Thursday, December 30, 2010

This is strangely timely, but only my friends on Facebook (Cindy!) who have been paying attention to my status updates will understand why.

The woman upon whom Liesl von Trapp in the movie "The Sound of Music" was based died yesterday.

(That sentence right there is proof of why I'm not a professional writer. This one, too, perhaps.)

Click on the title of this post to read the article.

For my photographer friends,

The NY Times posted a story about the end of Kodachrome film and processing that's very interesting. Not enough pictures, but still, good.

Click on the title of this post and you'll be taken to the story.

My morning reading - updated

A while ago, I read a few articles in the LA Times about a little girl named January Schofield, who has a serious and severe mental illness. The Great and Mighty Oprah also did a segment on her, and I'm sure other news organizations as well. The story made me sad because she's so young and because her family seems so dysfunctional (her father, for one, seems a little bit to me like a publicity hound; he's supposedly writing a book about her, and he keeps a blog about her in which he writes disturbingly personal details about their lives). Anyway, every once in awhile I do a google search to see what's going on with her, if anything.

Today during that search, I happened upon a blog called "Incorrect Pleasures." I've only been reading it for a little bit, so I have a very light grasp on the author's point of view, but she (?) wrote about Jani (January Schofield's nickname) in an interesting way from a perspective that I don't know anything about (the author says she has a condition called "synesthesia," and suspects Jani might have it as well). The author of the blog makes a lot of statements that sound logical and scientific but I don't know enough (anything) about the subject or her to be sure if they're true. That said, it's definitely interesting reading.

One of the other topics the author writes about is Syd Barrett, and though I know I told you that I wasn't really interested in Syd a few days ago, I've just started reading her piece on him, and it's pretty good.

I love this quote, which actually made me laugh, and made me want to tell you about what I've been reading:
Pink Floyd went on to become massively popular and commercially successful, their style evolving towards progressive rock, a popular musical genre that would enable millions of dim young men with limited prospects to experience the feeling of intellectual exhilaration without the necessity to read, learn or do anything much.
I'll keep reading and let you know what I think at the end.


It was definitely a very good, thought-provoking article. The author (who uses a pseudonym for the blog and so is anonymous) appears knowledgeable on lots of subjects related to mental illness and autism and that kind of thing, and I only say "appears" because these are subjects that interest me but in which I am not qualified to judge anyone's qualifications, if you understand what I'm saying.

As I said before, the name of the blog is "Incorrect Pleasures," and here's a link, if you're interested. She writes on many subjects, and I think I'll be back for more soon. I am now totally interested in synesthesia. It's fascinating. Here's a Wikipedia listing of people who have/had it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

He's gotta ticket to ride

Last week my iPod was acting funny and started playing songs from my mother's playlist, which it has been specifically instructed (over and over again) not to do.

Mom's music runs along the lines of her favorite praise & worship recordings, Sandi Patty, Don Moen, old-school country, Marc Anthony (don't ask me how he got in there but she loves him, especially his hit "I Need to Know," which shows up in my Top 25 Played playlist all the time), and that sort of thing. When I bought her iPod, I also loaded it with stuff my boss recommended. Some of it my mom likes, and some of it she doesn't (she wasn't impressed with Il Divo, for example, and I really don't think you can fault her for that). For laughs, I included a Carpenter's disk (my boss lived in Hollywood in the 70s, and I think that has something to do with her taste in music. She's also a big fan of Heart, CSN and, other gems from that time period). I think it's a best of CD but I don't remember the title.

Anyway, while my iPod was punking me, the Carpenters' cover of the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride" came on.

Apparently this was a hit song for them, and all I can say is, were all those people drugged? Incapacitated? Hooked up to machines? Unable to choose for themselves?

Most of us know "Ticket to Ride" as an upbeat song about a breakup, right? Sure, "upbeat" and "breakup" are probably words that don't belong in the same sentence, but John and Paul did a good job bringing the whimsy (though according to Wikipedia, Paul didn't do much writing as far as this song is concerned; I'll leave that argument to their heirs and the Beatles scholars).

In her version, Karen Carpenter successfully sucks all the fun out of the song, and I swear to god, as I was driving down the 5 freeway when it came on, I got a little scared. It's really a creepy version.

The way she sings those lyrics, I couldn't figure out if she was glad the guy ("the boy that's driving me mad...") had split on her, or if maybe, just maybe, she had something to do with it. I mean, at the end of the song, I started thinking maybe Karen was considering killing him.

Wouldn't it make the Carpenters a lot more interesting if Karen had secretly been a serial killer? Seriously, I could get into that story.

Monday, December 20, 2010

And after all we're only ordinary men.

Over the weekend, I read the book "Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd" by Mark Blake. I've been on a bit of a Pink Floyd tear lately, and I wanted more after watching a couple of documentaries on Netflix (which I had actually already seen).

I chose this one because it gets great reviews on Amazon (one reader said "This is by far the best book on this band," and if that's not a plug one shouldn't ignore, I don't know what is)... and because the library had it.

I know. I'm not very discerning.

Anyway, aside from the documentaries, this is the only book I've ever read on the Floyd (I love referring to them now as "The Floyd;" it makes me feel very English for some reason, and a little old, which is surprisingly not bothering me in this case), and though the library is still currently holding a copy of Nick Mason's memoir ("Inside Out"), I'm not sure if I'm going to pick it up.



Mark Blake clearly did an excellent job researching and compiling information and interviews and quotes and stories from all sorts of disparate sources, but there's a lot of repetition, a ton of unsubstantiated opinion, and a lot of tiny little anecdotes that never really add up to anything. Also, when the guy had to write a sentence from scratch, I wasn't all that convinced he was up to the job. I mean, I don't want to sound too harsh, but there could've been some better editing going on.

Also, though I guess for most fans, and for the band themselves (so I realize that what I'm about to say is probably going to piss somebody off), it's true that the important character in all the Pink Floyd history is the ghost of Syd Barrett, and while I think Syd's story is tragic and the early stuff interesting and I see that his presence was inspirational and integral to the band and their writing... the truth is I'm just not very interested in him (well, look who needs an editor now?). It seems like a huge waste, what happened to him, and it's nice that the band took care of him financially after (rightfully) kicking him out and getting on with it, and Roger Waters obviously needed a subject to obsess about... but the guy, as cool as he was, wasn't a genius. Those early songs are fun but not the best stuff Floyd ever put out.

(Yes, I am imagining you throttling me, you 21st century music nuts who are discovering "Bike" and "See Emily Play" for the first time, or you people who are cooler than I am who find that stuff fascinating. I thank Jay Schwartz for that mix tape he gave me in the 10th grade that I'm sure I've talked about before, for introducing me to the early songs, but I'm sorry, "Candy and a Currant Bun" didn't change my life or anything.)

So to spend almost half the book talking about him, telling what felt like an endless number of stories about Syd and his antics and his wardrobe and his girlfriends and his painting and how beautiful he was and how people were into him (Mick Jagger!)... it just got to be too much. I went into the book curious about him and came out overwhelmed with information that may or may not even be true. Now, I'm probably the exception, I get that. You might like to read a hundred stories about his ghostly appearances at Pink Floyd gigs after David Gilmour took over, or how he shaved off all his facial hair or how he showed up at the studio while the band was recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and nobody recognized him, or how he was supposedly locked in a linen closet/bathroom by his flatmates... but those stories don't add up to any real insight. The guy had nothing to say for himself and just one interview or snippet of first-hand clarity would've been worth all the stories about him not succeeding in the studio after he was ditched by his mates. And yes, I get that this lack of information is what makes everyone fiendish for more. But not me. The guy lived, he died, and he chose never to say anything for himself, and that's done. The rest of it is just... stories. He's a character, and yeah, that's interesting, but in the end you get nothing because it could all be made up or misinterpreted.


After that part, I hoped the book would supply meatier descriptions of the recording process (how they actually did all that stuff, with the tape all over the recording studio, the technical stuff), or the creative processes that the band went through, but nope, other than saying (rather relentlessly) that Roger Waters is a workhorse (and probably a bullying asshole), and that David Gilmour (who comes off as passive-aggressive) isn't, and that Nick Mason couldn't handle a lot of the drum parts and bought a lot of cars, and that Rick Wright wasted a lot of time not being in the the studio by being "depressed about his failed marriage[s]," not a whole lot of insight occurs in this book. You could pretty much get that information from watching a 45 minute documentary on the making of "Dark Side of the Moon" (and Mark seems to get off on the fact that for the re-release, they added a "The" in front of the album title). That they don't get along and bitterly argued and and pettily kept score about who was more instrumental to the band's recordings and still acted like children with a shiny toy ("Pink Floyd is mine, it's mine I say!") in their 50s and 60s... well, that's nothing new.

