Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas eve is here!

i love christmas eve--today i am spending all day making cookies, tracking santa on the norad santa tracker, and making coq au vin for tonight all while listening to "a christmas story" over and over and over. here's hoping your day is happy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

argus gallery giveaway!

i'm in the holiday spirit...and wish to celebrate! how about the migration of from the earthlink server (which i hated) to godaddy's server (which i love)? i will send one lucky person a very very very limited edition t-shirt (i only have XL) if you can tell me where i shot the above picture. i'll give you a hint--you're not looking at new mexico here. i need an exact description, please, and bonus points for whose house is pictured. i actually have three other shirts as well, so if you are not so fortunate to recognize this locale yet still long for a shirt i will gladly sell you one for $20. expensive, i know--if i would have made 400 rather than 20 they'd be cheaper...but then i'd have 400 shirts...

good luck!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

it's almost christmas!

pentti sammallahti's finnish holiday greetings

christmas is just around the corner...and gus is very, very excited. sophie entertains herself by taking all the ornaments off of the tree and bringing them to us; i spend my days trying to find new hiding places for the presents. rich is doing more surgery than he ever thought humanly possible since everyone is trying to get their work done before they have to pay another annual deductible. it must be the end of the year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

if you get a chance...

...please check out i am migrating my site from earthlink to godaddy and i just wondered if the new site (which currently looks exactly like the old site) works on other systems. the new site will eventually be, and has all kinds of forwarded domain names (basically think of every family name i or my kids have and it should take you to argus gallery) so if i am lucky enough to be bookmarked by you, the bookmark will still work. let me know what you find, and thank you!

i have to post this for all deadbeats (or wannabe deadbeats)

this is what i got in my email this morning from mary hunt, the everyday cheapskate...

"Wishing You a Deadbeat Christmas

Deadbeats. That’s what credit card companies call their cardholders who use their credit card, pay the balance in full every month and never pay a nickel’s worth of interest. Deadbeats drive credit card companies crazy! [i told you those bastards won't give me a new credit card!]

It does take some effort to maintain a sterling deadbeat status. But for those of you who will be buying things online or using a credit card for the purpose of convenience, it is absolutely mandatory.

Want to learn how to be a deadbeat this Christmas? These three simple steps, if followed religiously, will give you the title of a world-class deadbeat.

REGISTER AND DEDUCT. When you use your credit card, immediately deduct the charge from your checkbook just as if you made the purchase with a check. Use a different color ink, like red, to indicate these purchases. You spent the money. It is gone!

During the holidays, also keep a running total of your credit purchases on a separate piece of paper you keep right in your checkbook. It will become a visual reminder of just where you are with your holiday spending.

CHECK OFTEN. Even for the most diligent among us, opening that credit card statement and seeing that balance can be quite a startling experience. Here’s how to counteract that kind of shock:

Go to your card company’s website and register your account. Now you can check your balance online daily, or as frequently as necessary. Or call the toll-free number on the back of your credit card. During periods when you are particularly credit-card-active, call at least once a week to get your current, up-to-the-minute balance. Even with all of your careful tracking, just hearing that number will keep your feet planted in reality. [i do this online--it is rather alarming, but it will keep you from spending. it has prevented several heart attacks in my house--largely because i'm not totally sure rich knows what to do if i have one...]

WRITE THE CHECK. The very moment that statement arrives, write out a check for the full amount and send it in. You’ve already deducted the total amount (in increments) from your checkbook balance. You’ve known all along what the balance is because of your frequent calling, so all of the surprise and mystery has been eliminated.

Make sure you enclose the payment stub from the statement and use only the preprinted envelope. Your mission is to get that entire payment into the company’s system and credited to your account without any delays and in plenty of time. [better yet pay online--that way it is there on time and that really pisses them off.]

The trade-off for enjoying the convenience of using a credit card is responsibility. Practice it diligently and you will avoid paying a very heavy price."

this woman is cheap/thrifty/responsible, and she rocks. i so love that she posted this right before christmas! okay, enough preaching.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

strange question about target

has anyone else ever gone into a mega-target and just felt like lying down on the floor out of sheer, overwhelming depression? i don't know what was wrong with me--i went into target to get sophie some diapers and it was almost closing time, so it was almost empty, and as i was walking around i just wanted to crawl into a display of hanging clothes and hide. and this is not the first time i have had that thought. bizarre, i know. i was in a fairly good mood when i got there. and i'm not agoraphobic--i live in a city surrounded by nothingness. maybe it is the soullessness of being surrounded by all that stuff that is exactly like all the other stuff in there. maybe it was something about the impersonality of everything in such a vast, exposed space. i don't know. i do know that telling rich about this was a mistake. maybe i just need to up my meds.

(p.s. thanks erin S!

