Friday, April 27, 2007

Dream Locations

I was checking out my friend Julie's sister's blog, and one of her entries lists the countries that have visited her site. I thought that was totally cool, so through the magic of Google Analytics, I offer you, my own list.

If you see your home on this list, write in and say hello! I can't tell you how cool it is that people in Japan and Portugal are reading my blog! Even if you got here by accident! And to my friends in Texas and New York, I love you guys too! I'm pretty excited about this, actually. Can you tell?

This list is in no particular order, which normally would drive me CRAZY. But, I'm a little geographically-challenged... and I didn't want to seem to be playing favorites.

  1. Beijing, China
  2. Jinan, China
  3. Lishui, China
  4. Yokohama, Japan
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. Urbana, Illinois
  7. Long Beach, California
  8. Culver City, California
  9. Los Angeles, California
  10. Cerritos, California
  11. Louisville, Kentucky
  12. Fort Worth, Texas
  13. Santa Monica, California
  14. Austin, Texas
  15. Rochester, New York
  16. Harper Woods, Michigan
  17. Catskill, New York
  18. Baltimore, Maryland
  19. Feliteira, Portugal
  20. Vila Nova De Gaia, Portugal
  21. Cagliari, Italy
  22. Espoo, Finland (OK, I totally want to go to Espoo)
  23. Lappenrata, Finland (Finland has the best place names!)
  24. Torino, Italy

Allergic Reaction- !

This morning I woke up with a crazy allergic reaction to something... my eyes were all puffy and itchy, and my neck was red and itchy. My throat felt kind of swollen, too. I called in and made a doctor's appointment. No idea what caused it, but was given some topical medication and some pills, and sent on my way with permission from the MD to stay home.

So yesterday was my wedding anniversary! Nine whole years. Can hardly believe it's been so long. We're going out tonight to celebrate... hopefully no one will think my puffy eyes (it's gone down some but not much) are because of Patrick! When I got home from flute choir, we sat on the couch and watched the video from our wedding. It was cool to see Patrick's dad (he passed away five years ago). I had forgotten that my own dad, upon depositing me at the altar, was crying a little when he answered "Who gives this woman...?" Very sweet. My daddy.

After we watched the video, I got out my wedding dress to see if it still fits. It totally doesn't but it was fun playing dress up, anyway. I need to get it to the dry cleaners. Hey, maybe that's what the allergies were from... It's been hanging in a plastic garment bag, but the zipper wasn't closed completely. Maybe there was a lot of dust or something.

Oh, and an update on my week of debauchery (food debauchery) - I was weighed in, and I lost .2 pounds! It's not much, but it brings the total pounds lost to SEVEN pounds. Am feeling very proud of myself, in spite of my going overboard a few times. Hopefully my idea of going "overboard" is nowhere near what it used to be, and that's why I lost. I don't know, but I was glad I didn't gain.

Today I cheated and watched "Ugly Betty" without waiting for Patrick... I hope he's not mad. We love that show! I'll definitely watch it with hin when he's ready to see it, but I couldn't wait. I stopped at Target on my way home from the doctor and bought some cleaning supplies so I could do some cleaning up around here, but I didn't do anything. Instead I just watched TV and had lunch.

This message is pretty boring, isn't. Perhaps I should've stopped with the title. No, that's not all that interesting, either, is it. Hey, SEVEN POUNDS! Woo-wee!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Curves" in My Living Room: It's Free, Fun, and Only Takes 12 Minutes

Oh, my god.

What have I done? In the past three days I have eaten all the things I haven't eaten in months.

So to compensate...

After watching "Heroes," I stood up from the couch, and started jogging in place. Did that for awhile, but then it got boring, so a few minutes later, I decided to pretend I was jumping rope. What, no rope? No problem! I did that for a while, and then my calves started to feel a bit cramp-y, so I started walking in place... did that for a few minutes, and then I decided to try jogging in place again. Meanwhile, about nine minutes had passed. Patrick woke up from his nap on the couch, and we were watching The Colbert Report. I don't know if laughter burns calories, but I was definitely breathing hard.

Unfortunately, I could only keep that up for about 12 minutes. However, when I was done, I ran out into the backyard and did two laps on the grass.

I may have looked like a gigantic fool, but who could see me? Only Patrick, and he's seen me doing stupider stuff. And the cats, but they think everything I do is alternately fascinating, or dull: either way, they don't judge.

Oh, and I'm excited: my co-worker Andrea (she looks like Jordin Sparks) brought me a bottle of Diet Coke Plus today, and by tomorrow it should be cold enough to try. Pretty neat.

Fortified!

