Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Humidity, Day Tripping and Updates

Sybpress in the Park
It's Wednesday, and I'm already exhausted. I had lengthy errands on Monday and Tuesday that kept me out in the heat and rare humidity for much of both days. Okay, Los Angeles, we had a deal when I moved out here. You can be hot enough to melt pennies, but you are NOT supposed to be humid! On Monday, I had sweat through my clothes enough that I had to shower and change when I cam home. That just doesn't happen here. Despite the all clear from my Docs, I am still tethered to General Hospital for prescriptions that must be issued monthly and the B-12 shots. Yesterdays sojourn involved getting the prescription filled – I had no energy to wait for it Monday. Then, I had to make my way all the way to West Hollywood  to pick up promo materials for the Bookfair. From there, I had to go to Culver City for the Farmers Market and to meet Marie to discuss the Bookfair. There was also the possibility of martinis and snacks during our meeting. Speaking of the fair, be sure to visit our new web page: Sybpress in the Park.
Both days involved extensive commutes. I'm used to that and well prepared for them. I've taken to traveling with a collapsible cart rather than a tote bag. I carry a parasol, a hat, a sweater, a liter or more of water, a snack, a book and whatever I'm picking up along the way. A Tote bag would be too heavy before I leave the house. This cart is stylish, and it holds up to 110 pounds. I can also fit it in a single bus seat with me and not be in the way of other commuters. I gave such advice in a recent advice blog I wrote for the upcoming Yaoi-con. It was a funny blog that people have found helpful. You can read it HERE. Incidentally, the paperback version of Altered Lanes: An Anthology of Travel Using Alternate Transportation in the City of Angels is now available! Click the title to purchase from Amazon.com..
Normal Bric a Brac
I don't mind the commutes. For the most part, I'm traveling between rush hours, so the buses and trains aren't mobbed. I'm always happy to visit West Hollywood. It's a beautiful neighborhood of tree lined streets and tony shops frequented by even tonier people. I believe it has more gyms per capital than any other part of the city, so most of the men are delightful to look at. There were some jogging about in tiny shorts that made me long for my net gun. Jon really needs to invent a net gun that can take down a young man! Is that really so unreasonable?! Where was I? Oh, right. I expect shops with fancy bric a brac that most people would find eccentric. However, I was not expecting to see huge stone giant robots guarding the parking lot of a really expensive clothing store. These statues are an incredible depiction of some high level geekiness. Jon tells me that these are not one specific robot, but an amalgam of at least three different robots. I must confess that I couldn't follow the elaborate details and histories behind each character that made up the robots. Jon was talking kind of fast at that point and I was full of martinis and some apple and cinnamon elixir that the Culver Hotel bartender was experimenting with. It was a cross between an apple pie and a whole lot of liquor! Jon plans to further investigate the statues when we are at the Bookfair. I plan to let him.
I enjoyed getting out with people and seeing some different scenery than my living room, but I still need to find a balance between activity and rest. As it is, I go through a flurry of activity and then can't do much of anything for a couple of days. Finding that balance is a matter of trail and error. I am learning what my limitations are albeit slowly. A few months ago, I would have either tried to wait at Costco for my meds despite the exhaustion, or I would have tried to do some shopping at Costco yesterday even if that meant dragging those purchases to West Hollywood and Culver City. I do need to do some shopping at Costco, but it can wait until later this week. See, I am learning. So, no nagging!
Fear and Loathing and Food Both Fast and Slow
One of the upsides of commuting is the time it gives for reading. Over the last couple of days, I devoured The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan. The book is an exploration of the produce food chain from farm to table. Ms. McMillan gathered her information by working as a field hand picking grapes, sorting peaches and cutting garlic on vast farms in central California; working as a produce stock clerk at two Walmart Super centers near Detroit, Michigan; and working as an expediter at an Applebees in Brooklyn. Each job had its challenges and satisfaction. She met fascinating people in each location and learned a great deal about how people at different strata survive on the wages they make. I was shocked to find dubious payment and employment practices reported at the Walmart and the Applebees. The book was as engrossing as it was educational. I think the best thing I got out of McMillan's book was a reprieve from the guilt I'd been shouldering for not having done a lot more healthy cooking before now. I have no excuse for not shopping and cooking healthy right now. I have a lot more time to plan, shop and cook. I have more knowledge about cooking than I ever have before. And I have an insane number of options for healthy produce and fresh baked goods. But when we were both working – especially when we were working odd hours – it wasn't so easy. McMillan's own struggles made me understand that even when you know what to do about a healthy diet and have some where with all to do it, time to plan and properly shop can be a huge issue. And neither she nor I have children. I have an even deeper admiration for my mother and her efforts that kept our family from the drive through except on very rare occasions. Aside from easing my guilt, the book also answered a growing question I've had about some restaurants I've visited in recent years. When I thought that I could do better making the same dishes at home, it seems that I was right. Applebees, it was reported, mostly microwaves pre-portioned side dishes and the sauces were mixed from powders. The cooks there said that they didn't cook so much as they assembled. I don't think I've made a powered sauce of any type since I was 19 and living on my own for the first time. McMillan's book was extraordinary in it's scope. It didn't lay out any easy answers, but I think it will make those involved in this quandary look at the questions differently. Aside from localizing the food supply, many consumers need to be given strategies to plan meals so that they can shop and prep effectively enough to follow through. We're a land of plenty with two food networks. This is something we should be able to figure out.
The in box remains stubbornly full of things to edit and promo materials to create and other things to write and production things to cross off.

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