Saturday, November 19


Tonight I watched L'Amour Fou and loved it.

It's a documentary about the Yves St. Laurent as told by his partner of 50 years, Pierre Berge.  It was lovely but admittedly very sad. 

My friends all know that I believe if a film has great real estate I will inevitably love it.  This proved to be true, once again, in this film.  Those houses, not to mention their contents... wow!

The film hops back and forth between the past and present.  It begins from the time Yves and Pierre met, fell in love and launched the house of Yves St. Laurent to the recent extraordinary auction of the couple's belonging. 

Yves was the artiste while Pierre ran their joint venture until the end.  They seem to have broken up and lived separately as far back as the mid-70's but remained incredibly close while working together until St. Laurent's death in '08.

I happen to enjoy looking at classic fashion.  Even the ridiculous I can appreciate as art.  This film certainly showed lots of the famed couturier's fashion but it also spent lots of camera time lingering on the amazing homes of the couple.  Their home in Paris is packed with remarkable treasures as are those in Marrakesh and Normandy.  It was very sad to watch Christie's come in to pack up and haul away the spectacular collection of art.

My favorite moment was when Pierre throws questions at a young St. Laurent and films the answers.  The result is a completely charming look a the two before addiction and depression slithered into their lives.

Even if you don't care a hoot about couture it's worth watching for no other reason than it happens to be so darn pretty to watch.

Check it out if you can.

Thursday, November 17

Outraged again

I love magazines but I can not stand the almost instant onset renewal notices.  They start coming about 3 months into a subscription and seem to come about every two weeks until the end of the subscription.  Of course, the trouble with this is that I never know when my subscription is actually up because I tend to ignore those pesky notices.

Today I received a particularly rude notice from Food Network Magazine.  I like the magazine and had planned on renewing until I received a passive aggressive/condescending renewal notice.  In part, it stated "we fully believed you would send payment upon receipt of your invoice" (how the hell would I know when an actual invoice arrives?) and "your good standing with us is at risk."  I promptly canceled my subscription (last issue arrives this month) with a note stating I didn't appreciate their tone in the renewal letter and that their "good standing WITH ME  is not only at risk but is in fact gone." 


Wednesday, November 16

High Ten

Today I received a supremely nice compliment.  I'd ordinarily keep it to myself but I wanted to document it here for me to find later.

My HR person was incredibly kind, helpful and encouraging to me from the moment Dad died.  Today I overheard her saying that she would be out of the office for 2 months.  I decided to stop by her office to see if she was ok.  Several years ago she suffered a debilitating paralysis from the neck down and has been recovering ever since.  She is now able to walk short distances with her walker but she is mostly in a scooter tearing up the halls in the office.  She will be fine but her doctor has been wanting her to take some time off to focus on rehabilitation.  That's what she'll be doing for the 2 months she will be away.

I was happy to hear she was going to be ok.  As I believe I've mentioned before, we are about to go through some major changes at work that will likely involve layoffs.  Nobody knows what's going on and we're all just waiting and hoping for the best.  I told my HR friend that she had picked a good couple of months to miss since the stress that we were facing would probably not be helpful in her rehab.  She agreed and explained that she had made these plans months ago and almost postponed but ultimately decided she had to take care of herself.  I was happy to hear this and reminded her that we both know that nobody will take care of us but ourselves.  She asked how I was holding up with all of the office drama.  I simply said "If I could keep breathing and living after that phone call when I learned Dad had died then I can certainly handle whatever work has in store for me."  She immediately threw up her hands to give me a "high ten".  We talked a while about how she had absolutely been through worse than any dumb layoff, as had I, and that we'd survive this whole work  thing too.

Here comes the nice compliment: She told me that in her 30 years of being in HR she had never seen anyone come through "that kind of tragedy with such flying colors as you have."  She continued with "I mean it's not every day somebody's dad falls down a mountain.  That was truly tragic.  It's like the last thing your Dad did before he left this earth was to take all of his strength and goodness and pour it into you."  Ok, that started out really harsh but I think she recovered nicely.  I'll take it as a compliment.

