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:


Wednesday, August 23, 2006


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:


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.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Think I May Have Found Mecca...

And further reinforcement of my need to go to India... NYT Travel today: "... Palace of Ayurevda, [a sign at the entrance] that says, ' Please Leave Your World Here.'... You have agreed to forsake all known forms of vacation decadence (rice gruel for dinner, anyone?), to give up meat, alcohol, caffeine, leather accessories, sunbathing, swimming and mindless frivolity in order to purify and balance your whacked-out Western body and soul. here you immerse yourself in ayureda, the 3,500-year-old herb-based healing tradition that still flourishes in the daily life of India." Okay, not doing it justice... but believe me, it sounds incredible. Unfortunately, it requires beacoup bucks, which of course, I have none. Damn. I hate when things get trendy.

In other (interesting) travel news:
  • Killer Whale Safaris: 7-day safari through the Lofoten Islands. If anyone can tell me where that is, you get a prize.
  • Atlanta's first (self-proclaimed) boutique hotel (a little too trendy for me, but a little shout out to the folks from Atlanta I met this weekend, since Atlanta doesn't typically make NYT travel).
  • Abruzzi, Italy: a wild, mountainous region of Italy, east of Rome
  • Brooklyn Country Music Festival: as the author writes, "The one-day Brooklyn Country Music Festival kicks off on September 9, which raises the inevitable question: There's a country music festival in Brooklyn?" Haha. I love it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Was Brought To My Senses

I walked out this morning
It was like a veil had been removed from before my eyes
For the first time I saw the work of heaven
In the line where the hills had been married to the sky
And all around me
Every blade of singing grass
Was calling out your name
And that our love would always last
And inside every turning leaf
Is the pattern of an older tree
The shape of our future
The shape of all our history
And out of the confusion
Where the river meets the sea
Came things I'd never seen
Things I'd never seen...


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rockin' Out Til 3 a.m.

Being the true nerd that I am, it has been a while since I've seen this side of 3 a.m. (that is unless it's because I'm heading to the airport on yet another painful business trip...). So imagine my surprise that I've made it this far with nary a yawn?

And the reason? This awesome band. Billed by my dear old roomie, Jen, as "My brother Phil's band," she failed to mention that they were kick-ass (and Philly's all grown up-- what happened to that pre-teen I met way back when at VC? You're making me feel old). They played a mix of originals and covers (of which I actually preferred the originals, but all were great). The bass player is also the lead singer... the best combination (yes, my weakness for Sting... and, er, bass' rearing its ugly head...). But he has an incredible voice, amazing range, and is, not to mention, a freakin' talented bass player.

Did I mention that the band was awesome? Creative arrangements, clever lyrics, great harmonies, lots of fun stuff going on (how's that for technical??), music that you just want to bounce to (and we all know how I like to bounce...). Download their music from myspace while waiting for their new album... you won't be sorry.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Remote Update (as though you care...)

The flipping remote works today. As does the "old" remote from the broken Tivo that I still have for sentimental, and somewhat practical reasons (it is propping up my very small, very old television to give it some height on my very small, very old tv stand). Neither worked last night or this morning (which resulted in major withdrawal and general discombobulation on account of not being able to watch "The Today Show"). Suddenly I've gone from no remotes to three (thanks to emergency overnight delivery from Tivo.) Just my luck.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Good or Bad?

Discovering that the batteries inside of your remote control are oozing gross, greasy substance; remote now broken; tivo stuck on tlc; me worrying about being exposed to radiation or acid or some other type of substance that is going to make my skin peel off (though that may be from the scrubbing that ensued after coming in contact with the goo).

Good or bad? I'm guessing bad.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Back From the PN

Can you tell I'm trying to start a new movement, ala "The OC?" I wonder if it will catch on (given the fact that all of three people read this blog, I'm kind of doubting it...).

I have a knack of visiting places during the most idyllic times of the year and falling in love with the place (Chicago, anyone?). The one time of the year where the weather is utter perfection... I did it when I visited Vassar-- driving through main gate and seeing the Hollywood college scene unfold before me: students lying across the lawn in front of Rocky Hall/the Library reading, throwing frisbees and frolicking in trees (okay... maybe not in the trees, but frolicking barefoot indeed). I did it when I moved to Chicago... only to find out that those perfect weather days are few and far between... very few and very far.

Apparently I did it again. Seattle weather was amazing... low 80s, no humidity, sunny and gorgeous during the day; low 60s with a slight nip in the air in the evenings... cold enough to snuggle under blankets in front of the Daves' outdoor fireplace, but not so cold that you feel as though your nose is going to fall off.

