What the heck does that mean?

All about working as a waiter, pursuing my dream, eating vegetarian, and loving where I live!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love You, Mac Store

Wow. I had a panic moment yesterday when I woke up and my computer just STRAIGHT UP DIDN'T WORK!

Panic. For real.

Luckily, it was only the video card, which had a known defect and was replaced for FREE! So, thank you, Pasadena Apple Store, for fixing my baby at no cost. I also replaced the battery, which was very, very worth it, and LP upgraded my RAM for me.

Now I'm running on a lean, mean Apple machine! More updates to come, lots of news!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who doesn't like a cute baby video?

That's what I thought. OF COURSE you love cute baby videos. On Friday, I said good-bye to my niece when mom and dad came home from their anniversary mini-vacation. I had a great time bonding with her and can't wait to baby-sit again. Don't panic though, I'm not hankering for any babies of my own any time soon. That can wait. For a long time.

I can only imagine how paranoid I'll be. Last night I scared the dickens out of LP when I bolted upright in bed shook him awake, calling his name, and telling him to be careful because I thought he rolled onto Baby Z! LP told me that I was babbling nonsense and was pushing at him and grabbing frantically at the bed. He thought I'd gone crazy. Then I fell right back to bed. I definitely remember doing that, but I thought maybe it was a dream. What a crazy person I am.

 OK, enough build up.... here's a last tribute to my adorable niece. A little video from my cell phone!

And by the way, I'll count editing this video as doing something for my career today. A little FCP practice never hurt anybody! I wanted to rotate the video, add music, cut it down, and color correct/brighten before posting it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Absurd Customer of the Week #5 (aka Dr. Pepper Bath)

Last night I gave a customer a Dr. Pepper bath. I haven't spilled a drink on a customer since I first started waiting tables in college. Luckily, the guy was shockingly nice about it. To make it worse, though, it was his birthday. 

That was all just the icing on the cake of what was a very long and irritating Saturday night. There's a reason I usually work lunch shifts on the weekends. I make just about as much money and deal with a lot less stress. Fewer people to get in the way and run into, fewer things being dropped and broken, and fewer things getting 86'd (that's restaurant talk for fucking out of it). Last night I broke a bunch of dishes, ruined a work shirt, got stiffed on a $90 check (I'm talking ZERO tip, for no reason), and finished my night up with this miserable party where I dumped a Dr. Pepper all over the birthday guy and soaked myself in the process.

I was supposed to get this party of 20 at 9:30 PM, but they didn't actually get sat until 10:00 PM and spent THIRTY MINUTES wandering in, milling about, and getting settled. I didn't even get their order in until 10:45 PM because 10 extra people showed up and we created a horrible fire hazard by dragging over an extra table. Keep in mind, we close at 11 PM on Saturday.

I hate you.
The group was totally cramped and never paid attention to anything I said, so I had to repeat things a million times. It was chaos. And for being a cheap group, they were SO NEEDY! We fill water glasses using pitchers, so we don't bring straws unless asked, but these bitches acted like it was the end of the fucking world if they didn't get a straw. They also gave me serious attitude about their place settings.

TOTAL BITCH: Um, like, I don't have a plate or a napkin or anything. Could I just, like, get a water. And like a straw, that's all I need.

ME: I'm so sorry. We were only expecting 20, so we only had it set for that many. I'll get right on that.

I had to get this prima donna a new water THREE TIMES because, NO, she didn't want ICE. NO, she wanted it ROOM TEMPERATURE. Since all of our drinking water is chilled, I had to mix in hot water for this big baby. Now, if she had been sweet about it, "Oh, I'm sorry, I have really sensitive teeth. Could you mix this with some hot water, please?" But no, she acted like I was an evil human being, trying to torture her just for the fucking hell of it.

