Friday, October 31, 2003

"punkin pie scare me!": my tenuous relationship with halloween

my nana, who just bought herself her very first computer a couple of weeks ago--a shiny new imac--sent me this email today:

Happy Hallowe'en! Remember what you used to say? Punkin Pie Scare Me!!! Seems like it was yesterday but in reality, it was 25 years ago!!!
Hope the ghosts and goblins don't get you tomorrow night!
Bye for now, love , Casper.

after taking a moment to note how utterly adorable my nana is (you all take a moment to do the same now, okay?), i then asked my mother to remind me of the exact origin of this clever saying of mine. her reply went as follows:

Background -- your Dad and I went to Hawaii at the end of October when you were going on 2. You had Halloween with Nana and Grandpa and all the trick or treaters scared you. You started to cry and when asked why, you said these immortal words: "Punkin Pie Scare ME. I frighten." (IMO exhibiting excellent communication skills for a toddler.) Must have been toddler shorthand for anything associated with Halloween -- scary pumpkins, kids with masks, skeletons, etc. So that phrase has really stuck with us. Nyuk nyuk. But by the next year you were my fearless Tiger and right in there with all the trick or treaters.

feel free to take a moment now to note how utterly adorable my mom is.

so there you have it. "punkin pie scare me! i frighten!" sure, in the years following that famous incident i donned a gamut of costumes--from gypsy to princess leia to cabbage patch kid to bobby soxer to kirstie alley playing a mountain guide in shoot to kill--and happily went door to door canvassing candy treats and pennies for the unicef box. and i'd pour the pile of candy on the floor at the end of the night and survey my bounty, and for the next few weeks i'd eat my way through it, and another halloween would pass without much trauma or delirium.

then as i got older i realized that it seemed like i wasn't having as much fun as i was supposed to be having. i've never entered a costume contest. i've never dressed as a duo with a friend or a boyfriend. i've only been to a couple of parties. freshman year of high school i "acted" at a haunted house in the basement of an unfinished mall, screaming my lungs out and finding no relief when the only liquid they provided us with was lemonade. i almost got trampled by being pushed by the force of the crowd into a glass storefront the one year i was roped in to going to west hollywood, only to emerge from the fray with a pair of tongs mysteriously clipped to my side. i never get drunk on halloween and make seductive eyes at some hot stranger in a mask. i never have the money to go all out on a costume, and even if i did have some money, i wouldn't know what the heck to costume myself in. so i prefer to hide out on halloween, safe in the confines of my house, my school, my work and my own clothes.

this year i'm spending my friday the thirty-first at both my jobs--at night i'm going to be in a room full of costumed kids painting ceramics and amping up their sugar rush to sky-high levels. i don't plan on wearing a costume, but i think if anyone asks, i'm going to take inspiration from my mom, and tell them that i'm going as a "fearless tiger." because, yes, my mom calls me tiger, and, well, this tiger needs to go back to feeling fearless. even on halloween.

so trick-or-treat everyone! be safe, have fun, and get all the candy you can. and i'll try my best...but this little punkin's still kinda spooked!


Thursday, October 30, 2003

apocalypse now: reasons why it sucks to live in los angeles right now

1. wildfires burning hundreds of thousands of acres and thousands of homes, which leads to-

2. air filled with smoke and ash

3. no end in sight to the grocery store workers strike

4. no end in sight to the public transit strike

5. "the terminator" is our govenor-elect

...even britney spears has considered leaving this paradise city. maybe she's got the right idea after all.


Tuesday, October 28, 2003

spelling "relief" in just one letter:

Dear Punkin

We have reviewed your Level II Appeal and it has been approved through Winter 2004. The hold has been taken off your financial aid file, and you will receive your Summer/Fall 2003 disbursement in seven to ten days.

Have a good quarter.

Level II Appeals Committee

a lesson in the value of not giving up, if ever i saw one. it's not much, but it's something, and just in the nick of time.

when i opened the letter, i totally cried.

...and then totally laughed. they seriously told me to "have a good quarter."


Monday, October 27, 2003

just another manic-depressive monday

i don't want to complain, because when you turn on the news and see that people in communities not extraordinarily far from your own are losing their homes and lives in raging wildfires, it sure makes my own problems seem small. i keep hearing nicole quoting northern california writer anne lamott, who said something to the likes of: "if your problems are about money, you don't have any real problems." with few exceptions, my problems are just about money, so i've erased and re-written about a half dozen times what i've wanted to post today.

i will say that right now i am a bit overwhelmed. working two jobs and having a full-time senior year college courseload is a lot to handle. but i'm handling it. what's making it difficult is the fact that i am sick, in that swollen-throat, phlegmy, achy, chills and clogged ears kind of way, and i can't skip out on work because i'm so desperate to earn money, and can't hop in to bed and get my rest because i have piles and piles of homework to do. and i am also still sad that yesterday i waved goodbye to one of my best friends as she hit the road for her new life in seattle. (she's there, she's resting after the drive she made in about 20 hours.)

it's blazing hot here in los angeles... but inside my office at work it's freezing cold. we're talking from tank tops outside to sweaters inside. but my new job is going well, i like the folks i work with, i'm learning what needs to be learned, and today they set up my own new computer for me. my mantra while at work: "don't go to your blog, don't go to your blog." the grim reaper of web browsing surveillance is standing behind me in my mind's eye, wielding the scythe of unemployment, so i keep my web surfing neutral. i am nothing if not a girl who's learned her lesson.

speaking of lessons, i have to curl up with the 19th century novel hope leslie, my norton anthology of american lit, and a highlighter. i also have to write a take-home midterm essay, a short story for my creative writing class, an essay for a scholarship, and figure out how the heck i'm going to get my act together to apply to grad schools within the next 3 or so months.

and, i feel it bears mentioning: coming up on friday is my least favorite holiday of the year. yup. i hate halloween. i will be spending it cleverly disguised as a staff member of a ceramics painting store, and helping run a party for 20 kids. there'd better be candy, that's all i have to say.

now, here's my creative writing exercise from last week. you guys were so kind to me about the last one i posted--we aren't actually graded on these, so i can't say if i'm an "a" quality writer or not. regardless, when i read this one in class last week it garnered a lengthy discussion on the topic and how i chose to present it. it is a story written in one sentence, and it goes like this:

