Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In which I put a Hole in my Face

Last Thursday evening at about 6:30, I called J from San Francisco and asked him to guess what I'd just done.  "Do I have to?" he says.  "Yes, you have to," I say.

So he says, "I don't know.  Got arrested."  "Nope," respond I, "what have I been wanting to do for ages and ages, but haven't because I'm lame and afraid of pain?"

"You seriously got your nose pierced?"

I did.  And I now have a sparkly blue gem in my nose, and I LOVE IT.  Seriously, I love it.  I can't stop looking at it.

And I had the best nose piercing experience ever.  I'm positive of it.

Right at the end of the day, I mentioned to somebody in my office that I really wanted to get my nose pierced.  She told me I should totally do it, because I have the nose for it.  "I do, don't I?" I say.  We walk over to Josh, who has lots of piercings, and I ask him where I could go to get my nose pierced.  The person who does his piercings is in the city, he says, and I'm feeling kind of lazy and don't really fancy a drive up the 101 in rush hour traffic.  I'd already done that for the Bach Festival two nights in a row.

So Josh tells me what to look for in a piercest (is that the word?) and I go on to yelp, and find a place really close to my hotel.  They have lots of good reviews, so I call them up.  "I want to get my nose pierced, but I'm really chicken, and sixteen years ago I got my eyebrows waxed and fainted and woke up in an ambulance, so I'm totally scared," I say.  The girl is super-sweet and tells me to come in and check it out, and she'll explain the process to me, and then I can decide.

Along the way, I listen to the punk rock station, which is playing Avenged Sevenfold, and is totally pumping me up.  I'm gonna do this thing, I think.  I really am.  I'm gonna get my nose pierced.  I'm sick of walking around thinking how I really want to get a nose piercing, and not doing it.  My lameness is literally driving me crazy.  Either do it, or stop saying you want to do it, say I.  Either way, make up your mind.

I park the car, walk in, and a big tattoo'd guy asks me if I'm lost, cuz I look like I could be.  "I want to get my nose pierced," I say.  "But I'm chicken."  He responds by telling me that he's chicken too, and rings a buzzer, and within two minutes, a sweet twentysomething girl comes bouncing up the steps.  "Oh, I talked to you before!  It'll be fine.  We'll take good care of you."

I go downstairs where the girls' cousin is hanging out as well, and they tell me that they'll let me lay down so I don't faint, they get me water, and she explains the piercing process to me.  First off, they put a little doohicky (technical term) behind your nose so that the needle doesn't go through into more skin if it slips.  Then they insert a hollow needle.  Then they put the jewelry through that, and bend it up against the inside of your nostril.  All told, the process will take less than 2 minutes, I'm told.  Probably less than a minute.  I agree, pick out my jewelry, and lay my head down.

The doohicky is placed inside my nostril.

Then the needles come out.  She places them all right by my head so she won't even have to reach for them, thus shaving off an additional ten seconds.  She tells me to take a deep breath, which I do.  I ask if there's some drugs she can give me, and there aren't, of course, but the reason she gave me as to why I wouldn't want to be on drugs was really great.  "You're participating in an ancient ritual," she says.  "People have been doing this for thousands of years.  You want to be present.  It's special."

She's right, of course, and I'm glad to have it pointed out to me.  So I take the breath, and as she inserts the needle she tells me to let it out.  My eyes watered a bit, but seriously, it wasn't really any worse than getting blood drawn.  I sat up, drank some water, she cleaned it a lot, told me what to do to take care of it, gives me her cell number in case I have problems.  I sit for another five minutes or so, until I realize that I'm not going to pass out, go upstairs and hand them $50, and ten minutes later I was at Trader Joe's buying an Odwalla juice.

Now it's almost a week later, and I can't even feel it.  Every once in a while I brush against it, or accidentally go over it when I'm washing my face, and I feel icky for a second, but that's it.  I'm so glad I finally did it, and I know that I was waiting to find the perfect place and the perfect person to do it, and I had the perfect experience.

And now, without further ado, here are the pictures. So awesome.  I'm in love with my nose piercing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Music Wayback Machine: 1999

I've been playing around on Spotify, using the Billboard charts to make playlists of different years.  Here's one from one of my favorite years, 1999, when I was 23:

Let me tell you about the coolness of my life at 23.

First off, in the spring of that year, I broke up with my longtime boyfriend Mark.  We wound up breaking up several times before it finally took.  He was a good guy, I'm sure he still is.  It's just that, you know, I was 23 and I'd known him since I was 19, and life is too short to not spend your 20's doing crazy stuff that will make your grandkids cringe someday.

