“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Birthday Party - A Dream in Base 13

DNA and Me in 1998. I'm pretty sure I was pregnant with my oldest here, but I didn't know it yet.
But I did have stitches in my hand (not shown) from butchering a giant salmon.

My favorite author is Douglas Adams. I first discovered Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at the El Dorado Libary in Long Beach. It sounded interesting. I read it. I loved it. It was a fun outer-space SciFi story with quirky characters and really great one-liners. I've read all 5 books in the trilogy. (I've read, but don't count And Another Thing, the 6th book in the trilogy, however. It wasn't written by DNA and I felt that Eoin Colfer, the author, was trying too hard). However, if I am being honest, more than H2G2, I liked the Dirk Gently series.

More still than H2G2 and Dirk Gently being a great reads, Douglas Adams helped me on my path of being comfortable with and embrace my weird; from him, I learned to accept myself. It was sort of my nerdy version of "it gets better."

Douglas Adams died in 2001. It made me sad.

Last night I had a dream about him. I woke up happy.

In my dream, Douglas Adams was still alive and he had a daughter around the same age as my youngest child.
I went to a birthday party at Douglas Adams' house. The inside of the house was white and had lots of flowy white fabric acting as walls creating rooms in the house's open floor plan. The back wall of the house was a giant window / sliding glass door that opened up to a big backyard with rolling green hills. As soon as we entered, my kids took off and went to the backyard to play. I looked around the room to find some interesting parents to speak with. All the parents were sitting still. Nobody was talking. They all looked really uncomfortable. Sitting in the middle of a long Kings Table was a dad from my oldest kid's class. He had an ax through his head; not a real ax, a fun one. Think of Steve Martin with the arrow in his head, that kind of ax. He looked like he wanted to be really whimsical and fun but ended up regretting his decision.

I walked around the living area a bit, noticed a great buffet table filled with delicious food. People were standing around it, but nobody was eating. I decided that going outside where all the action was would be more enjoyable. I went outside. The kids were having a super fun blast. There we life-size creatures characters from The NeverEnding Story milling about, a giant waterslide-dunktank-archery ride, lots of streamers, a maypole. 

While watching my kids play and run around off in the distance, the dad of my oldest kid with the ax in his head approached me. I asked him where DNA was. He said he spoke with him earlier but that he hated parties and was most likely hiding from all the hubbub as much as he could.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Not the Right Size - An Open Letter to Sunset Scavenger

When I was a kid, trash night was Thursday night. Every Thursday it was my job to walk around the house and collect all the trash from the tiny cans in the bathrooms so my dad could take the trash to the curb. We didn't have trash cans; nobody did. We just put the bags on the curb. Then as I got older, the City said we had to have cans. My dad brought home these giant cans, taller than me. They were super thick cardboard with a metal rim. I could never find the right spot to grab them and drag them into the backyard when they were emptied. I usually kicked them over and rolled them into the backyard, hoping that I wouldn't lose control of the cans causing them to roll down the slight decline in the driveway to the street. I'm sure the city I grew up in has city-provided trash bins now, and perhaps even bins to recycle, but when I was a kid, we didn't have them.

Flash forward to present day, we have 3 bins in SF; black for landfill, green for compost and blue for recycle.

Dear Sunset Scavenger,

I am in complete support of the trash service collection program in San Francisco. I know to put my food and food-soaked paper packaging into the compost. I know to put my cans, bottles and papers into the recycle and I know where to put the items that are not nature-based or recyclable. I know to put all my used batteries in a plastic bag on top of the trash bin. I know to put all my plastic zip-lock/sandwich type bags in a plastic bag and place on top of the recycle.

It's a well-oiled practice-turned habit that I no longer even think about much. I just do it.

Here is a picture of my trash bins. I am really really bothered by them.The capacity seems to be sized appropriately to my trash output needs. My recycling is really freaking huge, my compost is a pretty good size. My trash bin is a bit small, but when one takes the small amount of time needed to separate one's refuse, one doesn't need a big trash bin.

My issue is the barrels themselves. I hate to go all Nigel Tufnel on you but they are all 3 different heights, all three different widths and all 3 different depths and three different lengths. They don't match. They aren't even sized proportionally. Even the handles are at different heights.

Not as bad as the stupid-ass cardboard bins with the metal rims I had to fight with every week but sheesh; trash is messy and icky, at least make it look nicer.

Thank you,

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Quirky Moral Imperative - Don't Be Late

When I was in Kindergarten my mom sent me to a babysitter in the morning before and after school. One time her husband took me to school. When we got there I was a tiny bit late; all the kids were already lining up to go into the classroom. My babysitter's husband told me to go up to my teacher and tell her I was tardy. I said I would but I knew I wasn't going to. I didn't want to tell my teacher I was tardy. Being tardy is wrong. I didn't want to get in trouble and I didn't want her to think badly of me. When I got to school I tried my best to blend into the line. I have no idea if she saw me join the line late or not but she never mentioned it and neither did I. As far as I thought, I was home free. She didn't know I was late. Face saved.

