Friday, June 29, 2007

Music, by Mer

So most of you know that I really love music. I think I may have even become a bit of an elitist when it comes to music – I like what I like, and hate everything else. They say people get more opinionated as they get older, and I think that’s making itself apparent in my case.

Growing up in a family with super strict parents and a gay brother, music was bound to be a huge part of my life. Actually, my mother played the flute growing up and MADE my brother and me take part in band during middle school so that we would know how to read music – it was one of the things that she absolutely wanted for us. That was relatively painless enough, so we both obliged. (Plus, being a cheerleader that played the dorky clarinet broke all kinds of social expectations, and I loved that!)

Anyway, my strict parents didn’t let me leave the house very often, because most of my childhood I was grounded for various things – cursing, talking back, breaking rules of all sorts… So really, my refuge was my room, and the only thing to do was read or listen to music. I chose the latter. Music was practically my imaginary friend growing up! And because my brother was also perpetually grounded, I listened to the music which blared from his room across the hall… Mostly stuff like New Order, Erasure, Yaz, Depeche Mode, Madonna, Souxie and Banshees... You get the genre… 80s electronic dance music (which I used to very politically incorrectly call ‘gay music’)! :)

Anyway, it’s pretty much mandatory, being from Texas, that I like country music, and I do. I like hip hop, but only in the car. I listen to pop, jazz, lounge, and classical at work, and if I’m out and about, it’s gotta be house music/ techno beats. House music is something I’ve developed a taste for since I got to SD, and it’s totally under my skin – I love it because it totally energizes me and it's the only music that inspires me to dance, very much like the stuff that I used to listen to coming from my brother’s room. It’s definitely not as popular with the mainstream, because radios don’t play it, and there are no videos, but perhaps that’s part of the mystique for me.

So I was reading the news today, and apparently in Boston a couple of days ago, Paul Oakenfold (a famous techno/ trance DJ) paired up with the Boston Orchestra to perform a show together. Oakenfold mixed samples and drum tracks scratched on a turntable, and played a synthesizer while the orchestra played. I can imagine that was really amazing and unique mix of sounds, I would have LOVED to have been there!!! I’m sure there were mixed reviews, though… Can you imagine the Boston elite showing up for their regular night of well-heeled hob nobbing and experiencing techno beats (potentially for the first time)? What culture shock!

Anyway, that reminds me... here in San Diego the Summer Pops Series in Embarcadero Park on San Diego has started. Actually, this weekend is the Star Spangled Pops, or a collection of American marches and such; I bet it’ll be really fun. If you haven’t checked it out, I totally recommend that you do so – it’s a great experience! I always buy the lawn seats, sneak in a bottle of wine, bring some blankets and good company, and enjoy the symphony picnic style. It’s awesome! You can find out more about it here:

K, I'm done with that topic for now. Ciao! Mer


Just wanted to share a new photo of my baby doggie and me. Baci's doing great! His legs are SO long, just like a Poodle's, but his hair is super soft like a Maltese, so he's definitely a great blend of the two. And the housetraining is going quite well - the accidents are happening less and less. I'm so proud!

Have a great weekend, everyone. I plan to spend mine RELAXING - lots of time at the gym, movie watching, cuddling and playing with Baci, and maybe a little time by the pool... :)

Love, Mer

Thursday, June 28, 2007

North Carolina In My Mind

What up, NC peeps?! Yep, the rumor is true - I'm heading out for a visit soon. WOOO HOOO!! I haven't been out since Nancy's wedding last year, so I'm due for a long visit. I'll be visiting from September 12th - 18th, so I hope to have plenty of time to see everyone while I'm there. I can't wait to swim in that warm Atlantic Ocean, relearn some super Southern phrases that I always mispronounce and have no idea what they mean, eat some shrimp and grits, and see everyone's smiling faces. I don't have an itinerary yet, but once I hear from everyone I'm planning to visit, I'll let you know my schedule. Libby!! That means you!! ;)

And NOOOOOOOOOO, I'm not moving back. It's just a visit... But I can't wait to see all of you!

Love, Mer xx

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go

It’s so interesting how people come and go from our lives – lovers, friends, colleagues, enemies, and even family. Closest friends one year can be complete strangers the next; lovers in your heart and your bed can be extinct in a matter of days or weeks, and even close relatives can even become distant. It’s such a natural order of life, but the feelings that such loss elicits can be very powerful. Believe me, I’m experiencing it now!

There are so many people from the past who are strangers now, but meant a great deal to me at the time - people I loved, respected and touched my life and heart in poignant ways, people who got me through certain situations (like moves, divorce, breakups, job changes, etc.), and friends who held several different purposes – social, professional, intellectually inspirational, romantic, or even out of convenience. In return, I give them my time, energy, loyalty, honesty, trust, advice, support, and love; it's the best I have to offer. But I guess God puts people in our lives for different reasons, and perhaps people expunge themselves when they are no longer productive. And that does include me from others' lives!

