Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Solstice Again

Happy Solstice 2009! Happy New Year 2010!

Hey, Everyone;

It's Solstice again, time for my annual newsletter. I hope everyone has had a good year. I have to admit, 2009 was a difficult time for me. I went on worker's compensation for a chronic wrist injury, then disability for chronic fatigue syndrome, and a slew of other bad stuff happened. I spent a lot of time in doctors' offices and in bed, miserable. But Solstice symbolizes things getting better, right? In the meantime, let's forget the bad things and focus on the good things.

I rang in the new year in South Carolina with my friend Saima, her husband Sajid, and their new son Safan. Here we are touring a regional plantation.

As you know, I don't spend much time around babies, so I took a little time with Safan to disprove the theory that Andrea and kids don't mix. I even got him to smile (just not in this picture) by rubbing his belly and repeating the phrase "happy baby!" over and over.

The next few months were spent in therapy for my wrist, business travel, and coming down with that mystery illness eventually diagnosed as chronic fatigue. I was able to rouse myself for a visit from an old college friend, Travis. We spent a few days doing the quintessential LA stuff like seeing the "Hollywood" sign, checking out the beaches, and cruising Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills.

Here I pose with the cast of "Star Wars" on Hollywood Boulevard after seeing a movie premier at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

In May I travelled to Oakland to spend my birthday weekend with my sisters Carmalyn and Paige, both of whom now live there. They made me a giant chocolate chip cookie with candles to celebrate. We also took in a show, an art festival, and of course, sight-seeing. Here we are near the Golden Gate Bridge. That was quite a hike! I practically had to be carried back to the car.

In July, I shored up my health enough to go with my chorus to sing in a music festival in Salzburg, Austria, birthplace of Mozart. It was amazing! Here is a view of the town from the fortress above - I borrowed this photo from a fellow traveller. We sang a mass with other choruses from around the world in the DOM cathedral (with the green dome) you see in the bottom right.

The day before, we sang the "Concert of Nations" in the Mozarteum. Here members of my chorus, the Torrance Civic Chorale, do our individual numbers for the audience and other singers. If you're looking for me, I'm in a light green scarf in the front row way on the left end.

In our free time, we took bus and walking tours. I also snuck out on my own to pay a visit to Mozart's birthplace at the famous No 9 Getreidegasse, and another house where he lived across the river. I also paid homage to the grave of his sister Nannerl, who I think should be the patron saint of set-aside siblings. I really got into the spirit with my musical umbrella and scarf!

Salzburg is famous for several things. The most popular being, of course, the birthplace of Mozart, and the (very close) second being that it was the setting for the story that inspired "The Sound of Music". Perhaps the third most famous thing about Salzburg is its triple-centered chocolate candy, called Mozartkugel. All along the streets are wooden life-size cut-outs of Mozart advertizing this candy. Music and chocolate together! I thought he could use some company.

The fourth most famous thing about Salzburg is its salt (from which the city gets its name). On our way out of town we visited a salt mine. The most interesting thing about the mine is the means by which the workers did (and tourists currently do) get down to it, which is two long wooden slides. Here Mary and Christie and I set an underground speed record.

One afternoon we snuck into nearby Bavaria to visit the Eagle's Nest (Kehlsteinhaus), former vacation hideaway of Hitler and current scenic overlook/restaurant. Here I make a vain attempt to look wistful among the breathtaking backdrop of the alps.

After we were done with Austria, we took a short visit to Budapest, Hungary. Before then I'd never had much interest in Eastern Europe, but now I'm completely fascinated. Budapest is so close to Vienna and yet it is so exotic and otherworldly, with its strange language, gypsy heritage, and peculiar architecture, not to mention the crazy cars! Also, it was HOT, reaching 100 F most of the time we were there. One afternoon we took a steamy boat ride on the famous Danube and were served cocktails while taking in the various sights. I tried to look as classy as I felt, and maybe missed by a little bit.

Hungary considers itself to have been settled in exactly 896 CE, and in 1896 the vast majority of its capitol was renovated in celebration of its millenial anniversary. Budapest is a town of many monuments to its heritage, and certain land is protected due to its irreplaceable view. Here I sit on the outposts of a church in hilly Pest and look out over the Danube to the Parliament building on the flatter Buda side.

