Monday, August 31, 2009

Cubs!

Chicago update

Well.

We've been here since Thursday, and in that time have seen and done and eaten many wonderful things. Among them (I will leave it to you to figure out which things were digestible; I will add links later): Millenium Park, the Art Institute, a boat tour down the Chicago River, a tour of Farnsworth House, Frontera Grill (which was deliciously yummy), we've walked the amazing streets of Chicago, which are full of all kinds of wonderful stuff to look at, real Chicago style pizza, "Jersey Boys" at the beautiful Bank of America theater...

We're having a great time. I think Chicago is my favorite city to visit now. I'll have to go to New York again to compare but... right now Chicago is winning.

My friends and my boss have been keeping me updated on the fire situation back home in L.A. A very scary situation there, and I heard that two LA County firefighters were killed. Very scary, very sad. I hope they get that under control soon.

And of course there was a show at City Garage that I didn't do last night. The word is that it was great, and I'm so glad.

Today we're taking it easy (for a vacation we've sure been getting up early!) but might head to Graceland Cemetery before going to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs vs. the Astros. Fun! Tomorrow we go home, and Wednesday I go back to work.

More cell phone photos to come, I'm sure. And real photos probably on Friday, for those who are interested.

See you later,
Irene

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What I didn't tell you about last night's ride:

Last night on my bike ride, right when I got home and pulled up on the sidewalk in front of my house, I fell.

This was my first spill on my new bike. Not the first fall for me ever, though, and definitely will not be the last. It took me a long time to learn to ride a bike (my sister finally taught me at El Marino, when I was in the third or fourth grade, and I hit a pole. How do you hit a pole?), and I'm not exactly graceful just walking around, so I'm sure it'll happen again.

But this was the first time lately. I'm not sure how it happened: Patrick took those stupid clip things off my pedals, so it's not like my foot got stuck. I think it's possible I stopped too quickly and couldn't get my right foot down fast enough? Whatever, I landed on the lawn (instead of Kevin's car), and I wasn't hurt. I went down easily enough, I guess, though my girl parts got a bit of a wrenching (this is what I get for not wearing the padded shorts, I guess). I went down on my right side, and rolled over and looked up at the stars for awhile.

Then my neighbors across the street came out and started getting in Joe's car. Luckily Kevin's Grand Am blocked them from seeing me on the grass, but they might've noticed when I got up. That vest is very loud.

Anyway, I debated over telling Patrick but of course I did. Lying on the couch watching CNN, he hadn't seen a thing through the open front door. He worried that I'd scratched my bike, and of course I didn't. I wasn't hurt, either. It had to happen sometime. I think I got off easy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today's bike ride brought to you by the letter C:

A month after the first successful night ride, I decided to get off my lazy, couch-sitting, cheese sandwich, cheese pizza eating (after I made a yummy grilled cheese sandwich, Patrick, who had decided that the perfectly good cheese in our refrigerator wasn't edible anymore, decided to order a pizza) butt and take my bike out for another moonlit ride. My brother-in-law just gave me a very cool shiny reflective vest, so I put that on over my raggedy outfit (old dark gray capri length Old Navy sweats, a white tank top with a brown, slightly bleached t-shirt from the Gap over it, Converse, no socks - believe me when I say I was stunning), donned my helmet, pumped up my tires, switched on my lights, and headed out.

It was a gorgeous night again in Long Beach. Last time my neighborhood smelled like fabric softener; tonight it smelled like spaghetti. It was a bit too hot during the day today (the high was 86 in LB, 88 in East LA where I work) but when the sun went down and that funny moon came up, it cooled off nicely. It's 69 right now in Long Beach. I forgot to charge my cell phone (again; it's been dead since Saturday) so I told Patrick I'd only be gone for about a half hour. After about 40 minutes, after seeing one car accident aftermath, one ambulance/fire truck combo at a neighbor's house, and smelling skunk (not on the block that smelled like spaghetti, obviously), I decided to come home. I didn't go very far or very fast but it was a nice ride, and a pretty night.

On Sunday, during the car ride with Bo after the show in Santa Monica, he commented that "the moon looks like the one the cow jumped over." It was almost the same moon tonight.