The Bachelor: Armed and Dangerous

Last night, while putting away the laundry, I somehow found myself watching "The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman." I usually watch at least one full episode of this stupid show every season, if only to remind myself how lucky I am to be married, how glad I am to be halfway intelligent, and to finally appreciate not being in my 20s anymore.

I have a couple of issues with this year's Bachelor. For one thing, why did they steal the title of a perfectly good (if incredibly sappy) movie? I haven't figured out what it is, exactly, that makes Andy a "gentleman." And then, is it just me, but with that title, shouldn't this be the gay bachelor? Are these women identifying with Debra Winger? Debra's character was lucky to have all her teeth - the women on this show don't even seem to have all their brains. The crying, the backstabbing, the ankle turning... ! The girls who don't like to ski! The rumors about so-and-so almost having sex with Andy! Almost! What drama over a slightly sweaty guy!

I mean, he seems normal enough, and to have some (possibly scripted) self-awareness, but the total crap this guy says to the women! If I met a guy who spoke to me the way Andy speaks to them, I would wet my pants from laughing. I'm not just saying the guy doesn't speak well - I'm saying the guy sounds so smarmy and insincere that for these dimwitted girls to say they're "falling in love with him" or "could fall in love with him" (and more than one of them has said that!) makes me wonder if ABC is giving them all roofies.

Anyway, not even "Television Without Pity" bothers to write a recap of this stupid-ass show, and I wonder if my watching it lowered my capacity for common sense. If so, I would like to blame today's misguided trip to McDonald's on... The Bachelor. Andy Baldwin, you owe me a gym membership.

...

"The Bachelor: The Rich Dufus Returns"
"The Bachelor: Andy Baldwin Gets Married"
"The Bachelor: Die (Watching) Another Day"
"The Bachelor: Apocolapyse Now Redux"
"The Bachelor: Curse of the Pearl Necklace"

I know, these are lame, childish, gross... but funny to me!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pandora Internet Radio + Lately, Weird Dreams, and, a Trip to the Record Store

I know I already blogged about this, but I just wanted to mention it again. Patrick and I are totally hooked on Pandora Internet Radio. It's gotta be the smartest thing I personally have found on the internet. It's a free, totally legal way to hear really good music on the internet, and you get to program it based on your own tastes and desires. It's like when you asked the cool kid (or a dorky kid's older brother) to make you a mix tape back in high school.

For instance, my station right now is XTC... I just started playing songs a few moments ago, and it started with a demo from their boxed set, "Apple Box," called "I'd Like That." I don't have this album, and so had never heard this song, and honestly, where else would I have heard it? Definitely not on LA radio! Pandora followed that up wtih "Mission of My Soul," by Peter Himmelman, who I'd never heard of. All this stuff tonight is fairly mellow, but these are good songs, and I'm happy. And if I need something a big more "beat-y," I can always switch to one of our other radio stations... I've just switched to my "At the Drive-In" station, and they're playing "Rascuache", a song I do know, and love. So? Happy on all counts is me.

...

Now on to topic no. 2. I don't know why I persist in writing about my dreams. They have been a tiny bit weird lately, but on closer inspection, I know that they're all just related to stuff I've been thinking about lately. Friday night I dreamed (I never know if "dreamt" is a real word. It looks fake to me) that I was at a dinner with the director of City Garage and her husband, and this flutist guy from Germany (flutist guy from Germany not based on anybody I really know). Frederique wanted us to play some music in another show she was doing... I guess she knew him, and he was a composer. I still wonder if I couldn't have come up with better stuff for my parts in "The Bacchae." I liked what I played, but none of it really felt like real music. I'm not a composer, but I wonder if it couldn've been better. Crazy, huh? I mean, the music was barely mentioned in any of the reviews, and never the quality of my playing or the actual notes. It would've been nice if that had been recognized. Anyway, see? Obviously that's why I had this particular dream. Anyway, German guy didn't want to play with me, maybe because he was/is/thought he was/is a better musician than I am. He also didn't want to play with an American because in his opinion, American musicians are "too emotional." For some reason, in the dream, I took a real strong position, and was really trying to convince him that's not necessarily a bad thing. I don't know if I'd really do that, esp. argue with someone I don't know, who may or may not be a better musician. It's doubtful that I would be as ballsy as I was in the dream. Especially in front of Frederique and Charles, who are great, but don't inspire me to be very outspoken.

I do like the way I was dressed in the dream - I had on this black dress over a purple tank top. I'd never wear it in real life but it was pretty.

Anyway, whatever. I know dreams are boring, and I'm not exactly describing this one very dynamically.

