All I've got is a photograph, but it's not enough...

I've been organizing in our office and finding a lot of "treasures" that have made me laugh, cry, and smile. Magazine articles, programs from funerals, autographs from favorite bands are among the few things I've come across. A lot of the items, especially those from college, make me feel my age, but it's not a bad thing. I was amused by this photo from August of 1995:


The 12 of us in the photo, along with the person who took it, were gathered for a joint wedding shower for two of the women. This snapshot captured a group of amazing women and I feel so fortunate to have known all of them. At this moment, a little over 13 years ago, we were all co-workers.

Some random facts about those of us seen, and not seen, in the photo:
  • 5 of us still work together. Yes, at the same company.
  • 4 of us do not have any children (yet we all still work with kids).
  • 3 of us (+ the photographer) attended the out-of-state wedding of another in the picture ~11-12 years ago (and had a blast!)
  • 2 of the women are mothers of twins.
  • 1 person died 5 and a half years ago.
Lots of memories, along with some harsh reminders about the unfairness and brevity of life. I met up with the dear friend of mine who took this old picture for coffee this afternoon. It was awesome to catch up with her and her sister, who I'm also close to. We won't wait so long next time.

I suppose this post is a reminder to myself to keep in touch and nurture friendships. People's lives changes, they move on and away, so it's often not easy. Sometimes all you have left is a photo and it's just not enough.


Little Guy Update, Post Op Day 14

It's kind of hard to believe that it's already been two weeks since Little Guy's surgery. It's even harder to believe I'll have to go back to work on Monday. He saw the surgeon today and had his sutures removed. The doctor was very pleased with how his incision is healing and said the 'knee' felt good. Along with that came the strong reminder that Guy's activity must be strictly limited for the next six to ten weeks, which will be challenging.


I took the above in the parking lot at the vet. Little Guy was very happy that we were leaving and that the doctor told me he could keep the collar off. Well...that didn't last too long and he's back in the collar. He was good for a while, but then started really licking the incision. In the interest of protecting the healing he's done and not opening it back up, we had to take action.

So, yeah, he's coming along nicely. We just have to keep him quiet and inactive as much as possible. Hopefully the collar can really come off soon.


Sometimes I wonder where you are, probably in L.A. That seems to be where everybody else ends up these days

Based on my calculations, last Thursday's Fountains of Wayne show was my fourth. Also, it just might have been was the best. The House of Blues (07/03) show a few years ago was...meh. Uninspired, kind of flat, just 'off.' However, we didn't give up. The show at the Wiltern (05/05) was pretty good, much better than the one at HOB at least. Next, they opened for Squeeze at The Greek Theatre (08/07) and were FANTASTIC!

Okay, if you made it this far and have no clue who I'm talking about, you probably heard a FOW song in a holiday ad in 2008. "Valley Winter Song" was used in this L.L. Bean commercial. Ah, yes, now you know who I'm talking about, right? They joked about the ad, as their song is really about how depressing the winter in New England is (I've heard it's about Seasonal Affective Disorder) and now it's supposed to make you want to buy slippers!

This recent appearance was at Largo 2.0* and the 'acoustic' set of their infectious pop songs, in combination with such a kick-ass venue did make it the best yet. I was pretty impressed by the openers, Mike Viola and Kelly Jones, who meshed well with the headliner. I get annoyed when that doesn't happen and the audience doesn't get pumped up for the main act.

The guys were relaxed and quite solid. They treated us to several new tracks, including a "road song" with a line about not singing it as well as Steve Perry (which made me laugh out loud), as well as crowd favorites from their catalog. The slow-tempo version of "Stacy's Mom" that they did was hilarious! A few audience members joined the band on stage to play percussion on "Hey Julie," and they all looked like they were having a blast.

This was the closest I'd been to FOW and I have to admit that it was fun to have such a great view of the talented lead guitarist, Jody Porter. He is an amazing musician, but in some ways seems like he doesn't fit in with the rest of the group. The other guys have sort of a preppy/nerdy/hipster/dorky vibe, whereas Jody is all rock 'n roll and quite quirky. I got the impression he's kind of shy too as he didn't join in the banter until later into the concert. Once he did though, he was pretty funny.

So, as usual, I am now obsessing on Fountains of Wayne and listening to nothing else. This is my typical pattern after seeing a great live show. If my calculations are correct, it will go on for just about the rest of this week.

[Fountains of Wayne @ Largo 1.22.09]

*Largo 2.0 is just my silly nickname for 'Largo at The Coronet.' I miss the original, but the new venue is a great place to see an intimate show.


I've got a secret and I can't explain...

