Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween At A Bar?

I am fully aware that in urban areas trick or treating often happens in business districts. Fair enough; big cities can be scary, and taking the little ones to businesses for candy is probably safer.

But would you take your kids to a bar for trick or treats?

Well, apparently a lot of parents would because I met Fabulous Patti at Favorite Bar tonight (no, we didn't wear costumes), and more than a few families stopped by for Halloween treats. The owner of Favorite Bar was even prepared with a big cauldron filled with candy. I was sitting right near the candy cauldron, so I got to help dole out the treats to the costumed tots. They were so cute. Little kids in costume are the very best part of Halloween.

But I'm still not going to get over the fact that the kids were coming into a bar for candy.

As the night wore on, the parade of trick or treaters trailed off, and the costumed, drunk adults began to pour in. The drunk adults were very boring, but Favorite Bar is always a good time. And now that Halloween is over, we are officially entering my favorite time of year. Between Thanksgiving, my birthday and Christmas, I think I am consistently happiest between November 1st and January 1st.

In theory, tonight is the beginning of my work weekend, but as it turns out, I'm going to be working tomorrow. It's not so bad; I get to do my favorite part of my job, and besides, I need the overtime. Between Hawaii, surgery, spa treatments, shopping and cocktailing, I have spent quite a lot of money this summer and fall. The more work for me, the better.

One random tidbit: Gidget was on Turner Movie Classics last night. Is it wrong that I totally love that movie? It always makes me wish that I had taken up surfing. Too bad I can barely swim.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Musical Schizophrenia

My last couple of days haven't been as musically schizophrenic as I had assumed, considering the music in question is all rock and roll. But I have immersed myself in some different varieties of rock that I wouldn't have expected to experience in such close proximity.

Our story begins with band practice on Thursday night. Oh, yes, my musical outfit's performance date is fast approaching, so the push is on for us to get good. Or at least not to stink completely. What I have learned over the last five weeks is that the more I drink, the better we sound. So I definitely would recommend that course of action to anyone planning to come see us on the 14th. Rehearsal was really fun, though, and I'm actually going to miss badly playing a bunch of songs I mostly don't like with my middle-aged co-workers. We're doing this little project through an organization that is basically a rock and roll fantasy camp. If you harbor even the tiniest rock star aspirations, you should check it out; the experience is a total hoot.

My musical soundtrack continued yesterday with Adam Pascal from the original Broadway cast of Rent. He's promoting his new music, so first he swung by my place of employment to say hello. Since Adam was kind enough to visit us, I went after work to see him perform at the Post Street Theatre. He sang a combination of his own stuff and some unique arrangements of Broadway music. Yes, it was a rock show, but honestly, just hearing his voice made everything sound like a showtune to me.

After that, I let out my inner hipster and headed from the Post Street Theatre straight to Bottom of the Hill where I met Tom for a show featuring Oranger, Engine 88, Carlos, Overwhelming Colorfast and the John Doe Band. I arrived in time see Carlos' last three songs, but Tom missed them completely. Engine 88 was next, followed by the John Doe Band. It was midnight by the time John was done, so Tom and I took off right after his set. I must be getting old because the idea of staying any later didn't even occur... let alone appeal... to me.

Tonight I'm going to some wine bar in Cow Hollow to see my friend Gabriella before she leaves town. I've known Gabree since the second grade, and on Tuesday she's moving back to L.A., where we grew up. It's unfortunate because even though I don't see her all that often, it is very comforting to have old friends nearby. What's even more unfortunate is the reason for Gabree's move: her mother is ill. So please put lots of happy thoughts into the universe for Mommy Gabree, if you wouldn't mind.

I can only imagine what kind of music will be playing at the wine bar tonight. Probably a lot of mainstream pop junk to round out the melodious flavor of my weekend.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 10

Passing Strange at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Oh. My. God. This is sooooo my new favorite play. Reminiscent of Rent (to me, anyway) this new musical created by singer/songwriter Stew is making its world premiere at Berkeley Rep before heading to New York. And boy, aren't we lucky! Meager words do not do this show justice, so I'm not even going to try to offer any kind of concise synopsis or specific critique. Other than to say that this show is flat out fantastic. And I mean fantastic.