We talked a bit more about how she's seen this whole work drama bring out the best and worst in people.  From top to bottom she's been surprised by people, both positively and negatively.  I'll bet!  We're supposed to know our fate after the new year and have it fully integrated by the end of February.

I told her that I in no way wanted to lose my job.  I like it and (most) of the people I work with.  However, if I did lose my job I would be on an epic road trip the very next day.

So, that's the plan.  I'll try not to stress out about that which I have no control over.  I'll just keep my head down, do my job and have great weekends.  That's the plan and I'm sticking with it.

Tuesday, November 15


I don't always like my job but I do like my immediate team of co-workers.  Today I enjoyed the following exchange:

ME: Ok, so who do you consider hot?


ME: Ehh.  I don't get him.  He's always looks like he's seriously ill.  (Tapping away at iPhone Googling images of James Franco)

ME:  (Handing phone over) Here, find a pic that you consider hot.

FEMALE CO-WORKER: How about this one?

ME: Sorry.  Nothing.

FEMALE CO-WORKER: Yeah, he is kinda sickly but he's hot in Spiderman.  What about you?  Who are your Top 5 in Hotness?

ME: Oh, I gotta go Clooney.

FEMALE CO-WORKER: Eww, I don't like George Clooney.  Besides, I think he's gay.

ME: HEY!  The gays can have anyone they want except Clooney.  I draw the line there.  No Clooney!!

MALE CO-WORKER: Yeah, I gave them Travolta years ago.

LESBIAN CO-WORKER: What about me?  I'm gay.  Can I have Clooney.

ME: Yes. I think you've found a loop hole.  Congratulations!

Monday, November 14

Shake it, don't break it!

Today I sat at an intersection behind a teen boy's SUV with a license plate frame that read "My other toy has tits".

Needless to say I wished him harm... a great deal of harm.

Then I laughed and thought... naaaah. That kid has guaranteed himself a lonely, frozen, vagina free existence for at least a decade with an attitude like that.

When I mentioned this to friends, most of the men assured me that there are plenty of young ladies who would happily climb into that SUV because they thought the plate was funny.  *shudder* They may be right but I can't imagine that POV working into that moron's college years.

I thought about what kind of parent might allow their child to put that on their car.  I thought about the father that will see that plate when the kid shows up to pick up his daughter and the verbal beat down that will certainly take place. I like that thought best.

Then I wondered, who on earth might actually get away with that kind of message on their car?  That's when I thought of Maks.  I started watching Dancing With the Stars because of this guy.  In the beginning I called him "the hot misogynistic one".  I still call him that but admit I can't take my eyes off him.  Well, more precisely, I tend to stare at his bottom and hips  Holy crap!  Nice moneymaker, Maks!  Any man who can shake it like that can pretty much say anything he wants.   Any woman he might consider a toy would certainly think the very same of him.

Sunday, November 13


I first heard of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor several months ago when a friend posted one of her lectures on Facebook.  I watched it and was mesmerized.

So, what's her story?  Well, Dr. Jill is a Neuroanatamist who survived a massive stroke.  In other words, she's a brain scientist who suffered a hemorrhage of the brain and survived to tell the tale.  She describes the event in her talk.  She also describes what it's like to lose your sense of self, your ego, your identity and how it's actually quite beautiful and peaceful.  Imagine having a truly quiet mind, a mind that isn't constantly buzzing with to-do lists and how to operate that dumb Blackberry and that annoying conversation you had yesterday and so on.  Dr. Jill experienced an absolutely still mind following her stroke and now lectures on the peace she found while there.  Take a look for yourself:

I first watched this on TED talks.  Are you familiar with TED?  It's an amazing site that showcases folks with some fascinating things to say.  I loved this talk given by Temple Grandin.  Temple is autistic, has earned a PhD and has changed the way we understand those with autism.  She offers wonderful insights into those we often assume don't think much or don't have must to say.  Those assumptions are wrong.

