Sunday, June 29, 2008

New picture from wedding I attended last weekend

My friends Chris and Denise sent me this photo, and I think it's better than the other ones. I wasn't sweating as much yet, I guess.

And I think this is a more realistic version of the color of my dress. It looked way orange-r in the other photos, but (in my head only, apparently) is more like this.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I actually have things to do - updated

1. Go to Borders and purchase three books - one for my friend Sarah, which I told her about, and now I don't want to give up my own copy; one that Sarah recommended, which I hope I have the right title of; and one I read about in the LA Weekly that looks funnier than shit.

Borders didn't have the Evil NASA book, or whatever it's called. Or maybe they did (the computer at the store said that the book "may be in stock," which I actually liked, enjoying the positive attitude). However, it was shelved somewhere in their Metaphysical section, a section of the store that I have zero business being in. Yeah, I walked by the Metaphysical section, but then I started to get a little itchy - so I left. I purchased this book instead. Got the other two successfully.

2. Burn a CD for my friend Sarah, which I believe she will enjoy more than I do.

Still haven't burned the CD but I did listen to some of these tracks on the way home from Culver City tonight, and it's good stuff. I may just have too many options when I'm in the car, because I have noticed when I have my iPod on shuffle that I skip a lot of really good songs, in hopes, I guess, of hearing something totally amazing that I had forgotten about.

3. Wash my car.

Car is still filthy. The Bubble Machine was closed when I left the concert, and I was running too late to go before.

4. Clean out my car (inside, trunk).

I did do this, threw away a lot of trash, but more attention could've been paid to the trunk. I may have to re-do the trunk tomorrow.

5. Buy juice or whatever we're going to drink tonight at the flute choir concert

I went to Smart & Final for the Martinelli's - they had all six different flavors. I was a bit embarrassed because I couldn't find the right aisle, and so when I asked somebody and he tried to tell me it was on aisle 10, I got a little snooty and asked him to show me "because I've been looking and I can't find it." He walked me over to aisle 10, which, it turns out, I had skipped, and it was right there in plain sight. "Fucking bitch" I'm sure he muttered as he walked back to the frozen food section, but this can't be proven.

6. Finish my laundry, which involves ironing a linen dress I hope I didn't ruin by washing in the machine.

Dress actually survived the wash, and fits better (it was a tiny bit big). Everyone seemed to like it, and I'm glad, because I like it, too. Sometimes I wonder if when I purchase skirts and dresses if I'd just be better off sticking with my khaki pants and black sweaters: if I should be dressing up.

7. (Most important item) Practice my flute and piccolo parts for tonight's concert. I wish I could add, purchase new piccolo to this list - my piccolo, which was a bargain, and therefore, I'm lucky it sounds as good as it does, is kind of a piece of junk. It's just a couple of steps up from a toy. It's 55% plastic, and that, my friends, says it all. It alternates from being very flat to being very sharp. Once in a while I hit it in tune (middle E flat is a relatively good note). It helps when the rest of the flute choir is also out of tune.

My warm up went just fine; my piccolo actually sounded great, if a tad loud. I am a really loud picc player, what can I say? The concert was terrific, and Rachel, our new girl who played a huge solo in Scherhazade (I spelled that wrong) did a wonderful job. She's amazing. Everyone liked the pieces we played, and it was fun.

(That was me being sarcastic, in case you couldn't tell. )

But what have I been doing instead? Instead I have been watching Kathy Griffin on Bravo, eating lunch, playing Scrabulous on Facebook (and mostly trailing my friends Michael, Sarah and Terry) and watching the kid across the street play catch by himself (he truly is quite talented). I did take a shower. There's one thing down. Damn.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Standing up for myself, one tiny step at a time