Seldom Known As

It’s late at night when I think you belong to me and only me—when I’m foolish enough to think that I am the only one in the world who thinks I know you; foolish is putting it nicely—you’d probably say idiotic, and most of the time I’d have to agree with you, it is idiotic of me, but I do it anyhow, and you’re there, even if it’s just because I think you are, you’re there, and I can hear your voice; sometimes it’s the shaky voice that whisky can help, and sometimes it’s the sing-song “I can’t give you anything but love” sound, but most often in your best Eleanor of Aquitane you tell me what I need to hear: that I need to stay on my game, that I need to push ahead, move forward and move forward and move forward—and it’s this forward that I think scares me, because I’m moving forward alone, and not even the idea of you—my versions of you or the world’s versions of you—can actually help me, but I believe you can and late at night that’s enough to get me to sleep, and I’d like to think you fix the blankets and smooth my hair only in the daytime I can’t quite convince myself that it’s possible; sometimes I wonder if just the fact that I believe it’s possible is enough to make it true, the way I did when I sat on that bench behind the heavy little gate and stared at the name on the wall, the plant in the middle, my hands in my lap and whispered hurriedly while the men with rakes and too-loud-for-where-we-were voices did their jobs—they didn’t know I didn’t belong, and I said what I had to say, partly because you never went there and so much about being there scared me, and I wonder if it scared you, too; I wonder so many things—empty, secret, private not-for-publication things that might make you frown and call me perverse; but I wonder them anyhow, and I never ask you when you’re there—which isn’t so often anymore and that makes me sad; maybe I don’t need you as much as I did, or maybe where I think you’ve gone doesn’t really exist—and I know you didn’t want or expect me or anyone to think about you so very much; I was worried last August at the Hollywood Bowl--but they pulled it off nicely and I guessed you would approve of that, but not me in that cabin tap, tap, tapping away and the green leather couch and the stacks of books that were my comfort, and you say no one can really ever know someone, but I remember that balloon flying through the night fog over the bay, “not wounded sire, but dead” from the swim, the olive trick, the tumbling flip, the rain streaking the prop window pane—things small and things great—and I think it is that I believe; I have to believe—because late at night you sit on the edge of my bed and remind me that I’m going to be okay, and all the while Phyllis is downstairs getting your tray ready for tomorrow’s breakfast.


Thursday, October 23, 2003

sunrise, sunset

today i left for work as the sun began to rise.

tonight i left school as the sun began to set.

it was a mighty long and eye-rubbing, yawny, cranky, too-hot-for-october-please-make-this-heat-go-away, professors going on and on ad infinitum kind of day. but i'll tell you, that sunset as a backdrop against the enclave of downtown los angeles skyscrapers all lit up and twinkling like jewels in a velvet box took my breath away. the sky was streaked with oranges, pinks and purples; the ash and smog reflecting a thousand unnamed colors for miles and miles.

when i walked in to my last class of the day the following message had been written on the chalkboard (there's an arts high school on my campus):


i totally relate.

welcome to my life.

punkin: version two-point-oh no!


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

two words

i didn't sleep monday night. it was hot and stuffy in my room, and though i'd felt ready to surrender to a deep sleep early in the evening, by around midnight my eyes were wide open and i couldn't relax. so i got up and wrote about what was on my mind, getting up repeatedly to edit and re-edit, finally hitting post, and then publish. i turned on a little nick at nite, and settled in for a good long while watching stupid sitcom families cleverly deal with tough situations. that roseanne, she sure had pluck. at five twenty in the morning i was awake to tape a movie off the tv, and sat there, mechanically pressing pause for each commercial break. i eventually drifted off, but soon after my alarm was sounding, and it was time to start my day.

by this time, though, my "small expectations" had elicited some big reaction.

today wasn't easy. today my dad wrote in an email to his ex-wife, my mother, regarding me, his only child: "As it is I do not know her or, at this point, want to know her." i was told directly that i wrote excellent fiction in the form of "revisionist history" and that i had the maturity of a 4-year old.

by the time evening came around, i had asked my father to please refrain from contacting me ever again; it seems to be what he wanted.

i cried a lot today. i watched a lot of tv. i napped. the yankees won game 3.

by the time the day was winding down i realized how lucky i am to have so many wonderful people who not only merely remain in my life, but enjoy being a part of my life. just today i have been absolutely touched by various acts of love and kindness and support--from people who don't think twice about telling me they care for me, are behind me, want to help me, and love me.

today my mom listened to her only child cry and vent, and gently reminded me that i needed rest, and that i was very much loved. i asked her a dozen unanswerable questions about human character that i'm sure she's asked herself in the past. for my mom and my step-dad i am so profoundly grateful. my mom and step-dad are two of the most fascinating people i have the privledge to know. they say you can't pick your relatives, but in their case, i'd pick them first and foremost any day.

this morning my dear friend juniper slipped away from his desk at work to furtively call me from outside to find out why i was so upset. i caught him up, and moments later in an instant message session he consoled me, cracked me up, offered his two cents (which i took and later spent) and then told me--off topic--that i was an excellent writer. at which point i naturally began to cry. i don't think he knows how much that means to me.

i have the two best roomies in the world. no contest.

short and sweet, not a moment out of step despite living miles apart and like our quick chat today: i'd be sunk without my laurie.

bunny sent me an email to congratulate me on my new job (oh, yeah, yesterday i got hired on the spot and start on thursday!) and also to let me know she had some scoop on some writing gigs i might be interested in. how rockin' is a friend who is on the lookout like that?

tonight i spent almost an hour on the phone with nicole. in a dionne warwick psychic friends moment i had just thought to myself not ten minutes earlier "i should call nicole" when my phone rang. we've never talked on the phone before. we've never even met. but we talked like long lost friends, and we laughed and told stories from the trenches of life and love, and i hung up with a grin from ear to ear and a new friend.

"i didn't order anything from amazon!" i said when i spied the cardboard package with my name on the label. "i wonder what this could be..." i said, opening the box. and there was what is known as the 'lost' katharine hepburn movie, olly olly oxen free, sent to me from the amazing snarky friend. so now tomorrow i get to see for the first time a movie that has my idol landing a hot air balloon on the stage of the hollywood bowl. snarky, you flat out rock!

and ashley... my beloved twin. late at night i went to her place to keep her company while she packed the rest of her stuff in preparation for her move to seattle this weekend. almost as sad was the season finale of our beloved newlyweds: nick and jessica. in a fitting tribute, i glanced at her shelf and asked: "do you really have bumble bees in that little can?" (n & j fans will surely get my parody). we decided craig kilborn was a bottom. we critiqued a photo of us--ashley and mary-kate, of course!--in tiny teen vogue magazine. i don't know what i'm going to do without her living three minutes away.

so for all the support from friends new and old, my real parents, for unexpected gifts and phone calls (nicole, could i say "the gift of a phone call?"), and for everyone who has been so kind to read my writings and give me so much encouragement, i have two very small, simple words:

thank you.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

*this post caused some strong reactions, first from the person it is about, and i'm discovering that other bloggers were inspired to write on the topic.
thank you lori and cheri for your words, and thanks to everyone for your support.
xoxo sassy little punkin
october 27th, 2003

small expectations

someone had once told me that you were a sociopath, and i remember having to look up the word in the dictionary:

so·ci·o·path n. one who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior.

while i don't know how you'd fare mingling at a party, i do know that you have no idea how to talk to me. maybe that is why you choose not to.

when i was about twelve i remember tripping and falling on the jagged flagstone steps that led up to our front porch in toronto. you were a few paces ahead of me, and hadn't missed a step when i fell; i remember that initial moment of shock, followed by that dry gasp that left my mouth tasting like blood and aluminum, and letting out a whimper that i hoped wouldn't lead to babyish tears. there i was, crumpled on the walkway like a discarded first draft of a letter tossed in the wastebasket. i got up, still fighting back the tears, and i went inside, and asked you if you'd noticed i'd fallen, and if you wondered if i was okay. "you should be more careful," you'd told me dryly, and that stung worse than my scraped knees and reddened palms.

