Thursday, August 26, 2010

Yesterday (no, not the Paul McCartney tune)

Yesterday I heard my baby's heartbeat again. While it's true that even before going into the exam room I was already feeling a little emotional (actually, I was thinking about my mom, and wondering when we're going to hear from the doctor about her CT scan results; yes, I have called him and left messages but I guess he's busy. I will try again today), so when my doctor (OK, she's actually the mid-wife, and I love her) lubed up her little belly listener and almost instantly found the baby's heartbeat, I pretty much also instantly started to cry.

My mid-wife (her name is Lucy) told me that everything sounds great and the heartbeat is nice and strong, and that I look fine (I've been wondering), so I felt a hundred times better when I walked out than when I walked in.

As I wrote on Facebook yesterday, this whole thing is awesome and exciting and amazing and I can't believe I have a child inside of me. How do people do this? It's totally... insane. Patrick has a co-worker who (lovingly...?) referred to her baby (before it was born) as "The Parasite." I keep thinking of my baby as an alien baby. I hopefully will be able to refine this mental image tomorrow, when we have the ultrasound that tells us, among other things, if our baby will be a boy or a girl (or Europan). I have no preference but would like to remind you of the dream I had where I had a boy (and also that John Larroquette was parking cars). Really, I'm fine either way.

It know it's cliche to say so but it really is a miracle. My body is making a person. Tell me that's not straight out of science fiction. Anyway, after all the blubbering, I described the sound of the baby's heartbeat (also on FB) to Patrick as "a teeny tiny very hungry washing machine." As a drummer (and we recently re-watched the movie "Contact") he totally understood that comparison. My vocal demonstration brought it home. Jodie Foster would also understand the reference, being a mother herself. Ooh, I finally have something in common with Jodie Foster! Oh, and also Kate Gosselin. OK, well, whatever, forget that.

After the doctor's appointment, I ended up running a bunch of errands, which included a visit to the Apple store in the Cerritos Mall to see what they could tell me about a goofy problem I'm having with my iPhone: I no longer see the cute little red ball with a number in it when I get a voicemail message. This has apparently been going on for three weeks (the 21 messages in my inbox confirmed this). I could see that someone had called me, but without the other little red dot, I assumed they hadn't left a message. No, it really didn't alarm me that 21 people had called me and just hung up: I really don't like leaving messages, either. And often I will just call someone later if I see that they called. It wasn't really a problem except for one call from Carolyn Nussbaum in reference to my headjoint that I had considered having her sell for me at the flute convention (which was two weeks ago). Oops, she probably thinks I'm a flake, which is a shame, because she is a nice person who remembers me (which I think is amazing) and an excellent businesswoman and you should check out her online shop.

Anyway, the other night at home I looked up a few things to see if I could fix it myself, got some advice from a couple of tech savvy friends and my brother who had the same problem, did a restore, and called myself from the house phone about 5 times in a row. I left the same message each time: "Message message message message." My phone registered the call, accepted the message, but continues to refuse to tell me about it. I may have to start calling it "HAL."

So anyway, I went to Cerritos to the Apple Store where an... interestingly bearded young man told me that I needed to see an Apple Genius, and that his store's soonest appointment wasn't until Monday. Then he helpfully suggested that I go to either the Brea or South Coast Plaza stores, which both had appointments available today. Brea had an earlier appointment time available (and I hate the 405 north in the late afternoon from South Coast... it's worse between there and home than it is between home and west LA), so I grabbed it. Also, I was not appropriately attired for the South Coast Plaza (my fur is at the cleaners; the only labels I was wearing were Gap and Haviana).

I've never been to the Brea Mall, but it was just a short 18 miles away (on three freeways). The Apple guy booked my appointment using his iPad and made sure I found the directions on my (incredibly slow) iPhone map application before I left, and after a quick look at the shoes in the Nine West window, I was on my way.

I was a bit early, and luckily there was a Borders on the way, so I stopped in for a copy of Arthur C. Clarke's 2010 (I just re-read 2001 a couple of weeks ago; I read both books probably 20 years ago. Maybe more). While I was pulling into the parking lot, I happened to have KUSC (91.5 FM) on the radio.

Now, it's rare that I choose to listen to classical music. My familiarity with classical music is pretty limited to what I've played (and often I don't remember these by title) and a few pieces that have caught my attention over the years. Yes, this is a shame, as I am a musician. Fine. Bad me. If I were in a rock band, maybe, maybe I'd have an excuse. The truth is that I like what I like and I'm usually in the mood for other things. Once in awhile (usually when shuttling my mom home from chemotherapy, though those listening moments are marred by the fact that we're usually talking or thinking quietly to ourselves... or my mom is criticizing my driving) I do listen. And once in awhile I am struck dumb by the beauty of the music.