Today I was in a meeting with a couple of managers and their staff discussing ways to make this stupid report I work on all week, better. One of the main issues is that the staff responsible for submitting information to me are largely unresponsive. I waste a ton of time everyday following up with people, and most of the time, my requests require more than one effort from me. I do a lot of following up; I get really sick of following up. I have a hard time understanding why I have to baby-sit people who make at least three to four times the amount of money I do. Mostly the follow up is done through email, which the managers agree is the most effective way to communicate with their staff, but there are times when I need to speak to people. Then it gets messier, because folks at my department are masters of distraction - or they think they are. They think that by not answering the question or by bringing up another topic altogether, I might forget what it was I originally asked them. Generally: I don't forget. My boss has, on more than one occasion, told these people that when I ask for something it's the same as if she asks for it. I have told them that these reports are prepared at the request of the executives: it's not because I have a need for this information! They shouldn't need to be reminded of that. Truth is, I don't have time to monkey around or deal with their bullshit excuses, and I'm sick of excuses or having to make excuses for them. I need what I need when I need it. Period. I can't tell my boss that I don't have what she wants because "they didn't give it to me." She doesn't care about that, and having told her that once and gotten busted for it, will never do it again. It sucks, but that's the way it is.

Anyway, so one of the problems we've been having involves one of the units giving me the date certain candidates are fingerprinted. This problem has a simple solution: the fingerprint technicians need to maintain a log. This was my idea, and even though it's pretty simple (and obvious) I'm quite proud of it. Frankly I'm a bit shocked they don't already keep a log of everybody they fingerprint, but: they don't. It seems like such a common sense solution but okay, they don't. So while I was making this suggestion, one of the other supervisors, no more than 10 words into my sentence, interrupted me. She said, "Well, I can tell you how we used to do it - " and I got pissed off. First of all, this lady always interrupts everybody. She's a habitual interrupter, and it annoys me. Interrupting is rude and in her case, unproductive, because she has a way of bringing up the olden days as if that's going to solve today's problems. She likes to digress, not unlike some of these blog entries, and I know that's a pain in the ass. But where my blog can be read leisurely, on your own time (or not read at all: "Oh, she's rambling again... [click!]"), work stuff is always rushed. Chaos is the standard around here. Information is always needed right now, or better yet, ten minutes ago. How am I going to solve this problem today, lady? Right now? Not yesterday. Anyway, so I got pissed. These are her people who aren't providing me with the info, and she too is notorious for ignoring emails and making me run around after her trying to dig up answers to questions that were originally asked last week. So I said, when she interrupted me, "Can I finish what I was saying first?"

The whole room (there were about five or six of us in the meeting) got very quiet. The managers (one was this woman's supervisor) sort of made a little noise - like "Oh!" I said thank you and continued on. Then people asked questions, we made a decision, and nobody, least of all me, turned to this lady and said anything about what she was going to say earlier. Maybe I should have, but I didn't. Later, we were talking about something else, and she made another attempt ("to go back to what I was saying before,") and eventually I guess she got it out, but it was just as I suspected: ancient history, not going to help us in this situation, and in fact, brought up more questions as to why they stopped doing whatever it was they had been doing all those years ago. When, I might point out, she was the only person in the room working here. Fucking dinosaur.

Afterwards, I felt bad for about a second. It is not my way to interrupt an interrupter! Then I thought about it and decided it was the right thing to do. I needed to get my point across, I deserved to say what I had to say, which turned out to have everyone's approval, and she needs to shut the fuck up once in a while and grow some manners.

Later I said to one of the supervisors who had been in there, who knows this woman fairly well, "Did I make an enemy earlier today?"

He said "No, but you might have gained four friends."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hot, hot, hot

Without making too big of a deal about it, I just need to state for the record that it's very fucking hot in LA right now and has been for I believe five days. The lady on the radio told me that it's going to be this hot right up through Thursday. I'm just sharing with you my information, in case you, you know, don't have access to the radio yourselves.


Yesterday I went to a wedding. My friend Diana got married - I used to work with her at Rizzoli Santa Monica. She introduced me to her current boss as her old boss. I think maybe her dress was too tight or she was too hot, because I don't recall ever being Diana's boss. Yes, I was an assistant manager and she was a "key holder" but wow, if I ever gave her instructions or tasks or did anything "boss like" in her presence or directed at her, I would be very, very surprised indeed.

