Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My posts I know, have been waning in the last few months. I keep saying that I intend to rectify this but there is a lot at stake in blogging now. I do have the time and plenty to say, but since I started annecentral, the world around me has changed when it comes to the internet. We all Google each other. Things are more instant. I have to be more careful with what I post here, yet I don't want to compromise the honesty and bluntness of my posts, which I know is the very reason you all come here and have written such honest letters to me. So, my wrangling with that has right now, unfortunately produced a lot of empty space. Don't worry, I haven't left annecentral. I've made so many wonderful e-friends through this blog, and feel a richer person because of the souls like you that I know are out there.

For Christmas, I went to the Four Seasons for dinner with Shannon. My mom, Jack and I did it last year and it was spectacular. It's a fun, eclectic group of people and just an awesome spread. And, a woman at the table next to us made a point to tell me I was gorgeous. How sweet of her, and wow, what a compliment out of the blue. I ate to my heart's content, trying as many kinds of food as I could, and of course relishing in the deserts. I didn't feel that I over ate though, which I think is a side effect of my new eating habits.

Afterward, we dropped by Nolan's and were surprised to find it packed. Plenty of people, high on Christmas cheer and warmed by spirits were boisterous and enjoying each other's company. Some woman hugged Shannon out of the blue, and it was hilarious. I wasn't really into the season this year, but that changed on Christmas Eve and Christmas. I'd opted for a quiet one, and got a little of both.

Speaking of that, somehow, during the holidays I've still managed to lose a pound and a half. That puts me a mere .4 pounds from my goal. Yes, that's less than half a pound. Go figure that one, as I've been indulging in the cookies and treats. Merry Christmas to me. I think the taking it slowly has really helped with that.

Along with my contract being extended, I got a half-time freelance job with my former boss at Avid, who was laid off from Avid along with me. He's working for an awesome company and they need a social media presence, so he thought of me. It's something that I can do from home and during lunch breaks, and it's a half a salary on top of my full-time salary that I'm already making. I'm beyond thrilled. First and foremost, because it's a great gig for a cool company, with a bitchin' app.
And a fantastic way for me to stretch my wings creatively and create something from the ground up. Our department was doing really cool things at Avid, but unfortunately that was cut short due to their downsizing. My boss is one of the creators of iTunes, so he has an incredible vision when it comes to building brands in non-traditional ways and working on tech consumer products that literally change the future. I was both flattered and humbled that he thought of me for the gig. This product is going to make waves and change the way people watch TV. Check them out at and download the app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. It's free!

Yes, that was a shameless plug. Gotta problem with that? If you download it, let me know how you like the app. I'd love to hear your feedback.

So, things are going well for me. But, being a realist who's been around the block several times, I'm prepared for anything when it comes to the job front. Things can change in an instant. I hope not, because I'm in a really good spot right now with the great work I'm doing for Disney and now this work with Peel. But, I am prepared.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shannon and I make LA Weekly.Shannon and I saw The Black Angels on Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving at the El Rey Theatre in Hollywood where we were snapped by a cool photographer for the LA Weekly. The photographer was covering the show for a slide show piece in the paper, of which we became a part of. The show was sold out and freakin' phenomenal, with the band's psych rock amplifying over our heads, through our bodies and throughout the venue in deep thick, rolling waves. The singer's voice floated on top of it all in melodic, wanting tones bathed in wandering wisdom. The Black Angels have an awesome sound that translates incredibly live. It was a great way to kick off my almost four day weekend. You can see the entire slide show from the event here, with our slide in its original size, here.

We've been having actual November-ish weather here, with the nighttime temps dipping down into the 20s accompanied by gusty wind. It made for a perfect holiday. Today, the gusts are even more fierce, so it actually sounds like November. It was a cold and windy night, as dusk descended into darkness...

I had yet another Thanksgiving with Shannon's family who were kind enough to have me. I've spent several T-days at his sister's or mom's house. I brought a bottle of Prosecco and his sister cooked up a delicious meal. His little nephews, sons of his brother and wife, who were also there, said the blessing. So cute. I think one of the boys is in kindergarten and the other in second grade. They were full of energy, sweet-natured and fun. I'd met them before a couple of times, once at Shannon's grandmother's birthday.

I also saw on Wednesday that I had an invite from Cathy and Reese via Facebook, and had a quick temptation to do both. However, I realized that everything would be too rushed. I went to their house last year and it was great fun. It's funny how I didn't grow up here, but I have made wonderful friends who are always making sure that when I don't travel or have guests for Thanksgiving, that I have a place to go. When my mom and Jack have come here for Christmas, we've eaten at The Peninsula Hotel and The Four Seasons Hotel for Christmas dinner. Both were excellent, unique experiences. The Four Seasons had a desert area that looked like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

I'm up to 21 pounds with my weight loss which puts me almost at my goal. I feel awesome. I'm finishing this post on a Monday night, and due to my ever increasing difficulty in waking up in the morning, I'm going to make sure that I'm in bed no later than 11:30 this entire week and see if that helps. It seems obvious, but my night nature is so good at convincing me that staying up just a little later won't hurt. Now that I have a new audio book, that at least is an added temptation to slip under the covers.

There's a lot more to write, but it's already 11:11 PM. Just enough time to leisurely brush my teeth and wash my face.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Finally, a chance to sit down and write a post. There has been a ton going on. From the fantastically fun to the life changing, to the downright scary.

We'll start with the fantastically fun, and that would be the billionaire's Halloween party where I met Jodie Foster, Sly Stallone, Paul Reiser and more. I can't elaborate too much because of confidentiality issues, but what a freakin' trip. I ended up there when Brian, who had taken us whale watching and whom Shannon and I had helped at the Paramount gig, asked me to help him out at another photo booth. After that gig, Brian told Shannon how impressed he was with my natural people skills and ability to be thrown in a situation and just roll with it. So he asked me out of the blue to help him with this one. Without knowing what it was, I accepted. He also asked Shannon to work it, but he couldn't because he had another gig. Shannon had told me that it was a rich guy who throws a Halloween party at his house every year. So, I was imagining a McMansion in Beverly Hills. Let's just say, that the party itself probably cost what a McMansion would cost. This place, in a gated exclusive neighborhood in Beverly Hills, was indescribable. I've seen a lot, but have never seen anything like this property. Holy palatial 80-million-dollar estate, Batman.

The party was fun, extravagant and full of people dressed in wonderful costumes. I loved seeing the families all dressed up and having fun. As I've said, Halloween brings out the wonderful imaginations in people. The kids were adorable and in heaven, with rides, activity stations, a haunted house, entertainment and more. I had a wonderful time, as did the guests and the photo booth went really well. And, Jodie Foster was really cool, down to earth and had a sense of humor. She was dressed as Trinity from The Matrix. A fine choice of costume, if I may say so myself.

On actual Halloween, Shannon and I went to Aroma cafe and had a fab dinner and a great time. It was a perfect Fall night, and we ate on the covered patio as excited kids in costumes walked past us on the sidewalk. Dusk was turning into night and the trick-or-treaters were on their candy safari. After that, we went to Nolan's and enjoyed more costumes. And, we had a nice conversation with Presidents Reagan and Kennedy. They were awesome, replete with awesome masks, suits and firearms. Yes, they were dressed as "The Dead Presidents" from Point Break.

Now for the life changing. I'm not sure if I mentioned on here that I've been on a health and weight loss program for the last three months or so. For those that know me, they've been shocked when I tell them that I went on a program, and even more so at the amount of weight that has come off my body. This is because I hid it well. I prided myself at being the master at hiding disaster, made easier because I've always had thin hips and legs. However, over the years I'd become uncomfortable with the way my clothes were fitting and the way that I was eating. Or in my case, not eating as much and as often as I should. My weight gain had mostly occurred around my middle and was easy to hide, especially when you have no hips! However, as someone who had been an athlete growing up and active for most my life, it finally reached the point of becoming uncomfortable for me. The last straw happened at Neiman Marcus when I could feel my extras crunching like an accordion while I bent over to fasten a strap on a shoe that I was trying on. I was sitting and on a higher bench, but please.

I also knew that I have certain traits that were not helping. I abhor cooking, going grocery shopping and washing dishes. As a result, I'd eat little during the day, my blood sugar would drop and I'd be ravenous at night, where I'd get takeout. Because of this, the weight had crept up over the years. I knew it wasn't healthy for someone my age to be eating like a teenager and had remembered that two of my good friends had successfully done a program, having gone in to be taught how to eat again. Both of them were not fat, but had just gained that extra that they felt they needed help getting rid of. So, I walked into a Jenny Craig that had opened across from my Starbucks. I was skeptical, but had well...was going to say nothing to lose, but that's not true! Anyway, it ended up being the perfect solution for me and I've lost almost 20 pounds.

