Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Spring Fever

Oh, I know it's been awhile since I last posted. Things have been crazy and busy here and it's been mindless, silly shit and that's the type of stuff that just leaves you pooped by the end of the day.

I finally had another great writing session today, and many thanks go to my pal who is a great writing buddy. We sit, we write, we talk--whenever the mood strikes--but mostly we write and write and write. It's really pretty cool.

The cherry blossoms are--well--blossoming and that means that spring is right around the corner and I'm in the throes my annual cleaning frenzy. This year, I'm hellbent on cleaning all 30 windows in our house, inside and out; but I've had to cram this colossal endeavor in with all of the other million things I've been doing, from shuttling my mother and Mr. Na hither and yon to doing my own (real) running. This week I'll have run 35 miles total, if, God willing, I make it through the 18 mile run this Saturday.

Since we're cruising into March, I have about a month left of training before the big race. I'm a bit nervous. First of all, I'm a silly moron for picking a spring race, when I have to train in the shittiest weather imaginable. Ok, so no big deal. Once you get wet, you really don't feel the rain all that much. But get this: since it's on Whidbey Island, it'd be so much better if I stayed there the night before the race, but everything on that stupid island is booked solid. Sort of a pain in the ass, yes? Ah, but what's worse is that the first ferry of the morning is too late for the start of the race, so I have to drive all the way up through Anacortes, to the peninsula and across Deception Pass Bridge. And the piece de resistance? The race is on the first day of daylight savings which means I'll be getting up at 4 instead of 5. Whoop-dee-fuckin-doo!

Anyway, I'll stop complaining--maybe by April 3, or maybe when the weather warms up and the skies clear, somewhat.

Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Closet Monkey

I'm sitting in my office right now, which is really a closet--converted into prime office space in the PaNaMa household. See, the kid got my big office, and so I was relegated to the back--or, the front of the house, since the smallish window in my office nee closet faces the street.

It's not such a bad little office. After all, it fits my desk--formerly a butcher block dining table that comfortably seats six. It was from the first marriage, this table. And anything from the first marriage stays either in boxes or in my office, away from the second marriage. Aside from the dog, of course, before he died. Fair's fair.

I like this space because it's quiet up here and I can write and not hear Mr. Na's shrill cries from below. So I have a lot of privacy and I can write about anything I want and listen to music really, really loud without disturbing anyone.

Which brings me to tonight's topic--music--since I'm listening to Rhapsody right now and I've created a new playlist which I love, love, love. It's not new music, it's old, old, OLD music. Music I grew up with--having to listen to it because either my mother, my sister or my brother was into it at the time. Or it was music that was on the radio during the 70s.

My brother, being the oldest sibling, was the trendsetter of the family. He loved everything synthesized, and I can remember the costume he wore to the Rick Wakeman Halloween concert at Madison Square Garden. I think it was the glittery Christmas tree blanket that he wore for a cape. Since he played his music on the family's quadrophonic stereo, I was introduced to the likes of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Pink Floyd; and then he got my sister hooked on Todd Rundgren and Utopia.

When I was little, I had a radio in my bedroom, but it only played AM. So I can remember listening to WABC and WNBC out of New York City and those two stations played Top 40 hits like "Love the One You're With" and "Brandy". My mom, on the other hand, had the prime AM/FM radio in her bedroom and her dial was fixed to WPLJ ("White Port and Lemon Juice") which, at the time, played hard rock. Later, her boyfriend bought her an Audiovox FM receiver for her Camaro (she had a 1970 Rally Sport) and so wherever we went, I heard Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and Steely Dan.

Sometime in the late 70s, my mom's taste changed. She traded her Camaro for a Cougar and her radio dial drifted to the right a little bit, until it landed on WYNY (somehow, she bypassed the whole Disco thing...) which played mostly soft hits from Air Supply and Barry Manilow. And if that wasn't enough, Dr. Ruth Westheimer had her very own show on Sunday afternoons--so I got to learn about "really good sex" from a woman with a German accent thicker than my mom's.

It seemed like everyone from my little suburban hamlet was switching over to softer hits because as my friends' sisters got older and started driving, I heard England Dan and John Ford Coley more than Deep Purple. Not my sister, though. She went the opposite direction and became a Dead-Head.

