28 September 2009

How Do I Say This...?

I've noticed a new trend in Feminist writings (and, remember, I am one with a capital F), that I find rather concerning. Of course, talking about it will surely make me unpopular. But, so what? Popularity has never been a concern of mine.

There seems to be a new wave of encouraging women to feel good about being heavy, while condemning other women for being thin. Some of the encouragement I've read borders on bullying. It doesn't make sense to me. The assumption is that heavy is normal, while thin is forced. As a woman, I find that somewhat offensive. We are still attacking each other, still trying to define what is right and wrong. After all this time, is this where Feminism has gotten us?

Let's be honest: People who are severely overweight typically don't feel good, physically or emotionally. Ask someone who's lost a lot of weight. I get being supportive of women accepting themselves for who and how they are. I get being against the rail-thin models and the airbrushed magazine covers. What I don't get is the fact that we aren't talking about being our best, about caring and respecting ourselves enough to eat well and exercise, not because Madison Avenue or Hollywood says we should, but because it's good for us.

You know I'm a big proponent of health care reform. But I know that starts in our shopping carts. Let's start pointing the finger at how we eat instead of what we see on TV, magazines or on film. Back in the 80s, we were made aware of anorexia and bulemia and how widespread they were. Those are terrible eating disorders. But so is constant bingeing on sweets and processed, high-fat unnatural foods. Overeating is as dangerous and deadly, yet we are silently accepting it as "normal".

Somehow, it's acceptable to say, "Ick. You can't expect me to eat rabbit food my whole life," like fruits and vegetables are the enemy. Or "Exercise? I don't want to get all sweaty," like it's cute to be that much of a princess. But it's not acceptable to say, "I'd like to lose ten pounds." Immediately, you are diagnosed with either an eating disorder or a poor self-image, obviously warped by some gossip weekly. Because, somehow, women still can't make up their own minds. We are so weak that we are easily guided by glossies. We see a starlet who is a size 0 and we must be a size zero, too. Or, we are thin because we want to live up to some male fantasy. Skip the bread basket and you are accused of being a carbophobe instead of getting a back-pat for avoiding white flour. To me, it's nonsensical.

As women, we should be at a point in society where we have the right to accept who we are, or change who we are, as it suits us. Hopefully, that acceptance or change will always be in a healthy manner. Of course, sometimes it's not. Sometimes we are trying to live up to a fantasy. Sometimes we are starving ourselves to death. Sometimes we are eating ourselves to death. But the fact that we are still being told what is "normal" is nutty.

This rallying cry to celebrate obesity is as dangerous as championing anorexia. Yet, why don't we see that as such? Whether the medical issues are showing or not, we know being severely overweight is not healthy for the body. And there are a lot of unhealthy people dealing with this. Weight gain and loss is just simple math. But, for it to be blown out of proportion in either direction, that speaks of issues deeper than one too many pieces of pizza. It's easier to stay as we are than it is to change, but that doesn't mean "acceptance" is the answer. I would rather women respect and care for themselves enough to be the best they can be than accept where they are. Shouldn't we care enough to feed our bodies the healthiest foods out there, move our bodies so they stay nimble and strong, and look inside to find out what makes us tick than to merely accept things as they are? To paraphrase the Serenity Prayer: Change what we can, accept what we can't and have the wisdom to know the difference between the two.

It's not society that makes us feel bad about ourselves. Media is not to blame for a poor self-image. Women aren't that weak. This is 2009, after all. We are in charge. Everyday, we make choices. Some are good for us, some are not. Each day, we get to make new choices. We can repeat our mistakes or go a different route. The only thing we should utterly accept is responsibility. There are always reasons for why things are the way they are, but we should know by now that if we want a happy ending, we need to write it ourselves. And, when it doubt, edit.

14 September 2009

Now What Am I Going To Do?

September sucks! "Rescue Me" ended on the first. Nine Inch Nails ended on the tenth (and sadly, no, I did not get tickets for the very last show at the Wiltern...sigh). And "True Blood" finished yesterday, not to return for nine long months. Nine months!!! Which I've made more painful by readying Alan Ball interviews replete with spoilers, so I have a hint as to what will happen NINE MONTHS FROM NOW! Farg.

I suppose I need a hobby...or a life...but I do love good television. And it is so hard to find. So, when a show ends -- even for hiatus -- it hurts a little. And to lose two in such a short span...there is a tear in my eye, people. Though, that's probably just my allergies.

What's worse is that this month, September, they are filming the last 19 episodes of "Rescue Me", which will be spread out over two seasons. The series will end on September 11, 2011. Rip my heart out, why don't you? There's no word when season six will air.

"True Blood" will be back. I know only one new season is confirmed but, unless they totally blow it, I see at least two more. Figure the cast has signed five-year deals, so we are at least going to get that. (Please, Baby Jesus, I hope.)

In the meantime, I don't know what I'll do with myself. Perhaps learn to knit? Take up bridge? It's going to be a long winter, my friends.

04 September 2009

Going Solo

If you know one thing about me, it's probably that I act on impulse. I've long ago learned this is not always a positive. I mean, one should really look to see if there is water in the pool before one takes a dive, but I don't really have time for all that. Sometimes, I just have to do what I want to do, no matter what.

If you know two things about me, the other is that love me some Nine Inch Nails. It's been bugging me that I've stayed so broke and couldn't afford to go to any of the last Nine Inch Nails shows. I missed the NIN/JA tour with Jane's Addiction. And, now, they were in town to do the last shows...forever. I know. Poor me. But, five months ago, I thought I'd be in a better place.

Last Tuesday, in an effort to get to a better place, I was at happy hour with a friend. As I finished up my discount martini, and she went and she went out to feed the meter, I checked Twitter from my BlackBerry. Once again, when I was nowhere near my computer, Nine Inch Nails released tickets. [Insert litany of expletives here.] We finished up our chat, our drinks and $4 edamame, and then she took me home.

There, I opened my laptop and logged on to the site. One last pathetic try for tickets. I checked Thursday's show. Sold out. I tried for Saturday's show. Sold out. I wasn't even going to try for Sunday's show, their last, because that had to be sold out...and it was in Glendale. Yes, I appreciate the irony of it being at the Echoplex, but the drive would be a buzz kill. That only left Wednesday night, the next night. Available. I took in a breath. At $65 a ticket, I couldn't afford one let alone two. And I knew that none of my friends would be up for something that late notice at that price that didn't come with seats. So, I did the unthinkable and bought a single ticket.

Going to the movies alone is one thing. Having a meal alone is another. Going to a concert alone was...weird. I called two friends I thought might be up for it, or actually going. By the time one tried to buy tickets, they were all gone. I was indeed going solo. This, for me, was the ultimate single-gal act.

I didn't really have time to dwell on that, though. I had to figure out what to wear. Jeans were obvious, it was shoes that would be the challenge. I no longer own General Admission footwear. And open-toed sandals are not appropriate for this kind of gig. Much to my chagrin, I put on a pair of Nikes and then found that I no longer own jeans that are made for sneakers.

The compromises one makes to see one of her favorite bands perform one of their last shows ever should not be underestimated.

The entire drive over to the Palladium, I debated on whether or not I would squeeze to the front of the stage. I'm the kind that can and would. I'm also the kind who doesn't really like the general public, or having them sweat or breath on me. Then again, I do love Reznor, and this would be one my my last chances to really get my punk on. Decisions, decisions.

The last time I had been to the Palladium, it was for a charity show I had won tickets to. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mike Watt and Eddie Vedder performed. I ended up next to the barrier, right from center and separated from my friend. It was this event that brought to my attention that "slam dancing" and "moshing" were two, totally different things. Slamming was organized chaos that had the pit and the perimeter. Moshing just happened wherever some eejit wanted to do it. And he was doing it all over my platforms! This was also when I realized punk was dead. I told a guy just over the barrier, "Next time security goes to the center to break up a scuffle, take my hand so I can get over the barrier. I want to get up on stage." He looked at me and said, "No." What? That's when I said, "What the hell are you doing here? There's no such thing as 'No' at a gig!" Meanwhile, my thigh was being molested by some drunkard I had to keep elbowing. Two other guys finally came over to help me out, scared away the perv, and we enjoyed the rest of the show. Chivalry lives, even in bondage pants.

Upon that reflection, I was happy to take my place off the floor. To the right of the stage, only equipment between me and the band. Trent would face me (yes, me) while he played keyboards. It was the perfect place. No one was crowding, molesting, or even spilling beer. It was, dare I say, civilized. And, I could have worn my sandals. Lesson learned.

Another lesson learned is that there is no graceful way to exit a crowd surf. In spite of doing it about eight times throughout the night, this one girl never ended hers well. The highlight of the night was watching two girls get tackled by security when they tried to rush the stage, making the wrong decision to do it over the equipment and computers. If you are going to do that, 1) you should have a good game plan, 2) you should be in better shape; speed and agility are everything, and 3) stop when the guards get to you, unless you want to end up ass over teakettle. Know the risks, people.

The show ended without an encore. Reznor was quite sick, but gave us his all. So much so, they had to reschedule the remaining dates of this Wave Goodbye Tour. My ears are still ringing (I took out my earplugs...I couldn't resist), which can't be a good thing, but it does make me smile. This is just confirmation that a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, even if she has to do it alone.

25 August 2009

Endings

This year, we have seen so much fall away, so much shift and change. It has left us unsettled, in question and scared. What next? seems to be on everyone's mind.

In the last two months, we have lost a fair share of icons. Each represented something different. The "me" of the 70s. The excess of the 80s. The buy-one-get-one-free-in-three-easy-payments 90s. The integrity of newscasting through the decades. And now the "lion" of liberals.

We don't use terms like, "Sex Appeal" much anymore. But Farrah embodied it. Today, we would mock anyone who declared themselves King or Queen of something. But, somehow, coming out of the materialistic 80s, we shrugged our shoulders and played along. How many of us got sucked in to buying the latest-greatest-product-ever in the 90s? I am raising my hand as a proud owner of the Caruso Curlers. How often have we wished that Walter Cronkite read us our news? At least then it was the facts, not the hype. And, even with all his faults, we will miss the kind of public service and progressive vision that Senator Kennedy gave.

