Friday, June 27, 2008

Girls Night, Great Idea

About a week ago I was feeling a little melancholy. Instead of wallowing, I decided to rally the troops and summon Suzanne and Zeina for a girls night out.

Given that we're all fabulous and busy women, it took a full seven days for us to get together. I'd shaken off my blues long ago, but a girls night out is a girls night out, right? So last night we began with cocktails and acoustic music at Blondie's and then moved on to Ramblas for snacks. The conversation was brilliant all night (what else would it be?), but it was at Ramblas that we took our brilliance to a new level. For some reason I can't even begin to remember, spin the bottle came up as we indulged in our small plates, and that's when the idea hit Zeina.

She wants to have a spin the bottle party this summer.

The idea itself is fabulous, but it certainly doesn't hurt that Zeina says her male roommates are hot. Is it wrong that I'm really looking forward to this party, whenever it happens? Probably, but if wanting to attend a kitchy party where I get to kiss hot boys is wrong... I don't want to be right.

Okay, off to sing. Carla, Andrey, Berto and I are taking over some karaoke microphones tonight.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer In the City

Summer 2008 has arrived and already has brought some good times.

Spring went out like a lion this year with a heat wave that began in the middle of last week. On Friday, the last day of spring and first night of summer, the mercury topped 92 degrees in San Francisco. In case you don't live here, I'll just tell you that the City rarely reaches such temperatures. The rest of the Bay Area was even hotter with fires breaking out all over the region.

My sister Fabulous Patti visited this weekend, and on Friday night, she and I went to the Latin American Club for cool beverages with Terry, Joey and Phil. I'm not sure I've ever been so hot in a bar, but we made the best of things as we sipped margaritas and pear ciders. The stagnant air and continued hot temperatures made the evening a little bit unbearable, but I love hot weather. So I'll take a heat wave anytime.

It was still fairly toasty on Saturday afternoon when Fabulous Patti and I took in Shanghai San Francisco, an interactive theatre piece my friend Valerie is in. Shanghai San Francisco is part walking tour, part play, and it begins at Coit Tower, marking my second visit to the landmark in the eleven and a half years I've lived here. Because San Francisco is the size of a postage stamp, I quickly learned that Valerie is not the only person I know in this show. My downstairs neighbor Jamie is also in it (who even knew she was an actress?), as is Glenn, a guy I took a very intense acting class with just under ten years ago. They say it's a small world, and if you live in San Francisco, you'll definitely believe it.

The sea breeze kicked in late Saturday afternoon, making for a very comfortable night. After swinging by Sebastian's birthday party at the Hi Dive, FP and I made our way to the Napper Tandy to join Valerie, her boyfriend and some friends of theirs for karaoke. Here is what I learned about doing karaoke when you're recovering from bronchitis: don't. However, if, like me, you are intrepid (read: foolish) enough to soldier on with a compromised respiratory system, I recommend picking a very low song.

Honestly, I wasn't planning to sing at all, but it took all of ten minutes for me to want to belly up to the microphone. So I chose "Stay" by Lisa Loeb, thinking I could handle such a simple melody that is free of any really belty notes. Well, not so fast. Normally I sing "Stay" quite well, but given that I currently am operating without an upper register to my voice, things went differently this time. "Stay" isn't even a terribly high song, but what remotely high notes there are just faded into an asthmatic wheeze. Having learned my lesson, I chose for my second number The Pretenders' "Back On the Chain Gang," which is just the teeniest, tiniest bit too low for me. I must say, I've sung that song dozens of times, including with Fake Band, but this was the best I've ever done. One mildly higher note during the key modulation was a little dicey, but otherwise, I pretty much nailed it. So I've learned not only to avoid high or even mid range songs while recovering from an illness but also to avoid imitating Chrissie Hynde unless I've recently had bronchitis.

Life is about learning, right?