At first, my coworkers were amazed that I'd lost so much weight, literally in front of them because I started the program while at Disney. That's because as I said, I am the MAHD. However, when I finally bought pants that weren't practically falling off, they clearly saw the difference. Amazing what a well-fitting pair of jeggings can reveal. Thanks to the saleswoman at Armani Exchange, I tried a pair on and have bought another pair from them since. And, my skinny jeans are now loose. I won't lie. That feels good. I have a waist again and my neighbors all comment on my thinness. I find that funny, because I feel I'm almost back to my normal weight. I sleep better, feel better, have more energy and see me again when looking into the mirror. And, I did it by eating more than I ever have, with zero exercise.

When I walk into Jenny for my weekly meeting/weigh-in, some of the other clients look at me oddly. In fact, during an open house there, I happened to have an appointment and heard two women who were pretty overweight whispering to each other, "She's thin. Why is she here?" I wanted to say, "Same reason you are." I've had other customers ask me the same thing directly and I'm happy to explain. We all have different "enough" points. There are many people just like me who wanted a course correction. And, it is one that I've been extremely patient, realistic and positive. I have no fear of gaining it back, because of what I've learned through them and continued practice at taking care of myself nutritionally. And, what really rocks is that my success has inspired my coworkers, friends and Facebook friends, some who have embarked on their own course corrections and are seeing results. That feels freaking awesome.

Unfortunately, I can't discuss the details of the scary on this blog except to say that it happened, and that someone caused me and some others unbelievable stress. However, we're all okay. It was taken care of promptly, sensitively and professionally. The hard part now is that no one knows what happened except for we who endured and witnessed it. And, we can't talk about it. The rest only know the end result, but not what the person did that caused that end result. Because of that, rumors and speculation are abound. I know I'm being vague but I have to be. And, I'm now moving out of the fear stage and into the anger stage. It's all part of the process and I know it's just something we'll all have to work through. Luckily, we have the support of the right people and each other.

Lastly, my contract was extended. Yay me.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last week, thanks to a friend with a boat I was lucky enough to go whale watching. We've had a rare incursion of blue whales because an unusually large supply of krill, which the whales eat, is attracting them to the area. I met him through Shannon when we both worked a photobooth for the Concern Foundation benefit at Paramount Studios, which he was running. He was fun and gregarious, like a lot of the guys who work in the photo industry.

I'd learned about the rare abundance of whales, and even rarer, how close to shore they were while watching the news. I immediately wanted to go see them. It's something that I've never done. Well, as luck would have it, Brian posted photos of his venture out to see the whales and they were spectacular. He was also lucky enough to have a pod of dolphins ride his wake and got great pictures of them leaping into the air behind his boat.

Brian, Josh, Shannon and I went on a gray, cool Tuesday. We went slow through the Marina and past rock piers loaded with sea lions as pelicans, seagulls and cranes flew low overhead. Once we were out of Marina Del Rey Harbor and out into open sea, Brian went with throttle up and we raced across the ocean, bouncing over the waves, which answered our intrusion with a wall of sea spray. It was a very calm day on the ocean, calmer than Brian had ever seen, and what he said was perfect for whale watching. Still, we were on the Pacific, where calm means the waves were thick rolling swells that sent us airborne when we hit them on an up slope. Exhilarating.

Me Driving a Friend's Boat

Brian let me take the wheel and I drove the boat in open sea, bouncing across the waves, one which had Shannon catching air when he let go for a second to take a picture. We passed buoys that marked a path for freighter ships, all crowded with seals and sea lions taking a rest and unintentionally looking comical. They reminded me of a certain cat I know...

What a lush!

Brian took back at the helm and steered toward a cluster of four or five boats on the horizon. He said that where there's a gathering of boats, there are usually whales. And sure enough, as we got closer, we saw our first misty plume spew several feet high from the water. Everyone went nuts in excitement. We were going to see actual whales in the wild. And, rare blue whales at that. As we got closer, Brian slowed us down and edged toward where we had seen the plume. There were four or five boats around us, including a whale tour ship full of eager viewers who were standing on one side, cameras ready.

And that's when we saw one crest, its smooth blue gray skin emerging, spewing a misty plume before it submerged. It was just incredible to see in the wild! We could tell from its size that it was a younger whale, and it came up for several breaths before going on a deep dive. Soon, we spotted another plume and along with the other boats, got as close as we could while keeping a respectful distance. This is when a giant crested, and I heard its spout release and take a deep breath of air. Again, incredible. Shannon snapped this photo. We were only three miles off shore off Redondo Beach.

Whale Cresting off Redondo Beach

It crested about five times, as we, the tour boat another motor boat and two sailboats hovered around. In the span of an hour, we saw about five or six whales, and yes I'll say it, they were majestic. Here are two pictures I took. One shows the whale tour boat, and you can see the people standing to get a look. Click on them for a larger version:

Whale crestingBlue Whale cresting

It was a wonderful, fantastic time and something that I've wanted to do my whole life. Brian was a superb captain and great at steering the boat toward them without getting too close. Not to mention, a great host with an awesome boat!

The temperature outside @ 2pm todayIn other news, I made Flickr's blog with this photo of my dashboard reflecting the heat outside, and this wasn't even the hottest it got. I snapped the photo with my phone when I noticed the temperature, and Flickr decided to show it to the world. It's my second pleasant surprise from Flickr in the last month. So, thanks for the props Flickr.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I had a neat thing happen through Flickr a couple weeks ago. A man who lived in the San Francisco area found my picture that I took of my Calleen Cordero cuff and contacted me about it. He was looking for a cuff for his girlfriend, and did an image search on Flickr to get ideas for what he thought she would like. He also had a Flickr account, and emailed me through their mail system. I emailed him back and gave him the store information and website, which listed all the stores that carried her designs and how I came about mine. I added that the last time I was in the Calleen Cordero store on Beverly, that I'd heard chatter about Calleen retiring the cuff design and that perhaps if he told the story how he found it, they might be persuaded into making one more. Of course, I added that his girlfriend was very lucky to have a boyfriend that put so much thought into her gifts. And, that she was going to love the cuff. Every day that I wear mine, I get comments on it from people. The last being a cool, great-looking edgy couple that asked me about it at a gas station. They were filling up next to me, and were extremely complimentary. They also wanted to know where I got it. But back to the Flickr guy, who did manage to find one at a store who carried her line, and after they sent pictures of the two they had, planned on purchasing one. Well, imagine my surprise, when I get an email saying that the same man had extended my Flickr Pro account for an entire year. Turns out, he works for Flickr and as a token of his appreciation extended my account. Awesome! Of course, I sent him and email telling him how thrilled I was. And the greatest thing, is I was more than happy to help someone on their endeavor to give someone they loved an awesome gift.

It's the second time within a couple months that someone has given me something for free without my expecting it. First, there was the guy who fireproofed my burlap for free, and now this.

Speaking of projects, I've started another one. The crappy scrubby garden area outside my apartment door finally got on my last nerve. After asking the landlord to rip up the horrible thorn bushes for the last couple years and offering to plant it myself, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Let me just start with saying that they never ever prune the garden. So, it was left up to yours truly to cut back the awful bushes that would creep over the walkway toward my apartment. The plant in question is called Asparagus Fern. It's not only ugly, it's on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s list of invasive species as a Category II invasive and according to the ASPCA, is toxic to both dogs and cats. Other sites list it as a "noxious weed" which strangles the roots of other plants. Nice.

Anyway, I started tearing up these hideous bushes which have roots like something out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Thick coarse roots with pods...yes, pods on the end of them, topped off by a stump-like root cluster. About half way through my endeavor, I had just yanked out a particularly nasty root cluster that left about a foot deep crater near the container wall. When I reached my hand in to dig out the remaining roots, I dunked my hand in water that was rising up through the ground. For weeks, the landlords had been looking for the source of an underground leak in the pool area. The health department was on them about it and they were just about to rip up a huge part of the pool patio area to locate it. Well, when I pulled out my hand and waterlogged glove, I realized I'd just found it, simply by ripping up a few ugly plants that the landlord didn't want to deal with. I told them about it the next morning and sure enough, when they investigated, found that the leak was from a pipe near where I was gardening. Exactly opposite from where they were going to jackhammer up the patio.

Um, yeah.

