Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Most Abject Apologies

I received a text message this afternoon from a loyal reader who wanted to know:

1) Why I had not updated my Facebook status as obsessively as I typically do
2) Why I had not posted a blog entry in a good long while
3) If I am okay (because obviously, if I'm not posting on either site, I must be dead or a kidnap victim being held for ransom in Tijuana).

To all of you who are worried: I AM FINE.

For the past week or so, I've been insanely busy with very important things, like Make A Wish Foundation functions, the interior decoration of my mother's lovely home (which gets lovelier by the day), and going to see Metallica in San Antonio.

I SAW METALLICA IN SAN ANTONIO and I screamed myself hoarse. I was fine while Gojira was playing (French thrash metal? Really?), and okay while Lamb of God played, too. I tend to get bored by bands whose lyrics I can't understand. If the drummer sounds like the Muppet Animal, that's great. If the lead singer does... well... not so great.

But then, Metallica was on-stage, and my hand morphed itself into the Devil Horns sign \m/ and I was screaming like a tweenager at a Jonas Brothers concert.

Alas, the fellows from Metallica weren't wearing leather pants but were wearing black jeans. Except for the new bassist, whose name I don't know, and who was dressed in a shiny black basketball jersey and shorts. I still haven't figured that one out, yet.

They played Master of Puppets, I Disappear, Unforgiven, One, Cyanide, Stone Cold Crazy - at which point I think I lost my sanity because I began head-banging, and Enter Sandman. I can't remember the other songs they sang, because people kept trying to give my designated driver beer, and I - in my responsible and magnanimous way - saved her by drinking a few that were passed her way.

We arrived back at my friend's brother's house (I stayed in the guest room known as "Bungalow 1" and my friend slept in the Mezzanine - aka the sofa), completely unable to hear and with a strange buzzing noise in our ears. On the drive back to Dallas from San Antonio the next day (Tuesday morning), we both remarked on the unnecessary loudness of the concert.

I've also decided that the only way to see a concert these days is the way we did it Monday: from a private suite. You see, my friend's brother-in-law procured the tickets because his company owns the suite. It wasn't catered because his company wasn't picking up the tab for that, but there was beer and food just a short walk away, so that was no problem.

Yes, the private suite is far preferable to the mosh pit or the hard plastic of the regular seats.

Does this mean I'm getting older, or just smarter?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Am Going to Make You Jealous

But not yet. Wednesday is the first in a string of checkups I have to regularly attend. Hopefully, I'll be able to make some headway with these migraines (ba-dum-dum-ching! Thank you! I'll be here all evening).

Am I nervous? Yes. Most likely I'll end up seeing multiple doctors before anything is actually done. I'm hoping they'll just prescribe me some medicine and I won't have to see a neurologist. For the most part, I'm not afraid of doctors, although there is always a "What, now?" mentality before I go in to see them, because, inevitably, there is something else wrong.

Cancer sucks. Don't get it.

Now on to the stuff that will make you jealous:

I leave Saturday afternoon for a few days in San Antonio. What will I do there





The last time I saw Metallica, I was in... 9th grade? 8th grade? Elder sister, do you remember what year it was? Because you were nice enough to accompany me to the concert :-) Regardless, I was probably too young to be at a Metallica concert.

I had never seen so much black leather in my life. Or so many women on the backs of motorcycles whose clothes didn't zip or snap, but laced, and just barely.


I get to go to see MEEETTTTALLLLICCCCCAAAAAAAAAA because one of my friend's brothers managed to finagle a bunch of tickets, and he invited her, knowing what a metal head she is \m/ and she invited me, knowing that at one point I intended to ditch my life as a suburban high school student to become a roadie for Metallica, along with Jeffrey Lebowski (aka The Dude, Your Dudeness, or Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing).

Okay, I wouldn't really have dropped out of high school to become a roadie, but I debated not getting that job at Calico Corners after graduation in favor of the roadie life.

Really. I did.


Alas for Lars, James. Jason, and that other guy whose name I never can seem to remember, I couldn't resist the siren song of chenille upholstery fabric.

I wonder if the leather pants they'll undoubtedly be wearing Monday are the same ones they wore that day, back in the day?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

I finished re-reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay a few days ago, and - once again - it left me completely in awe of Michael Chabon's writing abilities. I would quote a couple of my favorite passages here, except I loaned the book to my mom after gushing about it over dinner the other night, so I am currently unable to assault you with a battery of his writing.

Assault with a battery. Heh. Heh heh.

Unlike, say, Dan Brown, Michael Chabon is a truly masterful author, whose use of description and metaphor is, in my opinion, unparalleled. At least, no one immediately comes to mind.

