(not the teenage kind)

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Hotel

I'm not going to say exactly where I am but some people call it the happiest place on earth. And I arrive at this happiest of places at 9:30 in the morning and get into the long, long check in line and they tell me that my room will not be ready until 3:00 or so. This is to be expected. But then at around 1:00 the other people at my conference go to check in and they get their room. So I ask about my room again and it is still not ready. Those people who tell you that the early bird catches the worm are so lying. More injustices!

At 5:00 I wait in another long, long line and finally get my room. I get to my door of my room and standing in front of the door of my room are a woman and her small child. We compare room portfolios and find we have both been assigned the same room. The woman kindly offers to go back downstairs and get her room changed as I am laden down with my duffel bag and suitcase and purse and stuff.

I settle into my room briefly and then go out for a long leisurely dinner and then some shopping. I get back to my room a little after 9:00 and the key card will not work. So I go downstairs to the lobby and ask to speak to the manager immediately. And a long time after immediately the manager finally comes to speak to me. I tell him about the assignment of my room to more than one person. "That is a bad, bad mistake," I tell him. "A really bad mistake." In fact, even as I am sitting here typing this, I am thinking that in my whole life this has not once happened to me and if it has ever happened to anyone I know, I have not heard about it. It is a mistake that just should not happen.

So this is what he says to me here at the happiest place in the world after explaining that basically they had turned off my key card when the woman came down to change her room...."There's no way we can ever find out why two people were assigned the same room. I could go on and on and give you all the boring details about hotel operations but I'm sure you're really tired and so I'm just going to fix the problem. "

I could go into a whole long tirade but it is late and I am tired so let us just say I can not wait to fill in my customer satisfaction card.

don dokken's birthday celebration report

Liked the blog. But I'm not sure if it was clear that the Sunday
"agenda" was skirted. So here's what you missed. I ended up going to
see the Dolls solo, and luckily so as it would have been considered by
one to be "full of injustices." Sunset Junction is great – it's also
a mess. It's sort of a mix between a gay pride parade and the
apocalypse done as a block party. With a lotta real drunk people
thrown in for fun. I got there and bee-lined for the Dolls' stage
(which of course was the stage furthest away from me – my luck strikes
again – though someone would suggest it was a lack of agenda planning
on my part). I got there just in time for the Eagles of Death Metal,
who were actually quite fun, with the lead singers kept yelling
"Let's hear it for rock n'roll! Let's hear it for the ladies!" It
was Jack Black's birthday, keeping the theme going here, and he came
up to sing a song. Not sure why, but the lead singer screamed "This
one's for the devil!" followed with another "Let's hear it for the
ladies!" Jack Black did his Jack Black thing, and was gone. " Oh my
God I love the ladies! Let's hear it for the ladies! And for rock n
roll too!" screamed the lead singer, who pulled his sweaty shirt off a
tossed it into the audience. That was pretty cool. So they were
over. Then it was the Suicide Girls. I used the opportunity to get
pretty close to the stage for the Dolls. You wouldn't believe how
boring the Suicide Girls could make stripping but they succeeded. I
don't think stripping's been very good since the '70's but that's just
my opinion. Then the Dolls came on. Oh my God. I have to admit I
was pretty excited – and kinda scared. Age is not kind to the rock n
roll body, and the Dolls are down to 2 members now. David Jo strolled
out on stage, gorgeous in tight black jeans, a half white t with a
bespeckled loincloth & sunglasses. And those arms - oh my! He's one
skinny dude. Been through a lot (if you don't know who I'm talking
about, it's Buster Poindexter for you cats living in Squaresville).
The bass player was from Hanoi Rocks, and the guitarist looked a
little like Ron Wood -- didn't do the Johnny Thunders spaz licks
though. They did do a song for him -- 'Can't Wrap Your Arms Around A
Memory'. And they did 'Take A Little Piece Of My Heart', while David
often lifted his loincloth and thrusted -- that was fun, and very rock
n roll. And he played with his hair a lot. The crowd was mess.
Drunk. Just a mess. There was this drunk guy who kept leaning on me
(more injustice!). Finally this Tom of Finland guy just grabbed him
and threw him like a rag doll -- he was bumping into everyone,
annoying his man. It was pretty scary at first, then kinda funny when
the Tom of Finland guy hugged his man and said 'did he hurt you?'
Then a tall poser-punk (not even close!) couple, of course tall,
pushed in front of me and started kissing. Nice. Here's something
annoying for the 21st century -- everyone had digi cameras & cell
phone cameras, holding them up like lighters. It was just wrong.
Well, okay I did it too. There was a ton of people, ton of trash, a
ton of cops, and it was 105 degrees. But the Dolls were fun. Kinda.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