Now that I’m in my 30s, everything is suddenly so different; I feel like my level of clarity has increased tenfold. Don’t get me wrong – my 20s was really monumental… I graduated from college, started my career, got married, divorced, traveled the world, made friends, learned lessons, dated, partied my head off, lost friends, and did I say learned lessons? But just like when I turned 26, I’m experiencing another major life transition… it’s very powerful and definitively real. My desires, priorities, things I enjoy, and motivations are suddenly extremely different. And the people that I seem to be gaining and losing from my life are reflective of that transition, too. Obviously, I’m experiencing major growing pains, but just have to keep the faith that it’s all for good reason. Just like the last major life change, outside a few good people in my life (most of which are out of state), I’m relying more on myself every day. I’m not sure that’s how I want to be, but the disappointment of relying on others and having that support system implode, is not worth it. Does that mean I’m jaded on inviting new people into my life? I don't think so... well, I hope not.

Eleanor Roosevelt famously stated once that "Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart" and I believe that, too. I feel lucky to have many footprints on my heart, many interesting acquaintances that live in my memories, and a few great friends who I know love me unconditionally, as I do them. And as I go through this life transition, the best I can do is be true to my own purpose, and I know that fulfillment will find me.

Meanwhile, I am accepting applications for new pals in San Diego. My personal ad would go something like this: Wanted – new friends. Must love food, wine, music, dogs, politics, and appreciate fine conversation. Club dwellers, addicts, bitches, and non communicative, immature, and insecure people need not apply. What do you think?

Love, Mer

Thursday, June 21, 2007

RAVE: Life's Pretty Good

I have been sort of negative the last couple of days, so I thought that, in addition to bitching and whining, I'd also share some of the great things that are going on with me right now.

1. This is going to be a great weekend - besides working from home Friday and Monday, I'm going to have a great weekend! Lauren's going to be moving to England next month to be with her betrothed, so this is our official send-off weekend, complete with a lingerie shower/ bachelorette bash Saturday night. The POS gets married!

2. My housekeeper's coming tomorrow - this is a great day for me. Two people come and make mine and Prasad's animal habitat look spotless and smell amazing! They even leave little mints for us and fold our toilet paper roll into arrows at the end, like hotel service. This is even better than clean sheet night!!

3. Work is super busy right now and I have some great deals cooking. Cross your fingers, everyone. Mama needs a new pair of shoes, i.e. needs to pay off some debt! Pray for a .NET Developer placement, that the perfect ColdFusion developer applies to my posting over the weekend, and that a few awesome QA Engineers come my way, too...

4. On a personal level, I have several really exciting things in the hopper, as well. I'll tell more about those as they fall into place...

5. Baci's starting dog training on Tuesday night - he's going to learn all kinds of new commands, tricks, and behavioral reinforcement. Honestly, I'm the one that needs the training, since I've never raised a puppy before... So it's mommy/ puppy training! :)

6. I'm still keeping off the bulk of the weight I dropped and feel really healthy. I'm telling you guys, the Master Cleanse ROCKS!

Anyway, everyone have a great weekend. Love, Mer

RANT: French Pedicures

These TOTALLY gross me out! I have always been bothered by this horrendous trend - I remember noticing it for the first time in Raleigh a few years ago, before I moved here. But then I got here, and for some reason, it's rampant here! Going out downtown, or heading to the beach, it's a very common sight... and it makes me CRINGE! Particularly when accompanied by platform heels that the toes slightly hang off, chips in the white part making your feet look like those of a hobo, or those cutesy jewels on top... Seriously ladies, this madness HAS TO STOP!

French tip design is for the purpose of making your nails look longer - that makes sense for fingernails. But why on earth would you want your toenails to look LONGER? Ewwww! That's just disgusting.

This has been a public service announcement.

Love, Mer

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Research Bill

This really, really upsets me.

Embryonic stem cell research offers the promise to cure many ailments and diseases such as spinal cord injuries, Diabetes, Parkinsons Disease, and Alzheimers Disease, which have killed many Americans because of a lack of cure. Stem cells are a special source of cell that has the ability to grow into tissue; it obtained in many different ways. They can be created in a lab, from human tissue like umbilical cords, or from discarded embryos (discarded embryos are the source of embryonic stem cells). Embryonic stem cells are actually the ones being contested here - they can only be obtained from discarded embryos that have been outside the body for about 3 days (through abortions and miscarriages). The reason these are the most useful types of cells is because they are unlimited types of cells that can develop into ANY type of cell or the tissue in the body; it's like Type O blood, it's universally helpful. You can see how this could be helpful in regeneration of cells and potentially curing cell-based ailments.

I understand that the underlying current regarding stem cell research is the hot button of abortion - opponents of the stem cell research bill want to make sure that approving bills such as this one doesn't promote the destruction of human life, tissues, and embryos. They believe that legalizing embryonic stem cell research will promote abortions. Do they think that women and girls are going to recklessly impregnate themselves and have abortions in the name of science? This line of thinking is similar to teaching abstinence in sex ed instead of responsible sexual health practices - as a result, Texas has the highest rate of teen pregnancies that it's had in decades! It's ridiculous.

