Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Good Old Days

Well, it seems to be New Year's eve.... again. Somehow the older we get, the faster time goes... I can't believe we're on the eve of 2007... weren't we all just going nutso about Y2K?!? (well, not me... I didn't heed the advice and stock up on canned goods and water, and look where that got me... oh, right).

Auld Lang Syne-- a Scottish tune written in the 1700's is roughly translated to mean "the good old days," which confuses me a little. The tried and true New Year's anthem, looking back at the past? Yes, yes... the whole, those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it mantra. I get it. And I understand having an appreciation for it and being able to accept where you've been to understand where you are... but New Year's, it seems, should be a celebration of fresh starts and the excited anticipation of what's to come.

But everyone seems to get a little too nostalgic (yes, even for me) on this day... and some tend to wax poetic about how they've done this and that in the past and boy, come January, they're going to make every effort to be a better person, and so on and so forth. You know what I say to that? There's no time like the present, people. Why wait for something in the future when you can do something right now? It's those people who will never actually do anything... they're either too hung up in the past or not big enough people to realize that it's what you do that's important... not what you say you will do.

So, rather than drivel on about what I've learned and what my resolutions will be (I'll leave that for the silent monologue that's constantly running in my head), I instead leave you with my own version of self-righteousness on this eve:

Be thoughtful of yourself and of others in the new year. There are bigger things in this world than any one of us. You can really only have expectations of yourself and your own actions... and everything else is incidental; but it doesn't give free license to be unkind. Be aware of who you are, your limitations and your gifts. And be honest about them. What little things that make the world go 'round, indeed.

Happy, happy new year, everyone. May it be merry and bright.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas in NYC

Those regular lurkers to this blog are very familiar with my waxing nostalgic about NYC and my great love for it. It seems that I will always miss the city that never sleeps and even today, two years after leaving, it still feels like home. But nothing so far has made me miss NYC as much as Christmas-- because the Big Apple truly knows how to do it up. I'm convinced not living there has been why I've had to kick start my Christmas, sputtering and never exactly gaining momentum, for the last couple of years. All things aside, New York magazine has just published their "Reasons to Love New York" issue. My favorite reason?

"Because We Can Be Defiantly Deluded"- by Jonathan S. Paul
New Yorkers consider it axiomatic that our tap water tastes better than anyone else's. The notion is up there with walking-and-talking speed as a point of civic pride. Here's the catch: IT appears not to be true. Recently, we assembled a panel of experts for an unscientific blind tasting of water from here and five other major cities: Paris; LA; Seattle; Golden, CO (blogger's note: since when is "Golden, CO" considered a major city?); and Newark. According to our aficionados, not only does New York not have the best water, but we have the worst. A shock? Sure. An embarrassment? Nah. Screw the evidence. The very fact that we're wrong only serves to prove that we're proud.
You gotta love it.

Sadly, that means both LA-LA-Land AND Newark (?!?) have better tap water. Huh. I still don't believe it. Anyone have any guesses as to which of the five aforementioned cities was #1?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmastime Is Here



Saturday, December 23, 2006

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Heading to La-La Land to spend the holidays with the fam tomorrow. It's been a while since I've been "home" (as much as it can be home considering I've now officially lived away from CA longer than I actually lived there...). Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing them (minus one A, who will not be gracing us with her presence...) and catching up with old friends.

Speaking of old friends, myspace is my new favorite thing. In the last year or so, I have found some of my favorite people. Found, quite literally, because they were indeed lost-- or perhaps I was... but either way, now we've all found each other and it's been quite nice getting to know them again. It's a strange thing this myspace world, because it connects you with old friends but really, you're meeting new people because you haven't actually talked to these people for half of your life. In my case, most of the friends are from junior high (we were split up when we went to different high schools), bonds of friendship formed in mutual commiseration over acne, puberty, and a slew of firsts: crushes, kisses, heartbreaks, dances, best friends, no friends and really, really bad fashion (it was the 80s, after all).

Reminiscing with the old crew has brought back a lot of buried memories, and even prompted me to peruse old journals and, unfortunately, relive some of that angst--a surprisingly semi-humiliating, provocative and eye-opening experience that I seriously plan not to relive anytime soon (as G so aptly pointed out, the past is past for a reason...). It's humorous, though, to read how heart-achingly important everything was... and actually, a little disturbing. But at the same time, it's so nice to connect with these people who were such a big part of my formative years and contributors to who I am today (whether they know it or not).

Reconnecting and re-living some of the memories of, oh, more than 15 years ago (?!) has also made me appreciate where I am and how far I've come. Although the last 15+ years have been a giant jumble of confusion at times, I'm in a better place than I have ever been. I'm happy with where I am and, even more importantly, who I am. Who knew that awkward 13 year old could come so far?

This Boy's Letter To Santa Claus

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

He Said Hey, I Said What...

The truth had to come out sooner or later... and I can't hide it any longer. I was a fan of New Kids on the Block.

And when I say fan, I mean that in every sense of the origin of the word: fanatic. My sister and I (sorry to out you, sister-dear) went to four-- yes, FOUR concerts. We videotaped every television appearance, and even wrote down the top 10 songs on KIIS FM every night and cheered when more than one NKOTB song graced the countdown (which I'm sure some of you will be surprised to learn was often). And my most humiliating confession related to the original boy band? I actually pulled a muscle in my throat from screaming so loud (and rather enthusiastically) at a concert at Dodger's Stadium in 1991. Yeah.

But even if I'm a little embarrassed by memories of my over-zealousness and vehement defense of all things New Kids (I specifically remember some biting retorts of "you're just jealous" to certain boys who would tease me about it...), in retrospect, I actually think it's all a little funny... okay; a LOT funny. But, *sigh*. I did love that bad boy (as bad as a New Kid could be, that is...), Donnie Wahlberg (who, by the way, does happen to be a critically acclaimed actor now...).

And while I'm a tad bit discomfited by my reaction to the 'Kids, I actually have never been embarrassed about liking them... until I saw this little reminder (that I actually remember watching live...) of a Christmas-time performance on the Arsenio Hall Show. I watched it today with a mixture of morbid fascination... and then I had to watch it a second time, during which I laughed my ass off. I can't believe my mother let us watch these guys; I haven't seen so many hip thrusts and butt shaking since... well, ever (and I think that I actually spied a little Roger Rabbit thrown in there...).

Pseudo-pornographic dancing aside, I think that you'll agree that there's nothing better than watching a bunch of white boys attempting to rap... the problem is that Arsenio decides to sit in and offer a little rap as well which unfortunately, further demonstrates that with the exception of Eminem and the Beastie Boys, white boys shouldn't rap. But all in all, a little piece of the late 80s/early 90s ripped from the cultural archives (I mean, come on, people-- Arsenio!! Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!).


So without further ado, may I present, "Have a Funky, Funky Christmas":

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

I grew up in Los Angeles where the majority of my friends were Jewish. By the time I was 13, I had attended as many bar and bat mitzvahs and was able to recite, "Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam," with surprising accuracy. I also integrated Yiddish into my everyday speech without so much as blinking (oy vey!). My dearest friends' parents affectionately called me "Mik-a-lah," and my sister and I were familiar faces at Hebrew school and later, Hebrew High.

