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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Song

"We live like ill taught piano students.
We don't hear the music,
we only play the right notes."
-R. Capon

I started taking weekly in-home piano lessons when I was seven years old. My teacher was Barry, a proper South African man with a short afro that was always dyed a strange, unnatural orange hue. Barry constantly told tales of being a child prodigy who had performed for The Queen of England. (I never saw evidence backing up his claims.) On the other hand, I was quite the opposite of a child prodigy, and I blame it on the fact that I was more interested in pranking than practicing. Yes, for some reason, even though he was thirty-five years my senior, I found Barry an extremely easy target for practical jokes.

The pranks started out simple. Like a sweet, well-trained child, I would offer our house guest Barry a drink each week, and while I was alone in the kitchen, I couldn't help but put a few pinches of salt in his water glass. I would wait in anticipation for his expression after the first sip. He would usually smile politely and set the cup down, never to revisit it. I also had a fake plastic ice cube that had a giant bug in the center of it, and I would throw that in his glass every once in a while to change things up. (I now realize that the ice cube trick can only be used once, but at the time I thought it was a brilliant, new idea that would get him every time.) The pranks got much more elaborate as I entered my pre-teens. I can't mention them all here, but I'm pretty sure Barry may still believe that he has a plethora of unpaid parking tickets and a warrant out for his arrest...

I loved the idea of playing music but I hated feeling confined. I resented having to sit down and practice songs written hundreds of years ago that I didn't feel any connection to. There was no room for any of me in it. The song was already written and there is a definite "right" note that I was expected to play and everyone knew if (ok-- everyone knew WHEN) I hit a wrong note. (These wrong notes happened all too often during my awkward piano recitals in front of a ridiculously stuffy, uppity audience of about 1oo people. I actually have consciously chosen to block out those bad memories for sake of my well-being, but I do have one fond recital memory. The great majority of Barry's students were Seventh-day Adventists, a Christian denomination that recommends vegetarianism and expects adherence to the kosher laws. Yeah, well, my family brought meatballs to the after-recital potluck. No one touched the pile of them, but instead looked both horrified and disgusted as they passed by our dish. Whatever, their loss. And my brother's gain. I think he ate about 43 of them.)

I'd like to pause to give a quick shout out to Barry. Barry, looking back you're a good man for never firing me as your student even though I never practiced...oh wait, you were getting paid, weren't you? So that's why you kept me as your student for almost a decade. You were cashing in, I see. I'd like to take back my shout out now, thank you. Taking advantage of my parents a bit, weren't you sir? How would The Queen feel about that, huh, Mr. Alleged Child Prodigy?

Really though, no hard feelings. I'm not discounting the foundation that these piano lessons set for me because the time of learning and structure was necessary and didn't go to waste (although my parents would probably argue that a lot of their money did). But you come to a point, not just in music, but in life, when you have to stray from the melody line a bit. Because really, what do you get out hitting all of the supposed "right" notes all of the time? You get a calculated, boxed-in kind of existence with no room for inspiration. And there is such freedom in the improvisation.

I don't know about you, but I would rather write my own song. I would rather feel it and play the music the way I hear it, compose lyrics for it and make it mine. All mine. And sure, it won't sound like a Beethoven symphony, but the beauty is, it doesn't have to. I'm not a German composer from the 1770's with horrible hair and an even more horrible first name. (Who names their child Ludwig? Honestly.) Indeed, I'm just me, and sure, I don't know exactly what it will all come together to sound like, but I know for certain that it will be a melody that my heart can recognize and a song I can happily sing along to. It will end up sounding like me.

So, I say, start practicing your song now, or else you'll get to the end and it will suddenly hit you and you'll ask yourself, "Wow, what just happened? I played everything right but I didn't feel a single thing. The song is over and none of it was me."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's all too fast a spin.

During the last conversation I ever had with my grandpa, he summed it up pretty much perfectly.

"It's all too fast a spin."

And it is. It so is.

Oh, just to make it matter somehow; that ride in between.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It beats a backstage pass any day.

My personal life just got the most amazing upgrade and I cannot contain my excitement. Yes, this new addition changes everything and if I’m being honest, it is the absolute highlight of my mornings and nights. Before this new love entered my life, I never knew who I'd end up in the shower with. Granted, that was somewhat entertaining at the beginning and better than being alone, but then I realized that I was spending most of my time bathing with random people whom I didn't have feelings for, and really, I'm not that kind of girl and it doesn't have to be that way. You see, in the past I had an AM/FM shower radio but unfortunately I was at the liberty of horrible LA radio station music. All too often reception on the radio would get really bad and I would end up with no choice but to shower with a Spanish singer that didn't know English or a rapper like Snoop Dogg or Fifty/Fittie/50 Cent/Scent...

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against rappers. In fact, the rap culture happens to be extremely close to my heart. For example, the gangsta movie 'Ten Things I Hate About You' was on TV last weekend and in the opening scene that hardcore rap song "One Week" by The Barenaked Ladies started playing...you know, the song with those ghetto crazy lyrics, including my personal favorite line, "Hot like wasabe when I bust rhymes, big like LeAnn Rimes cuz I'm all about value." Being confident in my mad rap skills, I loudly started flowing along for my homies in the room. (Yes, I know every word to "One Week", and no, I never sat down and consciously memorized the lyrics with flashcards in my Freshman year of high school. Ok, maybe there's a chance that I did, but that's beside the point.) All I know is that I was really on a roll, caught up in the moment and envisioning my future rap career opening for my shower-mate Snoop, when I heard a quiet voice that sounded like it was coming from under my couch cushion, saying, "Jessica? Jessica?" I looked down at my phone that was sitting beside me and my heart sank. Someone was on the line. Apparently, while I was spitting rhymes and throwing up gang signs, I accidentally hit my phone and it conveniently dialed a person from the past that I had not spoken to in years. And to make matters more awkward, according to my call log, they had stayed on the line listening for close to 3 minutes. I quickly hung up the call but the damage had already been done. I'm not going to acknowledge it either. Let's just forget that happened, ok? Hopefully I called this person while they were napping causing them to write off my bizarre serenade as a dream. Hey, one can hope. One can also hope that they were blown away by my legit rap skills.

Back to my amazing shower partner upgrade- thanks to my new iPod shower stereo system, I now can select whom I bathe with. As much as I enjoy the gangsta lifestyle, given the freedom of choice, I prefer to freshen up with singer/songwriters, the occasional rock star, and if I’m feeling a little risqué, an entire band. And let me tell you, it beats a backstage pass any day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hope & My ePal

"At first we hope too much; later on, not enough."
~ Joesph Roux

I've always been a fan of hope. And pen pals. Or at least the idea of pen pals. I am reminded of a Jamaican man I met while on a family vacation in the Caribbean when I was sixteen. His name was Wayne Shakespeare and he was the charismatic tour guide at a plantation that we visited. Let's just say he could climb a mean coconut tree, and as you're well aware, that kind of raw skill will win over the heart of any teenage girl. We decided to become pen pals, although I think he really just wanted me to fall in love with him so that I would invite him to live with me in America. I sensed his secret plan and I wasn't going to be anyone's sugar momma, especially at age sixteen because I didn't even have a job or any income to my name (so technically my dad would have ended up being Wayne Shakespeare's sugar daddy and that would have gotten pretty complicated, and not to mention, pretty bizarre). Nonetheless, we wrote letters a few times but the distance was just too much, and to be honest, I never even thought of him again..that is, until today. Shout out to Mista Shakespeare mon.

So now, instead of a Jamaican man with an obviously fake name, I have an eight-year old pen pal. (On second thought, our correspondence does not include pens or ink of any kind but instead a computer keyboard- so would the correct term be 'email pal'? Or should I try to be cool by dropping the 'mail' and just refer to her as my 'ePal'? Is that the hip new term the kids are using? Wow, I'm sounding like an elderly person. This just rubs in the fact that I turned twenty-six a few months back and am apparently already losing touch with the youth. I don't know how this all works anymore- I suppose this is yet another fun perk that comes with aging. Yep, even more glorious than bifocals or canes. If things continue going downhill this quickly and if I take after my grandpa at all, then very soon I will have five television remote controls and I won't understand how to use a single one of them, causing me to miss all my favorite shows. Now I'm really stressed.)