The past seems to be slipping away from us as we step into an uncertain future. These icons, these anchors, are gone now. I wonder what icon will represent this decade? Will it be Bald Britney? Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan? Will it be the crumbing Twin Towers? That bumbling idiot we were forced to call president for much too long? Will it be the two wars and the soldiers forced to fight them over and over and over again? Will it be Wall Street or Madoff? Or will it be Hope?

In the face of all these endings, it's time to begin. It's time to change, for the better. To be brave and compassionate. To be fair. To truly make this country equal. To be responsible. To provide to those in need. I hope, if nothing else, this decade will have taught us to care, to be involved and to not turn a blind eye. From September 11th to Katrina to Wall Street to today, as this decade winds to its close, I hope we will be courageous enough to write a happier ending and not be afraid to move forward.

14 August 2009

Enough Junk

I don't know about you, but I've grown a little tired of the health care debate. What's to argue? Fact: Our system is broken. Fact: We have the highest infant mortality rate of any developed country. Fact: We spend more per capita on medical care than any other developed country, yet we are one of the sickest. Fact: I have Anthem Blue Cross PPO health insurance with a premium that goes up every year while my coverage is reduced. I am healthy, I rarely go to the doctor, and I cannot afford to get sick with the coverage I have, mainly because they deny just about everything. Did I mention I have a PPO and all my doctors are in network? Welcome to having an individual policy.

My friend, who is on a group Anthem plan, is treated like gold. Mainly, I suspect, because the company the policy is through is beyond high profile. Who would want any unhappy customers there? Not with that PR team. This is just my theory. But having been denied by Blue Cross (before they changed their name) when I re-enrolled instead of paying for the three months I was off the policy (I have a cheap side), I know their game. When I wrote a letter to the CEO and cc'd everyone down the line to the underwriter who declined me and used words like "blackmail" and "extortion", they reconsidered and reinstated me.

A couple of years ago, when I finally met my $1,500 deductible during my stomach issue, for the first time, I went to get reimbursed for a single test I paid out of pocket. The claim, which was completely legitimate, kept getting declined. Why? The information they required wasn't on the form they sent me. That's one heck of an oversight, no? Instead of picking up the phone and calling me or the hospital to get the medical code and Federal Tax ID of the hospital they said they needed yet left off the form, they simply denied the claim. Even better, when I provided the first bit of information (the code), they failed to mention the second bit of information (tax ID) they required. See the game they play? Even better, they denied the use of anesthesia (Twilight sedation) for my endoscopy, that included a biopsy of my small intestine, after a peer review. Did I mention the facility and doctors were all in network, and I have a PPO? So, why do I stay with them? It's the devil I know.

The system is broken. While I'm denied sedation, the bonuses being paid out to their executives would make Solomon blush. Profit seems to trump care in that industry. Love or hate Michael Moore, we cannot dispute many of the facts in Sicko. What is happening in health care is worse than what collapsed Wall Street. Yet we are opposed to fixing it. Why? Because of the "Socialized Medicine" boogie man? Canada, the UK and the whole of Europe have survived decades on it. We have the opportunity to build on their successes and work out their flaws with 20/20 hindsight. But lobbyists need jobs. CEOs are used to multi-million dollar bonuses. They aren't going down without a fight. And they will do their best to scare us into believing we will be worse off. I find that hard to believe. And I have a PPO.

Taxes. We don't want more stinking taxes. Well, the uninsured and unhealthy people of America are already costing us plenty. But, okay, you don't want to see less coming out of your paycheck. I get it, and I have a solution: Junk food tax. Yep. You heard me, a tax on every box and bag of processed food from chips to mac 'n cheese. Every piece of candy, every soda, every bag bought at a fast food restaurant should have a tax. Not just sales tax, but a fat tax. After all, we pay a tax on alcohol and cigarettes as a form of deterrent and punishment for having such unhealthy vices. It's junk food's turn.

Junk food is not a necessity. It's a choice that is making us fat and sick. If you don't want to pay that tax, eat an apple or grab some carrots. Problem solved.

It's scary to see how obese we are. Even though we know we are a fat country, we don't put down the doughnuts and walk a lap or two. Maybe throw in a sit-up or push-up for good measure? Nah. We don't want to break a sweat. We are too tired to exercise. Well, we are too tired because we eat crap. Then, we want to call our super size "normal". Obese is not normal. Nowhere near it. Look back 40 years ago to see what a normal size was. It isn't what we are sporting now.

I come from farm people of Michigan and Iowa. I know the culinary culture of that well. Bacon grease was used instead of Pam. Things were fried, smothered and buttered. They ate that way because they worked all day in the fields and with the animals. Hard work takes heavy food. But now, we have machines. We live in cities. We work desk jobs. Yet, we continue to eat like we are doing physical labor, and the pounds pack on. Change isn't easy, but, for goodness sake, we are adults. We can make better decisions.

To be morbidly obese takes a phenomenal effort. It takes an amazing amount of calories to put and keep that kind of weight on. The human body is not meant to be that heavy. No matter how people want to spin it, it's unnatural. Period. It's not healthy. Period. And, eventually, it will kill you.

We are a gluttonous culture. Whether it is food or money or debt, it's always more, more, more. Look at the result. It's sad and frustrating. What is going to make us "get it" as a society? We can't keep indulging in this unhealthy behavior. And I don't think we should sugarcoat it any longer.

Look at our portion sizes. They are ridiculous. A great book that puts it all into perspective is The Portion Teller. Not only does author Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, tell us what a healthy portion size is, she gives us a history lesson on how they have grown in the last 30+ years, and it is shocking. Yet, with all our advances in health, science and education, we are failing at basic nutrition. We eat more with less value.

Oddly enough, there's no real way to overeat natural foods. It's this side of impossible. You will have a *reaction*. Anyone who has had too much fruit can attest to what that is. Why? I believe it's because your body recognizes what you are eating and can tell when to stop. Processed food, not so much. Your body doesn't know it (even though it should by now), so it doesn't say stop. It just stores it in case you run into a famine. When was the last time North America saw a famine? Don't like vegetables? No one does. We more or less come to appreciate how we feel after we eat them. Then we start to crave them. I am currently in love with kale and yams, and can't get enough. But who said you are supposed to like what you eat? It's fuel. Get your pleasure somewhere else.

Then there is the argument that obesity a matter of personal freedom. Really? Our personal freedom is already limited, supposedly to protect us. Helmet and seatbelt laws for instance. And, of course, suicide is against the law. Wouldn't that be the ultimate in personal freedom; to say you don't want to be here anymore and check out? An extreme example, admittedly, but this proves that your life really isn't your own to do with as you please. And all morbid obesity is is a slow suicide. So why are we coddling it? We throw drug addicts and alcoholics into rehab. Why aren't we having interventions for the obese?

There should be a price to pay for the weight being put on the system from making unhealthy food choices. Why should being unhealthy come so cheaply? And why should we have to pay a higher price for organics? I'm willing to shell out a tax on my cake and the 88% cacao chocolate bar I can't live without...and even those baked, organic, blue corn chips I find so tempting. Especially if we all will end up getting better health care.

Health care starts with the individual. How you choose to live impacts the system (aka "all of us") as a whole, for better or worse. Right now, America is at its unhealthiest. We need to take a look at how we eat, why we eat it, and why we don't love and respect ourselves enough to take the best care of our bodies that we can. After all, we are Americans. We can do anything, right? So, let's start with taking care of ourselves. Every one of us.

Enough junk. It's time for a change.

06 August 2009

Coming Home

First, there's the rush of getting everything done. Not just packing, but dealing with a client, then another client, the errands across town. Don't forget to eat something. Stop by CVS, the mail box, inhale lunch, and fill your suitcase. Get gas. Get the car washed (I know, it's kind of silly, but it brings me luck), then put everything in the car and go.

Even with traffic, it's the quickest six hours I know. I went a new musical route this time and listened to an old playlist. I'm one hell of a DJ, I must say. It was two-and-a-half-hours long. I listened to it twice.

I ate dinner at 85. Miles-per-hour, that is. I drank 64 ounces of water in less than five hours, and only peed once. I made it all the way to Santa Nella for that. I sped through the gusty winds that blew as the 5 was about the meet the 580. I was surprised how cold it was in Dublin. No, not *that* Dublin.

I've learned to compact my luggage over these visits. Even though this is only for a weekend, it's still a tad cumbersome; I have part of a birthday gift to bring. It's rather oversized for something so temporary. I made it all in, gracefully, in one trip.

Immediately there was laughter. Even a snort. And hugs. The adorable alarm-clock was already asleep. The magic coffee maker poured me a beer, then told a joke. We stood in the kitchen laughing, excited for the weekend and all that it holds. And now it's off to bed. A big day tomorrow. A bigger day the day after that. On Sunday, I'll pack it all back up and make the drive again, only heading South instead. Right now, it just feels good to be home.

29 July 2009

Maru

There's really nothing to say about this other than: 1) I want to be this cat when I'm reincarnated and 2) You have to watch the whole thing. The ending is sublime.

21 July 2009

Whew!

I always say, "It takes one phone call or one email to change everything." And that's true. Of course, waiting for that call or email can be utter torture. And these days, with our PDAs, we carry the rejection around with us. We know the phone hasn't rung. We see the emails are just spam. But, sometimes when you aren't looking and you are too distracted to hear the chime, what you were waiting for finally arrives.

I got an email which lead to a phone call which lead to a meeting which lead to a job. Just in time. It seems my ass avoided disaster. And thank the Lord for that. Actually, I think it was my friends who were praying, and hard. Especially the ones who offered me their extra room, if push really came to packing up my apartment.

The past three-and-a-half months were brutal, but they were also a blessing. I've said this here a number of times, but I truly have the best friends imaginable. The minute everything went pear-shaped, they rallied. They were there. And I was lucky to have them give so much support.