Stew narrates this concoction of gospel, rock and roll, blues, punk (!), perfect vintage costumes, tremendous singing and acting, great lighting design and an excellent send up of European art-house cinema... All of which is punctuated with humor and some delicate poignancy. I loved it, loved it, loved it!! And I just read in the program that it was developed with help from the Jonathan Larson Foundation, among other funding, so perhaps those echoes of Rent that I sensed are not too far off.

Do yourself a huge favor and see this show. I mean it.

Plus, a very Sassy honorable mention must go to ensemble cast member Chad Goodridge (who is, unfortunately, not pictured in the photo above). Not only is he incredibly talented, but oh, my word, is he hot. I seem to say that about boys all the time on this space, but when it comes to this gentleman, all I can say is: goodness gracious.

I want to marry him.

I actually was invited to the uber-fancy cast party after the opening night performance, but I couldn't go because my ride back to the City was tired and needed to get home. Remind me of this story the next time you find me congratulating myself for being so clever as not to take on the hassle of owning a car in this town. So sadly, Chad missed out on the opportunity to meet me.

Ah, what are you gonna do? I believe dear Chad lives in New York, anyway; so I guess I may have to marry someone else.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oh, By the Way...

The quote of the day from yesterday: "Oooh, she's a one-legged ho."

That utterance of brilliance came courtesy of the lovely and talented Angela, and it left Dory, Patti and me in stitches. It may sound like she was being mean and perhaps politically incorrect, but really all our wise sage Angela was doing was uttering the truth. I can't believe I forgot to include it in the missive I wrote last night; something that frank and funny deserves to be shared.

I Could Be Happy: Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol. 22

Do you have any idea how cool my friend/co-worker/live music buddy Tom is? Today... okay, technically yesterday since it is early Wednesday morning... he brought me a copy of the Altered Images' record 1981: Happy Birthday. I have been looking for a copy of the song "Happy Birthday" by Altered Images for months, and now I have it! Thanks, Tom. This record has put me in a good mood, which is quite a feat since I have been crabby all day.

Why crabby, you may ask. Honestly, I can offer you no good reason for my foul mood. I had to revise my little column, which was annoying, and I've had a couple of strange dreams lately, but other than that, no real reason. Isn't it wonderful to have the luxury to be crabby for no reason because you have no real problems? Survey says: yes.

So my "band" (I still can't take that term seriously when describing us) was in the newspaper today (again: technically Tuesday). That had nothing to do with me. A couple of my fellow "musicians" are rather Important People, or at least more important than me, so we got a little press. That should make for a bigger audience for our exercise in humiliation, also known as our performance, next month. Oh, yes, we're talking good times, kids.

And that's me for now. It's officially my weekend, so I think I'm going to cuddle up in my couch and watch Paper Moon yet again before going to bed. Since seeing it for the first time last month, Paper Moon has become my "new" favorite movie, and I've now watched it about 600 times. I even read Tatum O'Neal's autobiography last week. Word to the wise: don't abuse or mistreat her because she will call you out on it in print. She definitely deserved that Academy Award, though.

Later tonight I'm going to Berkeley Rep with Terry and Fabulous Patti. Then Thursday I have band practice, and on Friday I have an evening of musical schizophrenia planned. First, it's Adam Pascal of Rent fame right after work, and then I'm meeting Tom at Bottom of the Hill for John Doe and Oranger. I won't know which way is up after all that.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Fancy Gym

When I joined my gym three years ago, I would tell all my friends with great enthusiasm: "This place is great; it's a gym that thinks it's a spa!" I was so inspired by the luxury that I went to the gym five days a week for the first year of my membership. Well, I now have grown to take my Fancy Gym for granted, and I have to admit that these days I only go twice a week (I run outside every other day).

But tonight I was reminded why I named it the"Fancy Gym" in the first place.

To celebrate an expansion two years in the making, the Fancy Gym hosted an open house of their new facilities, complete with all the Mumm Napa sparkling wine we could drink and all the delicious snacks we could eat. New yoga and pilates studios were introduced, as well as additional locker rooms and cardio equipment and a boxing studio. The Fancy Gym actually has a partner spa, and free mini spa treatments were also part of the evening. Needless to say, I indulged in a 15-minute massage. Yummy.

A gym that gives you bubbly and a massage. That's my kind of place.

In news related to exercise, or at least my exercise soundtrack, my iPod broke this week. It decided it didn't want to play any song I had downloaded from iTunes. I had no idea iPods came with editorial music selection, so I headed for the Apple store. This is the second time in 15 months I have had to exchange malfunctioning hardware. My iPod was still under warranty, but still. Shouldn't a fancy mp3 player last longer than a few months, even if I use it every day?

