Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nobody wants to hear the details about being sick (updated)

So I will spare you most of them. I seem only to have a cough*; my favorite, reoccurring cough, which every year brings with it the magic that is... phlegm. Sputum, really.

(I say "only" because I don't think I have a fever, I'm not vomiting or having other intestinal problems. I'm pretty sleepy, though.)

There, that's enough for now.

After doing a little internet reading, I think I might have bronchitis.

*No, I do not have the swine flu. Stop asking me.


Yesterday I went to the doctor. After explaining to him all my symptoms and (most importantly) the color of my phlegm, he deduced that what I have is... an upper respiratory infection.

From Wikipedia: Onset of the symptoms usually begins after 1-3 days after exposure to a microbial pathogen, most commonly a virus.

I don't know who exposed me to the "microbial pathogen," but when I find out? HEADS ARE GONNA ROLL. 

So, I am continuing with my plan of staying in bed, eating soup, and drinking lots of juice and water. I just ventured out of bed to check my email and to consider watching Star Wars (probably "The Empire Strikes Back"). Unfortunately, later I have to go to the theater, where I will have as little contact with other people as possible, to avoid infecting them. It shouldn't be hard: the booth is rather isolated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Proving that the world is a strange place indeed

I like to read the "blog" at devoted to style and grammar issues. Sometimes I learn something. Sometimes I find out that I was right all along (the apostrophe some people use when pluralizing abbreviations like "CD" drives me nuts and has driven me nuts forever). Sometimes I read it just to laugh at the funny/ridiculous/psycho comments people leave on a blog about grammar. (Also, it annoys me that newspapers have blogs. Newspapers have columns, and writers. Columnists. Journalists. Journalists are not necessarily bloggers, and bloggers are not necessarily journalists, or writers. The act of writing does not make you [or me] a "writer." There's a difference. I wonder what Katharine Graham would say about this?)

This comment in particular is a trip:

October 27, 2009
11:50 am

I typed “payed” recently and saw that it was underlined in red, indicating a misspelling. It took me a second to realize what was wrong. Never having misspelled “paid” before, it’s funny that this mistake should suddenly appear.

— Shaun

(The writer of the blog had pointed out that "payed" had slipped through as a typo somewhere in some random article. Shaun was responding to that.)

Here's my response to Shaun, who is so obviously from L.A. that all that was missing was the word "totally" in between the "I" and "typed" in the first sentence:

Shaun, it is a crazy world, full of strange coincidences that, taken by themselves, seem like nothing. However, if you add them all up - the song you were singing in the shower was the first song you heard when you turned on the radio; the streetlight above your home went out the second you pulled into the driveway; the pretty girl on the bus looks just like your 10th grade girlfriend - they add up to a magical list of... things that mean nothing. So come on, dumbass, pack up your dreamy fictions about coincidence and karma and get off the public library's computer. There's a line of people waiting for that PC and they're starting to get angry (and you do not want to get people who use public computers angry, belive me).

(And no, Shaun, the word wasn't underlined in red because you misspelled it [or did you? Are the words on the screen words you were thinking or perhaps you've had an episode of automatic writing?], it was underlined in red because Satan is talking to you through your keyboard. What other words were underlined? Are you hearing voices, too? Dude, call the nurse: it might be time for your medicine.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

I love Google product search

I love it not because I actually use it to shop for stuff (I get everything I need at Target, my local Hallmark store, Borders, J. Crew, and the Gap, thank you) but because I love to see what other people are shopping for. And because sometimes I am too lazy/too bored with my own schtick/coughing up my lungs too much to come up with something else to write about. Also, it used to be called "Froogle," and I'm glad they renamed it because "Froogle" reminded me of "the frug," some old-timey dance I'm too young to know about, or "Fraggle," as in "Fraggle Rock," a stupid off-shoot of the Muppet show. I hated those damn Fraggles. Anyway, here's a taste of what people were searching for this morning:

A few of the items recently found with Google Product Search:
venetian masks
gumball machine
espn nba basketball
deep space nine dvd
atomic clock
money sorter
godfather dvd
back massager
1 day acuvue
boat shoes
birthday card
flash card
firewood rack
car amplifier
bottle opener
carpet shampoo
frank sinatra cd
cat collar
baby crib
cpu fan
desk lamp

