Thursday, March 31, 2005

'Tis the Season...Turn, Turn, Turn

…turn those clocks ahead! Oh, hallelujah—I thought Winter would never end. But finally: bunnies are hopping, birds are swooping, butterflies are flitting, poppies are blooming…and…and…

the Victoria’s Secret Catalogs are BURSTING with beach fashions! A sure sign that Summer can’t be far behind!

So, why aren’t I feeling zippier? I’ll tell you why. The world is such a sad, sad, place. I mean, can’t we all just get along?

I wasn’t going to blog about Terri Schiavo. In fact, I’d pretty much decided to avoid anything of a political nature. Plus, I haven’t read extensively on the subject. But, I thought a lot about it after CNN announced her passing this morning, and I decided, what the hell. Here’s my two cents (well, make it four—gotta argue both sides).

From the parents’ perspective: my thought all along has been, if we’re gonna make a mistake here, why not make it on the side of life? If you truly believed Terri was a goner anyway, why not let the parents who loved her so much take care of her? Who was it hurting? (Okay, playing devil’s advocate here: it was hurting Terri’s dignity)

From the husband’s perspective: I hadn’t realized until recently how dedicated he was to Terri after the accident/heart attack (whatever the hell it was). From what I’ve read, he spent four years, side-by-side with Terri’s mother, taking care of his wife. I also read he went to nursing school in order to learn how best to meet her needs. That he flew her to a specialist for experimental brain implants. This was obviously a man who loved his wife. (I have a little problem with his delay in claiming she wouldn’t want to live in a “persistent vegetative state” but maybe it just took him that long to exhaust the possible “cures.”) In any event, if I’m to give Terri’s parents the benefit of the doubt, I have to give it to her husband as well. If he truly believed she wouldn’t have wanted to live that way, and if his subsequent actions were motivated by that belief, then I have to admire him for fighting so tirelessly on her behalf.

From Terri’s perspective: herein lies my problem. We’ll never know Terri’s perspective.

I haven’t signed a living will and I don’t know that I will. My gut says that sure, if my quality of life falls to such a level, pull the plug. But then the quality of life issue is a complicated one. How do we know our definition won’t change under altered circumstances?

People say, “I’d rather be dead than lose the use of my limbs.” Well, tell that to Christopher Reeve’s family; it might start a pretty thoughtful discourse.

People say, “I’d rather be dead than lose my mind to Alzheimer’s.” Well, who’s to say Alzheimer’s patients aren’t happy as clams? We’re not inside their minds. We don’t know. My aunt sits quietly at our family gatherings with the sweetest of smiles. Sure, it hurts us to know her spirit is gone, but who are we to judge what kind of quality of life she’s experiencing?

People with cancer often opt to forego treatment in order to live life to the fullest in the time they have left. Not my cousin, Bruce. He exhausted every experimental treatment then available for melanoma, even to the extent of living with his sternum removed. In return, he got a few extra years—just enough to take his little girl on her first trip to Disneyworld. Although he eventually lost the battle, I don’t think he (or his daughter) would trade those years of struggle for anything.

Pregnant women can have a procedure called amniocentesis to determine (among other things) whether their baby will be born with Down’s Syndrome. Some elect to have abortions when the test comes back positive. But, I know a young woman with Down’s Syndrome who's happier than most people on the planet.

The tragedy of Terri Schiavo is not that she died. All death is tragic. And we’ll never know if, after fifteen years, she wanted to go or stay. But of one thing I’m fairly certain: She wouldn’t have wanted the love her husband and family felt for her to grow like a cancer into a national feud.

And that’s the real tragedy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Things I Haven’t Done (but would like to)

Seen the poppies bloom in the desert
Gone to Paris and had my hair chopped off by an overpriced stylist
Learned to play the violin
Replaced my late dog
Seen the Getty Museum
Had a no-strings attached, one-night fling
Sat in a café in Vienna watching the rain pelt against the window
Lived in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean
Joined the mile-high club
Seen the Academy Award winning movies of the last five years
Climbed Mt. Everest (okay, probably doesn’t belong on this list—I’m pretty sure that ship has sailed…might as well add “seen Machu Pichu here too”)
Participated in a reality show on TV (this one’s pretty doubtful too)
Bought myself the new Sony PSP
Gone on safari
Swum (swam?) with dolphins
Organized years and years of pictures into albums or even bothered to label my home videos
Served on a jury
Visited my step-brother in Chile**update: I found out last night that he moved to Peru!
Lived in Mexico
Bought new bedroom furniture to replace the stuff my parents let me take from my childhood room in their house (yes, my bed is ANCIENT)

