Monday, December 31, 2012

Thinking about weaning

This past month, breastfeeding has been hard. JP had his 23 month checkup, and he did great: his weight is good, and he seems to be hitting all the right marks and milestones. My sweet baby is now a funny little guy, sometimes a goofball (he gets that from me), sometimes a rascal, and a great hugger. He loves music, his trucks, and is learning that smacking the kitty is a terrible idea. I know how blessed I am, and you know I rarely, if ever, use the word "blessed."

So I'm still breastfeeding. And he's waking up at night still, sometimes (usually) 3 times, and asking for "milk!"

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, when I'm home with him, we are on a pretty good schedule (he's had a cold since Christmas, and hasn't been eating as much solids as I'd like, so he's been nursing a little more than usual when I am home), and it's doable, during the day. If he would just sleep for, I don't know, six hours without needing me, I might feel better about things, but he doesn't. And so I am never caught up on sleep. I am never not exhausted. I never feel that feeling of being rested, and it's really starting to wear on me. I'm dragging, man. I'm fucking tired.

On Saturday, I emailed a friend of mine, and this was the whole of my message:

"I am literally a cow. Milk!"

"Literally" used mostly correctly (I believe that since my milk isn't really a dairy product, I'm technically not a cow... oh, forget it).

I've been talking about it with my friends who breastfeed or who know more about this than I do. Truth is, this feeling has been there for a couple of months now. I had a big emotional discussion with my La Leche League person a couple of weeks ago, and she was great, but the thing is, LLL wants you to nurse until baby decides to give it up on their own. I have a feeling that's not something I can wait for.

I feel terrible. The LLL lady, when she heard my schedule (I work four days a week, 10 hour days, so I'm away from home 12 hours a day), was all, "Wow, mama, that's amazing!" And she listened to me (cry) and tell my story, and then she was all, "Do you think you can continue? Because your baby is still getting a lot of good stuff from it." I think she mentioned antibodies and stuff like that. I know this part intuitively.

And I said (sniffled), "Okay..." because my baby is still getting a lot of good stuff from it. If he needs it, what kind of mother would I be to stop now?

And that's where I keep getting fucked up.

I'm all wrapped up in this, like my "good mother" status is based only on my ability to breastfeed him. I actually said to my sister, "But will he still love me if I start refusing him?" There have been a few times at night when I'm just too damn tired to nurse him again, and I've had Patrick try to take him into the other room, where he cries - and I feel about "this" big. I don't know if I can do that, every night. And what's he going to learn from that? My job as mama is to comfort him and hold him and if he needs his "milk" shouldn't I just give it to him? to make him cry on purpose... I don't know, man. That's not a happy prospect. Isn't it selfish to say, "but I'd just feel so much better if he didn't wake up."

But. I would.

I. Need. Some. Sleep.

It's affecting everything. Patrick and I haven't talked about it very much yet: he knows I'm thinking about it, but I don't think he gets the emotional burden I'm feeling. I know he thinks I'm too emotional (we got into a fight on Sunday morning. I was playing the new David Byrne/St. Vincent CD, and he was all, "I wish David Byrne didn't always sound like David Byrne." He had other comments about it, and I took it personally, as if DB is a friend or relative of mine. And I accused him of "acting like you know everything about music" and never liking the stuff I play for him and expecting me to be fascinated by the weird shit he plays for me. It wasn't really fair of me - maybe my points felt valid to me, but I know I didn't make them in the nicest way. I thought I had learned, after almost 15 years of marriage, how to have this type of conversation in a way that works for both of us, or at least how to shrug it off, but I guess not. Yes, I freaked out over something stupid, but you don't always get credit at the time for "being tired"), and then sometimes... even though he's a great husband and father, I don't always get exactly the response I want/need from him right away. I don't know how to explain this without sounding overly critical. (I was reading somebody else's blog about their husband, and that guy sounds like a drooling idiot. I happen to know the guy, and he isn't. So I try to be fair, here.) Like, if I knew how to tell him what I needed in a way he could understand, this wouldn't be an issue, and he does a GREAT job... but this is my thing, and how can he truly understand? It's part of me, breastfeeding. It's the special thing that only I can do. It's what makes me special to Jules. It's like my body, my blood: I share that with nobody but Jules, and I want to just stop? How can he understand the conflicting things I am feeling?

I don't know, man. Maybe he could.

At the 23 month checkup, the pediatrician, who I really like, was all, "you can stop now! He doesn't really need it!" But I have been taught by LLL not to trust pediatricians! So, while she was pretty much telling me what I think I wanted to hear, I'm not sure it's the truth.

And then, I can't make decisions on my own anymore: I totally waffle. I've put a ton of stuff in my Zappos shopping bag today, and I killed the whole fun experience of shopping the sale because I couldn't decide if splurging on an awesome pair of Frye boots was the right thing to do, or which Frye boots I even wanted. I know, this is totally superficial, but it feels weird, too.

At work I've even gotten a bit unorganized, and scattered, and I have some big projects that will be due soon. I also have an exam for a promotion in a couple weeks. I have to get my head straight.

I mean, I know how some of this sounds. Shopping? There really is more stuff I could tell you. But what you need to know is that, I don't feel like me. My normally decisive, opinionated self is needing more reassurance, more hugs, more everything. I'm not really even talking about it very well: it's just a big ball of worms in my stomach. Lack of real sleep is no joke. I don't know how to think about weaning in an unemotional way: I cry every time I start to talk about it. That can't be good, you know? Mentally?

So I'm going to start looking for some books. I missed the December LLL meeting, but I'll try to go in January. Though, I went in November and didn't really feel like I got to talk about my issues. I get shy sometimes in that room. I guess I have to get over that.

Meanwhile, I'm going to try to get some naps when I can.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


On Friday, December 14, 2012, I heard about the horrible shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut because I got a text alert on my iPhone from the NY Times. I didn't stop and read anything because I was busy with Jules at that point.

Later, he went down for a nap, and then I turned on the TV.

I knew I wanted to stay away from the local news shows, so I looked to cable. I didn't want to watch CNN, so I settled on MSNB. I watched a little, to get a feeling for what had happened. It was Martin Bashir's show, and I watched until I saw that he was showing clips of someone interviewing one of little kids who had survived. My stomach turned, and then I turned it off and went to take a shower.

I don't like Martin Bashir that much, but I didn't think I could take Anderson Cooper's sometimes sort of blank personality, or Wolf Blitzer, either.

In the shower, I thought KPCC might have more respectful and better coverage, and I remembered that it was time for Larry Mantle's show, so my hopes were high. I heard them (I think before Larry came on I heard NPR's news) giving details about what happened, many of which, I found out later, were wrong. I guess you can't blame them: that stuff came from somewhere, and people want to know, and there's not a lot of time to verify things. Then, unfortunately, Larry chose to interview one of the teachers, who seemed obviously still incredibly shaken.

At that point I turned off the radio and cried in the shower.

Larry is always very tactful and sounds like a caring man, and I have a lot of respect for how I've heard him handle issues on the radio in the past, but I was sad to hear him talking to this woman, who should never have agreed to be interviewed.

I don't believe in my "right to know" everything as it happens. I know we have freedom of the press, and all that, but it's sad, all the incorrect information that floated about right after this happened. The damage that can be done just by misidentifying the shooter, or his connection to the victims, or his mental state, or his psychological profile. I don't want to hear anybody's hypothesis on how this happened. It's not the time to play, to guess, to make shit up. This was not a hurricane or an earthquake. This was, it is, 20 little girls and boys, dead.

As days have passed, it's gotten even harder for me. I don't know what that says about me. I'm avoiding my usual habit of reading the paper because I saw that the NY Times was posting photographs of the victims - the beautiful little kids - on the front page. I opened up the LA Times this morning (looking for some local news) and the words that jumped out at me were "tiny coffins." I gave up on the local news.

It seems like every other story on KPCC in the past few days has been about this, and I just can't handle it. They keep talking now about the funerals, and giving details about the individual children. I know that each and every one of those kids, those babies, were precious: I don't want to know their names. Not yet.

It's heartbreaking and unimaginable, what happened. I can't believe it, I don't understand it. Who could? It's made me think about the world in the past almost 2 years since I had my own boy. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Sandusky business, this. I've been thinking about him in school, with those people we trust to keep him safe. I've been thinking about how we put him in his car seat and drive around, trusting that a drunk driver won't rear end me on the freeway. I mean, this might sound stupid, but we live near the Long Beach airport. Small planes fly over my house all the time, sometimes even jets. It's happened, that planes crash on neighborhoods. It happened near by, in Cerritos.

There are things that you can control, and things you can't, and I'm just having a hard time understanding how to protect him, how to handle this in a way that makes sense. I'm trying to think, and not to think. My mother would say, it's time to pray. Maybe it is.

And I've been thinking about the parents and the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The staff, the little kids who had to walk out of school, and were told to close their eyes, so they wouldn't see the carnage. The parents who had to sit around and wait to find out if their child was OK. The way I heard the police chief describe the "catastrophic" wounds of the children. The way the police chief said, "If you haven't been reunited with your child yet, you won't be." That's what makes me cry. This much I heard on Friday, when I was listening to KPCC.

On Sunday, my mom was watching the church vigil, and waiting to hear our President speak. I, luckily, had planned a trip to Target, and so missed it all. When I got back it was dinner time.

I know that I have to face it eventually. I mean, I'm lucky. Imagine those poor parents, the families with huge holes in them, they have to deal with it now. There's no hiding from it for them. I've been distracting myself with music, with silly Stewart Copeland-related fantasy. After the tsunami in Japan, after a few weeks had gone by, I went back and read about it, sucked up a lot of detail. I watched videos and looked at maps. It took me a while to process everything, but eventually, I did tried to understand it a little better. But that's a weather event. It's not the same.