The heat wave completely broke and the fog rolled back in just in time for me to attend an outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park today. Brr. I shivered the entire time, but the free snacks and drinks alongside the tunes kept me warm inside. I certainly found myself wishing every Sunday could include free music in the park. But now here I am back at home, where it's warm, and where I will snuggle on the couch in front of Oceans Thirteen before hitting the sack.

If every summer weekend proves to be like this, I'd say it's going to be a mighty fine season.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

Okay, I was wrong. I'm not on the mend and will be heading to the doctor for my precious antibiotics tomorrow. Ah, well.

It's very warm today. I was able to walk to work this morning in my little dress without a sweater or a coat. That may mean nothing to you, but in San Francisco it is quite the coup.

I'm organizing a karaoke party with some of my friends next week, and last night I had a dream about all of us singing. Is that wrong? Don't bother answering that question; I know it is.

This weekend I'm going to "see" some interactive theatre piece taking place on the streets of San Francisco. My friend Valerie is in it, and we get snacks and drinks, too. I'm excited.

My love affair with Nick Lowe continues. I downloaded a few songs from iTunes the other night, and I want to hug him every time I hear him sing. Sigh...

Okay, I think that's all for now. More once I stop coughing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

On The Mend

I seem to have stumbled upon a new cure for an old problem.

I have chronic bronchitis. I'm a lifelong non-smoker, but pediatric asthma and an allergy to cigarette smoke (among other toxins in the air, I'm sure) has rendered my weakened respiratory system susceptible to regular bouts of this ailment. I usually only suffer from episodes every 18 months to two years or so, and I just had one in December. So I was surprised on Monday evening to feel my chest tighten up. In fact, I wasn't so much surprised as in complete denial as to what was going on.

However, by early Wednesday morning, when I awoke at 4 a.m. with a chest that felt like lead, I had to acknowledge what was happening.

Here's how this disease usually progresses. It starts with a virus and over the course of the first week gets worse and worse with me coughing and trying to clear lungs that won't clear. Supposedly it's just a cold at this stage, but there are never any other cold symptoms. Mornings and late evenings are the worst, but I'm pretty much miserable all day every day. After about a week and a half to two weeks, I trot over to the doctor's office for antibiotics to treat the bacteria which, by that time, has settled comfortably into my lungs as well. Once I get my drugs, everything clears up in a few days, and I'm good for another couple of years.

I took Wednesday and Thursday off from work, suspended all exercise (in my opinion, the most painful part of having respiratory disease) and officially set up a sick bay on my couch. It didn't seem to be too bad this time, but that's what I kept telling myself back in December, and that turned out to be one of the worst episodes in a while. However, there were a couple of tiny problems plaguing my recovery. For one thing, after two days on the couch, I was bored out of my mind. For another, the weekend was fast approaching, and I had social engagements to keep. In particular, Teenage Kicks, my very favorite monthly DJ night at the Attic, was happening on Friday. Tom, Carolyn, Andrey and I had already planned to go, and I just couldn't wrap my mind around missing it.

So I went back to work Friday morning and took it all one hour at a time. By Friday night I did have the inclination to just curl up in bed, but nothing was going to keep me from the music. I doubted I was still contagious; so I figured I could be congested at home or be congested while Victor, the host of Teenage Kicks, and Pete, the guest DJ that night, played me some music. I wouldn't drink, and I wouldn't stay out too late.

Ah, famous last words. At 2:30 in the morning, after three Chimays and lots of tunes, I realized that I was feeling better. My lungs were relatively clear, and while I was coughing, I wasn't coughing too much. Yesterday, that guarded feeling of well being continued. I'd lost my voice, but I still felt better. I even went to the gym, and a spell in the steam room there did not produce the coughing fits that would have come if I'd been terribly congested.

Could it be that this little virus is clearing up on its own before becoming bacterial, thus saving me a visit with a physician?

Well, I'm not counting on anything, as I am still a little congesty. And I certainly hope I haven't jinxed my recuperation by writing this. But as I continuously knock wood and hope to avoid a course of Zithromax, I can't help but believe that the music and beer on Friday might have done the trick. I primarily credit the music. Everyone knows that music heals all, no matter what ails you.

