October 31, 2001

The Pooka Life

Ah, Halloween. I love this day. What a wonderful excuse to do something crazy.

One of my favorite Halloweens was junior year of college. I was living in a house in the middle of a real neighborhood with the potential for lots of trick-or-treaters. We were talking about what we wanted to do when I remembered the bobbing ghost.

You see, when I was little, we used to go to the YMCA pumpkin patch to buy our jack-o-lantern. When you got there, you'd find a bunch of kids back by the hay jumping and screaming like crazy where someone had rigged this ghost on an invisible line. It would just hang there in the breeze until you tried to touch it. Then it would jump out of your reach. Sometime, the ghost would be replaced with a little pumpkin but the game was always the same. I don't remember every seeing where the person who did the pulling was hiding. It always seemed like the ghost could move all on its own.

Now, after telling this story, Roger, Anitra and Mike all decided this was the prank for us. We had this big tree out front by the walkway to the door. We found that if you climbed out of the second story window, you could hide behind the rise of the roof and still see the front walk. So we rigged up this ghost and ran the line through the tree and up to the roof. As the poor unsuspecting trick-or-treaters approached, we'd drop it on them and give them the fright of their lives. We actually freaked out quite a few moms as well. It was a blast!

I thought about trying something similar tonight. We have a great tree for it and will definitely get some kids. The real problem is our roof pitch is pretty scary and it's rainy out. Not much fun to cling to a roof in the rain. I have a feeling this set-up can only be accomplished in warm weather climates like San Diego. Ah well, it's a great trick if you can pull it off.

So I guess tonight I'll just dish out candy and try to keep Artie from eating any of the small children that wander onto our doorstep. Unlike last year, I hide all the Halloween candy so my husband (aka Candy Smurf) didn't eat it all. Next year thought, I'm going to plan something good. I'm one of those people who likes the trick over the treat. Hee hee.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2001

The Pooka Life

Last night was another Growl Class.

This time, it was all about meeting other dogs on a walk. Each dog was paired up and brought to the center of the room. Then, they were slowly walked toward each other. When they began to get aggressive, the owner turned around, feed them treats and returned to the start. Eventually, the dogs were able to walk past each other without barking or lunging. It was pretty neat.

Except we were paired with Bear. Now, this dog could have been named either Bear or Psycho. Either one would have been correct. He is the most vicious and out of control dog there. He's huge and shaggy and just barks and lunges at anything that moves. I thought Artie was an aggressive dog. I was soooo wrong. Artie is a protective dog. Bear is a monster. It takes both of his owners and one assistant to keep him in control during class. And that's barely in control.
So when we get to class, there's this list on the board. We are last in line and paired with Bear. Kevin and I spend a good half hour talking strategy. After watching a few of the more mellow dogs run through this exercise, we realize we could be in trouble. They want us to walk Artie 2 feet from Bear. Not going to happen.

It's our turn and Kevin gets up. Only one person can lead the dog during this exercise and Kev lost the toss. He pulls out the good treats - leftover Chicken Kev from our dinner party - and heads bravely into the center of the room. They are having trouble getting Bear out of his area. He's basically freaking out and going wild. Kevin and Artie are on my end of the room and poor sweet Artie is beginning to look a little leery.

Then the moment arrives. Kevin has to start walking toward Bear. Bear, of course, has no problems walking toward Artie. In fact he is lunging toward Artie, ready to attack. The only problem is, Artie only has eyes for mom. That's right. He just sat there, staring at me. Kevin tried sweet talk, he tried the chicken, he even tried pulling. But Artie wouldn't move or walk. Just looked at me across the room with his big brown eyes. It took Kevin and an instructor to pull Artie down the room. He never even looked at Bear.

They're on the other end of the room and Artie has his eyes locked on me. This time, when it's time to walk down the room, Artie makes a bee-line for me. Right past Bear, no bark no lunge. Now, because Artie is ignoring Bear, Bear begins to calm down. He's walking without barking. No lunging or attacking. Everyone in the class starts clapping and yelling "Good job Bear! What a good boy!!" Hey, what about our good boy??? Why aren't they cheering my dog? It was actually pretty funny. When Artie was on my end of the room, he wouldn't walk. When they finally dragged him down to the other end, he'd come running straight for me.

