Thursday, February 25, 2010

Size, um, matters?

Sometime last week I recieved a phone list for one of our divisions that was obviously created in Excel, and that's fine, usually. This particular phone list is okay - nothing special. Design-wise it's quite plain, actually, maybe lacking in consistency regarding formatting. There are a couple of minor mistakes involving the spacebar. Why am I telling you this? Because the genius who created it put it on legal sized paper.

This might be handy info to have but where the hell am I supposed to put it? My "info" binder is not legal sized. I have no desire to fold it. The damn thing has been sitting on my desk for days while I try to figure out how to handle it.

Totally stumped by an 8-1/2 by 14 inch piece of paper. Brought down by a size issue. Slowed to a crawl because... oh, fuck it, the truth is I don't really care. Wait, I think if I place it correctly on the copier, I can get it on a normal sized piece of paper.
Problem solved. I'm a genius.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh, NBC, you disappoint me in so many ways.

Last night was the ladies' figure skating, short program. I like figure skating. My friend in elementary school did it, she got to wear pretty outfits, and I liked "Ice Castles," and I had a Dorothy Hamill haircut when I was little. It's exciting, dramatic, athletic, impossibly technical, emotional, beautiful: what's not to like? I think I'm not alone in this, either. And I know that what I am about to say has been stated already by others, and my two cents are no different or better said than anybody else.

But still.

WHY THE HELL DID THEY THINK I COULD STAY UP UNTIL MIDNIGHT ON A WEEKNIGHT TO SEE THE SKATERS I WANTED TO SEE? I tuned in at 8 p.m., and NBC was showing... the finals for ski cross. Granted, ski cross is pretty cool, but this is not what I wanted to see. So I waited. And yes, eventually I saw the girl from Turkey, Tugba (awesome name) skate. She did a great job,and I loved her outfit. One of the TV announcers said, "Of course she has no chance of a medal..." which I think is stupid. Don't handicap the thing while it's happening. Does he know? Maybe ALL THE OTHER GIRLS WILL SUCK. Maybe she will skate the program of her life! So maybe this is the point when I started to get aggravated. Then, sometime later, I did get to see Marai Nagasu skate (she's so fun to watch, she really is my favorite)... and then I fell asleep. On the couch. With all the living room lights on and the TV blaring and Patrick playing music in the other room and NO I WAS NOT COMFORTABLE. I was pissed off, actually, so I was "mad sleeping." Have you ever done that? It's no fun. It causes serious aggravation.

When I woke up at various moments between Marai and 10:30, what did I see? Ski cross finals. Women's bobsled (also exciting, but not what I wanted to see). Various commercials. Bob Costas. But where was the figure skating? Finally, at 11 I woke up one last time, and I got to see Kim Yu-Na... and then I was so fed up I just went to bed.

I missed the whole thing, pretty much, and I was really disappointed.

Seriously, NBC, you're killing me. And you know what? "The Marriage Ref" looks like a really stupid show. Good luck with that one.

Thursday night when they do the long program, I have flute choir, and so I won't get home until 10 p.m. If they stick to this schedule it will be fine. If they do something different I will be screwed. And while I have really enjoyed most of the other things I've seen of the Olympics, I will remember it only because I missed the stuff I most wanted to see. That sucks, NBC. You suck, NBC.

There. I'm finished.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday's update

Hi, everyone,

Last week we got some news about my mom's treatment: her last CT scan shows that the spot on her liver has increased in size by 20%. Her doctor is recommending two more months of chemotherapy. On Friday we'll see the doctor and ask him some questions, but for now this is the latest.

Mom's doing okay - chemo makes her tired, and takes away her sense of taste; most things taste "metallic" to her, which I'm sure you can imagine is no fun. She handled the news about the lesion well. This weekend she and my dad went to the desert to visit with their old friend, and I think being able to get away and visit is good for her.

I wanted to share with you a pretty cool story:

A friend of mine from school who I haven't seen in 20 years (Terry) recently got back in touch with me, thanks to Facebook. This has turned out to be a surprise blessing. He currently lives in Paris, France with his beautiful wife and children, and he has made it a point to offer me lots of support and friendship, which I appreciate so much.

A couple of weeks ago, Terry ran a 10K in France, and he dedicated his run to my mom. Last week I received in the mail the medal that he got for his run, and a beautiful letter that he wrote to my mom. She was really touched by this. Terry, my mom appreciated so much your words of hope.