This time was a gift, too. Sure, it was scary. But it also gave me time to look at how I really want to live my life, and then live it that way (except for the higher level of stress and lack of funds). Well, I didn't write the way I wanted to. It was hard to focus on that the way I would have liked, but new stories were started. A new endeavor was launched in Project Elegance. A new pace of life was taken. I bit more slow, a tad more graceful.

This email that lead to a call that lead to an interview that got me the job came just in the nick of time. It saved me from having to make some pretty hard decisions. And my friends from getting a new roommate. Sometimes, it's hard to believe that something good will happen, but I suggest you believe. Really believe it. Because you never know when your miracle will arrive.

14 July 2009

I Need a Hero

For the whole of this year, I have been teetering on the verge of huge success or utter disaster. I've joked that I hope my ass is pointed in the direction of success because, you know, baby got back. But this economy is one nasty futhermucker. It is mean and brutal and shows no signs of easing up. Unless you're at Goldman Sachs. Which, I'm not.

Job hunts have that whole needle/haystack vibe. I've lost count of how many resumes I've sent out. Headhunters are actually pooling resources to staff jobs. That, my dears, is unheard of in this town. Deals that were set to go through four months ago fell through instead. Everything is an illusion...sometimes verging on nightmare. It's like being in an episode of "Twilight Zone", except we don't get union pay.

I know I'm not alone in this sad, leaking, little rowboat. As a matter of fact, there isn't one of my friends not affected by this. Not one. And I've got a lot of friends, believe it or not. And they have rallied around me in heartbreakingly amazing ways. I'm pretty rich in that aspect of my life. I just wish it were a contagious condition.

I'd like to think of myself as a self-sufficient gal who can handle just about anything. But, lately, I've been indulging in some rescue fantasies. I know, it's so cliche. But, at times like these, what I need is a hero. Or a benefactor. Or a magician. Something like a miracle. And I want it not just for myself but for you and my friends and everyone going through this mess. We deserve that, don't you think? Because we are good people. We have worked hard. We deserve a break. So, take one here and indulge in some classic Bonnie. Come on. It can't hurt. Well, maybe just a little. But in that oh-so-good way. xo


(Feedburner subscribers, click to visit the site and experience the Bonnie.)

06 July 2009

Project Elegance

It was one too many Hitchcock films (if that's even possible) that sent me over the edge. And I took a friend with me.

Last night, while watching To Catch a Theif (Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Edith Head...enough said), J and I made a vow to live a life of elegance. It doesn't matter that she's bald and I'm broke, we are going to going to be elegant, dammit! Worship at the altar of Audrey, Grace, Bacall and Bergman. Bring a little of that sass and class into this modern and maudlin age.

I know I've been harping about this for a while now...but, America, I'm sick of looking at your t-shirts and jeans! Would Grace Kelly or Cary Grant be seen in acid wash? Would they don Micky or Minnie and call it fashion? Wear sneakers anywhere but the tennis courts? No. Why? Because it's wrong. Not to mention lazy. And unsightly much of the time. Remember when "pajamas in public" was a fashion trend? I don't think I need to list any more of our sins. America, we have to start dressing better!

Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some jeans. I pretty much live in denim. But look how Grace wore those 501s at the end of Rear Window. Now, *that's* how a lady wears dungarees!

Not only that, did you see how she packed her overnight bag? Truly a bit of movie magic there, but how elegant. No matter what the occasion, ladies and gentlemen were dressed for it. It just seems we don't have "occasions" anymore.

Speaking of occasions, when was the last time you packed a picnic basket? Did you keep it simple or go all fancy? Fancy can be a pain in the neck. Keep it simple, darling. Just chicken and beer. Baked chicken, a salt shaker, bottled beer (Belgian, perhaps?) and a glass for the lady to sip from. Grace and Cary can make even paper napkins trés chic.

This morning, I came up with the idea for Project Elegance. Hey, being unemployed, I have a bit of time on my hands. The concept is rather basic: To lead a life of elegance in an everyday way. I don't have the money to revamp my wardrobe, redesign my duplex or hire staff. But I can make the most of the mundane. For instance, I am giving my my beloved, oversized mug and will sip my homemade lattes in a proper cup properly placed on a saucer. It might sound like more work and more dishes to some, but it sounds much more civilized to me. And then there's the apron. My lovely, yet often forgotten, aprons. Some might say, "Why bother?" Not only are aprons functional, they are dead sexy, too. My biggest challenge: Overcoming my fondness for four-letter words.

Yes, elegance takes a bit more time and effort to pull off...in the beginning. Then, it becomes a way of life. I'm not talking about affect or pretense but an appreciation for the finer points, a delight in the details. Taking a moment longer to savor something. I'm a little too punk rock for all the propriety but, in this day and age, propriety might be one of the more subversive things I can indulge.

So, you are cordially invited to join Project Elegance where J and I will blog about our attempts to bring elegance into our lives...in spite of our situations and ourselves. (You can follow us on Twitter, too: @ProjectElegance.)

27 June 2009

Feeling the Hitch in my Head

In order to escape the insanity that has been the last few days (sorry, I don't see the point of canonizing a pederast with a penchant for painkillers), I turned to TMC. There, I was transported back to the 1950s and 60s, and the world of Alfred Hitchcock.

I love Hitch. Absolutely adore the man. I was raised on his television show and quickly fell in love with his movies. Imagine watching "Psycho" alone while babysitting on a huge piece of property on a desolate road during a windstorm with patio furniture hitting the side of the house and deer heads staring at you from the walls. I was thirteen and terrified, and absolutely mesmerized. He didn't need monsters or gore to put us at the edge of our seat. He delivered exquisite tension and lip-biting suspense. He also gave us sassy dames in dandy dresses dreamed up by Edith Head.

I once got booed at a symposium on feminism in film (held at UCLA) for going against the panel (and apparently the audience) when I declared that I thought Hitchcock gave us strong female characters. His women were smart, mouthy, fearless and unapologetic of their sexual power (with the exception of "Marnie"). But, I guess because they were in WASP-waist dresses, gloves and high heels, that didn't make them feminists. At least not at UCLA. Alfred Hitchcock (along with Alan Parker and David Lynch) was why I went to film school. And, by the way, I went to CalArts. You won't find a more politically correct, pro-feminist film school...so all those who booed can bite me. We can argue the whole victim/need to be rescued by a man issue at another time (though, let's also remember the era in which these films were made). As a feminist, right now, I want to talk about the clothes.

While I wouldn't be able to survive a day in the repressive landscape that was the 50s and 60s (they would have lobotomized me á la Frances Farmer), I would love to dress for dinner, have a man who wore a suit and hat as well as Cary Grant did, don gloves, have a closet full of shirt dresses (I have one, but it just isn't enough), and indulge in three-martini lunches without it being frowned upon. Twin sets, skirts and pearls. Cocktails at five. Pocketbooks. Upper-crust, faux-English accents. Witty repartee. The style and silhouette of the 50s (at least how it's portrayed on television and film) has always been my favorite. And the designs of Edith Head make me crave a return to that time.

I see now how people carried themselves with a bit more dignity then, and much of that had to do with how they dressed. Sure, it was a constrictive uniform. But, clothing then was also a show of self-respect. Women didn't need to dress like streetwalkers to be sexy. They knew it was never the exposure of skin that was alluring as much as it was the reveal...or the anticipation thereof. A bare shoulder. An exposed back. A soft hand removed from a glove. I think that beats pasties and a thong any day. (And, guys, there's nothing better than removing your tie.)

Even then, in Hitch's world and Edith's clothes, good girls did bad things. Even better, they wanted to break the rules. Yet they did it in a really classy manner. Maybe it was the gloves or heels, the cinched waists or petticoats. Perhaps a girdle instills a sense of propriety. Who knows? Whatever it is, it would be nice to have a little more of it these days. Turn on "Notorious" (not the Biggie bio pic) or "Rear Window" to take a peek. Tell me you don't feel the urge to put on a hat and some gloves and greet people with, "Good evening," "Good afternoon," or "Good day." Don't you think it would be simply grand to have a bit more social decorum and class without any of that pesky social repression? Wouldn't you agree, darling? Wouldn't you agree? [Insert martini glass clink here.]

Yes, they are only movies and, no, Edith didn't do all the designs. But, in spite of the murder and espionage, it all comes off a bit more...civilized. And maybe that is what I'm craving most.

20 June 2009

Hard Candy

Look, I know I haven't been much fun lately. Deal with it. I'm working on a dream, and in the meantime, I'm not working. Being unemployed doesn't really bring on the comedy, you know? That is until you look at your EDD check. Now, *that's* funny. Not that I'm poo-pooing it. Not at all. I am supercalifragilisticexpialidociously grateful to be receiving that. Bless you, State of California. Really. Happy you can spare it.

And I'm not whining about being a little less than flush. We all have our shizzle to deal with. This is just a bit of a hard time. And it's the second time I've gone through a patch this craptastic in nine years. Which makes it a little more irritating. However, that was a recession. I'm not sure what this will end up being.

What I learned from Round 1 was appreciation. I'm the kind of girl who eats the heels of bread. Not just because I'm slightly addicted to carbs, but I don't like to waste anything. Not anymore. I squeeze and squeeze and squeeze the tube. Then I shake it, and squeeze some more. I can find a staggeringly good bottle of ten-dollar wine. I tend to prefer the six-dollar bouquet of flowers to the one-hundred-and-sixty-dollar arrangement. I know how much it costs to eat well and eat right, and I will pay it because I am worth it. I do my own pedicures because I do them better than the cheap places, and I can't find a good place open at nine pee-yem when I finally have the time to sit down and enjoy it. I can get away with the flared jeans I got on sale at the Gap last year because I live in Venice...and I don't care. No one is looking at my ankles anyway. Those jeans make my ass look fierce.

What these hard times tend to teach -- at least me, anyway -- is how sweet the "little" things are. The things that we can blow by or blow off when we are busy doing other things (like working). I think when we are in hard times we have two choices: 1) to fret (and sometimes that is required), or 2) appreciate what you do have. The second takes some time to master.