I always dated Jewish boys, and they always broke my heart-- but I was convinced I would marry one, maybe because I didn't know any different (and my first real boyfriend, who was half Jewish, is still the nicest boy that I've ever dated). I knew which friends couldn't go out on Friday because they were orthodox and we always knew when the high holidays were based on who was fasting and/or eating peanut butter and jelly matzoh sandwiches.

When I went to college in the Northeast, I went from being submerged in Jewish culture to having virtually no Jewish friends. But my Aunt Anne [Levin], who lived in NJ, is Jewish, so holidays were infused with Jewish tradition-- and my Yiddish got even better.

All this to say, Happy Hanukkah to friends of old, present and hopefully, future.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rock Like a Jingle Bell

I like to keep it real. Even though at this point I can no longer deny that I am indeed a full-fledged adult, there are still some things I can't shake:
  • I still say "dude" all the time, as in "Dude! Did you see that nutso driver?"
  • I crack myself up (which in turn makes people laugh, so it's pretty rewarding)
  • I still rent instead of own
  • I can stay in my pjs all day and watch tv and not feel guilty
  • My refridgerator is always empty
  • I don't make my bed
  • My guilty pleasure is watching really, really bad t.v. and reading celebrity gossip rags
  • I say "YOU ROCK!" when I'm particularly excited about something-- be it personally or professionally
So, today I wrote in an e-mail to a co-worker, "You rock like a jingle bell" and accomplished two of my not quite an adult goals: 1) using "you rock" in all relevant circumstances and 2) cracking myself up.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Greatest Christmas Gift

I'm in gift-wrapping hell.

The good news, though, is that the actual shopping hell is over and done with. Yes folks, it's December 13, and this intrepid wayfarer has actually finished her holiday shopping... with nary a stuffing stocker-- err, stocking stuffer to buy (and truthfully, I officially finished shopping yesterday...).


You might not be all that impressed-- I'm sure there are those of you who shop all year round and have things like gift closets that you faithfully stock. But I'm that girl who is still running around on Christmas Eve, trying to remember what store the thing that I wanted to buy for my Dad was from... and never remembers, resulting in a much more expensive gift than intended.


And not only is the shopping done-- I've actually started shipping. This new-fangled invention called the Internet is doing me some even bigger props this year-- it's called "
Click-n-Ship." Apparently the USPS was tired of getting pistol-whipped and they figured out a genius way to compete-- print at home postage that your friendly neighborhood postman picks up with his/her regular delivery. They'll even give you free boxes and shipping labels (that are, of course, mailed to your home). And besides the fact that I never have to brave a Post Office line again (avoid it like the plague this time of year, people), it's so cheap! It's called Flat Rate boxes-- stuff it with as much crap as you want, and it's a flat rate (hence the name...)-- no matter how heavy it is. Talk about necessity being the mother of invention. There's nothing like a little friendly competition.

Now... if only I could wrap all of this stuff and get it in my boxes so I could actually get it in the mail...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Baby It's Cold Outside

When I decided to move to Chicago, the one thing my East Coast friends always said was, "But it's so cold in Chicago." Me being me, tried to reassure them that it was a great idea... "I've only lived in one city as an adult; I want to try out other places before I decide on a place to 'settle down.'" or, "I'm not sure if I will like not living in New York, but Chicago isn't so far West that I can't move back if I want to..." or, "It will be so much easier to get to the West Coast/Hawai'i to visit my fam from Chicago;" and, my favorite, "Cold is cold. Anything under 30 degrees is pretty much the same thing."

Ummm... I was wrong.

This morning, as I walked the four very, very, very long blocks to the bus stop (I'll save the worst-public-transportation-in-a-major-city rant for another time), I was actually muttering expletives. Four letter word expletives. Outloud. You see, it was a negative temperature... again... for the third freakin' day in a row. And an extra bonus, there was a very swift wind, blowing right into my face. And I thought, for the third straight day in a row, that it is absolutely inhuman that people can actually live in this god-forsaken place.

Because, what I've realized? Cold is not just cold. It can get a hell of a lot colder.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's Christmas Time

Originally formed in 1984 to raise money to aid famine in Africa, top Brits and Irish recording artists have continued to record and re-record the now classic "Do They Know It's Christmas?" I was able to find three different versions (the 2004 version, "Band Aid 20"-- as in, "20 years later," I hadn't heard) from the actual "Band Aid" (as opposed to versions covered by other pop stars, e.g. Barenaked Ladies). Each definitely has its set of winners... I have to say, I'm partial to the original (yes, yes, mostly because Sting's on it)... but there's a bevy of famous faces long passed (not literally, but they're pop stars of old and no longer recording) such as George Michael, Boy George and Jodi Watley. But there's also a pre-sunglasses, bushy-haired Bono and Phil Collins grooving on the drums (still in his Genesis days). Classic, classic, classic.



Version two has less star power, but I have to say, I like this version if only because the Brit twin pop phenom "Bros" performs... Matt (Goss) on vocals (and showing off some stellar 80s dance moves-- sweet!) and Luke on drums (and note that pre-sex goddess Kylie Minogue, then riding the Loco-Motion, is actually from Oz).



And the most recent version has a kicking rock ending... plus cutie Chris Martin singing the opening (and while I would have liked to see Sting make a return 20 years later, Bono does make an appearance, singing the same part he performed in the original, allegedly at his demand).


Yes, yes... I'm enjoying the Christmas songs this month (and my love of comparing different performances of the same song...).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

Have you seen the photo of JT (below)? Doesn't it just make you smile?

Grown Up Christmas List

Soooo, yesterday was my first day back at work after a nice little 2 month hiatus (seriously-- why don't American companies have sebatacles? I'm all for hard work, but it's a sad, sad world when one must have major surgery to get a break).

It seems that, despite the brief reprieve, and my trying to come back with a new attitude (can't change the world, conform, conform, conform, stop fighting a losing battle, let people bury themselves since they're so determined to do so, I can only control my actions and I'm going to be one of those shiny happy people [cue R.E.M.] from now on...), people are fighting me to discard my newfound laissez faire attitude. I must have spent 50% of the last two days listening to people complain about their jobs, the people they work with and the company in general. Shaggadaggy. Just drag me back down, why don't you.

Two months off... you'd think that I'd be refreshed, ready to tackle anything. Instead, it really made me re-evaluate what the heck I'm doing working in corporate U.S. of A. What happened to being happy to get out of bed in the morning? Blast. Two days and I'm already over it. Because, at the top of the list of why I need to get a new job, I'm faced with an egomaniac who decided to comandeer my department and deprioritize my projects that I left the team and create his own-- despite 1) my telling him that we were set and he didn't need to "check in" with my team and 2) my telling the team to ignore new project requests while I was out. Dude-- there's no way that I could do your job (sales)-- I'm not arrogant enough; so keep your mitts off of mine (you're not smart enough).

So- my grown up Christmas list? Life of leisure, if you please. I figure that I either have to win the lottery (so I should start playing) or find myself a sugar daddy. Any bets on which will happen first? I'm thinking neither... shaggadaggy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Singing Songs of Joy and Peace

JT vs. Sarah: Thoughts?