Bush and his supporters are trying to force their ideology, morals, and politics on this country, rather than consider the welfare of our health and loved ones. They don't want to allow the deliberate destruction of human embryos or "allow the nation to cross this moral line" of using human tissue for research. But this is a scientific and medical issue, NOT a moral one! I mean, come on, supporters of stem cell research include AARP, the American Medical Association and the American Diabetes Association - it's not like it's even Planned Parenthood or NARAL leading the research efforts!

And do these research opponents have no hearts? Have they never had a sick loved one, whom they would do ANYTHING to help? I do and I would, and it really makes me sick that politicians (one, in particular) are being SO selfish.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Review and New Song on Repeat in the CD Player

I'm not feeling very communicative today, because I've had a supremely annoying 24 hours. Again. However, I just wanted to share that the new Maroon 5 CD, It Won't Be Soon Before Long, totally rocks - very melodically pleasing and lyrics that someone actually used his brain to create. I dig it and recommend that you check it out! I think some people might consider this 'chick music', but I don't care - I like it! I am a chick, after all...

Meanwhile, Makes Me Wonder is a song off the disc that is currently living in my car's CD player on RPT. It raises a good point - can one really even take a relationship seriously if you have cheated or contemplated cheating? Shouldn't a healthy, functional romantic relationship inspire monogamy? Does a wandering eye while dating someone constitute cheating if you don't physically cheat; does the emotional betrayal of checking out other people count? And what's the point of wasting your time in a relationship that's not healthy and functional? Security, perhaps? Having cake and eating it, too?

I'm just thinking out loud. Enough of that - check out the video!

Love, Mer

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review - Taste of The Gaslamp

This past weekend, San Diego hosted the Taste of The Gaslamp in the historic Gaslamp Quarter downtown. This is a yearly event described by the Gaslamp Quarter Association as an “urban dining safari and dining adventure” and that’s a perfect description – ticket holders were able to roam from each participating restaurant to another, while nibbling on samples from each spot’s menu. Cuisines included Indian, Irish, American, Mediterranean, Southwestern, Mexican, Thai, seafood, and more. It was a great way to check out the ambiance, menu, and flavors of Gaslamp restaurants as well as sample different cuisines for only $25 per person! If you didn’t make it this year, I definitely recommend keeping your eyes peeled for the event next year – it’s a really fun and rewarding couple of days of dining. My gal pal, Shayne, and I volunteered our time to the Gaslamp Association for the event on Saturday, and were able to make the rounds tasting some of the goodies offered by local restaurants gratis, as a reward for our time. What a treat!

At Chive, one of my absolute favorite spots downtown (try the Mandarin Sparkler, a fantastic champagne cocktail), Shayne and I accepted tickets and tallied the amount of individuals coming through the doors for tastes of Chive’s fantastic cuisine. We experienced a little misunderstanding of how long our break was supposed to be, but had a blast working the door, watching and greeting participants, and representing the beautiful restaurant. We also helped distribute Chive’s amazing taste sample – Crab Mac and Cheese. It was light, flavorful, and filling… I’m definitely a sucker for any style of macaroni and cheese. I’m 31 years old and it’s still my favorite food! My favorites in San Diego include Dussini Mediterranean Bistro’s Lobster Mac and Cheese, Gaslamp Strip Club’s White Truffle Mac and Cheese and Chive’s Crab Mac and Cheese.

Anyway, I’ve digressed! If you've never visited Chive, I recommend it highly - it’s a fantastic place to have a light dinner for a night out with the girls or before an evening of carousing downtown. They serve small plates of great foods which include ‘Bloody Mary’ Mussels, Black Miso Marinated Tuna, Crisp Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, Crab Mac N’ Cheese, Brandt Farms Beef Tenderloin, Feta Fries, and Marinated Olive Sampler. Desserts served are simple and delicious there – and portions are equally as reasonable, so it’s not something that will weigh you down later!

Chive has two sister restaurants, which I highly recommend, as well – Kensington Grill (on Adams in Kensington) and Laurel (in Bankers Hill). Take a look at their site and see what you think: Meanwhile, if you get a chance to check out Gaslamp Dining Week from June 17th - 21st, you should. Over 20 restaurants are offering 3 beautiful courses for a price fixe of $30 per person. For more information, check here:

My next review will be of Richard Walker’s Pancake House – instead of taking one of my clients to lunch this week, I’ve opted to treat him to breakfast, so I can check out this little gem downtown. Richard Walker’s has only been open for about 6 months or so, but I’ve heard fantastic reviews so far. Stay tuned!

Hope you all have a great week! Love, Mer

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thoughts on Raw Foodism

So after my Master Cleanse experience, I have experienced something really unique – I am still as obsessed with food, cooking, dining, and all things epicurean, but now I’m really craving and thinking a lot about super healthy foods. I don’t really desire meat much anymore – I have sliced turkey every once in a while for lunch in sandwiches or wraps, but haven’t eaten chicken at all, and red meat only once. Strangely, I don’t miss it that much, and I love the way I feel without it in my system! I have been craving fish and nuts like crazy, though, so I have indulged those desires – they’re the good kind of fat and protein.