Being unemployed is sort of like hanging out with my family: Never more do I need a drink, yet I can't afford to have one. In the case of visiting my family, I have to stay completely sober in case I need to make a quick getaway. In the case of being sans job, I literally can't afford it. Every penny counts these days. Yet, what I do have an abundance of is time. And, I'm finally learning to -- dare I say -- enjoy that. I used to resent it. As you probably know, I don't like to wait. And that's all this really is...a long waiting period. Now, I appreciate the day. I balance the frustration of the situation with simple pleasures. I work out. I write. I cook. I don't have to rush through these things. I can savor them a bit. Not like in a vacation sort of way. The mail still comes each day, and reality is delivered in window envelopes. With all this time, I get to take a good look at what my life really is. And, outside of not getting a steady check, I really like it. As a matter of fact, I love it. Oh, it's not perfect. It's nowhere near what I thought it would be (yet). But, underneath the fear and the frustration brought on by circumstance, I am happy. Very. And peculiarly content, too. Must be a side-effect of the all-organic diet I'm on. I don't know. Talk to me next week when rent is due and we'll see how steady I hold. But, no matter how the situation might suck, much like hard candy, there's a sweetness there as well.

13 June 2009

I Am Not A Good Friend

I kind of feel that I need to set the record straight. I haven't been sharing what Joy has been going through, and my visits up there, to tout my good deeds. I actually don't see what I did as above or beyond the call of duty. I don't feel like I've done anything special. I did what any friends would do...if they could. And one of the reasons I could do it is because I don't have a pesky job getting in the way. The upside of unemployment. It was easy for me to go up there for a week to help out. As a matter of fact, I looked forward to it like a vacation.

Also, for the record, I was not the only one helping out. There are many others pitching in, and doing even more. Some of them even have jobs or families of their own to take care of. We're simply doing what friends do: Help out as much as we can when we can. Isn't that the basic definition of friendship?

And it's not like it's a chore to be with Joy and her family. They are great people. And it's not like they were asking me to milk cows or churn butter. I was doing what I would do at home anyway: cook and clean and run a few errands. Except at Joy's there's a washer and dryer *in* the house (I go to the laundromat), and they have a real, live dishwasher (while I have dishpan hands). So, in actuality, I get to have a bit of a vacation by indulging in those modern conveniences and fantasizing about the day I actually live like a grown up.

I also had the added bonuses of the world's more adorable alarm clock and a magical coffee maker. Pancakes and waffles were served on the weekends, and I got to hang out with people I truly adore in a lovely community. Yeah, hand me the martyr crown.

Joy looked at me with concern one day. "I don't know how I am ever going to repay you for this," she said. My eyebrows came together. "You bought my lunch today. I think that makes us even." She shook her head. "I'll come up with something." And then she did a bit of performance art that still brings a tear to my eye...because I laugh so hard thinking about it.

In full disclosure, Joy insists on paying me gas money. It's absolutely ridiculous, but I've learned not to argue. You really shouldn't argue with a friend going through chemo. It kind of makes you look like an asshole. So, I smile and take it, then use it to buy Guinness and wine for my next trip up there. It's my way of getting her back, though it's me and her husband who really get the benefit. I do make sure the wine is organic, in case she decides to have a glass (or two).

I have another friend going through a lawsuit. She lives out of state, so we will have lengthy chats via telephone. She, too, thanked me for being a good friend the other day, and it sort of pissed me off. "Do you not listen to my shit?" I asked her point blank. "Yeah," she answered, somewhat taken aback. "Well, it's give and take, dear. It's all just give and take." And then I said, "Look, it takes a good friend to let someone be a good friend. So, mirror, mirror, my friend."

I really want to be clear about this: I am not a good friend. I am just someone who has a lot of good people in her life. And I love them dearly. Anything I give, it's miniscule in comparison to what I get from them.

04 June 2009

Ask A Simple Question...Get A Stupid Answer

ME: So, where are you from?

HE: Well, I'm from a lot of places.

ME: [Silently, to self: No, that's impossible. You can only be from one location.] Okay, name a few.

HE: San Francisco, Colorado, Florida.

ME: [Silently to self: What, are you in Witness Protection?]

HE: But, I've been in L.A. for so long, it's like I'm from here.

ME: [Silently to self: Which is what every native of L.A. hates to hear and completely disagrees with.] Okay, but where were you born?

HE: Detroit, Michigan.

ME: [Silently to self: See, was that so effing hard to cough out?] I have family from Michigan. They do that weird thing where they grab your had to show you where we are and where we are going.

HE: [Smiles, nods. Probably what every native of Michigan hates to hear but has to acknowledge because they all do it.]

ME: So, where did you go to college?

HE: University of Michigan.

ME: Oh. [So, basically, you've spent most of your life in Michigan yet aren't really "from" there. Interesting take.]

HE: But I thought about going to school in Colorado or Boston.

ME: Because they have such better weather than Michigan?

HE: [Laughs]

ME: So, you're in real estate. Kind of a tough time.

HE: Yeah. Did you know the mortgage crisis is really Obama's fault?

ME: [*crickets*]

HE: No, really, it is.

ME: [Silently to self: REDACTED.] Wow, will you look at the time. Gotta go. Buh-bye.

27 May 2009

Cancer Is Fattening

There's just no way around it: Cancer is fattening. Or chemo is. Well, mostly spending a week with a friend going through chemo and trying to keep her weight up is thigh-widening. Fabulous, but fattening nonetheless.

It's really not Joy's fault. I mean, she didn't force me to eat the (organic) cookies or the soy/flax chips (with guacamole) or the shrimp burrito or to choose pasta for every dinner...but the one that involved fish and chips. At least she and I split that. It's not her fault I couldn't say no. No. But it's not like it was a level playing field. She gets the bonus of having a tiny appetite (chemo bonus?). I have the appetite of an Olympic athlete. If only I trained like one. Which is the other problem: Chemo and cardio don't really go together. Throw in a shot of Neulasta (to help her build T-cells) and you have bone pain on top of fatigue. So, a few laps around the block weren't really going to happen. Not like I couldn't go on a walk by myself. But that's so not the point. The point was to spend quality time with my friend going through the cure. And so I stayed by her side...and went toe to toe as we snacked my butt into oblivion.

Laughter might well be the best medicine, but it is total crap at burning calories. Seriously. Because we laughed a lot. A lot a lot. Not even Percocet could dull Joy's sharp wit. We were doubled over, catching our breath. And that requires a good deal of ab work. Shoulders, too. But I saw no results, other than laugh lines.

You would think that waking up at seven each day to help with Laddy's breakfast and make his lunch would help burn some calories, too. Nope. But I suppose I didn't have to eat the cut off crusts on top of my toast. Not literally on top. You know what I mean. The way-too-basically-simply idea of putting them into the trash didn't sit well with me. Thanks, mom, for tattooing all those starving kids in China onto my brain. Food guilt is child abuse, people. Piggyback rides and park playing aren't calorie busting either, FYI. But, it is fun.

My dieting discipline was something I seemed to forget to pack. Breakfast consisted of carbs. Lunch consisted of carbs. Dinner consisted of carbs. Dessert, well, that was chocolate, and that is God's gift to us. But it's full of carbs. And a bit of fat, too. That's not to say we didn't eat healthy. We did. But Joy can't have too much fruits or vegetables because her digestion is a bit sensitive. Sure, I could have gone to the store and bought some, whipped them up on my own. As a matter of fact, I did go to the store. A few times. And I made dinner every night. But that extra effort of chopping and washing and steaming...what was the point? I was only going to be there a week. We all deserve a little break, right?

Justifications must be full of carbs and calories, too, because when I got on the scale after returning home, I found four (FOUR!) extra pounds. Feck. Okay, I've already lost two, but I'm grounded until the rest are off. No more cookies or chips, and chocolate is to be used for medicinal PMS purposes only...and only in moderation. Control, people. It's a choice.

In spite of the pounds, I wouldn't trade an ounce for a moment with Joy, her hubster or adorable son. And let me tell you about how great my friend is:

A week after what we hope is her last chemo treatment, her hair is starting to grow back. You heard me. This after two IP chemo treatments as well. This coming from a woman who was moved to Stage IV. By the way, once they mark you at a stage level, they don't downgrade you. Sure, we know the statistics of ovarian you-know-what (that's the only C word I truly hate), but Joy is the fluke. Statistically, she shouldn't have gotten it. So, screw statistics. She is already thriving. She's one of the healthiest people I know. And I'm looking forward to the days when we are old ladies, doubling over laughing and wetting our Depends.

13 May 2009

At Least We Can Laugh

I don't know where I am right now. I don't know if it's denial, acceptance or certainty. It doesn't matter, really. There's only one place I can be and that's here, in the moment. Dealing with it. That's all anyone can do.

And we are all dealing with it, no matter what our it might be. Everyone has something going on. It's part of the human condition. The trick is not to do it alone. That's what friends are for.

Thank God for my friends. They are a fabulous group of wonderful nuts. You won't find better people anywhere. Except maybe in your tribe. I hope you've collected some wonderful nuts along your way. My friends and I are all dealing with a little merde right now. But, at least we are dealing with it together. And, at least we can laugh about it.

I'm going back up to see Joy next week. T-cells willing, she will have her last chemo treatment tomorrow. Hurrah! I can't wait to get back up there and spend some quality time with three of my favorite people. I think what I adore most about Joy is that, through this whole ordeal, we have laughed more than we've cried. A lot more. The last time I was up there, we spent most of our time together doubled-over laughing. If you were in California after Easter, you'll remember the winds that kicked up. They were Dorothy/We-aren't-in-Kansas-anymore wicked. I had to pop outside to pick up some errant socks (her three year-old at least brought in his shoes), and in those twenty-seconds, I couldn't believe how my hair was whipped around. We were going to be leaving in a few minutes to go to her doctor's appointment and when I came in, I said, "Hey, you'd better tighten up your wig, sister. It's a blustery day." She bent into a ninety-degree angle, laughing. When she came up for air, she said, "I'm so glad I can laugh about stuff like that." To which I replied, "Shit, so am I."