And now, what can we do? I have no idea. The world is a random place, where just about anything can happen. For someone to be so disturbed, so incomprehensibly violent and cruel: I don't understand how this happens. I'm not ready to find out about him, the shooter. I'm glad he's dead. I guess people will try to figure him out, and I guess that's a good thing, but I don't want to know, just yet.

I'm also thinking about gun laws, and what kind of place this country is, politically. Congress allowed the ban on assault weapons to lapse, and I have to read more about that, because my first thought was, what the fuck? How does stuff like that happen? These people are supposed to protect us, to understand these issues better than I do: but who, what kind of person thinks that we have the right to assault weapons? Me? A normal person? Someone mentally unbalanced? A thug? It's just craziness.

And then I got an email from my friend Hollie Butler. Instead of feeling frozen, or hopeless, Hollie is making an effort to reach out to the kids of Sandy Hook. Hollie has set up a fund to buy each child at Sandy Hook Elementary School a teddy bear.

Look, I'll admit it: my first thought was, "what good will teddy bears from strangers do those children?" And I do keep thinking about that. But it's like saying, what good will more gun laws do?

Who knows? But it's something. We can do something.

You can help buy a bear for every child at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OMG I could just dye!

I've been wanting to touch up my roots for weeks now. I've been saying almost every night to Patrick, "If Jules goes right to sleep tonight, I want to do my hair," but either he didn't go right to sleep, or I was tired, or I wanted to veg out on the couch. I bought the little root touch up kit a long time ago but it's just been sitting there. Meanwhile, my roots got longer.

Last night I finally had a chance, so after getting the boy snug in his bed, I went in the bathroom to do my hair.

You should know: I suck at this kind of thing. Not just my hair, but makeup, manicures, pedicures, whatever. I want to look nice, sure, but I lack the sort of girly patience or coordination necessary to do these things. I don't spend a lot of time on myself on a day-to-day basis, but you know? A little upkeep now and then keeps me from sliding into that whole baggy cargo pants + sweatshirt category.

And then, in regards to my hair, I'm a little ambivalent about it. On the one hand... what's wrong with a little gray? I'm only 40 and I don't really care who knows my age, and my mom never dyed her hair and she had beautiful salt and pepper hair... and on the other hand: I'm vain.

I'd been getting my color done at the salon where I get my hair cut, and I was fine with that arrangement, but one day the cost of it started making me feel a little guilty. And some friends, who do their own roots, convinced me that it was easy and doable, even for me.

Now, I've had experiences with home dye jobs before - I've tried this in the past, with mostly disastrous results. Tragedy has struck (my hair was an unfortunate shade of auburn once, and that's not a color that flatters me) before. But the root kits are pretty simple, and the time involved is minimal, and you would think that opportunities for screwing up would be few.

You'd think.

It turned out that I bought a different brand of color. No biggie, I wasn't concerned with matching: dark brown is dark brown is dark brown (thank you, Gertrude Stein). What was different was the process of mixing the color. My usual kit comes with this great little tube of white stuff. You open up one end and add the other little tube of brown stuff. You put the cap back on and shake it up in the tube. Then, you take the cap off and replace it with the stiff little brush you use to apply the color to your hair.

It's a genius-y little arrangement, and it works great.

The kit I bought this time around had none of that. Instead, they provided a cheap, tiny little plastic tub in which you are supposed to mix the two things together (what are these mystery substances? I have no idea. Obviously, when mixed together they create the color. Maybe if they packaged them together it would invoke some dangerous reaction?). The instructions clearly say to put the little tub on a stable, sturdy surface. My bathroom counter top is small. My bathroom is straight out of 1940, and I seriously think everything in there is original. The bright green X-Files paint I chose 12 years ago when we moved in doesn't help anything. It's not a great room. Still: the 4 inch rim to my bathroom sink is pretty sturdy. It's definitely stable. However, my husband's electric shaver, which was perched on the edge of the shelf above the sink, apparently is not.

Minutes after putting the little tub down (fully mixed) on the edge of the sink, the shaver, plugged in and everything, took a dive and knocked my color onto the ground. About a quarter of it landed in the sink. Another quarter of it landed on the floor. I didn't wake up the baby, but my "Oh shit!" was loud enough that Patrick heard me from out in the living room.

Instead of giving up, I decided to soldier on. I cleaned up and used the remaining color. My hair is still kind of short, my grays are not pervasive, I thought it would be enough.

It wasn't enough.

I had enough for the crown of my head, but not for the hairline around my ears.

Oh, well. The package says the color only lasts for 3 weeks anyway. Aside from the little spot on the wall that I missed in my cleaning, nothing bad really happened. I did decide one thing, though: I'm not doing it myself anymore. It's just too much of a hassle. I'm good at lots of other things: this just isn't one of them. Maybe I won't be able to get it done quite as often anymore, but I need to just put my trust in the professionals and pay somebody to do it for me.

Lesson learned. I already have an appointment at the salon where they cut my hair for next month.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving, the theatre, breastfeeding

Thanksgiving was last week, and I have a few things to say about it, primarily, that my brother Dan cooked an amazingly delicious turkey. There was butter, and herbs (herb butter?), and that thing was pretty darn perfect.

I made the mashed potatoes, and with Dan's permission, used half & half, which I had just recently heard about on some cooking show (Ina Garten, I'm looking at you). I was a little disappointed. As much as I love me some mashies, these were not up to the quality I am used to, either made by me, or by my dad (who makes the best potato items, ever, including hash browns). They weren't horrible, but they weren't as good as they could've been. I think the half & half was a mistake. Sure, maybe I added too much, or too little, but whatever. Oh, and I also melted the butter ahead of time, which is also a different technique (which I'm also sure I heard of from some Food Network star). I should've stuck to doing it the way I've always done it.

I also made the cranberries, the night before. This is a classic Ina Garten recipe that I've been making for years, and they're always a hit. I was out with my sister-in-law the night before, and she said she too was making cranberries this year, using a Paula Deen receipe. I asked her what was in it, and she named all the same ingredients as Ina's recipe. I was all, "That's not Paula Deen's recipe!" and then she said, "... and Grand Marnier." Well, alrighty, then. My cranberries don't contain bourbon! (Is that what Grand Marnier is? I'm not even sure.) I'm sure both were good, just different.

Oh, and Dan led me through making the sweet potatoes, which I'd never made before. He roasted them, and I removed their skins (hot hot hot), and added buttermilk, butter, and milk, and then I mashed them for a while, and then we got out the hand-mixer I used in high school to make chocolate chip cookies. Even with the mixer, it was tough to get out all the lumps (next time we'll either get out the big mixer or maybe try using a food processor). After doing the best I could, I put them in a casserole with an arrangement of big marshmallows across the top, and Dan stuck 'em under the broiler. I have to admit, after the turkey, the sweet potatoes were my favorite item this year. They were perfect (though there were a couple of lumps!). Even when I was taking the skins off, before we added the fat, they were delicious. Sweet potatoes might be the perfect food.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was fun. Jules had fun, too - he was great all day.

After that, our weekend was really mellow. I didn't have to go to the theater on Friday, and it was nice to stay home with the boys. I don't remember what we did but I'm sure it was sweet. I also don't remember what we did on Saturday, but I'm sure it was also sweet. Sunday I went to the theater to be in the booth for the final performance of Orestes 3.0 by Charles Mee. We had a great audience, and the performances were really good. I really liked this show, even though the subject matter (matricide! incest! war!) is pretty grim. There were always things to look at and think about. On the other hand, this concludes my committment to be at the theatre on Sundays. They're running "The Bald Soprano" through the end of December, and I'll be in the booth for that on Fridays only, but it's a huge relief to be done with Sundays.

You can check out The Bald Soprano here.

I love being at the theatre, and being involved in the beautiful work they do, and doing my job there, but I'm finally starting to realize that making a commitment like this was possibly a bad idea, or made too soon. I miss being at home with Jules. And, I can't do everything: being there means I didn't play my flute with my friends in flute choir this quarter. Honestly, I've decided that I should be putting my time, what little free time I have, into my flute playing. That's the thing that I love, the thing that I'm really good at, the thing that kind of helps makes me who I am. Being in the booth has been challenging and mostly fun, but in the end, I do it for somebody else. I'm glad I've done it, proud of myself for sticking it out, but time is short, you know? Time to get back to where I was on my flute, and work some more.

So at some point on this blog, I'm sure I mentioned that the boy was sick on Halloween? He had a stomach bug - throwing up and diarrhea, the whole 9 yards. It was not fun. All in all, I  think it lasted about 4 days, but, his appetite is still not quite what it should be. As such, he's been nursing up a storm. There are good and bad things associated with this. The good? I haven't gained any (more) weight, and I've pretty much been eating anything that's not nailed down. The bad - He's been nursing up a storm. Dude: I'm tired. Before he got sick, we'd had about a whole week of him only waking up once at night. Wasn't that awesome! And short-lived. Now he's back to three times a night. The last two weeks were short weeks for me at work, so I think my being home those extra days were great for him, but tiring for me. I had a rough time with this last week. Whoever says that breastfeeding is natural and easy - well, good for you. It's natural, and sure, it's easy, but it's also a huge drain sometimes. That bond that I have with him is precious and beautiful, and also a little overwhelming at times. Okay, those times would between 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. I was just worn out. However, I talked to my La Leche League lady last week, and she straightened me out. It wasn't like I was wanting to wean: I just wanted a shoulder to (literally) cry on. I'm going to try to make it to a meeting this week, too. He's almost 22 months old, I think he's hitting a lot of milestones.

Boy, what else? This morning was a huge challenge at work but I'm not going to write about it other to say, I should never let incompetence surprise me. It's sad but true.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello hello heaven

Last night on the drive home from the theater, Bo asked me what my favorite Yes song is.

Other than being a question that probably hasn't been asked in at least 20 years, I actually enjoyed discussing this with him. He used to work in a music store, and he has a wealth of knowledge about music. Not all of it is good music, but taste aside, he's fun to talk to about this kind of thing. As it turns out, his favorite Yes song is "Your Move," which most of us know as the opening of "I've Seen All Good People." I didn't know that "Your Move" was a single, but apparently it was. This is the kind of trivia that Bo knows. The thing that's kind of crazy is that these songs all came out in 1970. (One of us is old. Hint: it ain't me.)