I refreshed four times to find this particular list, and I would like to say that "back massager" appeared twice. Somebody really needs to relax. Carpet shampoo... hmmm. Is that for before or after the "back massager"? I love this list. Venetian masks! Sporks! Cat collar! Boat shoes! Somebody is planning a seriously awesome Halloween party. Also, "birthday card." Hello! That's what the Hallmark store is for, dumbass! And, I didn't know individuals like you and me (as if anybody on the Internet right now is like me) could purchase an atomic clock. I tried reading up on them at Wikipedia to figure this out but I'm on cough medicine right now, am not very smart to begin with, and frankly, don't care all that much.

On to the next list!

A few of the items recently found with Google Product Search:
nikon coolpix
gas generator
norton antivirus
dave matthews
coffee percolator
mustache trimmer
foosball table
superman t-shirt
ladies watches
apple imac
air conditioner
faux fur coat
baseball glove
hip flask
pony beads
stationary bike
elvis costume
george foreman grill

I find it very interesting that right after "doormat" comes "Dave Matthews." I wonder if his wife was on Google this morning? Looking for a gas generator, probably. This is actually a much more useful list for me, because you know, I've been looking for a new faux fur coat. I'll need something to cover the Superman t-shirt.


Follow up:

That second list reminded me that I haven't had a new pair of clogs in years, and in fact, the only ones I know the whereabouts of are my hundred year old black Dansko professionals that look awful. So I clicked on the "clogs" list and found these. Are they not adorable? I'm not quite ready for fall and/or winter or to give up my flip flops (I am so lucky to live in California) but these? I might go for these.

Monday, October 19, 2009


After putting it off for weeks (some might say, "months"), last night for about two hours, I cleaned my kitchen (note: I'm not done. I still need to mop). What was involved? A sinkful of dishes, combat with one or two containers of, um, mold, and cleaning out and scrubbing the refrigerator.

I found a bottle of Ken's Salad Dressing that was four years old.

Four years old! How can this have happened?

Well, I'll tell you: I'm a slob.

Cleaning the refrigerator was surprisingly entertaining and I felt very good about life, myself, and my household when the task was complete. Who knew that 120 minutes (the time MTV used to take to play the good videos) of elbow grease could accomplish so much? Man is that thing clean now. And, when I was done: it was empty. I can state from memory pretty much everything in there as of completion of the cleaning:
  1. 3 bottles of Fat Tire beer
  2. 1 bottle of Asahi
  3. 1 bottle of some sort of pink mum (?) wine somebody brought to a party I had at least 5 years ago
  4. 1/2 bottle of Jagermeister that Patrick's friend Chris sent us from Germany when we got married... 11 years ago
  5. Mustard
  6. Ketchup
  7. Baking soda
  8. A package of wheat tortillas
  9. Patrick's container of "Superfood" that expires next month and just barely made the cut
After discovering that we have no food, we went to Fresh & Easy, normally my least favorite household chore (and F&E makes it, literally, easy). We didn't go nuts - we'd like to cut down on eating out for lunch so much, so we bought the sort of things you buy when that's what you have in mind (sandwich stuff, including our favorite Omega 3 multi-grain bread, salad stuff, yogurt, cereal, etc.). We bought good stuff. When we were in the chip aisle, I put my foot down (I consumed a whole container of Pringles over Friday and Saturday night only because we HAD. CHIPS. IN. THE. HOUSE). When I tried to sneak a six-pack of diet Coke into the basket, Patrick had his moment: "No chips for me, no diet Coke for you." Fine. We had fun dancing to the 70s hits they like to play; thankfully I wasn't afflicted by the urge to sing the Eagles' song "Take It Easy" (substituting "Fresh and" for "Take it"), as I usually am, though, I guess my joy at coming home to a clean kitchen did have me singing Queen's "We Will Rock You" as we emptied the car (thank you, neighbors, for the round of... silence). We forgot a gallon of pink lemonade somewhere between the parking lot and home, but decided it wasn't worth while to go back and get it. The best part was, we made lunches!

