamb and we both had the blackberry shortcake with Irish clotted cream for dessert. Forget the birthday cake; I'll take that ANY day! So nice and such a surprise!!

Spend most of my birthday-day at church on Sunday for regular services and then a special evensong service. But I DID watch Labrynth, which my sister sent me, and then GoF which Brandon got me. Yay for cheesy movies!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

I found out yesterday that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Los Angeles (make of that what you will) and that Cardinal Mahoney gave all the Catholics in Los Angeles county a day off from no-meat Fridays so that they could have corned beef yesterday.

I kid you not. It was on NPR, so it must be true.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WHY is education so expensive?

I want to take a creative writing class at UCI. Extension classes start at $185 for five weeks and go up to $395 for five weeks.

Summer session classes are even WORSE. They are $192/unit, and all of the writing classes are 4 units. That's almost EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS, PEOPLE.

Education should be free.

FOUR years!

Today is four years to the day that Brandon and I had our first date. We went to see "Ice Age" and then had dinner at the Blue Corn Cafe. I talked a lot because I was nervous. He talked almost not at all for the same reason. But somehow we decided to have a second date, and he came to my birthday party three days later bearing a Harry Potter birthday card and a film award called "The Brandon" hand-sculpted entirely from styrofoam and painted gold with vast quantities of gold spray paint.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

seen in break room

There's been a little paper notice pinned to the bulliten board in the office kitchen here for a while which reads, "Cute baby bunny needs a home!" with a name and phone number.

I noticed today that someone hand wrote underneath it, "What size pot will it fit?"

(I wanted to make some sort of hostile work environment joke here, but you can just fill in the blank.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

monday the thirteenth

Is there such a thing as a bad luck Monday, or is that a redundant phrase?

I'm still not 100% well, but I am back at work, I am sitting upright, and I am functioning on a relatively high level.

Three full work days worth of emails to go through. That should occupy most of my day. Blurgh.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

i love my husband

I didn't mean to get him sick, honest.

But if he has to be sick, I'm sort of glad of the company.

I haven't been this ill in ages. It's rather disconcerting. I keep thinking I'm getting better and then... Like this morning for instance; I felt good, I got up, made some breakfast, which was nice, drank some coffee, cleaned up, made the bed, took a shower...

...and promptly had to go have a lie down for a bit. Wore me plumb out.

But I am getting better. I no longer believe that my head is actually going to explode, which is definitely a bonus. If you'd like an idea of what I was like at my worst, however, there is proof. Looking back, I'm not really sure that the medicine is to blame, cos I'm taking the same stuff now, and my grammar is much improved. Hmm.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

rabid grammar whore strikes again

Everybody's been asking me what I want for my birthday, and I couldn't think of anything until I saw this tee shirt:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

oscar? Who's oscar?

I have been MEANING since FRIDAY to write a long, bubbly, chatty post about the Oscar suites and all the famous (and semi-famous and not famous) people I met because that is INTERESTING that is the stuff that people would be INTERESTED to read about.

But alas. I am sick. I have the blurgh. Which means that I am taking cold medicine, which means that my concepts of grammar and punctuation and sentence construction have gone all to hell.

Also, I can't remember anyone's name.

Honestly, I will try to be less lame and more entertaining soon, cos lord knows this blog is boring ME to tears lately!

Monday, March 06, 2006



(Hollywood, CA March 6, 2006) -- A newcomer to the Oscar suites circuit this year, Rhonda Faber Green Designs made a big splash with Oscar insiders at this year's Academy Awards. Kathleen "Bird" York, nominated for her song "In the Deep" from the film "Crash," wore Rhonda's Filigreen Double "S" diamond bracelet on the red carpet with her gorgeous copper gown. The following is a list of other movers and shakers seen on the red carpet -- and beyond! -- wearing Rhonda Faber Green:

  • Nancy Hult Ganis (wife of Academy president Sid Ganis): amethyst and diamond Perfect Pair earrings, a matching, one-of-a-kind diamond and amethyst necklace, and a five-strand diamond Ovallure bracelet.

  • Ah Young Lee (Richard Roeper's girlfriend): Filigreen diamond bracelet, large Filigreen Chandelier Earrings with white sapphires and diamonds and new pave diamond Filigreen ring.

  • Finola Hughes (Oscar TV coverage for E! and Good Morning America):

  • Stacey Gualandi (Inside Edition): Ovallure sapphire and diamond earrings and diamond Ovallure 6 strand bracelet.

  • Jamie Krell (E! and Style Networks): Filigreen fleur de lis diamond pendant on a pave diamond pendant holder.

  • Mary Murphy (TV Guide): diamond Lauren Heart Drop Earrings and Diamondot pave diamond necklaces.

