February 28, 2003

Freeway Follies

Yesterday afternoon was so fun... Not! When I pick up Jeren and Teresa from school, I take the freeway home. (12 miles). Yesterday, I get on at the usual ramp and there is an immediate back-up. Oh oh.... This is not your normal rush hour stop and go. I knew immediately that there had been an accident. I turn on the radio to a local AM channel that gives traffic reports every 20 minutes. They run through a list of all the back ups on local freeways. And on the Harbor Freeway, a two vehicle collision at 220th St. is blocking the two right lanes with the back-up going all the way to Anaheim street..... Of, course that was where I had entered the freeway. I was about 30 blocks away from the collision. And, of course, I am in one of the right lanes that will be affected. I can't move over to the left because I am surrounded by Semis leaving the harbor with their trailers full. I debate getting off at the next off ramp, figuring I could take surface streets home. Everyone had the same idea. That was clogged with the traffic backed up off the off ramp and onto the freeway. I nix that idea. Suddenly, I see cars parting up ahead. It would be kind of early, but maybe this was the accident? Nope..... It seems that a Ford Taurus wagon had broke down in the number 2 lane. A Chevy Surburban pulled up to help. Common sense would have told me to use the SUV to push the Taurus over to the side, right? The traffic was moving slow enough that you could have signaled to people what you wanted to do and they would have let you through..... Nope. The SUV pulled diagonally across a couple of lanes and was giving the Taurus a JUMP right in the middle of the freeway!!!! Okay, we creep past that. And, I manage to squeeze over into the number 3 lane. Further ahead, there is more activity near the number 1 lane. Okay, that's off to the left, but maybe the traffic reporter was wrong. Nope. In the left "break down lane" a Ford Expedition had been rear ended by a compact car. The Ford SUV lost this one. A very angry woman was gesturing at the back of the Ford which was now caved in and the rear bumper was broken off and laying uselessly in the street. That wasn't it. Finally, creep past 220th St. and still no accident. Several minutes later, I see cones off to the right. They are merging traffic from the number 4 lane into the number 3. I see a CHP car, a tow truck. And, then..... A Chevy Surburban that folded like an accordian. The frame had to be bent. The front end was pointing up into the air. The roof was rippled and every piece of glass in that thing was broken. The rear end was about a foot off the ground with the axle broken and the wheel hanging at an odd angle. He must have tangled with one of the Semis, that's the only thing I can figure out. I never did see the other vehicle. After we pass that mess, the freeway speed picks up again and things go smoothly after that. It took us an hour to get home, instead of the usual 25 minutes.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2003

A Good Excuse To Not Do Dishes!

I don't have an automatic dishwasher. I do them the old fashioned way. In the kitchen sink. My usual routine is to fill the sink up with hot, hot water. Too hot to do the dishes immediately, I like to let them soak and then I wash them when I can tolerate the water. Last night, I do the usual routine. Fill the sink, etc. Mike comes over later and starts running the disposal. "That doesn't sound right", he said. I look over at him. He's fiddling around with the other sink. "It's backing up!" Seems as if there was a clog and the side with the disposal was backing up. He fiddles around more and then I here some more expletives. It seems that the back up blew the plug off on the other side where the dishes were soaking and now the dishwater side was overflowing. More fiddling around and suddenly there was a gurgle behind the washer and the unmistakable sound of water spilling over the drainage pipe for the washer. Mike turns off the tap. There is a faint raw sewage smell in the kitchen. More expletives. Seems we got a clog somewhere in the system. It's going to take a little more than Draino for this one. In the meanwhile, I have dirty dishes in the sink and stacking up on the table. (I may have to do them in the bath tub! That, fortunately, is draining okay.)

Posted by Valkyre at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2003

Joe MillionZZZZZZZZZaire

Okay.... I watched it last night. I was really curious as to whether he and Zora stayed together or not. But, they won't announce it right away. They want to hold you towards the end. I guess to keep you in suspense and to make sure that the advertisers get the most bang for their buck by holding the audience captive. So, they fill the show with fluff. They interview some of the original 20 women. They have a group of them watching the TV as Evan picks Zora from the last episode. Three of the girls go out and do "man on the street" interviews. And, they show the casting calls of the different men who tried out to be "Joe Millionaire". Ah yes! And they had a segment devoted to Paul Hogan, the butler. Anyway, after sitting through that, I finally make it to the part where they interview Zora. And, she will finally get to see Evan. The show was taped back in November of 2002, I think. And, Evan and Zora could not be seen with each other until after it aired. So, now, they finally get to meet in front of millions. They interview Zora, and the camera pans around and Evan walks in the room.....And......I FALL ASLEEP! I drift off and woke up after the show had gone off the air and the local news was on. So, I missed it all. I don't know whether those two will stay together or take their $500,000 and go their seperate ways. I guess I can look it up on the internet.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2003