But back to my ePal- she is the daughter of my cousin and we were sitting next to each other at a wedding reception recently (oh yesss- give it up for the kids table ya'll!) and she told me she'd "love more than anything to become pen pals," and that's how it all began. (So don't worry, I didn't just randomly visit an elementary school playground and force a child to become pen pals with me. That was my backup plan, but luckily it didn’t come to that.) My little friend is also a mini fashionista and the real life Dakota Fanning character from every movie you always thought was extremely far-fetched because no eight year old ever talks like that. But it's true, she's so precocious and more insightful than the great majority of adults that I've met. (Which reminds me, have I mentioned that I hope to have an extremely precocious and feisty daughter one day? Friends tell me I'm jinxing myself by saying it aloud, but I know I'm up for the challenge, so bring it on- but just to clarify, don't bring it on right now, thankyouverymuch. Definitely don't want to jinx myself on that one. Besides, I already have an extremely precocious and feisty dog to raise and that is going great...sure he may be residing with his foster grandparents in the suburbs at the moment but that has absolutely nothing at all to do with my parenting skills. Or my nonexistent sense of authority. Nothing at all, I tell you.)

In the spirit of being young again (twenty-six has been stinging a bit, can you tell? It's closer to thirty than twenty, which is closer to having to look like you've got it all figured out, when really, no one ever figures it out completely, they just pretend to know what's up. Ah I'll save that rant for another time yo.), I recently had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, possibly for the first time in a decade. It was made with love by my mom, minus the highly overrated crust of course, and cut diagonally to enhance the flavor. Sometimes you just want to be eight again and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a good start. (Can I get witness? Or at least a "Hell yeah!"? Your choice.)

Really though, my ePal has reminded me of all the goodness that comes with being eight years old. I sometimes get nostalgic and wish there was a way to recapture even an ounce of the hope and honesty of childhood. Just for a minute or two, clear my mind and preconceived notions and enhance possibility. I wish I could go back to a time where I truly thought anything was possible and I still believed that things could be simply and exactly as they seemed.

Time passes and the inevitable 'real world' sets in, ready or not, but maybe everything's not lost. Maybe a slice of that unjaded hopefulness of an eight year old is still inside us somewhere. There's a good chance that it just quietly retreated through the passing years and no one ever bothered sending out a search party. I know that I've waved the white flag of surrender to cynicism more than I'd like to admit, so now, as much as it's up to me, I want to hunt hope down, tackle it (like the amazing athlete I never was), and not let it slip so far away next time. Let's be honest, we could all use a little more of it.

The last time I talked to my ePal, she said to me absolutely out of the blue, "You know what Jessie, I hope that the next time I see you you'll have someone to hold hands with." So sweet and perceptive. Yeah, if only things were just that simple (great, I'm already becoming cynical again- I guess that whole "hope" talk only lasted 1 paragraph), and no pressure or anything! I suppose I'd better get on it though because I'm getting closer to thirty (have I mentioned that yet?!), but more than that, I can't bear to let my eight year old friend down.

So in closing, here are a few friendly reminders for you: 1) Ladies love coconut tree climbers 2) You can learn a lot from an eight year old pen pal 3) Hunt down some hope and tackle it, and if you happen to be as uncoordinated as me, be sure to wear a helmet.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speaking of running...

Random Question: What is better than working out with a Calvin Klein underwear model / Twilight vampire?

Obvious Answer: Working out on a treadmill previously owned by a Calvin Klein underwear model / Twilight vampire.

Yes, it is true, my roommate Jen is the proud owner of Kellan Lutz's old treadmill. (Please don't tell the paparazzi. We value our privacy.) I will have no need to ask for an explanation when I stumble upon her curled up in the fetal position on the treadmill belt muttering the star's name...oh wait, that will be me.

Speaking of running, which I usually never speak of so this is an especially athletic day for me, I recently watched my friend conquer the LA Marathon. As I was standing on the sidelines, besides spotting one of the actors who was a hobbit in The Lord Of The Rings as well as a 6' 5" flaming Elvis, I was meticulously planning out my hypothetical marathon running music playlist for my iPod and my marathon running outfit all while having no desire to ever run a mile. (Yes, my music playlist would most definitely include 'Mmmbop' and my outfit would most definitely include a black tu-tu.) Surveying all of the running clothing I also began feeling a bit nostalgic about stretchy biker shorts. Thanks to their amazing comfort and extremely stylish look, I proudly wore them daily for about 3 years straight in elementary school. Ah, the good old days.

Who knows, perhaps due to Mr. Lutz's treadmill and my strong desire to have a legit excuse to wear biker shorts in public again, I may just consider taking up this running thing. Yeah, not extremely likely. But if for some reason this Calvin Klein model / Twilight vampire still feels a strange but special emotional connection to his old exercise equipment and wants to revisit it in our apartment, I'm sure we can work out some sort of gym-like membership. I'd even be willing to give him a discounted rate if he'd be willing to let us watch him run. And shower. How could he pass up that sweet offer? Good luck finding a deal like that at 24 Hour Fitness.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Moving, Mozie, & An Elf Named Leonard

I've enjoyed two good and growing years of living alone. On second thought, who am I kidding? I have not been alone at all thanks to the 1/2 dog, 1/2 human, Sir Mozart Newyorkie who has been the perfect roommate... if you don't factor in his separation anxiety and crazy fits of barking whenever I try to leave for a night out causing me to either change my plans or bring him with me and leave him in the car. I truly believe that Mozie wishes he were born my Siamese twin so that we could be inseparable (literally) and he could be all up in my grill all the time. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his devotion, I really do, at least for the most part...

Well the time has come for me to move again and my new place is perfect- except it doesn't allow dogs. I know what you're thinking, Mozie is not technically 100% dog so the rule shouldn't apply to him, but unfortunately that will be tough to argue with my new landlord Ellie. (Ellie, by the way, is a sweet older lady who owns a 5 feet tall wooden elf named Leonard, whom she proudly bragged to me has "100% carved-to-scale, lifelike body parts". Yeaaah, it's a long story, but apparently she made this shocking but rather impressive discovery 7 years into their relationship, after deciding to take off Leonard's pants to wash them. One day, when I can get that elf alone, I will verify her claims. And take pictures for you. Oh and Ellie has also expressed strong interest in adopting me. Kind of strange, but kind of flattering. I might like having an elf brother, be it Leonard or Will Ferrell...uh wait a minute, I just realized it might not be an elf brother I'd be getting, it could be an elf dad depending on Ellie's relationship with her wooden man. To each his own, but still, awkward.)

Anyway, my newly empty-nester parents have kindly agreed to become foster parents for the time being. Don't feel bad, Mozie is obsessed with my dad who is equally obsessed with him. Really, they both like each other waaay more than they like me. I'm definitely the third wheel in that relationship. You think I'm joking? You should see their slow motion, pee-filled excitement (on Mozie's part only, I hope..) during reunions when I come home to visit my parents. My dad makes Mozie cooked to order ham and cheese omelettes every morning, and in comparison he's never even made me a bowl of cereal. So don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change a thing, but being a young, single mom these past few years has been tough and I need some time to sow my (not so) wild oats in the city without a child keeping me on house arrest at night. Plus, I will get joint custody on weekends and my sweet son will spend his days in the suburbs with his loving grandparents eating 4 course meals, doing cannonballs into the pool, running manic circles in the backyard, and cuddling with my dad at the end of every day. What more could a dog ask for?

Taking Mozie's place as roommate will be my good friend from college whom I look forward to laughing way too much with, sharing bottles of wine with, and making extremely random YouTube videos with. Plus, she has promised not to bark or throw crazy fits when I leave for a night out. So as much as I'll miss my sidekick Mozie, this new situation is going to be a good thing for all of us.

