March 18, 2007

sad but true

Posted in pets, travel, weekend at 9:22 am by Marise Phillips

I am a lousy blogger. I get so humbled by “the greats” – Crazy Aunt Purl, Dooce, Sundry, Kiki, etc that it just makes me clam up.

Also sad but true is the fact that after 6 weeks of doing really well on my nutrition plan, i started fucking up on it, leading to a snowball effect of disappointing proportions. fortunately, my acupuncturist was marvelously positive and encouraging. i was able to be 100% up front with her as a result.

So sigh. I got lots done yesterday on my own as J was at work til 9pm. I managed to run a good 75% of my pre-trip errands: getting travel-sized odds and ends, preparing the pets for our absence… I don’t mean preparing them verbally – hehe – but rather, making sure they had enough food, getting a new cage for Winkle the hamster, now that her babies are weaned (yeah – she had 2 babies about 3 weeks ago!! eep!).

I also finally came up with a plan for segrating the cats and the hamsters that doesn’t involve putting the cages on high shelves. While that works for me & J on an everyday basis, reaching up that high is just not safe for my mom. So I decided to keep the hammies in the living room, closing the pocket doors and blocking the other door with the heavy wooden screen. I just hope Sweet Boy doesn’t miss his perch too much! He’s got plenty of others…

I’ve also been fairly productive already today. I’ve taken a bold step and decided to touch up my highlights at home. Wish me luck 🙂

Later today, I’ve got a wedding to go to — some friends of J’s — and I have to go by myself because he has to work again today. BOO. But instead of feeling glum about it, I decided to make myself look as gorgeous as possible, and have as good a time as possible. It’s all about attitude and approach!! I say this because I’ve just realized that I actually wouldn’t have had a *better* time if I’d gone with J — it’s been ages since we’ve gone to a party and really enjoyed ourselves. I find that I’m actually more outgoing and friendly when I’m by myself (cause I have to be).

Interesting. More later – cause now I have to rinse.

January 24, 2007

worst morning ever

Posted in aging, home, pets at 10:19 am by Marise Phillips

I woke up to find my house TP’d and my two prize Japanese goldfish dead.

Insult to injury (or is it the other way around?) I twisted my back slightly and am now in spasming pain.


January 13, 2007

the petting zoo grows…

Posted in lovey, pets, video games, weekend at 8:48 pm by Marise Phillips

i got two russian dwarf hamsters yesterday and have been enjoying their company very much ever since.

their names are Winkle and Abalone, and they are black and grey, respectively. Winkle is a cute little boy who loves to run on his wheel and is quite tame. Abalone is a really pretty pearly color, bigger, a female, and neither tame nor very nice to her cagemate.

of course the cats are very interested in the new arrivals!

i wrote this email to J today in response to his report from the blurb Tahoe Cabin..

Hi lovey,

Thank you for your note and letting me know how your day went so I don’t worry about you too much.

I had a nice and pretty uneventful day, consisting of a drive through Alameda looking at pretty houses with my mother, followed by coffee at Starbucks, then an hour or two of Viva Pinata (which is cute but the tutorial portion interrupts you too much to explain things whether you want them explained or not), topped off with a nice long nap. This was interspersed with looking at the lil guys and feeding them bits and pieces of things the internets say they might like. The food items they’ve enjoyed most so far are little nibbles off my organic brown rice snax, with whole raw pumpkin seeds coming in at a close second.

The kitties had a brief-ish Outdoor Adventure, while I watered the backyard. They aren’t as obsessive about the lil guys today, it seems.

I need to go to the pet store now for a better wheel. Oh, and the little grey girl hamster, Abalone, was the active one in the middle of the night and for part of the morning, while little black-with-white-paws-and-tummy Winkle has been very quiet so far today in comparison. So it looks like they are turn-takers when it comes to bouts of frenzied-but-delicate activity.

Love you honey bunny boo,

July 30, 2006


Posted in lovey, pets, weekend at 5:43 pm by Marise Phillips

Berkeley Kite Fest – 27, originally uploaded by RiseyP.

i got one! i flew one! i took pictures of much bigger, higher and more impressive ones!

it was fun 🙂

earlier this morning, a little fluffy sparrow was being fed by his dad on the perch of our birdfeeder. j took a movie of it.

at the end of the video, you can hear SweetBoy pouncing on the blinds, which is what makes the birdies fly away. bad SB!!

January 27, 2006

love me some quizzies

Posted in lovey, pets, quizzes, reading at 11:14 pm by Marise Phillips

I was reading stacyo's blog and was inspired to find out: What city do I belong in?

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.

A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.

No wonder you and London will get along so well.

What City Do You Belong In?


So, tomorrow is my Japanese dinner/slide show. The first real party I've had since J & I moved here. I've ordered a couple big party trays from Kyoto Sushi, and hope to find the time to whip up some "raw food" style sushi as well. Which consists of fillings like macadamia nut paste (instead of rice), thin slices of fresh veggies and a variety of pestos and tapenades, all wrapped up in nori or collard greens. One of the guests I've invited is a raw food aficionado, so I hope to impress her with my renditions of the recipes I got from my health-nut friends in Hawaii.


Been reading a really engrossing series of graphic novels called Strangers in Paradise — enjoying them so much, i never want them to end. Good thing is, there are at least 4 or 5 more volumes to go. The writer/artist, Terry Moore, is equally skilled at both sides of the equation: the storyline *and* the art. I'm humbled by his talents.