95 Outlets!!! (Only 22 Are Actually Open!)

The family reunion was held in St. George, Utah. My sister and I went there via Interstate 15, which is the common route most people take to Las Vegas, from Los Angeles. When we get near the town of Barstow, we notice billboards advertising an outlet mall. 95 Outlets!!! I have never been to an outlet mall. Mostly, because I hate shopping. I try to do everything via catalog or the internet. And, most of the outlet malls are located pretty far out. If you are not familiar with outlet malls, they are these large malls full of overstocks and seconds of popular, name brand items. You are supposed to be able to find designer labels for less. Anyway, we were curious and pulled into 95 Outlets, in Barstow. It was pretty much deserted when we pulled in on Friday morning. Judging by their store map, there were only about 22 stores that were actually open. And these seemed to not be doing too well. A handful of stores had moved across the street to the Tanger Outlet Mall, which seemed to be newer. I think that the outlet malls have become the victims of their own success. Someone came up with the original idea, which filled a niche, and it took off. Other copied it and opened their own. Pretty soon, there are too many and they all suffer. Plus, I think the novelty wears off pretty quick. Some of the items I looked at, I thought you could still get cheaper at some of the chain department stores like Target and K-mart. It's too bad that the one in Barstow is doing so badly, I'm sure when it opened, it brought some much needed jobs to the community.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2003

I'm Off!

I'm off to a reunion today. My sister will be by at 6:00am and we will be on our way to Utah. It will be my dad's side of the family. Most of them live around the Salt Lake City area, but we will be meeting them in St. George. See you on Sunday!

Posted by Valkyre at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2003

Toasted Computer

Ever have one of those days? This one has gone from bad to worse for me..... It started out with me getting stirred from sleep way before the alarm was due to go off. This was due to the neighborhood cats serenading each other right outside my bedroom window. Then, when I finally got up, I had a headache. So, I grab two Excedrin and go to sit in front of the computer I usually use. Only to find that it has locked up. Which is strange. This particular computer rarely locks up. The one I'm typing this on now, is famous for it's lock-ups. But, my other one is Old Reliable. So, I tried the old "ctrl+alt+del" to see if that would work. No.... I hit the reset button and watch it go through it's start-up routine. Error reading Drive A. Huh? There is no floppy disc in drive A.... I tell it to abort. It seems okay after that. Except, that I notice that the hard drive light is a solid red, instead of being off. Another lock-up. I turn the computer completely off and take the girls to school. When I come back, I turn it back on and see the green power light come on along with the HD light, which is blinking away as the computer boots up, so I think. The power light goes off.... I see nothing on the monitor. The HD light is off too. I hit the space bar to see if maybe it's off in sleep mode. Nothing. Hmmmm..... I turn the monitor off and on. Nothing. The computer seems to be running, even though I have no lights showing up. It's rather quiet, so it's hard to tell. I press the switch again. Yep, it turned off. I wait awhile and turn it on again. I hear a fan kick in quietly, the HD light goes on, but no power light. Nothing showing up on the monitor. My poor old reliable computer seems to be dead. This is right after a new HD was installed. *sigh* I may have toasted the motherboard. I guess I could look at the bright side. This is the oldest computer in the house and it was due for an upgrade.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2003

Silly Cartoon

I don't really have much to share today. So, I just thought I would share this cartoon my sister sent me today in e-mail. I thought it was kind of amusing:

Posted by Valkyre at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2003

Put Away Your Compact And Drive!!!

Argh!!! Was taking Helena to her classes at the local Community College. I dropped her off and join this long line of cars that were trying to get out of the place. It was bumper to bumper as we slowly crept towards the one exit out of the parking lot. We get to this bridge that connects two parking lots and eventually gets you to the one main thoroughfare through the college that feeds both lots and exits onto the public street. It is a single lane each way, with a solid yellow line in the center, so it is illegal to pass in the opposite lane. Traffic started moving ahead of me. But, the car in front just sits there. One car length opens up in front of her, two car lengths, three. I look through her rear window and see that she is applying make-up. I beep the horn and she moves ahead. Then, the same thing happens again. I don't honk the horn this time, I just move ahead a little bit to kind of hint to her that traffic is moving. The little deary nails me with a dirty look. She then continues to apply her make-up. She is holding in one hand, her compact and using a brush to apply the powder to her face. In her other hand, she is holding a mirror. Don't ask me how she was able to drive with both hands occupied. Oh wait, she wasn't driving!!!! She was parked in a traffic lane, holding everyone up, so she could look beautiful for classes. Hasn't she ever heard of PARKING the car in a parking slot and safely applying her make-up? Argh!

