31 May 2010

May 2010: Goodbye & Good Riddance

I'm excited for June. I think it's the first time since June 1998, when I graduated from high school. May was rough. And it didn't need to be.

It started pleasant enough: shopping & socializing. The Emmy ceremony was May 15th and I dedicated May 1st to finding a dress. My feelings about dress shopping have not changed since last time, but I did decide to be more adult about the whole thing. I didn't shy away from Bloomingdale's or Macy's or Nordstrom's. I walked right into the belly of the beast that is the overpriced department store. I searched floor after floor check gown after party dress. I found nothing.

It's fair to note I did have specific criteria. I did not want a black dress. Everyone buys black dresses. They're supposed to be the "go to" outfit for women. And do you know why? I'll tell you. Black dresses are boring. We can wear all the time because no one can tell one from another. It's perfectly reasonable to hear one woman say to another "I can wear the black dress with the thing here, or the one with the strap that goes like this." Black dresses are handy. But I did not want to be handy. I wanted to be special. So black dresses were out.

I also did not want a long gown. I wanted a party dress. Nothing cheap looking and something I would wear again. I thought knowing exactly what I did not want would make it easy to find what I did want. I was wrong.

I found one dress that was perfect. It was in a boutique and I knew just by the layout of the store (spares) it was going to be expensive. But it's hard to resist being able to fit into a bright designer dress. I know nothing about fashion or design, so I can't describe the dress properly. It folded from the bottom out and was uneven along the bottom. The part I appear to be holding up is actually a bow. I was wrapped like a bright present and I loved it. But it was $250. And it needed to be altered. was going to have to buy shoes and a purse. It was all adding up a but too fast. The sales woman offered me 10% off, which covers sales tax and nothing else. I walked away empty handed, knowing I could be convinced to return.

30 May 2010

Night with An Intruder

I spent last night with at least one mosquito. He was not a welcomed guest.

At first, the intruder was just an itch on my forehead. I scrunched my brow a few times because I was too tired to actually reach up and scratch. Just as I was on the precipice of a fanciful dream, the intruder announced himself. He flew overhead, emitting that low buzz you tend to *feel more than hear. I swear it reached into my right shoulder.

A check of the forehead confirmed his identity. I had two (2!) lumps that would shrink to bites. I suddenly felt as if I were under attack. This was clearly no ordinary mosquito. He had struck twice and still wanted more. Satisfying him was just as probable as finding him. I took the best course of action I could imagine; I put my head under the covers.

If you've ever tried that technique, you know it can't work. The air became hot and breathing was unpleasant. I removed all but the sheet from my head and considered the intruder thwarted.

He did another flyover.

I imagined he could bite me through the sheet.

I became restless and even more paranoid. (What if he got into my cotton fortress?)

I bolted out of bed, grabbed a dryer sheet (I once read they're a repellent), shook out the blankets and took them to the couch. I lay the dryer sheet on my pillow, covered my head with the sheet and resigned myself to sleeping in a meadow of lavender.

The intruder came at me like a dive bomber. Out of options, and out of energy, I kept my head low and slept as best I could.

I woke up miserable, with four bites, one on a hand and three on my face. And the world still turned.

~ Courtesy of my VZW Pinkberry
www.piqueaboo.com
www.twitter.com/danie_d

17 May 2010

I Was Hit by A Cab

April 28, 2010
So there I was, walking to get a $.31 scoop of ice cream, when I was hit by an SUV.

The cab was on Street A, planning on making a right onto Street B. I was crossing Street A, and had :12 (according to the timer across the street) to do so. I started across the street with coworker Andy. Naturally, I was talking. While walking, I thought oh, I stepped too close to this cab. I'd better step further out. But a thought happens in less than a second. In this case it was almost an instinct. My legs obeyed. My torso did not. Before my brain could process what was happening, there was a thud. It was my elbow hitting the hood as the SUV rolled into me.