Patrick: several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fortified with apple slices and... raisins? Cesar salad. Some sort of burrito thing. Baby carrots, baby tomatoes. I sense a theme that I'm going to ignore.

Irene: turkey sandwich; salad (tomatoes, apple slices, raisins. I bought the yummiest salad dressing in the cuttest little container).

I can't wait for lunch time and to go buy a diet Coke at the vending machine across the way. And maybe a little bag of chips, too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bike Ride

This morning, after finishing reading Stewart's book (I'll talk about that later), I went on a bike ride to Huntington Beach today. HB was not initially my destination - but when I got to Pacific Coast Highway, where I had to cross the street (the bike path was flooded), I started following this group of three guys (two of them on road bikes and in full road bike regalia. The one guy who was riding a mountain bike, and in sweats and a t-shirt crossed the street with me - hey, that's a crazy place to cross! I was glad of the company - and for awhile I kept up with him but then they lost me), and then suddenly I was a little confused. I knew the bike path to Seal Beach was around there someplace but somehow I couldn't find it. Instead I stayed on PCH, which was quite an adventure. There's a nice wide bike path there and lots of stuff to look at, but I felt very unsafe. The speed limit for cars is 55 miles an hour, but I ask you, when was the last time you drove the speed limit on PCH? Whoosh! was the sound in my ears. And I couldn't turn around and go back because the highway is divided and there's a big wall down the middle. I kept telling myself - at the next light, turn around and go home if it's too scary, but every time I'd get to a point where that was conceivable, another group of cyclists would engulf me and I'd get all fired up again. Still not really keeping up, but they were inspirational.

I have to admit that though I grew up in West Los Angeles, I'm pretty hazy when it comes to the names of the beaches and beach communities. At some point I got sick of PCH and headed to the right, where I found myself on one of those bike-friendly one way streets that serve the people lucky enough to live a few hundred yards from the ocean. I just kept heading (south? away from home). Not a lot of speed through here but I was getting a little tired (this was about 15 miles into my ride, and there was a lot of wind). Finally I took a break (and a photo) and drank a bunch of water. I considered going back (my goal was for a 30 mile ride, at least, and at this point I was guaranteed at least that), but then another gang of cyclists whizzed by, and I hopped back on my bike.

Heading further south, it's not a real bike path. Or maybe it is, but it's called a "multi-use path" in those parts. I had forgotten that today is Saturday, and there were a lot of people out, so it was almost as treacherous as PCH had been.

One thing I really like about riding in areas like this is people watching. I saw a couple of sea captains, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (20 years into the future), cute dogs, Balloon Boy, surfers in various states of undress. I  was chewed up and spat out by several large groups of sparkly cycling groups, whistled at by a (presumably drunk and/or blind) dude in a huge truck, and I almost ran over a woman and her dog (dog saw me, woman didn't). I love those surfboard hitches the surfers have for their surfboards on their bikes. I saw one guy with a dog hitch on his bike for his dog. I saw a couple of beautiful golden retrievers like my mom and dad's and now I totally want a dog. I saw one woman with my exact flabby body shape walking along wearing a bikini top. Granted, she had a very beautiful tan. At one point I had the Doors song, "Hello I Love You" in my head, and then, magically, it turned into "Mean Mr. Mustard" by the Beatles. The mist from the ocean or the haze in the air covered my sunglasses and I had to stop to wipe the water off my lenses. I had teary eyes which is somehow embarrassing, and a dry mouth, and my knees felt creakier than usual. I was gone for about 3 hours, and now I'm starving. I was amazed by the beautiful ocean, and confused about my exact location more than once.

Fun! When can I go again?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

From an old NY Times article about Paula Poundstone

(Follows is a random bunch of words that seem to say what I meant to say but then somehow... don't. I started writing this and found myself confused and using the dictionary and the thesaurus and going, "what's that word that sounds like...?" I don't think I've had a stroke, but you wouldn't know it from this post.)

Paula Poundstone's manager was quoted (in 2002; click on the title of this post to read the whole thing) as saying of Paula's comeback after her arrest and subsequent legal troubles,

"I'm optimistic because I don't know what else to be."