Upon my return to the US, it was work, work, work for the next several months. My health was slowly improving but I was still in a lot of pain and needed a great deal of sleep to maintain a full work week. Nonetheless, I tried to make the best of it. On several occasions I was dispatched to the New York City vicinity, and found a few hours to make it into Manhattan. Here my coworkers and I take the Staten Island Ferry for the free views of the Statue of Liberty. I was also able to visit my college friends Peter and Travis, and a former co-worker Adam. Seeing old friends definitely makes business trips more worthwhile.

Of course, no newsletter would be complete without some photos of my all-weather companions, Ginger and Dusty. I have started taking them for walks around the complex on leashes, and they are taking to it better than you would imagine. Mostly they walk me, not the other way around, and in Ginger's case there is more grass-chewing than walking involved, but I think it works for all of us.

Here's Ginger, in her favorite wildlife-viewing window.

And here's Dusty, in his favorite summer sleeping pose.

I recently joined a gym and cut way back on my sodas and desserts. I'm starting to need less sleep and feel a little better. The doctors told me they couldn't help me, just that I need to rest a lot and not push it. But I find that exercise makes me feel better, not worse. So there goes seven months of sleeping too much and not getting well. I'll have to keep you posted on how things progress from here.
I wish you a great winter solstice and a very happy new year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Andrea Art

They need a little adjusting, but my latest art has finally made it onto the walls! These are sets of 1x1 foot canvases, so the total size of the pieces is about 2.25x2.25 feet. I put them on the walls in the "guest wing". It seems "winter" is a little more subtle and harder to see than "summer", but hopefully you get the idea.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ginger: "Take Me Out" Serenade (turn your sound on)

Is it just me, or does she have an unearthly set of pipes?

Tesoro refinery fire from my bed

breathe deep while you sleep...

by the way, those aren't clouds above it. that's all smoke. it seems the winds changed direction at sunrise and blew the smoke in a "?"-shaped pattern

Friday, September 18, 2009

Poetry Corner

"It wasn't long, but it was deep."
This isn't dirty, it describes my sleep.

Friday, September 04, 2009

day off

I feel this way too but don't look nearly as cute.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Angeles National Forest Fire (as seen from my balcony)

Nothing good comes from the Santa Ana winds except the views...

Monday, August 10, 2009

A little shameless self-promotion for my product...

Yours truly managed to stay out of the camera for this one!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

EasyVeg: Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Meatlessness - Good Karma McMuffins

Good Karma McMuffins

Complexity: 2 couch potatoes (out of 5)
Nutrition: 3 turnips (out of 5)

1. Toast the crap out of an English muffin
2. Nuke a MorningStar Farms Maple-Flavored Veggie Sausage Patty for 1 minute
3. Assemble with 1-2 slices of Tillamook sliced cheddar cheese, if desired

Have an idea for this series? E-mail me!

Friday, June 26, 2009

This is a picture of my eyeball

From my cool new optometrist. Too weird not to share.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You, there!

Randomly funny skit from "The Whitest Kids U Know"

"I really really mean this in the best possible way, Andrea: you have a most keenly developed sense of the tragically hilarious."


: >

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm not just a member of her Fan Club, I'm also the Assistant Executive Vice Secretary for International Homeland Affairs

My sister's latest theatrical work (makeup, asst directing, starring):

This one's pretty good, too:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Check the newest addition to "Chez Lubawy"

It's a Wurlitzer, all three pedals work. I have my dust rags and Murphy's ready and have already reserved a space for the bust of Mozart I will inevitably buy in Salzburg.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Consciousness returns in waves, a brief awakening from the dullness of work, of disease, of food and TV.
On the freeway I watch the harbor swim by, sing along with my burned CD;
roll the windows down,
let my hair spread out around me like a fiery halo.
"What if I didn't stop?" I wonder.
Where would I go?
Where could I go that a million other suburbanites aren't already headed,
in their SUVs, in their Cadillacs; with their kids, their coworkers, their lovers,
seeking rest and relaxation but finding traffic and bills and petty squabbles?
Who would love me when I got there?
Who would miss me back home?
And since when did I consider this rest stop "home"?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

