Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You've Got Mail

So I sent a Fathers Day card to a friend in Canada, and got notified yesterday that it was "Damaged due to inclement weather." Apparently that means it took a dip in Lake Michigan on the border crossing.....

I guess I should be happy it arrived.

At least my Frozen Fury tickets came today!

FYI, I have two extras since friends I planned to go with can't attend. If you're interested, send me a note, post a comment on my blog, or stalk me. Whatever! Lower level seats just off center ice....anyone tempted? There will be beer, hopefully a fight or two, and cute guys on skates. And did I mention it's in Las Vegas? How can you beat that?

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Only Thing Worse Than Death and Taxes....

In California, most people would agree the only thing worse than death or taxes is a visit to the DMV. Although based on the responses I got to my Facebook status update announcing my planned trip this morning, my friends in other states don't like their DMV either. No matter where you live, it's just one of life's necessary but unpleasant tasks. But given that airport security officers have been looking at me skeptically when showing them my identification, and the fact that my license expires in a month, I figured it was time for a new drivers license photo. After all, I am no longer blond and haven't had bangs in at least 6 years.

The CA DMV lets you make an appointment, which actually does decrease the wait time a bit. The fact that I was there on a Monday morning at 9 AM probably helped as well. But even at it's best, a DMV experience makes you feel like a head of cattle herded from one stall to the next. Although in CA you get herded via a loudspeaker and video monitor that calls your number.

F021? Anyone? Bueller?

I was thoroughly entertained at the decor in the waiting room. What did the sign on the wall say before they altered it? Please do leave children unattended?

And you have to love that a place handling so much sensitive personal information warns you about rise of identity theft and corresponding lack of security of the DMV trash cans.

At least it's only 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back. And now I wait for the new license to arrive in the mail. Let's hope I didn't blink in the photo....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Speaking of Hairstyles....

Growing up, my baby sitter and next door neighbor Judy Sarnecky had the most beautiful straight, blond hair that hung down to the middle of her back. All my life, I have wanted long straight hair. As I mentioned in my previous Farrah post, I've been cursed with naturally curly, out-of-control big hair every day of my life, so every 8 weeks or so I get a few days of happiness from looking different.

I got my hair done today, and whenever I get my color and cut, my hairdresser Ilene is always kind enough to break a sweat making it straight. It takes a lot of blow drying, patience and tons of flat ironing. It's even more of a challenge when it's hot because she knows I like to drop the top on the EOS as much as possible. So after she straightened it, she pulled some of it back and threw a little braid in.

This is after a visit to Nadine's, including some play time with her doggies, so it's a little messier than it started. But I also kind of like the fact that it's a little undone and imperfect. Kinda like me....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Party Like It's Draft Day!

The NHL Rookie Draft is the official season reset button for every hockey team that didn't win the Stanley Cup this year. The playoffs are over, and all the award hardware has been given out. No matter what success your team experienced, you didn't come home with the big prize, and it's now time to wipe the slate clean and hope for better things for the coming season. Because you want that big prize in your future. And your organization needs a transfusion of new blood to help that process along. It may not be next year, but the hope is that if you draft well, you'll have fresh legs coming up as the old ones move out, and you stay in contention for the the Holy Grail year after year (aka the dreaded Detroit Redwings). At least that's the theory. Sometimes you suck so bad, you just have to clean house and start over (hello, New York Islanders).

The Kings have been cleaning house for a couple of years now, and it's making progress, but you can never look too far ahead, so we Kings fans always get excited about the draft. Even when the team is not "officially" sponsoring a draft party as they have the past few years. WARNING: I am about to get on my soapbox and rant for a minute. If you don't like my bitching, skip the next paragraph.

As a season ticket holder, I think it's a cheeseball excuse to say "We shouldn't be focusing too much on the draft, which is only one piece of the development picture." Not doing an "official" event is a way to save money. I get it AEG. Michael Jackson died and you owe about $81 million in concert ticket refunds. You've got bigger problems than your little hockey team. Why should you spend your money feeding hot dogs and cokes to the people that buy tickets to see your team and keep you in business? Let's just have an "unofficial" watch party at the ESPN Zone and let these people pay for their own food and beverages. Then we can make nice to them and see if we can still sell them more season tickets, but it won't cost anything. Genius marketing.