  • Zorianna Kit (TV Guide): Yellow gold diamond and citrine Perfect Pear earrings.

  • Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless): Filigreen necklace and bracelet in pave diamonds.

  • Heidi Oringer (ABC News Radio, KABC): Lauren Heart Bracelet and the Ovallure Long Drop earrings in Platinum.

  • Brittany Galloway (Gospel singer): Diamondot necklace, Filigreen diamond heart pendant and criss-cross earrings.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lacy's oscar round up to come

It's hard out there for a pimp gay cowboy.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

the long lost france photos

So, some of you may remember that we had some issues with some of our honeymoon photos. One of the rolls I turned into the photo lab turned out to be blank, and I was highly HIGHLY distressed about it, because I knew it shouldn't have been blank. I thought Target had lost the real photos (I mean, they did end up giving us the photos from some nice Mexican family's birthday party -- it wasn't a stretch).


In finally clearing out one of the bags I took to Paris a week or so ago, low and behold, I discovered a roll of film at the bottom. I sent it in to Snap Fish to be developed, and YAY! It was our missing Paris pictures! I am extremely excited about this and will be posting pictures soon. There is a simply cracking one of Brandon asleep on the couch in our Paris apartment.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

feelin glam

1. I transported two dresses worth $400,000 from our photo shoot back to the Oscar suite in Beverly Hills that the boss lady borrowed them from.

2. I handled and took the tags off of $425,000 worth of jewelry for said photo shoot.

3. I glad-handed and shmoozed in the Oscar suite, meeting the stylists for Access Hollywood and the stylist for Marissa Tomei, all while sipping on my free mojito from the Bacardi Limone suite next door.

I'm getting better at pretending to be way cooler than I am.

Monday, February 27, 2006

weekend roundup

Yesterday, I spent the vast majority of the day at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown LA rehearsing for, and then performing in, a concert with 1200 other singers.

Yeah, that's the right number of zeros. Twelve hundred.

To answer your first question, yes, the cathedral is large enough to hold 1,200 singers and still have room for almost 3,000 audience memebers. Three thousand. It was packed. Standing room only. Really, it was unreal.

The whole thing was put on for a foundation that was started last year for the cathedral's resident organist who was in a terrible car accident and lost his right arm. The original intent of the foundation was to keep him economically viable in the face of his tragedy, but they raised so much money that now they fund scholarships for students to study to play the organ.

ANYWAY. The concert was... An experience. We rehearsed for almost four hours. It was intense. The main problem was that the space is SO BIG and the two sides of the choir were SO FAR APART that the sopranos (my section) were hearing the basses and altos almost a full beat after they actually sang, which made it sound to us like we were off, although in the audience, apparently, it sounded fine.

Ah, the physics of sound. It was incredibly challenging to sing in time with the movement of the director's arms, and not in time with what you're hearing. I'm not sure if we ever really got it right.

But it was definitely an experience.


In other news, this is the week from HELL. We have a client with a suite at the Beverly Hilton all week for Oscar week who wants to have her hand held, and a huge photo shoot taking place today, tomorrow and Wednesday. If I survive to Thursday, we will consider it a success.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I've been having some VERY strange dreams lately.

For instance, two nights ago I woke up and told Brandon that I was very mad at him because he'd bought two new cars without telling me, and only as I said it did I realize that it was actually a dream. The jury is still out on whether or not he was actually even awake when I said it to him.

Then, last night, I dreamed I had a little yorkshire terrier that fit in a handbag, and I was taking him to the dog show, and I went up to my car (my new car) and there was somebody parked really close on the driver's side, and it looked like there were people inside the other car kissing. So, I decided to put the dog in on the passenger side and make a lot of noise so they would notice and go away, only, when I opened the passenger side door, I realized that they were actually trying to break into my car. I very calmly told them that they couldn't steal my car because they'd have to have the key with the chip in it or it wouldn't start (true!), but then they very calmly told me it was OK, because I had the key.

And then I realize that they all had two heads.

It was very disturbing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

pic spam

You can see pictures from our Santa Barbara trip here!

On the Road Again

Our random road trip was a success! We made it to Santa Barbara on Sunday with a whole afternoon stretching out in front of us and headed to the beach. It is a beautiful beach with big green mountains framing everything and a long, fabulous wharf that has restaurants and tchotchkie gift shops. Unfortunately, we hadn't really planned on it being Southern California's approximation of cold, and hadn't packed accordingly. I had a blazer, but Brandon had nothing but his short sleeved tee shirts, so we ended up buying him a souvenir sweatshirt on the pier. Then we had a bread bowl of clam chowder to warm up, and I can honestly say that it is the ONLY clam chowder I have ever enjoyed. It was made all the better by the fact that we kept having to threaten a fearless seagull to keep him from stealing our bread bowl right out from under us.

