Sleeplessness and Pink Alien Parts

It's just acouple minutes before two in the morning, and instead of sleeping, which my eyes are telling me I should be doing, I just finished downloading Trillian, because I'm really tired of having eight thousand different messaging icons and this way I only need one. Simple is good, and this seems to work, at least with ICQ and Yahoo! which are the two I use most frequently. At work, we're all on AIM, but all but one of us has a spiffy Nextel phone, so we use the radio features, like kids playing with walkie-talkies. We could use the intercoms built into the phone system, but that wouldn't be much fun.

* * * * *

This weekend we, well I, gave Cleo-dog a pink plush alien toy because we went out to buy stuff, and blatantly forgot to bring our barking bitch a new toy to keep her quiet. Tonight she decided that merely carrying around the now-disemboweled carcass of the thing wasn't enough, and she needed to play tug with it.

So I grabbed, and she started doing the Doggie Death Shake on her end, cuz, a pink plush alien is meant to be 'killed' over and over and over, after all. And then there was this hideous *rrrrrippppp* and the alien doll was missing a leg and an arm. I'm hoping the parts don't decide to spontaneously breed.

Oh, Olallieberry

[HazeyDaze] posted an entry about Memorial Day that mentioned a co-worker's search for Olallieberry Pie, and it's made me think about how much that dessert has come to mean summer to me.

The first time I ever had it was in 1990, when Santa Cruz was just beginning to recover from the Loma Prieta quake. My friend Jen and I had joined my mother and her friend Diane for a chicks day at the beach, and we spent a lazy hour at an outdoor table chattering and eating pie, and drinking iced lattes.

Later, as Jen and I walked along in our USF t-shirts, one of the local homeless guys stopped us, not to beg for a handout, but to ask what USF stood for. Giddy from sugar and a summer day, we challenged him to make something up.

“Unique Short Females,” he suggested, and we giggled, more because the situation was amusing, than for any other reason. And because both Jen and I top out at five feet tall. “Up Standing Flirts,” he added, then shook his head, “Naah. It must be Union of Soap-bubble Fillers,” he decided, and because we appreciated the absurdity of that definition, we agreed. We chatted a bit, asked if he'd lost anything in the quake the previous fall, etc. And as we walked away, he called, “Tell Father Lo **** says hey.” He was referring to Father Lo Sciavo, of University of San Francisco, which is, of course, what the letters emblazoned on our t-shirts really meant.

Since then this uniquely northern California treat has become a sort of summer ritual. My favorite way to eat it is slightly warmer than room temperature, like a sun-ripened berry, and garnished with a scoop of coffee ice cream. Not vanilla. There's something about the creamy bitter-sweet-ness of coffee that makes the essence of olallieberry dance on the tongue.

We haven't been over the hill to Santa Cruz in a while, and the last time we were there we had the dogs, so didn't wander, didn't eat pie. Perhaps after the Toronto trip, if Fuzzy can break away from work long enough, we'll make our personal pilgrimage, and sit at the cafe near Bookshop Santa Cruz, and worship purple berries and cold ice cream on a hot summer's day.


I am lucky, in that 95% of my time at work, the only folks who see me are the boys I work with. Okay, they're not boys, they're all my age or older, but they /act/ like boys much of the time, and they still dress like college students. In a sense, the guys I work with have become the older brothers I never had as a kid.

But I digress.

Much of the time, I come to work in comfortable clothes. I wear stretch-pants all too often, and baggy sweaters or t-shirts. This is all very ironic, because I love clothes, and actually have a closet full of really nice stuff, I just tend to prefer clothes I can sprawl in, at least at work.

Today, I chose to dress up a little. Not a lot, because our a/c at the office is iffy at best, and I don't like being hot, but definitely business casual. (For those who care, I'm wearing black, blue, and white plaid pants, black sandals, and a nice white cotton 3/4 sleeve top. And not golfer plaid. Nice jaunty plaid.)