Click here for the JT version.

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

Yes, the holiday season is in full swing. As such, I've commenced my annual updating of the Christmas music library, and I have to say-- there are some good ones this year. In a single iTunes raid, I've added James Taylor, Bette Midler and Sarah McLachlan's latest forays into the Christmas merchandising madness. But I have to say, very impressive.

JT (of old school, not to be confused with the SexxyBack version) is the perfect combination of bluesy and jazzy and wonderful James Taylor-ish, wrapped into one. For me, it doesn't matter what he sings, his voice makes me melt... and believe that there are better things in this world for all of us.

Bette is a gas, as always. Lots of horns, classic big band with elements of jazz thrown in, she pumps up the traditional carol like no other. A tap-your-feet, sing-a-long.

Sarah doesn't disappoint (does she have a killer range, or what? Just when you think she's going to crack on that upper C, it floats effortlessly and melts into the next transition). I actually prefer her cover of Joni Mitchell's "River" to JT's (gasp!), and the carols are in true Sarah style.

Whomever the artist, hope if you're celebrating the season, you're doing it with music... and milking it the entire month. If you're in Hawai'i or Chicago-- or likely, anywhere that has a radio station, you have the benefit of 24/7 Christmas music. Or, short of spending lots of money on iTunes, you can also contact me to burn you some CD's. Oh-- and if you don't have the "Singers Unlimited" Christmas album, that's a must-have. Jazz a cappella at its finest.

Winter Wonderland

If only to appease my dear friend, K, I've decided to add a little post (I know, I know... I've been severely slacking as of late, but I've been very, very busy, living my life of leisure, soon to be destroyed when the reality of work reconvenes on Monday after a blissful two month reprieve). She was getting bored of my last post (although, I must say, still feeling a little sucker punched, but still my own fault), so I took her suggestion of adding a new title and subject-- a fitting one at that, given we had the first blizzard of the forthcoming loooong winter season. Eight whole inches of spankin' white snow. Whoohoo. And people who don't shovel their sidewalks creating great chasms of ice to slip and slide on (read: lawsuit). Well, no one to blame except myself for choosing to live anywhere east of California... ugh. Why don't I live in Hawaii, indeed?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sucker Punched

Have you ever come to the realization that you may love someone that you don't even really like? Not necessarily family (because, come on, all of us have that one cousin who just sucks, and you wonder why you're allowed to choose your friends when you are stuck with family), but friends... or people you think are friends.

It's a hard lesson to swallow (euphemisms are not my forte, but I'm sure you get the gist).

Self-worth is something that we all contemplate at one time or another-- are we smart enough for this school; are we well-behaved enough for our parents to love us; are we talented enough for the lead in the play/spot on the varsity team/solo for the a cappella group; are we popular enough for the cool kids; are we good enough to be loved? There are some of us that know we are; we surround ourselves with people that are going to tell us nice things, no matter how ingenuine (think actors)-- and sometimes those people turn out to be arrogant and have over-inflated egos, and make other people feel badly so that they feel good.

Then there are those of us who question every move we make, and surround ourselves with people who only make us feel worse about ourselves. And feeling worthless is a horrible, horrible thing. Imagine being in relationship after relationship where you always feel like you're a second class citizen; the runner-up; the alternate... that that person has only chosen you because the first choice didn't work out, and you're so accomodating and work so hard to fill the imaginary gap left until you actually believe that all of that's true. Then imagine feeling that way every single day you wake up.

You trick yourself into believing that they really do love you, but they haven't quite figured it out yet; and, if you work hard enough and do enough nice things and fill in that imaginary gap that, they're going to wake up one day and realize that you're amazing, and that there's never going to be anyone like you, and there never was, and then they're finally going to tell you. Just that simple act of telling you that they appreciate you. But you'll wait forever. You see, the truth is, they never deserved you in the first place.

I told my niece today that I loved her-- and that someone should tell her that multiple times a day, everyday, and that she should always know what she's worth and that she's loved. I know she won't necessarily remember this (she's only 10 months old), but maybe something in that little baby subconscious will hold on to those words. Everyone should be so blessed.

So back to the question at hand... can you still love someone when you realize that you don't like them?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aloha B!

Heehee... and also to me. :) Cupcakes DO make people happy-- especially a dozen happy birthday cupcakes delivered to your door from your twin sister. She's most certainly my better half. Thank you, Aloha!

(Check out the cupcake shop's cool website.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Trick-Or-Treat

A little late, yes, but thought I would touch on it anyway, since it's been a looooong time since I've actually gone trick -or- treating.

I love this time of year. Fall is my favorite season, and I will be very sad when I live in a location that doesn't relish in the changing leaves, crisp weather and the smell of Fall-- because, yes; Fall does have a smell: a combination of freshness and fireplaces and apples and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Yum.

Right when the leaves start changing, I make it my mission to buy pumpkins. Even in NYC, I would lug a couple home from C-Town on Broadway and 29th, to dress up my little apartment for the season. Here in Chicago, it's a little easier since there's a little neighborhood farmer's market up the street every Saturday. Every October since I moved here, I've faithfully trekked a short walk south to pick up some pumpkins. This year, due to the surgery restrictions, I couldn't get the usual "heaviest pumpkin I could carry" so I resigned myself to a gaggle of mini-pumpkins and a small guy with an interesting "nose," snuck into the bottom of my niece's stroller so I didn't get in trouble for carrying it. Laid out on all my window sills with the small pumpkin with the interesting nose sitting on my kitchen counter, my little apartment in Chicago got all gussied up for the season.

This year, with all this time off of work, thus, no crazy late night hours, I was actually home on Halloween and I actually got to go trick-or-treating with my friends Kristina and Claudia and their 1-year old tots. Okay, okay-- so, the 1-year olds can't exactly eat candy... and I partook in the spoils... but that's another story.

I have often been heard saying that I live in the fanciest neighborhood that I'll ever get to live in-- Chicago's very own Gold Coast. And this Halloween was proof in the pudding. As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, there was an occasional Halloween where a friend's parents would drive us over to Beverly Hills. There, many a mansion would have giant fishbowls of loose change instead of candy; and us kids were allowed to scoop up as much as one tiny hand could carry. Most of the time they were filled with pennies; but there were the occasional quarters. Score!

While the Chicago Gold Coast isn't quite so lotto, the mansions were out full swing with king size-- not just full size, but KING size, candy bars. The mansion across the street had a mummy holding a bowl of king size snickers and nestle crunches (my favorite) and when the kids went to grab a candy bar, the mummy would move. Freaky! And down the street, one mansion-owner decided to throw a block part of their own, complete with heat lamps (it was 36 degrees...), cocktail rounds and tables of mini-meatball sandwiches, various rolls, mini cupcakes and hot apple cider, with costumed staff patrolling and serving the masses. Oh yes, my friends. A lotto block party. Not to mention, the fog machine blowing from the foyer where the neighborhood kids could venture in to retrieve not only candy, but also florescent wrist bands and other fun Halloween treats.