Both of these talks drive home the fact that people of all kinds have thoughts and are deserving of our kind attention.  Whether a person can communicate or not, their mind is working and receiving your intention towards them be it good or not.  They may be quiet but they are in there and how you treat them matters.

How we all treat each other matters... every time.

Saturday, November 12


I'm kind of obsessed with this little blog at the moment. It's by a mom interested in creating bento boxes for her kids that are fun and avoid waste. That Angry Birds bento is great!

Now, do I think I would ever take the time to use mini cookie cutters on my sandwiches or cut Hello Kitty shapes out of my cheese? No. I do, however, think I could handle packing a snack box for work with a few Triskets, a mini Babybel cheese, a couple of clementines and some veggies. I doubt I'll ever make cutesy toothpicks or use that little fake grass in my lunch but I do appreciate the effort and LOVE to look at the fabulous Flickr group pictures. Some of these creations are amazing. Some are so-so while others are just plain over the top. Either way I'm fascinated. Here are some of the Flickr groups I've been flipping through:

Bento Challenge

Bento Picnic

Obento my bento!

Just Bento

If you're like me, you might benefit from the whole idea of portion control when eating. This seems like such a great way to do it. Bento seems to encourage variety but in small potions.

Here is an example of the most hideously time consuming bento box meal creation ever. It's an example of what I will never do. I don't mean to be disrespectful but... yikes! (And get the damn dog off the counter!)

If you're REALLY into the whole idea of bento then you might like to peruse more links here.

Friday, November 11

Just in time

I love the idea of scarves but I'm never quite sure what to do with them. With the weather finally cooling down, I stumbled upon this little video just in time:

Wow! It looks so easy even I should be able to manage. I feel much better now.

Thursday, November 10

Up and coming

I saw a bit of this trailer tonight and was instantly excited to see it:

I saw this and remembered how much I was looking forward to it.

Then I saw this and thought... WTF?

I saw this and thought it looked very different than I'd imagined. It looks even better:

Wednesday, November 9

So you think you can dance?

A friend is officially on vacation for her brother's wedding. At lunch she told us that her bro sent an email to the 60 or so wedding guests and asked "What song would make you get up and dance at our reception?" This launched a fun car conversation on the way back to work.

Without hesitation I replied SEXYBACK!

Lynn said PUSH IT!

Allison said "I would totally slow dance to Open Arms."

I was laughing too hard to hear what Angela and Diane came up with. It's a fun game though. What would make you shake a tail feather? There are some ridiculous answers out there, the above being just a few. Maybe this would be a good choice?

Tuesday, November 8

I feel your pain

This I enjoy. I'm especially fond of that last kid.

Monday, November 7

Is that weird?

I sometimes have trouble staying asleep. I found that drinking less water later in the evening helps. Falling asleep is typically no a problem for me as long as I have some sort of white noise in the background.

I sometimes dabble in sounds from nature. I'm especially fond of my Spring Showers track. It's about an hour long and it's just plain rain shower audio. No chimes. No gongs. No flutes. Just rain. Of course, looking for this type of track can be surprisingly difficult to find. Recently, while searching for more environmental sounds (loons and wolves, anyone?) I came across some Native American chants. My Dad was fascinated with Native American culture for most of his life and passed his respect of their culture on to me.

When I visited Mt Rushmore several years ago I also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial. It blows Rushmore out of the water. Seriously. My most vivid memory of the place was when I walked into a rather large room where Native Americans were selling their wares. Native American war chants were playing on the speakers. It, frankly, freaked me out. I looked to one of the men quietly working on crafting jewelry and said "Man, that is truly terrifying!". He grinned an replied "It's supposed to be." Until that moment I had thought war chants were intended to gear natives up for battle. It had never occurred to me that the other purpose was to scare the hell out of their enemy. It only made me respect the culture more. Everything has a purpose. Everything has meaning.

