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The Explorations of Dora

"Is it hubris to believe we all live epics?"

Updated: 2014-03-19T17:07:14.437-07:00


Counting the miles ... March


3/1 ~ 4.6 miles roundtrip to Sports Chalet near my parents. Shorter trip, but then again, there are the hills that the homestead sits atop.

Counting the miles ... February


Planning on going to Nepal in the fall. Maybe a side trip to Tibet? Either way, I need to condition for hiking ... at high altitude!

2/16 ~ 5.4 miles round trip to the library
2/20 ~ 5.8 miles round trip to the library and the grocery store
2/21 ~ 5.4 miles round trip to church
2/22 ~ 7 miles round trip to Trader Joe's (then I had to get in my car and actually drive there, since I forgot my wallet!)

Misc Notes


Oh, time flies. So much of it has gone by that I won't even try to catch up on the last few months. However, I feel constrained to jot down a few notes from this trip I'm on now.May 23: Set out for the east coast. From LAX, flew to Cleveland, OH and connected to Providence, RI (tiny airport with just one terminal!). JLITH picked me up and we stayed a bit to watch the Fire Water, then headed back to Boston, where we had appetizers and dessert at Finale. I still don't remember what it's called, but we had that decadent chocolate cake with the melted center that I had with the girls in Paris. Bon appetite indeed!May 23: Up early to catch the megabus to NYC. Finally got to the Tone on Lex Hostel, situated ourselves after lugging our suitcases up to the 4th floor. The rest of the day is a blur. I did find a book shop and get North and South by Elizabeth Gaskill. Fleet Week in NYC, and lots of fun to see the service men and women parading around in their whites. It must be difficult, since I feel that the American people have little to no concept of what our service people actually do in the middle east. The majority of the press is given over to the horrible things that are done in the name of the service, and not to the rest of the people who are just doing their job as well as they can. I did make it out to the Frankie Manning event, but it was such a crowd that it was hard to meet new people, and of course there were far too many follows, so I spent most of the night watching. May 25: Walked around. Found my way over to the MOCA store (both of them) and browsed. Objects that I found particularly tempting were: a Brazilian fruit basket in the shape and reconfigurable design as a centipede, a foldable orange bike, and a sheet of white paper cut with intricate designs of flowers and vines for wall art. However, I was good and spent nary a red cent. Eventually made my way to Central Park. Watched some break dancers with unmitigated glee. One Italian looking guy must have been in his late 30's, and had the most exquisite hand movements. The African American guy must have been as old, and had the best gliding steps I've ever seen, and the funniest pacman ghostly movements. They were absolutely surreal and made the kids scream with laughter. What impressed me was their passion for the dance, and how they actually taught some young bucks who contributed to the show. After, I found a shady and congenial park bench (with a romantic, inscripted, dedicatory plate) and read N&S for a bit. Don't think me a heretic if I confess that I like it ever so much better than Pride and Prejudice. Gaskill is wonderful, and soon I want to write up a post for X2 about her. Met JLITH for dinner at Serendipity, and found a double sided hat like the one I wore in Paris. Yes, I bought it, although I'm ashamed to say how much I paid. Went back to the hostel and took a nap. Made it over to the dance for the last song (around 0200), met up with some other Angelinos, and walked over to the after dancing. Oh, how much better. There was live music, AND a blues room. Had some okay dances, and a few spectacular ones. I'd come back to NYC, but not on a festival weekend. Met some genial Germans. At first, I wasn't sure if the geniality came from their natures, or their drinks (Budweiser!). As I look back on it, I think it was their natures, with a little help from their beverages. Made it home around 0700 ... the latest I've ever come home. I can't enough how much I love the metro system in NYC and Paris.May 26: More of a blur. Stood in the Tickets line in Times Square, and got a ticket to Next to Normal on a whim. Dinner with JLITH at a nearby restaurant. NTN was fabulous. Musical about a family in the suburbs. They are not striving for normality, but next to normal will do. Brought me to tears a few times. May 27: Back to Boston on the megabus. Grocery shopping, laundry, resting and reading. Can't seem to get Margaret Hal, John Thornton and Richard Armitage out of of my mind. May 28: Driving around with JLI[...]

An outpouring of happenings


I've recently realized how poorly I've been blogging lately. Will try to be better. The following is just a laundry list of important and trivial things that I've done this year so far.New Year's Eve was spent at a fair party down in Huntington Beach. Not great. Not horrible. But fair. The funniest part was sitting in the car with Lovely Lady, White Boy and Steph, waiting for it to get late enough for us to make an entrance. I finally realized how ridiculous we were being, and got us all in.The rest of the week was spent in Palm Springs at Jam Byam's WCS dance camp. I did my first two WCS competitions (All American and Novice J&J), and even made it to the Novice semi's. It was a lot of fun (I have the dvd's to prove it), but I'm not sure I'll do it again. Really, the thrill is the pure joy of lead and follow that no camera can catch. The best moments were finding out that I made the semi's, and watch Kyle and Sarah (my favorite dancers) dance to "Word Up" by Willis (my new favorite song). 1/10/09 Finally got around to going iceskating with T Diddy. Also there were Girl Friday, Canada, Daredevil Dentist, Satine, PD and JY. Ice skating is always thrilling to me. Firstly, because the first ten minutes always makes me feel like I'm ten years old ... the chill air, the unexpected wobbliness of legs on ice, and unquenchable excitement. Plus, it's almost like dancing, trying to maneuver to the music. I think we did about an hour and a half, which is about as much as my feet can take before I start to get blisters on those particular spots on the medial sides of my feet. We recongregated back at my place for hot chocolate and leavened chat.1/11/09 Over to Lovely Lady's place tonight to hear Shimai J make a presentation on her Cassava project in Kenya. It's amazing to me that she's been gone a year. 12 months of setting up the non-profit center to teach farmers about how to grow, harvest and make cassava marketable. The group was pretty small, because the place is small. I would love to have her make a larger presentation in the summer ... somewhere we can set up an outside projector, and invite a lot of people. I envy her the adventure and experience.1/15/09 Picked up JLITH from the airport. We bummed around a bit, then went to Rocker Chic's apartment for a mini house party. In short, it was great. She had Scott open for her. He's so affable, cute, and innovative with his guitar. His music has some unexpected twists in it that make me pay attention. The rest of the time was divided between Rocker Chic and one of her musicians from Nashville, a tall, wildly Heathcliff-esque man that I'll just call Guitar Poet. It was great to hear him play with RC, because it helps me get a better idea of what her cd release concerts might have sounded like. Also, GP is a true artist. He did things with his guitar that I've never seen before ... on the spot recording and layering of guitar tracks. He's quite young, but brilliant. Someday he will make it big, I'm sure of it.1/13/09 Over to the Magic Castle for RC's birthday. Very fun night with very congenial company. 2/6/09 Had my first appointment with Alice for physical therapy for my knee and back, which have been acting up after the NY dancing. Then went out to dinner at the 9:30 at the W Hotel. Came home. Was in the act of taking off my shoe, stumbled, grabbed a sheft to stabilize myself, and the small marble statue on it tumbled onto the floor. Well, almost. It tumbled onto my left great toe, then onto the floor. Ow. Went to sleep. When I woke in the morning, it was the size of a kielbasa sausage. I ended up going in to work anyway, since there wasn't much else to do. Kept it elevated a lot. Went to work on Monday and Tuesday. And one Wednesday, when there was finally time, I went in to the doctor's. Yeah, it was broken. Ugh. Six weeks for it to heal, and not much else for my pains. Oh well, it's not as bad as when I broke my ankle snowboarding. I've still been working ... I've been taking light assignments th[...]