The very first record I bought was Steve Miller's Fly Like an Eagle and the second one was Pink Floyd's Animals. So I was kind of all over the map, but I tended to stay in the mainstream. I can remember my first Columbia House order--you know, the one where you tape a penny to the order form. It included Peter Frampton's I'm in You, Al Stewart's The Year of The Cat, Barry Manilow's Trying to Get That Feeling and Band on the Run from Paul McCartney and Wings.

Later, I had Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell which was a big hit for me in fourth grade and my neighbor made me a tape of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours album. It was a crappy little Apex tape with psychadelic colors on the label and it broke after 6 months of listening to it day after day. That summer, disco lit up the New York skyline, so of course, I had the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack but I also bought a copy of Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan. A year later, it was Grease; a year after that, my brother's return from California in a bright red Karmann Ghia with his copy of Supertramp's Breakfast in America. And finally, the 80s happened and I was introduced to an entirely new style of music thanks, in part, to an older cousin who had The Police, Squeeze and Split Enz.

But sometimes I can't help but want to dig into the oldies and so tonight, I've created a playlist called "FM". It's a smattering of everything I heard and that seemed to stick inside my head all these years. The only addition, which was Pa's suggestion, was Rush's Limelight. For me, that was Freshman year of high school when my friend Gina was a full-on Rush fanatic.

Here's what's on:

Take it on the Run - REO Speedwagon
Give a Little Bit - Supertramp
Stone in Love - Journey
Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
Turn It On Again - Genesis
Story in Your Eyes - The Moody Blues
Long Distance Runaround - Yes
Limelight - Rush
Feels Like The First Time - Foreigner
Do You Feel Like I Do? - Peter Frampton
FM - Steely Dan
Crazy On You - Heart
You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac
All Right Now - Free
Time - Pink Floyd
Don't Fear The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult
Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young
Sympathy For The Devil - The Rolling Stones
Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
Trilogy - Emerson, Lake and Palmer
We Gotta Get You A Woman - Todd Rundgren
I Can't Explain - The Who

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

It's Saturday night and after a week of traveling, my little family is finally back together. Pa returned from his European trip yesterday and even with an 11 hour plane ride, he still hadn't finished his midterm. So he spent an additional 8 hours behind closed doors and e-mailed everything to his professor 8 minutes to midnight last night. Talk about down to the wire!

Since we skipped the whole Valentines thing last week, Pa lavished me with chocolates from Spain and Holland and Mr. Na is now sporting a new red and blue horizontal-striped Barcelona Football jersey. I guess if he grows tired of soccer, he can always apply for a job at Hot Dog on a Stick.

Mr. Na and I had a gay ol' time in Nevada and though it's quite nice to come back to much needed sunny skies here, it's freezing cold. I went skiing up at Snow Summit yesterday and it was 21 degrees and windy. I froze my ass off but my new skis are just like buttah!

Mr. Na was just fascinated by Las Vegas. From the moment we walked off the plane, he zeroed in on the slot machines saying, "But Momma, these are my favorite games. Why can't I play with them?" And then as we waited for our luggage, he was mesmerized by the gigantic plasma screens touting the Blue Man Group. As we made our way across town, he begged me to go on the rollercoaster that looped around the outside of New York New York, but instead settled for the kiddie rides inside the "Adventuredome" at Circus Circus.

Pappy's place is a haven outside of the nastiness of Vegas, and we enjoyed the relaxing pace; but it just amazes me every time I go out there because it seems like soon enough the city will sprawl out to Hoover Dam. Why my Dad ever chose Vegas as a place to retire, I'll never know. But hey, to each his own, right?

Anyway, time for a chocolate fix and some snuggle time with the boys. I leave you with Lessons Learned This Week:

Do not attempt to run the same pace at an elevation of 2400 feet as you would at an elevation of 14 feet. It's really hard.

It's always a good idea to bring feminine (ahem) supplies with you on a 15 mile run during your period. The Jack in the Box on Aurora and 85th does not have a tampon machine and the AM PM Mini Market across the street does not have a public bathroom.

Never buy a model Northwest Airlines airplane for your 3.5 year-old. Unless, of course, you want to see it completely destroyed within 24 hours.

