Sunday, September 28, 2008

Crab Legs

Last night I had dreamed I was eating spindling crab legs. I looked up crab in a dream dictionary and it said that the meaning could be that I am tenacious or clingy or just plain ole crabby. Hmmm...I think I will go with tenacious.
But I woke up thinking about crab legs and my experiences with the crustaceans. I love crab legs but I think the first time I had tried them was when K and I went down to Lake Charles, LA to visit college friends. One evening at our friends house we had a big pile of crab legs, alligator and possibly even shrimp. I was sold.
Crab is some what easy to find in Japan, it is called Kani, so I had it occasionally there. One of the most amazing crabs I have ever had was one night I was invited over to a friend's friend's home for her birthday party. She owned a Hostess Bar and was well known for throwing pretty nice shindigs. She even entertained Bill Clinton once upon a time if the photo's were anything to go by. I walked into Shizue's apartment and into her living room only to be faced with the largest alien I have ever seen in my life. It was a Hokkaido King Crab and spanned the entire coffee table. Just sitting there, like a small Volkswagen. Someone offered me a joint--leg joint--that is. I took it and walked around feeling like Henry VIII with a turkey leg. One leg joint and I had enough crab to last me all evening. Amazing. I wonder sometimes if it was just a dream. But the next year, Shizue had another party. Economic times were a little rougher that year, instead of an entire crab brought in, she just had a box full of legs. Eight to ten legs were enough to feed the 20 or so people at the party. Man was that a big crab. I am very scared of going into the water. I wouldn't want to meet a vengeful cousin or anything down there.
My other fond crab memories involve Miss C, my roommate in Hawaii. We sometimes went to the Dixie Grill for the crab leg special. One of the most memorable times, was after the Marathon. I was tired and sore but boy did those crab legs make me feel so much better. What a way to replenish the 2600 calories lost during a marathon. Sometimes as well C or I would sup rise the other will crab legs. I must admit, I don't think I gained a real appreciation for the morsels until I saw how much C enjoyed them.
One time I had a pile of legs at the Stinky Rose in San Francisco. The legs were good, don't get me wrong but from C's influence I realized all too late that crab legs are best unadorned. With or without butter, but other spices tend to cover the gentle nuances that make crab such a delicate delight.
Maybe the real meaning behind my dream was that I haven't had crab legs in a long time and I really should have some. My subconscious is hungry. Thank goodness payday is around the corner. I might get some for Wednesday night dinner.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My New Pet Peeve

Ok, so I am not so happy unless I have something to bitch about. This one has been growing on me for a while. I absolutely hate being called Sweetie. It is like fingernails on a chalk board to me. My first thought is to say "I'm not sweet, I am mean and bristly." But why do people insist on calling perfect adult strangers Sweetie? In April when I moved out of my apartment the secretary called me Sweetie every time I had to call. Then in the new apartment building the employee that rubbed completely the wrong way called me the same said moniker. Is it just me? Do I look cute and cuddly to these people? Do I look like a Sweetie? I really don't think so because I am often accused by other people as appearing to be stuck up and aloof...but maybe in a very adorable sweet way.
On Wednesday, I went to California Pizza Kitchen for a late lunch. The waitress said, "Here's the menu Sweetie." Then "Oh, that is a good choice Sweetie." and "Can I get you anything else Sweetie?" and "Are you doing OK, Sweetie?" and finally, "Did you want to speak to manager Sweetie?" In fact I did. After the 3rd Sweetie, my tolerance had been pegged. I am a 42 year old woman and do not need to have my mean constantly interrupted with a diminutive that should be reserved for very small children and intimates. I spoke with the manager and explained that I felt insulted and that although the food was fine, I did not intend to leave a tip. Actually the tip had diminished from my standard 20% to zero with each sweetie. I felt I needed to explain that although some people may not mind being calling Sweetie very few middle age women truly appreciate it from unknown waitstaff.
Afterward, I had to define exactly who in my mind could actually call me Sweetie. My parents were never ones to use such endearments with me. My parents had their own nicknames for my brothers, each other and me. Sweetie never came up in our household, for anyone. Except perhaps my older brother's doll when he was a kid--I think she was called Sweetie, but that was her name, right. My hackles probably wouldn't get too raised if a customer decided to call me sweetie--if they happened to be an older man or woman. A similarly aged man or woman might get a raised eyebrow, but hey they are the customer and their tax dollars keep me fed, clothed, and otherwise off the street--I believe I am fairly tolerant. I haven't had any boyfriends call me Sweetie although one called me Sweet Pea quite a bit. When Tim called me that my heart sort of swelled and swooned--but then I had fallen much harder and faster for this guy that most of time I thought I was drugged when I was around him. I have had a couple of friends use Sweetie with me but mostly I felt that they were during appropriate situations--like when I was going through withdrawals from the aforementioned Tim, or my Dad passed away, or something equally awful and I was in serious need of consoling.
So essentially what I am saying is that Sweetie is fine as long as it is in the appropriate context from the appropriate people. I would never assume familiarity with a customer and use a diminutive with them so I expect the same treatment from other people. Is that really too much to ask?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

