December 31, 2005

New Year’s “Opportunities”

Posted in pets, self-improvement at 12:40 pm by Marise Phillips

For many reasons, I’m not big on making New Year’s Resolutions. One, it’s not a time of year that *feels* particularly new and fresh, or that naturally gives rise to making changes… for *me*, I mean. I tend to feel far more energized in spring and autumn, personally.

However, because of what happened to me last night, I found it very hard to get to sleep, and so spent a few hours in deep self-reflection, determined to extract the hard lessons the Universe has been trying to teach me for some time now:

  1. SLOW. DOWN.
  2. Breathe deeply.
  3. Think before I speak and act.
  4. Generally reduce the space I take up in the world by:
    • eating less
    • wanting less
    • buying less
    • yearning less
    • complaining less
    • gossiping less
    • criticizing less
    • wasting less
    • risking less

The last one, risking less, is a very interesting concept for me to meditate on. Many people I know could benefit a great deal from risking more. As for me, I really don’t think I need to worry. I risk plenty. I risk way too much, as a matter of fact.

Case in point: I went out this morning to find my car’s rear vent window had been smashed in at some point last night. I had parked right in front of my house; however, I pay $75 a month for a garage space around the block. The garage’s location requires me to walk a bit farther, but has the distinct advantage of protecting my car from theft or damage.

I need to use that garage consistently, and stop whining about how it’s narrow and hard to park in, how it’s tandem with two other cars and sometimes I have to move them before I can get out, how there’s standing water on the ground in there right now and it smells bad. My landlord’s a good guy. I just have to give him a call and he’ll deal with the puddle, probably within 24 hours.

So these are what I consider my greatest opportunities for 2006, actions that will hopefully help “quiet down” the increasingly loud and insistent wake-up calls I’ve been getting from the Universe.


December 30, 2005

rip, little guys :(

Posted in pets at 11:38 pm by Marise Phillips

i suck. really, really suck. hard.

i was so damn excited about the two beautiful goldfish i got today. about a month ago, i spotted them in our lobby, swimming happily about in this crazy-cool fishtank called “The BiOrb.” The tank was part of a full-on “Holiday Gift Idea” display my company sets up each year to showcase our website’s wares.

thoroughly besotted, i put out some feelers to find out whose fish they were. once i located their owner, i wrote him an email extolling their beauty and asking where he got them. he replied that he’d found them at Petco in San Bruno, just minutes from work. and then, much to my surprise and delight, he offered to let me keep them once the display was ready to be taken down. i was ecstatic!!

every day i went to work, i would wave and smile as i walked past my fish-to-be. i bored my friends with incessant gushing: how excited i was for the day they would be mine, all mine.

fast-forward to today, display dismantled — and in comes an email from the nice guy at work, reminding me that i’m welcome to take them. i was beside myself with excitement over the prospect of finally having the perfect goldfish i’d always wanted, set up and thriving in an established tank, etc.

add to that the email we got at about 1pm from the company president, encouraging us to head home early. i didn’t need to be asked twice.

i packed up, logged out, and rushed downstairs. as i had begun to notice earlier in the week, the tank was getting pretty green and in need of a good clean; therefore, i was happy to have the long weekend ahead of me to dedicate to helping my new pets assimilate to their new home.

i enlisted the help of the receptionist and a facilities guy to unplug the tank, lift it up onto a rolling cart, roll it out to my car, and nestle it snugly into my back seat. i drove along surface streets the entire way home in order to ensure the fishies’ safe passage. i tilted my rear view mirror to keep an eye on them, and drove as gingerly as possible, cringing with each bump as the tank, fish and water sloshed around a bit too much for my liking.

it began to occur to me that i should have put them in baggies or something. plus, the tank was really heavy… how was i going to get it upstairs? i called j, who was nearly out the door on the way to an errand, but he kindly agreed to stay home and help me. he nearly hurt his back lugging the heavy thing up to our flat, and definitely drenched his shirt by the time the tank was safely resting on the kitchen table. he then went out on his errand, and i was free to plunge into the daunting task of draining and cleaning… The BiOrb.

i worked as quickly as I could, fearing that the longer the fish were without a filter, cramped in the (large-ish) glass vase i’d found for them, the unhappier they would be. while draining the tank, i pulled out my books on goldfish keeping and care, and made sure not to use soap or cloth towels to clean and wipe it out (lest residual detergent taint the water).

