Archive | December, 2003

Only in Albuquerque

31 Dec

Thanks to my brother, Chuck, who found this interesting article about our hometown of Albuquerque, NM.

Man, I’m on a posting frenzy today.

New Year’s Resolutions

31 Dec

As promised, here are my official 2004 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Write my book. No more excuses. I’ve only been talking about it for a year. Time to get down to business.
2. Attain my driver’s license weight. Atkins, I’m back! (Although forgive me if I’m too afraid to weigh for a few weeks….) This goal will include maintaining my current regimen of weights 3x/week and cardio 3x/week.
3. Compete in an open water swim. (I had originally planned to set a goal of running a 10K, but I injured my foot last weekend and am not sure how long this injury will take to heal.)
4. Master a repertoire of Billy Joel, Elton John, and Jimmy Buffet tunes on the piano. I was classically trained for 11 years, so pop tunes provide a fresh challenge for me.
5. Take a self defense class. I’ve been talking about this for at least five years, and once again, it’s time to take action or take it off my mental check list.
6. Continue watercolor painting.

Trips I’d like to take this year include:

  • Family ski trip to Mammoth, CA in February.
  • Return to the homeland (New Mexico). It has been too long since I’ve seen Amber and my God daughter, Kylie. Plus, JB needs to experience authentic New Mexican food.
  • The East Coast Tour (as dubbed by JB), including NYC and Washington D.C.
  • Southern CA. I’m totally itching to swim in the ocean and hang on the beach.

Happy New Year, y’all! JB and I will be ringing in the New Year in Downtown Reno. We plan to jam to two of our favorite local bands (Deja Blues and Blue Haven) and then view the fireworks over the strip at midnight (weather permitting).

Merry Belated Christmas, Tucker

31 Dec

I went to Costco last night, and as I walked past the dog beds, I felt a twinge of guilt because I hadn’t given Tucker the pooch anything for Christmas. I had been looking at these beds for a while, since his current bed is the one he’s had since he was a puppy and it is in really bad shape.

So I picked out a new bed for Tucker. It is about 1.5 feet thick and is totally plush. When I brought it in for the house, I swear that pooch totally knew that I had bought him a new bed and he thought I was the best Mom ever.

I took it upstairs and plopped it down where his old bed used to be, and the pooch was super excited. He laid down on it, then stood up and sniffed all around the top of it. Then he dug his snout underneath the bed and sniffed the entire underside of it, manically wagging his tail the entire time.

And when we finally decided to go to sleep for the night, that dog curled up on his new bed and had the purest look of contentment on his face.

Now I feel redeemed for not celebrating Christmas with the pooch.


31 Dec

I learned a new word last night. JB called me ‘Plucky’, and thanks to, I now know the official definition:

adj. pluck�i�er, pluck�i�est
Having or showing courage and spirit in trying circumstances

I don’t know what it is about that word, but every time I hear it, I think of a chicken. Pluck pluck pluck.

A Naked Christmas

29 Dec

The theme of this year’s Christmas seemed to be nudity…. But I’ll start from the beginning of the story.

My holiday began with a trek through the Sierra mountains during a snow storm. Luckily, my work let me go a little early, but still, the normal 2 hour drive took almost 4 hours. It was snowing extremely hard at the top of the mountain, plus there was a ton of fog. Talk about excitement. I was white knuckling it the entire way.

I arrived in Folsom to find my brother and sister-in-law’s house smelling strongly of sugar. Mom and Jane had been baking up a storm, as there were all kinds of cookies and candies to behold. My nephew, Jack, greeted me with a hug, and the kid smelled of chocolate and had chocolate all over his face. Now really, isn’t that the perfect start to a holiday?!

That night, we had a dinner of prime rib, and every time we asked Jack if Santa was coming to see him, he’d say ‘Santa is right there’, pointing at the Santa decoration on the table.

It took Greg and Jane quite a while to get Jack to sleep that night because he was suddenly afraid of Santa, and whenever a dog ran past his room, he was convinced Santa had arrived.

Tucker was the only dog at the Cook family Christmas celebration without a stocking or gifts. Gosh, I’m a bad mother. But I told everyone that Tucker didn’t celebrate Christmas, and we determined that he must be a Jehovah’s Witness. Jane and Mom were nice enough to find a stocking for him and donate some of their dog’s Christmas presents to Tucker. What a lucky pooch.

Christmas morning began at 7 am, since we had a little one around. Jack was thrilled to discover that Santa had brought him a new bike, a rocking horse, and a sled that he called ‘a boat’. Jack soon became overwhelmed by all of the presents, and I had to start begging him to open another ‘surprise’. After an hour intermission for breakfast, we finished opening packages around 11:00.

As the package opening orgy was winding down, I was sitting in front of the tree, and my brother was standing about 5 inches in front of me, basically putting his butt in my face. He stood there for a good minute, and I decided that something must be done about this situation. I made a mental note that he was wearing sweats and that it’d be easy to de-pants him.

And I did.

And it was easy.

And he wasn’t wearing any underwear.

So then, my face was five inches away from my brother’s butt-crack, and my poor sister-in-law got the frontal view. I am so sorry. No sister-in-law should ever be subjected to seeing that view of her brother-in-law.

I started frantically trying to shove his pants back up, but to no avail.

And damn, was it funny. We laughed and laughed, and I was clutching my stomach and rubbing the tears out of my eyes. He then tackled me and gave me a noogie as revenge.

