Monday, August 29, 2011

Things that Happened Lately

I went to see Deadmau5 last week.  In case you didn't know, he wears a mouse head while he plays.  He came on stage at midnight and did a 2 hour set.  I got home at 3am. I am getting too old for that on a school night.  It was crowded and hot and filled with teenagers, but I managed to dance a little anyway.

My friend Marc is in the process of moving to LA.  He doesn't have a place yet so he crashed at mine.  I like having visitors.  We had a nice neighborhood breakfast one day at Clementine.  

I paid a visit to Amoeba Records, but after cleaning out all my old CD cases when I moved to LA, I just can't bring myself to buy more physical CDs, even though I'm all about supporting local biz and music.  Maybe I need to just start buying imports.  I ate at Chan Darae twice.  I don't really know how that happened.  The service was excellent.  And the food was pretty good, too.

I took a lot of phone calls and responded to a lot of PINs from my best amigo who is stuck in Russia after Irene cancelled his flight back to JFK.  And then his visa expired, so he's got a big problem.  He sounds pretty miserable and maybe I don't need to go to Russia as soon as I thought I did.  Fingers crossed he makes his plane on Tuesday, cause he is one grumpy dude and will be getting home four days late.  I don't blame him for being cranky.  But I want my Russian presents!

I had a date with the ladyfriends in Malibu.  I still need to figure out where all the secret coastal access points are, since homes block a lot of it.  Either that, or I need to get really good at knocking on strangers' doors and asking if I can walk through their place to get to the beach.  
Maybe that's a celebrity behind us.  
We saw dolphins.  And ate salami and cheese and dried mangoes and sour apple fruit strips.  If you are what you eat, then I'm sour.
And then we went to see The Help, which despite being popular with the masses, is actually a great movie.  I'm glad I succumbed and bought the book. 
The crazy neighbor from upstairs finally moved out.  I won't have to hear her blow her nose (constantly) all the time.  Or hear her yell on the phone that her life is miserable and she needs someone to come over and help her.  Oh, and there's also the low moaning.  Back surgery?  She's in pain a lot.  She gave me her vintage coffee table.  I might miss her outbursts - they keep it exciting around here.  She was really nice when I went up to get her stuff that she thought I might want since she knows I just moved in.  Within 20 minutes, she'd offered me a joint, a cigarette, a beer and called me darlin' or something.  And when she saw the downstairs neighbors come home, she quickly ran inside and told me she didn't like them because they were strange and crazy.  Hmph. 
I came in late Friday night in the dark, totally forgetting that I have a coffee table.  I now have a really nice painful bruise on my left shin.  Oh, and my roommate bought a TV.  I will have cable for the first time since I lived in DC.  Whoa.  We'll be watching a lot of college football - please come over any Saturday.  We've got a 51-inch plasma.
I also inherited another set of drawers from upstairs crazy neighbor.  I need more drawer space.  Maybe I can finally put away all my clothes before my parents arrive in LA on Thursday.  It was pretty junky, but I took it apart, put it together and gave it a little reinforcement.  Easier than going to IKEA to get a new one.

I went to South Bay for lunch to eat at Chicken Maison with PtotheDees.  It was healthy and delicious, just like the website says.  And now I am reading the Washington Post travel chat and Dear Prudence, just like I do every Monday afternoon.

Musical Monday

Since I used to be a gymnast and I am down with anything electronica, today's musical moment brought to you by Elite Gymnastics.

Go download here (except they have a new site, and it's not always working...hmmm)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turkey for Turkey Day

In less than 90 days, I will be in Turkey. I have zero idea what I'm doing when I get there. The Istanbul part should be pretty easy. But after 4-5 days there I'll have time for one, maybe two more places, Where else do I go?  Quality of places over quantity.  I wanna settle in.
Ephesus?
Cappadocia?  Is the hot air balloon ride really going to be worth it or is it one of those over-hyped things?
Ferry across the Black Sea?
Uh, probably not.

Rental car vs flying vs taking a bus/train (which takes forever).  Sail to a Greek Island?