Our next adventure was finding a hotel. Unfortunately, the quaint little hotel we'd read about in the guide book was full up, so we spent the next half hour or so driving around Santa Barbara looking for a place to stay. We ended up at a place called The Lemon Tree Inn which looked promising. It had real lemon trees out front.

After snagging a map from the hotel lobby, we headed downtown. Downtown Santa Barbara felt a bit like the Champs Elyssee -- all manicured trees and posh shops -- but it did have a bit of a small town feel to it as well. We meandered along the street doing our usual "What do you want to eat?" "I don't know what do you want to eat?" until we got to the end and Sharkey's bar. Feeling that we were up for a little grease and alcohol, we went in.

Sharkeys is kind of like a sports bar with about three dozen TVs hung on every possible surface of wall all around the room. They have a pretty extensive food menu, but you order everything at the bar. So, Brandon had shrimp and lobster enchiladas, I had lobster tacos, and we both ordered margaritas. Much to our surprise, it was two-for-one happy hour, so we both ended up with two very LARGE margaritas. The food was good, as were the drinks, and there's a station with as many chips and salsa as you can eat, so we were ok. We watched bull riding and motor cross and got really really toasted. It was fun.

We stumbled back to our car and back to the hotel (it wasn't that far, honest) and sat up in bed and watched Hotel Rawanda on Showtime. It was pretty damned depressing, but a very excellent film.

Unfortunately, the Lemon Tree Inn did not live up to our first impressions. The bed was uncomfortable, the windows in the bathroom would close all the way, so it was cold, and it faced the street, so it was also quite noisy. We didn't sleep all that well, and when we got up in the morning, we realized that the shower would either do freezing or scalding but nothing much in between, and it vacillated between the two at random. Joy.

But we more than made up for that with breakfast. After reading a bit of the menu in the in room magazine, we headed back downtown for breakfast at the Tupelo Junction Cafe. The food was excellent and different enough to be really kind of exciting. I had a breakfast scramble with spinach, caramelized onions, tomatoes and Gouda that came with really excellent banana nut bread, and Brandon had poached eggs with some sort of really neat jumbalia type stuff that had chicken and andouille sausage and lord knows what else in it, but it was quite good.

After stuffing ourselves, we headed up into the hills, past the Santa Barbara mission, to the botanical gardens where we spent a really nice couple of hours tromping around looking at all the pretty plants. There was also a really cool sculpture called "Toad Hall" made entirely out of (some living, some cut) pussy willows. Very very cool.

After the botanical gardens we took the scenic route up to Ojai, hoping to see the miraculous view that Frank Capra cast as Shangra La in the film "Lost Horizon," but unfortunately, the scenic turnoff where you could actually stop was blocked off by what I think was a film crew. Maybe they're remaking "Lost Horizon..."

Staying on our scenic backroads, we made our way back to the freeway and back into town. I've got loads of pictures to upload, so expect some picture spam in the next couple of days!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


The hubby and I decided last night at around 7:30 that we should take a road trip, so we are leaving after church this morning and seeing where the road takes us. We'll be back by Monday night cos of the work and whatnot, so it won't be a long journey, but I thought I'd let y'all know.

In other news, we have ants in our dishwasher. How did they get there, and how do we get rid of them??

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Our Daily bread

Brandon and I have been eating out too much lately. I realized this last night when we were debating where to go, and we kept realizing that we'd "just had" chinese/mexican/american/whatever.

So, I've made the executive decision (as executive chef chez Boggs-Renner) to plan, prepare, and cook a little more often at home. This isn't a sacrifice; I actually really like to cook. But I get into these ruts where I didn't plan very well before my last grocery trip, so we have really random ingredients on hand, and I really can't be bothered to figure out how to make something edible out of them.

I think the planning is the key. I figure there's one of two ways to do this: either you can buy the same basic ingredients at the store every week and cycle through a repetoir of a dozen or so recipes, or you can sit down with your cook books and plan out a week's worth of meals, write down the ingredients, and buy. (Or, I suppose, a combination of the two.)

The latter is obviously more labor intensive, but I tend to get bored easily. And hey, I'm young and strong, I don't have small children, I have an overabundance of cookbooks and a husband with a fairly adventurous palatte. This shouldn't be too difficult.

In fact, I got THREE new cookbooks for Christmas that I've been dying to try out. Only problem is that two of them, The Barefoot Contessa in Paris and Nigella Lawson's Nigella Bites, are definitely NOT "healthy" recipes.