OK, rant over. I am a loyal fan, and care more about my Kings than I do the machinations of our marketing people. Plus, I wanted to see what young talent we were going to grab. That Doughty kid we got last year worked out pretty good...maybe we can find another one.

One fun add-on to the party this year was the Kings first "Tweet-Up." For you non-computer folks, this is where a bunch of hockey fans that talk online all day on Twitter actually meet up in person.

It was really fun to meet up with some of the folks I share my hockey obsession with on a daily basis. They're all very cool people. We even took an official group photo.

Great picture- thanks again to our #Kings #<span class=

After the niceties were over, it was time to get down to business. Picks one through four pretty much went in order, and as predicted the Kings selected Brayden Schenn 5th in the first round.

A little cool history here...Brayden's big brother Luke Schenn was drafted number 5 last year. And Luke Schenn is good friends with none other than Kings 2008-09 superstar rookie...Drew Doughty! Lots of reasons to like this kid already. Here's a link to a nice write-up by my Twitter buddy Jon Moncrief on young Mr. Schenn and the draft party itself, including some Tweet-Up coverage.


And it wouldn't be a Kings event unless I ran into Bailey. He loves to mess with me when I'm trying to take his picture. His shtick this time was moving just when I hit the button on my camera phone so it wouldn't stay in focus. I finally got it right the fourth time...

Our next hockey stop is Free Agency starting July 1st....and that's a whole other Oprah show.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Death of My Childhood

I try really hard not to let the inevitability of aging bother me. I pride myself on being one of those people for whom age really is just a number, not a barrier to my ideas, activities or dreams. But one of the sure fire signs of getting older is the way you mourn the losses you experience. It goes beyond ordinary sadness at the loss of a person, it also becomes grief from remembering a long-forgotten piece of your life. Each loss makes the memories flood back. You remember the person you were before, and a little piece of your history dies along with the loss of what made you remember it.

Today, I lost some key pieces of my childhood with the deaths of actress Farrah Fawcett and musician and entertainment icon Michael Jackson. It may seem silly to some people that I associate childhood memories with celebrities, but I am a child of mass media. There was already a television in every home when I was born, so pop cultural phenomenons were an integral part of the landscape. I came of age in a world hard wired for celebrity culture. And these people were two of the biggest celebrities around in my young life. Each in their own way, their legacies shaped who I am today.

Farrah had her heyday just as I was entering puberty, which was a curse in a couple of ways. Having naturally curly hair did not lend itself well to the famous feathered hairdo. As my mother can attest, I spent HOURS trying to get every hair in the right position to replicate that famous look. I would wash it at night, and pin it down flat, then sleep on it to make sure it stayed flat. But since I tossed and turned (and still do) in my sleep, I had to get up early the next morning and use a curling iron to feather it in place, finished off with a can of hairspray. That worked until my gym class 2nd period, when the first hint of sweat sent everything back curling it's own god-given direction, leaving me looking NOTHING like Farrah.

As if battling crazy hair wasn't enough, every pre-teen boy I was starting to notice had that famous red bathing suit poster of Farrah on their wall. Even as a (relatively speaking) skinny kid, no way was I measuring up to that! I was doomed! Farrah was like the head cheerleader, the most popular girl in school, and the most interesting person in the world rolled into one. I was never going to be her, but I still rooted for her when she was jumping out of a moving car on Charlie's Angels. Because you can be beautiful and bad-ass at the same time.

Michael Jackson was EVERYWHERE through my entire young adulthood. From 8th grade until I graduated from college, there was at least one significant Michael Jackson song I associate with every year of my life. Most years, there was more than one. He changed MTV forever, made me want to be someones P.Y.T., and inspired me to copy entire dance routines! And don't even get me started on how many Halloweens, theme nights, dances and events referenced his fashion choices. I think I still have a sparkly glove somewhere....