...

re: Record Stores

Sunday, we went to CPK for lunch (please don't tell me how many WW points the mushroom pizza is, because I ate the whole damn thing. I love that they offer honey wheat dough now, but I think I blew it on Sunday, big time), and afterwards, drove down to Fingerprints record store. It's a cool store, but you have to know this about me: I last about 20 minutes, tops, in record stores before I start getting really bored. I go in, and I try to remember everything I want, and then I look for those things, and then? If I find them I buy them. If I don't? I go home. I just can't stand around and browse through 1000s of used CDs, most of them misfield or upside down... I just can't do it.

Patrick can, though, and would, if I weren't standing around, trying not to ask, "are you done?" I hate to rush him, and I wish there was a bookstore or a shoe store nearby for me to browse while he does his thing. It must be the way he feels when I take him to the bookstore with me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Antonius

Today, while Patrick was at work, slaving away (!), I slept in, moved slowly, and at around 2:30, managed to cart my ass to Ikea.

We just got rid of our old junky dresser last week. It's been in our closet for awhile, holding mostly our underwear and some of my pants. Patrick's pants are kept elsewhere, and one of the drawers was broken, so because the broken drawer was pulled out and kept on top as sort of a bin (collector of receipts and spare change, apparently), invariably my pants would come out of the other drawer, below the one we pulled out, wrinkled and full of cat hair. Are you picturing my busted dresser? Anyway, we finally got sick and tired of the goddamn cheap ass broken dresser, so while perusing the Ikea catalog sometime during the last week, I came upon Antonious. It's not pretty, but it was cheap, and since it's sort of tucked away in the closet, looks don't really matter. Also, the one I bought is a bit different than what you see here: mine has the clear plastic bins, for example, and the worktop I bought is their fake wood veneer instead of plain white. I've had that plain white before, and that crap doesn't clean up very well.

By the way, I know it's Saturday, but Ikea was packed tight. There were a ton of people there. I've been finding myself annoyed with people. Maybe I'm getting old, but people are rude. They were bumping into me with their strollers, their shopping carts. Kids were blocking aisles with parents standing idly by. Not one person said "excuse me." I didn't want to push a shopping cart through the whole store, so I was armed only with my big yellow bag, which wasn't big enough for Antonius's worktop and bins, so I had to muscle it all down one more flight of stairs. I was actually pretty proud of myself - I realized that I forgot to add, to my list of things I "can't do," that I can't walk downstairs without holding either someone's hand or the rail. I don't think I've ever actually fallen downstairs (except for that one time at fifth grade graduation, in front of the whole graduating classes of fifth and sixth graders, their friends and families, and the teachers. Oh, yeah, there was that one time), but I have a lot of fears of going downstairs. And there I was, with both hands full, and a big old bag on my shoulder, in flip flops for god's sake, cruising. Oh, and I don't have much "muscle."

So I got home, and banged that thing together (literally), and it now stands in our closet, kinda homely, but it works.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Charter Communications Sucks: Update

Worst customer service, ever.

We had a service call scheduled for today... we've been having trouble with our box overheating, and then last week we were blocked from watching some basic channels (Bravo, Food Network, CNN - basically? The only channels we care about). Patrick called in for service, and scheduled for someone to come today, on my day off. They were supposed to come between 10 and 12.

At 9:15, I got up and took a shower. I was still in the bathroom when the guy called. I hopped out of the shower and ran for the phone, but of course I missed it. Here is, word for word, the message he left on my machine:

"Hi, good morning we're calling from Charter Cable, Cable company. The time right now is 9:30; this is our first attempt to try to reach somebody at home for our cable guy to stop guy. Your appointment is 10-12, so we will be calling within your time frame to see if someone is available. Thank you."

OK, so by "first attempt," you would think they would make, oh, I don't know, a second attempt, wouldn't you?

I got dressed and expected to hear a knock at my door or for the phone to ring, but the only other call I received this morning was from somebody calling from Barak Obama's campaign to see if I was interested in donating (their pitch is to turn it into a competition. The girl said, "Most people have been giving $200! Can you meet that donation level?" I was all, um, No, but good luck to Obama anyway! Aren't political donations the realm of the rich and famous?).

I had an appointment at 12, so at 11:00, when they guy didn't show, I called to reschedule. At 11:45, I decided to call Charter to see what was going on.