Things I’ve Done (but wouldn’t have predicted)

Taken tango lessons in Buenos Aires
Associate produced award-winning documentaries
Seen the family farm in Norway
Kissed an iconic TV actor
Met John Wayne
Hopscotched across America in a private plane
Attended the Academy Award rehearsals
Climbed Dunns River Falls in Jamaica
Lived in the same condo and had the same job for 20+ years
Redecorated (most) of my home
Bought myself a diamond ring
Seen the Mall Of America
Dated a man who wore a World Series ring

Things I’ll Never Do

Bungee jump
Parachute from a plane

So, probably this really bored everyone else, but hey—now, I have a handy list of things-to-do!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

And I Like Dancing in the Moonlight (with apologies to Rupert Holmes)

All day long, I searched my mind for something to blog about. Then, it finally came to me as I was putting groceries away.

First, you have to hear what my groceries consisted of:

1. Trash bags—last week my maid had to make do with the plastic bags you bring your stuff home in. I wouldn’t have even stopped after work if I hadn’t been in such desperate need.

2. A couple of Lean Cuisines—lunch fodder.

3. A package containing bially’s (sp?)—an English muffin/bagel combo with only 70 calories a piece.

4. A large brick of medium cheddar.

5. A twelve-pack of Fresca.

6. A six-pack of ice cream cones--low cal, low carb (natch).

Now, it may seem odd to most people, but items 3 through 6 are dinner staples. I toast the muffins, melt a little cheese on them in the microwave, eat them with a “side dish” of pretzels and shredded wheat mixed together, and wash it all down with a Fresca. The ice cream cone (obviously) is dessert.

So, I got to thinking, as I put this stuff away, how happy I am to be able to eat what I want for dinner. It’s not even about not having anyone else to cook for; I truly prefer “snacks” to meat and potatoes. And, who’s to say which is healthier? At least I’m getting whole wheat in the cereal, the pretzels are baked, not fried, and the Bially is gluten-free (or something). Only the cheese is a little edgy, but I don’t use much. Okay, so it’s not exactly a balanced meal. I try to eat an apple in the morning along with some more whole wheat cereal, and there are vegetables and whole grains with a little faux chicken in the Lean Cuisines.

Anyway, that wasn’t going to be my point. My point is that I wanted to share the lyrics to a song I first heard as a young adult. Barbra Streisand recorded it but I think a guy named Rupert (Holmes? Everett?—he’s the gay actor, isn’t he?) penned it. Anyway, here’s what I can remember (I'm no poet so forgive the punctuation, and it's not exactly word-for-word but you'll get the gist):


Self-contained and self-content
No promises to keep
I’ve got things so together
That I just can’t fall asleep.
Walked the night and
Drank the moon
Got home at half past four
With no one there to mark my time
As I walked through the door.

It’s really lovely
To discover
That you like to be alone.
Not to have a man to answer
When he gets you on the phone.
Not to share
A pair
Of pork chops
When you crave champagne and cheese.
When your aim's to please yourself
And not to aim to please.
Oh, they sold me
When they told me
Two can live as cheap as one.
But I’m learning
Twice your earning
Doesn’t mean it’s twice the fun.
When you spend your time
And someone’s dime
On someone else’s schemes,
I’m not needy but I’m greedy
And I live my deepest dreams.
Take an hour in the shower,
Grab the water while it’s hot.
Just a man to scrub my back
Is all I haven’t got.

Self-esteem and self-aware
And grateful I would be--
If just one damn man
Would feel the need
To be alone with me.

Now, I don’t know if this song resonated with me because it described who I wanted to be--or who I was destined to be. I’m also quite fond of Sinead O’Connor’s “I Don’t Want What I Can’t Have,” so it’s hard to tell.

And, oh God...I just discovered Rupert Holmes also wrote the Pina Colada song.
Go figure.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Waste Is...Well, It's Such A Waste

I’m talking trash here but, no, I haven’t morphed into Alan Iverson. I mean honest-to-goodness household detritus…as in the stuff you send to the curb once a week.

At my house, that little trip to the curb translates to $40 a month. FORTY DOLLARS A MONTH! For ONE measly person! Honestly, I have a trash compactor which gets emptied every other week by my maid (obviously, I don’t cook much) and he (yes, how cool is that my maid is a man?) puts uno trash bag into my company-issued trashcan.

And for this, I pay the same amount as the slobs down the street. Now, I ask you: is that fair??

