Sunday, November 25, 2012

High on Kauai (Day One)

I'm in Kauai now.  Exhausted.  5 1/2 hour flight and I felt it for the first time.  My back was killing me by hour 2.  Today was just about dealing with the practicalities.

Oh, and I finally found a cure for insomnia:
Don't sleep at all the night prior.
Get out the door by 6am.
Hang out at the airport for two hours, most of it in an actual line.
5 1/2 hour flight of twisting in seat.
Airplane change.
Drag one suitcase and one gym bag around because "hey, the car agency is just right over there, no need for a trolley"
Drive an unfamiliar Jeep on unfamiliar roads.
Check in and unpack.
Go back out to get groceries.
Haul them home.
Make dinner (tuna sashimi with cucumber salad) and get drunk on two strong bloody marys.
Do ten laps in the pool
Do 20 minutes in the hot tub
Hot shower back at the condo and long, indulgent bedtime ritual of cleansers and moisturizers.
Drink cold glass of milk with half a cookie (those big kinds)
Now... try to plan your itinerary for the week and watch how well you slump over on the couch. :wink:

I acknowledge it's a heck of a solution for every time I find myself unable to sleep, but it's a pretty good option.

I've currently dragged my butt off the sofa and am burrowing myself into the covers of my bed.

I'll leave the TV on for noise and probably play on the 'puter for a while.  I must be up at 6 because I have an island tour scheduled and they're going to pick me up at 7.

My back still hurts a bit.  Took some advil.  

Thus ends our intro to How to Arrive In Paradise 101.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The following post is essentially the flurry of emails that ensued in the middle of Friday and carried through Saturday afternoon.  I've replaced names with general descriptions in order to respect privacy, but it should be easy to follow along.  Please forgive the odd formatting issues and if anyone knows how the heck to post a video (I've done it before, why can't I do it again?!) please help!!! I've got cool video too!


From This Art Geek (T.A.G.)
Hi, guys
I'm currently at work and (should have done my research long ago) don't have time to find out if the Endeavour "Parade" is live streaming online anywhere.  I thought of you guys because you're the only ones who came to mind as possibly being as space nerdy as me.  A thousand pardons if I've offended or misjudged your level of interest, though.  =)
Anybody got any good sites I can try?!  I can hide my phone under my monitor and sneak a peek once in a while, so I'd appreciate any tips.  I'll keep trying some research of my own, but can only do quick searches at a time.
Hugs and kisses to all!

From Cousin 1:
Hi T.A.G.,
I looked around and didn't find anything, just news coverage.  Sorry... I wanted to see some live footage myself.  I'm planning on going very early tomorrow (3am) and hope to see it. Sorry, but it was great to hear from you.

From Cousin 2
I can’t find anything either 

From T.A.G.
I'm pretty sure I'll be attempting LA tomorrow morning as well.  My dad and I want to go see it but I'm not sure how decided he is and if he's willing to do the wing-and-a-prayer approach with me.  Both he and my mom called me at work on the day of the fly-over, squealing with delight that they had seen it.  We're all pretty nerdy that way. 
I keep hearing that they are discouraging people from assembling at the route, but I can't imagine that being too successful. 
Thanks for looking, guys.  I do appreciate it.  Plus, it's always heart-warming to hear from you all.
Besitos gordos,
From Cousin 2:
Hi T.A.G., 
I don’t think Cousin 3 is working today, (it is her birthday).
So she might be at home trying to track the Endeavour.                
Cousin 2   

From T.A.G.:
Thanks, Cousin 2! 
And now I feel bad that i'm getting in touch to ask for something instead of to say happy birthday, as any good cousin/niece/goddaughter should do.
Cousin 3, will you forgive me my blatant selfishness?!  I'm not completely out of the loop, by the way, I'm the one who pointed out to my parents that our prior engagement might conflict with your dinner, but since I thought it would be an evening get-together, I figured we could still make it.
If that's not the case, we can always re-schedule.  We don't see you guys enough.  That's just wrong.
Anyhow, I hope you're having a lovely day.  Happy Birthday, dear heart, and give R a hug for me,

From T.A.G.:
Cousin 2, the  email bounced back to me. I'll try the one I have in my address book.
From Cousin 2:
Yeah, try her other email.           

