Sunday, September 30, 2007


I am on my own tonight. Matt's had meetings all day and I am craving tuna casserole. As I search for my cookbook with the recipe in my handwriting I relize I've left it at Don and Cindy's, which means I must dive into the index card recipe collection that Mom had made for me shortly after Matt and were married. In the front is an email she sent me for her home-made pesto. I had asked for it for months, and finally she emailed it to me. It sits there, along with the entire box, waiting to be used again. And I can't bring myself to do it, even a year later, because it still hurts too much to see her handwriting and those "xoxo" 's on her email. It's at times like this, when I'm cooking and have to use her knowledge, her pieces of advice - especially in the kitchen - that it really truly hits me like a freight train, that she is gone, she's not coming back, and while I think I've accepted it, the fact of the matter is I only want her back because I desperately miss her.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I just love how Stephanie Paige and I can go shopping even when she's in NYC and I'm in L.A. She and I were exchanging phone calls and picture mail messages via cell phone yesterday so she could pick out a pair of (trendy) brown loafers. I looked up at the sky and just wondered in amazement how many conversations must be linked together right now through those sattelites in busy the world is and yet it seems so simple when I'm at lunch eating my salad (outside) and shoe shopping via my cell phone...

I love how small this city can be, and how I have a job where I get to meet all kinds of people from different backgrounds, and all the things I have in common with them! Yesterday a "southern gentleman" from Florida came in. He had just moved here 6 days ago and was terribly homesick. I told him I felt the same way when I moved here 2 years ago, but that we all adjust at some point and that he would be okay. We started chatting about roller coasters and all the fun things you can do in L.A. I think we both felt a little better after our conversation. Poor guy...he was really hurting for Jacksonville, FL...

The cafe across the street has a perfect soup of the day today - Clam Chowder! I can't wait. Today it's cloudy and reminds me of Seattle and those nights where you just want to snuggle under a blanket and turn up the heat. Here, it gets a little muggy but we need the drizzle and a break from the sun. Today Leslie and I are heading off to the cafe to soothe our craving and rumbling tummies with Clam Chowder. While it's not Ivars, it's pretty darn close.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Old resolutions...

From January 3, 2007...

1. Exercise three times a week (which is going to happen when bootcamp starts next Monday);

2. Eat less sugar, more protein and fresh veggies/fruits. Only one junk food day allowed;

3. Eat out only once a week, or not at all;

4. More date nights with hubby;

5. Keep in better touch with family and friends;

6. Pick my battles;

7. READ books, not just skim through in order to get a vague idea;

8. Get books from the libary. I can't afford them and my bookshelf is full. I don't have room in this apartment for another one;

9. I'm a grown up. Need to be asleep at this time. Go to bed earlier. Preferably before midnight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Girls Weekend

This weekend Stephaine Paige, Cindy and I headed up to San Luis Obispo Wine Country for a few days of girl talk, woman talk, and lots of wine and inside jokes. It was a blast and I am still reveling in the inner-peace and self-confidence that came from just a few days among mature, gifted, and fabulous women. I am very lucky to be able to call them my closest friends and my favorite part is that I learn something new about them and about myself every time I come into their company.

I will describe our adventures later on...I wonder, did Stephanie Paige ever find her missing roast beef?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Better, but not by much

In response to Cindy's comment, I am feeling a little better but only thanks to Emergen-C and Airborne. I've hardly eaten anything at all - I just want to sleep. It's almost the end of the day...I'm going to try to take a nap. Amanda and Kari invited Paige and I out tonight but I'm more interested in spending the evening curled up on the sofa with a hot bowl of soup and going to bed early. And I feel terrible because I really want to see my girls!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I am not getting sick. This is NOT happening. I am in denial. Airborne is my new best friend today. Thank goodness it takes care of whatever it is I'm NOT feeling.