I suspect that the moon was made of cheese, too.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sales pitches sometimes confuse me. (Updated)

I asked a friend of mine who owns a Mini Cooper, to explain to me just what it is they mean in those radio ads that claim that Mini's have "go-kart handling." Turns out he's never driven a go-kart, and so he couldn't help me.

I of course know what a go-kart is, and on one trip to Malibu Speedway with Patrick for my birthday a bunch of years ago, drove one for awhile. I think I still have my "driver's license" from that little trip. Does Malibu Speedway even exist still? I think my top speed in the go-kart was what? 25 miles an hour (I'm an animal)? Which, when you think of it, is pretty fast when you're that close to the ground. Anyway, to give you an idea of how long ago this was, I wore my tiny old favorite 501s, a flannel shirt, and brown boots. Yes: I may have been dressed in Grunge.

Anyway, I did a little half-assed research, and I discovered that go-karts typically lack a suspension, and a differential (and a roof, but let's not get too technical). I had a vague idea of what the differential is, but now I can tell you definitively that the differential is that thing that allows the tires to travel at different speeds. Apparently this comes in handy when taking curves. I will be sure to thank my differential next time I make one of my patented 12-point turns.

Go-karts are also sometimes (always? My memory of what I just read is vague) equipped with racing tires ("slicks"). I recall that my brother's cherry red 1971 Chevy Nova (which, when started, caused new cracks in the dining room wall of my parents' home) had slicks. I also recall him promising to let me drive it if I'd help him bleed the brakes. He sold that gorgeous car a while ago, and no, I never got to drive it. Gypped!

In all honesty, driving a go-kart sounds fun. Mini's sure are cute. And 37 miles a gallon sounds like heaven. I would love to ride in one (hello, friend! You know who you are! Gimme a ride, would you?), and would even consider buying one, if I were in the market for a new car. But I'm not, which is lucky, because I'm not sure what exactly they're trying to sell me with the "go-kart handling" line.

..

My work had a little car show today, where they were supposedly going to showcase all the hybrid and electric vehicles we have been buying and using throughout... wherever it is I work. We have various fleet vehicles and are responsible for providing cars and maintenance and repair to other departments. They sent an announcement last week that at the car show, they would have a 2009 Honda Civic CNG, a 3rd generation Toyota Prius (with solar... something), a Plug-In Toyta Prius, an electric Mini Cooper, and some sort of Ford propane truck for us to learn about. I went out there today hoping to get some brochures, sit in a couple of new cars, and hear about how these cars work.

Instead, a bunch of women from Finance and I all hopped in the unlocked vehicles, where we found no brochures, nobody to talk to, and learned nothing other than DAMN that's a big ol' battery in the back seat of the electric Mini. But how does it work?

All in all, I was surprisingly dissatisfied. Usually events like this put on by my department are better.

Also, the speedometer in the electric mini is ridiculously huge. I've seen smaller clocks around Flavor Flav's neck. I've seen smaller clocks on schoolroom walls. It's possible Big Ben is smaller.

This picture, with nothing to compare it to, does it no justice. That thing was easily the size of Stewart Copeland's head.

Friday, August 21, 2009

What's in a name?

Yesterday when I was driving all over town, I saw a van for a medical laundering company.

The name of the company was "ImageFirst." I knew it was a medical laundering company because under the words "ImageFirst" it said, "Medical Laundry." This seemed obvious. Also, there was a photo of a lovely young blond woman wearing a stethoscope, hugging a pillow.

I thought that was a funny name for a company that cleans stuff.

"Sure, ma'am, the reason our services are so, let's face it, cheap, is because even though those sheets look perfectly clean, in reality, they're covered with a microscopic layer of... dookie."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dizzy: not just over you.

I've been using Claritin-D for about 2 weeks, and I've found that not only does it not work for me (I am continuing to sneeze and exhibit watery eyes, along with itchy skin), but today and yesterday I experienced a little dizziness, as well.

My dizziness isn't that severe, but I think this might be it for me using it. I'm done.

My doctor ordered a (dreaded and despised) intranasal spray for me yesterday. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and use that instead. Pun intended.

From www.drugs.com:

Claritin-D 12-Hour Sustained-Release Tablets

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor,
side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects
persist or become bothersome when using Claritin-D 12 Hour 12-Hour
Sustained-Release Tablets:

Coughing; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth;
excitability; fatigue; headache; loss of appetite; mild stomach upset; nausea;
nervousness; sleeplessness; sore throat; thirst.