(New Series) EasyVeg: Simple Recipes for the Moralist on the Go - Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Complexity: 1 couch potato (out of 5)
Nutrition: 2 turnips (out of 5)

1) Get a casserole or tupperware dish with a lid.
2) Rinse a container of grape tomatos and pour into the dish (cut in half if you have time)
3) Rinse a container of pearl-size fresh mozzarella balls (make sure to get the ones without rennet) and add to the dish
4) Drizzle some olive oil, close lid, and give a medium-size shake to stir.
5) Add your choice to taste: salt, lemon, basil, balsamic vinegar, capers (my favorite)

(Have an idea for this series? E-mail me!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Maybe not the funniest joke ever told

Guy: "Do you want to go out tomorrow night?"

Girl: "Sorry, I'm busy. I have a meeting of Multiple Personalities Anonymous Anonymous."


Monday, May 18, 2009

Cinco de Mayo: Vegetarian Can Still School a Pinata

I whacked that sucker's head right off at the floor picnic! Fiesta Andrea!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Special Day

Despite my protestations to my made-up god and insistence that things start looking up before I got measurably older, my birthday arrived once again. But, as Doug used to say, "better to get older than the alternative."

My business trip for this week was cancelled (and I may have been kept at home anyway due to my health) and my day in the office was typical: pain and exhaustion and boredom broken up by flashes of energy and happiness/focus for 15-60 minute increments during which I was distracted from my self-pity by human interaction or an interesting endeavor.

I decided to organize a group outing to the one activity we've all said we should do and never never done: the Comedy and Magic Club. I figured I was too old to advertise my birthday, so I didn't tell anyone at first the reason for the outing, simply stating that it was a "special day". But you know me, I like attention and I like to feel special (especially now), so I kept shamelessly leaking my secret throughout the day.

Note: If someone invites you to go out for their birthday, then follows up in person to ask you if you can go to their thing, the WRONG response is "what thing?".

I had a handful of "declines", two "accepteds", and a right bushel of no responses. With that kind of social apathy I felt like I was back in grad school, where they taught me "'yes' means 'maybe', 'maybe' means 'no', and 'no' means 'hell no'". BUT it didn't matter: the three of us had a wonderful time. The night was for a charitable cause that was never fully disclosed; from what we could gather, the subject was a young man who had been involved in a car accident in which the other driver was drunk and the three other occupants were killed. Very sad. For our donation, we were rewarded with four funny comics and one really good magician.

It was an absolutely fabulous day!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Simple Minds, Simple Pleasures

Come on, you can't help but find this a LITTLE entertaining (and also a little amazing)...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Maybe 2009 isn't my year...

Ok, so the twitching I lamented previously is not a symptom of my virus, as I guessed. After about a week, I called my internist and asked her if she'd experienced it with her virus. She said "no" and that I better go to the ER. She thought it might be a stroke. The urgent care doctor thought it was a potentially-lethal imbalance of calcium in the blood. At 1AM last Tuesday morning, the hospital decreed I had low potassium and gave me three days of supplements. Here's the catch, though: after my potassium levels went back up and all my labs came back normal, the twitching didn't go away!

Desperate, I decided to try acupuncture. I thought it might balance my organs or my chi or something. This might be obvious, but acupuncture is not pleasant. I thought I could handle her putting needles in my arms or legs or back, but no... she put them in my toes and fingers and hands! Ouch! The toes really set off my twitching (probably a reaction to the pain/stress moreso than the pressure point) until I felt like I was having a seizure right there, on her table, in my underclothes. I think she may have gotten a little enjoyment out of setting me off by twisting some of the needles after they were in. The second time I went it was not as bad, but I still don't feel any better. It's funny - sometimes the needles can irritate the skin, so after she removes them she has an herb that she burns and puts on the most sensitive areas. I came back to the office smelling like pot!

The prevailing theory by my team on the twitching is now a medication side effect. I hope that's it. That sounds easy to fix. But so far the doctor who prescribed that med is denying it could be the cause. I think I'll call her again tomorrow and put my foot down.

