never too old

When Mark saw the witch, he suggested that I should add detail to her face. The eyelashes are actually parts of a star-shaped sequin. The eyes combine a black seed bead center with white glitter and purple/black paint - covered in liquid crackle. The nose is just the stem from her apple head, and the lips are red marker w/ liquid glass over it. I took a ton of pictures before I got one in focus - and what I notice is that her eyes are totally the kind that follow you about the room. Creepy.
She is the size of my hand.

wicked tree ornament

As I mentioned last year, we are going to have a "memory" tree where all the ornaments either have some significance to the year they were purchased, or have something to do with our lives. This year, I wanted to make a mini-book honoring Mark's first novel and also have an ornament for 'Wicked: The Musical' because it not only has a message that is very important to my life in it, but I was also able to go see it 3 times, with old friends, new friends, and family. Plus, it is representative of how we are getting off the couch and taking advantage of this city more. I was going to go buy the ornament they sell at the theatre, but then I saw these cute hand made ones and decided to do this.

Her head is a wooden apple, her hat, body and boots are felt w/ sequins, her skirt is a inked poisetta flower and some old lace from my craft stash that I inked grey, her hair is yarn, and her broom head is necklace hemp. Her shirt lapel is part of the poinsetta flower base. Her legs are just some stripey scrap fabric I had from an old shirt. I happened to have those cute little bells for some reason. This took me last night and this afternoon to put together. Most of it is hand-sewn. The heavier items are hot-glued.


oh, the horror

I am finally able to talk about what happened on Tuesday. It was so PTSD that I actually started to cry every time I thought about it. But, I think it's safe to post by now and I KNOW someday it will be a funny story.

So, my dentist cancelled two appointments in a row for a medical emergency. I don't know what the emergency was, but I suspect that he had a stroke that caused him to lose all motor control in his hands. I had two wisdom teeth cavities that needed filling, so I unknowingly rescheduled for, you guessed it, Tuesday.

He was shaking uncontrollably with a power tool in my mouth, yelling, in a hurry, and making his assistant nervous, which in turn affected how well she suctioned the blood after he cut the crap out of my cheek, or "meat" as he called it. The worst was after the slashing when he had to do the second tooth. I'm gagging on my own blood and FREAKING out in my head. He pulls out the really sharp needle pointed drill and starts shaking it into my mouth, and I'm seriously considering just walking out with unfilled holes in my teeth and calling myself lucky to have survived.

Seriously, this was the most stressful thing I have ever encountered.


my own personal nerdfest

This is what northern california looks like. ^

This is what I did while I was there...^

And this is who I saw.^

When I got home, Monish went to Home Depot with me to help me get a tree. I give Monish full credit for the perfect Noble Fir he found for me. And I got my Martha Stewart on.

new metric

you can measure awkward by how many actuaries are in the room.


Fair Enough

Hello, internet. I know you have probably been missing me deeply over the past 10 days. That's why I have dug into my old photos to find something to show you so that you will think I care about you. (I do, really.)

But first, a little husband/wife humor from a conversation yesterday-

The Man: I tell people that when my wife sees my paycheck she goes, "Ahhhh, honey. That's reeeal cute."

I add: "Let me put this riiiiight here on the fridge."

I would tell you about the sketch we wrote for the E! special that they are going to do on Mark someday when he is an American Icon, but I think he would kill me. Scratch that, I know he would kill me. Then it would be a sketch of Americas Most Wanted. And it wouldn't be as funny.

You've earned it. Here is the L.A. County Fair some time back.


cool, huh?

I am getting closer to recovering both at home & at work to having the exam season come to a peak. I just had a chance to see the pictures from the AIDS Walk (which was really amazing by the way...)

These cheerleaders were encouraging people to be. agressive. be. be. agressive. in raising money for AIDS.

This is my co-worker, sometimes car-pool buddy, and AIDS Team Member, Monish.

I was too busy to post about the event, but it is really something to see 30,000 people on one street.
This is me at the finish line. Proof that I made all 10 miles. Mark thought this looked like a chemo surviving guy, so I had to clear that mystery up.