The instructor says next time we do this, I'll have to walk Artie instead of Kevin. I didn't have the heart to tell her that won't work either. He's even worse when Kevin's not around. Ah well, at least Bear came out looking like a hero. But Kevin & I know it's just because he had Artie as a partner.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2001

The Pooka Life

It was a rough computer weekend at my house. I think Windows figured out what I was planning and began launching counter-measures because things quickly went from bad to worse in the basement.

First off, I decided Mandrake was the Linux program for me. They have a very friendly web page with lots of cute penguin icons. This sold me. The only thing is, the program is GIANT. OZ was download for well over an hour and hadn't even made a dent in the files. Meanwhile, Frankenstein was under attack. I think Windows sensed the presence of the penguin or something because all of a sudden, I started losing monitors.

Oh yes, have I mentioned Kevin is addicted to ebay? If not, consider yourself informed and read on.

Kevin had just bought me a newly used monitor off of ebay. It was a nice 17 inch for only $50 bucks plus $44 shipping. (Yes, I know what you're thinking, I could get a new one at Fry's for that much but remember, Kevin has a disease. He cannot control himself on ebay.)

So my newly used monitor showed up and was plugged in. After about 15 minutes, it starts to flicker and the wiggle. I found I could use it for about 12 minutes before it went bad. Grrrr. So after chastising Kevin, I had him bring back the old monitor. Only problem is, after a few minutes of surfing, this one goes dead. Total black screen of death.

Now tell me, what are the odds of losing two monitors back to back like that? Coincidence? I don't think so. Because poor Frankenstein is now blinded and monitor-less, we had to abort on the plan to install Linux. I'm worried what's going to go next. I don't trust Windows. Not one bit.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2001

The Pooka Life

Deep in the basement, in the back corner of our house, you'll find a small room by the water heater. This is our computer center. In it, there live two computers. Kevin's is called OZ. It is has the latest and greatest everything on it. It's main purpose is the surf the net and play computer games and it does both very very well. On the other side of the room is my computer. It's name is Frankenstein because it is made from bits and pieces. I swear there are parts that are held together by duck tape. But I love Frankie. It hops on the network and every now and then I'll team up with Kevin on his latest computer game. It can access the Internet and surf just fine even if it does have a very small screen. We get along quite wonderfully, Frankie and I. So while OZ is jamming away, we chug along quite happily.

But I've decided that Frankie needs to come out the closet. That's right, I'm thinking of going LINUX. I figure, why not? He's already messed up hardware wise, why not mix up the OS as well and make him a true freak. Of couse, I'm not real sure what LINUX is but I know there's a really cute penguin involved which is a good sign. I mean, what sort of a mascot is a window anyway???

But I believe in reading the directions before trying to install something so I'm off to do a little research. So far, the amount of information is overwhelming. This might take me a little longer than planned but that's ok. Wish me luck!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Kat sent me these jokes and while I don't enjoy puns as much as Kevin, I thought I'd post a few here for your enjoyment...

Q: How Do You Get Holy Water? A: You Boil The Hell Out Of It.

Q: What Do Fish Say When They Hit A Concrete Wall?
A: Dam!

Q. What Do You Call A Boomerang That Doesn't Work?
A: A Stick.

Q: What Do You Call Santa's Helpers?
A; Subordinate Clauses.

Q. What Do You Get When You Cross A Snowman With A Vampire?
A. Frostbite.

Q: Where Do You Find A Dog With No Legs?
A: Right Where You Left Him.

Q: Why Do Gorillas Have Big Nostrils?
A: Because They Have Big Fingers.

Q: Why Don't Blind People Like To Sky Dive?
A; Because It Scares The Dog.

Q: What Is The Difference Between A Harley And A Hoover?
A; The Location Of The Dirt Bag.

Q: What Do You Call Skydiving Lawyers?
A: Skeet.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2001

The Pooka Life

I should have been a boy scout. I make the most rip roaring fires you have ever seen. For a while, we used to let Kevin build the fires. The only problem with that method was that we kept going through boxes of matches, reams of paper, and all that would appear after an hour and a half was a bunch of ash. No fire, no coals, nada. So the other night, after swearing at the chimney for an hour, Kevin threatened to go outside, grab the BBQ lighter fluid, and douse the logs. I decided at that point Artie needed to go out. This is McLaughlin speak for "Kevin, you are upset and dangerously close to doing something stupid so go take the dog on a long walk and cool down." So Kevin grabbed the dog and stormed out muttering under his breath. (The last time he tried to vent his anger in the house he punched his fist through the wall!)