Just imagine being a pioneer and hearing this late at night:

I'd run like effing hell. I can't find one that sounds quite like that I heard at the Memorial that day but the clip should give you a sense of it. I suppose they don't make many recordings of the terrifying stuff.

While driving through the Black Hills and out of the Crazy Horse Monument we listened to a CD I'd purchased. Here is a sampling:

I swore I could feel eyes on us as we drove away listening to this. Those mountains are filled with presence of those who came before us. I've never felt anything quite like it before or since.

Anyway, while searching for nighttime audio I came across some authentic sounding Native American chants. I recently downloaded these albums that I just love:

Sacred Dance - Pow Wows of the Native American Indians
Native American Chant

I find them oddly calming. They've helped me drift off to sleep for the past few weeks. When I mentioned this to a co-worker she just sighed and said "That's weird!" She may be right. I listen to it during the day and can't imagine how on earth I manage to fall to sleep listening to them, but it works. That's weird.

(P.S. Even more weird is that when I searched both YouTube and Rhapsody Music for these albums, Mormon ads popped up. I resent the sh!t out of that. Assh@les! Like Native Americans haven't suffered enough? Now they have to be targeted by Mormons? I wish they'd hold an unannounced battle cry competition in Salt Lake City.)

Sunday, November 6

Good day... again!

We left Monterey this morning and made our way for Mission San Miguel. We drove down the 101 since the 1, while beautiful, takes a lot of time. The 101 is awfully pretty too. It takes you through lovely rolling hills and plenty of California's produce farms. It's rare to see much of autumn where I'm from so I appreciated seeing that the grape vines had turned a vibrant orange.

It happened to be a fairly stormy day but entirely manageable. Most of the rain we drove through fell from a sunny sky which is a sight I happen to love.

I hadn't been to the Mission since I was maybe 13 years old or so. It was very pretty but a loud mouthed know-it-all sort of ruined the sights for me. I was trying to enjoy a peaceful moment while seated in the front pew of the church but he decided to take that moment to share his knowledge of the archangels. He was far to loud and rude so I left. I did however, manage to take this picture of a painted over doorway. It's the original paint. When the doors are closed it gets very dark which, I assume, is how the paint has managed to stay so well preserved.

I made sure the coast was clear of the loud man and made my way to the mission cemetery with Shandon and Norm. It was a bit more barren than I'd have guessed but nice all the same.

After visiting the mission we decided to grab a late lunch at Pea Soup Anderson's. It was just as I'd remembered. I may have to stay at the Anderson's Inn next time I'm passing through. Then again, Solvang is awfully close.

We drove through Solvang and decided to stop for their famous aebleskiver. We found some at the Solvang Restaurant and split an order. They were good. I recommend them!

Saturday, November 5

Good day

Well, our trip has been a good time so far. Last night we stayed in a resort that was definitely hippie friendly. I had my very own natural mineral water hot tub. I think it's safe to say that A LOT of shenanigans have gone down in that place. Shandon and Norman stayed in the "X-traordinary" room. I was placed next door in "Y-Not". When I checked in I loudly asked "Hey! Why am I in the big whore room?!"

This morning I couldn't figure out how to turn on my shower so I called for help. They take the Big Whore room thing quite literally. They sent a very attractive vampire type to help. He had to be half my age. He wore all black, but for a blood red shirt and a tidy ponytail. He had on very nice looking black dress shoes which seemed out of place at 8 am after lots of rainfall in the woods. I swear to God, when I opened the door I thought "Oh my God, they've sent Edward Cullen." Luckily vampires aren't my thing but I can pretty much guarantee that our young Edward has gotten VERY lucky during his time at the resort.

I described this whole thing to Shandon and Norman. As we drove away from the resort Howard spotted him. He said that he'd imagined a ghoulish looking vampire and was surprised to see he was a good looking kid. I don't think Norm knows that "Edward" means exceptionally handsome.

