winding down

Today has been a fairly normal day. Went to work, did some training there, did some work after the training. After work, I came home and hung out and talked with Han for a bit. He’s got some great projects lined up that he’s really excited about. It’s cool.

I made dinner, pork tenderloin and broccoli. Han left to go do some listening for the projects he’s working on. I’ve been just hanging out, watching TV and looking at some submission guidelines for a showcase that the Acoustic Duo wants to enter.

Here’s something new. At work, they did an incentive for employees with health benefits to receive a FitBit if a certain percentage of people completed a couple health assessments. Amazingly, we met the percentage. I got mine over the weekend and just started using it yesterday. Did you know that it’s recommended that you walk 10,000 steps a day? That’s a lot! In the last couple days I’ve walked about 3,000 steps. There’s a dashboard thing online where you can also track what you eat, how much water you drink, etc. I’ll try to keep it going. Here’s to 10,000 steps!

today’s draft

Steps

baby steps
watch your step
step on it
one step forward, two steps back
step down
step up
step by step
step on it
step back
keep one step ahead
step on someone’s toes
two-steppin’
step in the right direction
step outside
twelve steps
sidestep
stepdaughter
step up to the plate
step aside

day 6 down

Nothing much to report today. Did the 4 drinks with 2 scoops again. It’s weird to say, but when I taste it, it seems familiar now. It’s hard to explain.

I got home from work around 6:30 pm, and there was Doug still working. I had already made plans to go to Becky’s place to shower so I got out of here pretty quickly. She lives in Banker’s Hill, and it was a nice evening hanging with her. She’s dealing with her own health issues and is having to eat a completely bland diet. I hope she gets some relief soon.

I got home around 8:45 pm. I started some laundry and got to work on dinner. One positive thing is that I weighed myself at Becky’s and since the last time I was weighed at the doctor, I’ve lost 11 pounds. That’s cool, but I am skeptical. I don’t feel like I’ve lost that much.

These next few days are going to be easy. Now if only the bathroom would get finished so I could relax when I get home from work and not have to wait until 9 pm!

weekend away, stolen dough & forgotten keys

How do the weeks go by so fast?

Last Tuesday, I went to Cafe Cabaret for the monthly reading. It went great. Wednesday and Thursday were days that have passed where I did nothing of significance. Probably watched some TV. Han & I are watching “The West Wing.” We didn’t watch it when it was on TV, but it’s Aaron Sorkin, and we really like him. Han’s already watched all 8 seasons, and is half-way through a second round, plus is watching some of them with me as I start out. Great show.

Friday, I had plans to go to LA to visit my parents. On the way, I met my friend Cathy for happy hour at the Fish Market. It’s always wonderful to see her. She’s cancer-free for a second time (ovarian) and is doing well. After a great visit with her, I headed north. That evening, me & my folks watched TV and chatted before all retiring for the night.

On Saturday, I took Dad to dialysis, and Mom & I went to lunch at Ruby’s Diner where I had fish & chips (my craving from last month still needed to be satisfied). Their fish was pretty good. After that, it was a trip to Target, Armstrong Nursery, and the gas station. Then I went to get Dad. After we got home, Mom & I went out again, this time to Marshall’s and the grocery store. For dinner that night, she made macarrones and breaded pork. Delicious! She even used the white fiber pasta that I talked about. You can’t tell a difference from regular pasta (like I think you can with whole grain pasta). I went to bed pretty early that night.

On Sunday morning, we all found ourselves outside. It was extremely gorgeous weather-wise. I was playing with Lulu when Mom starting digging post-holes. I went over and said I could do that for her. I started, but my hair was falling into my face. My mom braided my hair to hold it back. Though there wasn’t anything to fasten it, it stayed pretty good. My mom braiding my hair brings me such joy and calm. It’s such an amazing feeling. I didn’t tell her that, but it truly is. I remember when I was in high school, and to be ‘different,’ I had one single tiny braid hanging down the side of my face. I have never been able to braid my own hair (weird, I know), but my mom would patiently and splendidly braid these tiny wisps into a lovely braid and tie it off with those miniscule rubber bands that people used for their braces. My friend, Michelle, would give me the rubber bands.  Thanks, Mom!

So I dug the post-holes while my dad fixed a hose and my mom prepped the tomato plants. It all happened so naturally and that’s what I liked about it. No one said, “Let’s go plant the tomatoes.” I’m not capturing it the way I’d like, but it was a beautiful way to start the day. After that, Mom made waffles and bacon. Around 2 pm, I got in the car and headed back south. It was a great visit with them.