My life is about to change drastically. I'm a little anxious, but very excited.I've been thinking about buying a house for a while. I remember a conversation with Mr. Baritone a few years ago ... he was watching the market for a good time to buy. I was at that point too lazy to do much more than dream, and tried to learn from his experience. I also spoke with HG at work. She recommended her mortgage broker to me. I got the info, and put it aside.Fast forward a few years. I've been putting money away in my Roth account. The housing market took a dreadful plunge. The time is looking right. And then I happened to hear Wonder Woman and T Diddy discussing it. I moved in and listened. And Wonder Woman started talking about a seminar she was going to attend for first time home buyers. She thought that T Diddy and I would be interested, and emailed us the info. Funnily enough, it was the selfsame mortgage broker that HG had recommended to me. T Diddy ended up not being able to attend, but that seminar was definitely a turning point for me.This year is the year to buy a place. The market is right, there is the $8K tax credit, and I am at a place where I want my own space. At this point, I'm leaning toward a condo in a bustling, urban place, but we'll see.The first change is that I am doing a schedule of nights. It's been a while since I've worked the night shift, and I'm not sure how my body will react. But I'm lucky enough to have managers who are willing to work with me, and let me have my way on this. I could find that I hate nights, and will just leave it at the six weeks I've signed up for. Or, I may find that it is tolerable, and continue on nights for a few months.At this point, I don't know, but I'm willing to explore. I feel quite lucky that I am able to alter my finances within my current job, instead of being locked into a fixed income.The second change is that I am going to move back to my childhood home and live with my parents. This is a good decision, since it will help me save a lot of money to help set up my new home, wherever I end up. However, it will mean giving up a lot of the freedoms that I so enjoy. It will be more difficult to get together with friends. I won't have a convenient place to hold parties. No cable or DSL. And a certain restriction on space and how I use it. And yet, I think it will be good. I will be able to help my parents out with cooking and laundry. I will be present and able to care for my father after he has surgery in a few months. I will be able to spend more time with my mother, and hopefully the nephews when they visit the homestead.Buying my own place also involves getting over my own emotional blocks to settling in one place. I'd always thought of home buying as someone one does as a family, something to do after I had a husband. It seems strange and burdensome to be the sole person on a mortgage. Is this how my brother Bork feels as he contemplates buying a house for his Genie and the beans? This disconcerting weight of responsibility that can't be shifted off onto another person? Buying a place also ties me to Los Angeles. I don't really mind, but it sometimes feels like a fetter. I've always had the reassurance that I could find a job anywhere ... where don't they need nurses? And while I've never had a particularly strong inclination to live anywhere else, it's strange to think that I can't just up and move anywhere it takes my fancy.I have no idea where or when I will find a place. I would rather urban than suburban. I jsut know that I want wide, open spaces. Every time I enter a small place with small rooms, I feel like knocking down walls. When I think of my dream place, I always think of the apartment that Mimi was renting in Paris. Marais, I think. There was a large central courtyard that would be a good place to congregate for party overflows. The apartment had a large open space that was a combination of bedspace, living space, art studio and dining area. The ki[...]

Keeping Up The Family Business


(image) I made them an offer that they couldn't refuse, and the Family Business party was a resounding success!!!

The idea blossomed from a small evening of playing the game, a few years ago. There we were … Wonder Woman, Perky, myself, Improv-er, White Boy and Gadget Boy. I’d just come home from Argentina, and had brought the girls back these fantastic little head ornaments from the antique fair in Buenos Aires (San Telmo). In a flash of inspiration, I made the girls don their minihats, and got the boys whatever mishmash of fedoras I had in my closet. We played the game and talked in accents all night. It was excellent.

The plan for the night of the party was simple … attendees were to bring an Italian dish to share, come in costume, speak in accents, and play the game. And since White Boy was so precipitously leaving the country, we also added a fare-thee-well dimension to the party that brought out some of our old-timey friends we haven’t seen in a while.

Anyway, the party was gangbusters. Some people really rose to the occasion, going all out with their costumes. Some of the best were Improv-er, Rocker Chic, T-Diddy, Fedora Man, Motorcycle Momma, Gadget Boy, Mr Giggles (extra points for originality), and Vintage Momma. Best characters were HSAAL and Improv-er, who kept us in stitches the entire night. Thanks so much for everyone who brought food, entertained, help teach, and helped clean up. Love you all!