By the time he returned thirty minutes later, there was a roaring fire going and all it took was one match and a few pieces of paper. Since then, I have been the undisputed fire starter. Last night I started it up at 7:30 and it was going strong when we went to bed four hours later. It was one of those fires where the coals are so hot they'll burn the hair off your toes if you stand too close and are unfortunate enough to have hair growing on your toes. I had a good six logs going at one time so you could stretch out for a half hour without having to get up and play with the fire. I even got it up to 69 degrees without the help of the furnace.

I know this because for Christmas last year, I got Kevin this really neat temperature monitoring systems. We set the main unit in the living room and have remote sensors that we distribute around the house and outside. This means at any one time we can stand in our living room and determine the temperature in that room, upstairs, in the basement, outdoors, and even in the dog house if we wanted to. It's great when you are roasting in the summer heat to figure out which room is coolest. Last night, I was trying to hit 70 but was one degree short. The only drawback is that we are tearing through our wood supply and may have to pace ourselves. Who'd have thought that a third of a cord wouldn't be enough for a two person-two cat-one dog-family??? Next year, I want a full cord. Then I could hit 70 every night of the week. Muuuuua-ha-ha-ha-ha-hah!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2001

The Pooka Life

Poodle + Judge + poetry = humor.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2001

The Pooka Life

Boy do I love Portland.

Coming from San Diego, I was a little worried by the wet and the cold. I mean, last year we had something like 250 days of precipitation and that doesn’t count the number of days it was overcast but not raining. Funnily enough, the weather is the same excuse I hear from friends and family when I try to convince them that Portland is a great place to make your home. It’s always the weather card that gets played. Well, let me tell you, Portland weather has its benefits too.

Take, for example, last night. It was hovering around 55 degrees with a strong wind and rain that fell at a diagonal against our little house. But add a fire, a pot of tea, a very soft and snugglely dog and two purring cats and you’d have a picture of bliss. Now, insert into this scene your favorite pastime. If your Kevin, it’s computers but for me, it can be a variety of different tasks. Paying bills, organizing pictures, practicing guitar, craft projects, watching bad TV or a favorite movie, reading a book, baking cookies, or my all time favorite, curling up in Kevin’s arms and napping the evening away- all of these things fit in beautifully on a typical Portland evening.

“But I like to be outdoors,” you whine to me, “I can’t stand being cooped up all day.” Ahh, but here is the beauty of Portland. Precipitation does not mean a torrential downpoaring. It also includes those wonderfully mystic days when the clouds and the sun fight for dominence in the sky. So now imagine a misty afternoon with a light rain, sun that peeks through the clouds every twenty minutes, a trail through a rain forest buffered by green ferns with spider webs strung from leaf to leaf dipping with drops of dew and no one around for miles. Add a rushing creek swollen with rain and leaves that have just turned and are falling gently into the water to get swept by over mossy green rocks and you'd have the picture. All you need is a nice parka and a pair of good weather proof boots and the beauty of the forest is yours for the taking. No lines, no parking hassles or permits required. Portland is riddled with trails and parks that may be full in the summer but are just as accessible any other time of year. Rain doesn’t kill you. It may make you wet but guess what? You dry off! I’d take a rainy day in Portland over sitting in gridlock breathing brown air in sunshine any day of the week.

I guess I’ve been converted.

So go ahead - poo poo Portland with its rain and overcast weather. Stay in your crowded cities with exorbitant housing prices and grid locked freeways. I’ll stick with my rainy home, thank you very much!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2001

The Pooka Life

Finished The Mockingbird and loved it! I posted my review on the books page if you are looking for a good read.

Right now I'm trying to find a decently priced airline ticket home for next month for my high school renion and I'm not having any luck. The cheapest fare I can find is $250 with two stops! Not looking good for the reunion but I haven't given up yet.....

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2001

The Pooka Life

I'm currently reading a wonderful book and I wish I had someone else to talk about it with. I think there is a lot of imagery and secondary meaning that I'm missing in this novel which is just too bad. So far, I've found two excellent quotes in my current novel....

"The way to a man's heart is through his chest."

"The trick to keeping a husband is to let him understand that you know, and tolerate, and in a goofy way even love, the little flaws and imperfections that would shame and humiliate him if anybody else were ever to discover them."