Back at home, I caught up on some TV while Han had clients. Then we had dinner, and right before bed, I thought to check my checking account (I’m not quite sure why). That’s when I discovered that my debit card info had been stolen, probably still from the Target fiasco over the holidays. This jackass had racked up over $450 at various gas stations around the LA area. I had my card so he/she had gotten my card number somehow. I called my bank and reported it stolen so it could be blocked. The next day, I went to my bank. They gave me a new card, and I filled out a form to dispute the charges. They said it could take at least 10 business days to get the money refunded, but the teller told me that they’d been handling these types of issues a little faster. I’ll say. The money was back in my account the same day. Awesome.

That was yesterday, also St. Patrick’s Day. Also, my day at Helen Woodward. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned, but I’ve been trained now to handle the dogs, too. So when things are slow in the Cattery, I can move to dogs, which is what I did today. Two of the cats were not having any of my presence, while the third was sweet and enjoyed the attention, but is also very old and tired out pretty quickly. Working with the dogs is okay, but I prefer the cats. A good thing is that I go late enough in the day that all the services have usually been completed so I can pick and choose who to take out (this is true of both the cats and the dogs). What I’ve started to do is that I’ll work with the cats, then I’ll take a walk through the kennels and get a feel for the dogs that are there, then I’ll choose the dogs that seem the sweetest. So far, they’ve all been pretty good. And thankfully none have done their business (unlike the cats, I do have to clean up after the dogs). The toughest part is walking them through the kennels to get to the door that goes outside. Dogs can be mean and loud. It’s hard to avoid the ‘cage fighting’ that sometimes happens when these dog strangers see each other, one outside and the other in a cage.

That night, I went to the grocery store after I got home. That’s a good time to go if you don’t like crowds! Then I brought home some dinner and we watched “The West Wing.”

Today started with laundry and making a meatloaf! Yep, before work. It’s because I wouldn’t have time after work to make it since I had plans to go to a reading. Good thing I did that, because I was late getting home because, d’oh! I locked my keys in my office as I was leaving to go home. It was already 5:30 pm, and most everyone was gone for the day. Thankfully, I remembered I had an emergency services card in my wallet. I called the facilities guy who was able to get hold of someone who was still there. I was in my car by 5:50 pm. Cool. I rushed home, got the meatloaf in the oven, told Han to set his alarm to take it out of the oven, and headed to the reading with a few old poems that I hoped to work on.

I got to Rebecca’s coffeehouse and settled in, but sure enough I was the second person called up to read, so I half-assed it with a poem in progress. Oh well, at least I got to announce my big news! Starting in May, the third Sunday of every month from 2-4 pm, I’ll be hosting a new open poetry reading at the new Java Joe’s, now in Normal Heights! I’m pretty excited to get back into hosting again. It’s once a month so hopefully I won’t burn out. I haven’t thought much about the format or features or anything yet, but I have some time. I’ll be going around to some of the readings this month and next to promote it.

In my weight news, I doubt that I’ve lost any, and I’ve not been tracking my food this week (since Friday), but I’m still aware and continuing with my high fiber foods. I’ve found a good high fiber/low calorie cereal that is seriously yummy: Fiber One 80 Calories-Chocolate. Oh my goodness, add some raspeberries to that and you’ve got a downright tasty breakfast. A couple things I must improve upon: drinking water and being active. At work, it’s easy to down 3-4 pints of water, but after work? Forget it. And exercise? I need to get it in during the weekday, not just do it (sometimes) on weekends. I always tell myself, “You can take 15 minutes and walk around the buildings,’ but I always get caught up in work. Got to do better. My sister joined a walking group through Weight Watchers. I’m not sure if she is walking with them or that they commit to each other to walk and then report back, but I should try to get in on that action somehow.

Tomorrow is my nephew’s 16th birthday. It is insane to realize that boy is already 16! Happy birthday, T!

March forth

It’s a directive. It’s also Han’s dad’s birthday.

I didn’t do much marching today. In fact, I had kind of a tough afternoon and morning. I mean, for mornings, it wasn’t terrible. I had to go downtown for a work event. The event was held on the 34th floor of Symphony Towers – great views!

university-club-wedding-photography-photo-1-9be9

It was a networking-heavy situation, and I am not good at that, and realizing that made me feel a bit inadequate. But I did get to shake Steve Forbes’ hand and hear him speak. So that was pretty cool.

The afternoon brought a meeting with members of my team, my peer, and my boss. It was the kind of meeting that made me wonder what exactly I am doing in the job I’m in. It was one of those times when you stop to consider what else there is, or could be. When you wonder if a change is possible and if so, how soon? And how? I don’t know these answers, and I don’t want to seem ungrateful for my job, because I’m not. But it’s okay to think about what might be next or about what I could be doing now to affect what might be next.