after all the rocks were rinsed, the tank wiped down with paper towels and the filter de-scummed, i put it back together and poured in a mixture of reserved tank water along with cool tap water (which the books said would be fine (though, admittedly, safer to wait 12 hours for the chlorine to dissipate).

i turned on the filter — and voila — The BiOrb bubbled and glowed just like new! i then got the vase holding the fish and more of their original tank water, and poured that in. Added a last bit of cool tap water, fed the little guys, and watched them swim about, a bit dazedly (the fish, I mean — not me!) Since the whole ordeal took about two-and-a-half hours, we were all in need of a bit of rest.

i stayed with them over the next couple hours, trying not to be too terribly alarmed that one of them was kind of listless and neither of them were eating their food. i resolved to go out first thing the next morning to buy a water-testing kit, better food and anything else that might improve their enviroment. as the hours passed, they became less and less lively, until finally, one of them swam no more.

after crying in j’s lap for a while, i went back to the tank and scooped out the little lifeless body, still so beautiful and vivid and iridescent. in the process of removing her, i noticed how badly off the other one was doing, and realized it would only be a matter of minutes before i would have to admit to complete failure.

i was right. i fucked up. i feel horrible, careless, evil, useless, destructive. i fucking hate myself right now.

The List

Posted in memes at 11:24 pm by Marise Phillips

Foo: Have a challenge for you.
RiseyP: k
Foo: Read my blog…
RiseyP: k

RiseyP: k
RiseyP: are you tagging me? 😉
Foo: Consider yourself tagged.

RiseyP’s List of Good Things About 2005

  1. I spent New Year’s Day (and Eve) 2005 in Amsty-dam!
  2. I learned how to knit – yippee!
  3. I got LASIK.
  4. I bought a thoroughly fabulous powder blue Aprilia Mojito scooter!!
  5. I visited my adorable nieces and lovely sis-in-law.
  6. I went to Hawaii (the Big Island) and snorkeled on Valentine’s Day 🙂
  7. I got a new job with a lot less stress.
  8. My commute went from 55+ minutes to less than 20!
  9. I’ve made a lot of new friends at said new job.
  10. I got “promoted” at work (waiting ’til review time next year to actually benefit from it…)
  11. I had a fun birthday lunch at the Ramp with a bunch of my work friends.
  12. I went to lovely Telluride, Colorado for 5 days to visit my good friends Maureen and Pat.
  13. I recruited three friends to come work at my new company.
  14. I got 3 nice bonuses, and won a portable DVD player from work for doing the above.
  15. My love and I bought a condo in Telluride!!
  16. I learned some Japanese.
  17. I got a gorgeous blue Betta fish, named Cruiser.
  18. I bought myself an Apple iBook.
  19. I learned how to use GarageBand, and even wrote a little songlet.
  20. I joined the gym and started swimming again.
  21. I got an iPod Nano from my lovey 🙂
  22. I went to Korea *and* Japan!
  23. I got to see my brother doing well in his new job teaching English in Korea.
  24. I began to blog more consistently, and two people link to me now. Woo hoo!!

  25. I got two beautiful goldfish!! Whom I am picking up & bringing home this very afternoon…*

*My lovey, who warned me time and time again about how delicate (fancy) goldfish are, didn’t hate me forever for failing to keep them alive longer than 5 hours after bringing them home…

😦 !!!!

December 29, 2005

i got yer resolution right *here*

Posted in self-improvement at 1:27 pm by Marise Phillips

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

Slap stupid people in the head.

Get your resolution here

December 28, 2005

li’l fluffy friends make for a happy holiday

Posted in family, pets at 5:51 pm by Marise Phillips

While my brother’s failure to show up was mightily disappointing, I must point out that the many animals I got to hug and kiss made my holiday weekend quite special.

To wit:

Sadie, the most adorable miniature Dachshund on the planet

Her lovely “tweenie” sister, Violet

Kizzy, the many-toed barfy cat, enjoying the sunshine

Sweet Boy, also enjoying the sunshine

Auntie D and her new lab pups, who visited us for Xmas brunch

December 27, 2005

still sad…

Posted in family at 9:55 pm by Marise Phillips

well, my brother didn’t come up here on the 26th as planned. apparently, he finally got in touch with his new boss in Korea, and they need him to fly back out there sooner than he assumed they did.

my mom called to relay the news first thing that morning. she told me that my dad cried when he heard my brother wasn’t going to visit. he hasn’t seen my brother in over a year and a half, i think.

my dad’s reaction just killed me. i can barely stand to think of him crying. just so sad and awful.

so i wrote my brother an email telling him how much he disappointed us, and how angry I was with him for not planning ahead better; this whole month, he’s been driving me crazy with his vague and generally non-committal approach to figuring out how he was going to get up here. the thing that pissed me off the most was knowing that my parents would have been more than happy to drive down to OC to visit him and his kids, had he just given them enough notice.

i still feel terrible about it, even a day and a half later.