Here's a new development: Dr. Fancypants the Infectious Disease Specialist had a cancellation today and for half a grand agreed to see me. After reviewing the labs, squeezing all my organs, and getting an in-depth history, he hypothesized that a complement of two or more viruses (viri?) is to blame for my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and probably also my recurrent sinus infections, hypothyroidism, and IBS. Took a gallon of blood to run some tests and told me to take it easy with a little exercise and maybe try some immune-boosting remedies like probiotics and Chinese mushrooms. I'm not sick enough at present to merit the more aggressive and extremely expensive treatments he's investigating. That's good information, but not a whole lot of bang for my buck.

In related news, I was approved for disability and medical leave for the CFS, so now I have a few hundred hours I can take off if I should relapse (the specialist is guessing 6 months from now but it's hard to predict). That's good to know. I finished two complete weeks at work but am finding that getting back into the swing of things is quite difficult. It's hard for me to focus.

Here's an update in the continuing Saga of Andrea's Wrist. I did eventually get that cortisone shot I was so afraid of, and took it like a woman. It actually didn't hurt so much... but it sure did the next day! I had a hard time dressing myself. A week or two ago I went back to the specialist and he squeezed my wrists. For different reasons (mine more painful than his) we both came to the conclusion that the cyst is still there but is smaller now. So he released me and told me to come back if the pain interferes with my work again. So that's good news!

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Funniest Joke Ever Told

How I Met Your Mother

Marshall gets carried away after discovering the joys of the graphics department at work. One night out for drinks he surprises his friends with a demonstration:

"Here I made a pie chart describing my favorite bars."

(flips to new chart)

"Here, I made a bar chart describing my favorite pies."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Groovin' on a Sunday... morning.

(I've just been working, sleeping, and doing chores - some of those more than others. So no photos to share of yours truly. If I had any they would probably look the same as this one but with worse bed hair.)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life continues. First I worked one day in a week, then two, then three. This week I'm going for five! I told my parents and sister I worked all last week so they would stop telling me I'll get fired. I'm still waiting to hear from the specialist about when he'll take my $500 and deign to see me. Under HR's suggestion, I've applied for just about every program available to people in my position: Family Medical Leave, California Family Rights, Medical Leave of Absence, Short-Term Disability, you name it. If I'm approved for all these things, my job and paycheck should be protected. Any promotions, on the other hand - well, I'll wait until they're handing them out again before I worry about that.

I've been resting a lot since my crazy Hollywood weekend. Sleeping a lot, not too much physical activity, taking it easy at work (learned the hard way to take the elevator not the stairs!). I feel better but I have been BORED! Can stay energized for longer periods of time. Most of the pain has faded. I no longer want to die. I feel like that's real progress. My tiredness comes and goes; during down time like meetings if I hold perfectly still my body will go numb (it sounds scary but it's actually relaxing, like sleeping from the neck down). Other than that my main complaint is that my hands shake and my muscles sometimes twitch. Is that not supremely weird? And annoying. I look like the neurotic spaz that I am.

Now I'm debating whether I should slowly increase my activity and hope for a commensurate increase in health while risking relapse, or stay on the slow going in hopes of a more complete recovery. Knowing me, when I'm feeling better I'll get excited about something, overdo it, and land myself back in bed. But I know so little about how this disease affects me, at least that will be a data point. Gotta stay positive.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Weekend Cheeriness

This weekend I had a wonderful and much-needed break from the hum-drum of illness and boredom and hosted a visitor from long ago, Travjohn. We ran around on committees together at Rice. We lived in adjacent stairwells. Our roommates married each other. But we'd been out of touch for quite a while.

The party started Friday evening at Hermosa Beach Pier, where we looked around a little before dinner and sunset on a restaurant rooftop. We shared many many stories.

Saturday we headed Hollywood-way. We had a picnic breakfast in Griffith Park, which affords a great view of the "Hollywood" sign. I even wore my Hollywood sunglasses.

After that we went to Rodeo drive to spot celebrities. Didn't see any of those, but did see plenty of Bentleys, Maseratis, and Ferraris. Travjohn "fit in" with the local crowd.