Tonight I made chicken scaloppini from my Cooking Light cookbook. On the side is pan-roasted asparagus and tomatoes. It’s tasty.

 

AmericanaramA and other events

Hello! Man, you get out of the routine, and it’s hard to get back in! I missed writing when I went up to visit Mom and Dad the weekend of July 19-21, and then it just didn’t happen!

Here are some things I did:

– On July 26, I went to a poetry slam at San Diego Art Institute. The San Diego slam team was there as part of a fundraiser. I decided to be a judge. While I got booed several times for my scores, I was also extremely consistent. Slam poetry is its own animal. A lot of it, I don’t like much. But sometimes, there are gems. I’m also fond of the group pieces. The SD team has a number of group pieces, and they’re cool.

One of the best things about that night though was talking with Chris Wilson, who is the slam master. He gave me props for helping make slam happen in San Diego and asked me to come to one of their regular events to let ‘the kids’ know what’s up. It was definitely gratifying.

– On Saturday (7/27), I had acupuncture (awesome!), then the Acoustic Duo had a gig that night at a new house concert being run by Java Joe. It was not the best attended, but it was a neat setting and the folks who were there really enjoyed it.

– The whole next week, I worked on my presentation. See, at work, we do this thing the first Friday of every month called Knowledge Feast. It’s voluntary, but when you volunteer, you get to create a presentation on anything you want. It has to be about 30 minutes. We bring in breakfast. So after the one in July about the aesthetics of rock ‘n’ roll, I was inspired and signed up for August. All week I immersed myself in my poetry past, my house concert past, and researched the concept of hosting artists in homes dating back to Ancient Greece. I made a PowerPoint that had video, photos, screen shots, and a 7 page essay that went along with it. On Thursday, I went out to the San Diego poetry slam event, Battle for San Diego. It was the SD team vs. the Hollywood team vs. a youth team. It was packed and very cool to see. I think the SD team (and the Hollywood team) will do well in Boston next week.

So Friday, August 2 was the big presentation day. I took in props. My books, my poetry memorabilia, my Meeting Grace newspaper article that was mounted on a lovely wooden plaque. And I gave my presentation. It was awesome. And the coolest thing was that nearly everybody was super engaged with it (there’s one guy who didn’t seem into it, but I don’t care for him much anyway). I got many compliments about it afterward. It was great. A nice trip down memory lane, and a call to arms a bit about what’s next.

– Saturday, August 3, Han & I took off for Irvine around 1:30 pm. Traffic was insane for some reason. We got to Oceanside at 3. We should have been there by 3 pm. Anyway, we went to our hotel room, then made our way to Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre (formerly known as Irvine Meadows). We were there to see the AmericanaramA music festival featuring Ryan Bingham, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and Bob Dylan. The show started at 5:30 pm. Han and I hung in the car in the parking lot and watched thousands of people file in. We could hear faintly when Ryan Bingham went on and then off, and then the same for MMJ. Thankfully, the theatre had posted the set times on their FB page so we had a good idea of what was going on.

We meandered in around 7:30 pm, about 25 minutes before Wilco was supposed to start. We had lawn seats which meant a climb. Irvine Meadows (as I will refer to it) is a dinosaur. Not ADA compliant in any way. Everyone on Yelp! talked about how awful all the walking is and how steep the lawn is.  We were not looking forward to it.  But on the way in, there was a group of fresh-faced Verizon employees selling upgrades to the terrace seats for $10 each. Sold! It was still a steep climb up to the terrace, but it wasn’t that long. We found our seats, I bought a $10 beer and we were ready.

Wilco was amazing. Jeff Tweedy, the lead singer, was thoroughly engaging & entertaining. I have a couple of their records, but Han loves this band. For their musicianship, lyrics, everything. Jeff Tweedy used to be (like a million years ago) in a band with Jay Farrar called Uncle Tupelo. I have their records. They broke up and Jeff formed Wilco and Jay formed Son Volt. For a long time, I was on team Son Volt. I still really like their records. Jay eventually went solo, but Jeff has been fearless with Wilco, and it has paid off. They may not be very mainstream, but they have super loyal fans, plus they have some wonderful songs.

Anyway, after about 3 or 4 songs, Jeff Tweedy says that on this tour they’ve been able to have special guests from each of the areas they’ve played, and then he introduced Nancy Sinatra! The woman is 73 years old and she sounded great. Wilco backed her up on “Bang Bang” (http://youtu.be/ytwdtZmxmFU) and her classic hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” (http://youtu.be/SbyAZQ45uww). So fun! Then later, they brought out Ryan Bingham and Jim James (of MMJ) and did California Stars (a Woody Guthrie song that I adore). Their set was awesome and worth it just for them.