Michael's music made you feel young, and hopeful, and happy. You can't listen to any of it without wanting to MOVE somehow. Because love him or hate him, that's what Michael Jackson did - he moved people. And though I will never understand the tortured and tragic figure he became later in his life, I believe that inspirational artist still lived on in him, just sadly hidden.

I feel sorry for kids coming up now that didn't know the Farrah and Michael I did. They have been raised only on the run-down, burned out, damaged versions. But I remember when they shone like stars, and a part of me will always keep those versions alive.

Rest in peace, my friends.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Breakfast with Deano

LA Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi holds a breakfast meeting every summer with a group of season ticket holders to talk about the Kings plans for the coming year. It's free, and I've never been to one before, so I figured it was a good reason to get up early on a Saturday morning and take a little drive to the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. And now that I live downtown, it's only about 20 minutes away instead of 45 - bonus!

There were a few hundred people there, and even a few wearing the right number!

The people that get to ask questions are chosen at random. You put your name in a bowl, but don't have to write your question down, which ensures no "screening." I give Dean a lot of credit for being willing to stick his neck out like that. But this was a pretty well informed group of people, optimistic about the Kings future, so no raw eggs got thrown. That may come later, of course....

I got lucky and was picked to ask a question, which was basically about how we can develop some "killer instinct" and will to win in our guys as a team. Some of them have it individually, but we still need to be more competitive as a team. In short, the response I got was "It's a great question...and we're working on it." For a more eloquent reporting of all the questions from the breakfast, I'd recommend you check out Rich Hammond's "Inside the Kings" blog.


My question is the "Brian Boyle" referenced one in the third installment.

Oh, and the guy before me asked if the Kings announcers could so something about fan behavior while watching the game. So that gave me a perfect segue into my most important comment of the day....PLEASE learn how to pronounce Drew's name correctly! That one got laugh from my fellow fans.

For his part, Dean continues to pronounce it wrong.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pizza Delivery Has Come a Long Way....

One of the bad habits I developed living in suburbia was stopping to pick up dinner somewhere every night on the way home. Baja Fresh, Subway, Jack-in-the-Box...and if I was in the mood for pizza, Little Caesars, because they have the absolute best cheesy garlic bread on earth. I would pass all of these on the commute home to the old place, so it seemed like the efficient thing to do.

Now that the freeway goes straight from my office home with no real traffic, there really isn't any place convenient to stop along the way. In part this is good, because I've been making an effort to cook more. Saves money, and it's healthier. But I had a long day at work today and just wasn't up for it, and I was craving some pizza. Domino's conveniently left a flyer in my mailbox, so I figured what the heck.

I look at the listings on the flyer, find the closest location, and pick up the phone like any good person who last ordered a pizza 6 years ago would do. After holding a bit, I caught the automated message telling me the fastest way to order was online. Since I had little patience and a now-growling stomach, I hung up the phone and hit the laptop.

And I discovered....The Pizza Tracker! Where has this been all my life!

I actually watched it process...because I'm a geek like that. And sure enough, about 5 minutes after the red bar entered the delivery section, there was a knock on my door. Behind it stood a friendly guy with my pizza. Exactly 23 minutes from the time I hit the button to place my order.

So Pizza Hut officially rocks the technology. The garlic cheese bread...still not Little Caesars.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 6 (The Finale)

Well, it's been a long 10 days, but I think I'm finally done. Found some great furniture this weekend, just perfect for the size of the room. It was delivered Monday, and now the apartment is fully functional. I have a place to eat, blog, talk, watch TV, listen to music, relax, cook, entertain, and sleep. And it's a good thing, because I'm also out of decorating money!

The sofa-chair, by the way was meant to be. Not only is it comfy, it folds out into a single bed, in case someone might need to visit and stay a while! And the best part...the model is named Meghan! Nadine picked up on that little fact, and once she did, we stood there in the store, looked at each other, and knew it was a done deal.

So without further ado, the new space...finally complete!

My last stop today was Bed, Bath and Beyond, the best source for all the little stuff like throw pillows, kitchen gadgets...and a trash can. I wanted a nice stainless steel one, not one of those cheap plastic deals.