when i came to visit you one spring break i was the proud bearer of video tapes that had my high school's fall and the spring plays; in both of which i had starring roles. you complained that you didn't understand the plot of the skin of our teeth, and couldn't make it all the way through. i don't even remember if popping the foreigner in the vcr was even an option by the end of my vacation--the plays were something you "didn't care for."

a couple of years ago i was up again for a visit, only this time i was bound and determined to spend some quality time with you. i spent the days entertaining myself exploring a city i had spent almost ten years in childhood learning inside and out, so come evening, after dinner, i sat on the steps of the den and cheerfully struck up a conversation. "shhh," you admonished, complete with finger to the lips. "we're watching law and order." there were no tears to fight back this time, just disappointment peppered with rage. "your tv show will be rerun. my vacation will not," i declared, and disappeared into the cold november streets--i made it a blockbuster night, and i also made it my last trip to toronto.

i would beg you on the phone to come visit me in los angeles. it had been years since you'd made the trip, and now you could see my college campus, meet my roommates, maybe see me perform some improv. surely you could book a flight with your frequent flyer miles? "planes don't fly to l.a." you told me. i suppose it was just as well: i'd let you down years ago when i hadn't wanted to go to med school at berkeley like i'm sure had been your own personal dream and instead was majoring in english at a cal state. and when my newest housemates had moved in and i'd foolishly asked, "don't you want to know about them?" you'd said flatly, "no". and improv? when i'd voiced my enthusiasm for the scary and difficult branch of performing i'd fallen in love with, you'd reminded me that you "never much cared for" it.

i often wonder why it is you've bothered to keep the tin cup covered in blue-painted glued-on macaroni i made in pre-school on your desk at work. and why you still use the red plastic keychain i made for you in shop in the seventh grade. and i wonder just what you say to old friends and office-mates and family members when they ask you how your oldest daughter is doing. do you tell them you are proud of me for what i've accomplished, for the talents i have? and i wonder, if you do, why it is you tell them, and not me.

you and i, we've never had it easy. as a child i'm sure i was all spoiled and pouty, but in turn eager to be engulfed in a bear hug and greet you when you came home in the evening. and i think when my mother decided to leave you your heart was broken more than you'd like to admit--at eight years old i'd figured that out when i watched you throw her favorite mug out the kitchen window, and it smashed into a thousand cobalt blue and gold shards on the concrete walkway. and when i was thirteen, and angry and confused and sad and lonely and constantly criticized i decided to leave you, too, and move to los angeles to be with my mother--and i think, again, your heart was broken more than you'd like to admit. so you covered it up with snide remarks, and distance and coolness and judgment. and i grew up and became a young woman without your playing much of a role, and believing that your not having a role didn't matter to you much at all.

the trouble is, for the past several years i've been begging for you to take a role. i try every tact that i can think of to get you to show interest, to take some initiative, to be supportive. and what's worse, is that i need you now more than i did when i was thirteen. no pre-teen can know what they need, and, more so, can know how to accept it when it's offered. but i am almost twenty seven years old, and i am also your only child. i think that i am punishing you when i sever communication, but it's really me that gets punished. and when you slide back in my life you are the same man of empty promises and somehow i am cornered in to agreeing that i am the one who needs to make improvements, when, really, it's you.

"he will never change," i am reminded constantly. "you need to stop having expectations of him." but how does one accomplish that?

you mentioned in a rare phone conversation a few weeks ago that you and your wife have some resentment at being asked to "bail me out". i've reproached you on your poor word choice in recent emails, but it bears repeating that what i need is by no means to be bailed out. i'm not a drug addict, alcoholic, prostitute, thief, vandal, cheater, criminal or any sort of jerry springer-guest caliber person. i am a smart and talented student, writer, performer and artist trying to finish my college degree. you should be thanking your lucky stars for being given a good kid like me.

you used to tell me that certain things were "part of the job" of being a dad, like telling me to "be safe" with my boyfriends, or, after taking me to a ball game sniffing the air, turning to me and saying: "you smell that?" and when i nod, you finish your anti-pot smoking talk by saying: "don't do that." you made lots of cosby-esque declarations about fatherhood being a life-time job. but somewhere along the line you took an extended leave of absence from your post as father, and you show no signs of hanging up the beach towel and returning home from the vacation and being responsible. well, like drew barrymore did in a 1986 movie, i wish i could divorce you for irreconcilable differences. the difference: i want a dad, and you won't be one. now how do we reconcile that?

and i admit to you that i've made mistakes and bad decisions in my life. i express a desire to grow and change. and i tell you that i have to fight for so many things in life right now that i don't want to fight my own family. and i wonder how it is we manage to fight without your having to say a single word to me. and it hurts. it hurts like how i imagine it would to spend my day tripping and falling on jagged stone steps--getting up and fallen again and again, those scrapes barely scabbing over before they're torn open yet again.

you think that i base our relationship on money. and i can't deny the fact that right now that is the primary thing on my mind, because i don't have any, and i am deeply in the hole in several ways. and i email you just about every day for two weeks, and when i can't sleep i leave you a voicemail, my voice ragged from crying--and you haven't even taken a minute to contact me in return. and i remind you that even if you can't help me, if you would just call me back or email me a reply and say: "look, i can't help you with money, but i am behind you and want to help you figure out a way to get you out of this mess"--well, if you said that, i might be able to sleep at night. i might be able to forgive you. i might be able to tell you "i love you" and really mean it. and i might get the chance to have a dad--because i really need one.

and you are my dad. right now, it's a small expectation.


Monday, October 20, 2003

"twin" pre-separation anxiety, interview jitters, the world's best boss, dinner with celebrities, and two lonely people get lost in japan--let's call it: my weekend.

let's talk about what i had for dinner

wait, back up. first, let's talk about how great my boss is.

wait, back up more, let's talk about my current state of employment.

remember back when i alluded to having picked up some excellent freelance work? and that i was acually working for people who owned their own franchices of the company i used to work for? well, i've ended up picking up some actual in the store kind of work for the woman who has had me freelance marketing. before you all raise your champagne glasses to toast my success, i just want to drive home the fact that i am working there twice a week: friday nights, and all day sundays. (the good news is that today i have a job interview for the ideal job--location, hours, pay and tasks--so please, please, please, cross your fingers and send good vibes and thoughts my way so that i might land this job.)

so now that you know my current state of employment, i'm moving on to gush about my boss. she is flat out amazing. she hoots and hollers every time i see her about how she is thankful that i am working for her--no matter how loud i crow that i am thankful to work for her, she'll crow louder that i have been sent from the heavens above to help her. how nice a welcome to work is that? the other day she stopped mid-sentence, jumped forward and hugged me, exclaiming: "i'm so glad you're here!" she tells anyone who'll listen that i know more about running her business than she does ("you have got to stop that" i tell her), that i taught her all she knows, and that anyone else on her staff is going to have to watch out, because my being there is going to make them have to really step up.

aside from the praise, she is so funny i told her today that i want to take her home with me, put her on a shelf, and have her be funny at my will. she has me tearing up and falling off chairs with laughter. she tells a damn good story. she appreciates a good story. she is no nonesense, loyal to the end, tell it like it is, generous when it's deserving, and one hard-working, achieving, driven, strong woman. she knows a vanilla cookie scented candle makes her store more inviting for people to be in. she knows how to hug. she makes me want to work as hard as possible.