I’m seriously thinking of lugging my trash to work so I can dispose of it in the company dumpster. Tacky, I know, but oh-so-economical.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A Starring Role?

No, not for me. For Bemco.

Turns out that John Ratzenberger (formerly Cliff, the Mailman on Cheers) hosts a show on the Travel Channel called, “Made In America” that does stories on companies guessed it...make things in America. So, I was chatting with him at a bar last night and when he heard I have a manufacturing company nearby in Simi Valley, he asked me to fax over Bemco’s particulars as a possible subject for his show. Imagine! Bemco, a star! How cool is that?

Of course, it wouldn’t be Bemco’s first brush with fame. Who could forget that memorable appearance of a Bemco Altitude Chamber in an episode of Ironside when Raymond Burr used it to prove whodunit?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Yahoo Anyone?

A friend of mine has been urging me to try the Yahoo Personals to find a man. I told her I wasn’t sure I wanted to clutter up my life that way since I’m pretty happy with the status quo.

Then I read Stephanie’s blog the other night (click here: ) and it brought back memories of what new love (read: new sex) is all about. Hmmm. Maybe I would like to try that again.

But am I ready for the personals???

If not the personals, then what???

So, I drew up a quick list of my relationships and how I met the men who became a part of them. Here’s what I ended up with (in other words, the ones I could remember):

Dan1 and Hal were neighbors in the apartment complex I lived in while at college
Dan2 and I shared an office in graduate school
Paul owned the nightclub I frequented

Um, gee. Is that it? Only 11? Weren’t there more? Or less? And how come such boring names? (Oh, wait. I forgot about Vasili. He goes in the bar column. And wouldn’t my father be proud to see the number of men I’ve dated from bars?)

I’m meeting friends tonight at Bogey's. Maybe I’ll put off that Yahoo thing one more day.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

And It All Became Clear...

One of my on-line friends is writing an article about using the Myers-Briggs system as a way of analyzing our strengths and weaknesses as authors.

Briefly, you’re asked to assess yourself in four areas: relating to others, information taking, decision making, and life order. You do this by reading a series of descriptions under each heading and figuring out on which side you fall. In the end, you wind up with a four-letter code which leads you to your analysis.

Having a little time on my hands this morning, I decided to play along. Turns out I’m an ESFP which, in itself, probably doesn’t startle (or interest) anyone. Each combination of letters has its own moniker; mine is “The Joker.” Um, huh?? The Joker? Couldn’t I have been “The Visionary?” Or, even “The Wizard?” I guess I should be happy I wasn’t “The Helper”—how boring is that?

Anyway, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, past all the mundane stuff it said about me, something eerie suddenly stood out…and I quote:

"There is an affinity of the INTJ "scientist" for the ESFP exciting entertainer. This type of mating, however, is so infrequent as to be a mere academic interest (the INTJ is a mere 1 percent of the population and, furthermore, rarely comes in contact with ESFP). "

Whaaa??? Huh???? So, not only is the pool of men I’m attracted to infinitesimal, I’m not likely to ever bump into one of its members? How could God be this cruel??

To discover why your own life is screwed, go here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

An Unworthy Blog Day

I just couldn't come up with anything blog-worthy today, so I decided to take advantage of the title and ramble. In case you're interested, here are the topics that almost made it:

1. Are little boys more disaster prone than little girls? It's only a theory since I don't have children of my own, but I know for a fact I never launched a paperclip from my hands straight into my mouth so that it hooked right through my tonsil. This is the amazing feat my assistant's son accomplished today.

2. I could have talked about Terry Schiavo, but how depressing is that story? Besides, I'm very wishy washy and can easily argue both sides. I bore myself on the topic. Why bore others?

3. Why are holidays so complicated? Especially Easter, for God's sake? No, we can't have it at my parents' house, it's too much, we can't have it at my house (ostensibly because it's too much work but in truth because no one thinks I'm capable)...yes, we can have it at a, we can't have it at a restaurant...yes, let's order the whole thing from, Gelson's is too, hmmm...let's see...why not have it at my parents house? (Do you see the circle here?)

4. What's happened to the daily tales of celebrities doing stupid things? Are they all on some kind of hiatus? Aside from Pat O'Brien (who's old and therefore less interesting apparently) no one cute and fun has had anything splashed across the Internet lately. (In case you're uninformed: Pat O'Brien allegedly left wicked voicemail on some woman's answering machine outlining what he wanted to do to her, what he wanted her to do to him, and (hey--what a guy) what the two of them could do with his girlfriend. Somehow (?) these messages made their way to the Internet. Sadly, Mr. O'Brien cannot be reached for comment since he checked himself into alcohol rehab last week.)