Everyone I talked to there thought it was "too hot" (Whhaaa?!? Have you experienced the Northeast/Midwest in July or August??)-- but they also conceded that 4 days without rain was unusual... even in the summer (and I'm not a rain person), so that was a plus. But, it was pretty wonderful. I'm trying to temper that feeling of dying for perfect weather with actually wanting to live in the city... yes, yes, you naysayers. I could go back to Hawaii where the weather is actually pretty near perfection year-round. But there's that little thing called making a living that always seems to get in the way.

So the quest for perfect weather, coupled with the perfect job opportunity continues. Perhaps this is my Odyssey.

Friday, August 04, 2006

To the Land of Pearl Jam and Starbucks

I'm of again on a mini adventure to the great Pacific Northwest for a long weekend. Alternative music, coffee, airplanes and software... that's about the extent of what I know about Seattle. I hope to discover more. But, it's also the home of my Daves, who I'm thrilled to see. I'm not taking my trusty computer, given the incident the last time (scroll to "...last international trip") I traveled to the "PN," so there will be a lull in the blogging (what else is new?). Stay tuned for a full report... and the answer to the question as to if I really will melt from constant rain...

Crying Over Spilt Jamba

Walking back to the office after lunch today, I thought I was looking pretty good... people were kinda checking me out, so I thought, "Wow, I was feeling pretty gross today, but my outfit must be pretty cute." Then, as I looked down to grab the door handle to walk into my office, I saw that I had unwittingly spilled large drops of my bright orange jamba juice down the front of my very white sweater.


So much for being cute.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Back to Basics

No matter how crappy you might be feeling, or how bad your day may be going (or starting) it just takes one look at this sweet face to turn everything around. (Thanks for letting me steal this photo from your blog, sis.) Try it-- it's a total pick me up.

Never Choose The Boy

Okay-- first thing's first; I watch "The Hills"... and a number of other really bad MTV reality shows. I can't help it. Some sick, twisted, masochistic desire to relive my hateful high school experience (because, sadly, I knew, and "hung" with people like that...). In any case, on tonight's season finale, the protagonist was faced with a choice-- the climax of the story: 1) choose the boy or 2) choose the amazing opportunity that will change the course of your life (in this case, a one of a kind, never to be repeated, incredible internship in Paris).

She chose the boy.

Now, for all the teeny-boppers in the world who are the demographic of this show, they were probably jumping for joy, pumping their fists in the air and saying, "you go girl; follow your heart!" Me? I just shook my head in amazement... that people can continue to make the same mistakes, over and over again. It would be one thing if the boy was worth it... had some semblance of respect-- not even love, but just a little bit of something not resembling total crap. But this boy was a cheater; disrespecter (I think I made up this word); and all around jerk of a guy. And yet... something told her to stay in Malibu and give up the chance of a lifetime.

Sadly, I can relate.

While my initial reaction was outrage and protestations of "how can she be so short-sighted; stupid; ugh!" But then, when I really thought about it (okay... not REALLY, but in the 5 seconds after knee-jerk reaction), I realized that I would have done the same thing. Despite my friends and family telling me their reservations (short of tying me down and smacking some sense into me); I, too, would have chosen the boy.

I guess, despite all of our better judgement, there are some of us who still believe in "it;" that we're so naive and want to believe that maybe, someday, he will want to invest as much in us as we do he.

Damn reality MTV.

Does hotter than hell mean anything to you?

I think I can finally relate to the hotter than hell analogy. The heat index today raced to 110. Now, having grown up in the desert, one might say that I should be used to those temps. And indeed, I would agree. Except the desert is DRY. The midwest is WET. Humid, gross, walk outside and it's like you've been lounging in a hot sauna fully clothed, clothes sticking to every surface of your body, heat. It was so hot, not only did the bus not have a/c (but when doing a pain analysis of walking vs. wheels, the threshold was less b/c of the time differential) it BROKE DOWN. It was so hot that the overcrowded bus decided that it had had enough as well, and just turned off. No sputtering and stalling; it just literally turned off. If that's not hot, I don't know what is.

Thank heavens the a/c is working at home (and I had sense enough to leave it on today-- God bless free a/c). Now, if only the thunderstorms would come early so I don't have to play volleyball tonight... I might pass out...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hello, Mr. Heartache...

I've been expecting you.

The Chicks rocked. One of the best concerts I've been to. Natalie Maines has an incredible, and when I say incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE voice. They performed for 2+ hours and at the end, she was still belting every song and rockin-out all over the stage. Country stars? Pshaw. Rock stars all the way.

Other things for me? Well, not so rocking. But, a story for another blog, perhaps. It's along the lines of that whole "how many times do you have to get kicked in the head..." thing. Is it possible to have too high of expectations for your life? Maybe that's been my problem all along. That whole optimism/hope/believing in people thing. I guess I have to just temper that with some cynicism every once in a while... I'll try... again.

Question of the day:

Do you believe that there's such a thing as too much hope/love and that people aren't, at their core, selfish bastards?

Talk amongst yourselves (or, comment if you prefer).