I will not be sick. This is simply mind over matter. I can be sick when I go to the dentist's office next week, but not while Paige is here and when Cindy, she and I have a fabulous weekend planned in San Luis Obispo!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Friendly Visit

One of my closest and dearest friends, Stephanie Paige, is coming to visit. She arrives tomorrow and I CAN'T WAIT!!! :) I've been talking about her visit non-stop for a few days now. There's something about having a girlfriend around who just "gets you". No explanation required. They know you inside and out. Even silence is comfortable. While I have a few girlfriends like that here, I don't see them nearly enough, and even when I do it's, well, there's men around and it's not the same. I miss my girlfriends. I miss lunches and tea, I miss pedicures, manicures, giggling and laughing. Remember slumber parties? Maybe when I turn 30 I'll get a hotel room and just have a big slumber party, who knows...I miss being feminine and girly. Real life takes too much of a toll.

So I'm hoping with her visit that I can slip into my girly yet mature side, even if only for a few days. We have one fun thing planned - wine country up in SLO with Cindy on Saturday - which I'm very much looking forward to.

Audits are no fun

We got audidted yesterday, at work. I spent an 11 hour day on Friday working on getting our files in order, making sure all our working candidates had complete files.

It was a disaster. Files mis-filed, very few OC's (office coordinators) before me knew how to alphabetize or fill out forms correctly. But I knew that we had until Wednesday to get everything done. Or so I thought.

I came Monday with the goal of getting many things done for the audit. We even brought a temp so I didn't have to answer the phones (which wasa huge help). I spent the day going through more files and more paperwork, figuring out what was missing, and I have to tell you it was quite boring but I was proud of my accomplisments in figuring out exactly where our branch is at. And it wasn't good. I showed it to the division manager and she nearly had a heart attack. I called the auditor to find out exactly when she would be here Wednesday morning, and then the words came...

"I'll be there tomorrow at 9am."

(pause) "Ruby, please tell me you're joking. I will faint if you're going to be here tomorrow, we're so not ready!"

"Oh, you guys will be fine."

In panic I ran to the Manager's office only to find him in the meeting with the entire branch. I said "She'll be here tomorrow" to which he responded "Well then. We're screwed."

In short we passed the audit by the skin of our teeth. Next year I plan on getting a much better score. I know that I can only control what comes through my hands, and they've had a lot of turnover in this position. So it's my job, for however long I am here, to make sure things are in least on my end.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This says it all

From the LA Times - by Sandy Banks.

An L.A. heritage that binds us all

In a city that can break the will of natives and newcomers alike, being from L.A. conveys survivor status.

September 8, 2007

It was a trip my daughter and I have made a dozen times, heading north out of the San Fernando Valley, up the I-5 past the orchards and cattle ranches of the San Joaquin Valley, west through the Pacheco Pass and up Highway 101 into the heart of the Silicon Valley.But this time my daughter wasn't heading back to her messy, crowded dorm at college. She has graduated, found a job and is moving into her first apartment -- a sunny unit in a well-tended complex on a tree-lined street in Menlo Park. So why was she complaining the whole way up?

She doesn't want to give up Los Angeles. No new driver's license, she insists. Never mind that a Northern California address could save her enough on car insurance to keep her in pedicures. Four years away from home at school has taught her that an L.A. identity is a badge of honor.Like most of us, my daughter has a love-hate relationship with this city. She loves the beach, but hates jostling for space among crowds on the sand. She loves her multiethnic collection of L.A. friends, but freeway gridlock makes it hard to visit them. She loves wearing flip-flops all year long, but moans all summer that it's too hot to go outside. She doesn't always like being in L.A., but she knows that being from L.A. has its rewards.

When we visit relatives in Ohio, our Los Angeles address gilds everything we do with the patina of success. People from L.A. are stylish and trendy, shopping, as we all do, on Rodeo Drive. Does my sister-in-law in Toledo really have to know that the purse she's raving about came from Target and cost me $25? We have celebrity-sighting stories to tell. The rap legends Bone Thugs-n-Harmony played at my middle daughter's high school prom. But we don't tell our Toledo cousins the less-glamorous back story: The group played as a favor to the girl who baby-sits their kids, my daughter's classmate, who knows them from church.

