Sunday, May 25, 2008


my 100th post.

somehow, i thought it would feel more special . . .

Saturday, May 17, 2008


1. One movie that made you laugh:
Biloxi Blues (omg, i laughed so hard i cried.)

2. One movie that made you cry:
The Power of One (#1 should qualify, but i don't think that's what they meant . . .)

3. One movie you loved when you were a child:
Labyrinth (i STILL love it. what can i say? it has puppets AND david bowie.)

4. One movie you’ve seen more than once:
The Color Purple (it's watered-down shit compared to the book, but i'm still crazy about it.)

5. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit:
Porco Rosso (an anime film about an italian pig who's a wwI fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing "air pirates" in the adriatic . . . now you see why i was embarrassed to admit it?)

6. One movie you hated:
The English Patient (almost sent ME to the hospital.)

7. One movie that scared you:
The Shining (which i still have to watch with the lights on AND with someone by my side, who is willing to sleep over in my apartment, preferably in my bed with me . . . head-to-toe sleeping arrangement, even, if need be, so long as they don't mind me clutching tightly to their leg in the middle of the night.)

8. One movie that bored you:
The English Patient (slept through most of it and what i did see made me wish i were asleep again.)

9. One movie that made you happy:
October Sky (made me think about my brothers and school and family and just all things good . . .)

10. One movie that made you miserable:
The English Patient (see #6 and #8, above.)

11. One movie you weren’t brave enough to see:
The Exorcist (i didn't see it when i was a kid and then when i was actually old enough to see it, i still put it off because i was too chicken, and then when i finally did see it, the special effects were so laughable that i mostly, well, laughed . . . though, i will say that The Exorcism of Emily Rose did genuinely scare my pants off . . . and if you're in the UK and reading this, i mean my trousers, not my unmentionables.)

12. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with:
Gregory Peck, as Atticus Finch, in To Kill a Mockingbird, though, more recently, it was Russell Crow, as Maximus Decimus Meridius, in Gladiator (mmm, brains AND brawn!)

*thanks, jz (not the rapper) . . .

13. The last movie you saw:
Iron Man

14. The next movie you hope to see:
Encounters at the End of the World

15. Now tag five people:
in hopes of continuing this meme, i’ll tag anyone who happens to read this!

this cool meme is courtesy of . . .

Thursday, May 15, 2008


sorry, back with mr. c, one more time, who was having some qualms about kissing an older . . . a much, MUCH older . . . woman in a new play in which he's acting . . .

and i got to thinking: fuck, y'all, i gotta say, i LOVE older men.

harrison ford is over 60 and i would make out with him in a nanosecond.

i would also make out with--ZEEEEEEERO qualms, ZEEEEEEERO hesitation--alec baldwin, 50 . . . sean connery, whose official age can only be measured with carbon-14 dating . . . tom selleck, 63 . . . daniel day lewis, 51 . . . sam elliott, george clooney, pierce brosnan, anthony hopkins, robert duvall, tommy lee jones, and denzel washington, to name a few.

it's just funny, i think, that for men, it's really all about aesthetics . . . in the beginning, at least.

i mean, ok, fine, the men i've listed above are a fairly good-looking bunch, but i've dated (and been willing to date were they not already taken at the time) some men who, by conventional standards, most women would find unattractive, or, even, downright repulsive.

no actors come to mind, except, perhaps, alan rickman . . . but, i always fall first and foremost in love with a man's brain.

vic will attest to this since she went to ucla with me and saw me fall in love (lust?) with several honestly heinous-looking professors. one professor i fell in love with at ucla--i took every class he ever offered--was described by many as a "troll, only more unfortunate-looking" . . .

i can't help it. nothing is sexier, more intriguing, more alluring, more fascinating to me than an intelligent, erudite, witty, kooky, clever man. (a "dominant" personality/demeanor is also important . . . or rather "desirable" to me, too, but that's a whole other ball of wax.)

(and no need to warn me . . . i know all about the pitfalls that come with such a man all too well . . .)

i would take a well-read, well-spoken, well-written "unattractive" man ANY day, over a "hottie" (young or old).

for me, almost exclusively, it's about the brain; everything else matters not.

maybe it's because i'm not very smart (and average-looking) that i long to be with a very intelligent/intellectual man over a man who's just handsome, but that's simply how i feel . . .


so, you know how if you're a blogger on Blogger you have to verify your identity with those funny "word verification" thingies?

well, does anyone else out there obsess over whether certain ones of those fake words is actually a word?

tonight i was posting on mr. c's born-again-blog and my word was "chauab". like, "ciao, a.b." . . . you know, which is funny to me (not in a "ha! ha!" way, but rather in a "oh, that's interesting" way) because it was like saying goodbye to one of my best girls, whose initials are a and b . . .

anyhow, it's ok to say it people: lana, you're nuts.

i know, I KNOW . . . it's a distinct possibility y'all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


ok, so on friday i received some shocking news and i wasn't going to say anything about it because i'm a little embarrassed and feel not a little . . . undeserving . . .