Monday, December 17, 2007

"alitalia has NO culpability."

i had an unexpected phone call today from an attorney representing alitalia. unexpected because last week i and an attorney representing delta air lines reached a settlement in the case i filed against them (them being delta and alitalia together). and more unexpected because the delta attorney started off our first negotiating session with the statement that she would be representing both delta and alitalia. apparently she forgot to tell the alitalia attorney...who was not happy that we had reached a settlement. in fact, she was quite pissed. the entire purpose of the phone call was to make sure that i understood, and agreed, that "alitalia has no culpability." she said it, just like that, over and over again. and i kept telling her that, in fact, it was alitalia agents who prevented us from getting on the plane--before they ran and hid when i started taking down everyone's names i got a really good look at their uniforms--and she told me it wasn't so. she said that according to some montreal convention blah blah blah they were agents of delta. fine, but our tickets were purchased through alitalia as well. "doesn't matter." actually, it mattered very much to bernalillo county metropolitan court, but whatever. "alitalia has no culpability. alitalia did absolutely nothing wrong." after about 10 minutes of listening to this i acquiesced and said she could write whatever the hell she wanted to write in her letter, as long as she didn't tamper with my settlement terms (i, and cindy, worked hard for those!). she agreed.

it was odd.

so there you have it. as per alitalia's attorney, "alitalia has NO [fucking] culpability." and i still get my settlement. yay me!

perhaps we should buy sophie a proper bed with the settlement money?

Friday, December 14, 2007

the christmas card that wasn't

(i'm writing this while listening to holly golightly's, "christmas tree on fire" EP. if you don't already have this in your itunes library, you should definitely run to the site right now and download it!)

i finally managed to get our christmas cards out yesterday, but, alas, they were picture-free. and i did actually shoot them--they just completely didn't work because a)they were printed 4x6, and my cards were 3.5x5; b)the image couldn't be cropped without looking weird; and c)the printer completely screwed up the image and made sophie and gus' faces almost completely black, yet they are actually the whitest children in the world. pigment-free, almost. so the pictures were removed and recipients were directed here to see what they were missing:

this is the one that should have gone out

but this was a close second

followed by this one of the 50-foot baby

so there you have the insert for the christmas card that wasn't. next year i will buy appropriately-sized cards and make sure the photos are done properly by doing them myself!

(p.s. erin o--are you still stalking me? if so, could you please send me an email with your address so i can send you a picture-free card? you can send it to me via the comments--they don't get posted unless i approve them...which i won't with your address....thanks!)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

another reason to love new mexico

the annual I-40 tumbleweed snowman put out by the arroyo flood control people. you can see him between carlisle and university, heading west, on the north side of the freeway. isn't he cute?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

sophie channels her inner cy twombly

"untitled" by cy twombly, 1970

i love twombly's work--i even had the chance to meet him in the early 90s and speak with him, briefly, about art. he was a generous and interesting man. i especially love his work at the cy twombly gallery, where it is safely ensconced on the walls. i do not, however, love it when sophie decides to emulate his work on my beautiful, white, silk and linen sofa. i was packing up boxes to ship off stuff i sold on ebay (i am still raising money for that digital back!), and i was using a red chisel-point sharpie to cross out writing on the boxes and a black sharpie to write the buyer's address on them. i stopped watching sophie for a minute and she absconds with both of them. i didn't notice because i am working on wrapping stuff in bubble wrap...and then i smell that unmistakable smell of sharpie. sophie has a HUGE smile on her face as she has just finished coloring the armrests of the sofa sharpie red. she was so proud of herself. i was sweating and trying not to scream.

so, she didn't get in trouble--she's only 18 months old and she wouldn't understand why i was yelling at her (or what i was saying) anyway. i got out every toxic stain-fighting chemical i could find and just started drenching the armrests. my google searches from yesterday are: "permanent ink on fabric must remove cannot wash," "sharpie removal fabric silk," and "how do you get sharpie out of fabric," etc. the answer is that you really can't. so now we have pale pink (you can fade, just not remove) cy twomblys on our couch. and i'm sure you're wondering, "why the hell do they have a white couch in the first place?" good question--it is because we inherited this monster sofa, clad in a lovely linen and silk blend that we could never afford to replace, from my dad's mom when she passed away. it was part of her household when she lived in beverly hills, so you can imagine how nice this sucker is. also, through all of gus' early childhood it was hidden under a slip cover. my mistake for removing it and trying to have an adult-ish looking living room...

...and the worst part about this isn't the pair of twomblys on our couch, or the black twombly we found last night on the wooden toy box. no. the worst part about it is that we still haven't found the black sharpie yet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

sophie's touch

poor sophie. she inherited rich's touch (as evidenced by the video below, and please disregard my annoyance with gus and rich)--and that's not a good thing. rich has a rather overly-tactile way of approaching the world, which results in a not-gentle touch. and sophie's got it. when she wants something she grabs it with a vice-like clutch; when she tries to climb into my lap she uses her kung-fu grip to scale me. i always have little bruises all over my arms from where she has grabbed onto me for support/attention/comfort/etc. and gus is just the opposite--even when he was a little baby i never worried if he grabbed onto a dangly earring because i knew he wouldn't rip it from my lobe (sophie might actually do this). all of my friends were amazed that we left our good china out on display, at kid-level, the whole time he was growing up and even if he picked up a plate i just asked him to put it down and he did it--GENTLY. it is unfortunate for sophie--is there some form of occupational therapy that she can do to unlearn rich's touch?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

so this is what i saw...

...when i looked up from my computer yesterday. i heard a bouncing noise, i looked up--fully expecting to see gus--and it's rich. and he's having way too much fun on gus' pogo stick. sophie is scared/thrilled; gus is bouncing alongside rich (without a stick). my family is silly.

*springs squeaking* *springs squeaking* *springs squeaking*...

...*springs squeaking* *springs squeaking* *springs squeaking*...

...*springs squeaking* (sophie runs for cover) *springs squeaking*

look how happy he is!

this is moments before crashing into tomas' pile of leaves

afterwards he finally let gus have a turn