However, my current read did inspire me to poke around for a book group and I found this group online. I like the variety of books and the discussions I've peeked at seem very insightful so I'm going to give it a try. That, and the fact that the next book they are going to discuss is In Cold Blood which I just read and enjoyed, decided me. Also, they only spend two weeks on each book rather than doing a chapter a week like many discussion groups. If nothing else, they have an extremely long "recommended reading" list that ought to keep me supplied with books for a very very long time. Yipee!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2001

The Pooka Life

As painful and awkward as high school was, it produced some of my absolute best friends. These are people who, even though I may not see them or even speak to them regularly, I hold close to my heart. They, more than anyone else, helped to shape who I am and the values I hold dear.

It seems like ages ago and at the same time it seems like yesterday.

I remember we had our own breakfast club. Not like the movie, it was actually all about breakfast. We’d enlist the help of a parent and sneak into a friend’s house early on a Saturday morning and invade the kitchen, cook up a storm, and then surprise and wake our friend with a tray of food and laugh, laugh, laugh. Of course, everyone in the group was eventually hit but there was something wonderfully funny about sneaking into a buddy’s room and watching him blearily open his eyes to find everyone peering at him. Simply hilarious.

And How to Host a Murder parties where we’d all dress up as strange characters and try and deduce whodunit. Trips to Disneyland with walkie-talkies so the car pooling cars could stay in touch, wicked games of Hearts where no mercy was shown, and mixed tapes full of techno 80's music.

Laura taught me to flirt, Jean taught me to cherish, Felix taught me to annoy, Lisa taught me to sing, Mike taught me to love, Roy taught me to relax, Heather taught me to try, Marilyn taught me to plan, Christine taught me natural beauty, and so on and so on until I became, well, me.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2001

The Pooka Life

Our kitchen was a pit last night. Dishes piled in the sink, food splatters on the stove, tupperware filed with growing green stuff. Just out and out gross. I will admit that I was partially responsible. I’ve been handing my dishes to Kevin at night under the assumption that he was cleaning them. And, as we all know, when you make an assumption, you make an ass out of yourself and umption..

So I spent twenty minutes loading the dishwasher, scrubbing the counters, and mumbling mild obscenities to myself. Kevin, smart man that he is, grabbed the dog and went for a long walk that lasted well through my cleaning tirade. Upon his return, he found me still grumpy so be began to do his Christopher Walken Weapon of Choice dance imitation. He knows that melts me every time.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2001

The Pooka Life

The most frighteningly accurate description of an addiction I've ever read.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Yesterday was a big night at the McLaughlin household because it was the first night of Growl Class. This is a dog class for pooches with anger management issues. Strangely enough, Artie was the star of the night which we haven't quite figured out.

We adopted Artie about a year ago from the Oregon Humane Society. One morning, they opened their doors to find a man standing outside with Artie. He was hitting him and telling him to shut up. The reason for giving him away? Chewing and digging. Hello, he's a dog! Of course he's going to chew and dig. We gave him an unlimited rawhide supply and a stretch of dirt and he's a happy boy. But when he was first processed, the workers figured out he came from an abusive owner pretty quickly. He totally ignores yelling - just goes deaf and pretends not to hear anything and when he gets scared, he shuts down. Literally. Reminds of a bad Lifetime made for TV movie were the abused woman curls up and rocks back and forth muttering to herself. He'll lie down, tuck his tail and paws underneath him, and won't budge or look at you for anything. You pretty much have to leave him alone until he unwinds and is ready to interact with the world again. Because of this unusual background, he had the dubious privilege of being one of the longest guests at the Humane Society. He was there over 3 months before we came and rescued him. Thankfully, our shelter is a no-kill shelter so they'll hold dogs indefinitely if needed.

We've worked really hard with Artie at home and he's overcome a lot of fear. He trusts us and feels very comfortable in our neighborhood. As he has gotten comfortable, he's regained quite a bit of spunk. He now barks at strangers and tackles other dogs willy-nilly. So we decided our next step was to begin socializing him with other dogs. We don't like the park because you get a pack of 10 dogs running rampant into the street and terrorizing small children. Next, we tried to enroll Artie in doggie daycare but he failed the entrance exam by barking at the dogs. The owner of the daycare, however, suggested her Growl Class which is a way to learn to control your dog around strangers in a controlled environment. It sounded good to us!