Seek medical attention
right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Claritin-D
12-Hour Sustained-Release Tablets:

Severe allergic reactions (rash;
hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the
mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; difficulty urinating; fast or
irregular heartbeat; mental or mood changes; seizures; severe dizziness;
uncontrolled shaking or tremor.
A friend just told me that good ol' vitamin C can help battle allergies. I'm going to give that a try, too. Meanwhile, No More Claritin.

I found this reference from Google Books (from The complete idiot's guide to vitamins and minerals By Alan H. Pressman, Sheila Buff) about it, too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A few too many words about my first two hours spent with the LBCC Wind Symphony

Last night was the first meeting of my new band class. We met in a local middle school, which is located in the middle of one of the nicest neighborhoods in my immediate area (certainly nicer than my own neighborhood!). My original idea had been to ride my bike - if you remember, I did some detailed and highly dangerous reconnaissance work last week to determine the exact route I should take. It's only about 3 miles from my house, and takes less than 15 minutes on the bike, but I decided that for the first night, when I wanted to present myself somewhat professionally (and therefore, not sweaty, or with helmet hair), that to drive my car was a better idea. Also, on the way home I saw a pretty bad car accident in one of the intersections I needed to cross (where I recently tried out my newly found bravery for making left-hand turns on my bike in the left-hand lane), and decided it wasn't worth risking getting hit with my flute and piccolo on me just for a 3 mile ride.

The change in transportation also gave me time to change shoes from my glorious and gorgeous new Nine West cork-soled wedge platform heels to my oh-so-professional (!) pink ribbon and brown leather flip flops (which I have been living in, on the weekend, all summer). And I had time to breathe deeply and try not to be nervous about playing with strangers or meeting new people. These are things I get anxious about: I can't help myself. The flute choir has been a comfortable existence for me, but I need to get out and play more and be confident.

Anyway, maybe next week I'll ride the bike.

When I got there, the room was about 3/4 filled with musicians of all ages, shape and sizes. Most of them were either talking or warming up their instruments. The flutes were down in front, and there were already 3 of them in seats. Two of them, older ladies, were in the section I imagined reserved for the "firsts," and the third, a younger girl with curly hair, was in the third seat from the other end. She wasn't in the middle, she wasn't on the end. I didn't want to pass in front of her to take the middle, so I sat on the end.

I didn't know what to expect, so I put on my good-humored face and smiled at her just because she was within smiling distance (the conductor's stool and podium was between me and the other two ladies; I did smile at them but they were busy passing out music and talking to each other), and I took out my flute and warmed up, and tried to get comfortable in an uncomfortable plastic chair.

It took some time to start playing - there was music to pass out and hellos between old-timers, but finally we got started. We warmed up on an A flat major scale, and I could tell instantly that I was going to need to get prepared for things to be loud. That was fine with me: I like loud. (Also, interestingly, when we played our A flat major scale in whole notes, the conductor had us go one note higher than A flat - we played A flat at the top, and then played an extra B flat before heading back down. That was a new pattern for me; it wasn't terribly interesting in itself, but I wondered why we did it that way.) I can't remember the name of the very first thing we played (some kind of march, does that narrow it down?), and luckily we took it fairly slow the first time around ("tempo di learno," as it was called by the conductor, which I liked), but then he announced we were going to do it again up to tempo, and it was then that I realized that there was a second, even more important thing that I needed to be prepared for than the first: things were going to be fast. And I don't mean just fast, I mean, cut time fast, double time fast, - super fast! - in 2, with sixteenths and complicated rhythms and counting and repeated sections that whiz by and man was it fun.

After playing for about 45 minutes straight, we took a break where everyone introduced themselves, and I turned out to be the first one chosen to speak. The conductor actually did a little pre-introduction for me, which was embarrassing - he said, "Here's a new face!" Then he whispered, "She can play!" I'm not sure what he was basing this on - for one thing, how could he hear me? That room was loud. And for another thing, man, that music was not easy. I'm pretty sure I left whole chunks of it un-played - but it was nice of him. I announced my name to the room and said that I'd played with the Culver City Flute Choir for 20 years, and then it was off to the next person. I like the way the other people interacted with each other - there was some easy going teasing and lightly sarcastic comments and the kind of smart alec-y funny things I like to say in flute choir. Many people there have been playing in that band for more than 30 years. I like that, too. I think it's going to be fun, and I can't wait until next week to see what we're going to really be playing.