LA Hits a Little Too Close for Comfort

About 10 days ago, I notice graffiti on the side of my library. The library had been tagged. We wrote the reports, took the photos, the tagging was painted over. Then on Thursday after I returned to my very long meeting I saw the second installment on the front on the library. The reports and photos were duly logged. Yesterday, Friday, was a slow day for the most part. It picked up in the afternoon a bit. Off and on I was helping a guy on the computer. About 3:00 I went to the bank, came back and was creating a flying for the Teen Program. I finished and decided to go check the library. As I walked out into the lobby, these three young Hispanics came running past me. I ineffectively said, "No running in the library." Before I could get much further, the guy Assistant on loan from the library that is going to open soon, came from the stacks (the book shelf area) telling me that someone had been beat up back there. I instructed my assistant to call 911. I ask the guy Assistant to accompany the young Hispanic victim to the bathroom. He is bleeding pretty good from the head, blood is splotched on his shirt and short.
The guy that I had been helping all day, came and said he saw everything that happened. He said it had been going on for a while and he heard everything they had been saying. Why he didn't tell me what was going on while I helped him, is beyond me. I didn't hear anything, none of the other staff heard anything. Amazingly enough people often know to shut up around authority figures. Here is the story that I culled together from the guy who saw it all and a regular teen patron that knew the victim and let us know right away that what happened was a gang fight IN MY LIBRARY!! I am really pissed off!
Yesterday 16 year old P comes to the library to meet his tutor. He spots my regular teen R. Since both P and R know a young girl the start talking at the computers. R knows that P is in a gang. R assures me that gangs are a waste of time and he wasn't involved. Since he doesn't look like the regular toughs in a gang and is always well spoken and dressed I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Soon three toughs from a rival gang, one the size of a house, come into the library and tap P on the shoulder with "Hey, bitch let's take a walk." The translation is "Hey, dude come outside so we can pound on you." It seems that P does go out side but comes back into the library. He asked R for his cell phone because he wants call some reinforcements in. R gives him the phone, the call is made. P didn't want to go outside until his friends got there because he was afraid he was going to get jumped so he tried to hang around in the open areas monitored by staff. At some point P decided to go check the movies out. The Three follow him back into the stacks, determine that no one is watching and decide to break a mini bat on his head. I guess he gets away at this points and rounds the corner to the next row where they pound on him a bit, before the assistant who heard the ruckus goes to investigate. I pieced this together because in the music section I found some blood splatter on the carpet and bits of wooden splinters, then on the next row there was significantly more blood splattered on the carpet.
I get P's name and the number of people who attacked him. He says he doesn't speak English and his eyes light up light a deer in headlights when I tell him the police will be here soon to take a report. The police do come, no report is made because P knows nothing. He's never seen the guys before, doesn't know why they wanted to redecorate his head, and he doesn't want medical treatment. At 16 that wasn't his decision to make but the officers call his mom and his mom asks them to bring him home. Nothing else I can do. In the conversation, P says he knows a certain officer because he has been picked up before.
I told R that he has to let me know if there is gang stuff that he knows about happening in the library. I told him I don't want this stuff in my library and I want it to be a safe place for everyone--especially my staff. He asked "Are you going to cry." I responded, "No, why?" "Because your eyes are shiny." I said that is probably because I am very concerned about what happened. Maybe my eyes were shiny but I didn't feel like crying at all. So that is a bit bizarre.
Later last night at the Londoner pub, J encouraged me to look on the bright side. It was a gang fight of three against one. If P's friends had actually shown up, it could have been a lot worse. Yeah, real silver lining on this one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's Stinking Hot

