Happy 50th, Sandy!

My sister turned 50 yesterday. Man, that does not mean what it used to. When I was growing up, 50 seemed far away. It was barely a number I registered except to know it was old. But that’s so not how it is. My sister is a vibrant, fun, and amazing person. She loves her family and is proud of them.

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a week with her the last week of May, and although we were busy, we still had time to just hang. I swear, I wish we had been as close as we are now for much longer. I mean, I think we’ve almost always had a good relationship. But being 5 years apart when you’re in junior high/high school is different than when you’re grown-ass women. When I was in high school, she was done with college, living in another state and doing her thing. Really, it’s kind of amazing that we’ve been able to cultivate this relationship that I treasure over the distance.

But it’s happened, through letter-writing, phone calls, and visits. Through mini-vacations and baseball. Through the love of our parents.

I love you, Sandy Sue!

Feminism in LA

April 2016 started off pretty cool. I had scored free tickets to a reading happening in LA called Feminist as F*ck, being put on by the actress & poet (and my FB friend), Amber Tamblyn. Also on the bill were Amy Poehler (yes!), Roxanne Gay, Eileen Myles, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Rhonda Jarrar. I had invited my mom to go.

We got up there with plenty of time to spare, so we got to go to a place I’d wanted to visit: The Last Bookstore. It was awesome. They were having a reading as well (the AWP conference was happening so there were events all over the place). Mom & I explored the upstairs area and just the way it’s designed is cool. I could have spent all day in there.

LastBookstore

On our way out, I ran into my friend, Murray Thomas, my former editor at …Next! magazine from the early days of the SD/OC/LA poetry scene (mid-90s). Fun! Mom & I headed back toward the theater and had a bite to eat at a place on the corner. It was yummy. While sitting outside, I saw another friend, Mindy Nettifee. We’d been teammates on the ’99 Laguna Beach Slam team. She lives in Portland now, but she’s very close with Amber so had come to the show (I’m guessing she was in LA anyway for the conference).

There was a huge line for the show, but Mom managed to get us reserved seats because she complained that she had emailed about getting handicapped seating but never heard back. They printed up signs and placed them on the chairs for us, ha!

reserved

The show itself was fine. It was thrilling to see and hear Amy Poehler, who is very smart and extremely funny. A special guest was Carrie Brownstein (who is on Portlandia with Fred Armisen) and is a musician.

My favorite part of the evening really was talking about feminism with my mom. I wrote a poem about it. Here you go:

My Mother Says She Doesn’t Think She’s a Feminist

I smile at her
we are at a self-proclaimed feminist reading
which is what sparked her remark
I simply say, “Yes, you are.”
Her quizzical look inspires me to add
“You learned to drive as an adult,
you have a college degree,
you had a career,
you became a U.S. citizen,
you vote,
you have your own bank account.
When you married Dad, none of that was true,
but because you wanted those things
you made it happen.”
She said, “Well, yeah.” Then, “Oh.”
I tell her it’s not about being a bra-burner
or a protester. It’s about having rights.
To put it another way, I tell her
that she raised two daughters
to think for themselves & to take care of themselves.
She supported me & my sister
in playing sports, going to college, getting jobs.
She timidly says, “But men are better at some things.”
And I say, “Yes, and women are better at some things,
but you wouldn’t deny the opportunity for a woman
to try doing anything.”
And then, as if to prove something to herself,
as she waits in the long bathroom line, she sees
that a men’s room line doesn’t exist. She questions
the women in line, “Well, aren’t we feminist as fuck?
Why don’t we use the men’s room?”
Women cheer & agree, and some move to the
empty, barely used men’s room.

poetry friends

Today, after binge-watching the second half of the last season of “Parenthood” and prepping dinner for tonight, I drove up to Escondido to see an old friend, Rick Lupert, perform his poetry at an art gallery. My friend, Robt, hosts the reading. I was a little late, but I caught most of Rick’s feature, then stuck around for the open reading.

