November’s here

I realized that one of the reasons I have been so reluctant to write about my time in Spain is that it will seem like it’s really over. Does that make sense? I’ve enjoyed reading my sister’s and my mom’s posts about the trip, and I think of the time quite fondly. I just know that if I take the time to further explore my adventures over there, that I will feel sad. I understand that I’ve been home more than a month already, but yes, I still feel a bit sad not to be there.

Which brings me to another point I’ve been contemplating. A friend of mine who travels a lot shared something on Facebook (written by someone else) that basically said that vacations are a lie and that you should build a life that feels like a vacation. While I kind of understand what his (the original poster) idea was, I can’t really agree. There were a lot of comments on this original post, I would say pretty equally divided between disagreeing like I did and others who were like, ‘totally! vacations shouldn’t be an escape from your life!’ But that’s the thing. It’s not really an escape, it’s just a suspended time of experience that should enhance your life. There’s also the not paying bills part or feeling much responsibility part that is also a draw. Vacations are a finite time away from your everyday routines. There’s nothing wrong with that. I get the point that you should create a life for yourself that allows you pleasure, but let’s be honest, not everyday is Instagram-worthy. Know what I mean? Do you really want to see a photo of me doing laundry and remarking about how blessed I feel? Not gonna happen. I’m curious as to what you might think.

So we’ve reached November, NaBloPoMo. It’s my goal to write every day. And I’ll just tell you that there won’t be anything about Spain in this post. Not for the reasons mentioned about, but because it’s 10 pm, daylight savings time ended today, and I’ve been up (on a Sunday!) since 6 am.

I will tell you that the Kansas City Royals won the World Series tonight in New York against the Mets. They beat them 4 games to one. And the Mets were leading into the 9th inning tonight, but the Royals came back to tie it in the 9th, then they blew it open in extra innings and soundly beat them 7-2. Ouch. Goodnight, baseball. Until Spring Training!

I will also tell you that I visited my sister in SLC last weekend, and it was awesome! I arrived on Thursday, 10/22. We got some lunch at Noodles & Co, then we went shopping for my Halloween costume and had success! That night, we went to a pre-season Jazz game, and the bonus was we got to sit in her company’s suite. It was really nice, and the food was great! The Jazz won and it was a great evening.

On Friday, we had a Salt Lake City adventure! First we took Osi to the vet, then we stopped at her work for a little bit, then we headed into downtown where we walked all around! We started at City Creek which is a fairly new mall, and it is super nice! Then we walked over to Temple Square, saw Jesus in the sky (photo below), and heard one song played on the Tabernacle organ (the acoustics demo was the coolest part).


This statue above is a bit odd. That’s a large statue and the surrounding walls are a mural of the universe. I don’t ‘get’ Mormonism and this really threw me more.

Anyway, after Temple Square, we went further into downtown and it was awesome! There are lots of old buildings and there’s a walking tour (we weren’t on it), but there are signboards in front of many of the buildings telling the history of the architecture and the people responsible for building. It was way cool. We made our way to Les Madeleines, a cute little cafe famous for this French pastry they make called Kouing Aman. They also serve sandwiches and coffee, etc. We ordered and sat outside, trying to evoke our Spanish days. The sandwiches we got (we both got the Paris) were fabulous. We shared a Kouing Aman (yum!). It was a very pleasant day! And it wasn’t even over! After that we continued our walk through downtown and got back to the car. The weather was also perfect, by the way. We went back to the house and we had dinner from Atlantis Burger. Then it was time for us to return to downtown to go on the Grimm Ghost Tour! I went on a San Diego ghost tour, and I was disappointed. Too cheesy and not enough chills. The SLC one was not as cheesy, the host pulled off the jokes and stuff much more easily. But I also didn’t know the history so I was interested and loved hearing the stories. We went to about 5 locations, including one where we’d been that afternoon, the City County Building. I really think it was one of my favorite buildings we saw. It reminded me of South Dakota for some reason. The ghost tour was cool. I’m glad we did it. They offer three routes. I’d be into taking a different one another time! That was a really full Friday. My step count was up there!