My whole life I've been both conscious and conscientious about being late. Being on time is important. Being late is inexcusable.

OK, sure, a big-rig jack-knifed on the road in front of you and the road is closed; your cat vomits all over your keys and you have to wash them off before you use them; your baby has a huge blow-out diaper, up the back, between the toes; someone is blocking your driveway and you can't get out.  All of those are great examples on when lateness is excusable; it's understandable.

What isn't understandable or excusable is being late for being late's sake.

Other people are important. When you make an appointment with them, you are asking them to give up a portion of their time for your benefit. Other people's schedules are created with the assumption that you are going to live up to your part of the bargain and do the thing you said you would do at the time you agreed to do it. When you are late you are disrespecting the the other party or parties involved. You are saying you are more important than them. You devalue another when you are late.

I realize that may sound a bit harsh, but I really believe that. It all comes down to respect. How much do you respect other people? And really, how much do you respect yourself? It shows poorly on you if you are late all the time. It shows you don't care about the other person. It shows you in a bad light.

For almost 20 years I was constantly fighting to not be late. I was married to a chronically late person who was completely comfortable with that status. No matter how much lead time we had, no matter what time of day or what kind of event, we were always late. It wasn't because of a mishap or something we couldn't control. It was because the chronically late ex didn't think being on time was important.

There was always a lot of stress that went along with having to be somewhere at a certain time. It didn't matter if it was a family dinner, church, kids' sportball practices or games, doctor's appointments, dinner reservations, a flight we had to catch; we were always late. It didn't matter if being late would mean having to miss something, or having to forgo some benefit; and it didn't matter if being on time was important to someone else. It was always a big source of stress for me. It didn't  matter to him that it bothered me so much.

Over the years I did my best to manage the lateness; making sure the kids and I were ready long before we needed to be so ex could get ready without any hurdles or telling ex the event started 30 minutes before it actually did. It worked with varying degrees of mild success.

Now almost 4 years of being single, the stress of not being on time has manifested itself in a strange way. I am super conscious of the time, where I need to be and when. I've taken to setting alarms on my phone with reminders to do things, when to leave so I can arrive on time. Some nights I get really bad alarm clock anxiety and wake up in the middle of the night to see if my alarm is still set. I'm early for everything and apologetic when I am late, even when I can't control the circumstances.

I realize this moral imperative of mine manifests itself a bit strongly, but I'm not apologizing for it. I don't like how it's paired up with the divorce PTSD, but I don't regret not being late for stuff. I don't regret treating people with the respect they deserve by being on time and present for the time they've scheduled for me.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Me and Hyla-O Down by the Schoolyard - a true yet pointless story

My car, my music.

In general, I don't listen to regular radio much. Most of my music is enjoyed in a form such that I don't hear a lot of current songs or new artists. I listen to Sirius, Pandora and my ipod. All three of those musical avenues are all pretty targeted and mostly tailored to me. I listen to First Wave with Richard Blade, Deep Tracks with Jim Ladd, Classic Vinyl on Sirius, whatever strikes my mood on Pandora (I've been listening to a lot of Phyllis Dillon or Adrian Belew lately) and my ipod, filled with guilty pleasures, hula stuff and the one-off songs my kids ask me to add.

I'm always excited when my kids sing the music I like. It's like I'm passing along to them not only a snapshot of music and history they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to, but also I'm sharing with them a piece of myself I wouldn't know how to otherwise share; an intangible understanding of my inner-self. I stood up a little taller the day my boy was annoyed he couldn't get "Thela Hun Ginjeet" out of his head and the time my little one busted out with L'Trimm (we're Tigre and Bunny and we like the boom) while she was coloring quietly on the living room floor.

It's one thing to actively expose my kids to my music in the car, but something happened yesterday that just turned my love of sharing music with my kids to 11. My love of sharing music with my kids just created its own intelligent life.

My daughter came home from work today and said "Mom, I heard this song today and I can't get it out of my head."

I asked her what it was (hoping it wasn't Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean) and she told me it was "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon. Paul Simon? She likes Paul Simon? She got a Paul Simon song stuck in her head?

She heard a song that I have loved all my life an she liked it too, all on her own! Yay. It made me happy.

In the early 80's, Saturday Night Live reruns played at 11pm weeknights. During the summer it was my goal, my duty even, to stay up until 11 and watch SNL. One night, I must have been about 10 or 11, a rerun with Paul Simon came on. During Weekend Update, we saw Paul Simon play a game of basketball with Connie Hawkins, while "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" played. That song instantly became my favorite song of the moment. We had a Paul Simon album at home. I was so stoked to see that "Me and Julio..." was on it. I played it over and over and over again, practicing the whistling part until I got it down perfectly.