Anyway, it was an interesting wedding, and very nice to see her so happy, and really great to see all our old co-workers in one place.

Here's a photo.

Tomorrow I'm joining a gym.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One on one

I think it's funny that someone in the city of Paramount thought it would be a good idea to name their business "Onan." Onan is just one of those words that, once you learn what it refers to, you never forget. I suppose the business is named after, I suppose, Judah's son, from the Bible, but even knowing who "Onan" is doesn't really explain why you'd want your scrap metal (or whatever) business named that.

I've always liked the word "onanism," having learned it the same year I learned the difference between "flatulence" and "flagellation" (it was a good year). It doesn't get used enough, don't you think? To me, though, the minute I first heard the word, I pretty much instantly thought of that Hall & Oates song, "One on One." Now, I realize that's a song about a guy missing a girl, but still. I mean, suddenly, for me, that silly little pop song took on a meaning I don't think either Daryl or John originally had in mind.

I am curious, though: just what does this business do? Next time I go to El Pollo Loco I'm going to check it out. I'll keep you posted.


Oh, and regarding the afore-mentioned change? Ah. I just needed a break. And to think. Thinking is over.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Change is coming...

Watch out for it. Or if not change, exactly, well, a break at least.


Oh, and if you've been calling my cell phone wondering why exactly I'm not picking up or calling you, my phone has been missing for about six days now. Give me a day or two and I'm sure it'll turn up somewhere.

I could survive how many days?

How Long Could You Survive Trapped In Your Own Home?
Created by OnePlusYou

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday and Sunday - Updated

Without giving you too many details, Patrick and I got hit with some kind of bacteria last night. I woke up at 2 a.m. feeling sicker than I have in my entire life. I was in and out of the bathroom the whole rest of the morning, and didn't fall asleep again until 9:30. Patrick seemed okay when I woke up at 2, but as time went by, he too was sick. Once I fell asleep, I slept until about 4:30.

Body aches, headache, to say nothing of our stomachs - it's been a long day.

The sweetest thing, though, was that during all my trips to the bathroom, while I was feeling the worst, my little cat, Franny joined me. She sat on my lap, or just hung out on the floor and waited for me.

Patrick's gone to the store - he's feeling better already - to get us some juice and soup. I couldn't even think about food until a little while ago, but now I'm feeling a little hungry.


So, we had gone to a late lunch on Saturday at the Yard House here in LB with my parents, and then hung out with them for awhile - we walked around Shoreline Village and showed them downtown. After they left, we were home, doing our usual thing of watching TV and making each other laugh. After awhile, we got hungry again, so Patrick broke out some nuts and crackers. We both ate them, but he had more than I did. Then we went to bed. Then disaster struck (see above). I was concerned for my parents, because they don't like going to restaurants they've never been to, and here we are, sick as dogs: I was worried they had gotten sick, too. And they'd planned, on Sunday, to drive up to Palmdale to visit my aunt and uncle, and I hoped we hadn't ruined those plans. So at some point Sunday morning, I called their house to see how they were (I was still in a fog at that point; the phone was so heavy - my arm was so weak), but they didn't answer, so I assumed they were okay, and that the Yard House wasn't to blame. Then later that night my sister emailed me, and I told her what happened. She said they were fine, so I stopped worrying about it, and assumed Pat and I had gotten sick from the nuts and crackers, as strange as that was.