I got stuck in a loop on their automated menu system... "3" was the designated number for my particular problem, but all pressing 3 got me was... a repeat of the same menu choices. And surprisingly: "I pressed 3, you fucking idiot machine!" got me nowhere. Oh, and pressing "0" for an operator was not a choice. I hung up and called back, and pressed no numbers, hoping they might mistake me for a poor person with a rotary phone, but that didn't work, either. Finally I guessed that it might be the phone (the office phone is cordless. don't ask me why I made that assumption: I was grasping at straws), so I went into the living room, and pulled the kitchen phone around the corner so I could sit on the couch and watch the end of "About Last Night."

Finally I got through to a human, and poor her: I was pissed. The woman I spoke to tried to tell me that my call had been canceled by dispatch after a second call was made to me, at 10 a.m. OK, that's a big fat lie: they didn't call. I've been here, watching TV, eating WW friendly food, and they did not call. I asked her why they bother calling before showing up if they're not going to give you an opportunity to call them back: what's the point of that? I went off on her, a bit. Anyway, I put on quite a show, and I'll spare you the details. I did give her credit for being nice (she was), and I said I knew it wasn't her fault, and I explained about the runaround I got from the automated system, and she pulled a classic "customer service-ism" on me by saying she understood I was frustrated, but then she also told me that my service appointment had been canceled. And I, without cussing, told her that was unacceptable - I said I had taken the day off of work (a white lie) and had rescheduled an appointment (at the spa - !) and I wanted someone out today. She said it might not be possible, because the tech would have gone on to the next call, and I said, look, I've been on the phone now for 45 minutes. Someone will be at my house, today (cue scary music). I asked to speak to her supervisor, and after sitting on hold for 30 minutes, he finally got on the line.

He apologized (he sounded like he looks like this guy), and was actually really nice. He kept putting me on hold (I know that's a technique they use to either get upset people to calm down or hang up. Knowing that, I calmed down, but only a little), but would come back to check on me. Finally he came back one last time and said he was able to reschedule my call for today, but he couldn't give me a time frame - now I have to sit around and wait for them to show up anytime between now, and 8 p.m.

I know the cable company and other places that make house calls have reputations for lousy customer service, and I'm sure everybody has had the same kind of experience. Being pissed off is NOT fun - I don't think I earned any WW activity points (or did I? My heart rate was raised). The thing that's funny about all this, though, is that apparently Charter thinks they have the best customer service, ever. Their website is all, "for 24-hour customer service, contact us!" But when you do contact them, getting stuck in the loop of a demonic automated menu - that's not customer service. Being directed to a link of "FAQs" that don't address your specific question - that's not customer service.

...

Update @ 11:46 a.m., 4/21
So, Patrick came home from work at around 3 p.m. (he was supposed to be off yesterday, because he works today, but he went in to pick up some overtime and prepare for a project), and I was able to head off for my appointment at the spa (my aesthetician did a glycolic treatment on me, and I'm not so sure it was successful. I have a bit of redness today). When I came home, around 5, "Juan" from Charter was here, trading out our old box. Luckily we didn't have to wait until 8!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday Night Stuff

Re: Weight Watchers:

I had a terrific week last week, but this week I've struggled. I'll admit it: I didn't write anything down and while I did sort of take the time to figure out what the points were of everything I put into my mouth (wait, what?) I wasn't exactly "scientific" about it. For instance... I've been walking up the street (good) to the Kaiser cafeteria, where I get a salad (good)... but then I pair that salad with a turkey burger (bad). A turkey burger = 5 points, and they don't, for some reason, have wheat buns, which disappoints me. And then instead of bringing my own low-fat salad dressing in my purse, which would be smart - I splurge on the 1,000 island dressing. Yes: a small amount, but it seems so damn decadent!

And then we'd better not even discuss tonight's dinner... Patrick went to Sam's Club and brought home some incredible sausages ("Hillshire Farm Old World Cheddarwurst") that he grilled... I also had grilled chicken breast and mushrooms, which are fine, and one of them before I checked the points (8. Not good)... and one more after. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.

Anyway, this week I gotta be better. I just hope I didn't gain.

Tonight I said the words I regrettably don't say often enough:

(To Patrick) "There's nothing on TV!"

So what'd I do instead? I vacuumed with my new vacuum!

A few months ago I "donated" our old vacuum to City Garage... they needed one, and I hated ours, so it seemed like the perfect thing to do. Patrick wasn't super happy about it, though, and has been begging me to pick out a replacement. Since then we've been using my Christmas present hand-vac, which works great, but doing the whole house in that crouched position was not good for my back. Finally, this past weekend on a trip to Target, we got our new one.

Now see, I think maybe I was holding out because I thought I might be able to somehow talk myself into not feeling guilty about spending a crazy amount of money on this monster, but unfortunately, common sense prevailed (damn) and we bought, instead, this.

