Tuesday, September 30, 2003

what a difference a year makes...

this time last year i was at work, and i opened up one of the many boxes that held the celebrity-painted plates that we needed to glaze and fire for the annual carousel of hope charity auction. i pulled one out, looked at its childish simplicity, and thought (yes, i had to pause and think about it): who are jennifer and ben?

ok, well, duh.

so i turned it over, and, sure enough, on the back, it said: by j. lopez. well! i thought this was the funniest thing ever. and that while she might be a singing, dancing, acting triple threat, ceramics painting is clearly not her forte. so i picked up a plate, some purple, blue and red paint, a couple of paint brushes, and painted an exact replica. her plate went on its merry way to the auction (and was featured in people magazine, natch) and my plate is in my kitchen, natch. anyhow, just to memorialize my encounter with the now-defunct "bennifer" duo, i took this photo. hers, which i'd already glazed and fired, is on the right. mine, in its pre-glaze and fire stage, hence the pale colors, is on the left. not bad, huh? think i could make some bucks with it on ebay?

slow news day here. so... that is all. buh-bye.


Monday, September 29, 2003

strategy rhymes with tragedy

i scrawled that witticism while at a stop light, on the back of an envelope. the envelope contained a letter i received saturday that informed me that my appeal to reinstate my financial aid was denied. oh, but, hip-hip-hooray, i may file a "level II appeal". see me do a dance of sheer bliss.

also scrawled on the envelope is ashley's new address in seattle--yes, she landed an apartment while up there last week. i also wrote: "make appointment with english department advisor", which i just did, thanks to the entirely unpleasant department secretary who handles such matters. noted also on the envelope is the following: "NYU application deadline december 15th, $75, take GRE". because, well, i am applying to NYU for the MFA in creative writing program. i started to miss new york city the minute i left it, and have been trying to figure out how to get back there ever since. will anyone need a roommate come next summer? i also made a note to remind myself that october 15th is the deadline to submit my entry to a fiction contest that is open to women under the age of thirty-two who have part of a novel written and who are charming and witty and have had financial hard luck. if ever such a person existed, well, folks, it's me.

come... indulge me as i draw a lofty parallel:

in the summer of 1938 a hurricane hit the shores of connecticut, taking along with it the family summer home of the hepburn family called fenwick (it was since rebuilt). katharine hepburn had spent the summer there, recovering from a string of movie flops, her breakup with eccentric aviator howard hughes, and from having been labeled "box-office poison" in an incendiary article written by an influential independent theatre owner. during that summer, hepburn was approached by friend and popular, but down-on-his-luck, playwright philip barry, who had begun working on a piece that was eventually tailored to fit her like a glove. she bought in to the play, emotionally and financially, and even had enough of what she called common sense to secure the film rights. the play was a smash on broadway, and when she brought it to louis b. mayer at mgm in 1939 he agreed she should star in it, and let her select the director and co-stars. she asked for spencer tracy and clark gable. she got james stewart and cary grant.

oh, what was that film, you ask? you may have heard of it. it's called the philadelphia story, and it saved her career. she joked with barry, "you should have called it the answer to this maiden's prayers."

well, the summer of 2003 brought some hurricanes of its own into my life. i've spent the summer holed up in the only hideaway i have, which is my bedroom in the apartment i share with two other girls. i've recovered from a breakup of sorts, and have had my own string of 'bank account' flops, namely in the form of vehicle repossession, loss of financial aid, and the delight of being labeled "work-place poison" by my recent employer. if ever there was a time for strategy, well, it's now. and, yes, strategy rhymes with tragedy.

so, if the universe could just take notice that it's about time i was lent a hand and tailor a comeback for me, well--that would most certainly be the answer to this maiden's prayers!


Friday, September 26, 2003

doing the time warp again: going back to "grounds zero"

i lost myself completely in the re-reading of the journal i kept around this time eight years ago. it's a silver sparkly lined journal; the pages are crammed with my girlish handwriting in many colors, stickers, notes, drawings, poems, things i wanted to tape inside and save for ever and ever. i found myself transported back to a time when i lived in the sweetest studio apartment at the foot of the hollywood hills, in a building that used to be a hotel in the 1920's. it was my first quarter ever enrolled in university, and i was actually a theatre major--somewhat irritated that that meant i had to take a class in stagecraft, which meant i had to draft things and know about bolts and sets and things. i had a part-time job at a book store, and i spent all my free time (which i apparently had ample of, considering i ditched a lot of school) perched on a stool at the counter of a local coffee house.

grounds zero, as it was called, was a tiny little bohemian coffeehouse that was on an odd stretch of space on sunset boulevard. this was before there was a starbucks on every corner, and when going for coffee was more desireable than even maybe going for drinks, but then, i could have been biased. laurie had stumbled on the place one night when she was supposed to be knocking on doors raising money for greenpeace, which was a job we both held. she took me back there with her, and when she eventually moved back east, i moved in to grounds zero. i may as well have gotten my mail and phone calls there, because i lived there. i've even slept there...

the clientele was your typical urban artsy gen-x melee, though some of the more aesthetically rough-and-tumble types were actually members of narcotics anonymous, and only looked as though they partied hard. it was the kind of cafe that hosted a fledgling open mic night, had the occasional musical act, and the artwork on the walls was done by the token local eccentric. it was dim, it was cozy, and everyone knew my name. i was there morning, noon and night. i almost never paid for a single iced mocha, cup of joe, sandwich, cookie or what have you that i ordered. i would get asked to run errands like go to the bank or the market, or to make drinks while the employee on duty played a game of pool. i stayed late to do the dishes. i knew everyone who hung out there like me, inside and out, and same went double for the staff. there was plenty of scandal, intrigue, adventure, flirtation, excitement and romance in the air at any time. and i was in love with about a half dozen people who either worked or hung out there.

this was a most curious time in my life; i was eighteen years old, living on my own, balancing work and school. i'd just had my heart broken by someone whom i'd allowed to be my first intimate. i wrote long, wordy passages about my rapidly beating heart, my desires, my deep despair, my anguish, my early adulthood torment and delight. i had an intense crush on a fellow named james, who worked there, and i'm sure he knew it, everyone knew it, and it tortured me--i was in sheer agony over the fact that we were just pals. if he wasn't in my good graces i turned my affections to any number of other people--some guy named rob who played pool there, and two other employees, evan and m. i'd sit, ever impatient, on my stool at the copper-covered counter, sipping endless sugary drinks, reading novel upon novel, penning furiously in my silver journal, smoking marlboro reds that i pulled out of my little pink tin box that served as my purse. i wonder now what made me so appealing to so many men--my diary was full of "so and so made a move on me"--and i didn't want a single one of them--if only i had people making advances on me nowadays! i was fighting them off with sticks, completely naive of how men and women interacted, and amazed that they took an interest in me. so meanwhile i was lusting with unrequied love for men who didn't show a single bit of interest. then, just like now, all i ever want are the ones who don't want me back.

until one october night.

james wasn't giving me the time of day, so i had turned my attention to someone else: m. he lived with his girlfriend. he was much older, maybe six or seven years. he was a poet. how utterly romantic, wouldn't you say? it was a friday night, and i'd remained behind to help him tidy up. he counted out the register, showed the bug srpay man where to spray, and i happily went in back to do the dishes.

suddenly he was right next to me.