On Saturday, I’d agreed to walk with Sandy to her WW class. She said it was almost a 2-mile walk there. When she said it, I thought, it’ll be good for me! But not after walking close to 6 miles the previous day. I was hurting. I felt bad that I was such a wimp. I got to the coffee house where I’d wait for her and she went to her class. It was good to sit. When she was done, she got me and we walked back (very slowly). Man, I had overdone it the day before! We had been talking about going to the Red Butte Gardens later that day. When we got back, we called MT and met him at their Fixer Upper. I got to see everything he’s doing, and wow! it’s a lot of work! It’s truly amazing what’s he’s been able to do so far. He definitely has a vision and is working diligently toward it! Good luck! We went to lunch at Zupa’s. Their soup was good. After that, we dropped him back off and Sandy took me around to see the other houses they own. Then we had to decide if we were going to the Gardens. I told her that after the morning walk and the day before, I was pooped! I suggested we just hang at the house the rest of the day. She was down for that! Here’s what’s great about my sister (one of many things): it’s fun to hang with her no matter what we’re doing. Chilling on the couch, playing on our phones, watching TV, chatting, snacking and whatever else was still a fabulous time! We even paid T to bring us snacks! That night, T and MT went to see “Steve Jobs.” Sandy & I had Atlantis Burger again. We watched Utah football and several episodes of Ghost Adventures. Another great day!

On Sunday, we were kind of slow getting going, but then we were ready and decided to go to the early showing of “Steve Jobs.” Aaron Sorkin wrote it and I love his work. The movie was pretty good, character and dialogue-driven. After the movie, we got MT and had lunch at a Mexican place. The food was okay, not up to my SD standards 🙂 After lunch, we had a couple errands to run and then we headed up to the Brighton ski area to walk around the lake that’s up there. It took about an hour. It was cloudy all day with a just a bit of a nip in the air. Here’s the thing, lots of people had the same idea as us! It was crowded up there. But it was still really cool to be up in the mountains. We walked around the lake. I haven’t mentioned this before, but Sandy has been battling a cold/cough basically since we got back from Spain. The doctor told her it was a virus and there wasn’t much he could do for her. 😦 She had some bad coughing spurts, but she’s a gamer. We had passed a trail off the lake and we decided to try it out. We thought we’d find another lake, but that didn’t happen. It was still beautiful, and a lot more quiet than it was around the lake. When we got back to the lake, we decided to go around again. A lot of people had left by then. It was awesome, and definitely Instagram-worthy 🙂 For dinner that night, we ordered a pizza and watched TV. Another great day!

Monday morning, it was time for me to fly back to SD. So we reluctantly hugged and away I went. Super fun time! I went back to work that day when I got home. It was a pretty busy week altogether, and of course Friday was Halloween at work and then Saturday was actual Halloween. This year, I went as Lizzie-wan Kenobi. Not too bad, really:


Until next time!


Somehow, the Giants won the World Series.

I dressed as Willie Nelson for Halloween.

I went to dinner with a vendor to a nice restaurant in La Jolla called Whisknladle.

I feel lost & sad more often than seems normal.

I turn 43 this month.

I’ll try to write everyday this month.

I got rejected for a San Diego anthology.

I forgot to put the rent check in the mail today.

My friend, Steve, had 2 strokes while performing.

My friend, Dru, died of lung cancer.

I worked today.

I’ll work tomorrow.

Sleep is always good.

I went to see my folks & the new floor treatments are great.

Lots happened since I last wrote.

work, WS, week

It’s been almost a week since I’ve written! Time just flies! Well, over the weekend, I worked. I did get acupuncture, and it was good. I was out almost instantly once she started putting the needles in. So relaxing. I needed it.

Han was gone up to FARWest in Oakland. It went well, and it also didn’t. Long story, but I think he was glad he went.

On Tuesday, the World Series started, and the Giants rolled over the Royals 7-1. It was quite a sight. But then, the next night, the Royals returned the favor, whomping on the Giants 7-2. So it’s back to SF for games 3, 4, and 5 starting tomorrow through Sunday. Wow!

Speaking of this weekend, I’ll be heading up to see my folks, which will be nice. Work continues to be crazy, with no end in sight, especially since my employee leaves next week for a 3-week vacation to Europe. I switch between denial and gumption. Send me strength, people!

There is one good work thing on the horizon. In mid-November, I get to go to Atlanta for a conference. I wanted to go to the same conference last year, but budget was cut and I had to cancel. Well, this year, I’ve got my room and flight already booked, so so far so good!

And of course, next Friday is Halloween, my favorite holiday. I have plans for my costume, but just need to pull it together. If it works, it will be fun!

Oh, and Sandy, in response to your comment on my last post, yes, the Whaley House is open all year. We should definitely do a nighttime tour sometime!

