Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The new job and condo are going pretty well, but given the amount of time I'm going to be travelling the next few weeks and the cost of utilities, I'm being too cheap to install internet/cable until September and my e-mail/blog updating has suffered as a result. O, you anonymous friend of mine who may read this, there's so much I've wanted to tell you!

The condo is nice. I'll have to post photos soon. I call it "the oasis" since it is so lush and quiet. Sunday I finally made use of the pool (I'm trying to be on a health kick) and walked to do my errands at the nearby shopping centers on Western (still getting used to the hills!). I've done laundry in my washer/dryer and washed dishes in my dishwasher, which I think is the height of sophistication since for the last 3 years I've been doing the dishes by hand. The cats enjoy their evening porch time. The movers still haven't found my table legs or artwork, so I despair of ever seeing them again. It's quiet. Too quiet. I can't search for roommates until my traveling slows in September, and I've been lonely. My loneliness has been both eased and agitated by my experiences at work (you'll see why).

Work is work. I miss my old neighbor Jay-Rock, and am struggling in my relationship with my new neighbor Daddy Mac. As you my closest friends know, I have a problem developing infatuations with extraordinarily good-looking and ridiculously out-of-my-league young men, even those necessarily interdit due to the fact that I work with them in some capacity. At the State Penn it was Crazy Jim, in Sacramento it was the Allegetarian. Here it is no different. I call him TasteeBoy (on my blog, of course - in real life I call him by his name). I met him on a business trip earlier in the year, so when I arrived in LA I claimed our slight acquaintance as an excuse why he had to be the one to help me meet the others in the office (clever, no? Serves the dual purpose of letting me meet people while having an excuse to spend time with him). He performed admirably, inviting me to an after-work outing where I met quite a few co-workers, made sure I wasn't ignored, and at the end of the evening even claimed to have enjoyed my company. I spent a large part of the evening thinking "dammit, Andrea, say something clever and funny and interesting", but nothing came. I was an absolute dud. But I did have a good time. Now in the office, I'm trying desperately to be cool, accessible but not clingy. I'm old enough and can read people well enough not to entertain fantasies. But I think we all know my success rate with not making a spectacular ass out of myself in front of guys like TasteeBoy.

The weekend before last I met my family in Chicago. My father had won a teaching award, and his ceremony and celebration were scheduled for this conference. My sisters were both coming, and since I had spent the week before in nearby Detroit anyway, my attendance was declared mandatory. It was a singular experience. Don't get me wrong, I'm really glad I went. The dean introduced him with a 20-minute speech, and he gave another speech and answered questions about the future of pharmacological education. The moderator handed him a trophy that wasn't attached to the base, and it fell and the glass broke. People I hadn't seen since I was a child, and most I hadn't seen at all, were forming a line to tell us how much they loved our dad. That evening, UK chartered a cruise from Navy Pier in order to throw a party in his honor. One of the professors told a story about how, in 1987, another faculty member had accidentally driven Dad's BRAND new Volvo into a lake. The guests were crying on themselves they were laughing so hard, but at my table we girls sat silently aghast. That story had been taboo in our family for 20 years! Seeing it told in such excruciating detail (half of it I'd never even heard) was really strange, but Dad didn't seem to mind. After we saw how relaxed he was, we let it go too. Also, I'm getting old. I must have taken a bad step or something and developed a wicked pain in my hip. I was hobbling all over Chicago and requiring my family to take cabs for the rest of the weekend! Mom and Paige used it as an excuse to berate me on my excercise habits. Mom and Carmalyn insisted I check in for spinal cortisone shots and physical therapy when I got back home. Mom asked me to put ice on my back as soon as she saw me open my eyes in the morning and every five minutes after that until 20 minutes after I'd fallen asleep (yeah, you read it right). I was absolutely miserable, as much from the pestering as from the pain. But luckily it subsided when I got back, and I haven't had a problem with it since (crosses fingers).