I looked for the clip on youtube but couldn't find it. I did find a recording of the song. I also found the transcripts for the SNL bit. Bummer I couldn't find what I was looking for.

Friday, April 20, 2018

For the Love of Hot Water Based Beverages

My folks are big coffee drinkers. They drank coffee at every meal, even dinner. I thought it was weird they would order coffee as their beverage at every meal, even dinner at Hof's Hut for soup and muffins. I'd always be mad that after we finished dinner we would have to sit around while they drank more coffee. I finished my dinner. I was ready to go. They'd been drinking coffee all throughout the meal, why did they need more? Then as I got older I mellowed, as I started realizing the benefits of a delicious cuppa joe. They've since switched to Sanka, but their coffee consumption routine hasn't changed much.

I was a senior in high school when I started drinking coffee regularly. Winchell's Donuts was a major contributor in the forming of my caffeine habit / ritual. Every morning before school, I would drive my dad's F150 (3 on the tree!) to the Winchell's on Sterns and Palo Verde, get my coffee and fill it with a good 15-20 second pour from the sugar dispenser, add a few inches of half & half and be on my way. I would put it in the drink holder, drive to school, and pound my coffee as I was running to my first class of the day.

Then I discovered 7-11 coffee. There's something about bad coffee and how much better it gets with the addition of artificially flavored creamers (irish cream was my favorite) and poured into a styrofoam cup.

Over time my coffee drinking became more "sophisticated". I discovered mochas at Midnight Expresso in Belmont Shore. Still, with the sugar, though. Tons and tons of extra milk and sugar.

Shortly after I moved to SF, I lived across the street from a bakery, and later I started working there. Coffee became a necessary staple; I kept late hours and woke up early. Coffee was necessary. A good 2 inches of sugar and an equal amount of cream in a 12 oz cup did me nicely.

I still drink coffee, but not as much. I prefer black tea these days, Barry's specifically.

I do not, however, add sugar anymore, unless it's hotel room coffee, then it's necessary. I stopped adding sugar because it was easier; my boyfriend back then would berate me every time he would bring me coffee, make snide comments about my sugar use. "How can you drink this so sweet? It's so gross. I can't believe you like it this way. I don't want to accidentally drink your coffee or I'll throw up. I put so much sugar in your coffee I started gagging." Two years later we were married and I was drinking coffee just like his, just cream.  Although I prefer the taste of no sugar in my coffee these days, I'm still bitter about being bullied into giving it up and add sugar out of spite once in a while.

What's your caffeine ritual?

My caffeine ritual is simple. I wake up, have a cup of Barry's and milk (no sugar) while getting ready for work. I get to work and have a quick shot of espresso while the tea kettle is warming up, pour myself a 2nd cup of Barry's (sometimes PG Tips), but no milk (or sugar), and head to my desk. Most of the time I get through half of it before I get busy and forget about it, but by then I'm sufficiently caffeinated and don't need anymore. If I'm still looking to enjoy a hot beverage, though I'll switch to green tea. My favorite green tea right now is Green Tea with Coconut from Harney and Sons Fine Teas. It comes in a pretty pink box and I keep it at my desk so I don't have to share.

Once in a while I'll stop at my local coffee house by my house on the way to work, but 80% of the time, I forget about it on my drive to work, it gets over-steeped and bitter and I don't drink it and I proceed with my usual caffeine routine at work.

This morning I had my morning Barry's, stopped at my local coffee house, got a 2nd cup of Barry's and had most of it consumed by the time I got to work. Being sufficiently caffeinated, I didn't have my espresso shot while waiting for my kettle to heat and I didn't bring the subsequent cup of tea back to my desk.

I feel off; like I missed a step. I will have to correct that and get back on track with a late morning tea.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

What's in a Name? - An Examination of Naming Shibboleths

Fussy Perfume Heiress Bibi Gallini
My dad wanted to name me Babette. My mom said no. I was a little disappointed when I found that out. I have to say, I would have made a rockin' Babette. I would have made that name proud. I totally could have pulled off Babette. I could have been called Babs, Betty, Bibi. Ooh, I would have liked to be called Bibi; just like the fussy perfume heiress Bibi Gallini..