We also had band practice tonight. We were a little off, and some of the chords were awfully sour, but the really good news is that we dropped the song that I hate the most. Everyone say YAY!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Theatre That Makes Everyone Happy

Have you heard about Theatre Bay Area's Free Night of Theatre? No? Well, it's exactly what the name suggests: a night of free theatre! Actually, it's more than one night, and over 70 Bay Area theatres donated tickets that T.B.A. then gave away. Theatres that include The Magic, Berkeley Rep, TheatreWorks, American Conservatory Theatre and a whole host of small companies. All you had to do to get the free tickets was go to the TIX Booth in Union Square or log onto the Theatre Bay Area website. The latter proved to be a bit of a challenge, as the site was overrun with traffic when the tickets went on "sale."

The whole point is to encourage people who wouldn't normally go to the theatre to give it a try for free. And frankly, I think that's pretty neat.

I thought I had been shut out of the Free Night of Theatre because I got caught in the website congestion and wasn't able to submit my online order form. But then I got tickets for Travesties at the American Conservatory Theatre, and Fabulous Patti and I went last night. We had great seats, too. I had assumed A.C.T. would have just donated empties from the last two rows of the balcony, but there we were in the front of the orchestra.

Unfortunately, I didn't like the play very much. The acting was really good, and I liked the staging, but the script didn't do much for me. Yes, it's Tom Stoppard, and we're all supposed to love him because he's a genius, but I found the play to be overly wordy and too self-consciously clever. Oooh, neato, James Joyce, Valdimir Lenin and Tristan Tzara meet during the first World War and debate art and politics. A good idea, but no. But let me repeat, the production is really good and features a fabulously played scene between two of the female characters. Besides, it was free! So no complaints here.

A night of free theatre under my belt, I'm off work today and have tons to do. I have to go to the gym, run errands, work on my column, practice my singing and then meet Denise and Paul at the Roxie tonight for the Pixies movie. Then tomorrow it starts all over again with more exercise, a tour of my gym's fancy expansion and band rehearsal.

And on Friday, back to work. That moment will come all too soon....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reminiscent of My Youth

When I was young and sprightly, my weekends looked like this: I would get pretty and meet my party partners for late nights of 20-something style revelry. These evenings always ended with a 2 a.m. scramble for a cab home. The competition was fierce, as all the other closing time merrymakers were also looking for paid rides to their beds. Well, this weekend I got a reminder of my halcyon days of cab scrambling, even though my bedtime is now several hours earlier.

Cold or no cold, I did go to Sterling's birthday party on Saturday night. That was probably a bad idea because I find myself home sick from work today, but I'm really glad I went. For one thing, it was terrific to see Sterling, especially on her birthday. But her party was also a benefit for the youth poetry organization Youth Speaks, and some of the young poets performed. They were absolutely amazing, and I mean amazing. Energized by the fun of Sterling's soiree, I decided pay Favorite Bar a visit, where I caught up with Helen, Bob, Sebastian and FB's proprietor. That's right, the owner of Favorite Bar knows me. I also consider the owner of Blondie's a friend; should I be concerned about that? Well, anyway, by 11:45 I'd had enough fun and figured I would go home while it was still a relatively decent hour. Apparently I was not the only one with that idea. Swarms of cab seekers were crowding the streets, and it took me 45 minutes to get myself a taxi. Since when is 11:45 the time everyone decides to go home?

It was 2:30 on a Sunday morning in 1997 all over again. Odd. Did we all get old at the same pace and now will be elbowing each other out of the way before midnight to catch our transportation home? I guess so.

In other news... You may have heard that there was a pretty sizeable earthquake in Hawaii yesterday morning. Well, you'll be relieved to know that Diva Mommy is just fine, although she was not happy about the major power outage that followed the quake. But otherwise, her Honolulu home is still very much paradise, and I'm still going back to visit her again in March. We'll see if I come back after my next Hawaiian sojourn.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 9

Far Away at the Exit Theatre

Admittedly, I'm probably a little biased about this show because my friend Valerie is in it. Valerie is one of several incredibly committed actors I know. For the decade we've been friends, she has never lost focus on her work. She occasionally has had to take other kinds of jobs to support her artistic ambitions but has consistently worked as an actor as long as I've known her.