Gold Coast indeed.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Empty Nest

No excuse for my lack of blogging (although I did think about offering up the lame "major surgery" and subsequent "recovery" excuse only, somehow I managed to blog just a short week after the surgery...); I guess as my act of contrition I will have to stop harping on all my friends who take endless amounts of time off between posts... at least until I get my groove back.

Apologies aside, I've been a little down
as of late about my quiet house. The last of my caretakers/houseguests left last Friday, and things have been a little too quiet for this self-proclaimed homebody who relishes in her "alone time." After having my folks here for a couple of weeks, followed by my sis and the beautiful Nanea, things have been a little too, well, quiet.

I've always been the one that's lived far away (moving to NY for college when I was 17 and never looking back) and thought that I'd gotten used to it. But it all changed when my sisters started having babies. Now with two little ones all the way on the other side of the country (California and Hawaii, to be exact), it's getting harder and harder to stake my claim for independence.


So, here's the question of the day (or in my case, it may be the week...). As you get older, does it only get harder to be further away from family and loved ones?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

To Be or Not To Be

A lot of people do a lot of crazy things to get a date, a partner, a spouse... pretending to be something they're not is one of the more common things, I suppose. Some people may do it unconsciously-- morphing into this picture perfect model of what they think the person they're trying to impress wants. Some people do it purposely-- to literally "catch" (or as I like to think of as more of entrapment...) a significant other (I was watching a really bad MTV reality show recently and a high school cheerleader proclaimed that she was going to major in M.R.S. in college-- meaning "Mrs" as in, forget about going to college for trivial things like, oh, I don't know, learning something that might sustain you through your life; but rather, "I'm going to college to get myself a husband." Uh, yeah.).

Ever since that book, "He's Just Not That Into You" came out (and yes, I read it-- partially because of the buzz-- that guy is really funny; and partially because I didn't actually buy the book; three people sent it to me. Thanks, guys. I get it. I choose bad men), I feel like the dating scene has gotten even crazier. And not in a good way. I have some friends who have taken it all to a new extreme, and rather than giving a relationship a chance to breathe and grow instead, everything is up for scrutiny and the most insignificant gesture, word or text (and don't get me started on texting-- I think that is one of the downfalls of modern day romance) is interpreted to mean that "he's just not that into me," and the person moves on. In a lot of ways, the book has been liberating for a lot of women who date losers-- it's not "me" that's the problem; it's "him"-- yadayadayada. But I think in a lot of ways, too, it has given a whole generation of neurotic women an easy "out" to regress into the fantasyland of fairy tales and happily ever after. Not good.

But to the point of this post, I was thinking earlier today about some of the people that I've dated or been interested in, and I was trying to figure out if there was a rhyme or reason to the attraction... and then I boiled it down to the somewhat successful relationships vs. the ones that didn't go anywhere... and the ones that sort of stalled were (and note that I'm generalizing here) always those where I felt inferior or I felt they were inferior in some way, shape or form, be it intelligence, talent or otherwise.

So, here's the question of the day: If we are to focus on one topic of the almighty inferiority complex, for a relationship to work, do/es:

A. Two parties need to be equally matched, in their intelligence, manner, sensibilities and the like.
B. One party needs to be smarter/more adventurous/more outgoing, etc. than the other.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Good TV that Nobody's Watching

Well, I guess some people are watching it, otherwise it wouldn't still be on the air... but in this case, I'm talking about House. I took the sage advice of GCC and upped my netflix subscription while on bed rest, and as a result, I'm finally able to catch up on the 100 or so movies and tv shows that are currently in my queue (I was one of those crazy 1 movie at a time/unlimited people-- but I don't have a lot of time, and couldn't see spending an extra $8.99/month when I knew the movies were just going to sit there!) But now with three movies at a time, it's a like a little surprise in the mail everytime I open the mailbox (errr... everytime whoever's getting my mail for me on a given day gets my mail... presently my parents).

In any case, I'm now catching up on what I missed of Season 2 of House-- a great, great show. A team of NJ-based diagnosticians solve the unsolvable diseases that are killing people all over, well, New Jersey. Lead by the incomparable Hugh Laurie, putting on his best Yankee accent, the shows are entertaining from beginning to end. The curmudgeony Dr. House (played by Laurie) is so inappropriate and misbehaved that you can't help but love him. Laurie carries the show... I don't know that with another actor the at the helm that it would be as effective. Although Robert Sean Leonard, an oncologist and Dr. House's only friend, is certainly a nice piece of eye candy.

Onto other T.V. news, I've been hedging on making a comment on Meredith's debut on The Today Show (as my friend Christina noted in a recent comment), and it's only because I'm sheepishly eating my words... she's actually great, and I've been enjoying her much more than I ever did Katie (although, truth be told, I was never a big Katie fan...). You can actually take her seriously when she's delivering the news (unlike her predecessor), and she seems to have such an easy rapport with the rest of crew-- almost as if she's always been there. Quite interesting. But I'm happy to be proven wrong-- like I said, I do love my Today Show-- the better the talent, the further we are away from a format change.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bed Rest

I had all of these fantasies about bed rest-- that I'd lounge in bed all day and people would bring me my favorite foods, make sure my water glass was refilled and I'd finally have time to catch up on the 20 or so books I have piled next to my bedside table, on my "to-read" list. Well, so far the first couple things are true (thanks, Mom and Dad and the trusty nursing staff at Northwestern Hospital). And even better, my hospital room, and now my apartment, has become a virtual florist (thanks Aloha, Noa & Nea, Jen, Eddie, Salomea, Jeff, Lynn & Cam, Aunt Anne & Uncle Dan and the Daves, Harry and Tucker, and Kristina, Emmet & Will for the gift basket of goodies). And I love flowers... such a nice excuse to get lots of them.

But lounging has yet to come to fruition... nor has reading. First, I failed to consider was the whole pain thing. Doesn't lead to much of doing anything except grimacing everytime I move (and I thought it was bad pre-hospital). Second, any act of movement, including sitting up, exhausts me. So by the time I get to a seated, or god forbid, standing position, I'm ready for another nap. None of these things lead to easy book-reading; or even magazines for that matter (and my Conde Nast Traveler, Chicago and Real Simple have been painfully neglected for the past few months). Magazines are too heavy to lift.


So instead, I just sleep... and sometimes get up to slouch around the apartment (hunched over, mind you-- it's very attractive) in order to give my poor tailbone a rest-- sharp, shooting pains in your backside from lying down too long?!? How come no one told me about that?!). And between snoozes, watch movies and tv downloaded from iTunes (thank you, GCC)-- the only thing that seems to be able to capture my as of late gnat-like attention span. My mom keeps reminding me that I had major surgery 4 days ago, so I'm bound to need some recovery time. Okay, okay. But that doesn't negate the pre-surgery fantasy I had of long walks in the park, enjoying the Fall weather (that is apparently near end, as the high at the end of the week is expected to be 39. 39!?! My poor Hawaiian family), and reading. Reading! Can't a girl catch a break??