"i'm on to you," he told me. "i've been wanting to take all those hooks you've been hanging out for me, only i don't know how you'd take it. but i know you're flirting with me, all the time. and i think you're cute. and i can totally see us, naked, going at it on that couch there."

i was stunned. i was busted. but, thrill of thrills, he liked me back!

"how about i give you a foot massage?" he offered, when the dishes were done.

i said yes, and so i stretched out next to him on the couch. he took my foot, and rubbed it, and then slowly worked his way up my bare leg. and then we kissed.

"do you have a condom?" he asked me.

of course i did. i retrieved one from--where else?--my little pink tin, and there we were, naked, going at it on the couch. it was naughty, it was impetuous, it was making a cheater out of him.

i was in heaven.

we hooked up every friday for the next month right there in the cafe--in the backroom, on the couch, and even on the pool table. one night my car was locked in to the back parking lot, and we slept there. his girlfriend showed up in the morning, worried because he hadn't come home. she seemed almost relieved to see me there, because she and i were friendly. she'd go shopping and show me what she bought, or we'd talk about life and smoke cigarettes together. i don't know if she ever had any idea i was sleeping with her live-in boyfriend.

he was moody, to say the least, and that made me more neurotic. any thing he said or did would send me into a tailspin, either high or low, but dramatic no matter what. he was unhappy at home. he was not being productive, creatively. he didn't like his job. he said once that he was as able to commit to me as "a dog with fleas", whatever that meant. he'd say he would call so we could go out, and he wouldn't. time after time i'd be waiting to hear from him, a whole day wasted for me. then he'd show up at the drop of a hat: "i was in the neighborhood, and thought i'd stop by" or "can i come over to practice giving a full body massage?" i was head over heels in love with this tempremental man--he would read poetry to me in restaurants, rub my neck gently as we drove around, lie with me on the park grass. to him, i'm sure, i was this oddball young thing who complicated his life, but who would drop her drawers at the merest suggestion. "it's funny," he said one day, "the sex monster doesn't bite me when i'm just talking to you. but when i touch you..."

it came to an end in the spring. he'd left his girlfriend and moved into some group housing situation, and when i finally got him on the phone after several attempts, he said, "hey, me and my housemates are making homemade beer right now. i'll call you tomorrow, okay?"

he never called.

today, after i read all these episodes in my diary, i grabbed my books and went in to hollywood to see what had become of the old place. it's changed owners a few times, and motifs, though the talk in the room today showed me that it still was a spot for urban hipsters, hollywood wannabees, and "friends of bill". i got a coffee and sat down, and like a good little scholar i did my reading for school. there's different paint on the walls, the couch and pool table are long gone, even the copper counter top is gone, too. but my ghost is in there, the ghost of a kid who lived and breathed with such intensity within those walls. i told the guy at the counter that i used to hang out there, years ago, but i hadn't been back for ages.

"did you move out of town?" he asked.

"no," i said laughing. "i guess i grew up."

[...] i wonder if he knew just how much i cared for him. i used to always wonder if he really factored me in to his life. if i became an issue with him and his girlfriend, if he even considered being the boyfriend that i'd hoped he would be for me. i suppose i might never know. and i suppose you can't ever go back. not really.


Thursday, September 25, 2003

surefire signs it's time to head back to school--
just take a look at what's been on my "to do" list in the past few days...

  • finish organizing closets and cleaning
  • bake chocolate chip cookies with martha stewart mag recipe (done!)
  • replace rear tire that blew out on the ride home last week (done!)
  • go to museum of tv and radio--watch archived tv interviews with katharine hepburn (done!)
  • call freelance employers to schedule meetings, try to get more work
  • pay a visit to the famous forest lawn memorial park--er, um, yes, cemetary--in glendale, search out dead celebs (done!)
  • repay gracious short-term loan from mom and step-dad as requested
  • call dad in toronto to check in and get caught up (done!)
  • send nana birthday card (it was april 9th), mother's day card (it was mid-may) and thank you card (for helping buy schoolbooks this week), throw in some photos for kicks (done!)
  • buy schoolbooks--try not to cry over cost (done!)
  • decide what mode of transport to take to attend the v.d.b.'s birthday bash in s.f. next week--i'll be driving (done!)
  • get that pesky smog check for the car
  • work on novel

yeah, it's time for some structure in my days. today is the first day of the fall quarter. i'm ready to put on my plaid pinafore, oxford shoes, sling the book bag over my shoulder, pack a lunch, tie ribbons in my hair and skip off on my merry way to the hallowed halls of my institute of higher learning. i am the lucky scholar, though, who has only afternoon and evening classes--no more of this getting up at five a.m. to finish assignments bunk! this quarter i am motivated by the thought of being done with school in march, by meeting more people who can say "hey, i knew her when..." after i've become famous, and to gaze at the sexy, whip-smart, rugged, sophisticated, bronzed god that is the infamous hunky prof i haven't seen since june. school days, school days...



Wednesday, September 24, 2003

"we eat when the elite eat" she would say, late on a summer night

i used to spend one month of my summer each year in childhood and adolescence with my grandparents at their house in a suburb of vancouver. it was the house they'd bought in the mid-1950's, and remodeled and improved it until it finally had four bedrooms, three baths, a family room, a finished basement with giant-screen tv (that replaced the pool table of my youth), a pool, and complete landscaping tended to lovingly by my grandfather. i was passionate about that house to a near-militant degree; i'd tell my grandparents (that's nana and grandpa) that when i became rich and famous i'd buy a house on marine drive in vancouver with an enormous lot, and i'd have their house moved to be next to mine. if talk of their moving ever arose i'd say through clenched teeth: "you're not moving, not ever!" often when there's a house in my dream it is that house, on grant street in burnaby, that i find myself in, time after time.