I read the poem I wrote for this year’s Star of India show. The photo is from the day of the show as I was finishing it.

Rick is a very funny poet, but he also has poignant moments. I can’t say that we’re very close, but there’s something between those of us who were coming up in the late 90s in the poetry scene in Orange County. True, I lived down here, but I’d drive up a bunch, and I’m happy to say that I’m friends (at least on FB!) with many of the poets I saw and read with regularly.

And of course, Robt, a partner in crime. I don’t get to see him very often, but I know he knows I love him, and I know he keeps up with me and Han and what’s going on with us.

After the reading, I drove home and just relaxed, took a shower. Han got home, and I put dinner in the oven. I made a chicken parm casserole that was a little weird. I don’t know if I’d make it again, but the flavor is okay.

Back to work tomorrow. I had brought my laptop home thinking I’d be productive, but between unraveling and binge-watching, the laptop didn’t get any action.

Happy New Year!

I’m trying out a new blog format to go with the new year. What do you think?

I spent most of the day at a coffeehouse doing my Unraveling workbook. It was awesome! I’m still not done, as I still have to pick a word (though I have a couple that I’m already tossing around). But I figure I’m ahead of the game because I completed my 2015 workbook in April!

Tonight, we’re just going to take it easy, but tomorrow & Sunday, Han has gigs.

Here’s a quick recap of 2015:

January: started my San Diego Adventure Days (SDAD) – Presidio Park
hosted my last Third Sunday Poetry at Java Joe’s

February: SDAD – San Diego Botanic Garden
last volunteer day at Helen Woodward
celebrated Mom & Dad’s 50th anniversary with Sandy, Mom & Dad

March: hired someone at work
SDAD – Mt. Helix
Han’s surprise birthday show
went to Phoenix for the day for work
dinner with The Becky

April: Acoustic Duo had CD release shows
Sandy visited for Dad’s birthday
SDAD: Julian
Barbara visited
wrote 30 poems (or drafts) every day of the month for National Poetry Month

May: reading at the Getty with Mom
got upgraded sleep machine
dinner with Heather
SDAD: Old Mission Dam

June: D’s graduation
SDAD: looking for houses & lunch with Barbara
Laurel in town
Steve Earle @ the Belly-Up with The Becky
Rugburns show at Java Joe’s (on-stage with the band for “Barney Miller”)
was interviewed for a poetry podcast

July: found a new place and moved

August: D turned 18
Barbara in town
had a story about Barbara published in SD Troubadour
SDAD: ? (I can’t remember and can’t find any note about what I did!)

September: Han’s brother here
trip to Spain!!! (Barcelona/Costa Brava) with Mom & Sandy – INCREDIBLE!

October: Ashford graduation (work)
SDAD: San Diego Ghost Tour
visit Sandy in SLC (did an SLC Ghost Tour!)
Han Soloween party at Matt & Joey’s

November: performed with other poets before a play at the Lyceum Theater
SDAD: footbridges of San Diego
turned 44

December: Sandy & Tristan visit for Mom’s birthday
performed on the Star of India
Acoustic Duo Christmas show
Christmas at Mom & Dad’s

Han traveled a lot in 2015 for gigs, mostly to northern CA. Health-wise, I had to do a couple rounds on steroids (May & August) to combat some vasculitis flare-ups, but nothing as severe as 2014. I continued with my monthly therapy sessions and acupuncture.

In 2016, the SDAD will continue. More reading. More writing. Being active. Monthly visits to Mom & Dad. T’s graduation. Baseball trip with Sandy. Lots of things to look forward to! Happy new year!

birthday eve

When I got to work this morning, my co-workers had decorated the door to my office:

IMG_1897

The purple paper made it dark and ominous-looking, but cool nonetheless. I didn’t take it down. That’s what will happen on Friday (if the cleaning people don’t take it down first). It was a nice thing for them to do.