So that summer I moved to LA and lived in Koreatown, at 426 S. New Hampshire Ave, in this cool art-deco building from the 20's.  It's where I spent the year before moving to London when I was 24, and that year will always be one of my favorites.  My apartment had a fold-in-the-wall murphy bed, big windows with bars on (I'd hang plants from them), and a tiny kitchen with a tall ceiling.  I was too broke to have a mattress when I first moved there, but after I found a job at a headhunting firm in LA, I saved up, and around October I had enough for a mattress.

On the day it was delivered, I woke up early and rode the bus (oh yeah, I didn't have a car) to the kmart on third (where The Grove is now) and bought a full bed set with a comforter, that I still sleep with to this day.  I waited in the lobby for the mattress because my building was so ghetto that none of the buzzers worked.  And once it was delivered, I walked to the Chinese place on the corner and got dinner, made up the bed, and spent the evening watching football and eating dinner in bed.  Life was blissful.

(Here's a funny story - in the summer of 2005, before I met J, I went on a blind date with a guy who lived in that same building.  It was too random for words.  There are thousands of apartment buildings in LA and I wind up on a blind date with a guy who lives in the one I lived in five years before?  Too strange.  It kind of creeped me out, but I still went upstairs to his apartment anyway because I just had to get inside the building and see whether they'd changed the carpet.  Plus he had a cute cat and I'm a sucker for cute cats.)

So anyway, there I am in my little studio apartment (which I really adored.  I've never had an apartment I loved as much as that place) with the fold in the wall bed, and a mini-refrigerator because the big one that came with the place didn't work, and the building management never fixed it.  Since I didn't have a car, I walked around with a fold-up grandma cart and took the bus to Trader Joe's, and I learned how to cook chicken.

There was an earthquake that fall that was strong enough to wake me up in the middle of the night.  I was dreaming that a monster was shaking the bars on my windows, and I was pissed off at him for that.  Then I woke up and realized it was an earthquake and ran to the doorway, but by then it was over.  I woke my parents in Pennsylvania up in the middle of the night, though, to tell them I was ok in case it was on the news or something.  They weren't impressed.

Blink 182 got popular with What's My Age Again, which coincidentally had lyrics in it about being 23, which I took as some kind of sign.  Of what, I'm not sure.

I went on a couple of Very Bad Dates.  With one guy, we had a good first date, and then he wanted me to come out and see him the next night, but it was late, and I was going to have to take, like, four buses to get to the Valley, and I was lazy and didn't care that much, so I wound up not going and falling asleep without calling him instead.  He freaked out and called the police, reporting me missing, and they came banging on my door at 4am.  Listen, I'm sorry I stood you up, whatever your name was, and I guess it was sweet of you to not want me to be dead somewhere, but had the thought not occurred to you that I was standing you up?  Really?

Speaking of dating, I was so bad at it, that when a guy didn't call me back after I'd left him like, five messages, I assumed that he must have lost my number and I called him at work to give it to him.  Seriously.  Such a bad move.  I'm glad that somewhere along the line I finally learned how to play it cool and not wear my heart on my sleeve.  So that six years later, when J and I were on our third or fourth date, he was talking to somebody else and referred to me as his girlfriend, and I completely ignored it.  And then a couple of hours later, at the end of the date, I quickly said, "I'm glad you called me your girlfriend," and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then walked out the door.  It was the smoothest move I've ever pulled off, and he said that it was one of the things that officially hooked him.

And now, just an hour ago, he burped in my ear.  I asked him why he did something so gross, and he said, "so your brain could smell my dinner."

We sure know how to be classy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Magic notebooks and Early Music

In the summer of 2002, I was set up with a guy who slept with a ferret in his bed.  I didn't know that before I met him, but as soon as I found out, it was the only thing I could think about, and kind of grossed me out.  I feel like a hypocrite because I sleep with cats in my bed, and both species lick their butts, but cats have the advantage of being cute, and not being ferrets.

Anyway, two things about my long introductory date (he lived in Ohio and I drove out over Labor Day weekend) have stayed with me.

First, he was (and still is, I might add) the only guy who ever surprised me with a carpet of rose petals.  Now that I'm 35 and jaded, it makes me think it was a nice trick he uses on all the new girls he meets, but at the time it was the most romantic thing I'd ever seen, and made me feel like I was in a soap opera.

