Thursday, December 30, 2010

Help Wanted

In the midst of our struggling economy, which has been plagued by layoffs and long-term unemployment, I actually am looking to hire someone.  This position unfortunately does not pay money, but it will pay in the form of happiness and fun.  At least I hope it will. 

Sober Nixon (pictured above performing at Cafe Royale in August) is looking for a new guitarist.  Our current guitar player, Jackie, is leaving to pursue a music and writing project she has in mind.  So alas, she no longer has time for us.  Jackie has been so easy-going and easy to work with for the past two and a half years.  She and her very good attitude will be missed, but I can't blame her for wanting to focus on her original music, as opposed to playing countless cover songs that I choose.

To that end, my first project for the new year is to find Sober Nixon a guitarist.  I'm beginning that process by networking.  I know a few musicians, and I'm hoping one or more of them will know a guitar player interested in a no-stress, cover band project.  If networking gets me nowhere, then I'll cross my fingers and brave the dreaded Craigslist.  I actually found Jackie through Craigslist, but since then, I haven't had a great experience with the "musicians" section of that website.  A lot of bitter, crazy people hang out there.

Anyway.  Sober Nixon also may be getting a drummer.  We're going to get together play with a guy I went to high school with who has become a drummer.  Hopefully, he'll like us, and we'll like him, and we can beef up Sober Nixon's rhythm section.  2011 could bring good things to my little music project.

In other news, I got a belated birthday present this evening.  It was from Sephora and was belated because I took my dear sweet time popping into the store to pick it up.  Because I am in Sephora's "spend money in here and get free stuff" program, they decided to give me a little gift to mark the anniversary of my birth.  I hardly was going to argue with that, and I walked away with a bottle of Philosophy vanilla birthday cake shampoo/shower gel/bubble bath.  I'll be using mine as shower gel.  I love presents, especially ones I don't expect.

So I guess all of this is to say that change is on tap for 2011.  Change and a few vanilla birthday cake showers.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Joyeux Noel

Timeline for Christmas, 2010:

December 24th, 6:00 a.m.:  Arrive at work. Yes, you read that correctly; I was at work at six in the morning on Christmas Eve.  The good news is that getting to work early means leaving early, and I was done with my duties and able to begin my holiday weekend by 2 p.m.

December 24th, 6:30 p.m.:  Begin final descent into the Burbank airport.  On this particular Southwest flight we were treated to free cocktails, and one of the flight attendants sang "White Christmas" to us over the P.A. system right before we landed.  Talk about Christmas spirit.

December 24th, 7:20 p.m.:  Arrive at the South Pasadena home of 4-year old Mikey Jet.  I'm usually not in Southern California on Christmas Eve because I generally work on Christmas Day, but this year was different.  As a consequence, I discovered that we spend some Christmas Eve time at my brother and sister-in-law's place.  Visiting them is always fun because it means playing with my nephew Mikey (be warned: he'll wear you out after about an hour).  On this particular visit, Mikey and I read Goofy and the Gondola, one of the strangest children's books I've ever encountered.  It did feature Mickey Mouse and Goofy, and they were on vacation in Venice, where Goofy was trying to find a job.  Of course.

December 25th, 11:00 a.m.:  Be thrilled that the torrential rain that pounded the Southland just a week or so ago has stopped and take a run/walk down Los Feliz Boulevard. 

December 25th, 12:30 p.m.:  Take a quick trip to the neighborhood grocery store, which is open, for Perrier sparkling water (can never have too much) and an extra bottle of champagne.  Just in case.

December 25th, 2:30 p.m.:  The Christmas party officially begins.  Christmas Day is spent at my sister Fabulous Patti's place in Los Feliz, and we always have music, food, drink and lots of holiday cheer.  Last year we even had a dance party, but on this Christmas, my older nephews were allowed to watch basketball when they arrived.  So the Lakers took the place of any dancing.

December 25th, 6:30 p.m.:  Enjoy a Christmas dinner that includes chicken, sushi, mac & cheese, stuffing, haru maki, green beans and cupcakes.  Diversity is the name of the game in my family.

December 25th, 9:15 p.m.:  Bid the last of the guests goodbye, except yourself, of course.  My mother and I always stay with Fabulous Patti, so we didn't have to leave.  But my other sister, brother, sister-in-law, various nephews, niece and other friends were on their way home before 10:00.

December 26th: Enjoy last day before returning to San Francisco.  That should include another run/walk, mimosas, biscuits, bacon, and general merriment.