Then there's the Rose Parade-fueled fantasy of our perfect weather. Never mind that 18 people in Los Angeles County died during last week's heat wave, because they were poor or old or isolated.Thousands more sweltered for days without electricity because our local utilities haven't kept up with growing power needs.

I came here 30 years ago, a refugee driven by L.A. fantasies. Cleveland had just emerged from another harsh winter; I'd been stranded for days by snow-clogged streets. Why should I spend winters shoveling snow when I could be sunning on the beach? I headed west with my husband and a plan to buy a modest house on the beach. It seems preposterous to me now. But I was 25 then, and my new Times job almost doubled my previous $14,000 salary. Surely, a Malibu lifestyle would be within reach.

We spent two years in a San Fernando Valley apartment, pinching pennies, reading real estate ads, reworking the math and downsizing our dreams. Finally we saved enough to make a down payment on a crumbling, two-bedroom Van Nuys fixer-upper that shared an alley entrance with an auto body shop. We had a baby, moved to Northridge, had two more kids and stopped pretending we were headed for any beach address. We settled for weekend treks to Zuma, though we never stopped ogling the homes we passed and wondering how all those folks managed to live so large.I'm still fascinated by this city's contradictions -- its grit and glamour, its grimy ghettos and gated estates, its relentlessly magnetic reach.

I've been lucky to spend 27 years here as a journalist, peering into hidden corners looking for stories to share. Here, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and on I'll continue to tell those stories in this new column.Over the years, I've learned that for all our differences, our Los Angeles heritage binds us in ways that have little to do with weather or glamour or celebrities.

I understand why my daughter does not want to give up her L.A. identity. Navigating Los Angeles requires stamina and ingenuity. In a city that can break the will of natives and newcomers alike, being from L.A. conveys survivor status. I think a lot about how disconnected we are in this sprawling, swaggering metropolis -- split by geography, language, income and race -- with private lives that often bear little resemblance to the public perceptions of who we are.

Recently, I spent the day in Watts, roaming around the Jordan Downs public housing project -- one of those neighborhoods reporters don't write about without labeling it "gang-ridden" or "dangerous." I watched teenage girls pushing baby strollers preen for trash-talking boys on the basketball courts; grandmothers hanging laundry on lines strung across small patios; a young man on his knees, surrounded by toddlers, trying to trying to coax tomatoes from a tiny patch of rocky soil. I didn't get nervous until it got dark, and I made my way back to my car in the parking lot. It was blocked in by an old Chevy bearing "spinner" rims. A bare-chested young man marked up with tattoos swaggered over to me."This your car?" he asked. I nodded, wondering if this was when the shooting would start. "Can I have your parking space when you leave?" he said.He was stalking me for my parking stall, just like they do at the Northridge mall.

I'm Awesome-Possum!

For Jenny. This is a great confidence booster!

1. I am taking a new attitude at my job, more professional than personal and that way I'm not so emotinally invested. Today is the first day and while it's hard, I can tell that it will be to everyone's benefit.

2. I'm becoming to be a better listener to my husband, my friends, and my family. I'm asking questions and being more thoughtful in my responses while also keeping myself in check and not getting so involved. Most of the time they just need me to listen and I can do that.

3. I'm cooking more and find that I love to cook from scratch, creating a good meal that Matt and I both love.

4. I'm not ashamed to be a gamer anymore. I love the social aspect of it and the memories continually make me smile and laugh. It's a wonderful connection to have with my husband.

5. I'm taking intiative in telling people what I can handle and what I can't.

Ok, Cindy, you're up!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sorry Lena!