The truth is, I'm a fan, but I guess not a very loyal one (I own nothing past "The Wall," though I did listen to "The Division Bell" a lot when it came out because Drew liked it). I think the superficial information I had before reading this book was really all I needed. I listened to the early songs like "Arnold Layne" and "Scarecrow" on the way to work just to brush up... and then decided that "Dark Side of the Moon" was more appropriate for a rainy commute, and when I arrived at work this morning with "Time" ticking away, having read this book made me no more and no less happy with what was blaring out of my car's speakers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lamaze, a dream, and a little man with a gun in his hand

Patrick and I started taking Lamaze classes last month - there are five classes, each three hours long. Three hours seems a bit excessive, since the classroom is small and the chairs are uncomfortable, but the information is really great. We've been to three of them. It's actually fun, and very interesting, and I love the teacher, who is enthusiastic, caring, funny, remembers all our names each week, and says "underwears" instead of "underwear." You might be surprised at how many times she has to reference one's... underwear during the course of the class. Or maybe you wouldn't be.

We've seen, I think, 4 birth videos, all with varying degrees of gore and guts (shown in progressive order), and it's smart the way the class is laid out. We've seen real live births; they started out with a nice over-the-shoulder view where everything went perfectly, and moved on down the line, so far, to one where variations on the perfect birth occur. There are about 12 couples in our class, and aside from one dude who insists on chatting with his pretty wife/girlfriend while we're trying to listen, it seems like a nice group of people. We appear to be the oldest people by about 10 years but I could be wrong; I really need to get my color done.

Anyway, last night I had a dream about being in labor. I was in the hospital, with two nurses, a younger one and an older one. They both had reddish hair, so I could be thinking about my neighbor Terie and her daughter Kacie, who are both nurses in real life, and people I wouldn't mind having around when the real thing finally happens. Patrick was napping (that snake!), and the two nurses were walking me around the room, while I swayed back and forth every once in awhile. My back was hurting in real life too yesterday (and this morning), and that motion seemed to help. It appeared to be very early in labor, or I was doing everything right, because I wasn't in a lot of pain or anything. The dream didn't go any further, it was just that one little part of it. There was no pushing, no strain, and no baby.

I liked having that dream, though, because even though the Lamaze is supposed to be calming us down about the big day, and showing us coping mechanisms for the pain and teaching us that we don't need to be afraid of it, the truth is, I'm still pretty scared. Emotionally I've kind of been a wreck this week (my sister-in-law asked me last night in between numbers at my niece and nephews Christmas program if I've started crying at TV commercials, and the answer is a huge YES, though, to be fair, I kind of did that before I got pregnant. But yes, pretty much everything elicits teary eyes from me right now, especially the aforementioned birthing videos we watch in Lamaze), and I'm afraid I'm going to be a big baby, unable to get the job done without a big freak-out. I'm sure that's a natural thing and not a sign that I'm a bad person or going to be a bad mother, but knowing that one's fear is normal doesn't really help alleviate it, if you know what I mean. Seeing myself, if only in a dream, if only in a moment absent of distress, calmly performing my Lamaze positions was a good sign. I need to get in "I can do it!" mode. I have 7 weeks to get there.

The rest of my dream was me accompanying some young woman I knew briefly in my 20s named Chelsea (I kissed my ex-boyfriend for the first time at her house; there were about 5 of us hanging out drinking beers and, for some reason, playing tag) to her ancestral home, which was a huge beautiful mansion, where the people living there refused to admit us and made us use a side entrance and told her she wasn't welcome there, and then we left in a huff and drove to Hollywood, where we went to a blues performance by Patrick's friend Art Harris, an amazingly talented guitarist and singer who goes by the name Artwork Jamal. You can check his website out here. He's incredible.

And, as just an aside, today I was smart and brought in my iPod and earphones and I am going to drown out the incessant chatting of one of my co-workers with the Minutemen! Patrick loaded my iPod with 4 of their albums (The Politics of Time, Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat, the Punchline [my favorite; I love the title song so much], and What Makes a Man Start Fires). I can't wait. In fact, her voice is filling the room right now, and this seems like the perfect time to start Operation Drown-Out... I think we'll start with Buzz or Howl. I listened to the Punch Line while sitting in traffic.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More discarded Facebook status updates:

Irene Casarez Palma:
  • is getting a little tired of people commenting on my newly acquired "waddle."
  • didn't sleep all that great last night in spite of the ideal conditions (it rained).
  • the other night I woke up at 1:30 convinced that it was time for Patrick to get up for work. He agreed with me, expecting me to just go back to sleep, but instead I kept waking him up, saying, "Pat, it's time to get up." Finally he explained that it was only 2 a.m. I went back to sleep and woke up the next day very confused.
  • I'm sick and tired of getting up in the pitch black morning.
  • finally cleaned the baby's closet out. Threw away a lot of stuff I had no business keeping.
  • found a bunch of photos of Drew's family and wondering if it would be appropriate to send them to him. I haven't spoken to him in years, though that last conversation was relatively friendly.
  • wonders why one of my co-workers feels the need to speak to me everytime she leaves the office. She's a nice lady but I'm not really required to be verbally informed of her whereabouts at every moment of the day. Write it down and we'll all be happy.
  • I need a nap.
  • When I started making this list of discarded FB status updates, I should've dated them. I think the oldest is at least two years old. This current list is from December 6, 2010.
  • In less than 8 weeks I'm going to be somebody's mother.
  • mitigating that weird tired emotional feeling by watching "Concert for George" again. "Arpan" = good for whatever ails you
  • wishes all the City Garage-ers good luck at the LA Weekly awards tonight
  • hopes you call and make a reservation for "The School For Wives" playing at City Garage, Saturday and Sundays (310) 319-9939. You won't regret it. Also, The Bourgeois Gentilhomme is playing Fridays only!
  • did indeed buy the piccolo she mentioned a long time ago that she wanted and loves, loves, loves it
  • is thinking about things she shouldn't be thinking about
  • told someone to "fuck off" last night who she REALLY hopes doesn't take her seriously; though, chances are good that this person didn't even notice (which is part of the reason I was so mad; yes, this is confusing)
  • needs to get to the gym again
  • wants a massage
  • needs a massage
  • is listening to Kings of Leon, The Bird and the Bee, Deerhunter, Love and Rockets, and Radiohead almost to the exclusion of anything else
  • is getting a bit sick of reading about Frank Lloyd Wright's private life. Sorry, T.C. Boyle. Maybe I'll pull out "Budding Prospects" again instead
  • is probably going to have popcorn for dinner again tonight
  • is a bit stressed out about this jury duty business. Being on a case is a little scary
  • wants to play her flute
  • needs to play her flute
  • has to go to work tomorrow instead of jury duty and is actually kinda glad
  • is really enjoying her BareMinerals makeup
  • may have a fat ass, questionable style, rampant self-deprecating humor and a dim inner light - but sometimes I can be damn funny
  • will never wear high heels to a flute concert again - thus, all my pants will be hemmed
  • is watching the movie "Elf" and finding it surprisingly amusing
  • is sure she's seen people wearing more questionable outfits at Panda Express on a Sunday night. While technically not my pajamas, I will admit that they have played that part in the past. Look: I was at least wearing a bra
  • is waiting for the dude who bought my piccolo on ebay to leave (positive, preferably) feedback
  • is doing laundry
  • hates doing laundry
  • is selling her Armstrong piccolo on ebay
  • needs a new piccolo stand
  • Flute World here I come
  • is supposed to be following a rather restrictive diet since last month and hasn't started yet
  • has a strange feeling
  • stayed up too late Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • just told her mother to be brave, and to pray that God knows what [s]he's doing
  • feels a little funny about that
  • has a feeling that rainbow in the sky ends... at her house!
  • wonders why are there so many songs about rainbows
  • absolutely does not brake for rainbows
  • figures that song came out right about at the same time she stopped liking the B-52s so much
  • wonders if by secretly loading a bunch of damn Data Rock songs onto her iPod, Patrick has broken some divine rule
  • is walking twice a day, four days a week with the girls at work
  • thinks that Metallica should have named their new album "Dethklok"
  • won an iPod Shuffle! (no, for real! It wasn't a pop up!)
  • has eaten enough popcorn in the last week to kill a pig
  • really, really, needs to exercise
  • was waved at by an old guy on a 3-wheeled bike on her way home from work while she had the stereo up too loud
  • overheard a woman asking a worker at Target, "What song are you playing right now?" They weren't playing any song... or were they? Which one of us is wrong?
  • bought another dress she'll never wear
  • can't wait to go to the LA County Fair with Sarah and see the goats!
  • registered for flute choir. Did you?
  • doesn't understand why VH1 Classic is playing a Duran Duran concert that looks like it's from this century, and doesn't understand why she's watching it, and doesn't understand what the hell happened to Simon Le Bon's face
  • realized today that she doesn't like baby showers, and in fact, isn't all that comfortable at most parties
  • has still not recovered from week one of working from 7-5:30 for four days a week
  • really really needs to go to bed
  • started writing a story about the "first time" but then mentioned it to her friend Rachel, who remembers saying the word "eww" when she told her about it at the time; "eww" seems like a bad reaction
  • will say that it involved a recreation of a scene from a movie, which at the time, she didn't realize, because she hadn't (and still hasn't) seen the movie
  • is instead working on a Stewart Copeland story (by "working on" she means, cultivating the idea in her brain and not yet on paper. As if she works with paper anymore)
  • is for some reason irritated by Patrick's ability to sleep anywhere, including now, on the couch, while she's watching the stupid Duran Duran concert on VH1
  • is watching a marathon of "Canada's Next Top Model," which Patrick finds to be more "civilized" than America's Next Top Model
  • listened to Patrick state that Canadian TV is "so Canadian" and laughed her head off
  • sweated her way through tonight's performance of BAD PENNY
  • start[ed] her new job on September 8
  • is about to have lunch from Fake Tito's
  • wonders why 7 pounds feels like 20
  • saw "The Rocker" last night - cute but not amazing
  • wonders where the scruffy teens walking down her street came from
  • may be suffering from Olympics overload
  • is reading a silly sci-fi novel that's like 1,000 pages long and loving it
  • thinks Peter F. Hamilton is Robert Heinlein minus the misogyny and the civics lessons
  • needs to eat something
  • wishes Patrick a most happy birthday: August 11
  • wonders what's going on with the women's USA gymnastics team??
  • LOVES the Chinese women's team!
  • met Anne Frank the cat last night and is in love
  • made Bo laugh (not a euphemism) about 100 times last night; he returned the favor
  • has 38.5 days worth of music on her iPod and wants more
  • better back up her music
  • is gonna go to Super Mex tonight for dinner with her niece and nephew and their parents
  • just got a call from someone who called her "Porsha"
  • wonders if this is the same person who rang the bell earlier today
  • wonders who rang the doorbell a few moments ago
  • wonders if whoever rang the doorbell noticed her hiding behind the computer monitors or heard her laughing while re-reading David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day"
  • wonders if 12:00 is too late in the day to still be wearing her nightgown - nah
  • thinks it's kind of interesting when she runs into people she knows rather superficially who have been reading her blog and those people seem embarrassed, or confused, or annoyed
  • would like to know some of those people better
  • has started telling people at work that she's transferring, and has been pleasantly surprised by the stunned and sad reactions
  • wonders if her co-workers are amazing actors
  • will miss AC, LD, EC, and her 24" monitor the most
  • wants one of those little hats the athletes from Brazil wore in the opening ceremony for the Olympics
  • caught Laura Bush (not George!) checking her watch during the opening ceremony for the Olympics
  • will be doing the lights/sound/slides (!) at City Garage for BAD PENNY through September 7
  • is working on "The Emperor and the Bird of Paradise"
  • had a huge crush on Ian Clarke when he was at the flute convention in San Diego and how she got all nervous when she got to speak with him! No, that doesn't sound familiar at all
  • spent almost $200 at Fresh & Easy tonight
  • is still waiting for Fresh & Easy to launch their ad campaign using the Eagles' "Take It Easy" as their theme song
  • cannot shop at Fresh & Easy without humming "Take It Easy" and yes, that's an incredibly annoying song
  • is carpooling tomorrow to Santa Monica with Bo and once again finds herself in the driver seat (not a euphemism - unfortunately!)
  • wonders who will catch that "unfortunately" first?
  • wonders if they will take it seriously?
  • would like for them to not take it seriously
  • when are these damn bangs going to grow the fuck out?
  • is going back to work now
  • hopes the slide projector at City Garage was destroyed in the earthquake
  • had a great concert on Sunday
  • is listening to "Hands Off... She's Mine," by the English Beat
  • is back on the 5/40 work schedule
  • will be visiting Santa Cruz (actually, Aptos) by way of San Jose
  • wonders how long it will take for these ill-advised bangs to grow out
  • isn't used to Bluetooth yet - it kinda hurts her earlost her Bluetooth earpiece
  • drove part of the way home from Culver City last night with a purple piece of paper under the wiper on the passenger side of her car; she exited the freeway at Rosecrans, thinking it was a parking ticket or message from a secret admirer only to find out that it was an advertisement for an insurance company - THEN - upon getting back on the freeway, she was the second car behind the cops doing a traffic break, and she thought that her detour and that stupid piece of paper may have saved her from a sure death in a fiery car crash (cue "Motorcrash" by the Sugarcubes)... except the break was for just barely getting started road construction near the 110. Oh well. Slow for the cone zone!
  • wants popcorn for breakfast
  • found out that her uncle used to cut the hair of the nuns (not a euphemism) who lived at the church she's playing at tomorrow
  • learned just the other night that "Nice & Easy" isn't just a marketing ploy
  • likes the word "carroms" (I think it's the name of a fIREHOSE song)
  • has a friend who adopted a kitten from these people who named the kitty "Anne Frank"
  • thinks naming a cat "Anne Frank" is pretty funny
  • will probably name her next cat either Molly Hatchet or Dale Nixon
  • still thinks Dave Grohl is a gum-chewing girlie man
  • thinks kitties should have last names (hello, Frances "Smush" Palma"!)
  • made the same mistake again another month in a row - making her idiocy at least a year long - yay for me!
  • is reading 1984 and a biography on Walt Disney at the same time
  • is finding horrifying similarities to her current work situation in both books
  • wonders what kind of a person gets a version of "Sexy Back" for their license plate
  • is banging her head against the wall at work (thanks, kid, now all I'm thinking about is the sex life of pigs, a topic I had been really good at avoiding until now)
  • is pretty much too bummed out by work to do much blogging lately
  • misses you a little
  • knows the feeling isn't mutual
  • didn't mean to imply that just because she doesn't have $1,200 for a new piccolo, also isn't that upset about it; her plastic and wood combination piece o' crap is surprisingly in tune and relatively easy to play, it just has to be warmed up and ready to go
  • can't swing "That's a-Plenty" and is glad Joe is playing flute 1
  • will be less than five minutes late to work tomorrow if it kills her
  • thinks it would be really un-funny if she gets in a car accident tomorrow morning on the way to Downey
  • honks at people who do stupid things on the road and doesn't appreciate it when those people get pissed off. Drive right or face the consequences, jerks
  • thinks her boss should call her when she's not going to be in the office in the AM and there are no appointments on the calendar but her boss apparently feels otherwise
  • wants to go to the OC fair and drool over the goats
  • saw a beautiful leather bag at the mall last night... made out of goat leather. Can't do it, sorry
  • is glad there's a new season of Project Runway but has been disappointed by the winners of some of the other reality shows she watches - so she's not gonna get too attached to anybody (especially Kelli, the trash bag lady, and the cup dress dude)
  • just bought a bag identical to one she already owns
  • has decided she doesn't need an iPhone or the extra charges for the data charges but promises to continue to drool over yours
  • finally had dinner at Versailles yesterday
  • is uninterested in laundry, housework, paying bills, practicing or even taking a shower, and would like instead to just lay on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn, a cold drink, and a book
  • is watching all the people going to the open house across the street and is starting to miss her neighbors already
  • is, but shouldn't be, and rather wishes she wasn't, strangely attracted to Scissor Sister's version of "Comfortably Numb"
  • walked into this guy's office the other day at work and he was listening to Maroon 5. If she didn't think he was a giant tool before, she sure does now
  • is listening to a bunch of Pink Floyd covers
  • thinks that in the photo currently plastered all over iTunes, Beck looks like he should be holding a giant lollipop and wearing a sailor hat

  • would give it to you if she could but she borrowed it
  • doesn't have $1,200 to buy a slightly used piccolo
  • is looking for the power button
  • hasn't had a diet coke in two days and seems to think this is something of which she can be proud
  • was about to embark on a marathon day of laundry when, during the very first load, the damn machine overflowed and Patrick is out there now, trying to fix it; meanwhile, the driveway is full of lots of soapy water
  • is in love with the creamy chicken soup at Souplantationwonders why they keep changing the goddamn soup at Souplantation
  • has a headache, a head full of snot and a fever
  • can't believe she just wrote "head full of snot"
  • is experiencing Internet lagtime because Patrick is downloading a stupid John McLaughlin record
  • thinks "latency" is a really cool word, too
  • found out that a guy she knows knows another guy she knows in another town and is strangely obsessed with "small world!" sappiness
  • has a fever and a runny nose
  • had a work-induced crappy day
  • told her co-worker whose name rhymes with "Irene" to "go home on time for a change"
  • kind of wants a MacBook
  • bought $56 in pens and Post-its at Staples tonight
  • has an odd fixation on pens and Post-its right now
  • thinks her neighbor's Scion sounds like a fancy lawn mower
  • : putting one foot in front of the other since 1972
  • was told today that there is a direct connection between people with sinus troubles and the weight of the sadness that we all carry around with us
  • has made the same mistake, month after month, on almost the same day, for about a year now
  • wishes she knew somebody named "Elliot Sneen"
  • : unintentionally insulting people she hasn't seen for 20 years ("I still got it!")
  • is wondering when it would be a good time to wash the dishes that have been floating in what Patrick calls "primordial soup" for about 3 days already
  • has a sick husband
  • has a tummy ache
  • had the high school reunion dream again
  • finally realizes that being a loser doesn't make you special (David Spade, Kathy Griffin excepted from this rule)
  • once told a 17-year old kid to "get the fuck out of my car" and then drove away in a haze of rubber and never thought about him again
  • one part of that story is a lie
  • still hasn't joined a gym - or a yoga class - or ridden her bike in an month - or gone for a walk - or stopped drinking diet Cokes - or upped her water intake - or eaten more vegetables - or practiced in a week
  • reported the Yard House in LB to the Department of Public Health for possibly giving her and Patrick food poisoning
  • is watching the kid across the street play solo catch and kind of wishes she could go out and join him, except she sucks at catch
  • is not enjoying Peter Sagal's book on Vice as much as she wanted tothought Peter Sagal's book was a huge waste of time and now doesn't even like listening to Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me (unless Tom Bodett is on)
  • was almost run over yesterday, twice, and neither time involved a Frito Lay truck (and thank God for that, because Rachel and Melissa were nowhere to be seen)
  • wants to know when Culver City became the office supply store mecca of the world (there are at least 3 within 1/2 a mile)
  • wants to know where Kathy Griffin got that orange cover for her iPhone
  • wants Tito's chips and salsa
  • had a pretty good idea when she started the Stewart Copeland business but now is stuck and can't think of where to go next with it
  • wants to stop starting sentences in her head that begin, "Irene Casarez Palma..."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another one.