This is the 4th move for me in less than 4 years. And along with my family, who year-after-year not-so-willingly volunteer (I ain't too proud to beg) to be my moving team but have vowed to cut me off after this move, I'll admit I'm getting tired of moving too. I'm finding that none of these places end up feeling like home. Perhaps because I don't stay long enough, but maybe because home is that sense from your childhood that you can revisit but can't recreate until you find someone to reenact it all with. And so in the years in between, in the years of searching, there is a stirring and an underlying restlessness that's hard to ignore. Kind of like a nomadic-never-settled feeling hiding in some corner of you, waiting for resolution. So you try your best to fill up the space but it's just not the same as you remember. But one day it will be. One day you will find home again.

So until then, besides having some ridiculously good-looking neighbors that I've already spotted whom I hope will very warmly welcome me to the neighborhood if you know what I'm sayin' (what am I sayin'?), my new place has a roof top patio with a view of the ocean where I plan on spending evenings with champagne and a notebook (and quite possibly an elf named Leonard). And as for Mozie, I will be back to get him one day, but until then he can come visit me in the city on weekends, that is, if he can pull himself away from spooning with his foster dad in the suburbs.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Becoming

"I've been waiting all this time to be something I can't define."
-the format
I'm learning lately that it's all in the becoming. Not to be confused with the book "Becoming A Woman" that my mom bashfully and not-so-nonchalantly presented to me one preteen summer. The ceremonial handing over of the instructional guide book consisted of a speech my mom probably rehearsed so sweetly in her closet mirror ten times before she gained enough courage to enter my bedroom and say it to my eleven year old face. "Honey, here is a book I want you to read. It will explain some major changes that will be taking place in you during the next few years. Read it whenever you want to- and talk to me if you want to. If you don't want to talk, that's ok too, but I have a feeling you might have some questions. It's all part of becoming a woman." How lovingly awkward. I wonder what the instructional book on "Becoming" would say? Maybe something like- "Honey, welcome to real life. This is what's up. There's going to be some major changes taking place during the next 50 years. And they're different for everyone. Yeah, you thought puberty was strange, you ain't seen nothing yet sista friend. But don't freak out, it's all part of the process. It's all part of becoming."

Really though, for the most part, I'm liking the becoming. It's all there is anyway, so might as well embrace the work in progress, right? Forget the big picture for a moment - shift your perspective from the elusive, the unfinished, and the unfulfilled- and look around. There are small answers to be found- quiet whispers to be heard. There are delicate subtleties and scenic details along the way that little by little are teaching and stretching, molding and making this all into something more than you could have planned.

Look closely, closer than before and you'll find it's all in the becoming. All of it. Maybe disguised and unlike you had imagined, a different color, not quite so shiny and perfect, but this is it. Sure tomorrow there are things you'd like to see happen and the waiting can feel like an ocean but this moment is perfectly where you are meant to be.

So don't lose hope. Right now is enough, but right now isn't all. There's much more on the way, I just know it.
(Oh and if you're looking for a good weekend read, be sure to pick up "Becoming A Woman". Or you could borrow my copy for a small rental fee. It's been 15 years but if I remember accurately it was a shocking page turner to say the least.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"So what kind of girl are you?"

Recently I was out on a first date and conversation went there. Yes there. "So what kind of girl are you? Would you rather vacation for a week camping in the desert or in a 5 star hotel?" Honestly, is that even a question? Is that even a fair question? Maybe it's a trick question? I wanted to laugh as I pretended to contemplate my answer. "Hmmm...well...that's a tough decision." I knew his answer was camping- I would just tell by his condescending tone of voice when he said "5 Star Hotel" and the way he looked all blissful when he mentioned "camping in the desert", as if he was remembering fondly his boy scout adventures in Joshua Tree or something.


(Side note: This date struck me as the kind of guy who was a boy scout a lot longer than he should have been. The key word is "boy" which means there is no reason anyone over the age of 10 should be participating in the scouts. Son, you've turned double digits, now it's time to opt out of the troop scene, as tough as it may be. But don't worry, you can still whittle and race little cars and help blind senior citizens cross the street, you just don't get a badge for it. There is a natural progression to life and it just becomes socially awkward to wear a scout uniform and little matching peter pan hat to junior high, let alone high school. Yeah- I'm 91% sure that this date wore his uniform through college. Enough said.)


Anyway back to the big question, obviously given the choice I would be absolutely crazy to pass up one glorious week of camping in the desert with a thick layer of dirt and dust covering me with no shower to get it off, causing me to go through 3 packages of baby wipes and 2 outfits per hour. Yep, my idea of fun is long days in the dry wilderness dodging lizards. (I wish I could get a restraining order against lizards prohibiting them to come within 250 feet of me. This all stems from a very traumatic event that happened when I was eight. My in-home piano lesson was interrupted by a gut-wrenching scream from my mom. My teacher and I quickly ran into the backyard and found my mom in a state of panic, hitting her thigh with her fist and shaking her leg so hard I'm surprised she didn't pull something. A large lizard had climbed into her jeans, up to her thigh, and she couldn't pull her pants down during this frenzy to free the lizard because my male teacher was a very interested spectator. Scarring.)


Yes, nothing screams "dream vacation" like crawling into a sleeping bag on the hard ground to begin a horrible nights sleep with little rocks and sticks painfully poking you all over, not to mention the attack of the bugs. I don't want to brag, but I am a bug magnet. Probably because I'm so sweet. (For some reason mosquitoes like to bite me on the forehead and face causing massive red welts that resemble the plague. These bites are so blatantly obvious and I feel self-conscious because there's no way to hide them and no way to stop people from rudely staring and gasping. Come on guys -mosquito guys that is- be considerate when you take my blood and think about the week of solitary confinement you are sentencing me to when you bite my forehead. Stick to my legs if you gotta do it, please.)

Besides, who needs 5-star heavenly beds, 10 pillows, and black out curtains? And who wants to sleep in and rest on a vacation anyway? It would be insane to pass up the opportunity to wake up 7 days in a row at the first crack of dawn with an obnoxious bee buzzing around the roof of a claustrophobic tent. (I once got stung by 3 bees in one day and another time I got stung so close to my eye it swelled up and I had to wear sunglasses to second grade, even in class. No, they weren't Chanel sunglasses- I was still sporting the ones with neon pink sides, but they were cool just the same.)


I don't even want to mention the thrill of having to go to the bathroom outdoors, especially once you factor in cactus and rattle snakes. I may have teared up (ok, you got me, I may have weeped) the last time I had to pee outdoors. It was an emotional experience that I don't wish to relive again.

What I'm trying to say is simple really. An absolutely unforgettable week in the desert would be a bit pricey. Of course not all in cash value but you've got to factor in the emotional scarring, possible future therapy sessions, West Nile and rattle snake bite and cactus wound treatment and doctor bills, over one thousand used baby wipes which will most definitely impact my carbon footprint and speed up global warming, and in the long run it would have been much cheaper and greener to stay at the Ritz.

I was trying to think of the plus side to desert camping, just to be fair, and I came up with the possibility of me bonding with a wild coyote over the week and then having a sibling to bring home to Mozie. I would enroll the coyote in obedience school, create a new life for him, and then he would probably end up with rabies which would cost me a ton in vet bills and even more in emotional bruising after having to put him down. Who am I kidding, there is no plus side to desert camping.

So what was my answer? What kind of girl am I? I was confident with my response. "Well I know it sounds crazy, but I think I'd have to pick the 5 Star Hotel. Only because it would be less expensive."

He laughed. But I wasn't joking.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Have A Dream

Like Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream. Every night actually. Yes, I have a dream and I also have a question. How can I make George W. Bush leave me alone? He visits me all too often in my dreams. Don't get me wrong, he's always very nice and respectful (unlike I imagine past presidents Bill Clinton or JFK would be) but come on, you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping and I just don't want to waste anymore precious time sleeping with him. I'm sure he will understand that I need to move on and progress.