christmases were almost always spent there, and my grandpa, the talented recreational artist, would paint an amazing picture on the front windows. i remember funny things about those times, like the fuzzy warmth of the yellow floral nightgown that i had, the chocolate mints someone always bought in seattle and brought around, the homemade whipped cream that was dolloped on pieces of pie, the satisfying weight of the living room fireplace tools, the sharp edges of the stone hearth, my amusement at the song "feliz navidad" as julio iglesias' latin crooning came from the old fashioned stereo with the prop-lid and the elaborate speakers. there was a creak in the louvered doors that went just so, a slickness to the material that covered the living room couches that were rarely sat on, let alone played on. and it isn't just the holidays that i remember there, but endless summer days in the pool (the pool i remember being built, and dangling my legs in the dirt pit that was dug for it), the gymnastics i'd attempt underwater, the races i swam against my grandpa, the card games he taught me, the outdoor dinners set up under umbrella-ed tables, the drag it was to wait to be dried off to go inside to get another coke, fudgesicle, book to read or go to the bathroom--or face a scolding for tracking water in to the house.

my grandpa would always get up with the sun, and get ready for work--he owned a successful roofing company--before anyone else was up and about. sometimes he'd leave the radio in his bathroom on, and there'd be that echoing sound and the lingering smell of hairspray and aftershave to greet me after he'd left. he always took his pills and vitamins with a glass of juice, slugged back a cup of coffee black, and took some fresh fruit in a tupperware dish in the car with him for the road. his arrival home was in the late afternoon--sometimes his trunk would be full of flats of flowers to be planted or beer and wine from the liquor store (in british columbia liquor is still controlled by the goverment, and i believe it can only be purchased from provincial liquor stores). i'd almost always be in the pool or on the lounge chair, nose buried in any one of my aunt's old books or comics i'd dragged out of storage. my nana would be making dinner, with the tv tuned to news or sports, and the screen doors would snap and shut with everyone's comings and goings. sometimes, especially on the weekends, he'd plug a radio in outside and play a station that played big band and standard music, which is probably why i'm so fond of that sort of music to this day. there'd be casual conversations from room to room that were accomplished with shouting, but my favorite was always when my grandpa would holler at me: "get me a beer!" and off i'd trot to the downstairs fridge to get him one--granville island lager was a popular favorite. my grandpa would go to bed almost immediately after dinner, and eat a dish of vanilla ice cream in bed, then fall asleep, snoring like there was no tomorrow with the tv on full volume.

my grandpa was a tough character. he'd had a tough childhood, illness and loss and struggle and more. he was a railroad man when he met my nana in the mid-1940's; they married august 21, 1948. at first they lived in my nana's mother's house, where my mother was born. soon my uncle was born, and that's when they bought the house on grant street. they had one more child, my aunt, and soon after my grandpa became a successful business owner. he worked incredibly hard, and expected everyone else to, as well. but he was a remarkable artist, and his oil paintings hung in every room in the house, many originals, many copies of masters. he put together puzzles that i’d never in a million years have the patience for. though he had a bad knee, he still was vigorous and active, swimming with me when i'd goad him in to it, kneeling to weed and plant in the yard, doing carpentry as needed, or spontaneously grabbing my nana for a tango and a dip. he would latch on to funny words and sayings, like "tilt!" and "moosejaw" for no apparent reason. he didn't tolerate being sassed, whining, or my getting lousy grades. he could set anyone right in their place, especially any of his six grandkids, in a heartbeat. to have let him down was a heartbreaking predicament to find yourself in.

my nana is the self-proclaimed night owl. we'd sip cups of tea and eat peek-freans cookies and watch johnny carson. i always tried to go to bed before she would so that i could hear the sound of the tv and not the spooky night sounds of the house settling, as older houses do. at one point i developed a heightened fear of break-ins, thanks to one summer of rampant crime in the city and all those 'crime stoppers' commercials on tv, which left me scared and awake most of the night. my nana was addicted to all my children, and we'd eat sandwiches and watch her soap at noon like a ritual. she is by far the best cook and baker i know--if i were being sent to the electric chair i'd request her cooking for my last meal without a second thought. she'd take me to the mall and buy me dolls, and always we'd hit the department stores for back to school clothes. there was a drawer in the house that held a pack of laurentian pencil crayons, and i'd doodle and sketch and write endlessly--my nana saved every scrap in a kids meal box that she'd tuck in her odds and ends closet at the end of the hall. there was an order to things in her house--towels are folded a certain way, everything is ironed, beds are made just so. leaving clothes strewn about a major no-no. but as i got older i shed my careless kid ways and wanted to pitch in to help her--set the table, prepare a meal, or just plain keep her company. we'd stay up til all hours playing cards and laughing so hard i'd get the hiccups, or even get sugary milky tea up my nose. it was our job to put the cover on the pool, so she'd curse as we'd tug the turquoise colored plastic sheet that looked like oversized bubble wrap and that was cut to fit the kidney shaped pool. god, that was the worst task ever! some magical nights we'd go out for a night swim under the velvet sky, with the glowing underwater light making the water shimmer and our shadows pronounced as we glided in the warmth, only to emerge, chattering with cold and wrapping ourselves in thick, fluffy, brightly colored towels.

outside of the house we did great fun things together, like go to the annual pacific national exibition (the pne) and ride the rides and eat hot dogs and stroll around. we'd go to see plays at the arts centre on granville island, or have a big chinese dinner with the whole family at the flamingo. every now and then we'd go to the horse races and sit in the clubhouse, or we'd go to a fancy dress up dinner, or to a concert. i never thought twice about what it might look like to go out and about with my grandparents. they were such fine company that i relished every last minute of it.

the last summer trip i had to that house was in august of 1996. it was just a one-week visit, all i could spare from my work schedule. i spent most of the week on the phone with my then-boyfriend, and sneaking out for smokes. the last time i saw my grandpa was when they took me to the airport to see me off. a couple of months later my mother went up to spend a month with them, helping my nana care for my grandpa, since he'd reached the final stages of prostate cancer. she'd only been home a couple of days when the call came that we should get up there as fast as we could. she went earlier than my step-dad and i, and made it time to be in the room with him when he died. he died in the house on grant street. it was so hard to be there, those november days when we said goodbye.

my nana sold the house and moved to a suburb south of the city the following summer. it's one of those planned community townhouse developments, and for all its shiny newness it's its own heap of troubles. honestly, there's a part of me that will never forgive her for selling the house on grant street. when i visit her she is just as fun as ever, but more her own woman now, a little more free-spirited, open to new things, and one of the damned funniest people i know. (when she insisted we rent meet the parents she paused the video to make sure i understood one thing: "get it, the guy's name is fokker, fokker, get it?") i try to talk to her every couple of weeks, and we have long gab sessions about this that and everything. she's in to yoga, bowling, and wants to get a computer so she can email me and my cousins. she still watches all my children everyday, but if she’s out ‘in town’ (never without her lips and eyebrows done, mind you) she’ll tape it. she never ceases to amaze me--and when i get a chance to take some time off and take a trip, nine times out of ten i'll opt to go see her. it's just worth it.

tonight i baked some chocolate chip cookies and was so proud of myself--but it was getting late! i realized i hadn't yet had dinner, but it was approaching nine. i laughed, thinking of my nana serving up a late dinner and declaring: "we eat when the elite eat", and my grandpa snorting, and being somewhat ruffled since it was past his bedtime. when i think of summer i think of them, at the house on grant street, of the breeze eliciting a tune from the wind chimes hung on the back porch, of my impressing them with my proficiency as i played along out loud with wheel of fortune and jeopardy on the tv, of frank sinatra songs, of my grandpa's vegetable gardens out back, of bursts of laughter and moments of dreamy silence.

summer is now officially over, and those days in that house are long gone, and my grandpa is sadly gone, too. but who and where i come from is such a vital part of me that it's helped make me who i am today, a person who struggles, but who has a good heart, a fast mind, a sharp wit, and the desire to do more and be better, and to make my family proud. i know i'm proud of--and eternally grateful for--them.