People really are awesome sometimes.

Thanks to all of you for your support and for being a part of this.

Love you,

Great eats for a great cause!


Most of you already know that since 2001, I have been involved in one way or another, with City Garage Theatre. Some of you have been there and seen the work this wonderful little theater group puts out. If you haven't, don't take my word for it: City Garage productions win awards and consistently receive good reviews from the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, Backstage West and other local publications. You can read reviews and find out more about the theatre by visiting the newly revised website at

I know nobody likes to be asked for money and I really don't like to do it, which is why this particular fundraising project is so easy: Kay 'n Dave's Cantina will soon be hosting "City Garage Week," where just by eating dinner, something you have to do anyway, you can help the theatre. How simple is that? Follows is all the information you need. We would really appreciate your support, and I thank you for taking the time to read this.

Kay 'n Dave's Cantina
City Garage Week
Sunday, February 21 - Sunday, February 28, 2010

Be sure to tell your server that you're with City Garage, and Kay 'n Dave's will donate 20% of your bill to City Garage.

Kay 'n Dave's Cantina Locations:
Brentwood: 262 26th St. (one block south of San Vicente) / (310) 260-1355
Culver City: 9341 Culver Blvd. (kitty corner to Trader Joe's) / (310) 558-8100
Rancho Park: 10543 Pico Blvd. (two blocks east of Overland) / (310) 446-8808
Pacific Palisades: 15246 Sunset Blvd. (between Antioch and Monument) / (310) 459-8118

We just wrapped up THE TROJAN WOMEN last night. Next up will be THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, to open this spring. Hope to see you then!

Thanks again!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From a New York Time's story about Snowboard Cross in the Olympics

A quote from Graham Watanabe, one of the Americans who competed but didn't make it to the finals:

“Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth,” he said last week. “I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That’s what it feels like.”

I have finally figured out what's missing in my life. What is missing is the activity, whatever it may be, that makes me talk like this.

Unless that activity is drugs, of course.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Crazy week!

On Monday, my mom got her CT scan. We're waiting to hear from the doctor's office still, but hopefully all will turn out well. Everybody's had good things to say, and she's doing okay. I left a message for Dr. McRobot, and hopefully we'll hear from him soon, with good things too.

Also on Monday, I started getting my allergy shots (for those rascally allergies to grass, dust, and the dreaded olive tree). While I was at Kaiser, I got a call from Patrick, who was also at Kaiser that day, because he'd been sick. Turns out he has bronchitis... and, the flu. Now, because we both got our flu shots this year (last year, in the drive-thru flu shot line), apparently his doctor said that he may have been exposed to H1N1.

Before you freak out, you should know that the doctor wasn't sure. But I decided to go see my doctor about the vaccine anyway. I mean, I was there. Now, it's possible that it was too late: if I was gonna get sick, I probably would have already, right? But it seemed like a good idea to me, so we went and did it anyway.

Then I saw my dermatologist, who was to check out that other problem.

It had been an exciting day, and I'd never seen this dermatologist before, so I'm sitting in the room, wearing that thin little robe thing, nervously checking out the diplomas of my doctor (Northwestern and Harvard), who, up until this moment, I had thought... was a woman.

When the door opened, however, and Dr. L came in the room, and he was a man, well, it was too much. I don't know why it was too much: I've shown my breast (and the other one too) to men before, but for some reason, all the crap of the day, of the week before, of the weekend: it all came out when I said,

"I didn't know you were a man!"

The guy was nice, though, and he handled my nerves (my nerves, you sickos) well. He listened to my stupid story politely, we discussed what I thought he would see, then he took a quick peek at the problem area, and determined that it was... nothing serious at all.

Anyway, it's all fine now. I didn't get sick, but I do have a sore throat and a headache, however, I make you a solemn promise: from here on out, I will not discuss any symptoms I maybe be having. The end.


Oh! Then on Wednesday? It was my birthday! Patrick was starting to feel a little better, so we spent the day relaxing and hanging out. It was a great day, capped off by a terrifically delicious dinner at Pizzeria Mozza in Hollywood. I have only good things to say about it, especially the amazing butterscotch budino (pudding) dessert. Maybe we're the last two people in LA to go there (I still haven't seen "Avatar") but wow. Yummy, yummy, yummy.