Mostly everyone calls me by my whole first name; Andrea (pronounced ANN-dree-uh). About 1/2 of the people who call me by my whole first name mispronounce it (awn-DRAY-uh, ann-DRAY-uh, AWN-dree-uh). It sometimes bugs me, but not enough to actually say anything about it. I guess it's just the territory that goes along with having my name. I also have a short name, two actually. Andi is used by my extended family; aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. And still another, Ani is used by my immediate family; parents, siblings, niece, nephew.
My partner, Captain Awesome calls me by the familiar, immediate family moniker, but my friends, even my closest ones, never made that leap; not even my ex. I've often wondered if that was a failing on my part not or just a personal preference on their part, in any case, habits are formed, damage is done. There's a guy at work who calls me by my "extended family" name. I am totally cool with it. I had a boss once who called me Ms. XXX, then when I took back my maiden name he referred to me as Ms. LLL)

My kids names are Penny, Maximilian and Gabrielle.
I'm lying, that's not their names, but for the point I want to illustrate, these names will work nicely.

Penny, my oldest.
Everyone calls her Penny. Only a few people call her Pen, but only a tiny tiny few, and not very often or consistently. I call her Pen and refer to her as Pen in texts, but not all the time. She doesn't go by Pen, she goes by Penny.
Her name is 2 syllables. Most people use both of them when addressing her. She doesn't mind being called Pen and will answer to it just fine, but nobody ever does and she's not all that bothered by it.

Maximilian, my son.
He's a bit different. He prefers Max. I call him by his whole name, but if I use his whole name in public, around his friends, he gets mad. He prefers that short version of his name. (There was this one summer where he told everyone at YMCA camp, including counselors, that his name was Nick and nobody knew who I was asking about when I picked him up until I used his "camp name.") Maximilian is for official stuff, important stuff, stuff for strangers and doctors. Stick with Max with him. I equate it to when someone used to call me Mrs. XXX, I would be confused and think "but Mrs. XXX is my mother-in-law, not me. I'm Mrs.... Oh wait, I guess I am Mrs. XXX" (note - I am no longer Mrs. XXX, thank God, but the point is still valid.) Max also has a name some kids use at school too. I like the nickname. I think it's cute, but I'm not allowed to use it, only the students in his class are.

Gabrielle is a bit different. She tells everyone her name is Gabrielle. She offers no other option. One has to earn Gabby, one is not allowed to start with Gabby. One has to work towards Gabby. She wants to be introduced as Gabrielle. She introduces herself as Gabrielle. At home we call her Gabby. I call her Pua.

It's a social shibboleth of sorts. What people call me and how they refer to me, and how they pronounce my name, put them into buckets of how I know them, what we talk about, how we interact.

I find it interesting that the path to each person's comfort level depends on the callee, not the caller.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

To Catch a Cat Cold - A Dream

My cat, Pauly sleeps with me most nights. Usually he gets himself comfy in a spot somewhere around my knees. When it gets really cold out, he sleeps on my head. Last night when I woke up to pee, I found him curled up right by my head..

This morning I  heard my cat sneeze about 5 times in a row. I think he may have sneezed on me last night.

I was in some kind of vacation house with a group of people. I recognized them in my dream but I can't remember who they are now. I was sitting at the kitchen table. I had just started a load of laundry in my pull-out sofa, because I guess in my dream life, Ikea sofa beds can be hooked up to a plumb line. There were a bunch of kids playing outside. A baby about 6 months old crawled up to me. She was dressed like Minnie Mouse. She sat on my lap and watched the kids play through the window. After a few moments she turned her head towards me and sneezed directly in my face. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Les Claypool and the Flying V and the Quest for Soup: A Dream

When I was about 18 I had this friend. His wife won a Flying V guitar on some radio contest. She was so excited to win it. I saw it. It was pretty. This was almost 30 years ago. I wonder what she did with it. I guess I'll never know.

The Boyfriend and I plus a handful of our friends were at some kind of house together. Les Claypool was performing somewhere nearby. He happened by us and asked us if he could crash with us. Of course we said yes. Not wanting him to feel awkward and wanting to give him a sense of normalcy, we largely ignored him and let him do his thing. Mostly what he did was amble and putter about carrying a Flying V, just like Randy Rhodes' guitar and talk about how he wanted to eat soup, really good soup.

Friday, June 23, 2017

He mea maʻa mau ia i ke Caprica - A Dream for you and I

Lords of Kobol, I woke up to fantastic dream this morning.

There are nights when I don't want to go to hula. Y'know, you get home from work after a long day, you're tired. You don't want to get back into the car and drive across town. My oldest daughter, who is also my hula sister didn't want to go either. She, like me, had worked a full day on her feet and could have been easily convinced not to go. We make the right decision, we e ʻeu ka lemu (got off our booties) and holoholo-ed to hula. 
I've never regretted going to hula on a night when I didn't want to go. I am always happy I went. Last night was no exception. It was a good class. After class we got home, I put the little ones in their beds, got comfy in my bed and watched a few episodes of Battlestar Galactica on Hulu. I'm in the middle of Season 3 right now. It seems my evening served as really excellent dream fodder.