Tuesday, September 23, 2003

"baby remember my name..."

monday became a sort of non-day for me. i did an awful lot of sitting and staring off in to space and questioning my own mental stability. i got ashley off to the airport just fine, and also made it back home just fine. i also gave a name that isn't my own when i stopped for a beverage at the coffee bean, which i enjoy doing. (i enjoy both getting beverages and giving a name not my own, just in case that was unspecific.) when i got home it was already hotter than hades, and i couldn't keep my eyes open for the life of me. and so i napped.

again, it's the midday nap stupor that breeds the guilt of inactivity in me. i was full of gusto for los angeles as i drove home from the airport; waxing nostalgic in my crowded head about the l.a. of decades ago when the old movie studios were going strong, and then thinking of the l.a. i know from the annals of my own personal history here. how years ago i could drive through a neighborhood and think, "say, i would like to someday live here" and honestly believe that i could. now i drive through and think "say, i would like to someday live here, but there's just no way..." and i wonder where that comes from, that mechanism that's grown in my own mind that puts a resounding foot down on any optimistic longings. maybe it's that i've come to face some sort of reality where i know my limitations, maybe it's that i can "dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true" like a line in a song i know.

well, that's no fun! boring! not interesting!

i've been wondering if i should make this confession here or not, and i've decided to go ahead and do it.

i want to pursue acting.

i want to be a famous actress-slash-writer.

i want to be fascinating.

when i was lolling about my bedroom this afternoon, though, that guilt of inactivity hit me hard. it isn't okay that i don't have a steady job, or at least that's what the world seems to be telling me. it isn't enough that i'm going to school full time. and all the things i'd be willing to get up and get doing cost far too much money than i have now, or will have soon. even going to the l.a. county art museum to see the french masters is really out of my limited budget. so, naturally, a jaunt to europe is out of the question. sometimes that nagging voice is really mine. how sad--i've come to the point where i just plain know better.

it took me a good while to snap out of the haze yesterday. i wanted to be reminded that i was who i'd always thought i was, and to just get that kind of bolstering of spirit only dear friends can give. so i called up laurie, my best gal pal from back in the tenth grade, whose life has changed by leaps and bounds and zip codes numerous times since we first met. and i came out with my confession: that i wanted to be an actress. and what did she say?

she said: "okay."

she reminded me that for as long as she'd known me, there were only two things that really resonated with me, two things i ever showed marked interest in doing, and two things that really got to me in the heart: acting and writing. sometimes i'd be involved in one and then look to the other, or they'd switch in ranking, but, oddly enough, those two things were the most consistent things about me. and why not do them? that it was "okay" because it made absolute perfect sense for me to do it.

i'm still in that haze, mind you, even after an hour-long phone chat, and more chats on various topics with my beloved housemates. "we all have our issues," laurie said, laughing, and i chimed in with my laughter, too. i've been hiding for a while, in a sort of coma, and i want out. i want to tell that voice that tacks on "but there's just no way..." after every idea i have to just shut up. hit the road and put a sock in it and all those kinds of things. i want to follow my passions--shutup shutup shutup little voice--and i'm going to!

so, you heard it here first. (cue music: "fame")


Monday, September 22, 2003

the day we actually took our act out on the road

because i am a good friend to ashley i invited myself along to drive her dog to the dog sitter's yesterday. only, this was no neighborhood jaunt--ashley's dog is actually having a vacation similar to the one i just had, and almost as far north!

since ashley's car needs some work done, she opted to rent a car for the day of driving. they ended up giving her a bright blue pt cruiser, which cracked us up endlessly for some reason; i think because there's really nothing subtle about the vehicle. we loaded in her old, incontinent doggy into the back seat (carefully rigged and decorated to suit an old, incontinent doggy) and began the drive 290 miles northward. (yes, we were headed just a tad south of mammoth--ashley was recommended this dog sitter by the woman i worked for last week).

the ride up was an exercise in ignoring the stinky dog, trying to eat our starbucks pastries in their bags without alerting the dog's keen sense of smell, trying to find a decent radio station, and in getting there as fast as possible. it took about four and a half hours, and we successfully deposited the dog at his mountain retreat. hurrah!

then the fun really began. we ate in the town of bishop, where we had mid-afternoon breakfasts and a lot of fun was poked at the hokey barbed wire-stuffed fish-wood things kind of decor. i always wonder in towns like that just who lives there--and why! then we hit up the casino. oh, yeah... it was a pauite indian casino, complete with tons of elderly folk (ashley and i refer to them as cob-eaters) and the permission to smoke indoors. i would consider myself the unluckiest and stingiest gambler west of the mississippi, but those slots were kinda loose, i think, because i made money and had the sense to quit when i did. don't get too happy for me, though, because when i say "made money" i should also say we were playing quarter slots, and i spent about $23 and cashed out with a $50 ticket. so in the 25 or so minutes we lasted there i made $27 bucks. not bad!

we hit the road and headed home, and laughed our butts off the whole way. we did goofy dances and saw ourselves reflected on the mirrored back of the truck in front of us. we acted out highlights from the nick lachey-jessica simpson mtv show (this invloved me saying "sorry, nick" in a whiny voice every time i belched, then i'd pretend to file my nails and ask 'nick' if he thought i was sexier than his backup dancers. then i'd wonder if he loved me, i'd ask him to pass my my louis vuitton handbag, and also tell him that i spent $700 on three pairs of underwear. 'nick' would tell 'jessica' how spoiled she was, tell her how he did his own laundry since the third grade, and how cute she was sitting there in her pigtails.) we sang along to songs about jesus, songs about sad country women, and tons of hard rock classics. when we didn't know the words we made 'em up. (when we go to pick up the dog next week we are bringing cd's, no ifs ands or buts about it!) we told funny stories to each other and i'd get her laughing so hard she'd almost spit up her mouthful of water or swerve off the road, and i nearly wet my pants (should have incontinent-proofed the front seat for old me!).