I'm tired of feeling the guilt. For example, the other night I felt like I was cheating on G.Dub because I was randomly in a boat on a lake with Taylor Lautner from Twilight, which was really weird because I am definitely not a fan of him or that overrated franchise. And the kid is a little freaky because he had crazy chiseled abs at the tender age of 13 (google it). Speaking of Taylor and the tender age of 13, I think it's officially over between Taylor Hanson and me because he died in a dream I had last week. It was quite tragic. I figure this is symbolic and means I'm leaving my childhood obsession behind which is also quite tragic. (I mean- uhh- what? I left that Hanson childhood obsession behind a loooong time ago..I haven't seen them in concert in weeks..I mean, years..um I mean, what am I saying? I should just stop now.)

I won't mention all the other men because you might start to think less of me and I don't want to end up on TMZ. But I have to give a shout out to my personal favorite John Mayer (I can always count on him) and Conan O'Brien (which reminds me, he has been standing me up lately. The last night I saw him was over a year ago and we were at this photo shoot and there were fans- the wind kind not the people kind- blowing our hair around Next Top Model style. Very strange scenarios go down in the wee hours, I'm telling you.) I definitely don't want to mention the one-night stand with Mr.T. Oh great, I just did. Embarrassing. Don't judge.

I'm trusting you will keep this all to yourself because I'm not sure how tight you are with George and I don't want him finding out what goes on during nights he's not around. Or maybe I do want him to find out so he will end this once and for all. Besides, he'll be fine. He doesn't need me. He'll always have Laura and I'm sure they assigned him a few Secret Service Agents for life too.

So maybe this wasn't quite the caliber of the original "I Have A Dream" speech, and I've probably let you in on more than you should know about my subconscious and the crazy love webs I weave in my slumber, but just admit it, I kinda have you wondering who I will sleep with tonight. I can hardly wait to find out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."
-Henry Miller
Forget new years resolutions. The only resolution I remember making I broke anyway. Last year I made a resolution to wear less black clothing but colors and prints just get overwhelming and aren't nearly as classic to have in your wardrobe so I scratched that one within a half day. Oh and then there was the pledge about not procrastinating but I procrastinated and never seemed to start it.

This year there will be no resolutions- only a new, fresh view on things. I want to be aware. More than ever before. I want to live aware and soak up all that is being offered. Here and now. I want to experience each passing moment more deeply. More gratefully. I want to escape being so bound by obligations, expectations, and fears. I want to give more and risk more, trust more and become more.

So in this new decade that's the plan. I want to take it all in, just as it comes, and I don't want to miss a thing. Now please rise, remove your caps, and join me in the chorus of Aerosmith's anthem 'I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing". Never mind that would be lame...wait, you're already singing it? Yeah me too. You've got to admit that song is catchy. Oh did I tell you that I once tried on shoes with Steven Tyler in Fred Segal? Ok maybe not with him, I actually just stalkerishly watched him from 2 feet away as he tried on a pair of black leather boots. It's just too bad I didn't ask him for a sing off. Oh well, he probably wouldn't have been ready.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Elevator Love

Maybe I watch too many movies or read too many books about fateful encounters, but I think I've nearly fallen in love 4 times in an elevator. I say "nearly" because let's be honest, time is never on our side and we really don't get the chance to see where things could go. But the potential is definitely there. I'd like to get into the details of these near love experiences but I wouldn't have a clue where to begin considering the whirlwind romances usually last a 40 second elevator ride.

Today as I was heading into an elevator, I saw the door shutting as I tried to make it in time, and suddenly someone reached their entire arm through the door to stop it from closing. They literally had one inch to spare. I walked into the elevator and was surprisingly greeted by something ridiculously close to male model in a suit with alluring cologne and a perfect smile. (A dress suit, not birthday suit, by the way. That would be a bit creepy.) We stood in the center of the elevator and I broke the silence.

"Hey. Thanks for risking your arm for me."

"I know that was a close one, huh?"

"Yes, you nearly lost a limb!"

"Well, for you I think it would have been all worth it."

A moment later the elevator stopped at his destination. If only I worked in a 100 story building. I was sooo tempted to "accidentally" hit the emergency button with my elbow to buy more time, but I have no guts and only live out my amazing, risky ideas in my head, plus it probably would have dispatched the fire department, causing a big scene and a $500 fine for a false alarm.

Sure the male model wasn't serious about losing a limb for me, that would just be unnecessary and uncomfortable and I would not expect that kind of dedication from a complete stranger, but something about what he said rang true. We are on a quest to find someone who is willing to risk it all for us. So stop taking the stairs because someone incredible could be on the next elevator. (That is, unless good legs are more important to you than good love, and if that's the case, opt for the stairs and good luck. Just please consult your doctor before any rigorous activity.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the unfolding

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.
Max Frisch

Don't know about you, but I'm liking unfolding. I'm liking the possibility that something new is right around the corner that will change everything. Not change it to erase what's come before, but to enhance what you've already been given. Every step, every road and detour, every moment is leading you there. So welcome the unfolding 'cause this is where it gets good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Story of Toothpaste and "Amy"

Los Angeles is a crazy place. There is a giant tube of toothpaste standing out on Wilshire Boulevard below my office. Awkward. Halloween is over buddy. I just felt the need to excitedly notify my boss over his intercom "Look out your window! There is toothpaste outside!" and he didn't find it the least bit amusing but I personally cannot take my eyes off the fella. Well ok, I had to take my eyes off him to write this, but I'm keeping watch in my peripheral vision. Yes he is still there. Each person that walks by him avoids eye contact. Maybe because they haven't visited a dentist in years and feel guilty. Or maybe because they don't want to be associated with a man in public wearing a costume that much too closely resembles the KKK outfit. (Would 'outfit' be the proper word choice there? I think I will actually go with 'KKK uniform'.)

The other day I spotted a used First Response pregnancy test sitting on the top of a mailbox. I couldn't help but be nosey and check out the reading and I'm happy to say somebody is gonna be a Mommacita. I'm not quite sure why someone left it on the mailbox though and I haven't given it too much thought, but if I had to guess how that scenario went down I would say that a girl named "Amy" just moved to LA to follow her dreams in acting, met a "producer" at a shady bar and had a one night stand. "Amy" is a horrible actress and can't land an audition, let alone a role, so she is completely broke and doesn't have a way to pay her cell phone or Internet bill so she had all service cancelled (but don't worry, she still has Tivo so she can keep up with Gossip Girl) and the only way to get in contact with the baby daddy fake-producer who just moved back to his family's farm in Kansas to let him know that he has a kid on the way is to resort to the old fashioned snail mail method but when she gets to the mailbox she realizes she doesn't have an envelope to send the pregnancy test in and so she sets it down and runs back to the bus stop to go back to her apartment to get an envelope. That's where I enter. (I'm 43% sure that is how it all went down, but your guess is as good as mine...)

Uh oh. He is gone. The toothpaste that is. I think I lost him during my pregnancy test story. And now there is a lady in bright orange Crocs standing in his place. Unlike toothpaste man who was probably soliciting dentistry or trying to lure in small children with toothbrushes, I'm not sure what this lady is selling. If she is soliciting herself she is the world's first prostitute in Crocs. I don't blame her though, stilettos aren't nearly as sexy as fluorescent plastic flats that 2 year-olds and Rosie O'Donnell swear by.

Monday, September 28, 2009

$3.99? I say priceless.

So I was thinking about those giant drug store sunglasses my grandpa used to buy and break. And buy and break again. (They were only $3.99 so no big loss.) These glasses are so multi-purposeful it blows my mind. Who wouldn't want giant eye shields that make you appear as if you're blind, wrap around your face and block all of your peripheral vision, not only protect your peepers from the sun, but protect both of your checks (the face ones) and a good part of the bridge of your nose, causing killer tan lines? Another benefit is that one suddenly becomes elderly-looking when they place the glasses on their face. Age is no more. Everyone is a sexy 74. What's that worth? Much more than $3.99! If only they had window wipers on them they would officially be the greatest glasses ever, but I suppose you could always use your index fingers. And besides, it never rains in LA.