Anyway, I have read a lot about vegetarianism, raw foods, organic foods, and how to eat for maximum health over the last month, and took a class last night on raw foodism, and want to share some of the things I’ve learned. Raw Foodists believe in eating only an uncooked, unheated, unprocessed and organic plant-based diet. Vegetarians and vegans only eat a plant based diet, but still do indulge in processed foods. And although some people adopt these lifestyles out of a thing to save animals, for me it’s about the health benefits of not eating meat (or eating a whole lot less of it, in my case). From what I’ve researched, I believe that it’s just a healthier way to live. Do I think I’ll be able to live 100% as a raw foodist? NO WAY – I love wine and cheese, and those two will ALWAYS be a part of my diet. But I’m going to do my best to implement some of the raw foods ideology to stay clean and healthy as possible.

Examples of raw foods are fruits (dried and fresh), vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, sea vegetables (seaweed, kelp), and other organic/natural foods that have not been processed. Many vitamins in food are heat sensitive, so when you heat/ cook them, you lose the enzymes that maximize the absorption of the nutrients in the food. There are some special ways to prepare the foods such soaking or sprouting nuts, seeds, beans, grains before consuming them, which makes them softer for some recipes without having to cook them and lose the nutrients. Raw veggies also have a ton of water, so they hydrate your body better than other foods – as you know, water is the most important ingredient to keeping your body clean and healthy. Raw seeds, beans, and grains also contain tons of protein. Actually, heating and cooking protein makes about half of it unusable to the body, so raw food protein is even a better source than animal products (except for maybe sushi... don't quote me on that, though).

Canned or jarred fruits and veggies are probably going to be processed or blanched in some way; it’s best to buy the foods in their natural state. Frozen veggies and fruits are still considered raw; the freezing process might take a little bit of nutrients away, but definitely not like cooking. Just about all drinks purchased at a store have been processing in some way, and aren’t considered “raw”: soda, bottled juices, coffee, alcohol, and most others. The best drinks according to raw foodism are purified water (not tap or bottled), fresh juices (made with your juicer), or homemade almond or coconut milk (you can put it in recipes to make sauces, and on homemade cereals and granolas, too).

Cooking with raw foods often involves stacking, stuffing, rolling, juicing, and blending. Tools used to prepare raw foods are blenders, juicers, food processors, dehydrators, and strainers. The recipes are better than you think, too! You can make raw hummus, cakes, “pasta” sauces, soups, wraps, kebobs, and more. Check out this site for a pretty comprehensive list of recipes:

And here’s the deal with “organic” foods – I have been wondering forever what the big freakin’ deal is with organic foods, but it turns out that it’s not brain surgery: "Conventional" produce is grown with pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and chemicals that are toxic to your body. Organic produce contains no pesticides or other toxic residue, which helps your liver operate better, which in turns process toxins and fat more efficiently, so your body processes your food versus storing it. Healthy liver = healthy weight! It’s been shown that organic food can taste better and provide better nutrition, too. Rinsing conventional fruits and veggies will reduce the amount of pesticides, but not the stuff that absorbed into the produce as it was growing. Apparently, the most often tainted fruits and veggies are strawberries and bell peppers, and the least often tainted are carrots and avocados.

So really, in the end, these are the benefits of eating raw foods:

*Healthy digestive system = healthy body = healthy mind*
*Better mental clarity and more energy, due to eating more enzymes and fiber that allow your body to digest more easily*
*Organic foods tread easier on the earth, since there are no pesticides*
*It’s a more animal-friendly diet*
*Healing properties – having a clean digestive system encourages better protection against illness*

So there you go. I’m not suggesting that everyone becomes a raw foodist, because I’m certainly not going to live that way 100%, but I think if you can incorporate some of these things into your diet, you will see a great improvement in your health and feel great!

Love, Mer

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Baci!

Thursday, June 14th is Baci's FOUR MONTH BIRTHDAY! So now he's eligible for his rabies shot and officially a big boy! I'm so proud of him. :) His next milestone will be when his baby teeth fall out, and when he's able to get fixed. For for now, I'm excited to celebrate his big day with him tomorrow.


Lots of love, snuggles, and treats, Mommy

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Parking Management Jerks

Dear Mean-Spirited Purveyor of Parking Tickets:

Let me start out this letter by telling you I absolutely despise you! And I know many people here in San Diego feel the same way, so it’s not just ME being hateful! You jerks drive around in your stupid, little golf-cart wannabe buggies, spray your stupid tire foam on our cars, and troll around, just waiting for one of us to make a parking blunder. At night, I dream of abusing your little carts and destroying them the way they destroyed the (PC Load Letter) printer in Office Space. Bwwhahahaha!

Pray tell, what do you do in your spare time? Boil kittens? Drill cavities? Arson? And are you always so prompt in your private lives? Are you ever late to school or work? How is it that if we are 30 seconds over our meter allowance, or 1 minute over the limit in 2 hour parking... you are always right there, waiting to pounce on us like the predators you are. Do you people work on commission? Money is the only evil inspiration I can think of that would motivate someone to ruin peoples’ days (and damage our wallets) by setting those putrid yellow envelopes on our windshields! The only people worse than you are tow truck drivers! Oh yeah, I said it - you're WORSE than tow truck drivers!

