A New Domain and a New Millennium

Well, here we are in late June. I can hardly believe that the year is already half over. Another thing that amazes me is that I recently had my 25th birthday. Exactly when did that I get that old? I mean, 25 is real adulthood. There are no excuses for me now. Oh well, at least I got a good party out of it. But more on that later. For now, join me on the way back machine as we head back to late December, when a little thing called Y2K was getting everyone’s panties in an bundle. . .

And, hey guys! Next time you want to visit my site, just type in midwesterngirl.com. That’s right! I have my own domain name! Pretty cool, huh?

Even my kitties got to meet Santa this year. And, on a sad note, my Fred has passed away. Click here to visit my Cat Page.

The Lucas Holiday Party

Once again, there was a big holiday party for all the employees of the Lucas companies. It’s a pretty dressy affair, with dinner and an open bar. Steve and I got all dolled up and looked mighty fine. Unfortunately, we only had one picture taken of the two of us, and it was really bad. I mean scary bad. Luckily, though, I did manage to get this one of Steve:

Steve at the 1999 Lucasfilm Holiday Party

As you may recall, last year’s party was called Viva Las Lucas, with a Las Vegas theme. It was really a great theme because there were plenty of card tables, each of which could accommodate 8 to 10 people. This year the theme was a Crystal Ball, and included Tarot and Palm Readers. It was a pretty cool idea, but it didn’t really play out very well. There was only room for about 10 tents for the psychics. And each tent would only take one couple at a time. The line’s got very long. And, if you weren’t getting your fortune told, there wasn’t much else to do. Fortunately, Steve and I got in line for a Tarot reading early in the evening. You’ll all be happy to hear that everything is going to be just fine. While the psychic wasn’t too enthusiastic about our current situations, the prediction for the future was nothing but blue skies.

Despite the long lines everywhere, the evening wasn’t a total bust. Who can argue with free food and drink and the chance to hang out with friends?

Friends at the 1999 Lucasfilm Holiday Party

Ice Skating at Embarcadero Plaza

Every year, the city of San Francisco creates an ice rink in the middle of Embarcadero Plaza during December. This year, Steve and I went for an evening. Growing up, there was a pond in our front yard that my brothers and I were able to skate on every winter. I hadn’t gone ice-skating in years, but it didn’t take long for me to pick it up again. Kind of like riding a bicycle. I was just able to take off around the rink. Steve wasn’t too bad himself.

Steve Ice Skating at Embarcadero Plaza

But things did get a little more difficult as the rink got more crowded. There were teenagers who decided to link arms five people across as they skated. This made it pretty hard to pass them. And there were the first time skaters who would grab onto passing people when they started to fall. And then there were these obnoxious little boys who thought it was really fun to throw ice at each other. They would dig their skates into the ice, creating ice chunks to throw, as well as holes for others to trip in. Then they would chase each other around the rink, running in any direction through the other skaters, and hurling ice at each other. Three times, ice rink management announced over the intercom that people throwing ice would be thrown out, but the boys didn’t stop.

I did have the satisfaction of taking one of the little buggers out, though. It honestly wasn’t my fault. The brat was bent over, digging a hole in the ice, right in front of me. The rink was so crowded that I couldn’t avoid him. I was going to run right into him. So I bent over, reached my arms out, and grabbed him around the waist. Then I fell on my butt, while lifting him up and setting him on his feet. As I did this, I said “haven’t you heard that you’re not supposed to throw ice?” It was the only time during the whole evening that I fell. What I really want to know is what the parents were doing. I know they were there on the sidelines, because I saw one of the little hellions go crying up to his mom that his brother had thrown ice at him. And, unless she wasn’t pay any attention to the ice rink at all, there’s no way she could have missed the three boys running around throwing stuff around. Oh well. I had a fun time skating, in spite of the distractions and difficulties, and I got this great picture of Steve and me.

Anne and Steve Ice Skating at Embarcadero Plaza

Home for the Holidays

Once again, I made it back to Illinois for the Christmas holiday. And, once again, it was colder than a witch’s tit. It was great to be back in the Midwest again, and even better to see my family. In addition to seeing my parents, Greg and Colleen, my brother and sister-in-law were there. And my other brother, Geoff, also made the trip up from Florida. Traditionally, our family has our Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. This comes from the days of yore, when Santa used to visit us and leave presents for Christmas morning. Because there was great Santa excitement that morning, my parents began having our family celebration and gift exchange on Christmas Eve. Over the years, sad as it is, Santa stopped coming. But our family celebration remained and grew better. Another great tradition from my childhood is my dad’s reading of The Night Before Christmas. Every year, my brothers and I gather around my dad as he reads the story, making the same comments year after year. “Do you know what kind of tree that is? It’s an oak.” We really give my dad a hard time about it, and it probably will be a little better once there are young children around, but we do enjoy the tradition. And really, part of the tradition is giving my dad a hard time. Here we are listening to the story.

