Friday Night Bedtime Blog: Preview of Yale Club Family Event at UCLA Planetarium after Physically Rough Week

"Tour of the Solar System": Talk by Yale '06, UCLA Ph.D '12 at UCLA Planetarium

I’m in bed and since I wrote 20 blogs in 30 days, averaging 3000 words, it seems very odd to go three or four days without so much as a peep on the blog itself, though I’ve been plenty busy on both FB pages (personal and Victorian Chick, 3 weeks old today).

I had a wonderful time at the Yale Club event at the adorable and small UCLA Planetarium and I have copious notes and observations, along with pictures of the W Hotel in Westwood. Note: once a month it is open mike at Whiskey Blue (the main bar with bar food as opposed to the small bar at Nine Thirty, the restaurant proper).

If last night’s lineup was any indication of the talent one can expect every month, I will go whenever I’m here on the first Thursday of the month.  I had such fun (though the drive home was eerily like Grand Canyon, except my detour didn’t go through Inglewood and result in a near-death experience with gang members in the Rodney King era). I will say that if Caltrans’ handling of nighttime road construction is at all representative of how CA state government works–with detours to dead ends–we really are in deep shit in my home state!

The Westwood W has free Wifi for bar and restaurant guests, along with cheap parking-7 dollars for 4 hours. The music is vastly improved–Talking Heads, INXS, Cure, Blondie, R.E.M, and Squeeze instead of irritating house/trance/electronica–but this may have been because it was open mike night.  I left my car there, though it ended up being more than 4 hours, to walk to the Mathematical Sciences building and UCLA always makes me happy.

I truly adore the school. Everyone in my family–Mom, Dad, brother, sister, and I–was a Bruin at some point.  Mom went there both for undergrad and law.  Dad started there for undergrad before WWII cut his college career short. He only went to USC Law because UCLA did not yet have a law school. My brother got his bachelors degree there, and I was there in 12th grade and again various summers or semesters in LA during college. I have nothing but the warmest memories of UCLA, not least of which was the one year my mother taught at the law school and got home by 4PM. We’d get to play and eat ice cream before dinner and it was a really fun year for me (1982).

But Perlane Tuesday left me puffy. I don’t think it is Dr. Chang’s fault at Montecito Aesthetics Institute, which I tried because of the Living Social coupon. I have been a loyal customer of Evolutions Medical Spa since 2009, when at 37 I did Botox for the first time. I don’t like Botox half as my as Dysport and only did it twice. My first real filler (Perlane) was December 2010 and my second in June 2011. So this was nearly a year after the last Perlane to minimize under-eye darkness.  Dr Chang, while only 40, is an impressive guy. He is on faculty of Jules Stein at UCLA and has moved into oculo-plastics. He does incredible pro-bono work and has a great bedside manner which impresses, but does not bombard, the patient with technical medical explanations.

But that whole girl problem just sucks sometimes and this time, for the first time ever, I experienced significant back pain, in semi-spasm a day or two as well as simply exhausted.  So I’ve been quite useless this week in an intellectual sense, though useful to Dad. Among other things we embarked on a very serious mission to find bottled prunes as he doesn’t want dried or canned and Gelson’s seems to have discontinued the bottled ones.

As Mom worked on a project of hers (who knows how long retirement will last?), we scoured the markets of Pacific Palisades and I took him to Vons on Sunset/PCH, a store he didn’t think existed. (It used to be Safeway in the old days.) We had our usual fun because my Saab a/c is moody and just when I am about to take it back to have them look at the air filter they cleaned six months ago, it starts working again. It is a 2007 9’3 2.0T I bought used in 2010 with only 26K miles and other than the ignition switch and this little a/c issue, it has been an absolute dream.

Our great prune mission was therefore punctuated by comments like this: “Yes, sirree. That a/c is definitely better. It’s so great on a hot day to feel that blast of cool air.” Or, “Let’s test it out again because we know it’s certainly getting cooler than it was.” When we found the bottles at Vons, they were 33% off so I told him I was indeed the queen of all schleppers and he said, in all seriousness, “I am just happy you’re taking me around. It pays to have kids.” This is of course total bullshit. No kid was every a bigger money pit than I was and I fully recognize this. The private schools alone (K through college), to say nothing of the tens of thousands in analysis and therapy, acupuncture and massage, would pay for countless first class vacations to Europe. But as neurotic as Dad is about money, he doesn’t regard me as a bad investment and he derives immense pleasure from my presence one-third of every month.

Next weekend Mom will be getting an award at Southwestern Law and Dad and I will have a father/daughter date at some restaurant or other (not our usual stable, probably). He joked, “How about Olivera Street?” This is a joke on at least two counts. First, Dad can’t stand Mexican food. Second, Dad doesn’t go downtown, not even for opera or the symphony, unless Mom is going to be honored at a venue like the Dorothy Chandler, in which case he takes a room at the Omni and leave at 1:30 PM so as to avoid the horrible traffic on the 10.  Even though Mom is retired, she doesn’t like leaving him to eat alone (either I am here or Aunt Suzy is, or Hilma stays late and kibbutzes with him while he eats and she’s cleaning up). But somehow leaving him to dine alone on a Saturday is tantamount to a Dickensian level of abandonment and she was genuinely overjoyed that I could be here the night before Mother’s Day.

It turns out I have a Westlake alumni catered lunch at the 700 North Faring Road campus. That is the middle school campus in Bel Air, not the upper school campus on Coldwater which is technically North Hollywood. Now, there is North Hollywood and North Hollywood and this isn’t some horrible place in the Valley. The Lofts at Noho are actually very nice and they have, with the whole designation “Noho,” sought to make the area cool, a kind of Soho of the San Fernando Valley. But I’m sorry, the Bel Air campus in the 90077 zip code, is just about the most expensive real estate in all of Los Angeles. Attending school with the rose gardens and the waterfall was, apart from the education itself, quite extraordinary. It should be a nice lunch and I am amazed a year has passed, since I attended, on crutches, my first reunion event ever.

I haven’t booked my New York trip but will do so in the morning. I am happy to report that my accident claim has finally been settled with Hermes after some six months (a wooden plank fell on my head on 62nd just before Madison, walking from Park). I can’t wait and am missing my friends, the apartment, dance, the park and just the experience of being on East Coast time as stupid as that sounds. I just miss it all, this week in particular, because it’s been as physically trying a week as I can remember in ages with this whole “I still have a uterus and ovaries and that just sucks” problem!

I will post all the pictures from the W and UCLA tomorrow when I blog about these adorable Yale munchkins, all well-behaved, inquisitive, precocious and darling.

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