I have another friend who was slammed by the housing market. Another who is considering bankruptcy. Another dealing with family issues. Another juggling three jobs. Another hoping to find a job. But, we are just as concerned about what the other is dealing with as we are with our own load. And, in the midst of our merde, we are laughing. Hard. At each other. At ourselves. At the absurdity of it all. We are laughing more than we are crying. Maybe it is a form of denial. Perhaps it is acceptance. More than likely, though, it is the certainty of our friendships. We have each other's backs. And we have each other in stitches. And I can't think of a better place to be.

06 May 2009

When 'What If' Happens

For years, I've been aching to have nothing to do but write. Just write. Writing, to me, is like drawing breath. I just have to do it. And, each time I rushed from the gym to get to my desk for whatever client I was dealing with, I wondered, "What if I didn't have to clock in? What if I didn't have someone else's deadline? What would my life be like?" I would fantasize about waking up a seven, being at the gym by 8:30, working out for two hours every day (I really like my gym time), then, after a shower and breakfast, I would write. And write. I would take myself out to lunch at a sunny bistro, then sip coffee as I typed out a scene or spiced up some dialogue. I pictured myself happy, well-rested, fit, prolific. But, since I've been unemployed (for over a month now), I've done anything but write. See, it turns out I didn't need the time to write -- I would shoehorn that in, much to the detriment of my social life and benefit of my dark circles -- what I needed was dough.

By no means am I a materialistic label-whore. You'd be lucky to ever find me in anything but Gap, except maybe Banana Republic. Whatever you find me in is most likely from the sale rack. I like a solid bang for my buck, people. Being freelance, I am always living on a budget. Sometimes, it's stricter than others. Right now, it's Sado-Masochistic.

The odd thing is, with an open schedule, instead of feeling free and having all the time in the world to write, I find myself slightly paralyzed. With everything in flux, I think of all the things I should be doing, worrying about what might happen, hoping a miracle arrives and eating organic. Because that seems to be the most proactive thing I can do. Go figure. And with all of that, there's no room for the story stuck in my head to come down. I've yet to have a two-hour workout because I'm just a little too stressed out to enjoy that. It makes much more sense for me to be at home waiting for the chips to fall.

But, I was just thinking today that I might as well make the most of this. Why not? Sure, my budget has me spanked into submission and there are real-life worries to deal with, but why not take a few days to dip my toe into the great What If? Maybe tomorrow I'll enjoy a lengthy workout and let the story flow. Get used to being a self-supporting, self-sustaining writer who gets up at 7, is at the gym by 8:30 and has a two-hour workout then writes and writes and writes. Maybe I can make it happen in a build-it-and-they-will-come sort of way. After all, it seems like a version of 'What If' has arrived, so what the hell, right?

29 April 2009

Feeling the Burn

Ladies, we are a smart lot. When we set out minds to accomplish something, it's done. So why, in the history of womankind and snogging, have we not come up with a cure, balm or salve for beard burn?

Seriously. You'd have thunk we'd have come up with that by now. I mean, exfoliation is good to a point...but then you hit disaster.

The problem with beard burn is that you don't feel it while it's happening. Not if you're doing it right. It's not until you wake up the next morning, late for a meeting, and look in the mirror that you realize no amount of moisturizer or makeup is going to hide the fact you were up to some good the night before. Or a few nights before, depending on the level of the burn. It's clear your face has been met with some friction, even if the stubble was slight. A little stubble and a long snog can be big trouble. And, if you aren't wearing a ring on your left hand's third finger, or haven't declared yourself in a deeply committed relationship, you get a look. The look can range from "Good for you!" to "Hussy!", depending on who's shooting it. Either way, your private life is on display. It's a bit un-fun.

So, ladies, I'm putting it to you to solve the beard burn issue. We can't leave it to the guys because they already have the answer: SHAVE! And a girl should still be able to get caught up in the moment and take off half her face. So, send in your remedies. Put your chemistry cap on and save face. Thank you.

Oh, and guys...even if you think your Miami Vice-esque (be it a Johnson or Farrell), one-to-three day growth is hot, it's not. It burns. Take care of it and the ladies. Thanks. xo

16 April 2009

Bucolic Fever

The day after my birthday (which only sucked for part of the day; good friends rescued the rest), I woke up early. Earlier than intended. I woke up with an asthma attack, and I can't recall the last time that happened. I suppose it was one way to revisit my youth. I suspect the wine I ordered was not the wine that I drank. Or there was much more butter in the sauce on my cod than I tasted. Either way, I had to suck on my inhaler twice, then shake my way through a shower and packing before heading up the 405 to the 5 to the 580 to the 101 to Novato to see my friend, Joy, her amazing hubster, Dude, and their incredible son, Laddy.

The last time I made this journey, I had a little car trouble. This time, I knew it would be a smooth sail. And, outside of the asthma attack, it was. The only other hiccup was that Joy's chemo was postponed due to low T-cells, which wasn't unexpected. So, instead of her recovering from that over Easter weekend, we got to hang out and O.D. on Bravo marathons, Easter chocolate, and marvel at the energy packed into a three-year-old. He and I got to go to the park and blow bubbles into the breeze. Do you remember how much fun that is? I had forgotten until that weekend.

With her energy still low, I took over the chores and errands, which are actually enjoyable here. I had the distinct pleasure of taking Laddy to and from preschool. That necessitated having a booster seat installed in my car. Someone should alert Guinness to that. On Monday morning, out to my car we went and found an ugly clicking where the sound of the ignition engagement should've been. Being the stubborn broad I am, I kept trying, turning the key over and over, certain that "just once more" would get it to go. But, no. The battery finally expired. I turned to the young gent sitting in the back and broke the news. "That's okay. Let's just walk," Laddy said. And so we did. Which turned out to be rather scandalous, because every pre-K kid on the playground asked why he was walking to school. "BECAUSE SANDRA'S BATTERIES ARE BROKEN!" he explained at volume eleven. Awesome.

Did you know that AAA will sell and install a battery for you...and for less than the local mechanic? Neither did I. Love them. I told the two men (one who came to jump me and the other who delivered my new juice box) that they should be wearing capes.

The other reason I came up was that Joy was having pain from a previous procedure, which was going to be addressed on Wednesday. Dude took her in and I manned the home front. There, I did laundry. Four loads of it. I actually enjoy doing laundry (and dishes) when one's own, in-house machinery is involved. I was having quite a good time with it, I must say. At one point, probably during yet another episode of "real" housewives from somewhere, I got a little frightened when I realized that not once have I been bored. Not once did I itch to go home. Not once did my skin crawl at the sight of a minivan (which neither Joy nor Dude owns...we comprise a squadron of Jettas). I had found myself in a suburban town that does not nauseate me. Seriously. someone should alert Guinness on that.

I'm sure some of it has to do with the company I keep. And the fact that this town is not manufactured or "planned". Houses are not encrusted with beige stucco. This suburb has a touch of the bucolic to it. It's quietness does not creep me out, but calms me. I know that I am still somewhat "normal" because we have gone into establishments that housed screaming children and I did want to throttle them, so I'm not too far gone. But, the strangest thing is that I feel like I've always been here, and I have no desire to go back home. A place that I love. Again, that could be due to the company I keep here. But, as I head off to unload the dishwasher, having fully embraced my domestic diva, I think I'm going to have a hard time adjusting back to my life. A lot of that will have to do with missing my own washer, dryer and dishwasher. But, even more of it will be having my friends at such a distance. It would be nice to have them right next door. And, while I'm not sure I'm ready to be a "real" housewife of any sort, at least I know I won't have an allergic reaction to it. (And if I do, I'm armed with Claritin and an inhaler.)

09 April 2009

Some Day

Today's my birthday. Oh, stop. I'm not telling you that because I want a flurry of cards and gifts. No. Thanks, but no. I'm mentioning it because I have to remind myself of it. I'm the kind of geek who loves birthdays. Not just mine, but everyone's. After all, it's *your* day. It's meant to be special. This one was supposed to be special, but it's sort of lost its shine.

I don't go to extremes for my birthday. I simply gather friends for dinner. We laugh and eat and drink. No matter what is going on, that night is just us. But, in all honesty, I don't want to go to my own party tonight. There's a part of me that would like to call everyone and just say, "Let's put it off until next year, shall we?" I won't, but I want to.

Like so many others, the recession has slammed me. My main client, whom already cut the project fee in half, is failing to pay me at all. I know, kind of rude, don't you think? That flakeage puts me in a bit of a financial tailspin, and I know I'm not alone in that freefall.

Somewhere along the lines, I've misplaced my golden parachute. And I know I'm not the only one. But this sort of takes away the glow of the birthday candles. This is kind of not how I planned to ring in this new year of mine. I had bigger plans. Things that were supposed to be done. There was stuff that should have come through. And it didn't. And, even more surprising, other things slipped away. I know there are plenty of others going through a similar sitch. And, no matter how bad it might be, we all know someone else has it worse.

Wait. I'm not replacing my birthday party with a pity party. No ma'am sir. I'm just sitting here wondering the best way to handle all this as the happy birthday wishes roll in. I don't feel much like celebrating. I have to make a plan, and fast. For now, though, I will simply go to the gym, work for the client who does pay me (God, I wish I had three more of her), put on a party dress and give my lovely friends a smile. While I might not feel like celebrating me, my friends certainly deserve a toast.

31 March 2009

In Consistency

So, obviously my March NaBloPoMo was a total fail. I was hoping to pull it off. I'm one for discipline. I don't usually sign myself up for something and not follow through, no matter how painful it is to finish. I've done the Master Cleanse three times. However, life just took over here. C'est ma vie. But, I think this post will be the equivalent of what I failed to write.

It's been a while since I've taken a road trip. Fuel had been so expensive for so long that it made one question a superfluous drive across town let alone upstate. But, now that it floats around two-bucks a gallon (and when did we ever think that would be a deal?), it was time to hit the road. Two and a half weeks ago, I did just that.