From Cousin 2:
You know, T.A.G., I don’t know what is going on with Cousin 3’s email.
Both of her addresses bounced back my email.
I’ll try to find out what’s going on. 

From Cousin 1:
Channel 11 has a live feed.
From T.A.G.:
Cousin 2,  her 1977 (att domain) address didn't bounce back to me, so I'm assuming it went.
Cousin 1, I'll try the Ch 11 website!  Thanks!
From Cousin 1:
Yea, I'm watching it now.
From Cousin 3:
T.A.G., I did receive your message. 
I don't see anything on channel  11 but channel 9 has live coverage.
Cousin 3

From T.A.G.:
Got it!!!!  Thank you thank you!
From Cousin 3:
Sorry, I'm talking about channel 9 TV news and you are talking about Chanel 11 website. Well, as long as we can all see it. We are all nerdy about the shuttle!!

From Cousin 2:
I’m watching it on the channel 11 website.
Some lady is sitting on the roof with a baby on her lap!

From T.A.G.:
Crud.  My phone won't play the feed.  I'm having to add the network app to view video.  Sitting here downloading on my phone.  I'm gonna get fired.
Meanwhile I see on my work computer.  Hope no one comes in to the office.  =)
From Cousin 3:
PS: T.A.G. I have added Cousin 4's e-mail for you. He's Also a nerd!

From T.A.G.:
Excellent!  Now I have you all .... bwahh ha ha.  Hello, Cousin 4!!! 
Meanwhile, dang phone downloaded the Ch 11 app and it still won't show me the live feed.  I've downloaded an app for nothing.  Just what I wanted.
I've given up all pretense and am keeping the website up on my work computer.  If I get fired, it'll be a mixed blessing.
From T.A.G.:
Well, kids, this was fun! 
I'm off in 10 minutes and heading straight home to park myself in front of the TV and my computer and drool with a bucket of popcorn.  If anyone'll be online for a running commentary, look me up!
Kisses galore,

From Cousin 2:
I’ll look you up when I get home in about an hour and a half.
Say hi to your mom and dad and O and his wife.
Cousin 2

From Cousin 1:
I still waiting to see it go by Randys Donuts.

From T.A.G.:
That's right!  Wait, I'd heard that Randy's was going to fashion a mini-shuttle to look like it was flying through the donut hole.
But then I also recall something about them not being on the route anymore... or something.  I dunno.  My gossip's on the fuzzy side.
From T.A.G. (5 pm):
Wait!  Isn't that the donut at the bottom of the screen?
From T.A.G. (5:20pm):
In case you were watching the Fox feed that went down, here's the CBS feed:
From Cousin 1 (1am)
I'm on the corner of Manchester and Inglewood ave.  I can see it coming up. It still about 30 mins away.
From Cousin 1  (2:40 am)
We got a little closer to it, but its still not moving. I doubts its going to make it to the forum by 8 am. It still near the 405 freeway.
From Cousin 1 (4 am):

From T.A.G. (4:30 am)

From T.A.G. (5:25)
I've parked at the forum!

From T.A.G. (5:45 am)
Ok, I'm smack dab in the middle of a big, empty space where there will eventually be a space shuttle.
Shoulda brought a chair.

From Cousin 3:
Cousin 1, are you still with the shuttle. Have you seen T.A.G. yet?
Send more pictures!

From T.A.G. (7am):
Did anyone get my email earlier? Just want to be sure the dang phone isn't sputtering out on me.
Just heard from my adopted family (people I've befriended here in the crowd) that the shuttle is at La Brea and should be at the forum 45 minutes ahead of schedule.
Cousin 1, if you need me, text. Regardless, I'm checking my emails periodically.

From T.A.G. (7:25):
I SEE IT!!!!!!!!!
I think I just peed a little.

From Cousin 3:
Send pictures!! 