Just because a novel is listed in Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Novels" list doesn't necessarily mean you're going to enjoy it. (I'm just t-r-u-d-g-i-n-g through Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March.)

Some time during your parenting years you WILL shout "BECAUSE I SAID SO" to your child. It sucks, you will hate it, but it's inevitable--so don't be surprised when it happens.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Viva Na Vegas

Well folks, Mr. Na and I are off to visit Pappy in Las Vegas while Pa jet sets to Barcelona (bastard!--No wait, El Bastardo!) So while Pa is off schmoozin at the All-Geek Mobile Conference, Ma will teach Mr. Na the finer art of gambling and everything else that you come to expect from Vegas. Actually, I kid. I loathe that sand trap and wouldn't set foot there if I didn't have to.

Sand trap or not though, there are some pretty parts of Nevada, including Pappy's Sunday ritual motorcycle ride up Red Rock and our leisurely drive to Mt. Charleston.

My cold is definitely at a manageable stage right now, thank goodness--and fingers crossed Mr. Na escapes the cold entirely.

Until next week, then! Ciao!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

CG-1 is Down! Repeat, CG-1 is Down! We Have a Code Blue!

I caught myself a big, nasty cold this week. Maybe running 12-miles during a windstorm might have had something to do with it, I dunno. Nevertheless, I woke up this morning and realized there was no friggin' way I was getting out of bed. Of course, I had no choice, since Pa's in San Francisco until tonight--so I made my way downstairs and into the kitchen to let out dogpal Moofie and feed Mr. Na. As soon as I achieved those two goals, I trudged back to bed, armed with orange juice, Thera Flu and a box full of tissues.

It's been a lonnnnnnnnnnng while since I've taken a full-fledged "sick day". In fact, I don't think I've ever been this sick since Mr. Na's been home. I feel worse than awful. In fact, the image that came to mind was the "Nurse Stimpy" episode from "The Ren and Stimpy Show" in which Ren was just this big ball of sickening goo. That's about as bad as I feel.

Upon hearing that all activities planned for the day had been cancelled, Mr. Na didn't take the news too well:

"But why can't we go to Kids Club today, Momma?"
"Because Momma will puke on the treadmill if she tries to run 6 miles today, that's why."
"Awwwww, but all my friends will miss me!"

Despite his protests and my feeble attempts to console him, he settled into his day a lot better than I anticipated. For one thing, I didn't want to park him in front of the TV all day and fry his brain; so he played in his room for awhile and then down in the basement (our new and improved "Rumpus Room"). It's 2 p.m. now, so he can watch his favorite shows until his 3:30 naptime. The only downside is that his shows are on TiVo (we rarely let him watch live TV) and I have to get my ass out of bed every 30 minutes to put on a new show. I've tried to time it with my pee breaks to minimize my up and downs, but things aren't going quite as planned. My liquid diet of Thera Flu, coffee, water, orange juice and tomato soup doesn't help much in that regard.

The author must excuse herself to go downstairs to turn "Oobi" on for Mr. Na.

I believe Mr. Na thinks that being sick makes you deaf, too. As soon as I heard the closing credits of "Caillou" he rushed to the staircase and shouted,

To be fair, though, he's being really good. I often hear him acting out with his trucks or choo choos, pretending one is sick and the others are taking care of them. He comes in to "check on me" every so often, bestowing kisses on my throat (to make it feel better) or bringing me "presents" (his toys wrapped in bows or paper).

It could be worse, right? I could have Nurse Stimpy looking after me.


Note: CG-1 stands for "Caregiver 1". That's my handle between me and Pa (who is CG-2).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

My mini midlife crisis

So shortly after my long run on Saturday, I had kind of a gross womanly thing happen to me. I'll spare you the details but I'll admit it got me a little panicked--enough, at least, to go in and see the doctor today.

"Nothing to worry about," she said. "Just keep an eye out and see if it happens again; but I wouldn't fret too much. These things happen. Especially at our age."

I was relieved for, oh, about a split second until she said "especially at our age."

"Our age?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said. "That's what happens."

I was stuck on the "our age" phrase, wondering when the hell I had been inducted into the "our age" stage of life, and miffed I hadn't been cordially invited. Or contacted. Don't I at least get a free ice cream sundae or something?