I'd been planning a trip up North to visit a friend and meet her husband and son before moving in for a week to help out during one of her chemo treatments. I thought it might be a good idea to find out if her kid would totally hate me, or her hubby for that matter, before showing up to give care. I'm kind of courteous that way. Besides, I couldn't wait another month to see her.

I should probably note that I haven't seen this friend in two decades, although we have been in touch for the last year. She found me on Facebook. Since then, we have emailed and pinged and had phone dates with wine. We spent election night together (telephonically speaking), and the Inauguration, too. We have known each other since the seventh grade, growing up surrounded by the same beige stucco. We sort of picked up like it had only been a week since we talked. There are just friends that are like that. And she's one.

As I do with all long drives, I took my car to a full-serve station and had my tires, oil and fluid checked before I rolled. I am also one who is extremely diligent in taking my beloved Ghetta in for scheduled maintenance. While she may not look it, I love my car. She is awesomely reliable. So, imagine my surprise when I saw a huge plume of white smoke trailing behind her.

"That can't be from me," I told myself. It just couldn't be, so I just carried along playing the new Lily Allen on my new iPod Touch. Ah, life was good...until I saw another plume of smoke definitely trailing from my car. I had just passed the point where the 5 and the 14 split, which is uphill. Not only was my car smoking, she was losing power.

"No, effing way am I pulling over here," I said to myself as I eyed the shoulder. I was mere miles away from our hometown. It would only be poetic for me to crap out there.

I threw on my hazard lights, made my way over to the far right lane and said little prayers in between cursing the fates. I had a frozen, homemade (by my chef friend, Cookie) chicken pot pie and two packs of Guinness in a cooler in my backseat. The pot pie was for my friend, whom I'll call Joy here; it's all she's been craving. The Guinness was for me and the hubster, whom I'll call Dude, because he is a super cool dude as it turns out, and that's all I've been craving.

You know, it's shocking the amount of people who seem oblivious to what flashing hazard lights imply. Tailgating isn't going to help. Zipping around me, like I'm in the way, isn't proving a point. I'm in the slow lane with my flipping hazard lights on. SHIT'S GOING WRONG! DEAL WITH IT!!!

I made it to Lyons Avenue, the portal to my personal hell, and opted to turn right because it's downhill. My car was barely hanging on.

Now, if you are in a "planned community", like the whole of the Santa Clarita Valley is, you might expect them to plan enough to have a service station offering repairs available off the freeway, don't you think? Oh, sure, you can get gas, you can even get a boatload of Doritos from any one of the attached Food Mart/Circle K/Seven-Elevens, but good effing luck finding a grease monkey.

I continued further in to town to a gas station that had previously serviced my car (and by "previously", I mean more than fifteen years ago), only to find a 7/11 where the repair station used to be. Beyond frustrated, I parked, turned off my failing engine, Googled "Volkswagon Valencia" and dialed.

"Good afternoon, Valencia Nissan," she sang. I asked if they were also the VW dealership. "Oh, no. That closed. But I hear it might be coming back in April or May. But I think it's going to be at the Infiniti dealer. The closest VW dealership is in Palmdale." I politely told the sing-song lady voice that I was broken down in Valencia. Palmdale would not be an option. Would she know of any place in the area that might be able to look under my hood? "Oh, no." Were there any repair places on auto row. "Oh, gee, not that I know of." It was like being trapped in Fargo.

I'm not one to just sit and wait. I need to keep moving. I started my car and, miraculously, she was behaving better already. I figured it must be a hose or a belt. And doesn't white smoke mean oil? Maybe they just overfilled the oil? This was going to be an easy, quick, cheap fix. I was certain of it. Still on the phone with Nissan Fargo, I asked her again if she knew of any mechanic anywhere in Valencia. "For a Volkswagon, I think you'll have to go to Palmdale."

Do you see why I couldn't wait to move out of those beige, stucco walls?

I hung up with her and called my old pal, Nerf. I call him Nerf because he is made of Nerf. I've also known him since seventh grade (all the elementary schools poured into one middle school back then). Amazing that some people can put up with me for so long, no? Anyway, I got Nerf's voicemail, but, true to form, he called me right back and helped walk me through the possibilities. He still lives in my personal hell.

"There's a Shell station up at the top of Lyons that has a service station, and there's a Jiffy Lube near that," he told me, though, giving me the disclaimer that, since he lives in another part of town, he's not really up-to-date with that section of Stepford. I was in auto row by that point, so I turned around and headed back up the hill, catching up with Nerf as I drove. I pulled onto the side street that would take me to the Shell repair shop, and found it shuttered.

I won't list the litany of curse words Nerf had to hear.

I turned around again and went to the Jiffy Lube. Before Nerf and I hung up he said, "You know, I just Googled repair shops for you and there's a place on 9th." Then, we said it together, "German Autohaus." Praise God.

The Jiffy Lubers were really nice. I popped the hood and they showed me that my oil funnel was broken. That had to be it! I called German Autohaus and asked if they has the part. "Yes," said the accented voice. I asked how much. "Eight dollars," he said. Always the skeptic, I asked if he was sure it was only eight dollars. "It's just plastic," he told me. I told him I'd be right there.

When I explained my Ghetta's symptoms, he told me, "A broken funnel would not cause you to lose power." Can't a girl have her fantasies? He, who I will call Hero, went into his office and came back with a little computer he plugged into my car. The Ghetta found a shoulder to cry on there and spilled her guts. Hero came out shaking his head. "You have two cylinders misfiring and two sensors that are bad," he said.

I won't list the litany of curse words that went through my head.

I told him I should probably head back to Santa Monica and deal with my dealership. "Why?" he asked me. He called to verify that nothing was under warranty (my Ghetta just turned nine), so I said, "How much?"

Three hundred and thirty-eight dollars.

You can imagine the litany of curse words I swallowed.

All I wanted to know was that he could fix it that day. "Sure," he said. "Once I get the parts, it will take about two hours."

I had been pinging Joy to let her know the situation. I had been so proud of myself for having left ten minutes ahead of schedule, and was so happy that I hadn't hit any traffic...and now this major delay. She was more concerned that I would have to drive in the dark. "I may not be awake," she said, "but Dude will wait up for you." I ate my lunch, drank my water, and peed eighy-three times. It felt like hours had passed, but I wasn't watching the clock. No. I was being Zen and reading a really bad book.

Hero finally came up to me and said, "Okay, Sandra," and I lit up. Then he finished with, "We just got the parts." Fuck. Another two hours. This was cutting into precious visit time. Bummer.

I read. I texted. I emailed. I Facebooked. I Twittered. I peed some more. Finally, Hero came back out and said, "We're all set." I handed him my debit card and stared at my new iPod. Ironically, it cost as much as my car repair. [Litany of curse words redacted.]

At 4:55 PM, I hit the highway at 80 MPH. I was fortunate to miss any traffic and got to Novato at 10:20 PM. The Guinness was still cool. The pot pie pretty much frozen. Dude and I settled onto the sofa with some pints, keeping our voices down while Joy and the boy slept, and had a good laugh about my wild ride.

Some people are just going to be beautiful no matter what. Joy is one of those people. She and Sinead O'Connor can rock the no-hair look. It was so good to see her. Of course, I would have felt better about it if I hadn't just rolled out of bed. But the pitter-patter of little feet was just too irresistible to sleep through.

"You have a present for me?" Laddy asked me (yeah, that's the name I'm giving their three year-old). "I do," I said. "But, would it be okay if I brushed my teeth first?" He looked at me for a moment, then nodded. After good oral hygiene (he joined me in the teeth brushing), we went back into mom and dad's room to hang out.

Joy and Dude had given me the "Chick" car from Cars to give him. I had also brought two Beenie Babies along that my chef friend passed on to me: a dragon and a bear. Joy had told me he was into dragons. I brought the bear, too, because it was so soft I just couldn't put it down. "I was wondering if you would like to take care of this dragon," I asked Laddy. "No," he said shaking his head. His parents were mortified. I thought it was the coolest thing. He wasn't copping a 'tude, he was being honest, something I totally adore. "How about this bear? Would you or mommy like to take care of that?" I asked. "No," he said. "Not even mommy?" I inquired. "No," he said. It was all I could do not to laugh. I told him I had one more thing I thought me might like and asked him to shut his eyes and hold out his hands. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the car, and placed it into his hands. Totally matter-of-fact-ly he said, "Chick," and crawled into bed with his parents. They weren't too happy about how he had accepted his gifts, but I told them I thought it was perfect. We were bonding in our own special way.

I won't bore you with our perfect weekend. I will just say that I couldn't love or be more proud of my friend. If any husband should be cloned, it's hers. And Laddy is just too much fun. I'm in love. The cutest thing was, after his nap on Saturday, he came stumbling out all red-faced and sweaty-headed from a three year-old's sleep, and had a Beanie Baby tucked under each arm. Yeah, I melted.

I came home, three-hundred-bucks overbudget, to find that the job I was told I had through May, would end mid-April. Perfect. I looked again at my iPod. It seems every time I treat myself there's a repercussion. But, I can't look at it that way. The way I have to see it is that everything happens for the best. Sure the bill for the car repair sucked, but Hero surprised me by fixing my front end. That's a bonus. There's no way my old iPod would have lasted that trip, or an hour into it. The new iPod was not just a treat but a necessity, because there are going to be many more long drives in my future. And, while these little setbacks keep happening, I'm still moving forward. It's consistent, even if it doesn't always feel that way.

10 March 2009

Rarely Do I Repeat Mistakes

I don't repeat my errs. Really. I find it silly. Burn your hand once, you learn to keep it out of the flame. Did anyone ever buy two Epiladies? I think not. I mixed white wine and red wine once -- one time -- and never again. The whole purpose of mistakes is to learn from them, right?

Well, there's one mistake I seem to repeat over and over, year after year, and that is not entering my shizzle into QuickBooks. Muck fe.