We talked about and sang that song together for most of our drive home, and I never answered the question. Carpooling is so much fun, sometimes.

This morning, on my way to work, my iPod decided to play... "Leave It," by Yes. I'm not even sure when or why I downloaded that song (I think it might be the only Yes song I even have on my iPod), but I recently restored and updated my iPod so it's been playing songs I haven't heard in ages (and not playing my mom's Christian music!), which is cool. So I guess that's my favorite Yes song, because otherwise why would I have bothered to download it?

Later this morning I heard Jackson Browne's "Sky Blue and Black," another song I would never know about if weren't for Bo, and as always, I cried. What is it with that song that makes me cry? Am I just a total cornball? (Yes.)

Isn't it funny how music gets in your brain sometimes? I don't really think Jackson Browne is the greatest guy in the world; I'm not sure I'd like to know him personally (as opposed to say, Stewart Copeland), but he sure writes some beautiful lyrics sometimes.

Go listen to some music. It doesn't have to be Yes, or Jackson Browne... in fact, if I had my iPod out right now I might be listening to the Cars, or Radiohead, or my new David Byrne album. Enjoy whatever it is you enjoy. Turn it up, you know, loud.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I miss Alan Keyes

I very rarely talk about politics here, because I know I don't have enough background to truly offer anything uniquely informative, other than my opinion (and opinions, as we all know, are like... fill in the blank). Even I don't trust my own opinion all the time, why should you?

But I read the following in the NY Times today, and I have a reaction:
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Dear Mr. Romney,

I am Hispanic. I didn't vote for President Obama because of the Dream Act or because of free healthcare. I voted for Obama because he's NOT YOU. I'm insulted by your comment above, as I have been by most of your comments in the past. You, your ideals, your ideas, your method of communication, your choice of words: none of these things have anything to do with me, as a citizen of the United States, as a person, as a voter.


Irene Palma

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our local Bristol Farms was turned into a Lazy Acres recently, and today we went over there to check it out. Mostly we were interested in the Groundworks coffee, but I also wanted to try the McConnell's ice cream. We've been shopping pretty regularly at Fresh and Easy for years now, which works great because I hate grocery shopping and F&E is small enough but well stocked that we get our weekly shopping done in about a half hour. What could be more perfect than that?

Lazy Acres is bigger than F&E but smaller than Whole Foods. They have everything you could possibly want, including an awesome sandwich bar. The hot buffet looked incredible. I saw pork ribs. The ice cream was delicious (I got salted caramel: HEAVENLY).

It was also cool being able to get Groundworks coffee without having to go all the way to Venice.

However. After walking around in there for awhile, I started to get a little panicky. There's so much stuff. The soft lighting seemed like it should be gentle on the eyes but I felt like I couldn't really SEE anything. And it was crowded. Someone always wanted something right where I was standing, or vice versa.

Now all this could just be me. My allergies are acting up, I know I need new glasses, I'm tired, I hate crowded grocery stores, I'm used to Fresh and Easy.

It's probably just me. Anyway, we'll be back. That ice cream was amazing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Green Day cancels tour dates

... due to Billy Joe Armstrong's drug addiction treatment. Click it!

Not to be mean-spirited or anything, but wow, that's just one more cliché for them, isn't it? Their lack of originality is all-encompassing... at least they really go for it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A dream, pianos, and a pretty dress (not mine)

I had strange and highly detailed dreams last night.

Before I went to bed, I watched a movie my friend Adam had recommended, called "Pianomania." It was full of beautiful music and obsessive, brilliant musicians. I really enjoyed it. I actually started watching it on my iPad (oh, yes, we got an iPad!) on Sunday, but I finished it up last night. Adam recommended it because I was thinking about piano hammers and wrote about that the other day on Facebook, and the movie shows the insides of pianos quite a bit. The master piano tuner dude in the film was kind of a superhero for pianists, wasn't he? It was a good movie.

I don't know what the movie had to do with my dreams, if anything.

It started out with me accompanying my old friend Missy to an awards ceremony. It was like the Oscars for dental hygienists. She's a dental hygienist, obviously. She was getting an award and so was getting all dressed up and her hair and makeup done. I met her there - I looked like my normal self (a little messy, a little wrinkled) but she looked like Demi Moore. Except Demi usually wears dark colors, and the last few times I've seen Missy, she's been wearing bright pink, so in my dream, she was wearing a bright pink gown with a black ribbon design all over it. I think I saw a dress like that on Tom and Lorenzo the other day but I can't find it now. She looked beautiful.

We went into the auditorium, which, now that I think about it, looked like the concert hall in Vienna where a lot of the film I watched took place, and it was packed with, I guess, lots and lots of dental hygienists. Then that was the end of that part of my dream.

Later I was riding my bike north on the bike path in the La Ballona creek, near the Culver City Library, but the water was so high that it was up to my thighs. I kept on pedaling, though. There were dudes sitting on the edge of the water, flying model airplanes.

Later still, I was leaving my mom's house in Culver City and went out to find my car, and it had been stolen.

Then I woke up late, and JP was still sleeping with Patrick, who took a shower (but I did not, and so I feel like crap), and I changed Jules' diaper and clothes (which he hated) and nursed him (which cheered him up) and got dressed and a little cleaned up (but I still like like hell) and made my coffee and left for work 40 minutes late.

And then I heard Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's song "Chelsea Hotel" on my iPod (I actually was listening to it a little last night on the way home; it continued from where it left off, near the beginning): nobody should listen to Leonard Cohen first thing in the morning; even if it's Rufus' beautiful voice, the story still made me cry for some reason. I think it's the line, "and I never heard you say I need you, I don't need you." Man, Rufus made me feel that line. Thanks, dude. Anyway, I tried to alleviate that with some Concert for George, forgetting that "My Sweet Lord" has the same effect on me (but I guess it's a happier song), so I started my work day in a total weird place, mentally.

Now I am going through old files at work, seeing what I can shred to make some room for new stuff. My filing is piling up. Later I'm leaving early, because we are going to the Melvins tonight at Hollywood Forever with some friends. I need a better mood, right away. I'll go work on that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Work-related rant

So, I just got a little pissed off.

One of the Human Resources section managers called my boss about a meeting our HR director's secretary scheduled in Outlook. She and I were working on scheduling it because it involves my boss and some of her employees. The meeting subject was left vague, because it involves another HR employee. She didn't put the employee's name in the meeting request. The HR section manager called because she wanted to make sure my boss knew who the meeting was about.

My boss had just stepped away when this call came through, so I was taking the message (my boss's secretary was on another call; ordinarily I don't take messages unless both of them are away from their desk. I'm not a secretary but I have no problem helping out, unless it involves answering the door). When I take a message, I always ask the caller what their call is regarding. And I never assume anything about the caller (i.e., if she has their callback number, etc.).

This woman would not tell me what the call was regarding! She said, "She knows who the employee is."

This made me so frustrated! If I can't be trusted to take a message and keep it confidential, what the hell am I doing answering the phone? At every other department I've worked at (and this is the first department where my classification is not secretarial; except for a brief job I had at Rancho Los Amigos, where I worked in Finance, as a secretary, I've always been in Human Resources. This is where all the confidential crap happens!) I've been trusted with intimate and confidential information about EVERYBODY. My ability to keep shit close has never been questioned, even by the Worst Boss in the World, who I had at my last job. In fact, she was the one who really told me all the dirt on people. And did I tell anyone? NO. Anyway, as HR employees, we all sign a confidentiality agreement! Not that I need a piece of paper!

So when my boss got back to her office, I gave her the lady's message, but then I told her that the woman wouldn't trust me with the full message. "She knows who I'm talking about" is so lame! Why even call, then? Send her an email! I got a little grumpy about it. I asked her to let that woman know that she can trust me with details. I mean, come on! I have no idea if she will or if I was stupid to even say something about it, but give me a break. It's a waste of everybody's time if all the messages I take are the same:

Me: Can I tell her what the call is regarding?
Whoever: She knows!

I mean, who looks stupid here? Me for asking, or the caller for assuming my boss is a) psychic and b) keeps all those details in her mind about everybody? The woman is really busy. It's silly to think she's going to remember everything.

Anyway, rant over. Return to your regularly scheduled whatever.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


JP has been falling asleep so early the last couple of days. Both Sunday and Monday nights he fell asleep before 7 p.m.. Then, he wakes up every couple of hours.

"Milk?" he says. Or sometimes he says it this way: "Milk!"

At first his exhortation of "milk!" was pretty cute. And, it still is... during daylight hours. When my eyeballs are wide open. But at 2 a.m., it's not as cute. Nope, at 2 a.m., the cute factor decreases pretty rapidly.

He's nursing a lot at night lately, and I suspect that it's a growth spurt, or maybe he's fighting a cold, or maybe he just misses me more than he used to. All those reasons are fine, and I'm okay with that, logically, now, at 11:34 in the morning. He misses me? Sweet boy!

But at 2 a.m., when he's been nursing for what feels like a solid hour, switched from one side to the other ("Milk!" as we roll over), man, I feel like a deflated balloon. I feel like, if I could just get more than two hours of sleep at a time, or fall back asleep after I've been woken up... I feel like if any of those things could happen, on like, a regular basis, I would be so, so happy.

And it's not just me: Patrick is not getting any solid sleep, either. This morning, when JP started to wake up at 5 o'clock, and was calling for "milk!," Patrick brought him to me to nurse, but when I had to stop so that I could get ready for work, and Patrick bundled him up in a blanket and went into the other room, and JP stopped crying the second he was more than 3 feet away from me... well. How does that make me feel? Let's just say, not that great.