Reorganizing (Pan)Dora's box


I’ve been contemplating the divide between women and deity. In lessons at church (especially those in Relief Society), teachers will draw an isosceles triangle … labeling the top angle as god, and the bottom two angles as husband and wife. We are taught that marriage is a three-way partnership, between man, woman and god. And yet, that isn’t what we are taught in the temple. There, it seems more like a vertical diminuendo of communication, god on top, followed by men, with women on the bottom. We promise obedience to our husbands, but our husbands promise theirs to god. We are slated to become queens and priestesses to our husbands, yet they are to be kings and priests to god. It’s a niggling bother that I try to stuff back into my own Pandora’s box. I do a lot of mental gymnastics, consoling myself with the fact that mine is a church of continuing revelation, and that certainly this will be reconciled when the time is right. How is it possible for women to be so divided from their Heavenly parents and divine heritage in the long run? I tell myself, it is just a faulty translation from the mind of deity into the hearts and minds of good men who struggle to interpret the divine on our behalf. It’s a problem of language.

And yet, language is important. Specificity and correctness is important. The church just fought for and won a pyrrhic victory to pass Prop 8 … in essence, a battle for the right to use the term “marriage.” We employ a certain number of set prayers and blessings that were given by revelation. What’s a feminist to do?

I don’t know. For myself, I have become a cafeteria Mormon. I’ve heard this term used as a derogatory slur on the bloggernacle. There are those who sneer at cafeteria Mormons, at their apparent laziness, selfishness and lack of faith. And yet, I wear it as a badge of pride. There are some tenets of Mormonism that I believe strongly, to the very core of my being. I believe in Heavenly Parents who love us. I believe they are just, and instituted proxy work so that all the inhabitants of the world get a fair chance. I believe in the bonds of eternal families, and the promise of eternal progression.

And so it was with a combination of concern and relief that I read this post by Lynette over at Zelophehad’s Daughters. I’m not the only one that struggles. I’m not the only one who has to be creative in finding ways to reconcile what I’m taught with what I believe. Because I do believe. And so I stay.

A Tale of Three Dinners


Dine LA Restaurant Week. What a brilliant idea! Restaurants sign up, and create several three course menus, which are served up for a prix fixe. Last year, Super Woman invited me out to dinner at Sofitel's Simon LA restaurant. There were three of us, and three menu choices for appetizer, main course and dessert ... perfect! We ordered one of each, and ate family style. The food was tantalizing ... enough to awaken and invigorate the taste buds, but not enough to stuff. It was a gustatory exploration. And as he might have noticed our eyes popping out when we saw a similar bowl at the next table over, our charming waiter brought us a huge bowl of cotton candy to top it all off. It was a heavenly, and not outrageous way to sample a new restaurant.

This year, I made reservations for three restaurants. Valentino's in Santa Monica, Katsuya in Brentwood, and 9:30 at the W Hotel in Westwood.

Valentino's was passable. In fact, I'd made the original reservation at Chinois, until I realized that they were only participating for the lunch menu. Changed to Valentino's. I liked what I had: mushroom torte, ligurian style veal stew, and chocolate/walnut/espresso mousse. However, the rest of the menu seemed rather dull and uninspired. Certainly, Valentino's is no Pizzicotto. However, the company was fabulous. Super Woman, Miss Congeniality, Girl Friday and Ski Fanatic all joined in to make the conversation engrossing and sparkling. Especially Miss Congeniality has a lot of "social lubrication" (my new term!) that made a possible awkward evening delightful.

Katsuya in Brentwood was simply amazing. Firstly, the decor was stunning. The restaurant is actually quite large on the interior, and very sleek. We ate in a side room that had ornate mirrors scattered across the walls, black walls with a tented ceiling, and white leather couches for those sitting around the inner island. There were four of us (Super Woman, HSAAL, Ski Fanatic and myself), so we ordered one of everything, plus an extra something of whatever looked good. I knew the dinner was going to be good from the first bite of the rock shrimp tempura. Delicate, warm, inviting and delicious. The crispy rice (served with a topper of creamed fish) was divine. However, my favorite was the albacore onion ... one little bite and I exploded in sensations of herbs, vinegar, onion, salt and spices that left my mouth watering for more. And that was just the appetizer.

For the main course, we had nigiri sushi, chef's rolls wrapped in decorative soy paper, miso soup, lotus root salad, miso marinated cod, beef and mushroom tobanyaki, and salmon cedar with tomato salsa. Absolutely fulfilling. The sashimi was delicately seasoned, without cream sauces. The cod was the best protein. The mushrooms were delectable, and the tomato salsa invigorating. So much goodness.

Dessert was not extraordinary, but a nice afterthought to a delicious meal ... panna cotta with fruit and fruited mochi ice cream. Before leaving, I did my customary visit to the restroom ... to see if the design there matched the ambience. However, I was so disconcerted by the lack of light in the stalls (more like closets) that I totally missed the surprise that observant visitors caught while washing their hands. I'll have to find out next time, since I'm sure to return!

Dinner at 9:30 At The W Hotel was okay. The food was tasty, but not exceptional. The best part was the cheese plate for dessert. I would write more, but the events were overshadowed by what happened when I got home, and now it's been so long, that the unexceptional meal has faded from my memory.

25 (non)Random Things About Me


This is for JLITH, who isn't on facebook ... yet. You are now expected to make your own list of of surprising things, and share it with me.

1. I love watching movies that make me weep.

2. My favorite piece of music ever composed is the orchestral theme song from “Love Story.”

3. I have a convenient way of forgetting embarrassing moments. I prefer not to be helped in this matter.

4. After working nights for seven years, I sometimes get the urge to stay up all night … and I do.

5. I don’t read or send texts, and I borderline hate talking on the phone for any length of time … unless I haven’t talked to you in three months; you live far, far, away; or you’re exceptionally entertaining. I also don't use apps ... so don't get offended if I don't join in the vampire games or send you a sparkly fairy. My one excuse is that my workplace has banned facebook from our computers.

