January 17, 2009

Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt

Sometimes when people notice that I’ve lost weight, I tell them it’s not that hard to lose weight. That’s a huge lie. It’s like when someone says, “Oh, I like that sweater,” and you reply with, “this old thing?” rather than just accept the compliment. I do this. Routinely. I diminish my successes. When alone, trying on clothes that were one too small, I think I rock and I’m proud of my hard work. But when someone wants to know how I’m doing it, what I eat, and how I look thinner, I tell them, “it’s not that hard. I don’t really miss any foods I used to eat. If I can do it, you can too. It’s easy!” Liar, liar, pants on fire!

keep reading Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt

December 3, 2008

A final curtain call

This week I learned that American Musical Theatre of San Jose has closed its doors.

And I became terribly sad.

American Musical Theatre of San Jose (AMTSJ, or AMT, as I like to still call it) is the local professional theatre company here. I once auditioned interviewed for a job as the assistant to the Executive Producer. I heard about the position from a friend and was tired of working in accounting. The job paid little more than that of a Starbucks barrista, and I couldn’t afford to live on that, so I declined the offer. I had loved hearing about the theatre company so much during the interview process, that I decided to volunteer backstage as a dresser, helping with costumes during productions.

The first time I stepped into the studio space at AMT, I was nervous. I didn’t know anyone, and knew nothing about costumes, or sewing. But I was immediately greeted with a smile from Val, a seasoned AMT dresser. She and I became fast friends, and soon I met the rest of my backstage pals (sisters, as we called ourselves), including Jenni, Andy (a boy, but still a sister), and Kari. Working backstage became my new hobby, and I would have rather been backstage than at my office. A few shows after my first with AMT, I met Shannon and Steph. Others came and went, but our close group of dressers, the Chicks in Black (yes, even Andy), became a family.

keep reading A final curtain call

September 20, 2008

Learning to say no. Again.

ad·dic·tion (É™-dÄ­k’shÉ™n) n. Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance.

For as long as I can remember, I have had a problem with food. I have an insatiable sweet tooth. I grew up on Cookie Crisp, Trix, Apple Jacks and Fruit Loops and normally ate two bowls full every morning. Dessert was a regular part of the dinner ritual. My school lunches always had cookies, or Snack Pack puddings. I didn’t like to eat fruit and only ate it when I had to. The same with vegetables. If I ate toast, I’d load it with butter and sprinkle a mix of sugar and cinnamon on top. I loved ice cream sundaes and would fill the bowl with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I once had a babysitter who taught me to jazz up Oreo cookies by squirting Redi-Whip on them. Yum! When I was old enough to go to a school where I could buy what I wanted, I opted for peanut chews and chocolate shakes as my lunch. Even now, if I were to see a peanut chew, I would have trouble not taking a bite, or possibly eating the whole thing.

I grew up chubby and inactive. I thought I was ugly and fat. But rather than make changes to my bad habits, I took solace in more food.

keep reading Learning to say no. Again.

August 3, 2008

You know those people?

Inevitably in a class or seminar there is always one annoying person who asks the most questions, makes the most comments and generally slows down the pace of the class or seminar. Always there is this person. Why is that? Is there a club of these people and they sign up to sit in each of these classes or seminars? Every single day? Seriously. There is always just one. So they all must call each other to make sure that specific course is covered.

And at concerts there is always at least one person in the general vicinity who stands out. Whether they’re flailing about in an attempt to dance, or whistling loudly, or singing off-key, they’re there. And last night they were right there. Sitting next to me.

Oh, she was excited to see Lyle Lovett. It must be noted that the venue where Lyle plays is quite…sedate. Well, not sedate, but it’s not the type of place that lends itself to crowd surfing or even standing up until encore time when the place gets jumping. The Mountain Winery in Saratoga is a lovely, intimate place to see a concert, and most people are polite and mellow don’t cause a ruckus. But this woman in the seat next to mine was quite annoying as hell the character. She was dressed in all denim. Denim capris, denim (chambray really) short sleeved shirt with buttons down the front and some applique of some sort, and a denim baseball cap. Oh, and on her feet? Cowboy boots of course, because, duh. Lyle Lovett! But cowboy boots? With capris? Really?