So Kev & I left work early yesterday to get the pooch ready for his first day of class. First, each dog must wear a t-shirt. Supposedly, it helps calm them down having a shirt hugging them that smells like home. Next, each dog must wear a GentleLeader which is a special head collar that works just like a horse harness. It loops around their snout and allows you control of their head. As we have learned, most dog fights start with staring. If one dog doesn't look away, it's a sign of aggression. The GentleLeader allows you to control your dog's head so you can break eye contact and avoid most scuffles. After the GentleLeader, each dog has to wear a muzzle. Artie doesn't like this but so far he's been a sport and let us get away with it. Then, you have to have two leashes - one attached to the GentleLeader and the other to his collar. Finally, a third leash is attached to the collar only this rope is also bolted into the wall at the school. Each bolt is spaced so that the dogs can't reach each other. Finally, you don't feed your dog dinner before class and you bring lots of "high value" treats. Artie got chicken breast sauteed in a light olive oil with rosemary. Yummy.

It was so interesting to watch! They walked each dog in one at a time and bolted them to the wall. Once the dog settled, they brought in the next one. Every time a dog entered the room, every dog in there went crazy, barking and lunging. If they weren't bolted to the wall, there would have been one wild dog fight last night. Every time one dog moved, it set off every other dog in the room.

Every dog but Artie.

That's right, our pooch decided he wanted none of this craziness. He curled up under our chair and never made a sound. Not a single bark or lunge. We were stars. After a couple of minutes, we started putting him through the paces. Sit, lie down, shake, roll over. He was simply awesome. While the other dogs were straining their leashes trying to eat each other, Artie was calmly watching us, waiting for the next piece of chicken to fall. By the end of the night, I was sort of hoping he'd act up. I mean, the whole reason we were there was to learn how to curb him correctly. It was as if he sensed this and decided to go against the grain. Instead of being his usual trouble maker self, he was docile and obedient. I have a feeling that after a few more classes, he'll feel comfortable enough to start acting out.

But I have to admit, it felt good to realize that even though he is a spaz, he isn't that bad. And, of course, it was pretty cool to have everyone commenting on what a good boy he was. Our dog? A good boy?? Yup. That's my dog!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2001

The Pooka Life

The good new first. The Volvo is fixed. Yes, between my brains and Kevin’s brawn, we managed to install a new heater blower for the old Ovlov and she’s running right as rain. No thanks to my parents. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Saturday morning we awoke with a mission. It was Fix-the-Volvo Day at the McLaughlin household. The weather was holding clear and we set up the tools, repair books, and coffee before getting to work. It took us about two hours to remove all the paneling, glovebox and random screws before we even got to the old motor. Some of the instructions talked about removing the radio and dashboard but it was looking like we weren’t going to have to do that. While we were deciding if we wanted to follow the instructions or just do what looked right, we realized we were missing a needed wrench so Kevin decided to take a quick trip to the hardware store. I decided to call my dad and seek his expert advice while Kevin was gone.

You see, during the shower valve replacement, we desperately needed some outside help and my dad, who is the quintessential handyman, was lying around on some remote beach in Hawaii unable to help us. This time, however, I got his itinerary. They were going down to San Diego and then heading up the Big Bear. They promised to have their cell phone with them so they could be reached as needed.

Let me point out this devious point - they promised to have their cell phone. Sneakily enough, they made no promise as to the workability of the cell phone. This may seem like a fine point, but it will become important later.

So first I tried my sister who told me they had left half and hour ago. “No problem” I thought, “I’ll just try their cell.” Sure enough after 3 rings, my mom picked up.

“Hi mommy! It’s Chrissie.” I began innocently enough.

“Oh, hi Chrissie, I don’t know how long I can talk, the battery is almost dead on our phone.”

Battery almost dead?!?! I quickly learned that my parents had decided to let their cell phone battery run down to get a full charge.

“Well, can you plug in the charger?” I asked with just a hint of panic.

“Um, I’m not sure where the charger is,” my mother replied, “I threw it somewhere in the backseat. Here, let me give you to your father.”

“Hi Chrissie, what’s up?” my dad answered.

“OK dad, here’s the deal. It looks like we can get to the motor without taking out the radio and dash like the instructions say. Should we go for it or following the instructions?” I asked, aware of each passing second.

“Oh, well, here’s what you should do. Be sure and .......”

Yep, you guessed it. That’s when the cell phone hit empty. I tried calling back a few times with no luck. We were on our own.