The fish are doing well. Their water has been a bit cloudy since the first week I got them, but I read into it and it sounds like we're probably overfeeding them. It's cute, cause J has gotten quite excited about helping me take care of them; the only downside of his enthusiasm was the double-feeding that sometimes occurred. But I think we're in sync now: I do the feeding, he does the light-turning-on/off if he remembers to do so sooner than I do.

Furthermore, just to give you some insight into how nutty I am about these fish, I went to the pet store and bought them two varieties of frozen food that goldfish are supposed to like: bloodworms (ew!) and brine shrimp. Plus some fresh cucumber, along with a cute clownfish-shaped "fresh veggie holder" clip that sticks to the side of the aquarium using a handy suction cup. Who'd've guessed that fish feeding had reached such dizzying heights of technology?

When I got home, I was eager to see whether they'd like the cucumber, so I cut off a thin slice to insert into the clownfish clip, and J suctioned it into the tank. No bites. So then he jumped at the chance to try an experiment he'd been noodling over ever since I told him that goldfish like to eat cucumbers a couple weeks ago. He cut off a little chunk and threaded it with string, and tied the other end (the non-cucumber-baited end) of the string with a toothpick. Unfortunately, the fish didn't go for that trick either.

However, I checked on them an hour or so later and I think maybe, just maybe, they were nibbling at the cucumbers… Maybe someday, they won't be too shy to eat in front of us anymore. O, what a happy day that would be! 😉

January 8, 2006

new fish!

Posted in pets, weekend at 9:30 pm by Marise Phillips

after a week of mourning, i decided the best way to get over my previous failure was to try, try again.

last week, i replaced the water in the tank, washed the gravel and plants, bought a bunch of additional supplies (for alas, all I got with the first two fish was the tank and some food), and tested the new water, to make sure it would be optimally prepared for some new occupants.

today, i drove out to geary, had some Korean tofu soup, and headed over to SF's most venerable fish/fish supply store, called Nippon Goldfish Company. i'd been there about a year before to scope the place out, and was quite impressed with the whole operation. the vibe there kinda reminded me of being at the Guitar Center, what with all the enthusiasts milling about, talking to the employees about their shared interest. except it was fish, not instruments. but you know what i mean.

so anyway, when i showed up there today, i was very disappointed to find that they had gone out of business. they'd been around for 94 years, fer chrissakes! it was quite a shock to see them gone… man, i should've taken a picture of their very cool sign. ah well.

only partially daunted, i drove out to petsmart in daly city, as i'd been there the day before to buy replacement filter cartridges for my biOrb, and noticed they had a really good selection of goldfish. so when i got there today, ready to purchase at last, i pored over all the tanks showing off the various types, and finally settled on two blue orandas.

this is roughly what they look like:

I named them Haku and Chihiro, after the main characters in Spirited Away:

they've been doing well since i put them in the tank. my only regret is that the heater i bought is designed for a rectangular space, and the biOrb is, well… an orb 🙂 oh well, the heater is not a must, as they do well between 68 and 74 degrees, and the water they're in is currently at 68.

anyway. the tank I bought them from was fairly crowded, and this one is relatively spacious. they must either really like each other, or are just used to being cheeck-to-jowl, cause they spend a lot of time pretty close to one another. which is cute.

i really hope they thrive!!

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.

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

November 27, 2005

evil cats. of doooooom.

Posted in movie review, pets, weekend at 10:13 am by Marise Phillips

this morning, the cats decided to ruin the last morning of my NOT-long-weekend (I had to work Friday, rkr frkr!!!!) by very loudly scampering and fighting and being otherwise annoying all over the bed. starting at about 7am and continuing on through to about 9:30.

i got up at about 8 to go walk Nellie-dog, but poor J had to endure the evil cats of doom while i was gone, so much so that he actually got up, showered and dressed, went out & got himself coffee, all by the time I returned from my dogsitting duties, bearing my own set of coffee and croissants. this kind of early rising thing is unheard of for j. especially during his sabbatical.

so now that we are both awake and rather cranky, i am trying to decide what to do with this day. we saw Harry Potter yesterday – FINALLY – and it was soooooooooooo excellent, rip-roaring and FUN!! Love me some HP!!! So that goal is complete.

LOVE Cedric!!

I have about 600 more photos to edit, but I’m not feeling that at the moment… hmm… The house is a complete mess, and the cleaners are coming tomorrow, so I’ll definitely have to do some tidying up.

So many potential errands, so little time!!

  • Buy rice cooker, go grocery shopping at Ranch 99 in Daly City
  • Return stuff at Old Navy & Ross
  • Bag up piles of unused clothes and things & take to Goodwill
  • Box up various toys and send to Haji in Afghanistan
  • Go to Good Vibes & look for Hitachi Magic Wand attachments
  • Investigate potential places to stay for Xmas – my bro will be in town!!
  • Type up my Asia trip diary

At least a nice portion of my Xmas shopping is already done. Thank you, internets!!! I have been good so far and have resisted the urge to buy myself all sorts of tempting things: a cashmere throw, various on-sale DVDs, etc… OH yes, the holidays once again are about temporary self-denial! I s’pose it’s good for me.

So far this weekend, I’ve been wasting a lot of time reading Megatokyo, all the way from the very beginning… So well done (art-wise at least!)

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