We drove around Beverly Hills for a while and looked at the huuuuuge houses, some beautiful and some not-so-much. I spotted a Tesla, and now finally know who buys those things. A little more touring around the area, then to Venice Beach, where we spotted crazy people, dogs, and vendors of every useless product imaginable.

At night we saw "Observe and Report" at Grauman's Chinese Theater. The movie wasn't so good - it had its funny moments but it was also way over the top. For instance, there was a scene where Seth Rogen chases a flasher through the mall for WAY longer than necessary, with full frontal nudity in motion and everything. As the credits were rolling, I noticed the guys in front of me high-fiving one particular guy. On second look, I realized it was the actor who played the flasher! We finally had our celebrity sighting (and we saw a LOT of him)!

After that, we walked up and down Hollywood Blvd looking at the hand/footprints, stars, and impersonators. A Storm Trooper referred to me as Julie Andrews (don't know why), then I stepped on Julie Andrews' hand print, then on her star, all by accident! Travjohn and I also realized that we had some resemblances to celebrities ourselves. Check it out!

Sunday we drove through Long Beach down to Orange County and had lunch in Newport Beach. Sadly, that was the end of our visit. The weather couldn't have been more beautiful, the sights nicer, or the company better.

Blog therapy

I am sad today. So I thought I'd retire to the balcony for some fresh air and therapeutic blogging. It's a little chillier than I expected, so I may soon retire inside for some fresh air and therapeutic blogging.

If I have the energy, I'll make two posts today, one sad and one happy. This is the sad one. You can go on to the next one, I won't be offended.

It's a singular experience to feel like you've fallen through the cracks of the medical system. I am still suffering from an uninerrupted bout of the malaise I was bewailing in Detroit (for those of you doing the math, it's been over a month I've been feeling like this). The doctor found a virus with few links to my symptoms. The more I try to research it the more confused I get. There is no cure and few (highly-debated and highly variable) treatments. Most of the medical community doesn't even believe the disease exists in this supposed form. Most infectious disease specialists won't see me, and the one internationally-acclaimed specialist who might help wants a $500 to see me before Sept 29. I've missed so much work I worry about the stability of my job and HR still doesn't know how to handle my case. I spend most of my time in bed and am lonely. I had to drop out of choir this season. If one more person tells me to eat better (or the same person tells me one more time) I will politely jump off a bridge.

I know people have suffered much worse than this, and for much longer. I'm trying to keep a positive outlook, but it's difficult. I won't die, but don't know what to do, what to expect from the doctor and if it will be covered by insurance, or when I'll feel better and for how long, and that's a serious weight on my shoulders. I'm glad I have friends who love me.

As you will see in my next post, I had a visitor this weekend. It was planned before I knew my illness was long-term, and I went through with it because I wanted to see him and hoped some good company and fun times would cheer me up. Cheer me up it did, but it was also taxing on my system. We went slowly and took frequent breaks, but I got sicker and sicker until by Sunday I was hardly functional, nauseated, and in serious pain. So don't be confused at the apparent conflict between that story and this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The sun stood high above the distant Pacific. The day was bright, the sky blue and cloudless, the air, if you liked the smell of burnt carpets, perfect. Los Angeles.

- Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Could think of better days...

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today. Sleepiness, body aches, weakness, vertigo, shakiness... overlaying my business trip to Detroit. I thought it was a little funny when I entered my symptoms into WebMD and they suggested I had mono. Through some cleverness and many pestering phone calls I arranged get my blood drawn before I left, so if there's something to be done I should find out not long after I get back. I'm entering hour 10 of today's meeting, and am finally starting to have trouble maintaining a positive outlook on life. Lots and lots of Tylenol and a moderate amount of caffeine helps.

Today we re-scheduled the next meeting to overlap my birthday. According to the women's code, this is the last birthday I'm allowed to celebrate before I'm not supposed to celebrate birthdays anymore. That's too bad. I think I'll invite my favorite colleagues that come up here with me, but I have to be released from the endless wrap-up meetings first!