6. I contribute to an LDS feminist blog with a host of other amazing women.

7. I adore dressing up in costume.

8. I like wearing flowers in my hair.

9. I despise mean, stingy and/or selfish people. Come to think of it, that's a lot of people. Hmmm ...

10. I travel out of the country at least once a year. When I get to Antarctica and Australia, that will make all seven continents.

11. I fight against my inherent laziness and surprising ability to be cruel.

12. Partner dancing fulfills so many of my needs … touch, connection, creativity, activity. Sending out love to Mark, Vince, Victor, Ned, Patrick, John, Lance, Ian, Lincoln, and that fabulous guy from NYC.

13. When I do charge at work, I’m obsessed with making the perfect assignment list for the next shift. I have this insane idea that if I make the assignments just so, I can stave off disaster.

14. I love the texture of really good milk chocolate as it melts in my mouth.

15. I harbor a soft spot for geeks.

16. I converse best when I’m seated … more comfortable, less distracted, more focused.

17. I’m enchanted by obscure, precise words.

18. I sing alto. Not well. But I always sounds better when I’m sitting next to Patti or Kathryn.

19. I played clarinet for one year in elementary school. Then I discovered lip gloss, and it was all over for the reed instruments.

20. I remember better when I’ve written something down, even if I lose the note.

21. I’m saving up to buy a camera like Annelise’s

22. I like feeling fabrics in cloth stores.

23. I’m an amateur polygot … or rather, a jill of several languages.

24. I overuse ellipses … because I love them.

25. Despite my outer cynicism, I really do believe that love conquers all.

A word on cars


Chatting with a few people, I’ve been thinking about cars lately. Unlike many other major metropolitan areas in the US (and indeed, the world), Los Angeles isn’t organized around a central area, and has no cohesive public transportation. Cars are ubiquitous … no one walks in LA. I’ve heard that way back in the day. tire companies bought out the rail tracks in Los Angeles and let them fall into disrepair, as part of a master plan to make LA into an especially profitable area. Seems rather sinister, doesn’t it?There are times when I’ve relied on the vastly inconvenient metro system in LA. When I was a junior and high school student, staying after school for basketball practice or drama club (I didn’t even remember being part of the Porter drama club until I rifled through an old year book and saw myself in the picture … bizarre). More recently, when gas prices reached record highs in 2008, I took the bus to work one day a week to be more green. Or the couple of times when my car has been in the shop, or been totaled. For a while, I took the blue line down to Long Beach for work. That was an interesting time. So much to see on the blue line as it snakes through some really rough areas of town. My MO when I travel the metro is to dress as unobtrusively as possible, display no items that look worth stealing, no listening to music so that I’m actively aware of my surroundings, and wearing a grumpy expression. I am not a friendly metro rider.But this is about to change, partly due to Pool Poser. I met PP at Gadget Boy’s 2008 Rocket Day. She set herself apart by entertaining at the afterparty by striking extreme animal poses while jumping into the pool. Anyway, lately we had a conversation when she told me that she was going to sell her car soon. Turns out that she’s been taking the metro to work everyday, and loving it. I was struck at how she exits at a stop further away from her home in the afternoons, and takes a 1-2 mile walk home to keep active. What a fabulous idea! It made me want to resume taking the bus. I’d stopped taking the bus because, well, gas got really cheap again around the November elections. Money drives us … or me, to be more specific. However, I won’t sell my car just yet. My car is still vastly useable. Of course, it’s really scaled down. After I totaled my other car (I rear-ended someone, and it wasn’t worth it to the insurance company to fix it), I chose a basic car. So, no auto windows or locks, or even a way to hook up my iPod. It’s entertaining to see new friends’ reactions when I tell them to remember to lock their door, or have to unlock their doors for them. Oh well, it’s fabulous not having a car payment. My car is also easily recognizable from the dent on the passenger side door. One windy day, I was trapped in the Costco lot waiting for a parking spot … a wild shopping cart (wish I had a link to Kevin and Matt’s shopping cart video here) broke loose from the pack and charged me. I had nowhere to go. It was terrifying. My car still bears the scars to this day. I always meant to get it fixed. Then I read Randy Pausch’s book, and I thought, well, if he can live with it (bad pun), so can I. Plus, the car comes in handy when it comes to dancing and getting around in the wee hours of the morning.A more serious incident occurred in a more mature hour of the evening. I was winding along one of the narrow side streets leading to my apartment. I approached the fourway stop sign intersection nearest my house, and noted, “How crowded it all looks.” I proceeded toward the line, dismissing the large SUV crowding me coming from the other direction .Dismissed it at my peril. I ended up smashing a parked car’s side view mirror. Ugh. I got to my place, parked my car, and went back to survey the damage. Definitely smashed[...]