This will be the fourth -- THE FOURTH -- year in a row that I have been less than diligent about entering my banking into QB. It is torture. I have the Amish version of the software. It won't download from the net (not like my bank will let me download year-old transactions, anyway), so I have to manually input all of my transactions. And I live on my debit card. Yeah, I'm the ass hat putting Starbucks on my ATM card. I never have cash. I have a magic wallet that turns a twenty into a one in like fifteen minutes. So everything goes on that card. And that all has to go into QuickBooks. Un-fun.

Typically, I start off the year pretty good, going from daily to weekly to monthly updating. That responsible behavior typically lasts through April or May. June, if I'm lucky. Then the rest I have to enter. But, when I sat down to do 2008, I discovered I only got to late January.

Repeat after me: I am sofa king wee todd dead.

So, I've spent the last five days entering that data. Five. I hurt all over. The pain, however, is mostly in my ass. When will I learn? Seriously, when? It has to be this year, because I can't go through this again. I can't. I won't! Tomorrow, I start on 2009. No, seriously. Otherwise, I might as well stick my hand in a fire, call an ex-boyfriend and mix red wine with white. I know better. It's time I learn that.

09 March 2009

I Suppose

I suppose this blog would be a little more exciting if I were actually doing something other than waiting. Waiting waiting waiting. That is the story of my life. I truly am a lady in waiting. Though, we could argue that the term "lady" doesn't really suit me. Whatever. You get my point.

This is good waiting, though. Happy waiting almost. Well, perhaps that's pushing it a bit. I'm waiting on a deal to come through that will officially christen my career and afford me the opportunity to afford to go out and do stuff. High on the list, as you might have noted, is to move. As I type this, next door, Boomer is cracking himself up while Clompy is slamming things shut. They say good fences make good neighbors; I vote for thicker walls. I live in a duplex. Is one soundproof wall too much to ask? Whatever. I'm waving the white flag here. I'm ready to go. Once the deal goes through. And so I wait.

After I move, or right before, I'm going to treat myself to Dublin via New York. Use that not-used ticket I bought that is nearly worthless now. I don't care. I need a vacay. One that involves a passport. Which reminds me, I've got to get that renewed. I've been waiting to do that until my hair gets to the point that I don't hate it and can tolerate looking at it for ten years. It's not quite there yet. Do you think they'd let me where a wig in that mug shot?

I suppose I could find other things to do but, honestly, I can't focus long enough to come up with anything worthwhile. All I want is that phone call or email signaling victory and a chance for us to move forward. You see, it's not just me that's waiting. Which is kind of nice. I suppose the stymied love company, too.

08 March 2009

Parody is the Sincerest Form of Comedy

Not exactly bad or terribly naughty, but maybe just a touch. Okay, it's a little crude, but totally hilarious.



By the way, if I don't actually write, is it still considered "blogging", or do I just have to post something? I didn't really read the NaBloPoMo rules and regs.

Don't worry. I'll never do another NaBloPoMo again. Promise. But I think it's like blind dates or coloring your own hair...you just have to do it once to have the experience. I'm good about learning from my mistakes. xo

07 March 2009

Cotton

While it might not be the sexiest statement, and I do adore cashmere, my favorite fabric is cotton. I am my most comfortable, my happiest self in a t-shirt and jeans. I sleep soundly on cotton jersey sheets. Would anyone dispute the comfort of a plush cotton robe? I think not. We are swaddled in it from infancy. It warms us, allows us to stay cool, keeps us cozy. It is protective and makes almost everything better.

I think friendship are made of cotton. The are soft and strong. They can shrink or stretch or fade or, if cared for properly, get better with age.

I cotton to my friends. Some are new, some are quite vintage. Some fit better than others, sure. But with them, I am my most comfortable. Even in the worst of times, I can surround myself with them and instantly feel better. They are a durable lot. As soft and gentle as they are strong. They help me to be my best. And I can just throw them in the wash to freshen them up. They are low-maintenance. And how can you not love that?

06 March 2009

I Should Be Home Now

I look around my home and see all that I want to change. Which is everything. Really. When I move from here, I think I'll have an open house. Just open up the doors and say, "Here, take it." There is not one stick of furniture I want to move with me. Nothing I own represents me or my taste. It was what I could afford at the time. And, in all this time, the only things I've "updated" were a new (and somewhat crap) sofa and a (very cheap) desk.

Some pieces came from my first apartment. I know. Now you must really feel my humiliation. Other pieces are from my co-habitation with Almost, and that was an ice age ago. My furniture is lost past its "use by" date. And it stinks.

If only I were indeed moving. Sadly, that's not on the agenda. Yet. Oh, I fantasize about it more than I do the Clooney. It's the first thing I'm going to do when I win life's lotto. Must-haves are parking (in my hood, that's a bonus) and my own washer and dryer. Because I prefer to have the option of doing laundry in the nude. I do. I think it's liberating to be able to wash *everything*. That's something you just can't get away with that at the laundromat. Then again, why would one want to? It's bad enough knowing that you are in proximity to the worn smalls of strangers while you are folding your clean clothes. And how the hell did I get on this tangent? Jeebus. I need some Purell.

A fresh coat of paint would help a great deal here. But that would entail moving furniture, laying drop cloths and a bunch of prep work. I just don't have it in me. Isn't that pathetic? But I don't. I'm just over this joint. I don't want to live at an intersection anymore...and that statement goes a lot further than my address. It's time to put it out there: I want a new home. A fabulous new home where I can safely park my car and won't have to worry about street cleaning days. Where I can wash *all* my clothes and not have to deal with the unmentionables of others. It's time for me to come home and feel at home again.

05 March 2009

Ping Pong

So, I've been driving my friends (including you) nuts about my whole iPod-iPhone-BlackBerry-which-should-I-get dramalama. Nothing, I repeat, nothing should be this difficult. It never takes me this long to make a flipping decision on anything, let alone something so banal. Nor do I go back and forth on a matter like I have with this. One day, I'm certain I'm going iPhone...the next, there's no way I could part with BlackBerry. I guess I can be a little bit of a gadget geek. I appreciate things that make my life easier. And these are things I actually don't want to face life without. After a great deal of thought, endless Facebook threads and a bit more math, I re-decided to get an iPod Touch and to stay with BlackBerry. I know. I'm sure you're thrilled by this news. And aren't you glad I signed up for Nablopomo? Sheesh.

The thing is, BlackBerry may not be as sexy and clever as an iPhone, but when you are on the phone as much as I can be, and rely on email as much as I do, BB can't be beat. Not to mention the total area FAIL of the provider Apple forces us to use to have an iPhone, which so overcharges for its iffy coverage. But the absolute final factor was when I found out that Entravision pulled the Indie 103.1 app that some Indie fans made to allow iPhones to stream the now online-only station live and in your car. (Entravision claims they are going to put one of their own up "soon", and we all know that "soon" in corporate language means, "don't hold your breath"). With that, there really wasn't a point of me buying out my T-Mobile contract to switch carriers. Yeah, LA radio is that bad now that Indie is off the airwaves.

So, today, I bought an iPod Touch. I am both excited and stupefied by the purchase. I'm calling it an early birthday present instead of dumb. I could've saved the Franklin and got a Nano, but I went big. After all, the Touch can pick up Indie via WiFi in my house, which means good morning radio again. And I can download podcasts for the car. Yes, LA radio really is that bad now. Plus, I'm going to be making a few road trips in the next few months. Seven-hour drives totally require a spectacular soundtrack. And I know Mini just doesn't have it in her. Bless her tarnished silver heart.

The other reason I went this was was the fact that I do love my BlackBerry. Yes, it's totally Amish. I moan that it doesn't have a camera. I'm frustrated that it can't download the Facebook app, and I can't delete the fricken icon for it. But one upside it does have is that it's made of Nerf. Seriously. It has to be because I drop that baby about once a week, and it just keeps on ticking. How can you not love that? But my favorite thing about BB is the ping.

BlackBerry has its own IM program just for BB users, but we don't IM, we ping. I still have a fair share of friends who are BB loyalists. We ping and ping and ping until one of us gets ponged. So, it's completely worth stay with a geriatric BlackBerry to keep pinging the ones I love. At the end of the day, and after all the back and forth, I want that connection with my nearest and dearest. Especially those who are far away.

04 March 2009

25 Things

Oh, dear God, no. I am not going to repeat the 25 Things meme here. No. Instead, I'm going to share a video post via my friend, AB, via Justin Plus One about 25 things to hate about Facebook. Thus, I'm totally ripping off two great bloggers, one clever guy and his friends/crew for this post. I officially suck. And I'm okay with that.

Trust me, this month will get better. As soon as I'm done with my taxes. Which should be in another week or two, or my friend/CPA will no longer be my friend or CPA. Enjoy.


03 March 2009

Blurts

I get the most random things blurted to me by people I hardly know. This has been going on since I was a little girl. I would sit there as calmly as I could as marital woes were told to me. No, I'm not kidding. I'd put on my highest level of maturity, which, at 3 years old, was simply crossing my legs. I'd gently pat the hand of the confessor, then lend some really sage words, like, "I'll get you a Kleenex."

I mean, my friends pretty much tell me everything. I am a TMI-free zone. But, you expect that from friends. Even friends of friends...especially if there's wine involved. It's those that I only know in passing that slay me.

A parking garage attendant, whom I had only "known" for a few weeks, and a few days per week at that, told me one morning about his mother dying when he was a teenager, what she said to him before she died (a little too personal to repeat), and how he hoped she would be proud of him. It was an achingly dear confession. I was a touched that he felt he could spill it to me. He wasn't a terribly talkative man with his broken English. Prior to that, we merely said hello or good morning, noted how hot it was already for that early in the day, or how long I would be staying at my clients' so he would know where best to move my car. That day, I was late for a meeting, but stood there for the ten minutes it took him to tell me his tale. It would be impossible (and slightly inhuman) to walk away from something like that. When he was done, he looked as though he had lifted a huge weight from his shoulders. We smiled and parted. We went back to our friendly hellos and weather discussions after that, but now as better friends.