Eeps! How could I forget? I drove to LAX to see Lena off back to Seattle. She and her family spent the last few days at Disneyland and it was so great to see her. The last time I got to see her was this time last year at Mattias' 4th birthday party. It was very special to see a friend from home, and Lena is also a link to PLU and my college girlfriends that I rarely get to see anymore.

As proof that we actually did manage to find each other at LAX, there is a great picture of us on her blog, which I will post later.

My bad, Lena! Sorry I forgot to mention it in the last post. It was early in the morning when I was writing and I wasn't thinking clearly. I'm a goob! :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Not much to do

Our main database is down at work today. Apparently some upgrades and changes are being implemented which means I don't have much to do today. All my reports use that database for information! So I'm browsing the net and answering phones, anxiously awaiting the time when I go to lunch and can read my book.

This weekend was wonderfully relaxing. Matt and I just hung out at home, we did not set foot outside, except to the store. On Saturday night, Don and Cindy came over for a scrumptious dinner, if I do say so myself. I made a mushroom and onion quiche (the recipe is from one of the Moosewood Restaurant Cookbooks) and a salad, served with a fabulous Pinot Noir from Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards up in San Luis Obisbo. For desert, I have had this craving for Strawberry Shortcake, so that's what I made. Homemade biscuits and whipped cream with fresh strawberries that had a touch of sugar, served with a Syrah Rose from Hunts Cellars in Paso Robles. All of us were stuffed quite happily, and Cindy fell asleep between the two meals. Wine and benadryl will do that to a person but I was happy that she was comfy enough to rest.

Sunday I spent in my PJ's, as did Matt, for most of the day. It was fun being lazy and not doing much except to just spend time together in the same place.

I just got a big project to do for work, so I better go!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Meez Yourself

Labor Day Weekend and update on kitten

Labor Day Weekend couldn've lasted a few more days, right? I don't know anyone that wanted to go back to work, especially Mary and I. Friday night Matt and I stayed in, had dinner at home and just relaxed. On Saturday we lazed around and then Chandra and Nathan came over for a visit. They have an adorable Pug named Capone who stayed home, but Chandra loves cats so she came over to play with them and get her kitty fix (Nathan is allergic to cats so they have to stick with dogs). The afternoon extended into the evening and we ordered in sushi from Niko Niko which was amazing. Best sushi I've had in a long time! Very filling and the rolls were the right size.

They headed home into the hot humid night (it was 100+ all weekend). We went to bed shortly after they left and woke up Sunday at 11am to get ready for the day at the beach! Ben and Mary left their parking spot open for us as it was very crowded and very busy. We headed to lunch at Mao's down the street which was fun. It's totally Venice Beach - open space, casual menu's and veggie options for everything. I loved it. Then we headed back to their apartment and changed into our swimsuits for some beach and wave time! It was terribly hot that day so Mary and I immediately headed into that blissfully cool ocean water, and it totally worked. My body cooled off instantly and we had fun getting beaten up by those giant ocean waves. We came back to the sand and watched the bags while Ben and Matt left to get water, buy Matt a hat, and get some shade. They came back just as we dried off and so we girls headed back into the water, this time it was more of a shock to the system! My teeth started chattering but I didn't care - I was finally cool! Mary and I had a grand time chatting and catching up on all kinds of topics, and I hope hope hope we can get together again very soon as I've missed her very much! Matt and got home late but I felt very relaxed and ready to sleep.

Monday we had the a/c on at 80 degrees which was cool compared to the 108 degree furnace on the outside. All in all, it was nice to be cooled off, see friends and spend some time with good friends. We spent a litttle too much money dining out, but I didn't mind somehow. It all added to the experience of having a good weekend.

Kitten is doing well. Thank you for all the name suggestions! We chose "Ali" as it seems to fit her best (Thanks Lena!). She's definitely Matt's cat, he's crazy about her. Quinn is getting a little better (less hissing) and PJ is exhausted after being chased all day. We still put her in the office when she's causing trouble and annoying the other cats. She's entertaining, though, and brings new energy to our lives and our new home.