Saturday, January 28, 2012

Old School Hollywood

Happy Saturday night, gentle readers. I currently am enjoying a weekend in Los Angeles before I scoot off to Hawaii in a few days. In true Hollywood fashion, I just watched a movie...not at a theatre but on a screener dvd. It is awards season, after all. The film was The Artist, and I think I am in love, both with the movie and it's star, French actor Jean Dejardin. Oh my, is he charming in this film and super hot in "real life".

Earlier today, I spent a few hours at Poly, my prep school in Pasadena. I usually refer to Poly (short for Polytechnic School) as my high school, but in truth, I spent virtually my entire education there, attending Poly from second through twelfth grade. Anyway, I was back on campus for a luncheon to honor those of us who have donated money to Poly, which is a private school, for at least 20 consecutive years. The luncheon also honored those who have named Poly in their estate plans, but that group did not include me. I don't even have an estate, let alone any estate plans.

After the luncheon, I visited with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew Mikey Jet in South Pasadena for a while, and then I dined with my sister and a friend of hers at one of my favorite L.A. restaurants, Malo Cantina in Silver Lake. After dinner was the movie along with champagne, and that brings you up to date.

As I mentioned in my last post, photos from this L.A. weekend and my trip to Hawaii will be coming soon. I had planned to post some pictures this evening, but I left my memory card reader in San Francisco. Oops. Also, as much fun as a catered luncheon and dinner out can be, they have wreaked havoc on me today. For reasons that I won't bore you with, I have been following a low sodium diet for the past month. My doctor gave me the go-ahead to blow off any dietary restrictions while on vacation, but I didn't consider the repercussions. Two meals of indeterminate sodium content without me drinking as much water as I normally do have made my body very angry. You should see my feet right now; they have swollen to the size on mini-watermelons. I'll be downing a few bottles of Perrier tonight (yes, before bed) and paying better attention tomorrow, especially since I have brunch plans. I hope my shoes still fit after this trip.

(The Artist photo found at

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter Break

Remember college when we would get a month-long break between the fall and spring semesters? Winter break, as it was and I assume still is called, was the perfect time to celebrate the holidays, pick up a job to make a little extra tuition money, or just rejuvenate. Those were the days, weren't they?

Well, the holidays have passed, and I'm not taking an entire month off, but I am about to indulge in a little winter break of my own. In an effort to break up the ennui that, in my opinion, usually holds a death grip on January and February, I booked a vacation. Tonight I'm headed down to L.A. for the weekend. This actually was a late addition to my winter vacation. My high school is having a special luncheon tomorrow, and I decided to fly down and attend. Why not? It's winter break, after all.

A few days later, I'm off to Honolulu to visit Diva Mommy and lay on Waikiki Beach. I have never been to Hawaii in the winter, but back in November I stumbled upon a great airfare, so I figured why not go? This means I potentially will be taking three trips to Hawaii this year (assuming I don't run out of money, vacation days or both). That's a lot of tropical beach time, but I think I can handle it.

Watch this space for winter break photos and updates.

(Photos courtesy of and

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hold 'Em For Charity

Friday was my dear friend Chris' 37th birthday, and to celebrate, he invited a gaggle of us to a charity poker tournament yesterday afternoon to benefit Bay Area Theatre Sports (or BATS), an improvisation troupe and school that Chris works for and performs with. In fact, he's performing tonight as host of "The Blank Show", should you be in San Francisco this evening looking for some fabulous entertainment.

As for the poker tournament, I didn't play very well for the first couple of hours, but toward then end, I had a phenomenal run that brought me back from the near-dead multiple times and almost landed me a place at the final table. Almost. The final table had nine seats, and I came in tenth in the tournament.

After all the poker was done, a bunch of us scooted across town for cocktails. The bar we chose was down the block from my favorite karaoke den; so I also was able to squeeze in a little singing, as well. My friend Pat had never seen me sing before, so I chose one of my go-two numbers, "Son of a Preacher Man". I think Pat was duly impressed, even though I believe I may have been a little sharp on the bridge last night. Ah, well, it was still totally fun.

All in all, it was a lovely Saturday. I highly recommend spending an afternoon playing cards with friends followed by a little karaoke in the evening, if you can swing it.

Some of the players and spectators during a break in the action.

Happy birthday, Chris!

The birthday boy expertly tackles 37 candles.

This was one of my best hands of the tournament. I got a flush, which beat my opponent's two pair of aces and kings. If you know anything about Texas Hold 'Em, you can see that the other player had secured his two pair after the flop, while my flush materialized at the very end of the hand. It was an amazing moment and amazing win.