From T.A.G.:

From T.A.G. (8:30 am):
Well, kids, I'm emotionally drained. I'm about as close as I'm going to get to this thing and it's going to park here now for another hour.
Meanwhile, I'm hungry.  Someone said something about an ihop nearby.  Gonna look it up and plan accordingly.

From Cousin 3:
T.A.G., you are the ultimate nerd! Good for you for your commitment.
Get a good rest when this is all done today. We'll see you tomorrow!
Cousin 3 

From T.A.G.:
Bonus of the day: breakfast with Cousin 1! Yay! Gonna meet him in a couple of minutes. 
Must visit the loo before I start doing the rain dance.
See you tomorrow!

From Cousin 2 (2:10 pm)
Wow, I didn’t know you guys were going to look at it in person. 
It took forever for me get home yesterday going south on the 405.
I drove right by Randy’s Donuts but I had no idea the shuttle was there.

From T.A.G. (3:15)
Shhh... I'm sleeping.
Cousin 2, My parents have left to drive up there and maybe see it at the destination.   I can play control tower if you want to try to meet them.  They have my mom's cell phone with them, but she has this fantastic habit of either having it off or not being able to hear it.
If you want to try them: (phone number)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And you thought this was gonna be a quiet Thursday night...

There's an opossum in the garage.  

Dang thing's bigger'n the neighbor's dog.  'Course, the neighbor's dog is a pomeranian, so that's not tough to be, but you get what i'm sayin'.

Mom's threatening to burn the garage down.  Deathly afraid of the little buggers, she is.  

Gonna get exciting up in here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Tropic of California

I grew up here in sunny Southern California.

Though not a particularly long enough life to justify my sitting in a rocker on the veranda and waxing poetic about "back when I was a pup...", I do have a recollection - and not a long ago one - of the arid climate that goes along with living in what is essentially a desert.

I mention this because it's raining today.  I'm in my shorts and a tank top, barefoot.  It's not horribly hot, but it's warm enough that twice this week I've come home to put on the AC.  I'm pretty hard to convince the AC needs to be on.  Today was muggy all day and now it's raining.  75 degrees and raining.

This is Mexico City weather, not Southern California!  What in heaven's name is going on?  It's the apocalypse, I tell you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Nina, The Pinta, and a Soccer Ball

Poppa decided to watch the world cup soccer final today.  ‘Twas Spain versus Italy.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell how invested Dad is in any given game. And sometimes it’s hard to know where our allegiances lie when the teams that are playing are particularly foreign.  Usually we default to any team from Latin America, just on the premise that, being Mexican, we all come from a similar culture.  In this case I heard him exclaim from the next room when the first goal of the game was scored.  Here’s how it went down:

Dad:       Goal! Spain scored!
Me:        (From my room, attempting solidarity) Yay! (… and then realizing I didn’t know who was playing nor who we were rooting for, I walked over to the TV room…)  Wait, who are we rooting for?
Dad:       (Somewhat shadily) Um… I guess Spain.
Me:        Because … it’s the motherland?
Dad:       Sure.
Me:        Ok.  Hey, Mom!  We’re winning!
Mom:    That’s nice, dear.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yes, Yes, I Know

I've had a few emails and such, nudging me to get off my butt and keep writing.  Trust Dave Kellett's Sheldon Strip to drive home the relationship between climate and prolificity.  I don't care if it's not a word.  When one is not fitting my needs, I resort to creating it.

Behold the wisdom I refer to:

Having established this meticulously researched scientific theory, I can only surmise that my stop-and-start patterns of late are more due to the steadfast and stubborn stagnation of the thermometer, permanently parked at 80 degrees for much of the year in Sunny Southern California than to my talents, abilities, time constraints, inspirations, ruminations or lack thereof.

For me it's Rocky Road ice cream instead of rum but, hey, to each her paradise.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We Have New Babies!