We made our way to a breakfast spot in town but passed the Madonna Inn and couldn't resist at least a trip to the gift shop. We quickly decided to eat breakfast there instead. I'm so glad we did. It has a surprisingly good cafe. The place is famous for it's kitch but the service in the restaurant was great!

We drove up PCH and made lots of stops along the way to take in the amazing views. We eventually had to pass some spots by because it was getting late and I had to get to a spot to "liberate" Dad and didn't want to do it in the dark.

I came across one place that felt right, before Carmel, but there were too many people on the lookout. A few minutes later we came across another more isolated spot and I decided to go for it.

Norm and Shandon thoughtfully disappeared as I marched down a path. I wasn't exactly looking for an audience so I asked Dad to to take me were he wanted to go and... Daddy made me hike! I followed a path for a while then, because it felt right, I stepped over the path's rope guard, walked though a lot of brush until I got near the edge high above a tide pool. I'm sure it was dangerous but, again, it seemed right at the time. My pants got caught up in some brush so I KNEW it must be a good Dad place to be. I sat overlooking the waves for a bit, tested the direction of the wind with my scarf, then flung the ashes out. The wind sort of lifted them up and away into a little cloud then the wind changed direction and the end of the ash trail blew all over me. I swatted the ashes off my coat cursing "Real God damned funny, Dad!" and that was it.

This is near the place. I think he'll be very happy here:

I can honestly say that I feel as though a bit of the grief weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Dad made it clear that he always wanted to be scattered outdoors. I'm glad he's finally made it.

It was a beautiful day that was stormy at times but that seemed appropriate.

We make our way home tomorrow. I'm so glad we made this trip. It's been a good one.

Friday, November 4

On the road

It had been far to long since our last road trip so we finally planned a new one and today we hit the road.

It rained like crazy on our way out. We had some decent BBQ for lunch then drove in and out of rain for a couple of hours along the coast. The plan is to drive up PCH with a friend who has never been much farther than Santa Barbara. I admit that while driving I kept thinking, why don't I live here? How can I make a living up here? Why doesn't everyone live here? It's so beautiful!!

We are staying at a funky little natural springs resort but I'll have to tell you more about it later. It's getting late and, well...

I didn't have a chance to take any pix today but I hope to post some soon.

Thursday, November 3

Quick update

Today is went to the very Catholic funeral of my 98 year old grandfather. We hadn't spoken much in the last decade or so. He gave me my Dad and for that I am forever grateful. Aside from that, I wasn't much of a fan. He was abusing his family well into hi 90's and I just couldn't pretend I was ok with that.

I am in no way happy he is gone but it's hard to get too upset about a man who lived well and long.

Here was my day in a nutshell including some learnings:
  • The Priest seemed to be no older than 25 and had a a pretty big accent. He called my grandfather ARfonso and claimed to be a Cath-o-RIC. That was awkward.
  • I accidentally punked my cousin by shoving her into the aisle as relatives passed us to follow the casket. I am not a Cath-o-RIC so I don't know the customs. My cousin, by marriage, followed the casket to the back of the church, then back down the aisle, with my encouragement. When she realized I had not followed her she held up a fist and damned my name. When she returned to her seat next to me I received a pretty major stink eye. I leaned over and whispered "Sucker!".
  • I learned that my Dad's aunt is still pretty mad at him for dying. If there is an afterlife, my Dad can expect to receive some pretty firm words from his Aunt when she next sees him. Run, Daddy, run!
  • I watched my brother act as pall bearer and noticed that our family is quite tall and they all had to lean way down to wheel that casket around on the gurney.
  • I broke down once when I saw my sweet aunts cry. That really got to me.
  • Cath-o-RICS really like to talk about how the Jews killed Jesus... a lot. It gets very old very fast.
  • The only woman allowed to help in the service seemed to have been given mere alter boy status. That was lame.
  • The Cath-o-RICS REALLY do NOT want you to take communion if you are not a practicing Cath-o-RIC OR have never been a Cath-o-RIC. Don't even think about it.
Tomorrow I begin a new adventure. I plan to update throughout the weekend.