Is it a salad? Is it a cocktail? No one was really certain.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Saturday

This is what San Francisco looks like in January.

We in the Bay Area have had one very mild and very dry winter so far, gentle readers. No one will be too happy about it come summertime when the state's farms need water and all of us residents are, well, thirsty, but for now, it's quite lovely. Some rain is expected next week, but this particular Saturday afternoon featured abundant sunshine and temperatures in the 60's.

I took advantage of the gorgeous day and did some shopping on a journey that took me from Russian Hill for running shoes to Union Square for pajamas and a little Chanel No. 5. I walked from Russian Hill to Union Square, stopping several times along the way to poke my head into crowded bars to check the score of the 49-ers/Saints game. I have to say, gentle readers, that even though I don't like football one bit, even I found this game (what I saw of it) to be exciting. When all was said and done, the 49-ers had won in the last minutes, and San Francisco had a big collective smile on it's face.

I also snapped a few photos to give you an idea of how beautiful the City is right now. We'll get our rain eventually; I know I can be patient and wait.

Best name for a bar ever. This is a new (relatively, at least) establishment on California Street.

The setting sun bathes Nob Hill...

...and Grace Cathedral atop it.

Union Square at dusk.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Every Moment

Photo courtesy of Amelia Kennedy

Happy Monday, gentle readers. I trust you had a lovely weekend...I know I certainly did.

I sang a few songs after work on Friday, as I am known to do, was home at a decent hour and then indulged in ten hours of sleep. Love that. On Saturday evening, I met my friends Emily and Randy, who were in town from Los Angeles, along with our other friend Kelcey and Randy's friend Cal (got all that?), in North Beach for cocktails and the English Beat show at Bimbo's 365 Club. I have mentioned before that the English Beat now is original singer/guitarist/songwriter Dave Wakeling with a bunch of hired musicians, but the shows still are so much fun. Above is a photo taken of those of us right at the front of the crowd at Bimbo's. If you look closely, you can spot Emily and me looking happy as clams to be mere feet from the band.

Yesterday saw more singing. Emily is a fellow karaoke enthusiast, so she, Randy and Cal met me at my favorite San Francisco karaoke den in the afternoon, and then, after Randy flew back to L.A., Emily and I reconvened last night for more songs at second karaoke bar.

However, Emily also got some terrible news from home last night. Since it is her family's business, I'm not going to go into detail. I will say that Emily, herself, is fine and is headed back to L.A. this afternoon. She still wanted to sing, in part because there was nothing she could do about the awful news and in part as a form of catharsis. So sing we did, along with appreciating the characters who filled this particular bar.

The moral of this tale, my lovelies, is this: live every moment. There is a lot of hurt and tragedy in the world, but there also is abundant joy. Embrace the happiness in your life whenever possible, whether that happiness is produced by a super fun concert on a Saturday night, a hobby you love like singing, friends visiting from out of town, or just warm, sunny weather in January (which we had in the Bay Area all weekend long). Whatever makes you smile and giggle, focus on that every moment you can. Because frankly, you just never know when life will take an unexpected turn.

You don't want to take happiness for granted, do you?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

We Are the Champions

Welcome to 2012, gentle readers! The sun is shining in San Francisco this afternoon, and since it is Sunday, I have the day completely to myself, if I choose. And that's what I have chosen. Aside from exercise (which I treat myself to every day) and one errand, there is nothing that I have to do today and nowhere I have to be. How blissful.

Last night I rang in twenty-one-two at my friend Frances' New Year's Eve party. I've been a little over New Year's Eve for the past few years since it really is amateur night, so I've taken to threatening to stay home every year. Somehow, it never works out that way, however, and last night's party was perfect. Even though Frances lives across town, her house is a very easy bus ride from my apartment. The bus line I take to get there picks me up two blocks from my front door and drops me off across the street from Frances' door. Plus, every New Year's Eve MUNI (San Francisco's public transit system) runs free of charge. So I walked out of my apartment with Domaine Carneros sparkling wine in hand at about 9:30 p.m. on December 31, 2011, welcomed the new year, and was safely back inside my cozy abode by about 1 a.m. on January 1, 2012. I didn't overindulge in any food or beverages; I wasn't bombarded by too many others who had on my way home; and today I feel rested and optimistic.

Plus, "We Are the Champions" by Queen was the song all of us at the party celebrated with just after the clock struck midnight (after "Auld Lange Syne", of course). That tune's rallying cry of high self esteem bodes well for the next twelve months, if you ask me.

Midnight. Happy New Year!

(Most of the photos in this post taken by me, but a couple appear courtesy of the lovely Katya.)