Either way, I've really enjoyed having a physically demanding creative project. That area was so ugly, and now it's almost ready to be prettied up. I also bought some solar accent lights that look really nice. Before I plant anything, I'm going to make sure all those horrid asparagus ferns are away for good.

Work tomorrow. Bed calls me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm here at Starbucks on a pretty day, inside because it allows me a bit of privacy.

Right now I'm in one of four big chairs surrounding a table. A father and his two teenage daughters sit at the other three chairs. They are sharing the usual father and daughter banter, laughing and clearly enjoying each other's company. An elderly man walked by, bent over almost at a ninety degree angle, but however difficult it must be for him to get up and around, he still sported a suit and tie and walked on his own without the help of his two younger companions, who walked just enough ahead of him to appear as if they weren't keeping an eye on him. He paused and rested his hand on the first daughter's chair, caught his breath, then made his way to the next daughter's chair and rested on hers for a bit. I looked at the father and he smiled at me with kindness, sharing my sympathy for a man whose body was struggling to keep up with his spirit. I smiled back. The man and his daughters were a Middle Eastern family, and it struck me that here we were on 9/11, in a climate where so many people are spouting the reasons that we can't get along and threatening to burn Qur'ans while others burn American flags. And yet, here was a quiet moment shared between those very two cultures, who had a the same reaction of sympathy, understanding and compassion for another human being. Our moment won't make the news. It's just one of millions of quiet moments that happen every day between people of every culture who have so much more in common than the publicized differences of a few extremists.

I'm still at my job, though I'm not sure for how much longer. My contract was just extended until November 6th, I think. Right now, the department that I work in is going through a lot of changes and merging with another branch of the company. There is a full-time senior copywriter job available, but when I asked about it, I learned that it has management responsibilities, which I do not want. I'm just not management material, which is a trait I'm extremely at peace with. It isn't because I'm not capable, but because I can't stand the politics and what comes with it. Management has never been something I aspired to be. Ever. Whether contract or full-time, my salary is good for what I do and my lifestyle without the pressures of managing for some big company that would happily chew me up and spit me out.

Tomorrow is Shannon's birthday celebration at his sister's house. Should be a great time. He got me some really neat gifts for my birthday and I hope he likes what I got him. My mom had a big birthday on September 3rd, and I got her a gift certificate to a day spa in Baltimore, good for a European facial, and spa manicure and pedicure. Also included tip so she wouldn't have to worry about that. She's going to my step brother's wedding end of September and figured it might be a great way to kick off the celebration. I really wanted to go, and we tried to work it out, but the wedding is in Mystic, CT, and with my job possibly ending soon, I need to work every week that I can. I would have loved to see Dan and Jen get married, and of course really enjoyed seeing a true East Coast water town.

Lots of other things, but I'm finishing this post at night, and am about to slip into bed and snuggle down to listen to my audio book. Wonderful inventions, those things.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In memory of a friend, Jeff Ames, who passed away one year ago today.

You and the gifts, talent, graciousness, compassion and humor you brought to this earthly plane are greatly missed.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I finished my wall project and think that it turned out really well. I'm very happy with it. Here are some pictures. You can click on them for bigger ones.

My burlap covered wall

Badly lit pic of my burlap wall, right side of the alcove.burlap wall

I figure that I can at least make my little apartment look like "my" little apartment even more. I'm just incredibly pleased with the way it came out, as it softens the place and ties in the colors really well. I put it up with my staple gun, as you can't do it with a normal stapler. The staples won't go through the wall nor hold up the burlap. I further secured the seams with Sobo glue, which is also nonflammable and flattened them. As far as the burlap edges, i treated them with a non-fray liquid before I had them treated for fireproofing. I did this before, because the non-fray stuff is extremely flammable. The whole look is completely removable for when I move out, which will probably not be for a long time! I just shudder at the thought of moving. In fact, if I do, I'll have the movers to actually everything, pack, move, unpack. And, the cats will go to Best Little Cat House while I get out of the apartment for the whole thing. I don't know, perhaps a nice hotel stay. The last times, I've packed and unpacked, which I'm extremely good at, but the movers moved. It's so stressful, I can't even bear the thought of undertaking a move.

Speaking of Best Little Cat House, I took Oliver there for his first grooming. They said he did really well, and even gave him a tie! He looked so dapper and smelled so good. Oliver just back from the groomer looking dapper in his tie! They "Furminated" him, which has helped incredibly with his shedding. I have a Furminator de-shedding brush, and if you have any animal with an undercoat, (Maine Coons have TWO undercoats, making three coats total), I highly recommend this brush. It's expensive, but works miracles. The thing is, that Oliver would only tolerate a few minutes of it so I needed someone who could finish the whole job. He also needed his nails clipped, which he wasn't about to let me do. Afterward, I could tell that he was just so much more comfortable. They said quite a bit of hair was removed. After they are finished, they keep them in a comfortable room, with a web cam so you can check in on kitty via the internet. Oliver hid the whole time, so I never saw him. If you want to check out their kitty cams, which you can pan around, they have several rooms online here.

Last week, a friend, also my neighbor told me that Elijah Wood would be doing a DJ session at Amoeba records, and asked if I wanted to go. I tagged along, and he played a nice eclectic set. It was fun to see him and the people who showed up. Such a mellow affair, yet here is this international star just feet away, playing his jams for us. However, he just seemed like a normal guy, which yeah he is, but again, because of his status and privilege, he isn't. In his young lifetime, he's already super rich, has seen and experienced things that the audience's combined experiences still won't match, yet is not a screw-up. Celebrities can be screw-ups and therefore annoying. He seemed normal, which is why it was that much more profound to think of those things. I'm glad that I am not famous though, nor have the pressures that it entails. That's the bargain. I took this picture of him and sister at the event:

Elijah Wood DJs @ Amoeba Records Sunday, Aug 8th

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Today marks the anniversary of the day of my birth. Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I got my much needed hair cut this weekend from the awesome Adrian at Sally Hershberger Salon. It's always so fun to go there, as it's a busy hopping place with so much going on. Plus, the place has huge windows with a beautiful view of the Hollywood Hills. I snapped this picture coming home from the salon while driving my awesome Volvo C30 that I still love beyond words.

Freshly Coifed!

Earlier this week, I met someone who knew some people from ABT through a random coincidence. They were amazed that in Los Angeles, they were meeting someone with connections or experience in the New York ballet world. Truth is, I was too, having never met anyone here from that world either. The names brought back memories, that's for sure. Some of the people I learned had died, like Georgina Parkinson. I didn't really know her, but she seemed like a serious, passionate woman. I remember being scared to bring her a coffee in the studio, and approaching a dancer to give to her instead. The dancer, amused, said it was okay just to walk up and give it to her. And, it was. The serious-looking woman simply thanked me and didn't bite my head off. She was a nice woman, she just intimidated the hell out of me because of her demeanor.

I learned that Gladys Celeste, the piano accompanist had also died. I was sad to hear that as she was a sweet, generous and warm woman who had been with the company for ages. She helped me find a copy of "Etudes" after I told her I'd been looking for it for ages, even bringing me an album of hers to show me which one to buy. I think she can even be seen playing the piano in "The Turning Point" movie made in 1977. Yeah. She'd been at ABT for over 40 years.

I already knew about Charles France dying. I won't lie. I didn't like him. He was a contemptible man whom I'm not surprised died relatively young. The link I provided is a New York Times article about him after his death and it explains a lot. He was not well liked by a lot of people, and I'll never forget the day Jane Hermann fired him. There was a big to-do, and Misha (Mikhail Baryshnikov), who was looking for a way out, decided to leave as well "in protest." This was after Misha had called the entire company up on the Met stage and announced his resignation as Artistic Director, saying he'd be there for one more year. However, he was there less than 3 months, and barely there at that. Once he gave his year notice, it made Charles vulnerable and the board, staffed with New York society, wasted no time in kicking him out. Apparently, according to the article, the reason was his erratic behavior and drugs.

A couple weeks after Charles was fired, I ran into him outside the studios on my way to work. I was maybe 20 years old at the time. He was standing by the door to the very place where he had ruled the roost and pranced around like an overstuffed peacock. He was waiting for his severance paycheck, which one of the accounting secretaries had to bring down to him every week because he was too ashamed to enter the studios after being stripped of his position and power. He saw me see him, and gone was the down the-nose-sneer that he possessed every time he spoke to me. His eyes widened and he feigned happy surprise to see me. "How are you?" He said, excitedly. I knew he didn't care, but even to someone who had been so miserable to be around, compassion forced its way in front of my desire to be as mean as he would have been had the situation been reversed. I touched his arm and said, "Good. Are you okay?" He nodded, then fell silent and expressionless, as did I. The feigning was over,and we stared at each other for an uncomfortable moment as New York City went on around us, oblivious. I broke gaze first and walked through the threshold he was too ashamed to cross.