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I took my seat. In a sea of concert goers, she was the only one with her arms up. I think her eyes were closed as she tipped her head back and swayed, as if in a religious trance of some sort. Fine, Lyle had a gospel choir backing him up, but this was Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, not the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She was so into her swaying, that a couple of times her arms smacked my head. So Matte gently tapped her arm so she’d sway back to the right, away from my skull. There was a lapse of time, and she said (finally), “Oh, sorry…next time I do that, just elbow me in the ribs.” Uhm, yeah. I wouldn’t be doing that, but thanks for snapping out of your hypnosis to realize there are people next to you whose personal space you are invading.

I can appreciate someone being into the music, but her reaction was just so odd for the tunes Lyle plays. The swaying stopped soon afterwards, but it was replaced by laughter. She laughed loudly at every lyric, even those that were not funny. And she’d laugh loudly, and look at me to see if I thought it was funny too. Usually it was not, but she looked for my approval at each guffaw, coming up empty every time.

After every song, she yelled “YAAAAAAAY!” and clapped and “YAAAAAAAY!” and said “Mighty fine. Mighty fine.” Adding, “that’s what we say in the Bluegrass country. Mighty fine.” Great. Thanks for that.

Oh, and the singing. She didn’t sing well. I preferred the laughter to the singing actually. But at least it kept her from talking to Lyle. We were not sitting close to the stage at all, but when Lyle spoke of performing since the 70’s and how a lot has happened since then, my seat neighbor reminded him, “Yeah, you’ve been married and divorced since then!” referring to Julia Roberts, of course.

My seat neighbor seemed drunk and smelled of Lancers and stale Pall Malls.

It wasn’t just me, either. She was quite noticeable to the rest of the crowd. People in front of us kept turning around to see who was being so loud. She didn’t seem to notice or care. She just kept up her conversations with herself (and Lyle although she could not hear). Her reactions were always delayed and awkward and she was driving me nuts. Lyle started one of his more famous hits, one that every Lyle fan recognizes at the first 2 notes or so. She didn’t react until he began to sing, when she again said, “Yaaaay!” and “That tickles my fancy!”

Her husband was sitting next to her the entire time, and not once did he say, “Calm down maude.* You’re making a scene.” I would hope, that if I were being that annoying, someone would tell me.

*That may or may not have been her name. But it probably was.

June 17, 2008

What a Great DAY!*

*That’s a load of crap. Today pretty much bit.

I’m in North Carolina. Again. For work. Although today, not much work was done. Which was unavoidable, with little work to actually do.

The day started out with the alarm blaring at 6 am, which is 3 am “my” time. I bolted out of bed, started the coffeepot in my hotel room, and jumped in the shower. While getting dressed, I remembered that I left some toiletries at the office last time I was here so I wouldn’t have to schlep them back and forth from California. Problem is, I got in late last night becuase of flight delays so I hadn’t had time to go to the office to get them. Those toiletries included deodorant and hairspray. Current temperatures in Charlotte NC are in the high 90s and not conducive to unprotected pits. But, I went without. I figured “so what?” I’ll have flat, lifeless hair and B.O. That is hot.

When I got to the office, I visited the restroom, and the tempramental zipper on my pants broke for good. Usually, if I try long enough, I can get it to work, but today, the zipper pull went all the way to the top, while the teeth on the zipper stayed agape. Awesome.