Yesterday I went back to work, where I had to deal with one unpleasant person (why are guys so unprofessional and they get away with it? If a woman acted the way... well, I'd better not say any more), a huge pile of stuff, plus a new project, but you know what? That's what work is. If it was easy... everybody would do it.

(That phrase really has nothing to do with anything but for some reason I like it.)

Now it's day 1 of a four-day weekend, and I've got nothing to complain about. Nothing. So? It's a good thing. See you later.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My friend's blog!

Through the magic of Facebook, I recently reconnected with my friend Deb, who was the other (the first!) piccolo player in my high school marching band. We were a good pair of piccolo players!

Great girl, and now she's all grown up and doing something totally awesome:

She's going to walk in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure, a 3 day walk consisting of 60 miles total, all to raise money to fight breast cancer.

It's pretty cool, you know?

Check her out (link to her blog "So this is life" on the right), and donate, if you are so inclined. I will.

Getting ready to take my mom to chemotherapy

It's raining. I'm about to get in the shower. Then I'll drive to Culver City (again) and pick up my mom, and we'll go to Kaiser. I'm having a weird morning. Patrick is fighting a sore throat by sleeping in. Franny keeps walking around in front of me and looking at me: I know she doesn't want me to pick her up: it's not her thing (I'm only allowed to cuddle her in the bathroom... long story). I think she wants some of the leftover milk in my cereal bowl.

I think it's pretty funny and lame that even though I've been missing flesh and blood interaction with my friends for a longwhile now, last night after flute choir, I drove through the parking lot of the bar in Culver City where I knew at least one of them was hanging out and kept going instead of stopping in and having a drink, which I really wanted. I did the same thing, last week.

I need to think about this some more.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Doctor My Eyes

What is up with this business with my eye? Stupid allergies. I've got the redness on my upper eyelid again. As if it wasn't fun enough the first time around.

Luckily, it took just seven telephone calls before I was able to book an appointment with the dermatologist for my other little problem. That will happen Monday, and I guess I can ask about this then, too. Hopefully the dermatologist will be more tactful than the allergist. I'm actually looking forward to a nice verbal smackdown.

My mom's getting her scan Monday.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sweet Talkin' Woman (Hint: I'm not talking about myself)

My mom, my mom, my mom.

Still gettng chemotherapy (two weeks on, one week off). She's been going regularly since Thanksgiving. Can you believe it? The first week is okay, I guess. Second week is pretty rough, but she's hanging in there. On Monday she had some blood drawn. Because I have (with her permission) access to her Kaiser online profile, and because Kaiser emails you with your test results, during the middle of the day yesterday I saw the test results.

They make it very easy to understand. There's an explanation of what each test is, why they've done it, and then next to your results, the range that you want your results to be in. Beyond that, of course, you should discuss things with your doctor. So I did a little looking around, and one of the tests worries me - it's related to liver function. There are actually two tests, and they're both, you know, outside the normal ranges. But see, I'm not a doctor. I barely passed high school biology (fucking frog), and please: let's not even talk about chemistry (I think I was sitting on the floor out in the hall with Rachel for much of the time). So I know that my review of these tests is half-assed and dumb, and I'm just getting worked up. Right? Right.

After I got home from work and talked with Patrick about it, he performed his magic trick and got me to stop worrying about it for awhile, and then I went to bed, and then I got up in the morning, and yeah, it was still on my mind. Around the middle of the day, my mom's doctor emailed us and her explanation of the situation was (as usual) more upbeat than mine. She wants the oncologist to review the tests, of course. Some of this is related to the crazy chemotherapy, she's sure. Mom's doctor is the type to put a positive spin on things, and I thought I was that type too, but with all my mother's been through... I'm kind of ready for her to get some down time. Time to get better and stop with the doctor's visits and sitting around and time to get better, did I mention that?

I wrote about this on Facebook a little today (my status, I mean), and in response to my friend Kate, who agreed that checking things out was a good idea, I wrote:
I would like to stop worrying that bad shit is around the corner, now, please. Thank you.
 Doesn't it seem to you like a good time for things to work out okay now?
 It does.