My friend bought me coffee, and then around 3 pm, one guy came into my office and shut the door saying he needed to vent. Then my boss knocked on the door, followed by another person, and another, until I think nearly everyone in my department was jammed into my office. I think someone counted that there were 19 people in there. It was funny and different. Usually, we fake a meeting somewhere or ask someone to go into the kitchen randomly. They sang and then we did move into the kitchen to feast on a cinnamon swirl bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. Delicious. There was even some left over so I got to bring it home.

After work, I went to yet another happy hour for someone who was leaving the company (not necessarily of her own choosing).  Didn’t stay long but wanted to wish her well.

Got home and chatted with Han for a bit. Had dinner and watched some TV and some movie trailers (A Very Murray Christmas, 2oolander, and the new Star Wars – all that we could find).

Tomorrow will be for sleeping in, going on a walk, and thinking about another orbit for me.

 

my working life

I don’t talk too much about what I do for a living because I’ve always considered it secondary to my life. I mean, I work to make money so I can pay bills and have money to do fun things. That’s not to say that I don’t like my job now or the jobs I’ve had in the past. But work, even though I spend a lot of time doing it, is usually just a means to an end.

I think as I’ve gotten older, that philosophy has changed a bit. I take pride in the work I do, even if it’s just for the people I work for and with. I get excited about some things and dread other things, I think like many people feel about their jobs. But, I don’t bring work home as much as I used to, so I’m getting better at leaving work stuff at work.

The reason I bring this all up is because today after work, I went to a farewell happy hour for yet another person who’s leaving the company. There’s been a TON of turnover this year, either people getting laid off or voluntarily leaving. I got into a conversation with some people about former colleagues.

Now, I will have been at this job for 9 years in February. I’m what you call a ‘lifer,’ mostly. I was at the job before that for 14 years. I am not one to constantly be looking for the next thing. Interviews are stressful, I like what I do, I like the people I work with, so why should I look for something else?

Anyway, it just struck me in talking with them that I’ve seen a lot of changes and seen a lot of people come through. Some I remember well and am FB friends with them, and others, I have a hard time recalling what they even did! Of course, I have become notorious among my family as having a horrible memory so that may not be hard to believe.

I don’t really have a point beyond just being struck by the passage of time and what things impact your life or just appear as a blip or even less on the radar of your life.

And just for fun, here’s my work history (the best I can recall :)):

LaRoche Industries (high school) – where my dad worked, I helped out in the front office for a while

Sportmart (high school) – retail job that I liked for the most part, I worked in the apparel section and I remember that the hangers always made my fingers smell weird. I met a guy there who I dated for a while. He was one of the security guards.

I think there was a brief moment during high school (maybe even just a weekend) that I worked at Conroy’s Flowers. I remember having to put pins in roses so they wouldn’t droop.

Crown Books (college) – I helped open a new store near campus. I could walk there, though I had to borrow a friend’s car to go to the training. I loved working in a bookstore, every aspect, from shelving to register to taking inventory. I only worked there a few months because I wanted to go home for the holidays but I didn’t have vacation there so I quit.

Road Runner Sports
(started in college) – I started there in 1993 doing weird work opening used shoes so they could be evaluated for running patterns. I was paid under the table for the first year or so probably. I went on my first work trip to Atlanta to work a race expo. I drank so much one of the nights, I was throwing up til the morning when I had to go work the booth. All there was to eat were pierogies. But Hot-lanta was awesome. We went to a Braves game on the 4th of July. I worked my way to a ‘legal’ paid position doing administrative work. I hated my boss. When he left, I helped hire the next person who came to be one of my mentors, a wonderful woman who brought me up to marketing after she moved up. That’s where I learned how to take criticism of my copywriting, what it meant to write in a brand voice, and became a magazine editor. My boss after the woman I helped to hire was also fantastic. I learned a lot from both of them, not just about how to do a good job, but also how to be a good person. I also had a colleague there who I didn’t work with per se, but we knew each other and were friends. And he’s the guy who called me in 2007 to offer me a new job.