I think I need to go read The Paradox of Choice.

She is Magical


Florence + the Machine


When I realize that she's only 25 and that Adele's even younger, I think - man, what was I doing my my early 20s? Not anything this awesome.  Does that mean my prime has passed?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm a Closet Raver

I'll be gettin my dance on with Deadmau5 tonight in Hollywood.

Minus the E, the glowsticks, trashy clothing, candy bracelets, and pacifiers, of course.
My J Crew, Mormon self wouldn't know what to do with all of that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Crash Course in Parenting

How could you not love these sweet little faces below?

I still do, even after filling in as a helper parent for several days last week and being totally unsure about what I needed to do most of the time.  Thanks, Erin, for putting up with my ineptitude!  I think I'll need a pretty good partner in crime before I decide to have my own.
See - I'm never, ever around children.  I never babysat as a teenager for extra money.  Sure, I helped with my own two brothers, but anything to do with anyone else's offspring, no thanks.   I never interacted with children while in college/living in downtown DC.  I don't see them (or anyone, really) now that I work from home.  I don't have nieces or nephews.  I don't see kids at church because I attend a congregation of single people.  I just don't really know what to do with them.  My child confidence is pretty low, especially when they're at an age where I have to guess what they want/need.  Oh, and I haven't changed a diaper in probably 20 years.

Except Erin and Todd have my favorite children, ones that I like to visit and have fairly frequently since I moved to AZ/CA.  And with their third baby arriving just days before Todd had to go out of town for two weeks to start grad school, I volunteered to go hang out at their house for a few days and see what I could do to help.   Oh boy.

She's really cute though, right?
I got there on Wednesday evening, just as the two oldest kids had gone to bed (who knew that some kids go to bed at like 645pm?  Not me).  I hopped on Erin's bed to chat and catch up, and ten minutes in she says, "you realize the baby's right behind you, right?"  Um....nope. Tiny swaddled ten-day-old infant laying right behind me and I don't even notice.  Whoops!

The plan was for me to get up in the mornings with the two oldest kids (J's 4, and Miss B is 18 months old) and keep them occupied for awhile so that Erin could try and sleep or feed the baby.  Except Miss B's been getting up around 5am, and they let her yell until 6 when they'll go in and get her.  Sleeping habits are tough to establish, I hear.  Good thing I've had 6am work calls over the last two weeks so that I was in the habit of getting up (ugh, so not a morning person.  Living on the west coast is sometimes not an advantage in that regard).
Sure enough, 6am rolls around and it's time for Miss B to get out of her crib.  Good thing she's the couch potato of the family, so Curious George or Little Mermaid is usually enough to keep her occupied.  The first day I tried to help with a diaper change - does Mickey Mouse go in the front or the back?  I had to ask.  But I couldn't ask her, because she just grunts.

Little J would get up around 7 and join us for some TV and breakfast.  By the third morning I'd kinda figured out what they like to eat and how they like to eat it.  Do I need to chop their food up?  Do they use forks?  If they ask for a cookie, how do I make them eat something else?  Miss B climbs up into her high chair like a monkey when she's hungry, and climbs down as well.  Is she going to fall and hurt herself?  Can I let her do that?  Yes, yes, I can let her do that.

When I felt it should be about noon, I'd look at the clock and realize it was only 930am.  Time goes by way slower when you're up at 6.  Those early bed times are kind of great.

I was a little nervous about my grocery store run.  Newborn diapers and a specific kind of pacifier?  Eek.  I honestly don't think I've ever walked down the baby aisle at the store.  But I was successful.

We did a few outings to the park.  I took Miss B and Little J one afternoon by myself.  Once again, can I really let Miss B climb all over the stuff like a spider monkey?   Yep.  She is fearless and determined and will do anything that the big kids are doing.  Little J was insistent that he was tired, couldn't walk home, and proceeded to throw himself on the ground, but between piggyback rides and two kids in on one stroller, we got home.