This cab just hit me. I've been hit by a car. I've been hit by an SUV. Am I hurt? I don't feel hurt. How could he have hurt me going that slowly?
Again, a thought that happens faster than it reads, more of a feeling than conscious question.

What do I do?
Slower, more in the moment. Looking for oncoming traffic. Aware the countdown that had given me :12 now only gives me :08. The cab driver rolling down his window.

He apologized. He did not get out of his vehicle. He asked if I was okay. I said I was. He said he didn't see me. Coworker Andy gave him the what's what - telling him he had to pay attention, that he couldn't look left and turn right. The clock read :02. I said "I'm going to get out of the street before I get hit by anything else."

A driver two lanes over said he saw the whole thing and would pull over and wait for the police. I noticed I was shaking. I was not hurt. I could not think of the proper thing to do.

Is this worth calling the police? Is this worth an officer's time? Has this cabbie hit other people who let it go? Is it worth filling out the paperwork? What am I supposed to do again? What would Kate say?
Bottom line: I had work to do after I got my $.31 ice cream. I told the witness I was okay and that he could continue on his way. Coworker Andy said I had to at least call the cab company. I said I would. We said the cab number (1324) out loud. We continued on to our ice cream.

We also saw several of our coworkers on the way. We just had to tell them the whole thing. We did eventually get our ice cream. The woman in front of us in line was one of those "I know you have signs but I still don't know the flavors you have" people. Our quick trip seemed to take forever. By the time we got back to work, everyone knew the story and kept looking at me as if I had been actually hit.

I called the cab company. I talked to a dispatcher who sent me to another dispatcher who was horrified. She told me the manager was not still there, but said she would transfer me so I could leave a message. She was sure I would get a call back first thing in the morning.

I sent a tweet, and posted it on Facebook.

Then I realized I needed to notify my parents. Yes, they both have iPhones. No, neither uses twitter the way I do. Both would be greatly offended to not be the first to know. I sent my mom an e-mail and my dad got a text. A small part of me thought the fact that I thought it was only text worthy would show them the (un)importance. But I may as well have sent "I've just killed a man." My dad called first.

I told him the story. He asked if I was going to a hospital to be checked. I said no, as I only had a scratch on my elbow. He asked if I was going to sue. I said no. He said I should sue to cover my medical costs. I reminded him I was not going to have any medical costs, and referred him fifteen seconds back in my our conversation. My dad accepted my answer, they got off the phone with me to spread confusion.

My mother called less than ten minutes later. The panic in her voice told me she had not read my e-mail. In the same breath my mom asked if I was okay, and how my father knew before she did. The "I want to be the first to know" is a competition as old as I am. I was not surprised. But my parents are not speaking, so I was curious as to how my mom knew that my dad knew. I'll spare you the mysterious answers and get right to what I pieced together.

My dad called Derek and said "your sister was hit by a cab and she needs to go to a hospital." My dad's inflection was meant in a "the right thing to do is sue" way. But Derek is an EMT. When he hears "needs to go to the hospital," he thinks like a first responder. So Derek ran upstairs to wake up my mother and ask if she had heard that I was hit and had to go to a hospital. She had not, and my phone rang.

There was no need for concern. I had no lingering injuries. YellowCab never returned my call. My parents finally accepted my word that I was okay - although my mom did seriously ask if my dad was flying out to check on me. It's good to be loved I guess.

08 May 2010

Seafood & Jazz

April 24, 2010
Jesse took me on a proper date. He picked a day, asked me out, and told me what time to be ready. You may or may not know I'm not exactly a girl's girl, but I like to go on dates. Being asked in advance just gave me that much more time to get excited. I think Jesse was excited too; we were both ready a half hour earlier than our appointed departure time.