Finally on Monday I spoke with my mom myself, and it turns out that though she wasn't hit with the same problems as Patrick and I were, she did have some pretty major discomfort on Sunday. My dad, who had ordered a burger, was fine. So it wasn't the nuts and the crackers, which is unfortunate, because we still had another bag of them (nuts), and we threw all that stuff away as soon as we had the strength to open the trash can.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Clock radios - now with photo

A couple of weeks ago, Patrick bought me a new alarm clock for the bedroom. This new one can host my iPod (I like "host" better than "dock," don't you?), and it's got a digital tuner for the radio (the other one had that dial thing). I hated having to search for KPCC (after those rare occasions I had switched to KROQ), I always ended up listening to the dreaded KCRW, wondering what had happened to "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me." My old Dream Machine had bigger numbers (better for viewing without glasses) than the new one, but being able to play MP3s in the bedroom is definitely a plus. I'm slowly getting used to the funny little cricket alarm; it surprisingly discernible through earplugs, which I doubted at first.

I took the old clock-radio to work with me this week, and since Monday, have been listening to 91.5 KUSC. In the past, I rarely listened to classical music for fun, but it seemed like a good antidote to my co-workers' music (The Wave on a bad day, K-Earth on a slightly less bad day; they're all sort of bad days around here, sonically speaking). I tried listening to NPR but listening to talk radio at a respectful level is just too distracting during the workday. KLOS or KROQ or another rock station is too iffy: sure, you'll hear a good song now and again, but follow it with 30 mins. of commercials or the new (horrible) Coldplay song, and I'm out. I'm sort of surprised at how much I'm enjoying it - KUSC has sucked me in, and in a remarkably short amount of time. I've recognized many of the concertos and symphonies arranged for flute choir that we've played over the years. The orchestral versions are totally cool and go by at a clip the flute choir could never manage (right now I'm listening to "Night On Bald Mountain," and it's just dramatic enough for the day I'm having). I've also been hearing a lot of dedicated flute music, and it's funny that here I am, at a job I - and let's be frank - hate, listening to stunning flutists and other musicians play away at a lot of music I studied and sort of wish I had taken more seriously. It also should be said that were I home right now, it's pretty doubtful that I would actually be practicing: let's not paint too rosy a picture, Irene.

I got a massage yesterday, and I was talking to Bruce about a bunch of stuff, most of it not really related to what I'm telling you now (we were talking about music, yes, but rock and roll; I love Bruce, and in spite of him already being married - 43 years next month! - and therefore probably 60-something [I haven't forgotten that I too am married, and quite happily: this aside about Bruce is 99.9999% for fun only] and a fan of Bob Seger; I would marry him, if he asked, affection for Bob Seger be damned). Then he mentioned he had gone to a concert at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach and was impressed mightily by the musicians - students - who performed. Even though he's never heard me play he always speaks about my flute playing respectfully, as if I've told him I'm better than I am (I haven't) or as if he knows something I haven't told him (possible; he's got a way of figuring me out without my telling him anything, based on what, I don't know. The way my kidneys feel, maybe, or the way my musculature [never mind that I have no muscles] feels, or can he read me based on the fact that sometimes I have cool hands and feet but a hot head and torso?), and he always remembers about my performances at City Garage, which I told him about at least two years ago. Yeah, what I'm trying to say is there's a bit of a psychic connection there or something, but so what? I like him. I trust him. It's a good way to feel about someone of the opposite sex who is rubbing you. When he mentioned CSULB, it seemed to go along with some things I've been thinking about lately.