I always wondered why people included trash cans on their wedding gift registries, and now I know. These suckers are EXPENSIVE! I didn't even get the biggest, nicest one, and it still costs $129! Thank goodness for my 20% coupon, which brought the cost down to roughly a C-note. For that much money, this thing ought to make my coffee and wake me in the morning, and take out the trash all by itself! But it sure is pretty, and it's "fingerprint proof."

At least they soften the blow a little by including a package of special can liners with your purchase!

So now that my life is fully functional, this will be my last "Adventures in Moving" post. On to the more interesting business of living life...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 5

So all the boxes are finally unpacked, and everything is put away. Not completely organized (at least not to my standards), but not sitting in piles on the floor. But I'm still only about half done, and here's why.

When you enter my place and turn right, it looks like someone lives here....

But go left, and you see the problem....

Incidentally, the side table to the right is where I've been sitting and working at the computer. The box under the laptop is empty, but I needed something to get the computer to the right height. If that isn't some major MacGyver style rigging, I don't know what is.

So today I will shopping for furniture - specifically a small but elegant dining room set, affordably priced but better-than-Ikea quality. And potentially a chair for the "living room" area which will exist between the dining set and bed. But I kind of want to see how the dining stuff fits first. I'm really trying to avoid cramming too much stuff in here and making the room look smaller than it already is. Nadine, the goddess of shopping, will assist me today. I need all the help I can get!

In happier news, the kitchen is done, and I've managed to start feeding myself on a more regular basis. In fact, I went to Whole Foods the other day and actually stood there in the store, stunned, for about 5 minutes before I could figure out what to buy. When I thought about it more, I realized I haven't cooked anything but deviled eggs, crock pot meatballs, or cookies for about 3 years, and I've forgotten how to shop for a week of meals. Amazing how take-out rots your culinary brain! I'm more than excited to start correcting that.

And most importantly, the bar is open. Need I say more?

Actually, I do have one more thing. I have to give special thanks to my good friend Tanya Offerdahl for my first flower delivery in the new place!

The girl is running around after an 18 month old toddler, 8 1/2 months pregnant with BGO (Baby Girl Offerdahl) number two, working, and being a single mom when her pilot husband is at his job, yet still has time to send me flowers. Now THAT is a true friend!

OK, that's really it. I'm off in search of greatness! Wish me luck....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 4 (What Was I Thinking?)

I made excellent progress tonight unpacking the kitchen, so in honor of National Ice Cream Day I'm digging into pint of Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and doing a little celebration dance while I blog. I have only two boxes left to unpack, and they may stay packed until I find a dining room set because they're just the right height for my laptop, given the only seat in the house right now besides the bed is an end table. And so far, I haven't caught myself saying, "Now I wonder where that thingy is...." which means the remaining boxes likely don't contain anything I desperately need.

In case you're wondering about the title for this blog, don't worry. I am not regretting my decision to move or anything of the sort. But in the process of unpacking, I realized the pre-move "junk purge" missed some things. I thought it would be entertaining to look at a few items that probably should have hit the junk bin, but that came along for the ride anyway.

This is a board game I've never unwrapped. I think I had a bachelorette party or some gag gift occasion in mind and thought this would be the perfect thing and I'd never find it again. Apparently I rethought my choice, because I still have the darn thing, Single ladies? Any takers?

These were intended to be birthday gifts for my nephews following my trip to Ireland. I was there in December of 2006. Uh, hello...that was 3 years ago! I really pulled a Mom on this one, and stored these away in the top of my closet, where I promptly forgot about them (a trick my Mom always managed to pull off annually when we were kids). The moment to give these without a long-winded explanation has passed now, plus the jersey won't fit the intended nephew any more. Anyone?

The banana stands are testament to the hazards of keeping half your life in boxes for 5 years. I knew I had a banana stand...somewhere. When I went looking for it and couldn't find it, I thought I was deluded and only imagined I owned one, so I promptly bought another. Now, I like bananas, but I sure don't need 2 ways to hang 'em. The black wrought iron one stays. The other just hit the trash.

