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.