Same old mantra I've been saying for months now: I'm not ready to wean. I'm not emotionally ready to stop nursing him. I know he's not ready either: obviously he needs it. I get it. But I'm so, so tired. Every morning I wake up and think, I gotta call that La Leche League lady. It's been awhile. I just need to hear some encouraging words (right now all I want to hear is "You're doing great! This won't last forever!!!!!!" Yeah, it doesn't work when I say it to myself. Believe me: I've tried.)

My co-worker told me that a good way to wean might be to get pregnant again: she read somewhere that some babies don't like the way mama's milk tastes when mama is pregnant. Right. And start this all over again??? Nice try, lady!

A nap would be so nice. Hmmm... doesn't a nap sound awesome? Cozy clothes, a soft blanket, the nice clean pillowcases and sheets I put on the bed on Sunday... But nooooo... I have to be here, at work today! Stupid work always gets in the way of all the fun I could be having!

Oh, and the other thing? Since he's been on his night nursing marathons, I have the hugest, biggest sweet tooth imaginable. Cookies, whatever: I can't get enough. I'm just now putting 2 and 2 together (hey! maybe if I was getting more sleep I'd be faster on the uptake!)... or maybe there's no connection? I'm not (thank God) gaining any weight, so I don't know what the deal there is. Maybe I need to think about this some more.

Anyway, there's my story for today. I need some sleep. I need a cookie.

The end.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


My co-worker is responsible for making reports for our office on employee leaves. She uses Excel and Access for this. It's a huge process - the amount of data she has to review to do this is incredibly time consuming. And accuracy, of course, is a big deal. However, one thing you learn the minute you start dealing with employees' time off is that things sometimes get screwy. What was accurate yesterday is not necessarily accurate today.

I'm an intermediate Excel user - maybe at one time I was more advanced but I don't use it that much anymore. I know how to make graphs and charts but it's been awhile, I would need more time now. I have zero experience with Access. One day I guess I should look into that but for now I'm okay without it.

Anyway, my co-worker's reports were created for her by an intern we had working with us for awhile. Her main report is in Excel, and it grabs data from four different sources. Three of them are other Excel reports, and one is in Access. The formulas for pulling the data have errors in them. According to my co-worker, this part of the plan "never" worked, not from day one. The intern has since moved on, and so she's stuck updating, manually, this report that was supposed to change her world. She has to do this every month.

I took a look at it for her today, and that thing is fucked up. Someone (me? Should I volunteer? Do you hear me laughing?) needs to start all over. It's just too confusing to look at that report and try to fix it. For one thing, the intern (a very nice guy who I first met at the baby shower they had for me here, which was quite well attended, surprisingly. I didn't really understand why he wanted to come to my baby shower, but he did, and I thought that was nice) made the thing "pretty." I hate pretty Excel reports, especially when they're just dealing with data. Nobody looks at this thing except her. Does it matter if each row is an alternating shade of blue? No. And then, it has a lot of duplicated information. None of the calculations work right. I mean, that's a huge problem. And the thing is sooooo big. And even being so big, it doesn't do what it needs to do. My question is, why do they need 5 reports in the first place? Even if they're tracking different things, wouldn't it make sense to create one big "master" report, and then pull from there? Why have so many separate documents? It all has to do with leave, just different types of leave.

Then, she has to take the data (which she has to enter herself, not automatically, as it's supposed to work) and create another report.

Do you see the issues here? Maybe I'm not explaining exactly where the problems are very clearly... but even though I didn't really want to, I'm now thinking about this thing more and more. I'm wondering if I could figure out a way to make it better.

The thing is, whether or not I wrote about it correctly here, or explained it well enough, or conveyed the idea that I might have the capacity to fix this, I think I could. I think I could unravel this particular ball of rubber bands.

Hmmm. The question is, do I want to volunteer to do it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"My shaving razor's cold, and it sings!"

Funny how I attributed a little bit of psychedelia to that sweet song by the Monkees... It's just more fun to think of a singing razor, now isn't it?

(The real word is, ..."and it stings." Duh!)

Go on, I'll wait a second while you cue up "Daydream Believer" by the Monkees on your Spotify or iTunes.


This day of cooler weather (yesterday was so lovely! Today is too, but I'm feeling a bit more of a chill today. It's 72 right now, which is perfect. It might just be because I'm wearing a skirt, or maybe they haven't adjusted the air conditioner in my building yet. I can't wait to go outside for my afternoon walk) has me in total daydream mode. I guess when the weather is warm, or downright hot like it's been lately, it's just not as much fun for me to fantasize about cuddling up in a bunch of blankets, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and leggings. And a nice pair of tie dyed socks. I get them in Monterey: I'm due for another trip, I guess, because last time I looked, I was missing a pair. Oh, yes, that's my cozy outfit, right there (and my brother just handed down an awesome "Brooklyn" hoodie that I can't wait to wear): now you know. 

Don't get me wrong: I have no desire to hole up in the house: I'm imagining me, my hoodie and sweats, my pile of blankets and pillows outside. On the grass, in my beautifully landscaped backyard, which is now getting a little wild (exactly how I like it, please put down the clippers, Mr. Palma!), with a book in my hand, a Tupperware container full of cookies or maybe grapes and cheese, maybe both, and a beer. Oh, yeah: a beer would be so nice in this little scenario. With the computer in the garage playing a Pandora mix of XTC or the Cure or Roxy Music or Lysa Flores (or all of them).

I'll just lay back with my book and gaze up at the fluffy clouds and be in total heaven. I would be so snug and cozy, my hair a mess, my head full of words and music, my eyes full of sky. Is it just me, or does that sound perfect?

To quote the guy who wrote "Daydream Believer" (that person's name is not Mickey, Peter, Michael, or Davy): but how much baby, do we really need?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shoot to chill

The other night while giving JP his bath, we heard AC/DC's song "Shoot to Thrill" on the radio. Thinking "Too many women, too many pills" were not lot appropriate lyrics for a 20 month old, I changed it (because you know I sing along while bathing him) to "too many cookies, too many bills."

But is that truly a better message?

Parenting is hard.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crosseye of the tiger, and other things

Sunday afternoon, when I was driving home from theater with Bo, we heard "Eye of the Tiger" on the radio. I don't remember the radio station we were listening to, but he has some strange pre-sets in his car. The guy listens to weird music. I hadn't heard that song in awhile, and I found myself compelled... to sing along.

I am not a very good singer, but sometimes, and very infrequently when actually in the presence of other people, the urge to join in hits me very hard and very, let's just say, enthusiastically. It's something to see (and hear).

Now, Bo claims to like the band Survivor, but when I quizzed him on other songs by them that I might know, he couldn't think of any. So I don't know - my theory about them not having any real fans rings true. Oh, you never heard that theory before? That's because I just made it up.

Sunday was actually very fun - Charles agreed to run the show so I could watch from the audience. We used to do that all the time on opening night, but this time we didn't. Because I'm a nervous nellie in the booth, even with the new, beautiful set up, I still can't see the show the way it's meant to be seen. Mostly because I'm following along still, making sure I'm in the right spot and set up for the next thing.

Since I wasn't running the booth, I sat outside in front of the theater and chit chatted with a lovely Schnauzer who belongs to the guy in the space next door. His name is Chuckie (the dog, I didn't meet the guy: he was on the phone everytime I saw him walking around). I love Schnauzers - we had one when I was a little girl. She was a great dog. Chuckie was friendly, but aloof.

I took my seat early, on one of the new, awesome leather love seats. No one sat next to me. Now the audience is allowed into the theater about 30 minutes before the show starts, so that's different right away from the old space in the alley. I don't want to give anything away but it's really interesting to be seated early like that.

The first time I saw the show was in tech rehearsal. Like I said: I don't really see much from the booth. I hear the performances, and yes, I do "see" them - but I'm thinking about me, and pressing my buttons and setting levels. I'm not involved in the story. I could tell that it was beautiful, but I didn't feel it. Watching from the audience is totally different. I know that the actors can't really see us (and are not supposed to look at the audience anyway) but there were a few moments when I could've sworn someone was looking right at me. Piercing me, to (sort of) quote Jane Austen. There's an exchange between "Nikos" and "Clio" about "being in love that way" that hit me in an emotional way that I wasn't expecting. The actor playing Nikos is very good (all the performances are good ones! but Nikos says a few things that really speak to me personally).

Anyway, all that happened before my attack on "Eye of the Tiger," so I'm not being a very good storyteller today, am I. Oh well!

The show is getting good reviews. You can read some of them, and make reservations and learn more about City Garage, here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What's the big deal?

I just read this article (along with a lot of other people; it's in the "most emailed" section) in the NY Times about how some city governments think that if they don't require cyclists to wear helmets, more people will be interested in biking around town. They even quoted some statistics about how when helmets are mandatory, fewer people ride, and obesity and diabetes and other weight-related health problems increase.

(For fun [not], read all the comments from people reeling from the irresponsibility of advocating against helmets: these are mostly accident survivors, or written by the families of those who did not.)

There were other "facts" given about cycling in Europe and places with better biking infrastructure and women on bikes and blah blah blah, but you can read it yourself if you want to. The only fact I care about is, if I'm in a bike accident, and I'm not wearing a helmet, and my brain is all squished out on the sidewalk, is that my fault for being an idiot or is it the government's fault for not requiring me to wear a helmet? Oh, wait, it won't matter by then, will it.

In California, the law requires people under the age of 18 on a bike to wear a helmet. What does it say if you make your kid wear a helmet but you won't yourself? You put your seatbelt on too when you drive the car, don't you?

Right... I understand: you rode your bike for 30 years without incident, and bike helmets look goofy, and you're not trying to be Lance Armstrong, but that's not the point. Are we trying to look cool, or do you want to go to your kids' weddings? Seriously: head injuries are no joke. Mandatory or not - don't be reckless. Protect yourself. It's so simple.

Life is full of risk and I don't believe in being overly cautious or scaring people with cautionary tales, but the thing is, if a simple thing like wearing a helmet will protect your beautiful and silly head, do it. Pump up your tires, put on your helmet, and get out there and have fun. It shouldn't be a big deal.