Second, he introduced me to, a probably-offensive, not politically correct (but utterly hilarious) website that makes fun of the English translations on Asian products.  For example, this Christmas card:

Have you "done" a nice boy & girl?  Really?  

Oh, you can have hours of fun looking at  

So this week I'm up in San Mateo at my office, and I was going into the city tonight because the San Francisco Bach Festival is going on, and I can't pass up an opportunity to hear some Telemann played on original instruments.  I'm a geek like that.

I decide to utilize my yelp app and find a stationary store nearby, because it's been a long time since I've gone on a pen-binge, and I'm due for one; and anyway, I had an hour to kill before the concert, and what better way is there to kill an hour than to look at pens?

So I am led to a Japanese shopping mall that has both the Japanese equivalent of a Barnes and Noble (two stories, lots of browsing) and a massive stationary store.  My Japanese twin nearly exploded with glee.

I got a crapload of pens I don't need:

but the things I want to share particularly, are the engrish notebooks.

This one reads: Choose!  Not be a consumer, but be a smart consumer.  If current consumption would expand and a variety of floras & faunas would be extinct, human beings would be next!  

Holy shit, that puts the fear of God in me.  What am I supposed to do if, say, I'm a kid taking notes in class, and suddenly the realization hits me that the entire human race could be destroyed because my friends didn't buy the right notebook and the floras and faunas were all going to be extinct.  That's a panic attack just waiting to happen right there, that is.

This little beauty says, Comedian? Please have a wonderful time with this notebook.  The story of pleasant animals.

So hang on, what if I'm not a comedian?  Can I still have a wonderful time with the notebook, or do I need to have a crappy time with it?  And what if I don't write the story of pleasant animals in it?  What if I don't even like animals, much less think they're pleasant?  What then?  Do I need to get another notebook?  Will this one explode?  

But seriously, anything can be funny if you take two mice, draw some bow-ties on them, stick a microphone in front, and make it look like they're doing stand up at The Comedy Store.  You could have written anything up there on top, and I wouldn't care because I'm so enchanted by the Jerry Seinfeld mice.

Keeping up the trend of using cute animals, we have this furry little thing, with a caption that reads, A pleasant memory and beautiful scenery.  There are a lot of unforgettable things in everyday life.  and at the bottom we have, I write an important thing, and do not let's finish.  A way of writing seems to be for freedom and oneself.

WTF?  Is that supposed to even mean anything?  The unforgettable things in everyday life, I get.  That's fine.  Cute kitten, unforgettable every day life...I'm with all of that.  But what the hell is that last part?  I write an important thing and do not let's finish?  In a metaphysical way, it sort of reminds me of an 8am Philosophy 101 class I took as a freshman in college.  While the professor talked about Socrates and riddles, I tried to memorize all the Presidents.  It gets so murky after the Civil War.  Does anybody know who James K Polk even was?  Who gets elected with a name like that?  I think he's a Made Up President, just to give kids more names to remember.

Finally, this one is my favorite.  Note Book personal.  Most advanced quality gives best writing features and gives satisfaction to you.  Ok, first, what are these advanced writing features?  It looks like a normal narrow-ruled notebook to me.  Does it make my coffee for me?  Does more paper appear when you run out?  How can paper have advanced writing features?  And I'm wondering whether maybe somebody ought to send one to Mick Jagger, too?!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Happy Harry Potter Day everyone!  

Last night saw me chugging coffee at 11pm, and only half-wondering whether the nearly-full moon was significant for Harry and his search for Horcruxes.  

We joined the throngs of Gryffindor geeks at the Edwards Cinema at the Ontario Mills mall, arriving in what we assumed would be more than enough time (11:30 for a 12:10 show).  Man, did we underestimate the dedication and punctuality of Harry Potter fans.  Clearly a bit of Hermione had rubbed off on them.  The place was packed, and we had to park miles away (well, not really, but it seemed like it).  When we proudly presented our ticket to the ticket-taker, he told us that our auditorium had already been seated.  So it was the front row for us.  But that was ok, because we didn't have to hear many people talking, and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

My favorite part of the night was seeing how excited everyone was.  At 12:05, the chanting started.  "haRRY.  haRRY."  When the movie started, the auditorium erupted in cheers.  And given that this was Part 2, and the action started nearly right away, the cheering only continued.  Harry gets the next Horcrux:  Massive Cheers.  Harry goes to Hogwarts: Massive Cheers.  The loudest cheering of the night, though, was reserved for the unlikely hero, Neville Longbottom.  Honestly, it was almost as if the audience didn't know exactly what was going to happen at every moment, and was actually caught off guard a time or two.  One movie-addition was the Hermione/Ron kiss in the Chamber of Secrets where they've gone off to retrieve a basilisk fang.  The screenwriter did well to add that.  