Because we had random tables pushed together and because they were so cramped and because no one acted like I existed... I spilled Dr. Pepper all over the place. I had two on a tray while I tried to hand off a third to a guest across the table (they were up against a wall, so I had to reach). My "excuse me's" were ignored, so I tried to set it on the table. Unfortunately, I picked an uneven spot and the drink started to tip over. Like an idiot, I tried to grab it. I saved the drink on the table, but made it worse by knocking over the ones on my tray... all over the birthday boy. Again, he was incredibly sweet about it. My manager gave him his business card, promised to pay for dry cleaning if necessary, and we bought them a bunch of dessert for the whole table. FIFTY DOLLARS worth of dessert.

Can I just say how glad I am that they actually paid the gratuity? I was afraid they would totally refuse... which, considering that I spilled a bunch of drinks on the guest of honor, wouldn't have been out of line. I would have been pissed, but I would have understood. They would have had a legitimate reason. But they paid it. So, thank you. But you know what? You were late for your reservation, had 10 additional people show up, were extremely rude and demanding, and treated me like less than human.

OH, and you kept me at the restaurant past midnight and had me run FIFTEEN CREDIT CARDS with different totals. One was declined, so I had to go through additional rigmarole to fix the situation. So, yeah... you win ABSURD CUSTOMER(S) OF THE WEEK! Assholes. Except for the birthday boy. You were nice. I'm glad I didn't get any soda on your gorgeous wool coat.  

You deserve better friends.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Z and the Zoo!

Baby Z and I had a FANTASTIC day today! Yesterday, she was up at 5:30 AM, but today she let me sleep in until 6:15-- WOW! Now, let's take a moment to recognize that if left to my own devices, I will regularly sleep until noon or later. So, for me to get up that early and stay up without any naps is truly remarkable. I was really afraid that I wouldn't wake up to hear Z cry or be so tired that I couldn't respond to her, but I think I've reacted as well as any mom would.

We had a nice, slow morning, eating breakfast and listening to NPR. After Z's mid-morning nap, we got all bundled up and headed off to the L.A. Zoo!!! LP and I have a yearly membership, so Z and I went for free.

 I was so impressed with her. I put her in the Ergo and she was so comfy and well behaved. I think she really liked it and it was the best way for her to people watch and enjoy the animals.

I also couldn't help myself... I brought Sophie the Giraffe, Zoe's zebra toy, a plush elephant toy to hang from the stroller, and a giraffe print blanket. C'mon, if you go to the zoo, you gotta bring all the wild animal themed gear! 

Holy giraffe, could that be cuter/funnier?

About halfway through the visit, she had some milk and then fell asleep in her stroller and stayed asleep until we got home.

After that, my friend Amy came to visit and we took a walk to Portos for coffee and took a stroll around the block. Then, Zoe had dinner, took a bath, got snuggled up in her PJs and went right off to sleep after a couple bedtime stories.

What a perfect day. Even Spike got some play time! 

Auntie Nelle finished off her evening with a big bowl of curried lentils with fresh tomatoes from the garden and creamy goat cheese! Especially nice was getting to enjoy it while watching "Project Runway" on a nice big TV. Go Mondo!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Houses, Dogs, Weather, Babies and Gender-Political Issues (whew!)