I was at a restaurant having lunch with Chief Tyrol and Cally. 
(I was probably on Earth, but who knows, I could have easily been on Caprica. I don't think I was on the Cloud 9 ship, unless I was in the employee cafeteria on Cloud 9 because it wasn't fancy. It was mostly shaped like Barney's on Solano.  Yeah, it totally wasn't the Cloud 9 cafeteria because why would I save all my cubits to pay for transport from Faru Sadin to Cloud 9 only to have to eat the space equivalent of Sysco chicken nuggets? The restaurant was definitely on Earth or Caprica.)
We were seated along the wall at a 4 top but all the 4 tops along that wall were really close together. Chief, Cally and I had just ordered and I look up and see one of my kid's friend's dads walk in. I get up to say hello to him. He doesn't see me. He turns away and grabs a 'ukulele from the top of the bookshelf, sits down and starts playing Henehene Kou 'Aka. I say to myself "hey, I know that song." I get up, stand in the middle of the room and join the dance right at the "for you and I" go right into the kāholo and start the second verse, get on that street car and make my way to Waikīkī, Kapahulu, and Kaka'ako (moo).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Just Around the Corner with Captain Awesome

I don't know San Jose very well. I've been to the Winchester Mystery House. I've been to a Shark's game. I've been to Patty's Bar, the oldest bar in SJ. I can get to my boyfriend's house from my house, but I still have to use google maps to figure out how to get home and I'm certain I take a different way to the freeway every single time. I know very little about the secrets San Jose holds, but last weekend I went for a walk, and let me tell you, I still know very little about San Jose, but I got to go on a very nice walk.

Captain Awesome (my BF) and I took the family dog Gus out for a walk. Just 3 short blocks and up around the corner from where we started, lots of goats nibbled on our fingers. They have the tiniest teeth.

We saw cows. They were a lot bigger than they seem in the picture.

And we got to enjoy a beautiful moment as the sun was setting.

Gus got to stretch his legs, pee on things and  sniff goats. I got to enjoy spending time in the evening sun with my man.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

My 'Okina Outshines My 'Ōniu, You Crazy Diamond

I played the flute a bit in band in grade school and junior high (a few of my tens of readers may remember by lovely rendition of Journey's Who's Crying Now? on my flute accompanied by one of my classmates who was really amazing on the piano at the school talent show). I picked the flute up again in my early 20's but never really stuck with it (the other few of my tens of readers might remember my rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the Chameleon Club before the band Ida came on).

When I started Hula I picked up the 'ukulele a bit. Although I enjoyed playing, I wasn't very good but I noticed the more I played, the more I concentrated on learning how to play the songs we were learning hulas to, the stronger my dance was. I learned early on that as much as I truly love hula dancing, I am much stronger with learning chants and learning the language than I am with dancing. My 'okina outshines my 'ōniu, for sure. I always remember the hula better when I have the mele (song) memorized. My dancing is more passionate, more controlled and more me when I am pa'a (confident in, firm, stuck) with the mele.

I am not a musician but music has always been important to me. It's relaxed me. It's energized me. It's pulled me out of a bad mood. Music for me helps bring things into focus. Music keeps my mind active and helps me organize my thoughts. Music helps me process information and calm my mind. I express myself better when music is involved. I'm in a better mood when music is involved. I get more things done when there is music playing.

Set something to music and I will memorize it. Set something to music and I will understand it. Set something to music and I will remember it (I remember both my mom and my 5th grade teacher yelling at me when I was a kid. "You can remember any song on the radio but you can't memorize Luther's Small Catechism? What's the matter with you?" (BTW, she and my 5th grade teacher hated my reply of "Well maybe they should set it to music." I never understood why; setting it to music seemed totally logical to me; it's how most of us memorized the Preamble, isn't it?.)) Set something to music and I will find meaning in it.

I surround myself with people who also use music to express themselves or to soothe themselves or to define themselves; people who not only value listening to but also creating their own rhythms in life; people who mark milestones in their lives with what music was playing at the time or what show they were either watching or playing.

I don't know how to succinctly tie up this blog post so in lieu of being able to write a cohesive closing thought, here is my favorite flutist playing my favorite flute piece.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Is it October Already?

One of my pet peeves is when people shorten words for no good reason.
I hate the word "natch" in place of naturally, meaning for sure, yes.
I hate the word "convo" in place of conversation.
I hate the word "sando" in place of sandwich.
My little one watches a Barbie show on Netflix where they say "amaze" in this high pitched sing-song voice when what they really mean to say is that something is amazing or super. I hate that.
It used to drive me nuts when my ex-SIL called the refrigerator "The Refrige" or diapers "dipes." Drove me insane.
The ultimate one I hate is San Fran (but oddly enough Frisco is OK in the right circumstances).

Add a new word to the list; mammo.