oh, and i knitted. i've taken up knitting again (i say again because i was a prolific knitter at the age of around 11). it's a scarf. i'm adorable when i knit. besides, i'm just an old fashioned girl in a modern world. and it's fun.

we pulled in to town late, around nine o'clock-ish. just a little day trip in the touring car!

today ashley leaves for a one week vacation to seattle to find a place for her and the old incontinent doggy to live when she moves back there in november. so i'm without my ashley this week. it's also the last few days left before school starts again.

ah, school... somehow i managed to do really well in both my classes over the summer, and i'm wondering if it at least one of my professors was under the influence of narcotics when she assigned me a grade of A- in american literature. i honestly don't know how i do it! lucky, i guess. since summer quarter just wrapped up on the 5th of this month i don't really feel like i've had much time off, and already it's back to the books. sigh. consolation: my first class on thursday reunites me with--drumroll please--the hunky professor that i am madly in love with. and if that's not incentive, i don't know what is.

well, i have to get ready to take ash to the airport. let's see if i can get her to laugh so hard she wets her pants on the way. just kidding!


Thursday, September 18, 2003

be it ever so humble... there's no place like home

i clicked my heels in their sparkly ruby slippers together three times, and suddenly i was home yesterday evening. ok, so it didn't really happen that way, but who wants to hear about a five hour drive that got me sunburned and another flat tire? that's what i thought.

inevitably, when i get home from a trip i long to change my living environment. i think it's spending time seeing how life can be lived elsewhere makes me want to reorganize, reevaluate, or at the very least unclutter. this morning i launched operation reorganize closets and generally remove clutter from living environment. my enthusiasm for said projects tends to fade ealy on, leaving me with a mess everywhere and the wish for a mary poppins kind of solution where i snap and sing and make a magical game out of tidying up. no such luck.

but i'm home, home to teatime at four-ish, to my furry little companion of a cat, to my housemates, to all the stuff that crams my little space. and it's nice to be home.

last night ashley and i caused havoc at target, just in the fact that everything we said, did, looked at or touched caused rioutous laughter. it's so great to be back in the company of all the lovely people i have in my life. ashley is moving away, though, at the end of october, up to seattle. and i can't bear the thought of it, even though i know the move is the best thing for her. i'm gonna miss her like hell, but enjoy the time we have until then.

i have a thousand little nagging things to tend to before school starts next week. i guess you can go away to 'oz' for a week, but still have to come home to kansas. i suppose i should re-dedicate myself to my room-cleaning project now. l.q.t. is going to join me shortly to watch a movie and have a cocktail, so if ever there's a good reason to clear off some sitting space... well, there you go.

and there i go!


Monday, September 15, 2003


i went for a very long and interesting walk today. i'm tempted to call it a hike, but then you might get this picture of me being some sort of rugged type, and i'd never live it down. but, for all intents and purposes my walk really amounted to a hike of about three miles, some parts steep and rocky and precarious, some parts gnarled tree roots and muddy, some just plain old dirty. i took myself on over to a place called convict lake, which is about four miles from where i'm staying. now, please don't go thinking i started out by walking those four miles to the lake. oh, no, no, my friends, i drove. the mountair air hasn't robbed me of all my sense!

convict lake, as it turns out, was named for the escapees from prison in carson city, nevada in september 1871 who engaged a posse of men in a shootout right there by the lake. they caught all but one of them, and they were either hung or sent back to jail. mount morrison, which backs the lake on one side, was named for one of the fellows who was shot, and the lake named for, well, the convicts. isn't it fascinating what i learned from reading those stone slabs with plaques on them?

regardless of the wild west lore that gave the lake the name, the lake itself is stunningly beautiful. you wouldn't think that this polished city girl could hold her own in the midst of endless nature, but, then, i'm a surprising creature. the person i best like to surprise is myself, and when i do so, i realize i'm not actually all that surprised; i usually am just reminded of what's already in me.

i wasn't sure what i was in for when i started the walk. i had no watch with me, so i wasn't conscious of the nagging factor of time. the first part of the walk was on a gravel path, which was nice and fairly even, but, naturally, sort of boring. i want adventure! inspiration! let's go! soon the paved portion gave way to rocky, windy passages. i could sense that most of what i was either walking on or crossing had once been waterways, just from the shape and positioning of the rocks. (you see, i'm sort of nature-girl in that way. i wonder where it comes from?) anyhow, it was just me, and my thoughts. i'd sort of taken with me for the trip all the characters of my book, in hopes that in the quiet, breezy atmosphere they'd tell me their stories, and give me something to take back to the manuscript. but i'll tell you, it can get kind of noisy in my head, because the main person in charge is me, and my brain runs a thousand miles a minute, with this and that springing up like those factoid bubbles in a pop-up video.

so i thought about my story characters, and what they were all about. and i thought about me, and what i'm about, and what matters to me. it's amazing how few things matter when you're basically alone on a rocky ledge facing a deep, rippling blue-green lake under vibrant blue skies and surrounded by brush and mountains. i thought about that stupid little song i came up with when i was a ten year old on a camp canoe trip. just like then, i was seeing all the beauty, knowing i couldn't stay forever, but that i was fine for the time being. i thought about what keeps me going, and what i really want, and the roles people play in my life. so while i was thinking about what makes the narrator of my novel tick, i was also thinking what makes me tick.

about a third of the way through the hike (there, i've said it, hike) i wondered if i could really make it all the way around the lake. after all, i'm not in the best state of fitness, and i am still a smoker. so i thought about struggle, and i remembered that life is hard, and full of struggle, and while we don't pick our struggles, what we do pick is how we handle them.

so i kept on. moved forward. the only way to go.

i'm glad i did. not long after, about halfway, the path gave way to a boardwalk of sorts, nestled amongst the trees. i made one little turn, and then stopped cold. "what's that amazing sound?" i said out loud. and i realized the boadwalk crossed over the most amazing, rushing, bubbling, rocky creeks that fed in to the lake below. the sound was heavenly, and the smell of fresh water and rocks and dirt and leaves was unbeatable. for that moment alone the ups and downs of the rocky path had been worth it.

i didn't stand still long, i kept moving, pausing only every now and then to take in the view, to catch my breath, to adjust the cute little head-scarf i was wearing (even hiking i am adorable). in the game of forward motion, if you stop for too long it's tough to start out again. the last third of the path around the lake was very hilly and dusty and rocky, and had the added bonus of horse poop every few feet. delicious! i used my where-did-it-come-from nature girl instinct to deduce that the horses had been there recently, but not so recently that i might cross paths with them. (i just pictured a horse getting skittish and galloping ahead and crashing in to me and sending me tumbling to my death down the hillside and on to the rocks below.) and before i knew it... i was done. i'd made it all the way around.

i always knew i would.