I was driving through downtown and a car next to me in traffic was full of guys who I'm about 96.4% sure were active gang members but in that moment they weren't looking to harm, they were looking to flirt. These fellas were rough and tumble. (That sounds like something my grandpa would say while wearing the sunglasses.) The guy in the passenger seat rolled down his window and did that thing where you purse your lips and then tilt up your chin in acknowledgement as if to say "What up?" (Yes, you may take a quick break, walk over to the closest mirror, and attempt this for yourself.) I tried to reassure myself to look natural and not threatened, and it must have worked, because before I knew it I was performing the same hello, and with lips pursed, I threw up my chin and sent my urban greeting his way, as if to say "What up brotha?" Uh oh. Did I just do the gang greeting? I'd like to take it back. I really just wanted to ignore him, but I was more afraid of what not acknowledging him could cause. He probably had weapons in his backseat and I had Mozie in my backseat and that's just not an even match up. Mozie would flash his snaggletooth and the battle would be won. I sank into my seat and changed lanes to avoid any other gang related activity for the evening.
Awkward situations like this one happen all too often but I think I've found the perfect remedy- the drugstore, old people sunglasses my grandpa used to wear! Any uncomfortable predicament comes along and I can quickly replace my Chanel shades with these socially unacceptable, instantly aging lenses. Like bug repellent, but for humans. And yes, one day I will glue (ok, tape) these glasses to my teenage daughter's face.
$3.99? I say priceless.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Victory!

"The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities."
-Sun-tzu (400 BC)
How exactly would one choreograph a victory dance? I am in desperate need of some celebratory moves. I guess for now I will swallow my pride and just throw my hands up and wave them from side to side. Or maybe I will freestyle a victory rap, what would you think about that? (Please take time to notice the rhymes in the past 2 sentences. Thank you.)

Victory is mine! The Missoni dress has been returned to its mother. Reunited and it feels so good. So good. Although I'm afraid to actually wear it now because I'm not sure if the villain tainted the cotton. Thanks to old fashioned scare tactics, in depth online stalking, and plenty of friendly cyber harassment, I got the crook to send back the dress. I was obviously dealing with an amateur who probably only recently became a thief to make ends meet after loosing her job. Heartbreaking. Whatever the case, the dress is now back home hanging in my closet next to its half brothers and sisters (same mom, different designer dad).

Even though I may have made amiable threats about ninjas and water torture, I am grateful that things didn't have to become hostile. The opponent surrendered on her own accord. Oh the joys of online bullying. Now the only question is, do I try to sell this dress again? It's already taken a trip across the US and back and been the subject of a police report, so what's the worst thing that could happen?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Shout-Out and a Warning

I had to file a police report for Internet fraud 2 days ago. Dramatic right? (Dramatic pause.) Yes, and in an apartment like mine with the old nosey neighbors peering through their windows every time a leaf blows by their door, it isn't ideal to have 2 tall uniformed officers enter your apartment after dark. (Side note: These officers had guns. Both the arm kind and the weapon kind.) (Side note side note: I just now realized that there is a 98% chance that my neighbors assumed I was hiring some male strippers for a little entertainment. Greaaaat.)

Ok I'm really getting ahead of myself. Last week I posted an ad on Craigslist to sell a brand new Missoni Wrap dress that had been not given the life it so deserved lonesomely hanging in my closet. The dress retails for $500+, although I got a deal on it because of my mad shopping skills. Someone responded to my post surprisingly quick, and although there were a few strange things about the buyer during our week long email correspondence, including the fact they lived in Florida, didn't try to negotiate the price, and typed as if they were reading a script, I was just excited to have a buyer. I was just excited to make some money honey.

Long story even longer, that sweetheart created a fake PayPal account and I received a fake but completely believable verification of payment and within a day the dress was shipped and well on its way to Florida. If only I would have known that it was a scam! I would have sneakily replaced the dress with a box jammed packed with canned tuna or rattlesnakes. Better yet, I could've shipped myself in a crate and when the scammer opened the giant box I could box them in the face. But they might have guns. Both kinds. Besides, the 3 day long journey in a dark crate could get a little claustrophobic.

I am reminded of a time back in junior high when an annoying girl in my class would ask daily to borrow my vanilla frosting flavored lip gloss. I had had enough of her pestering, so one day after school I went into the kitchen cabinet, found the garlic salt, and generously mixed it in with the gloss. Not enough garlic to cause it to be grainy, but definitely enough that her mouth and breath would be kickin'. I then kept the sabotaged lip gloss in a separate part of my backpack so I wouldn't mistakenly use it. After one potent use she stopped asking to borrow it. Yeah that's right, I showed her.

Anyway friends, please let this serve as a warning, do not sell expensive items online. Instead, meet creepy people in person, preferably in dark alleys or parking structures to exchange your goods. Or just to be more safe, invite them over to your home.

Although I don't use my blog for shout-outs, I have a very special person that I want to mention. Shout-out to the atrocious scamming thief Anita McGriff of Tampa, Florida. Enjoy the Missoni dress big momma. By the looks of your Facebook profile picture, you're going to have a tough time fitting into it. Cheers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We could have the sky.

"Come to the edge, he said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, he said.
They came.
He pushed them,
And they flew..."

- Guillaume Apollinaire-

We all need a push. A whisper, or in some cases, a shout. An "It's time!" A "Go!", "Run!", "Keep moving forward because this isn’t it and because you were made for more". I think we all know it deep down too, but left to our own accord we choose safety over risk. We willingly choose the ground when we could have the sky. We doubt and question and write it off and wait it out and save it for another day. But now is a better time than any to fly. Sure, at first flight it may feel like you're free falling, but give it a second to get acquainted with your new wings and before long you'll be soaring. And even if things don't go exactly as planned, at least you'll never have to wonder what it would feel like to fly.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Four Little Words

Last week I was on the cereal aisle, you know, just pondering Life and it's inflated $5 per box price tag, when a voice from behind me said in a thick accent, "How you get so beautiful?" I quickly turned around and was taken aback at the sight of a man with graying hair (actually a few graying hairs would be more accurate, think Homer Simpson meets John McCain.) I did a quick survey of Aisle 7 as I crossed my fingers in hope that a middle aged cougar was standing behind me, but no one else was around and the man continued to stare straight at me through his glasses with a strange smirk on his face. "You've got to be kidding me!" I thought, "Can't I turn around just once and see someone who doesn't have gray hair, isn't wearing sweat pants in public, or gasp, speaks English as their first language?" Apparently not.

By the way, was it just me or did anyone else get carefully instructed by their mother in elementary school to scream out four little words when approached by a creepy stranger? "This isn't my daddy!!" Those four little words were supposed to do the trick and cause the bad guy to flee. I was taught those four words and luckily never had to use them, but this cereal aisle situation could have been a perfect opportunity to give them a try, had I not been a 25 year old woman with pepper spray, a cell phone, and shopping cart that with enough speed could definitely knock over this man.

Oh I was also taught not to let anyone put a temporary tattoo on me because the ink was laced with heroine and bad people set up booths near playgrounds and used them to lure in and drug young kids. Nothing like stirring up fear in your 6 year old, but who knows, had that temporary tattoo touched my skin there would be more than an 83% chance that today I'd have tattoo sleeves and a meth lab in my kitchen. I have been spared.

The man on aisle 7 boldly proceeded to take my hand and introduce himself and in the same breath asked if he could take me out. In hopes of dismissing his advances, I graciously thanked him but lied that I had a boyfriend. He became a little more persistent, "I still take you out. Start as friends?" I wanted to laugh and say, "Friends? Honestly sir, do you think me and you would ever be friends? I'm too young to be friends with your offspring, and there's no chance you'd even pass the in depth screening process to become my Internet friend on Facebook."