And what happened to you in your life that made you want to hurt people so much? I would love to recommend a good therapist, or perhaps do some research for anger management classes, if you think that might help you become a more loving human being. Perhaps some anti-depressants would be helpful...

Haven't you horrible people heard of karma? May your cars get towed, ticketed, and showered with mean little yellow envelopes!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Get Well Soon, Alex!!!!

Tragedy has struck the Manchack family. Our beloved kitty, Alex, has had an accident and broke his leg. Apparently he's having surgery Tuesday morning to repair a compound fracture that occured when my brother accidentally set his night stand on his leg last night... I'm not sure if I feel sorrier for my brother or the cat. When Baci recently hurt his foot and was limping, I was a MESS - I cried and my heart hurt SO much. So I hope that Matt's heart and Alex's leg heal very speedily.

Actually, Alex was originally my cat. When I went to UT in 1994, my high school boyfriend followed me to Austin and got an apartment and a job there so we could be close. I begged him to let me get a cat and keep it as his house, and he agreed. I picked a beautiful gray kitty with a very playful personality... And I named him Alex. :)

When I dumped the high school boyfriend and he moved back to Houston (in 1995), I had to figure out what to do with my cat, since I couldn't move him into the dorm with me. So my brother took him, and I promised to figure out a solution quickly. Well... here we are 12 years later, and that cat is Matt's now - even if I WANTED to take him back, Matt would never allow that to happen.

Alex has turned out to be a very naughty kitty with a funny, funny personality. Just like his original mommy! His favorite thing to do is lay in bed with my mom and lick holes in her 'Texas hair' (he likes the hairspray), climb on the counter and eat bites out of food (the best story is when my parents had a package of mini donuts, and he ate a bite out of every single one!), and vomit in Matt's car - he's also sensitive, like his mommy.

So PLEASE keep Alex in your thoughts on Tuesday and pray for a speedy recovery!

Thanks so much... Love, Mer

The Housewife Is BACK!

Who says you need a husband to be housewifey? (Yes, I just turned that noun into an adjective...) So those of you from my North Carolina days know a very different version of Mer than my friends out here in California. You missed the cookie exchange parties at the holidays, the over-the-top law school graduation barbecue, the Thanksgiving feast I served for the entire family (complete with Noritake china, beautiful fabric linens, and a much-talked-about pork tenderloin), the Pampered Chef parties, and all my culinary/ hosting adventures. Even though I worked full-time, I was the housewife extraordinaire (minus the perfect marriage, so I guess things are about the same now!).

Then I moved to California and became too cool for school. Well guess what - the housewife is back, and I didn't even have to get married! I have decided that in an effort to get this horrible financial monkey off my back, and to use my free time and energy for something I really love (FOOD!), I am going to become a Pampered Chef consultant. What is that, you ask?

Well, Pampered Chef is an AWESOME brand of culinary products, recipes, tools. Becoming a consultant means that you can buy these products through me, host Pampered Chef parties at your house, which nets you great free gifts and rewards on products for yourself, and basically, it'll allow me to help consult you on all things culinary - how to, what you need to do it, and where to get the tools/ ingredients/ recipes you need. It's a great way to register when you get married, get great gifts for your friends and family at the holidays, and more. Take a look at their website - they have AWESOME stuff! But don't buy anything yet - pretty soon my website will be up and running if you want to order products from me, and I'll probably host a show at my house sometime in July.

So stay tuned on this very exciting new endeavour for The Mer Show! If you have questions or suggestions on how to get my "business" off the ground, email me. Meanwhile, I'll let everyone know when I'm up and running.

Oh yeah, the housewife is back! Love, Mer xx

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Paris Debacle

What a freakin' cluster! Who's on first?

Let me start off this rant by first stating that I agree with the court's decision to send Paris Hilton to jail for violating her probation, stemming from her DUI earlier this year. I'm very familiar with DUI laws, and it is always made abundantly clear that if you violate the terms of your probation, you WILL go to jail. When one gets a DUI, your license gets suspended, which means YOU CANNOT DRIVE (unless you get a restricted license which allows you to drive to work and back, or to your DUI education classes; it takes jumping through hoops to get one). She didn't get a restricted license, so she shouldn't have been driving. It's not rocket science...

Paris puts her pants on the same way we do, she poops, wakes up with morning breath, and is no better or more important than ANYONE because of her fame or wealth. She should be punished the say we would be. This is why I support the judge's decision to send her to jail for violating probation. I was even ok with her reduced sentence, because normal people get their sentences reduced every day, but she needs to pay the piper.

HOWEVER, what on earth is going on now? She went to jail to serve her (reduced) sentence - peacefully and respectfully at that. Then she got released by the Sheriff's Department for some mysterious ailment (sources on the internet say she had a herpes outbreak - hardly life-threatening; others say it was a "nervous breakdown" - puhlease), and was dragged back to court today in her jammies and handcuffs by the court system to make sure their verdict was actually upheld.