because ashley is leaving next weekend for her new life in seattle (i don't want to talk about it!), my boss wanted to take her (and me!) out to dinner. we were supposed to have been joined by another tour-de-force woman we know from the company, but, as we'd suspected might happen, she backed out at the last minute. my boss--we'll call her kelsey--suggested a few places that neither ashley nor i had been. we settled on a place called ivy at the shore--a posh eatery by the beach in santa monica occasionally frequented by celebs.

now let's talk about dinner. it was positively delicious. we shared soft shell crabs(none of that jessica simpson "how do i eat this?" act to go with it, thank you very much) to start, and then i had this fantastic seared tuna steak. i'd ordered mashed potatoes as my side dish, but they'd brought fries, and when i mentioned it to the server they were back in a flash with this enormous plate of mashed potatoes, which we all dug in to, and ashley ate my fries. the three of us dished on all aspects of life, love, child-raising (none of us have kids, and i'd say, for a good reason!), movies, television, work gossip, and celebrities (ben affleck, gay? demi and ashton a publicity stunt? alyssa milano radiant and lovely in person?)... and then, while ashley had us in stiches telling us the story of the family she nannied for about ten years ago, kelsey pulled out a piece of paper and began writing us a note: "the oldest daughter from 7th heaven--behind you", and sure enough, there was jessica biel. so ashley got her (b-list) celeb sighting, and we both got treated to an incredible meal at an amazing restaurant. after dinner kelsey drove us around her old stomping grounds in venice and marina del rey--streets that i'd never been on, even after living here for over 13 years, if you can believe it!

and i haven't yet mentioned it, but this weekend i took one of my free movie coupons and had a movie date with my favorite person: myself. and i took myself to see what has to be my pick for the best movie of 2003: lost in translation. i absolutely love it. it is achingly beautiful. i broke down and cried when bill murray just moved his fingers an inch and rested them on scarlett johansson's foot. i want to crawl inside the movie, i want to cradle that tension, that space between them.

so that's what i had for dinner. and who i had it with. and i love my boss to the moon and back, and i'm so lucky to know her. and ashley's leaving next weekend for good. and i need some good vibes for my job interview today. and i want to be a lost in translation groupie. wish me luck!


Friday, October 17, 2003

about last night: live national tv, a tasty side dish and sore hands

last night i ended up making a live national television appearance on jimmy kimmel live. if you looked hard enough, you could see my beautiful red hair and my waving and clapping hands among the audience members. that is, you could see them if you'd bothered to watch jimmy kimmel live last night, because even i couldn't watch the west coast broadcast when i got home, the show was that dull.

now, i have had a long-time crush on jimmy kimmel. i used to listen to him religiously in the mornings on kroq, watch him on win ben stein's money, and drew the line with the man show. however, he has always been near and dear to my heart, despite the fact that he left his wife not for me, as i'd hoped and wished, but for outlandish comedienne sarah silverman. ashley had been killing some time around hollywood and highland last night, and accepted two passes to the show, called me up, and i said "hell, yes!"

first, though, ashley treated me to a bite to eat at the hamburger hamlet on hollywood blvd., and i fell madly in love with our waiter, and also got a touch of indigestion.

we then waited in line for ages, listening to the gangsta rap blaring from the storefronts of the boulevard's numerous tourist trash junk shops. it seemed to be "take your goth teen to the movies night" because the nightmare before christmas was opening at the el capitan at the same time, and all the freaks came out in droves. (personally i am not ga-ga over tim burton, but will not comment on getting dressed up and going to a movie that you can rent on video because i spent my teen years at the rocky horror picture show.) it's really funny to me to watch people who are from places with dreamy, exciting names like oklahoma! and illinois! and michigan! take in the sights and sounds of hollywood--both the gritty trash-flash of hollywood boulevard and the psuedo hollywood of a tv show taping.

i liken tv show tapings to kindergarten on acid. there is the powerfully cold air in the room that keep you on your toes (if you can still feel them), and the multitude of lights and equipment to ponder. there is the fact that the set is about the size of my living room, which appears cavernous on the small screen. the room hold about two hundred audience members--two hundred people expected to spend a good hour clapping and shrieking on command as rehearsal and 'warm up' after having spent an hour in line waiting to get in, and most of us would have preferred the warm up guy shut the hell up so we could just watch the end of the yankees-red sox game that they'd so kindly put up on the monitors for us. warm up guys are their own breed of idiot, and i will say no more.

finally the show started, and i obediently followed the signs they lit up that said either "clap you bastards" or "shut the fuck up", and forced some laughter at the bad jokes. normally jk live is a laugh riot, and i've at least heard of one of the guests. last night just wasn't happening for me. but mr. kimmel is as cute in person as he is on tv, cuter even, and i ascertained that i could easily mow sarah silverman down as she wrapped her skinny little body around her man's back as they watched the musical guest, cook e. jarr (still haven't figured out if this guy is for real) perform. though ashley and i were seated in the center section, it proved to be lucrative neither when the left section got to go into the 'club' area to watch the music part, or when the right section got to be a part of a promo they were filming for another show.

what really sticks with me from the whole experience was the table-flirting i did with our waiter at the restaurant. i had run back in about a half hour after we'd left to use the restroom, and he'd run up to me, saying: "did you forget something?" a smart girl would have said "to give you my phone number", but i'm utterly clueless, so i said "to use the restroom" and he laughed, but i didn't see him again. i've got to figure out how to see him again that doesn't involve spending more time or money at hamburger hamlet. the food is kind of lousy, and the hamlet isn't really a prime hang-out spot. so, matthew, if you're out there, i totally dig you!

now, regarding the fiction stuff. you guys seem to want more, which either means i'm a good writer or you guys are good liars. in any event, because i don't have any short enough stories to post here i've created a page that has a longer story i wrote, and if you're interested, you can check it out: fiction by the sassy little punkin. enjoy!


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

short fiction

i was given the assignment in my creative writing class to compose a short story of twenty six lines, with each line starting with a successive letter of the alphabet. i actually had a lot of fun with this assignment, and thought i would share it. i wouldn't say it was typical of my writing--obviously it's got a contrived element to it--but it's mine nonetheless. that, and i have never posted fiction before, so why not give it a try?

Twenty-Six Lines About One Love Story

Ask me anything you’d like about Xavier, and I will tell you the truth. Believe me when I say that I have known him better than any woman has, or ever will. Chances are you’ve never heard of me; I’ve become good at keeping myself a secret, knowing how to be invisible.

Days have gone by since I first heard that Xavier had disappeared. Everyone looks to me with accusatory eyes. First the investigating police, then his own wife and children. Grief and anger have a way of taking hold making people irrational. Heaven knows how I, too, have felt irrational since he first went missing.

It was just before sunrise when the cops showed up at my East Side apartment.

“Jesus Christ!” was all I could manage to say when I answered the pounding and threw open the door in the early morning chill.

“Katharine Zenora?” barked one of the officers, and I nodded meekly.

