Wednesday, May 23, 2007

two by two

compare and contrast, in pairs

* yesterday #21 with Sara (I miscounted in the earlier blog, so let us add "inaccuracy" to the list of things I was celebrating with photos of us):

* today at Ivy at the Shore in Santa Monica, seated at a table next to The Rock and The Daughter Of The Rock. it was a work lunch with seafood risotto that beat me down. James Newton Howard was there too (film composer I met years ago when I was working at ASCAP. he wrote music for Signs, King Kong, Batman Begins....)

* Monday, 24 - didn't watch it. didn't care. i'm behind 8+ episodes and plan on watching them all on Tivo, in fast-forward. after 5 years of devoted attention and temporarily adopting the name wcBauer, who would have predicted the coming of this apathy?

* Tonight, Lost: couldn't be more excited.

* Swiss Miss (Jenny Lechner, b. Switzerland): she's a gem. she's been here in the US for almost a year now...and this week, she bids us all goodbye to head back to the cows and chocolate and rolling hills. We had a swiss dinner in Venice last night in her honor:
(it turns out my sexy face actually looks murderous. this casts a new light on why i am such a miserable seductress - i wear my past as an assassin too boldly, i fear.)

* Guatemala: where I'm headed tonight. 5 days, long Memorial Day weekend last minute birthday affair, with Kat. Plans are few, but there will be ruins, jungles, climbing, and abundant communication mishaps (gonna speak deutsch, not espanol). More on this, and many other things (like BLINK, a fascinating book I just finished) upon my return.


a PSA: every Memorial and Veterans' Day, I visit the National Cemetery in Westwood. If you live in LA, it's worth taking a moment to stop by (parking is free), walk around, and reflect on whatever you feel like reflecting on.

Friday, May 18, 2007

ich mag mush!

17 is the best number. And 17 May 007 was an amazing day. It began with pre-work bike rides to REI with Cap'n Sparklepants, followed by breakfast at Jinky's with D.Ax (uh, 2 breakfasts there, if you were me, but who's counting?), followed by a fairly normal and productive day of work.

At 17:37, though, things took a magical turn. I got a call on my newly-returned cellular device from...MUSH, who was, at that very moment, downstairs and waiting for me to buzz her into my office. Huzzah! With a little time off work, she'd decided to come down to LA for the night for some long-overdue sisterly bonding action. After meeting my coworkers and checking out some Zantar-ific music videos while I finished up my work, we took off. We were headed on foot to the very very edge of the continent! En route, we may have stopped at my favorite British store to buy four European chocolate bar faves (Aero, Kinder Bueno, Toffy Crunch, and Yorkie) and then eaten them in rapid succession.

After the arduous seven block journey, we had arrived. Gloves and baseball in hand, we found a clear spot on the beach near the boardwalk and began to throw, catch, throw, catch, throw, catch, dive in the dirt (in work clothes)! Funny how we've both developed great desires for athleticism and sport prowess after a childhood fairly devoid of them (uh, see dancing photos below to better understand). This game of catch ended as twilight turned to night, and we relocated ourselves to the rings and bars and ropes. Good times and many hijinx ensued; I flipped on the rings for the first time ever, Mush did tricks, I climbed the tall rope, we pranced around on the high balance beam, and basically tumbled and cartwheeled about with abandon.

An amazing dinner at Fritto Misto was followed by hilarious music sharing, show and tell at my apartment, youtube videos of Mojave Viper, stimulating conversation, and as usual, too little sleep.

This morning, I woke Mush by standing, towel-clad, over her sleeping body and serenading her on my guitar with my debut performance of Every Rose Has Its Thorn. And before grabbing breakfast at Panera, I got a tutorial from her on how to jump over walls. The 4.5' wall in our alley that I had, most embarrasingly, never been able to hop over - suddenly, I was able to conquer it, and the 5.5' wall nearby too! Few things have brought such a smile to my face as watching her do it, then attempting to imitate, failing, hearing the nearby construction workers shout words of encouragement, trying again...and succeeding! Oh, blessed day.

Mush rules.

mush: the brief backstory

Mush is my sister. (Mush rhymes with rush, not bush. And it's definitely not pronounced "moosh".) She was birthed when I was 5, and we've been friendly ever since. (this blog is based solely on a few photos I have on my work computer, so it's going to be a scattered and brief overview).

We danced together for a long time. See if you can spot the Crompton sisters in this photo:
On the top of Mt. Whitney:and in Catalina, before it caught on fire.

She did a year of college at Agnes Scott, a small women's university in Georgia, before deciding she'd had enough of small women's universities in Georgia.

Mush wound up going to stunt school in Seattle, where she was trained in the art of falling off buildings, getting set on fire, car chasing, and hand-to-hand combat. Yes, it's true: my sister is a stuntwoman.

