29 November 2008

Just Sitting Here

Just sitting here in the peaceful morning. The air is crisp, but I would rather wrap myself up in my sweater than turn the heat on. The sun is diffused by the fog and it makes the morning seem younger than it really is. I want to savor the early day without caffeine or rushing to the gym. Today, I can take my time.

I've stepped off the roller coaster and the merry-go-round that has been the past two weeks. I stand steady again. No longer unsettled by the twists and turns. No longer feeling the need to scream as the cart goes sliding down the hill. I'm on solid ground. I keep tapping it with my feet. A subtle dance of calm.

They say laughter is the best medicine. It is so true. Hearing my friend's strength and humor and gorgeous laughter was exactly the elixir I needed. I knew she was fine. Sure she would beat this. But it took me a moment to realize it was her on the phone. It was such a sweet surprise.

"Do you have a moment?" she asked. "I have many," I returned. Then, I listened for an hour, mouth pinned in an ear-to-ear grin before the laughter took over. I kept mine as quiet as I could, not wanting to miss a word. At one point, she asked me to promise not to say anything else funny; she almost ripped a stitch. She said that as she was laughing. And I don't think we stopped until we said goodbye.

Shortly after we hung up, she sent a text that they were sending her home. We can forget how precious that four-letter word is until you are kept from it. Home now contains her family, her friends, her neighbors, her fans. We have all moved in, even if we are still far away. Crowding her in the best possible way. We are in this together. In it to win it.

She is not the same woman she was twelve days ago. Neither am I. I stand in awe of her strength, her courage, her determination, her positivity and grace. They say something like this changes you at your core. That is also so true. I suggest, however, that you don't wait for an awful diagnosis before you decide that life is too precious for bullshit and negativity. That you can truly overcome anything when you decide to and you ask your loved ones to support you. And the unexpected side effect is that, when you give that love out, it comes back to you in the most beautiful and peculiar ways.

There are more steps to be taken before this journey is through, but we are going to take each one with a great deal of joy. Who said chemo can't be fun? Deep down, who hasn't wanted to wear a wig? With that attitude, she has already won. Now do you see why we are all madly in love with her?

We are going forward with our eyes and hearts open, and our arms wrapped around each other tightly. Humbly moving forward, willing to do whatever needs to be done. Here's one thing you can do for her: Please encourage every woman you know to take the blood test for ovarian you-know-what (she and I don't like to use that C-word). She is young. She had no family history. Don't let age or genetic background be diversions. Don't wait for symptoms. Take the test. Demand it if you have to. They are seeing this in younger and younger women. This is something you can beat.

I am sitting here thinking of all the things I am grateful for. I have always counted my friendships as my deepest blessings. This one is truly frosting on my cake. And, here's the thing: Just because time has crept between you, even though there might be distance of many miles from door to door, that doesn't keep you from being as close as blood, in spirit or soul. The connection is there. They say friendships come to you for a reason, a season or a lifetime (we've all gotten that group email, right?). Well, I think it's all of the above. We see the reason, and know that there will be a somewhat challenging season coming up, but we so look forward to the lifetime of friendship -- one that is long and healthy -- full of laughter and stories that start with, "Remember the time..."

25 November 2008

The Problem With Superpowers

The problem with superpowers is that sometimes you forget you have them. Or at least I do. I have to be really careful with what I put out in the Universe, because it is likely to happen. Though, somehow winning the lottery and losing those damn ten pounds the wrong Pill put on me are exempt. Seems I have to work for those. Whatever. It's the thought that counts for me. Really. It's almost like I am like Wish Girl or Intention Woman. It's kind of spooky.

Last week was a rollercoaster of good news/bad news (though, not in that order). By the time Thursday rolled around, I got not only good news about progress on a writing project, but a job offer from a friend. I had decided to give notice to my day job on December 1st and start with her on the 16th. It was a plan. Life seemed to be working for me for a change. Celebratory fish tacos from Lilly's were bought for my co-workers, who have been so supportive through the highs and lows, though I didn't feel I could tell them why I was in such a good mood. Sometimes, you need to keep things a little close to the vest. You don't want to jinx the mojo. Jinx is my kryptonite.

Friday morning, I got up to go to my client's and, before I left, I Twittered: Getting ready for a major shift. All I meant was that I was ready for even more good to come. What I got was a phone call from the general counsel of the imploding company I'd been working for. He had to let me go. Right before pay period. Typical. The ass hat turkey that was my boss didn't even have the balls to do it himself. Also typical. Can you really be that much of a wuss and declare yourself a CEO? I think not. I had grown friendly with the GC. We all know we are in the same sinking ship there. At least I was being shoved off in a lifeboat. He explained how awful he felt and how hard this was to do. I was not at all surprised. I knew my salary level put me in jeopardy (and when I say that, I was not making bank...the turkey just prefers to pay third-world wages). The GC thanked me for being so nice about it. I refrained from mentioning that they were merely beating me to the punch. The only difference would have been that I'd have had the class to give two weeks notice. My severance package? An extra day's pay for that Friday. I know! Knock me over with a feather. What will I do with all that dough?

I sat there and smiled and finished my Friday client duties. There was something poetic about the whole situation. Then I logged on to Twitter and was reminded of my post. A shift indeed.

The problem with my superpowers is that they are inconsistent. Some things happen super quick, and others take ages. Either way, what I put out there is bound to happen. The date with Clooney is inevitable.

For the first time in over a decade, the keys on my chain are just mine (I keep my Friday client's in their own place). For the first time in six years, the emails on my BlackBerry are just for me. I don't have to punch a clock anymore. I can keep vampire hours. I get to go to the gym for two whole hours every day -- except for Friday (client) and Sunday (laundry) -- and so there will go those bloody ten pounds once and for all! Hurrah! I finally get my life back. My work-from-home-writer-consultant-freelance-independent-contractor life. And that's just super.