Less than forty minutes later I found myself in an airless room with septic green colored walls, drinking burnt coffee from a paper cup, and answering a string of probing questions.

“Mistress” seems like such an ugly word, particularly when a New York City Police Detective is throwing it at you. No little girl dreams of growing up and falling in love with another woman’s husband. Only I had fallen in love with a married man, and for that sin I was prime suspect in his disappearance.

Police. Questions. Recounting where I’d been, who I’d seen, what I had said, ate, bought, again and again. Sleepless night after sleepless night followed my first visit to the police department. They had heard all the details of my life and our love story: how Xavier had called me Zeenie, how we’d met at a gallery opening, how I’d never once asked him to leave his wife, Victoria.

Ultimately I knew this story could hold no happy ending for me, whether Xavier was found or not. Victoria was searching for a husband whose affections had left her long before; as wife and mother to his children he would answer first to her, not me.

When the call finally came I was almost relieved.

Xavier had been found, with a single gunshot wound to the head, a handgun in his right hand, and a suicide note in his left. Years from now I know I will never be able to forget the four words his note said.

“Zeenie, I love you.”


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

a day in the life of the sassy little punkin

because i don't have any topical commentary or creative insight in me today, i thought perhaps i could share with you a day of my life. i chose today, tuesday october 14th, and have broken down the minutiae of my doings for your amusement, entertainment, judgment or what-have-you. may i present... my day.

7:30 a.m. alarm goes off. have dialogue with self as to whether or not it really is 7:30, and if that really means i have to get up.
7:32 a.m. turn on tv to ktla, the only palatable local morning show.
7:35 a.m. get up and check most of my dozen or so email accounts. get a little weirded out that the bank one ad on my yahoo email main page stars a friend of mine. open email and get excited that i sold another book from my collection on amazon. yay! twenty bucks for me! check my blog for comments. read east coast blogs, or any blog that my blogroll says has been updated. post some rare for these days comments.
7:50 a.m. flop down on bed. re-set alarm for 8:45. cuddle with cat and say really stupid things to her like: "mommy loves her little furry heating pad" and "you're so cute my little boo-bear". doze off.
8:45 a.m. alarm goes off. get up.
8:50 a.m. go downstairs and make breakfast. it's a school day, so i know i won't eat lunch until after 3 p.m. make an egg white omelet with veggies, 2 pieces of turkey bacon, half a zen bakery bran muffin, a couple tablespoons of plain yogurt and a cup of black coffee. chat with housemate angel bunny about the striking transit workers and supermarket employees.
9:05 a.m. eat breakfast in room while watching regis and kelly.
9:45 a.m. shower. ponder life. sing excerpts from popular ABBA songs.
10:03 a.m. sit down at computer and write emotionally charged, to the point, serious and intense email and send to father and mother.
10:24 a.m. put in contacts. apply minimal of makeup (this runs from the sublime to the ridiculous; my mac makeup is given to me as gifts, i buy the mary-kate and ashley crap myself). rub no-frizz goo in hair. pause to check out how hunky, tall, fit and nerdy-sexy tim robbins is while a guest on the view.
10:28 a.m. get dressed. today i am wearing something i wear maybe once a year, it's a powder blue short-sleeved sweater that is dry-clean only. i'm also wearing navy corduroy pants and these hawaiian fabric kind of flip flops.
10:34 a.m. throw books and purse (a tiny red vinyl bag that my ex matt bought me at the gap outlet in 1999) into my backpack (a black jansport that was free when i bought some doc marten boots from nordstrom like 7 years ago. the bag came with an embroidered patch saying kroq--a cool factor at the time since it used to be the best alternative station in town, now it scares the bejeesus out of me, so i've covered the patch with a felt flower given to me by secret agent josephine).
10:37 a.m. throw "lunch" fixings in to bag, head out the door.
10:39 a.m. in basement parking garage. move housemate l.q.t.'s car so that i can get out of our tandem parking spaces.
10:41 a.m. honk in support of striking grocery store workers outside local ralphs.
10:42 a.m. pull in to favorite gas station. fill up on $20. have pleasant exchange with gas station attendant when i go inside to buy a bottle of water, since they are too expensive on campus. i have always suspected this fella has a little crush on me. i wave back to his wave as i pull out and hit the road.
10:47 a.m. on the road to school. 134 east to the 5 south to the 10 east. traffic is so-so at this hour. listen to morning becomes eclectic on kcrw, then flip to the fabulous 570. give up and put in the polyphonic spree's the beginning stages of... cd. rock out especially enthusiastically to track 9.
11:21 a.m. arrive at school. rejoice that there are still parking spaces. take a moment to be glad i "splurged" and spent $54 this quarter on a parking pass, rather than having to shell out the cash each visit for the daily permit.
11:24 a.m. stop in at library to make a photo copy of important document i need to turn in today. wonder if i stall a bit, will i get to run in to the hunky professor on his way to his morning class? (i didn't.)
11:33 a.m. arrive at first class, sit in hall to await unlocking of room. see for the first time a new faculty member i will have a class with next quarter, who happens to be married to someone who was involved in a scandal at my high school years ago, who also is a teacher at my college now. (this is a GREAT story, i'll have to tell it another time.)
11:40 a.m. attend class: english 492, senior seminar: violence, history and memory--captivity narratives and their fictionalizations. discuss reading of edgar huntly and freud's essay "the uncanny."
1:22 p.m. class is out late. make a mad dash to next class in another building.
1:29 p.m. arrive at class. take the only free seat at the circle of tables--it happens to be to the immediate right of the professor's area--natch! dash to restroom, and beat the hunky professor to class.
1:33 p.m. class: english 200b, british literature survey, medieval to renaissance. discuss sir gawain and the green knight and have introduction to the canterbury tales. enjoy class immensely today: there is discussion of seduction, jokes are made, the work is review and old hat to me, and i had a stellar view of the hunky prof the whole time. enjoy delightful moment of professor asking me in front of the class about work i did in his class a year ago. i felt special for, like, two minutes.
3:10 p.m. head towards financial aid building. sit in line for 45 minutes. eat an apple. join the conversation of three fairly attractive male pre-law/poly-sci students. i am brought in to the conversation by the witty opener: "do you drink?" this is soon followed by the question: "where do you hang out on weekends?" "at home" i tell them. this was then interpreted to mean i drink at home. i'm not too worried, though, because this opinion was formed by someone who thought "happy hour" was just the name of the bar.
3:56 p.m. turn in financial aid paperwork. the clerk seems a little surprised that i had all the materials ready to go. was dismissed with some tiny glimmer of hope.
4:01 p.m. decide against attending english 471, american literature to 1860. head for the car.
5:00 p.m. stop in at whole foods market to buy produce. since the strike our shopping options are rather limited, and i am out of fruit and veggies, the cornerstones of my eating these days.
5:21 p.m. arrive at home. check blog. check email.
5:51 p.m. realize cell phone is working, thanks to my benefactress, bunny (not to be confused with housemate angel bunny). call ashley quickly to check in.
6:00 p.m. cook dinner. use the snazzy george foreman grill to make hamburger patties, eat them 'protein style', as in wrapped in lettuce leaves.
6:17 p.m. go upstairs and eat dinner, squeal with delight to discover nick and jessica are on larry king live, only ryan seacrest is the sub host.
7:04 p.m. go online and chat with bunny. consider doing reading.
7:45 p.m. play "private dance club" in my room. since i didn't workout today i did the next best thing--spent 45 minutes sweating to tunes in the comfort of my own home. think i have come up with excellent television special idea: have celebrities videotape themselves singing and dancing at home to their favorite songs. decide i would look super cute lip-synching and dancing to kylie minogue's "love at first sight."
here is my tunes list for today:
"beautiful" (snoop dogg featuring pharell)
"shut up" (nick lachey)
"body movin'" (beastie boys)
"get this party started" (pink)
"girls and boys" (blur)
"put the body in motion" (???)
"love at first sight" (kylie minogue)
"battle flag" (lo-fidelity all-stars)
8:42 p.m. go online and compose this blog post.