don dokken's birthday celebration

The Agenda
don dokken said that for his birthday he wanted to go Downtown - something about Clifton's Cafeteria and some museums. He said I could have the entire weekend. So I set about trying to arrange a fun Saturday and Sunday with all the things that he wanted to do incorporated which required hours and days of research after which I typed up a draft Agenda. And he approved the draft although, given his confusion about what we were doing when, I would bet that maybe he didn't even read it. He is a very, very busy man. Because of his commitments, the events for both Saturday and Sunday could not start until 2:30ish and the days went roughly like this -
Saturday - meet at my house, drive downtown, visit two museums, cocktails at The Biltmore, dinner at TheWater Grill
Sunday - meet at don's house, drive downtown, lunch/dinner at Clifton's Cafeteria, Silverlake for Sunset Junction and the New York Dolls

Agenda Shift
don needed to pick up his mustang which resulted in a shift in the agenda to meet at my house, drive to the mustang place, drive to my workplace so I could pick up something that don needed, meet at his house where he would change his clothes and then head downtown. Starting at 3:00 ish.

When we made the plans for this weekend, we did not realize that the temperature would be one hundred and bazillion degrees. don's apartment is up a long driveway and when I arrived to pick him up after the mustang pick-up, he came down the driveway and here was the beginning of a major and almost birthday celebration threatening miscommunication. I did not want to wait in the car in one hundred and bazillion degree weather. He did not want me to come into his place because he hates it. I started carrying on about sitting in the car with the air conditioning on and the high cost of gas and he said something in a voice meant to calm about giving him two minutes to clean up.

So I'm sitting in the car by his driveway and a woman knocks on the car door and her name is Trish and she is actually looking for don dokken. She is canvassing for a candidate for Councilman on this hot, hot day and I told her not to bother him because he was getting ready to go out, that he would be down in a minute. She was quite proud to inform that don is a 100% perfect voter and I promised her that he would vote for her candidate. And then she told me that their headquarters were nearby and that they had all this good food all the time that people made for them like tamales and pastries. So I decided if I was ever unemployed I could just drop by their headquarters and I would not starve.

don dokken finally came down and looked all puzzled when I introduced him to Trish. After she went away, it turned out that he was cleaning up his place, not himself, and expected me to come up in two minutes and when I didn't come up he felt very flustered and rushed. So that was the bad foot the birthday celebration started off on. And it didn't get better for quite awhile. But he looked very handsome despite the rushing.

Albertson's Market
don was thirsty from all the rushing and wanted me to stop at the 7-11 near his house but I didn't see it and went to the Albertson's Market instead. It turns out don hates the Albertson's Market and now that I've been there I do too. We walked around and around and around before he finally found some refrigerated carbonated cherry flavored water. Oh, the best thing about this Albertson's was that they had these benches just sitting in odd places like in front of the meat display so you could sit on a bench in the middle of the market and stare at the meat. Whatever.

We got into the 10 item line with our one item and here is where things took a really, really bad turn because there were people in the line with 17 items, I counted them, and the injustice of it all made me very, very angry. And let's just say that when I see an injustice like that I can not keep my mouth shut. Not that opening my mouth in this situation did any good. Yeah, we'll just leave it there and move on.

The Water
And here we come to what don and I later agreed was our favorite part of the birthday celebration. We got in the car in the Albertson's Market parking lot after I totally embarrassed him in front of the Albertson Market's employees and patrons and don opened his cool, refreshing carbonated cherry water and......it exploded all over him! Isn't that hillarious? He was soaked from chest to knee and the car seat was all flooded too. On top of that the drink that he thought was lightly flavored cherry, actually tasted like cherry cough syrup! Well, at least it was one hundred and bazillion degrees outside so I kept telling him that I was sure it would dry fast.

Sci-Arc is an architecture school located Downtown in Littly Tokyo. don wanted to see an exhibit in the gallery there called "Whatever Happened to LA?" As I was putting together the agenda for the day I checked on their website and found that the gallery was open daily from 10 - 6. By the time we arrived, it was 4:30 ish and the first thing that happened was we had trouble even finding the way in. They were doing some filming or something plus it seemed like school must not have been in session, I don't know, but we finally got to the gallery and it was...locked. I would have thought I misread the website but then don noticed etched on the window outside the gallery it said "Open Daily 10 - 6." More injustices! I wrote a little note on their mailing list sheet, something about how we had driven all the way out from the Valley just to see this exhibit and that we think they are very,very rude people.