Follow-Up

To the last reeeaaallly long post-- I did have one ulterior motive for my "30 friends for 30 years" project-- that it would potentially spark people to tell the people who they love/admire/have been inspired by, just that. To "spread the love" so to speak-- in a kind of "Pay It Forward" kind of way (terrible movie; great concept). So, do that.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Out of Commission

So, I'm going to be out of commission from the blogging world for a few days (hmmm... as is the norm as of late, so it seems), but this time for much better (but much less interesting) reasons. Cryptic as it may sound, I'm leaving you with a looooong post to tide you over. Deep breath.... aaaaand GO!

I've been thinking a lot in the last few years about my friends and family and people in general-- how certain people come into your life, and how you learn something from every encounter... be it good, or bad... and that even the seemingly bad things can have something good come out of it. Like opening a door to meeting new friends that can change the course of your life (you know, the whole, "whenever a door closes, somewhere a window opens.") Whenever I really start thinking about these things, it makes my head spin... how such little, seemingly meaningless decisions can have a huge impact on who you meet and who you grow to be. For me, one of the best examples (and those who know me well know that I talk about this ad nauseum, so apologies in advance) was choosing a small, liberal arts, relatively unknown (by California standards, at least) college. It opened, and continues to open, so many doors for me... and I made the best friends of my life there.

I guess all this to say, I really think that there are people that you are meant to meet. I'm not one to believe in destiny, necessarily... I strongly believe that you have control over your own destiny, as dictated by the decisions that you make. If you think about the millions of people in the world, and who your friends are today... what is it that brought you together? At some point, we all made a similar decision... where we went to school; whether we were grunge, granola, nerd or "b.p.;" where we lived; what our career was going to be. And along this decision tree, we picked up people and connected with them, if you will... and, for the ones who stuck, something in our mutual souls recognized one another... be it from a past life (if you believe in that sort of thing), a kindred spirit, or maybe even a future life. I really believe that there's something in our make-up that has a say who becomes a part of our lives. Suffice to say, when I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I thought the writer and I shared part of a brain in relation to the theory that no matter what the hell you do to try to get someone out of your life/brain/heart, including literally erasing them, that person will always find a way back in because for some reason, something beyond your control, is dictating the "who" of the what-where-why-and-how.

Sometime last year, in the midst of one of these fits of connective thought, I began to think about the amazing people that I am lucky to call "friend" and wondered to myself when the last time I told them, if ever, what they meant to me. And then I started thinking that for all the time we spend doing mindless activities (for me, watching tv), or running around for work, or just trying to get through our lives, why don't we tell people what they mean to us when it still matters? Before it's too late and you're left wondering if they knew? This was validated for me in that I didn't really and truly know what my friends thought about me-- good or bad; constructive or destructive. And of course, no one ever wants to know the bad things, but sometimes I think that if I did, it would help me be a better person... I think everyone has some room to grow in that department. Sure, I know people think that I'm "sweet" and "nice" and maybe too "accomodating." But how does that really differ from the hundred other people you pass on the street? Is that what I'm going to be remembered for when I'm gone? And are the people that I love and admire most in the world going to think that all I thought of them was that they were "smart" or "motivated" or "kind?"

From this launched what I informally called my "30th Birthday Project." I figured that for a landmark birthday such as the big 3-0, I needed a landmark endeavor. Formally entitled "30 Friends for 30 Years," I spent about 4 months thinking about and writing letters to 30 people who I admire, have influenced me, and affected change in my life-- be it good or bad. Some were family members and friends; others were mentors and teachers-- present and past; I even wrote to two people who I have haven't talked to in probably more than 15 years... one which I mailed, one which still sits in my desk drawer because I couldn't find her current address.

Each letter was two-sided-- one side generic, talking about my intention for the project and how appreciative I was to have been lucky to have these people in my life. The second side was a list of unique qualities, specific to the individual that, I admired, had influenced and affected me, or inspired me to be a better person and the person that I am today.

I'm not sure how it may have impacted the recipients, or if it did at all. I heard back from a hand full of them, but my goal wasn't to solicit any sort of response-- it was really and truly my birthday present to myself that I didn't want reciprocated. It was important to me, even if perceived as overly-emotive or cheesy, to tell people what they meant to me. I think that the only opportunity that we have to have any lasting impact in this world is through how we treat and affect other people. I think one of the most important lessons that I learned two years ago when a college friend was killed in a car accident is that life is too short not to tell people how you feel about them... no matter how cheesy you think you'll sound, no matter what you think other people might think of you, no matter how scared you may be. LIFE IS TOO SHORT. Erin's life, and her tragic death, taught me above all else, courage... courage to tell people that I love them and why, and I guess, really, to live-- wholly and without reservation, embracing every experience for what it brings you. It may not necessarily always be good-- how could you ever truly know good unless you have experienced bad? But by taking some risks and putting it all out there, you're going to land on something great someday in return. Just consider the people in your life. What better representation is there of the people we are and the people that we want to be than the people that we surround ourselves with?

I warned you that it was going to be long... I guess I'm waxing nostalgic because I'm nearing my 31 birthday... don't worry if you weren't one of the "30" (as Emmet has taken to calling it)-- or even if you were and didn't want to be! You still have time to make it in for 40.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Book Club Update

Well, for my book club of one, that is...

Memory Keeper's Daughter: "Eh." A little depressing; no character development (so you didn't really care that the peeps were screwed over); still an interesting read, but pay no attention to the "hype." not THAT worthwhile.








The Glass Castle: Great book-- definitely worth the time turning the pages (and I even read it on the bus-- a major feat for the girl who suffers from chronic motion-sickness. it was THAT worth it). Sad, heartbreaking, anxiety-ridden... you're rooting for every character-- good, bad and ugly.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

When You Are Old

When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
and hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hurray!

It's premiere week! As much as I would like to pretend that I am an intellectual that only reads the NYT and books (although, I do read the NYT and books...), I must admit that I love TV. I missed some key premieres last week... ER, Grey's Anatomy (must I thank God for tivo once again?)... but I'm back on track, having nary a wayfare planned until, dare I say, Christmas? In any case, tonight I spied "Heroes" (promise) and the second showing of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" (too long of a title, but as I'm still having "West Wing" and "Friends" withdrawal, I'm giving it a chance).

I think that the '06-'07 season has promise (the expert that I am). This week is "Gilmore Girls" and next week, the anticipated "Lost." And maybe I am the only person still watching "ER," but the season opener was pre-tee good. Ahh... fall... Love It.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Too Tired To Post

Clearly I've been too tired to post for a few weeks! Apparently the "wannabe" part of the wayfarer has been a little more true to life than in recent weeks. Today it took me more than 8 hours to get from NYC to Chicago... flying. Uggghhhhh. O'Hare is a nightmare. Delayed flights, 1 hour+ taxi lines (I took the El). Just shoot me now.

Travel nightmares aside, the weekend was a blast. One of my dearest friends' sister/s-i-l got married this weekend, and it was a big, multiple-day celebration. The thoughtful and generous person that she is (as is her entire family) she had picked out 4 different Indian outfits/saris for me to wear to each of the events for her wedding. What bride do you know would go so far as to even think about what her guests were wearing?

It was hectic and happy and fun and amazingly beautiful-- when was the last time you went to a wedding with belly dancers?!? It was wonderful to see M & C, who moved all the way across the country so I don't get to see them as often as I would like; G who was the designated driver (thanks, G-d) and constant source of entertainment; and, Buze and H who were great company and laughs the whole weekend.