Last night I went to the exclusive members-only event at Machine Project. I've professed my affection for the alternative art space before and it was indeed a great time! I'm bound by a sacred promise to not reveal certain details, but I can tell you there were very yummy tamales, a photo booth, and beer delivered up through a hole in the floor.*

The highlight of the evening was the tour of the hallowed space below Machine's main gallery. And here is where I have to be really careful in what I tell you. What I can say is that we gathered behind a big screen where we took the oath. Complete with hands raised & speaking in unison.

From there, we _____ through an _____. We proceeded _____ the _____ holding on to the new _____. Upon arrival below, we encountered a _____ full of _____. We gathered around _____, who began to reveal several mysteries. The first hidden gem we saw was the _____! Wow! The description included an invitation to enjoy it, which is quite exciting.

Moving along to the _____ _____, the group got a first hand look at Machine's new _____ _____ _____. Impressive stuff, folks. Very impressive. Of course, most people got the biggest kick out of the unveiling of the _____ _____! "So _____!" someone exclaimed.

We ventured back to the _____ _____ for a hands-on _____ _____ and _____ lesson. There was confusion and laughter, followed by great satisfaction. Everyone _____ _____ and listened to _____ _____ who performed _____. Thus concluded the adventure and each of us _____ our _____ and went _____ _____ _____ to return to the party.

Sorry. I just can't fill in the blanks for you. But, if your curiosity is piqued and you are in the greater L.A. area, why not stop by machine project and even consider becoming a member. And who knows, then the secrets of the mysterious basement may be revealed to you as well.

*If you've attended any machine project event, that may not be new to you.

Download This Song! For The Animals!

I love animals. Duh. I'm also very fond of the very talented singer/songwriter/musician Neko Case. I'm quite in awe of her vocal contributions to The New Pornographers, but really enjoy her solo work too. Her voice is just amazing and escapes any words I can put together to describe it.

Janice, of the copacetique zine, tipped me off to a cool collaboration between Case and The Best Friends Animal Society. Best Friends guiding philosophy that I strongly believe in: "Kindness to animals builds a better world for all of us." They run a well-know sanctuary in Utah where pets, many with special needs, are cared for until they can be adopted. Others live out their lives in a beautiful, safe, and loving environment. The haven is one of many ways in which the organization helps animals in need.

So, get this. Simple listen to and blog about Neko's new song "People Got A Lotta Nerve" and
Anti- will donated 5 dollars to Best Friends. Add it to your iLike profile and they will give 1 dollar. Download the song here .

A great song by a great artist for a great cause. Do it for the animals.


73% Less Redneck

The former porch couch, which then became the driveway couch due to our grouchy mailman, is GONE! W00T! After multiple ads on freecyle and craig's list, and someone who flaked on picking it up twice, we got a taker. I had to protect it from the rain a couple of times. What a freakin' saga this turned into. I'm sure our neighbors are happy too that it's gone. Now, if we'd only get around to hanging the eave that fell off of the house and is still propped up on the porch, we'd stop bringing down the property values.

Ding Dong, the couch is gone!


L.A. Twestival '09

See my blurb below about the upcoming L.A. Twestival. If you don't live in the L.A. area, your city might be hosting an event too.


Little Guy Update: 1 Week Post Op

Here's a brief update on Little Guy's progress since last week's surgery.

Little Guy is
  • In much less pain. He's still on some meds, but less.
  • Tolerating his "pen" that we set up in the hallway.
  • Sleeping through the night.
  • No longer whining and moaning for hours on end.
  • Pooping (as of yesterday)! This is a post-surgery milestone.
  • Much more comfortable in his inflatable e-collar vs. The Cone.
Post Op Day 7

It's still going to be a long couple of months and I'm carrying him in and out for every potty break. We've definitely come a long way in a week though.


Happy Happy!!! Joy Joy!!!

We have new President AND I have chocolate cake! What a great day!


Phyllis: Michael, everyone in the engine room drowned. Michael: No! Thank you, spoiler alert.

***This post might contain spoiler alerts. (No promises).***

In this day and age of DVRs and the ability to buy or rent entire television series on dvd, as well as with everything being discussed to the nth degree on the internet, a big issue has arisen. The spoiler alert.

Who won [insert any one of the competition shows here] last night? Which Lost characters got off of the island? Who is the final Cylon?

I try to be a good citizen and not ruin surprises for those who really care. While most of my co-workers don't watch the same shows I do, there is the occasional, "Wait! Let me leave the room! I haven't watched yet!" I certainly don't always have time to watch something in a timely manner and need to shield myself from information I don't want to know. Also, if I am seasons behind or if I'm just getting around to watching a show that aired years ago, I fully expect to learn things and would never get angry at someone for tipping me off to something that happens.