The story is an almost Dickensian tale of two young Jewish men at the beginning of World War II, their introduction to one another, the love one has for comic books, and how their pursuit of the American Dream is complicated by WWII, sex, and the havoc wrought by survivor's guilt.

All the while you're reading about sexual awakenings and Jewish folk lore, you also get a run-down of the birth of the comic book industry in the United States and the tradition of illusionists and escape artists in Jewish culture in the early part of the 20th century.

I've also read, by Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which was equally spellbinding and also dealt heavily with Jewish tradition and World War II, but in an alternate reality where World War II wasn't necessarily lost by the Nazis, and America was proving to be not so hospitable a retreat for the diaspora. It is more in the tradition of tough-guy detective stories, but in a way as imminently readable as Kavalier & clay.

In short, if you want to read a good book that's informative and gripping with beautifully crafted prose, Michael Chabon is your man.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Guess I Really Am Invisible...

I made the mistake of eating an ovo-lacto vegetarian dinner last night, and I woke up this morning hungry. About 10 minutes after I finished my shower, I started feeling weak and nauseous - I assumed as a result of hypoglycemia - so I sat on the counter to finish doing my make-up. I finished drying my hair and started to put my shoes on when the nausea hit harder, accompanied by some dizziness.

Hmmmm... Ok, could still be hypoglycemia.

I lay down for 20 minutes, which meant I was 15 minutes late to work, and then grabbed a Dr. Pepper and bolted out the door.

Ever since my last job - no, not sitting around unemployed and reading, the job before that that paid - I've eaten oatmeal almost every morning for breakfast. I keep a box of organic instant cinnamon raisin oatmeal packets on my desk and cook some up in the morning when I get to work, eating it while I check email and sign into the project files. It's a good routine, and it usually kills any morning hunger I may have. If not, I just eat another packet of oatmeal.

This morning, the Dr. Pepper and oatmeal ritual failed spectacularly. Thirty minutes after eating, I still felt nauseous and weak. Several times, I lay down on the floor in my cubicle, half-hoping no one would notice me on the floor, half-hoping someone would notice me so they could say, "Do you need to go home?" and I could say "Yes" without feeling guilty.

Alas, when Radio came over to my cubicle to get some plans off my desk, I was apparently not visible on the floor of my cubicle, because he grabbed the plans and went into the conference room with nary a glance.

Granted, he was on the other side of the drafting table, and there was a chair partly blocking me, but I'm pretty sure I would have noticed someone lying on the floor of their cubicle.

Pretty sure.

Around 2:00 (after going home for "lunch" wherein lunch = nap+2 bowls of cereal), I realized that maybe it wasn't hypoglycemia, since the Dr. Pepper and cereal and oatmeal, etc... should have killed that.

Yup, you guessed it: another aura migraine without headache. Bleh. I still have it, too, so I plan to go to sleep in 30 minutes after taking a large dose of ibuprofen.

Hopefully, I'll have something more entertaining about which to write tomorrow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Hour Posting Etc.

Happy hour Friday took place at the always entertaining City Tavern. I actually went to Happy Hour twice, Friday.

How does that work?

After work Friday, I went by the dry-cleaners to say hello to the dry-cleaning love of my life, took my clean clothes home, and decided I'd change clothes while there. Did I need to change clothes? Were they smelly, or actual work clothes, unfit for bar patronage? No. I'd just been wearing them all day, and I decided it was time to change.

I arrived at City Tavern at 6:15, after briefly glancing at the attractive fellow with the boxer puppy outside, and discovered that no one from HH was there. At some bars, that wouldn't be an issue, but it was threatening rain outside, and I didn't want to sit at the bar by myself for two hours, only to discover that no one else intended to show up.

I left within 5 minutes of arriving, which meant I was able to accompany the cute boxer owner to the end of the block. No dates resulted, however.

At approximately 8:40, I received a text message from the HH organizer, asking why I wasn't coming to HH anymore. I replied that I'd been there and no one was there. He replied with a small reprimand, informing me that he'd had to wait for a full hour before anyone showed up. I relented and left my apartment, returning to City Tavern, where I stayed for the next 4 hours.

Architects take their happy hours very seriously.

For the rest of the weekend, I pretty much did chores around the apartment, such as organizing the mess of cables that has sprung up behind my desk - a picture hanger works quite well, if turned the wrong way and hammered into the wall over cords in keeping USB cables from falling down the back of the desk - and embarked on the task of sorting through a box of goodies I've had ever since I was laid off from my job last November.