The next day we took all the kids to the park.  Three carseats = two cars.  We met Erin's sisters + spouses and their kids on the playground, and as I walked up I noticed all the kids running around together and all the parents sitting in a line, under the shady trees.  That's the life to look forward to, eh?

Little J and Miss B really love their baby brother and almost anytime the baby cried, Little J would say, "he's probably crying because he wants to see me.  And he loves me more than he loves Miss B."  He is a super sweet kid and we talked about how I knew him and his parents when he was a little baby and couldn't move or do anything, just like his baby brother.  And he said he'd probably invite me to his 5th birthday party. Score.

Little J is still learning how to stay in his own bed all night, and while he does pretty well most of the time, Friday night was a meltdown.  He got up at 10 and ran into his mom's room screaming.  She ushered him back in (I swear I would've done something if I knew what to do) and told him he had to stay there and calm himself down or he'd be locked in.  I guess this is a necessary tactic.  Well, he could not calm himself down and yelled that, so guess what - door's locked.  He was offered the - let's say a prayer and calm down option - but he didn't want that either.  So the door's locked and for ten minutes or so (maybe not that long, I dunno) he's banging on the door and yelling, "I need a prayer!  I need a praaaay-eeeer!"  I was totally about to crack up, though it wasn't really funny at the time, since he woke up the baby.  But I'll never forget his funny cries.
On Sunday I decided I could take Little J to primary so he could get out of the house for a bit and see some of his friends.  He had other ideas, which included staying home all day and watching shows.  This was not an option, so Erin looked at me, said thanks, and I picked up a grouchy, wailing kid and hiked him to the car in heels.  I barely get him in his carseat (another thing I had to learn how to do, along with pushing a double stroller) and he's wailing and hungry and thirsty and throwing up all kinds of excuses the whole drive.  I really didn't know if I was going to give into this kid or keep going.  I parked at the church, found him a granola bar, and went to get him out of the car.  Smart kid's thrown his foot over the lock so I can't open the door.  Ummm.....

We started negotiating.  He was thirsty, I offered the water fountain inside.  He wanted milk, I said I'd go look for some inside.  He said they don't have milk in the church, but I convinced him that I could look around.  Finally, I got him to take his foot off the lock.  Took a bit longer to actually get into the primary room, seated, and with his class, but his teachers took over.  Whew.

The baby was the super easy and sweet part of the trip, and I really think he got cuter every day.  I always forget how little they are; he's really tiny.  And thankfully not a random crier.

Erin, like you said when I left, I'll see you again in about 5 years.

Monday, August 22, 2011

30 Days to DC

Just realized that when I go back to DC next month, I'll get to go to this!

Thanks to PBS for featuring the new single Mormon center in DC.  Well, in "little Provo,"  but close enough.
    
And today during Jacinda's phone call, we scheduled a visit to The Tombs that weekend, where I may try and get my birthday stamp, although a decade too late and not necessary.

Hail, oh Georgetown, alma mater. I'm excited to see you again.

Musical Monday

Once again - Gary Lightbody, can we please be friends?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Little View of My Weekend

Despite the fact that I'm mostly inept with children, I am doing my best to help corral these two while their mom takes care of the newborn and their dad kicks off grad school away from home. It's a riot.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crate Reunion - February 2011

February is one of the absolute best months of the year in Phoenix, when I really did love living there.  Except this particular year, it was cold!  Every Feb I've headed down to the Phoenix Open (I still refuse to call it by its full name) to watch some good golf and have some food.  A coworker of mine always ends up with tickets to a corporate tent, so we'll go on the day of the Pro-Am to see some celebs play golf and hang out.

This year we drove up around lunch time into the parking lot, only to hear announcement that the greens were frozen and golf was cancelled for the day.  What?!  Crazy.  However, tents were still open, so we ventured in for food and thankfully most tents had heaters.  As you can see, the view was nice, but there's no golf to be had!
Even if the tourney turned out to be a bust, that's okay, because a couple days later our Crate reunion 2011 was going to kick off!  It'd been a couple years since we'd all been together, and Keri couldn't make it, but we gathered in Phoenix to reminisce about the glory days of working retail.

