(not the teenage kind)

Thursday, November 30, 2006


My dad's assistant came over yesterday to help me get my office organized. Things have gotten hectic and disarrayed between starting my business, bringing over all my dad's files and temporarily taking over the finances on my real estate business. My idea was to take the closet in the office which was a jumbled mish-mash of all things and turn it into a supply room, freeing up space on my floor and in my file cabinet where I was storing some supplies but really needed the space for files.

It turned out amazing. Everything looks so clean and crisp. She is going to bring the storage paraphanalia today but I now have a clear desk (inside and out. Really. There are very few things in my drawers), a cleaned out closet, and about ten bags waiting to be picked up by the thrift store. How did we do it?

- She made me throw away my grandfather's wallet. My grandfather died in 1989. The wallet was filled with his medical cards including one about a pacemaker which I did not even remember he had. Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I've been holding onto including a couple of files for when I settled his estate. Those are in line at my shredder now.

- She made me throw away the unopened erasers from Bouchart Gardens and similarly unusable souvenirs from when my mom and I went to Canada in the early 90's. She did let me keep our tour group photo including one of us white water rafting where everyone but me is waving because I was certain that if I so much as breathed the whole raft would tip over. I had a whole bag of stuff from that trip that was completely unnecessary. Gone.

- She told me that I have enough notepads to last the rest of my life and beyond. She told me that I am no longer allowed to keep those free pads that the real estate agents leave. But, huh? They're free! She said that having a complete stranger's face taking up most of a notepad is not a good use of space. I pointed out that I actually knew one of the real estate agents on one of the pads. I did not win the argument.

- She says it is okay to have a collection as long as you have a place to display the collection all in one place. I do not consider myself to be a collector of snow globes but I have in the past picked them up here and there if they are inexpensive and somehow unique. I then strewned them all over my bookshelves. They are now tastefully arranged together at the top of one of the shelves.

- We established a "memorabilia" bin to go in the garage. So I found a terribly bad poem in a camp newsletter when I was probably nine years old. We took the front page of the newsletter and the page with my poem, stapled them together and put them in the memorabilia bin. We also put in all the plaques and certificates I have gotten for volunteering that I would love to throw away but can't. My grandmother's high school diploma and stuff like that will go in there as well.

- Books should be displayed in the bookshelf. I have some unique and collectible books that I have been keeping in my desk drawer. Silly.

- Disney is rich because their merchandise is everywhere. There is no reason for me to keep every piece of paper that says Disney on it because someday my niece and nephew might want it. That includes the huge Beauty and the Beast poster that has been sitting in the closet. When my niece and nephew get to an age when they want posters, it will not be for Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast is old school.

Her basic philosophy is that there should be a place for everything. After she left I had to work but I would take a break every once in awhile to reward myself by looking in a closet and finding stuff to give away. Purging is so much fun. This has been the start of something really great and we are going to continue next week with all the rest of my closets.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks For Rudy Day

Frequent readers of the blog will remember that Rudy arrived at my house the day before Thanksgiving which I have declared Thanks for Rudy Day. I would link to last year's post which gives the whole story but blogger is messing with me in their attempt to get me to upgrade to something so anyway if you are highly motivated you can check it out in last year's November archives.

My eyes were blurry and twitching from working on the computer non-stop from 9:00 to 5:00. And I mean non-stop. I did not break for lunch. I did not go to the bathroom. And I really mean twitching. It just stopped a few minutes ago. And you see how the picture of Rudy above is blurry? That's because that's how everything looks right now through my eyes. Really, I wouldn't have minded cancelling the Thanks for Rudy Day traditional dinner which this year was salmon, stuffing, and yams. And wine. But I'm glad I didn't because I cooked the salmon myself and since neither don dokken or I have gotten sick yet, I might have done an okay job. Baby steps.

The picture of Rudy shows him playing with his Thanks for Rudy Day present. It is a blue ball that squeaks. It is very annoying but he, of course, is worth every and all annoyance. Thank you, Rudy, for another year of unconditional love, hypervigilance, and sweetness.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Best Movie Ever

Before I became lowbrow and decided my favorite movie ever was Office Space, my favorite movie ever was 3 Women. 3 Women came out in 1977 and was never released on video although don dokken scored me a bootleg copy a few years ago as well as a very large poster for the French version of the movie which hangs in my living room and is the first thing people see when they walk in the door. You can now get the film on DVD but that is a recent development. Before then, you had to catch it at film retrospectives.

It stars Shelley Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Janice Rule. Shelley Duvall plays Millie. Millie thinks she's hot and is oblivious to the eye rolling that goes on whenever she walks by. She drives a Pinto and somehow always manages to take off with her skirt caught in the door (can you see why this is my favorite movie ever? I can relate.) She takes Sissy Spacek's character, shy, quiet, Pinky, under her wings at the nursing home where they both work and they end up being roommates. Pinky idolizes Millie. Millie teaches Pinky the finer points of hostessing a party. You know, stuff like how to squirt the cheez whiz on crackers.

But then things take a turn when Pinky has an accident and wakes up thinking she is Millie. Only she out Millies, Millie and she really is hot. People do not roll their eyes when she walks by. And Millie takes on the role of submissive caregiver to Pinky. There is also a side story with pregnant Janice Rule, a local artist, whose husband is the only man character of any substance and who is gone at the end of the film (the husband, not the pregnant Janice Rule.)