Also, afterwards I spoke to the woman playing piccolo (she was fantastic - she has a metal piccolo, and really sounded sharp [I don't mean out of tune] and sweet and perfect, and of course I told her this) and she asked if I had a piccolo, too. I said I did and she said maybe we could switch it up on piccolo. I don't know, though, if my new fancy wooden piccolo can hang with this group. I'm not sure if I could cut through in the same precise way she was. We'll see. I might hold off.

(I have a terrible memory and so can't list the pieces we played except for one, which was my favorite of the night: The First Suite in E Flat for Military Band, by Gustav Holst. Fun, and pretty, and exactly the kind of stuff I hoped we'd play.)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday - updated

So far today has been awesome. Short bike ride, lunch with Andrea, a little shopping, now laying out in the yard reading "The Wind-up Bird Chronicle." Nice.

Update:

A perfect day has been ruined by the fact that there are no reservations tonight for "The Chairs." Where is our audience? This is a great show, and deserves to be seen. I'm bummed, now.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Artwork Jamal

One final detail about last night's ride

Yesterday, on the way home from my reconnaissance ride to the middle school where my new band class will take place, I stopped at CVS to buy some Claritin D. I had everything I needed in my saddle bag, and CVS had a nice big rack to lock up my bike. As I removed all my items from my saddle bag (keys, phone, money), and walked away from the bike, I pressed the "lock" button on the key to my car, which turns on the alarm.

Then I laughed.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Answering a stranger's questions...

I got this list of questions from another blog I read (great title: Blogging is for dorks) and thought I'd do it. Here goes. If anybody on FB wants to do it themselves, I say go for it, dudes.

1. Describe the person nearest to you, or if no one is near you at this moment the person who was last nearest to you, duh.
Patrick is in the living room. I've known him since I was 17. He has black/gray hair, which is long and almost always in a ponytail. His hair, when not in a ponytail, attains a level of waviness and curl that makes me positively jealous and drives him nuts. He has a gorgeous big nose (I love big noses), and funny, tiny eyebrows. He has almost no hair on his chest, which I love. When we started really dating when I was 23 or so he was rocking that perfect V shaped torso, and his slim hips and broad chest and awesome drummer's calves were super sexy. He's still got it. He's logical, methodical, an "organized" Leo (his egocentric ways are balanced by his incredible sense of fairness). He can do anything computer-related. He knows way more about classical music than I do yet he almost always mispronounces "Bach." He can parallel park his car in spaces that seem way too small. His taste in music leans toward the esoteric and strange, but he likes Steely Dan, Black Sabbath and Aerosmith.

2. Who do you think you resemble most in your immediate family and why?
As I get older I'm starting to look more and more like my mother, though we have different body shapes and skin color. My mom's skin is paler, and I, of course, am dark like my dad: a nice shade of cafe au lait. But I think our facial features are similar - we both have kind of big noses, our mouths are well-formed, our eyebrows are thick and dark.

3. Who do you think (what nation, group or individual) is the biggest threat to our nation's security?
Oh, I don't want to answer this question. Um... ignorance is the biggest threat to our nation's security.

4. What do you do at night before you go to sleep? Do you have any rituals, usual behaviors?
Brush teeth, wash face, use some sort of skincare product geared toward minimizing pores/lines/aging, moisturizer, read something, set alarm, kiss Patrick.

5. What's the most challenging thing about being a parent? OR If you don't have children, what do you think will be the most challenging thing about being being a parent?
Being responsible for someone else, abandoning my selfish behaviors, not fucking them up.

6. What do you think is your most attractive feature?
I like my mouth, too (Erin, who wrote these questions also likes her mouth). In the 10th grade, the viola player from the pit orchestra (she was a hired gun) told me that I had a pretty mouth and at the time I thought that was a crazy thing to tell a 15 year old kid you didn't know but you know what? It was just nice. I never forgot it.