See, I'm kind of trying to make myself make a decision. To move forward. For the last couple of weeks - oh, let's just say months (years) and get on with it - for the last couple of months I have been pretty stuck. I'm not happy at work, and I realized that I've been telling people "I don't want to be a secretary anymore," yet the only job I applied for (and tested for and passed) is as an "Administrative Assistant." Granted, there's a number: I could now be an Administrative Assistant II; the II seems to exist only to allow me to feel superior to all those Administrative Assistant Is, and less good than Administrative Assistant IIIs (I don't qualify, yet, for some reason, for the III). (All of this reminds me of the [mostly ironic] care I used to take when I was the First Assistant Manager at Crown [First being marginally better paid than Second but otherwise holding no other benefit], to ensure that people understood that I was the First and Beth [crazy-ass, mean, Beth] was the Second - back in the days when I was much younger and having keys to anyplace other than my parents' house was pretty exciting). It hasn't yet been fully explained to me, the specifics involved, but it's not rocket science... and what is an Administrative Assistant but a glorified secretary? True, I need to find out what's in store for me, specifically, whether in my current position (my boss has put into motion the steps necessary to promote me; she's requesting to "underfill" an even higher-level position that I'm also not qualified for yet) or somewhere else (next week I have an interview; unfortunately it's downtown), but that conversation - "So, Boss, what's this going to change? What's going to be different?" -- "Different" being my euphemism for "better." - is not one to which I look forward. I would much rather just say, "Sorry, Boss, but I'm leavin'. Thanks for forgetting my birthday two years in a row. See ya!" Don't get me wrong: I'm taking this position, wherever I have to go, and I'll happily accept the difference in pay. Being a Sr. Secretary I (technically I'm a II - I took a voluntary demotion to work at this job, and I don't need you to tell me that was a dumb move. And do you see how good I am at keeping track of this stuff? The funny thing is, I don't care what your title or number is - I'm not comparing me to you, because you probably went to Harvard, or drive a BMW, and seriously, working out the different weights and measurements required for the comparison of me and you would not end well. No, I am comparing me to my own specifications for where I should be, me, with my limited self-confidence but who always thought I'd be somewhere - the specifics are vague - different) is not my goal in life. But what is? See kids? Without a plan, this is where you end up: blogging about your lack of accomplishments at the ripe old age of 36.

On Tuesday, while pollworking, I was talking with this very interesting guy named Kendrick. He's a student at Long Beach City College, and he was reading Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man," a book I own and never finished - one of the few ("Wuthering Heights" is another). He was telling me how for the last couple of years he had been taking one class at a time while working, and now that he's a couple of units away from getting his AA, he's going full-time. Then I started thinking about our friend Phil, also my age, who just finished at CSULB with a degree in Electrical Engineering, which he accomplished while holding a full-time job and having a wife and two young children and living 30 miles away. And I thought, not for the first time, I am so stuck. I don't want to be stuck anymore. I don't think this is the first time I've referred to this. I want to do something, but I don't want to give up my paycheck. And it's scary, the options. I could be pregnant this year - it could happen, I know it could, if it hasn't already, though, I'm not holding my breath - but if I'm not, soon, I think the way to get unstuck might be school. Having a baby could be scarier than taking a class somewhere. Though I'm not sure what classes I would take.

Or maybe it's as simple as just playing more. Playing more would be easier (and cheaper). I want to play more - but I need to make myself do it, which I suck at. It's so much easier to watch TV, or to take a nap, or to navel gaze: I'm an excellent navel gazer. I should sell tickets. It's funny, too, because "making myself do it" is only necessary for the act of getting my flute out, but that's the hardest part, isn't it? Once I'm started, I'm fine. I might not be good enough to play with CSULB's musicians, anyway; finding that out would be scary, but no scarier than running a show with theater critics in the audience, no? No scarier than driving 95 miles an hour on the 405 at 1 o'clock in the morning? No scarier than posting this entry? I might have hated high school - but what did I hate, exactly? I know I was afraid, and don't get me wrong: I'm still afraid. But I'm also getting old, and with that doesn't there come some wisdom? Otherwise what's the point of all these years behind me, other than to make me feel enormously un-cool?

I don't need to be very wise, I just need a little. I know that I could be an AA II, but an AA II with a BA in something: see how much better that makes me feel? I could be an AA II, but an AA II who practiced last night or read something; instead of an AA II who sat on the couch and watched "Top Chef" and "Groomer Has It." That works, too. I mean, maybe school's not it, I don't know. But I am so obviously treading water right now that trying something seems like a really good idea. Propositioning Bruce is probably a really, really bad one.*

*Totally a joke, calm down.

I know I went a little crazy with parenthesis today. Sue me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"More rare than medium"

I just found out that the way I like my steak is actually called "rare plus."

Good to know.