I've been house sitting since last Thursday while my brother and his family made the Grand Tour of Iowa to visit family. None of them (except our parents) had met Baby Z yet, so I'm sure it was pretty exciting for all of them. MORE exciting though? Me getting to house/dog sit!!! Here's the highlights:
  1. Having people over.  We haven't been able to host a get together or party since we've lived together. It was nice playing hostess and Jake used the grill to make fajitas and everyone enjoyed a porch and a backyard.
  2. LAUNDRY. Holy shit I think I've washed everything I own, plus Jake's clothes, plus towels and all our bedding. Not worrying about quarters or timing is an amazing gift.
  3. Cable/TV. On Thursday night, I got to watch Project Runway before midnight on a big screen TV. I've been numbing my mind with bullshit shows like "Bridezillas." We don't own a TV, so we normally just play movies on our laptop and watch Netflix/Hulu.
  4. Having a Dog. Although Spike is a bit of a jerk, I fell in love with him the first time I watched him for my sister-in-law. Spike and I lived together for three months and I adore him...even if he is a pain.
    Our First Kiss, 2008
  5.  Space to Live. There's an excess of room in this house, and it's spacious, clutter free, and CLEAN. I'm naturally a clean freak, but I've made concessions and sacrifice in the name of cheap rent and love. Having some time to chill and focus has been great. I also like eating at a table instead of on my lap. That's nice.
 The only downfall of getting to enjoy this house is that it's in Burbank, which is farther away from my job, which has meant a longer commute and more gas burned. Since LP's commute is already ridiculously long, he hasn't been able to hang out with me much while I've stayed here. Sad. We miss each other and I don't care much for sleeping alone.

Los Angeles has been cool and rainy while I've been staying here. I'm currently bundled up in my favorite sweatshirt. Hooray Ernie and Bert!!!! I also went to Locali and snagged my favorite vegan marshmallows. These are cheaper than the ones they sell at Whole Foods (Sweet & Sara), which are delicious and gourmet, but cost about $7 for a half dozen. Dandies sell for about $5 and you get 10 oz. and lots of marshmallows that taste exactly like the non-vegetarian variety. I've been eating them plain, making s'mores, and putting them in hot chocolate! I found a great vegan recipe for spicy cocoa. Perfect on these cold nights.

Last night, the family returned to L.A. and this evening marked my first night of watching the baby. Z was pretty strung out from all the traveling and time zone changes, so I wasn't surprised when she cried, and cried, and cried, and eventually cried herself to sleep. Poor thing. Although, she did go down at her usual LA bedtime, so I'm pretty pleased with myself! And Z.

My brother and sister-in-law have a nanny (she's amazing) who watches Z during the day when they work, so she's able to come by while I work a lunch shift. Thursday and Friday though... I'm watching her all day!! Eek!

After work, I stopped by Target to pick up this awesome thermal from the Boys' Department! It's super cozy and it came in a package paired with matching long underwear! Woo hoo! Guess who's going to be snuggly and warm tonight?!?! And, of course, I had to pose for this photo with my "sexy" silly model face. What could possibly be more appropriate?

And that brings me to the final point that I mentioned in this post's title. Gender-Political issues. And babies. As I was strolling past the kids' section at Target, I noticed the cutest little T-shirt. It was baby blue and had a little stethoscope print around the neck! ADORABLE! I was hoping it was appropriately placed in a gender neutral kind of section for babies. It wasn't. It was on a rack labeled "Boys' Licensed T-Shirts" and was displayed next to the Toy Story, Spiderman, Tonka Truck, and other similarly branded clothing. There were also little boy T-Shirts to look like police officer and firefighter uniforms. I figured, surely, these same career related clothes will be located on the girls' rack, too.

In the clothing section for babies and toddlers, the racks are intermingled for boys and girls. But they are clearly defined by pink and blue signs. Labels. At 6 months, we're already putting labels on our kids. When I found the rack for "Girls' Licensed T-shirts" it was NOTHING put princess gear. And pink. How fucking depressing. So you know what I did? I bought the doctor shirt. For my niece. FUCK YOU clothing manufacturers for deciding that my niece wouldn't have career goals some day.

She may decide to become a baker or a stay-at-home mom or a teacher or a CEO or a pop star or maybe, just maybe, a doctor. Whatever she wants to be, that's cool. But maybe we should treat all kids equally, regardless of gender. They can wear whatever they want as they get older and decide what labels they want for themselves...but we don't need to be bombarding them with it from birth. This t-shirt is a little big now, but she'll grow into it soon enough.