It's not exactly applicable to me or what I've been thinking about (my mom's health) as far as context goes: these people were trying to repair a derailed career (according to the article, Paula earned 1.2 million dollars a year; those earnings took a nosedive after her legal and personal troubles), though I don't think at issue was merely Paula's earning potential (I think she's a good woman, and a comeback probably a matter of pride for her) <-- that was a very confusing sentence, and I'm not even done yet. Anyway, I'm not sure why Bonnie's statement (I know her name because I am Paula's "friend" on Facebook, and sometimes Bonnie updates Paula's status; you know it's Bonnie because the status is suddenly not funny. Also, she says, "Bonnie, Paula's manager here..." when she starts each update) struck a chord with me, but it did, and I'm sharing it, albeit, not very judiciously ("judiciously" is not exactly the right word but it's very, very close).

Argh. I want to be optimistic because I don't know what else to be. Not because I'm hiding from the truth, but because optimism is the only choice. Does that make sense? Well, sense or no, it's what I want.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Yesterday, after being told that she was tired, my mom's doctor ordered some blood work. After she'd gone home, the doctor's office called around 7 p.m. and told her to go to the emergency room because her potassium was low. My dad and my sister took her and were there until 2:30 a.m. with her. She was given medicine and I guess is okay - it was too early in the morning to talk (Angie texted me). I'll get more details later.


It was interesting: I learned that I deal with stress by doing laundry. When I'm stressed and I don't do laundry, I just stay all pent up and tense. If I do laundry, I have a surmountable task with a beginning and an end, and that seems to calm me down.

I went to bed around 11 p.m. I stayed up doing laundry (see above) and actually putting the laundry away, and I watched "The Good Wife" with Patrick. For once, I figured out how to deal with his critical comments about whatever TV show I'm enjoying: agree with him. The courtroom details (well, mostly the so-called private investigating of her firm's investigator) of last night's episode were pretty weak but somehow the show is still good. I really like Juliana Margulies: I just love her, for some reason. I hope they don't keep pressing the issue of the young stud lawyer and her having conflicts. Also it's hard to look at that guy (Matt Czuchry, Rory's boyfriend Logan from "The Gilmore Girls") and not wonder... where Rory is. I really like the guy who plays her boss, Josh Charles. I loved him in "Dead Poets Society."

After that we went to bed. Patrick is still snoring (literally: right now he is snoring) but I picked up some earplugs at Target last night, and slept okay. I had a weird dream in which me and Adam Carolla (from "Loveline") were gourmet chefs. I know we were gourmet chefs because we were wearing chefs jackets a la "Iron Chef." At the beginning of the dream, we were organizing lawn furniture on somebody's lawn so maybe we were really caterers and just considered ourselves gourmet chefs. Later we were eating lunch in a famous chef's restaurant, with the famous chef at our table, and Adam was complaining (loudly) about the service while I devoured the plate of food in front of him. I don't remember exactly what we were eating but there was definitely a piece of bloody steak involved, and it was delicious.

Now I'd better go get ready for work. I have a report to prepare today, and then all I want to do is talk to my mom after she wakes up. I'm sure her night in the ER was tiring.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm cheap.

This month I decided to forgo my salon cut and color. For one thing, I like my long hair right now. I changed the part to the right side a couple of months ago and it's made a surprisingly big difference (to me. I don't think anybody else noticed, which is fine), and other than the creepy crawly gray hairs, I'm pretty satisfied. Sure, I probably need a trim, but let's put it off awhile. I usually let my girl trim me up about an inch, but I actually like my hair right now. That in itself is so rare that to mess with it seems unwise. It has been on my mind that perhaps my girl has been doing my color a tiny bit too light, too, so, I figured I could do it myself, instead of forking over $90 (cut, color, plus tip - she's a very nice girl). If the color was wrong I'd have no one to blame but myself, and only be out a few bucks.

I've colored my own hair exactly twice, with one good and one bad outcome. The bad outcome: the color I chose (on purpose; I was... trying something) was too burgundy, and I hated it (I also ruined the shower curtain and my favorite flannel shirt, in the process. It's a good thing grunge is dead). I let it grow out a little and then I went and had it corrected. Now, I know lots of people successfully dye their own hair all the time (my mother-in-law; my friend's wife, who uses one of those complicated caps and some kind of knitting needle-like tool to do her highlights, and her blond hair is gorgeous and natural looking and has depth; my friend Missy who had pink, platinum, black hair in high school) but like wearing makeup, this is one of those girly skills I just never cared about learning. Also, why do something yourself when you can pay an expert to do it? And my girl at the salon gives excellent scalp massages!