I tried to get my phone to take photos of the belly dancers, but no such luck... damn cell phone cameras. So, you'll have to leave it to your imagination...

Okay-bye.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Am A New Yorker

It's the 5th anniversary of September 11th. Of course we all know that. Even if we lived in a hole, the media coverage and people reminiscing with questions of "where were you...," there's no way that you couldn't remember... but truly, it's a date that no one will ever forget.

They said then that if you lived in NYC during September 11, 2001 that you were automatically a "New Yorker," even if you'd only lived there for a few months. It was a badge of honor; a badge of pride. I was late for work that day. My bosses were on a business trip in Asia and I had overslept. Starting my day with the Today Show, I was waiting for the weather report, but realizing I was really, really late, was just reaching for the power button when the special report cut into the broadcast with the news that what they thought to be a small plane had hit one the towers of the World Trade Center.


I stopped to watch the report, picking up the phone to call the office to tell them what had happened and let them know I was going to be late. I hung up the phone and stood in front of the t.v., bag over my shoulder, poised to walk to the subway. I watched the live coverage and saw the second plane hit the second tower. I picked up the phone to call the office and tell them what was going on and to get out of our midtown office building and try to get home.


I have never watched the post-event coverage; the documentaries; the recent movies. I could never bring myself to, nor could I ever follow the seemingly endless conspiracy theories expounded in the press. Seeing it first hand was enough; watching the live coverage as the shadow of the second plane skirted across my television screen and exploded into Tower 1; Seeing what seemed like paper floating out of the upper floors of the WTC and crying out in realization that they were bodies-- people who couldn't bear what they faced inside the building, thinking, and knowing, their only escape was to jump; Hearing the chirping sound in the erie silence after the towers collapsed-- the sound that the alarm that is affixed to a firefighter's suit when there is no movement makes so that rescue workers will be able to find a fallen comrade-- a sound that still brings me to tears and that I cannot bear to hear, even today; Sitting on my fire escape, watching the smoke billow from the WTC before it collapsed; Climbing to the roof of my apartment and photographing the smoke after it did; The sunset that night-- the most brilliant orange, pink and red peppered with gray and black-- from the fire and smoke emerging from the now commonly known "Ground Zero."


I watched some of the
Naudet brother's updated film on CBS tonight. They were filming a documentary of a probie firefighter's (Antonios "Tony" Benetatos) academy experience and first blush with being a firefighter when the attacks occured. They could very well have sold their footage for a great deal of money-- but they didn't. They donated the footage and didn't take a dime for it... heroes, perhaps, in their own right.

I remember the World Trade Center... I remember the time I spent there; never expecting that it could be a site of so much pain... so much death. In college, I sang there with my acappella group; I stayed at the Millenium Hilton, across the street from the WTC, which was all but destroyed, for the final "hurrah" with my roommates in the Spring of senior year; I saw Eddie From Ohio perform at Borders in the basement of one of the towers; and often shopped in the mall in the basement when I had a dentist appointment at 26 Broadway; I met friends for lunch in the park between the towers, where all the street vendors and food carts convened; and I remember the night GCC took me for a romantic dinner at Windows on the World... and we were confused about how to tip the multitude of waiters-- the head waiter, our waiter, the host and the sommelier (and he called his mom to check). It was inconceivable that these buildings-- fortresses, really, could be so vulnerable; that all those people could perish.


I was lucky. I don't know anyone who died on September 11, 2001. But I know many who did. Friends who lost friends, co-workers and family members. GCC, a NYC Police Officer, was supposed to have been in court in lower Manhattan that day, but thankfully it was canceled and he was safely at home, asleep after having worked a double in Harlem. I, and his family-- who were all out of town and frantically calling me when they couldn't reach him, was relieved. If he had been at, or near, court that morning, he would have been one of the first responders to the scene. When I did finally reach him, I remember being in tears that he was okay; and I remember he being frantic that he couldn't get into the city to help. M.L., pregnant with Max, walked home from Soho, all the way to Astoria. Before the phones went dead, I was able to get in touch with C.M. who had made it home but couldn't reach M.P. We later learned that he had been trapped in his office building which neighbored the WTC when it collapsed; after being dug out he walked more than 5 miles home, covered in ash and soot, and upon arriving home, got into his shower, fully clothed, turned on the faucet and sat with the water pouring over him.


I haven't actually been in NYC on September 11 since that fateful year. In subsequent years I was traveling for business... and then I moved away. But it's not something I'll ever forget. I always joke that, when asked, I don't know where I'm from. But in my heart, I'll always be from New York... and NY will always be a part of me. A lot of it has to do with going to school in NY state and moving to NYC after graduating, and the combination resulting in the discovery of who I was and what I was made of. But some of it, too, is September 11... living through it and feeling the connection and camaraderie with fellow NYers. Sure-- time has progressed and life has resumed; but those who lived through it? Lived in NYC during that time? It's a connection that we'll always have... no matter how much distance we put between us; no matter where we move. It's something that will always be a part of us.


People think I'm crazy because I love NYC so much... "Why would you want to live there?" they ask. "It's so expensive, dirty... people are so mean." The reality? I can't believe that I ever left. It's the only place that I've ever felt was mine; a place where I belong; a place that I almost feel guilty for leaving. But in my heart, I know that I'll go back. Despite its faults, expense, general craziness, NYC is a place where so many people, of varied backgrounds, sensibilities, and, well, homes, come together to find a common ground; a place where all of these people who strive to be, and accomplish being, "individuals" can still come together and rejoice in being a single thing: A New Yorker.


"I don't think it's so much the severity of an event that alters who you are; it's how you interpret it that changes who you are."-- Tony Benetatos

"The legacy of the World Trade Center should not be one of death. The legacy of the World Trade Center should be life-- and humanity."-- Naudet September 11 documentary

Sunday, September 10, 2006

On The Road Again

Just when I thought that travel was gearing down for the year, I'm off again on Monday-- this time to Telluride, CO. It's a work trip, but the only good one that I get to do-- the site visit in anticipation of my company's annual ski shindig (last year held in Jackson Hole, WY). I've never been to Telluride, so am looking forward to it... and who knows? I may just have my very own Suri sighting.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What I Hate About Stupid People

Well, I guess it's that they're stupid.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Last of the Gentlemen

Our man, Andre, lost today... it was an amazing match, and he fought hard. Just when you thought it was over, and he was done, he'd make an amazing play, running from behind the baseline to actually get a shot that just grazed the tape, and hitting a winner. AMAZING.

He cried at the close-- the emotions overwhelming him finally, the 24k fans standing ovation, too much too bear. His farewell speech heartfelt and dedicated entirely to the fans who he noted, he "stood on your shoulders..." to get to where he is today.

When he walked into the locker room after his match and received a standing ovation from the players... a standing ovation from the press when he asked, "are you guys really going to miss me, or are you just acting like it?," and even from his oponent, and ultimate defeater, Benjamin Becker (but, how could the guy NOT be gracious and not get booed out of the stadium?).