24 November 2008

From Darkness Into Light

I woke up this morning feeling kind of numb. But as I thawed, a dark mood washed over me. I was full of anger and rage. And, to top it off, my internet was down. Not the best thing when you need to communicate. A cube of Post-Its was a casualty of this when I hurled it at the bookshelf. I'm not prone to fits like this. It's not generally the way I like to start my day. But, today, my friend is having surgery. And I am pissed.

Like they say, first you cry. Last Tuesday was spent in a flood of tears. But that's not what my friend needed or wanted. She simply asked us for our positive energy, good thoughts and love. To picture her happy and healthy and full of life. And that is so easy to do. She is the kind of person you can't help but smile when you think of. So, I have been smiling and focusing on her speedy recovery with great joy every minute of every day. We are in it to win it. Not a tear was shed from then, until today.

She and I have known each other since the 7th grade, but only got back in touch this spring. A mere twenty years had slipped by, but we made up for lost time with "wine dates" shared over the phone. And emails. We spent election night "together", breathing sighs of relief, talking about how hot Obama is, and what a gorgeous family they are. We felt so proud that we got such a good man in office, and by such a margin. Then we talked about what was going on with us. How well her three year-old son's doing. How she looked forward to her husband coming back from his trip. My nutty job. Our writing.

She and I marvel over the similarities we share. Obviously, I don't have an adorable son or a hot husband, but there are other things. Little coincidences. Uncanny duplications. We are connected in a fantastically peculiar way. We joke that we were separated at birth. I call her my soul sister. I love her that dearly.

I wouldn't think that three weeks later we would get such hard news. I'm not even going to write what she was diagnosed with. I don't want to give it the energy or make it any more real. Sorry if that seems wimpy or odd. I don't care. I can't even speak it. It makes me too mad. This is unfair. This is wrong. It has to be a mistake. But, right now, she is on her way to the hospital. She is hugging her son. She is putting on her gown. They are putting in IVs. She is kissing her husband. And at 3:30 PM (PST) she will be in the hands of the surgical team and the oncologist and God. I hope that you will think of her then with goodness and light. Thank you.

I've done well up until today. It has been easy to be positive and to know that she is just fine. This is merely a blip. And I do believe that. But today, I am so pissed off this is happening to her. I am so angry that she has to go through this. But, she's not. She has been nothing but graceful. She has been funny and open and full of life, just like she always is. Her husband is equally amazing. I am so proud of the way they have taken this on. And embarrassed that I am falling apart.

Another friend called to let me know she was thinking of my friend. She asked me how I was. I broke down, talking in broken sentences, red-faced like a two year-old having a tantrum because I couldn't express what I am feeling and why. It's just rage. Utter rage that this is happening. And it is the most useless, pathetic feeling I've ever experienced. As any good friend would, she tried to console me. But there's nothing quelling this ire. You don't need to tell me everything will be okay. I know it is okay. You don't need to tell me the best thing I can do for her is to be strong and be there for her. I am. Just let me have these couple of hours yell and cry and be so mad at it. Because soon, it will be gone. And I want it to be damn sure of the fact it is not welcomed back here. Stay away from my friend. Don't even think of coming near us again. Because when we said we were all in this fight with her, we meant it. We won't back down. So it might as well understand, it doesn't stand a chance.

I'm trying to take deep breaths and get my shit together. But I want to punch something. I want to kick it and break it and smash it to bits. So much for my Buddha nature, huh? Well, fuck it. I'm human and prone to flaws. Of course, all of this isn't going to help her. I've got to focus back on the good.

At 3:30 today, I will be on my knees, chanting and praying and smiling and sending her all the love and goodness in the world. Soon, we will be clinking cocktails in person, celebrating her recovery and laughing at the dented Post-It cube.

21 November 2008

Turkey

Of all the words that need to make a comeback, "turkey" tops my list. It's terribly retro, I know. It screams double-knit polyester jumpsuit, flare pants and corduroy. But it's also kind of perfect in a G-rated with R subtext sort of way.

I've been trying to cut down on my swearing. I've already been known to make truck drivers, sailors and frat boys blush, but the litanies I've let loose in the past two weeks, well, I've even started to shock myself. Shouting out sockcucking futhermucker in the office isn't really professional or polite, especially considering that we work in a single room and conversations (or outbursts) can be easily overheard on the phone. Not the level of integrity I usually take to the office. And just another reason why I'm not cut out for nine-to-five life. Somehow, people expect a certain level of decorum, even if aptitude is optional. You have no idea of the level of "genius" I sometimes have to deal with...or, maybe you get to frolic in it, too. Now I understand why God invented Happy Hour...and why it goes on for two or three.

As I've been trying to spare the ears of my two colleagues, I've tried to be creative with my outbursts. Farg has become a regular expletive substitute for me. "Wait. Did you just say 'farg'?" my co-worker asked yesterday, obviously more accustomed to hearing the blue streak. "Yeah. Just trying to cut down on the bad words." She gave a nod that was both slightly confused and a tad grateful.

Rice crispies is another good term to use when around children or old people. It's sort of a mouthful to say, and is confusing to the listener. However, it hasn't really found its way into the workplace as yet.

Douche bag, on the other hand, has been falling out of my mouth pretty regularly. About every five to fifteen minutes or so. I try to throw in Massengill every now and then, just for kicks, but even I've grown tired of using an antiquated and unhealthy feminine "hygiene" apparatus to express my disgust.

So, it's time for turkey. I warned the girls it was coming. They kind of dig it, too. I can't wait to roll down the window and scream it at the next douche bag futhermucker ass clown inept driver that cuts me off. The look on that turkey's face will be so worth it.