5. We could discuss the downfall of the Laker dynasty...but that term sounds like an oxymoron these days. Hell, we could discuss March Madness, but I didn't get into a pool, so who cares?

Okay, that's enough for now. There are other topics that didn't make the cut, but it's quittin' time and I'm angling for a margarita. Dammit. The whole plant is working overtime. That means no one available for Happy Hour. Guess I'll have to go home and polish that agent request instead.

Let's all hope there's something to talk about tomorrow! Or, not.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Breaking Writing Career News

Funny how I've inadvertantly set up a system of making sure I've always got "something out there." While my contest entry was in finalist limbo, I figured it was time to mail out another agent query...ya know, so I could include a line that said: "Fit For Love is currently a finalist in the Launching A Star Contest and my entry is now on the desk of a Pocket Books editor for final judging"...

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I found out I'd placed third in the contest and the editor didn't request the full manuscript (insert heavy sigh here).

But today I received a response from the agent...send thirty pages, she says! (Okay, it's not 100% promising--for that she would have had to request the full, but it's better than the NO'S I've been getting recently.)

Ha...I have to include a brief bio of my publishing credentials (um, there ARE none) so I'll have to fudge on that. Not lie, mind you. Just skirt around the issue.

She says she takes up to two months for a, in the meantime, guess I'll have to get another contest entry out there.

Travel Bargain

Hey, those 3-night cruises are a deal. Here’s how it broke down:

My share of outside stateroom with window. . . . . . . . $ 500.00
Drinks and photos charged to the room . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 150.00
Taxi to and from Las Rosas Hotel in Ensenada
and lunch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 25.00
Entertainment (Las Vegas-type shows,
Comedians, Piano bar, etc.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . included
Food (lobster, chateau briande, 24-hour
Pizza, and afternoon sushi) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . included
One day of bright, sunshiny weather . . . . . . . . . . . . . bonus!

Slot machine jackpot last
night of the cruise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . <$ 675.00>

Grand total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 0

I’m not kidding.

This is the honest truth within a few dollars.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Don't Hate Me 'Cuz I Travel...

I'm off in a few minutes to embark on a 3-night cruise (I think they're usually called 3-day cruises, but no matter how I do the math, I don't come up with 3 days.) Anyway, this time I'm going with another Randi (note the difference in spelling)...poor thing, she's a divorced mother of three (one with Down Syndrome) who teaches special ed full time while she's getting her teaching credential. Her own children pleaded (pled?) with her to "please go away and regain your sanity" during Spring break. When she called to beg me to join her, how could I refuse??

Yes, I try hard to *be* there for my friends.

See y'all on Monday!

P.S....It's raining! I'm boarding a cruise ship dressed in jeans and a sweater instead of a tropical sundress! I had to pack a fricking umbrella! How SAD is this? (Okay, for those of you who have read previous posts, you'll note I lied about the umbrella since I don't own, I'll look like a drowned rat when I board...who the hell cares? I'd rather be in Puerto Vallarta..............)

Not That There's Anything Wrong With It...

...but Puerto Vallarta seems to be going the way of Palm Springs.

Yes, (she said with a resigned sigh) the guys with flat abs and sculpted shoulders had eyes only for each other. (Not that my “gadar” is very advanced, but coming from California, you get pretty used to the concept that an attractive man must be gay.) Anyway, they were nice and friendly, though! And, fun to talk to! And, so blessedly harmless!

I got my first clue when I was browsing the Internet for new restaurants and came across a site that featured a list of those that were gay-owned. Hmm, I thought. Coincidence that there are so many? I think not.

Sure enough, turns out Puerto Vallarta is now known as a particularly “gay friendly” Mexican resort town. Not surprising since the people are so damn friendly period. After a little research, I learned there are gay beaches, gay bars, gay restaurants, gay tours…the whole gay shebang, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

People I Met In Puerto Vallarta

Dave and Tish: married couple from Calgary; he painted houses and didn’t realize his wife was a lesbian. Okay, maybe she wasn’t, but that short frizzed hairdo and the barbed-wire tattoo circling her upper arm didn’t scream femininity

Rich and Debbie: married couple from Washington State. Debbie is still bitter at having grown up a California “Valley Girl” whose parents apparently didn’t raise her in a style she thought she deserved.

John and Thespa: dating couple. John never made a peep so I can’t vouch for him. Thespa introduced him as her friend, then reluctantly corrected herself. Boyfriend. Widowed five years ago, she never shut up about how hard it is to find a man without baggage. Poor John cringed every time she made it clear he wasn’t up to snuff.

