happy happy kids...

merry christmas, all that good stuff. it was 80 degrees in LA yesterday, and my sister and i cruised through hollywood and gorged ourselves on pink's bacon-chili-cheese dogs and nacho-chili-cheese fries. totally disgusting but absolutely delicious. and we only do it once a year, so whatev! i am, however, overeating. i know that happens during the holidays but me being here with my mother makes it worse.

things with mom have been going fine. we're not best friends or anything, but i've been good about ignoring the nagging as best i can. we've spent a lot of time cooking in the kitchen (sugar cookies, baklava, spicy stew, saffron orzo, coffee cake, two batches of icing, a layer cake, salad, steak tips, gouda mashed potatoes, broccoli, yule trixies, pork loin, spinach artichoke dip, steamed veggies, more mashed potatoes, asparagus, and devilled eggs), which makes her happy. she just talks and talks and i just cook and cook and we're perfectly fine with that. and i'm enjoying spending time with my dad. yesterday i was laying on the diving board by the pool in my flannel pj's and was wicked hot - god i miss the sunshine.

i love it dearly, but i completely loathe this city...i miss the casa and the 'lope and the kate and the shayne. i can't wait to get home!


it ain't quite chestnuts roasting on an open fire

provisionsbut one of the things that i really like about the holiday season is doing some holiday baking. i like baking at any time, but this gives me a chance to really strut my stuff. add into that the fact that i am dirt poor this year (working at the crime lab barely keeps the cats in kibble), so its a nice gift for folks. this year, scoutie and i are doing a joint effort. we took all of these ingredients:

a little elbow greaseand we
added some
elbow grease...

and at the end of the day, we had a freezer full of spectacular cookies. lemon shortbread with dried cranberries, peanut butter blossoms, gingersnaps, and peppermint cookies with chocolate drizzle. this morning i woke up early and made some biscotti and some blondies.

peanut butter blossoms...?lemon shortbread with dried cranberriespeppermint cookies...

we have gone through two pounds of butter, five pounds of flour, two pounds of sugar, nine eggs, half a bottle of vanilla, a lemon, a bag of dried cranberries, a bag of almonds, five cups of coconut, 3/4 a cup of mashed potatoes (don't ask), and three bags of chocolate chips are about to meet their doom.

if that doesn't scream happy holidays, i don't know what does.


christmas comes to the crime lab...

so i figured it was only a matter of time, and i was right. christmas has come to the crime lab. i was initially fooled into believing they actually meant to strive for religious inclusiveness by advertising their "holiday party" instead of a christmas party, and advocating a "yankee gift swap" over a secret santa.

but today the kids who work for me went up into the attic and brought down the christmas tree, now proudly displayed in the reception area. one of the guys referred to is as a "holiday tree", and i had to put my foot down on that misnomer. if it's a tree (or a reasonable facsimile brought to you by international plastics) and it's bedecked with ornaments and tinsel, and if it is nestling gaily wrapped gifts underneath it (or empty cheerio boxes wrapped to resemble something that might actually be fun), and if there is a benevolent angel on top (or another special item from international plastics, but this time looking slightly melted and a little moldy) -- then it's a god damn fucking christmas tree. and just call is such.

apparently the commonwealth of massachusetts is christian.

and i had that awkward moment that all non-believers face... do i say something?

frankly, i am tired of having the conversation of whether or not xmas has become a secular holiday. peoples opinions on the matter are as entrenched and deeply believed as religion itself. and i am tired of being the wet blanket who douses everybody's holiday cheer. the kids were having a great time setting up the tree, and it probably made their day. everybody walks by and comments on how festive the reception area looks.

so, no. i didn't say anything. but it had nothing to do with endorsing good will toward men or seasonal holiday cheer. the fact of the matter is that i am only four months into my six month probationary period. and if the commonwealth is dumb enough to put a tree in a government building, then they are dumb enough to give me a bag of hell for a christmas present if i complain.

but next year they had better watch out.


some good news from chatsworth:

marilyn manson has gotten married!
i have to tell mom so she can drop off a card or some sort of gift basket - i know she will be thrilled!!


so here's what i learned today...

i learned that the way to get all my friends to the casa blog is to let a rumor start that i posted nekkid pics of my tenant. no such luck, kids.

but while you're here... i just had this conversation with a Mr. Burke from california

Mr. B: Hi. I'm calling on behalf of the ACLU.

Me: Hi.

Mr. B: You may not know this, but the ACLU is in the middle of a landmark case in California concerning your civil liberties.

Me: Which case?

Mr. B: It involves the right of the government to subpoena your medical and library records with practically no cause, reason, or judicial oversight.

Me: Oh. You mean the Patriot Act case.

Mr. B: Well... because of a Gag Rule we are not allowed to say.

Me: But you mean that case, right?

Mr. B: I can't even confirm that much.

Me: You can't say Patriot Act, can you?

Mr. B: I can't even confirm that much.

the whole thing was very Kafkaesque.

on an unrelated side note: the assessors office just came to evaluate my property. they downgraded my bathroom from modern to standard. i am not sure what that says about my house.