Date night in San Francisco is a little different from date nights in cities past. Jesse was worried about the shoes I was wearing, because they had to be walking - friendly. We also took a bus. Not exactly romantic, but oh so practical. Walking brought the chance of me sweating before we got to dinner. Driving brought the certainty of parking illegally once we made our way back home. Public transportation brought us very close to where we wanted to be, and absolved us of any parking responsibility.

Woodhouse Fish Co.
We ate at the Woodhouse Fish Company. It's a small place and there was a 25 - 30 minute wait for a table at 7 on a Saturday night. But they served drinks while we waited. So aside from being squeezed in the front of the restaurant and watching other people enjoy (what appeared to be) delicious meals, the wait wasn't too bad. And it guaranteed we were ready to order when we were seated.

The only picture I snapped before Jesse imposed his "no pictures at the table" rule was of the appetizer, mussels with fries. He would have preferred garlic bread, but I had a hankering for fries. It was a great compromise. We didn't have too many, but there were enough to satisfy my craving. Jesse ordered fish tacos and I had Alaskan Halibut in parchment. Both of our meals were delicious, but I'm certain mine was better. The fish had been baked with tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, leeks and a basil butter. We split bread pudding for dessert. The entire meal was delicious from start to finish. And then we were off to jazz.

Yoshi's Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant
What? Your town doesn't fuse jazz and sushi? Excuse me while I shake my head at you. I don't know what the original inspiration for Yoshi's was, but it's worked. It's a big deal here in the Bay Area. We were there early and got a great place in line. We met this other couple, spearheaded by a jazz loving French woman who could not have been five feet tall. She gave us the lay of the Yoshi's land, telling us the best way for us to find good seats. She even acted quickly after realizing people who had been at the back of the line were getting in ahead of us. We separated once we were inside and we never saw them again.

We got seats off to the side, but still close enough to feel it was an intimate show. We ordered our drinks and were ready to be entertained by Madeline Peyroux. I had never heard of her. Jesse became a fan while listening to Soulful Sundays at work. I really liked her and I think I'll buy some of her music. The show was a little more than an hour, which was perfect. I was full, cozy and listening to a soothing voice. I was high risk for dozing.

We started walking home until we happened upon a taxi. We rode in silence. Jesse had to pee. I was just really content. The cab driver thought something was wrong. He asked why we were so quiet, and if we'd had a bad night. I told him we were just full and glad not to have to walk. And then I wondered; if we had been having a bad night, did he really want to get involved? Peculiar.

We arrived home and just before we passed out, I asked Jesse to take my picture. I just wanted it noted that yes, I wore a dress. And yes, I had flat shoes to match.

07 May 2010

Embracing Nudity

April 19, 2010

I showered at the gym.

In order for you to understand how monumental that is, you have to understand what I did to avoid showering at the gym. This particular gym is maybe a 10 minute walk from my job. It's a 17 minute walk from home. I was going to a 12PM class, getting out at 1PM, racing home (uphill), showering, and racing downhill to get to work by 2PM. I was adding 30 minutes of travel time just to avoid communal showers.

The main reason I refused (for months) to ignore this convenience: humidity. The locker room is hot and damp. It's not too crowded. But the steam from the showers plus the hair dryers and the embarrassment of imagining your naked body is being judged made a 3o minute brisk walk seem like the lesser evil. But I could not continue to pride myself practicality and efficiency while maintaining that routine. So I signed up for towel service, bought a bag large enough to hold my clothes / shower supplies and tried to embrace the shower culture.

The Scene:
There are seven stalls in the locker room. Only three have doors. One door-less stall is in a corner and faces a stall that does have a door. The other three face the entrance to the toilets. So imagine three showers - each separated from another by a frosted wall - but without doors. If you were to be walking to the restroom, you would be (fully dressed) walking by three (naked) women washing their bodies.

First Day: I found myself to be one of those naked women doing the washing. At minimum it was uncomfortable. I wash my feet, and I bend over to do so. I had to decide if it was best for me to bend facing the bathroom stalls, showing passersby my dangling parts? Or was it best to bend facing the shower head, with my bum facing the people just coming in to find a toilet? Honestly, I don't remember what I did. I think I blacked out.