I started approaching random students and then a security guard. You would think the security guard would have the key, wouldn't you? He went off to look for someone and came back and told us that at least we could come up to the second floor and look down onto the exhibit. Which we did. So that was something.

Next on the agenda was the Basquiat exhibit at MOCA but because we had such a late start and such bad luck we decided to skip that agenda item and go straight to the Biltmore Hotel for cocktails.

The Fuzz
The Water Grill, where we had dinner reservations for 6:30 and which is right next to the Biltmore Hotel, had called to say that there was going to be filming on the street where you entered to park but to just tell the police directing traffic that we had reservations there and they would let us through. So when we got to the police barricade I cheerfully said "We have reservations at the Water Grill" and, in keeping with our luck of the day, the kind and loving police officer (aka "the fuzz") basically said too bad. But it all worked out okay. We went up and down and around and around several one way downtown blocks and finally found a secondary entrance to The Water Grill valet.

The Biltmore Hotel
And here our luck finally changed. We sat in the Gallery Bar and had our cocktails and don ate almost an entire bowl of peanuts and I worked very hard not to be my mother and say something about how he was going to spoil his appetite. We then toured the ab fab hotel which was the site of the first Academy Awards and the nice and courteous and helpful hotel staff encouraged us to open the doors to the amazing ballrooms and take a peek. And we looked at the blown up pictures on the wall from the aforementioned Academy Award ceremony and we went downstairs and saw the nicely renovated health club. And then it was time to go next door for dinner.

The Water Grill
What can I say? One of the best meals ever. They gave us a great table, the service was superb, and the food was excellent. Thank you, Water Grill, for making the perfect end to a not-so-perfect day. There was only one disappointment at the Water Grill and that was that there were no banana desserts. But, not to worry for those planning a trip there in the future, our waiter promised that he would personally deliver my personal message to Ms. Koa Duncan, the pastry chef, and all would be rectified.

Okay, I started this post at 8:45 am and it is now 3:40 pm. There was a trip to the beach in between (another story for later) but I am exhausted. By the way, the agenda for today has been postponed. Nap time.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


As some of you know, I am the President of the Board of Directors of a foster care and adoption agency called Inner Circle. Every year around this time Inner Circle has a foster parent appreciation dinner which don dokken has graciously attended with me for the last few years. This year he thought that maybe he should stop being so selfish and allow someone else, namely one of my parents, to have the joy of the delicious and tasteful chicken dinner and exciting and stimulating entertainment and speeches which we all know is de rigueur for these types of events.

The lucky, lucky winner in the parent toss-up was my mom and I am sure glad I brought her. And I think she is glad she went. She has been a supporter of the agency and I am sure she left believing her money was well spent.

We have a new Executive Director and she did an amazing job with this dinner. She invited former foster parents, social workers who have been helpful to the agency, and hired a really funny improv comedy group. Which was a major improvement over the band last year that was old and slow and could not get anyone on to the dance floor. And the comedian the year before who was told to keep it clean since we do work with children and let's just say that a letter of apology from the Executive Director to the foster parents went out immediately the next day.

The best part of the evening was when we honored a couple who have been foster parents with the agency for 10 years and in that time have fostered 24 children. And then they brought out two of the foster kids as a surprise. These boys gave the greatest speeches too. They said, "I know we look like kids (they did) but we're adults. We have jobs, we pay our rent, we balance our checkbooks" and went on to say it's because of the chores these parents gave them and and the skills they taught them. Me crying of course.

At the dinner I sat next to a woman who is volunteering her time redesigning our website. Check it out in a month or so, you will not believe the difference. Okay, enough of the public service announcement - time for some celebrity poker and sudoku puzzles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Impossible Dream

Last night I had a dream that the pup talked to me. The conversation went like this:

Pup: Baghdad

Me: Did you say Baghdad?

Pup: Baghdad

Me: Who's the President of Baghdad?

Pup: Washington

Me: No, not Washington. Can you say Saddam?