Posted by Valkyre at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2003

The Proud Bird

Mike and I went out to dinner last night. Instead of giving each other Valentine's gifts, we decided to just go out to dinner instead. And, of course, we waited until Saturday, the 15th, instead of going on the 14th. There were a couple of reasons we did this. One, we wanted to avoid the crowds and the other, we were both tired on Friday night. So, we went to this nice restaurant called the Proud Bird. It's located real close to the Los Angeles International Airport. You can watch the planes come in for a landing as you are dining. The restaurant is really across the street from the east boundary of the airport, so as the planes fly by, you can see the landing gear down. The whole restaurant is sort of a salute to the aerospace industry. It has vintage planes out front and old pictures from the companies that are still around building airplanes and some that are long gone. It made for a real nice evening.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2003

Store Apology

This is a new one.... At least for me. I was at Target yesterday. I went to the check out lines, only to see that there were only about 5 registers open and the lines were long and starting to snake around the store. I picked the best of the worse and waited. And waited, and waited, and waited. I looked around. None of the lines seemed to be moving. The customer at the front was just standing there looking off into space and the cashiers were just standing around too. Meanwhile, the lines were getting even more longer and people were grumbling and looking at their watches. Suddenly, a door flew open at the front of the store and an employee came out and started handing out some slip of paper to everyone who was waiting in line at the registers. She handed one to me, and I glanced down, figuring that she was going around handing out complaint forms or something. But, as I read it, I got a mild surprise. We apologize for the failure of our store computers, please accept this coupon as a token of our apologies. Or something along those lines. Anyway, it was a $3.00 off coupon that could be used immediately. The grumbling immediately stopped. Everyone seemed happy. It was rather amusing watching the cashiers scan those coupons, because they kept showing up on the scanner display as Store Apology. I've never had anything like that happen before.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2003

Purple Hats

I got this in my e-mail this morning. It's been attributed to Erma Bombeck. I went and looked it up on Snopes, the Urban Myth site. I couldn't find anything about it. But, either way, I like the message:

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner." There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it .and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day. I hope you all have a blessed day.

Beautiful Women's Month

Age 3: She looks at herself and sees a Queen.

Age 8: She looks at herself and sees Cinderella.

Age 15: She looks at herself and sees an Ugly Sister (Mum I can't go to school looking like this!)

Age 20: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"- but decides she's going out anyway.

Age 30: She looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly" -- but decides she doesn't have time to fix it, so she's going out anyway.

Age 40: She looks at herself and sees "clean" and goes out anyway.

Age 50: She looks at herself and sees "I am" and goes wherever she wants to go.

Age 60: She looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world.

Age 70: She looks at herself sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.

Age 80: Doesn't bother to look. Just puts on a purple hat and goes out to have fun with the world.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2003

It Never Fails

I did it again! I caused it to rain! It seems that whenever I soak the front lawn, it rains. This time, I put down some Weed and Feed. The instructions tell you to not water the lawn for two days and then heavily soak it after the two days have passed. So, on Sunday, I watered the lawn and Monday morning, it's starts raining, heavily. It's been doing it ever since. It must be my secret for rain making.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2003

Oh No! Not The Vet!!!

Poor Pepper. She had an appointment this morning at the vet. Just an annual check-up, no big deal. She loves to ride in the car. So, as I called her to go for a "car ride", she didn't suspect anything. Even as we pulled into the parking lot of the vet's office, she didn't get what was going on. She was even excited to go inside. Madly tugging at the leash as we walked towards the door. We get inside and she's saying, "Hi" to the dogs in the waiting room. She kept jumping and placing her paws on the counter to say, "Hi" to the receptionist. She had no clue, until the vet's assistant came walking out. Suddenly, Pepper's ears went down, she tucked her tail in and took on a defensive stance. "Can you place her on the scale?" Pepper wouldn't cooperate. She jumped on everything around the scale, but I couldn't get her to stand on the scale. Finally, I had to hold her there, without pressing down, so they could get a reading. "Okay, I am going to take her to the lab and draw some blood." She takes Pepper's leash and has to drag the dog into the lab. When she is done, Pepper is trying to run back to me, but the assistand has a tight hold on her leash, so all Pepper is managing to get her claws to slide across the linoleum. When the appointment was over, Pepper couldn't get out of there soon enough. She's been moping around, glaring at me all day now.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2003

Laci Peterson

I don't know if you know her story..... Today is kind of a bittersweet day, she was due to give birth to her baby today. She disappeared, from her Modesto, California home, last Christmas Eve. You can read her story here on a website that was set up for her. She and her husband, Scott Peterson, had already picked out a name, Connor or Conner. According to her husband, he set out to go fishing that day and Laci was going to take their dog for a walk. A neighbor found the dog, later, with the leash still attached. The police haven't named Scott as a suspect, but they haven't ruled him out. The web site above has links to various news stories about her disappearance. The Modesto Bee also has links to several articles about her.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:13 AM | Comments (9)

February 09, 2003

Woo Hoo!!!! I Got It!