20 November 2008

In a Minute

Tuesday morning, I was on a call with a friend while I drove into work. We were kind of bitching about being stuck. How nothing is turning out like it's suppose to. We've been patient, pro-active, we've worked hard...and still, we sit waiting for something to happen. And we've both said, "If just one aspect of life showed some sort of progress, I'd be so happy."

You know how it goes. You've been working at Goal X (or X,Y and Z, in my case) diligently, and it's taking years, futhermucking years, for anything to happen. Patience wanes and frustration sets in. You feel a bit chapped, then try to rustle up some optimism so you can keep going. Because, above all things, you are stubborn. (I think it's pretty clear that "you" = me here.)

Then, people tell you to visualize how you want your life to be. See it as you want it to happen. Write it out or put it up as a collage on a cork board. Believe it and watch it manifest. Blah blah blah. The trouble with that is you can get attached to how it is supposed to happen. What it is supposed to look like. And, if it doesn't come as expected, it's rather easy to turn your nose up and go, "No. That's not what I ordered. Please take it back. I'll wait for it to come out right."

That's some of the dumbest shizzle you can do, and I'm so effing guilty of it. Working on it, though. Getting better. Because the lessons being served up to me lately aren't so subtle.

That same morning, once I got into work, I received an email from another friend sharing some difficult news. The life-altering kind. We rallied around her with love and support, as much as we could deliver through cyber space (large bandwidth helps). It just goes to show what we all really know -- life can change in an instant.

We tend to count time in the manner of hours, days, weeks, months, years. But, it is in the minute that our lives shift. With one phone call. One email. One sentence. One word. The difference between a Yes or a No. Yet, we tend to let the minutes blur as we look for something bigger to mark our progress, or lack thereof.

Hold your breath for a minute. That's when you'll note how long those sixty seconds are. They aren't meant to be rushed through. Yet we do. To get to another one that we hope will be better, more. Sometimes, when we look back, we see how special that minute really was. And we sort of ignored it. Now it's gone. We can't get it back. Hopefully, that will help us pay attention to the minute we have right now and be present in it. It may not look the way we want it to. It may bring us news we hoped never to hear. But it is the only minute we have. And, sadly, we don't have an infinite amount of them to play with.

On Tuesday, I learned to love the minute. Honor it. Hold it as precious. There are many to count before we get an email with the good news we are praying for. So, I have to savor the ones in between and allow them to surprise me. I've given up trying to figure it out. I no longer need to know what's going to happen, anticipate the outcome, try to control each step of the progression. I can't. It's futile. And I don't want to miss something wonderful just because I'm looking for something else.

19 November 2008

Dialing It Back

I was chatting with a co-worker the other evening on the way to our cars. She's in a new relationship and, well, they kind of did it before they defined what they were doing. You know, is he seeing other people or not? And, even if he's not, does that mean they are exclusive...at least until further notice? It's the awkward conversation that we would rather avoid so as to not spoil the mood. Especially if we get the wrong answer. It's the loophole that women have to close so we don't have to hear, "Well, we never said we were exclusive," somewhere down the road. It's part of being a grown up. After all, if we can't have these conversations, we shouldn't be doing anything more *adult*, if you know what I mean.

So, she asked me if I had any advice on how to dial it back a bit. And here it is...

[Production Note: The bugs still exist, even with the Lego-like people, so the jump cuts and whatnot were not intended. Enjoy the show. And you can always watch it here, too.]



And that's not even covering the paperwork that's involved these days to be especially adult and responsible. And guys, don't even bother complaining about the swab up the urethra. You have no idea what we gals have to go through.

Ah, love in the time of Chlamydia and other cooties. Who said romance was dead? Use a condom. xo

18 November 2008

Who Gives a Twit?

By now, you must know that I'm addicted to the Twitter and the TiVo. Life is a little less real without them. Well, that might be taking it a bit too far. But it is certainly more convenient and fun having those two Ts around.

Twitter seems to be a mystery to a few. It's rather malleable and deeply dependent on who you follow. It can be kind of lonely in the beginning. Who do you follow? Where do you find them? I got lucky. At the time, I was testing out BlogHer and announced I was on Twitter. Immediately, I got a response by other groovy chick bloggers (not that I'm a groovy chick or a groovy blogger, but I do have a uterus and a blogspot). I got the gist following their tweet leads, then I did the unthinkable...I cruised the people they were following. I followed a few of them. A few of them followed me. And the next thing you know, I've got nine pages of tweets to catch up on when I get home from work. They are a prolific lot, and I adore them so.

In case you aren't a Twit, tweets are what you post on Twitter, and they are broadcast to all of your followers, and the public stream unless you opt out. You can let people know what you are up to, what you're thinking, share news, announce you're latest blog post or re-tweet (RT) someone else's tweet to share with your followers. Confused? Don't be.

There are various ways to use the big T. I prefer information and entertainment. I want to get the latest on the news front (which was very handy during the campaign), updates on the film industry and social media, some tech, and the brain droppings of my blogosphere friends. I actually read all of my tweets, and feel like I'm missing something if I don't.

There's another way to use Twitter -- a much more annoying way -- and that is to chat amongst followers, having 140 character exchanges. These are called @Replies and are typically used to respond to a tweet (give information requested or to give an attboy/girl). However, some have misconstrued the purpose and feel the need to @Reply to every tweet that comes their way. That would be a tw00b move. If you want to have an exchange you can DM (direct message) that person (if they follow you). But the endless @Replies finally led me to un-follow a very sweet blogger who would blast out twenty or more @Replies about three times a day. C'mon. That's what Facebook is for. Flip open your SideKick and text away. AIM someone, but I don't want to have to weed through a plethora of Right on!s to get to something more substantial. But that's me. I can build my Twitter any way I like. And, when I find a part that just doesn't fit, I un-follow it.

She un-followed me, too, for un-following her. Whatever. Which leads me to another question: When you follow someone, are you doing it because you are interested in what they have to say, or are you in it for the numbers?