Happy Holidays, my lovelies!  I hope your Christmas was a smashing good time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Darling

Date: December 21, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m. until approximately 11:30 p.m.
Place: The Burritt Room in the Crescent Hotel, San Francisco
Occasion: My 41st birthday

It's possible I should be ashamed to admit that my birthday is my favorite day of the year. Well, shame be damned, it is my favorite day of the year. No matter how old I get, I always wake up feeling a little bit special on the morning of my birthday. And every year, my very wonderful friends rise to the occasion and join me to celebrate, even if my birthday falls on a rainy Tuesday, like it did this year. Last night about 40 or so of us gathered at the Burritt Room for birthday cocktails. Here is a smattering of the photos we took throughout the evening. They should give you an idea of the wonderful time had by all.

Mark, Daniel and me

Frances and Nina

Rico, Carolyn, Eric and the star of the night: Widget

Christine, Michele and me

Me and Carla

Joel, Maya and Adam

Kevin, me, Valerie, Carolyn and Widget

A big, snuggly thanks to everyone who attended.  You made my night, my birthday, and my year.  As always.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm Dreaming...

My apologies, gentle readers, for my tiny absence over the past week and a half.  Also forgive me for not explaining it.  I like to keep this little chronicle happy and upbeat (personal blogs full of whining, ranting, complaining and sadness bore me), so all I'll say is that is was a circle of life issue.  Nothing for you to worry about, my friends, and I'm back now.  There is no getting rid of me permanently.

Since it is the holiday season, it was only fitting that Sober Nixon would play a Christmas party last night.  It was our bass player's company Chrismas party, but that still counts.  Our audience was small, given that it is a small company, and we played inside the office, but it was still a lot of fun.  Plus, our small audience was extremely receptive, so we felt a lot of holiday cheer and love.

Even though I've been doing my vocal exercises lately, my singing was a little rusty last night.  Except on one song.  The song about which I was the most worried, and, as a consequence, I practiced the most.  Every year, we in Sober Nixon, trot out one Christmas song: "White Christmas," and we use the Phil Spector arrangement that Darlene Love sang on Phil's 1963 Christmas album (pictured above).  Now, make no mistake: I cannot sing like Darlene Love.  However, I can sing like me, and with enough practice and awareness of supporting my breath, I can belt out a tune with the best of them.  Belt I did last night, and I would say our rendition of "White Christmas" as arranged by Phil Spector may have been the best number of the night.

Assuming I wasn't hideously off key or anything.  No one cringed, and no glass shattered, though, so I think I was okay.

Today I did a little lounging and a few chores, picked up three new books that I ordered from Amazon and got some exercise.  So now I'm ready for the socializing portion of our Saturday.  I'm going to swing by my friend Zeeshan's birthday party before going to see the Loved Ones.  Tomorrow I'll be doing some more singing (this time karaoke) and then cocktailing with my friend Christine and my sister, who is coming up from Los Angeles for a visit.  All of this is in advance of my own birthday party on Tuesday, when I'll celebrate being fabulous despite being old.

Socializing waits for no man.. or woman... however, so I've got to get to it now.  If I wait too long to leave the house, I risk getting sucked into the couch for the evening.

Monday, December 06, 2010

December Merriment

It's official: the December party season has begun. I don't call it the holiday party season because I know many people with December birthdays, myself included, and even though birthdays are big holidays, I like to keep them separate from the typical holiday season.

Last night my quite talented and fantastic friend Pat had a birthday party at The Homestead in the Mission, complete with delicious drinks, yummy cupcakes baked by his lovely fiancee and scrumptious vintage soul music spinning on the bar's turntables. My friend Christine accompanied me to the party, and we had a terrific time sipping champagne and beer, chatting with Pat's super nice friends and tapping our toes to the tunes.  I hadn't been to the Homestead since 2005 when it was still Dylan's, and it was nice to be back.  All of that is the good news.  The bad news about last night is that I learned that four Belgian beers in one evening, even over the course of five hours, are too much for me.  I made sure to eat something substantive at the party and drank a lot of water when I got home, but I was still a wee bit... let's say tired... this morning.

Ah, well, I'm old.

The parties have just begun, however. Also on tap for December is Doug's holiday party, Emily's birthday party in L.A., Anne and Jack's holiday party, my company holiday party, Frank's birthday party, a Sober Nixon gig at our bass player's company holiday party, and the creme de la creme: my own birthday party.  Oh yes, and we also have Christmas Day and New Year's Eve to celebrate.  Not to mention all the usual singing of songs and other good times.

Unfortunately, I'm likely not going to be able to attend all of December's parties. I need to go to Seattle for a few days this month, so I'm going to have to miss something. However, I intend to catch as many of the gatherings as I can and soak up as much good cheer as possible. That's what December is all about isn't it: love, fun, positive energy and peace? I'll be doing my best to indulge in all of those things as much as possible.