My question is, is there a statute of limitations for the spoiler alert? Clearly, I'm not going to give away the final Cylon, or even more shocking events than that from the recent Battlestar Galactica episode. But, when can I talk about without being a douche? In two weeks? Next month? 2010? Again, I'm not trying to ruin things for anyone, but I've seen numerous pleas around the internet--on Facebook, Twitter, etc.--where people state they are 'only on such-and-such season! Please no spoilers!' Whose responsiblity is it?

There's a great t-shirt, that deserves an update, called "Spoilt." It says things like, "Snape killed Dumbledore," "Neo is The One," and along side a Darth Vader helmet-"Luke's Father." You can find it here at Threadless.

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this in the comments. Is there a time limit? How do you avoid giving or hearing spoiler alerts? Is it your responsibility to avoid or the rest of world's to not tell you? Go.


Little Guy Update, Post Op Day 1

Just a quick update for those of you wondering how Little Guy is doing. If you don't know, I'll just briefly recap that he had a torn ligament in his left "knee" and underwent orthopedic surgery on the 15th. The doctor reported that the operation went well and he only had to stay over one night.

On The Way To The Surgeon
On the way to the animal hospital early in the morning on 1/15/09.

I picked Guy up around 6pm on the 16th. He was still hazy and didn't seem excited to see me, understandably. We made it home, with him whimpering the entire time in the back seat, and E helped me get him settled.

Post Op Day 1: Car Ride Home
Car ride home, post op Day 1.

The procedure Little Guy underwent has good outcomes. In order to get acceptable results though, you and your pet have to endure a 2-3 month recovery period of strictly limited activity. We made a little area with a dog bed, blankets, and a little fence in LG's favorite spot in the den. Not long after we got him fairly comfortable, he wanted to go for his incision. So, yeah, we had to break out the cone. I was hoping he'd be out of it enough for at least a day or two before resorting to that. Oh well.

Post Op Day 1: The Dreaded Cone
Not the cone!!!

Little Guy HATES the cone. Since it went on, he has been whining nearly non-stop for 8 hours now. I wish I was kidding. I thought by now he would have worn himself out and slept. Actually, he did that about twenty minutes ago and dozed for four minutes. I'm typing, Guy's crying.

Of course there is no denying that he is also in pain. He does have a lot of narcotics on board, including the dose he had an hour ago, and really wasn't acting like this until he got the cone. He still tries to shake off every half-hour or so. He just let out a big, pathetic sigh, which gives me hope that he's wearing himself out. I plan to sleep here next to him.

Thanks to everyone who emailed, left Facebook messages, and even sent cards (!) to wish Little Guy well. We have a long road ahead of us, but it will be worth it when he's up and around on squirrel patrol again. Also, don't worry that every post from here on out will be about the dog, his incision, the cone, etc. Some will, but definitely not all. I still have to tell you all about the cool Battlestar Galactica stuff I saw today and share the photos. I may just have time to upload them before the sun rises.


Michael: I just want you know, you've been a big disappointment to me today, okay.
Stanley: Oh. Go away.

There's nothing like getting all revved up for a cool, free event for one of your favorite tv shows that you barely got reservations for, and kind of felt smug for doing so, and that you invited friends to, only to find out that it's taking place almost 3000 miles away and you have no plane tickets!

Nothing except maybe driving over 100 miles to see Sting, only to find the show had been cancelled with the only clue being the empty parking lot.


Looks like another perfect day...I love L.A.

It's no secret that I love Los Angeles. It became home to me upon moving here fourteen years ago. So, I'm very honored and excited that I was recently selected to join the bloggers at L.A. Metblogs. I look forward to meeting new people and challenging myself to write thoughtfully about my favorite city. Also, I'll be motivated to go out and do even more fun things!

So yeah, that's my announcement. No babies or anything like that.


Were jammin' and I hope you like jammin' too.

Rasta Guy


Photo pimped at pikipimp

I altered this photo of Little Guy based on a conversation E and I were having about his upcoming surgery. We've been discussing all of the heavy stuff, like what, if any, life saving measures we want the doctors to take if necessary, etc. While talking about post-op pain management, E suggested that perhaps he can get a prescription for medical marijuana and yeah, you can see where it went from there. Made us laugh, at least.

Come Thursday, I may be shedding a few anxiety induced tears, but for now, we're having a laugh, which is helping us face what is to come.