But instead of speaking my mind, I blurted out something rather strange. Something I had never said before. I looked at the man and confidently said four little words. Yes, in that moment I replaced "This isn't my daddy!!" with a new and improved get-away-from-me line "I'm close to marriage!!" Like magic, this remark caused the man to quickly scurry off. I'm well aware that "I'm close to marriage" sounded awkward and lame, but it sure did the trick. Next time I will be prepared with more 4 word phrases, such as "I'm currently being courted" or the shocker, guaranteed to make men run away, "I am with child".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life Goal #358

Of all the movie stars that I've seen while living in Los Angeles, the most shocking encounter happened yesterday. I was driving home and stopped at a crosswalk to let (who I thought was) a little boy in a suit cross the street. He was muy, muy pequito and all dressed up, and oddly enough he wasn't wearing a backpack and didn't have an adult holding his hand to guide him across the street. As he passed directly in front of my car, we made awkwardly long lingering eye contact and that's when I felt a shiver down my spine as I realized that this man's familiar face definitely didn't belong to a little boy. And then it hit me - I knew this little fella from movies. Yes, I was witnessing a freaking Oompa Loompa in real life! And I'm talking the starring Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, although I prefer him as the ringmaster in Big Fish. So friends, the good news is, my life goal #358 has now been fulfilled. "Make uninterrupted eye contact with an Oompa Loompa."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bon appetit.

While in Italy, I picked up small souvenirs for everyone that works in my office. Olive oil soaps for the women and a bag of handmade pasta for the men. Simple enough, right? Wrong... My coworker came into work this morning and strangely began inquiring as to if I had looked closely at the pasta and if I had intentionally picked it out for him. So, out of curiosity I called my mom to have her inspect a bag of the same type of pasta that she had brought home for my grandparents. As you know, the statue of David is Italy's biggest (ok maybe not the biggest) rock star and apparently, instead of bow tie, each piece of pasta had been very much inspired by David. Yes, leave it to me to unknowingly present my boss and coworker with a souvenir bag of penis pasta. Bon appetit.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What I Learned in Europe

I've just returned from a few wonderful weeks in Europe. My family went on a Mediterranean cruise for my parent's 30th anniversary. We saw some awesome sights from Italy and Greece to the French Riviera and Barcelona. It was a great change of pace and scenery, as I was in desperate need of inspiration and perspective and apparently, dessert after every single meal (and snack). On this vacation, unlike our usual relaxing Hawaiian holiday, every stop was a history lesson and an in depth learning experience.

So what exactly did I learn? Well for beginners, I learned that Yoko Ono looks like the little old man from The Karate Kid movies, and she has great posture and giant sunglasses covering 5/8ths of her round face. She was on our flight from New York to Venice. I'm not sure if sweetheart can walk because she was driven everywhere by an airline attendant on a little cart. Ok fine, I'll admit that I was extremely jealous as I stumbled through the airport in her dust with way more carry-on bags than allowed, not to mention my heavy Temper-Pedic pillow and one of those extremely sexy neckrole pillows in a Cheetah print fabric. (Note to self, there is absolutely no way to look good while sleeping on a plane, and the animal themed neckrole doesn't help the matter.)

I also learned that going on a cruise consisting entirely of people with gray hair or newlyweds isn't the greatest way to meet the love of your life. So although my original plan of coming back to LA with a souvenir in the form of a tall, statue of David-esque, Italian man didn't come true, I did make it home with a tall bottle of Italian Limoncello, which is almost as good.

Oh yeah, I have also gained the knowledge that jet lag is not just a sissy excuse, it is real. And it stings. Yes indeed, jet lag is the only explanation of me compulsively scrubbing the floorboards in my bathroom this morning at 6 am. I know, it's horrible, isn't it? I was up before 9am and I was cleaning!

Really though, walking through ancient ruins and on cobblestone streets that date back a few thousand years, puts more than a few things in perspective. We are so small. We are one little speck in time just passing through. And somehow, we've got to make it matter.
Limoncello anyone?

Friday, May 15, 2009

rearrange

It's time to rearrange. I am in need of inspiration. We all are. Whether or not it's actually audible, we are screaming for a new perspective and something more than the day-in-day-out drain of finding our way.
Up until this week, the desk in my office was facing a corner between two walls. Now, facing a wall is fine if you have no other option, but my office has windows, one of which looks down upon the hustle and bustle of Wilshire Boulevard. My office had long been set up before I had moved into it, and for some reason I didn't question the choice of desk positioning. But this week has spurred on something strange in me. Maybe I've caught the spring cleaning bug, but that's much better than this swine bug going around, so I'll take it. The main symptom, you ask? Manic rearranging of all office furniture in sight. With my new set up I can now feel the sunshine and enjoy a far off view of the seemingly magical downtown L.A. I must warn you of one side effect. My boss now thinks my office resembles a dental office, causing him to yell "Dr. Fung Shui" and "My molar hurts!" every time he walks by.
Speaking of dental offices, I went in for a blast of a teeth cleaning last Saturday and I brought in some bleaching trays that my dentist had made for me over 5 years ago. (No, I don't really bleach these pearly whites, and yes, I'm still a completely natural blond.) These trays were fitting my mouth and teeth all funky and I was prompted to try on the trays as the dentist and 2 technicians gathered around my face and suddenly looked terribly concerned. The alignment of the trays were all off and unless I just don't recall being punched in the jaw repeatedly, they weren't mine. In a horrifying turn of events, I had some how acquired my brother's bleaching trays. (In his defense, he doesn't really bleach his pearly whites either, and yes, he's still a completely natural brown.) Everyone in the dental office had a good, long laugh at my expense and I had a good, even longer mouth wash.
I think the moral of this story is to opt for Crest White strips instead of your brother's bleaching trays and don't ever settle for a wall because there's got to be a window somewhere. Rearrange what you've been given and open up to let the light in.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

You try it!

Try explaining to your grandmother the warmhearted term "red-headed step child" and keep in mind a few key facts.

1. Grandma has opted to dye her hair a bright fire-engine, flaming red for the past 4 decades.
2. Grandma was indeed a step child.
So you try it. Try not to offend her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unicycles, Speedos, and Lima Beans

It's hot in LA. And on the boardwalks of Santa Monica this sunshine can only mean one thing. Ladies and gentlemen, please stand by, because out of the woodwork will peddle a strange, eccentric man in a flesh colored speedo. You will spot him from a distance swerving on his unicycle and swear that underneath the coarse, bear-like hair covering every inch of his skin he is completely naked. Taking a quick look at his body language and his immense wobbling about, I believe this man's unicycle-riding confidence is very low - as would be mine. Don't get me wrong, I get nervous on anything with less than 4 wheels, but I'm not the one riding around without a helmet or mouth guard.
Oh the joy of mouth guards. Not quite as bad as head-gear, a little more socially acceptable, but still pretty uncool when your mom insists on you wearing one during your softball game in 6th grade. I remember taking a family trip to Big 5 Sporting Goods (one of the only stores known to man that I have no desire whatsoever to shop in) and my brother and I were ushered to the hockey aisle (or was it the boxing aisle?) to pick out a protective mouth guard. I chose hot pink because I didn't want it to stand out.
Luckily I quit softball shortly after the mouth guard entered my life, and the only fond memory that remains of the sport is of a cool artistic coach who would draw faces on lima beans and whenever we'd get hit with the ball (aka "beaned") we'd earn ourselves limas that we could turn in for prizes at the end of the season. After a while the whole team was purposely trying to get beaned while at bat, jumping in front of home plate, diving into the ball, all in competition to gather the most limas. Hmmm, who knows where I'd be today if I would have stuck with softball. I just recently learned, thanks to my dad's honesty, that I was a "below average" softball player, but my mom argued that I was "pretty average", so it's hard to say if sky was the limit for my athletic career.
Anyway, Mr. Flesh Colored Speedo on the uni, is your odd hobby really harmless fun? It's no fun for the beach bystanders. As much as I despised it, when he's around I feel the need to grab my hot pink mouth guard just in case he loses control in front of me and knocks out my front teeth. That's always been a nightmare of mine, but I will save that for another time. Yes sir, this seemingly naked man still shocks me every time I see him doing figure-eights on the boardwalk. and the motherly instinct in me wants to quickly cover Mozie's eyes to shelter him from possible nightmares and mental scarring. I can only hope this man peddles back into the cave that he came from, or at least upgrades the speedo to board shorts.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Dad, The Matchmaker