photo credit: www.convictlake.com


Sunday, September 14, 2003

a slice, a glance, a glimpse, a peek

begin narration:

this is my brain. this is my brain on mountain air.

welcome to my world. it's not exactly the world i wanted it to be, but it's pretty decent, so here i am, here we are, and let's begin.

i remember the last time i came up north to these here mountains (did i just say "these here"? oh dear, dear, dear, i did) i felt like i'd be whooped but good. apparently there isn't enough oxygen up here, and if i weren't crazy enough already, that fact isn't helping things. so i'm crazier. no, no, lazier. more lazy. i'm in love with a green leather couch and the television.

at night, i get loopy--scared, irrational. you know how things seem more intensified at night? whooo-hooo--that's me, miss intensified. last night, in the middle of trading spaces, i was convinced someone or something was trying to get in the house. i made a perfect spectacle of myself tiptoeing around the house carrying the remote control, a cordless phone, and a flashlight. i didn't see a damn thing outside, except the neighbor's house, and i think it was they that made the noise that set me off. so i turned on all the outside lights and left them on all night. and i woke up thinking: "what an idiot you are, punkin. this place is so safe, your hostess wasn't even going to leave you a housekey because no one locks their houses up here (can you imagine?)." besides the false intruder, at night i am lulled into this bizarre timeless spaceless placeless feeling where i just zone out and forget who and where i am. it is so strange. no amount of water, tea, cookies, aspirin or kleenex can help me. i spend the day telling myself: now, come nighttime you will relax, get some work done, enjoy the quiet. but, nooooooo--there i go, into la la land. i just lose it.

i've had to work the past three days in the store, which has been nice and pleasant and all things i expected it to be. some of the customers are nice and pleasant, whereas, naturally, others are complete idiots. rude. i get annoyed with them, but they leave eventually, and life goes on. i got to paint some samples, and tend to the 'backroom' duties like the glazing and the kiln. felt like a real pro. kind of burns me that i don't often get to be one, thanks to former employer. my hostess has offered to write my old boss a letter in my favor, and i wonder, would that be wise? do i want to go work for him again? would he, as one of the attendees of last week's meetings put it in his british manner, "entertain" the idea of having me back?

i don't know, i don't know.

i only have a couple of days left here. i want to make the most of them, so long as i can get up off the couch and go and do. i'm at a stalling point in my writing because i feel detached from it, like it isn't good or interesting or engrossing enough. i'm being my own worst critic, is what it is. i'm so loopy from lack of oxygen (take aspirin, i'm told, it thins the blood, good golly!) that i can't connect to that magic inspiring place in me that wants this story to get written. instead i watch the banger sisters, remember my lifelong ambition of starring in a movie with susan sarandon, and wonder if i could just go home and declare to everyone "i'm an actress again!" why do i swing so erratically?

i don't know, i don't know.

i think it's the basement where my hostess's laptop is. it's cold and weird down here and i think if i move the computer upstairs i will get more done (read: be near the television). if i don't "finish" the book this week it isn't the end of the world. i can only do what i can do. but can i do it?

i don't know, i don't know.

i've been entertaining myself by talking to...myself: "who directed my fair lady, the movie?" i ask myself. "was it george cukor?" look it up on imdb. "hey, i was right! self, how did you know that? of all the directors to name you named that one, so weird!" pat self on back. "nicely done." "and how many ways can you prepare boneless skinless chicken breasts?" "isn't it sad about john ritter? what will abc do with his show? let's see what the tv says about that." hmmm...

"expand. give meaning, detail and weight to what you want to say."

that's what i tell myself about writing my book. but i woke up this morning thinking about on golden pond. no reason, just did. shuffled downstairs in my jammies. made some coffee. pulled up the guide onscreen to see what was on. well, hey, self, check it out! you can catch the tail end of on golden pond. how did you know it was on?

i don't know, i don't know.

maybe i've got something here.

"or maybe it's the mountain air."

end narration.


Thursday, September 11, 2003

making myself at home

i am the luckiest girl in the world!

i am writing this from a charming house in an area known as crowley lake, just outside of mammoth, california. the sun has been shining all day, the air is clean (though i do have what's affectionately known as 'mountain boogers' taking residence in my nose) and the people are all very nice. i put in my first day of work today at the local chapter of our favorite paint your own ceramics studio, and though it's off-season and a little slow in this ski resort town, i had a good day, and some customers to keep me company.

meanwhile, back at the ranch... or cabin, or whatever it is, i'm taking advantage of every amenity this place has to offer. tonight i plan to get serious with the sattelite cable remote. i have a wealth of groceries in the fridge, a view of the lake on one side and the mountains on the other, use of bikes and washer/dryer, internet, and long distance phone calls. i also have one of those asshole farmer's tans on my left arm, and left arm only. i swear, one of these days i will tan my right arm. it just seems i'm never the passenger. poor, neglected, untanned right arm.

so life is good. i accepted an evite today to go up north early october to attend the birthday extravaganza of one v.d.b., which gives me something to look forward to. and, yes, there is the serious business of writing my book. it will be done. and this, my friends, is the place to do it.

i can't take credit for this witticism, but ashley sent me the funniest email today. she told me that she went to eat at denny's yesterday, and it turns out she was there 10,000th visitor, which makes her eligible to win $10,000. "i think i have a pretty good chance," she tells me. "because my waiter's name was jesus." that girl is funny!

well, i have to excuse myself. there's a couple hundred channels waiting for me (so i can sigh and say "nothing is on!") and dinner to make. the sun is setting and the sky is all purply pink--so beautiful! if i wasn't such a broke ass sad case i'd have a digital camera and i could show you all photos. but i don't have one, so use your imaginations, ok? paint with all the colors of the wind. you know you can.


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

my cup runneth over

i’ve been thinking a lot this evening about what i wanted to write--or, what angle i wanted to take. today has meant a great deal to me. it’s been an incredibly emotional and intense few days in this sassy little punkin’s sassy little life--but i’ve realized, too, that it’s been an incredibly emotional and intense few months. summer, really. and today, i believe, my summer ended.