Scott Peterson and wife Marcia. Yes, truly. The first time he asked us if we wanted to go fishing, we were slightly amused. The third or fourth time got old. When Marcia asked if we wanted to join them to do the “premium drugs” they’d toted along, we politely declined.

Juan: Beach vendor with the prettiest smile containing the most perfect teeth you’d ever want to see. I suspect he lives in a condo perched on a cliff somewhere and drives a Mercedes.

Milan: (see previous post) 34-year old Serbian who’s lived all over the world and is probably wondering how much longer he can make the gigolo thing work.

Jorge: Pool bartender. He has the most perfect job in the world and promises I can be his assistant when I retire from the rat race.

Unnamed Woman: Fifty-ish (and well past being able to wear a bikini--if indeed, she ever could), I wish I could have been in the dressing room at that moment when she thought silently to herself: “Wow, here’s a keeper.”

Steve and Linda: Dating couple from Simi Valley where I work. Steve sported matching nipple rings and would probably do well on Fear Factor. Linda is a buyer for Nordstrom and rattled off all the upcoming mall developments in my area (which I promptly forgot).

Fidelita: Okay, so we made this name up. She was the dog we met in a small outdoor plaza one night. Hungry and nursing, she looked like prime material for adoption. Ann bought her two plates of steak Fajitas, and she would have been our friend for life only when we went back the next day the plaza had been razed. We couldn’t believe our eyes. Nothing ever happens this quickly in Mexico. We asked a few neighboring shop owners about it and were told a new, more modern, plaza is going in with underground parking. Wha…? Huh??? Underfrickingground parking in Puerto Vallarta? Are they kidding? Anyway, Fidelita apparently roamed away to greener pastures.

So, there it is. People we spent hours talking to. People we’ll never see again. Transient relationships one and all…

Except maybe Jorge, the bartender. Get that apron ready for me, Jorge. I'm ready to jump ship!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time...

After cocktails at sunset on a rooftop bar known as El Nido (above the restaurant Chez Elena), Ann and I teetered our way down a steep hill to the town below. (I say teetered not as a reflection of our state of sobriety but because that’s what walking in Puerto Vallarta is all about). Tonight, we decided we’d eat at one of those restaurants south of the Rio de la Cuale that feature “on the sand” dining.

La Margarita was the first one we came to. Softly lit palm trees hovering over tables set halfway between the boardwalk and shoreline instantly charmed us. By the time we’d ordered filet mignon for Ann and snapper for me, we were basking in the atmosphere and listening to a group of Mariachis sing “El Relos.”

Then, near disaster struck.

I heard Ann shriek, “Feet up!” and as I watched my camera bag float away, we realized either the tide was coming in or an unreported earthquake had occurred somewhere.

Undaunted, we dug into our meal and merely raised our feet whenever it seemed prudent.

Eventually, another balladeer joined us--this time, a handsome young man from Venezuela. Since I didn’t know any songs from his country, I asked him to sing his favorite. With one eye on the encroaching surf and the other on the fingers strumming his guitar, the poor guy gamely began his song.

Alas, it was not to be.

This was above and beyond "feet up."

The next thing we knew, we were standing on the boardwalk, looking back at overturned chairs and two waiters hauling our table out of the surf.

Hmm. Kinda made us wonder about those “softly lit palm trees” we’d been sitting under. And exactly whose electrical standards they were wired to….

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A Travel Tip

When vacationing in Mexico, you hear a lot about this Montezuma’s revenge thing. “Don’t drink the water,” everyone warns.

Well, personally, I’m too lazy to uncork a bottle for brushing my teeth, and I prefer ice in my cocktails. So, I say: ignore the dire predictions. Drink as much agua as you like. (Besides, a little dehydration translates to a flat stomach which is a good thing, right?)

On the other hand, I’ve learned there’s something else to watch out for and, trust me, you won’t see it mentioned in the guidebooks:

I call it Shoppers’ Knees.

At first, you think you’ve walked too many miles on cobblestone streets in ridiculously high heels. Then, around the second or third day, as you’re spending your 1000th peso with a beach vendor, it suddenly strikes you. You’re kneeling at the edge of the Infinity pool, gazing at Juan’s wares, bargaining him down to a sinfully cheap price. And this takes time. Lots of time. It even takes cocktails. Meanwhile, your poor knees go straight to hell.

So, heed my advice: If you’re gonna spend time shopping from the pool, don’t forget the kneepads. And, remember: tequila is the perfect antidote to whatever’s in that drinking water.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Maybe In My Younger Days...