My wild and weird dreams had subsided a bit for awhile, but started up again last night.

Brief description (I swear):

I'm driving my car in a mall, and no one finds this unusual. I pull up to a jewelry store, but am directed by the security guard to the "elevator" that is nearby. I park my car near the store, and walk to the elevator, which is a round room with a seat in the center where the passengers sit, facing out. A woman attempts to get on the elevator but doesn't have the $1 required; I offer to pay her fare and she gets on and thanks me. The elevator moves along back to the jewelry store.

In the jewelry store, I show the guy working there a clock I've brought with me and want to sell to him. It's pretty ugly, but still in the box, which has an orange price sticker of $44.23 on it. The clock itself is about 8 inches high, and in the shape of an architectural pediment. It's a Frank Gehry design.

The jewelry store guy gives me a long-winded and forgotten speech about clock design and profitability and ultimately announces that he can only offer me $1 for the clock. He presents me with a complex spreadsheet of figures and graphs that show the depreciation of the clock over time. I explain that I was not looking to make a profit; the clock had been a gift but I didn't want it anymore, and didn't feel right throwing or giving it away. I accept his $1 and leave the store.

Later I'm at the home of an old boyfriend who shall remain nameless. I'm asleep in his bed but he's not there. I only know which boyfriend it was because I recognize the possessions in the room, which is new to me. There's a bookshelf behind the bed that has a huge quantity of books and other items that I remember from when I last really knew this person and never really expected to see again, and the room is large and warm and the bed is large and warm, and has a beautiful red quilt on it, which I'm snuggled in.

Then the boyfriend's mother, who I also never expected to see again, comes and asks me about the clock, which I had just sold for $1. She's not angry, just curious. She was a nice lady.

And then I woke up, curled up on my right side (bad pregnant lady!) with my Boppy Total Body Pillow. The kitty had commandeered the top pillow part, and we were both pressed pretty firmly into Patrick's back, with lots of blankets covering us both. It was sweet. The dream was weird but I've read that dreaming about clocks means you're afraid you're running out of time, and that seems about accurate, considering several different things I've been talking about.

Then I realized that Patrick's alarm hadn't gone off and that he needed to get in the shower before me, so I woke him up and went back to sleep for at least 20 more minutes. I wish I could do that again right now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I was looking at my resume this morning, and realized that it's finally time to remove all my retail experience. It's been 10 years since I worked in a bookstore, and wow, that kind of sucks. Because it means I'll never be a kid again, right?

Not that I'd really want to work in a bookstore now - the hours, the wages, the uncertainty - but I miss the fun of it. The stores I worked in, for the most part, were full of fun, smart, interesting (and sometimes crazy and/or idiotic) people, and I only had to work with a couple of (known) drug users. I miss the customers, too, and that's weird, because I usually don't really feel comfortable talking to strangers (Patrick and I took our first Lamaze class on Monday, and when I saw that the teacher intended to go around the room and get us all to introduce ourselves and to also talk about our pregnancy, I almost asked Patrick if we could leave). And hey, let's be honest, I miss the books.

Anyway, before I remove it forever (unless of course some day I reapply for another bookstore, if any are still around), here's the retail section, which really only includes my last bookstore job. If it doesn't sound all that impressive, I had trimmed it down years ago and removed the jobs I had right after high school. And maybe it's not all that impressive. My experiences at Crown, Bookstar, and 20/20 Video have already been excised because that shit was so loooooong ago:

January 1998-September 2001
Boutique and Operations Manager
Rizzoli Bookstore
Santa Monica / Beverly Hills

Ah, it's not much, is it. My functions, in a nutshell, were: I was a manager, therefore I managed. I had keys, and the combination to the safe. I added up all the money and credit card slips and counted the registers. I made the schedule. I tracked the sales of my boutique items (cards, t-shirts, gift items, etc.). I was amazed at the hand-drawn sales history graphs that my store manager would painstakingly draw out every week. I stood around and joked and talked and fooled around with my co-workers (I made an awesome giant pencil hat for my friend Bo, which I think I still have somewhere, as well as a picture of him wearing it). I shelved books. I read books. I created intricate displays of pens and pins and t-shirts and boxed cards and whatever else we were selling in the boutique. I cleared printer jams. I got parking tickets. I worked on holidays and weekends. I approved store returns (and once, famously, did not approve a store return, and the asshole who was trying to return about $500 worth of books without a receipt made me cry). I met famous people. I helped Eric Stoltz find the one book we had in the entire store on divorce. I talked to the homeless people who wandered in occasionally. I gossiped about my strange co-workers. I made very good friends, and a few enemies. I slept in the daytime and worked in the nighttime, I worked with students, housewives... drug users, artists, musicians, actors. No offense to anybody else but the actors were the most entertaining. Funny, that.

OK, so that's over.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The NY Times reports that Tom DeLay has been found guilty of money laundering

Here's a quote from Mr. DeLay, as reported in the story (click on the title of today's post and you can read the whole thing):
"The criminalization of politics undermines our very system.”
So true, sir! And how do you suppose we should go about getting the criminals out of politics? Is there a New York Times article on how many politicians have been found guilty of a crime (any crime) in the last 20 years?

Dancing with the stars, or whoever

Last night was the finale of Dancing with the Stars, a show I (as I have explained before) started watching solely to have something to discuss with my mother (who loves shows like this), but of which I became a fan on my own. I didn't actually watch the whole finale - I felt a lot of ambivalence about it, though all along I've been voting for Jennifer Grey (and Margaret Cho, when she was still on). Instead I flipped back and forth between DWTS and a rerun of the first episode of the American version of "Top Gear" (loved it).

Dancing with the Stairs is total silliness, what with the wacky costumes, horrible music, even more horrible Brooke Burke, and completely ridiculous judging, but it's also, results shows aside, total fun. I kind of hate to admit it, but I do like it and I get a little bit invested in it, every season.

Anyway, so this season was full of so-called controversy - a couple of talented celebrities were voted off (Audrina Patridge, Brandy) seemingly too early, and Bristol Palin was kept on until the final. Bristol was repeatedly dinged for lacking in personality or not showing any emotion in her face during her dances, and when she finally showed some toward the end, unfortunately, it was an ugly, vindictive personality.

Hey, I'm not really surprised. Her comments about "haters" and "giving the middle finger" to those who wanted to see her fail - those comments go right along with her obvious lack of maturity. Grow up a little, Bristol, and yes, go home to your kid. Maybe get a real job and some actual life experience. See a Broadway show. Stay off of Facebook. Have a grown-up relationship. Have a life of your own that's not connected to your mom's career. Wouldn't that be something?

(I love that she can give the finger to the haters and at the same time feel "blessed" by an experience she really didn't deserve. And God loves ALL your fingers, Bristol. I guess.)

As a dancer, the thing is, yes, she showed improvement, but she was never really good enough, and this is not a hateful statement. Maybe she's one of those people who think just showing up entitles her to a trophy. Like my niece's first soccer team... when she was five. Newsflash, Bristol: you're not good enough. Yes, she tried. We all try - and we all sometimes fail. It's a fact of life, babe.

I will say that she looked great in her practice clothes - she's a pretty girl with gorgeous hair, and in a hooded sweatshirt and capri length leggings and fancy dance shoes, she looked prettier than she ever did in the strangely tailored sparkly dresses on the show.