If you look at my stats, I follow a mere 23. Of that, about 16 follow me back (some of the twilebrities don't always do a reciprocal). The other collection of my "following" are some nice people who tune in for whatever reason (cheers!), then there are random individuals and companies who seem to join and follow a bunch of folks hoping they will follow back. That was the Twitter etiquette from the beginning -- follow me, I follow you. But, as Twitter has grown, spammers and other forms of "promoters" have infiltrated, and that has made me think twice about doing a reciprocal. You usually know who the numbers people are because, if you don't follow them within an hour or a day, they un-follow you. Which can be rather funny. Because I actually take a few days to see what a follower posts and how often (including how may right-on @Replies they do) before deciding if I will follow them. And, even the followers I don't follow, I will check out their tweets from time to time, visiting them like extended family. But, for those who want the numbers, I'm not the gal for you. I like quality over quantity. But, that's just me.

So far, I've only un-followed the over-@replier and the Today Show (@Today). The Today Show had some pretty weak tweets. Let me know if Lauer joins Twitter. I'll be all over Matt that. Instead, I've got @RickSanchezCNN, @RachelSklar, @RachelMaddow and my friend @SuBu28 serving me up news. In addition to that, I follow a stellar lot of bloggers. They are informative and witty and rather provocative. Sometimes I have to be sure to swallow that swig a wine before reading a tweet because it could end up being sprayed all over my laptop.

Oddly enough, I only follow three personal friends on Twitter (though, I consider the network of bloggers I follow as buddies). For me, in most cases, friends are better suited for Facebook. Twitter is a little different. I think I actually enjoy it more that Facebook. There are no applications to deal with.

Then there's the other T in my life. The TiVo. I couldn't live without it. Seriously. I live on the corner of a busy intersection that is on the main drag to head East after a day at the beach. I cannot tell you how many crucial movie moments have been ruined by the thumping stereo of someone waiting at the light. Or the sirens from the firehouse a couple blocks away. Now, I can replay when interrupted, or pause when I need to pee. I keep up with the O-ster and have a stash of movies saved for when there is nothing good to watch on real TV. But, as my free time has diminished, so has my patience for meh shows. I'm un-following cancelling my Season Pass to "CSI Miami" and "My Name is Earl". I know. I loved the first two seasons of Earl. I'm just over it. And Miami was harmless mind candy for a bit, but now it bugs. Way too much filler, if you know what I mean. I think that leaves the original "CSI" as the only network show I watch. No, wait. There's "Biggest Loser". Duh. It's hard for me to give up on a show I've followed for so long. It's a loyalty thing. I want to support the effort. But, at the end of the day, I find that I'm deleting instead of watching...and that just means it's time to part ways. Besides, there's always a few episodes of "True Blood" saved I can replay instead.

17 November 2008

Notice Me! Notice Me!

It always astounds me that those who so desperately need attention will go to extreme lengths to disturb any occasion, no matter how peaceful the scene. The impetus of this post is the laundromat, natch, of which I am arriving rather old-lady early these days. If I get there in the 8 o'clock hour, I am pretty much guaranteed not only "my" machines, but no loud cell phone talkers or sugar-hyper kids. It's worth the lack of sleep to get in while the place is relatively empty and quiet but for the hum of the dryers and the whirl of the washing machines.

But, there always seems to be a turd in my punchbowl lately. And this one was wearing pigtails (which should be noted as Notice Me effort #1).

She first came to my attention when she burst through the swinging door of the attached cafe and yelled across the room to her husband. With the extra poundage she was sporting, it might have been more prudent to walk the twenty feet to her husband. I think walking burns for calories than a shout, otherwise I'd be screaming all day. Like a well-trained Labrador, her husband followed her call and back into the cafe they went. Ten minutes or so later, he returned, and ten seconds after that, she burst through the door and shouted for him again. Apparently, nothing really existed unless he saw it, too.

Now, let me map this out for you. I sit in the back of the laundromat, sipping my soy latte, reading Sedaris, minding my own business...quietly. To the left of my perch, about six feet away, is the swinging door to/from the cafe I mentioned earlier. On his third trip back, her husband must have breezed by me when I was finishing the burning mouse story, but I nearly came out of my skin when Miss Pigtails kicked (KICKED!) open the door, and hard. I looked over in surprise to find her smiling and, in each hand, holding a full-sugared soda. I suppose it did not occur to her that the light-weight door could have easily been bumped open with her backside, but I might have missed her grand entrance had she done something that subtle.

I suppose none of this would have bothered me if: 1) I had been listening to NIN (but it was so meditatively peaceful, I decided to go with the rhythm of the 'mat as I read); and 2) she wasn't wearing a similar ensemble to mine -- which, embarrassingly enough, consisted of black track pants and a black tee. I'm not going to apologize for my lack of fashion. It's effing laundry day. Anyway, I at least had my hair up in a French twist (the first since I got Boop'ed) and not in pigtails that are not only age inappropriate for someone 40+, but also exposed a good inch of her gray rootage. That is something most of us try not to have others notice. Every atom of her being seemed to scream, "Notice me! Notice me!" Finally, they seemed settled in the cafe. His attention now solely on her, she no longer had to beg the rest of us to bear witness.