Bridgepoint Education (current job) – There was more than just the guy I knew from RRS at this fairly new company so it wasn’t too bad leaving my comfortable spot because there were friendly faces. I started out as a manager and was promoted in 2 years to a director position that I’ve had ever since. At the most, I’ve had four people working for me. Now it’s down to just one. At a recent large event, the guy who brought me over from RRS looked around and said, “Just think about it, nearly all of these people have read something you’ve written. Isn’t that amazing?!” And I had to admit that it was. I don’t know how long I’ll be at this job, I have no plans to leave, but the industry and the business is in a funky place right now. I just try to do the best I can, to stay challenged, to let the bullshit go, and to have fun with the people I’ve come to trust and who help me be/become inspired.

settling in

I was so sad because I didn’t think I’d gotten any response to my last post, but then I realized I hadn’t updated my email address on my account! Thanks for commenting, Mom, Mia, and Sandy!

Last week, on Tuesday night, I went to Cafe Cabaret for the open poetry reading. It was fine. I’d by lying if I said it gives me the same charge it once did. I used the time to write in my journal (my last entry had been in December!) so that was good.

On Wednesday, my friend, Heather came over to see the new place and then we went to dinner. We went to a nearby sports bar place called Bridges. It was okay. I doubt I’ll go there very often. It took a long time for our food, and my sandwich was pretty forgettable. But it was great seeing her and catching up. We’ve started our own little 2-person book club. We’ve read two books so far (Eleanor & Park and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry). Now we’re reading The Valley of Amazement. We’re supposed to meet again before my trip (to Spain!).

On Thursday night, Han had a gig and we had gotten a Blue Apron order so I made all three meals that night. I was going to be gone for the weekend so I figured Han and D could eat them. It was kind of fun! The recipes were spiced meatballs with a squash salad, summer ratatouille with parmesan polenta, and a ginger-basil chicken with coconut rice.

On Friday, I was supposed to visit my friend, Cathy, but she was working on a deadline and had to postpone. I headed up to La Mirada around 7:30 pm. A cool thing happened on the way. I was listening to the Padres game on the radio. I haven’t kept up much this season, especially when the Pads didn’t live up to the pre-season hype. But on Friday, San Diego Padres history was made when Matt Kemp hit for the cycle! It was the first time ever for Kemp as a player and for San Diego as an organization. They remain the only team to not have a no-hitter, but that cycle was a long time coming! It was so exciting to hear it!

I got to the folks’ house, and we chatted some before I went to bed. On Saturday, I took my dad to dialysis. It was 90 degrees by 10 am. Han and I were texting, and he suggested we re-think the plan of me driving my parents down to SD on Sunday to see the house. It was HOT, and we have no real relief from it here aside from some ceiling fans, an AC in Han’s room, and one in the studio. We decided to put it off which is probably for the best. With it being their first visit to SD in quite a while, I want it to be a good one! Mom & I went to lunch at Red Robin after a couple failures (Carrino’s is closed forever and The Habit was too crowded). For dinner, Dad & I had Dickey’s Barbecue and Mom had a sandwich.

On Sunday, we didn’t do much of anything. Mom & I chatted about the trip, otherwise we just hung out. That evening, the San Diego Music Award nominations were announced and Han’s Acoustic Duo is nominated twice and the Super Group is also nominated twice, including for Album of the Year! Good times!

I had decided to stay the night in LM, and drive to work from there. So this morning, I was up at 4 am, and on the road by 5 am.

On the work front, two people in my department gave their notices today. Huge bummer and quite a blow to the workflow. It’s not good times at the company. Scary. Meanwhile, a good friend was back from his vacation on which his 13-month old dog ate poisonous mushrooms and passed away. Devastating. He’s obviously sad, as are his partner and her two daughters. He really loved that dog. So tragic.

Tonight, Han & I had Chinese food that was pretty good. We’re still discovering places to eat around here. It’s fun driving around the neighborhood and seeing what is around.

It’s time for me to get into planning mode for vacation. Oh, and still nothing from the previous landlord. This Friday is Day 21. Patience.