so it's 9:04 p.m. now, and i predict that i will spend the rest of the night watching tv and knitting my fuzzy pink scarf. tomorrow it's up at the crack to go running in the park, get a smog check, find out what i need to do to take the gre test, write a 500 word essay on the writings of marie de france for the hunky prof's class, do some reading for my fiction writing class, write a short piece where the first letter of each line is a successive letter of the alphabet (this is just like one of my favorite improv games, so this will be a breeze), finish reading emerson's essay "self-reliance", and be back at school by 6:00 p.m. for my fiction writing class.

geez. maybe tomorrow would have been a more interesting day to chronicle!


Sunday, October 12, 2003

there, but for the grace of god, go i

as i was driving across town on friday to meet with my benefactress of part-time employment, i heard a fascinating commentary on the radio. it was a 54 year old man, living in seattle, who had once brought in a six figure income, lived in a posh high-rise with a stellar view, and didn't think twice about visiting the local farmer's market daily for expensive and gourmet items for sumptuous meals--he lost his job two years ago, and now found himself living at a city-converted motel that served as a shelter of sorts for the homeless. soon after the piece ended, i was at a stoplight, and was approached by a bedraggled man begging for money, wishing everyone "god bless."

and i was terrified. not of being harmed, but of how utterly fragile life can be at times. and i wondered: could this happen to me?

from where i stand, i can see ahead to a future that might hold a six-figure income; but turn the other way and i can also see the homelessness that could await me. and i'm trying to gauge where i am between the two, and which way things can go.

on the one hand, i am hopelessly poor. and i use 'poor' in the sense that i have little or no income, but a ton of financial obligations that i can't meet. my one and only phone was shut off last week because i can't pay the bill. i'm on the verge of losing my internet connection. i am already late on my car payment--for the car that was repossessed last month. i've been steadily selling off books out of my extensive collection on amazon, making a tiny bit of money there. i've had the good fortune of having some people in my life who are willing and able to help me as much as they can.

but the fact remains that i am struggling--and it feels like it's a punishment for going back to school. because i want a better future, my present is in peril; what will i lose next? how will i put gas in my car? why does it seem that i can't get hired anywhere i apply to? and how am i supposed to pull in the kind of income that makes ends meet when my schedule is impacted with my classes?

i think about that word, 'poor', and i think of how many people in this city, country, and world are truly poor. people who have to beg strangers for change to scrounge up a meal at taco bell, people who sleep under bridges, people who cram entire families into tiny closet sized apartments and work long laborious hours just to get some milk in their babies' stomachs. here i am, in my decent apartment with my housemates, my computer, my warm bed, my cd's, my tv and dvd player, plenty of clothes and shoes and things. and i think: how dare you claim to have it bad?

so i wonder how it is that someone like that man wound up going from plush digs to poverty--where was his family? where were his friends? when did things begin to unravel? is he angry? does he blame anyone?

i'm angry. i'm angry and sad and scared and frustrated every single day, whether i have the right to be, or not. i flip the channels and see so many uneducated people on shows like cribs who live the most ostentatious lives, and it makes my blood boil. here i am, just trying to get an education!

i am an only child between two sets of parents--both my mom and dad divorced and then re-married my stepparents--and of the two sets only my mom and step-dad are helping me out. they have put aside their plans and goals for over thirteen years now--since i moved to los angeles to live with them--and when my mom calls me she tells me how hard it is for them to make their ends meet, but the money i owe them? no, no, she says, don't you worry about that. we're your last priority. my dad and step-mom remain a mysterious problem. i was brought up by him and told repeatedly: "you will go to college, and when you do, don't worry, everything will be taken care of." so the first time i went to college he helped me out. then i started to advance at my job, and i left school. two years ago i left a lucrative but unsatisfying job to finish school. thinking i wouldn't worry, i was doing what i was supposed to, and that my family would help me out. and i was half right. my second year in school i had begun to receive financial aid, and i was working 35-40 hours to week at my job. my mom and step dad helped as they could--probably more than they could. it was a struggle, but i managed.

and now? now i have nightmares about my car being taken again--and that's when i manage to get to sleep at all. i don't go to bars or concerts or movies. i don't have a savings account. i can't buy birthday gifts for a single family member or friend. i can't even pay my rent. and i think: how long is it until i have to tell my roommates that i just can't afford to live here anymore. when i look in to selling my car and getting a transit pass. when i sell my computer, or furniture, or what else? all because i am in school, and can't work a decent full time job.

what is wrong with this picture? and does it worse before it gets better?

or am a spoiled white girl who comes from the upper-middle class who lives beyond her means?

and i am grateful that i am not that man at the intersection, nor that man on the radio who lost it all. i am grateful to those in my family who have made sacrifices to help me, and angered by those who are not helping. i'm confused as to why the state or school yanked away my financial aid, why i seem to be unemployable, and why this whole process has to be so damned hard. i have friends who work full time and go to school part time, or vice versa, friends who are getting masters degrees or phds on grants and family help, friends who are struggling artists who are still paying off their school bills. my campus is a melee of kids who live at home but not affluently, and those who are single moms who go to school and work in bars. how do they all do it? how does anyone do it? do i blame the government, the job market, or just plain blame myself?

i will be done with school in march. i'm having to look ahead now to what i want to do next year, and i'm pretty sure it entails moving, and possibly graduate school. and how do i think i can afford this? i can't even afford the application fees!

i don't want to complain, and i don't want to make myself appear to be ungrateful for the life i have, and what might seem like fortunes compared to those who truly suffer. but i want to ask why, and i want to find a way out. and i want it to get better, not worse. i'm scared of that intersection, that homeless shelter, that hunger and pain. and there, but for the grace of god, go i.