My dad isn't usually a matchmaker, but he ran into an old family friend's son and suddenly had the idea that we'd be a good match. Besides my dad having dreadful taste in men (which isn't exactly a horrible thing!), there is another catch. I babysat this kid. I know what you're thinking and the answers are: Yes, someone trusted me with their child, and no, me getting set up with him is not as creepy as you'd think. I didn't ever have to change his diaper and I'm not 10 years his senior or anything, but it's still beyond strange. I babysat this kid (or should I say teen?) when I was a sophomore in high school and he was a freakin' freshman in high school! Awkward all the way around, for all the parties involved. I was 15 and had to remind this 14 year old guy to take a shower and make sure he was tucked tightly into bed before 10pm. The funniest part is that I brought along my 13 year old brother to hang out with me AFTER the 14 year old went to bed. And when the coast was clear we snuck bites of chocolate cake from their fridge that I still remember to be amazing. So sorry dad, looks like I'll have to pass on this one. Next incompatible suitor please.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dear horrible person,

Dear horrible person who keyed the whole passenger side of my car,
I'm not a violent girl, but I have to admit I would like to key up your face, shave off your eyebrows, and then knock out your front tooth with my mini pink souvenir baseball bat.
Sincerely,
Jessica

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I can't do lovely.

You know how there are some words that you just can't pull off saying no matter how hard you try? Yeah well I discovered one today. "Lovely". It is a word I realized I have never used and cannot bring myself to use aloud in a sentence no matter how hard I try. It just doesn't feel right. "Lovely" feels horribly wrong to me, just like the mini sandwiches with seaweed and cucumbers and some far too gourmet cheese in them that are served at tea parties and bridal showers feel wrong to me. Who likes that stuff, really, deep down? Someone please introduce me to just one person that given freedom of choice would choose elegant tea party finger sandwiches for their last meal ever. Yeah, you know that's not possible. Why is it that just because it's a bunch of women getting together, there can be no good food involved? There is absolutely nothing wrong with throwing some more enjoyable and edible munchies into the mix. Instead, everyone takes one little mini tea cake and tries to act like it's the best thing they've ever tasted, but funny, no one ever goes back for second helpings. Think about it.

I've stopped putting food on my plate at these sorts of lady functions, because a) It's not good food and b)I have to wash each grueling bite down with a half cup of water. It's like taking a giant vitamin. So picture this. There I am at the beautifully set table, eyeing the tea sandwich that has been cookie-cut into the shape of a heart. It is cute and little and can fit in the palm of my hand, but I feel no love for it. I am mentally preparing for the first bite, with the sandwich in one hand and a glass of water in the other, and then suddenly I just go for it and take a tiny little bite while keeping a pleasant smile on my face and then with my below average acting skills I throw in a nod to the lady across the table as if to say "Mmm this is so so good! I've got to get this recipe!" and then I try to swallow it right away and to make sure it's down for good I chug a half glass of water.
This reminds me of when I was 7 years old and my dad video taped me trying to eat a bite of juicy cole slaw for $1. It's a great video, a real family treasure about 10 minutes in length, of me attempting to earn the big bucks. I think the name "slaw" psyched me out before the challenge began, and after a solid 9 minutes of getting my nerve up, I finally went for a little taste and tried to wash it down with a giant glass of water but I could not succeed. No George Washington for me. Not even for trying.
Back to the tea party, it is after 3 bites of the tea sandwich that I realize that I've run out of water and I have to get up for a refill and when I sit back down I calculate how much liquid I've consumed in a 5 minute period just to get this stupid sandwich down and I am reminded of the lady who entered that water drinking competition to win a Nintendo Wii called "Hold your wee for a Wii" and drank too much water without breaking to use the restroom and she died. Bad thought at a tea party, and so to be safe I have to excuse myself to the restroom 3.7 times during the remainder of the luncheon and this begins to get awkward. All this trouble and the little heart-shaped sandwich is only 1/8ths gone!
I give up. I don't like tea party food. Or tea parties because people always wear floral print sleeveless dresses and I prefer black. Oh well, I'll accept it. I can't do lovely.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Neighborhood Welcome

Each time that I move to a new place, I secretly hope for a neighborhood welcome like the ones that happen in the movies. You know, the doorbell rings and you open the door to be greeted by dozens of friendly faces holding out loaves of bread, fresh fruit, and platters of homemade cookies that you will gratefully accept but dare not eat and throw away immediately because you don't know the cleanliness of the kitchens involved. But, who am I kidding, this isn't the suburbs, this is Los Angeles, where most of the neighborly greetings are short or nonexistent.

So far at my new place, I've met my new neighbors Harriette, Bernadette, and George (but we will call him Georgette, because that sounds awesome and I think the world would be a better place if everyone's name ended in 'ette'. Go ahead, you know you want to say your name aloud ending with 'ette'. I can wait. Jessette can wait. Ready to continue?)

Harriette is a lady that lives under my feet (I hope I'm not hurting her). I think she has a passion for bees (both bumble and spelling bees). I introduced myself to her and said, "Hi, I'm Jessica." and her response was, "How do you spell that?" This threw me off because my name is so common that I've never really been asked how to spell it. So I spelt out my name like I was in kindergarten, leaving the perfect pause between each letter. "J-E-S-S-I-C-A." I looked towards her for approval like she was the Simon Cowell-esque judge of the spelling bee. "Very good", she responded. She also asked me to spell out Sir Mozart Newyorkie, but I took it upon myself to simplify. “M-O-Z-I-E.” Those freaky 8 year old wiz kids better watch out because thanks to Harriette I have now refreshed my mad spelling skills.

Also, this week as I was heading back to work after lunch, I grabbed an oreo as I was walking out the door. Just as I finished chewing, I ran into another neighbor, Bernadette. We chatted for a few minutes, mostly just introductions and such, and then I got into my car and saw my reflection in the mirror and noticed my lips had dark dots on them and a black ring was lining the lower lip. I was nervously thinking, "What the heck is going on? Is my lip loosing circulation? Is this a disease?" Then I smiled in my mirror to check my teeth and wow, how perfect, 2 of my teeth were basically blacked out Hillbilly-style by oreo crumbs. I might as well have said in a southern accent, "Hi ya, can I call ya Bernie? I'm Jessie! Yeehaw!" So now my question is, the next time I see her, do I nonchalantly address the issue and say, "Hey, about those black lips last time we spoke..."?

I also met Georgette. Actually I didn't meet him exactly, but I hear he is a grumpy, impatient man. My mom was helping me get settled in my new place and unknowingly parked her car in his parking spot. We heard angry horn honks from outside and then suddenly someone was pounding on my front door. I will admit to hiding in the bathroom and peering through the door like a 4 year old while my mom addressed him. She went to move the car out of the way and that is when she spotted a transvestite waiting in the passenger seat of Georgette's car. Maybe that's what his hurry was, the clock was ticking and money was wasting. I suppose we'll never know...that is, unless the tranny makes another appearance. I'll keep you updated.

Oh I also met Chang who lives next door, but she doesn't speak English so we didn't do much meeting or greeting. Sometimes a smile is all it takes. A smile and an awkward head nod.