Pup (screwing up his face and trying really hard): Saddam

(If he would just stop sitting all over the newspaper, we both might be a little less confused.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

I Am Such A Dork

That's what Helen told me at least. We were shopping at Staples and when they rang me up the cashier said "Guess what? You have been randomly selected to enter a $5,000 shopping spree. You just have to go onto our website and tell them how I treated you today." I started jumping up and down and smiling and got all excited like I had actually won the $5,000. And then I had to rub it all in to Helen, after they rung her up, that she did not win the opportunity to enter a $5,000 shopping spree. Me? A winner of a chance to win. Yay!

But talk about dorky. You should have seen us with the school supplies. My department at work is participating in a "get a needy child school supplies for a backpack" event. My assignment was pens, erasers, markers, and rulers. Well, first, we got all nostalgic about book covers because they had these tough to tear, funky material book covers. "I guess they don't make them out of paper bags anymore," Helen said sadly. Then... you know those black and white composition notebooks? We almost each bought one. Just for the memories.

The pens had us stumped. They had these great packets of multi-colored pens but it seemed to me that back in the dark ages of paper bag book covers when I went to school it was black or blue or nothing. That's what I was thinking at the Staples store at least. So I went up to this little girl and showed her the multi-color pen pack and said "What kind of pens are you allowed to use at school. Are these okay?" And she looked at me like I was a dorky, crazy lady and said "Yes." Then her mother came up and said, "I'm a teacher and as long as I can read what the kids write, I don't care what color it is." Even so, Helen made me buy conservative blue pens (I would have preferred black, I never use blue ink, but Helen insisted because a handwriting analysis person told her that blue shows you're honest or something. Who's the dork?) along with the fun multi-colored just in case our student had an old, strict teacher. It was only later that I remembered the Lindy pens I used in school which were pink and purple and little and fun.

I am going to go take the survey now so I can officially get my chance to win the $5,000 shopping spree. And if I win? Black and white composition notebooks for everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Go Cindy Sheehan!

Last week I received an email from Lisa, a friend of mine from the Howard Dean campaign, inviting me to join her at a candlelight vigil on the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon in support of Cindy Sheehan. Cindy is the woman who lost her son in the Iraq war and is camping out in Crawford Texas while the President is on vacation there in hopes of meeting with him to ask him why her son had to die. She has been joined by over 100 people and they are calling it Camp Casey after her son. The Commander in Chief has refused a meeting with her though he drove right by in his limo on the way to a fundraiser. Full disclosure - he did meet with her immediately following her son's death but here's a description of the meeting from www.truthout.org:
After Casey's death, Cindy Sheehan was invited to the White House for a visit with Mr. Bush in June of 2004. Her first memory of Bush's appearance that day was when he walked into the room and said in a loud, bluff voice, "Who we'all honorin' today?"

"His mouth kept moving," Sheehan later recalled of her meeting with Bush, "but there was nothing in his eyes or anything else about him that showed me he really cared or had any real compassion at all. This is a human being totally disconnected from humanity and reality. His eyes were empty, hollow shells." Bush called her "Ma" or "Mom" throughout the whole meeting, and never got around to learning her name.

"The whole meeting was simply bizarre and disgusting," Sheehan said later. "designed to intimidate instead of providing compassion. He didn't even know our names. I just couldn't believe this was happening. It was so surreal and bizarre. Later I met with some of the other fifteen or sixteen families who were at the White House the same day and, sure enough, they all felt the same way I did.
I told Lisa that unfortunately I was busy that night and that what I really wanted to do was just go to Crawford Texas. And then I forgot all about it even though I read yesterday that Cindy Sheehan's husband is now divorcing her.

Tonight I was driving home a little after 9:00 and I got to the corner of Laurel Canyon and Ventura and there they all were. All the candlelight vigil people. And there were lots and lots of them! I mean lots. And they were singing and people were honking and right in front was my friend Lisa. I honked and waved and she tried to get me to join them but it was way past my bedtime. And when I got home I needed to call my crazy cat lady neighbor about the dumpster that was all of sudden parked in front of my driveway and she told me that the vigils were happening all over the country.

So I went to Cindy's website and really it is a whole nationwide movement. You can download a "America Stands With Cindy" sign. You can also see that there is discord in everything as there is a post from a handyman and handywoman who say they are now not coming because they emailed and called and no one called back to say what they need and they've built their own house and would come and bring tools but now they're not going to. And you can deposit money at the pizza place in Waco that has agreed to deliver to Camp Casey. Lance Armstrong is coming this weekend. Not to Camp Casey but to see the Prez who I guess has taken up bike riding. Check it out. They will be there until the President's vacation ends in late August.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I Learn From My Mistakes

Just thought you all needed to know that since you had to be so involved with the painful fountain installation process and me not asking any of the right questions regarding the working of the fountain. So when the guy came to talk to me about replacing all my windows I was prepared.