In the article, I'm not surprised to see that Susan Jones was a big fan of his. She was a miserable person as well and a bully. Susan is still at the company and from what I hear, laughed at by a lot of people. It couldn't happen to a better person. I still remember the day she accused me of stealing. I was all of 19 and she was in her 40s, I think. I had offered to pick up her lunch from reception and thought she wanted me to give the delivery guy the whole $10.00 that she gave to me. I didn't get the whole tipping thing yet and I think after all was said and done it came to about a $3.00 tip. When I got back, she asked me where her change was. I was horrified, having given it to the guy and told her so. I felt so bad, I said, "I feel really bad. I gave him the entire $10, but I have a couple of my own dollars I can give to you." Any normal adult looking at a college student wouldn't take the money. She not only took it, but accused me of pocketing her change. She didn't outright say it, just said, "Well, I was going to say, that was a big tip." I reiterated, "I didn't realize, that's why I'm offering you my own money to make up for it." She just looked at me like she'd caught my hand in the cookie jar and took my two dollars. So, Regisseur Susan Jones, if you Google yourself, you were a real cunt for doing that. The difference between then and now is that I'd say it to your obese, ugly face. And, I'd never take a 19-year-old college student's money over an innocent mistake. You classless, jealous, greedy twat.

However, there were a lot of great memories and fun people as well. And, I really treasure the whole experience of being part of that world for almost three years. I'm also thankful that I was let in to get an exclusive peek at the inner workings of a major ballet company with major stars.

Back to the present, I'm still at the job, but there have been some changes aloft. One, is that I now report to someone else. I really really liked my old boss, but my new one is great, too. I was already doing work for the new boss and therefore knew what to expect. This last week at work was hard on me for some reason, as I was tired and not as "on" as I like to be. It was a struggle this whole week. I woke up cranky on Monday morning and stayed that way until Friday afternoon while driving out of the parking lot. Nothing anyone did at work--I was just having an off week. Thankfully, I managed to keep the mood under wraps, but it was indeed affecting my concentration levels.

I've put up the panels of the fabric on my walls and it looks fabulous. Better than I expected, and really softens the place up. It's also been a fun project. I'll post pictures of it when I'm completely finished.

My birthday is on Tuesday. I've already planned for a mellow one as that's been my state of mind for the last couple months. It should be fun.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I had to move to a sunny spot, as I'd found myself in a chilly wind tunnel. Because I haven't posted in such an abysmally long time, I'm going to do vignettes.

Shannon and I worked a charity a couple weeks ago for Concern Foundation. It was on the Paramount Studios "New York" lot, and guests paid a minimum of $350 to attend. It was a blast, and continuous on-your-feet work from 4:00PM until almost 11:30PM. My bookstore training served me well there. I worked a photo booth, stuffing photos into paper frames and giving them to the guests as Shannon and Brian Kramer photographed the guests with a red and white striped backdrop and funny props. It was Brian's gig, and he brought his friend Dakota who manned the computer and printed out the shots, while I and one of Brian's photo assistants manned the table. We were inside a ceiling-less glass storefront which had several stories of open stage above for filming purposes. Concern Foundation BenefitA labyrinth of walk ways, catwalks, ladders, electrical cables and storage area was above us and when we needed light as day faded into dusk, one of the organizers gave the command over walkie talkie. Minutes later, a young lighting grip appeared two stories above, rigged a movie spotlight and shined it down on us. Hooray for Hollywood. There were a few thousand people there I would guess and our photo booth was a huge hit, with Brian and Shannon snapping non-stop. It was really fun to meet all the people and put that part of me to work, and to see their reactions when they got their pictures. As the drinks got flowing, the pictures got more hilarious. The event was circus themed with awesome acrobats and performing artists, and 50 of Los Angeles top restaurants offering free food. And, we were invited to eat to our heart's content. Good God.

Toluca Lake Country Club July 4, 2010For the fourth, I was invited to go to Marina Del Rey for a boat and dock party for fireworks, but opted to stay home and take it easy. I've seen the show there before, too. Our neighborhood has its own fireworks show, thanks to Lakeside Golf Club. Neighbors gather in a spot to watch, and one even provided patriotic music which she blasted from speakers she'd placed on top of her car. It was a fun, mellow night, with glorious fireworks and a chance to meet people who live in walking distance of you.

I've been shaping up in the last few weeks. There were a couple reasons for this, other than general vanity. One, I wasn't eating properly or enough during the day. This caused my blood sugar to drop and I'd end up eating too late and craving all the wrong things. This has been happening over a loooooong period of time and gradually gotten worse, with lethargy creeping in, day tiredness and insomnia. And, a soft middle. Finally, I just got sick of how I've felt for the last few years. So, I went for help to learn how to eat again. Funny thing is, I'm eating more than I ever have, haven't been to the gym once since I started and have lost almost 11 pounds. I'm never hungry. I am blessed with a fast metabolism and thanks to an athletic childhood, have a good "base." My whole thing is that I hate to cook so these prepared meals work perfectly. I also have a schedule that I follow, which tells me when to eat and what, so I don't have to think about it. I didn't look fat, but I was teetering on the edge of looking a way that I wasn't comfortable with. I gain in my middle, which is the most dangerous place to gain for heart health, so I decided to nip it in the bud. I also wasn't comfortable in my body and clothes anymore, and knew that the way I was eating, or in my case, not eating enough, wasn't healthy for someone my age. So, I made the leap and am thrilled with the results. The weight loss is a bonus. I feel a thousand times better, and can give my talent of being the "master of hiding disaster" a rest. My PMS is less severe, and I hardly get bloated before it. I'm also falling asleep a lot faster and sleeping better when I do. However, mornings will always blow the big one for me. I hate them.

I've taken on a little home project to make my living space a little more personal. My furniture and art on the wall does a pretty good job of that, but I decided to take it a little further with an accent wall. However, since I'm in an apartment, I'm limited as to what I can do. I took a trip to the fabric store and picked up some burlap. Nice burlap, to put on my wall. I was looking for regular fabric, but noticed the burlap when I saw that the store had cleverly used it to cover a storage space, and it looked really nice. It also offered me an idea of how to hide my kitty litters. Well, once I got home, that sparked another idea, and I stapled it onto my wall just to see how it would look. Fabulous. When a neighbor saw me taking it inside, he mentioned how flammable it was. I tested some out in the kitchen sink and sure enough, it lit right up and smoked like you wouldn't believe. I searched the Web for fireproof spray, but surprisingly the only products were mail order. So, I called around, and stores like Home Depot or Joann's Fabric didn't have any either. Nor, did they know of any brands. Since I live near almost every motion picture studio in Los Angeles, I knew there had to be somewhere that sold fabric fireproofing. Finally, I got the idea to call the Fire Department, and they told me that my best bet was to have it done professionally. They gave me some search parameters and I was able to locate Fabric Flameproofing, which was a five minute drive from my work. Score. I took my few yards of burlap to them, about 12 square yards total, and they told me that since they weren't busy (most TV shows are on hiatus) they could have it to me by the next day. It was a small order, but I was more than glad to pay the $75 minimum. I knew that it was out of the ordinary for them to do a home order, since they do most of their work for events and the studios. In fact, they had several clothing items hanging up that needed flameproofing for a TV show that was going to be using fire in a scene. It never occurred to me that everyone in the scene, including extras, needs flame resistant clothing, not just the stuntman when fire is involved.

They called me the next day to tell me my order was ready, and when I picked it up, the man who was there stunned me when he said, "No charge." At first I thought I didn't hear him correctly, but then realized what he'd said. The look on my face must have shown it, because he told me that they weren't charging me because it was such a small order, and that they really appreciated that I was taking fire safety in my home so seriously. Wow. Blew me away. What a kind and generous gesture, as this is their livelihood and I came there fully expecting to pay, and more than willing to pay their minimum job price for peace of mind and safety. Small order or not, they still used their chemicals and manpower to do it, and got it to me the very next day! Another reminder that there are kind, selfless souls in this world.

Now, for those of you reading this who live in the Los Angeles area, don't go there asking for a free job because you read about this here! Go there if you have anything to be fire-proofed, or please refer them to your entertainment or event industry people who handle getting fabric fireproofed to meet the fire safety code. They are authorized to give a certificate and clearly are very people oriented and care about their work. These are the type of people we want to keep in business. So, remember the name, Fabric Flameproofing in Glendale, CA.