(obviously, as a self-proclaimed "ham" my embarrassment and guilt do not go far enough that i would completely abstain from mentioning what i'm about to mention . . .)

here's the scoop: i was nominated by the staff and administration at my school a district "rising star"! which, according to the powers that be, a rising star is someone who is an "exceptional teacher with five years or less service".

apparently, i get a cool award and get to have dinner with the superintendent and other winners from the rest of the district later this month . . . oh, yeah, and cash ($1,200?).

frankly, i think my award should have gone to my colleague, blu, who i feel is a MUCH BETTER teacher than me.

i'm a workaholic, but she's like 100 times the workaholic i am. plus, you know . . . she doesn't just work a lot . . . she's good . . . she's amazing.

still, i'm very flattered and extremely grateful and honored . . . and as soon as this horrific, no-joke-stuff-of-legends ear infection goes away and i get my hearing back, i will work extra hard to live up to everyone's hopes.


i got a call from my mom this morning. she says, "hola mija! queriamos llamarte para decirte happy mother's day, por que tu eres la madre!"

yeah, my mom's a riot . . .

unless you speak spanish, this won't be funny to you, but here's a translation anyway . . . my mom called to say happy mother's day to me--even though I HAVE NO KIDS--because, according to her, i am the most exasperating human being ever to be born or, in spanish, "la madre".

yeah, well, before you think badly of her, she did live with me for 18 years . . .

no, but seriously, my mom is amazing and she loves me . . . i think.

today, actually, is not mother's day in costa rica, but it is my tia (aunt) maria-elena's birthday. she's 72! my tia is a superb lady, if a bit too conservative. she lives with my mom on a beautiful house on the beach, in punta leona. they get along very well, which is wonderful (after my dad's death 20 years ago, i like that my aunt has kept my mom company) . . . it's pretty funny, now that i think of it, because my mom isn't very conservative at all and she's always trying to "loosen" my aunt. she's had some success, but there's still room for improvement . . .

my cousin, the giant man in all the photos, whose name is, oddly enough, junior (not his real name. we had to change it because his real name was one of those yucky, fuddy-duddy names that fit him not at all), took the ladies out for breakfast to celebrate.

he and his wife, roxy, are sooooooooooooo fantastic!!! every time i go home to costa rica, they are the most fabulous hosts. they take me to all the great places, drive me everywhere, never let me pay for anything, are always happy and in a great mood, and up for absolutely everything and anything.

. . . i'm really lucky.

anyhow: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIA CUCA!!! (oh, umm, we call her "cuca" because, well, she can drive you nuts. a loving bunch, aren't we?)

and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY . . . FELIZ DIA DE LA MADRE to all of you awesome moms!

(oh, y muchas gracias to junior for emailing me these photos from his phone asap. you're the best!)

(2008: puntarenas, jaco, costa rica. my mom (mami to me. claudia to you. "cabita" if she likes you . . . and basically, she likes everyone) and my cousin roxy having brunch at a restaurant on the beach. what a life, eh?)

(2008: puntarenas, jaco, costa rica: mom, my cousin junior, and roxy.)

(2008: puntarenas, jaco, costa rica: roxy having some, no doubt, deliciously fruity beverage. and from the looks of it, a deliciously ALCOHOLIC fruity beverage. a little early for shenanigans, no?)

(2008: puntarenas, jaco, costa rica: junior, mom, and tia cuca with a GIANT piece of yummy cake . . . mmm, me likey cake. ah, NEVER TOO EARLY for cake, on the other hand . . .)

(2008: puntarenas, jaco, costa rica: mom, roxy, tia cuca and a gorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgeous costa rican morning.)


umm, excuse me, y'all, but have any of you seen mr. c anywhere?

i seem to have misplaced him . . .

don't know what happened. just know that i went to a late dinner and movie and poof! no more mr. c.

hmm . . .

was it my breath, maybe? (lana pops some spearmint gum.)

how bizarre.