7. Who is your favorite blog friend? Link them!
Hollie. Her blog is fun and personal. She seems like a cool girl.

8. Max just got in trouble for hitting Olivia in the throat. She's now sitting in time out screaming 'I'm STUPID!' at the top of her lungs. Should I ignore her till her time out is over, or should I talk to her now and ruin the time out?
I don't know these people (children). Um. Talk to her now.

9. Who was the first person you kissed and where are they now?
I think it was my brother's friend M. We were all running around in all the front yards on our block and somehow he and I ended up playing in the camper, and he kissed me? I kissed him? It wasn't a big deal. Now we've reconnected on FB and I have a feeling he wouldn't remember this happening.

10.Ok, here's the final crapola questionado: What's the grossest thing you've ever done or has ever happened to you?
I stepped on a snail while barefoot when walking my ex-boyfriend to his car while I lived at home with my parents. I made him hose off my foot for about 20 minutes before he could go. Kisses were required as well. Did you know? It's the only way to truly get the snail slime off your soul.

Tonight's ride brought to you by the letter B.

Tonight I wanted to see how the 3.2 mile ride to the local Middle School where the wind symphony is (seriously, "Wind Symphony" just sounds so freakin' silly to me that I'm just going to call it Band. Is that okay with you?) would be before Monday comes along, so I did a test drive on the way home from work, and then went for a test ride (Long Beach is relatively bike friendly, and it's so close, but you know me, I'm kind of nuts).

It was fine. It took less than 15 minutes (god I hope so, if it's only 3 miles away), and was easy enough. It should be even easier when the class gets out at 9:50 (damn that's a long class) and there's less traffic. Since I didn't want to have just ridden 6.4 miles tonight (see how I did that math?), I zoomed around the neighborhood for awhile, and then I went to CVS to pick up some Claritin D, because it is time for me to admit that I am not managing my allergies very well at all with the regular Claritin/Alavert Reddi-tabs.

Walking around CVS in my helmet, sunglasses and gloves, I kind of felt like a dork, but a teeny tiny part of me also felt... cool.

Weird, that.

Close to my house I took this picture, and as you can see, my skillz with the camera haven't improved. Well, in my defense, it was a cell phone camera, I was traveling at about 12 miles an hour, and possibly making a turn with one hand on the bike. So there's that.

B. It stands for blurry. Yep.

Multimedia message

On the move!

At CVS, picking up some Claritan D.

Is this the face of a brave woman?

I think we all know the answer to that question: No, this is not the face of a brave woman. This is the face of a woman who takes forever to make a decision, who can't pick out a shower curtain without consulting at least two people, who doesn't make friends easily, who is competitive with other flutists even in friendly settings (if only in her own mind), who has been considering going back to school for about 8 years and who, instead of thinking about "real" school courses that would earn her some sort of degree, has just registered for a (graded!) Long Beach City College class called "Wind Symphony."

(Hey, don't get me wrong: I am full of trepidation about Wind Symphony beyond the graded aspect; this was not an easy decision, but it was an easier one.)

I haven't taken a graded music course since my senior year of high school. That was a class where, unless you assaulted the teacher or withheld your soda from a choking fellow band member, you were guaranteed an A+.

God. I need to grow up sometime, right? I'm just taking a class, I'm not joining a cult. And, the truth is, I want to play more. I want to play more in a location that I could possibly ride my bike to (that is a horrible sentence). I want to meet fellow musicians from the town in which I live (slightly better sentence).

Still. I suddenly feel very, very nervous. I want to ride my bike, stay off of Facebook, vacuum, do some laundry, and maybe do some long tones tonight.

I am a fine flutist. I have a lovely piccolo. This will be fine.

Right? It'll be fine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Did I say "one more" and did that lead you to believe that was it for the Melic Sub Rosa photos?

Huh. You should know now not to ever believe me.

Last one? I guess.

One more MSR picture from The Airliner

Patrick said he really liked this one (and today's his birthday, so he gets what he wants!).

I had fun making the layers in Photoshop and fooling around with opacity. He usually has something critical to say about my Photoshop projects (in a nice way, of course, and it doesn't usually bother me because my skills are few), but either he was too tired or he really liked it.