So, I came up with a plan: once a week, when I sit down to make my menu and my grocery list, I'm going to ask Hubby to go through the new cookbooks with me, and we will pick out one fabulous meal to make. No holds barred, no substituting low fat ingredients for their full fat counterparts. We will make it an Event. A Sunday Dinner, if you will (regardless of when we actually eat it.) And Brandon likes to help me cook sometimes, so it will be a culinary adventure for us.

I'll keep you posted on what we choose and how it comes out. Maybe I'll even take a digital picture. Gotta love the digital age.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

what? The internet won't surf itself, you know.

I am sitting in a French cafe near my house, enjoying cafe au lait and a croissant avec des oeufs and surfing the internet working on my writing.

Does it GET any better than this?

Friday, February 10, 2006

To Blog, or not to blog?

So, I know I have a small but devoted audience for this blog, and I appreciate that wholeheartedly. The only problem is that my life isn't really all that interesting. OK, the car was interesting. And yeah, I could probably write a novel a day about how crazy my boss is, but that really isn't very healthy and she might sue me for libel (which she would LOSE because it would all be true, but). But other than that? Not so much going on in my life.

So I have been looking for things to blog about lately. I mean, really LOOKING. Hard. I've even started jotting down notes in the little notebook I carry in my purse to remind me of things I think I might want to blog about later.

Unfortunately, even my notes are boring.

One says *bread* -- and it pertained to the fact that I was appalled that the health food store where I was doing my grocery shopping yesterday didn't have ANY bread with more than one gram of fiber per slice. In fact? Their old fashioned wheat bread had 0 grams per slice.

See? BORING. Who wants to read a blog about bread for cripes sake???

Then I wrote down *CD* because I have made two really good mix CDs in the last two days. That's really the whole extent of that. I have no idea how I thought I could stretch that into an entire post.

And finally, I wrote *dreamcatcher* which was actually an idea for a short story, not a blog post.

In short? I LOSE at blogging lately. Apologies.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Sunday was our annual parish meeting at church. Brandon and I have been attending our church for about two years now, and we haven't gone to a single parish meeting yet. This one was different.

Let me start by saying that we attend a fairly liberal Episcopalian church, and when the gay bishop was elected, a few members left the church because our rector publicly supported him. According to insiders, some of the older members of the church have been wanting to get rid of the rector since he got there because they find him too liberal.

In addition, last year, the very conservative assistant priest resigned. I learned only recently that it wasn't really a voluntary decision. She was told she could either resign or be fired. It wasn't a happy time.

So. Apparently, when pledge time came around at the end of last year, a small but affluent group of church members refused to pledge anything to the church until "changes were made." The loss of their pledges caused a shortfall of almost $35,000 for the church's annual budget. That same group of people then apparently started showing up to vestry meetings, demanding that the vestry come up with a balanced budget, and saying that the only way to do so was to fire our choir director. Thankfully, the clergy stepped up to the plate: our choir director cut his salary in half, moving to half-time, another of our assistant priests volunteered to cut his salary in half, and our rector took another large pay cut to make up the difference.

Now, I know I am biased, because I love our choir director. He is an amazing man and a very talented musician. He is also an ordained priest and leads the high school youth group program. He is a wonderfully warm person with a passion for his calling. He is also gay.

According to my inside sources, no one ever played the gay card when they suggested he should be cut from the program, but I have a feeling it might have been a factor. What I was told was that many believed that if they couldn't oust our rector, they would oust his supporters, starting with the choir master.

It came down to a bloody campaign between the two camps. There were 13 people running for 5 spots on the vestry -- something I am certain is fairly unusual (especially when people normally have to be bribed to even run!). People were passing out flyers, campaigning, calling church members on the phone to entice them to vote a particular way.

The meeting itself was fraught with ill feelings and there were several shouting matches. Several people got up and said that they had heard rumors of a coup and did anyone want to answer them? No one did. No one came out and publicly said what their agenda was. The only person who spoke frankly was the Senior Warden when he announced that several people who were running for the vestry would NOT be found on the list of pledging households, and that it was his opinion that that was hypocritical. There was a great deal of shouting after he said that.

But, in the end, I think we prevailed. My inside source provided us with a cheat sheet of who was on which side, and our side was elected save one. Our choir director's job is safe, for the time being, and if our congregation can come up with just an 8% increase in giving, we can have him back full time.

I just have never felt LESS like a part of a Christian community than when I was sitting in that room, ready to cast my vote to save the job of someone whose work I believed in. Thank God for the power of democracy. I couldn't believe how cynical, how hypocritical, and how duplicative those few members could be -- not even owning up to their own agenda! -- and still sit there and say that they had the church's Christian mission at heart.

Our rector gave a very moving sermon before the meeting, and one part of it stood out for me. He said, this isn't my church, or your church, or our church, it's GOD'S church. And he will do with it what he will.

We just helped it along in the right direction.