You're probably thinking to yourself, "That is the UGLIEST plate I have ever seen! Who in the world would want that?" I kept this a proof I am NOT an artist! Everyone who sees my scrapbooks seems to think I have this hidden artistic talent, but this specimen is proof to the contrary. The plate was my first attempt at painting pottery. We went to one of those "Color Me Mine" places for Molly's birthday a few years ago. It was fun as a group outing, but the final product wasn't exactly what I had in mind. So much for my career as a painter....

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Exactly how drunk was she when she bought this?" I can confirm alcohol, as well as peer pressure from my co-workers, was involved. I got this at the Saddle Ranch Restaurant at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Dinner out was our summer fun event back when I was a claims manager, and all my employees were pushing to get me on the mechanical bull. Buying and wearing this thing was the only way I could get out of the bull ride. Of course, the funniest part of the night was leaving, running into Keanu Reeves (yes, THAT Keanu Reeves) in the parking garage elevator (still wearing the hat, of course), and getting so flustered it took me 20 minutes to find my car.

With a story like that, the hat will be with me for a while.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 3

Well, I'm making progress. The hardest part of the day was actually getting out of bed, which involved 15 minutes of stretching my still-aching calves and taking 2 Advil to get me going. With that little feat accomplished, I managed to get the rest of the bedroom and living area boxes unpacked. I still haven't tackled the kitchen, but isn't that why God created restaurant delivery?

So now I can share some A.D. (that's after decoration photos). Here we go...

Bathroom...or as like to call it, The Spa!

Bedroom/living area....

Here's a better shot of the rug. This is the one I got in Turkey on my Mediterranean cruise last year. I think I had this room in mind somehow when I bought it, and now it gets to be out in full view! In my old place, it was partially hidden under the bed.

I put my CD's in storage to free up some space in the entertainment center. Perfect spot for my signed puck collection! Ovie is on top of the pyramid, the second row is Drew (left) and Sully (right) and the bottom three are Jon Quick, Matthieu Garon, and Jamie Lundmark.

And even though I didn't want roommates, there will always be room in my life for Sid the Kid.

Maybe a little change of scenery for Sid is a good thing. Hopefully it means better luck tomorrow against the Red Wings!

I am off to bed. Tomorrow is my first day back to work post move, and I have a new morning routine to figure out...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 2

The movers came this morning at 8:45 am, and exactly 3 hours later they had me moved in, furniture assembled, to the new place. Without a doubt, the best $233 I have ever spent.

My day, of course, started 4 hours earlier with two last minute loads of laundry, and final packing to empty dresser drawers, etc. And continued until 5 minutes ago....

I have been on my feet the entire day, except when I made a couple of phone calls, incidentally placed to give me an excuse to sit down for 5 minutes. My calves are screaming. My arms are so bruised I look like a heroin junkie. I tore two fingernails down to the quick, and my right thumb is throbbing. I ate twice today, if you count a Diet Coke and a vending machine bag of White Cheddar Cheez-Its a meal. I have barely touched the kitchen, and everything else is about half unpacked. My refrigerator has nothing in it but 2 sports bottles of water and a bottle of champagne. I cannot recall the last time I was so physically exhausted. I'm going to sleep like a dead person tonight.

And you know what else...I'm happy. I'm going to love it here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Adventures in Moving: Part 1

Today was a great but exhausting day of what I've decided to call "Adventures in Moving." It's the only way I could come up with to make a basically painful process seem like more fun than it is. After picking up the keys to the new place, and completing my move-in condition inspection, I made 3 trips to get the closet and bathroom successfully moved. This way, no matter what happens tomorrow I'll have a way to shower and find clean clothes.

Since I'm beat and have a long day tomorrow, I'm keeping this short. But there is always time for a few photos! I call these the B.D. version of the apartment (that's "Before Decoration").


Hallway to the bathroom....

That's a closet with the mirrored door to the right. There's another one just like in on the left side. I love closets!

The Powder Room :)

My small but functional kitchen....

And the big payoff....the bed/living room with one entire wall of windows!! I gotta admit, this is what sold me on the place when I saw it.

And I know I'm officially here because I already have mail. How about that?

And a nice "welcome wagon" package from the building. Two spas to try out, delivery menus, maps of downtown, coupons for everything.

Now I just need to figure out where Starbucks is....