Geoff, Anne, Dad, and Greg reading 'Twas the NIght Before Christmas

While I was home, I also managed to get to Indiana to celebrate Christmas with my Dad’s side of the family. It has been a few years since my trip to Illinois was able to be coordinated with the celebration in Indiana and it was great to see all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins again. The Indiana Barkers are a pretty prolific group, so I have 11 young first cousins-once-removed. And they are all very handsome children with, I believe, blond hair and blue eyes. And believe me when I say that Pokemon is alive and well with the Barker kids. Unfortunately, I missed the picture of all 11 children grouped together, but I did get a few of them in little groups. I apologize to my family that I am not able to post pictures of all of them.

Here are three of the boys: Samuel, Josh, and Austin.

Samuel, Josh, and Austin

Here’s another little boy, Cameron, sitting with my cousin Rene and her husband Mark.

Rene, Mark, and Cameron

And finally, three of the little ladies: Elise, Katie, and Emily.

Elise, Katie, and Emily

The day after we left Indiana, I flew back to California and my final set of presents. Steve made me wait until I got back from my trip before we could open our presents to each other. I was perfectly willing to have an early Christmas with him, but no. I had to wait. At least I got some good loot. In addition to the stuff for me, Steve made a great cat tree for my kitties, made right to my specifications. He knows that the way to my heart is through my kitties. Of course, I also got my own presents. Here I am with my new Little Mermaid DVD.

Anne with Little Mermaid DVD

And Steve didn’t too badly either. One of his presents was an exercise in delayed gratification. I pre-ordered him a DVD of Scooby-Doo’s Original Mysteries. Here he is trying to figure out what the package contains.

Steve with Christmas gift

New Year’s and the Tragedy of the Y2K Bug

With all the predicted problems that the Y2K bug was supposed to produce, Steve and I didn’t make any huge plans for New Year’s Eve. Neither of really thought that civilization as we know it was going to come crashing down at the stroke of midnight. However, neither of us really has much faith in the human race as a whole. I was concerned that if, by any chance, something happened and the lights went off for an hour or two, people would just freak out and take the opportunity to riot and wreak havoc. Plus, I was also a bit concerned that crooks might try to take advantage of the situation and break into our houses. So, Steve and I kind of laid low for the evening.

We did spend a little bit of time in downtown San Rafael. There was supposed to be a block party and we thought we’d check it out. I think we were just there a little too early but there was practically nothing going on and very few people were on the street. The City of San Rafael was actually hosting a big party that night that was spread all around the downtown area in tents. Of course it cost $200 a couple and neither Steve and I were that interested. And neither were a lot of people it seems. We didn’t see too many people around and the news coverage of the event showed the tents and they were only about half full. It turns out that the big party that was supposed to be a huge fundraiser for the City of San Rafael wound up costing the city 1.2 million dollars. Dumbasses.

Anyway, as I said there wasn’t too much going on downtown while we were there. I wasn’t too disappointed, though. I did get to see the thing I most wanted to see: a doomsayer. Yes, a genuine fanatic who urged the crowd to repent before the world ended later that evening. He had a placard listing the sins for which we might be damned. I’m proud to say I made the list. I won’t say for which ones or how many times; I wouldn’t want to give all of my secrets away.

New Year's Evangelist

New Year's Evangelist

There was a big crowd gathered around the guy all pretty much just trying to argue with him. It was interesting for about 3 minutes. Then Steve and I went back to his apartment to watch a South Park mini-marathon until midnight.

The power stayed on, the telephones still worked, and the night was peaceful. Unfortunately, in my own home things were not all well. When I woke up the next morning, I found a pile of cat puke on the mouse pad next to my computer. Yes, I’m afraid it’s true. One of my cats was not Y2K compliant.

Later that weekend, Steve and I spent an afternoon making and decorating my Aunt Brenda’s sugar cookies. It was a lot of fun, but I still haven’t figured out exactly how to make them like my aunt’s. Her cookies are so much softer than mine. But my cookies get better every year I make them. Here’s Steve with one of his masterpieces.

Steve with a sugar cookie

In the middle of February, Steve and I met a good friend of mine from college at Disneyland. The details of that trip and the next few months are on the next page.

Coming Attractions:

Steve’s family comes for a visit, my parents come for a visit, and another season of softball. Guess who’s the team captain!