Pretty impressive, huh?

Well, Valerie is currently featured in Just Theater's production of Far and Away. A short play of just about 45 minutes, the Caryl Churchill piece is another very clever indictment of war. All the actors were solid, especially a 7th grade girl who is probably one of the best child actors I have seen in a long time. Good stuff all the way around.

And yesterday's opening night performance had extra value for me because I got to see not only Valerie, but also her really fun boyfriend, Kevin, and our friend Chris... none of whom I spend nearly enough time with. After the show, a bunch of us went around the corner to Original Joe's, a restaurant one of the other actors in the show described as "tremendously well executed mediocrity," where Valerie brokered us use of their fancy-pants back room because our group was so large. Who knew Valerie was such a high roller?

Sadly, I couldn't stay out too late because I had to be at work at 6:00 this morning. But I'm home now and gearing up for a nap before taking a short run and then heading to Sterling's birthday party tonight in North Beach. Actually, I might skip the party because I may be getting a cold (that's Sassy Speak for "I am getting a cold but am in denial about it"), but I definitely won't skip the nap.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Sexy Tambourine

That was the review one of my "band"mates gave my percussive styling tonight. I'm not sure how I made the tambourine sexy when my focus was on the rhythm of the song, but I guess some things just come naturally. Or something like that.

The good news is that tonight's rehearsal was not nearly as horrifying as last week. I still think we kind of suck, especially me, but had we been performing tonight, I wouldn't have died from embarrassment. That's always a good sign. I did let some of my fellow rock 'n' rollers know that I hate several of the songs we're performing. Okay, I told them I hate one of the songs; I figure it's better to ease them in. They were really surprised. To that I ask: how could anyone not hate that song? Let alone the two others I hate.

It's hard being an artist.

Sadly for me, what's even harder than being an artist is going back to work after four glorious days off. That's the challenge I face tomorrow. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long Friday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Tiny Step Into My Past Life

I believe I have I mentioned several times on this space that I used to be an actor. For many years, I did all kinds of plays... some good, some really bad... that were performed in little black box spaces in Providence, San Francisco and Berkeley. Well, I revisited that life a bit last night by participating in a developmental reading of Foreign Women by Allston James. There were no rehearsals, and the other actors and I read from scripts, but acting skills were still necessary.

That's how I was reminded of just how very, very rusty my set of said skills are.

But it was pretty fun, nonetheless, and it was just the right amount of participation in the theatre world for me right now. We read the play, and then there was a discussion with the playwright and the audience afterward. The whole point of these kinds of developmental readings is to give the playwright feedback and a chance to hear his or her words out loud. Then, presumably, changes and re-writes will be made. On top of the fun, I got paid a whopping $25 for my time, meaning that, rusty or not, I am still a professional actor. On some level, anyway. Oh, and one of the other actors recognized me from my current job, which was strange but very flattering, especially since she was so complimentary. And I should not fail to mention that the male actor involved in this reading was super hot. I think he was all of 22, but even 22-year olds can be hot, I suppose.

Prior to the reading, I went over to Gretchen and Paul's place to meet baby Isaac. He mostly slept during my visit, but I won't take that personally. We all took a walk over to Tower Records for some discounted cd's, and I got discs by The Shins, Persephone's Bee's and the Two Gallants. Not that I am happy Tower is going out of business. Long before I'd ever heard of Amoeba, Rasputin, Tom's Tracks or In Your Ear, the California-based Tower Records chain was one of the cool music stores (Moby Disc and Canterbury Records in Pasadena were the others). In fact, when I was in high school, my family had a little Christmas tradition involving Tower Records. We'd go to my oldest sister Kathy's place in West Hollywood to visit with her and her kids on Christmas afternoon, and before we went back to Pasadena that night, we'd pay a visit to the open-on-holidays Tower on Sunset where everyone got to pick out a cd... well actually, still a vinyl album back then... as the final gift from Santa. My mother acted as Santa's conduit on that one. Keep in mind, I'm talking about a family full of musicians and music fans, so albums made for great final Santa presents.

But however sad I am that Tower has been driven to liquidation by the changes in retail music purchasing, I still enjoy a bargain. So I'm okay with relieving them of their discounted stock.