Six new babies in the nursery!
  • Two Shubunkin
  • Two High Fin Banded Sharks
  • Two Koi.... (I know... *GASP*) The big purchase.
I'm including useless photos since they are all quite scared out of their wits and hiding behind the waterplants. But in the meantime, you can see what they are supposed to look like.
The Shubunkin are essentially large goldfish and are also known as Calicos which you can understand because they have lots of black spots on an orange and white body.
The High Fin Sharks are about the same size as the Shubunkin (about 3 to 5") but are black and white striped and get their name from the hefty dorsal fin that towers over them.
And the Koi are the smallest I could find, both due to cost as well as the hopes that they will do well in the size of the fountain. I've heard that they grow according to their context, so I hope that they don't outgrow the fountain. One is white with a red spot on the head and the other is white with orange spots along its body. They are slightly larger than the other four fish, but all six seem to be huddling together quite trustingly with each other. I guess there is such a thing as courage in numbers.
Anyway, here are two pictures of them trying to hide, which is why I included pictures off the internet so you can see what it is that's behind those plants.

As usual, the naming ceremony will be delayed until I get a better sense of their adjusting and surviving...(one of the sharks already looks kinda iffy). In the meantime, i'll start ruminating for options.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Far, Far Away

The people in New York want me to come back.

They've made no bones about it.  They've sent message after message.  I've been getting mail insisting upon my return.  Email and snail mail.  Both.  The people in New York want me back. 

Specifically, I should clarify, it's the people from The Metropolitan Opera House.  Want me to buy more opera tickets, they do.  Would very much enjoy my money, please. 

Someone should tell the people at The Met to look more carefully at the envelope they send out and acknowledge that I'm not exactly down the road and around the corner.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sweet Tweet

The mockingbirds have made their annual nest right outside my window, under the beams of the pergola with the rose bush branches woven in.  The last we dared to get close enough to check it, it had little eggs in it.

Today, we've seen both parents bring small, yummy bug meals to the nest, which leads us to believe the little rugrats have been born.  I've forbidden anyone near the nest, and hope that the feline population (our three plus the honorary member that really belongs to the family across the street but hangs out in our yard all the time) stays the heck away or they'll have to answer to me.  The babies must be terribly small yet because they aren't making those god-awful screeching sounds when the parents near the nest and they know they are about to get a morsel. 

In the meantime, as mom putters around the patio, the parents are none too happy about her getting too close, screeching and posturing as they perch on the cross beams just over mom's head.  Mom has calmly reminded them that this is her house, she has no ill intentions, and alright already, she'll move farther away.

It's a beautiful day out today and the yard looks truly warm and cozy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Scream

I studied Art History for four years and specialized in Renaissance Art because I related to it, had some inherent understanding of it due to my Catholicism and what I'd been exposed to up until then.
My final year in college, I finally got around to taking the upper level courses of Modern Art, Theory and Criticism and discovered that, had I taken these earlier, they would have likely made me think twice about the choice I'd made. I'd already sunk many semesters, courses, and language requisites into the specialization that I'd chosen, so it was too late to start over.
I think it was the instructor that really did it for me. The right presentation can have a lot to do with how one absorbs information.
There were a number of memorable lectures in her classes:
  • Picasso's Guernica - dramatic and impactful
  • Jeff Koons (in general) - hilarious and accessible
  • Jenny Holzer - fantastic discovery
  • Jackson Pollock - existential moment
  • The Dadaists - we got yelled at
And there was one lecture that was memorable for the overall opus rather than for any one particular work. Edvard Munch's The Scream is iconic and identifiable around the world, and often ripped off in pop cultural references. Though it's his most famous work, it's his lesser knowns which have stayed with me over the years. Dr. K walked us through Munch's progression and his experimentation, noting details in his images that might otherwise go unnoticed or misunderstood. His work was so dark, so desperate, and as we learned about his personal life, we began to sympathize with his path. There were shocking images and some that tested our patience. But the series he did as he watched his sister wither away in bed, dying of tuberculosis, was truly heartbreaking.
The lights went on at the end of day two of the Munch lecture. Not a dry eye in the room.
We'll never know what makes one image more iconic than another. We're arbitrary beings that way.
Today, The Scream set the world record for the most expensive painting sold at an auction. It went for $119,922,500.