Now, some of you might ask, “Why Chrissie, why did your parents decided to let their battery run and not have a charger ready when they knew you would be calling for help?” That, my gentle readers, is the million dollar question. Why would they decided to drain their phone on the one day they knew I would be calling? Isn’t it strangely suspicious that my mother, the most prepared woman on earth, the same mother who carries a bottle of water and a pair of tennis shoes in the trunk of her car in case of emergency, would toss the charger willy-nilly into the backseat of the car? How could my father, who is constantly reminding us to check the oil and only use premium gas, heartlessly cut all communication during our time of crisis? I have no answers to these questions gentle reader.

As I stood in the kitchen, dumbfounded, listing to the voice recording at AT&T telling me the party I am trying to reach is currently unavailable, I realized it was up to me. That’s right, I was about to walk out onto the tight rope of auto mechanics without a safety net. My parents had cast me aside and I was going to have to face the harsh world of car repair alone.

I decided to throw caution to the wind. Tossing the instructions to the side, I instructed Kevin to leave the radio in place. We were going to do this my way. And we did.

Six hours later, the Volvo was blowing air like no tomorrow and my parents had recharged their phone and called back. The bums.

The moral of this story? Next time my parents tell me they’ll have their cell phone with them, I’ll be sure to ask if it will be charged.

I did, however, discover two awesome Volvo sites: the brickboard and a local company called ipd. And, we only had one screw left over when everything was finished. Not too shabby!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2001

The Pooka Life

I got asked out the other day. Now, in my heyday, this wouldn't have been odd at all but having been married the last two years, I haven't been asked on that many dates so this one threw me for a loop.

My boss buzzed me in my office and asked to me run to a trademark search for a client he was meeting with. After I received the results, I walked down to the main conference room to drop them off. I knocked and was waived into the meeting.

"Mr. Client, this is my associate, Christine McLaughlin. I had her run a search for XYZ, Inc."

We shook hands and I smiled at him, handed over the results and made to leave when he said to me, "I'd like to buy you a beer later if you want to."

Now, I admit, I have meet men who check me out. It's some natural male thing I don't think they can control. But most of the time, they'll do a discrete ring check just to see if I'm still "on the market". Since I am a good girl, I always wear my wedding ring and I find this discourages most men from pressing. But Mr. Client, either he didn't notice the ring or he didn't care.

Flustered by this strange invitation, I sort of laughed and nodded and then quickly exited the room. Of course, my boss has now told everyone in the office and they now refer to him as my Beer Buddy.

The only logical explanation I can come up with is that my wedding ring isn't big enough. I have informed Kevin that, for the sake of our marriage, I need a bigger diamond. He says he has taken it under advisement. I'm thinking this is a good sign...

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Decided to call in sick yesterday and spent the day curled up on the sofa with the pooch watching reruns of NYPD Blue. All in all, it was pretty productive. I think we spent six hours on that sofa. Kevin made dinner (which I ate on the sofa) and then a real fire to warm my poor sick bones. Sometimes, the reasons I married him are so wonderfully clear. He tried to take the day off too but got sucked back into work. But I give him points for trying.

On the home front, we just purchased a chest freezer. It is so cool. Kevin hauled it down to the basement and plugged it in yesterday and then we hit CostCo. Only this time, there were no limits. You see, our usual CostCo shopping trips were battles of necessity vs. reality. Sure, we needed more chicken but buying the 20lb bag meant it would sit in our freezer eating up valuable ice-cream space for the next three months. Same for the SuperPretzels, double bags of bread, and frozen taquitos. There were only so may items we could fit in our freezer and it was an agonizing choice between the potstickers or the bratwurst. Now, there were no limits. We piled up on frozen items - 24 cans of concentrate orange juice, 3 packs of breakfast sausages, and double bags of fresh ravioli. Lugged it home, divided into serving sizes, popped two in the freezer and the rest settled into the chest in the basement. It's wonderful. I so highly recommend a freezer chest. Now, at last, there will be ice cream harmony in our house. Kevin can get his super chocolate with nuts, I can have my vanilla with caramel, and no one will be injured opening the freezer and being pummeled by 20lbs of frozen chicken.

Of course, the receipt total was astronomical but hey, 20 King Sized pretzels for $9.99??? How can you expect me to pass something like that up??