After their set, there was a break and they set the stage for Dylan. Man, Bob freaking Dylan. He’s also in his 70s, but he got into it. I didn’t care for his phrasing much (he kept lilting up on the ends of lines), but it was still cool to hear songs like “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” and “All Along the Watchtower.” There were songs I didn’t know, too, but his band is so freakin’ good, it’s a pleasure just to hear them. Toward the end, they brought everyone out and they did “The Weight” by the Band. It was super awesome. After the show, we waited a while to let the theater and parking lot clear a bit. We still ended up waiting in the parking lot for a while, but it was okay. We ordered pizza on the way back to the hotel and had a late night dinner. It was a great night.

That pretty catches you up. Last night I went out for a glass of wine with my friend, Lindsay. As I mentioned earlier when I was talking about the presentation, it brought up all these emotions and wonderings about what can I do next? I think I might start seriously working on that book project. I think I’ll start attending more poetry readings. But what else? That’s a good question to ponder.

March 2-3

I had started a very contented post on March 10, the day the time changed. I thought I had saved it as a draft, but it’s gone into the ether of WordPress.

I find it ironic that I am the worst at keeping up my blog. My sister, my mom, my aunt, and my dad have been way more active than I have been. I was the first to start, but they are the ones who keep it up. Good on them. I want to get better.

Last Sunday (the 17th), I suffered another attack of diverticulitis. Went to emergency and was there from about 11:30 pm to 7 am. Now I’m loaded up on anti-biotics and more awareness. That’s the third one I’ve had in 3 years. Way too many for someone my age. My mom & sister suggested I keep a food journal. It’s a good idea. Let’s see this week, I’ve had (in no particular order): cream of wheat, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, toast, soup, tuna sandwich, pasta with butter. This morning I made a tomato-mozzarella-basil frittata. It was good!

One of the antibiotics has a metallic taste. It also causes nausea at times. 😦

I am trying to be healthy and without issues, or things that can become issues. I had my mammogram last week (all good). I got my teeth cleaned (great teeth). I have scheduled my periodontal surgery (April 26). I’ve scheduled an acupuncture appointment (next Wed). And I went to see a therapist. He is cool. He asked me what would make me leave the room and think, ‘that was good.’ I told him if I’d found someone to talk to. Now friends & family, don’t take that wrong. I just mean, someone to talk to who doesn’t know my life. Someone impartial. Does that make sense? So far so good.

What’s weird is that before the attack of my insides, I was really doing pretty good with what I ate & my activity. I’d decided to try some green smoothies, I’ve been seeking out gluten free recipes (we think Han may have issues with gluten, his skin gets really itchy sometimes). I’d been working on eating more high fiber foods. I have been going to hit tennis balls at least once a week. So this attack kind of came out of nowhere. Before they told me not to eat seeds and nuts, and I haven’t, although in talking to my mom, I realized that I hadn’t been paying much attention to tomatoes. I also had half a cookie that a friend made for Han’s birthday, it was a peanut butter jelly sandwich cookie, delicious, but she used chunky peanut butter, and I may have ingested like half a peanut. If my insides are that sensitive to half  a peanut, I just don’t know what to do. Plus now the research suggests that seeds and nuts have nothing to do with it. But here’s the best thing, here’s a quote directly from WebMD: “It is not known why some people who have these diverticula (a condition called diverticulosis) develop diverticulitis and others do not.” Great.

As I’m sitting here typing this, I’ve just learned that a member of the music community here in San Diego was brutally killed yesterday. Larry Robinson was beaten to death during a robbery at the music store where he worked. He died this morning. I have no personal connection to Larry, but Han knew him as did just about everyone else I know in town. So tragic. So fleeting this life.

I’ve always tried to be someone who appreciates every day, who notices little moments. But I think it’s a discipline. You have to work at that kind of awareness. But at the same time, I’m annoyed by some of the posts I see on Facebook from people who proclaim to be so self-aware. I wonder if they truly are. Or if something happened to them in a moment that made them realize it just for that moment.

Don’t mean to get so philosophical.