It’s about 6 p.m. and we’ve just unpacked. The sun is heading for the horizon when Ann and I arrive poolside for a cocktail at the swim-up bar of the Premiere Hotel and Spa in Puerto Vallarta.

Lesson number one: at this time of day, leftover stragglers tend to be obnoxiously drunk married American men. (I’d be more explicit about the conversation we had with these guys, but Ann’s husband may read this and never let her travel with me again).

Luckily, a hotel manager type drifts over and makes these losers see the wisdom in calling it a day.

The next morning, we spot said hotel manager type having breakfast with an older woman who works in the boutique. (Pay attention, this info will come in handy).

Later, Ann and I visit the swim-up bar again (I think they’ve officially christened it Ann and Randy’s Bar) when hotel manager type wanders over and relieves our bartender of his duties and begins serving us himself. Milan, his name is, and he’s a 34-year-old Goran Ivanisovich lookalike from Serbia. (Okay, I think Goran is Croatian, but let’s not quibble). Anyway, Milan is oh-so-charming as he gets our drinks, responds to our questions about what has brought him to PV and says, that yes, the woman we saw him with is his wife.

Finally, we drag ourselves to our room to change for dinner but minutes later there’s a knock at the door. I open it to reveal a waiter carrying a tray with an ice bucket holding a bottle of champagne plus two glasses. “Compliments of Milan,” he tells us.

Delighted, we pop the cork, pour out the bubbly and continue primping.

Rrrrring. I pick up the phone. “How are you enjoying the champagne?” Milan asks. I offer my appreciation, and he asks if he can join us for a glass.

Ding, ding, ding. Warning bells go off in my mind, but ever-the-gracious accepter of free booze, I say, “Of course. Come on up.”

Milan arrives (we are dressed!) and within minutes, he is asking us to dance. Um, what? Dance? In our room? He asks about our plans for the evening, and I tell him we’re having dinner at the Jazz Bistro. He suggests we order another bottle of champagne and hang out in the room instead.

DING, DING, DING. WHAT?!? Do we look that desperate?

Ann asks if this is a part of his job and he responds, simply, “Yes.”

I politely insist we’re not interested in hanging out in the room (I avoid mentioning we’re also not interested in having sex with him), and he goes on his way (although Ann and I notice he heads not for the elevator, but toward another room—maybe in search of another “desperate housewife”???)

Guess I’m not as worldly as I think, ‘cuz I must confess I’m still confused about this little episode. Which of us did he think would be more likely to accept his “offer”—Ann, who wears a very noticeable wedding ring? Or, me—the single gal? Or, (gulp) both of us? And, if this “service” is indeed a part of his job, does that mean it was included in the price of the room? Or, would there have been an extra “service charge” added to our tab?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

On Vacation!

...and only time will tell (well, about 7 a.m. tomorrow will tell) whether I decide to take my laptop with me so I can blog from beautiful downtown Puerto Vallarta....

Celebrity Sighting--Part Two

A couple years ago, as my stepmom drove along the street on which she lives, she noticed a tree she thought would look nice in her yard. Unfamiliar with the species, she parked, boldly marched to the front door, and knocked.

The door swung open to reveal a man she immediately recognized not only from television and movies but because, over the years, he'd lived in several homes in the area. Grey now, and with haunted eyes, he asked what he could do for her.

She told him what she was after, and he graciously invited her in. He made a little joke of looking up her name in the community address book, but she knew he was double checking to make sure she was truly a resident, not a reporter. It struck her as sad that he couldn’t even trust an 81-year old woman.

He confessed to knowing nothing about the tree but promised to search through his landscape records and, failing that, to consult his gardner. They chatted for awhile about inconsequential things, and she felt a connection to him. Maybe because her own children had acted in “the picture business,” as this man had. Maybe because, in his youth, he’d been a part of the old Hollywood, as my stepmom had.

The very next day, she heard helicopters overhead and went outside. Not seeing police cars or fire engines, she returned to the living room and switched on the TV news.

There, she watched with a heavy heart, as uniformed men led Robert Blake from his home in handcuffs.

Now, this man’s fate is in the hands of a jury, and my stepmom waits anxiously for the verdict.

He never called her back about the tree. Guess he had more important things on his mind.

Monday, March 07, 2005

How To Turn 25 Cents into Ten Thousand Dollars

My stepmom and I had front row seats at a Linda Eder performance Saturday night. During intermission, an audience member approached the stage, left a quarter, then turned and went back to her seat. Minutes later, I noticed a second person do the same. Before long, more quarters joined the first. Then a roll of quarters. Then a rose attached to a baggie of quarters. Finally, cold hard cash started to appear.