Today was my first earthquake in California (2nd ever). We were in a meeting in Gardena and I heard/felt what seemed like loud stomping in the hall. Just when I was wondering who the jerk was, the building started swaying, very slowly and gently, back and forth. We stopped the meeting and stared at each other: is this an earthquake? After about 10 seconds we consensed that it was, but continued to stare. So I asked "shouldn't we get under the tables or something?". People laughed. Another few seconds passed, and the quaking stopped. Finally, someone (ironically not the manager) insisted that we evacuate in case of aftershocks. So I led the way out the door and into the assembly area in the parting lot. Everyone immediately got out their cell phones to call their wives, parents, kids, etc., but all the networks were already full. I sat silently on the curb - I didn't have anyone to call. Cliff looked at Dom and said "What do you think, was that about a 6.0?" A minute later, a guy who had finally gotten a hold of his wife, and whose wife had gotten on the internet, announced "It was a 5.8". Those Geological Survey guys really move fast! As we began wondering what to do, the security guard came by and declared "All Clear" so we could re-enter the building. By this time it was lunch hour and the manager had declared the meeting over, so we got in the car to drive back to Torrance. As we were leaving the parking lot, I got simultaneous phone calls from Jay-Rock and Big Dog with the same message: How did you like your first earthquake in SoCal? Someone was thinking of me after all!

Finally, I have to thank Britton for turning me onto: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
This is the latest installment from the incomparable Joss Whedon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ay, ay, ay ay...

... canta y no llores.

Ah, ah, sing and don't cry. Good advice.

So I moved from Sacramento to Los Angeles. Got packed up on June 25 and left my apartment for good. Drove to Alameda to stay with Carmalyn and Ethan (and a very unhappy Monster). June 26th we planned to take the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) down to Hearst Castle. In Big Sur we were told the highway was closed due to wildfires, and were forced to take a detour probably 100 miles back up the coast and down the far-less scenic 120, then we cut back to the ocean. The cats seemed to do well in the car, and aside from Ginger's one expedition, they mostly stayed in their carriers.

Even down in San Simeon, you could see and smell the smoke on the beach. Like a huge cosmic barbecue was going on at the neighbor's place. By that time it was too late to go to Hearst Castle, so we made plans to go the next day. We had time to enjoy the sunset on the beach, where the pebbles were an amazing array of bright green, yellow, red, and black.

The tour of Hearst Castle was really interesting. It was a nice break from driving. The mansion looked like it was sitting on a cloud, because in all directions all you could see was smoke/fog. The pools were pretty nice.

June 27th we drove past Pismo Beach, through Malibu, and into LA and Santa Monica. Traffic blew a little bit. It was the weekend, but escrow hadn't yet closed on the house. So aside from some paperwork and the final walk-through, we had the weekend free. We slept and went to the beach a lot. I flew a kite my parents brought back from China that was made up of 10 little kites on a string (can you see them in the picture?).

Monday and Tuesday I worked in my new office in Torrance. Gawd was I tired. For everyone else it was just business as usual, so I had trouble getting the others in the office outside my group to stop and introduce themselves. I'm still working on it.

Wednesday I was on ice for escrow to close, so I took one of my relocation days, and Mom and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. It was fascinating seeing the random asphalt puddles (like the one in the parking lot) bubbling up from the ground, especially so close to Downtown, but it was a little disappointing to hear that all the pits except one had already been mined of all their artifacts. They found bones of mammoths and mastodons, American camels, saber-tooth cats, wolves, and these enormous creepy sloths that were over 6 feet tall! We had a good time on the grounds and in the museum. Then the call came: I was ready to get my keys!

Thursday was move-in day at my new home in San Pedro, although I wished it could have been later because the place needed a thorough cleaning that it couldn't get before the furniture came. The movers broke a few things and lost my table legs and a piece of artwork I made myself and was really excited about hanging over the fireplace. They wanted to know how much it was worth but how do you put a price on a something like that? Here is a picture of me with the keys to my house!

Friday we moved out of the stinky hotel and brought the cats to their new home. They seemed to take to it pretty quickly.

We spent the day unpacking boxes and shopping for groceries. That night, we were too tired to brave the traffic and crowds for fireworks displays, but were rewarded with the show from the porch and bedroom, which encompassed the shows from about 10 towns along the horizon and closer. I couldn't really capture it on film, but I tried!

Now I'm settling into normal life in the LA Basin. So far I'm liking it, but it's mostly work-home-work-home. I'll keep you posted.