She came to LA and lived with me (+ 3 other girls) for 6 months, doing odd stunt jobs & loading UPS trucks.

Mush then landed herself a job working with the Marines out in 29 Palms. Her work entails roleplaying an insurgent in a mock Iraqi village; the Marines spend a couple weeks there before deploying to Iraq, and Mush spends her days stealthily setting off IEDs, getting shot at, and - well, the latest was pulling off a pretty sweet bank robbery (went in normal, came out pregnant with 300k dinar).

We have calf-flex-offs occasionally, the latest one occuring in a Chicago hotel room before our brother's wedding reception. She won that round.
I really like this girl.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

leben ist lecker

i write this afternoon in celebration of uncharacteristic jubilance on a wednesday! uncharacteristic jubilance lends itself to increased use of exclamatory punctuation.

1. today, roommate and dear friend AMY THE FIZZ is officially a year older than she was yesterday. kat, caroline, and I surprised her with a really amazing breakfast (orange macadamia french toast from heaven, plus bacon and eggs and pineapple and tim tams), a decorated dining room, flowers, gifts. i love celebrating people i love, and i hope that that love gets communicated, because FIZZ is a definitely a gem. The only moment of cleverness I was able to muster, however, was the bottle of IZZE juice turned FiZzE juice --->

2, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3. I am wearing very Professional Wendy clothing (CEO in the office necessitates such) - but with my daily-wear green sneakers on my feet. es freut mich. Listening to my ipod in the elevator up to the chiropractor office, I grabbed onto the handicap-assistance bar and was doing ridiculous ballet moves all the way up. Pat Benatar was playing when exited my truck in our work parking garage, so I was duty-bound to leap & dance around on the open concrete before heading upstairs and resuming semi-professional behavior. I'm going to eat a Milka bar from Deutschland right now.

3. I just buzzed the postman in. He delivered Happiness (capital H) to me in the form of a medium sized white envelope from Schweiz. With glee, I tore open the paper, the cardboard, and finally the toilet-paper wrapping to uncover....MY CELL PHONE! i kissed it. though i've managed without it for 15 days now, its return only made me realize how very much i adore this amazing communication-facilitator. i've felt (i mean no disrespect by this) like an amputee without it, and today was the blessed day of limb reattachment (doctors seem to think it's tough to reattach limbs after this much time has passed, but i am of the opinion that it is, at the very least, emotionally possible). the battery is so very dead, but i expect a revival sometime tonight.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

dining with ms. ellis

Sara Ellis is my work neighbor. We are privileged to spend the bulk of our weekday hours in close proximity to the ocean (the very edge of the continent!), the Promenade, and a variety of other Santa Monica delights. We celebrate the neighborhood and our friendship by having lunch together as often as our schedules permit. During one such lunch last December, I realized I had a camera in my purse. We decided to take pictures. And then we decided that we'd take pictures EVERY time we had lunch. No real reason - it's just fun. and funny.

By my camera's count, today's lunch marked the 19th we've shared since that day in December, and because 19 is an arbitrarily interesting number, I'm going to celebrate it (the number, the lunch, and Sara Ellis) by posting a few pictures (for the full-blown retrospective, you'll have to wrestle mein ApfelmuessTron [aka, my laptop] away from me).

lunch #1 in december:

laying down on the Promenade to commemorate 2006's last lunch:

usually the pictures are ridiculous or horrifying. and sometimes they look like engagement pictures. sometimes it looks like we have toupees and manly facial hair.
lunch today (how quickly could you tell I cut and pasted both our bodies into this picture? it's hard to take full body shots of your accidental-dressing-alikeness when your arm isn't 6.4 feet long):

Monday, May 14, 2007

remember the F word

when confronted by ugly thoughts of the futility of your own life,

1. listen to Poison
2. watch the Smurfs sing with Vater Abraham

3. "remember the F word," Bonnie says. "The good one, i mean!" (the good one = faith, I think, although I could also conceive of it meaning friends, flight, or furrowed brow)

Tomorrow, I anticipate a full and complete return to non-melancholic health.

Friday, May 11, 2007

COMPTRON and the Case of the Battered Fuji

My road bike is possibly the most valuable thing I own, and I cherish it. I bought it on 25 November 2006, a very seriously considered present to myself for the next decade to come.

I missed him intensely (the bike is male, though as yet nameless; naming ceremony forthcoming after we've completed our first century ride) while I was in Europe. I thought of him daily, I dreamed of him some nights. About a week after getting back, I finally finally took the bike out of my room so I could ride it over to Bonnie's house just a few miles away. The bike weighs a cool 18.7 lbs, easy to carry down the stairs and into the alley. Please imagine my surprise and ensuing distress, then, when after accomplishing this, I prepared to get on the bike and saw that my right handlebar was bent at a 45 degree angle, and the back wheel wouldn't spin. ?!?!?!?