While sitting in the parking lot, I heard a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Capriccio Espagnol," and it was gorgeous. I found out later that this piece is famous and something I should know already but whatever, I didn't. I fell in love. I'm sure in flute choir we've played arrangements of other examples of Rimsky-Korsakov's music and if I consulted our member Michael, who keeps detailed reports on what we played, when, I could find out (and I'm telling you, there's a story that I'm sure you would truly enjoy), but that's not the point. This piece (I'm not sure who performed it... ah, a look at KUSC's playlist says it was the Rotterdam Orchestra. Whoever the flutists were - they were excellent. Those flutes were as sharp as knives, and I'm not talking about being in tune) just knocked me out. So sitting in the super hot Borders Brea parking lot, I learned something and heard a beautiful piece of music, and later, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

When I got to the Brea Mall and to the Apple store, I was about 20 minutes early, so I updated my Twitter and Facebook statuses (shut up, I don't care what the plural of "status" is) with snarky comments about the fact that these people are called "Genius." Here's a sample:

"The area of the Apple store where they ask you to wait for your Genius is full of the least interesting products these people sell. Somebody buy me an iPad."

"I wonder if my Genius will be as smart as Stephen Hawking? Come on, let's do some time traveling today!"

"My Apple Genius is late. He or she better bring the time machine. Also, why does it smell like French fries in here?"

My Genius (who was only a few minutes late) turned out to be another young guy with curious facial hair (and gorgeous blue or blue-green eyes). He was actually unfamiliar with the issue I was having (which surprised me), and we joked about the "Genius" appellation (which he said "sets us up to fail"). I thought his attitude about being a Genius was pretty cool (self-deprecation is always attractive to me), and I made him laugh with a time machine comment (yeah, I know Apple has a thing called "Time Machine" but I was talking about actual time travel, and he seemed to get it). He went away and ran some sort of diagnostic test on my phone, came back and quizzed me about what I had done to remedy the problem, and then, in the midst of suggesting I do another restore (!), he apparently changed his mind and announced that because my phone is still under warranty (but just barely), he would get me a replacement phone.

Unfortunately that store didn't have my phone in stock (and I didn't think to enquire about the chances of upgrading to the new one), so I'll have to trek all the way back out to Brea in a few days to pick it up, but still, all in all, I was pretty well satisfied.

I subsequently posted: "My Genius is getting me a new phone. Better than time travel."

And this time, it was.

When I got home I purchased on iTunes a recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" and "Capriccio Espagnol" (performed, I think by the London Philharmonic), dragged one of the butterfly chairs out into the front yard under the tree, and curled up with 2010, a totally silly book that in my opinion, doesn't live up to, at all, 2001. I put the Rimsky-Korsakov on the stereo, turned it up nice and loud (the mailman loved it), and hung out, read, watched the cars go by, and tried to stay cool. For once I think I succeeded.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A little shocked at how ugly people are

I just went to pick up a sandwich at my local Subway, and witnessed two people, one after the other, berate a Hispanic woman behind the counter who's name tag clearly said "TRAINEE" because she didn't speak very good English.

The first person, a white lady, left because the woman misunderstood her instructions (two sandwiches at a time can be tricky for anybody), which was to put spinach on one sandwich, and olives on the other. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong but I think there was one too many conflicting instruction. She made comments to the effect of "why can't you understand me?" Maybe because you were telling her two things at once? That woman left in a huff. "I'm just going to go," is what she said. Wow, lady, if getting a sandwich is so traumatic, perhaps you should just stay home. The man who followed her made a comment to me about the woman being rude, but then when the same woman was making his sandwich, and he kept asking for "more meat" (probably figuring the woman wouldn't know enough to charge him extra for double meat), and she looked confused, he also questioned her ability to understand him. "Don't you speak English?" and "I can understand why that other woman left."

It's the "Don't you speak English" comment that pissed me off. Maybe she was just perplexed by your hectoring behavior, you asshole. 

Meanwhile, another trainee made my sandwich perfectly, and was ringing me up while the man was getting upset. Another worker (someone from the back, who spoke English and Spanish; I think she was out there mopping the floor) told the man that the woman making his sandwich understood him but that she was new, and then he freaked out and started asking for the manager. Another worker who was more experienced was polite with him and handled it from this point on in an acceptable manner, but I just wanted to get out of there. The whole thing was extremely ugly.