Friday, May 9, 2008


last friday, the therapist mumbled about how switzerland was able to--very nearly--mimic a human brain.

he, sarcastically, it seemed to me, ended his post by saying, "i hope it has good parents."

but perhaps he wasn't being sarcastic. isn't it true, though, that a good upbringing makes a world of difference?

it makes all the difference in individual people, and therefore in one-on-one relationships, partnerships, communities . . . countries . . .

i, for one, do worry about major technological advances. and no, i'm not some backward-thinking christian conservative who eschews all science. i embrace responsible, ethical science. i do think, for example, that stem cell research is important and worthwhile. but i still wonder . . .

recently, i was at a district meeting with representatives from the other five high schools in my area discussing new textbooks and supplemental materials. we decided to adopt mcdougal littell's package for ninth and tenth graders.

and what a package it is . . . the new books combined with the new software were so amazing that i leaned over to my department chair and said, "where are the robots that are replacing us? these new materials teach themselves!"

well, almost. (thank god.)

there is an example of great technology that is going to make learning accessible, comprehensible, and fun. i'm all for it.

but what about a synthetic brain?

i am sure that some will ask, "why not?"

umm, i don't know, but if you've ever read "1984", then you might have some doubts. i mean, it looks like the next logical step, no? total mind control . . .

or not.

let's go back to "good parenting" because i think that's the key. i don't fear technology and science when it's in the hands of ethical, moral people. and i know that appears to be contradiction . . . like, "what's morality and ethics got to do with science?" i know it seems like a slippery slope, indeed, but i do believe there is a place for ethics and morality in the scientific world. i believe that scientists should be guided, if not by "morals" and "ethics", then by a sense to do "right" for mankind.

the thing is, though, of course . . . defining "right" . . .

i'm just saying that we should not forget our history here.

i am reminded of dr. j. robert oppenheimer. remember him? he's the scientist who directed the manhattan project and was responsible for creating the atom bomb . . . and who, upon seeing the awesome power of his creation said, "we knew the world would not be the same. i remembered the line from the hindu scripture, the bhagavad-gita, 'now i am become death, the destroyer of worlds.'"

oppenheimer, together with einstein and others, spent the rest of his life trying to educate the public about responsible scientific inquiry and exploration . . .

how, though, you ask, will we know if something is bad for us UNTIL it is discovered? well, friends, i didn't say i had all the answers . . . i'll just reiterate: proper parenting . . .

i see it like this . . . barring ecological concerns . . . in my last post, i was going to say that it was irresponsible for the duggars to have so many kids. i felt that, hey, you know, there are already a lot of people on the planet. we're not trying to populate a new country here, ok?

then, however, i thought . . . you know, they seem like good people. and doesn't my real concern have more to do with "unsavory" people procreating, rather than good people procreating?

i'd rather the duggars have 18 kids, than, say, charles manson have even one. why? parenting, that's why.

if i knew, for a fact, that all of the world's scientists came from "good homes", then i'd sleep better at night.

how 'bout you?


michelle duggar is my new hero(ine)!

(well, sort of.)

she's pregnant with her E I G H T E E N T H child!

that's right, people, no need to rub your eyes. you read it correctly. there is an american woman, right now, pregnant with her 18th kid.



"fertility decline at age 35", take THAT!


NEW YORK: The Duggar kids planned a big Mother's Day surprise for their mom this year. But the surprise was on them when Michelle Duggar announced on the TODAY Show that they were soon to welcome an 18th sibling.

“We’re expecting!” the happy mother told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira and the entire Arkansas clan. “Number 18!

To date, the Duggars’ 17 natural children range in age from 20 years to 9 months. Included in the mix are 10 boys and seven girls — Joshua, twins Jana and John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and baby Jennifer, who arrived last Aug. 2.

With two sets of twins, Michelle, 41, has gone through 15 pregnancies that ended in 13 natural deliveries and two Caesarean sections.

Both Michelle and Jim Bob — a former state legislator who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives — are real estate agents. They claim their family is debt-free, with the entire bunch helping to build their 7,000-square-foot home in Tontitown. And they are enriched by a devout faith in their religion.

The Duggars are followers of the evangelical Christian movement called Quiverful, which teaches that children are God’s blessing and that husbands and wives should happily welcome every child they are given. In fact, the Duggars' Web site,, quotes “Children are a heritage of the Lord” from verse 3 of the 123rd Psalm.

“We just let the Lord decide,” Jim Bob, 42, told Vieira.

“They are such a gift and we’re enjoying them so much,” Michelle added. “We would love more, and the power of the Lord took our faith to give us another one.”