Evan came to town for a day and we had a really good time catching up. We really don't get to see enough of each other considering our great relationship and how much fun we have together. We can just talk for hours and we get each other's humor- which is really worth a lot.

A low flying alien magnet went over our house and killed all of our electronics on Sunday. We had set aside time to order pizza and watch a movie on Monday... and then our DVD player died - and our computer monitor... so there was no surface of moving images to stare at... we did what any recovering Mormon would do. Played board games. I know, I know. Family Night. Old Skool. We played "Worst Case Scenario" where you guess what the proper survival technique is for different situations. We got three situations in a row where the correct answer required you first to take off your pants. We were laughing so hard that Mark actually fell off the couch.


Ahhh, yeah.

Even if I failed, I don't have to study for a few weeks! Reason. To. Celebrate.

Let me just take a moment to prematurely do a victory dance. No backup dancers or bag-pipes playing. Just me and my tap shoes going ape on the downstairs neighbors hopes for sleep tonight.


Okay. That was very nice.

Oh wait, I'm still doing it. I can't seem to stop. I had a very good exam session. Either my sample was very easy and will be graded more stiffly and I should not be getting excited, or else I am a genius and just killed. I think that the jury, when they come back with my score, will find me to be a genius. However, the rules stay the same as before... I will post my exact score when it arrives in approx. 8 weeks. (Check back for that when the New Years' hangover wears off.)

In the meantime, I am spoiling myself silly with scrapbooking and otherwise over indulging in wasting time doing NOTHING practical. I do owe Mark dishes until after Thanksgiving. I could not have done it without him and Baja Fresh.

I took some portraiture of Madhuri & Arun - she is very close to delivering the baby. Going through them so far, this one is my favorite.


happy halloween

We made a quick drive out to AZ to trick-0-treat with Stephanie. In an outright revolt on the socially agreed upon age limit have, for several years, dressed up and trick-o-treated with her. It is always so much more fun walking around the neighborhood reclaiming the Right to Candy For People of All Costumed Ages. Not to mention the laugh we have at every house. If someone sneers, I simply implore them to join me - panhandling for candy... or offer them a piece as I am doing this for All Adults Everywhere who are not as shameless as myself (but they can't have my peanut m&m's) or I respond that I don't have an I.D. so they can't prove anything and slouch down a foot.
My favorite reaction was the old lady who asked me where was my tattoo and I showed her the eyeliner drawing on my arm of a skull & cross bones and the words "thug life" and she said... "Oh Yes You DO" and we laughed for a half-block. One house made us do tricks and when Stephanie and her friend Jaycee didn't have a trick, they made us start over... closed the door so we could ring the bell, they could answer & we could just say "treat" instead of "trick or treat." It was pretty funny.
It was a really quick one-day trip and the drive is hard that way. But it was worth it.


before and after the hurricane

McKay is a cop in the City of Pasadena which is slightly more inland directly behind Galveston, which is where Hurricane Ike hit. Here are some very good "before and after" pictures of Galveston that I found interesting.


welcome, child

I helped Madhuri prepare for her baby shower a little bit and was honored to attend.

They had a couple of Hindi rituals to bless and welcome the baby.

And had a full course meal followed by some games.


tired of having so much extra money?

I am supporting the effort to raise money for AIDS by walking in this annual fundraising event 10K. Please consider an online donation here.

Our team is named the "Techno Chickens - Hatch Support for AIDS" I am sending anyone who donates more than $100 a dozen freshly baked home-made cinnamon rolls. Email me at mona dot mccowen at gmail dot com with your address and proof of your donation for our team to receive your cinnamon rolls. (They are really good - see a prior post for pictures.)


it's a free country

I tend to avoid political discussion. To be honest, it is usually because I feel that everyone would prefer to:

a) watch tv for entertainment and avoid having an opinion
b) watch tv in order to find out their opinion
c) regurgitate something they heard on tv because it sounds good (with or without merit)

Personally, I don't watch tv. So when I eavesdrop conversations and I can't for the life of me figure out how everyone justs buys in for the slogan catch phrase and passes off these cliché ideas like they thought of them on their own.