Finally, if you needed more convincing:

  • About 75% of all bicyclists who die each year die of head injuries
  • 85% of head injuries in bicycle accidents can be prevented by wearing a helmet
These statistics came from The Center for Head  Injury Services.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A detail so cute it needs it's own post

At last night's La Leche League, the woman with the 8 week old baby fed him. He was super cute, and tiny - I'm not sure how much he weighs now but she said he was only 5 pounds at birth. She and her husband were sweet; so was the baby.

JP watched the little guy eating and every once in a while pointed in their direction and exclaimed, "Milk!"


Yesterday, I attended a Wellness Managers' Meeting in Burbank. It was a fun morning. I got to drive a Pool Vehicle - an amazing piece of Ford Machinery. I don't even know what model it was (this point will be important, later) - I looked my ticket up after I got back to the office, and all they wrote was "Ford 4 door sedan." That's accurate, but not very specific. I think it was a 2005 Ford Something. Wouldn't that be a cool name for an actual model? "The Ford Something: It Goes Wherever You Do."). It was OK to drive but certainly not as luxurious as my 2004 Honda Accord.

(Note: My 2004 Honda Accord LX is not very luxurious.)

They asked me what type of vehicle I wanted when I made my reservation, and I said "A Prius or Taurus," so it could've been a Taurus, but it felt a little big. Truth be told, I wanted one of the new Chevy Volts we've got on campus, but I don't know if they're letting those out. I should've asked. Oh, well: next time.

The meeting was held at Kaiser, but in a really cool facility - they have a movie theater. It's called "Technicolor Digital Cinema." Quite beautiful. Lots of beautiful landscaping, valet parking, delicious continental breakfast. Breakfast wraps with spinach wraps and egg whites and asparagus: yummy. We also had a ton of fruit, melon and berries. It was a nice spread. Oh, and Starbucks coffee for the ones who like Starbucks coffee, i.e., not me.

One nice thing: at the last few wellness manager meetings, I've had to make arrangements ahead of time for a lactation room because I was still pumping. This time I didn't have to do that because I stopped pumping, what? a few months ago? I don't even remember. Anyway, the woman who helped with that in the past was so nice, and made sure to stop me as I was walking in to ask if I needed a room. I thought that was very thoughtful.

I ate my breakfast with another Wellness Manager, Christina, and some other lady whose name I've already forgotten. Christina and I walked in together because we pulled into the parking area at the same time. She was a little flustered: I guess she had gotten lost. I had great directions on the way there (this point will be important, later), thanks to my iPhone GPS app, Waze (I tried using the maps app on my updated iPhone 4, and it sucks. Period. Don't waste your time), so even though I got a late start, I was on time for breakfast and registration. Christina and I were chatting - she was quite pretty, and dressed to kill, and we joined this other woman's table. The other woman commented on my large (20 oz.) coffee commuter mug, full of delicious home brewed/home ground gourmet coffee (of course, she didn't know what was in it. For all she knew, I could've been drinking straight vodka). She too was drinking a coffee (McDonald's... OH SHIT, have I become a coffee snob?). She said, "Oh, you're like me, you take your coffee everywhere with you!" I was honest and said I'd just started doing that, but yeah, I do. Then she said, "I have a baby, so I don't get a lot of sleep, so I need my coffee!"

Hey, babies! I love talking about babies! Her kid is 4, though: not quite a baby. She had quite a few opinions and tips and mothering advice. Most of it was either outdated, potentially harmful to babies, or just plain wacko. And then she looked at me askance when I told her I was still breastfeeding! She was all, what else does he eat? What is up with people? Why do they want their little babies to be so advanced in everything? JP's certainly not being harmed by my breast milk! He eats everything else. Even though sometimes I'm tired of it, or it hurts, or getting up at 3:30 to feed him every night is not the most fun thing to do, I'm proud we're still doing it. It IS good for him. Some other person I was talking to awhile ago, when I admitted that it was starting to feel like it's getting too hard, said, "Oh no, I loved doing it! It was never a hardship!" Well, good for you, lady! I'm not that happy go-lucky. Still: when I think about it, I'm not ready to stop.

Anyway, usual disclaimer here: I'm not trying to make anybody who didn't breastfeed feel bad about their decision. Everyone is different. On the other hand, why do people feel free to cast their negative opinion on continuing to do so? Why would anyone think it was bad?

After breakfast, we went into the theater. In addition to the usual Wellness Managers' meeting stuff, they showed us part 4 of the HBO movie, "The Weight of the Nation." It was really a great movie, though I will admit that there were some parts of it that reminded me of those PETA-type commercials. Some of the footage felt a little bit overly dramatic, in that "this dog will be killed in a horrific way if you don't give $10 right now" type of way. You know those sad commercials, with Sally Struthers and the whimpering Cheryl Crow music? Still, for the most part, I thought the movie was incredibly inspiring. It was a little overwhelming, even, especially when they were talking about agriculture and American farms and how big business is running the show. That seems like an impossible problem to fix. How do you fight politicians and lobbyists and people who just want your money, who don't care what they're feeding you?

There was one part that was especially moving. They talked about how in Orange County, in the city of Santa Ana, there is no park for the kids to play in. The children literally have to play in an empty parking lot. There was a group of Latino women who got together and after 7 years are finally getting a park built in their community because they did something. You can read more about it here. I wrote down the names of a couple of people who were in the movie that I want to learn more about. America Bracho was one of them.

After the meeting, we all lined up for our cars. I was behind a young Asian woman who was carrying the cutest Kate Spade purse. I don't care for Kate Spade all that much, but it made me think it's time for a new LeSportsac. I can't find that Kate Spade bag on the Internet, so maybe it was an old one (or a fake!). I was carrying the huge canvas bag they gave us full of goodies (a copy of the whole "Weight of the Nation" movie, various kitchen utensils, etc.), my purse, my "Internet Librarian 2002" bag full of my meeting materials, and a huge Jack LaLanne PowerJuicer that one of the "Biggest Loser" teams from my department won. That sucker was heavy. I finally got to the front of the line, gave the dude my ticket, and realized that other than the fact that it was white, a Ford, and said "Pool Vehicle" on it, I had no idea what my car looked like.

There were lots of white Ford Pool Vehicles in that line.

Luckily, I left my sneakers on the passenger seat (the first car they brought me in the morning wouldn't start, so I got on the road later than I wanted to. I missed the fitness walk at 7:30. Those are usually fun.), so I was sure I wasn't stealing some other department's car.

Going home was a little more complicated. I've been having trouble with my Waze app recently - it worked fine on the way to Burbank, but for some reason it kept re-routing my trip home. My friend had told me to reset the program the other day when it wasn't working right, but when you're driving a County vehicle with a big ol' "How Am I Driving" sticker on the back, it's not a good idea to start messing around with your phone. I kind of knew how to get home from Kaiser, but I went to Porto's first and got all turned around.

Anyway, no big deal, I made it back to the office just fine. My horse sense kicked in and I figured it out.

After work, I took JP with me to a La Leche League meeting. It's been awhile since I've been to one, and I felt the need for other nursing mamas. I mentioned above that I've been having some pain - nothing bad, really, but uncomfortable. And I wanted to just check in.

There was a range of women there - 3 who were pregnant, one with a 2 month old, one with a one year old, and one woman with a 2 and a half year old boy. Oh, and one woman with a 6 month old, but she'd left the baby at home because she was sleeping. JP sat on my lap most of the time. He tried to play but the older boy scared him! The woman with the absent baby kind of hijacked the meeting... I forgot that this happens almost every time. She was one of those people who gets frozen by information (Patty calls this Analysis Paralysis) - she was concerned about her daughter being constipated, but when the leader recommended some foods that can help with that, said, "But I read that everything constipates babies!" She was like that for every issue she brought up. It was unclear to me if her child sleeps too much, or not enough. Anyway, my question was answered (the leader suggested that I'm having an eczema-like reaction to something JP is eating. He's been eating a ton of salsa lately. It could be that, or our position when he eats. It's also possible I was/am ovulating. I'm going to think about it and see what I can do based on that information). It was nice to see the pregnant women there. One of them said, "Your son is so cute!" She said that about two times. Hey: he's cute! What can I say?

JP got tired so we left a little early (the mother of the constipated baby was talking again). He fell asleep in the car, and we all had a pretty quiet night after that. Patrick helped me put away the laundry, I set up the coffee maker for the morning, ate a few leftover potato balls for a late dinner, and we went to bed.

It was a busy, but satisfying day. I'm glad it's Thursday now, I'm ready for the weekend.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mayim Bialik

Aside from both of us having children and nursing on demand, I'm not sure I have much in common with Mayim Bialik. I'm not even sure I spelled her name correctly.

I love her on "Big Bang Theory," but since I only haphazardly watch that show (as I watch everything now, thanks to my boy JP) in reruns, I don't get to really follow her character's story.

I heard about her car accident when it happened but for the most part - I mean, we're not friends. We're not former schoolmates. We're not even the same age. We don't live in the same town, we don't know the same people, I didn't go to UCLA, I'm not a scientist in real life, I'm not Jewish. Her religion and her religious convictions are clearly very, very important to her. I'm not sure I would ever go that far to even say I have religious convictions, at all. There's no connection between us.

You'd think, right?

There was an article in the New York Times style section about Mayim and the dress she wore to the Emmy's yesterday. I didn't watch the Emmy's because I was at the theater. I don't watch TV very much (but believe me: I would if I could!), and though I do like fashion, for me, it's kind of just like looking at any pretty things: knowing the limitations of my body and style and interests, I don't aspire to look like anybody on any red carpet, ever. I just like pretty things. Actresses in pretty gowns are pretty. Period. But the article mentioned the Jewish parenting site where she writes a blog, and I wanted to check that out, so I clicked on it.

20 minutes later... I love her writing. I started reading the random stories she's been writing, starting with the stuff about going to the Emmy's, but then I hit this story, and dude: I cried.