Again! Yesterday was 105 today more of the same only windy. Weather man lied--he said it was going to be in the nineties this week--he should be shot, the bastard. Days like this make miss Hawaii--a lot! I am so ready for a change of seasons. A little 80 degrees with chances of Mauka showers in the afternoon. But wait, I am going to Hawaii next month on a recruiting trip. So I guess I can't complain, too much. Yes, I know my life is just so difficult sometimes. It really is hard to be me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Walk About Downtown

Friday was my day off. Since the weather broke a few days ago, I thought it would be nice to explore my city for the day. I took the Metrolink downtown and then hopped on the Metro to China Town. China Town's around the world are pretty much the same. Congested streets, mazes of small shops of kitchy goods and the wafting smells of fried food, soy sauce, and uncooked meat.
I had lunch at a noodle shop. My eyes were bigger than my stomach and was only able to finish most of my noodles and hardly any soup. Thus filled, I headed downtown to the main branch of LA Public. I like this library. It is what you imagine a library should look like. Stately, proud, and emitting a presence. People often confuse LAPL with the county system. It is easy to do. We don't have a main library rather we have a big box called Library Headquarters. Not very awe inspiring, but then the whole point of the county system is that we are a network of stand alone libraries that serve smaller cities and unincorporated areas. Nevertheless, I am a little envious.
After visiting the library, I hopped on the bus to Beverly Hills. I love to people watch, I haven't spotted anyone famous yet, but I did almost get run over by a group teens in a Range Rover--must be nice! After paying homage to Prada, I decided to walk from Rodeo & Santa Monica down to Hollywood and Vine where I would catch the subway back to Union Station and then the 9:00 train back to Santa Clarita.
It was such a nice day, a light breeze blowing. Since this is a 7 mile trek, I was pleased with the weather. Soon I arrived in West Hollywood. I looked around and the row of restaurants and thought it looked like a fun trendy area to be. I saw a couple of guys eating dinner outside. I thought "Oh, they are pretty good-looking" Then I added "Wait a minute, they are perhaps too good looking. I think they are on a date." Then at the next restaurant I noticed a group of too good looking guys, too. Before I could formulate any other opinions, I was distracted by the two guys dancing in underwear at either end of a bar. I looked up just in time before I plowed into another group of guys coming down the street. Yes, that is right, I had unwittingly stumbled upon the gay area of LA. And to prove the point, I spotted Old Glory flying next to a couple of rainbow flags. I looked around, thought everyone was having such a good time, I thought "I wish I were a gay guy." But I am not, and I didn't belong, so I moved on.
Eventually I ended up after sunset in Hollywood to the usual chaos. Since reading Joseph Wambaugh's Hollywood Crows which presents all the characters as crackheads, pick pockets and other nefarious types, I saw them with an all new light. Over on the sidewalk to my left almost in front of Virgin Records, there was some punked out dude passed out on the side walk. All though there were a couple of paramedics and security guards standing around him, no one seemed to be making a fuss. I thought perhaps he was dead, but then decided that there would have been more commotion if so. Note to self: Don't pass out in Hollywood.
At about 8:15 I took the Metro back to Union Station. The train was about an hour late so I didn't get home until 11:00. When I got in my car, I discovered the reason for the tardiness. A massive train collision on the Venture Line with a freight train. What a tragic accident, with over 25 dead and many more injured. Just goes to proved my dad was right: Messing with the three T's (trains, trucks and trees) will really mess you up.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maslow Forgot Something Important

Maslow came up with the five basic levels of needs. The first level is the physiological which is basically, eating, drinking, sleeping, pooping & procreating. After that we think about safety, and then so forth and so one.