On my way home from work, "Sweet Talkin' Woman" by the band Electric Light Orchestra came on my iPod. I never really paid attention to the song before but you know what? That is one happy song. So I listened to it, oh, five times or so all the way home, and at least twice while me and Patrick went to Whole Foods. It really helped turn my mood around. And now I'm going to go to bed.

For your listening pleasure:

Good night.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I want, I need, I write about it instead

I need:
  • A bike ride
  • A haircut (last week's scheduled appointment had to be pushed back a week, so I'm getting it this Saturday instead, but by waiting another week, it means I might make poor decisions, like when we go grocery shopping when we're hungry and I get grumpy and impatient and eat a whole bag of chips before we even leave the parking lot)
  • A super-long trip to the bookstore
  • A flute lesson
  • To put away all the laundry I did two weekends ago
  • To do more laundry
  • A new HEPA vaccuum
  • To stop eating a bowl of popcorn every night for dinner
I want:
  • These boots
  • A pair of Bass penny loafers (thank you, J. Crew, for fueling this passion. And, were they always this expensive, because I swear I had a pair in the 80s and there's no way my mother bought them at this price?)
  • New sunglasses
  • A stylist, trainer, maid, and a personal chef
  • A 12-pack of Diet Coke for work
  • Another day to spend lying around reading science fiction
  • After 35 days of not eating meat, my brain is telling me it wants a cheeseburger, but I swear to god, brain, quit it. You do not need a cheeseburger. Think of the pretty cows.

Monday, February 1, 2010

High finance in action

Today I gathered up my giant Martinelli's Apple Juice bottle full of coins (and one $1 bill) and took it over to Ralph's supermarket, where they have a Coinstar machine. Technically I have two of these jars (we like apple juice!) but the other one is only half full, and not ready for depositing.

You insert your money in the machine, Coinstar counts your change and then presents you with a voucher (less 8 cents per dollar) that you can redeem at the cash register. I felt a little foolish doing this so I dressed way down for the event, even for me: I wore my ratty old Old Navy capri length sweats, flip flops, a denim jacket, and my t-shirt with a picture of Ham the Space Chimp wearing a space helmet and smoking a cigarette. I don't know why I felt foolish: maybe because it seems like a desperate act. Here's all my coins! I need the money!

But really, I was just starting to get curious. How much money could an apple juice jar hold, anyway?

It took awhile to find out. At first I kind of overloaded the machine's tray: I didn't realize that the slot for accepting coins was pretty small. That jar was heavy, though, and I was trying to unload it quickly. After a few moments I realized I couldn't dump it all in at once, and I spent about 10 minutes feeding the first group of change into the machine. The on-screen tally at this point was fairly low: I had about $1.98 fed through.

In time, though, I got the hang of it. The Coinstar machine is near the front of the store, next to the Western Union machine and the lottery machine. A bearded man walked up while I was working and he gave me a strange look. I had my sunglasses on (this was a totally anonymous transaction all around for me today), and I guess I gave him a strange look back. Here I was, cashing out on more money than he'd probably make playing the lottery and here he's judging Me?

At the end, I had $62.20, with $6 going back to Coinstar. I was pleased. Ralph's only had two lanes open when I was there, and one was the Express lane, which I initially headed toward. But I realized that the woman working that line was more interested in kissing the baby of the woman at the front of the line, and I didn't want to wait for her to get to me, so I went to the other. This turned out to be a mistake.

The woman in line in front of me had a small amount of items, but one of those items was a box of individual frozen burritos. Turns out there were 24 of them, all of which apparently had to be rung up one at a time. The blond woman working the register saw me with my Ham the Space Chimp t-shirt and sunglasses and Coinstar voucher, and called another clerk to ring at the register next door, but instead of calling me over, the dude called the guy behind me over (rude!). So I stood there and waited while the burrito lady paid for her groceries with singles. Really, and I looked suspicious? When it was my turn, she didn't smile, or say hello, though I did. She appeared to be subtly checking my arms for needle marks. She took my voucher, counted out my money, dropped a dollar, found it, gave it to me somewhat reluctantly (probably saying a little prayer for me) and sent me on my way, probably off to buy drugs (she thought). I thanked her and walked out of there with my money in my left hand and my receipt and now-empty apple juice jar in my right hand. Sure, the tips of my fingers were dirty (change is gross and filthy), but I hadn't rolled a bum or little old lady for the money: most of it came out of Patrick's pockets, when doing his laundry.

I earned that money.