(Interestingly, my mom, who has never colored her hair, and has gorgeous salt and pepper locks, advocates against coloring it, but, when I was a little girl and she was the age I am now, used to pay me a penny for every gray hair I could find. I don't think I have more grays than she did then, but mine are not as evenly dispersed as hers were. They seem to find my part, whichever side it's on, a nice fertile place to grow, and then they like to hide in little thatches along the crown of my head. Dammit, I'm too young to look like the mom at the end of "Poltergeist.")

Anyway, I decided that I've read lots of novels where the heroine or hero or serial killer goes on the lam (it's my favorite scene in "The Outsiders"), buys a bottle of cheap color, and colors their own hair in the gas station bathroom using cold water and paper towels, and it always sounds pretty simple. Why do I have to make such a big deal out of little things? If Ponyboy and Johnnycake could do it, so can I, right, in the comfort of my own messy bathroom?

Sunday was a bona fide slug day for me: I slept in, read, played on the computer, and watched a movie. I never got dressed in actual clothes. I didn't even put on a bra (a sign that I really mean to just slum around the house all day), I didn't take a shower (slugs don't bathe!), and so when I got up (late) on Monday, my hair was nice and dirty, the way I was told it should be (where I learned this, I don't know, but it's one of those rules that may or may not be true that stick around in my head, like "never paint a room when it's raining"). Patrick wasn't feeling well so he stayed in bed most of the day, and I trucked off into the bathroom to spend some time with my hair.

I suppose that a smart person would've spent some time on the Internet, searching for the best brand of color to purchase, or barring that, would've taken an informal poll of her friends (I'm sure Facebook would've been an excellent tool for this), but I didn't feel like bothering people or reading stuff, so when we went to Walgreens on Friday night, I looked around at all the boxes and... picked one based on the commercials - Garnier Fructis. What can I say? I like Sarah Jessica Parker. (The successful time I did it myself, I used Clairol Perfect 10, and while it was perfect, and easy, the Garnier Fructis was on sale, and so was about half the price.) All the time I was contemplating this choice, Patrick was buying Zicam and Doritos (super combination, no?). Since my complaint was that my last shade was too light, I decided to go with "Sweet Cola," which on the box I picked up, I swear was described as "dark brown," or maybe "darkest brown;" however, the website is calling it "soft black." The next darkest color ("Dark Brown") didn't have as sexy of a name (did they just give up?), so I bypassed it. I'm not sure what "soft black" is meant to convey. Anyway, perhaps this was a mistake, but when I looked at the swatches on the box (the "if your hair is... your results will be..." section), it seemed like the best bet. Early on Monday afternoon, I wrapped an old towel around me, banished the kitty from the bathroom, and got to work. It seemed to go fine (despite forgetting to add the "oil" to the color and creme until it was time to do my whole head), but I'm not sure: I think it's possible I've gone too dark.

What do you think? This is a terrible cell phone photo (could I be any more googly-eyed?), and my friend Andrea claims I look "va-va-voom," whatever that means (I think it means, shut up you big dork, your hair looks the same as it always does), but I don't know. I feel a little self-conscious, especially since the girl at Chipotle who made my burrito called me Miss, and then the guy who rang me up called me "Ma'am."

You may have noticed that the sweater I'm wearing has a hole in it. For some reason, I just love this sweater. It was the only thing I considered wearing on this drizzly day. Maybe it makes my hair look less... "soft black" and more "Sweet Cola."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An update about my mom

This was an email to my mom's friends and family that I sent yesterday.


Hi, everyone,

Today we met again with my mom's oncologist [who I have begun to affectionately refer to as "Dr. McRobot"]. He told us some good news: for now, my mom doesn't need to have chemotherapy because there is no evidence of further cancer. He is going to keep a very close eye on her and has another CT scan scheduled for November 18th. For now, her job is to get her strength back after her knee surgery and to keep her spirits up. We believe this is the answer to all the prayers.