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2001

The Pooka Life

I love my Volvo. It’s a 1987, white, 740 model that’s been in my family since, well, 1987. You see, my parents bought the Ovlov when I was still in grade school. It was the first new car we had bought since moving to California from Texas. I learned to drive on that Volvo. It dropped me off at school and dances, took me shopping with mom, and to my boyfriend’s house during the summer. Since our other vehicle was a truck that only fit two, the Volvo was our main mode of transportation. When my parents decided it was time for a new car, they went back to the Volvo dealer last year and shipped the old Ovlov to me and Kevin.

Of course, I didn’t always love the Volvo. I attended a private school set in the affluent hills of Palos Verdes. My mom worked at the school so we got a break in tuition. I remember when my friends began to turn sixteen, driving became the rage. Everyone seemed to be getting these little red sports cars - CRX, Preludes, Integras. When I turned sixteen, I got to drive the Volvo. I think I was the only person who had to borrow the family car to go anywhere. Either that or bum a ride. It seemed everyone else had their own set of wheels. I didn’t really mind it back then. Since everyone had a car it was easy enough to find someone willing to pick me up. I was the ultimate passenger person.

I remember after Heather got her license, she came to pick me up for the first time. I think I was her first passenger. Before hopping into her car, my mom requested that Heather pass another driving test. Only this time, my mom was sitting in the front seat while Heather drove her around our block. I guess she didn’t run any stop signs because my mom let me take off with her. Heather was always really cool about picking me up to go places and she never minded swinging by my house.

But in high school, the Volvo just wasn’t cool. I always felt a little strange pulling up in my four-door squeaking family car. Everyone else would hop into their little new cars are race off while I was left behind. Lets just say 740 Volvos aren’t known for their rapid acceleration. On the flip side, I never got pulled over for speeding either and my mom felt very safe knowing if there was a crash, I was in the old safety box car.

But now, I have a new found respect for the Volvo. Now, I am the envy on my friends. The Volvo, with its leather seating and seat warmers, is a favorite. Four doors with plenty of head and leg room, we find ourselves preferring the old Volvo to my little Civic. Sure, it doesn’t go as fast but you don’t have to contort yourself to get in or out of it either. And Kevin, in particular, has fallen in love with the Volvo. He even has a special pair of sunglasses he keeps in the car because he thinks he looks cool wearing them and driving the Ovlov. And the compliments! People just love the old 740.

It’s been the perfect car so far but the other day, the heater fan stopped working. After our plumbing triumph, we are going to try and fix it ourselves this weekend. But this time, we have my dad’s cell phone number just in case we need advise from an expert.

I can’t imagine not having that car and sometimes, late at night on a long road trip, as I nod off to sleep in the passenger seat, I can almost see my dad driving next to me and my sister asleep in the back seat just like always.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2001

The Pooka Life

The wedding was wonderful fun but I think I over exerted myself with a little too much wine and dance and am now paying the price with a cold that is slowly sneaking in. I felt achy and stuffed up on Sunday so I retreated to my favorite place (the sofa) with my favorite dog (Artie) and my all-time movie (Pride and Prejudice). Now, this isn't any palsy two hour remake. Oh no, this is the A&E mini-series, all SIX hours. I love this version and whenever I'm sick or feeling out of sorts, I pop it in an waste away the entire afternoon mooning after Mr. Darcy, cheering on Lizzy and gnashing my teeth at that awful Mr. Wickum. I think I'm a romantic at heart. Kevin has learned that when I feel icky it's best to tuck me into the sofa, put the remote within easy reach, and silently disappear for a while. I could vaguely hear him yelling at the computer but all it took was a small volume adjustment and everything was much better.

I must admit that after watching the series, I found myself with a strong desire to rent Bridget Jones' Diary just to get another peek at Collin Firth. I admit, I'm a sucker for the dark misunderstood/silent type. But can you blame me?

Posted by CHRISSIE at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

I gave Dan & Suzy "The Pitch" this weekend. Kevin has stated that if they will name their child Kevin (or Kevina if it's a girl) then he will pay for his namesake's college education and, if the child majors in Engineering, he will buy him/her a car upon graduation. What a deal!!! Strangely enough, neither Suzy nor Dan were wildly excited by this offer. They especially seemed to balk at the name Kevina for reasons unknown to me.

If we can't get the first name, Kevin wants to be allowed to select the middle name. Right now, he's leaning towards Walksthru because he thinks it'd be neat to be named Kevin Walksthru Walls.

And you wonder why we have decided to stick only with dogs...

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2001

The Pooka Life

I found this article funny but it may just be me. I know that copyright humor isn't everyone's cup 'o tea.