My favorite things


My creationOriginally uploaded by dorachan1So, I bent and combined the rules on this one. Instead of ten things, I have twelve. And instead of getting all the photos from the first page of flikr searches, I also included some from Google images. All the same, I hope you enjoy, and shoot me back a link of your favorite things. Engaging behavior. Jane Austen wrote that the best company is, "the company of clever, well-informed people with a great deal of conversation." I happen to love cozy, seated conversation with people who listen as well as they talk. Let's curl up on a comfy couch, with maybe a fire or a nubbly-warm blanket throw, and forget the the rest of the world as we create our own. Touching. Giving and receiving neck, shoulder and back rubs from friends. Walking hand in hand or arm in arm. Thai massages from Pho Siam. One of the most thrilling feelings is to feel the soft touch of an innocent and trusting child. I think the desire to connect physically leads me to my next favorite thing ...Dancing. I love to watch it, do it and teach it. Youtube is my personal entertainment system. SYTYCD is my favorite tv show (that and BSG). I could watch Emily Hoffberg, Tatiana Mollman, Todd Yannacone and Kyle Redd for hours on end. I absolutely love dancing with good leads ... take me by the hand and let's create something new and wonderful on the dance floor. John Lindo and Patrick in Paris. Ned and Eddie at Sonny's place. His Vickness, eVincerator, Lance, Terminator, and countless others from Lindy Groove. JD from New York. I love to teach others to dance. My best students have been JoNg, Friend, Matt, and White Boy. Lindy, Salsa, Balboa, Blues, West Coast Swing, Nightclub Two Step, Tango. It's the three-way connection with the partner and the music, and it can be magical.Music. I'm so thankful to my parents for all those years of music lessons, despite my past grumblings. I confess that I'm not very good these days. I have yet to finish learning Clair de Lune by Debussy. But I love being involved with music ... playing, singing and listening. Last year I went with a bunch of friends to the Messiah Sing-a-long at the Disney Concert Hall; and decided that it was such a magnificent time that it deserved to be a yearly tradition. Words. In college I bought a journal at Seagull Book, and filled it with words I found ... new ones that I had to look up, favorite old ones, funny sounding ones, and foreign phrases that had inserted themselves into the English language. Acolyte, alacrity, bombast, bete noire, curmudgeon, caprice, dualism, eclat, ebullient, fiat, fey, genial, gauche, halcyon, histrionic, etc etc. I revere the written word. Stories. Tell me a good one. Great if it was created in someone's imagination. Even better if it's from real life. I would like to meet Ira Glass. Someday I would love to get my grandmother's short memoir translated into English, and help my parents write their own personal histories. Favorite authors include Jane Austen, Atul Gawande, Allen Say, Alexandre Dumas, L.M. Montgomery, Mary Roach and some of Orson Scott Card. Letters. As much as I love email, I miss the good old days of writing, stamping, and sending letters. I have a stockpile of letters in my treasure box from friends and family over the years. Letters written while I was an ocean away on vacation. Letters to encourage and inspire. Love letters. And letters to just chat. Care to contribute to my collection?Helping. Helping others makes me feel good. Whether it's providing active listening to a friend in need, providing nursing care to critically ill children, or making someone feel welcome in a crowd, I like to help. Or maybe it's that I like to find a need and fill it. Or maybe that I like feeling needed and appreciated. Don't give me too many props for this tho[...]

Tango in the Hall


For weeks I've been planning on going to Los Angeles' Downtown Dance series in Pershing Square. I've never been before, but it's dancing, outdoors, and free. What's not to like? This week it was Tango, which I've had a yearning to learn ever since my trip to Denver. There, I saw some particularly entrancing tango-inspired blues and lindy. I fell that tango is very similar to blues, in that it's a more mature dance, slower, and there's much more room for play and stretching of the steps. That and a heavily reliance on a body lead. Sadly, I got a late start. Since it was downtown, and started at 6:30pm, I decided to be green and take the bus. Because really, who wants to battle traffic AND pay $8 for parking? But, I got a late start because I got too caught up in watching the Transformers movie. Total cheese. But visually stunning, and the teenage boy made me laugh. So, I got a bit of a late start. However, I wore my black skirt with the fringe-y bottom, and a black drape necked top with a large red flower pinned to my R shoulder. With my hair partially tied back and my dancing heels, I felt powerful and beautiful. Then I put on my glasses, my dansko sandals, and the black coat I wore all around Paris, and I looked completely different ... perfect for taking public transportation in Los Angeles.At the bus stop, I saw three buses go by, one just as I crossed the street to the stop. However, I saw a woman talking on her phone, and assumed that the ones that had passed were the express buses that don't stop at my street. When the woman finished her call, I asked, "Esta Ud esperando por el numero cuatro?" She gave a start and we chatted for a bit. She complemented me on my Spanish, and I asked her about her life in the states. Gawande's work at work in me.It took a long time to get to the Disney Concert Hall, where the dancing and live music was taking place. When I arrived, the main floor was packed! There were talbes set up for a fwe to dine, which were all full, and the dance floor was filled to the edges. I quickly changed into my powerful and beautiful alter-ego, and stowed my things off toward the side of a recessed door. Soon, the teachers called the room to order, and they reviewed the Argentine tango basic. Of course there were more women than men, so I ended up dancing with a gentleman in his early sixties. Not a very good dancer, but his frame was okay, and we both learned something. Feeling powerful and beautiful, and knowing that there was a shortage of leads, I did ask a number of guys to dance. One guy who I recognized from swing dancing long ago. And one who I didn't know at all, who had a rather geeky flavor, but was actually really fun to dance with. I ended up dancing most of the night with Tango Charlie. He is Tango Charlie because he includes a lot of tango movements in his blues and lindy. We've crossed paths a couple of times over the years, but not enough to actually be really friendly. Anyway, I was friendly tonight, and he ended up showing me a couple of really great moves. I say "showed," because he didn't teach them very well, but then again, that's not his deal. I think that we have never really become friends before because we're both a little too self-conscious to overcome one another's barriers. Now, I hope that I'm getting over myself and will be more open and friendly with everyone.Also met up with Holly By Golly and her date. And she ended up introducing me to a group of people that were very friendly. I sense a change in the wind. I predict that 2009 will see me doing more salsa and tango. And I'm excited!By 2130, my feet were hurting. I changed back to my public-transport costume, and went in search of the return bus stop. It was nowhere to be found along Hill Street. I went up and down the bloc[...]

Dancing Tidbits


Out to Lindy Groove tonight. Saw some other old friends that I missed last week. Got to dance with the guest DJ, David Jacoby from New York. He helps run the Frim Fram. After five bars into our first dance, I instantly regretted not going to FF when I was in New York on my stopover to Morocco. Very bluesy movement, and absolutely dances within the music. Showed me a new move that took me by suprise and delighted me. Later, I didn't feel too badly about missing it the first time, since I caught SK doing exactly the same thing I did. If I can do no more than emmulate SK, I figure I'm doing pretty well. DJ is helping to promote Frankie Manning's 95th birthday celebration in NYC. It might just be worth a trip.