There was the mean-girl friend of a friend whom, while slightly drunk at my friend's sister's baby shower, admitted to me that she had never had an orgasm. Ever. Which so explained her sour mood. I put my arm around her and suggested that she spend some quality alone time figuring it out. She was much nicer to me after that.

A colleague of mine, whom I just recently met, told me within five minutes of meeting him that his newborn son was, "already hung like a 5 year old!" I know, right? We are going to work so well together! And can you imagine the inappropriate tangents we'll take during meetings? Feel bad for the other people at the table.

My friend's virgin groom came up to me three times at the reception to tell me how much he was looking forward to the honeymoon. No, really, he just couldn't wait. Seriously, just a few more minutes and they could leave. Poor bastard got himself so worked up, he couldn't perform at all that night. He didn't tell me that, though. She did.

Today, though, kind of took the gold in the random Olympics. I made a quick run to Gelson's for some Liquid Plumr and vegetarian sushi and had one of my regular cashiers. I've been going to this grocer for nearly 15 years, and have "known" this particular guy for at least 3 if not 5. We always do the friendly chitchat. Roll our eyes at the annoying person in front of me. Talk about the importance of a good reusable bag. But today, he gave me this random blurt: "You know that button you push on your gear shift to move it from gear to gear? Well, mine sticks. I have to hit it the top of the handle to get it to pop out again. What do you think that's about?"

Dude, I have no idea.

02 March 2009

Daily Grind

I always love it when I find another cherry to pop.

Believe it or not, I've never participated in a NaBloPoMo (which is blogger geek for National Blog Posting Month). That means, I've vowed to post every day for the month of March. Yeah. You're right. We'll just see how that goes. I mean, could they pick a longer month? What's wrong with February, people? But fine. I'm up to the challenge. I think.

The theme (which is optional) for the month is "giving up". As in Lent. And since I've already given up U2, I thought this was fated. So, here I am, posting. Every day. Giving up the ability to flake out on my own blog. Sigh.

01 March 2009

The Day I Fell Out of Love With Bono

I am a huge U2 fan. I think they are one of the best bands in the world. And, yeah, they are everywhere. And, yeah, they've lost street cred over the years. Whatever. I don't care. I was never the kind of girl to hate a band she loved once they went mainstream. I never saw the sense in that (I preferred to turn my ire to the Johnny-come-lately "fans" who wrecked the scene).

The closest thing I've ever come to a religious experience was at a U2 concert. Really. It was during the Joshua Tree tour. The show was at the LA Sports Arena, which is a smaller venue (smaller than The Forum and tiny by Staples Center standards). Lone Justice opened (j'adore Maria McKee) and then the Dublin lads took the stage. The entire arena was on their feet. We held hands, swayed to the music and sang every word to every song. It was unlike any show I had ever seen. I wasn't just a witness to it, though. I was part of it. We all were. It was beyond kumbaya. As their shows have gotten bigger and bigger, and more fashionable to attend, I've missed that unity. It's still there, but occasionally interrupted by someone who doesn't get it. You don't ever sit down and you do sing along, people. I always get a little pissed when I see folks like that at their shows. They've taken away a ticket from someone who would actually enjoy the concert. U2 is a big band meant to play to intimate audiences. But, global domination requires stadium-sized crowds. So, I have no choice but to suck up the triple-digit ticket price to get my Bono on.

But yesterday, that all changed.

Yesterday, I got an email from U2.com. Apparently, I am a member. I don't recall signing up, but suspect I did after their last tour when I was still on that U2 high. I did the same after the NIN concert. I know. I'm a total nerd sometimes. Anyway, U2 has relaunched the site and asked me to sign up again. There was something about a free album download mentioned in the email. How very "The Slip" and "In Rainbows" of them, I thought. So, I clicked the link to sign up and then realized that the "subscription" they were talking about cost FIFTY DOLLARS!!!

WHAT. THE. FECK?!?

The biggest, richest band in the futhermucking world is CHARGING their fans for a website subscription? It's time to put down the Guinness, lads. Seriously. You are way too high.

Now, this fee isn't going to charity. That would be different. I double-checked to see if it was going to the ONE or (Red) foundations, but I saw nothing alluding to that. Oh, you get a remixed, remastered download. OF SONGS I ALREADY HAVE! Everything else they offer, I get for free on NIN.com (and they are uploading awesome videos from the Australia shows...at no cost to you).

I sat there with my mouth hanging open. With the state of the world economy, this band -- this mega corporation -- wants to charge its fans? Jaysus. Well, they lost a fan in that moment. My love and respect for U2 wilted. Shriveled to the point that I have no interest in their new release or catching them on tour. Who needs it? If it's not about the art, and it's not about those who appreciate you, I guess it just comes down to the money, honey.

So disappointed. Bono, you really let your woman down.

25 February 2009

The Dance is Dizzying

It's been a blur. Everything. All of it. This year is not yet two months old and yet, to me, it's like there has never been a time before it. Like we did indeed clear the slate. The past is seemingly behind us. Out of sight, out of mind for me. And I am so happy.

I know I've said that over and over (I'm so happy...I'm so happy), but I am. Oh, that is not to say this year has been perfect or without any ass pains. No. There have been a few *displeasures*, shall we say, along the way. But I see them more as a shaking off of what's left of the past. There always has to be something to remind us where we have been, and what we have learned. It's all in an effort so we don't repeat ourselves, our missteps, our tracks.

Still, I've been rushing around so much, it's been difficult to keep the pace, catch my breath and remember what I'm supposed to be doing. Writing has sort of been a part of that. Oh, I've been writing, and writing and writing and writing, just not here. Which always sort of bums me out.

I kind of missed out on commenting on the insanity that is the Octomom. Seriously, she has a college-tuition amount of filler in her lips, signs of Botox usage on her forehead (obviously it's moving now because even *her* doctors wouldn't inject a pregnant woman), rhinoplasty and acrylic nails. Now *that's* a mother who sacrifices for her children. I'm not saying a hard-working mother does not deserve to be pampered or look as good as she wants. What I'm saying is, I know a lot of mothers with one child who *treat* themselves to the $20 mani-pedi (or do their own), who have learned to color their own hair, who haven't had a facial or seen a dermatologist in ages (let alone a plastic surgeon), because there is the baby's future to think about. How was she able to afford all of that stuff with six kids? How was she able to afford all that in vitro? I have so many questions, but none of them matter as much as the welfare of her fourteen children, who will likely end up in the care of others. Unbelievable, and beyond tragic.

And then there were the awards shows. My high holy holiday weekend of Spirit Awards and Oscars. I love them, I do. I become an embarrassing superfan of the film industry and giggle and clap and squeal. I typically do this alone or only with the closest of friends. And there is no talking. NO TALKING, PEOPLE. Until the commercials (which don't exist with the Spirit Awards...so that's a lot of not talking). Sadly, I thought this year's Oscars show was meh. How annoying was it for them to be playing music while the presenters spoke?!? And, please, in the name of all that's holy, get rid of the song and dance numbers. Please. This is not the Grammys nor is it the Tonys. Beyoncé lipsyncing takes away from the winners' speeches (which is what I am there for). Let's just ditch them altogether. It will save precious time and money. Thank you. Amen.

Now we can talk about Obama's address to Congress last night. Oh my. I only caught the last twenty minutes of the speech, but I think everyone in DC was feeling the soreness in their glutes and quads today from all the up-and-down-and-up-and-down with the many standing ovations they gave. Have you ever seen anything like that? I am so proud of our President. Yes, we have a long way to go. It won't happen overnight. And we all have to suck it up and take responsibility, pitch in and help out to make this work. So, let's do it, shall we?

I'm about to stimulate the economy with an iPhone. Ugh. The thought of switching from my beloved T-Mobile to that other carrier makes me want to cry. But, it looks like that will end up being the frugal-er way to go at the end of the day. And the debate between friends over the pros and cons of this switch makes my head swim. Oh, they think technology makes our lives easier, but I've got a Facebook thread three miles long going back and forth on this. It's so complicated. You give up one thing you really like/need/want for another you really want/need/like. I'm thinking we should just bring back 8-track tapes and LPs and be done with it. I'd vote for the covered wagon comeback, too, but as I'm deathly allergic to horses that would be sort of dumb.

And now, she who cannot figure out which phone to get, is about to go off and optimize user functions for someone else's websites. Can you believe someone is trusting me with that? Me neither. But, if I want a new iPhone, I'd better get to it. Yes, I do dangle a carrot every now and then. Don't you?

The dance of late has left me dizzy. But it's all of my own doing. The speed of Life is rushing me along. It's all I can do to not trip over myself. But I mean that in a good way.

10 February 2009

Electronic Revolt

I don't know what's going on. Or off, actually. My TiVo died. My iPod is on its last leg (has been for months, but the buzzards are circling) and my BlackBerry is positively geriatric, annoying me to the point that it's sort of mocking me to buy another.

Why is it this kind of stuff always happens at once? When I'm haphazardly employed, taxes are due and I just bought a ticket to NYC I could barely afford (but with airfare so low, I couldn't afford to pass it up, either)? And the choices that are presented as possible solutions are not exactly economically helpful or emotionally appealing. By the way, there's a recession going on. My timing is always perfect.

TiVo can be replaced for $149 (but that extra cash is carrying me to Eastern Standard Time). A TimeWarner DVR is $19 extra per month. I can't stand TimeWarner; the idea of giving them an extra dime gives me slight angina. I want them out of my life...but Verizon and DirecTV aren't really options I'm excited about either. And I will not be able to survive a day without an iPod. So, do I just get a Nano? Or do I splurge and get the Touch?

But, that brings up the BlackBerry issue. If I need a new iPod and want a new phone, should I just get an iPhone? But, I want to stay on T-Mobile. An unlocked, unjailed (whatever the hell that is) iPhone is like $700. WTF? So, now I'm back to a Nano and my GeriBerry...and a TW DVR. Because we are in a recession. And my spoiled need for electronic conveniences and entertainment has to get on board with that. And I've got to run. I have to turn in my cable box now so I can record tonight's "Biggest Loser". Because I sort of am one lately.