Heh! I just went over to Dotster, a domain registry service and reserved mymodelhorses.com. My hobby is collecting Breyer Traditional model horses. I hope to take pictures of my complete collection and show them online for other Breyer model fanatics to look at. But, first things first, I got the domain.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2003

Revenge is Sweet (Sometimes)

This is a rather amusing story written by a friend of Mike and I. We go way back. Back to when Mike first ran the S.W.A.M.P.S. BBS (South Western Atari Message and Program Service). His messages were always great to read and it's nice to see his writing still out on the 'net. This is from his journal, An Entirely Other Day, written back in 1997. Read some of his other entries too. What I like about this one, is the lesson one learns. Such as, if you are going to mess with someone, make sure that you can make a clean getaway!

Posted by Valkyre at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2003

The Sandlot

I took Teresa to her doctor today. While sitting in the waiting room, I noticed that they had the movie The Sandlot playing on the TV monitors mounted around the room. I remember renting that movie a long time ago. I enjoyed it a lot back then and it was nice to see it again. I guess you would call it a coming of age movie about a group of boys who get together and play baseball in a vacant lot. It's all the more entertaining due to them constantly losing their baseballs in the backyard of a house next to the lot. Their vivid imaginations have made them terrified of the dog that's in that backyard. They've nicknamed him The Beast, and in their imaginations, he is Godzilla sized. So, they never recover the baseballs once they get hit into that yard. There's more to it, I just don't want to give it away. If you ever see it showing on Cable or even regular TV, I recommend it. It's a nice diversion.

Posted by Valkyre at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2003

Brush First or Floss First?

Geez.... The things you learn. I went to get my bi-annual teeth cleaning done today. I had a new hygienist today. The one who used to do my teeth is working less hours. Anyway, the one today was asking me a lot of questions about how I brush my teeth, etc. "Do you brush first and then floss? Or floss first?" Well, I was taught to brush then floss, so that's what I replied. "Ah! You should floss first!" Then, she proceeded to explain why. And, it made sense. In not so many technical terms, you get the crud out of the space between the teeth and then the brush bristles can get to the surface of the tooth, etc. I felt like a big doof, but she explained to me that all her patients said that they brushed first. I'm going to try this new way and see if I do better. My teeth were cleaner this time round than other times, but she said there's room for improvement. So, maybe her suggestion will help.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:23 PM | Comments (3)

February 03, 2003

Columbia is Lost

There it was, the headline splashed across the front of Sunday's Los Angeles Times. And now the Monday papers look for the cause. They are centering on the left wing and the foam piece that dislodged during take-off and bounced off it. Doesn't sound like there was much they could do. They had about a 9 minute window to abort the take-off. That didn't leave much time to ascertain whether it was severe enough to abort. Once it's in orbit, even if they knew how much damage it had sustained, there was nothing they could do. They couldn't repair it. The robotic arm wasn't even on board to make room for all the experiments they were carrying. They can't just glue the tiles on. From what I was reading, they are different shapes and sizes and they couldn't carry all that they would need for replacement. That cargo bay is not very large. Also, a spacewalk would have been dangerous. The shuttle doesn't have grips for them to hold onto on that part of the wing. They would also have needed a special adhesive, etc. Getting to the International Space Station was out of the question. They didn't have enough fuel. And sending another shuttle up wasn't feasible. They can't just jump behind the wheel and start it up and go rescue them. The Atlantis wouldn't be ready until early March. And, the astronauts aboard the shuttle didn't have enough supplies to carry them through. Also, NASA had to look at the possible scenario that something could have happened to the "rescue" shuttle and then they would have two stranded shuttles and their crews out in space. Their only option was to try to bring the shuttle back in........

Posted by Valkyre at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2003

A Prayer For The Crew Of The Columbia

My sister sent me this in my e-mail:

Rowd from Global Affairs made a nice tribute page of the crew and the Space Shuttle. I highly recommend you look through it. It is well done.

Posted by Valkyre at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2003

February 1st, 2003

I don't feel like posting much today. I will share my thoughts on this later.

Posted by Valkyre at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)