Also saw Gwynn. Talked about WCS, and how most beg/int WCS dancers get too caught up in patterns, and not in just dancing in the moment. We exchanged contact info again. No idea if they will be throwing another Halloween extravaganza, but I really hope they do. At some point, I want to go out to Skinny's in North Hollywood, which I've heard so much about. And at another point, Gwynn wants to come with me to Sonny Watson's place in Reseda. Funnily enough, after deciding that it was a lost cause, she said that she had one of my lead-and-follow dvds to return to me. Hurray!

Finally, I repaid the dollar I owed to the house. Sometime at the beginning of summer, I'd come to LG a dollar short. The tall blond girl who's been manning the front desk was gracious enough to let me through, for which I was extremely grateful. Shortly thereafter, I hurt my knee, and hadn't been there since. When I showed up for eVincerator's birthday last week, I remembered about the dollar, but had no cash on me since I was getting in free for the birthday. I felt about an inch tall. Tonight, as she was counting out my change, I asked her to keep one dollar, since I owed it to the house. She remembered, and smiled and thanked ME for remembering! Turns out I'm not the only one. She recounted a few stories of times when she'd let people in even if t hey were short of cash, and how nearly everyone comes back at sometime or another to make it up. It made me extremely happy that the community of dancers is so honest and supportive of this great thing that Lance has built.



It's been a while since I've posted. And yet, there's been a lot of things going on! So here's a little bit of catch-up for JLITH.Took Beans 1 and 2 to see Walking with Dinosaurs down in Anaheim. It was the first time I'd seen them awake since before the summer. I can't believe how they've grown. So much more verbal and inquisitive. Bean 1 spent the entire time with his hands over his ears, totally enthralled. Bean 2 expressed his fear, but for all that, couldn't tear his eyes away from the full-scale dinosaurs roaming the arena. My favorites were the human-ish flying creature and the armoured dino with the swinging tail. When I stopped in to visit on the way down to San Diego, they both drew me dinosaur thankyou cards. Bean 2 did an on-the-spot stegosaurus. Bean 1 also had drawn a stegosaurus, but decided to customize it with zebra-esque stripes ... his own personal dino-style. Bean 1 also showed me his own dinosaur show. Withe me lying down on the opposite lower bunkbed, he announced, from the opposite top bunkbed, that I couldn't see him. Sure. Then, in front of a large, pen-decorated background, he suspended a paper-airplane-y puppet of a dinosaur, and flapped the "wings" by pulling it up and down like a yoyo. Brilliant.Went to dinner and a movie at the Century City Plaza. We saw Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2. Fun, predictable, innocuous. That and I'd already seen Wall-E and the Dark Knight. I felt a little bad for the one guy that came. But not bad enough to suggest another movie. Probably the best part was getting to talk more with Ginny, fabulous author of La Dolce Vespa, and her roommate Fantastic Hat Lady.Annual gyn appointment. Enough said. If you are a women in your thirties, it's important. If you haven't seen one, lately or ever, get thyself hence.Went over to Paseo Colorado in Pasadena for some outdoor dancing to live music. This took a little preparation. To me, one of the prime delights of summer is to dance outside, under a lot of twinkly lights, to live music, with a partner, in a dress. Now, generally, I don't dance in dresses. Most groove lindy and WCS dancers just do it in pants ... there is no worry about having to wear special dance underwear, or that something that isn't supposed to show will show, and we can be more athletic and daring with our movements. However, there is just something magical about dancing outdoors that calls for a dress. Anyway, I'd been working on a dress for about a year ...Many years agp, when I first started dancing, I purchased a dress at a little vintage clothing auction whose proceeds were going to charity. I hadn't planned on buying anything that night. But no one was bidding on this dress, as it was a little plain compared to all the other 40's regalia, and the model was a little short and dumpy. I am tall, but I figured that it would probably fit okay, and if not, the money was going to a good cause, and it wasn't too expensive. So I bought it. And have worn and loved it ever since. It's a simple sheath dress with a sweetheart neckline, done in washable cotton, in a fabulous red and fuschia artistic floral print. In the last two years it started showing the wear, and I started to take it apart to use as a pattern. I should note that I learned to sew, first from my mother, then from my grandmother, by taking apart old clothes that I liked, and using the pieces as a pattern. The first thing I can remember sewing was a navy cotton hoodie, with small polka dots. I was still in grade school. Anyway, I was shooting to have it down so I could wear it to a field trip wit my school. However, when it came down to it, I wasn't fast enough, and when I went to sleep that night, I was exhausted, and the garment was unfinish[...]

Take a look over there!


I've been thinking about parenting a lot. Check out my musings on A different glimpse of parenting over at The Exponent.