The thing that's been bothering me is, I've heard/read a lot of comments about how Jennifer Grey shouldn't have won because she's a "trained dancer." She made "Dirty Dancing" in 1986 or '87, and as far as I can tell, the rest of her career includes no other dancing roles. You do the math - that's not exactly a lifetime of training. Yes, she could've had some private dance experience, but so can anybody. It's not "Dancing with the Normal People" (but if they make that show, can I be on it? and will you vote for me?) or "Dancing with the Bitter and Entitled," it's Dancing with the Stars. Those people are expected to be able to perform, and most of them work it out because they have the talent and the personality to pull it off. That's what being a celebrity is about. People like David Hasselhoff, Kurt Warner, and Florence Henderson are interesting because they've accomplished something in their field (come on, you know you loved Knight Rider).

In the end, it's a stupid dancing competition. The prize is useless. I loved getting to see Jennifer Grey again: she's a beautiful woman and a cancer survivor. I hope winning helps her career - I would love to see her in a movie again - but I also hope losing teaches Bristol something about humility, and working hard. Showing up doesn't mean you win, sweetheart, it just means you were there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

From the list of things I don't want to hear while at my desk:

  • "Push It," by Salt-N-Pepa
  • My co-worker moaning and groaning to herself over her inability to pass an online practice test for a higher-level secretarial position.

Argh. - Updated.

My boss is on the holiday party committee for our service (group of divisions here at work, whatever, not an important detail), and she asked me to make the flier to announce the party. It went out last week. I don't mind making fliers but please don't get it in your head that this is all I do: I do it once a year. I use Word but since I'm pretty stubborn about not using tacky cartoon clip art or their mostly lame templates, I make them from scratch. This year I used a photo of a fireplace with a roaring fire and a wreath and some other holiday stuff on it. I tried to make something relatively classy, that was legible and made sense. My friend  - who liked it - said it looked like a very well-done Open House announcement. I'll take that as a compliment. I follow the simplest design rules I can find and I take my time and they usually come out pretty good. And, the committee must like my fliers because they keep asking me to make them, and I don't think it's just because I can spell (you wouldn't believe some of the "typos" I've seen on other fliers around here).

Anyway, the day it went out (as a PDF), I got an email from someone in one of the other divisions (not on the committee, but it doesn't matter). She liked it and wondered if it was possible for me to send her the Word file so that she could use it for her personal use, if that was okay with me.

Well. It's kind of not okay with me. And, my boss agrees that I don't have to give it to her.

I haven't responded yet, even though apparently this person contacted another member of the committee to ask the same question (that conversation probably went something like this: "I asked Irene if I could have the the Word file for her flier but she hasn't gotten back to me!"). The other lady on the committee called me today to basically ask me what was what. I don't fault that person for contacting me, but the woman who asked the original question is now starting to get on my nerves.

It's not a big deal, just a dumb flier, but it did take some time, I did use some advanced Word techniques, and my own hard-won knowledge of fonts and all that crap, and you know? It's MINE. Nobody's stopping her from copying it or going out and figuring it out herself; I didn't make anything that complicated. Word is probably the easiest program to learn, I'm not saying this is genius work, here. I mean, take a class. Do an online tutorial. Play around with things. These are all examples of how I and everyone else I know has learned how to do anything creative on the computer. Seriously. If I just give it to her, how is that teaching her anything? Or should I just not give a damn? Maybe I'm just being silly. It would probably be easier to just give it up, but hey, isn't that kind of like the argument some guy used on me 20-odd years ago? And I did I listen to him then? Oh. Wait a minute, bad example.

Now I just have to figure out how to let this woman know. I already considered and rejected telling her I "accidentally" deleted the Word file (because I don't want to sound like an idiot. Who deletes their master file? Not me!). Your input would be appreciated.


I wrote this message:
I’m sorry, but I prefer not to share my work for your personal use.

Thanks for the compliment, and have a good weekend!
She wrote back and admired the clip art I used (a photo, remember). I told her where to find it. So - maybe she doesn't need me after all. Happy ending!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another dream

I'm not sure when I had this dream, maybe Monday night.
A boy (now a man, but who I still see in my mind as a 13 year old, as that's the last time I probably had any kind of interaction with him) I've known since kindergarten came to see me. We were never very close to one another (in fact, he was pretty mean to me sometimes, except for one time when he gave me a hand in climbing down from a high space; I'll never forget that tiny act of kindness) but I was best friends with his best friend's sister in elementary school, and the four of us were thrown together a lot, especially since that family was very generous and took us with them on many family camping trips, and had us all over all the time for sleepovers and things. We both practically lived with them in the summers. I will admit that he was a cute kid and I had a bit of a crush on him, but it never went anywhere (probably because I was nerdy and a goofball; he and the others were adventurous and athletic, while I was always the last one to jump in and do whatever they were doing, never with their level of skill), and he and his best friend (my friend's brother) enjoyed tormenting us with silly nicknames and teasing (they used to call us "Waffleheads," a meaningless but incredibly annoying appellation I still don't understand). Anyway, in the dream, this guy I haven't seen since Middle School (I'm sure he went to my high school but I can't remember ever seeing him there) comes to visit and he has a very specific message for me:
He wanted me to know that my 11th grade boyfriend, a guy I'm pretty sure he didn't even know, had cheated on me. 21 years ago.

That guy and I only dated for maybe 6 months, and I broke up with him while he was in rehab for some sort of drug habit I hadn't even been aware of (and no, I'm not proud of myself for this), but I will say that there is zero evidence of him being a cheater, and it was never an issue with us. I never suspected anything, I'm positive he never cheated on me, and I have no idea why my brain would imagine this, now. He was actually a sweet guy who made me laugh and took pretty good care of me while we were together.
So after this other guy makes his announcement, we end up on bikes (our preferred mode of transportation in elementary school), riding around a gorgeous park that bordered the freeway, and the section of the park we were in is higher than the freeway, so we could look down at the cloverleaf interchange. It was quite beautiful, surrounded by green grass and landscaping, the cars whirring by, and then, hey, I think I woke up.
Along with the crazy dreams, I've also been getting up to go to the bathroom a lot lately at night, and I've perfected the art of practically sleepwalking my way through the bedroom to the bathroom - I can do it with my eyes closed, which is no great feat, as my house is pretty tiny. I've opened them while in the bathroom to find that a little black and white cat has followed me from the bed and is waiting for me to pick her up and bring her back to the bedroom, which I always do. The two of us snuggle back in with Patrick and almost always go right back to sleep. Until the next silly dream or urge to pee hits us, of course.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sweet dreams are made of this...?

Everybody I speak to about this tells me that it's a common enough phenomenon, but I have been blown away by the realistic and yet still incredibly crazy dreams I've been having. I guess the pregnancy hormones are in full force, because they've been pretty insane this week.

Here's the one from November 11th, which actually involves a dream within a dream:
I'm standing in my parents' back yard talking to my friend from the theater who is also my former co-worker at the bookstore. His name is Bo, and I'm talking to him about the dream I actually had the night before, where my friend Missy, who I've known since I was about five, and my other friend Tammy from Rizzoli turned out to be sisters (in real life, one is a dental hygienist, and one is married to a dentist) and my dream has made them, not only sisters, but also the daughters of Frederique and Charles from City Garage. Frederique and Charles, in my dream only, own an antique store in San Francisco, and the three of us were driving around San Francisco in a big old pick up truck with furniture piled in the back. I think if Tammy and Missy knew each other in real life, they would get along very well. I'm telling my friend Bo this dream while we're standing in my parents' backyard, which was also somehow the backstage area of the new theater space (City Garage is leaving it's alley space in Santa Monica but there will be an announcement soon about the new space; my parents' house or backyard will not be involved, I'm sure), and we were opening a new show that night that involved a whole Lion King type overture with music and children and live animals at the beginning and I was supposed to be the kid wrangler and get them on stage at the right time by watching for a cue from Charles that was just him opening the screen of my parents' bathroom window during audio cue 1.

I was being incredibly pissy about the whole thing, because apparently they waited until opening night to tell me about this complicated opening and as I was talking to Bo I also had to fold all the clothes that were on the clothesline.

We were standing there in my mom and dad's backyard on the lumpy grass with about 15 child actors sitting at a picnic table nearby, listening to Jeff (one of the actors from the theater, a very nice, patient man; he plays three key parts in the current show right now) giving them acting instructions, and my dad's yard looked the same as usual, with the patchy grass and beautiful orange tree in the corner, and my brother's motorcycles and bikes all over the place.

My friend Bo listened to me complain, and then he smiled at me and said it would be okay. Frederique came out and it was 10 minutes to showtime, and she reminded me that Charles was going to open the bathroom screen 15 seconds into audio cue 1, which I couldn't even hear from out in the backyard, and then I was supposed to send in the kids, and I was so mad at her, and acting like a brat, but she was being really nice and not really responding to my bad attitude. I told her that there was no way I'd see that screen open because for some reason I wasn't wearing my glasses and she said to just do it, baby, words she says to me before practically every show when I'm in the booth.