Many moons ago, my friend, Snap and I discovered the Notice Me! Notice Me! phenomenon back when we were film students at CalArts. We soon learned how to discern which student belonged to which school. Those donning baseball caps and playing hacky sack were the animators who would go off to Pixar after a year and make bank. Those who could not stop swaying and had magnificent posture were the dancers. Those whom we never saw much socially were the music students. The emo-sullen were the art students, except for a gregarious few who were the graphic artists (mostly they were chicks; though there were still plenty of sullen GAs of both genders, and they usually silkscreened t-shirts). Film student were pale (from spending so much time in dark theatres or the subterranean edit bays) and sleep deprived (from long, night shoots and editing through dawn), but carried an optimism/delusion that they would breakthrough and be the next Tarantino. However, the most easy to define area of study was the Theatre student/acting major. Snap and I could be sitting quietly in the coffee house, splitting a six-pack of Bud Light (don't ask -- for some reason he claimed that was a more gay-friendly beer) and be deep in a great philosophical conversation and suddenly the whole place would come to a halt because a Theatre student would need to act out the conversation with wild physicality and projected vocals. He and I would soon come to mock them by waving our arms for dramatic effect as we sang out, "Notice me! Notice me!" Then we would giggle a bit and go back to our beer and repartee until we were interrupted again. (Don't be mad, my Theatre alum friends. You know what I mean. And we loved you for it.)

Snap and I will still call someone out on that behavior. One was my ex's now-wife, whom for some reason absolutely hates me. This is rather perplexing, because, at that point, she and I had never met. At least give me a minute to piss you off. Jeebus.

We were at my favorite brekky spot for brunch. I hadn't seen the ex (nicknamed here as Almost) in about a year. I noticed him when the two of them pulled up on his motorcycle not realizing it was him at the moment, just wondering who the fuck would be wearing such thick leather jackets on such a hot day. My ex and his girl evidently. (The motorcycle came after our breakup. Had it happened before, he would have had a smarter getup.). He didn't see me and I was kind of hoping we could "miss" each other on this occasion, but the Irish waitress bellowed out my name and he leapt up as I passed. He introduced her to me. She gave me her wet-noodle handshake, but failed to look in my direction as I said, "So nice to meet you." Whatever.

As luck (?) would have it, they were seated across the aisle from Snap and me. His back was to our booth, but she faced us. Every time the waitress came by their table, she would talk so loudly that Snap and I would have to stop our conversation, unable to hear each other but for telepathy, where we both were like, "Why the hell does she have to talk so bloody loudly? We don't give a toss that they just got back from Hawaii. Shut it." However, when the waitress wasn't around, the two of them were quiet lambs. Barely an audible bah between them.

"She really wants you to notice her," Snap said. "You should go over and sit in his lap and give them a proper hello." Don't worry, I'm not that kind of a girl. I was happy for the both of them. Just puzzled at her behavior. Snap and I just tried to ignore her (which wasn't easy) and enjoy our brunch.

Finally, after a few more visits from the waitress, they left. She shot out of the room, but Almost waved goodbye to us and we awkwardly returned the gesture. Once he was out of earshot, we let loose. Snap mocked her with his arms waving in the air and a high volume parroting of, "BLAH blah blah blah blah and BLAH blah blah blah blah and BLAH..." which was interrupted when Almost walked back to the table to leave the tip. He looked at us, knowing what we were doing, and kind of gave an acknowledging glance. We looked back contrite. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, or hers. But we were caught. Nailed by our own Notice Me behavior. We waved again and said how good it was to see him. Have a nice day and all that. And please, give her my best.

Somehow, I doubt she got that message, or cared if she did.

14 November 2008

Nano Nano

So, I never, ever eBay. Well, except for one Vince sweater, and that was a fluke. It was so cheap (for new) and is so cozy; I'm wrapped in it right now..and every girl deserves at least one Vince. Look, you know I'm a walking, talking contradiction. But, as a rule, I stay away from eBay. It kind of grosses me out. I don't know why and I realize it's irrational, but it really makes my skin crawl. Look, you also know I'm a walking, talking goofball. Nothing should surprise you about me by now.

With my iPod Mini slowly going into that long good night, I had to do something. I can't take my long commute without my NIN. The right music really make a difference, and while I love my Indie 103.1, I hate it when they play Green Day. That's why God invented KROQ. And Soundgarden, too. Why?

I'm not really into the latest generation of Nano. I would probably snap it in two when I rolled in on the sliding squat machine at the gym. I need something a bit more sturdy, and something I won't easily lose in my cavernous handbag. I can't afford or even rationalize paying the dough for a full-sized model (though, the Touch would be so much fun). The Shuffle is ruled out due to the fact that I need a screen. After resigning myself to the new Nanos for budgetary reasons (an armband would be needed for workouts), and figuring how long it would take me to save up the two Franklins to procure one (new tires and brakes are due in the next week or two), I thought, Huh. Why don't I look on eBay and see if they don't have a little square Nano in need of a new home?

Of course, they did. I found two, 8 GB, silver, refurbed, 3rd gen Nanos (you know, the cute ones that had the Feist song promoting them last year), both starting at about forty bucks -- with free shipping. Bargain! I put in a bid for one and felt fabulously frugal. Until I was outbid.

I went up to $65, still feeling like it was a steal. I went to bed and thought, If I'm outbid again, I'll go up to $75, but that's my limit.

Okay, how bad is it that I was driving into work, scoping out my eBay stats at red lights (actually looking forward to red lights, if you can believe that one)? The bidding had intensified. It was time to up the ante. I decided to draw the line at $87.50. For real this time. And that was quickly outbid. I watched in stumpified awe as the first refurbed Nano went out at $125. After that bidding closed, I looked at the second Nano, which I had already $87.50'd my way into. At the next light, it had crossed $91. I closed my browser and went in to order my latte. It sucks to be a two-time loser before you even get a sip of caffeine.

The Mini actually seemed to get a full charge last night. Maybe her pride is in play since she knew she was on the verge of being replaced. I don't know. I just hope she holds out a little bit longer. Fight the good fight with me, until I can afford to get a new iPod...from the Apple Store.

13 November 2008

And Nero Whipped Out His Fiddle

I feel like I'm standing in my very own Rome and Nero is rosining his bow. Sadly, in this Rome, I am not the Empress. I'm more of a lady in waiting...which is so the story of my life. There's nothing I can do in this situation. I'm not the one commandeering the chariot. I just have to hold on tight until we either hit the brakes, or the wheels fall off.