I believe that some were between Levels One and Two fall the need for the Purse, bag, sack or what have you. Before you need a home you need a bag. All of human society basically falls back on if you have a bag or not. I believe that men subjugated women because we had the bags and they needed one.
Let me develop this thought a big further and I am certain that you will agree with me. I came up with these nuggets of wisdom while I was trying to justify why I needed one more purse. I have a load of them, all shapes and sizes but I didn't have THAT ONE. It has to be the best purse ever, but then again, I think I have said that several hundred times in my life already--usually as the justification to add one more to my collection. So I had to come up with another reason and I think that "Being conditioned by thousand upon thousands of years of human experience" is a perfectly logical explanation. Unfortunately the bag in question that I resisted yesterday was not on sale today so I could no longer justify my purchase. My philosophy is actually only worth $35 and not $70.
Bags are the most important personal belonging a human could ever possibly have. Think about it, we need bags to carry our belongs, If we don't have a home, then you have to keep everything with you in a bag. If you travel, what do you use--a bag. Shopping needs bags. Women being the smarter of the sexes, have always carried bags with us. Men, I believe attach them to women primarily because we carry bags. Men, go to great pains with their bag issues and they are not very imaginative. Men bags mostly consist of brief cases, gym bags, messenger satchels, & back packs. I believe there is probably a correlation between the rise of backpack carrying men and the number of women who choose to marry later in life if at all. Let's face it. Although a brief case looks pretty spiffy on the commuter train, it looks less so at the beach or at the gym or at the coffeeshop on Sunday afternoon. Men try to make out that they can get by with only their wallet in their back pocket and change,keys, & cellphones weighing them down in the front. But any women who has dated or married a man knows that they would prefer to make use of the much more efficient feminine solution--the purse. My mom carried my dad's gun in her purse for years when he was off duty and would have looked silly wearing his gun belt with jeans and a T-shirt. I have carried cameras, wallets, phones, keys and other belongings of men I have known. I don't blame men for foisting their personal effects on us. Like George Castanza threw his back out for carrying a full wallet, I can imagine many male back problems could be attributed to uneven sitting. I decided men should actually be attracted to the women with the biggest bags. Maybe I should stop carrying small bags around and go for a big tote. Maybe I would score a date! Sadly, it is true, I am getting desperate!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Thoughts

Labor Day is a memory now. The end of summer is upon us. I had a rare two days off in a row. Due to computer upgrades I didn't work my usual overtime on Sunday, instead I went up to Lancaster to help the twins move their new furniture. They fed me their most excellent tortilla casserole--of which I had two helpings. Yum Yum. I am easy to bribe.
On Monday J and I to the last beach bus of the season to Santa Monica. We walked down to Venice, had a relaxing lunch listening to the street performers playing drums. Later we walked down to Muscle Beach to have a looksy. We got back to the bus about two minutes before it left, thankful we put in a two minute run on the boardwalk and made it in plenty of time.
Last Thursday I drove up to Palmdale and had a horrible doctor's visit. My appointment was at 9:30. At about 10:15 they put in the little room. At about 10:45 with no magazines or books to read, I was about to go stir crazy. News Flash: Claustrophobic girl does not hand small confined spaces very well without reading materials to distract. So needless to say when the doctor finally saw me, I was about to come unwound. Then we had the thyroid argument which put me in a worse state. I wanted more blood tests, the doctor said no--she didn't need them. But I do! Then I went out and waited another thirty minutes for them to take my blood. Oh, yeah, I hadn't had anything to eat since the night before, so I was cranky from low blood sugar as well. UGH!
I got copies of my lab results and it shows that my kidney's may not be functioning optimally. This scares me as I have a family history of diabetes and kidney failure. I am not clear why the doctor failed to inform me of these results. Perhaps it is all due to the thyroid, if so I think that explanations should have been put in order. When I got home, I called to change doctors--one closer to home and with any luck one that will listen to me.
All said and done, I am feeling better. The scale has not budged in months, though. I guess the bright side of that is that it hasn't moved the other way either. I am walking a lot and running some. I am glad that at least I feel like I want to do these things. For longer than I can really remember it was such struggle that I usually lost with me licking my wounds with a Little Caesar's Pizza. That hasn't happened in at least a few weeks. Progress. I guess that is all I can ask for.