The Duggars married in 1984, when Michelle was 17 and Jim Bob was 19. They held off on having kids for four years before Michelle ceased taking birth control pills to have their first child. After Joshua was born in 1988, Michelle returned to birth control but wound up getting pregnant anyway. Unfortunately, she suffered a miscarriage, which the couple attributed to use of the pill.

Michelle and Jim Bob decided to pray for as many children as God would give them. Within a year, Michelle was pregnant with the first of their two sets of twins.

Their large number of offspring has meant other large numbers for the Duggars. Michelle has been pregnant for 135 months of her life, with an average of 18 months between births. The family estimates it has used 90,000 diapers and launders 200 loads of clothes each month in a row of industrial-size washers and dryers.

Even though they go through three loaves of bread per day, they claim to feed their family for less than $2,000 a month. Transportation is facilitated by nine vehicles, led by a 21-passenger bus. They estimate that all members of the family have combined to work approximately 39,000 hours on their home.

Each child learns to play both violin and piano. And for what it’s worth, when child No. 18 arrives, they’ll have enough kids to field two baseball teams."


i mean, i'd rather gnaw my leg off than give birth to 18 children, but good for her. (i think . . .)

Thursday, May 8, 2008


"a woman hits her fertility peak at age 22, after which point her eggs begin a slow but steady genetic decline. at age 35, the decline accelerates until she arrives at menopause, when she can no longer procreate."

don't you just love npr (national public radio) in the morning? gosh, nothing puts more pep in my step than listening to how my eggs are going to be--more or less--kaput in approximately five years! or, sorry, just "not as good as they were when you were 20". (well, shoot, a lot of things about me aren't as good as they were a decade ago . . . but then again, lots of things about me are much, much, much better . . . rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.)

i guess that i should be more worried, right? i mean, at 30, i'm just a little over four and half years away from "ovulatory(?) recession" (yeah, i coined that term).

but i'm not worried.

though, i can see how american women's trend towards waiting longer and longer before getting pregnant might be a little scary for the government . . .

can you blame us for wanting to wait? for wanting to take more control over our lives, our futures?

men have "had it all" for eons: the family, the career, the house! you name it and men have achieved it.

what about women?

a typical scenario involves the man building a successful (they hope!) career while the woman (willingly? happily? dutifully?) sacrifices a potential career in the world to stay home and build a family and home.

and yeah, i know, i'm leaving a lot of fine and important details out, but that is the overall gist.

and for many women, that scenario is ideal.

not me.

don't get me wrong, though. i want the husband, the children (albeit, i would rather adopt than have my own), and the home. but i also want the career (i love what i do!) . . . i want an equal and equitable partnership with my husband where we both get to have the great careers, buy the house together, raise the children together, do chores together . . .

will it be difficult? you bet. i'm not wearing rose-colored glasses here, after all.

m. scott peck, said in his book "the road less travelled", that love is hard, hard work. i agree. what is love but a desire and willingness to work on behalf of your beloved's physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual happiness and well-being?

would it be easier to have a family when you're still super young (as opposed to "just" young at 30+)? maybe; in some respects, perhaps. but does being younger make people better parents? not necessarily.

does waiting mean i might not be able to have my own biological children? yes, it might. but so what? there is always adoption, which for many people isn't the same . . . i get it . . . but for me, it doesn't make a bit of difference whether i give my love to my own genetic children or adopted children. kids are kids, and they all deserve love.

would it be indescribably awesome to have biological children? yes, of course! is it essential for building a wonderful family? no. would it be indescribably awesome to have adopted kids. yes, too, of course!

anyhow, glad i'm home now . . . home to my sweet, caring, adorable, loving . . . bottle of vicodin. it won't preserve my eggs, but it might preserve my sanity . . . this earache is driving me nuts!

what, oh, what shall i do when thou dost runneth out on me?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


it's bleeding now . . . my ear, that is.

yeah, fun.

actually, not to sound like a broken record or anything, but this vicodin stuff . . . yowza! nice. very nice. i don't feel a darn thing.

(and no, i'm not going to turn into an addict. sheesh!)

anyhow, i thought i'd post a little something before i pass out.

i want to talk to you about ice cream.

and how sad i am that today the inventor of rocky road, THE GREATEST ICE CREAM FLAVOR THAT EVER WAS, died.


"LOS ANGELES: The man who helped build the 31-flavor craze at ice cream store Baskin-Robbins has died at age 90.

Irvine Robbins died Monday at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. home. Daughter Marsha Veit says he had been in ill for some time.

Generations of kids trooped to Baskin-Robbins stores to buy ice cream flavors like Pralines ’n Cream, Daiquiri Ice and Pink Bubblegum.