I've put the first panel on the wall, and all is looking good. Pictures to come when I'm finished, but bed is calling now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Holy shit. I had no idea I hadn't posted since the first. What kind of Mickey Mouse operation am I running, after all? Time has flown this month, and I promise I'll get to it.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I finally caved and claimed one of the storage units in my apartment building. I've been avoiding it for three years because I have a huge fear of spiders, and the storage units are rife for spiders to make their home, including black widows. Widows though, tend to stick to corners near the ground. Last year, I had a big black widow back corner my parking area and just left her alone, even though the sight of her terrified me. She wasn't hurting anyone and just because I was scared of her, didn't mean she didn't have a right to exist. Now, if she were in my house...different story. Same with those freakish palmetto bugs.

I realized that my lack of storage in my apartment...even after several purges, outweighed my fear of spiders. I pulled all my plastic tubs, some filled, most not and everything else that had been crowding my closets and cabinets for the last three years. It was organized, but cramped and stupid to have in my apartment.

So, last week I started going through the full bins, picking through them and pruning what I didn't need to hold on to anymore. When you open your "stored" items, it's always interesting to see what's in there--these items that I just felt needed to be kept because they triggered some memory or represented me at a certain time in my life. Now, I don't. I remember these times anyway without the trigger object, and now they are just taking up space. Some of them are projects I did in college, while a student at Parsons School of Design. I really, really don't need them. And no, they are too weird to be hang worthy in my apartment. Assignments are just that. Weird concepts from the teacher to trigger your brain into thinking about how you'll visually represent that concept. These are from my freshman year, and while I appreciate them, I don't need them to retain what I learned. If these were paintings, or finished fine art pieces worthy of a wall, that would be an entirely different story. But, I was a graphic design major who ended up being a copywriter. I've taken painting classes later on in life. Those, I hang onto because they represent artistic growth. I was also a better student when I took those classes.

We have three days off this weekend. Since the 4th falls on the weekend, we get Monday off. And the shit is going down as far as clutter clearance. I'm even tossing a bunch of clothes, giving them to charity. Good clothes, that I thought I'd bring to a second hand store, but it's been too long, so out they go. Like I've mentioned before, or maybe I haven't here, but I've been on a cleaning frenzy, making the place feel like mine and not the countless other people's who have lived there before me. We're talking deep grime cleansing. Now that most of that is finished, it's time for Operation Clutter Sweep.

On another note, I had a couple star sightings. One was in the parking lot of my grocery store, where I saw Steven R. Schirripa, who played Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on "The Sopranos." He was carrying some clothes to the dry cleaner. Guess he had some "cleaning" to do. The other was yet another vampire. My hair colorist was doing my hair and Bryce Dallas Howard's at the same time. She is the new Victoria, a vampire with zero capacity to let bygones be bygones, in the Twilight series. But even cooler, she personally witnessed Christian Bale's epic meltdown. I didn't recognize her when I was there, but realized it after. I laughed, because I'd told them both my story of being on the john during our last earthquake. We were talking about quakes and well, the conversation just progressed.

I'm finishing this post on Saturday, the first day of the three-day-weekend. I'm up and ready to go, but first... coffee.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shannon and I hung out at Boardner's a couple weeks ago, a bar with a past. The Black Dahlia used to hang there frequently before she met her grisly demise. Perhaps her killer did too. It was a great night with an interesting mix of people, feeling more like a quirky local bar in a David Lynch film than a place located right in the heart of Hollywood. After finding front row street parking, a complete impossibility on a Friday night in Hollywood, we maneuvered through the tacky high-skirted twenty-somethings tottering awkwardly around in their high heels to be greeted by a huge African-American doorman who like the bar, had seen some things in his time.

Shannon and Me @ Boardners in Hollywood

When we entered, we left Hollywood present and ventured into its past. We settled into a booth and enjoyed conversation, hysterical laughs, eclectic people watching and drinks. A waitress from Bulgaria waited on us. I enjoyed a pomegranate cosmo.

Me @ Boardners in HollywoodShannon took me here when I first moved back to Los Angeles in 2007, and I remember that night so well. I was new to an old city, and reuniting with an old friend. Everything that was old, was new again. I wasn't dressed for a night out, in fact I'm not even sure that most of my clothes had arrived yet, but I didn't care. I was back in Los Angeles and in the company of a best friend to ease me back into living here again. It was weird to be back, walking familiar streets that had changed so much in just five years. New bars, stores, complexes, but the same air and tall palm trees. On our way out, we passed a group of about ten girls coming from another club. They were supporting their friend who was more than three sheets to the wind. She looked at us gleefully and said drunkenly, "I'm twenty-one."

Her friends giggled, especially when we brightened and wished her a happy birthday.

It was a good night and a good welcome back.

I'm going through the same thing at Disney, in my same job, but different. And like I felt about Los Angeles then, I'm so thankful to be back there. The new-oldness is starting to even out into being my present, and I'm able to plan things. I'm so much better with structure than without, even though I will never, ever be a morning person.

A friend and I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D and it was fantastic. Before that, we joined one of her friends who also works for Disney, for sushi on the West Side. Delicious sushi and I really liked the friend. Just a good, positive energy. Another good night.

Now, bed and my audio book awaits.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yeah, I know.

I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and blog. Outside, at Starbucks, a soft wind blowing, and the realization that I really needed to put lotion on my hands today. Not a purty sight. There's a drug store a few doors down and I'm going to slip in there and rub one of their samples over my dry mitts. They have several fancy lotions, candles and perfumes, and samples galore. I should have known, having taken an extra long shower this morning that I'd leave myself with hands that look like crepe paper.

The job is going really well, and my contract was just renewed for a few more months. They are very happy with my work, and I'm happy to be there. I feel like I've gotten my life back in a way, and that's a great feeling. It was one of my favorite jobs, and even though I knew it was contract, and still do, it was hard to let go. Though I'm prepared for anything, it will again be hard to let go when the time comes. Especially, when you get to go to release events like the Toy Story 3 we all went to last week. Disney knows how to throw a party, that's for sure.

As celebration of my contract getting extended, I bought this:

My new cuff from Calleen Cordero

It's a handcrafted leather cuff by Calleen Cordero. I was on a weeks long waiting list for it and got the call on Friday that three had come in. I came in and chose my turquoise stone, then wore it out of the store. It's just gorgeous in person, and every cuff is unique. Also, the shopping experience there is extremely pleasant. You can tell the people really like working there and love the product.

I found out about the cuff in a very interesting way. After a business trip to New York, I happened to be on the same airport parking lot shuttle with a woman who was wearing one and noticed it immediately. I asked her where she got it, and she shocked me when she said, "I made it." Turns out, she was Calleen Cordero herself, and after a nice conversation, she gave me her card. Months later, I visited her store on Beverly Blvd. to buy one and found it was the "it" cuff right now. Meaning, sold out. This is also because not many exist. I put myself on the waiting list and now I'm the proud owner of my own. She makes bags, belts and incredible shoes which I plan to add to my collection. And yes, they are all handcrafted.

Me in my shawl my mom and Jack bought for me in Turkey I also mentioned that my mom and Jack brought me back some "pretty things" from Turkey. I'd requested for them to bring me back some pretty things, and they went overboard. This is a picture of the shawl they bought for me in Istanbul. I just love it! It's beyond soft, and get this, the colors go perfectly with the stone on my cuff. Not planned at all, but when synchronicity happens I don't question it. They are in France now and yep, I requested some more pretty things. What can I say? I like pretty things.

Otherwise, things are peachy and rolling along.

Lastly, here is your Oliver cuteness for the day. He's doing really well and happy, and even becoming sort of a talker. He's become a lap cat... a very HEAVY lap cat at 17 pounds. It's all cat, fur, muscle and bones. He's a Maine Coon cat, and they are just that big. Atticus, meanwhile, sleeps on my head every night and it's just adorable, while Scout curls up beside me. I took this picture of Oliver when he was on my couch. It's a phone pic, but I think turned out pretty well! I mean... look at my adorable, big furry ball of love!

Oliver again looking adorable.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

This week, Dave Bakke, a reporter from the State Journal Register in Springfield, IL contacted me about my last post, where I detailed my reunion with my childhood friend Tony Donaldson. He'd stumbled onto my blog and to my pleasant surprise, found the story interesting enough to write a nice article on it. It appeared both online and in print.

Here it is!

Facebook reconnects old Springfield friends

I'm still completely amazed at the coincidence, since neither of us had been looking for the other.

My job is going great, and I've had some neat successes there that really have made me feel good. I work with a kind, interesting, smart and very creative group, so it's especially nice to know I'm positively contributing. And, doubly so that they let me know the results of my contributions.