It seems to me that Hilton is caught between an issue arising between the right hand and left hand not communicating. Did the Sheriff's department have a right to release her to home custody? Does the court have the power to override the decision of the Sheriff's department? Who freakin' knows? But at first glance, this is totally an embarrassment to the entire country regarding how our law and justice works out here in California. I'm sure this kind of cluster happens all the time, but with a high profile prisoner, it highlights the inefficacy of our system.

I don't think that Hilton has had any civil liberties breached or anything, but she has DEFINITELY been dicked around here as a result of the total mockery to our justice system - she committed to doing her sentence, was told she could go home, did so, and was dragged back kicking and screaming. I don't even like the chick, but that's just not cool! Shouldn't it be *obvious* who is in charge of making these types of decisions for prisoners - the court vs. the Sheriffs?

I'll be interested to see how her wealthy and litigious family handles this situation civilly, after all is said and done. Perhaps they should look into suing Paris's lawyers for malpractice - they are probably the ones that sent the shrink into the jail, and talked the Sheriff's office into releasing her early. Now she has to serve the full 45 days instead of the 23!!!

I AM glad to see that the idiotic decision of the Sheriff's department to release her has been reversed, and that she's back in jail like she should be, but the decision to release her shouldn't have been made in the FIRST PLACE! Geez!

Stay tuned! Mer

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Doggie Update

Well, my baby is growing up, everyone. He's getting SO big, SO fast! Baci's 4 month birthday is coming up on the 14th and they say at that time, he's supposed be half his total weight. If that's the case, then this dog is going to be a BIG BOY. Right now he's about 10 or 12 pounds, so I guess he's going to end up being around 20 pounds. That is TOTALLY not what I was expecting, but I still adore him anyway.

Baci still isn't completely housebroken, but he's doing better. We haven't had any ridiculous accidents in about a week! However, the last one was truly ridiculous - he peed ALL OVER MY BED! We were cuddling on my bed before bedtime, and I thought he was totally passed out, so I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I got back, he had peed on my pillow, comforter, sheets, and pretty much just walked in a circle, making sure he got EVERYTHING. I thought I was going to throw him out the window!!!! I gave him a spanking and put him in his crate, called him dirty names, and thought about peeing on HIS bed, but since I didn't catch him in the act, the punishment was pointless... He's a dog - he doesn't get it. Sigh...

Moving forward from that incident, though, I watch him like a hawk now - never let him out of my sight. And I've started giving him treats when he pees outside, which helps. He's also started lifting his leg to mark his territory, so I think we're on the right path. Thank God.

Anyway, that's the scoop on my baby. Just wanted to share that. :)

Love, Mer

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bye Bob!

I just read that Bob Barker is taping his very last episode of The Price Is Right today. What an American icon this guy has been - I remember watching this show every morning during summer break, from 10-11 a.m. on CBS. I can't believe he's been on so long?! And apparently he was on some show called Truth or Consequences before that. Who would have thought someone could make a career (and fortune, I'm sure) out of hosting game shows?

Did you know that I once went to a taping of TPIR, when I lived in L.A. (1997)? Shannon, Jason's sister, came out to visit us one year, and insisted on getting tickets to the taping. At first we were a little skeptical, but ended up being really excited to go! So about 6 or 7 of us gathered and went to the taping. Before each show, they do a quick interview of every single audience member to determine who they're going to pick. And what do you know, the feisty and adorable 4'11" preschool teacher, Miss Shannon Kraus, was chosen to go on stage. She immediately guessed the right price for a stereo system and won that, and then got to go on stage. A NEW CAR (a Probe, which she has just totaled one in an accident, so that was pretty funny...) was presented, and she won that too! She spun the wheel, and WON THAT!

Jason, his friends, and I were DYING of surprise and laughter in the audience. You can actually see the camera cut to us jumping up and down a few times...

So then she went to the showcase showdown. Her showcase totally sucked - one of those old fashioned popcorn making carts that you see in the airport, a mobile steam room, which basically looked like a standing wooden shower that you put in the back yard - super WT, and a trip to Bangkok. I think I'm missing something else.... But anyway, she was looking into the audience looking for help, and Jason and I told her $20K - she went with our guess, and totally overbid. OOPS. Sorry you didn't get to see Bangkok, sweetie! ;)

So that's my TPIR story. It is one of my favorite memories... I think that Shan still has the VCR tape of the airing, if anyone wants to see it, by the way! ;)

Anyway, bye Bob! Goodbye and good luck! Don't forget to get your pets spayed or neutered...

Love, Mer

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Democratic Debates

Did anyone watch the Democratic debates? I have to confess that I didn't... I have had a lot of personal stuff going on, but you know I'm keeping an eye on it. I read today that there was some conversation about religion in politics and good vs. evil, and I am very pleased with the answers of John Edwards of NC, Hillary of NY, and Obama of IL.