My friend went inside by using the patio door that goes into my brother Dan's room, and I was standing on the driveway between the house and the garage, surrounded by children holding live animals, and the kid standing closest to me was holding a snake that bit him. The kid said, hey, he never did that before, and sucked his finger and then I saw the screen open and I sent the kids inside my mom's galley kitchen to start the show.
Here's the dream from Saturday, November 13:
Patrick and I are riding in a giant bus - it's like those tour buses rock bands use, I guess, more like a huge RV. The bus or RV was driving in a mountain area, and the road was very windy and dangerous, with steep drop offs and trees growing everywhere, and we were so high up that there was a crystal clear blue lake beneath us that was like a tiny speck below. The bus or RV had a passenger seat next to the driver, which I don't think they usually do, and I was sitting there alone. Patrick was just behind me. The bus didn't have a real driver, we had instead put it on "autopilot," and we were realizing as the road got twistier and turnier that this was probably a mistake, because instead of slowing down or braking into the really steep turns, the bus was actually speeding up and going out of control, and then we left the road completely and were flying through the air.

This part of the dream was really cool because we were so high it was like flying from the sky, which was black, like outer space, not night time, and we were passing things that were not possible, like tall buildings and the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek, and then we hit the water, and instead of, you know, drowning or dying like you would expect, the bus continued to drive through the water, and it was just like you'd expect a super psychedelic, pumpkin cheesecake fueled dream to be.

Then we weren't underwater anymore, or on the bus, and instead were at a party somewhere, and we had our baby, only it wasn't really a real baby: we were holding and passing around a little plastic baby doll for whoever those people were at the party, and we all were acting like it was a real baby. The doll's head kept falling off, and every time it happened, we'd nonchalantly replace it and say, "oops, baby's head fell off!"
Anyway, I'm not stupid: I know that these are anxiety dreams, and the bits with the last-minute instructions and out of control bus mean that I'm dealing with the feeling that I've lost control of my life because of all the new things that will come with having the baby that I can't plan for or even know to expect; and having a kid with a head that keeps falling off: I'm sure that just means that I'm worried about the baby's health...  The dreams aren't scaring or freaking me out, instead I wake up from them trying to remember every detail, wondering if I should write about them here or if you guys will be bored, or god forbid, better at dream interpretation than I am and see something in them that I don't, something that indicates that I'm just crazy or something.

Oh, well. I guess that's a chance I'm willing to take.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This week

On Monday, my mom had a second operation on her knee (she had a full knee replacement last September), and I haven't really written too much about it because when I got the news that this was necessary, I have to say that I was pretty pissed off about it.

Not at her, obviously.

She just had a CT scan about a week ago (we're still waiting on the news) to determine what the status of her cancer is, and then she has to have yet another surgery. This time last year she was recovering from the first one, and then started chemotherapy the week of Thanksgiving.

I was so hoping she could just continue to gain her strength (she's had a few months off from chemotherapy) and be ready for whatever the CT scan says, but nope, she's in another cast, unable to walk, still in the hospital, waiting for the fucking CT results.

Yep, I'm still pissed off about it.

The thing is, this second surgery is supposed to be good - the surgeon was unhappy with the way her knee had healed, and he says that this time he will correct whatever was making her foot point the wrong way and hopefully get her able to not have to use the walker all the time, and strengthen everything up, and signs are totally pointing that he's right - yesterday the physical therapist took her up some stairs without the walker, and come on, that's pretty major (three steps, but still), so I shouldn't be mad about the surgery, and I'm not, I'm just pissed that since this whole thing started she never seems to get a chance.

I want her to have a chance. I want her to see that she has a chance, and I want her to stand up and take it. How can she do that if she's in a cast? Or starting chemotherapy again? Her hair is finally starting to grow back, and it's this soft grayish white color, and I want to see more of it.

Anyway, you know, it's going to be okay. I have to get up and get ready to go to the hospital to see if she's really going to get to go home today, because it's my job to drive her there and I hope and pray that this trip home is better than the last one.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Police want you to get drunk, just like they did.

Dinosaur remains not included.
I got an email this morning from the Police, trumpeting the announcement of their new Synchronicity wine. I thought I'd have all kinds of ideas for things to say about it but on further reflection, I realized that my store of actual funny comments is pretty low today.

I'm not much of a wine drinker, and I'm really not a fan of celebrity products (come on; if you were invited to dinner with Sting and Trudie at one of their fabulous homes, do you think this is the wine they'd bring out for your enjoyment? Well. Maybe they would, if they were trying to get rid of you); the photo of Stewart, Sting and Andy that accompanied the email is unflattering to all of them except Stewart (Sting looks pissed; Andy's wig is crazy), and I'm just not in a good enough mood, even, to make fun of them (lovingly, of course) for this.

I do think they missed an opportunity to make a white wine inspired by Regatta de Blanc. I think it would've been a more natural connection, I mean, you'd think "Message in a Bottle" would be a wine marketer's dream, no?

Synchronicity (the album) makes me think of the tar pits and dessicated remains and skeletons and alienation and world destruction and crusts of bread and dying of thirst in the desert, spots on the sun and stalkers and crappy bass lines. None of these things, none of them I say!, inspire me to pop open a bottle of wine.

Thank god, because if they did, I'd be a drunk.
Stewart: I'll drink whatever you're pouring.
Sting: is it possible your arms are larger than your head?*
Andy: jeez, man.
 (Click here to order your bottle today!)

*Ah ha! I get it now!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Give Up Your Shoulds Day!

My friend Damon, a licensed marriage family therapist and author (I've known him since the 9th grade; he was a wise dude even then) is holding the 3rd Annual Give Up Your Shoulds Day today. You can find out all about it at his blog. It's a great idea and he's kind of amazing, so I highly suggest you check it out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A not so scary Halloween story

The day spa that I go to is close, convenient, and awesome. I started going there about seven or eight years ago when my aesthetician, who I had followed from a few different spas (including her own space) started working there. I was always impressed with the service and the people there. She left a while ago to go into another career, but I continued going there. I've found that for the most part I love having the owner do my waxing and facials, but over the years I've had other people for services. I've heard a glimmer of a rumor of the possibility of ghost stories, but never really paid any attention to them because a) I don't believe in ghosts and b) I'm there to relax, not ponder the afterlife.

(Examples of the kinds of stories I've heard: the bathroom light occasionally turns off and on by itself. I've experienced this myself, but always chalk it up to my own inability to operate the light switch in that bathroom, which is a little tricky. Also, supposedly voices have been heard after hours, and the sound system apparently has a life of it's own. None of these things, except for the light switch, have been experienced by me personally. Also, none of them are particularly violent or scary.)

One day I was getting a facial with a girl who was not my usual aesthetician. The service was okay, but I thought she was a tad bit rougher on my skin than I was used to. It wasn't really unpleasant, and she was nice, but it was a different style of facial. At that point I was about 14 weeks pregnant, and I did fall asleep a little, so it couldn't have been bad, just different from what I'm used to. She lectured me a little bit on my skin care regimen (which I deserved, because I've been lax about it. I just don't really know what products are safe to use while pregnant, so I've been sticking with Cetaphil, which I know is gentle, but it's not very effective, either), and then at some point she left the room to get something (the rooms don't have running water; I think she went to get some warm water).

While she was gone I kept my eyes closed and dosed and felt a little bit of that drowsy, floaty feeling I get sometimes when I'm getting a massage or a facial. It could just be low blood pressure, but I love that feeling - I know I'm relaxed and comfortable.

While I was lying there (eyes closed), I heard the door open, and felt, her, I thought, squeeze my left foot through the blankets that were covering me (I usually get cold in those rooms, and usually love that they use a heated table. I haven't been using the heat though, since I've been pregnant, so I always get an extra blanket). I thought it was the aesthetician, letting me know she was back in the room. The squeeze wasn't something the aestheticians usually do, but at the time it didn't strike me as odd, especially since I don't really know this girl at all. It wasn't painful, it didn't hurt, it didn't bother me... until about 10 minutes when the door opened again, and the aesethetician really came back in the room.

She hadn't been there at all.

No one else had come into the room.

Interestingly, I didn't freak out. I pretty much instantly knew that it was OK. I wasn't scared. I've been there a few times since, the first time for waxing. When you're waxed, if it's just facial hair (eyebrows, etc.), and you don't have to take off your clothes, the aesthetician comes in and leaves the room with you. There's no reason for her to leave you alone. So that time I was fine. I could've said something, but I didn't. The other times I was there was for massages, and the massage therapist does leave you, so that you can dress and undress, but nothing weird happened, and I didn't mention it to anyone.

Still. I think about it. Who (or what!) squeezed my foot?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sing blue silver!

A friend of mine on Twitter (I've never met her, but she makes frequent comments on my Stewart Copeland blog; she's funny and smart and a smart alec, thank God, and there's a link to her blog on the right side: she goes by Dufmanno) mentioned that in 2011 there are plans to release a new Duran Duran CD, and that got me to thinking, all the way in to work (in between cursing out the traffic, the freeway, and all the other drivers in my way) about their song "The Chauffeur."

I wasn't a super-huge Duran Duran fan, but my friend Missy was (sorry, Missy, if you'd hoped this fact about you in the early 80s would stay in the past), and though I credit Missy with introducing me to lots of music I still love today (Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, among others), Duran Duran is not one of those bands that endured, for me, the test of time.