When I got back to my desk, I started my computer, and plugged in the additional monitor, keyboard and mouse (because I am nothing if not ergonomically responsible). Suddenly, I lost the task bar programs, but the empty blue bar had floated about 3 inches up the screen and stuck. CTRL+ALT+DELETE would not prompt the restart or shutdown. Nothing would work, so I turned the damn thing off with the power button. (Yeah, that’s a no-no, but it usually works.) I let it sit for a bit to consider what it had done, and then turned it back on. The Dell tried to start Windows, but got caught in a loop of the laptop asking me “Do you want to start in Safe Mode?” me saying “YES” and it teasing me with the Windows logo and then asking “Do you want to start in Safe Mode?” again. Over and over we played this game. I tried other options, like “Safe Mode with Network Connection” or something about “Whatever worked last time you idiot piece of crap PC.” Still with the broken record act. I unplugged all peripherals and tried again. Nothing. Pulled out the battery. Put it back in. Tried to start on battery power. Same redundant line of questioning. Whatever.

I carried the busted laptop in front of my unzipped crotch and took it to a very nice IT lady. She ran the recovery disk, or tried to, but it was taking a day an a half to complete, so she gave me a loaner IBM laptop so I could work (or could have worked, if I had any work to actually do). I left my Dell with her to stomp on, hit with a sledgehammer, and throw out the window into a trash compactor fix and returned to my desk. At least with the loaner I could access my Outlook Mail and the Internet. Course, I had to use IE which makes me want to poke sharp sticks in my eyes.

The interesting thing is, IT had another Dell crash just yesterday that was getting stuck on the same “sector” at the Windows startup as mine, the name of which I cannot recall. (Something like mup.sys I think.) The other corrupted laptop wouldn’t boot up at all, but my laptop fared better. On mine, it would start to boot up, but just the hard drive is toast. Oh, that’s great news. The drive is completely dead. Useless. Several bad sectors, multiple unrecoverable errors, and irreconcilable differences. I lost documents. I lost passwords, account numbers, photos. All gone. POOF! No, I did not back up my data. Yes, I know that’s stupid. And now, I know that’s really stupid.

Traveling for work fills me with such utter joy, I am positively oozing sunshine.

June 11, 2008

I’m supposed to be in Napa…er…Mexico…er…

This week I had planned to spend some girl time with my good friend MB in Napa. She’s here from Lexington, KY and meeting some of her gal pals for a week of wine tasting, pampering and possibly some piercing or permanent inking in honor of a milestone birthday.

Unfortunately, I had to cancel because I was asked to take my boss’ place at a training course this week. In Mexico. I quickly renewed my passport, picked an awesome hotel with fantastic photo opportunities, and was learning things like one should never say “Yo soy caliente,” unless one means “hot” in the Paris Hilton sense and not the “I am sweating my face off” sense. And then aye caramba, just days after I told MB I couldn’t make it to Napa, my plans changed. Mexico was out, because my services were requested in North Carolina to help with a documentation emergency. I’m just a tech writer. I don’t feel important enough or smart enough to fly out here and help (the depth of my self-esteem knows no bounds). When this trip was presented to me (read: when I was told I was going to work in NC), it was suggested that I come Every. Single Week. That’s right. Fly out every Monday and home every Friday. But that’s not feasible for several reasons, so I’m here this week and next and then we’ll see where we go from there.

This morning, I awoke at 3:45 AM. (That 3:45 was in all caps, by the way, because I was yelling it.) Three forty-five in the morning is not morning. It’s still night. But I got up and was at SFO in plenty of time for my early morning flight. I felt like a zombie. I was there, but not really there and I didn’t remember how I got there. So, when I saw someone I thought I knew, I wasn’t surprised I couldn’t remember his name. Also, turns out, I didn’t know him, exactly. It was Adam from Myth Busters and he was standing near me at the security check point. He is much taller than I thought. Also, he’s kinda hot, in a geeky way. Señor Savage es caliente.

So here I sit in a Residence Inn, while Matte gets DirecTV installed at our house, clears out our apartment, bolts bookcases to the walls for earthquake safety, gets the fence repaired that the fumigators busted into slats, waits for AT&T to set up our phones, and generally gets us moved in to our house. I would much rather be there, helping him, (and watching the cats slide all over the hardwood floors) but I sort of need this job to help pay that mortgage we just signed up for for the next 30 years.

May 21, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

Happy Hour

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