I smiled and thanked the other trainee but I didn't say anything about what these people said. I was polite, but I wish I'd told that man to calm the fuck down. It's just a sandwich.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hero worship!

Tonight I started telling someone what Patrick looked like when we met. I was telling her about his band, Suffering Luna, and how I love that he's playing the drums again so much, and that I'm wondering when he's going to get his superhero drummer's calves back.

When we met, Patrick was probably wearing a black Saint Vitus t-shirt. He had long hair, a funny little goatee, 1980s style men's glasses. He was probably wearing black sweat pants that were by no means baggy (but not too tight either; we still own these sweat pants). He had on slip on Japanese shoes (which I lovingly refer to as his "old man wino shoes"). He had killer calves. Lance Armstrong calves. Double bass drummer calves.

This is sort of what he looked like (that's him on the left, silly!) but his hair was longer.

On the other hand, when we met, I was a skinny kid with unruly hair, giant glasses, baggy clothes, and a boyfriend. I had had a couple of other boyfriends but I was not, hmmm, shall we say, knowledgeable about my body, or clothes, or style. I had no idea. Maybe I still don't. My only goal with my body was to cover it up with the biggest clothes I could find. So I did.

Anyway, the boyfriend situation sorted itself out and a few years and some other stuff had to pass until I was ready for Patrick, but eventually I got it right.

Wasn't he cute? Still is.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More dreams

Last night I dreamed about John Larroquette.

He was the parking lot attendant of the hospital, where I had gone to pick up my baby ("Here's your baby, Mrs. Palma!" "Thanks! Bye!"). Apparently my brain isn't ready to contemplate actual childbirth and instead has turned it into a transaction not unlike picking up a reserved book at the library. What's that you say? They don't just hand you a baby? Hmmm. Just so you know, the baby in my dream was a boy. And extremely well behaved. Larroquette was dressed all in black, and he helped me put the baby in the car seat. The parking lot was a maze - I recently went to the Grove shopping center, and it was a bit like that, only much worse.

The rest of the dream I've pretty much forgotten, though I do remember at one point yelling at Patrick to pick up his clothes and put them in the hamper.

Please note that while Patrick does, from time to time, neglect to put his clothes in the hamper, I rarely, if ever, yell at him about it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A dream, textiles, and Anne Rice?

Last night's dream was pretty tame, compared to the Craig Ferguson/Paula Poundstone lovefest I had going on the night before.

The only notable thing is that my dream last night was filled with beautiful textiles - designs by Marimekko (I got a Crate & Barrel catalog yesterday and fell in love with this) and bedding made of Liberty of London and Pucci patterns and wild paisley and plaids. At one point my brother Dan was standing over a giant pile of beautiful shirts (he always has gorgeous shirts, which I lust after), and offered me a bright pink button down shirt with thin white stripes, which I of course greedily snapped up in a heartbeat. Oh, and there was a point in the dream where I was helping my sister sort out flatware - beautiful gold forks and spoons and knives. The rest of the dream wasn't worth recounting for you.

Last night on my way home from work, I caught the tail end of an NPR interview with Anne Rice about her exit from Christianity, which she apparently announced via Facebook. As a teenager working at the library, I remember the exact moment when I pulled "Interview with the Vampire" off the shelf, not knowing anything about it, and devoured it and all the other books she wrote. Over the years I stopped loving her quite as much - the books became tedious and boring to me, and I gradually quite reading them, but still, the thrill of reading "Interview" for the first time as a 14 year old was pretty cool, and I thank her for giving me that.

I have to admit too, that when the stupid "Twilight" books and movies came out, I wondered if the kids reading (and watching) those lame vampires were aware that another vampire named Lestat once held everyone's interest and was way cooler than anything Stephanie Meyer could come up with (and let's face it, without even trying, Lestat could kick Edward's butt. Louis could kick Edward's butt). I mean, Lestat was in a rock band. (I'm being sarcastic here. I can't remember the name of Lestat's band... "Satan's Night Out"?... and have no desire to look it up, but wow, the parts in the books that dealt with music always made me laugh.)

When she became a Christian, I remember my mom pointed it out to me but by that point I was totally uninterested in her and definitely had no desire to read her books about Jesus.

That's just me.