Wednesday, November 2

Life lessons

Ok, so here's the deal, I like Oprah but had a bit of a falling out with her when she, as I say, started the think she was Jesus.

I think the woman has done some good in this world. Hell, what she did to get people to read and then actually TALK about books was a pretty good thing. However, she is still just a talk show host, a good one, but a talk show host none the less. I had become so put off by her evangelical ways that I didn't really watch much of the last season of her show. When Oprah launched her OWN network I tried a couple of shows and even liked a couple (her behind the scenes show was a good time) but overall I looked at the programming and thought... ehh.

Well, last weekend I was filing bills and had the tv tuned to The Graduate on OWN. It was a perfect choice because I've seen the movie lots of times, knew what was going on and could mindlessly enjoy the soundtrack. A show I had, frankly, been avoiding came on but, because I wasn't paying much attention, I just let it roll. That show was Oprah's Lifeclass. I'd been avoiding it because, umm... that title. It's so God damned self righteous. Well, I admit that I was quickly sucked right in. Oprah makes me a little crazy but turns out we see eye-to-eye on a LOT of things.

I've now watched a few of the Lifeclasses and believe in and agree with most of what I've seen. Here are a few of my own life class lessons (because if Oprah can do it so can I):
  • You are responsible for the energy you bring to a room, try to make it positive. It could make, or break, somebody's day.
  • The world owes you nothing. You are responsible for yourself.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Be grateful for what you have. It's probably more than most have.
  • Bullies are incredibly insecure and want validation more than anyone else in the room. When confronted, they are the first to fold.
  • You can say anything if your intention is good.
  • We're all terrible listeners and need to practice being better at it (myself included)
  • Make sure those you love know it... without question.
  • You don't have to be sugary sweet to everyone every minute of every day but you do have to be decent to people.
  • Focus on what you're doing right now. You can't change the past and you can't control the future so don't obsess over either.
  • Your best friends are the ones who will welcome you into their home at 3 am when you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Keep those friends close. The rest are optional.
  • Why worry? It's all gonna fade.
So, there you have it: She-Blogger's LifeLessons in a nutshell. Turns out they are very much in line with Oprah's. I am secure enough to admit that I'm fine with that.

Tuesday, November 1

New Meat

We have a new President over my division at work. You can not imagine how the folks upstairs are FREAKING OUT. I've never seen anything like it but it looks a little like this:

The man seems perfectly nice but upper management doesn't know him and therefore can't anticipate his needs so they have decided to go with panic mode. It's not pretty.

Meanwhile, for the past two years I've been criticized for not quite being "strategic" enough. Last week I received a very nice review that included praise on becoming very strategic. Naturally, being strategic is suddenly no longer required in my job. Quite the contrary. As of today we were told, and made to repeat, our new world view (swear to God, we had to repeat it aloud and in unison). Ready for it? Here goes, this is what I am now supposed to keep in mind every day all day:
  • Be perfect
  • There is no tomorrow
Umm, ok. I care about the work I do and always do my best so this new world order means no change for me. No change except for the fact that I now live with the knowledge that my boss (not the new President, mind you, but the guy a couple of layers over me) has decided to base our mantra on an Apollo Creed quote from Rocky III. WTF? I'm also concerned that this mantra is scarily similar to the GOP platform. None of this sets well with me.

The good news is that I've learned to embrace change and adapt quickly. Some of the people who I don't necessarily see eye to eye with will have far more trouble with this change than I.

The next few months are sure to bring LOTS of change at work. I wish our new President lots of luck. His can't be an easy job but I hear good things about him so I'm staying positive about it all. I just hope that my good friends and I manage to hang on to our jobs. Best of luck to us all!