Thursday, October 09, 2003

a well-played hand of solitaire

i've been making a lot of noise and fuss lately among those near and dear to me about how content i am in not having a boyfriend, and, honestly, how i really don't even want one. it's an unusual frame of mind to be in for me--typically from adolescence until now i've felt almost conditioned into wanting--needing--that male companionship.

yet here i am, oddly satisfied in my singlehood.

while this state of being might force me to forfeit my membership in the bridget jones club of sad sack singletons, it also has afford me a lot of time to really acknowledge the fact that maybe i'm just not relationship material right now. maybe i need to work on me. maybe i need to just sit back and be an observer and not be so quick to jump the gun. maybe i need to spend just a little less time moaning "poor, poor me" and switch that to "yay, yay for awesome me!"

and maybe having that special someone (who most often turns out to be a highly unspecial no one) isn't the reason i'm alive and kicking. maybe--ladies, are you sitting?--just maybe i've only thought i've wanted to get married because that's what we gals do. yes, eventually i do want to partner up; maybe not get married and have kids, but definitely have that person i share my life with.

the trouble is, i'm quick to fall in love--we're talking world record time here--and quick to squeal and giggle to my pals that "i just know this guy is the one". and i merge our incompatible lives together in my mind, and i ignore his flaws, and worse, ignore mine, and then i become this clingy, pouty, "don't you love me and want to marry me, honey?" kind of girl. really, the kind of girl i'd rather shoot than be compared to, let alone act like. but i've done it--maybe not so much in the recent past, but no so long ago that the memory has gone moldy. believe me, it's fresh. fresh enough for me to remember what the ensuing break-up smells like.

now, granted, being with someone has it's perks. there are things i miss rather sincerely about being in the company of a young man. (don't even get me started on sex, because i will be the first to admit that is one department i am sadly lacking in.) at night in my bed i wish that i could turn over and sleepily bury my face in the soft, sweet, bare skin of a man's back--i used to trace out letters and words on matt's back and make him guess that i'd written "i love you", and i can't tell you how many nights i pressed my lips to the evil one's back and reminded myself to really enjoy the moment, because that might be the only moment we have. and those moments were truly delicious.

it's also the idealized relationship that i have in mind that i miss looking for. i had it last in san francisco in june, when having the door held open for me, a hot cup of coffee brought bedside, or holding hands throughout the entirety of a play signaled to me: "this is the kind of relationship you've wanted." it's that hope, those moments, those silly little things that i miss the most.

when i am in a relationship, i want that person to be the last person i talk to before i go to sleep, whether we're in the same room or hundreds of miles away. i would call up the evil one and just want to have a short small-talk end of the day and goodnight chat, and this aroused his suspicions. "you're checking up on me!" he would accuse me. "no, no, that's not it at all!" i'd protest. and he didn't understand. i'm sure he had reason for me to be checking up on him--after all he did eventually begin to woo one of the bridesmaids at his brothers wedding, not once telling her that he was seeing me back at home. so there went that dream, and eventually there went the evil one, too. over, and done.

so i don't mind waiting--if i'd even call it waiting. i'm living. i'm doing. i'm spending time with me, and i'm not spending it feeling sorry for my single self. and i don't want to go to some speed dating event, or write up another damn internet dating site profile--if that's how i was meant to be doing things, well, then i'd be doing those things.

i have wild and single party-girl friends, comfortable in long-term relationships friends, looking for mister right friends, not at all interested in sex or dating friends, and married friends--i have read a thousand books and seen a thousand movies and listened to a thousand songs about all kinds of relationships--sad, bad, tempestuous, sweet, simple, frustrating, life-long, one-night... and i've had a garden variety of my own.

and right now... i'm okay with just being me. no sad lean cuisine dinners for one, no begrudging my pals who happily hook-up, no jealous twang when an engagement's announced. life goes on, and mine does, too.

it's a nice place to be in right now.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...

i have always thought that the professor on gilligan's island was positively hunky. i suppose it's that dreamy combination of tanned manly good looks, the savvy to build a radio out of coconuts, and the inability to mend a hole in a boat that does it for me. what can i say? i like 'em cute, intelligent and utterly clueless.

i am also madly infatuated with one of my professors at school, and oddly enough he fits the sticom's mold: absolutely adorable, smart as a whip, and has no idea i would devote my life to the cause of obtaining him.

this, clearly, is a no-win situation for me.

part of his maddening charm is his complete and tedious devotion to rules, decorum and propriety. on the first day of school he seemed pleased to have my familiar face in the class, so we chit-chatted during a break.

him: "so what grade did i end up giving you last time?"
me: "a"
him: "wow, a!"
me: "you must like me!"
him: "what's that?"
me: "you must like me, i said."
him: "oh, no... it's not based on that."

ugh! just flash a stop sign in the sight of my shameless (and lame attempt at) flirting! he'll have none of that, thank you very much. he's so by the book that he's reverted back to calling us miss and mister and our surnames. he also came back from a summer off with a new piece of personal fashion: a man purse. i'll admit, the man purse has lost him some points with me. i'll forgive the jacket that needs the lining mended, and i'll find romance in the beat-up book satchel. but the man purse? if punkin ever got to play house with the professor, i'll tell you right now that particular item would suffer a mysterious and tragic fate.

now, of course, since i am the only one of thirty students in the class who has taken an upper division class with him before (two of them, to be precise, but who's counting), and this is a sophomore level survey class (i need the elective credit), i am his little touchstone. "you remember when we studied this piece before, right?" he'll interject, turning to me. and i get to grin and nod. so i'm kind of special, and it lends me a degree of smug satisfaction.

but a ticket into the prof's pants, it's not. sadly, i fear this will have to remain my schoolgirl fantasy. so there i sit, enthralled by his lecture, more enthralled by his cute ass in his dress slacks...dreaming of naughty things and a life where the movie star moves in with the academic with a secret past of being in a comedy-erotica band, and loads of hilarity and bawdy intimacy ensues.

ah, my imagination--it's my very own "unchartered desert isle".


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

knowing the alternative--today's horoscope meets this weekend's lessons, and the result is: life is not a dress rehearsal

You have a good head for business, Punkin. This, combined with your multiple creative talents, means you would likely be successful at almost any career you chose. The planetary energy brings with it an opportunity to reevaluate your life. Professionally, are you happy with where you are now, and where you are going? If not, now is the time to consider alternatives. Remember, we only live once. Life is definitely not a dress rehearsal!

...hmmm. well, oddly enough, i have reevaluated my life. in fact, i did that this weekend. i also organized and cleaned one of my closets--you know, the one where i keep the hammer and nails, the tennis racket, the old stuffed animals, the extra bedding, the laundry detergent. aren't i a little miracle?

life certainly isn't a dress rehearsal. "what are you afraid of?" i asked myself the other day. "hard work? rejection? your own success?" and, quite frankly, the answer is "yes" to all three. but, dammit, having a little fear is healthy. but letting that fear stop me from doing things--well, that makes me my own worst enemy. so enough of that crap. on with the show!

i've thought about this weekend being what i call an experience of "knowing the alternative". so, i didn't go to san francisco to the v.d.b.'s party. but i got to find out what would happen if i didn't. and i like the alternative. i got to hang out with ashley friday night--she treated me to dinner, i watched her shop, and i almost died under a falling ladder at a popular young women's clothing store.

story break: the one where punkin almost died at rampage
i had been modeling hats to the delight of ashley and some random strangers in line. one, a pink felt number, got some oohs and aahs from the crowd. and then, "katie," said ashley, "what are those pearl things in that jar?" i reached in the jar a few inches to my right. and thank god i did, because a second later an enormous ladder propped up against the wall came crashing down, right where i'd been modeling hats just moments before. what's funny is i hardly noticed it happen. all the staff went in to frantic mode, and i was like, "ash, they're just some bracelets, those pearls. oops, did i almost die at rampage? ha ha."