This film is quirky and strange and I have probably done a terrible job of describing it but all I am really trying to say is RIP Robert Altman.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I have talked before about how three of the five of us in our Union Station clique have lost a parent this year. Last week, Joan lost her father, her mother having passed away earlier this year. She asked us if we would like to join her at Traxx Bar this past Friday night where the Art Deco society was having an event and where she wanted to have a martini in memory of her parents.

Cameron, Joan, and I ended up sitting on the patio at Traxx Restaurant. I had crab cakes, salad, and a gin gimlet. They had the same only martinis instead of a gimlet. Joan showed us pictures of her parents and of her very pregnant granddaughter. Handsome family!

When I got home, my right eyelid was swollen. I do not know if I got bitten by a bug or if I was allergic to something I ate. The crab cakes maybe? The gimlet? My new moisturizer? My eye lid remained swollen the next day so I walked to the Rite Aid and bought some Claritin. I think it did the trick. Or else the bug bite healed.

Several years ago, I was having similar problems with my eyelids only they did not go away. My primary care physician referred me to an allergist and I had an appointment on Monday, the 5th of July. I arrived at the appointment to find the office staff and a few other patients standing in front of the door of the locked office building. For some reason, the office building management had decided that the 5th of July was a holiday without notifying their tenants and no one had a key to the front door including the security guard who also thought she was working that day. Calls were made, property management people were dispatched.

In the meantime, the allergy doctor arrived in his shiny, fancy Mercedes. Not knowing when access to the building would be gained, he brought me and another patient into his car and performed the allergy scratch tests which were handily stored in his trunk. While waiting for the results of the test, we sat and watched the television that was of course one of the features of his shiny, fancy Mercedes.

It turned out I was allergic to my dog. Among other things. Which is okay because my dog itches all the time so he is probably allergic to me. We finally got into the building and the doctor gave me prescriptions and made appointments for me to come back. On my way out, I ran into the sister of a friend who said that this doctor had totally cleared up her migranes and that it turned out she was allergic to almost everything and she came by for weekly shots of the things she was allergic to so she could build up immunities. Shots? I was so out of there.

I never filled the prescriptions and never went back. I guess I built up immunities to the dog just by living with him all these years.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Eva & Isaac's First Halloween

A couple of years ago, before kruthless was even pregnant, I was in a Disney store and saw a Disney princess Halloween costume sized 18 months marked down to almost $0 and, being the highly generous person - okay, the highly bargain motivated person - I am I bought it for my yet to even be conceived niece. Then I put it in a closet and totally forgot about it.

Several weeks before Halloween I received an email from kruthless asking me to save her from herself. She had been online at Target and some other party store and had found for $40 or something a hot dog costume and was it a bee costume? I don't remember because actually they looked like $40 each of torture equipment to me.

I then discussed with my mother who said "Oh, please, all we have to do is get two pieces of paper and make them into encyclopedias." And, yes, I was the kid whose costume was usually two holes cut in a sheet so I could be a ghost.

At the final hour I remembered the princess costume. For some reason, when I bought it, I had thought that if the timing didn't work out well, my not even conceived niece could use it for playing dress up. However, in reality, I was now worried that my seven month old niece would be too big for the costume. She is something of a bruiser. But the costume fit and here are Eva and Isaac on their first Halloween:

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And The Madness Continues

So they still haven't closed my dad's home equity line of credit but I bet if he owed money on it the Bank of America would be all over the estate to pony up. I told them that my ten calls to them and social security notifying them and my handing them a copy of the death certificate absolves me of all future liability regarding the line of credit.

But Bank of America isn't alone anymore in their crazy making of me. Today I received a letter from Kaiser saying that medicare had notified them that my father has died and that just does not match their records. But, wait a minute...he died under their hospice care. One of their doctor's signed the death certificate. His pulmonologist came to the funeral and his oncologist sent a card. Plus, we got an invitation from Kaiser inviting us to a holiday memorial party where we could send pictures of our dad that would be in a memorial video and we could watch the video and bond with other family members of Kaiser patients who had lost loved ones and then they would give us dinner (limited to two people - FYI).

This dying thing is really complicated.

You Can Check Out But You Can Never Leave

I am so so close to tying up all my dad's business. One of the last remaining pieces is to close his home equity line of credit. Even though Bank of America was notified by both us and social security immediately following his death, I can not get the line closed. I have been on the phone with them for almost an hour this morning. We have provided them with a death certificate. I have been transfered to five different people. The guy I'm talking to now told me I am talking to the right person but for some reason the system isn't giving him access to what he needs. I am on the verge of just using that home equity line of credit and moving somewhere far, far away. Stuff like this is why there aren't a lot of updates to the blog lately.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dia de la Muerte (Day of the Dead)

Dia de la muerte is officially today but I celebrated this past weekend for the first time ever. There is an old cemetery right behind Paramount Studios where a lot of famous old-time Hollywood people like Rudolph Valentino are buried. It is now called "Hollywood Forever" and the guy that owns (and I believe it's a chain) is sprucing up the death business and offering things like videotaped memorials that last forever, those sorts of things.

For the last seven years, Hollywood Forever has sponsored a Dia de La Muerte celebration at night at the cemetery. This year I went with my union station friends. Three of the five of us had lost a parent this year.

It is difficult to describe the feeling as we walked at night into the side gate of the cemetery with its stunning and very tall palm trees. There were no additional lights leading up to the main festivities. It was spooky and beautiful at the same time. There were tons of people milling around. People of all ages from babies in a stroller to elderly people.

The most interesting part of the celebration were the altars that had been erected on the grave sites. Some of them were very elaborate but I preferred the ones that very simply told the story of the person that was gone.

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