Dad: Why do you think you're a dork? I don't think you're a dork. I don't think Mom thinks you're a dork. Samantha: Mike thinks I'm a dork.

Okay, I've got to get on this. The wonderfully sarcastic Bart, emailed me some interview questions when I responded to one he did on his blog. Since he gave me the honor of being the only recipient of questions, I need to stop over thinking the whole thing and just do it. So, here goes. First, some rules and info for anyone wanting to participate:
  • Link back to the person you received the interview from.
  • If you want to participate, leave a comment saying, “Interview me.”
  • I will respond by emailing you 5 questions. I get to pick the questions.
  • You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
  • You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
1) I see that you don't like your neck being touched. Neither do I. Mine might be some repressed choking memory, what is your reason for not wanting to be touched there? If you don't have an answer, please answer with your favorite Beatle, and why. That way, you can't get out of answering this question. Actually, do that anyway, it's an important thing to know personality wise.

I'm not exactly sure, but I think the neck thing has something to do with being tickled relentlessly when I was a child. I can't even stand something coming toward my neck. If I THINK I'm going to be touched there, I jump out of my skin. I've gotten to the point where I can tolerate light necklaces, for a while, but scarves and turtlenecks are not so comfortable.

And my favorite Beatle? I'm so friggin' wishy-washy that I always have trouble with
favorite type questions. I keep coming back to John. The mysterious, poetic, political one. However, my favorite Beatles song, "Eleanor Rigby," is a Paul tune. See? Wishy.Washy.

2) When you recently saw Ben Folds, did he have the double piano set up? And if he did, did he do that awesome bit where he plays with both his hands and feet? And did he rule awesomely?

Nope to the first question, nullifying the second. Only one piano. I will answer the third part with another question. When does he not rule awesomely? Between Ben Folds Five, completely solo, and playing along with various other band members, I've seen Mr. Folds live around 20 times. This latest show was hands down one of the best. I'm sure I could go on and on about one of my favorite performers and never end up at Question #3. Instead, if anyone is even interested, there are a few posts in my archives, including the one related to 9/11/01.

Ben Folds & Me-10 Years Ago
Ben and me, July 1998
4th & B, San Diego

3) I see a lot of stuff out of you, but not a lot of "snark." Why'd you choose that? Yes, this is a bit of a joke question.

Now I'm curious to see what you do see coming out of me! I've been accused before (mainly by "internet people") of not being very snarky or dorky, at least not enough to warrant use of the moniker. Anyone who really knows me, will testify to how incredibly, unapologetically dorky I am. As for the snark, I can bring that too. Oh, yes I can. I often go a little too far though, or pick an inappropriate situation, and get in trouble for it. I only remember my husband and I coming up as something that wasn't my actual name, but was unique.

And hey, it's better than one of the earlier blog names I considered, which was Sparkly Cheese. I wish I was kidding.

4) If you were to mentor a blogger, what would be your blogosphere version of the "if you can take the stone from my hand, grasshoppa" trial?

Damn, these questions are kind of hard. And the thought of me mentoring a blogger does make me laugh a little. Personally, I just try to have fun with it and not put too much pressure* on myself. I don't have a large audience, but that's not really one of my goals. I suppose I'd advise the newbie to figure out what they want to start putting stuff online and for what purpose. If it's anything more than an online diary, a way to share some photos, or keeping in touch with friends and family, I'd refer them to other bloggers I know who are doing more serious and profound things.

*I have just agreed to something that will require more obligation that I put into this site, but I'm up for the challenge and will discuss more later!

5) Are you aware that I'm not very fond of most health care professionals? How do you live with knowing that? Just kidding, you aren't all bad, its simply a system, like most systems, that is broken. But as a health care pro, can you tell us the worst instance of the system failing someone? Obviously change or hide names...and heck, why don't you tell us about a time when the system really benefited someone for the positive vibes.

Yikes. It can suck. As can animal health care, as I learned recently. I'd like to think that my role in the cog is a good one. In my capacity, I help people (kids, to be a little more specific in my vague musings here) take steps toward returning to life after often devastating injuries or illness. However, I have to deal with the bureaucracy, which can be quite unpleasant. With my work having mostly positive outcomes, I do tend to remember the bad stories. For example, a teenage athlete loses a leg in a tragic accident. His parents are gainfully employed and insured, but the company will not fund a prosthetic leg. Instead, they tell the parents to just purchase a peg for him, out of their own pockets.*

I realize I've done something good when former patients come back to visit me. Just this past week, a 25-year old woman came by, with her 6-year old twins and 3-year old child in tow. I knew her probably about eight or nine years ago. She's moved out-of-state, but was in town for the holidays. I was one of the few people she specifically asked to see, which says something to me about the impact I had on her life. I am embarrassed to say that I could not remember her name. Ack. I remembered
HER though and what I'd helped her manage. So, after our lengthy conversation, I immediately emailed a colleague she'd also visited to find out her name. Oh! Of course.