Some highlights from the last couple months since I wrote:

– Acoustic Duo went to Texas (after Han got back from being on the road with Flan)
– Han & I went to Cathedral City for a weekend with his new band, Garbo. We had a nice time. Has anyone heard of Cards Against Humanity? Pretty fun game.
– Saw the folks and my sister in mid-February. My parents celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary.
– We had a podcast launch party for the Sordid Tales podcast that was really fun. I didn’t have much of a part in the show, but there was a great crowd.
– I attended a seminar called Bands & Brands. I thought I might learn something, but I didn’t really. Most of the people in the audience were wearing flannel. It was weird.
– Han had a birthday! We didn’t do anything big, but I made these peanut butter chocolate bars that were divine.
– I walked in the Undy 5000 to help raise money for colo-rectal cancer, which my friend, Rob, was diagnosed with in 2011. We just walked a mile (and it was chilly!), but it was good to be with these good people (most of Garbo).
– I attended a conference for work locally and felt like I learned a bunch. Now just need to figure out how to implement it.
– Barbara’s new band in Texas is getting lots of attention. They won best new band at the Austin Music Awards and they had several showcases or parties to play at SXSW. Go girl!
– Saw D in Oklahoma! at her school. I had never seen Oklahoma! That is one twisted story. She was great in it, of course (ensemble).
– My nephew T had a birthday!

This week since the attack, it’s been very mellow for me. Later this afternoon, Han & I will drive to LA for an Acoustic Duo show. His brother flew down from Seattle with his girlfriend and will be at the show. Fun! And tomorrow, I’ll be rooting for the home team, SDSU Aztecs, in March Madness. Should be a good game against Florida Gulf Coast (who took down Georgetown!)

full-swing summer

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous in San Diego, and today was no exception. I went to a movie this morning called “Safety Not Guaranteed.” I love finding movies that are not in the mainstream. This movie starred Aubrey Plaza (from “Parks and Recreation”) and Jake Johnson (from “New Girl”). It was pretty good. I enjoyed it. I guess it was based on a real classifed ad. I liked all the characters in an off-beat way. It was a good start to the day. After the movie, I stopped at a little farmer’s market stand and bought a couple tomatoes, then went to Trader Joe’s. I should mention that I’m living the single life for 10 days. Han got on an airplane to London yesterday night. The Acoustic Duo is over there to open for Eve Selis. It’s a very exciting thing for them. I’m sure they’ll kick ass. But that leaves me with some extended time to just be. Oh, of course, if you know me, you know I have a list of things I want to accomplish in this time, but nothing I’m going to knock myself out about.

After Trader Joe’s, I came home and watched movies, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and did some work. Everything has been very leisurely today. I should also mention that my dad was in the hospital last week, and I had planned to go up to see my folks today. But Mom called yesterday and said that he was doing much better and that it was okay if I wanted to wait until next weekend to go up there. That worked for me.

So what else have I been doing since mid-April? In a word: working. Things at work have been supremely busy. We’re building up to something quite big that I can’t discuss. But hopefully, it will be a good thing. Needless to say, I have a lot to do, and it’s been very stressful. I try to maintain my balance, but it’s difficult. I also went to Berkeley, CA for a conference in May that was really informative and cool. The Acoustic Duo played some house concerts, one at a new place in Cardiff. Han went to Texas for a week. I didn’t really have much of a chance to enjoy the solitude because I was working every night. But since then, I have stopped doing one job for a while, so I have my nights to myself for this trip.

Also in June, I had a couple medical procedures done. The first was an ultrasound on my abdomen, and the second was a colonoscopy. Both went fine (except the night before the endoscopy, I don’t recommend it). D finished school in June also. Now she’s in the Junior Theater production of “Footloose.” We’ll see it at the end of this month.

One amazing thing I did in June was I went ziplining! My department went to San Diego Safari Park to to do it, and it was thrilling. To see photos and video, check out http://www.facebook.com/lizzie.wann.

With Han in London and also because I’ve been watching the Olympic trials, I’m getting excited for the Olympics! Plus Wimbledon! I love tennis. For the women, I’m rooting for Sharapova and SWilliams. I also like Clijsters. For the men, I don’t really have a favorite, but there are players I don’t love, like Roger Federer and Andy Murray. I’d be okay if Djokovic won now that Rafa is out. I’ll root for the 2 Americans left in it, too: Fish & Baker.

I’d like to use this time to myself to be able to relax a bit, especially with the stress at work. I’d also like to figure out exactly what the things are that help me relax, that aid my happiness. I know that may seem weird, but for the last few years (literally), I have moved through my life with nearly always something to do, something that needed to get done. Don’t get me wrong. I like that. I certainly don’t like the idea of not having anything to do, but I need to find that balance. And recognize the days when, like today, I can sit and watch a movie or two, and just enjoy it; not feel guilty that I’m not necessarily being productive. I don’t know if that even makes sense, but I know what I mean.