It is too beautiful to work so I'm going to devote the rest of the afternoon to surfing the Internet. Ha!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2001

The Pooka Life

Taurus (April 20-May20):

People of all ages and both sexes can't help but
gaze in your direction as you pass them by on the
street. You love being the center of attention, and
right now that's a positive thing. When the Moon is
in your own Sign, heads will turn, tongues will wag
and voices will be lowered in quiet envy. There's no
need to try to mold yourself into someone else's
idea of what you should be.

You put on a spectacular show just by being yourself, Taurus.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2001

The Pooka Life

Hmm, I better take out the trash tonight - that'll surprise her :)

Posted by CHRISSIE at 11:16 PM | Comments (0)

The Pooka Life

Brother Chris rolled into town last night. He is just like Kevin only with a dash of rebel, a pinch of extra charm and a whole lot of trouble. He absolutely cracks me up and is the wild boy of the family. He went to the Culinary Institute here in Portland and is an incredible chef. But after a year or so in the kitchen, wander lust kicked in and he headed for Big Sky country. That’s right, he’s now a Montana man. During the winter, he works at a ski lodge, in the summer he’s employed at a dude ranch, and during the fall, he’s a bar tender. I asked if he knew all sorts of mixed drinks but he just laughed and told me everyone in Montana drinks beer. His job is to pop the tops and break up the brawls. What a character.

He’s in town with his dog, Daisy Duke. Artie, of course, immediately began harassing her. Poor thing. She had barely made it through the door when Artie when into his Big Bad Dog routine. Actually, Artie doesn’t know this but Daisy is the reason he was adopted. During the summers, Chris used to head up to Alaska for salmon fishing. He’d hop a boat and have an intense few weeks of non-stop hauling during which time we babysat Daisy. She was so sweet and gentle that when he came home and re-claimed her, there was an eerie silence that we just had to fill. Artie could be her brother they look so alike. Only Daisy is bigger looks like she’s part greyhound. Chris thinks she is a Catahoula mixed with some Great Dane or Dalmation. Artie is a little chunker and is probably Catahoula/pitbull or rottie. Stocky and tough next to Daisy’s lanky grace. Anyhow, they’ve been out rough housing in the back yard which is fun to watch via the WebCam.

And, of course, this weekend in the big wedding. Kev’s dad is getting remarried on Saturday and the relatives are beginning to slowly trickle in. Should be a nice party and, as always, the best part will be seeing all the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Got Kevin a “shark skin” suit and he thinks he is the stuff. Actually, he does look pretty good but I don’t tell him that for fear of totally swelling his head. He’s worried I’m going to hold him back. As if.

Oh yes, this reminds of a story. (Sorry Kev but I’ve got to get this one off my chest.) When my parents last visited, they dumped a bunch of my stuff from highschool in the basement. I was looking through old photos and letters one night with Kevin. When we got to my old Prom picture, Kevin remarked with surprise...”Wow, you used to be a hottie!”

Now, one thing this whole marriage deal has taught me is patience. I’ve learned that 99.9% of our fights are really just mis-communications that can be avoided by not getting offended by off-hand remarks. I find that if I give Kevin a chance to explain/back peddle, quite a bit of heartache can be avoided.

“What do you mean I used to be a hottie?” I calmly replied, giving him a change to dig his way out of the gapping hole he had dropped into.

“I never knew you could look this good,” he began sinking further into the pit of no return, “too bad I didn’t know you in high school.” He then wandered off oblivious to fact that I was mentally debating the merits of burying a body six feet under vs four feet. Of course, this is the same man who comes home, looks at me, and asks, “Where you wearing that outfit this morning?” Kevin’s level of observation is pretty low - as far as I can tell his ability to differentiate ends at clothed v. naked. Anything more subtle than that is lost on him. So I consoled myself with the knowledge that at least I was once a hottie. Even if my husband doesn’t think I am anymore. Sniff.

Posted by CHRISSIE at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2001

The Pooka Life

Haven't been in the story telling mood lately. I'm sure I'll get back in the saddle again soon. Until then, I did post a new book review you can read if you like. Oh yes, the week's Cool Friend award goes to Kathy & Felix who mailed a copy to Enterprise (or STE as Kevin calls it). Kevin kept singing the theme song all night even though he could only remember the first seven words. You made his day! Thanks a ton!

Posted by CHRISSIE at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)