I related to you the beginning of what has become the Saga of Andrea's Wrist - my Worker's Comp claim and ensuing therapy for tendinitis. After 8 weeks of therapy and showing insufficient progress, the doctor referred me to a "hand specialist", who in turn ordered me an MRI. Easy peasy - my advice to you if you ever have one, bring your iPod because sometimes they can hook you up with crappy headphones and play your music while you wait. I tried to get a photo for this blog, but the office couldn't find a way to Xerox it for me. Anyway, the analysis was negative, but the specialist swore he felt a lump in there. When he looked at the films a second time, there it was. This explains why my wearing Skeletor made it worse, not better. What is it, you ask? Well, it could either be inflammation or a ganglion cyst, he says. I say: that sucks, but it's definitely not on my Top 10 list of Worst Places to Have a Lump. He wanted to shoot cortisone into my wrist joint (yulch!), but I weenied out of it by promising to lay off for a few weeks. By doing this, I realize I delayed the inevitable, but oh well. The needle's not going anywhere; it will be waiting for me when I get back to California.

Hey, good news: Loni from high school had her baby Friday 13th! No photos yet, though. I thought that was the last (for now) of my pregant friends, but just found out about another one today.

More good news: the meeting just ended! See you later, I have 7 dates for dinner!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Today's Views from my Balcony

Don't have anything special to say, just thought I'd share.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Please tell me...

Why do I love this commercial so much???

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sad Day

This morning I learned that CBS has cancelled their entire 97.1 Talk FM lineup in favor of Top 40.

This means that I can no longer listen to the Adam Carolla show in the mornings! I'm so distraught!

I console myself with the fact that this also means Tom Leykis is fired. Ha ha.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ode to Cola

O Cola! (Coca-Cola or Pepsi, it matters not)
How you comfort me when I am down.
When I drink you I feel so happy and strong,
like I can take on the world, and laugh, and smile.
I try to replace you with diet soda or juice or cold water
but nothing can make me feel the way you do.
I dream of you in my sleep and thirst for you when awake.
Drinking you gives me a reason to live...
until three hours later, when I just want to die.

Monday, February 16, 2009

On Sunday I found in my purse a slip of paper with a phone number and a woman's name written on it, and have absolutely no idea how it got there.

I feel like that makes me sound infinitely cooler than I really am.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Crane Day

Crane Day is traditionally celebrated by truancy and drinking beer shockingly early in the day.

Today I had nothing to be truant to, and I've given up alcohol, so I celebrated a little differently: by getting lost in Redondo Beach trying to find the restaurant where I was meeting a colleague for breakfast. Of course, if I only got lost in Redondo Beach on holidays, we must have had a lot of holidays this year.

Two of my friends had babies this week. This is a good illustration of the amount of baby-having that's been going on the last 10 months or so. If I change my facebook status to "Andrea is not pregnant", now you'll understand.

I just joined a choir in Torrance. I missed the registration deadline, but I begged the director to audition and he made a special arrangement for me to register and get music. I'd like to think that I was so fabulously talented that he couldn't live without me, but judging from my audition after 7 months of not singing, I think he was just nice and could tell I was desperate. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Positive Thinking

Over several months I created a massive art installation that came to me in a grand stroke of inspiration but took quite a bit of planning and experimentation to pull off. Even in the picture, it was not quite finished. When I bought my place in LA, I instantly found the perfect place for it, right over the fireplace.

When I moved into my new place, I wanted to christen it by hanging my hand-made installation. I opened every box the movers brought, but it wasn't there. Neither phone calls nor searches would find it. My beloved art was gone.

For weeks I was inconsolable. One day I got a letter from the moving company saying "We'd like to reimburse you for your lost items. Please let us know their value." How dare they? I asked, indignant. The material cost was almost nothing, but the piece is invaluable!

They paid me $200. That makes me a professional artist.

Sunday, February 01, 2009


My uncle sent me a Tibetan Personality Test, and I got a kick out of some of my results:

The way you describe a DOG describes your own personality: HAIRY
The way you describe a CAT describes your partner's personality: SOFT
The way you describe a RAT describes your enemy's personality: FURRY
The way you describe THE SEA describes your own life: SALTY
The way you describe COFFEE describes how you interpret sex: BITTER

Carmalyn, say hi to Ethan; Paige, say hi to Andy; Andrea, say hi to... your cats.