I had MCB come to Phoenix that weekend for his first AZ trip, so that he could meet my favorite DC people.  He arrived, a few hours later Tim arrived, and the next morning Matt and Kat arrived.  Good thing I live close to the airport.

First stop, a little hike on Camelback!  I never did hike the entire thing while I was there, but the viewpoints were just as good from a little ways down, right?


We hit two of my favorite eats, right next door to each other.  Appetizers at Postino, dinner at LGO.  Yum yum, especially with that honey cucumber lemonade that Kat is holding.


We stayed at Gram's in Mesa since they were gone to Mexico for the winter and had rooms for all of us.  Mornings consisted of slave labor: picking oranges and squeezing them for juice.  They were all tiny and it took about 40 of them for a single glass.  We each got a sip.

One of our traditions is to visit something that has to do with Frank Lloyd Wright.  We visited his home and studio near Chicago, so this time it was convenient that his winter home was in AZ.  Off to Taliesin West!
I'd never been, but was really glad I saw the place before I left AZ.  I'd recommend it.  We cheaped out and got the short tour, so we mostly got to see work spaces and theaters.  Nothing of the living quarters.  If I went back, I'd get the longer tour, though what we saw was great!




Since the weather was nicer on Saturday, I dragged the gang back to the golf tournament.  I don't think they really got it, but it was lovely to sit on some green grass and bask in the sunlight for a few hours.

Tim was the first to leave on Sunday, so I took everyone else to another little hike around Papago Park.
MCB  showed off his rock climbing skills, just like a spider monkey.

And voila!  Crate reunion complete.  We did miss Keriyaki and playing True Colors, but we'll get them both in at our next reunion, scheduled for Mexico City (Tim's new home) in 2012?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Birthday Party to Wedding Party - February Flashback

So in 2009, I had the best birthday ever in Los Angeles.

But before I went out of town, my friend Anne hosted a lovely party for me in Phoenix, so I could celebrate with lots of people, which was also awesome.  Anne had just moved back to Phoenix from DC (where we originally met) and immediately started doing what she does best - cooking and party throwing!  Since she didn't know too many people in AZ yet, and it was my birthday, I was in charge of the guest list.  Little did either of us know, she was going to meet her future husband at this party.

So yeah - back in February I had the honor of attending her wedding to Dee, who is awesome, and I am happy that I was able to introduce them and watch them start dating and fall in love and all that sap.  New LA friends - maybe one of you will meet your future spouse if you come to my birthday party next month.

Rebecca came in from Cali, we dragged Scott out of his hiding hole, and we had delicious desserts made by my friend Linda, who is a pastry chef.  She put together a cheescake bar, which tastes way better than most wedding cakes.  She also did mini desserts on each table.  Yum!



These pictures are kind of terrible and dark, but we all looked good - promise.



Okay, and now for the most entertaining thing I've ever seen at a wedding reception - the craziest DJ ever.  The bride's sister works in the wedding industry and says this guy is the best DJ - I definitely couldn't stop watching his antics all night.

He showed up in a dark suit - normal attire.  But soon, the jacket came off and the tank top came out.  And he jumped on a table and led us through some cheers.  When I say hey, you say ho - hey! hoh! hey! hoh!  And then he put on colorful conga sleeves (like this) on his arms and legs, and grabbed a long ribbon to throw around the ladies and move it around their waist to make them shimmy.  Um, awkward?

Soon enough, I saw him crouched down behind the table, putting on his Elvis gear.  He then walked around the room, serenading us and promoting the slow dancing.
And now for the most awkward part of the evening (and definitely the most entertaining thing I've ever seen at a wedding, we did the standard bouquet toss, but then 3 of the single guys had to stand in a line, put a basket harness around their waist, which had a ball attached to a rope, and then they had to swing their hips and get the ball in the basket, all while Great Balls of Fire plays on.  I shall not name who is in this video, for their protection.  Good thing it's mostly dark, for their pride.  

Untitled from L Dubbs on Vimeo.

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