If you want to know more about gender-neutral clothing and child rearing. Check out Pink Stinks! or one of my favorites (even though I don't have kids), Offbeat Mama.
Someday, when I have kids, I'll probably dress them in bright, colorful clothes and neutrals as much as possible. There's nothing wrong with having some pink clothes for girls and trucks for boys... hell, I love pink because it looks good on me. But I don't think it needs to be so extreme on each side. I just wish more manufacturers gave better options for kids.

End rant.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Murder Mystery Dinner!

The restaurant I work at has decided to host its First Annual Murder Mystery Dinner! We have so many talented people working there that we don't have to go far outside of our "family" to find the cast. I spent about 5 unpaid hours at work today assisting with the auditions. Why did I do this??? I have no idea. Looking for instant gratification, I suppose. At least I got some free pizza and coffee out of it.

We will have one rehearsal and one performance. It's mostly improv, of course, with a few little scripted bits. Part of me is terrified of a train wreck, but the guests are mostly paying for the wine and food (as opposed to the show), so even if it is a disaster... c'est la vie.

I technically auditioned, but it was essentially a formality, since there wasn't anyone else who could really play that character. What that audition made me realize was that I really, REALLY need to take some improv classes. It's something that does scare me a bit, especially in auditions... and nowadays commercial auditions are largely centered on improvisation. I tend to freeze up. Since the character I was auditioning for was supposed to be military trained in the special ops and is a bit dark and gothic, I acted like those frozen moments were actually intimidating, not blank outs. I'm not sure I was convincing, but since there really wasn't anyone else...

Ingenue, I am not, and my comedic chops should definitely be honed. I adore Tina Fey. I need to be more like her. I'll keep you all posted on whether I make a total fool of myself. Oh, well...there's free wine. If it starts to fall apart, I'll just get blitzed.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Do Just One Thing for Your Career... Every Day

LP was given advice once by a young, fairly successful actor:

Do at least ONE thing for your career every day.

Doing just one thing every day may not seem like much (and going to the gym or something doesn't count, even for actors), but before you know it, a week goes by, a month, a year, and... what do you know? You haven't been pursuing anything. I'm sure this advice could apply to just about anybody, but for anyone who is essentially a small business owner, you have to be self-motivated.

For a long time, I've been full of excuses, mostly financial ones, of why I wasn't doing much of anything. After I graduated, I did an internship, then was a background actor full time until I became SAG eligible. Then my excuse was that I needed to find a serving job, because I couldn't afford to not work a day to go audition. Once I got my current job, I worried about asking for too much time of if I did get involved in a project. I felt guilty about spending money on my career when I owed money to family. 

And trying to be an actor is like owning a small (ok, VERY small) business.

But today, I signed up, paid for, and filled out my complete profile/resume on L.A. casting. Cost: $104.95 for six months plus one additional photo.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do the same for Actor's Access.

Eventually I want to subscribe to IMDb Pro and Backstage West, join Actor's Network, put my reel together, buy my domain name and build a website, get business cards, and it goes on and on. But there's no excuses. With my debt gone, it's time to put that money towards me.

Thanks, by the way, Delilah. Your post reminded me of this advice. But you added something that really hit home for me. That was that the dishes can wait, washing my hair can wait, running some bullshit errand can wait. Doing that one thing will make me feel way better. And it did!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Debt Free!!!!

Today is an extremely important day in my life. Today, I am officially:


I paid off my credit card debt this spring/summer and today I made my final payment to my brother. Several years ago, my oldest brother helped me purchase a used car. I had been in an accident where my car was totaled by an uninsured driver and since I had "liability only" coverage, most of the costs weren't covered. My brother was completely amazing and loaned me a little over $2,000 to help me buy a new car. Today, I transferred the final amount owed to him.

This is an AMAZING feeling and I'm just so happy to know that I'm now going to have the extra money I need to pursue my career, take classes, etc... No excuses now! 

Generic happy "debt free" image.
How did I accomplish this feat? Well, first, I got a job. Part of the reason I had debt to begin with was because I spent a year working as an extra/background actor where my income was completely...um...lacking. I couldn't pay more than the minimum on what I already owed from my laptop/plane tickets home. So interest built up. Then, I was so broke, that I had to start putting things like groceries on my credit card. Then there were some car repairs, and so on and so on.