The cancer she had was stage IV, and this type of cancer is very "sneaky" - this is why her doctor wants to monitor her carefully. While it's gone for now, we need to continue to pray that it stays gone.

She was happy to hear she didn't have to go through chemotherapy again, and is looking forward to getting back to her old routine. On Tuesday we have a follow up with the orthopedic oncologist, who will check her knee. Prayer, positive thoughts, and your love and kindness will help keep mom feeling like herself.

Thanks for all your support throughout this time! We appreciate all of you so much.

All the best,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A contest

I re-designed my two work newsletters (I was talking about newsletters earlier this week), and I am getting rid of any and all clip art. Also the cutesey fonts my predecessor was using are gone. Good ol' Georgia is the name of the game now. I made a very nice (in my opinion) header, and now that that's done, all I have to do is continue to come up with content on a weekly basis for them. Ah. The fun part.

(Sarcasm? Who knows?)

So, over on my other blog I've been writing about the building excitment I've begun to feel about tomorrow's booksigning at Amoeba Hollywood by none other than Mr. Stewart Copeland. I've got a gift for him for this, our third encounter in 2 years (wow, I'm a lucky girl). You can read all about it and all the other crap I have to say about my crush on him by clicking here. And since I'm having a little contest over there, I didn't want to leave you guys, my loyal readers, out on the fun.

Here's the deal: should Mr. Copeland refuse my lovely gift (and I hope he doesn't but you never know), I will offer it to the first person to leave a comment on today's post over there on the other blog (we just discussed this, but for those of you not paying attention, click here). No, it's not my panties, I'm not that crazy, but if you want to know, just click on the link. Go ahead, click. Read. I'll wait...

Okay, so as you can see, this gift will really only be suitable for somebody who lives in Southern California or who plans on visiting in the next couple of months, so my readers in France and on the East Coast and elsewhere, sorry guys: next time!

And, this is totally unrelated to today's topic, but what the hell did Blogger do with spellcheck? I had to use a dictionary to make sure I was spelling "predecessor" correctly, and that's hella time-consuming.

So! I will post something either here or there about how it goes tomorrow with Stewart. I also want him to hug me, but I might be getting greedy. Wish me luck!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Making fun of clip art

I'm writing a newsletter at work about getting active, and I'm considering using some clipart. I always stay away from the drawn clipart but clipart in general is pretty lame. Here's an example of what I mean:

Hey, love the bandana, Santana! That guy has some... crazy legs. Why did she feel the need to put on a tank top over her mock turtleneck? And are those bowling shoes?

I discern a lot of sexual tension, here, too. Without that line on the ground separating them, there might be something going on. Clearly she's more into it than he is - she's almost over on his side.

Not seen in this photo: Harry and Sally, walking through Central Park, talking about how men and women can't be friends without sleeping together. Sally's wearing those cute high-waisted pants. And a tie.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, Sunday

Yesterday we went out for breakfast (Eggs, Etc. I had "Etc.": pancakes). When we got home, I took a blanket and a pillow out to the back yard, took off my pants, and napped/read a little. When it got too hot, I put my pants back on, went inside and watched about 5 hours of Glee on Hulu (great invention, that), and had a terrible headache. I don't know if these things are connected; I can say that the headache started before I curled up on the couch with Patrick's laptop, a blanket, and a bowl of grapes (oh, I also had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was sitting there for rather a long time. Food was necessary to keep my strength up). I thought Glee was great entertainment. Very cute.

At around 7 o'clock, I got up and had a minor, headache-related meltdown. Patrick said he could tell I was all "pent up." I don't know what that means. He went and got us a pizza, which helped. Also, I took some Advil.

This morning I'm taking it easy. Patrick left early to visit his brother and help out with his satellite dish, then to pick up his mom, and I'm going to meet them at my parents' house, so that our moms can visit. It's time to take a shower now. I still feel the remnants of my headache. I don't usually get such bad ones (nor do they usually cause me to freak out). I wonder if it's because my doctor recently put me back on Allegra for my allergies? Hmmm. Something to think about.

Sorry this is a dull post!