Maybe I can't be like Mayim. Maybe not. I don't need to be like her, do I: I can just be me, but liking her now. Does that make sense? There's more to say there, but I'm not sure how, yet. Anyway, I am so glad there are people like her out there writing and getting a little attention. She seems like a good person, and I like that. I like that a lot.

My YouBrew Review

"Awesome machine, possibly overly complex manual"

I am not a seasoned coffeemaker user - this is my first grinder, and my first fancy machine. I started reading the instruction manual at about noon on Sunday, and by 10 o'clock that night finally felt competent enough to attempt to use it.

I'm not kidding - the manual is incredibly explicit and even a little strident. For a coffee maker this expensive, it makes sense that you would want to use and clean it with care. On the other hand, a key point in the instructions for setting the timer was missing, and that was disappointing. Ending up with six cups of coffee at 10:30 p.m. wasn't the end of the world (and you better believe we refrigerated it for iced coffee the next day), but that one little error seems uncharacteristic.

I agree with the other reviewers: the design of the carafe is terrible. Certainly don't use it to fill the water tank - you'll be very frustrated and will wind up wasting a lot of water. Filtered water, too. And then the wasted coffee is tragic, especially when the coffee that emerges from this machine is truly amazing.

My final comment is that you're advised to run warm water into the carafe prior to brewing your coffee. My problem with this is that because I program my machine to start while I'm still asleep, I can't do that. Is it truly necessary? Why not just make a carafe that keeps the coffee warmer, if that's the issue? For the money you pay for this (beautiful) machine, getting that carafe right doesn't seem like rocket science.

All that said, I am confident that this well-made coffeemaker, if I use and maintain it as instructed, will last me forever. I look forward to many years of delicious coffee.

NOTE: After hitting "submit," Breville tells you that your comment has been submitted for "moderation." Hmmm. Glad I saved the original here. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, they change. By the way, I gave this review five stars. I'm impressed.

Day -1

Opening night was awesome. The new booth worked out great. It was fun to have an audience and hear their reactions - I guess in theater that pretty much goes without saying, but here I am... saying it. The actress playing Helen (yes, that Helen) got a lot of laughs - I bet that was fun for her. It's also pretty cool to be able to see the audience - I could never do that in the alley space unless I snuck out into the lobby. On the other hand, I can no longer sneak out into the lobby, because a) there really isn't a lobby and b) I have to enter and exit the booth through the audience. That might be a little disruptive, no?

On Saturday we went to our friends' wedding. It was the sweetest wedding I've ever been to. The two of them are so in love. Lysa Flores performed at the ceremony, and my beautiful friend walked down the aisle to "Angel Baby." I cried; so did Patrick's friend Brian, the bassist in his band. I've been describing Brian to people as "Mexican heavy metal Jesus." He's got the prettiest eyes. Good hugger, too. Note: I'm not 100% he's actually Mexican. His girlfriend was sweet, too. I met a lot of nice people at this wedding - the love was a little overwhelming but definitely in an inspirational way.

The bride and groom exited to "Just Like Heaven," and when the congregation followed them outside, Jules and I walked over and watched the band. Yes: I sang along. He loved it - my kid's got some dance moves! Gotta get some Lysa Flores on my playlists.

Afterwards, we went to the reception, which was a lot of fun. Patrick got to hang out with his friends, and I got tips on coffee bean purchasing from our friend Jesse, a noted coffee bean expert. We also talked about parenting and music (of course) with our friend Dave, who was also the bassist at the ceremony (and from Patrick's SST band Magnolia Thunderpussy, and also - ! - our real estate agent when we moved to Long Beach. Talk about multi-talented! Dave can do it all! His band Bikos is fun, too).

By about 8 p.m., I was burned out. It had been a long week, a very hot day, and I was tired and sweaty. We drove home and all of us crashed.

On Sunday, I had to go back to the theater. Charles ran the booth on Saturday, and his report that most things were fine was welcomed by me. It was a pretty full house, which is always great. Sunday's audience was a little smaller, but the press was there all weekend, and hopefully their reviews will get more people there. This space is so much more convenient than the alley - easier to get to and park, for one thing, or is that two? - so I hope people find us and come to the show. I carpooled with Bo, and was a little grumpy about having to leave Jules, but I was glad he drove. We had a little extra time so we went to Rite Aid for some Thrifty ice cream, and that helped a little. Not driving helped, too.

Anyway, to find out more about what I'm talking about here, please visit It's a cool place.

Sunday night I started fooling around with my new coffee maker.

I just started drinking coffee this year. I guess not getting enough sleep is the reason, but maybe also my taste buds have finally matured (I like oysters, now too. What's next? Olives? Sardines?). Whatever the reason, my old diet Cokes were not cutting it anymore. Patrick and I have a teeny tiny Mr. Coffee that we bought for $5 a few years ago. It makes enough for the two of us, but it's nothing special. On the other hand, it's super easy to use. Anyway, we unexpectedly found ourselves the owners of an extremely fancy coffee maker (this one), and finally on Sunday, we unpacked it and got it ready to go.

It's a beautiful piece of machinery, and the folks who wrote the instruction manual take their shit seriously, because that thing reads like it's not just a carafe of coffee you're brewing, it's the carafe of coffee that will SAVE THE WORLD.

Also: carafe. This ain't no ordinary pot of coffee.

The manual is very, very specific and explicit, almost strident in the way they tell you to unpack, clean, and operate their little machine, except in the one important step in the instructions on programming the timer (i.e., follow the instructions to the t, and you will end up with a pot of coffee now instead of later. Dude, if I wanted coffee now, I wouldn't be going through all the trouble of programming it). We had 6 cups of coffee at 10 o'clock at night. I put most of it in the refrigerator for today - Patrick will be sipping iced coffee all day - but we had to taste it. It was the best coffee, ever. Of course.

Anyway, I was a little afraid to use it, probably because of my innate sense of not being good enough ("I don't deserve a fancy coffeemaker!") and because after reading the instruction manual, I wasn't sure I was qualified to turn the damn thing on. It can grind the beans for you, and that's a whole new experience for me. We discussed this, as I mentioned earlier, with Patrick's friend Jesse ("noted coffee bean expert"), who advised us ably. We decided to try the beans he recommended from Trader Joe's, but in the end, didn't have time to go there. Instead, we bought some slightly cheaper organic Sumatra beans from Fresh and Easy, and while I fully admit that they probably weren't the same quality as the magic beans Jesse recommended (and Dave concurred that those were super beans), the coffee we got from those beans and our new machine was really, really delicious. I drank it all on my way to work (after adding a little half and half and sugar), and seriously contemplated going back home for more when it was finished.

So, aside from going to the theater twice a week for a few more months, my life gets back to normal starting today. I work, I go home, I play with my boy, I try to play my flute or ride my bike once in a while, I try to get some sleep, and I get to make and drink some truly incredible coffee.

Not bad. I think I can live with that.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 5 (Opening Night)

Last night was our last rehearsal before tonight's opening night performance.

I did OK. I made a couple mistakes - at one point, I couldn't read my note and totally missed a light cue, so I was behind by one, and ended up leaving an actor in the dark for the first few moments of one of his (twisted and strange) monologues. Leaving an actor in the dark when he's pretty much just standing there is a big deal. A couple of the light cues follow movement by the actors - I'm still getting used to some of these actors, their timing, and this show, so these cues require more timing and a little concentration.

An actor jumped the gun and showed up on stage before an audio cue was done; he got on stage and I lighted him but the audio was still playing and I didn't think to fade it out so he had to just stand there for a few extra seconds - I know what to do now, and will watch for that in case it happens again.

I use the same words on my book as I use as rehearsal notes on music, and "watch!" is the one I use the most in both places. It seems obvious but a reminder to look up when things are getting a little hairy is never not a good idea. Another note that I use at the bottom right corner of the page, if I have to turn quickly, is "V.S." I didn't really know what the exact translation was so I had to look it up. I did know that it meant to turn the page fast, dummy, or you're going to miss something! Duh, I had to know that, otherwise writing "V.S." wouldn't make any sense. Am I telling this story right?

Anyway, in case you were wondering (are you?), V.S. stands for"volti subito":

(From Wikipedia)
V.S. (volti subito): turn suddenly; i.e., turn the page quickly. While this indication is sometimes added by printers, it is more commonly indicated by orchestral members in pencil as a reminder to quickly turn to the next page.

On one hand, doing only one week (actually, 4 days) of tech is good, because even during this week, there have been lots of changes, and so if I'd been there last week too, by this point, I would still be learning the cues anyway. On the other hand, doing only one week is bad for the reason I stated above: there are lots of new actors on stage, and I havne't had time to really learn their idiosyncracies, or the way they move. It's not an issue of being bad or good, it's just learning and seeing what they are going to do.

We did two runthroughs on Wednesday night, so I got a grand total of 4 hours of sleep. I ended up going in to work a couple of hours late yesterday, which helped. We all slept through the alarm, which is strange: even JP, who normally gets up at 5:30. I was so tired yesterday, and totally out of it. Last night we only did one runthrough, and Bo and I got home earlier than usual - I think I was in bed by 10:45. I'm really glad he was with me because I was so tired, especially on that drive home. I wasn't even talking right - and I had had coffee, and a coke earlier. This morning I woke up feeling a bit more rested than I have all week, and got up to take a shower and get ready for work. I don't usually work on Fridays, and so JP had to go to daycare an extra day this week - that doesn't make me super happy, and I miss the little guy so much but this change is not permanent, and after tonight we pretty much go back to normal. I'll be in the booth on Fridays and Sundays only. No flute choir for me, and that sucks, but I think it's all going to be worth it.

I'll let you know after tonight.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Day 4

I'm tired.

But I've only been doing this for 4 days... I keep thinking about the actors and everyone else and how hard they've been working, for months now.