Giants and ghosts

Yesterday was fun!

On the way home from work, I stopped at the new Boudin SF for a sandwich and salad for dinner. I also stopped at the nearby Baskin-Robbins for some ice cream. I came home, ate, then worked while I watched Game 5 of the NLCS.

What a game!

Giants were down 2-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Michael Morse, who had been brought up for the 25-man roster for this series, hit a pinch-hit homerun to tie it up 3-3. It was so amazing.

Then, Panda (Pablo Sandoval) got a single, and Belt drew a walk. Up comes Travis Ishikawa who started off with two balls from the Cardinal’s Wacha, when, on a 2-0 pitch, he connects, and that ball is GONE! WALK-OFF 3-RUN HOMER to send the Giants to their 3rd World Series in 5 years. Oh my goodness. It was unbelievable and so very awesome!!

The game ended just in time for me to leave for my nighttime adventure. I made my way to Old Town to meet up with my friend, Mindy, and tour the Whaley House, one of America’s most haunted houses. And we’re talking actually haunted, not some fake carnival tourist trap. I believe in ghosts. I watch ghost shows, and as I’ve been thinking about new things, I thought about stuff I really wanted to do or try. Mindy loves scary movies and stuff like that, so I figured she’d be down. And she was. I’d never been there and neither had she. We were excited!

We met up about half an hour before the tour so we had a chance to catch up. She told me about her trip to Thailand and Cambodia in August. It sounded amazing. Then it was time to start the tour. We did the last tour of the night, it started a little after 9:30 pm. We had a pretty big group, which, unfortunately, included some college age kids who just wanted to be scared and scare their friends. They were loud and obnoxious. It was hard to get in the moment. But the docent we had, Janice, was nice. She talked about the history of the house and the Whaley family, which was certainly interesting, sometimes eerie, but very cool. She also would add anecdotes about experiences that she, other docents, or guests have had in the house. That’s what got the most interest from the group, as loud as they were. But I’ll tell you this. The docents encourage photography, flash or not. You just can’t do video or audio recordings.

So I had my iPhone out, and it was strangely not working well. I hit the flash, and it would suddenly switch to no flash. That happened often, and it was weird. So I was just taking photos from all of the settings: auto, flash (if needed), and no flash. Plus, often, when I took a photo, the screen would flash pink or orange and the resulting shot would be very hazy, like I’d taken it through a wedding veil or something. Not all of the pictures were like that, but a good majority of them are. Since I couldn’t figure out what setting I was getting the best pictures from, I can’t tell if it was the energy of the place or just my phone camera going bad. I like to think it was the former.

Anyway, I’ll share just 2 of my photos. We were in the kitchen/dining room area, and I was right next to the kitchen. Here’s the first shot I took:

photo 1 - ktichen (you’ll see someone else’s phone in the shot as well)

After I took the shot above, I turned back in to the room and took a couple shots of the dining room table. Then I turned back around, and here’s the shot I got:

photo 2 - ktichen

If you watch any ghost shows like I do, they’ll tell you that those weird orbs are bits of energy that the spirits give off or move in. That shot might not be weird, but I took three more that were similar (and I made sure my finger wasn’t on the lens, and I cleaned the lens). Then I took a shot of the other side of the room, nothing unusual (except the haziness), then turned back toward the table, and it was just hazy. No orbs. Who knows?

From the dining room (which had followed the courthouse room and the general store), we went upstairs to the theater and then we were able to look into the bedrooms. Then it was back downstairs to another bedroom and the parlor room. And that was it! The theater is interesting. It’s the first commercial theater in San Diego. I had read that this month only, they’re showing silent horror films from the 1920s every Wednesday. After the tour, she talked to a docent who said that next week is their last one and that not very many people were there (only 6). The cool thing is that the museum is closed on Wednesday so the movie group is the only group in the place and you get the tour of the house after the movie. We decided we wanted to do that next week! It might be cooler, especially without the loudmouths. Anyway, there was another girl on the tour, and she was taking a ton of shots. Mindy had a look at them and told me I needed to see them. She took one shot in the theater. It was of the wall. You can see the light’s reflection on the wall, but then there’s this other light anomaly. The walls are green, and this spot was blueish, and when she zoomed in, I could definitely make out a face. It was so wild!

After the tour, we walked down the street to the El Campo Santo Cemetery which is where “Yankee” Jim was buried. He was the man who was hanged on the property where the Whaley House now stands and is said to be one of the spirits that haunts the house.