Robbins opened his first ice cream store in Glendale, Calif., in December 1945, following his discharge from the Army.

Robbins offered 21 flavors at that store. His brother-in-law, the late Burton Baskin, opened his own ice cream store in neighboring Pasadena a year later. The two eventually joined forces."


i grew up in the san fernando valley. bing crosby sang about it . . . it's my home . . . burbank, hollywood, the movie studios, the walk of fame . . . and baskin-robbins. i even used to go to the original glendale shop (or at least i think it was the orginal shop . . .) and have rocky road with my dad every saturday (he would have two scoops of something different every time; my dad was a wild man).

i never met mr. baskin or mr. robbins, but i sure loved their rocky road ice cream.

rocky road ice cream is THE best ice cream ever invented. period. it's the dog's bollocks and don't even try to dissuade me 'cause it ain't gonna work.

mmm, those plump pillowy puffs of heavenly marshmallowy goodness, together with the nutty crunchiness of titillating toasted almonds, surrounded by the cool creamy meltiness of the chocolatey chocolate . . . sweet baby jesus, that is good!

and i don't even like sweets. i am more of a savory girl myself, but i can never say no to rocky road. so, if you ever want me to say yes to something, just hide it, couch it, or somehow accompany it, whatever "it" may be, in or with a vat of rocky road ice cream. word.

but seriously, thank you mr. robbins . . . thank you.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


monster earache today. went to school, but they sent me back once they saw me in the front office.

i feel like someone is slowly turning an ice pick in my ear, or i did . . . but now i feel nothing because i'm on vicodin. a lot of vicodin. vicodin is niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. it's my friend.

seriously, though, i'm buying an industrial-sized alcohol gel dispenser for my desk. word. no, really, this must be like my fourth sinus infection this year. i NEVER used to have them before i began teaching.

anyhow, the only good thing about today is that . . . well, besides the delicious head-to-toe fuzzy feeling . . . i'm indulging in a thoroughly schmoopy "chick-flick", circa 1980, with john ritter.

do you remember john ritter? the star of tv's "three's company" (my favorite show when i was a kid)?

no? well, he wasn't anything amazing. no gregory peck. but he was cute . . . adorable, even . . . and he made me laugh. and i love men who make me laugh. i also love women who make me laugh, just not as much as men, if you know what i mean. (and i think that you do . . .)

he died five years ago at providence st. joseph hospital, you know, near my childhood home in burbank. (don't know why i thought of that . . .)

the movie--not that you'll ever watch it--is called "in love with an older woman".

Thursday, May 1, 2008


i spoke with tia elenita. she tried being very brave at the beginning of our conversation, but then she couldn't hold it back. for my part, i was a blithering mess from the outset, sorry to say.

they'd gone out to brunch to celebrate their 47th(!!!) wedding anniversary and then stopped to pick up her car from ana catalina's house (my cousin, their daughter). tio arnoldo was only a few minutes ahead; tia elenita was close behind.

he made it all the way home, drove up into the house, opened the gate, parked the car, closed the gate, and then collapsed and died.

he was 74.

i told my cousin that we ought to thank god for two things in particular. first, he got home and then had the heart attack. can you imagine it having happened while he was still driving? he might have taken someone else with him! and secondly, at least they had him for a long time; i had my dad for less than 10 years.

while tragic, at least tio arnoldo got to see my cousins grow up, get married, and have kids. blessed be god.

everything my brothers and i do, have done . . . every great moment or triumph in our lives has been tempered by our father's absence. there's never been a major milestone in my life during which i haven't thought, "where's papi? i wish he were here to see this."

for all our bravado, we're so fucking fragile. all of us. so mortal.

anyhow, i told my aunt that i would pray for her. "voy a pedirle a dios que me los cuide." will i? i don't know.

i mean, i do. i do pray. i just don't know if i'm being heard.

i also thanked her. i thanked her for taking care of my uncle and giving him a beautiful life.

and i thought, that's beautiful, isn't it . . . spending your life making other people's lives richer, happier, fuller? that must be of some comfort, some consolation, right?

after we hung up, i called back my mom and told her she was the greatest person i'd ever known. she is. then i called my brothers and told them that even though they were (acute) pains in the ass, that i'd never want to do without them. you know, just in case i'm next.

it's weird, but here i am reminded of winnie the pooh, when he says to piglet, "if you live to be a hundred, i want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so i never have to live without you."

but maybe mr. c said it best . . . i'll paraphrase: it's the rain that makes the sunshine feel good.