...and something new has begun. it’s an unnamed sort of newness, but it signals renewal, hope and good things coming my way. i realized that i have no homework, no pressures from my employers, no great, looming financial burdens on my plate. i’m not entirely in the clear, but i’m certainly freer.

i drove my own beloved car off into the sunset tonight. it was the most beautiful sight to behold, making that long trek from the depths of orange county where my car had been taken to, through downtown los angeles and over the hill to my corner of this city, the golden orange ball of fire sinking behind buildings and hills, the sky all purples, pinks and blues. and there i was, on my way home, at the wheel of my car that i’d been fighting so hard to get back for the past ten days. i’ll tell you, don’t ever let your car payments slide--i wouldn’t curse this nightmare on my worst enemy. getting a car back from repossession is not for the weak spirited. you need to chase down a million loose ends, you need to call people every ten minutes, you need to stand your ground, you need cold hard cash, and nerves of steel. and you need the support of friends to get you through.

i’d have been sunk ages ago if it weren’t for my friends. my closest and dearest friends are all dynamic, busy people who balance work with school and family and dating and friends. and when i need them, they are there for me in heartbeat. even if it’s just to call and see if i’m hanging in okay. and then there are the friends i don’t get to see all the time, but who grace my life with their wit, charm, warmth and love. i’ve spent the past few days, as i’ve said before, with some of the finest people you can find. i’ve been hugged, buoyed with laughter, driven an hour and a half to a repo lot, and treated with unparallel respect, kindness and love. and, boy, did i cry when it came time to say goodbye. so many of these people live thousands of miles from me--and, boy, am i ever grateful and appreciative for knowing them. i am an incredibly lucky individual.

so i’ve weathered the significant storms of the summer. you’ll forgive me (again) for steering the topic this way, but i can’t help but think of how i’ve always known my life would change the day katharine hepburn died. and, when i stop to see what trials i’ve been put through of late, well, they all started the day after my famous half-birthday party--june 29th--which happens to be the day we lost the great kate. my life just hasn’t been the same since. and now there’s a turn taking place. i made it through the school quarter. i have come to a personal place of peace regarding the loss of my friendship with fuzzeranne. i know my feelings about some major life issues, and have really come to understand what they are and what they mean for me. i lost my job, but i made it through the annual meetings of my former company and had an amazing time doing so. i lost my car...and i got it back.

tomorrow morning i leave for the mountains, three hundred miles north of here. sure, i have some work to do while i’m there. but it’s work i’m great at, and love doing. and beyond that, well, i have a lot of time to spend with myself. to breathe. to appreciate my having survived so much. my time to finish the book that really represents who i am and what i do.

i’ve been spending the last few days eating and drinking to my heart’s content. my little heart has just about burst a thousand times out of the love and admiration for the people i am so lucky to have in my life. and i’m full. i’m so pleasantly full of all the good i’ve earned. and it feels lovely. and i’m able to stop and really be thankful for it.

my cup, it runneth over.


Monday, September 08, 2003

losing count... in a good way

day two of the meetings of my former company may well go down in the record books as being more fun than the first.

this morning my current 'freelancing' boss showed up and made a surprise cameo, and wound up ditching all her afternoon appointments in order to keep me and ashley company by the pool. only we were at the pool because ashley got saddled with babysitting someone's 20 month old boy, and i tagged along, and so we made a celebration out of it and a friend out of the bartender. my boss is such an amazing woman, and i love to spend time with her--she's just incredible, and a hell of a lot of fun to be around.

i lost count of how many times i almost fell out of my chair from laughing, either at the kid or something damned funny my cohorts said or did.

this evening ashley and i were treated to an elegant dinner at a fantastic restaurant right at the entrance to the santa monica pier. (as a point of reference, i will tell you all that we were treated to dinner by the one-in-a-million woman who first called me "sassy" and still calls me "sassy" to this day.) after dinner cocktails were had back in the hotel lobby, courtesy of another out of town gal-pal attendee's expense account. we just dish on work, love, life...

i lost count of how many times i burst into fits of laughter, complete with hand smacking emphasis.

tomorrow is the last day, and while at first i thought i wouldn't attend, i can't bear to miss a minute with these people. many are from the east coast, and i don't know when, if ever, i'll see them again. i hope to god we manage to stay in touch.

i lost count of how many times i thought to myself: "my god, i love these people."

one of my favorite moments today came when i told some unsuspecting attendees: "i don't work here anymore!" "what do you mean you don't work here?" they said, not knowing what had happened. "oh, i got fired," i tossed off casually over my shoulder. (i've trotted the story out so many times these past couple of days i'm almost tired of telling it. well, ok, not really. it's a good story.) but then i stopped, raised my arms like a wrestling champ, and said "but i'm still here, aren't i?"

i've lost count of how many times i've felt happy to be there.

...and, so, what gives? i get home to find only two comments on my last post? just because i can't spend the day online no one leaves me comments? and here i am telling all these people i'm such an online diva. sheesh. where has the love gone?


Sunday, September 07, 2003

reunited... and it feels so good

i will admit that i spent most of saturday feeling an actressy sort of stage fright. i was worried about how my appearance at the kick-off event to my old company's annual gathering would go over. and i had to make sure i looked cute, of course. would i be snubbed? would there be a scene? would i have a horrible time?

turns out i had nothing to worry about. i have been having the time of my life.

the party was absolutely spectacular. if anyone wasn't happy to see me they hid it well behind gracious and light-hearted behavior. i made sure everyone knew i was representing someone, though, and not just gate crashing. and then i got down to the serious business of having a good time. the wine was flowing, the nibblies were being circulated (although out of nervousness i barely ate a handful of food the whole night), the band was good. i was engaged in happy, hugging, laughing, delightful conversation the entire night. but the party didn't end there. ashley and i were invited to join some of the out of town guests at their hotel, and so we ran to our respective homes and put together our overnight bags, and met up with some of the most amazing, fun and loving people i've ever known. and i had a couple more cocktails in the bar, just chatting up a storm. we went to stick our feet in the jacuzzi, but we got kicked out because it was after hours, and finally, we admitted to our exhaustion and we went to bed. it had been a wonderfully fun night.

sunday morning we had to get up super early in order to be up in the meeting room by eight. ugh! we then spent most of the day sitting through meetings and presentations. some, naturally, more interesting than others, but nothing was hideous or painful. we got frequent breaks, we were fed like champs, and best of all, we were amongst friends--not a bad way to spend the day. towards mid-afternoon, though, it was tough to keep focus, so ashley and i and two other gal-pals escaped to the pool--specifically to the bar by the pool--and relaxed with our tired feet dangling in the jacuzzi--and this time we weren’t being kicked out! as evening came upon us ashley and i decided to head home, even though we were being begged to stick around another night.

there are two more days of meetings and workshops (although i might only go on monday--tuesday might well be the day i get my car back), and plenty of fun hanging out left to do. i’m so excited to be getting to see people i only see once a year, people from all over the u.s. and the world, or even people from right here in california. people who are so happy to see me, who are on my side, who really believe in and care for me. one of my former co-workers greeted me at the party last night with an enormous hug. “you’re back in the family!” he said, and it just about felt that way. (he and i teased each other like brother and sister all morning, just like old times. “how much do you miss me?” i asked, laughing. he responded by pretending to flick me with a knife.) even the highest-ups, who were responsible for showing me the door, were nothing short of warm and welcoming. i was even properly introduced as being there on behalf of someone by the owner during the intro segment, and i rose to get my applause like everyone else had the opportunity to. and i feel proud and in the right in being there, talking about what i know and what i’m passionate about. i miss my old job, and i don’t want to get my hopes up in thinking maybe, just maybe, i could get it back. but it’s worth it just to be there, just to be “in the family”, even if it’s just for a few days.

