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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm here at City Garage for my first cue to cue since having Jules. I'm totally nervous about how this is going to work… I have different responsibilities now, being here feels a little selfish. On the other hand, I'm so excited.

Right now I'm waiting backstage for Charles to finish hanging the lights. When he's done we're going to focus them.

The new space is so beautiful! And my booth (yes, I said "my"!) is clean and perfect.

I just switched some gels for Charles but otherwise I'm sitting backstage with Bo. He's also reading the Murakami but he's almost finished with it.

More posts later if I have time.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Random Topic Thursday

Let's bulletize!
  • I had that X song "Nausea" in my head all night. (Example: "nausea... bloody red eyes go to nausea... bloody red eyes go to nausea... bloody red eyes go to sleep..." Except I couldn't sleep.)
  • I think my feet have shrunk. I know they were bigger when I was pregnant because I had to buy a couple of pairs of shoes a half size bigger. Then, my old size 8 shoes started fitting again. Now I have to use those rubbery heel protector things in some of them because my feet keep slipping out. What's up with that?
  • My doctor recommended that I start taking calcium "due to my age." Thanks doc, I was just starting to feel like 40 wasn't that old. Proving that you're only as old as you feel/act, I haven't started taking it yet. Fuck you, lady! You're not the boss of me!
  • Two of my co-workers are discussing the Twilight books and the "level of writing." They're all, "it's a 7th or 9th grade level." Really? That high? In their defense, I think they're being critical of the author. Not in their defense: WHY ARE YOU READING THOSE STUPID BOOKS? I might have to kill them.
  • "I might have to kill them/her" has become a catchphrase for me. I should probably not use it that often. In my defense, I totally don't mean it. Duh.
  • "In my defense" - add it to the list.
  • This Saturday is the cue-to-cue for my next adventure with City Garage. I'm nervous. It's going to be a lot of work and driving and I'm going to miss evenings with my boy for a week while I'm in tech rehearsals (I'm only going to one week of tech and that scares me too!) and oh yeah, I'm going to be TIRED. I'm tired now! Add a week of driving to and from Santa Monica - ! On the other hand (using this phrase a lot again lately too!) working with these guys is so much fun and I'm excited to see the new space and the show. And the director called me "Charles' angel," which I love. She knows how to work me. (Charles is the set, lighting and sound designer. Also her husband.)
  • I've been reading Murakami's 1Q84 on my iPhone. It's amazing - I love Murakami! But I think I need an iPad. Who wants to hook me up?
  • In a few short months I've become a coffee addict. This is worrisome. Do I have an addictive personality? (You think?)
  • I really need a breakfast burrito this morning.
  • Between President Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama's speeches at the Democratic convention, my cynicsm about politics and politicians has been alleviated a little.
  • I got a chance to practice for about an hour about a week ago, and I worked on the Mucynski flute + clarinet duets. There's one that has a couple of bars of high notes - Bflat to A. Those fingers don't always work that great for me when I'm rusty, but I figured it out (and probably drove the neighbors crazy; repetition was my friend that night) and really got it flying. I haven't played my flute since then, but the feeling I had of getting that to sound better, and fixing a problem, and liking what I was hearing: I love that. I miss that.
  • There's just not enough time to do everything.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nosy me

Last Thursday, my boss asked me to do downtown and review an employee's personnel file. This employee is transferring to our office, and someone is required to review their file before they come. I guess so that the department they're coming to can't claim that they didn't know about the employee's (whatever) problem: no surprises. This was the first time I've done this, so I was a little nervous (I get a little nervous the first time I do anything. Sometimes the second and third times, too. Yep. Now you know), but it turns out that the HR manager of the department I went to is the woman who hired me into the County 12 years ago. I met with her secretary, but she came out to say hello and give me a hug. This woman was hard to work for but I learned a lot from her, and I appreciate those lessons. It was really nice to see her. And, the secretary she has now is nothing like (nerdy) me: that woman was stylish! I thought that was a little funny, actually.

Anyway, obviously I'm not going to write about what I found out about this employee. Actually, it was really interesting because this person has been with the county for a very long time, and is someone with a lot of experience and accolades, and I enjoyed reading the file. I felt like I learned a lot. We're quite lucky to be getting this person.

After I reviewed the file, I called my boss to tell her what I had found: nothing that would prevent them from coming. My boss actually knows the person, so what I had to tell her she probably already knew - I surprised myself, though, because from the notes I took, I was able to summarize my impressions of the person much more succinctly than I'm saying anything today.

There's no point to this post, so you can stop reading now.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Volkswagen Thrum

There should be a car model called "Thrum." I'm in love with this word!

I think Volkswagen should use it. They could dust off the gorgeous Karmann Ghia design and make a plug-in electric. I've been pitching this idea for awhile now, and VW doesn't seem to be listening. The time is ripe. Go for it, VW! I'm behind you 100%.

In fact, I think the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia "Thrum" would be awesome. I don't know if that's too many names or what, but the word thrum is very evocative (personal story, yeah, but it works) to me, and perfect for a humming little electric car. A plug-in, with classic Karmann Ghia styling, in 1980s "Pretty in Pink" inspired colors? Dude. Sign me up.

Molly Ringwald could be the spokesperson. (Wait, is Don Adams dead?*) Molly would be perfect. In the ads, hers would be (of course) dusty rose like the beater Andie drove in "Pretty in Pink," though I bet she'd look great in a bright yellow one, too. Maybe she could be trading in the Pretty in Pink version for a new one in the ad. I'm more likely to buy something from Molly than I would from Jennifer Lopez! Even the J.Lo branded underwear offends me!

(VW: I would like an olive green one, maybe a little darker than the example, with a dulce de leche colored interior, in some environmentally friendly fabric or faux leather materials. Thanks.)

*Don Adams, AKA Maxwell Smart, AKA Agent 86, died in 2005.