Granted this was the Valley, not the oh-so-hip Westside, but it wasn’t the kind of joint where the performer sings for tips. Had I missed a memo?

When Linda returned to the stage, her eyes twinkled as she noticed the offerings. And, here is the story she told:

Sometime back, while doing the run-through before a show, she noticed a quarter in the center of the stage. She meant to pick it up but forgot. That night, during the performance, the glare from the lights hitting the quarter distracted her again. To hell with it, she thought, and bent to pick it up. Only it turned out to be a large shiny nail denoting center stage, and of course it wouldn’t budge. Laughing, she let the audience in on the joke.

Soon, quarters started showing up at every conert, wry reminders from loyal fans. As the sum began to mount, she decided to do something special with the money. A quarter isn’t a lot, she thought, but could go a long way toward helping a homeless dog or cat. Eventually, she settled on a no-kill facility in Manhattan that, among other things, serves as a retirement home for the horses who draw the carriages in Central Park.

At the concert Saturday night, Linda announced that Animal Planet has decided to match her quarters…and that’s how she turned twenty-five cents into ten thousand dollars.

Celebrity Sighting -- Part One

There I was, at a local nightclub deep in suburbia, twenty miles from Hollywood. It was late and the joint was packed. Suddenly, a friend nudges me and jerks her head toward the end of the bar.

“Look,” she says. “It’s him.”

“Where?” I say, craning my neck. (We’ve heard rumors that he frequents the place during the week.)

“There,” she says. “Next to the brunette.”

Finally, I pick out the man she’s referring to. Yep, it’s him all right. Wow, I think, he looks so different in person.

Minutes later, I sense a wave of movement in the crowd, and I see he’s making his way towards my end of the bar. Just behind me, he stops to say hello to an acquaintance of mine, and I swivel to face him.

“I would never have recognized you,” I tell him.

He smiles but doesn’t say much and eventually moves on.

As he walks away, I put my finger on it. Turns out, I’ve never seen Cliff Clavin* out of uniform before.

Hey, I said I was in deep suburbia. You were expecting Brad Pitt?

Diet update: Yep, it's Monday. Back to square one.

*the mailman on Cheers

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Dreams Redux

Except this time I can’t blame the Tylenol PM (see earlier post). No, must have been the albuterol (sp?) inhaler, the prescription cough medicine, and the antibiotics. Between coughing, hacking, wheezing (no Sneezy, no Grumpy, no Doc) was a rough night...saved by a great dream in which Christina Aguilera did a total makeover on me! Boy, did I look hot! (Did I say this was a GREAT DREAM?) She tweezed my eyebrows to within a hair of Theda Bara, lined my eyelids in heavy black (a la Liz Taylor in Cleopatra), and wound my hair into a wonderful French braid held in place with some sort of hair jewelry I’ve never seen outside of slumblerand. Alas, my dreams tend to fall to the realistic side (not to mention the detailed side), so there I was, at a star-studded function with this fabulous hair, when the top part began to escape from three (three?) combs on each side which was okay because the Mexican family that suddenly appeared insisted on giving me the honor of wearing their traditional hair clip which was totally unlike Christina’s. (I know that was a run-on sentence but I’m too tired to edit.) The daughter in the family tried to make the switch while shoring up the comb escapees and that’s when we discovered I had about two cans of hair spray holding the whole thing together. So, is that the secret?

And no, I don’t take acid or do illicit drugs. My father’s always told me no one is interested in hearing about my dreams. He’s probably right.

Diet update: In a holding pattern which is neither bad nor good, considering the margaritas, chips and salsa last night....

Friday, March 04, 2005

How To Lose 8 Pounds in 8 Easy Steps

(Dedicated to Steph at

1. First, as any seasoned veteran knows, the scale should be on carpeting, not tile or linoleum. (2 pounds!)

2. Weigh first thing in the morning. Never, ever eat or drink anything before getting on the scale. You wanna take advantage of that overnight dehydration. (2 more pounds!)

3. Pee first. (see item 2 above) And, preferably, get drunk the night before. (We’re up to 6!)

4. Do not shower or wash your hair because a) even the hint of moisture may affect the deyhydration factor and b) all that water in your hair has gotta weigh you down.