Once I got my current job, I was able to throw down money on that credit card like crazy. I also never bought anything that I couldn't pay for in full. The biggest help, besides having a job, of course, was keeping my bills/expenses low. I didn't get a smart phone until last month, because I wanted to keep my cell phone bill below $50. I also don't pay for cable TV. Biggest of all, though, is my rent. While it's expensive compared to someone living in the Midwest, I only pay $450 a month. Compared to everyone else I know...this is nothing. I share a two bedroom apartment with my Life Partner and one other roommate. It's a small, VERY small two bedroom...but we make it work. Splitting the internet and electricity bill three ways is helpful, too.

A year ago, we actually had FIVE people living in this apartment. LP and I shared one bedroom, while our current roommate shared his with another friend. Then that roommate's girlfriend moved in because she got kicked out of her place. So I was paying even less than I am now.

Although, right now, we do have an extended house guest sleeping on the living room floor. He just moved to L.A. so we're trying to help him out by letting him stay here for awhile. Friends say I'm crazy, but... that's my life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Labrador and Dingo = Best Friends

It's cute overload and I want to take them both home.

I'm sure a dingo and a lab puppy would be PERFECTLY happy living in my tiny L.A. apartment. No problem.

It's a rainy afternoon and all I want to do is curl up like these guys. Is that okay? I don't want to drive to Home Depot or get an oil change or clean or cook. I just want to stay riiiiiight here.

And that's why I'm writing a post about lab and dingo puppies... because that's better than doing any of those other things. It's a wonderful day off from work. *sigh*
Thank you, Zoo Borns, for filling my afternoon with cuteness. I love you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rainy Day Comfort

My dear friend Amy and I went to Intelligentsia  for some yummy lattes in Silverlake today and then walked down to Lark for some FREE cupcakes. If you go in on Wednesday, it's buy one get one free, but if you don't opt for the second cupcake, you get a little card for a free cupcake or 10% discount the next time you come in! How amazing is that? I swear, they don't pay me.

Amy's latte was so pretty that we both took pictures of it. How gorgeous is that?

Tonight is so cool and rainy, I think I might stab an attempt at a vegetarian clam chowder-ish soup. It might be a colossal failure, as I've never seen a recipe like that before. Although I hate to leave my apartment for groceries when I'm so comfy and the roads are all hydroplane-y.

P.S. I've written before about how much I adore Tim Gunn but now that love has grown tenfold. He just posted a video as a message to young LGBTQ teens about how life does get better, urges them seek help, and he shares personal details about his own struggles as a young man. It's very touching and just shows what a wonderful human being he is.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Belle & Sebastian in concert!!!

Yup, Reason #3,456 (or whatever I said) for Loving L.A.


Talk about freaking serendipitous. Saturday night I drove a coworker home, so I took a different route home than I normally would. I was driving on Sunset, and as I was passing the Palladium, I saw that BELLE & SEBASTIAN was playing the following night! 

I really wanted to go, but it was late and as soon as I got home I crashed. I had to get up early the next morning for work and didn't have time to see if tickets were still for sale.

As I was sitting around at the start of the shift, polishing glassware, I was lamenting the story to my coworkers. Well, wouldn't you know, one of the guys I work with just happened to be in possession of a pair of BELLE & SEBASTIAN tickets!!!!! A buddy of his wanted to get rid of them, and this coworker offered to try and sell them. Lucky me, I got them at a reduced rate. I asked my brother to come with me since he's the one who got me into them in the first place.