That's all from Sassyland for now. I'm going to meet Carolyn and Denise for dinner later, and perhaps we'll be able to catch up with Sheela at Amnesia afterward. I hope the city is ready for our girl-power assault. Oh, one more thing. Why did none of you tell me that Paper Moon would make me cry in the end? You really should warn a girl about that kind of thing.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My New Favorite Television Channel...

.... is Turner Classic Movies. I understand that it's not actually a new television channel. It's not even new to me, but I just recently started watching TCM with any kind of regularity. It all started one Saturday night a few weeks ago when I was killing time before whatever social engagement I had planned for the evening. I flipped through my 6,000 cable channels and landed on Peter Bogdonavich's Paper Moon, which, believe it or not, I had never seen. It took me all of about two minutes to get sucked into the 1973 classic, and I actually regretted having to leave the film to go out.

The channel showing Paper Moon that night was Turner Classic Movies.

Since that fateful Saturday, I have tuned in TCM for A Night to Remember (the good movie about the Titanic), as well as bits and pieces of many of my favorite old movies, like Meet Me in St. Louis. And earlier today, I taped Paper Moon in its entirety and am watching it right now. I am not a huge Ted Turner fan, but this movie channel might be the best thing he's done in his career.

Of course, the last thing I need in my life is more television. I don't even regularly watch very many programs because I often am not home, especially during television's prime time. Add to that the fact that, as I have mentioned before, I am lazy about seeing movies in the theatre. So I generally have to tape what programs I do watch (these days that would be Gilmore Girls, My Name Is Earl, Studio 60 and the occasional episode of ER) along with movies from HBO or Starz, and then I have to play catch up. As a consequence, I often find myself with several backlogged hours of television to watch. Luckily, Comedy Central runs episodes of my other favorite program, The Daily Show, several times a day, so I don't tape that one. But the addition of Turner Movie Classics to my television roster may render me constantly behind in my viewing.

I'd be a much better couch potato if I weren't so social.

I taped Paper Moon earlier because I treated myself to the spa today. It was, of course, lovely as always. My skin is so soft after my Thai coconut massage wrap that I promise you wish you were here to feel it. The spa came after I had a great conversation with my friend Schleevin. I haven't actually talked to him since I was in New York in July, so we had to catch up on all the Very Important aspects of our lives. It's always wonderful to connect with him. Oh, my goodness, have I mentioned that my friend Anne is getting married?! She is a sweetheart and soooo deserves a fabulous guy who loves her. Her lucky fiance drew the long straw, and they are on the road to matrimony. Yay!

Anyway, I'm taking a couple of days off work this week, which not only enabled my spa visit today, but also will allow me to do what I choose tomorrow. Then my regular Wednesday and Thursday "weekend" kicks in. I like my job, but nonetheless, there's nothing better than four days off in a row.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


My friend and co-worker, Ted, was in a cycling accident this morning. He's fine but nonetheless took a trip to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. And then, completely in keeping with his personality, he came straight to work. As relieved as we all are that he's okay, that's still pretty scary. Pedestrians in this town, of which I am one, also face some dangerous conditions walking the streets. That I know from experience. But Ted's ordeal has given me a sense of perspective and reminded me of something important: live every day and enjoy it.

I had a conversation that turned into a debate with another friend of mine over cocktails at Casanova on Tuesday night. She believes that San Francisco's liberal reputation is a facade, and that underneath said facade, the city and its residents are actually conservative and very wealthy. She absolutely is entitled to her opinion, but I couldn't disagree more (and for the record, this woman lives a rather priviledged life, herself). I fully acknowledge that the cost of living in our lovely City by the Bay is outrageous, and that plenty of wealthy, materialistic and conservative people live here. Hell, while hardly rich, I currently make very decent money. But that's far from the whole story. My ten years as a San Francisco resident have shown me that liberal ideals, values and actions are alive, well and espoused by people of many different income levels in these 7 by 7 square miles of land.