It was a fun time, and I look forward to going back on Wednesday!

After we said our farewells, I came home and worked some more 😦 then I went to bed.

The World Series starts on Tuesday so the whole weekend is open. Tomorrow, I’m doing acupuncture then a bunch of errands, then maybe I’ll get a movie or something.

Enjoy your weekend!

2012 wrap-up

Well, I must say my blogging this year was pretty atrocious. Except for my valiant effort in November (28 out of 30 days), the rest of my posts for the year add up to just 17. Pathetic. So I’ll try to recap my year here, because there was stuff I did, I just didn’t document it here.

January: The big news of January was my dad’s surgery. It seems like so long ago, and although the result was not what we had expected, it’s been okay. My mom also bought Lulu at the beginning of the month. 🙂


I went up to San Francisco and Napa to see Han play with Flan. One of the shows, Bob Weir, of the Grateful Dead was a guest and Han got to play percussion with him and also guitar (on “Friend of the Devil”). It was a big moment for Han, and I’m glad I was there to see it.

February: My first cover story for the San Diego Troubadour was published. It was about the Lovebirds. My dad was released from the hospital and stayed for a couple weeks in a rehab facility. At the end of the month, he was able to go home. At the Oscars, “The Artist” won Best Picture. I still haven’t seen it.

March: Ever since my dad got sick (August 2011), I’ve been trying to go up to see my parents about every other weekend. When Han is on the road, I’ll usually go up, too. I went up 3 weekends in March, one of which, my sister came down, too. I also had my first mammogram. We lost our friend, Eric Lowen, to ALS. And I got diverticulitis (2nd time in as many years) that took me to Urgent Care for about 12 hours. 😦

April: Since it was National Poetry Month, I attempted to write a poem a day. I think I got 4 poems in and that was it. I did attend a publication party for a book called News Clips & Ego Tripsan anthology of the best of Next…Magazine, a poetry ‘zine I contributed to in the late 90s. Sandy went with me to the reading that was in a funky bar in Long Beach. The Lovebirds released their debut CD (recorded by Han) called “Nutsy Pants.” I traveled with Han and the Acoustic Duo to Santa Barbara for a gig they had up there.

May: I went to La Mirada then joined the Acoustic Duo for a house concert in LA. I traveled to Berkeley for a work conference. The day before I left, we had a fairly large reorganization in my department which meant several people were let go. It sucked. D was in a performance of Peter Pan for Junior Theatre. Han traveled to Texas to do some recording with Barbara and also for the Acoustic Duo to play the Kerrville Folk Festival. I also cut my hair!

hair_May 12  haircut_May 12

June: I went ziplining! At the San Diego Wild Animal Park. It was awesome!

ziplining_June 12


I also had some health appointments: I had an ultrasound on my abdomen (beginning signs of a fatty liver), and I had a colonscopy. Everything’s fine down there, but the prep for that procedure is god-awful. We went to a ‘songwriting sleepover.’ The Acoustic Duo were guests in the morning (no camping for us!)

July: The Acoustic Duo went to England! I had jury duty. The AD had gigs in Burbank & Altadena. The Olympics started. D was in a performance of Footloose at Junior Theatre.

August: Went to Disneyland for 2 days to celebrate D’s 15th birthday with Han’s sister and nephew. From there, Han went to Las Vegas and I went to La Mirada. D went up to Washington with her aunt & cousin. Spent a week in Utah with my sister to help her after she had a total knee joint replacement. That was a great week.

September: Attended a wedding for a friend from work/music world. Got a nice photo with Han:


The Acoustic Duo performed the National Anthem at Petco Park before a Padres game.


I attended Matt & Joey’s surprise(!) wedding where Jeff was the officiant.  They had a photo booth.

L & J 3

I did a featured reading at Upstart Crow Bookstore. And then there was “O Berkley, Where Hart Thou?” It was triumphant!

finale_2012  me_BH

October: My second cover story about Sharon Whyte was published in the San Diego Troubadour. Han & I took an epic road trip that has been chronicled here and here. We started recording the Sordid Tales Podcast. I had a fantastic Halloween costume.


And the San Francisco Giants won the World Series. Here’s a photo of Flan and his wife, Hot Donna, in the parade 🙂

Flan & Donna
Flan & Donna

November: The Acoustic Duo had a great show at Swedenborg Hall. Han, D & I went to see “The Book of Mormon” in LA. I flew up to San Francisco and joined Han for some dates with Flan. I turned 41. Spent Thanksgiving with my parents.