Most of the box's contents are sketches I did on some of the various urban design projects on which I worked, but some of the stuff is tchotchkes that used to inhabit my desk, or presentation packages that I don't think I'm actually supposed to have because they were proprietary information, etc... I think I'll probably have to shred the presentation packages, because they're not something I can ever show anyone, and they're a tad useless to me personally.

I've scanned the sketches I want to keep, and I'll print them out on 8.5x11" paper to keep in a binder, in case something happens to my computer (I'm paranoid, even though I have my stuff backed up in 3 places).

Some of the stuff is from college, and I'm not sure what to do with that, yet. Part of me is very proud of the drawings, impeccable pen and ink analyses of historic and modern buildings, and I don't want to get rid of them. I could always frame them, but I'm pretty much out of wall space, in this apartment, what with all the modern prints, photographs, and deer skulls.

Any storage ideas from the peanut gallery? Preferably ones that will sit nicely on my book shelves?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What Really Knocked Me Out Was Her Cheap Sunglasses

For the past two nights, I've been "playing interior designer." What does that entail, exactly? Well, it involves my driving to Plano to look at paint samples, then painting big test squares on the walls of my parents' guest bathroom. Afterwards, a meal is eaten, I run errands with my mom, and then I arrive home around 9:00 or 9:45, exhausted.

Exhausted, and with new, shiny sunglasses as payment.

I used to buy my sunglasses at Target. I bought the really BIG ones, very 1960s Audrey Hepburn glasses that covered half my face. I also bought cases for the BIG sunglasses at Target.

You see, I have a large purse. There are many things in that large purse. I like to joke that I have such a large purse so I can crawl inside it and stay dry if it rains. My happy hour colleagues - particularly the males - are often awed by what I carry in my purse (travel-size dispensers of toilet seat covers, for instance. Bars aren't that reliable, okay?).

The downside to being prepared for all contingencies is that there are lots of contingency preparatory materials that can bang around in there and scratch up your sunglasses. If your sunglasses don't have a case.

And my sunglasses case bit the dust after a good 3 year run. At the end of which I returned to Target to buy a new case for my big glasses with green frames and smoke-colored lenses, only to find that they no longer carried cases. At all.

After two days, my lenses were scratched beyond repair. I went to a couple of other discount stores to look at sunglasses, but I couldn't find any I liked, so I went to Target and bought a new pair, hoping that if I put my car keys in the pocket every time, my glasses would remain unharmed by the other objects in my bag.

I hoped in vain.

After the first evening of paint-perusing, I asked my mom if she wanted to drop by Macy's, because I needed to get some sunglasses, and I didn't want to go by myself. I'm usually not shy about charging into stores, finding what I want, paying and leaving, but Macy's has decided that their sunglasses are almost all in cases, protected like Fort Knox, and when I last went in there was a guy my age working behind the counter, and I just didn't want to deal with having someone else voice their opinion.

Along with the manned counters, Macy's has also decided that they will stop carrying their $30 sunglasses in favor of $50-$300 glasses. The price you pay for glasses that come with a case, I guess. Except not even the $50 pairs come with a case. No, they have a dinky little bag. The $100+ glasses come with a case.

I found a pair I liked, which cost 6 times more than I used to spend for a pair, but it came with a case, so I prepared to go to the check-out, after which my mom and I would pick out a new purse for her, and then we'd head back to her house so I could come back home. She got in front of me, though, and paid for the sunglasses.


Being the resident interior designer/architect-y person can have its perks. Like fabulously huge sunglasses.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Ah, Labor Day!

One of the things I love about Labor Day is that - if you're a white-collar worker, anyways - you don't have to actually labor. At least, in theory.

After two days of fun (shopping with my mom and sister Saturday, the Nasher Sculpture Center on Sunday), I spent most of Monday - Lack-of-Labor Day - running errands and laboring around the apartment.

What sort of labor did I perform?

1. Cleaned the bathroom. I discovered just recently that I jettisoned the old toilet brush when I vacated my Oak Lawn apartment for the parents' home, so I bought a new brush and went to town at home. I also wondered why anyone would consider spending $25 on a toilet brush when you can buy one for $2.99.

2. Tied down electronics cords. Some of my electronics are perched high atop a book case, and the cords I have are incredibly long - a holdover from my O.L. apt when my TV was 10' away from the case holding my DVD player, VCR, and antenna. So I had to snake my cords down the back of an upright on the bookcase and tie them down with little white zip-ties. This necessitated a trip to Home Depot. Employees at Home Depot are unfailingly helpful if you are a decently attractive woman in a tank top with no accompanying male in sight, by the way.