Unfortunately, they're sort of locked into memories of my childhood, much like Billy Joel's song "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me," a song we heard, it seemed, on every weekend trip to my aunt Josie's in the summer of 1980. I'm not a fan of Billy Joel either but I could probably sing you every word to that song (or any of his songs), perfectly, if you asked. Please don't ask. Really. Don't. Patrick will appreciate it if you don't.

Anyway, so I'm driving along, 5, 10 miles an hour (10 if I was lucky; truly, the 5 freeway sucks for that 6 or 7 mile stretch between the 605 and the 710. And I also blame the KPCC traffic lady, who, ten minutes before I left for work, said "And pretty much all the freeways in the area are smooth sailing!" Apparently she meant all freeways except the 5), trying to remember the one Duran Duran song that I really liked.

I'm talking about "The Chauffeur." There's something about it that captured my attention. Maybe it was the kooky octave-y opening, or the lyrics - there was something ominous and brooding about that song that appealed to me as a pre-teen.

So all the way to work, and now, for the first 10 minutes I've been sitting at my desk with a functional computer, I've been trying my best to remember how that damn song went.

Finally, I have the melody in my head, but I can't for the life of me remember all the words, except for the little bridge part, if that's what that part really is called (I haven't looked it up to see if it's on Wikipedia or checked the lyrics but I will):

So the sun drips down (bearing? what? heaving?) behind
The front of your dress all shadowy (white?)
The droning engine throbs in time with your beating heart

I don't have any Duran Duran on my iPod (and believe me, I'm not sad about that), but I think I might have to download that song today. I miss the way Simon le Bon would scream out,

Sing! Blue silver!

What was he thinking? Or talking about?

OK, so now I've looked it up, and believe it or not the song does have it's own Wikipedia entry. I had no idea it was so beloved. And here I thought I was special.

Here are the real words, just for fun:

The Chauffeur
(words and music: Duran Duran)

Out on the tar plains, the glides are moving
All looking for a new place to drive
You sit beside me so newly charming
Sweating dewdrops glisten freshing your side

And the sun drips down bedding heavy behind
The front of your dress - all shadowy lined
And the droning engine throbs in time
With your beating heart

Way down the lane away, living for another day
The aphids swarm up in the drifting haze
Swim seagull in the sky towards that hollow western isle
My envied lady holds you fast in her gaze

Sing Blue Silver

And watching lovers part, I feel you smiling
What glass splinters lie so deep in your mind
To tear out from your eyes, with a thought to stiffen brooding lies
And I'll only watch you leave me further behind

Sing Blue Silver

Sing, Sing.. Blue Silver

(There's more to this kind of camouflage)
(More than just colour and shape)
(Who's going now, in to a classiomatic? )

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy birthday to my dad!

On Sunday my dad turned 73! We took him out to lunch (Paco's Tacos in Westchester, which in my memory was better than it turned out to be... won't be visiting again anytime soon) and spent some time hanging out at my parents' house in Culver City. Dan bought a couple of pies (yummy lemon meringue!) and the coffee drinkers had coffee.

Here's a photo (my brother Andy had to go to work) of us. For those of you wondering what I look like pregnant... well, now you can see. Isn't my dad cute! I'm not sure what Patrick's doing with his right arm - it's making his shirt hang funny.

For those of you with sharp eyes, there's a family photo from about 18 years ago on the wall behind us. It's funny, but I remember the shoes I was wearing when we took that photo (lace up, black suede platform clogs. I LOVED those shoes). In the current photo I'm wearing brown leather flip flops. For anyone, I don't know, taking notes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A whole new (dirtier?) world

The other day I was browsing the online store at the website for the La Leche League (these are the breastfeeding people). I had spent some time reading their materials and checking them out, and then I saw that they had a store... so I went there.

While looking around, I saw that one of the items they're selling is this thing (not this exact one; this one is from Amazon, and costs $10 less than the one the La Leche League is selling).

I was surprised, because I've seen this item before, but didn't realize that it was something that someone manufactures and sells. The one I saw, in person, at the Target in Belmont Shore, looked handmade and quilt-y - I thought the kid's overprotective grandma had made it for him. I remember taking a look at him, and then at his mom, and see, when I saw it, I thought, "Wow, this lady must be rich and crazy." Don't get me wrong, I thought it was adorable, but I also thought, Why would you need something like this?

And they're not cheap: the ones at the La Leche website go for about $45.

Now that I am going to be a mom in less than four months myself, I'm thinking about this stupid product again. And, also, my own probably unfair judging of other people. I really need to stop doing that.

(The other day, on a friend's Facebook page, I made a stupid, silly comment about tuba choirs - yes, such a thing exists - and some dude called me "snobby." Hey, maybe I am: I think it's the prerogative of all piccolo players to be a little disdainful of the TUBA section. I mean, come on. Though if this guy had known me in high school he would've realized that I am physically incapable of being a snob. Anybody looking at the clothes I wore could figure that out for themselves. But that and this are two different things... I think. Now I'm just confused, trying to figure this one out for myself. Because this shopping cart cover thing doesn't just represent making a decision about placing my baby in a shopping cart unprotected from germs, it kind of represents whether or not I'm going to be a good mom, and if I'm going to know what to do with all the millions of other decisions I'm going to have to make.)

Yesterday I had a little email discussion with my friend Andrea. She thinks it's a great idea, and I kind of agree... but I kind of don't. She has a lot of good ideas about baby care that I haven't even thought about yet (she doesn't have a baby either, I think she just in general approaches life with more advanced planning than I am capable of), so her reasoning was totally logical and makes sense: people, all kinds of people, put their dirty diapered babies in those shopping carts. Who knows if those kids are infectious or what? The carts are exposed to the elements, your dirty purse, birds, leaking meat containers, all kinds of biohazards, not to mention the slobbery little monsters intended to ride in them. Why would anyone want to put their baby in someone else's filth? She didn't say it exactly like that, but I think that's what she meant. And you know, I agree with that. Like I said, it totally makes sense. I haven't made up my mind yet either. I suspect that when the baby comes I will be changing my mind about a lot of things, and I accept that that's going to happen (but, hear me now: there will be no fucking minivans in my future, and I mean it). I think the problem I was having is that I associated this product with rich people, or the type of person who exits the bathroom using a paper towel so as to not touch the dirty bathroom door. And that kind of brings us back to the tuba thing. I just don't get it. I mean, it makes sense, kind of, but what about all the other dirty doors and surfaces you're going to touch? Life's dirty, people, get over it. I refuse to believe that it's a dirtier world today than it was 30-odd years ago.

But what the hell do I know? If I get one as a gift, am I going to refuse to use it? Nope; that thing looks comfy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Me me!

Haven't done one of these in a while. Sometimes they're fun. We'll see if now is one of those times. Got this one from the same place as usual. Click on the title of this post if you're interested.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
I got up to pee at 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30, but I didn't actually get out of bed until 5:20 a.m.

2. How do you like your steak?
Medium rare. Pink, but not cold. And I very rarely eat steak.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Dude, I don't even know. Iron Man 2?

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Parenthood. But I totally miss "The West Wing."

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Closer to Culver City/Santa Monica/Venice.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Crackers, an orange, and an apple.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

8. What foods do you dislike?
Olives. Japanese pears. Swap meet churros.

9. Favorite place to eat?
Enrique's, La Casita Mexicana.

10. Favorite dressing?
Green goddess, creamy cucumber, Thousand Island

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
2004 Honda Accord

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Floppy, worn in comfy jeans, a black v-neck sweater or turtleneck.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Hawaii, France, Greece, Italy...

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Usually half full.

15. Where would you want to retire?
Why would I want to move from wherever I'm living when I get to that point?

16. Favorite time of day?
Quitting time?

No, seriously: favorite time of day: that time in the fall when we were in high school marching band, on a Friday night, lined up in the parking lot waiting to march out through the school campus and it wasn't dark yet and some kid named Doyle was warming up to perform "The Star Spangled Banner" with us. That is my favorite time of day.

17. Where were you born?
St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
None, really, though I do get very invested in the Olympics.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
No one will tag me back because I don’t plan on tagging anyone. Tagging is so 2004.

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
See #19

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
Yeah, whatever. Do it if you want to but I'm not gonna beg.

22. Bird watcher?
No, but when I drove to Wyoming from Utah with my friend Patty to go to our friend Rachel's wedding, Patty got very angry with me because I wouldn't let her take some unmarked road to go chasing after a spectacular bird she saw because I was afraid we'd (a) get lost (b) miss our plane and (c) get killed. She loves telling that story.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Not really either. I think I only like staying up late because going to bed at night sometimes feels like death to me. What? Too depressing?

24. Do you have any pets?
Yes! Franny, a fat black & white kitty with crooked facial markings and a big belly, and Dora, a scaredy cat black kitty with tiny feet and a swirly pig tail.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?
Hey, man, I'm having a baby!

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
I don't know, probably a teacher, or a race car driver.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Hmmm. Lots of them. I was just reminding my brother the other day of how, the night before my first day of school (kindergarten?) he sat me down at the kitchen table and made me learn how to write (print) my name, because he said all kids should know that.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
Right now I'm a cat person but I love dogs too!