I do remember being relieved - then panicked - after reaching for my towel. I had presumed that warm folded square was akin to the plush (or at least large) towels people give to visiting guests. Instead they were two medium, great-for-drying-hair towels. They were not towels I could wrap around my nude person. I covered my front and went to my locker, where poor planning caught me again.

Most of the lockers next to mine were being used. That meant a lot of other (mostly clothed) women in my way. I stood there facing them, waiting for any one of them to leave so I could get to my stuff. Eventually I realized my (exposed) rear was facing a mirror. I turned sideways and backed up near a wall. Once I did get to my locker, I couldn't get dressed fast enough. I destroyed my neatly packed bag and cursed Eve for the knowledge of my nakedness.

I don't remember thinking clearly until I was at least partially dressed. Yes, everyone in there had the same lady parts. No, I was not looking (read: judging) other women, and they had no reason to look at (judge) me. But I also know women. And just because there is no reason to judge, doesn't mean they (we) won't.

Lessons Learned:
I've progressed wonderfully in the time since I've started showering at the gym. And I want to share my lessons with you, in case you ever find yourself thrust into a damp room full of women in various states of dress.

  • Choose the right locker. A locker at the edge of the row means you'll be able to get to your locker, even if there is a crowd.
  • Wait 10 - 15 minutes. I've started hitting the sauna for 10 minutes after class and by the time I get to the showers, there tends to be at least one stall with a door available.
  • Stack your post-shower stuff. I place everything in a pile when I first get to the locker, before I take my class. This has come in handy when I'm in an imaginary race for a shower with a door.
  • Bring some clothing. Having my undergarments right there when I get out of the shower keeps me calm. No one is going to happen upon my bum in the mirror. This is reassuring.

Overall, I'm comfortable with my system. I end up able to relax a little before I get to work. Sure, I end up spending the day with a heavy bag full of stinky clothes, but that's a small price to pay to regain my sense of extreme proficiency.

06 May 2010

Nominated Again

April 15, 2010

I've received two more Emmy nominations. It's just as exciting as it was the first time. Here I am after I won in 2006. This is the only picture of me with the Emmy and in my dress. It was an afterthought, taken in our hotel room.

The nomination is kind of a relief. It's been four years between nominations. I've done good work in that time. And I've been proud of a lot of my shows. Not being recognized was disappointing. Yes, I know the whole thing is subjective. A person watches my show and judges. Based on their mood or their day or their preferences, I get a nomination. It's not at all an exact science. It's also not like a high school math test, where you may get more points for showing your work. If I overcome 2 or 20 challenges and put on a clean show, the person responsible for judging will never know. I suppose that could be a good thing, putting the show in a vacuum. But I'm of the "A for effort" school of thought.

It must be noted, knowing the system isn't perfect in no way takes away from the nomination. The cost associated with submitting entries does not detract either. I'm still really excited. One of my shows was nominated, as well as a compilation that was essentially a product of the entire newsroom. I think we'll win. But why would I think otherwise?

There are a few costs and hurdles to come. It costs money for both Jesse & I to go. I still have to get a dress and shoes. I have to get my hair done and Jesse needs something to wear as well. The event is May 15th. Wish me luck. I would love a return on my investment. Also, an updated picture of me with an Emmy wouldn't be so bad either.

05 May 2010

Tabled = Busted

April 10, 2010

It took nearly a week before Jesse & I got around to taking that table out of my car. We had been out that next Saturday morning, eating our way back toward home. The car was safe and the table was still inside. I know it's odd that we go days or weeks without sight of little Henry, but that's the reality. There's no reason to see him unless we need him. I fear that will bite us in the butt one day. But if you saw the places in which we usually park, you wouldn't see any reason to go up there either.