I had my annual mammogram yesterday. I make sure to get them as often as Kaiser will give them to me. You can read about past mammograms here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Who has two thumbs and just had a mammogram?

Three nurses and two people in the waiting room said it. "Are you here for your mammo?" "Is this where I check in for my mammo?" "It's mammo time."

Sitting in that waiting room yesterday was like listening to someone eat a bowl of cereal in my ear.
Still, I was in and out of there in about 20 minutes. I'm talking parking, getting my mammogram, and going to SugarBowl right after; 20 minutes.

Stupid words aside, I missed last October's mammogram because I didn't have any health insurance. I have it now. Yay. I felt a little off getting my mammogram in the month of my half birthday rather than the month of my full birthday, but I didn't want to wait any longer

It is important to get your mammogram as often as you can get them. Listening to stupid word play in the waiting room is a small price to pay for not having cancer. Get your boobs checked.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

47 - A True Yet Pointless Story w/ a Little TMI

When I was a kid, getting tickets to a musical or play was a pretty popular present in my house. We would get two tickets and we would get to choose who went with us to the show. One year I got tickets to go see Cats. I took my dad. We were sitting outside the theater waiting until it was time to go in. My dad stood up and looked around. I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was looking for someone he knew. I asked him if he was expecting to see anyone he knew and he said, humbly and matter-of-fact-ly, "no, but I know a lot of people."
One year my sister got tickets to see Evita staring Patty LuPone. Another sister got tickets to Sunset Blvd. One year all of us got tickets to the ballet Don Quixote. I think I was about 10. I remember being really excited to watch a ballet, but falling asleep quickly once the show started.
The VERY BEST show I went to was Peter Pan staring Sandy Duncan at The Pantages.  Oh my gosh you guys. Peter Pan flew right above me. right. above. me. So cool.
That show I took one of my sisters. She drove a light blue Camaro. On our way home she got off the freeway early because she wanted to drive by The Pike. She got lost and super turned around. I had to pee really really badly. When she finally righted herself and figured out her way home, she told me that the longer I held my pee, the longer peeing time I would have. Then she told me some tall tale about her friend Gretchen who once held her pee from Big Bear to Long Beach and peed for two whole minutes.  As soon as I got home, I ran to the bathroom and peed, and counted. I made it to 27.
So, tonight I went out. I considered peeing before I left my house, but stupidly decided against it. When I got to my destination I had to pee like a racehorse tinkle quite urgently. I went into the bathroom and ....... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ...... I got up to 47.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dude, really? An Open Letter to Ike's Sandwiches

Dear Ike's

Really? $11 for this?

Today I got my first paycheck from my new job. I am very pleased about this and decided that although I always bring my own lunch to work, today I was going to celebrate and buy my lunch.

I was excited to see Ike's across the street from my office in Emeryville. I'd never eaten at an Ike's before. I was excited to give it a try. Today I tried Ike's for the first time. Unfortunately, today I probably tried Ike's for the last time.

Whenever I go to a sandwich place I've never been to before I order a salami sandwich; a simple one with salami, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise and pepperoncini on sliced sourdough bread. It's an easy sandwich that's hard to fuck up.

Guess what Ike's, you fucked it up.

Take a look at the picture. This is supposed to be a Salami sandwich? It's not. It's a mustard and lettuce sandwich with salami as a condiment.

I know my salami sandwiches. I am a casual expert when it comes to salami sandwiches. I have eaten more salami sandwiches than any other sandwich I've ever eaten combined, and that includes all the PB&J I had as a kid. One could argue I am an armchair connoisseur of salami sandwiches, or really, any sandwich using the salumi family of meats.

First, let's talk about the bread. I ordered my sandwich on sliced sourdough. You made my sandwich on a sourdough roll. I don't like rolls for sandwiches because the top of the roll always cuts up the roof of my mouth. I don't like that feeling. If you don't have sliced sourdough on your menu, your cashier should have alerted me to that fact when I asked for it. She did not.

Second, the lettuce. Shredded lettuce is gross on sandwiches. I know, this is a personal preference. Not a deal-breaker if the rest of the sandwich is delicious, but not my favorite thing.

Third, kind of goes back to the shredded lettuce. Too much mustard serves as a swimming pool for the shredded lettuce. One should not be able to pour lettuce out of a sandwich.

Fourth, I should have read the menu better. I did not know your sandwiches come hot unless otherwise asked. I have a problem with hot lettuce and hot mustard and mayo. I know there are some freakshows out there who think that hot condiments (we're talking temperature, not spice) are appetizing. I am not one of them. The smell of hot mayo makes me want to hurl. Hot mayo smells like Nair.