Let me start by saying the window replacement guy is the nicest guy ever. He played with the pup for five minutes and then starting pulling out pictures of his own three dogs. Then he asked me what my tatoo meant ("Grace") and he told me this story about a guy he knew who thought his Chinese symbol tatoo meant one thing but really meant "I love ponies." And I said, "Well, mine could say 'I love ponies' for all I know." And he said, "But that wouldn't be as bad. He's a big guy but you're a small, cute woman. It's okay for you to love ponies." That's me - small and cute! We love the window replacement guy.

But, again, his niceness and flattery did not lead me down my previous path of not asking the right questions. Although I think maybe it is mentally healthier for me not to know all the facts. What happens is that once I get all the facts my brain starts spinning. Because it turns out that if I get the windows replaced I will have to get the paint around the windows, which is still quite smooth and lovely in many places, all touched up. It's been 7 1/2 years since the house was last painted. If I'm going to have to do the touch up, should I just get the whole place painted? And if I don't get the whole place painted, where would I find someone who would just come in to do a touch up? Oh, and the windows are all alarmed so now I have to call the alarm company and get an understanding of the cost and process to re-alarm all the windows. And I put in all new screens when I moved in but the new windows come with their own screens. So all that time and money on the screens would become a waste, right? You see? Overwhelming and complicated. I think it would be easier just to move.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I Hate Sudoku

This might be confusing to those of you who might have read just a few posts back that I LOVE Sudoku. And really confusing to those of you who do not know what Sudoku is. Well, Sudoku is the (fairly) new puzzle in the Los Angeles Times, apparently started in Japan and it is true that for awhile I was in love with the Sudoku puzzle. My favorite weekend was printing out a bunch of Sudoku puzzles from www.sudoku.org.uk and lazily working them through. Or at lunchtime to just go off by myself to the cafeteria and get lunch and sit and do my puzzle. Here are the instructions straight from the L.A. Times on how to complete the Sudoku puzzle:

"Complete the grid so each row, column and 3-by-3 box (in bold borders) contains every digit 1 to 9." I was just whizzing through the Sudoku puzzles. Even the ones labeled "tough."

And then I went to Des Moines. And I printed a bunch of puzzles to take with me. And I was doing them at Aunt Mary's house and I tried to explain the puzzle to her and she just looked at me all puzzled and I said "Well, you have to be REALLY smart to do them." And I was totally joking. Really. Joking. But being smarmy like that is always going to come back to bite you and, since returning from Des Moines, I have not been able to do one Sudoku puzzle correctly. Not one.

So tonight I was determined to conquer the curse I had put upon myself. I opened my very last bottle of Preston Vin Gris Rose Table Wine. I went into the backyard and turned on the fountain. I brought a pencil, eraser, and a Sudoku puzzle that was labeled "gentle." I went slowly. It was excruciating. At one point I thought, "It would be really nice if there was an earthquake right now. Then I could stop obsessing about this puzzle and go stand under a doorway or something." And I was having troubles with the sevens and nines and cursing the sevens and nines but still thinking I would have a triumphant story to tell you at the end but no. Here is how my carefully nurtured, gentle Sudoku puzzle now looks:

I am humbled. So humbled. Curse, please be gone. I just want to start enjoying my Sudoku puzzle once again.

(On a sidenote, you will notice that I cross my sevens. I mention it only because I received a call today from someone who is going to give me a quote on new windows and she asked if I was Canadian because I crossed by sevens. I explained that one of my first jobs involved a lot of numbers and they were having trouble telling my ones from my sevens so I've been crossing the sevens ever since. Just in case you were wondering...)