That said, I read the state election propositions today. Man the blues and reds are really going at it like they have it all figured out for everyone. I don't know how they come up with the names on those things. If it is called the "People For Scrapbooking Bill," you can be sure that it makes cutting paper illegal and will somehow save the kids from predators. It really doesn't matter what the issue is, or who is for it... they are always doing it for the kids.

As I am deeply addicted to the blog-o-sphere, I am just
saddened when I see people commenting whenever someone says anything even
remotely political - like "shut up, nobody asked you." Well, why are they
reading this persons blog if they don't want to know what they think? And to
quote the aforementioned election materials I was reading today:

There are more ways to participate in the electoral process.
You can: [skip to the last bullet point]

* Help educate other voters about the candidates and issues by organizing
discussion groups or participatin gin debates with friends, family, and

I just want to make the point that this is an important part of making an informed decision and participating in the free and fair democracy that gives us what liberty we enjoy.

I'm not saying we're not a country full of thinking, socially responsible people. I'm sure everyone is responsible for thinking that they think. And me not excluded.



LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?



This is Madhuri. I have been scrapbooking with her and she is quickly becoming very special to me. She is letting me practice learning how to take portrait photography with her -with an emphasis on photo journaling her pregnancy. It has been very fun. These are my first shots of her taken yesterday.

Aside, I went to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls - 4 shots were perfect! And I swam today - learning that all this time, I have been counting my distance wrong by half. I am swimming nearly 1 mile every time I go! Yay!



I went golfing and found out that I really enjoy it. I'm thinking of taking it up seriously. I have taken up swimming (thanks a lot, Olympics... I didn't have enough hobbies already.) I have only gone 4 times, but I am up to 20 laps (still less than 1 mile.)

I taught Nancy how to make cinnimon rolls using this amazing recipe I found. (Usually I just toss ingredients, but it turns out that it pays to actually measure!) They were the most amazing accomplishment in my life. Hands down. If you are in a little competition with someone about who is the better homemaker, I recommend taking these beauties to the next pot luck. No one will know what hit them, and you will become a Legend.

Michael what's-his-name who just sleeps, eats, and swims....? That will be me. Eating these cinnamon rolls, swimming so I can eat these cinnamon rolls, and then sleeping off the sugar low afterward. Mmmm.


We went to...

a comedy improv show...
the planetarium...
an underwear parade (a charity run for cancer, but some people's panties were very small...) The California Science Center (Body Works...)

The Natural History Museum...

And the Exposition Rose Garden....

No wonder I haven't posted in a while...



crazy amounts to discuss

We have been doing so much stuff with Brittany. Meditation gardens, Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art's Friday night Jazz (above), an Improv Comedy show with Madhuri, a barbeque taco night at Nancy's, to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 3D and "Dark Knight," to a mid-night party for the release of her favorite author's newest book (Stephanie Meyers,) shopping for school stuff, Scrapbooking with Madhuri every weekend, mini-golfing and batting cages, and the planetarium. Of course it wouldn't be LA without getting on set of a TV show (they were filming something for MTV at the mini-golf place) and being shaken up by a pretty decent-sized earthquake. (We're fine, by the way. But we were IN it. And it was relatively scary.)

We do have a lot of pictures, but not a lot of time to post. It's been a whirl wind.
Oh, and I got the score for my exam - a four. If you recall, six is passing, and last time I got a zero. So, four is okay. I can accept a four. And that means that next time, a six is within reason. Oh, and exam study season is already resumed. I need to kick butt.


welcome to sunny california

Jennifer, Stephanie, Lindsey, the doggie-dog Annabelle and Brittany were all here with us last week. Our guests enjoyed a flurry of Six Flags, beach sand castles, and everyone stayed in a hotel in San Diego to go to Sea World one day.

Doesn't this look wonderful? This hotel was reasonable and had a kitchen, living room with pull-out couch and double beds to sleep six. But no one guessed it would have this view! Everyone loves the eels.

I much appreciate Jennifer and Lindsey making sure that Brittany had a chance to do a lot of fun stuff while I was at work or unable to hang out.


Houston, we have lift off

I'm home from my sweet vacation. I could totally move there. We went to the space center, had a pre-4th warm up party on the 3rd, and then had a blast and drank ourselves silly at McKay's big party. It was awesome!