Fifth, and the most important of the factors of why your sandwich was so disappointing, why don't you put salami on your salami sandwiches? A wafer-thin layer of salami spread across a piece of bread does not a salami sandwich make. For a sandwich this size, and for $11 I should have gotten salami piled at least 1/2 inch high. Even if the rest of the sandwich is sub-par, it can be saved by the quality and amount of meat it has. Your lack of meat did not provide that lifeboat it needed to save the integrity of my sandwich.

All that being said, I was hungry. I ate the sandwich. Also, I didn't want to waste food. I paid 11 freaking dollars for it. It was so super far from the best sandwich I've ever had, but at best it was "pretty OK." I won't eat at Ike's again, unless someone else is paying and they go get it and bring it to me.

Thank you,

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lemuring Around - a dream

I don't believe dreams are prophetic. I don't think one receives knowledge in a dream that isn't already swimming around in one's brain. I do believe, however, that dreams can help to sort out one's thoughts, bring to light one's anxieties, fantasies, and fears. Of course one's dreams can also be just weird random occurrences of strange stuff and don't serve any purpose other than to entertain us, but that's not the kind of dream I had last night.

Last night I had a dream that I can't get out of my head. On the surface it's kinda funny, but the more I think about it, the more I can't shake it.

I was walking through my living room and there was a dead lemur on the floor. I kept trying to get around it but its tail kept getting in my way. I was finally able to kick it aside, only to find there was another lemur on my back that wouldn't go away. I saw my ex-husband and asked him to remove the lemur. Instead of pulling it off my back, he just tickled it and repositioned it. I tried to remove the lemur but couldn't. The lemur, with its cat-like jaws (yes, I know a lemur's jaws aren't cat-like, but this was a dream, remember?) grabbed onto my hand and wouldn't let go. I yelled "Ow, fucker" and punched it in the face. 

I woke up swinging. I actually woke from sleep swinging.

It goes without saying, there are a few obstacles in my life that just won't find their way to completion or success no matter how hard I try to make them happen; my divorce being final, a full-time permanent job with benefits, finding a safe and happy place to live for my kids and me.

Luckily the drive to keep swinging endures.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Taking One for the Team - a dream

Image result for anthony bourdain

There's this guy I follow on Instagram. I've never met him but he's posted enough photos of himself that I'd probably recognize him if I saw him on Muni or around the neighborhood. I had a dream about him and Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain is a repeat visitor to my dreams. You may remember him from dreams past.

I went on a date with this guy from Instagram that I follow. We connected through the online dating platform Plenty of Fish. We met at a bar that had two separate entrances. I went through the door closest to the bar. He went through the door closer to the restaurant. I saw him walk in. He did not see me. When I saw him I knew instantly that I did not want to meet him. Luckily, who did I spy at a table close to me but my good friend Tony. I walked sneakily up to him so as not to be noticed by the Instagram guy and slid into the booth next to my friend. I told him what was happening and asked him if he'd help me out by making out with me so I could hide from the Instagram guy. 

He said he'd be happy to, so we made out until the Instagram guy went away. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Math and Blasphemy - true, yet pointless story

So my boy is starting to learn his times tables.

I have a bit of a hard time helping him with math because the methods he's being taught to solve his math problems differ from how I was taught to solve them. I can show him how I get to the answer but I have a hard time showing him how he's supposed to get to the answer the common core way. We get through it, but sometimes it takes a bit longer than other times.

I remember my first introduction to times tables.

 I was in the 3rd grade. My teacher drew a grid on the chalkboard and started telling a story about how Lot and his wife were looking to build a house and they needed to figure out how many bricks they needed. I, of course, got my Bible out during math class (remember, I went to a parochial school) and searched for the story of Lot and his wife building a house. I couldn't find it. I searched and searched. Once his wife turned into a pillar of salt, I figured I'd gone a chapter or two too far. I would go back to the beginning of Genesis 11 (where Lot and his wife make their first appearance) and start my search again.

 When I couldn't find any reference to L and his wife building a house and not being able to figure out their brick needs I raised my hand. I questioned the teacher about her story. She said it wasn't actually in the Bible. She was making it up to illustrate how to do times tables.

I was so mad at her. I scolded her for being a blasphemer in front of the class.

Lot and his wife and their housing problems never came up again.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Time I Stole From Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - A Confession

Image result for mary kate and ashley olsen holding hands

I tell my kids I love them every single day. I tell them I love them. I tell them there is nothing they could ever say or do to make me stop loving them. I tell each of them they are my favorite all the time. They know, without a doubt that I love them.

I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but whatever. It's not like when they're older they will be lying down on a sofa complaining that their mom told them they loved them too much.

When my oldest daughter was still an only child I was watching some kind of Entertainment News show and they were featuring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. One of the twins said that during red carpet events they are usually holding hands. If one of them were to get scared or need some encouragement the other one would squeeze her sister's hand three times and it meant I Love You.