But even in his greatness, one that in most people would go to their head and they couldn't help themselves but be total, superior jerks, Mr. Agassi is the picture of generous; of gentlemanly behavior; of heart.

My dad send me all the recent LA Times write-ups of the Open, and this commentary stuck out in my mind: "...Denis, who tells the story, said that even though Agassi had just had the injections in his back, whenever a woman arrived at his table to join the group, Agassi stood up."


In an age where politeness and chivalry just doesn't exist anymore (among men OR women), where people let doors slam in the face of others, where no one stands to relinquish their seat for an elderly person or pregnant woman on a bus or subway, Mr. Agassi, dismissive of the crippling pain in his back, still stands when a woman approaches his table.


The last of the great ones indeed.

Hocking a Loogie

Spit. Spitting. Probably one of the most vulgar things that someone can do. Now, I know that makes me sound old... old fashioned by all accounts... but seriously? Disgusting. And yet, people do it all the time. Joe Schmoe, walking down the street, not even pausing while he hocks one, thankfully into on-coming traffic (rather than in the direction of other pedestrians-- thank goodness for small favors, I suppose); Hip-hop mogul exiting his limo onto the red carpet, on national television (GROSS); teenage hoodlum on Michigan Avenue, hitting my shoe (noticing, with no apology). What IS it with people who feel the uncontrollable need to clear their phlegm-filled throats onto the street? On the sidewalk/out of your car window? It has to be one of the most repulsive things someone can do. YUCK.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Update

Andre won. By the skin of his teeth.

And Marcus Baghdatis? Greatness in the making.

The Last of the Great Ones

I love tennis... I've always loved tennis. My introduction was my mother, of the "tennis Ahue's," playing doubles on weekends and my sisters and I being relegated to the playground on hot summer days. I vividly remember complaining on Saturday mornings during the "big fours" (which in my house meant Grand Slam tennis), because we weren't allowed to watch cartoons. Thank goodness for my mom's zealousness, which inspired me to #5 varsity tennis at good old GHS, and a love of the game that has lead me to follow tennis in every form... even dragging an unsuspecting boyfriend to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.

When I lived in NYC, I went to the Open every year. I remember the first year that G took me as a surprise... ecstatic doesn't even begin to explain it. So we had nosebleed seats... it didn't matter. Sitting in Arthur Ashe stadium among the other 26k fans is to date one of the most thrilling experiences in my life. I called my mom from a pay phone at Flushing Meadows, grinningly asking, "Guess where I am?!?!"

Andre Agassi is making a run for the championship... in his last U.S. Open ever. He's going out at the top of his game, like only a true champion would. But he is the last of the great ones... at least, in respect to the old regime... McEnroe, Connors, Becker, Lendl, Sampras (my all-time fave). What will happen when Andre retires and there's no one left?

Sure, there's Federer (who's my favorite "newbie"-- he has Pete's sensibility and, not to mention, is a phenomenol player), Hewitt, Nadal and Roddick. And to the new generation of tennis fanatics? I suppose, they are 'great ones.' But there will never be another McEnroe, Connors, Sampras, Agassi... let's all root for Andre and give a final nod to the true great ones.

Hello, I'm a Mac

While I don't know that anyone (or thing) can ever surpass my love for Sting, Apple comes pretty close. I love my Mac. In jest (and okay, in somewhat seriousness) I talk about my decision to spend an exhorbitant amount of money on a laptop being based on the fact that because I work for THE MAN in one of the most tedious industries known to man, my Mac keeps me legit... in that even if I'm spending all day in the most uncreative of environments, I can come home to my little piece of creative heaven and know that there's a piece of me still tied to some sort of aesthetic.

I stopped by the store recently to pick up a new case for my iPod, and they are even uber-efficient in person (and not just online). Clerks walked around with hand-held computers that had little credit card swipers (that's the technical term) so that you didn't have to wait in line to purchase anything-- just hand it over, they do the little transaction, scan your card and ask if you'd prefer to have your receipt e-mailed to you (because if you're a Mac owner, they have all of your info on file so when they scan your credit card, ta-da! You're all set). "Why yes!" I exclaimed, and upon arriving home and checking my e-mail, there was my receipt. Ah... the thrill of technology.
No viruses, no crashing, better resolution than my television. Not to mention a clever ad campaign... the "I'm a Mac" guy (Justin Long) happens to have gone to Vassar. So OF COURSE Mac has to be fan-tastic. Get on board-- join the revolution.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Beautiful One

I think my sister may have been mistaken in naming her daughter... while she is the "peaceful one," she is MOST certainly the beautiful one.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The One You Can Always Count On

And that would be E! Entertainment Television. Running all day today has been both the red carpet pre-show AND the post show. Back to back, over and over and over again. Thank goodness for television that has no original programming.

Bloomin' Bloomers & Hollywoodland

They're multiplying like rabbits: my underpants. I did laundry today (being that I, well, finally ran out), and it is really unbelievable how many I have... so many that my underwear drawer won't close properly. I think it harbors back to the days of old... well, college (but 9 years out, that's lookin' pretty old), where, as K would attest, it was easier to buy underwear than actually do laundry. Apparently, I'm still of the same stuff b/c I am known to buy underwear when I just don't feel like schleping my clothes to the laundry room in my apartment building. I must have at least 2 months worth. Well, nothing like keeping the kid in me alive...

On another youth-reliving note, The Emmy's are on tonight, and I had NO IDEA. Now, those of you who don't know me are likely shrugging your shoulders and saying, "big whoop." But, those of you who do will likely be thinking, "Oh no!! She's finally losing it!" Alas, I think the downward spiral may be beginning.

You see, I grew up in Hollywood. I even went to "Camp Hollywoodland." The land where, if you're a native, you turn your head to celebrities and don't treat them like they're anything other than, well, people like you and me. But secretly, I was always thrilled beyond belief to see a star... whether it was at Mani's (my sugar-free, gourmet bakery and espresso bar where I worked), the Fashion Square (my mall, where one of the scenes from "Clueless" was filmed) or even at school (where they filmed, among other things, "90210" and "Life Goes On"). So with that mini-obsession also came the love of Awards Shows. Academy Awards, Emmy's, Golden Globes, Grammy's, AMA's, you name it, I watched it. I loved waking up early and watching E! and all the pre-game glory. I loved Joan and Melissa (come on-- Joan is a total nutcase... you can't help but love her) and all of the red carpet "what are you wearing?" nonsense. I even watched the recaps in the next week.

But today? Totally missed it. I turned the tv on at around 7:30 to see if there was anything on and lo and behold? 30 minutes into the broadcast of the Emmy's-- not even the pre-show, the ACTUAL show!! What happened? Am I losing my mojo? My A-game? Or maybe, gasp, growing up!?

Maybe, like my waning Hollywood obsession, blooming bloomers will soon be a thing of my past. Well, let's hope not.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dig This! Redux

We played a double header tonight-- Final four AND the championship beach volleyball game. We breezed through the semis (literally-- there was a little, err... hurricane-proportion sandstorm brewing up on the lake front tonight... a slight tap would send the ball thirty feet to the west. I'm not kidding), making it to the finals. Since the weather was so bad, we didn't get any good photos; but you can check us out in last week's blog.