Jesse peaking inside and asked "is the table broken?" I told him it wasn't when I got it. But then I thought of how it had been wedged, and of any bumps there may have been during that six hour drive. I hadn't thought of the table while I was riding. I don't know what I would have done to have made it more secure. I still don't. The table (broken or not) still had to come out of the car. So we grabbed it and carried it a few blocks.

Basically, the wood on one of the drop down sides had cracked. I was really sad, because the table is an antique. It had survived the 1906 earthquake, but not my driving. I removed the broken pieces and it looks like it'll be a smooth fix. Also, the table works perfectly (without that side) as a second desk. It's actually a nearly perfect work station for me. It would actually be worse if that side were still attached. I still have the broken pieces. I plan to one day put them back together. I may also take the time to refinish the table. It would be an awesome project. We'll see if I ever get the time.

04 May 2010

Easter 2010

April 4, 2010

I woke up so refreshed the Sunday after my brothers left, I forgot where I was. I nearly rolled off the air mattress. Being rested felt great, mostly because I was worried about going back to work more drained than I had been when I left. Somehow a night on an air mattress in Burbank refreshed me. I chatted with Jesse (who was at work) and I was ready to hunt for eggs.

I had no idea what to expect at an adult Easter Egg Hunt. I knew anything involving this group would be intricate and well planned. But knowing and experiencing are remarkably different. The event started with a fruit / bagel / scone / coffee / mimosa brunch. (As a sign of the aforementioned intricacy) Jesus Christ Superstar played in the background while we chatted and talked about hunts past.

I like this group. We weren't all friends in college, but I started seeing them fairly regularly when Jesse & I began visiting Tab & Mike in LA. In my mind, they throw themed parties for each other all the time, because I'm typically only down there for those events. Easter was a fluke. And while I had planned to get right on the road back home, I figured this was not an opportunity I wanted to miss. I was right.

The hosts (Ty & Ken) reading the rules.

The prize.

We were competing in pairs. I was with Julie, who I did know in school. Each team posed for a before picture. I tried to invoke my stiff--backed, competitive look. Turns out, I don't have one and I look weird when I try. Only one of us could search at a time, and we had to bring the egg back to our base before we opened it. There were 70+ eggs, most worth one point. Some had candy, some had clues and some had challenges. Example: Tab earned 5 points for drinking an entire mini bottle of Malibu Rum.

One of the challenges was "name that movie playing on TV." They read the TiVo description and we had to guess the movie. As you can see, I was poised for thought. It didn't help. I was outmatched on all fronts. I don't a lot of movies on TV. And if there's one thing this group knows, it's movies. I kept thinking I was going to get one right and I never did. The winner gained access to the garage, where a plethora of eggs had been stashed.

Inside the bags of the "name that movie playing on TV" game winners.

Searching.

Another challenge: Chubby Bunny. I had never played it and could barely wrap my brain around it. We had to stuff our mouths with marshmallows and say "chubby bunny." It only sounds disgusting because it is. I strongly dislike marshmallows. But Julie is vegan, so that trumped my dislike. I stepped up to the plate and stuffed.

Questioning the decisions in life that had brought me to this particular point.

I didn't do too bad for a first timer. I came in second. There were no points awarded for second place. There was however a communal marshmallow disposal bag. If the chewy globs themselves weren't enough to induce gagging, the contents of the bag were. The same couple who dominated "name that movie playing on TV" also won Chubby Bunny. There was little contest from there.

Eventually we realized there was just one egg left. Unless it had 40 points, Julie & I were not going to win. So we kind of sat and watched the group search. Once the game was officially over, everyone got to sit, nibble on candy and enjoy a warm afternoon in Southern California. I had to hit the road, promising to crash their next party. I had a great time.

The drive back was mostly painless. I did a lot of car signing. I hit rain about an hour before home, which slowed me down. But I got a good parking spot and was home at a decent enough hour to see Jesse. Success.