I've gone through my life always being the baby of the family; the younger sister/cousin/friend/co-worker. Women with these huge age hangups would chide, "When you get to be my age..." and I literally had a woman boss tell me I couldn't present a pitch to the Washington Metro Transit Authority because "they wouldn't believe anything coming from someone your age"!

I grew to resent being the youngest--never getting to go to the City to see a concert because I was too young; never getting to go out drinking with some college age friends until I became of age, by which time they were pretty much over drinking. And as I grew older, I realized that it was out of jealousy that I got teased. Sure I was younger--but that was an advantage. You can't get any younger.

But now that I've reached the plateau and am looking over the hill, I miss being the younger one. My telltale gray hairs prove that I'm no spring chicken anymore and my womanly parts tend to malfunction at the wrong times now; and every time I step into my client's agency, the women look much, much younger (was Melrose Place really on 14 years ago?) But I don't begrudge younger women their youth and wouldn't trade where I am in life with anyone, at any age. Still, I wondered why, since my doctor is at least 10 years older than I am, she lumped me into the "our age" category.

It wasn't until I was checking out of the office when I realized her mistake on the diagnosis sheet. Instead of the "Age 30-39", the "Age 40-49" choice had been circled.

Thank goodness, but I think she needs to switch to bifocals!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Run Like the Wind

To be clear, I didn't want to reference that God-awful Christopher Cross song; but if you're thinking it's why I titled today's post because I listened to that on my MP3 player during my 12-mile run today, I hope that stupid little ditty gets stuck in your head for the rest of the weekend.

I did, however, enjoy a two-hour soundtrack filled with Love and Rockets. I was inspired after John Richards played "It Could Be Sunshine" on the morning show sometime last week and it put me in the best mood.

Despite all the media hype, the winds were really not that bad today, and I ought to know--having made a lap around Lake Union and Greenlake. Sure, sure--it got a little gusty now and again--but geeze, they made it sound like we're in the midst of Katrina-esque gales here. We have power, we have trees still standing upright, and by God, we have satellite TV for the big game tomorrow (rolling eyes...).

Listening to Love and Rockets took me back to my senior year in high school, when I first bought Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven. I had a brief crush on this guy named Colin who worked at the Tower Records on Beach Boulevard, and so, since he was British, I thought I was impressing him by picking up that album AND Tones on Tail. Turns out, while he wasn't impressed by my musical choices, he did take me to see Tom Waits at the Wiltern a few weeks later, but I was bored to tears. Not a good match, me and Colin.

While I listened to tracks from Express during the run, I remembered when I saw Deborah Harry live at the Roxy and I was wearing a Love and Rockets t-shirt. We stood butted up to the stage and I felt incredibly hot and yucky--so I headed toward the back of the venue and lit a cigarette. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and when I looked up, I shit you not, it was Daniel Ash himself, asking me for a light. I felt INCREDIBLY stupid wearing a Love and Rockets shirt but I think I must've lit about four or five cigarettes for him before the show was over.

I've seen Love and Rockets probably more times than I can count, though one of the best times was in Washington, D.C. We were late, my boyfriend and I--very late, and I was pretty pissed at him though I can't for the life of me remember if being late was his fault. He more than made it up to me, though, by pulling some of his concert promoter strings and getting us through a side door and walking down some stairs and through some dark corridors until we arrived backstage, behind the band. It was amazing and so much more rewarding than the last time he and I had seen them live--when they opened for Siouxsie and the Banshees in Irvine. We had arrived just as they began to play my favorite song, "Haunted When the Minutes Drag" and if you know the song, it's something like 8 minutes long (which is another reason why it's such a great song to have while running!) but it took us the ENTIRE frickin' song to get from the parking lot to our seats it they were pretty much finished by the time we got to see them.

The last time I saw them was here at the Showbox a few years ago and they still put on an amazing show. I love running to the entire Lift album. While it's hit or miss anymore if they bring out the Bubblemen for their encore, I was pretty geeked seeing them during the Bauhaus show a few years back. Poor Pa, though. While he enjoys a lot of what I listen to, he just couldn't stomach Bauhaus--even with the Bubblemen to lighten the atmosphere.

Aw well. His saving grace is that he doesn't care for Tom Waits either!