Added to original post: hey, guess what? After writing this I calmed down and tried the Sudoku puzzle again and I did TWO of them perfectly right. But it's not because I'm REALLY smart. It was just dumb, really dumb luck. See, me? Still humble.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Hey, it's kruthless' birthday today! And to celebrate I am going to share a list that I recently found that she and I wrote together after our trip to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest of all the things we wanted to remember. And believe me this list does not make that much more sense to me than it will to you but I'm sure glad we made it:

1. Heard "wine" when kruthless said "water"
2. Vienna - going around in circle back to hotel
3. Relentless search for Roman ruins
4. Michael: "what a shame, no time"
5. Armed guards questioning us at the synagogue
6. Depressing Czech films
7. Reverse strip tease weather report
8. Trying to make hotel reservations in Vienna with Michael and Inka's help
9. Drinking of liquor for ring purchase
10. Interminable CNN
11. Helga I, II, II & Helmut
12. Unfinished bathroom
13. Free train trip to Vienna
14. Czech conductor yelling at us
15. Einstein cafe
16. Internet cafe "The Elvis Spirit" in Budapest
17. Credit card allegedly stolen by gypsy violin player
18. All the dances choreographed by Inka
19. Aromatherapy massage by Hana ($12 U.S. for 2 hours - including tip)
20. Trip to Budapest - helping Ali with his wife's shirt purchase
21. Americans who rejected us on train to Vienna
22. Michael's drive home from Cesky Krumlov
23. Karlovy Vary - my new summer home (after I win the lottery)
24. Gifts from Inka
25. Shakespeare & Co bookstore
26. Meeting sister of kruthless' ulpan friend at synagogue
27. Homeless peasant beggar woman (I must step in here and clarify that this actually refers to kruthless.)
28. No shoes in the house
29. Seeing pictures of our relatives
30. Terezin
31. Jewish quarter - learned about "ova" for female last names
32. Sitting in the senior center waiting for Inka
33. Budapest - cafe where Sissi used to go
34. Lighters at the Freud museum
35. Fried egg we had to eat
36. Falafels in Vienna
37. Katarina (our guide) at Cesky Krumlov
38. My meltdown pre trip (another interjection - I remember sitting in front of kruthless' house in don dokken's car and endlessly honking the horn. Aren't we glad I found out about Ativan?)
39. Kruthless' stupid purse that is all mother's fault
41. Kruthless and the pretzels (hungry? not hungry?)
42. Austrian comforters - great. No door on shower - bad
43. 1st night pizzeria in Vienna
44. 1st night traditional Czech restaraunt
45. Absinthe

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I Get Email

This showed up in my email box with "Yes-- We'd Love Your Memories" as the subject line. And I'll share my $11 super lotto winnings to anyone who can explain it to me:


Memorabilia isn't the only thing we're looking for; we're more than happy to have your memories! If you have time, it would be greatly appreciated if you can write them and send them to either:

(names have been deleted to protect the...insane?)

Thanks a bundle for your help!

(This wasn't part of the email...I just started researching scientology to see if they "took" people's memories and thought I'd throw it in because, well, just because.)

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Am So Resourceful

Before we left for Des Moines I called our hotel and asked if they had HBO in the hopes that I would not have to miss the third to last episode of my beloved Six Feet Under. Sadly, the hotel did not have HBO. So I left for Des Moines resigned to the fact that I would not be able to watch my show until I was home Monday night.

But I guess I really wasn't so resigned. Because Sunday afternoon I looked in Aunt Mary's Des Moines Register to see what time SFU started (8:00). And then at just about 7:15, kruthless and I were sitting in our hotel room reading and packing and I realized that I had to at least attempt to locate a working telelvision that had a hook-up to HBO. I went down to the lobby and the front desk had a mile long line so I sat down at the business office computer thinking that maybe I could go on the HBO website and pay to get some sort of live streaming video or something fancy like that but no.

By 7:35, the line was down to just one person so I stood and waited and waited and waited. Computer problem. And a woman from the bar came and waited behind me and she was growing increasingly impatient because she wanted to buy cigarettes and run outside and smoke one and not let on to any of the people she was with that she was actually a smoker. Sneaky! So my turn fiinally came and the girl behind the desk looked at me like I'm from an alien planet when I asked her if there was any place in the hotel or nearby where I could sit and watch HBO on the television. This is when closet smoker lady came to the rescue and told me that I should try the Cosmopolitan lounge at Suites at 800 Locust which was about two blocks down.

I went back into the business office, looked up the number on the computer, pulled out the cell phone and called. Do they have a television in the Cosmopolitan lounge? Yes! Does the television in the Cosmopolitan lounge have HBO? Yes! If I came there now, could I watch the HBO television from 8:00 until 9:00 and I would be happy to buy drinks, food , whatever. No! The Cosmopolitan lounge is not open on Sunday.

As I was sitting in the business office, some touristas came by and asked if there were any good restaurants open and within walking distance. I directed them to Centro. And in doing so remembered that Centro had a bar. Pull out cell phone. Call Centro. Do they have a television in their bar? Yes! Does the television in the bar have HBO? No!