I wish I had some photos of my own to share, but I really hate people who stick their cell phones up in the middle of a show. It's so distracting and the flash is obnoxious. The Palladium is an amazing venue though. Used to be a ballroom back in the day...totally gorgeous. The concert was great. They played a lot of newer stuff I didn't really recognize, and they really pepped up a lot of their songs to have more energy for the show. Coolest part was the full band: four violins, two pianos, two keyboards, drummer, flute, cello, french horn, trumpet, harmonica, recorder.... people played multiple instruments. Talented group for sure.

Mostly, I was just super excited that I got to go on a whim and that it all worked out so perfectly. Plus, I got to hang out with my big brother. Awesome.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Absurd Customer of the Week #4

This woman and her husband came in tonight and she was so ridiculous that I knew right away that she was getting this top honor.

ME: Hello--
BITCH: Yeah, can we get two waters, just regular tap water, and we don't want the oil and vinegar, just butter for the bread.
ME: Okaaaay, right away--
BITCH: Mine without ice.

I come back shortly with her water sans ice and the bread/butter.

BITCH: Okay we know what we want, we come in all the time and we get pretty much the same thing every time. We both want the side salad with romaine only--
ME: I'm sorry, do you want the italian tossed or the caesar or...
BITCH: What? It's just the side salad... it's called the side salad
(Note: almost all of our salads come as side salads so this is not as obvious as she would think)
BITCH: Anyway, we want ALL romaine lettuce with white beans, extra white beans on the side, with the pink dressing, with extra dressing on the side...
HUSBAND: I'd like mine with tomatoes and onion, as well...
BITCH: And we want it topped with SHREDDED MOZZARELLA....not crumbled or sliced. We want SHREDDED mozzarella, so be sure to tell them that because they usually get it wrong.
HUSBAND: And for my entree I'll have a side of two meatballs with marinara sauce.

To be honest, I had to repeat their order back to them a couple of times because the way they ordered it was actually MUCH more confusing than this... but there's no way I could replicate it here. They rattled it off faster than I could write it.

So, I hand write all of the special instruction for the kitchen and spell it out for the guy making the salads and I tell him that this lady is crazy, so to make sure to get it right. When they're ready, I take them out personally to make sure it's okay.

The second I go to set it down, I'm not shocked at all that this is not to the woman's specifications.

BITCH: What is this cheese? It looks like it's SHAVED, not shredded. What did you tell them?!
ME: I'm so sorry, I told them shredded mozzarella, so I'm not sure...
BITCH: This is NOT right, have them re-make this and make sure you get the SHREDDED MOZZARELLA.
HUSBAND: This is fine. I'll take mine, I don't care.
ME: I'm so sorry, let me take yours back and ask the chef. Maybe he got the wrong one by mistake.

Congrats. You earned it.
Now here's where I actually get mad at someone besides the customer, because I show the salad to my chef and it turns out that this is actually shaved Parmesan, not mozzarella at all. So, the bitch was totally right. AND, the guy who made the salad actually knew the difference, but was too lazy to go back to the refrigerator to get the right kind. So, I really let him have it... if it was an honest mistake, that's one thing, but to just be straight up lazy? It's like lying. What if she had an allergy or something? But he was setting me up to get yelled at, basically, and he KNEW it, because I had already told him that this lady was crazy. She gets that salad all the time, of course she'd know the difference.

So I brought the corrected salad out to her.

ME: I'm so sorry about that. The guy making the salads is sort of new, so I think maybe he didn't know the difference (lie, lie, lie).
BITCH: This is right, you see how the--
ME: Yes, absolutely. I definitely see the difference now. Again, so sorry about that.

To make the story even better and this bitch even crazier, my buddy tells me that he heard her tearing apart her husband for "throwing her under the bus" by accepting his salad and for making her look bad for only demanding what she ordered and continued to berate him for letting people walk all over him.

Then, after they had paid, the bitch flags down Thomas, who happens to be an absurdly attractive young man. He asks if he can help her with anything and she says, "Never mind, you're too young" and the husband says, "Yes, do you know a good psychotherapist?"