29. Are you married?
Yes, 12 years this past April!

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Oh, yeah.

31. Been in a car accident?
Just minor ones.

32. Any pet peeves?
My co-workers who clip their nails at their desks. I'm sure there are others but right now that one stands out the most.

33. Favorite pizza toppings?
Mushrooms, sausage, pineapple, fresh tomatoes.

34. Favorite flower?
You know, I really don't have a favorite flower. Is that weird?

35. Favorite ice cream?
Chocolate Malted Crunch, of course.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?
Okay, listen. I was a very immature driver. It took three tries.

38. From whom did you get your last email?
My friend Andrea.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Crate & Barrel, J. Crew, Zappos

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Not really.

41. Like your job?
I like my boss, and most of my co-workers, but occasionally I get bored. Oops, maybe I shouldn't have admitted that.

42. Broccoli?

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Trip to NY with my brother, and to Chicago with Patrick.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

45. What are you listening to right now?
Patrick is watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

46. What is your favorite color?
I like red, and blue, and orange, and green...

47. How many tattoos do you have?

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
Hey! None!

49. What time did you finish this quiz?
9:00 p.m.

50. Coffee drinker?
Not now, but I like it once in awhile, with lots of real milk and sugar.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ay caramba, dude!

So it's pretty much week 24 over here in baby-making land. I say "pretty much" because I've been counting the weeks as starting on Friday, so technically this is week 23, day 3. I'm not exactly sure why I started doing that. Oh, duh, it's because my due date is a Friday. See? LOGIC.

I've had a few pre-natal appointments, and my first ultrasound was a few weeks ago (though, and this is curious, I had an appointment right after that, but nobody at Kaiser thought to tell me that "Oh, the baby's development and placenta and organs all looked great on the ultrasound" until the very last appointment, which was... last Friday. Of course, I assumed that everything was fine - because otherwise they would've said something, no? - but this might be a sign of some quickly departing naivete on my part. I've been measured and weighed and the baby has been listened to, and hey, you know what? I seem to be growing a perfectly fine kid in there.

Believe me, I'm just as shocked and relieved as you are.

Last week I changed my appointment, which had originally been on Wednesday, to Friday, so I wouldn't have to use any work time to go, and I couldn't get the same midwife/nurse practitioner ladies I had before. Without naming names, the original midwife/nurse practitioner was much better, even though these appointments basically only consist of me urinating in a cup (messy, gosh, you'd think I'd be better at that by now), getting weighed, and having the doctor or whoever listen to the baby. This is the first time Patrick's schedule has allowed him to come to one of these routine appointments (he's been there for the major ones) so while he got to see the underwater view at the ultrasound, he's never heard the heart beat like that before. He thought that was pretty cool. And he agrees: the baby sounds like a teeny tiny very hungry washing machine(c). Well, I haven't copyrighted it yet, but I should, don't you think?

Anyway, though it means I'll probably have to use time off to go to my appointments (because I don't think the midwife/nurse practitioner I liked is available on Fridays, my day off), I think I'm going to go back to her from now on. There's not really much I can say about just what it was that I didn't like about the new lady, except that she was younger and more brusque than the other one. Oh, and she seemed to be under the impression that I had experienced some early contractions, which I have not, and even though I told her, nope, that's not a problem I'm having, she asked me again as if I could possibly have been mistaken.

No. I think I would remember that.

I scheduled a bunch of pre-natal classes for me and Patrick, including one on breastfeeding, and of course the Lamaze classes. I've pretty much done my best to avoid thinking about the day of actual delivery, but I guess it's time to start... oh, but the class doesn't start until next month, so I have some time still. Oh, and this week I scheduled my 3 hour glucose test, so I have that to look forward to.

I think I mentioned somewhere that we bought some baby furniture last week - crib, mattress, and dresser/changing table. The stuff is cute. The dresser is actually on order, but that's okay, because the room is, though mostly empty, not ready. Patrick emptied it of most of the things that were in there (except the closet, because now where the hell are we going to put our coats? My house has too few closets!), and started scraping the paint and patching the holes. We need to make a decision on wall color (I'm going for neutral, he seems to want an actual color on the walls), window coverings, and I need to go shopping with my parents for a glider or arm chair. We bought two braided rugs from JC Penney yesterday (one for the living room). The one for the baby's room is blue, and I hope I didn't make a mistake in choosing it without having anything else purchased. But they were having a sale, and our sweet neighbors (who work at JC Penney) gave us a coupon to use for an extra discount (1 day only!)... so it had to be done fast.

Today I finally made a decision about the car seat and stroller I want, though I could be easily swayed at this point if anybody cares to write in with their own suggestions. I just went with Consumer Reports' recommendation. And I'm starting to look at things (like bathtubs and rectal thermometers!) online, at Amazon and other baby-related sites, and to think about how I want the baby's room to look and function. Oh, and where I'm going to put all the crap in that closet. Seriously, it's a major issue.

Anyway, that's all the excitement going on in regards to that topic. We're still working on a name.

I'm sure this is fascinating reading, here. Other than the baby stuff, I've been at the theater, on the couch, and at work (possibly in that order). Really, my couch is very comfortable. Take my word for it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rockabye Baby!

The store where we bought the baby furniture was also selling (and playing) these CDs. Very cool.

New Wave Wednesday (and Thursday)

The last couple of days, I've been having a bit of a new wave revolution on my iPod. I don't have a ton of stuff (and this must be rectified) but what I do have has been on pretty much constantly since yesterday morning. What does this mean, exactly? Well, I won't list every song or artist I listened to, but three of them (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Lene Lovich, and Felony) were topping the list of favorites. Oh, wait, make that four: I was also enjoying all the Missing Persons songs on my iPod, though I always laugh at the backup singing. Oh, damn, make it five: and Bow Wow Wow, of course - "Do You Wanna Hold Me" is perfect poppy bliss. While listening this morning on the drive to work, I considered the idea that if I'm going to pursue this habit of listening to this kind of music, I need to apply more (read: some) eyeliner in the mornings.

Patrick suggested I add "Human Sexual Response" to my list of bands but while I agree they're a good example of New Wave, I just don't like their music.

(Aside: before our discussion of New Wave, we watched a video a friend loaned us on babies and forming an early attachment, and it was so sweet and powerful! Also the little babies on the video were all super cute. One of the moms interviewed mentioned how when she puts her baby to sleep, she plays "white noise" for the baby to listen to. Apparently this woman is under the impression that white noise helps her daughter sleep. We'd never heard of this idea, and so I looked it up this morning. I found that WebMD disagrees, and even states that white noise can delay a baby's development. However, last night, we wondered if, lacking any white noise, we might substitute Sonic Youth? Have there been any studies on the effects of No Wave on children? Finally, my last note on this topic, at the store where we purchased the crib and dresser over the weekend, they were playing these CDs that are baby-fied versions of real bands, like the Who, the Stones, and Radiohead. Totally silly, and, excuse me, RAD. I need that Radiohead one.)

Then this morning, KROQ played Nirvana's cover of Meat Puppet's "Lake of Fire," which is not in any way shape or form "New Wave," and it was revealed that none of Patrick's Meat Puppets CDs are on my iPod, and now the CDs themselves are missing. This is bad news, but, of course, nothing like being trapped in a mine for 69 days. Patrick and I also wondered if Curt Kirkwood made a lot of money when Nirvana did that cover. We hope so. We also hope if Cris got any of the money, that he didn't shoot it into his arm.

Last night I had a long complicated dream that started with me finding a black and white kitten (more black than white) with different colored eyes (one green, one blue) in my sister's closet and after my mother emphatically stated that the kitty couldn't live in their house, I left him with my brother Dan, who was going to set up a bed and get some food. I had to leave because I had to go pick up my friend Sarah for something we were going to do, which was never explained. I took off on my co-worker's commuter bike that looks a little like this (I don't remember which model he got, he just showed it to me yesterday; all I remember is that it's a Trek and cost less than $400) and drove around a neighborhood that was part Culver City (Sunkist Park area) and part semi-familiar dream location. I ended up at a liquor store that looked suspiciously like the Duck Pond in Culver City, where I left my bike outside and went in buy something. There were two pro cyclists there in their full on pro cycling gear, with these giant bikes, and they laughed at me because, well, a pregnant woman on a bike is pretty funny looking.

I left the Duck Pond and realized that I had to pick Sarah up, which I couldn't really do on a bicycle made for one, so I rushed back home, where for some reason I found myself on the following streets of Culver City: Farragut Drive (east of Overland), Selmaraine Drive (where a kid I knew since kindergarten lived, but I haven't seen since high school), Higuera Street, and all the streets behind El Marino Elementary School.

Anyway, then I woke up, surprisingly well-rested in spite of having a bit of a trial in falling asleep the night before, with my own black and white kitty (pretty even distribution of white v. black) curled up on my arm, sniffing my nose. Now why do you think she does that?