The battle scenes were epic.  When the professors all went outside to start putting up protective enchantments around the school, I got goosebumps.  When Voldemort's first attacks were repelled by the spells, we all forgot the story for a moment, and hoped against hope that the enchantments would hold him back, and somehow the school would remain unscathed.  And Alan Rickman's Severus Snape was amazing.  The whole thing was a feast for the senses, and I left supremely satisfied, which was a change after Part 1, which was just a disappointment.  I'm so glad to see the series go out on a high note.

It does make me sad that I won't ever go to a midnight Harry Potter opening again.  No more rushing home from the bookstore at 2am with my new copy in hand, ready to stay up all night reading.  No more waiting to see how the movie will translate the story.  

For now, though, I'm looking forward to Pottermore, JK Rowling's new site, launching this fall, which supposedly will include new Harry Potter fiction.  I remain hopeful that there are still some stories at Hogwarts still waiting to be told, and there might still be some 3am reading sessions yet to come.

Harry Mania

Dementors around Hogwarts

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

is this worth being fat for?

In case you're wondering about how my weight-loss experiment is going, I'm down 24 pounds from when I started on March 8, and 30 pounds from where I was when I was pregnant in February.  I hit a little plateau in June - I think it happens from time to time.  The month of June was basically a non-starter for me.  I didn't lose a pound.  I guess it was to be expected with all my travel and not keeping a regular schedule.  One thing that I've found is really necessary for me to lose weight is having a regular routine.  I'm a creature of habit, and I wind up eating a lot of chocolate when my habits get messed up.

So anyway, the past week or so, I've been implementing a new strategy.  Every time I want to eat something, I ask myself, "is this worth being fat for?"  Generally the answer is a resounding "no."  

There are some foods that it might be worth being fat for.  Sbarro pizza is one of those foods.  Man, I love that stuff.  I haven't had it in years, but I crave it regularly.

But on the whole, there really aren't many foods that it would be worth being fat for.  

Another fun question that takes it up a notch is, "is this worth dying an early death of diabetes for?"  

I don't know that even Sbarro pizza could justify an early death.

I'm currently having two problems that need to be filed in the "problems you shouldn't complain about having," folder.  

First, my clothes don't fit.  I really don't want to go out and buy more, at least until I drop another 10 pounds or so, but it might be a necessity because I'm getting sick of wearing the same two pairs of jeans and sundress.  What I might do is wait until late August, and get myself a whole new wardrobe then, and pretend that I'm a kid and it's Back to School time.  That'd be fun.  I could get new notebooks, too, because Lord knows there's a shortage of paper in my house (i'm being facetious.  I currently own over 60 blank notebooks, because blank notebooks call to me like cocaine calls to a hedge fund manager).

The second is that I now have wrinkles.  Around my mouth and my eyes.  They just appeared, out of nowhere.  Talk about annoying.  I guess I'll take it though.  I'm sick of looking like a baby-faced-cherub anyway.  

I guess that's it for now.  Tomorrow is Harry Potter Day, and I'm trying to reread all the books and rewatch all the movies before seeing the final movie.  It's a bit melancholy - no new Harry Potter books, or movies, ever again.  So I'm making the most of this final Harry Potter Day.  J thinks I'm a nerd, but the Gryffindor colors are still going to decorate the house.  I don't care.  If he gets too annoying, I've been practicing my Stupify spell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Day in Numbers

J has been away this weekend doing some sort of bachelor-party-manly-camping-rafting trip, and I'm home with the cats having Girl Time.  So here's what Girl Time looks like, in Numbers.

8: The number of episodes in The Kennedy's miniseries.  Also, coincidentally, the number of episodes that I watched last night, while laying on the couch not cooking dinner and not caring about the house getting messy.

2:  The number of dreams I had last night about living in the White House and dating RFK.

3:  Miles around our lake, which I walked around this morning.  I've been trying to do that 5 times a week.

2:  The number of Diet Cokes I drank today.  I'm supposed to be off soda, but I figure that J is having a weekend filled with debauchery, so I can drink some nasty aspartame-laced-infertility-causing diet coke.

3:  The number of Harry Potter movies I watched today in preparation for the big midnight IMAX showing on Thursday night.