Well, since I haven't met all my neighbors yet, I still hold out hope that one day soon my doorbell will ring and I will be greeted by a tall, dark haired, light eyed, ruggedly but stunningly handsome, quick-witted, passionate, smart, down-to-earth, kind-hearted, rock star who lives in my building. And hopefully he will come bearing a welcome burrito. But until then, it's just me and the 'ettes'.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

25

"This could be the very minute
I'm aware I'm alive
All these places feel like home
With a name I'd never chosen
I can make my first steps
As a child of 25."
-Snow Patrol / 'Chocolate'

Hello world, I am 25. One quarter of a century. Half way to fifty. Only 5 years to thirty! Ok I'll stop with the countdowns, they're a bit depressing, and let's not get ahead of ourselves anyway. In the past I've always felt a different age than I currently was, but this time, 25 feels just right. 25 feels good.

Turning a quarter life sets off a little intercom inside your head that says, "NOW is the time!", a little wake up call inside your soul that screams "Get going because time surely is!" I don't want my 25 year old's dreams to be forever trapped in time. I don't want to live haunted by the 'what ifs' and 'could have beens' and I don't want to wait until it's too late.

I want 25 to matter. I want it all to matter for something bigger, something more than me. And I think 25 could just be the beginning. It's not too late, in fact, it's all just unfolding.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

moving on up

I am becoming a professional mover. Who would have thought? I hate lifting heavy things. For the past 3 years I haven't lived in the same place for more than a year, and no, I'm not running from the FBI, and yes, I always pay my rent on time.

My first move was the official "I just graduated from college and so I guess that the next step is to get a job and get out of the parent's house" move. That time I moved out with a friend. Then last year I landed a good job in the music industry and so that was the official "Now's the best time of any to move to LA and follow my dreams, even if it's alone" move. So I ended up in Santa Monica, and I feel like I've found something special here. It's a city on the ocean and it's quirky and colorful and all the houses are different, and I'm planning on staying here for a while, but I decided an apartment upgrade was a must. So last weekend I made yet another move, only a few blocks away, that I'd like to call the "Dammmnnn, I need more space because my studio is getting too claustrophobic!" move.

When it came to having people over, my studio was just an awkward situation. Yes awkward is the only way to describe it when your queen sized bed is the main piece of furniture in your living area. Sure I had a love seat, but you're still pretty limited, and it felt like I was inviting someone over and offering, "Hi..uhh, do you want to sit on my bed and talk?" Yeah right. And with all the old folks in the building going to bed at 7pm, it was hard to want to entertain when you would have to stress to your friends, "Don't laugh, don't make any noise because we don't want to wake Father Time while he's sleeping!"

So now with double the space in my new apartment, I plan on having people over more often, and if I end up taking after my mom, I'll even become a hostess with the mostess. Sorry mom, I don't promise to actually cook for my guests, but I will happily get take out that can pass for homemade and will impress immensely. I also have a 24 set of wine glasses that I have never been able to use all at once (for fear of being called a wino) and a fondue pot that's screaming for attention.

So it's "Goodbye studio, I can't say I'll miss you!" and "Hello, 1 bedroom, I think I love you already!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I won't be that mom!

I won't be that mom who encourages her child to try out for American Idol even though they have a horrible voice. I will be supportive in areas that they actually have natural talent, but I will not camp out with them for days while they wait in line to try out in front of a panel of critical judges when I could just tell them the bad news in the privacy of our own home. I could even use a British accent like Simon to make it sound more official. (Besides, I've never been fond of camping out. Tents make me feel claustrophobic. Really, think about it, you zip yourself in to this piece of material and sleep in there? Sick! And then the air gets stale within 15 minutes and besides that, you have rocks and sticks poking you in the back while you're trying to sleep. Real fun. Thank you for letting me vent about tents.)
I also won't be that mom who puts bumper stickers on the back of her car. Even if my child is on every honor roll in the world, which they obviously will be. Bragging bumper stickers are a good way to get your car vandalized when a jealous mom of a not-so-bright child sees 14 stickers displayed proudly on the back of your mini van. It's just asking for it.
Ohhh Mini vans. No thank you. I can't pull that one off and wouldn't like to try.
And I will never get the mom hair cut. Just because you now have children doesn't mean you have to trade in the hair salon for a soup bowl haircut.
So, other than proudly sporting the extremely high waisted, awkwardly sexy tapered-leg mom jeans, I won't be that mom.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Runaway

I decided to run away when I was 6 years old. I don't even remember why. I think I got the idea from a movie or maybe I was just in the mood for an adventure. From what I can remember, the 1st grade wasn't exactly thrilling. That year we learned how to spell "Renaissance" and for some reason we were taught how to make psychedelic tie-dye shirts, but that's about all I can recall. Oh yeah, we may have learned how to read that year too, but that's just a small detail.

Before I left on my journey, I confidently walked up to my mom in the kitchen and asked her if I could have a picture of our family so that "I could remember everyone." She left for a moment and upon returning offered up a photograph, without questioning me at all. I put the photograph and a cheese and cracker snack into my purple and white bag with a kangaroo on it. (Yes, my handbag obsession started early.) If I were to run away now things would be so different because I have a car and a credit card. At the age of six, I had a handful of coins and a scooter that I was afraid to ride down the driveway. (Yes, I've always been a daredevil.)

Surprisingly, my mom went along with my plan. No questions asked. She walked me to the front door and said goodbye as I left and headed down our driveway. I had my journey planned out perfectly. Well, almost. The first stop would be the grass hill at the end of our street where they had cool hideouts and amazing caves made out of bushes. The second stop was yet to be determined, depending on just how brave I was feeling.

I must have walked for about 38 seconds when I decided to scratch my plan. It was getting dark and I was having visions of the pit bull that had been loose in our neighborhood a few months prior. I had seen his photo posted on every other light post in the area and he looked big and mean. Had anyone ever caught him or was he still roaming the streets? Maybe I could lure him in with my cheese and cracker snack and we could become friends and live in a tree together? Never mind, he probably couldn't climb very well and tree climbing was not necessarily a strength of mine either. Besides, if I fed him my cheese and crackers that would leave me with no food for the rest of my journey. I quickly had no choice but to swallow my pride and head back home.

As soon as I made my 180 and turned around, I spotted my mom on the sidewalk in the distance. Sneaky. She had been giving me some space while intently keeping an eye on me the entire time. I think deep down I was hoping that would be the case.

Let's not deny it, we all run away. Maybe not so dramatically and obvious, often times it is a gradual escape, but in some way or another we attempt make it on our own. We are stubborn and rebellious and we want so badly to convince ourselves that we are enough. Sometimes we even have to leave for a while to find the way back. Thankfully there is always someone a few steps behind us, lovingly watching and waiting for the very second that we decide to turn around and head back home.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Fall

There is something humbling in falling. Especially when you're walking down busy Wilshire Boulevard during rush hour traffic and your high heel gets caught in the crack of the damp sidewalk and everything begins to play out in slow motion and you feel like you're about to do a face plant into the cement and then for a second you think you're ok and you've redeemed your balance and regained your composure but sure enough you were wrong and suddenly you remember how ridiculously much you paid for your purse that is now out of your grasp and is flying through the air about to skid and take a beating across the ground and you're quickly reminded of the new jeans you are wearing that would not look very good with a giant hole in the knee which then reminds you of the time when patches were in style back in junior high and you would put them all over your backpack and clothing and you think to yourself that if patches were still in style today you could always put a giant peace sign patch over the knee if your jeans ripped but patches aren't in style so you're pretty screwed and it's back to reality and you're down for the count on the cold sidewalk and no one stops to help you up even though you heard that the world is supposed to be a kinder place because Obama is now President and you don't even want to look up and make eye contact with anyone because you can bet on the fact that every single stranger on the street and every single car stopped at the nearby stop lights and every single bird in the sky just tried to fight back a smile and probably didn't win the fight and are laughing pretty hard at this very moment because you just ate it. Humbling.

I'd like to think that it's how we get back up and carry on that matters. That makes my bruised knee and ego feel better. So although I felt like staying sprawled out on the sidewalk while screaming a few choice obscenities at the top of my lungs, I opted to keep it classy. I brushed myself off, picked up my purse while apologizing profusely to it, and pressed on. Ok fine, I ran to my car to hide, but who's to say that isn't classy?