December 23, 2005

my typical christmas, as a kid…

Posted in family, nostalgia at 1:52 pm by Marise Phillips

I was a little shit. Seriously. And not just at Christmastime.*

But come each December, as gifts from various friends and family started to pile up under the tree, I would lie in wait for my parents to leave the house. Fortunately for my brother and me, they sang in the church choir. And once we were old enough to stay home alone, we ended up having many opportunities to do so, since they had to go to all sorts of rehearsals and special masses.

And the reason why this alone-at-home time was so important: I had come up with a master plan to find out what *all* my presents were long before the 25th. All it took was a pair of scissors and some tape.

With the scissors, I would slit open each seam where the tape met the wrapping paper, unwrap the present, decide whether I liked it or not (the latter situation being good to know about in advance, so I could adequately prepare myself for pretending to like it later), and then either remove and replace the old tape, or simply re-tape where it had been slit open. No one was the wiser. And my brother enjoyed the advance notice as well.

The only time we had any issue doing this was the year we got an ATARI 2600. We were *dying* to play with it, and it was *soooo* tempting to take it out of the box and fire it up. But we had principles, man. Yeah… right!

*Throughout the year, I beat my little brother to a pulp, taunted him (he had a horrendous temper, and I could ignite it at the drop of a hat), and generally got him in trouble with our parents. I was almost always the instigator, but I had a way of looking angelic, making all adults think that the enraged one, next to me, was the one causing the problem. God, considering the number of times I royally screwed him over, I’m shocked that we’re actually on speaking terms these days!

December 21, 2005

’tis better to give…

Posted in self-improvement at 11:07 am by Marise Phillips

really, ’tis!

in response to Crazy Aunt Purl’s post about sending toys to kids in Afghanistan, i just got an email from haji-o-matic this morning…

rec’d package – Its HUGE its AWESOME. Its going to the medics tomorrow.
Many thanks.

And i don’t think i’ve been this excited about Christmas in decades!!!

December 18, 2005

whatta weekend (not quite)

Posted in knitting, movie review, quizzes, weekend at 12:02 pm by Marise Phillips

ugh. i’ve been in bed for 36 hours straight.

i forced myself to go out to J’s friend Ian’s birthday dinner on Friday nite, a dinner at which we arrived late and were therefore obligated to sit at different tables, and at which i knew only three people out of the entire gathering… not fun when i wasn’t feeling well 😦 fortunately, the people at my table were very nice and we got along perfectly well. but boy, was i ready to head home and crash.

yesterday, i did very little besides sleep the entire day, with the cats serving as furry hot water bottles. j was even sicker than i. and seeing that we were supposed to spend the day doing errands to get ready for a party that i had actually really been looking forward to (as opposed to the dinner on friday), we did not get a single thing done. besides sleeping. no costume making, white elephant finding, bacon-wrapped date broiling, no driving over and pre-partying… none of it. BOOOOO.

at about 9pm, though, i was sick of sleeping and woke up to watch Bad Santa on DVD, which was quite funny. i knitted some of my ribbed pale brown alpaca scarf, as well. and successfully made a felted join, thanks to crazy aunt purl’s helpful photo directions!

i woke up this morning to a huge thunderstorm, a leaking bedroom window and two scared kitties. luckily, the storm has subsided somewhat at this point. but, still. eek! the frame of our kitchen window is also starting to rot out. times like these, i actually don’t mind not being a homeowner (ok, i do own a condo, but it’s 1000 miles away and, therefore, not exactly “home” 😉

then, I got curious to see what kind of princess i was…

The Traditional Princess

You are generous, graceful, and practical with both
feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to
be a little on the old-fashioned side. You
value home, hearth, and family life and love to
be of service to others.

Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian

You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent
for spinning straw into gold.

What Kind of Princess are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

December 14, 2005

xmas scarfy

Posted in knitting at 2:04 pm by Marise Phillips

if only all projects went this quickly!!

i actually knitted almost two entire scarves with this gorgeous pink fluff a couple times — one time double-stranded with black yarn, the other time all by itself, but neither looked right — but then, finally settled on some bulky gray wool to combine it with. And it turned out quite schmancy!

momo scarfy
[click for larger]

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