Including, perhaps, an issue that has nothing to do with my lungs.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

These Are Days

Life is bubbling right along here in Sassyland, and it's all been quite lovely.

My new work schedule is great, although I am still getting used to it. It's amazing how much of an adjustment can be necessary when your days off change and you work when the rest of the world works. But I am loving it.

I made a return to the open jam stage at Blondie's on Wednesday night, and it was... okay. Actually, several of my friends came, which is always really fun for me, and I'm starting to accumulate other fans. Several people who attend this weekly jam seem to think I have a great voice and can really sing. They may be a bit deluded, but I'll take it. At one point during my little performance, the guitar and bass were playing in two different keys, which offered a bit of a challenge. However, as my friend Steve pointed out afterward, I merely had multiple keys to choose from.

That's about all the happenings from here. Last night I took advantage of having my Saturday evenings free once again and went to Solstice for snacks with Suzanne. We then took residence on a couple of bar stools at the Latin American Club and enjoyed many a cocktail with Joey and Phil, who caught up with us later in the evening. Very fun, but I must say I am remembering why I decided last year to cut my drinking to only two days a week. Sassy as I may be, my 38-year old body prefers sparkling water to vodka. Later today a bunch of my coworkers and I are going to a restaurant in Oakland to get together with our former coworker Tihanna, who is in town this weekend after taking a fancy job out of state a few months ago.

On a final note, I've learned something terribly unfortunate about some people I know. It really isn't my business to tell you, and I shouldn't even know, myself. However, for various reasons, this information has reminded me that trusting your instincts is a really good idea. About eight years ago, I did exactly that, and while I didn't regret it even then, I'm even happier about my decision now. I know I'm being cryptic, but that's all I can say.

Trust your instincts, my friends, and don't look back.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Black, White and Parties All Over

As is often the case in my life, all this weekend's parties happened at the same time. Last night my friend Michael threw some kind of (second) primary election primer party, Katya celebrated her birthday at Kell's, and San Francisco society gathered, along with us riff raff, for the Black and White Ball.

With my days of being able to do it all long behind me, I had to skip Michael's party. However, I made it to the other two affairs, beginning with with the Black and White Ball. My friend Tom (pictured above with Angela and me) was my date, and several of my friends from work attended, as well. Dressed to the nines, we sipped cocktails, nibbled snacks, and enjoyed the music. Unfortunately, it was typically cold in San Francisco on this late spring night, and I was positively freezing.

Although it was fun, nothing terribly earth shattering happened at the Ball, and at about 10:30, Tom and I began our search for a cab to whisk us away to Kell's. It took a bit of time, but we arrived soon enough and found Katya's party in full swing. The birthday girl did find time to pose with me for this photo (as well as several others), while playing the perfect hostess. Kell's is hardly my favorite bar in the world, but it was pretty fun to dance and sing along to the cheesy music with Katya, Andrey and the rest of their friends.

Sadly, I was somewhat over-served and at 1 a.m. made a beeline for my apartment. I realize now that I didn't even say goodbye to anyone, but they were all still partying at full steam and likely didn't notice my departure. Once home, I decided that ordering Juno from On Demand would be a good idea. Of course, I fell asleep on it, but since I never sleep well when I've had too much to drink, I woke up after just a few short hours and watched it again.

I would have loved to lay on my couch and simply recover all day today, but instead, I joined Katie at the ballpark to watch the Giants play the Padres. And the game was well worth it. Not only did Katie and I have a chance to catch up after not having seen each other for several weeks, but the Giants actually won the game. In the bottom of the 10th inning, no less. It was very exciting but not too much for my fatigue or hangover.

Tonight I need to practice for my upcoming open mic appearance, but needless to say, I'll be going to bed early. And hopefully, I'll sleep better and longer than I did last night. Um, I mean this morning.