Feeling lazy today, so am going to keep this short. It's the first really warm Saturday we've had in a while and laziness is winning the day.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

One more thing... please go to this contest site and download the song from Leda Atomica. My friend is the lead singer and their song, "Pure," freakin' ROCKS. Seriously.

When you hear it, you'll have a sudden urge go on a drive and have this on full blast. I said the same thing about their last song too, as they are just that good. Anyway, they have a chance to win some really cool gear if their song gets the most downloads. It's quick, easy and painless. And, you'll be supporting an awesome band. Right now, they are at #9, and the contest ends Monday... so, DO IT NOW! Go here to download the song... then TURN IT UP!

Love being back in my old job with the wonderful people that I work with. I'm starting to emerge more out of my hermit status when it comes to being more social, even though, as my friends have kidded me, that my blog illustrates differently with my going out a lot! But, what I mean is that it's my state of mind that's changing. And, it's nice to have a good paycheck again. Disney is fun too, because they do a lot of fun things for employees during the week. Last week it was free Baskin and Robbins ice cream and sidewalk chalk drawing. The week before that, they invited the gourmet food trucks to come in. They are a huge thing here in Los Angeles, and a few other big cities, with some trucks that are so popular people wait hours in line for the food. And, all the trucks have iPhone apps, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages detailing where they are going to be that day. I've sampled the Kogi truck, which we had at an Avid event, and it was delicious. Of course, I've had several job opportunities come my way now that I've had to turn down. Always happens that way. The most important thing is that I'm happy and positive, yet have a strong grasp that it could end at any time. Like with my job before at Avid, I take nothing for granted. But, at the same time I'm enjoying each day.

My mom and Jack took a fabulous trip to Turkey and along with seeing some incredible historical sites, brought back some gorgeous rugs. Actually, they bought them there and had them shipped. They arrived a couple days ago. My mom sent me a pic of one, and it's beautiful. I'd asked them to bring me back something pretty from Turkey, and they went overboard! They bought me a pretty necklace, ring holder in the form of a cat, an evil eye trinket made of glass, and an absolutely gorgeous shawl that they bought in Istanbul. I was floored. I expected a little trinket or something, but they really outdid themselves. Because of my family's travels, I now have shawls from Thailand, Kuwait, Mexico, and now Turkey. I love shawls, and always get complimented on the ones that my family picks out for me. My sister just got back from a great trip in Egypt, but I'd forgotten to ask her for a shawl or scarf. However, Jack went to Egypt on a different trip and brought back some wonderful jewelry and a pretty little bag/pouch made by the Bedouins. I think that's going to be my standard request now from traveling family members! I'm going to try to see how many countries I can cover in my shawl collection. Since my sister is a flight attendant, I'll hit her up for when she goes to exotic places. She and Dale have a house in Thailand, so that will be a given.

My nephew turned 13 years old, which officially puts me in the "uncool" category for him. That is, much more than I was already! On his Facebook page, he lists himself as "In a Relationship." Good God! He's in Hilton Head right now with my dad and Marie.

And, I recently reunited in person with a childhood friend of mine, Tony Donaldson, from when I was 6 years old and lived in Springfield, Illinois! I'd mentioned it on this blog before, but I'll let him tell the story of how we found each other, which he posted on his Facebook:

Tony writes:

"This is the coolest reconnection story I've heard of on Facebook. When I was around 5 years old, living in Springfield, IL, my best friend was a girl down the street, Anne Hefley. She was a tomboy, we played together all the time. She moved away when I was about 6, I was heartbroken. I never heard from her again.

In my teens, I raced BMX and started a freestyle team that toured the Midwest. I got into photography in college and started shooting BMX as a freelancer.

I moved Los Angeles to work for a BMX magazine in 1988. I still live in Los Angeles. When I got on Facebook a few years ago, I started reconnecting with a lot of BMXers that have been my friends over the years. One of those riders was Albert Ocampo. I photographed him many times for BMX Plus! while I was there. He's a Facebook friend as well. I was reading the feed one day last summer, Albert had written something (I don't even remember what), and one of the responses was from some girl named Anne Hefley. That name rang a bell. I checked her profile, and she bore only a slight resemblance to the tomboy I remembered. Read a little of her blog and bio, then thought I'd take a chance and shoot her an email.

No response, so I figured it wasn't the same person. A month later, I got a response that started, "Oh... My... God!" It was Anne. She lived a few miles away in Burbank. Took us months to actually finally meet up for lunch (typical in L.A.), but we finally did and caught up on 35 years of life! How amazing to reconnect through a completely unrelated friend. I'd call it random, but things like this really aren't."

And here we are at that meeting.

Childhood friends reunited after 30+ years!!!

I'll post our kid pictures soon, beforehand, but I haven't uploaded them to the web yet. I remember being so jealous of Tony as a kid when he got the Six Million Dollar Man with bionic eye doll for Christmas, and I didn't!!! Like the G.I. Joe with Kung Fu grip, two years earlier, she refused to buy that for her daughter! I remember being in Tony's room and holding the doll, cradling it like it was the Holy Grail, and at the same time feeling like I was holding contraband. And then finally, bringing the doll to my face to look through look Steve Austin's head and get a true bionic vision view of the world! And funnily enough, Tony had another visual treat for me when we reunited, 3D Glasses to view his awesome 3D photography! Here I am viewing them on his iPad.

Checking out Tony's awesome photography

You can check out more of his work here.

I went to a Renaissance Fair with my neighbor/friend Amy as a last minute invite on her part. It was before I was working, but I decided, "What the fuck?" The last Ren Fair that I'd been to was when I was around 13-years-old, so I figured another one was due. It was lots of fun, and let me just say for you boob men out there. If you want to see some wenches proudly displaying their ample, pushed up racks, get yourself over to the Ren Fair. Watching the teenage boys react was priceless. I shot a bow and arrow, with the coaching help of a young woman who gave great tips. I was surprised at how many times I hit the target, even scoring a couple bulls-eyes. Here's a pic of me in all my arching glory:

Me shooting an arrow at the Renaissance Fair

And, here's what your feet look like after a day spent at the dusty fair...

My dusty feet after a day at the Renassaince Fair

The white patches are where my sandals covered my feet. The dark patches are DUST.

That's it for now. I think.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I have a full glass of Malbec red wine in front of me, compliments of the wonderful restaurant Malbec, which I first went to with my Dad and Shannon. I returned there for a drink with my friend Jan, but that turned into a meal and a full bottle was soon ordered. It's the only red wine that I've taken to so far, and am happy to be introduced to it. It was great to have a girl's night out, too.

I am back at work at Disney, in my same job, yet different. I interviewed yesterday and after the interview was asked if I could start tomorrow.

I could.

It's great to be back with my old coworkers whom I worked with at the end of 2007 and half through 2008. Some things have changed, like the building where they are, and some people have moved on to other jobs. A great core is still there, and it's both weird and great to be a part of it again. There were lots of hugs today and faces that I'd missed. I could tell by the reactions of everyone that I was missed, too. My boss is a really nice guy who I also knew from last time and I can tell they've streamlined things a lot. And, my commute is about seven minutes.

It's a job and process I know, yet more has been added which mixes it up a lot. For a copywriter, that's a good thing. I'm assured a month, but if all goes well it could extend throughout 2010. The job with the advertising agency that was supposed to start on April 14th got pushed back. When that happened, I immediately started looking again. It was a good decision because it kept getting pushed back and now it's uncertain if they are filling it at all. Funny, that an old job reached out and plucked me up.

Since my job at Avid was mostly work at home, it's been over a year since I've had a real work on-site job. Many people think that sounds heavenly, but it can be isolating. I've been wanting to get back into a good office environment because I need to see faces during the day. I won't lie. Getting up was hard this morning and will be for a bit. But, my day today felt longer and more complete, and I ate at regular meal times. I'm feeling tired at just past midnight, which is when I'd just be getting another energy surge.

It will take a while for me to get used to being social again on a daily basis, so I'm just going to be patient with myself as I adjust. And, to being "there and back again."

Sunday, May 02, 2010

My Dad came to visit on Thursday and we had such a great time. He stays in the hotel just blocks from me, Hotel Amarano, which is the same one that he stayed in last time when he was here. A bonus, is that it's conveniently located across from one of the Starbucks that I frequent, so I was able to take him over there and let him meet some of the regulars and workers whom I've befriended. One of the patrons, who is from England, asked me later if my dad was a dignitary, as he said that my dad appeared very distinguished. When I picked up my dad for dinner, I relayed that to him and we both had a good laugh.