While I am all about the optimism (yea, power of positive thinking! w00t!), I prefer being pragmatic. It just makes the day run a bit more smoothly. Not that I've not pulled a few ostrich moves in my day. (Why do you think I set up everything on bill pay? I just don't want to know. I know, I know. You sound like my CPA.) But, when faced with a crisis, I have the presence of a panther. I am engaged and ready to do what needs to be done without hesitation. Which makes being stuck on someone else's Mr. Toad's Wild Ride all the more uncomfortable for me. Especially when they keep turning their head toward me to explain how we really aren't going to hit that brick wall we are headed for; and to stop being such a downer. As if happy words and an affable grin will chase away the looming storm and bounce away those lightning bolts. Like a sunny disposition could get you out of the shit. Wouldn't we all be walking around like Cheshire cats if that were the case? Wall Street and DC would be ear to ear. (And don't even get me started on AIG.) In my case, my driver is putting perfume on a corpse and setting a place for his dinner. It's that deluded. Oh well, right? Excuse me while I put Vaseline on my teeth to keep that smile going.

I just hope that whatever tune Nero starts fiddling, it will be one I can dance to.

12 November 2008

Sexy Back

There's nothing sexy about a yawn. A morning stretch, yes. A yawn, not so much.

I can't stop yawning. All day long. Basically, I'm watching my sex appeal walk out the door with each sleepy gape. Really. Every third sentence, just picture me yawning. And not a cute little yawn, but a you-can-see-my-tonsillectomy-scars chasm. Like I said, sexy. And I just yawned again.

All I need to do is get my silly ass to bed at a decent hour. But, no. My brain doesn't shut off until midnight. This isn't a case of "racing thoughts" or insomnia. At least that would be fixable. I just have a stubborn brain that wants to *do* stuff when we finally get on *my* time. My brain doesn't like the fact I have to rent it out to other people. It thought we were through with that. But no. Almost, just not yet. It's like dealing with a bratty toddler on sugar. It just wants its way, and I have not choice but to relent. Truth be told, I like my brain time. I just miss my sleep.

The brain and I don't get to bed until about one. The alarm goes off before six. And I live in a sleep deficit. It sucks. But this is how it goes. I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I am not cut out for the nine-to-five world. And I know I'm not alone. We, the nocturnal masses, are the ones who support the caffeine industry. We do our best to function as *normal* people. But, we're not. We aren't lazy. We aren't slackers. We're not even hungover (most of the time....like 98%). We might look that way due to our dark circles, pale skin and perpetual yawning, but please note that we look a hot mess because we are desperately trying to adapt...and pretty much failing in spite of those efforts. Still, we don't give up. While we might be showing off our dental work to random strangers as we tilt back our heads and attempt to balance our oxygen levels, getting yet another latte, we are really trying our best to make it work.

And I just want my sexy back.

11 November 2008

Inventory

There comes a point in a busy girl's life when she has to face facts (even if she won't look at her bank balance) and admit that $144 is a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a storage unit that holds a few bits of unneeded furniture and a bunch of boxes full of stuff. That stuff is really receipts and whatnot for a you-know-what; some old scripts (that could come in handy one day because the one I'm shopping around right now ain't no spring chicken); a few bits of memorabilia from my Hollywood past; and some truly miscellaneous crap. You know, the typical. Somehow, I remembered it being only a "few" boxes. Try thirteen.

When I looked at the extent of my storage, I started thinking about what I could cut out of my already lean budget in order to afford that $144...or what third job I could procure to keep it. I firmly believe that my time as well as my happiness/comfort is worth a fair amount. As I stared at what I stowed away, I decided it made sense to chalk that $144 up to my peace of mind at not having to further impose on my already crowded duplex. But, when I started to slide the door on my unit shut, I heard the voice of my good friend/CPA saying, "What the hell are you doing throwing that money away? Put your boxes in document storage. It's cheaper." With our level of intimacy (when I say she knows everything about me, that includes my net worth), I can't get away with any sort of shenanigans. Since I am having dinner with her on Thursday, I thought it might be nice to look her in the eye. So, I loaded up my car, twice, and carried the boxes into my home.

I suppose wearing white wasn't the brightest move. I did second guess my t-shirt and hoodie when I walked out the door, but, I figured, I'm a grown-up. I can manage a laborious task and not end up all grimy. It's all about how you carry yourself. Well, just who does carry themselves well shuffling old boxes about? Clearly, not I.

I stacked the boxes in a tower in my living room. That was about the only fun part. I stood back and stared at the wall of Stor-All and sighed. This is the price of being an independent contractor/writer -- a whole lot of "back up". The question is: Can I fit it all back in here, or do I have to take the time to organize the contents of the white cardboard cubes in a way that really organized people will understand and can assign barcodes to?

By the way, can I just mention how this so does not fit into the "minimize my life" scheme?

Stumbling through the boxes of my past, I did uncover a few things that made me smile. The invitation to the housewarming party with my then co-habitating boyfriend. Names I hadn't thought of in years. Cancelled checks from nearly twenty years ago, leading a trail to where I had been (and how much I'd spent). Remembering that dinner, that dress or that day. And, as I shredded them all, I felt both closer and more distant to my past. That girl I was. So hopeful and sure of how things would be. There's still some of her left in me. I look at those boxes, which seem to stare back at me, and I wonder what else I might find. What I will toss away. Or what I will cram into a corner until it's time to do inventory again.

Next time, I shan't wear white.

10 November 2008

I Figured 8 Out!

It's been an exhausting week. The high high of the Obama win (let's be honest, Obama pwn3d McCain), and the low low of Proposition 8 passing was draining. Talk about buzzkill. I truly believed we would vote it down and make marriage available to all. We. Us. Californians. The trendsetters of the nation. Hey, didn't we bring you smoke-free bars, yoga and colonics? Enough said.