December: I had a featured reading in Escondido at my friend, Robt’s poetry series. Had dinner at Mr. A’s with a duo who had completed their record with Han. Dad went back to the hospital for a few days but is much better now. Put together a small chapbook called Poems for Euterpe with all the poems I’ve read aboard the Star of India for Flan’s annual show. Went to La Mirada for Christmas and Sandy, MT & T came, too. Sandy, Jeff & I handled Christmas Eve dinner for all the family. It went great. Christmas was awesome, too.

familia  JB, me, Sandy, MT  Mom, Dad, T  Wann sibs

This weekend, I plan to get the house cleaned up, relax some, and gear up for 2013. On New Year’s Eve, the Acoustic Duo will be guests of Steve Poltz for his show at the Casbah. It should be quite the party!

These have all been personal reflections, certainly not a recap of the year in social or political issues. There are plenty of things that happened that will impact history (the presidential election, Superstorm Sandy, and the too many mass shootings to name a few). Even though these things are part of my world, the reflection of them are for someone else’s blog.

I’m not sure if I’ll get the chance to write again before the new year, so if not, see you next year!




Superstorm Sandy sure was a bitch! Welcome to November!

Hello friends ~ I don’t know if this is such a good idea, but I’m going to try NaBloPoMo this month.

My thoughts go out to everyone on the East Coast who suffered, or is suffering, from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I personally don’t have family there, but I have a lot of friends who do. The images & stories that are emerging are mind-boggling. It’s like the tsunami and Katrina rolled into one in some places. Terrible stuff.

In happier news, yesterday was Halloween, and I must say, I was damn proud of my costume. Y’know, some girls like to dress up sexy on Halloween. Me? I like to dress up as an old brilliant scientist.

Lizzie & Tessa (as Andromeda the galaxy)

My mom gave me the idea. And I must say, it was a huge hit! I had a lot of fun with it, and my co-workers seemed to appreciate it. I handed out candy last night, and the kids were so cute, mostly sweet and polite (the other few were just indifferent, not rude). I adore Halloween, and even though I was a little late getting into the spirit, I got it!

The election approaches. I’ve already mailed in my ballot. Here’s hoping for 4 more years for Obama!

Tomorrow, I’ll head up to my parents’ house for the weekend. Unexpectedly some work has to be done on our house & the water will need to be off for a day. Han will be in Las Vegas tomorrow and then in LA on Saturday, so I’ll head up to see Mom & Dad.

My friend, Flan, is a champion once again. The San Francisco Giants won the 2012 World Series, sweeping the Detroit Tigers. It has to be redemptive for Flan & Bochy who were both on the San Diego Padres in 1984 when they lost to Detroit in the World Series that year. Now they’ve won the WS for the 2nd time in 3 years (as coach & manager, respectively). It’s pretty freakin’ cool, especially since no one picked them to win it. I’m very happy for the Flan clan. Here’s a shot of him and his wife in the victory parade held yesterday.

Flan & Hot Donna

This is the month that I will also mark another year gone by. Last year we had a party and my friends chose some of my poems to read or make into songs. It was cool. Marcia’s boyfriend took video, but I still haven’t seen it! I remember it being a very special evening, if a little surreal. This year, there are no big plans. It falls on a Monday, and Han will be in northern CA the weekend before. I think we’ll try to go to dinner on Sunday night. The question is whether I go into work that day or not.

On November 15, Han, DK & I will go up to LA to see “The Book of Mormon”! That’ll be so fun. Still not sure how it’s all going to work logistically since Han will head off to Lebec after the show. We’ll figure it out, always do.

That’s all for now. Have to save some for the rest of the month 🙂


Hello November! My 2nd favorite month simply because this is my birth month!

The month didn’t start too well, though. We had to take our truck to the shop, again. It had a dead battery due to clogged fuel injectors or something like that. But it’s all better now, although the pocketbook took a bit of a hit.

This month should be filled with activity. Han’s on the road a bit, then music season starts up, my 40th birthday(!), plus trips up to my folks’ house. Not to mention that work is still pretty busy, and of course the holidays are right around the corner as they say. I still have to watch my 2 Halloween movies (Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus)! Don’t start showing Thanksgiving stuff yet in the stores or on TV, or even worse, Christmas stuff! Take it down a notch, retail world!

This post isn’t very interesting, but it’s NaBloPoMo, and I didn’t want to miss the first day!