Also: I don't take criticism very well. I don't mean that I don't listen, or try to do better. I mean, I take criticism as failure, I let it escalate my emotions. It doesn't help that I'm tired, it doesn't help that I know this is what I do and could've prepared for it - instead, I think, Hey, lady, you're 40 years old - this emotional reaction to a little slap on the hand is kind of stupid. There is a certain tone of frustration that sets me off, and there are certain people who either don't know that they know how to deploy it (and therefore destroy me temporarily) or they know, and they do it anyway.

I wish I had some defenses against that. I mean, besides junk food.

Something to work on for next time, I guess.

I got home at 1:30 last night. I'm so lucky Bo could drive last night, or we would've been found in a ditch somewhere. I fell asleep in the car, and I know that's a shitty thing to do when you're carpooling with somebody. I'm sure he was tired too. He woke me up when we got to the 710 with a big old cough: scared the hell out of me. Once home, I slept great - JP only woke up once, right around the time I was getting in bed. I nursed him to sleep, and then Patrick took him back to his bed. Then we all slept through the alarm, and got up at 6:30. I got JP up and fed and ready for school while Patrick took a shower, then when they left I took my own shower.

I'm here at work now. I have two big projects I need to get finished, but I will be working tomorrow, too (my regular day off!!!!). Anyway, guess I'd better get working on them.

More later, maybe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Day 3

So far so good.

I've been carpooling from Long Beach to Santa Monica with my friend Bo. It's been fun: like the old days when we worked at Rizzoli or on past shows at City Garage. He's crazy. Last night we sang a lot of songs on the way home: I was so tired, I needed stimulation. We sang Queen songs and "Heaven," by Bryan Adams. I can't explain that Bryan Adams song: it's following me around, popping up in strange places. The fact that between the two of us, we know all the words: that's weird. I fully admit that this is not something to be proud of, and I accept your ridicule, on behalf of both of us.

Night 1 was fun. It went smoothly. Charles has been sitting in the booth with me, making changes on the fly. It's amazing to see him adjust the lighting settings then get right back into show mode. He's so fast. This booth has a slightly larger area for the operator but it's technically smaller than the old booth (but all the extraneous equipment and electrical stuff is now backstage instead, which I appreciate). He and I are smashed up together. He's sitting on a stool but I tend to stand while working - I like to stay on my toes. The audio equipment is closer so I'm not having to make that insane stretch like I used to. Anyway, I'm glad he's up there with me. Communicating with him is a lot easier when he's 2 inches away and we don't have to use those stupid headsets that never work or worse, yell at each other, him from the house, me from the booth. That was always so frustrating.

There's a guy playing live music during the show, and I'm really excited about him. He's got all kinds of drums and musical instruments and sound makers - it's pretty awesome. Apparently he can do anything. There's a lot of really nicely done music in this show. Monday, there were moments when I pried my nose out of the book and took a long long at the stage, and I was stunned. It's so beautiful. Frederique, the director, has an eye for beautiful imagery. I mean, duh: this is what she has always done, right? I'm not surprised she's created another gorgeous show. I love it.

After the rehearsal on Monday, Bo and I got back to LB pretty late. I had had a cup of coffee around 5 p.m., and I guess I underestimated the effects coffee has my system (I don't usually drink it in the evening; I guess it's more potent than diet Coke), because I couldn't get to sleep once I got home. Patrick and JP were in bed. Patrick was snoring. I was tired, but I couldn't sleep. I couldn't get comfortable, I couldn't shut my brain off. I felt like my body was vibrating: I was super awake. Then JP woke up around 1:30, and I nursed him back to sleep, but he was cranky and it was hard getting him to let go of me. I ended up staying in his bed with him until 5 a.m. He was sleeping: I was not.

When Patrick got up to get ready for work, he was surprised to find me in JP's bed. I'm sure we looked silly. It's a toddler bed, after all! I think those are intended for a single occupant. It was cozy! I'm just glad JP got to sleep. 

I stayed home from work yesterday because I expected to be exhausted, but I really wasn't - I couldn't nap. It was the strangest feeling. Instead I did a little housework, and watched a bunch of TV - old episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210. I think I have an after-the-fact crush on Luke Perry. Man that guy was good-looking! It's so clear to me that he should be with Brenda, and not Kelly. They make a much more striking couple. Jennie Garth is beautiful now but in the 90s she was kind of ordinary beautiful. Shannen Doherty was un-ordinary beautiful, with her crooked smile and big eyes and all that hair.

Wait, why the hell am I discussing this?

So, last night was a little rougher than Monday in that one of the actors was absent, and so was the music guy. It made a difference. A few changes were made in the book that I will need to pay attention to tonight. Some of the many-stepped light cues (i.e., there are several of them in a row) follow action by the actors, and they happen fast: I have to be paying attention. I need to take my usual supplies - post its, and an eraser for Charles. I guess the one we had in the alley didn't get packed up for the new space! I tried to buy pencils this weekend but I couldn't find the ones I usually get at Walgreen's - those mechanical pencils that are yellow, and twist at the bottom. Those are my favorite - I use them for everything. For some reason Walgreen's didn't have them. I'll have to stop at CVS on the way home from work and hope they have them.

Yes. The type of mechanical pencil I have in the booth makes a difference! The pencils Charles has up there right now have dull leads and busted erasers. It's an issue for us both. And for some reason I think that this kind of minute detail will interest you. Well?

One other thing to worry about: we still haven't done the curtain calls. City Garage curtain calls are notoriously overly complex. Fun to look at, but complicated to run.

Patrick and JP seem to be hanging in there OK. I think they had a fun night. JP was a little clingy with me before I left last night and this morning before leaving for school, but that's to be expected. He's the sweetest boy ever: I'm so lucky with him.

Tonight Bo is driving, and for that I am glad. I'm not totally wiped out but I anticipate by the end of the week I will be. On the other hand, maybe not: I'm much better at handling exhaustion now than I ever was in the past. Maybe all my fussing and worrying was for nothing.

Yeah, right! I'll keep you posted on how that works out!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day 1

Tonight is my first tech rehearsal in over two years.

I'm working in the booth again with my friends at City Garage. The next show, the first in their new permanent location at Bergamot Station, opens Friday, September 21. It's "Orestes 3.0," by Charles Mee.

Check it out, buy tickets, whatever:

Let's get a few facts down:

I did something like 13, 14 shows in a row (tech only). I've been onstage twice, both times as a flute player.
Nobody has ever done that many shows in the booth. It's just not something people are either a) interested in (most of the people who work with City Garage in a non-actor capacity, i.e., tech or as an Assistant Director, want to be onstage) or b) physically and mentally capable of. The people who did one show only? Let's just say they are pretty much never heard from again, for one reason or another.

It's not a hard job (as one person who took over for me informed me!) but it takes concentration. The personalities involved can be difficult. I was not a theater geek and I knew pretty much nothing about theater-related stuff until I started working with City Garage, so I am uniquely shaped by that atmosphere. I kind of like that. I am pretty much qualified to only work with them: it's an interesting way to think about it.

When I had JP, I thought: well, that part of my life is over! But...

When City Garage moved from the funky, awesome space in the alley behind the Third Street Promenade into Track 16, I was cool with not being there. It was fine for awhile. But as time went on, and plans for a permanent space started to gel and things moved along... I knew that I couldn't miss out on being in the booth, at least for the first production, which is where we are, now.

The thing is, when I was there for the cue-to-cue last week? I fell in love.

The work that has been is incredible. The space is beautiful. It's just gorgeous. The stage is amazing. The new backstage area, which was minimal, dark, dusty, and cramped in the alley, is full of light and room. The booth is clean and comfortable, and there's no dirty, streaked piece of plexiglass separating me from the show. You would not believe what a difference a little thing like that can make. I can almost see the entire stage (in the alley, there was a slice at stage right that was just permanently out of view. Same with a section at stage left). At the cue-to-cue I obviously didn't see everything but the performances look like they'll be great.

It's exciting.

But now that the week of tech (they did last week without me) and opening weekend is upon me, I'm a little bit in panic mode.

JP had a hard night last night - he didn't want to sleep, he wanted to play. We were all up until at least 11:45. I'm not sure if Patrick slept: I didn't. And of course I had to get up at 5 as usual to get to work. I've changed my schedule to a five day week, working 7-3:30. I'm incredibly lucky that I coud do that. It means I'll get home around 4:15 and have a chance to eat something and relax, and see my boy... for about 45 minutes, before I have to leave.

Yep. 45 minutes.

All weekend I thought: holy shit, I'm crazy. I'm going to miss him so much! He's going to miss ME. And I thought, it's going to be so much work for Patrick, too. He's hardly going to get a break.

I know that once I'm in the midst of things, that I will be busy working and hopefully not worrying. I know that Patrick can handle it. I know that I deserve to do the things I love. But I'm also feeling a lot of guilt about being away from home so much.

Once the show opens I'll be working Friday nights and Sunday afternoons only, which isn't that bad. I can take JP with me to Culver City to spend time with his grandma and grandpa or he can stay home with his daddy, or my sister-in-law has offered to help out. It'll be OK, I'm sure.

But you know me: I worry about things before they happen. It's just how I am. And then there's the whole being in the booth after all this time stuff to think about, too. The funny thing is, in all those shows, I think I only have made, historically, like 3 mistakes - and maybe only 1 major mistake (and I can't really even remember what that could've been but I'm just saying that so as to not be too cocky). So obviously I can do this. It's really not that hard. But as you know: I am a worrier!

I'll let you know how tonight goes tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

From the LA Times... a car article

They were talking about the new Chevy Spark. The photo was a red car. I think the Times missed an opportunity: they should've used a blue one.

(Cue that X song... "bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue spark!")

Anyway, the article was fine until I got here:
It's a tiny car aimed at the young and the urban for whom budgets and parking spaces are in a competition for which can be smaller.
Did I write this article? Because that kind of weirdness sounds very familiar.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My devices, Chipotle

So, my (broken) iPhone 4 was rendered obsolete today: Apple is now giving them away. Would they give me one, you think? "Um, I dropped it. I'm nice! New one, please?"