I needed to get to Bonnie's, and I'm still minus my cell phone, so I figured I'd just try to get the bike functional there in the alley and puzzle over the situation while I rode. I was able to bend the handlebar most the way back and get the wheel going, so I clipped in with much trepidation and made my way west slowly. The alignment was off so much that I feared I might have actually forgotten how to ride; let me say merely that the 17 minute journey to Bonnie's was frightfully interesting (though untrackable, because my bike computer had stopped working too).

I took the bike into the shop today, and Jorge - a wonderful mechanic who's messed around with my bike before - looked it over. In his estimation, it was definitely crashed. I had to have the handlebars replaced, the dropout fixed, and a few other things tuned up. $130 later and with promises of undying love if he could have it fixed by today instead of by his original offer of next Wednesday, and my bike is back, its wounds bandaged and set.

But who crashed my bike? I trust my roommates implicitly, as they are both honest and decent and painfully aware of exactly how valuable the bike is to me, and thus I am sure they neither rode it nor sanctioned the riding of it. So how did it come to be so violently battered? I'm opening up a toll-free tipster hotline as soon as Switzerland coughs up my mobile. aaaaargh!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

the man, the magic

There is a portal in Beverly Hills that recently allowed me to travel back a couple decades to the happy, sparkly days of my youth. This portal has nothing to do with plastic surgery and EVERYTHING to do with America's Aerobics Darling - the one, the only Richard Simmons!

A $12 Sweat! class with Richard Simmons is everything you'd dream it to be and more. Yes, he wears teeny tiny striped shorts and a sparkly tank top, scrunchy socks and hi-top shoes, and I confirm that his hair is big. The class was indeed filled with the sort of people you'd see in his videos - lots of middle-aged moms, lots of spandex! He uses a record player to play his aerobicized versions of Whitney Houston doing "I Will Always Love You", a little bit of Kelly Clarkson "Breakaway" (to which we did get to flap our arms as if flying, and then reach out and grab our figurative dreams...), a gospel medley, and - my FAVORITE - "Flashdance...What a Feeling!"

Please note, 4 year old leg-warmer-ed Wendy had said 'Flashdance' record and would dance around the room for as many repeats of the song as mom & dad could stand. So the opportunity this weekend to dance around the room with an icon of my childhood to one of my iconic childhood songs - it was truly magical. I sang at the top of my lungs and performed each movement with gusto.

Cap'n Sparklepants and I dressed for the occasion. Richard loved my legwarmers (yes!), and we were thrilled to be the recipients of hugs and kisses from him at the class's end. This was followed up by, oddly, some discussion of my work and the unfortunate rising costs of licensing music for the videos he puts out.

If you were driving through Beverly Hills Saturday afternoon and saw two stunningly-dressed girls running and leaping with joy and jazz hands...just know, that's the kind of happiness Richard Simmons brings into the world when he helps you sweat to the oldies.

*ps - after class was done, as i was waiting to thank him, i half overheard a conversation he was having with a fellow classmember. this girl was definitely asking richard for relationship advice, and he was definitely giving some to her. in addition to having great legs, mr. simmons is apparently also an oprah to the fitness-challenged and unhappy.

danish water is cool.

Copenhagen, a few weeks ago: a street performer playing the theme to 'Harry Potter' on a bunch of water-filled crystal glasses. awesome.

Had I seen this 2 weeks later, you might've had to restrain me from drinking his music. In the land where beer is cheaper than water, we had immer thirst.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

a tribute to miracles

I had lunch with Bonnie today. We drove to a cool place near the beach in Santa Monica and enjoyed delicious conversation and stimulating food. When we'd finished, we walked back outside toward her car. As she fished in her purse for keys she couldn't readily locate, I looked on her trunk in horror. "Bonnie, those...please tell me those aren't your keys lying right here," I exclaimed in surprise. Her understated reply in the affirmative, followed by the discovery that in addition to leaving the keys in plain view, she'd left all the doors has made me a believer in whoever Saint Monica Of This Particular Californian Beach is. Clearly she smiles upon those who...those who...well, Bonnie must've done something particularly righteous and holy this morning.

how it looked, kinda.

i'm back.
i'm Handy-less (translation: cell phone still hasn't come back from Zuerich)
i'm tired.
i'm still awake.

seems about 1200 pictures were taken on this li'l trip. (yikes! that's 130 from me, 1070 from papaTron.)

i thought i'd post a few, in no particular order. further ones to come as i get them sorted.