I have been thinking about that debate for several days now, and Ted's experience today has further inspired me to appreciate fully all the good things my life and my home have to offer. Yesterday I stumbled onto the blog of a friend of yet another friend of mine and for various reasons offered him a list of my favorite things to be found in and around San Francisco. I now share that list with you:

1. Lots of theatre, from Best of Broadway shows to A.C.T. to Berkeley Rep across the Bay to small productions in black box spaces.
2. Local musicians and live music shows at 12 Galaxies, the Make Out Room, Cafe du Nord and Bimbo's.
3. The free jukebox at Casanova.
4. North Beach on a weekday afternoon.
5. The Golden Gate Bridge.
6. Favorite Bar 1, Favorite Bar 2 and drinking at Zeitgeist on a sunny day.
7. The Embarcadero. It's a great place to run, even when it's crowded with tourists.
8. The gorgeous spa three blocks from my apartment.
9. Good hiking, pretty beaches and wine country just to the north.
10. Fabulous shopping for music and vintage clothes in the Haight.
11. Events presented by the Commonwealth Club and City Arts and Lectures.

There are many more things about San Francisco to love, but that's what I have so far. Live every day, kids, and focus on what's good in your world.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Theatre That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 8

Mother Courage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Theatre is timeless, and that is certainly the case with Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage. Written in 1939, the anti-war piece is just as relevant in today's political climate as it was in the first half of the 20th Century. As is often the case when I see a Brecht play, I chose to give in to the convoluted storyline and just let the entirety of the production wash over me. I got the point: war hurts everyone; it is part of an endless cycle; and even those who profit during wartime are destined to lose in the end.

The production values are stellar, though, and the acting superb. And because it's Brecht, there is, of course, music. My favorite cast member is Katie Huard, who portrays Mother Courage's mute daughter Kattrin with an affecting wide-eye innocence. But everyone is amazing, especially Ivonne Coll, who plays Mother Courage herself. There are also a couple of hot fellows in this show, which is always a bonus in my book.

In other entertainment, I currently am watching Walk The Line, which I never saw in the theatre and taped off cable last weekend. I'm really enjoying it, but I have just one question: exactly why does Joaquin Phoenix have an acting career? Forgive me if you like him, but... No, you know what? I'm not going to apologize. All Joaquin Phoenix does in this movie is imitate Johnny Cash, as opposed to actually acting, and his imitation isn't even that good. There, I've said it, and I'm not taking it back.

Okay, I must scoot. We have "band" rehearsal tonight, and I need to practice beforehand, lest I sing totally off-key and embarrass myself.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Year's Salary

Remember that little surgery I had in August? You know, that teeny, tiny outpatient procedure about which I was so cavalier that I forgot to tell people about it until it was happening?

Well, I just saw the price tag: $35,216.98. And that's not including the anesthesiologist's fee of $1,710. I knew surgery would be costly, but this is positively shocking.

I have insurance, so there's no need to worry. I do have to foot some of the bill, but while I may prefer to spend my money on spa treatments, pedicures, live music, books and cocktails, my share of the expenditure amounts to a rather miniscule percentage which I can afford.

Nonetheless. $35,216.98?

That's more money than many, many people make in a year. In fact, it's more money than I made in 2004, 1999, 1998, 1997 and all four years I lived and worked on the East Coast. Granted, I was working part time for several of the aforementioned years, but still. This was not some sort of life-saving procedure, either. Honestly, I could have opted not to have it. Perhaps the fact that I ended up spending a night in the hospital inflated the cost, but frankly, that was the recovery nurse's idea. It had nothing to do with me or my insurance company. And speaking of that, I bet the AFTRA Health Fund is really pleased with me and my surgery-having ways right about now.

Now I fully understand what people are talking about when they lament the astronomical cost of health care in this country.

Despite the surgical sticker shock, life and fabulous socializing go on. I met The Other Tom at Favorite Bar 2 on Saturday night where we indulged in a couple of their signature drinks. We then took off for the Orbit Room to meet Irina, Vanessa and Roland. Have you ever been to the Orbit Room? You could simply order a normal drink there, or, depending on who is behind the bar, you could find yourself sipping a delightful concoction featuring nectarine chunks, whole raspberries, muddled strawberries, cucumber slices, ginger, and cardamom. The drinks there are like salad in a glass. Well, salad in a glass with vodka. You just have to trust Alberta or Ron to create something wonderful for you without asking questions.

In keeping with the theme of my weekend, I managed to stay out much later than is my norm on Saturday night, and I didn't get as much sleep on Sunday as I had anticipated. Then I was called into work a couple of hours early this morning after working until 1 a.m. last night. So tonight I am extremely tired and ready for my pajamas. But life is good. I'm good about remembering that, in general, but with all the wretched things going on in the world right now (who goes into a grammar school and shoots innocent little children execution-style?), I am even more aware that I am one lucky girl.

The sassy life is a good life.