What is so bitterly ironic about all this is that we gladly passed Prop 2, which enables farm animals to turn around in cages. I'm pro-2. Don't get me wrong. But how did we give animals rights while we took them away from tax-paying humans? That's insane. And brought to you by a religion that believes in polygamy. Sweet Jeebus of late-in-the-day stains. Then again, we are the dorks who put Conan in our capitol. [Hey, Arnie, swell job with the budget. That whole "let's just open the books" strategy of governing is really paying off.]

It's taken me a while to process the whole debacle. But, I think I've figured out why people were so concerned about same-sex couples getting legally wed: A gay wedding is hard to top. Think about it. Same-sex weddings would be beyond over-the-top, but in a really elegant and efficient way. What straight couple could live up to that? Especially if all the best wedding planners, caterers, florists and designers were booked for years doing gay weddings. With that level of competition, and supply versus demand, it would certainly drive up the already high cost of a wedding. Imagine what a multi-tier wedding cake would cost under No H-8 circumstances. And, with our crappy economy, it really does come down to the bottom line.

If we know anything in California, we know not to piss off West Hollywood or San Francisco. They rally, picket, march and candlelight vigil like nobody's business. They are or-gan-ized. And they pull the numbers. Because these cities are known for fabulous, *inclusive* parties, everyone wants to crash them, easily doubling or tripling their crowds. People who love good dance music and strong drinks tend to tag along (and throw down their support). See, it's all about *community*. [That, and we know that the rallies end up at The Abbey in WeHo or Harvey's on Castro.]

I'm convinced that weddings are the reason Prop 8 passed. Straight people are insecure and afraid of being upstaged. Breeders have no style on their own. Oh, you think I'm being bigoted now? Puh-leez. Look at the difference between, say, Ellen and Portia's wedding and that of Celine Dion and Rene What's-his-name. That's what we are capable of without gay guidance. Everyone knows that. I'm not stereotyping. I'm stating fact. Reference Cher with Sonny and then Cher with Bob Mackie. Need I say more? And, while I would like to think I would avoid the meringue and a sad silhouette on my own, believe you me, if/when I get married, I'm bringing my queer nation with me to make sure I don't regret my wedding photos. And, that's what straight people are afraid of.

America, don't give up on us just yet. H-8 doesn't belong in our groovy State. So we are taking to the streets. We are taking it to court. We are taking it to Utah. We are checking out of Marriott. We are petitioning up a storm. We will break 8!

And, not that I am any sort of legal eagle, but I don't think there is any way this can hold up in court. We have a precedence of same-sex marriage. Some same-sex couples were wed in that legal window. We can't make those marriages invalid. Therefore, we how can we deny others the same rights? It seems to this laywoman that there's enough here to fight the good fight and win. And equality will prevail. Because, while we might be known as the land of fruits and nuts, we are also a bunch of rebellious trailblazers. We know how to make things happen.

And, if Arnie needs to bring in some revenue to Cali, he might want to think about helping us bring down Prop 8. We need the marriage license fees.

07 November 2008

That Spat

In relationships, the first fight is rather a pivotal moment. For the first time, the rosy glow of infatuation does not dim the ire. Guards are let down. Shit hits the fan. Most of these "exchanges" are quickly erased from memory. Some, however, are just too good to forget. Therefore, I would like to share with you The Toothbrush Incident:



[Production Note: The Grayscale People are a little buggie. Some of the camera angles and movements were not what I "directed", but I think they add to the narrative. And, in real life, he's not Australian. The accent was just better. Isn't it always?]

[Another Note: The framing blows a little on the embed. You can watch it better here.]

That spat happened seven years ago. He is only alive today and walking without a limp because he used the manual and not use the Braun Oral-B. We still laugh about it...or needle each other with it. It's a running gag. How can it not be? He did spend that night on the sofa, which was his last night here. The next morning he returned home. Not the way either one of us wanted to end the visit. But, a line was crossed and there were consequences for that.

The second spat was even better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. The subject matter is one of utter hilarity; the conflict itself was rather painful. We spent the night in separate sections of the city after that one. Such is the price of passionate personalities. The goal is to avoid a third. I think we can. Though, I wouldn't be surprised if betting pools were forming. If there ends up being a tiff, though, it's sure to be animated.

06 November 2008

Getting Over Him

We have a new man in our lives. It is such a good feeling. (I don't know about you, but I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling like I had the best sex ever.) We have let out a collective sigh of relief and feel excited. Renewed. Optimistic. Just like when we step into a wonderful, new relationship.

Unfortunately, we still have to get over the dork that came before.

Because there is no time for a rebound fling, I thought we would take a few of the steps from my book -- A Sassy Little Guide to Getting Over Him -- and apply them to the lame duck we have to deal with for the next few weeks. Here are the steps I think are the most appropriate:

Get Out of His Head
Do we really want to go in there in the first place? No. There's no point in trying to figure out what he was thinking...because I don't think he was. That's okay. Trying to figure out why, how or if he was thinking isn't worth the effort. What's done is done. We are moving on.

Don't Look for Answers Because There are No Answers
Answers, in this case, are kind of like those WMDs. They just aren't there. And what kind of answers would make sense to us? Sure, we want to know the whys and the hows, subject this recent history to a serious postmortem. But, leave that to the CSI team who will write the history books. We have better things to do than wallow in the past. We are moving on.

Don't Pick the Scab
We've had a rocky eight years. They left a mark. The wound is still tender. But, we need to let it get better. Put a salve on it and leave it alone. It's a long way to January. We don't want a scar. Don't pick the scab, people. The last thing we need is any sort of infection. We've got enough to deal with. Besides, we are moving on!

And, finally...