It was pretty cheap ($59), and man is it green - I'm happy with it.

See what happens when there's nothing on TV? I blog about my vacuum. And no, that's not a euphemism.

So here we go... I just sat down and switched on "Gilmore Girls." I watched about five minutes before switching the channel. Even the actors on the show don't seem to care anymore. Poor Lauren Graham, doing the same shit.

Now I'm watching "American Idol," and it's not my favorite show, I don't watch every week, I've seen a few episodes and have a favorite (Melinda), but just watched Jordin Sparks kill her song, and I mean that in a good way. She's a little out of control when she lets go, but damn, she's good. Unfortunately "Sanjaya" is up next, and I don't know. Do I stick around and watch? Do I change the station? I can't decide. I've seen him before and he's amazingly bad, and it seems kinda ridiculous that he's still around with the "real" singers... We'll see. It's still commercials, but I have the remote close at hand.

[Since I moved on to the next topic, Sanjaya has taken the AI stage, wearing an ENORMOUS red bandanna... now he's "breaking it down," "doing his thing," and boy, am I not impressed. He does sound better than I expected, but he's really not that good. And please know that I wrote that before Randy said the same exact thing.]

...

Work this week has been busy. Nothing new there... We're always busy. I have a new thing I've been doing... at my last job I was introduced to the art of maintaining a "tickler" file, and since I had pretty much nothing to do there, I had plenty of time to ponder how best to maintain order and productivity at work. Granted, at the last job, it was all theoretical (did I mention I had nothing to do?), but now that I'm working someplace where the work never ends ("busy, busy, busy," to quote Kurt Vonnegut), I've had to sort of figure out what works for me. And the tickler works, believe it or not. Anyway, the new thing is simple, and not life altering in the least, but it seems to be helping me keep track of the 900 pieces of paper that sometimes litter my desk like snow, and I'm sure once I get around to telling you about instead of building this up like some kind of exciting secret, you'll be all, "that's it?"

Anyway, so everyday I dump out my folder for the day, and I move it from the hanging folder to a yellow file folder that says "today" on it. A lot of times all the stuff I have to do all day is just following up with people; my boss copies me on practically every email she sends to her staff, and it's my job to go back a few days later and find out if they actually did what they were asked to do. Having everything there, within reach but put away makes it a little easier to concentrate without wondering if I'm forgetting something.

Anyway, writing this down, even I am thinking: So?

Yep.

So?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Things I Can't Do

Eat a meal alone without reading material.

Parallel park with an audience.

Spell "parallel" correctly on the first try.

When cooking something from a recipe, purchase all the necessary items at the grocery store on the first try.

Watch "Saul of the Mole Men" with Patrick one more goddamn time. He's watching it in the living room, and I'm in the office, and just hearing it is making my fucking eye twitch.

Not share my meals at home with Franny, the kitten with the bottomless stomach.

Finish books I don't like (I know people who will force themselves to read every word of a crappy book, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why they do it. Seems like an enormous waste of time to me).

Wear lipstick or lipgloss without eating it.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Best Day Ever + Lotsa Links

OK, so I'll admit it right off the bat:

We didn't paint today.

Instead, we slept in until 10, listened to "Car Talk" on the radio, ate a strange breakfast (we shared a rice cake slathered in peanut butter and jelly. Patrick was a bit too generous), got dressed and went to the Cypress swap meet. I haven't been in a long time, but we used to go together practically every weekend. Patrick likes to go to get his walk in, so he goes more frequently, but I just can't go all the time.

We bought: a strainer, a big loofah, and and icee. Took us two hours to walk the whole thing. It is truly a beautiful day, and we had fun. Afterwards, we checked out Bionic Records, which is right across the street. Bought Devo (Are We Not Men?) for me; Quicksand and Lamb of God for Patrick. I can't believe there are no more Tower Records, anywhere. Bionic was cool; the guy there was playing a band I'm a little bit interested in, called "LCD Sound System." They were a little bit Talking Heads, a little bit Human League, a little bit something else 80s. Oh! And they had a new copy of "Starin' Down the Sun" for sale!

After that, we went to Katella Deli for lunch... kind of an old folks hangout, but the food was yummy. I had matzoh ball soup and a grilled cheese sandwich (on wheat, thank you), with a side of steamed vegetables. We shared a turkey knish, and Patrick had some kind of crazy pastrami sandwich. It looked delicious. The service was terrific.

After that, we decided to check out one of the other locations listed on the business card I got at Bionic Records... we thought there might be a second location in Huntington Beach. On our way there, we decided to call and found out that the HB location closed in January, so instead we went to the beach.