I thought it was really sweet so I totally stole the idea and adopted this practice. We squeeze each other's hands three times when we need a little encouragement or want to tell the other person they are loved; during a quiet moment, in the middle of a large noisy crowd.  The vibe of the triple squeeze even works as a "I'm totally with you on this" kinda feeling.

We've continued this little tradition and taught it to my younger kiddies who came along later. It really warms my heart when I see them squeeze each other's hands.

So to Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen - Thank you. I am very happy I assumed your tradition and taught it to my children. I hope they continue the tradition and teach it to theirs.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Treat - An Open Letter to Chai Cart

About 2 months ago or so I spent the better part of the week in the hospital. Not a super fun time, but the docs patched me up just fine and I'm good as new. Whilst there, I had no coffee. I could have, but hospital coffee is a delicious as their Salisbury Steak, which is to say, not good at all. It's kinda hard to screw up hot water and a bag of black tea, though. So that's what I drank.

After a week of no coffee, I kind of lost my desire for it. Don't know why, but I've been choosing tea, Darjeeling mostly, as my hot-water-based beverage of choice. I still get the caffeine I've conditioned my body to crave, but with a different flavor profile. I still have coffee, just not everyday.

Dear Chai Cart,

I think you're awesome. You're expensive and I can't afford you daily, but you're great. See, you cost me $5 ($4 + $1 tip). I know there are plenty of people who go to S-Bux everyday and throw down $5 on their vente, double shot, two pumps vanilla, 1/2 pump hazelnut, extra sweetener, almond milk cup of stupid sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon, but that's not me. I'm usually happy with the Green Mountain coffee pods or Bigelow Tea provided by my office.

This morning I treated myself to a Masala Chai. I truly enjoy the product Chai Cart puts out. A steamy cup of Masala Chai hits the spot on a Friday morning. It's so hot I can't drink it for the first 20 minutes, but that's OK. It's all part of the ritual of spending $5 for a cuppa your tea; smelling the yummy spices, warming my hands, burning my fingers if I walk too quickly and spill a little bit.

And your customer service? So great. I have never encountered a grumpy Chai Cart worker. I imagine that's a hard job to be nice all the time especially because they have to stand outside in the cold and sell stuff to busy captains of industry. I've worked plenty of customer service / food service jobs and I know it's kind of hard to be "on" all the time. Not every customer is nice. It's hard to be nice back to the mean ones.

Chai Cart employees are always friendly and engaging. They have a knack for having a conversation with the customer without it seeming like they are just being nice because it's their job. They seem like actual nice people.

So thank you Chai Cart.


P.S. I am not a crackpot

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

In Which I Watched the News and Talked About Tigger

NOTE- I found this blog post in my drafts file. Thought I'd clean it up and post it.

So it was a Sunday in October 1991.

I had lived in San Francisco for about 6 weeks. I had just moved into a flat with 2 of my friends and a guy I'd met a few times but didn't really know very well, who would very shortly become my friend, and a friend I'd have to this day. Two of my roommates were in Long Beach for the weekend, the other was at work.

I was in my bedroom, unpacking, making my very first room in my very first new apartment my very own. I was a little worried because it was getting late and my roommates hadn't made it back from Long Beach yet.

I turned on my TV. It was the only TV in the house. My 3rd roommate hadn't quite moved all his stuff from his old apartment yet. He had the "good" tv. My TV was a 13" black and white TV where the volume liked to fluctuate at random.

I turned on the news, learned of the Oakland Hills Fire, and like it is with most disaster-type things on TV and me, I couldn't tear myself away. I knew Oakland was on the other side of the Bay Bridge, but I didn't know my geography well enough to know where the affected area was. I was really mad at the news for not showing a map of the area with a pinpoint of where the fire was.

When I was really engrossed in the TV, the doorbell rang. I ran downstairs and answered it. It was this guy I knew from Elementary school and Junior High. I recognized him right away. I had no idea why he was at my house. I had no idea he was friends with one of my new roommates. I don't even know if he knew I lived there.

I let him in. I knew him, after all. We sat in front of my 13" black and white TV and watched the fire spread on the news. We also talked about Tigger, and whether the area under his chin was orange or white. I had a poster on my wall were Tigger's area under his chin was white. He had a tattoo on his ankle? arm? of Tigger where the are under his chin was orange. Al Gore hadn't yet made the internet ubiquitous yet, at least to the extent where we could log on to Prodigy or AOL and look it up. We talked about it for a good hour.

He hung out for a few hours, then left. He never saw our friend / my new roommate. And come to think of it, although I'm friends with this guy on Facebook, I don't think I've seen him since that day.

In summary:
My roommates got home later that night all safe and sound, totally oblivious to the fire that was happening.
I had a pretty pleasant afternoon setting up my first new home, watching the news, talking about Tigger and getting to know someone that I'd known since at least 2nd grade.

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.