Whatever. Through the magic of technology, these three cats are shown as they actually were, onstage at the same time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

MSR at The Airliner

















Fake interview with myself:

Q. So, why are these pictures so blurry, Irene?
A. I don't like to use flash when people are performing, and I didn't want to fuss with a tripod with a little digital camera. I did use the timer, which sometimes helps with the blur, but see the answer to the third question. And the summary, below.

Q. So, why were you unable to get all three dudes in one photo?
A. This place was really small: I would've had to have been behind the bar to get all three guys in one shot. As it was, I had to step aside every time the bartender needed to take a leak (or whatever he was doing the three times he walked out from behind the bar).

Q. What's up with that red hue permeating everything?
A. The lighting situation was strange (that wall was really brown, but the red flashing neon sign that said "food" [behind me] appears to have gotten it's stink all over these pictures). I could've sworn Jeff's shirt was blue, but I guess not.

Summary: I'm a crappy photographer.

But I like these pictures, anyway.

There's a couple more, but I'll spare you. I do really, really like this one:


Sunday, August 9, 2009

At The Airliner (in Lincoln Heights)

(Commentary added Monday morning)

After the show last night (which was excellent!), and after dropping off Bo, I went to see Patrick's band last night at The Airliner in Lincoln Heights, which turned out to be surprisingly close to my work. If I had known, a change of clothes and one of those Crest toothbrush things that don't require water after a night's rest in the car might've been a good idea. It wasn't super late when we got home, but the alarm went off awfully early this morning. I'm getting too old to go out on Sunday nights, I guess, or 5 a.m. is just too damn early to have to get up. And wow, it seemed really dark out this morning.

Anyway, The Airliner was pretty cool - a friend from high school who I have reconnected with on Facebook and have not seem for 20 years was there (turns out it's somewhat of his local bar, if I heard him right), and he said that usually the bands playing there are hip hop bands. It was a cool place: clean bathroom, nice people. They sell food, too, which is always nice. For some reason I wasn't that hungry yesterday so I didn't drink very much (I had one very tasty Newcastle, and considered a second but didn't go for it). I didn't eat but the man sitting next to me at the bar while we watched the band had a basket of fries that smelled heavenly.

It was my first time seeing Melic Sub Rosa live, and I liked it. I always get a thrill seeing Patrick play drums (you can see him too if you click on the link to the right that says "Melic Sub Rosa" - no video from last night's gig but there are others) and yeah, that might be related to my weird fetish about drummers in general... but I know for a fact that I am not alone in this about him in particular. The space they played in was small, and we were right in front of the action, so things were exciting, and good and loud, just like I like it.

I have some blurry, no-flash photos to upload later, so I'll add those tonight.

Facebook thing

1 - Go to Wikipedia. Hit “random”
or click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to Quotations Page and select "random quotations"
or click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four or five words of the very last quote on the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use Photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Post it to FB with this text in the "caption" or "comment" and TAG the friends you want to join in.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weekend college

I'm not sure if I've posted anything here about this already? Well I'll pretend I haven't, and that you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Today I went to an information session at Mount St. Mary's College for their Weekend College Program. I've been curious about it for awhile. I learned that the Weekend College program is the exact same curriculum and teachers as for the "regular" college students, but classes take place on the weekend (duh, hence the name) for working adults. There are six weekends each semester (non-consecutive), and you attend class pretty much all day (from 8 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.). You can take 1, 2, or 3 classes. Obviously depending on the number of classes you take, it will determine the length of your day at school. And depending on how many classes you take, it will determine how long it will take you to graduate, which you will do with the "regular" college students.

The advice was for new students to start with just two classes at a time, but my thought was, damn, one class would be a better idea for me.

Of course, you get a Financial Adviser and an Academic Adviser, and I plan on really utilizing them, if I decide to go. I always felt like the amount of guidance provided at SMC or West LA or even in high school was always much, much less than what I needed for inspiration or information.

I got kind of cautiously excited about this. The people I met today from the school were great. Lots of energy, friendly, and people who went through the program themselves. They offer a few majors that interest me (Liberal Arts, English, Business Administration with English). The presentation and the presenters were warm, and inviting. The campus is gorgeous, and not too far away (Weekend College classes take place downtown, at the Doheny Campus). All students at Mount St. Mary's are required to take 4 religion or philosophy courses and that didn't bother me, surprisingly.

