Friday, June 14, 2013

End o' week musings

It's almost the weekend and I'm in countdown mode.

Last Saturday, the bulk of my time was spent at the Getty in Los Angeles performing with Ad Hoc Consort as part of its family festival toasting Renaissance gardens. I carpooled with my friend Joanne, who arrived with a wonderful green tea frappacino for me! Traffic was pretty smooth until we reached the 405 freeway where it stopped dead. Brave adventures, we used Joanne's GPS and went down some scenic sidestreets and arrived bang on time.

The Getty greeted us with coffee, bagels, fruit and juices. Then we were off, playing first on the stage and then on a lush lawn under trees. We stifled our laughter when the Getty reps apologized for us having to play on the lawn, as we were being spoiled compared to the Renaissance Faire. At the Getty we had lush grass or a proper stage, shade and flushies, at Faire we have a patch of dirt or postage stamp stage n the sun and porta-potties. Oh, and the reps kept offering us COLD water and snacks. Yes, we were in heaven.

We were even thrilled to have lunch at tables in the parking garage. It was the first time I've ever had lunch in a parking garage, but it was cool and quiet and the food was good. I chose a pastrami sandwich with chips, iced tea and cookies. Not a bad spread.

As for our shows, I didn't get to dance, but I kept busy enough playing percussion. I played tambourine, sistrum, Australian sticks, coconuts and chimes.

After our gig, Joanne took me to her friend Evelyn's house, where I was going to learn about joong (also called zongzi and a number of other names), the traditional rice pockets that celebrate the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. Evelyn was a terrific teacher- patient and very friendly. I was surprised at how quickly I was able to pick up the technique needed in folding the large bamboo leaves to hold rice stuffed with a piece of pork, a piece of sausage, a salted egg yolk, some fried shrimp, some peanuts and some chestnuts.

Evelyn explained that people make many variations on the ingredients, including sweet joong. This was her recipe, but everyone should feel free to use ingredients to suit their own taste.

We also had a nice chat about cooking and tradition and Evelyn's childhood and how she came to hostess an annual joong-making event at her home. When we finished, she gave me a bag filled with the joong I wrapped to take home. I've been eating them and yummy!! The coolest part is you really can make them any time, as the ingredients are available year round. Maybe I'll make some on my own sometime. But watch for my story so you can learn about this neat tradition and have a recipe to get you started.

Sunday I went to a vintage clothing and costume sale. There were lots of temptations and I had some things I was seeking so I was able to keep true to my path. Well... sorta... I ended up with two pieces in my favorite burnout velvet material- a gorgeous dark brown wrap dress that is fully lined and can be worn several ways and a rusty orange top with large button accents on the sides. And the prices were more than right, as I couldn't have even bought the fabric to make the top for what I paid for both!

My biggest excitement this week was attending E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles. This is the big trade show for the video game industry, where all the latest stuff is rolled out for you to not only see, but in most cases, try out. After perusing the place, I settled on focusing my business story on the three interactives from NASA/JPL. There's a video game, a photo app and a computer program that lets you "go" on space missions with the probes. All free and all very cool. And yes, that's the Curiosity rover stuck in my hair!

Yesterday I did a web chat with Greg Richardson, the Strategic Monk, about craft beer. If you missed it, you can read our discussion at

And last night - woo hoo! - I was back at hula and on top of my game. I did quite well at remembering the choreographies and was able to move without pain. Sometimes it's a challenge getting through class, but I always keep going the best I can. I modify moves if I need, but I'm not ready to get in the box yet.

All my weekend plans fell through so I have an open calendar and I think I'm going to take it easy and be spontaneous if I find something fun.

In rotation this week: Hot Water Music, Joe Walla, Tumbleweed Rob and Hay Dudes.

Photos we got 'em: Not to be narcissistic, but they're all shots of me at E3- with Curiosity, in the new Donkey Kong video game, posing with a banner for Disney Infinity and showing off my pass while relaxing in the media room on the most comfortable bean bag chair ever.

Thought o' the week: Let it out. It's not healthy to hold anger and frustration in, but the key is in how you let them out. For me, it's usually dancing, sewing or doing something physically that makes the hot emotions dissolve. But sometimes only a good long talk will do the trick.

There's been a lot of changes at my job, along with learning a new computer system that decided to act up this week. It just seems that there's too many things happening at once and I can't ignore any of them because they're all important. I've been coping OK, but I know it's affecting me because I've been going home with a headache and feeling overwhelmed.

Still, I know it will all smooth out in a bit. New things take time and it's better to roll with everything. And yet, my frustration and stress remain. So last night I had a long, long chat with a friend about all my issues, concerns, hopes and so on. I let it out. Not by yelling, but by discussing. We also discussed ways to deal with things and how to be proactive and positive as a way to fight off the stress. It was a good, healthy talk and I slept better for it.

This made me think about how I work hard to be happy and positive and exude those qualities to others- no one likes to be around someone who is down and negative. It shouldn't be that hard to be upbeat, there's so much adventure in the world, we shouldn't get dragged down by the minutiae. Sometimes, though, we do, especially if it's big or lots of minutiae. It's at these times that we need to watch our attitude and if necessary, pick up the phone and let it out.

Keep on rockin'

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