That night, after a dinner that featured margaritas and tamales, we played Jane’s new game called Hillarium. I totally recommend this game. It is kind of like charades, but everyone is acting something out at the same time. I learned that my Mom doesn’t know who Darth Vader is and she doesn’t know what the Moonwalk is. Oh, and Dad thought that Mr. Rogers was Roy Rogers.

The next day, after a muddy mountain bike ride, I departed for Palo Alto to enjoy the antics of JB’s family. JB had decided that we would go on a hike in the mountains (OK, they’re really hills) around Palo Alto, so as soon as I arrived, we took off for the hike.

It was really beautiful up there. Despite the fact that I lived in Northern California for 3 months about 7 years ago, I had never seen the mountainous areas, and they are beautiful, lush forests with tons of ferns and moss growing on the trees. We hiked until sunset, and then headed back to his parents’ house.

As JB’s Mom was preparing dinner, JB started rubbing his shoulder, and soon realized that he had a tick.

Let the mayhem begin.

JB’s Mom took him into the bathroom to perform the extraction, and his dad, sister, and I followed to watch the procedure. I was utterly fascinated. Being a desert girl, I had never seen a tick in action.

And then he found another tick on his side.

That was when his Mom ordered him to strip down so that he could be searched for more ticks. And he promptly stripped down to his underwear, right in front of his entire family and me.

JB’s sister and I graciously left the room, trying to give the poor guy some privacy. Meanwhile, I went into the bathroom and checked myself, gratefully finding that I was tick-free.

After it was determined that JB didn’t have any more ticks on him, it was determined that he needed to go to Urgent Care to get an antibiotic shot to prevent Lyme disease. So JB and his Mom took off, and his father, sister and I decided to go ahead and eat without them.

I totally felt like I had ticks crawling all over me while I was sitting at the dinner table, and the feeling was only calmed after I went and changed all of my clothes.

JB and his Mom returned an hour and a half and one tetanus shot later. He’s going to be alright, folks.

On Saturday, after a long run with JB, we headed to San Francisco with his family to see Golden Gate Park and the Steinhart Aquarium. We saw some really cool fish and reptiles. My favorite fish were the flashlight fish that were in a dark tank… They have these spots under their eyes that light up. Totally cool. And JB’s Dad had a flashlight handy so that we could see what the actual fish looked like since all you could see in the dark tank were the flashing lights.

Saturday also happened to be JB’s parents’ 36th anniversary. I just have to say that I think it is so awesome that both my parents and JB’s parents have had very long, successful marriages. (My parents just celebrated their 40th anniversary this summer.) In today’s society, long marriages are truly something to be cherished and to be proud of. We celebrated at a wonderful restaurant called Bogies. It had a 50s French theme, and the food was absolutely incredible. Our dinner was topped off with a dessert of Crepes Suzette. Yum.

On Sunday, JB and I had decided to go on a bike ride so that he could show me the neighborhood. It turned out to be a 30 mile bike ride, but I saw some really incredible scenery. We went up into the hills and saw more beautiful forests and gurgling creeks. And I hit a top speed of 28 miles per hour on the way back down the hill.

Sunday night, the return drive that usually takes 4.5 hours took us almost 7 hours (OK, subtract the time we stopped for dinner and then stopped at Greg and Jane’s to pick up Tucker). We managed to hit another snow storm as we were driving through the Sierras, so I spent a good hour in four wheel drive driving through a winter wonderland.

So that’s pretty much the download. It was really hard to get back into the work groove today, but I’m really looking forward to another 4 day weekend this week. JB and I don’t really have any solid plans for New Year’s, but I’m actually looking forward to a bit of R&R since I’ve been on the go a lot lately.

Oh, and you readers of will be glad to know that my brothers and sister-in-laws gave me a digital camera for Christmas, so this site will soon have many more photos for your enjoyment and entertainment.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

24 Dec

Over the mountains
And through the snow
To Greg and Jane’s house I go…

The snow will be falling
And Dad will be calling
To see if I’m stranded in a ditch.

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Three dogs were stirring
Keeping 2 year old Jack aroused.

There were eight Cooks a sleeping
Soundly under one roof
Until the dogs started saying ‘woof woof’.

It is a California Christmas
We’ll leave the snow
In Reno.

OK, people, that was my best attempt at a Christmas poem for you. As you can tell, there will be 8 humans and 3 dogs celebrating in Folsom this year. Merry Christmas! I’ll be back next week. And in the mean time, play nice, kiddies!

If you haven’t received a Christmas card from me, read my e-Christmas letter!

Feeling Fudgey

23 Dec

I made my first batch of fudge ever last night. Fudge has always been one of my favorite Christmas treats that Mom makes, and our family has long been convinced that Mom makes some of the best fudge in the entire world.

I never knew how easy it was to make fudge. I was done in less than a half an hour, and from the little bite I took of it this morning, I am pretty sure it was a success. The knowledge that I can now make Mom’s fudge is a bit dangerous, especially if I get a craving for it in the near future.

But until last night, I didn’t know what all went into fudge, and it does have the potential to send you into insulin shock or clog your artiries with un-salted butter. I made a half recipe, which required two full cups of butter and tons of sugar and chocolate. And even though it turned out delicious, I find that I’m not as inclined to dig in now that I know what it is made of.

Merry Christmas Eve’s Eve!