Anyway, I was a little curious about her decision to leave Christianity (but she's keeping Jesus!), and her decision to make that decision public, so today I did a little reading (there's really not much). As usual, the comments are a lot more fun than the actual articles. A lot of people seem to be judging her (and mocking her for using Facebook) for this or for seeming like she's just looking for publicity (one comment on an article was, "Will this sell more books?"), but I don't know, I kind of like her a little more now for it. Sure, she's kind of a freak, but at least she's occasionally interesting. I like people who admit they don't know everything, especially about religion. To me that's just more engaging. It's something I've been working on for years. I'm not going to follow Anne or anybody - I'll work it out myself - but it's still interesting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My dream about comedians, my mom, and how beauty is on the inside

I wasn't going to blog about this because lately I've been writing a lot about my stupid dreams and I suspect that's pretty dull for everyone to read about. But seriously, this one (come on, just read it) was rad. Maybe it's just hormones, I don't know. They've been fun dreams for me, anyway.

So in last night's dream, I'm not me. Instead, I am... Paula Poundstone. It's sometime in the 80s. I know I'm her because I'm dressed like her, I look like her, I'm funny like her... I'm definitely not me. Paula is hanging out with Craig Ferguson, who, I'm just guessing, was probably totally adorable in the 80s. Paula's not looking too bad herself. She's kind of dressed like a preppy - I've seen some of her old comedy specials. I like her look; I like a woman who wears a tie. She has a friend, a blond woman who thinks Craig is interested in her. I don't even know if Paula Poundstone and Craig Ferguson knew each other in the 80s. I guess I think they'd make a cute couple. For some reason the blond woman starts dressing like Paula (in the dream, they, or should I say "we," both are wearing khaki pants, a baby-blue button down shirt, and a cream colored sweater vest. Possibly Bass penny loafers are involved, but I never saw the feet. Nerd alert!), maybe because she (the blond woman) knows that Craig's really more interested in Paula and by dressing like her she hopes to... wow him with her blondness? I don't know, I'm not sure I can analyze the psychological processes of some dream woman I don't know and have never seen before. My brain may have created her, but her inner life, if there is one, is her own.

Paula and her friend are hanging out at Craig Ferguson's apartment, which is kind of small, but neat and happy-looking. He has a lot of travel posters on the walls, which are painted blue. There are lots of plants and white furniture. It's kind of girly. He also has a roommate, a brown-haired dude who seems kind of like one of those guys you see down at Venice Beach, showing off their muscles in those little shorts. Surprisingly, luckily, whatever, the blond and the dude end up liking each other, leaving Paula and Craig alone.

This is where it gets all goofy.

Craig and Paula are flirting, and though I know that Paula Poundstone has talked about not being a sexual person, who knows what her past is like? Anyway, they're having fun, and I'll let your imagination fill in the blanks. This part of the dream doesn't last very long, okay, so no, I'm not having sex dreams about Paula Poundstone. But then, Craig says to Paula, hang on a minute. If you and I are going to have a relationship, you need to know something.

She's all, "Okay... what?" (Really, I made her a genius and a goddess in my dream!)

And he says, "This is not my real apartment."

He walks over to a closet door, and opens it. Instead of a closet, the door opens into a whole other apartment, exactly like this one, but furnished in darker, richer colors. It's quiet, and shaded from the sunlight. I really liked that second apartment, and it felt masculine and comfortable and totally different from the first apartment, which was full of sun and light.

Then I woke up.

Later, when I went back to sleep, I dreamed about my mom and dad. My mom looked like she did in all those photos my dad took of her in the late 60s - she had short, high, black hair, and tight skin with a perfect creamy complexion and dramatic black eyebrows. She was wearing a dress in a bold pattern but with a simple cut. My mom has always been a little heavy - you can see my dad thought she was a queen, because she always looked so beautiful in the pictures he took. He posed her on one of those covered patio swings or sitting on the bed, and the black and white photos reduced everything to her dark hair and light skin. But in the dream, I was me, my age now, looking like me, now, not how a me would've dressed in the 60s, and she's talking to me about my dad, a little sad, but I don't remember what she said.


On Friday, we were coming home from her chemotherapy appointment, and she was talking about missing her hair. Her hair has always been short, but she's tired of being bald. I told her, "It's how you are on the inside, Mom," something she probably said to me when I was a kid and hated my clothes or my looks or my own bad hair or whatever. We were making the turn from Jefferson onto Sepulveda right before we turn again onto Sawtelle (an interesting intersection; I remember absentmindedly running a red light once while driving Drew's car and he, understandably, FREAKED OUT. Needless to say I pay more attention these days), and we were both crying. By the time we got home, just a few blocks from there, we were both fine, and had moved on to other topics. Because of her chemotherapy, and because I'm just a ball of emotions these days anyway, we both cry pretty easily these days.

What all this has to do with anything, well, who knows. Like I said, it's probably pregnancy hormones.