And it's a good thing I dressed decently today. You see, CC, one of the guys I work with, whom I have described as 'adorable,' handed a client to me last week. A purchase loan he wasn't in the mood to deal with. We knew he'd double-dipped the app, and weren't holding our breaths that he'd return phone calls.

But he did. He called at three today and said, “Lock me! I'm coming tonight to sign stuff.” CC confirmed he didn't want the file back. So, I'll probably only make $500 for it, but that's $500 more than usual, and I don't care.

In other news, my allergies have triggered asthma reactions, so I've been kind of scarce online. The drugs make me grumpy, and groggy, and make my ankles and fingers swell. Ick!

But still, in general, life is good.

A (Year) Week in Provence

Once upon a time, Xenobia picked up the book A Year in Provence because she loves to read about people adjusting to new places, and experience their adventures, albeit vicariously.

The book stuck with her, partly because she has a deep-seated restlessness brought on by being uprooted so many times in her childhood, and partly because, despite her tendency toward horrible shyness in groups, she's very curious, and has an adventurous spirit. And, admittedly, partly because it's hard not to think fondly of a book that goes into humorous detail about the proper method of finding truffles (um, the mushroom kind, not the chocolate kind).

Recently, she was talking to her ex-patriot parents, who currently reside in La Paz, BCS, Mexico, and they announced that they were planning to sell their almost-beachfront home, and move back North. “The corruption and the heat are bothering us. We miss California!” was their cry. “Don't make Christmas plans.”

“Well,” Xeni answered. “I'd been thinking that we should all go away for Christmas. To Europe.”

And so plans have begun for Xeni, Fuzzy, the Goddess of Loans, and Paco (as my stepfather is called in Mexico) to spend the week of Christmas in Provence – Languedoc. A quick search on Google netted this link for HomeFrance vacation rentals, and Xeni has already fallen in love with several houses, including The Tall House in St. Thibery, which rents for roughly $300 USD / week during the month of December.

The dogs won't get to come on this trip, but will spend their time bonding with the nice folks at Lincoln Avenue Veterinary Clinic. They'll likely get treats brought home, however.

Made This One Up!

1. Name (in whatever form):
Xenobia (I still have this reluctance about using my real name on the net)

2. Your favorite time of day is…? Why?
The hour just before full dawn, on the rare occaisions I'm awake to see it. It's so full of peace and possibility.

3. You're about to be stranded on an island. You can only bring three things. What are they?
1) A book: Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Surviving on an Island
2) Some kind of butane lighter. I refuse to sit around rubbing sticks.
3) Fuzzy. Because being stranded alone would be horrible.

4. What's the last trip away from home that you took?
I haven't travelled much this year. I spent most of last summer in NYC though.

5. What's your dream vehicle?
Appolo's chariot…oh, um, seriously? I really miss the turquoise MG-B we had when I was a kid. It was fun.

6. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Um…I stopped the mental tally at 20.

7. What'd you have for breakfast?
What is this 'breakfast' you speak of?

8. You've had the day from hell. How do you relax after it?
Hot bath, good book, steaming coffee.

9. The name of your favorite drinking establishment that you now or used to haunt?
I've never been one for bars. Sorry, just not my scene. Too loud, too noisy, ick! And I hate places that have televisions. So my favorite hangout would be Mission City Coffee Roasting Company, when it was new and Boston and his family still owned it.

10. If you could take all of your friends somewhere for two hours and hang out, where would it be?
I don't think there is a single place that all my friends would like. Oh…that bookstore in Portland that's like a whole city block in size, and that I just forgot the name of. I'd go there.

11. The numbers in your street address/apartment number are…

12. If it were a cloudless, super sunny day, 75 degrees and no humidity outside, what would you be doing?
Filling out this survey? :) Um, we take the dogs to the beach a lot. Always an adventure.

13. Banquet or BBQ?

14. Favorite “pick me up” song(s)?
Sister Hazel or Smash Mouth both have the ablily to shake my mood. But then, so does the soundtrack from The Scarlet Pimpernel

15. Any vices?
Other than the net? Carbs. And cheese. I don't eat a lot of sweets, but bread, cheese, pasta…those are my comfort foods.