First, I have to say that Barack Obama says some awesome stuff! :) I really respect the fact that he's not afraid to make blunt and realistic statements that people need to hear, possibly offending the easily offended - he is so incredibly honest and real and I LOVE that about him. In regard to questions about good vs. evil (one of Bushy's favorite ways to explain this silly war we're fighting), he discusses that it's just not that easy. He stated he believes that examining the evil that OTHERS do (e.g. Sept. 11th) can make us blind to the evil things that perhaps WE do (e.g. the abuse of war prisoners at Abu Gharib or Guantanamo). He furthermore states that if we are pointing fingers, we should always consider ourselves, as well - many times we're probably being hypocrites. Something to consider not only in politics, but for our personal lives, no? (I can't say I'm not guilty of the same thing, though... I'm working on it!)

John Edwards spelled out his very heartfelt beliefs in Christianity and discussed his own moral code, which is actually quite conservative - he does believe that gays shouldn't be married, but wouldn't plan to impose his own moral beliefs on the rest of the country. Although his beliefs are firm and rooted in the teachings of Christ, we shouldn't label the U.S. a Christian country, and if in office, would not allow that. ROCK ON, DUDE!

Hillary, God bless her... she has been seriously tested in so many ways, personally and professionally. You have to give it to her, she handles a great amount of doubt, hate, and has kept her head high when most would wither and disappear under the pressure. I admire her so much for standing proud and strong through so many challenges in her life, and proving a lot of people wrong (she still has her haters, but that's normal - it's politics!). She was asked AGAIN about her husband's infidelity, and handled it so gracefully - she discussed her strong faith in God, which got her through those difficult times. She didn't proselytize her faith or attempt to convert people, but spoke openly and honestly about her convictions, which includes her suspicion of those who wear their faith on their sleeves, too. I, too, feel it's a very powerful and personal journey for each of us, and we should respect the journey of others, no matter how different or unknown.

I really do believe that one of the aforementioned individuals will be the one to lead our country in a new and better direction in January 2009. And so far, I like what I hear!


The Starter Wife

So did anyone get to see Debra Messing's new show, The Starter Wife, on USA last week? Molly is the main character and she was the perfect A list wife - beautiful, thin, charming, well-mannered, and dedicated to her powerful Hollywood director husband's career and every whim, while living a charmed life in Malibu until one day... Sheyenne, a barely-legal pop tartlet, entered her husband's life and she got very uncermoniously dumped. Her "boo-hoo" crew consists of an alcoholic grump, a fabulous gay designer, and another Hollywood wife who is living the life she used to live, and they do a great job getting her through the unexpected and scary change. It's a fun show and I definitely recommend checking it out on Thursday nights at 9 PST.

Now I can't identify with getting dumped for a super young, perky pop star, but I can definitely identify with having to move on and rapidly change from one life to another after a tragic split and watch your ex move on maddeningly fast, only to be swimming in your own fears, anger, and uncertainty. For me, watching the show is like validation that all the feelings I had were TOTALLY valid - it rocks. I'm sure there are THOUSANDS of starter wives out there that are celebrating this show just as much as I am. :)

One of my New Year's resolutions for the last few years has been to watch MORE TV, and I feel like I've done an excellent job accomplishing that in 2007! hehehe

Love, Mer

Monday, June 04, 2007

Weekend Update

Hi everyone. I hope you’re all doing well! I’m doing great! Food is back in my life and I feel pretty happy about that. Friday night I went to Trader Joe’s and went crazy buying food since my fridge was totally empty. The only thing I did while on my fast was look at new, healthy recipes to make for after the cleanse, so it was really fun to collect goodies for my culinary adventures. And it rocks to open the fridge and see fresh fruits, veggies, and all kinds of yummy stuff that I can actually EAT now!

Saturday morning, I got up and had some organic orange juice, and it was like chocolate cake! I’ve never had any beverage so refreshing and tasty in my entire life. That night, I joined the girls to celebrate Kerry’s conclusion of student teaching, and we went to The Grape – a local wine bar downtown. It was adorable! And I ate a TON – cheese, crackers, fruit, salad, and had wine. We went to Ocean Room afterward, and I split ahi sashimi with Kati, as well. I couldn’t believe how much I was able to eat! So much for weaning myself back to food… I was very surprised, indeed.

Since then, I have been enjoying, savoring, and appreciating every morsel I put in my mouth! Food has always been the love of my life, but we have a new relationship and it’s much more meaningful. Tonight I’m making broiled salmon in my special marinade and an Oriental salad. YUMMY! I’ll let you know how it goes, but meanwhile, check out this fabulous recipe Shayne made for us last night. WOW, it was great. Spaghetti squash tastes just like pasta!

Spaghetti Squash Topped with Marinara

1 large spaghetti squash
Minced garlic or garlic paste
Sauteed onion (optional)

Homemade or jarred marinara sauce

Freshly grated mozzarella or Parmesan cheese

Cut the squash in half, and remove the seeds. Lay it face down in a baking dish containing ¼ cup water and cover it with plastic wrap. Microwave about ten minutes or until tender.

