Out for repairs

Perfect May evening, and I feel about as imperfect as I’ve felt in a while; tired, tense, out of shape, and mentally exhausted; Club Petaluma is upside down with unfinished projects and clutter, and I’m writing cranky poetry, which usually makes me feel better, but that isn’t even doing the trick.   I don’t feel like I’ve completely gotten over being sick from a couple of weeks ago, and I wound up in the ER earlier this week with severe back pain. I never knew that the phrase “pain management” would come to be so familiar to me; I’m well-acquainted with my “regular” pain, but this was new, persistent and scary.  It turned out to be a strained thoracic muscle, but I am glad that I got it checked out, since heart attack symptoms for women can show up as back pain. My mother’s heart attack started out as a bad backache, and resulted in triple-bypass surgery for her, so I’m on the job when it comes assessing back pain.

Being a cranky mess is not the way that I want to spend the summer, so here’s a visual list to get this camper back into happy mode:

When I practice all of these, I feel like this:

Instead of this:

As always, my friends keep me in the game, and this week was no exception.  I was excited to see my friend Tischel receive her Master’s in Education on Saturday at Cal State Long Beach, and it turned into a nice reunion of CSULB work friends:

This week, friends asked about me, called me when I was in the ER, texted me, and made me laugh.  You are gold to me, all of you, and I don’t ever forget how fortunate I am to know you. And now, let’s roll out summer, why don’t we?


Before this phenomenal August summer day gets away – some old and new business (and some cross-talk between my left and right brain; it’s OK, just go with it, I do):

The transformation of Club Petaluma has begun:

Vinyl siding – next comes paint and posts and shutters, oh my! And landscaping, fencing…it’s a huge undertaking, but I’m so glad to get it started.  It’s gratifying to see the idea that I’ve had in my mind (albeit an ever-changing idea) finally begin to be realized.

One of my favorite episodes of “Sex and the City” is on right now; it’s the one where they go to the Hamptons for a wedding, and the phrase “za za zew” is introduced (if you haven’t seen the episode, “za za zew” is, as I perceive it, the undeniable chemistry that two people have.  I think I like this one because it combines two things that I enjoy when watching TV, or movies: characters going on the road, and weddings.  And this great bit of dialogue: Samantha: “What do you call za za zew gone bad?” Miranda: “Za za ew.”

This summer started slowly, but has definitely picked up steam – I have such a large number of projects right now, between the house (inside and out), knitting, books (I’m in the middle of four, I’m embarrassed to say), and writing, not to mention working out, cooking, making sure my husband and my crazy dog remember who I am, maybe sleeping once in a while, and taking in the summer before it’s gone.

I’m off; here’s a little za za zew for you!

Bytes and pieces

So it’s the day after, and I’m still here, as is everyone I know – and no reports of anyone missing. If I remember correctly, if and when the rapture occurs, we won’t be getting an Evite….therefore, onward with the decline of civilization!

I’ve been having Internet connection issues this week, and since Jamal is in Chicago, I thought that I would try to correct it myself by calling tech support. After an hour of “Unplug this wire, type in this code” from a man with a very heavy accent and a bad phone connection (irony calling!), I was nearly in tears, and past caring if I ever had Internet service again.  When it didn’t work again the next evening, I called back to make an appointment with a technician.  Long story short, the company is sending a new modem and a technician on Monday morning – in another little touch of irony, every time I hung up with tech support, my  connection was restored for a short time. For now, it’s working, so I’m typing as fast as I can…

“Bridesmaids” – intelligent, profane and funny.  I found myself trying to stop laughing so that I wouldn’t miss the next line.  If you can handle smart women characters doing many silly things, go see it.

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and to kickstart the summer, there’s this: LACMA is having a Tim Burton exhibit beginning May 28th, and going through October. I’m going to the book signing next Saturday (getting a group together to see the exhibit later in the summer), then to the screening of “Vertigo” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tim Burton in the morning, Hitchcock in the evening…good beginnings; see you at the cemetery next Saturday?


Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and true love

American film directors Robert Rodriguez and Q...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m watching “From Dusk till Dawn” – the opening credits are rolling out over the Blasters singing “Dark Night.”  Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney play brothers on the run after robbing a bank; they set a liquor store clerk on fire before they shoot him, and take several hostages, all in the first hour. I don’t want to give away too much more if you haven’t seen the movie – just this: Cheech Marin, Salma Hayek, and vampires. And Tom Savini, who is not only an actor, but a makeup and special effects artist, and who has a special part (pun intended) in the movie. One of my very favorites, directed by Robert Rodriguez, for so many reasons – it’s steeped in delicious crazy, for starters. Looking for vampires? Give these bloodsuckers a try; they’re not pretty, and they revel in evil.  Just the movie to wrap up the  year, and make me all warm inside — and take a peek at George Clooney with a tribal tattoo:

It’s the last week of the year.  I don’t have much to say about this year right now, especially when George Clooney is ramming a wooden stake through Quentin Tarantino’s heart, since that’s the only way to kill a vampire (which he has turned into), and Juliette Lewis is tripping over body parts. As you might guess from this post, during the holidays, when I’m being told that I have to be sentimental, I actively resist it, except when it feels like the right time.  So I will tell you this – I am always surprised at the kindness of people, and this year, I have been showered with extraordinary kindnesses beyond measure.  For this, I will always be grateful; my friends are my superheroes, no kidding- not only for what they mean to me, but for what they do every day in their lives. And I think that if we were ever on the run from vampires, they would make sure that I got away safely, and like Harvey Keitel in the movie, they would make me promise to kill them if they turned into vampires. How could there be better friends than these?

My New Year’s wish for you is that you have such friends; oh, and that you refrain from making any New Year’s resolutions.  Maybe New Year’s intentions; much less disappointment, because you’re not breaking anything, and you can still intend to do (or not do) whatever it is that you are going to do (or not do) all year long.  Gotta go; Fred Williamson just showed up as a super-repulsive vampire and Harvey Keitel has to deal with him – ewwww!!

Happy holidays?

It’s the aftermath of the Thanksgiving/Black Friday/overstuffed beginning to this holiday season. I’m feeling surprisingly cheerful so far – last year, I was ready to move to another country until January.  This year, I’m feeling agreeable to participating in the festivities – I’m not going to be wearing any antler hats, but I will put up the pink tree and go to the mall (going to the mall is a regular habit, so the only difference will be more people, and the anticipation of having fights breaking out in the food court.

Here’s my tree, in close up; this is from last year, if you thought for one second that I would have the tree up three days after Thanksgiving,  I am truly still a woman of mystery to you…

Christmas sneaks up on me every year – I’m one of those last-minute shoppers, and I don’t see this aspect of my life changing anytime soon.  I read an interesting article about spending money on people, and that rather than buying things for people, the author suggested giving experiences as gifts.  I like that; giving the people I love the opportunity to have a good meal, or a fun day together, seems like it would mean more than another sweater or a gift card.

Most of the people I know buy what they want for themselves anyway; last year, I had the idea that everyone should just buy what they want for themselves, wrap it up, and open it on Christmas.  That way, everyone gets what they want, returns go way down, and you still have good cheer; in fact, you have improved good cheer, because there would be no dashed hopes or destroyed expectations.  Of course, we would still buy for the kiddies until they become employed, then they become self-gifters. Cynical, you say? Practical, I reply.

But that was last year – this year, I’m on board, albeit with my life preserver and my seasick pills,  just in case.  And I’m thinking that instead of eating until I burst, or spending until I’m broke, I’m going to strive to appreciate the great moments with my friends and family. I’m also going to open doors for people when I can, let them ahead of me in line if the opportunity arises, take the parking space that is a little bit farther away from the mall instead of fighting for one twenty yards closer, and keep my sense of humor all the way through to 2011 and beyond. What was the line from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure“? “Be excellent to each other” – be excellent, indeed.

What are you worried about?

Yesterday I was in Seal Beach, having arrived a bit early to my therapy appointment, and I was sitting in the truck, thinking about what I needed to talk about.  I did come up with a few things, plus an interesting thought that came to mind; I feel better.  I started seeing a therapist again after my mother died because I needed to talk, and I wanted to feel lighter inside.  Waiting for my appointment yesterday, I realized that I do feel lighter inside; there are several reasons for this, but the main reason is that I’m concentrating on not worrying incessantly – I have discovered through these few weeks that I worry about everything, and boy, do I mean everything. Job, husband,  friends, dog, money, health, house, earthquakes, sinkholes, floods, plagues, black holes, etc.  It’s really something that I have time to do anything, with all of the time I spend worrying.

Along with giving up my all-day worry beads, I am also working on being more optimistic – here’s one of my favorite quotes by Nicolas Murray Butler:

“Optimism is essential to achievement, and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress.”

Achievement, courage, and progress; all nearly impossible without optimism.  Here’s another good quote by Henry Ford:

“If you think you can, or you can’t, you’re usually right.”

(Speaking of achievement, I’m home today waiting for the Direct TV guy, and I just got a glimpse of Drew Carey on “The Price is Right.”  Have you seen him recently? He looks remarkable!  These photos don’t do him justice; check out the show and see what a little optimism can do.  Stunning; good for you, Drew.)

It’s been a nice couple of days; the heat wave is due to break soon, and there are unbelievable twilight skies in southern California, with thick grey clouds, shot through with pink rays of simmering sunlight (see? I’m a true sunny-side up girl again!).  Onward —