16. Any weird thing about you that you don't mind sharing?
It takes me a long, long time to warm up to people, even to people I achingly want to get to know. It's not rudeness, or disinterest, it's fear. It's a combination of having changed schools every two years for almost my entire life, and then moving enough times after that the pattern was set. After a while, you stop bothering to make friends.

17. Ever been on a hayride?

18. Ever swam in the ocean?
I learned to swim in the Atlantic, nearly drowned in the Pacific, and have splashed merrily around in the Gulf of California (formerly known as the Sea of Cortez).

19. Do you separate your laundry? IE whites, darks, etc?
Yes. The crucial part is keeping reds away from everything else.

20. Ever break a bone? If so, which one and when?

21. Anything that you do (or did) that might surprise people about you?
I spent two (separate) weeks studying Shakespeare in Ashland, OR.

22. Fir tree or palm tree?
Redwood and palm. I can see both from here.

23. Favorite weather?
Cool, rainy, with patches of 70-ish sunshine.

24. It's 8 am on a weekday. What are you doing?
Sleeping. My workday starts at ten, so I'm rarely up before nine.

25. Most expensive toy you ever bought yourself?
Cars and houses don't count as toys? My collection of computers, I suppose, or, because sometimes I do leave the keyboard, my collection of kitchen appliances.

26. What generation did you grow up in?
I refuse to call myself a Gen-Xer bercause I've never felt like one.

27. What's the best driving music?
We seem to play a lot of soundtracks and pop. But it depends on the mood.

28. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Trek, please. I am so not a Star Wars fan.

29. Do you want children?
Sometimes. More often than not, these days.

30. The last person you said “I love you,” to?

31. Your favorite 'out on the town' outfit?
Summer: A white bluse with a ruffled neckling and a pale silvery straight skirt with silver, grey, and lavender paisley
Winter: Cream colored sweater and chocolate velvet pants, and my black heels with the gold trim.

32. Your favorite 'indulge myself' shower/bath accessory?
Essential Elements makes rosemary and peppermint bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, soap. It's like $12/bottle, but I love it and it makes me happy.

33. The last professional sports event you went to?
Does figure skating count? But then, that was just an exhibition. I'm really not a sports fan.

34. Ever been to a Broadway show?
Yes both on Broadway (thank got for standing in line at the TKTS booth), and elsewhere.

35. Are you a survey slut?
I am a Survey Goddess. :)


went out to get a hair cut while I took a nap.

When he came home, I was presented with flowers, and a caramel macchiato.

And he apologized for not remembering I'd asked for a frapp.

But there's something soothing about hot coffee in that hour when the air is cooling, and the day is shifting toward night.

Everyone give a round of applause. Just 'cuz.

Romanza-Induced Rambling

I'm sitting here wrapped in a huge purple bath sheet trying to figure out what to write about. I've been lax about that, lately, what with giving into my survey-sluttiness, and all.

I'm listening to Andrea Bocelli's Romanza, which is one of my favorite cd's to write with. Since I don't completely understand the lyrics, I'm not distracted, and while his voice is hardly on a par with Carreras or Domingo, it's quite nice to listen to.

Speaking of Carreras (as in Jose, the tenor) I had a crush on him for about six months, after I saw the 'making of' the operatic recording of West Side Story. I guess I have weird taste. But then, Zubin Mehta is still on my list of the sexiest men of all time. I have a 'thing' for conductors, you see.


We went shopping again yesterday, and I informed Fuzzy that we are not going near Fry's for at least a week :). Three trips in one week is more than enough. Thursday, we bought my new Vaio notebook, and then Friday, Fuzzy jumped on the bandwagon and bought /his/ new Vaio Notebook. Yesterday we purchased two LCD monitors, as we're slowly replacing the old Gateway monitors we had. They're only 15-inches, but really, that's adequate, and the video is so much sharper, that I like the size. )Besides, two of them fit nicely on my desk).