Turns out we were at the Dog Beach, and that was totally cool. Checked out all the really cute doggies running around in the ocean, and the people walking around, and the surfers. Would love to visit that beach again.

On the way home, we listened to my Devo CD, and I am currently in LOVE with "Sloppy" (track 10). Terrific song. "Mongoloid" is pretty cool, too, though - not very politically correct.

Now I'm home, checking out this thing online called "Pandora Internet Radio." It's this thing created by the "Music Genome Project," and it notes your requested music, and suggests (and plays!) songs or bands that are similar to what you searched for. For example, I typed in "Wall of Voodoo," and have so far heard a song called "Lipgloss" by a band called "Pulp" (pretty cool), a song called "The Great Pretender" by Brian Eno, and "Misfit Kid," by the Cars. ... In fact, I think all these "Wall of Voodoo" songs have been awesome. You can see the station I created by clicking here!

And, just as a reminder, if you want a cool online radio station you don't have to program yourself, you should really check out FM 94.9, the San Diego station. I listened to it all last night and every single song was perfect.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weekly Recap

This was a week with a few peaks and valleys, albeit, mostly small ones, so I thought I'd sum it up for you on a day to day basis. For the hell of it.

On Monday, I went to the LA Weekly Awards. You can read my rather terse summary, here, in case you missed it the first time. No photos of me, but here's one my friend Nita took. It's technically a photo of my friend Ed, but if you look closely, that's me sitting next to him in the blue dress. I'm so glad I took the time to do my hair and stuff. You know, because so many people caught that on film.

Tuesday, not much happened. I know for sure that I got up and went to work. And then came home. I think I might've practiced my flute for all of 30 minutes. Other than that, it's a blur.

Wednesday was kind of a roller coaster. Well, maybe a kiddie roller coaster. On my way to work, I got a speeding ticket. What's dumb about it is, I saw the guy. It should've been no surprise to me that he would be there, because I see that stupid motorcycle cop on a regular basis. And did I slow down? No... He caught me on the street that my parking lot for work is on, and he regularly sits in the driveway of the County facility next door, waiting for (suckers) like me to speed by. That particular stretch of road changes from 40 MPH to 30 MPH right there, and if you're not careful... you will be caught. I will admit that I hoped he would see me pulling into a County facility and give me a break, but I see now that the City of Downey is not like the City of Lynwood ("corrupt"), and he followed me into the parking lot. It was embarrassing, and stupid, and I was pissed off, but whatever. If I can, I'll do online traffic school again, because the last time I got a ticket, instead of wasting away for 8 hours in some boring class, I got to lie on the couch and watch TV while doing traffic school, and I got to do it over, I think, a week. And I got to do it with a beer in my hand, which was definitely nice. Anyway, part of the problem might've been, I was listening to Incubus's song "Anna Molly" on the radio, and I was a bit distracted. I love that song, yet I hate loving it: liking Incubus might be my dirty little secret. I've gone to the store and looked at their album more than once, but I just can't bring myself to buy it. "Dig" is one of those songs, where, if Patrick were in the car with me, I would totally rag on it, but still totally love it. Don't ask me why I'm so defensive of my affection for these guys, I can't explain it. I think they're not good enough for me to like, yet I like them anyway.

I guess I'm a snob. Sorry, dudes.

Anyway, then later that day, at lunch, I went to my Weight Watchers meeting.

I will admit that I have been getting really frustrated. At the last few meetings, I've either lost 0 pounds (and just how is that possible?) or I've lost a marginal amount (.6). The big numbers weren't showing up, and even though I was following the rules and being good and goddamn it, walking, I wasn't seeing the results I wanted.

Anyway, guess what. This week? I lost 3.2 pounds! Leslie (our totally cool leader) was really enthusiastic and friendly (she's the best WW leader I've had so far), and the rest of the people were happy for me, too. I really like this group, they're really nice, and encouraging, and inspiring. Most of them have more weight to lose than I do, but everyone has lost a ton already, and they keep doing it. They are totally motivated, and it's good for me to see that.

So the day (Wednesday. We're on Wednesday. Could you please keep up?) got even better, because I got to leave work early to go to "an appointment." That's all I told my boss when I requested the time off.

What happened was, I got a massage.

I haven't had one in ages, and one day last year, after visiting my chiropractor's office a few times, he recommended a massage. I saw a few of the female massage therapists, and it was fine, but nothing special. Then one day, I lucked out and got scheduled with Bruce.