Lazy Day


Yes, it's been a while since the last post, and may be even longer until the next. But today has been a lazy day, and it seems fitting to write a little something.Slept in.Started mocking up a post for The Exponent on a new style of parenting that I've observed recently.Watched a movie. A dance movie. Now that SYTYCD is over for the summer, life is a little bland. Then again, Adam Shankman is working on Step Up III, which Joshua will feature in.Paid bills.Talked with JLITH about getting a new phone service. I hate talking on the phone. Maybe it's my ridiculous, outdated and freebie phone that's the problem. Maybe it's the network. Whatever, I can never seem to keep enough bars when talking to make the effort worthwhile.Watched Randy Pausch's speech from the Last Lecture series at Carnegie Mellon, titled, Achieving Your Childhood Dreams. Inspiring. I want to live my life with as much zest as he has.Decided that a little activity was in order. I've been largely inactive after banging my knee up doing a little indoor skydiving (in a vertical windtunnel!) in Ogden for JLITH's birthday. Sadly, I'd miscalculated the Fridays, and it was the third, not the second, making a trip to The Juke out of the question. And the knee really isn't ready for any lindy just yet. So, I consoled myself the best way I know how. I printed out a coupon from Border's and walked up for some bibliotherapy.I went directly to the health and science area. I found Gawande's Better, but was also seduced by Turin's Perfumes: The Guide, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. If I could meet any contemporary authors, I would love to meet Gawande, Turin, Roach and Coelho.Gawande is a master at splicing out the thoughts and fears or the medical profession, and making one feel absolutely present in the moment.Turin has an exquisite facility with words that delights and discourages me. Not to mention his academic career in the sciences. I read through the intro, and skimmed through the rest. He already agree with me that Angel is one of the great fragrances. And this year, I would like to get whiffs of the following: Love 100% (S-Perfume), A*Men (Thierry Mugler), Badgeley Mischka, Borneo 1834 (Serge Lutens), Calyx, cK One, Envy (Gucci?), Lolita Lempicka, Osanthe Yunnan, Pleasures (Lauder), Safran Troublant (L'Artisan Pafumeur), Tocade (Rochas), Vanilia (L'Artisan Parfumeur), Youth Dew (Lauder), and Lime Basil and Mandarin Cologne (Jo Malone). Roach writes about science in such a side-splittingly funny and informative way.And Coelho, who wrote By The River Piedra, one of my favorite books ever since Perfectly Perky introduced it to me. Every time I see a used book store, I peek to see if they have a hard copy of it ... somehow the new paperbacks covers seem so soulless compared to the richness within. However, after flirting with the three books I plucked from the shelves, I only came home with Gawande. And with him, I will retire for the evening. Good night.[...]

June update


Jun 2: Did a short wet lab at work for the new centrifugal ECMO pumps. Exciting and nerve wracking to think that everyone on the CTICU and PICU will have to get trained and proficient on these!Went to Westdale FHE to learn some computer genealogy tricks. However, none of the limited work that’s been done for my family was available. I did, however, talk a bit with Mauritius a bit, about keeping cultural heritage when converting to the LDS church.Did a couple precepting days for a new hire at work, and have started mentoring V.Jun 16: Family dinner at the homestead to celebrate Father’s Day, and Bork’s and my birthdays. We missed JLITH, Genie and the beans, but it’s good to gather none-the-less. Curry stuff for dinner. Raspberry shortcake for dessert. Again, I am not so much of a cook as an assembler. Maybe I’ll start trying new dishes to cook when the weather gets cooler.Jun 19: Over to Lindy Groove for my birthday. Was able to get White Boy, Friend, Laughtear and eVincerator in for free, and saw many other friends that I haven’t seen in a while. Friend and LT got video footage of my birthday dance! I have so little footage of me dancing … mostly because I’m there to dance, not to tape, and so is everyone else. Another little bit of my life recorded for all the people who really have no interest in my life whatsoever. And it’s posted on facebook to boot!Jun 20-22: Arrowhead weekend, which deserves its own little post. Jun 23: My birthday. The years keep getting better and better. Had a little get-together to play farewell Catan for The Dot. He’s finally done with school, and whisking Ballerina and A out to Chicago to earn a living. The Dot will always be a legendary Catan player. I voted that he gets his own move named. Whenever someone makes a play where they seem to know what’s in everyone’s hand, it should get called The Dot. Just like whenever someone is a long time playing a turn, they get called VJ. I asked TD what he would do for Catan thrills out in Chicago … would he give it up altogether, play on-line only, or try and educate a whole new crowd. He voted for the latter. We told him that he may want to hold out on revealing his true Catan virtuosity until the newbies were invested enough to keep playing … no use slaughtering them before they’ve even gotten the addiction going.Jun 24: Called in sick today. Took the day for myself instead. In the evening, White Boy drove me out to Third Street Promenade, and I bought myself a love of a bike. Had to test drive it and another model around the block a few times. And despite the Hawaiian flowers, I bought it and a helmet, and bikes my way home on all three speeds. It’s like flying!Jun 25: Called in sick today as well. In retrospect, I should have asked for vacation time off, I just didn’t think that I would need it as badly as I did. Rode my bike up to Westwood and saw Coyote at the LA Independent Film Festival. It’s such a major undertaking to do a full length feature film on a tiny little budget. I’ll be interested in seeing what else Brian Peterson does over the years. After the film, I zipped home on my bike, avoiding the traffic in the parking lot (20 minutes) and Westwood (who know how much longer that was) that my friends had to endure. Bike Freedom!And, went over to HSAAL’s for his birthday celebration. Rock Band on a projector. Mammoth chocolate cake. And Alien Versus Predator: Requiem. Possibly the worst movie I’ve only partially seen … because the screen was so dark (due to Rock Band hookup?) that most of it was indistinguishable.Jun 26: Lindy Groove. Eboy, who normally does WCS came wi[...]

May update


So, I have been taken to task for the posting absence on my blog. And now that I am on vacation in SLC for a few days, I might as well get caught up and appease my minimal fan base.

May 28: Went out to Venice to see Elna Baker perform. An old friend heard her on NPR, thought she was hilarious, and wrote up a little ditty on her. And word got around, and some really cool friends (Film Fan and BackrubS, with some help from Gadget Boy) arranged to have her perform out in LA. In a word, it was a roaring success. I don’t think the LDS crowd laughed in all the same places as her non-LDS crowd generally does, but laugh we did, and very hard at that. As Workman says, it gives some hope for LDS humor.

May 30: Went with a friend to the Culver City Artwalk. Visited whatever art galleries were open when we got there. The best part was my telling him about getting to see a Banksy piece while in Bristol. Then realizing that we had stopped walking right in front of a gallery with a Banksy showing! How crazily fortuitous! My favorite piece we saw that night was Media, which is horrible and clever and relevant.

May 31: Went down to Irvine to hear Chieko Okazaki speak at an LDS women’s conference. After all these years, she is still one of my favorite LDS speakers. She has such a wide open vision of the gospel, she’s a whiff of fresh breath. One of the most touching experiences she related was when she visited the women’s prison in Utah, and how she connected with and related to the LDS women she spoke with. She helps me understand that the gospel really is for everyone, even if the church (especially at the grassroots level) sometimes isn’t.