He got here Thursday night, and after a delicious cocktail at his hotel, we drove over to a pizza place and had dinner. He was three hours ahead of me being on East Coast time, so we made it an early night to prevent him from being dead tired the next day.

On Friday, we went to the Page Museum, home of the La Brae Tar Pits. I've always wanted to go to that museum since I moved to Los Angeles the first time. I'd seen the tar pits several times from outside the fence, but never knew the history of it and that it's one of the world’s most famous fossil sites. It has the largest and most diverse assemblage of extinct Ice Age animals and plants in the world. Absolutely fascinating, and methane gas and tar still bubble up in the small pond, which is actually a fissure in the earth. What's so amazing about this site, is because the animals became stuck in the tar back in the Ice Age, thousands of complete, intact and for lack of a better word, varnished fossils of animals like giant ground sloths, horses, bison, coyotes, birds, dire wolves, saber-toothed tigers and get this, the American lion were found in the pits. They just discovered another tar pit when excavating for an underground parking lot on the site, where another cache of bones was found, including an intact mammoth with 10-feet long intact tusks. They believe several more caches lie in the ground nearby, yet to be excavated. If you get to Los Angeles, definitely put that on your visit list, as it's very cool.

After that, we headed to the Renoir exhibit at LACMA, which is right next door to the tar pits. We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day, with a cloudless blue sky, warm weather and winds that picked up during the day. The exhibit was awesome, as was the people watching. That night, we headed to downtown Burbank for Thai food where we ran into my neighbors, two guys in their early twenties who my dad said jokingly, "looked like they were up to no good." They were on their way into the mall, and I have a feeling he was right.

Saturday, we went art gallery hopping in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. My dad is an avid oil painter, and wanted to get a taste of what artists were being displayed in Los Angeles. He's sold quite a few paintings and is in four galleries in Asheville, NC. He donates the profits to Trout Unlimited, where he also volunteers for many of their programs. The proceeds help send disadvantaged boys and girls to the annual NC Trout Unlimited Youth Camp. You can see his work on his website.

We had lunch at the rooftop Conservatory Grill at Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills under a turquoise sky. Behind us was a mosaic tiled pool where guests with toned bodies soaked themselves on thick cushioned lounges in the sun. We had planned to go to Hotel Bel Air for lunch, where my dad had stayed a few times before, but they are undergoing a complete renovation, and therefore it was closed. We enjoyed the drive though, as everything is blooming and green. After lunch, I bought my dad a birthday cupcake at Sprinkles, where we lucked out at a brief lull in the line. Of course, I couldn't let him eat alone, so I bought myself one as well. His birthday wasn't for two days, but when it comes to delicious cupcakes, who's counting?

Saturday night, we invited Shannon for dinner at Malbec, an outstanding Argentinean restaurant in Toluca Lake. As always, it's fun to see your dad through your friend's eyes, and your friend through your dad's. They get along great, and my dad really likes Shannon, saying he has the unusual attributes of being a great conversationalist as well as a great listener. Both have great senses of humor and my dad is one of those guys who has some awesome stories. After that, Shannon managed to talk my dad into a Guinness at Nolan's, which we'd done the last time he was here after dinner.

After I dropped him off at his hotel, I went back to Nolan's to hang with Shannon where I was hit by a sudden, surprise sadness. I think it was post-dad-visit letdown, and it did hit me harder and sooner than I was expecting. It sort of lasted into today so I countered it with a drive over Coldwater Canyon after a visit to the coffee shop. I happened to find myself behind a red Ferrari California, and heard the high-pitched engine of the $200,000 car the entire way. Getting out worked for a little while, but the sadness reared again when I was home. I think that being unemployed had a hand in the severity of the gut punch. When I'm not working, I tend to feel things out of proportion to normal, as there aren't the normal distractions and demands on your emotional and intellectual bandwidth that level out the waves when they come.

Hopefully, something will come along soon, and everything else aside, will offer smoother emotional sailing. For now, I'm sipping a delicious glass of wine, from the bottle we had at Malbec. An Argentinian red wine that provides a comforting, sensory bridge to a good time had.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The weather has been cold and dreary, and rain pattered on and off today with looming grey clouds and small, but effective gusts. Total sweater weather, and for a person like me who has no tolerance for the cold, it was sweater, cardigan and shawl weather. Shannon and I decided to combat the wet Wednesday with a night out at Echoplex to listen to some reggae, compliments of the legendary Michael Rose.

Michael Rose @ EchoPlex 4/21/10

The place was packed, and as usual, the Echoplex sound system didn't disappoint. The music was soulful, soothing and melodic, with that unmistakable reggae beat, some songs underscored by political messages, others just about angst, happiness or just being. The crowd was mellow and friendly and I'm not going to even give my theory on why. ;) I'll just say that on the way into the club, we passed a couple cars whose occupants were hotboxing it. Anyway, we swayed and danced among them, keeping the rhythm and again, just letting it in.

It was great, fun and a perfect antidote to the weather. As far as anyone knew, the tropics waited outside and a clear blue ocean was steps away through fine white sand. When we stepped outside, there were palm trees but I swear they were shivering.

Here are some fun shots from the night. You can view larger versions by clicking on them or going to my Flickr page.

Besties Anne @ EchoPlex 4/21/10

Lovin' that Reggae, Mon! Shannon @ EchoPlex 4/21/10

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update on my last post. You can hold off on your good first day on the job mojo for now. Just got an email from the company who said they are pushing it back a bit, so I won't be starting Wednesday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Last Friday, I got a call from the place to which I applied and they're going to try me out for a couple weeks with a freelance position. After my interview, we had talked about that as a possibility and frankly I like that a lot better than just diving in anywhere. It's a smart decision on their part as well, not to jump into hiring someone based on a a few phone calls, a meeting, portfolio and resume. Give it a try, first. So much of success in any job is based on if you gel with your coworkers and fellow collaborators. I'll make my good freelance rate, and even better is the place is so close to where I live that I can walk to work. They are a revered, respected company and it's a great opportunity for me to get back into the game. I'd sent my resume into them responding to a job interview, but it was the networking that got things rolling. Through Linkedin, I found an old friend who had contacts there at the New York office and he graciously sent me a recommendation to his contact, who sent a nice note about me to the Los Angeles office. My fingers are crossed that everything works out. The people I met there were great and the HR person is a huge fan of yep, you guessed it, "The Wire." Love it.

It's always nerve wracking venturing into a new job, regardless of your experience. There are new faces, procedures, challenges and routines to adopt. There are sounds, smells, sights and sensory feelings that are unique to any office. And, the logistics--finding the restroom, the printer, getting your email set up, learning where creative assets are on servers, remembering the names of people in the office and those you may meet only by phone and email. All are things that you must settle into until they become your normal. There is also finding your place in there and making it work for you in a collaborative way with others so that it's somewhere you look forward to going to during the week. I've had many jobs where I was lucky enough to have a fantastic working environment with awesome people. I've stayed friends with many of the people I've met for over 15 years and have friends and a fantastic support network in several cities. I know I'm extremely lucky in that regard, especially for someone like me who has more than a few loner strains in her DNA.

My dad is coming out to visit at the end of the month, and I'm excited about that. We had a really great time driving cross country and the last time that he came out here. It was fun seeing my dad with Los Angeles in the background. All from meeting my quirky neighbors and meeting Shannon for the first time, seeing my apartment and reuniting with the cats that he let crawl all over him for thousands of miles. Plus, meeting the new addition, Oliver, who sat on the floor and just looked at my dad with that inquisitive Maine Coon smile on his face. Oliver is dubious about any males that I have in my house, but my dad has a very mellow demeanor and I think he knew he wasn't in any danger. Scout and Atticus are wary as well, but of course not with my dad. I've noticed that since they've been primarily indoor cats, they've gotten more skittish around strangers entering the house. The Orlando Bloom-alike who lives in the building terrifies all of them. I've told him not to take it personally, but he does, which I find hilarious. The funniest was when my mom was here and Oliver, who had wandered outdoors, tore past him to get back inside and scared the shit out of him. We almost had to peel him off the ceiling. Though of course, he'd deny that. ;)

In other bits, I've been keeping entertained by going out and taking advantage of LA's great music scene. And, I went out with Shannon, Beth and Niall to see a band in Marina Del Rey. Niall was friends with a couple of the members, and they really did have a good sound. The bar was right on the ocean on Washington, with rollerbladers, bicyclists, joggers and walkers passing by on The Strand in the darkness. I scored princess parking, when a free place opened up just as we pulled up to the bar. Let me explain to those who don't live in Los Angeles. To have that happen on a Friday night in Marina Del Rey near the beach, you have a better chance of winning the lottery. The band was good, cosmos excellent, and a good time was had.