Or I could go spend $99 and get a 4S. That would be kind of cool... but I can think of a hundred other things I'd like to spend a hundred dollars minus one on.

And then apparently they changed the little connector doo-hickey thing and you know? It sounds like it's going to be a royal pain in the butt to deal with that: I really don't care that much! Whatever. It's fine. The cracked, ugly screen of my current little iPhone is fine.

Because, the thing is, unless the new iPhone 5 is guaranteed not to break when I drop it (and look: I'm gonna drop it. Just accept it and move on), I'm not falling for Apple's b.s. this time. My friend Hollie posted a cartoon showing the new fictional functions of the iPhone 5, and among them were things like exfoliation, time travel, and the ability to make pie appear whenever you want it.

I like those functions, but I'm pretty good on the exfoliation right now, thanks.

Pie, on the other hand? I'm ready. Thanks.


Now, my 5 year old iPod needs replacing, I think, because that thing has been acting up all week. And by acting up, I mean, requesting to be charged, then, once charged, the battery lasts for about 45 minutes. So I have to figure that out. Maybe all it needs is to be plugged into my laptop and allowed to phone home: I don't know. It's not like I have time to play around with it these days. I have the 80 GB Classic, and right now it's got 30 GB free... And I guess you can't buy an 80 GB iPod anymore? See, the thing is, I have a ton of music (7,274 songs), yet my iPod still has a ton of space on it. I suppose I could get more music... but I'm pretty satisfied with my 80 GB. What's that Foo Fighter's lyric? You gave me something I didn't have but didn't need? Something like that? Anyway. Maybe I can fix it at home tonight. We'll see.


I went to Chipotle at lunch today. Let's get a few things straight right now:
  1. I love Chipotle.
  2. I love their food.
  3. I love their people.
  4. I love their stores.
  5. I love their philosophies.
  6. I love music.
  7. I love loud music.
But the goddamn store I was in today was playing the music so loud that the cute (and nice) kids behind the counter could not hear me... and I couldn't hear them. They were super busy, too! Would it kill you to turn the fucking music down? They build your burrito in that conveyer belt system like Subway does, and it drives me crazy to have to tell 12 different people what I want, and then to have to tell 12 different people the same information 2 times... well. I get pissy.

Anyway, the good news is, my food was delicious. I mean, how could it not be?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


On September 11, 2001, I was just getting up and getting ready to start my second day at my first County job. I was working for a department located in Koreatown. I was up early, and so was Patrick. We were listening to NPR, and then, after hearing them talk about what was happening in New York, we turned on the television.

I got in my car and drove to work.

At the time it was so scary and unreal to me, I was afraid to really listen or hear the details of what was happening. I remember that Patrick got a little frustrated with me because I didn't want to know about the people who died or how they died or talk about the controversies or politics of it, or anything about it, really. Years later, I was more willing to try to absorb exactly what had happened: I've read a lot about it, actually. I finally allow Patrick, who did pay attention and knows much more than I do about it, to discuss it with me.

I still get overwhelmed when I think about it, and I was just a bystander - not even there: I was a viewer. I saw it on television or through the eyes of the NPR reporters. It had no personal affect on me... and yet it does.

To all the innocent people who lost their lives, to their families, to those who died trying to help -- thank you. I remember.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekend update, after the fact

First, let me just start with a weather report:

It's fucking hot.

My iPhone Yahoo! weather forecast thingy indicates that it's going to be in the 90s this week, and I'm not super happy about that. I don't like Yahoo anyway, so this just cements that feeling; however, I did also check the weather channel, and they're saying the exact same thing.

Of course, I have to state for the record that what bothers me is not just the heat, but it's the humidity.

Finally, according to Wikipedia, the city of Olympia, Washington, is one of the two most humid cities in the United States. The humidity in Long Beach today is currently 79%. In Olympia, right now, it's 83%. However, it's 73 degrees right now in LB, and only 50 in Olympia, so what this proves, I really don't know. Maybe I should book us a flight to Olympia, Washington. I've never been there. It looks nice and cool.

(You can tell that I didn't really understand what that weather guy was going on about when he was talking about dewpoint. Maybe I'll study that more carefully later. Maybe not.)

And on giving this slightly more thought, I also really didn't read the Wikipedia article all that closely. Let me just say that being hot and sticky for two weeks in a row, with at least one more week to go (and probably more) puts me in the grumpiest mood, ever.

You have been warned.

On to the update:

I spent Thursday night in Culver City, so that's where I'm going to start. I went to flute choir, and Jules stayed with my mom and dad, sister, and brothers. He had a lot of fun, as always: Angie made some orange play-dough. He also had Chinese food. At flute choir, Patty said, at one point, "Did someone lose a diamond?" I don't know what she was talking about (no one had lost a diamond, nor had she found one) but her comment caused me to take a look at my wedding ring, and I discovered that my diamond was indeed loose.

Being as my wedding ring is like the fourth most expensive thing I own, I made a mental note to take it somewhere to be fixed on Saturday.

(My diamond isn't very big but it's very pretty.)

I can't remember the name of the piece, but one of the things we played in flute choir was this really strange piece by the composer Ricky Lombardo. We've played other things by him and really liked them. I really liked this one too. In summer flute choir, we all sight-read, and everyone gets a chance to play flute one. That person also gets to chose the music. My friend Megan picked this one, and I was sitting next to her, at flute 2. What a great piece to be flute 2 on - Megan had to do the hard work of conducting the group (and she did a great job) but flute 2 had all the pretty parts. The music was slightly corny and a little science fiction-y, and there was one spot where we were all supposed to pretty much play whatever the hell we wanted for "10-15 seconds" but it was a really nice piece of music for flute choir. My comment on this one was, "Is Ricky Lombardo a Scientologist?" I haven't been able to confirm if he is or not.

We played other stuff but that one stuck out in my mind.

It was a gorgeous night in Culver City on Thursday.

Then I went home to McDonald Street, changed my clothes, got ready for bed, and got JP out of Angie's room to sleep with me... and a little while later, felt one of the bigger earthquakes I've been awake for. JP slept through it. It was a 7.4, in Beverly Hills. Patrick didn't feel it in Long Beach.

Friday, Jules woke up at 5. That's about 4 hours before my parents get up, but my sister was getting ready for work. He and I went into the living room where we tried to figure out their cable TV menu (how does that Pink Floyd lyric go? I've got 500 channels of shit on the TV to choose from?) I was getting frustrated but then Angie showed me how to do the On Demand kids' channels, and we watched about 40 episodes (exaggerating) of Caillou in a row. We also played, ate a banana, and read a book. Later that morning, when my folks got up, my dad made us breakfast (I love my dad's breakfasts: eggs, potatoes, and bacon), I took a shower, and we hung out some more. Then I decided to go to Santa Monica to get my ring fixed.

When I worked at 4th Street and Santa Monica Blvd. at Rizzoli Bookstore (now a furniture store!), I used to go to Jack's Jeweler's. They would polish or tighten up my ring for me in an hour or so, and I liked that same-day service. After I moved to Long Beach, I found a jeweler that had been recommended by my sister-in-law's sister-in-law (got that?) and I liked them, but they take a week to do the same job. Not cool. So, since I also wanted to go to Barnes and Noble, and the Gap on the Promenade, and possibly Anthropologie, I decided to pack up JP and the stroller, and head over there. Wow has Santa Monica changed since I was there last. It's only been a year or so, but the place is different.

Jack's Jeweler's did the work on my ring (including polishing) in an hour, as promised, and Jules and I bought books (one was a gift for his friend Skylar, plus a gift card; we went to her birthday party on Sunday. There's a huge difference between 2 year olds and 19 month olds!), Jamba Juice, and heard a woman singing a funny French song and accompanying herself on the guitar (she told us afterwards that the song translated to "he saw me in the nude"). I'm not sure if this is the same song but how can it not be? Is that a common theme for French songwriters? Her performance was cute because she kept giggling.

When my ring was ready, we paid up and drove home. Patrick picked up Panda Express for us for dinner on his way home from work, and we had a quiet night.

Saturday I went to the cue-to-cue for the next play at City Garage. It's called Orestes 3.0, and it's by Charles Mee. I haven't worked with City Garage since I had the baby, but this is their first show in their new, permanent space at Bergamot Station, and I had to be in the booth. Seriously: I would have been so disappointed to miss this. I saw the theater a few months ago while they were working on it, but the place looks so much more complete now (as it should: the show opens 9/21). It's beautiful. I was blown away by how beautiful it is.

I got there early with my friend Bo (we are carpooling again) so that we could help Charles focus the lights but he was still hanging them when we arrived, so Bo and I sat in the gorgeous and spacious backstage area and read our books (we're both reading Murakami's 1Q84; he finished while we were there, and I still have about halfway to go). Seeing the beautiful space they have created is so exciting. I helped Charles change a couple of gels, and then Bo and I helped plug in all the lights. Then we helped focus them - Bo stood on stage in various places, Charles climbed the ladder, and I just ran the lights up one by one.

Then we embarked on what felt like the longest cue-to-cue, ever. Now, it's been awhile since I've done this type of work, so maybe I'm just out of practice, but as the day (and night) wore on, I started worrying that I had made a mistake.

But I reminded myself that each show only has one cue-to-cue, and that thanks to the director's generosity, I only need to do one week of tech rehearsals (next week). I changed my work schedule so that when tech week starts, I'll be working 7-3:30 (five days a week instead of four), which will actually give me some time with JP in the afternoons. After the long day on Saturday, and my (total) grumpiness on Sunday, though, I'm worried about how next week is going to play out in reality.

Once the show opens, I'm sure it will be fine... Depending on the length of the show itself, I'll be away from home for what, 4, 5 hours? On the other hand, as I told a friend of mine as I contemplated starting this project, I feel somehow, like everything is changing again.

I can't put my finger on what, exactly. I just feel it. 

Check out City Garage for show and ticket information.