it’s been a twilight zone kind of couple of days. i sort of got plucked from my every day life and set down at the universal city sheraton with an endless list of people who make me very happy. mostly they are strong, assertive, humorous, kind and spirited people--mostly women--who are nothing short of inspiring. i’d forgotten just how much of who i am had been tied to where i worked. i feel like i got a little bit of that back this weekend, and i don’t feel quite so adrift. and it could just be temporary, but i’m going to enjoy it while i have it. as soon as this ends, though, i’m off to mammoth lakes to spend my house and store sitting week, and i can hardly wait. hopefully, if all goes well, i’ll be driving up there in my very own car. keep your fingers crossed for me! but know that in the meanwhile, i’m surrounded by “family”, and having a damned fabulous time of it.


Thursday, September 04, 2003

on indignity

deep in the heart of a most undesireable part of town known as van nuys, my beloved brigitta sits prisoner, forlorn and filthy in her temporary holding cell. the charges: being owned by a financially inept person. yes, my car's mistress is a bad person.

at least, that's how it feels these days.

i can see how this progression is realized: lose your job, lose your financial aid, lose a friendship, lose your car, lose your mind.

as part of the plan to regain ownership of my car, and her contents, i made a trip to the above mentioned van nuys in order to claim my personal possessions that were being held hostage. my knight in shining j-jill peasant blouse, ashley, has graciously granted me use of her car to shuttle me from obligation to obligation while brigitta is in the big house. just like a scene in an independent film, there i stood in front of enormous barred gate after enormous barred gate, unsure of how to even get in to where i was supposed to go, not wanting to be late, because, as i'd been cautioned, failure to keep an appointment would cost me an extra fifty bucks. and i've planted that money tree, but it hasn't flowered yet, so i'm still keeping my eye on my bottom line here. i finally made it in to the lot, and spied my beloved green jetta, companioned by other cars who have bad people for owners. and, yes, they all looked very sad. it's not exactly the ritz-carlton of impound lots. the folks who work there migrated to me like flies on...well, what flies are wont to migrate to.

"can i help you, ma'am?" one asked.

"i have an appointment," i said firmly, head held high. and i strode straight through the lot towards the entrance to the office.

once inside, i handed over my id, my money, signed on the dotted line, and was told i'd be met outside with my property. on my way back out the gate i stopped to peer in brigitta's windows.

"excuse me! can i help you?" i was asked again.

"i'm just looking to see what's inside," i replied, indignant.

"if you will step outside the gate i'll meet you there. can i see your receipt?"

i handed him my receipt. "i just wanted to see if everything was removed," i told him again, moving to peer in the passenger side.

"everything is outside. you need to go to the gate now," he said. he said it just like you'd imagine someone would scold a bad person.

"well, it's my car!" i said. whereas i know technically it isn't, this is only temporary, and she still is my car, dammit!

"not right now it's not," he said, turning to retrieve my goods.

i left the lot and waited outside.

on my way over to the lot i had been fighting every impulse in me to just give up. i'm not sure if it's an impulse that dictates running away or just standing still. either way, it's an impulse i have to sum up every ounce of courage to squash. it's no easier today than it's been all summer long. and i'm tired. so frightfully tired. i thought about how in just a couple of hours i have to be at school to take a grueling final exam in american lit.

"i just can't!" my inner self wailed. "i can't, i can't!"

but i stopped myself. and i thought, "what would a person of character do?" and, yes, you'll forgive me, but i thought, "what would katharine hepburn do?" because you all know that she is my model of character and strength. and i realized, she wouldn't dare say "i can't". she would just do it. just go forward, because there is no other option.

when the guy emerged with my stuff it was in two enormous dog food bags, and then he returned with the one box that had been sitting in my trunk since i left another job over two years ago. i struggled, all alone, to heft the bags and box into ashley's car, sweating in the van nuys sun, still indignant for having to be there in the first place. i think somewhat more indignant for the fact that my possessions were just heaped into giant dog food bags.

two dog food bags and a box with a price tag of $102.


"have a nice day," the attendant told me in parting.

nice, i don't know about. but it's a day.

and i will not say "i can't" any more.

though i might say it indignantly, i will say it nonetheless: "i will not give up."


Tuesday, September 02, 2003

once let out, the cat won't be coaxed back in to the bag

in what surely must have been a conversation for the not-faint-of-heart, my employment situation was outed today to the owner of the company i used to work for. not by me, of course.

you've noticed i've kept my mouth tightly sealed about my employment of late; i did not want the powers that be at my old job to know more than they should. (other than the fact that i think it's mightly hypocritical of them to spend their time at work reading my blog). so i did not mention the fact that it's who i'm freelancing for that counts.

and who it happens to be are folks who own their own retail franchises of my former place of employment.

yes, that's right. score--punkin: 1, former employer: 0.

i do different things for all of them--sometimes covering shifts in the studio, sometimes teaching art classes, sometimes helming full-scale marketing campaigns. and i absolutely love it. mainly because i know what i'm doing, and i like to do it, and, even according to my former bosses, i do it rather well. these people who now employ me--i like them, and damned if they don't like me. and they do. and they're free, as franchisees, to hire whomever they choose to work for them.

one of my employers is unable to attend a major event that takes place annually, for a few days starting this weekend, and in that above mentioned phone conversation she said that she was most likely going to send someone in her place.

yes, that would be me.

"i've got a call in to punkin," she said.
"punkin who?" he asked her.
"how soon we forget..." she replied.

and i told her it would be my pleasure to attend on her behalf. i'll take excellent notes. i'm rather excited.

score--punkin: 2, former employer: 0.

meanwhile i have received the laundry list of things i need to do to get my car out of bad-car-owners-prison, and the price tags of those things. ugh. please everyone keep your fingers crossed that all the financial plans that have been lined up for a few weeks now actually fall into place and allow me to accomplish this horrid task. i absolutely have to have my car back. after all, i need it to get me places.

and one place in particular--it's a working vacation i'm to embark on next wednesday--i have to be able to drive myself the 300 miles northward to get there. i'll be housesitting and store sitting, alone, in a house on a lake, with no other obligations (school ends this thursday, hip-hip-hooray!), and my novel to finish. that's right, i mean finish. i want it done. and i want to get back in touch with my physical self--that means hikes, walks, swims, the whole nine yards. and some peace and quiet. and a paycheck. so, you see, i have to make it through till then!

the next few days promise to be nothing if not highly interesting. as i told one of my employers today: "i'm a little actress. and i do love a good show!"


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