If you can, send me some good "first day at work" mojo on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My heart and prayers go to the people of Poland, the families of the President, their cabinet and the relatives of those who were massacred in the forests of Katyn, all who perished in today's horrible plane crash. So tragic that they were on their way to a memorial service for the victims of the Katyn massacre.

The world stands with you today.

Monday, April 05, 2010

No, I didn't feel it.

I was in the shower, but it was barely felt here. I think more people felt the quake nearer the westside and downtown Los Angeles. And no, this wasn't The Big One. Wasn't even on the San Andreas fault line. But, this was a big freakin' quake for those who were close to it. Those of you who were, I hope you're okay and didn't sustain to much damage.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

For those of you in the New Orleans area, there's still time to get a ticket to tonight's benefit and auction to My Darlin' New Orleans benefit, party and auction. This is David Simon's new HBO series. I went to these benefits for "The Wire," and they are a great time with fabulous auction items up for grabs, a chance to meet cast, creators and crew and good drinks, music and food.

"HBO and its new series Treme, currently filming in New Orleans and premiering in April, are hosting a celebrity auction and cocktail gala to benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic (NOMC), bringing attention to their important efforts to provide health and social services for local musicians and tradition bearers through this star-studded event."

Do not order through the website. For last minute ticket sales, call (504) 415-3514

“My Darlin’ New Orleans” Celebrity Auction will take place at 7p.m., Saturday, March 27 2010 at the Generations Hall.

310 Andrew Higgins Drive
(In the Warehouse District)
New Orleans, LA

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A windy Tuesday as I sit here at Starbucks. I stayed up late last night writing a cover letter and submitting myself for another job. It sounds really interesting, so let's hope I get a bite. Every place that I apply to has the same process. I have to submit a resume through their online application, which is tedious and sometimes imperfect. Many of them don't have clear instructions on how to attach a cover letter, and most, even though you've uploaded your resume, require you to tediously fill out your job history anyway. When you're a copywriter like I am which consists of several freelance gigs in between full-time gigs, that can really suck because I have to go back and make sure the correct jobs are showing up in the auto fill, which they never are. However, it's all means to hopefully landing a great job, and this part will just be looked back upon as well, the thing that got me there.

On other fronts, I've been thinking a lot about blogging, and what my blog is now versus what it was a few years ago. Of course, I and my situation have changed, but that's not what I'm talking about. In this day and age, where everyone Googles everyone, I feel that the anonymity of being able to express myself freely is somewhat gone. One, because this blog is well known and if one Googles me, it comes up right on top. God knows why people want to read about me, but you guys keep coming back. However, that has no bearing on what I'm talking about. In fact, I feel like I've been cheating you lately.

Now, the chances are greater that an employer or anyone really, will Google me, take a look at my blog and decide that the most recent entry is what represents me as a whole. Because of this, I don't feel the freedom anymore to express unchecked anger, sadness, a depression spell, a crazy night, general observations or perhaps what I'm going through on any given day that might be misconstrued by an employer.

Then, there are the people that you meet who instantly Google you when they get home. And yeah, I can tell. Especially when the creepy neighbor in Baltimore did it after coming on way too strong to me during a chance meeting in the neighborhood. Got home, there it was. Didn't help that his house looked into my bedroom.

Google is a wonderful tool which I use for job searching myself. Being an awesome researcher, if I do say so myself, I can usually find a name at a company to which I've applied, or can research a company to get to know its culture. And yes, I do use it to find a little information about the recruiter if I've tracked down their name. If they have a blog or Facebook page, it humanizes them and lets me know a little about whom I'm dealing with. But, one thing that I don't do is sum them up by their blogs or Flickr pages. And, at risk of sounding like an old fart, in this day and age of online social networking, that's exactly what people do.

I know when I started blogging that I was putting myself "out there" at the mercy of others. I first started with Letters to Rob to deal with a cousin's suicide. Though I can't tell you how many people that blog helped, and from what the people who emailed me say, saved some lives of those who were contemplating suicide. But, I took it down because it was a very honest and raw depiction of what I was going through in dealing with it and some of my own demons I was warring with. And, to a recruiter or person you just meet, you can no longer trust them to take it as what it is, an expression of what you were going through at the time, not the whole package.

To a writer like me, I need to express. I express well and honestly. And, I've been feeling like I can't do that, which leaves me stifled. These days, I don't blog about work unless it's general or just a funny story that doesn't put the company or anyone in a negative light. And, some of my bookstore posts are my best, especially when I was pissed off. However, now I'm very sensitive about mentioning anyone because it can be read, misconstrued and passed around in seconds. I'm even finding myself being careful with how I word this post, and to me that's not blogging.

There are some things I'd like to put out there and do it in the only way I know how. Honest, raw, sometimes crass and vulgar, and unbridled. I've played around with the idea of starting another blog, yet not attaching my name to it. This way, it won't be something that will be identified with a random Google search of my name, and if I'm having an off day and get a little real, won't cost me a job.

Friday, March 19, 2010

This is the only picture even remotely resembling a boob shot that will ever appear on this blog. But first, a disclaimer. This is not an accurate representation of my boobage. I'm wearing a Victoria's Secret push-up bra with strategically placed silicone fillers. And yeah, those came with the bra. I'm also squeezing them together a little bit to enhance any imaginary cleavage. What I'm trying to say, is I'll never be featured in Jugs Magazine. But, for what it's worth, I present you the first and only annecentral boob shot. Really, I just wanted a good picture of my four leaf clover. The below is what happens when you have a dude take the shot.

My Lucky Treasure Chest

As you guessed, that was on St. Patrick's Day, which we celebrated at Timmy Nolan's Irish Pub. My clover was a "temp tattoo" sticker that I bought on a whim earlier in the day. I have no decent green clothing, so I thought that was a great solution. That shot was taken at Bob's Big Boy just after the fun that consisted of moments like this.

St. Patrick's Day 2010

The man on the right is a British friend of Shannon's who he ran into there. A fun, positive guy. The beauty on the left (my right) is Emerson, who works there and whom we've befriended over the years. We took one last St. Patrick's Day and had to keep the tradition going.

Bag Pipe Band plays on St. Patrick's DayThe place was packed on both floors, and even more so when a bagpipe band, dressed in kilts and full regalia stormed the joint and started playing, much to the crowd's delight. It really was a wonderful moment, and they played a few songs to lifted drinks and applause. In the setting, the celebration and show of Irish culture, it really gave one chills to be a part of it. I managed to snap a few shots of them, which wasn't an easy feat since there was no room to move, but that hot, sweaty close quarters is also what made it a great experience. I can't believe they got in there with that gigantic drum you see on the left. There were three or four pipe players, a bass drum and swinging tenor drum.

A funny part of the night was when a woman saw the guy she was dating at the bar with another girl. Whoops! Boy did she explode, right in front of us, calling the guy all sorts of names as his date hid behind him. She wasn't mad at the girl, because thankfully, she was one of the few girls who realized it's the two-timer's fault, not the person they are two-timing with. That is, unless the "other" girl knows he's cheating. Then, by all means blame her too. In this case, they both didn't know the other existed and sympathized with each other. Even funnier, was some random guy was passing by and heard her screaming, then turned around and apologized to her because he thought he'd brought on her tirade. The two-timer had little to say, just took his medicine and shrunk back into the crowd of happy drunks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I woke up last night just before we had an earthquake. Whenever they happen at night, I always do that. Perhaps I'm just sensitive to the buildup or something. When my bed started to rumble and rock, at first I thought it was the cats running around on it. I tilted my head up and saw them looking back at me, wide-eyed and still. After it stopped, a few seconds later the news broke in that we'd just had an earthquake. I fall asleep with my radio on, listening to Coast to Coast radio show on KFI640. The station is just blocks from me so they felt what I did. It was a 4.4 that hit at 4:04AM. How do you like those numbers? And, it hit on the 16th. Four times four is 16. I love that.

As usual, just in case what we'd had was a pre-quake to "The Big One," I got up, put on a T-shirt and some undies because I was not going to be dragged out of rubble naked, on national TV. And yeah, that's what I think of after every quake. If I'm naked as a jaybird, on go the clothes. Funny, because this morning I heard one of the DJs on a radio show say that he does the same thing. His words, "I check to make sure I'm not starkers in case it's a pre-quake."

Nice to know that I'm not alone in my race to the dresser.