Afterwards, I hightailed it up to Santa Monica for PTPhD’s baby shower. Haven’t seen her in so long, but her belly is quite round, and she looked radiantly happy.

What I read ...


I feel that I must confess that I am not a huge blog reader.

Yes, I follow The Exponent. I'm always interested in what my co-bloggers are contemplating. And I'm generally interested in what the commenters have to say, especially those who are sharing their personal experiences. I'm less than interested in those who use the blog as a preaching platform, or who don't understand that brevity is the soul of wit, and the salvation of most arguments.

I also follow the blogs of my good friends. Especially those who have moved away from the mecca that is Los Angeles.

And every once in a while I touch base with Times and Seasons, Feminist Mormon Housewives and Zelophehad's Daughters.

But really, there are not may blogs that I have the inclination to follow on a regular basis.

However, there are three blogs that I quasi-follow just for the pure joy of it. You might want to check them out as well.

La Dolce Vespa, with one of the best descriptions of driving I've ever read.

Workman's Waste of Time for frequent updates on the Faroe Islands.

And Dooce, which can be bawdy and irreverent, but always fun.

Meeting and Greeting


Woke up early and finished the first draft of the chandelier necklace so I could wear it today. Still needs a little revision.

Went to church, but skipped out on choir practice. Promise myself that I'll go next week.

Down to Irvine for Pilgrimsteps' birthday party. I hope she enjoys the books I got in London and lugged back. It's stuffed with interesting and creative ideas for recycling and creating less waste. Plus, it's just fun! I just love her and MOF's family. They are so vibrant, earnest, fun and appealing. Play a quick game of Catan with GameBoy and JLITH. Chat a bit with the eclectic group of friends that have gathered to celebrate PS's anniversary on earth. Meet co-blogger Zenaida for the first time, and exchange a few words with Laughtear. Not a lot of time to catch up with the birthday lady herself, since JLITH and I have to leave early for our own family dinner, but we manage a short chat in the kitchen. I can't believe that we've known each other for so long, that her first child is almost starting high school. I think she's my longest functioning friendship.

Dart back north. Stop off at my apartment to pick up the curry. Get to the homestead late, and Spork is a little digruntled. However, he gets over it reather quickly, and entertains me with stories of his recent trip to Finland. Brat flew business class and flew across the Atlantic in a sleeper chair. Seems as if his current project is going well, and that the top brass are really starting to take notice. His current project is not something that I would ever watch on my own (I mean, the star's name is BAM?), but I may have to check it out when it comes out on DVD.

Nice to get the whole family together and trade stories. Missing Genie and the Beans, who are in Korea for the summer.



Over to the doctor's to spend some time with the diabetes educator. J is new, and is only in the office Fridays. However, she is wonderful. A pumper herself, she's about my age, and really gets it. The desire to rebel, to ignore IDDM, and my same stubbornness. Made some good progress today. I think this is going to really good, and that my goals for this year are reachable.

Various errands. Made curry and started working on my chandelier necklace.

A little bit late to pick up JLITH at LAX. I love that she is able to come out this weekend, eventhough I am working Saturday and Monday. Back to my place to relax, and wait for the curry to cool. Besides, JLITH likes to veg out on HGTV. Sometimes I think she only loves me for my cable.

Up to the homestead and spend some time with the Fam.

Coasting on the West again


After work I went up to Sonyy Watson's place in Reseda for some dancing. It's such an intimate, friendly place, and I just love it.

More familiar faces in the bunch ...

His Vickness and J. Love dancing with HV. Although it can be a strange mix of lindy and WCS, he is one of the most adaptable dancers that I know, and plays with the music and follows along when I play in the best way. J is a pleasure to watch. She has such innate musicality.

Lila D. I don't know how she manages to dance in her heels week after week. But she's amazing. I hope I'm half as active when I'm her age.

All the weekly Wednesday crowd. So great to dance with E and N.

And, Handcuffs finally made it out. He moved back to the valley a while back, but hasn't been out dancing in a while. He was the one who introduced me to the MAC in SLC. Even now I'm a little sad that he won't be there when I go to visit in July. But it's great to have him out here, since he does lindy AND blues AND WCS. And, eventhough I hate to admit it, he probably follows WCS better than I do. Danced six songs in a row. Have to love all that walking I did in Paris.

Fete de frommage (CN)


Instead of bringing home a bunch of cheesey souvenirs, I just brought home cheese. Had it vacuumed packed, and kept it as cool as possible. And now it's time to feast on it ... along with some honey and jam from the Versaille vegetable garden. some French foie gras, two kinds of English marmelade, some candy Eclairs, and some fresh (slightly inferior American-) French bread. Aided by some tomatoes, grapes, and sparkling cider.

It was fun to see everyone again, and regale friends with tales of pictures of my adventures in Paris and London. I've determined that this type of immersion travel is how I want to continue seeing the world.

Oui? Hai? ... Si!


First day back at work. It's hectic, and I feel flustered. Tried to do some teaching with the Spanish-speaking family of one of my patients. Totally confused between Spanish and French. At one point I was trying to say "yes."

"Oui." Oh, I know that's not right. Try again.

"Hai." Nope, not that one either.

Wait for it ...

"Si!" That's it! Bingo! Ding ding ding!

It's going to be a long day.

Raiders: The Adaptation


Went to the Mann's Chinese theatre to see "Raiders: The Adaptation." Absolutely hysterical. Imagine a bunch of 14 year old boys getting together to recreate Raiders of the Lost Ark ... complete with all the Indiana Jones costume accoutrements, the cave-like room with the miniature city, melting faces and the rolling boulder. Yes, a huge rolling boulder! The makers only show it for charitable causes, so catch it when and if you can.

Ended up taking the bus to Hollywood and walking a mile or so to the theatre, and getting a ride back with Wonder Woman. I miss the Paris metro.