3. Non-physical labor. Mental labor, I mean, such as balancing my credit card entries, ordering a battery charger for my Nikon, and learning some new stuff via mentalfloss. Just for the record, no, I didn't lose the battery charger. I put it some place safe where I would easily be able to find it. And then forgot where that place is. But it's safe, and it's there. Honest.

4. Stained scratched parquet. When the movers brought in my love seat, they sat it down and pushed it across the room. They scratched the floor in two places, as a result, so I bought some stain at Home Depot and carefully applied the stain to the scratches. Hopefully it will pass muster when I eventually move out.

And now, for those of you who are design nuts like myself:


It's owned by a woman who owns Again & Again up the street on Bonita. She takes vintage furniture, recovers it, and sells it alongside other great finds such as Knoll dining tables. It's amazing and the prices are beyond belief.

I'm not saying it's inexpensive, per se, but compared with comparable pieces at places such as Mecox Gardens and Design Within Reach, they're a steal (Knoll table for $3200? Yes, please! Mid-century sofa in Kravet linen? Si, por favor!).

Fortunately, I don't have any money to spend on furnishings, so that prevents me from cramming my relatively small apartment with unnecessary casegoods.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh Where Oh Where Has Ms. Strainedconsciousness Gone?

Oh where, oh where has Ms. SC gone?
Oh where oh where can she be?

I've been in bed
With duvet o'er my head
As miserable as can be.

Yup, I had a migraine... For two days. TWO DAYS!

I've been feeling generally icky lately, nauseous, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating, etc. I just chalked it up to an overdose of construction details, but apparently, that was too tidy an answer. No, in truth, I was suffering an aural migraine without headache. Except that aural migraines without headache often do include a headache, just not the typical OH MY GOD MY HEAD IS GOING TO IMPLODE kind of headache.

Migraines are not new for me. I've had them since I was 19. But they've never taken on this form. All last week, during lunch, I would visit WebMD and look at my symptoms on their handy symptom locator and watch as it narrowed down the symptoms to:

Lyme Disease
Aspirin Allergy

Apart from the tick in a jar Radio brought into the office, I have had no exposure to ticks, so Lyme Disease was out. I know I'm not allergic to aspirin. Lupus? Kind of far-fetched. But I didn't have the pounding headache I used to get with migraines, so I figured it was just hormones or something and tried to brush it off.

I slept a ton over the weekend - one of my friends accused me of being lame - and felt better Monday morning. Hooray! I could eat again! I could walk without feeling dizzy and feeling as though I would tumble down the apartment complex stairs!

My sister and I had discussed my symptoms Sunday evening, and she said that my symptoms sounded exactly like hers did when she was diagnosed with having migraines after multiple years of suffering from the exact symptoms I described. That was a good enough diagnosis for me, but I felt fine, so there was no need to worry about it.

Right? Riiiiiiight.

And then Tuesday morning, I woke up, which was my first mistake of the day. I felt awful, but again, I decided that I'd soldiered through the week before, and I could keep on marching this week. I went to work, was less than my usual effervescent self, and after an hour at my computer and no work to show for it, informed my coworkers that I had a migraine and was going home. They all looked concerned, and I left the office and crawled into bed.

But not before looking at myself in the mirror and realizing why they all looked concerned.

I had big purple circles under my eyes and looked like death warmed over.

Not good.

I slept all day Tuesday, except for 4 hours when I ate some pasta and worked a crossword puzzle and read for a little bit, and woke up Wednesday morning, hoping to be relieved.

I hoped in vain, so I called in sick again, slept for a while, went to CVS and bought some migraine medicine and ice cream and headed back to my apartment to hunker down for the rest of the evening.

One dose of the migraine medicine contains:
1. 500 mg of aspirin
2. 500 mg of acetaminophen
3. 130 mg of caffeine = 3 Dr. Peppers in convenient capsule form

I couldn't go back to sleep after I took the migraine medicine, which was initially mentally hard to digest, but the physical reality didn't really give me much choice. So ten crossword puzzles and a book later, I fell asleep at 3 am, just in time to get a good solid 5 hours of sleep before awakening for work Thursday. I made it through the day Thursday, but with a kind of groggy feeling, probably due to lack of sleep.

Oldsmobile has been very solicitous, probably because he knows how I feel (we're both walking medical texts right now). And I have an appointment with a doctor set up, albeit farther in the future than I would like.

So I guess for now I'll just keep a bottle of super-duper-migraine medicine in my purse. And a Dr. Pepper, in case I need backup.