We still have some shopping missions this weekend. We need new sheets because none of our old sheets fit the new bed, and because I just like having new sheets. I've said before that my favorite thing in life is being still-faintly-pink from a day in the sun, coming home, showering, and then slipping into a bed freshly made with cool, soft, cotton sheets.

Fuzzy, of course, has to be difficult. He thinks cold sheets are bad. But why would I trust the opinion of a man who wears a parka in July?


I have two missions for the week, already lined up:
1) Call the a/c installer. I will not go another summer without central air. Since we have central heat already, I was told they don't need to put in new ducts.
2) Passports. I know we don't really need them for Canada, but we're talking about going to the South of France, or somewhere in Italy for Christmas, and we'll need them then.


I suppose one can't stay enshrouded in purple terry-cloth all day, comfortable as it may be. So I'm wandering away to find clothes now. Does getting dressed count as my 'one productive thing' I wonder?

Survey! (stolen from Phantastica at OD)

1. What is your name?

2.What color pants are you wearing right now?
Blue sweats.

3.What are you listening to right now?
The singing of the birds in the tree near my deck. And planes going by overhead.

4.What are the last four digits of your phone number, mobile or home?

5.What was the last thing you ate?
We had six-cheese pizza from Papa Johns last night.

6.If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Blue green. Or maybe green-blue.

7. Where do you plan to go on your honeymoon?
Our honeymoon was coming home to Californa, and having a reception thrown by my parents.

8. How is the weather right now?
High 60's at least, probably high seventies by the end of the afternoon. Note to self: Call air conditioner installer!

9. Last person you talked to on the phone?
My mother.

10. What's the first thing you notice about a person of the opposite sex?
Voice, if they're speaking. Otherwise, height, probably. When you're short, this has a lot of impact.

11. Do you like the person that sent you this? Phantastica is the kind of person I'd love to spend a day shopping and gabbing with. So, I guess I like what I know of her.

12. How are you today?
Mmmm. Well rested, thirsty, motivated to make the house sparkle.

13. Your favorite drink?
This varies. It's warm right now, so I'd probably be choosing iced tea over coffee.

14. What's your favorite alcoholic drink?
I love white zinfandel, and cosmopolitans.

15. How do you eat an Oreo?
I'm a dunker. I dunk milano cookies, too.

16. Favorite sport, to watch?
This is a popular question. Figure skating and horse racing. I have this very scientific method of picking winners based on the cutest jockey. :)

17. What's the next CD you're going to get?
I've been in a jazz/folk/blues mood yesterday. I need something new. Recommendations, anyone?

18. Hair color?
Today? Carroty coppery red, with help from the nice folks at Clairol.

19. Eye Color?

20. Do you wear contacts?
Not any more :)

21. Siblings and their ages?
I have a step-brother who is 11 months older than me. We never speak. We don't actively dislike each other, it's just that neither of us has any interest in the other's life.

22. Favorite month(s)?
April and October.

23. Favorite food?
Hummus, sushi, jicama, navel oranges but only if they're chilled.

24. Last movie you watched:
We watched the DVD of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last night. Does that count?

25. Favorite day of the year?
Depends on the year.

26. Are you too shy to ask someone out?

27. Do you like scary or happy movies better?
I love romantic comedies, but I once flirted with going to film school and making horror films. Not a very helpful answer, is it? (ASk me about my recipe for fake blood sometime.)

28. Summer or Winter?
Spring and Fall, thanks.

29. Hugs or Kisses?
Kisses if you've just brushed your teeth, otherwise hugs.

30. Chocolate or vanilla?
Xenobia's Theorem: Vanilla exists solely so that we can pour chocolate over it. Chocolate exists because we're too lazy to do so.

31. Do you want your friends to write back?
Of course. But they're not obligated or anything.

32. Who is least likely to respond?
The same people who wouldn't last time.

33. Who is most likely to respond?
See above.

34. Indigo Girls or Golden Girls?
Indigo, I guess.

35. What is your current living situation?
We own a 2 br/1.5 ba townhouse in my favorite part of San Jose. Buy it from us so we can buy a house with a pool, would you?

36. Exercise outside or workout in a gym?
I actually have a membership at the Y. I've never used it. Mostly I don't have time.