2:  The number of walls in my home office that are now painted a lovely shade of bright green called Summerland.  That number should be all 4 after tomorrow.  It's nice and zen, and as an added bonus, it will be a cheerful gender-neutral color when this room gets changed into a nursery - when we finally manage to have a baby.  (sad, but kind of funny - though not ha-ha funny - story: the other night I was talking to J about names for the next baby when I'm pregnant with it.  Baby T and Mustard Seed are already taken, and I asked him if he had anything he wanted to call it.  He said he wanted to call it, "i hope it lives."  Cue tiny violins now).

27:  The square inches of my arms and legs that are covered in green paint.  I'm kind of clumsy and like to back into walls covered with wet paint a lot.

35:  The number of books that I decided are going to Goodwill and/or the Yard Sale Pile, and have been relocated from my home office to the living room floor.

3: The number of Tylenol I took for my back, which kind of hurts after the painting.

8:  The number of mayorships I have on 4square now that some punk took away my mayorship of the 7-11 this morning.  Dammit, I'm going to go on a slurpee diet to get that mayorship back.

1:  The number of sticks I peed on this morning because I've been feeling really nauseated and thought I might be pregnant.  It was negative, but this is ok because I'm still not ready.  The game is on again in September.  But right now, it's still the Summer of Heather.

2: the number of pounds I've lost this week, after having hit a somewhat discouraging plateau the past few weeks.  

87: the number of emails in my work inbox this morning.

5:  the number of emails in my work inbox tonight.  I'll knock those suckers out tomorrow for sure and start the week on an empty inbox.

Ok kids, I'm off to sleep for 8 hours now and cuddle with 3 or 4 cats.  Here's a funny cat story - whenever J's away, I sleep on his side of the bed.  And the cats love to cuddle with him, so they all come under the blankets and start to get all comfy, and then realize it's me, and get really confused.  It's my way of tricking them into giving me more love.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who needs camping when you've got Google Plus?

My husband and I are such web geeks.  I first caught wind of the whole Google Plus thing a few weeks ago and have been yammering for an invite all over facebook.  Finally a friend of hubby's offered them up, and he was all nonchalant like it was no big deal.  Once I explained it to him, he became increasingly excited.  So we spent the weekend checking our gmail to see whether our invitations had arrived yet.  We need to get out more.

He randomly checked his email while we were eating dinner tonight, and bam! the invitations had arrived.  Sweet!  So we promptly turned off the tv, turned away from our food, grabbed our laptops, and got to profile-making.  So if any of you are on google plus, please add me.  We'll spark each other.  It beats the old facebook "poke," no?

And below is a picture of our camping spot over the weekend.  Some things I had forgotten about camping (since it's been 20 years since I've gone):

1.  bugs.  I don't like them.
2.  tents are hot.
3.  People are loud over the holiday weekend.

So, that being said, we're going to go camping again when it's cooler and less crowded.  Still, King's Canyon is beautiful - John Muir said it was the second most beautiful place in the world after Yosemite, and while I'm not sure I would say it's more beautiful than the train ride from London to Cambridge, for example, it's still pretty gorgeous.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back to Nature

Hey Kids!  I'm getting ready for a big old-fashioned Camping Trip.  I'm going to be like the girls in The Parent Trap and make nice with the bears, and be Nature Girl for the weekend.

Here's the backstory:

For our wedding, J and I weren't really sure what all to put on our registry.  We already lived together (don't tell my parents), and we didn't need a lot of stuff.  So we put fun things on like Guitar Hero, for example (we actually spent almost our entire wedding night playing guitar hero, eating Thai food, and taking naps, which was super-fun) and Camping Gear.  So for the past almost-five years we have been the proud owners of a huge 8 person tent, a camping stove (with two burners!), a propane lantern, some nifty pots and pans, a queen sized air mattress, and sleeping bags.  

We haven't gone anywhere with all this stuff yet, though.  We did set up the tent twice - once in our old apartment, and once two years ago on our deck.  But the stove and lantern remained unopened, and waiting patiently for the time when we would take them out and use them.

Since this summer we're all about getting out into our gorgeous state, we decided that this weekend would be a camping weekend.  So this afternoon I'm stopping for good camping food, and then tomorrow we're going to head out to sleep under the stars.  If we like it, next week we'll reserve more spots at other campgrounds around CA for the rest of the summer.  If we hate it, we'll stick the gear on Craigslist.

I'll post pictures, but in the meantime, happy long weekend everyone.  Stay bug-free.