When family conversations end in this way, it's time to start drinking.

So I haven't provided an update since before Solstice. Now is as good a time as any. Yes, I'm watching the SuperBowl, I'm just not entranced enough that I can't blog a little as well.

I took off the last two days of work before the break to use up some of my banked vacation and rest/prepare for my holiday travel, and to finish my e-Solstice Letter, of course. I sent it to my former co-worker B-Rad the same day he left Cupertino to go to San Diego. We met up for dinner on his way through LA and shared many good stories. The hostess took a good picture... of him.

I met the family in Florida for Christmas, as usual. We went to the beach a lot. I snorkeled quite a bit (not a tour, either, just the beach) and was rewarded with up-close sightings of parrotfish, a skate, a horseshoe crab, what looked like a blue and green relative of the porcupine fish, and a seahorse. A seahorse! My life is complete. There was much reading, relaxing, cooking, and card playing. There was mucho family drama. It was exhausting.

Since I was on the east coast anyway, I popped up to see Saima and Sajid and their new addition, Safan, at their new home in Orangeburg, SC. Not much in South Carolina was open New Year's Eve and Day, but we still entertained ourselves quite well. We spent New Year's Eve watching Indian movies (my perfect vacation!) while Saima and Sajid plotted to arrange my marriage to a nice vegetarian Desi who cooks. New Year's morning, I took it upon myself to get Safan to smile. After a few tries, it worked! Then we visited an old plantation. I have to admit, it was a little creepy driving past the tiny cotton field and slave quarters beside the house. On our way home, I asked them to take me to Waffle House - I was suffering from withdrawal as I have yet to find any in California. I had a waffle and eggs and, oooo, grits!

The day I returned to work I was asked to make good on my promise to see the Worker's Comp doctor about my wrist. I was diagnosed with tenosynovitis (the precursor to carpal tunnel), fitted with not one but two wrist braces, and sentenced to "hand therapy" 3x per week for an undetermined length of time. The black wrist brace I named my "ninja claw", and the bone-colored rigid one I dubbed "skeletor". I decorated skeletor with shiny butterfly stickers and that tickled the guys at work. Hand therapy is not so bad, I get paid for my time, the people are nice, and sometimes I can read while doing the hand-o-cycle, swinging a mallet, or any of the other crazy things they have me do. But there's this one anti-inflammatory medicine that absorbs into the skin only under an electric potential. That's right. So five times they've taped two electrodes to my arm and shocked me for twenty minutes. Can you believe it? Absolutely diabolical.

The family drama escalated. It was a freaking nightmare. But it looks like it's getting better now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


1. Barack Obama is not black. He's mixed race. He's black and he's white. Growing up I was taught that it was rude to define a person by what is only a portion of their heritage. People think Kentuckians are racist, but even we knew this simple courtesy.

2. What, precisely, is so great about Joel Grey? I mean really?

3. In what subject did Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have his PhD? Did he do a dissertation and defense or was it honorary? If I'm so curious why do I never look this up in wikipedia?

4. Whatever happened to Tempestt Bledsoe? I liked her.

5. When you meet someone for the first (and sometimes second) time, and they introduce themselves by giving you their name, you are under an obligation to give your name in return. If you respond by saying "Pleased to meet you" and nothing else, you should be punished.

6. If a movie trailer includes one or more shots of the main character falling down or tripping over something, that movie is not worth seeing.

7. At 2AM I literally sat bolt upright in bed and said "Aha! John Galecki played Sara Gilbert's boyfriend on 'Roseanne' and now Sara Gilbert is playing John Galecki's girlfriend on "Big Bang Theory"! Amazing!" I feel like this is the definitive proof that I watch too much TV.

8. John Williams would kick Stephen Sondheim's ass in a fight. Or, if I were lucky, they would gang up on John Rutter.

9. If the press doesn't stop talking about Aretha Franklin's hat and Michelle Obama's dress and Justice Roberts' tongue twister, I will personally declare war on someone just so they will have something else to report.

10. On TV, people sometimes refer to their sisters as "sis". Does anyone in real life actually DO that?