It's kind of expensive but there is financial aid, and of course, loans. We're not exactly poor. Even though the classes themselves are on the weekends, there is a big time commitment to doing assignments and homework during the off time.

So. I'm curious. I know that it would probably be safer to take a course at a community college first to see how I feel about being back in school. I'm pretty sure that the way I will feel about being back in school will be "anxious." Possibly "freaked out," as well.

So I don't know what I'm going to do. I definitely am going to wait until the Spring semester (the fall semester starts much too soon) to make a decision. I told Patrick a little bit about what went on and what it looked like there but didn't want to talk about how I felt about it. I don't know.

I'm not good at making this type of decision. However, I am good at sitting around, doing nothing. I'm really good at that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review of "The Chairs" in Backstage West

This is a good one! Click on the title of this post to read the review.

Please make your reservation for The Chairs!
Now playing at City Garage Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through September 13.

And: don't forget to say hello to me in the booth.

City Garage
www.citygarage.org
(310) 319-9939

Malaria bike ride 1.0

("1.0" because I suspect this won't be the last.)

Tonight I got home from work at 6:30, and the temperature outside was still 82 degrees. I suppose this indicated it was cooling, as the high today in LB was 88 (now, 2 hours later, it's cooled to a balmy 78. Have I misused the word "balmy"? I don't think so), but while my desire to ride was high, I also wasn't thrilled with the heat.

I sat around for 10 minutes debating whether or not to go, and meanwhile, the clock was ticking (I didn't want to be out too long after dark; Patrick's not home tonight and nobody would really know where I was). So I started changing my clothes and thinking about it. I filled up my water bottle. I put on my shoes (Converse today, and they might be the best shoes, ever). Meanwhile, it didn't cool off, so I decided to just go.

Another not 100 per cent (spelled out because the 5 key is acting up) entirely successful ride, but fun anyway. I guess my biggest complaint was the bugs. I suppose that riding in a river bed, man-made or not (is it? it's mostly cement but I have no idea if this was a natural waterway diverted and perverted by man), it would be common sense to think that you're going to find bugs there.

Common sense, sure, but annoying as all get out, yes. I started coughing before I realized that what was stuck in my throat was indeed a mosquito. At one point I looked down and my shirt and thighs were covered with them. It was gross.

Look, I'm not a "girlie" girl, but I'm not real fond of bugs in my mouth, either.

Anyway, that was on the way home. The other big deal today was the pain in my back, which wasn't debilitating, but also annoying. I felt better when I got home, so I don't know, maybe I was dehydrated or something. I wasn't out very long but it was hot, and I was sweating, so I guess that could be it?

I'm glad I went, anyway. Next time I go for a ride I'll get Patrick to take a shot of me cruising down the street. It's kind of hard to do a self-portrait on a bike.

Monday, August 3, 2009

This is not the 710.

Big time screw up on my part this morning. They've been working on the 710 for awhile now; Bo and I have noticed that it's closed when we come home from the theater (taking the 710 to his house is an option but we never do it because, hey, guess what, it's been closed), but by the time I'm on the road and on my way to work, it's been open again. This morning, however, it was closed.

When I got on the freeway, I noticed a little portable sign with words flashing on it, but it was actually before I got on the freeway, so I couldn't read what it said. In hindsight, I suppose what it probably said was, "710 North Closed."

When I reached the onramp to the 710, which was, of course, closed, I had a couple of options: get off the freeway and head back south to the 605; or, continue north on the 405 and take the 110 east to the 10, which I've never actually done; or get off the freeway and head home and go back to bed.

Are you surprised that I didn't take the 3rd option? Hey, I have work to do today!

I actually attempted to get off and go back, but I stupidly chose the Alameda exit. Alameda doesn't loop you back onto the freeway in a convenient way, so I got back on heading north, and decided to take the 110. At this point, I had 10 minutes to get to work on time, so I called my boss. It's just not physically possible, using today's vehicular technology, to get from the 405/110 to my work in 10 minutes. She didn't answer, so I left a scrambled and excited message (basically, announcing to her voicemail that "I'm a dumbass!"). It was at this moment on the 110 that I started trying to remember how to get to my work from the complete opposite direction.