It was now 7:45. And I remembered that last year we stayed at the Renaissance Savery and I had watched Six Feet Under in the room. If they had HBO in the room, wouldn't they have HBO in the bar? Cell phone. Do they have a television in their bar? Yes! Does the television in their bar have HBO? Yes! If I came there now, could I watch the HBO television from 8:00 until 9:00? Yes!

I ran up to the room where kruthless was lying on the bed reading. "Are you in or are you out?" I explained to her we had five minutes. "I guess I would be out," she said. I told her I would buy her chocolate, tea, let her use my cell phone, anything if she would come with me. And she did. However, I did not deliver on any of my promises. And she is only on Season Three of SFU so she sat in the lobby and read her book.

So here is my big thank you and shout out to Jodi, the bartender at the Downtown Des Moines Renaisaance Savery, and a big thank you to all the bar patrons and staff at the hotel. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me sit on your couch in front of a humongous big screen television and watch the third to last episode of Six Feet Under. And thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing me a gin gimlet and some kleenex when I started sobbing and crying and sobbing while sitting on your couch in front of the big screen television. And thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me to come back and watch the last two episodes of Six Feet Under in your very comfortable and friendly bar. And I'm sorry that I was so choked up that I could not explain that I do not live here and I won't be back next week but I'll be back next year. And Six Feet Under will be gone but, Jodi, I know you love The Sopranos and by next year they should be back and I will come on down to your big screen television and we can watch together.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Time For The Dollar Dance

Oh, whoops, that's what I get for posting to the blog while I'm sitting in the lobby of a downtown Des Moines hotel while there's a wedding going on upstairs. Which I learned in the bar that I decided to leave once the conversation turned into a debate about whether or not pregnancy was a good reason for marriage (the man next to me, uncle of the bride, vehemently opposed. FYI.)

And you're probably wondering why I'm sitting in the lobby and why I don't go to my room. Well, kruthless is there and I am a little frightened of her. On the way back to the hotel tonight she confessed that she was having murderous thoughts towards Aunt Mary which had to do with Aunt Mary forcing us to eat bananas and milk and then endlessly asking if we wanted sugar in the bananas and milk. She was also VERY angry that Aunt Mary had changed her usual candy purchase of Russell Stover's nuts and chews to something really boring like just plain chocolate. So that is what it is like here in Des Moines.

I will say that things are very different than last year and the year before. That is because there is no longer a presidential election going on. (OMG, a REALLY cute guy just walked by and smiled at me. I am sure it's because of my REALLY fast typing speed but do you think he knows it is dollar dance time? Maybe I better go tell him.) Last year all my Des Moines free time was devoted to volunteering for the Howard Dean campaign (RIP). The downtown political storefronts (Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, all those other losers, etc.) are gone and I would say the "theme" of this year's trip is shopping. That is because Des Moines has declared this weekend "no state tax weekend."

(I don't get it....all these people are coming out to the lobby to talk and smoke just as "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" starts. What up with that? Oh, now the bride is coming on down because the dollar dance has ended and, in her words, "it's footloose." What the hell? These Iowans and their Iowa ways are muy mysterioso to me.)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Extremely Random Thoughts Before I Go

Pen Leak
Yesterday I attended a meeting that was led by these consultants who passed out their free advertisement pens. I was using the pen when I noticed it had leaked all over my hands, all over the jewelry on my hands and, worse of the worse, all over my brand new, priceless beyond belief Andy Warhol for Paul Frank bag. The ink came off my hands and my jewelry but I don't know what's going to happen with the bag. Those consultants should buy me a new bag. I am so mad at them. I will never use a free advertisement pen again. Ever.

Years ago there was some sort of buy-out acquisition merger thing between Ralphs and Hughes markets which meant that the Hughes market in my neighborhood had to turn into something else. I went to this neighborhood meeting where the senior citizens of the hood were distraught and distressed because the proposed market was a Gelson's. Too high end for the fixed income folks. But they lost and the Gelson's came in and compared to other Gelson's pretty so-so but a Gelson's nevertheless. And it is my very favorite market because there is never anyone there. I know it's because it's more expensive and probably because there are much better Gelson's not all that far away but the parking, it is so easy. And there are never ever any lines. Ever. But I fear something is going to change. Because the other reason the parking has been such a dream is because there was a theatre in the same, for lack of a better word, mall and it closed. And now, in spite of more neighborhood protest and this time not just by the elderly, they are putting in a Best Buy.