5. Never, ever, leave one iota of clothing on. Not PJ’s, not slippers. Remove any hair clips or bobby pins.

6. Do NOT jump on the scale. This is a delicate operation. Step as lightly as possible; try to imagine you’re a feather.

7. While stepping (LIGHTLY, I SAID) on the scale, grasp whatever’s handy (bathroom counter, shower stall) on either side of you, making sure to exert a lot of pressure. See? Keeps the scale very low.

8. Now, ever-so-slowly, start to lighten the pressure of your hands. Watch the scale inch up. If done correctly, this method results in about a two pound difference verus the jumping on method. (Woo Hoo! 8 pounds!)

Scales vary. If, after completing steps one through eight above, you are still dissatisfied, consider purchasing a new one. Through diligent research, you should be able to find a model that’s off by about eight pounds. Good luck!

Diet update: no change; still 3 pounds down—think I’ll tie one on tonight.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

I Found My Muse in a Bottle of Tylenol PM

Okay, I confess. I’ve never subscribed to the whole muse thing. Haven’t give her (him?) a name, and there ain’t any “ladies in my basement” (a la Jenny Cruisie) telling me their stories. Hm. Maybe that’s why I’m not published.

But the last two nights…wow! Vivid dreams with tons of potential for book ideas. All, thanks to Tylenol PM.

Now, I’ve never been one to take meds for sleeping. Haven’t needed to. But, along comes this whole menopause debacle and, well…all good things come to an end, I guess. Anyway, if the tradeoff is story ideas, I say bring on the hot flashes.

The only problem is (how do I put this?) the dream was pretty erotic. Enjoyable, yes! But suitable for something I’d write about? Maybe, not. Oh, I know erotica is all the rage in romance publishing, and I’m sure I could write it, but I’d never be able to tell a single soul I was published, so how much fun would that be?

I know where the dream came from. Hours before, I’d read an article in RWR (by Ethan Ellenberg) proposing the idea of rating romance novels for sexual content. You know, just like in the movies. After all, no one even bothers to call it romantica anymore, and much of what I’ve read in the genre seems like plain ol’ porn to me. Ethan’s concern is that we’re alienating traditional romance readers (or turning off new ones) by surprising them with explicit sex. Maybe so, but I think he’s underestimating readers. From what I can see, titles and covers give a pretty good clue as to the level of sexuality inside. Especially if the reader is buying category or downloading from an epub.

Eek. Don’t get me started on the role of explicit sex in romance novels or its impact on the romance industry in general. Forget about readers. How many writers are being driven away because they don’t want to be associated with a genre that borders on porn?

Oh, God…I sound like a shriveled up prude (or is it prune?) and trust me, I’m not. Menopause and hot flashes notwithstanding.

Diet update: Okay, I don’t know how it happened. I haven’t been to the gym all week, but I went down another 2 lbs. Must have been those dreams last night.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Cal Crime All The Time

California is a mecca for journalists assigned to the court system. Or, maybe it’s just a mecca for crime. No sooner did we finish off Scott Peterson (literally) than we switched gears to Robert Blake. Now that his trial is winding down, we get to focus our attention on Michael Jackson. And, lest we think he’s the end of the line, don’t forget Phil Specter lurks right around the corner. Cable TV must thank God every night for California.

If only Kobe had had the foresight to have consensual sex in California, rather than Colorado….

Diet update: Kept pound #1 off

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Blog Interference

Doncha hate it when your day job gets in the way of your blogging?

That's my story today. And all I really wanna do is vent about last night's Bachelorette finale...even though I suspect no one who reads my blog could give a s**t.

Why am I the only person who applauds Jen for her decision? Don't get me wrong; she's a simpering, indecisive, woman who has very little depth. But, Jerry was no prize either. According to rumor, he's somewhat of a reality show whore who only wanted his fifteen minutes of fame. Even Jen questionned his motives right from the beginning. My take on the whole thing? Jen never wanted Jerry in the first place. But she didn't want John Paul, either. I mean, did you see the way she kissed those guys?? I've seen more passion between relatives (ooh, maybe not a good analogy). Anyway, I think the producers, to save face, conjured up that "cliffhanger" proposal and then once the show ended and the cameras disappeared, Jen said, "I'm outta here."

Anyone who says "poor Jerry--he was so devasted" wasn't paying attention. When Jen came out for the "live proposal," Jerry said something like: "So, what should I do with this ring?" Hello! This is the Jerry who got down on bended knee in the taped portion? 'Fraid I have to believe Jen when she said they'd mutually agreed that friendship was where it would end.

Please. Someone shoot me before I watch another of these Bachelor/Bachelorette shows...and I'm not very pleased with the way American Idol is treating their losers this year, either.

Diet update: Lost one pound--the same one I lose every Monday