Bruce is an older guy, maybe in his 60s, and he is the coolest, best massage therapist, ever. This guy makes me feel so comfortable, so relaxed. He comes out to the waiting room to collect you, when it's time for your appointment, wearing no shoes, but socks (and pants and a shirt, if you're keeping track). I just love him. He collects didgeridoos and we've had some pretty interesting conversations about flutes. At first I was a little anxious about having a guy, but this guy is just really nice, and so good at his job. I love my appointments (I have another in 2 weeks!). So the day? Way better than when it began, until....

I heard on the radio that Kurt Vonnegut had died. Like most people, I read him in high school (he was recommended to me by Jay Schwartz, a very cool dude himself), but because I like to re-read things, have gone back and read him again since then. I probably don't have anything to say about reading him that hasn't been said by other people; I loved his books ("Cat's Cradle" is a favorite), and I loved the way he made me think about things, and I was really, really sad to hear about him dying. A guy once told me, after offering an unfiltered cigarette (back in the days when I still smoked), "Kurt Vonnegut smokes Pall Malls." If I ever were to write a song, I think I'd start with that line.

Anyway, I think it's time for me to re-read my favorite of his novels, "Cat's Cradle."

Thursday, I worked late to make up for leaving early on Wednesday (I have very little vacation or sick time, and need to stockpile for my vacation to Albuquerque in August), and ended up staying at work until 7:30. It was a long, long, day, and towards the end I was more than a little bleary eyed and confused. After work, Patrick and I went to Sam's Club, the gas station, and Old Navy, where I bought two t-shirts and some pants a size smaller than my normal size (woo wee!). Then we came home and for some reason stayed up until midnight watching the season finale of "Top Design" (Matt won, as I knew he would).

This morning, my alarm clock went nutty and went off 20 minutes early (well, it thought it was the right time... my alarm clock has been malfunctioning lately. Or I've been handling it improperly, which is more likely), so I thought it was 6:15 when it was really 5:45. Waking up 30 minutes early was a bummer. Also, Patrick was not pleased at being awakened earlier than usual (he doesn't have to get up until 6:45). I thought all that waking up early stuff would make me grumpy at work but it turned out to be the opposite. I had a nice day, and accomplished a lot of stuff, and made a few people laugh, which always makes me happy. On the way home, I stopped at LensCrafters and got my eyeglasses adjusted, and now? I'm home, writing to you.

Tomorrow we plan on FINALLY painting the bedroom. Tonight I plan on cleaning it out and doing some laundry, and watching TV and eating a WW friendly meal. I'm looking forward to having a night to just chill. As should all of you.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

LA Weekly Awards


I survived my night out in heels.

It was a mostly fun night. I left LB at 4:30 so that I could get to Hollywood and meet the other City Garage-ers at 6:15. Traffic on the 5 freeway sucked, and it took about 2 hours to get there. I was fine, I just Walter Mitty'd my way through Boyle Heights. Once there, I stupidly paid $20 to park. Maybe if I'd been earlier, or with someone more adventurous, or wearing less high heels, I might've parked somewhere cheaper but I had $20, and I guess spending it on parking was better than spending it on booze.

I had to go to the Avalon, which, I'm told, was The Hollywood Palace in another lifetime. It's right across the street from the Capitol Records building, which was totally cool. The Avalon itself seemed a tad bit small for the event - according to the LA Weekly's own story, supposedly 700 people were crammed in, and for most of us, seating was either non-existent, or consisted of a flimsy cushion on a narrow banquette. "Cozy" is one way to describe it. "Fucking crowded" is another. Click here for the Weekly's own summary, and there are photos. I forgot my camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it: my friends were all got up in their 1940s era-clothes (David and Justin take the top honors - but then, I think they probably look the best in most outings they find themselves on. Max was also pretty sharp in his white zoot suit), and I thought we were a pretty good-looking group.

City Garage won one of the three categories they were nominated in (Production Design). Congratulations, City Garage! I'll work for free any day!

Wait a minute...

*Photo Credit: Paul M. Rubenstein

You may have noticed that I'm not in this photo. Well, it can't all be about me, now can it?

From left to right:

Jeff, Bo, Marie-Francoise, Justin, Nita, Ed, Alisha (or is that Alexandra? I get them confused), Crystal.

Beautiful, every simgle one of them.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Adventures in Big Girl Shoes



The other day I made a decision: I want to be the type of woman who can wear high heels.

Up until now, I've bought my share of flats or moderate heels - shoes that are comfortable, practical, easy to walk in. I do love shoes, and over the years I've figured out what type works for me. Considering that I am pigeon-toed, clumsy, near-sighted, prone to tripping, and possess lousy depth perception, I've done alright finding cute shoes that don't make me a hazard to myself or others.