37. “Friends” or “Survivor”?
“Survivor,” but only because I've never been a “Friends” fan.

38. What is the next thing you're going to do after you're done doing this?

39. Work in a day care or a nursing home?
Nursing home, if I have to choose. Children terrify me.

40. Average hours of sleep/night?

41. Average hours spent exercising/wk?
Yeah, right.

43. Hobbies/collections?
Writing, reading, embroidery, music.
I collect hats.
Apparently we also collect computers.

44. Favorite talk show?
Inside the Actor's Studio

45. Favorite dessert?
Rice pudding or flan

46. Favorite animal?
As a pet, dogs.
I'm fascinated by sharks, though.

47. Favorite thing to do?
Depends on my mood. One could argue that a valid answer would be 'fill out surveys'. This weekend, shopping's ranking up there.

48. Favorite magazine?
Mary Englebreitt's Home Companion, and Sunset.

49. Favorite author?
I've been reading a lot of Madeleine L'Engle lately. Her adult fiction is really very interesting. I recommend Certain Women to anyone who liked The Red Tent

50. Best thing to do while bored?

Fleeting Friday Thoughts

I'm not in the mood to be online, really, but I am, anyway, because an online friend was dangling the prospect of being the first to read one of his poems in front of me like the proverbial carrot.


I re-colored my hair earlier, because in warm weather it grows incredibly fast and I could see roots already. I'd been planning to dye it back to it's natural dark-dark brown, and then have Brian do highlights, but there was a dye called “Ginger Spice” or “Spicy Ginger” that was the next shade down from Beyond Cherry (which I've written about before), and so I bought it. And used it. On my hair, it looked like carrot juice during the application stage. Now that it's dry it's kind of like iced tea with lemon. Lighter and more orangey than I really wanted. But I kind of like it.


The line “and so I bought it” is leftover from a scene I did in a competition in high school. I don't remember the name of the play – it might have been a Jules Pfeifer thing – but the scene was a woman telling her husband about how he never listens and then rambling about how she bought a new hat. It's essentially a monologue, punctuated by “Yes dear” “No dear.” “Beige, you said beige”. Stereotypical husband lines. We didn't win. The group from Long Beach who did a bit from Greater Tuna won.


We did win the following year, with a scene from “Wally's Cafe,” where I got to use my New Jersey accent, and the judges said, “We liked that it was a New Jersey accent and not Brooklyn.” There's a definite difference.


Most of the New Jersey in my voice is fake, something I do to keep myself from developing a nasal Marin-county sound, or falling into my husband's midwestern thing of not knowing that 'pin' and 'pen' and 'git' and 'get' are disctinct sounds. Some of it is real, especially when I'm tired. Or certain words. For example, I say “Flarida” instead of “Florida,” when I don't pay attention, and I tend to say “harrible” for “horrible,” when I'm tired.

The irony of this is that when my cousin Caterina (Cathy) was here for my grandmother's funeral last year, her accent, which is much coarser than mine ever was, really annoyed me. She tends to say 'wid' instead of 'with'. Example: when she was asking to borrow a guitar for the Mass we did (she played, I sang, it was cool – for a funeral mass) she said “I need one wid-a Capo on it.”


I have perfect pitch and I'm a natural mimic. This means that if I speak with you long enough, I will eventually incorporate your speech patterns into mine. I don't do it consciously, and it is not mockery. It just is. My normal, un-selfconcious speech has traces of the pseudo-Canadian accent heard in the upper midwest (example “Minne-soh-ta”) the afore-mentioned NJ, and a little bit of Louisiana twang from my family there.

Despite this, some regionalisms really bother me. Specifically, I hate when people pronounce the 't' in 'often'. Yes. This is irrational.


I find that my audio mimickry leaks over into text-based roleplay – and I'm constantly paranoid that someone will accuse me of 'stealing' their style, and I won't have realized I'm doing it.


This entry, accompanied by back-to-back eps of Whose Line Is It Anyway? has made me really wistful for theatre. *sigh*