Wow. Thank goodness the husband paid. Their meal cost a whopping $14.67, but he did leave me four bucks. I'm sure that's 20% plus a dollar to cover the crazy. I'm also quite certain that I overheard her asking if I took the salad off or if he asked me to take it off because I heard him say, "Well, I'm sure it's too late now" as I swiped the credit card. I wasn't about to take off that salad, not in a million years, because I don't believe in rewarding crazy bitches. If she had been a sweetheart and nice about being particular, I would have taken off the salad AND gotten her some free lemon cookies.

You go A LOT farther in life being nice than being a jerk. To contrast that bitch, I had another table at the same time that was sooooooo sweet. They were sort of particular about some things, but they were very, very, very nice. They guessed that I was from the Midwest because I was so genuine and sweet. So, I brought THEM some lemon cookies. HA. I hope the mozzarella bitch overheard it all!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Family in L.A.

Moving out to Los Angeles or any other large city can be seriously daunting for some people. My oldest brother moved out to L.A. and didn't know a single person. Not ONE. My Life Partner moved out here and didn't know anyone (well, except that I had a brother he had never met). I moved to the O.C. about six months later. I didn't know anyone in Fullerton (where I went to college) and my roommate was a stranger I had found on some random website. I was pretty lonely, but at least my boyfriend was living in L.A. and I had FAMILY. It was so reassuring to know that I could call one of my brothers and they could be there in a couple hours.

I am so lucky and grateful that I have family in Los Angeles. Not just my Life Partner, but also both of my older brothers. The one recently moved a couple hours south for work, but he's still relatively close. My other brother and his wife live in Burbank, less than 20 minutes away (depending on traffic). They've helped me out of several jams and even let me live with them for a few months, RENT FREE! I owe them both so much.

That's why I am their devoted free babysitter for life! I mean, my baby niece is so cute and squishable and I'm so happy to be an aunt that I would babysit for them anyway... but I also know that those two have done more for me than I can ever give back. So I'm more than happy to give them a night out.

I mean, look at that baby in her rad pajamas! Who wouldn't want to sing her lullabies and read bedtime stories?! Please ignore, by the way, what a hideous photo that is of me (OMG look at that CLAW HAND attacking the baby!!). But Baby Z looks very cute.

LP, me and Z!
Baby Z is also part of the reason I started blogging. Since most of the family lives about 2,000 miles away, my brother started a blog so that everyone could watch her grow. Our grandparents especially love it. If you like looking at cute baby pictures, check it out. When my brother started that blog, I thought, "No way is my baby niece going to have a blog and not me!"

In October, my brother, sister-in-law, and Baby Z are all going to Iowa for a family visit. Again, my grandparents are beyond excited to meet their great-granddaughter for the first time. Lucky for me, I get to house/dog sit while they are gone! A house, a yard, a dog, washer and dryer, and CABLE.... a TV???!!!! Sign me up. Even though it means a longer commute to work, I can handle it for a week. Then, when the family gets back from Iowa, bro and the wife are taking a mini-vacation to celebrate their anniversary. That means three whole days with Baby Z!!! We're going to the zoo and it will be awesome.

While I was baby-sitting last night, I changed the words to American Lullaby to make it a customized bedtime song for Z... I only picked that song because I once learned it for a voice class and it was the only one I could think of...

Hush-a-bye you sweet little Zoe and don’t you cry any more.
Mommy has gone to the editor's office a keepin’ the wolf from the door.
Auntie will raise the window shade high,
So you can see the cars whizzing by.
Home in a hurry each mommy must fly
To a baby like you.
Hush-a-bye you sweet little Zoe and close those pretty blue eyes.
Daddy has got fantasy football league to get his wee baby the prize.
Auntie will turn the Sleep Sheep on
So you can hear a sleepy-time song,
Sung by a lady whose poor heart must long
For a baby like you.

Lucky that Zoe replaces "baby" so well. I also decided that in 2010, it should be Mommy who goes to work, not Daddy....although either would be equally true in their case.