Know Your Worth
Sure, our economy might be in the crapper, but we are worth a new start. We don't have to repeat what's come before; we can decide who we want to be now and as we move forward. We can't untangle the past, but we can use it to help shape the future from what we have learned. We are worth living up to our potential. We are worth achieving our dreams. We are worth leaving the nightmare behind. We are worth coming together.

It's time to let go. We need to take the lesson from this trying, all-take, no-give relationship, learn it well, and leave the rest behind. Because the change we have hoped for is here. America, we finally landed a nice, respectable, decent guy (and, he's pretty good-looking, too). I have a feeling he was worth the wait.

05 November 2008

[Insert Great Big Happy Face Here!]

I couldn't be happier than if I woke up in the arms of the Clooney. We have a new President. And I feel so good about it. It's time to mend the fences. Heal the wounds. Restore our standing in the world. Yes, we can. And we did.

This is an amazing time. A renaissance even. We have such an opportunity now. Can we move up the swearing in? Transplant the shrub from DC back to Texas ASAP? We've got a lot of work to do. And it can't wait for January to start.

I have long said that we would have a black man in the White House before we would have a white woman. (Apologies for the un-PC phraseology. Bear with me.) I said it to illustrate that, no matter how racist our county might be, we are patriarchal over all. (Bear with me a minute further.) I never would have guessed we'd have the unique situation of having both a man of color -- bi-racial, in fact, which is so poetic -- and a female Caucasian vying for the candidacy in the same primary for the same party. For Feminists (I intentionally capitalize), it was interesting to watch. While the natural inclination might have been to vote for the lady, it was the gentleman who showed us the most hope, the most change, the greater opportunity. I backed Barack from the beginning, in spite of the twinge of gender betrayal. For me, it was the right choice. See, I believe he was born in a manger...or a reasonably facsimile thereof. I saw "That One" as the right one. I look forward to the day we get to figure out what to call the husband of Madame President, but it looks like we'll have to wait eight more years to find out. And I'm okay with that. Our time will come. We know all change is possible now.

I sit here fighting back the tears as I write this (and those who know me know I'm not easily teary). I am so happy, so proud, so grateful that the election was won by Obama. It is a beautiful moment. Beyond color or gender, we have a unique individual who can lead us in a new way. And thank God for that. I feel like I can again travel the world with my head held high...if only I could afford an international ticket, let alone the exchange rate. But we will get to that soon enough.

Not only did we have a wonderful man of color in this campaign, we had not one, but two women running as well. While one was questionably qualified (which further split the Feminist divide), there is no way to downplay the significance of this election. As my darling friend, JWC, noted, it's hard to believe that this is the same country that voted in the shrub...twice (though, I still dispute the 2000 election completely). What a change indeed.

This wasn't just a win, it was a victory. So much so, there is only a tiny part of me that wants to gloat and rub it in a few faces. But, I won't. The time for that is done. It is time to heal. To mend. To rebuild and overcome. But, if you aren't ready to celebrate that, then perhaps you should go off into a corner and suck it!

I mean that with love.

04 November 2008

The Big Reveal

Today is Election Day. I don't know how anyone anywhere can be unaware of that. All that I can do is ask (read: beg) everyone who is registered to get out and vote. It's painless, and you get a sticker for doing it.

I don't understand why anyone wouldn't take a moment to vote. Except that we, as a society, can be terribly spoiled and apathetic. Don't be mad that I said that, Americans. You know how we can be. Oh, we don't like to admit it to the rest of the world, but those are some of our lesser traits. This is understandable, to a point. We are overworked, overstressed, overtired, overextended, underpaid, under-vacationed and need to take every spare moment we have to just sit down and take a breath. I get it. However, that's no excuse. Take a look at where our country is today. We can blame Wall Street or Washington if we want, but the truth is we were complicit. Don't just sit back and wait for another catastrophe. Vote, dammit. It's your GD duty. It shows respect for your country and your fellow citizens. And, don't be flip or funny about it. This is something to show a bit of reverence toward. Respect it. Do it. You can even take off work for it. Criminy, I'll throw in some cookies if that will motivate you. Though, a bribe should not be necessary (it kind of illustrates my "spoiled/apathetic" point that we would rather downplay).

Anyway, while I am extremely confident that Obama will win, there is a part of me that is concerned we will have to deal with the same questionable counting issues from some States. We can't have that happen again. Two screwed elections were just two too many. And look where those botched counts got us. I'm still pissed about 2000, and mad at Gore for bowing out so gracefully. There's a time to be a gentleman, and then there's a time to grab your sack and say, "No effing way. Do-over, dude!" Seriously. We want things so quick in America -- with our fast-food nation, drive-thru attention span -- that we will take it the wrong way just to get it faster. I think it's time we start appreciating quality, no matter how long that may take. Where are we going? What's the rush? Patience is a virtue we seemed to have hocked. Let's just take in a deep, cleansing breath and get it right this time, shall we?

Okay, stepping off soapbox. I was getting a little dizzy being up there, anyway. But, you know what I'm saying. If you don't vote, I suppose you have your reasons. I can't think of any good ones myself, so please enlighten me. But, maybe give it a shot this time. Maybe see the other side. Have fun with it. You get to make little dots now. It's kind of like the old Scantron tests (and, deep down, we all had fun coloring in our chosen box). So, please vote. Please. Pretty please with sugar on top? Thanks!

03 November 2008

Cocktails & Conversations, Part 1

I have to give credit where credit is due. Deb on the Rocks created a series (which is beyond hysterical genius), on her blog that inspired me to have a little fun with it myself. (Cheers, Deb.)

Being that my friends and I have a lot of cocktail-infused conversations, I can either write about them...or bring them to a bit of staggered, animated life.

Enjoy. (Note that my "character" has the soccer-mom bob.)



Remember to vote tomorrow! It's the best excuse to be late to work, or leave early. I say do it on your way in and be late. That way it's done and you can feel good about yourself all day, and show off that hot little sticker.