Going into the finals, the wind played with our heads a little bit (not to mention the woman who would take five minutes before she served... every serve), but we rallied, spiked, bumped, blocked and dug with the best of them. In game two of the finals, we came back to win it (and I'm proud to say on my serve-- yeehaw!) and went pumped into game three. We fought hard, eventually falling 20-25. But the team will never forget us, especially with David's monumental, mid-court kill while screaming "Dig That!;" Shawnee's killer serve and good cheer; Wade's never-give-up attitude-- always diving for the ball no matter how far away it was from him; Mike's go-get-em, positive spirit to keep us laughing and loose, not to mention his interminable blocks; Mark's unfailing overhand serve; Gretchen's calm and consistency; and our fearless leader's inspiration, unfailing serve and consistent bump. It was a terrific season-- second place out of twenty, AND an undefeated play-off record going into the Finals? Not too shabby. I'm looking forward to coming back next year for the win! On three:

DIG THAT!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CAN

A glimpse of the remarkable father-son bond of Dick and Rick Hoyt, and their inspirational journey together in a triathlon and life itself. Read the full story or watch the video... be prepared to cry...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My Name Is Mikie

...and I'm a bookaholic.

Well, if I'm admitting addictions, it's truly music and books. I love music and music of all kinds. In the world of iTunes and free, illegally downloaded music, I still buy cd's because I like liner notes. And I read them from cover to cover... the lyrics, the shout outs, the musicians, the instrument manufacturers and the whole sha-bang. How else would I have known that Bonnie Rait, Keb Mo and John Mayer all contributed to the last Dixie Chicks album? Not reading the review on iTunes, that's for sure.

But back to books... I can't walk by a bookstore without going in and perusing... and usually buying, a book (or two...). I love books... old books, used books, new books, blue books. A little piece of heaven on earth for me is The Strand in NYC. A place boasting 18 miles of books (and an incredible used book collection)... and one that I can get lost in for hours... The next time you're in NYC, it's definite a must-see.

As a child, we spent a lot of time in bookstores with my parents, whether we were dropping in for a quick respite from an afternoon of errands and shopping, or discovering a gem on vacation (I remember one such place in Big Sur, pre-Borders and Barnes, when small, family-owned shops still existed. On our annual drive North on the Pacific Coast Highway, we'd always make time to stop there). The nerdy kids that we were, the only punishment that held any real weight was the threat of being grounded from going to the library. Seriously.

Now, you might not think that book-addiction is a problem, but it is when you have a stack of 20 books on your bookshelf, next to your bed and tucked in other corners of your small home that you have yet to read. And that doesn't stop you from purchasing more. The annual Newberry Library book sale in Chicago is my extreme downfall. Used and new books, preview copies, antiques, hardcover and soft... all for $1. $1!?! I can't control myself. I never walk out of there with less than 15 books. And that's only because I can't carry more than that.

Art and standard historical fiction is my favorite; but I don't discriminate. Novels, biographies, autobiographies; "Pink" books, as Kristina would say (e.g. fluffy, chick-lit, my fave being Irish and British authors); travel-logues (esp. Bill Bryson) and everything in between. I'm often attracted to books by their cover but before I buy anything I always read the first line... if I'm not inspired, it goes back on the shelf because once I've taken the leap, I can't put the book down, no matter how painful. I always have to finish what I've started. I also get sucked into topics... I once spent an entire year reading everything I could get my hands on about Hassidic culture-- both fiction and non-fiction. Just because something peaked my interest and I needed to know more.

I guess maybe I should look at it as a collection of books... I'm a collector. I have a ritual when I first buy a book: I write my name on the title page along with the city in which it was purchased and the year. I have books from all over the U.S., Italy and Australia (the U.K. versions of Harry Potter), to name a few.

Today's purchases:

























And, okay, okay... a Sting import from Japan that I didn't have. But in my defense, the books were buy two get one free...

I need help.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Holistic Healing

I started acupuncture again this week in attempt to get my body, mind and spirit in balance before "D" day in October. Truth be told, I've never been a traditional Western medicine kind of girl on account that my parents were alternative everything. Have a sore throat? Sprain your ankle? Want to forgo pain meds when you get your wisdom teeth out? Acupuncture, herbs, accupressure, deep breathing and the whole nine yards. Our family acupuncturist was Dr. Tatsuo Hirano, DOM, CA in Los Angeles... for every ailment, he had a cure (and literally-- when I sprained my ankle for the third time in three years, I walked into his office on crutches and walked out without them. Talk about the power of holistic healing). He even marked our earlobes before we had our ears pierced so that the placement of the holes wouldn't interupt our chi. I still have the crystal that hangs on a black silk cord that he gave me when I graduated from high school. It got me through some tough late night stress sessions (okay... maybe a little more in the panic realm...) in college (where fifteen minutes of deep breathing and meditation with that crystal could generally get me a few more hours of non-caffeinated study time) and I even wore it during my last GMAT undertaking to calm my nerves in desperate attempt for anything that could help me tackle the dreaded standardized test (I did test better that time around). Dr. Hirano's office was always a sanctuary from the stress and pressure I put on myself as a teen/early 20-something. Walking in there, everything melted away, and his kind smile, nurturing approach and calm nature was like slipping into, well, for lack of a better description, peace.

Today, I begrudgingly go to the "real" doctor... I very, very rarely take medicine of any kind, even for pain (I have to be in excruciating pain to do it... like the emergency root canal...).But acupuncture has gained immense popularity since my parents toted their three young daughters into Dr. Hirano's welcoming office. It seems somehow to be much more clinical... and not so "Eastern." But I'm hoping the results will be the same. I guess I can't help but wish I was still that little girl, walking into Dr. Hirano's office, because somehow then I'd know that everything was going to be okay.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dig This?

Awww, yeah. We're headed into the semi-finals and we are still dominating the pack (second play-off game winning in straight games). The other team got cocky tonight, but our "talking it out," and cool, calm and collected-ness (not to mention our trusty Captain's knowledge of the rule book) pushed us through. So to all you naysayers? As Abby would say:

DIG THAT.




mike / me


carrie / mark


david / abby


gretchen / wade

L-R: Mike blocks; MB dives; el capitan, Carrie sets it up; Mark kills; David dominates; Abby tips it over; Gretchen digs; Wade bumps.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Pink Floyd

There was a rebroadcast of a Pink Floyd concert on PBS, of all places, tonight. It was filmed in 1994, and of course I watched the entire thing... classics like "Wish You Were Here" and Dark Side of the Moon's "Money" were performed... along with a fantastic light show extravaganza and other effects. Gotta love it (and wouldn't I have loved to sing back-up for them... okay, okay... I'd sing back-up for anyone, but Pink Floyd?! Those back-up singers were awesome).

It made me think back to one of my first dates (that I cared about), where P.J. took me to a laser light show at the Griffith Park observatory-- all set to the music of Pink Floyd. Today? Well, 1) it made me feel old and 2) it made me remember what it felt like to feel giddy and excited about the promise of something in the future... something new and without limitations or expectations or weight. Kind of like a more recent experience... Promise. Hope. Despite my best efforts, something I can't seem to shake.