I work in East LA, but up until today, I pretty much go where I have to go and I haven't explored the area much. I know where Subway is, and maybe a few other choice locations (7-11, Rite-Aid, Chipotle). I knew I could take the 10 east from the 110 and get reasonably close, but I wasn't sure. So when the Cesar Chavez exit came up, I thought, Ah ha! (Cesar Chavez is really close to the intersection where I work). I got off, made an educated guess, and turned right. And was suddenly thrust into a neighborhood I had never, ever seen before.

No worries, I thought - I can't be that far away.

And I wasn't. Soon enough, I saw some familiar sights (one thing I've noticed, East LA has no shortage of cemeteries), made a familiar left turn onto a familiar street, and just 30 minutes late rolled into work.

I blame Jackson Browne for this fiasco: I've been listening to him since Bo chose "Sky Blue and Black" as our theme song for the evening ride home last night, and while it was gorgeous music to listen to while the sun set on the 405 freeway (and with a co-pilot to distract me from whatever daydream he puts me in), alone this morning, still waking up, Mr. Browne was just too mellow for me. The groovy daze slowed my thought processes down. I need some metal or something to get my brain alive and wakened. And a Diet Coke.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Please check out the cheesy but (in my opinion) awesome slideshow that I made!

If you'd like to hear the flute choir I'm in perform "Ashokan Farewell," by Jay Ungar (this piece was used a lot by Ken Burns for his Civil War programs on PBS), click here!

Saturday bike ride, Umma Gumma, lunch

Not a whole lot to report today... just hanging out right now. Patrick left early this morning to go out to his family's property in Acton with his brother to water and do some brotherly bonding. After he left, I got up and went for a 20 mile bike ride. I got out on the road around 7:15 a.m. Interestingly, it wasn't as joyous an occasion as my previous rides. I'm not sure what the deal was... I only rode one other time this week? It was too early (I'm not really a morning person)? Instead of "Ride Like the Wind," for some reason I couldn't get another stupid song out of my head (The Eagles, "Take It Easy")?

I did have a little fun, I'm just saying I didn't experience the usual euphoric sense of freedom that comes from speeding along on my little bike. Oh, well, I'm sure it'll come back next time. I also only passed people of the usual description (old; walkers; baby carriage pushers, etc.): no breathtaking feats of speed today! I did the usual - when I was passed by a faster rider, I attempted to keep up. I had a little more success with that this time than last time (or maybe I picked a slower, faster rider?) because I kept up much longer, but I was a little self-conscious of my crazy-ass gasping breathing. I didn't want him to think I was breathing heavily in an attempt to, I don't know, turn him on or something.

The other thing is... my limbs are still getting numb. This has been going on since I first started riding again. I have fucked up joints, it's true (when it's particularly quiet in my office and I have to walk to the copier, I worry that my co-workers can hear my gimpy left hip popping; it's gross), and today I stretched and tried to make sure I was ready to go, but still. Not so much the legs, today it was the left arm that was bothering me. I thought maybe I slept funny on it, but I don't think so. I have an appointment with my doctor next week, and hopefully she'll recommend some kind of chiropractic (I go on my own but my insurance doesn't pay) or massage therapy? I could also benefit from some yoga, I know.

I also got some new bike pants. These are tight but not that icky bike short fabric. They're supportive, padded, and they come just below my knees. My flabby thighs are hidden. I thought I looked pretty good in them, my new gloves and my old Los Angeles Reader magazine t-shirt. Just the arm thing was a bummer.

On the way back, I got off the riverbed bike path and cruised a little through El Dorado park. So pretty! I saw a very cool duck (our conversation went like this: Me: "Hey duck!" Duck: "[ ]"), a super-cute dog, and and no place to sit down.

Well, I've been sitting here at the computer, listening to Pink Floyd's album "Umma Gumma" (weirdo stuff, it's good but a little foreboding) for about an hour (I've been updating the blog I made for Culver City Flute Choir, the group I'm in), and I need to shower and eat something before I get so hungry I forgo making something healthy-ish. I had a banana and some Gatorade before my ride, but it wasn't enough. I think next time I'll pack an energy bar or an apple or something.

Later I'll do some chores and pick up my dry cleaning, and then go get Bo for Saturday night's performance of "The Chairs." I love the weekend.