I think I've mentioned in this space that I'm going to be going to the LA Weekly Theater Awards show this Monday. To be honest with you, I'm excited that City Garage has been nominated, and I know that we truly deserve to win, but my real excitement was having an excuse to get dressed up.

I'm naturally a jeans and flip-flops kind of girl. To work I wear khakis and one of my many black sweaters to work most of the time. I've never been a girly-girl, and I don't wear makeup, and I do like to have pretty hair but honestly, I don't care that much, and would rather sleep in than fuss with myself in the mornings. But now, at the ripe old age of 35, I've decided that the ability to walk in heels is a skill I want to have.

When I was invited to go with the City Garage people to the awards show, it got me to thinking. These people have mostly seen me bundled up to work the freezing cold light/sound booth, or in my comfortable clothes, or my "black" rehearsal clothes. When I did The Bacchae, I was a little body conscious in that crowd of gorgeous thin girls, and so I changed as quickly as possible backstage into my big t-shirts for rehearsals, or my "caftan" for performances. But for this event, I think it's going to be fun to be "dressed up." I asked my friend Sarah for some recommendations, and I checked with my friend Bo's wife, who will also be attending (she told me to wear a "cocktail" dress, which was pretty funny, when you consider my wardrobe! A cocktail dress in my closet would have no one to talk to), and I think I've bought something pretty, comfortable, and appropriate. Yesterday I got the shoes. Frederique, the director at City Garage, has inspired me. I've seen her wearing super-high heels and walking perfectly confidently. I think she's actually more comfortable in heels than flats!

I bought two pairs of shoes this week: one for the event, and one for work. The photo above is close to what I bought for the event. I couldn't find the exact ones online (I bought them at DSW). For one thing, mine are NOT patent leather! They look really cute on.

Today, I'm wearing a pair of those long pants, and the shoes I bought for work. I'm doing OK - my feet don't hurt, and I haven't tripped or fallen. They're pretty shoes, and the long pants keep me from feeling too exposed or stupid. I watched a video last week of some woman who was on Rachael Ray's show, showing the audience how to walk. Rachael Ray makes my eyes and ears bleed, and so even 5 minutes of her show was hell, but I did get a few tips from the guest. I've been conscious of my posture, and trying to keep my butt from sticking out!

Maybe I wish I'd learned these things 10, 15 years ago, but I'm having fun, now, anyway.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Byron Hoyt

I'm pretty sure this isn't a very timely post from me... but it was news to me to find out that Byron Hoyt, the huge music store in San Francisco, has closed. Not sure when it happened, but today is the day I found out about it.

Friday night at my flute lesson, we chose my next flute solo - I'm going to be playing "First Sonata for Flute and Piano," by Bohuslav Martinu. I'm excited about it, actually. New piece!

Anyway, this morning I sat down at my computer to look up the number for Byron Hoyt - they're the ones I've been buying music from for all this time, pretty much. I even got to go there, twice, and it was a pretty cool experience. Huge place, everything you could imagine. Anyway, most of my buying has been by phone, and they were always nice, helpful, and FAST.

But now they're closed.

So my next choice is Old Town Music, in Pasadena. I'm hoping they have the music in stock, and we can just go pick it up. It seems like a very nice day to drive to Pasadena.

I'm on hold now... they're looking.

Darn: they don't have it. OK, so my last choice is Flute World. They're an online place, so I usually deal with them when I go to the convention, but they're pretty fast, and reliable... Seems to me that their price is $2 more than I saw somewhere else online, but I'd rather go with someplace I know.

Unfortunately, I was up most of the night with a headache... I still have a tiny one, even now. I woke up at 2:30 and took some Tylenol... I don't usually get headaches like this. I feel a lot better though. I'm thinking it might be a reaction from when I ate yesterday...

We went to a barbecue in Lakewood for my Aunt Mary, at my cousin Mike's girlfriend's house. She lives about 5 minutes away from us, which was nice, for a change. My family is spread out, and usually we have to go to the valley or San Diego to see them. Anyway, I was good all morning, and just had carrots for breakfast, anticipating that I would be unable to resist hamburgers and hot dogs, food I haven't eaten in weeks. And I was right: I was unable to resist. Mike makes a hell of a burger. I was lucky though - they served carrot cake, which I don't like, so I was able to pass on that.

So I came home and calculated all the food I ate, and saw that I didn't do that badly: I went over my allotted points for the day, yes, but not by too much. I even counted that beer I drank! But maybe, in not eating that way for a while, I shocked my body or something, because at around 8:30, I had the worst headache, and I actually went to bed.