Remove the squash from its dish a
nd scrape out the spaghetti-like strands into a bowl. Add minced garlic or garlic paste to taste, and top with marinara and cheese. It takes just like pasta and is super low-carb! (You could also top the spaghetti squash with sautéed veggies or any sauce you typically put over pasta.)

In other news, Baci had an accident free day Sunday – it was his first. I was so proud! I did take him outside about 10 times throughout the day, but he has started lifting his leg to pee on things outside, so I think he’s starting to get the concept of marking his territory. This is great housebreaking progress! Pretty soon, Prasad’s and my house won’t smell like doggie pee anymore and I won't be making the loop around the block 10 times a day. YIPPEE!!!!!!!

So I had a very interesting reminder this weekend that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people. Something bad happened to someone I dislike, and somehow I got blamed for it. Well, not somehow… I told her recently that karma is going to pay her back for being such a rotten bitch, I mean apple, so naturally fingers were pointed at me. I understand. But hasn’t she ever seen My Name Is Earl? HELLO?!! Anyway, this was my horoscope today and I just had to laugh:

Well, what was that? Frankly, you can't believe your eyes or your ears. But after the initial shock wears off, you'll just have to laugh. Everyone has their own way of dealing with things, and this definitely isn't yours!

I’ll say it again - life sure is funny. I read somewhere recently that if you’re true to your purpose, fulfillment will find you. I’m definitely committed to my purpose in life, so I feel confident that I’ll be able to look back on my life and feel good about how I lived it and what I achieved. And this master cleanse victory? I must say… that was a major achievement. I'm pretty excited about it. Enough about the master cleanse - it's on to new adventures!

Anyway, have a good week, friends. Love, Mer

Friday, June 01, 2007

My New Theme Songs

Nope - it's no longer Slow Dancing in a Burning Room! It's Sorry, by Madonna!

NOBODY inspires me like Madonna! Confessions On A Dancefloor is my all-time favorite disc, and this song makes me feel so incredibly powerful, independent, and ready for a new chapter!

This goes out to Patou, Shayne, and Suzie, my fellow Madonna cronies. Check out the video:

Enjoy! Mer xx

p.s. Secondary theme song - No More Drama, by Mary J. Blige; Shayne gave me a house remix of this song, and it makes me feel like dancing naked in the rain! :)

DAY TEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, it’s here, day ten of the master cleanse. Honestly, starting this diet, I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I’ve never gone more than a few hours without eating, but 240 hours? What shocks me is that it really wasn't even that bad!! I'm serious... Anyway, I’m impressed with both Shayne and myself for getting through the tough days, hunger pangs, and toxic waste floating around in our brains after being knocked loose by the lemonade. I think for me, the toughest part was learning how to deal with my daily frustrations (work, breakup, anxiety, etc.) without emotionally eating or drinking. I’ve definitely learned a lot about that and hope that I can instill some of my new coping mechanisms into my daily life, versus reaching for cheese, crackers, or wine!

I haven’t weighed myself today, but know for sure that I’m at least 11 pounds down, and that I’m wearing jeans today that I bought in Newport, RI before I got here to San Diego, when I was 26. At that time in my life, I was in the best shape of my adulthood, as a result of the luxury of being a housewife… I spent every morning working out and every evening cooking healthy meals for Jason and me. And NOW… I’m back! They say you gain half the weight back, but I plan to zap that with continuing to eat healthy, getting back in the gym regularly, and living a new lifestyle. All the divorce and party girl weight is gone, and it's going to STAY gone!

To keep the weight off, I don’t plan to become a vegetarian or raw foodist, but definitely want to implement some of those principles into my diet every day. Less cheese and meat, more raw veggies, no coffee (and if I do, I’ll do decaf) or diet sodas (they’re not really that satisfying anyway), and a LOT less wine during the week. And I want to try and get through this fast once a year, at least, to keep my system cleansed and remind myself of the importance to eating healthy. And spinning bike, I’ll see you tomorrow morning! And yoga mat, you and I are about to get reacquainted, as well…

I’ve also learned that I’m tougher than I thought I was. I know now that I’ve put my mind, heart, and body to a serious test, and I PASSED with flying colors – it’s the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. Hip hip hooray for me, if I do say so, myself!

In other news, my baby Baci is a STAR!! I sent in his photo for a Best Naughty Dog photo contest and he was chosen as a nominee! If you can go on and vote for Baci, he would be very appreciative:

This is Baci, mid-hump, at a party recently – Michael Cutri took this photo and captured my baby’s naughty face perfectly!

Well, I hope everyone has a great weekend. I’m feeling energized, cleansed, and ready for anything. My horoscope yesterday was right – happiness is in MY hands. It’s time to get out there and make that happen! Throughout several conversations I’ve had this week, I’ve realized how incredibly important my friends and family are to me, and the support, love, and encouragement I get from all of you. I may not see or talk to each of you every day, but you’re always in my heart and mind, and it means everything to me. So thanks, friends, for being my friends! I love you!!!

And hey Shayne, our newer, better milkshakes are going to bring all the good boys to the yard - get ready! You're a freakin ROCK STAR and I'm so proud of you for getting through this with me. :)

Love, Mer