The Gelson people seem really excited by the Best Buy because they think all the Best Buy people will come next door to grocery shop. I don't know. Do electronics shopping and overly expensive supermarket shopping go hand in hand? And people like me will find new places to shop once the parking is no longer so convenient. My life is going to be so sad without my Gelsons.

Des Moines
I am looking forward to this trip but the days leading up have been filled with some drama regarding Aunt Mary. The story is a little vague but here is my understanding of what transpired. Aunt Mary called my mother the other day to say that she woke up in the middle of the night and could not move her legs. She had to stay in bed well into the next morning when her neighbor noticed she hadn't picked up her paper and came over and got her into a wheelchair. She was eventually going to call 911 but was waiting for The Merry Maids to come clean and wanted to be there to let them in. She was calling my mother to make sure she told me that we had reservations at Christophers at 6:00 on Friday night and at Noah's for lunch on Saturday and we were to keep those reservations whether she was in the hospital or unable to walk or in whatever the circumstances. Just keep the reservations and make sure to get a receipt with the tip included so she could reimburse us. And on Saturday she invited other people to join us so we were to pay for them.

Later that day my mother talked to her again and what happened was The Merry Maids came and told her that it was awfully too hot in her house and so she turned the air conditioning on. And she felt much better and now she's fine and can walk and we won't have to worry about keeping track of any paperwork when we go to the restaurants because she will be with us.

So everything is back as originally planned. Karen and I will check out the first ever shopping mall in West Des Moines. They have theatres and restaurants and The Gap and The Cheesecake Factory and PF Changs and way more just like one of those big city malls. And, since we are only allowed to go to the old school restaurants with Aunt Mary, we will sneak out to here for wine and pasta although last year when we tried that we were busted by the Rabbi's wife and had to concoct a whole story about bumping into her outside of the restaurant. And, finally, I might just post to the blog a time or two because we will definitely be stopping in at my very favorite coffee house anywhere.

Monday, August 01, 2005

My Choices For Tonight

Tonight I had a choice.

1. I could watch Six Feet Under for the THIRD time in two days and cry and cry and cry or

2. I could sit in my well maintained (by my brand new ab fab gardener who is $50 a month less than the not ab fab previous gardener) with the fountain on and a bottle of Preston Vin Gris and the latest In Style magazine and play ball with the boy.

So you can probably guess by the already poured Vin Gris and the ball in the pup's mouth what my decision was but here was the thought process:

1. I will some day be owning the entire five seasons of Six Feet Under on DVD (isn't it my birthday soon?? Oh yeah, I know ALL five seasons are not currently out on DVD but by the time I recover from this season they most certainly should be.)

2. My mother told me that when my sister and I go to Des Moines on Friday to visit 97 year old Aunt Mary we need to watch our wine drinking because it "makes Aunt Mary crazy."

3. Sandra promised me that the Vin Gris would not disappoint (well, promise is a strong word but she really, really liked it) and since she and I have been out scoping wineries to buy I totally trust her.

Winery moguls in the making....

A Question

I am too upset from last night's Six Feet Under episode to ever write anything again. It is amazing I could even get out of bed this morning. I watched the episode twice - first on the East Coast feed (I love saying that, it sounds sooooo high class) and then the West Coast feed (not so high class) and I cried and cried and cried. It is very strange to me that I could get this much attached to TV characters and, though some might be thinking that I am a big old weirdo, I really do believe that it is a tribute to Mr. Alan Ball and all the writers that I am so moved by the story. Great literature makes us feel and so can great TV. We just aren't used to TV achieving such greatness.

But here is the burning question alluded to in the title of this post....my doctor approved my Ativan prescription and I picked it up from the Sav-on Drugstore on Friday. I got to work this morning and the Sav-on Drugstore had left a message on Sunday reminding me to pick up my prescription and saying they will hold it for me until Wednesday. It sounds like they double filled my prescription and I think it might be because they have me in their database under my full name and under my nickname. This would explain why the doctor's office said they had called it in and the Sav-on Drugstore said they hadn't. Anyway, should I try and score some more Ativan? (Oh, and I should say before anyone gets all worried about me wanting more drugs and my Six Feet Under depression that the Ativan I get is the lowest dose possible and the lowest quantity possible. All this would mean is that I would not have to go through the phone answerer at the doctor the next time I fly.)

See, Six Feet Under has left me unable to make even the simplest of decisions. Advice, please!

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