*Details of that story have been altered, but the gist is very much true to what happened in one memorable case.


And as I try to make my way to the ordinary world, I will learn to survive

It's been one of those weeks. Stressful, confusing, depressing, but also good and even quite exciting at times. Quite a roller coaster. Between one pet's near death experience, another being scheduled for surgery next week, and some other unpleasantness, to put it mildly, I'm spent. On top of it all, I got run down and caught the sinus germs my co-workers were spreading around and am here at home, in bed, instead of on the road to Vegas for CES, as I was scheduled to be. Bummer.

Okay, enough with the wah, wah, poor me though. Like I said, some good things are happening too, reminding me that there is some balance in life. It's never all bad and I will not spend my time only focusing on the crappy stuff. Soon, I'll be making an announcement here about the best thing that happened for me this week, which has helped squash my pessimism.

One fun thing I started this past week is a couple of photo projects for the coming year. For a couple of different flickr groups, I'll be experimenting and hopefully gaining some skills with photographing Little Guy and Rusty once a week. Here are the first two shots:

My creation

Back to bed for me so I can get healthy soon.


The Day The Guinea Pig (Almost) Died

The day was Monday. Well, it was evening, or maybe even night. I'll start by saying that Penny is absolutely fine. You'd never even know she had some sort of respiratory 'event' in which she turned blue and required a breathing mask followed by a quite a bit of time in an 'oxygen chamber.' Nope, you wouldn't guess. She's perky, her lips and nose are pink, she squeaked for her veggies last night, and had a blast during her playtime while running in and out of cardboard tubes and boxes.

It was quite a traumatizing experience. We simply went in to the for a claw trimming. The next thing I know, I was being told, "Well, she got stressed, turned blue, and is trying to die." That is an actual quote. Who knew that Dr. House was now practicing veterinary medicine? Luckily, she pulled through just fine, clearly having had some sort of anxiety attack. I appreciate doctors giving me the facts, even to the point of worse case scenario, but I also like it to be handled in a caring, non-abrasive manner. Maybe my expectations are too high or I'm just spoiled by my dogs' vet, who is more wonderful than most human physicians I've encountered. In the end, the outcome is what matters. We'll just leave the claws a little long for now or have her walk on sand paper.

I think this experience taught me how attached I am to this little piggie.


Nothing Changes On New Year's Day

Okay, well some things do change. Here in California, as of January 1st, minimum pay for computer professionals increased, the definition of a motorcycle was modified, and we can no longer text while driving. And that's just a few of the new laws on the books. Fortunately, we can still drink lattes, apply mascara, read newspapers, and clip our toenails while behind the wheel. Outlawing any of those would be downright oppressive.

One thing that unfortunately has not done an about-face is Proposition 8, that nasty ballot measure that amended the California Constitution to invalidate same-sex marriages. I usually try not to get too political here, but it really sickens me that my state cares more about farm animals than people who want to commit to spending their lives together. While the consequences have been vague, I learned tonight that legal action is in process to annul all of the marriages that took place last year. I care about a lot of people that are directly and indirectly impacted by this removal of human rights. The ignorance and hatred of it all is mind-boggling.

Hopefully, the amendment will be repealed. 2009 is the Year of Hope after all. I believe it will again become legal again for anyone to marry. I was thinking about the issue* as I recently discovered a beautiful children's book that alludes to the topic. It's so subtle, in fact, that I didn't even "get" it until perusing it a few times. Okay, maybe it's just because I can be rather daft.


I received Uncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen as a Christmas gift from a good friend. Squee! Guinea pigs! How adorable. I thumbed through it a couple of times and then later in evening, I sat down to read the words. It just seemed like an ordinary tale of a girl who is jealous when her favorite uncle, Bobby, is about to marry another guinea pig, Jamie. Aw.

And then it clicked. Hmmm...Bobby and Jamie are both wearing tuxedos. And then there is the mention of "Uncle" Bobby and "Uncle" Jamie. Oh! I flipped to the cover of the book. Sure enough, there was the happy couple. Two male guinea pigs (made obvious by their attire) about to live happily ever after. See? Dense. Yet another thing that hasn't changed in the new year yet--my 'slowness.' Some things are just hopeless though.

*Other things that involve crazy chickens were also causing me to ruminate on the matter, but I'll save that for another time.


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