anyhow, when i got home i hung out with angel bunny and l.q.t. we put liquer in coffee, and gabbed, and l.q.t. and i eventually went up to my room to watch the african queen. i spent the rest of the weekend cleaning, watching endless episodes of trading spaces, and doing a lot of thinking. thinking about how life isn't a dress rehearsal. so i'd best get out there, and fast.

there are things i want in life, and things i have to work on in order to get what i want. and i've been in a major funk. not feeling well, no energy, depressed, unfocused, lethargic, all sorts of downer-type ways of being. and there are reasons for this, reasons, not excuses. but i'm changing that. it's as easy as changing what i eat. and it's getting some exercise. and, gasp--not smoking. so far, after just one day, i feel pretty good. i'm up for the challenge. i'm sick of having it the other way.

i know the alternatives. i know what it's like to feel unhealthy and unmotivated and to let the fear stop me in life. and i know what it's like to spend a weekend doing what i should have planned on doing in the first place: seeing friends and having a great time with them, and resting, and organizing, and taking care of myself. so, "places!" calls the stage manager. the curtain is about to go up. and this, my friends, is the show. and i'm going to give the performance of a lifetime.


Friday, October 03, 2003

"happy 13th birthday, big boy. way to be a grown up."

and so went my birthday greeting to the v.d.b. on the occasion of his 30th birthday.

why the snide remark?

because i was actually un-invited to the party. well, that is, unless i could miraculously come up with alternate accomodations for the night. you see, apparently i was thinking it was about me, but really, he pointed out, it was about him. pout, stomp and whine, goes the big birthday baby: "it's my birthday, and i don't want to deal with you being there and not being a part of my experience with my friends."

so after a mild rehash of the conversation we had the other day, i said that i would not be making the trip up to see him. "i feel bad," he said. "you should," i agreed.

and so i said: "happy 13th birthday, big boy. way to be a grown up."

his response to what i consider to be a stellar, witty, biting and apropos remark:

"that's not fair. i don't think i'm wrong here."

"you're absolutely right," i told him. "because you never think you're wrong about anything."

well, i was wrong. wrong in giving him the benefit of the doubt in this case.

so happy birthday, very daft, disgusting, degenerate, deluded, damnable, deadbeat, deceptive, defunct, delinquent, disheartening, demoralizing, dense, deplorable, despicable, detestable, dicey, differential, difficult, dim-witted, disaffected, disappointing, discourteous, discreditable, dishonorable, disharmonious, disinterested, disloyal, disinclined, dispassionate, disputable, disatisfactory, dissonant, distant, distasteful, dopey, dorky, dramatic, dubious, duplicitous, and downright dumb boy.

you saved me a trip up to see you--but at least i got to read the "d" section of the dictionary.


Thursday, October 02, 2003


at one in the morning i thought my head was going to explode. all of a sudden i found myself paying attention to my breathing, and wondering if it was always such a struggle. there was something clawing at the space behind my eyes. i wanted to run, to just leap like wonder woman off my balcony and start running around the neighborhood in my floral nightgown. i also wanted to sleep, to sleep so soundly and to get lost in a dream. or fufill my wish of somehow latching on to some kind of time travel quantum leap-esque path and wake up sixty years in the past--except because i'm endlessly selfish i don't want to have to waste my time "putting right what once went wrong" like that hunky scott bakula had to do. but none of that happened.

instead i made some pathetic wailing sounds. i choked up some sobs. i had to subdue some rank bile in my throat. i whispered angry epithets at all my adversaries: former employers, people at my school's financial aid offices, ex-boyfriends. i issued general appeals for help, help, help.

i realized, with my heart pounding, that i was in the throes of a classic panic attack. i was up against the wall, and not in a sexy made-for-tv movie back alley way, either. i mean in a scary, i don't know what to do anymore way. decidedly unsexy.

i finally made it to sleep by first forcing myself to get up and do a mundane task like deleting files off my hard-drive. then i put on the food channel on television, and fell asleep while rachael ray attempted to budget herself on $40 a day for food in rome. i wish someone would give me $40 a day and a trip to rome. i had panicky oddball dreams about a shifty gas-station attendant who gave me some pills.

that is not the kind of help i need. i don't really know what i need, actually. i keep wishing for some good luck, some good fortune, a kind word, a break (not a vacation break, but a chance, a shot, an opportunity kind of break).

i can't take much more of this, i'm way past cracking. i'm cracked. panic... it's not pretty.


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

on the precaution of being a potential outcast: what should i do, i ask?

my plans for the upcoming weekend have now been sent to a secluded chamber down the hall for deliberation. i had the intention of driving up to san francisco friday morning, possibly dropping in on a couple of schools during the day, and then meeting up with the very d_______ boy (discouraging comes to mind right now). you see, saturday night is his birthday bash, and it's being held at his friends' place in the east bay. not remembering that it might make the proverbial ass of me, i assumed that it wouldn't be a problem if i was among the crashers at said friends' place when the party winded down.

generally speaking, that isn't the problem. but i might not be making the trip after all, thanks to the precaution of being a potential outcast that i was issued this evening via telephone.

you see, two other pals of the v.d.b. are making their way in to the city by the bay on saturday, and the trio have post-party plans of celebratory indulgence that serves as a sort of old-school bonding time for them. and they anticipate being up until the wee hours. so what to do with the sassy little punkin, who has nowhere to stay? she might feel at odds not being a part of the trio. she might not know what to do with herself come daytime when everyone is sleeping in. poor wandering lamb...

in all honesty, i told him, i was more offended at the conversation on the phone regarding the topic than the actual fact that he and his old friends wanted to go through with their long-standing plans for quality time. and he insisted that i wasn't to think that i wasn't wanted at the party, but that he was merely worried that i might feel upset, or left out, or awkward, or... that too many people would need to use the bathroom. yes, the bathroom is an apparent area of concern. i doubt that all seven of us bunking at the party place would need to fit on the toilet seat at the exact same time--so to me the bathroom is a moot point.

but i've digressed.

toilet time aside, the fact of the matter is that i'm not in the least feeling upset or left out or awkward because of the birthday boy's plans with his pals. but now i'm wondering, hell, should i be? i mean, for the love of god, i'm a grown woman who has attended parties before, and crashed out after parties, and handled herself without feeling awkward or like an outcast.

so is it that the gentleman doth protest too much? for as much as he insists that it isn't that i'm not wanted... well, i can't help but feeling a bit de-railed. why, it's almost the distinct feeling of being unwanted! and the sassy little punkin doesn't go where she isn't wanted (the exception being the former workplace, since my arrival there for the annual meetings left me with the upper hand, and that's the most desirable position to be in). there is, perhaps, just one other more, shall we say, compromising position i'd like to find myself in this weekend with the v.d.b., and that is my driving force in going up the coast.

i've elected my readers to be my jury in this case. to go or not to go, that is the question. should i make the trip and face the potential awkwardness of the post-party revelry that i'm not included in, but also face the potential deliciousness of a little canoodling? or go and just plain have a great time, amongst great people i enjoy spending time with? or should i politely change my rsvp to a "thanks, but not this time", in light of the situation? is it just that the v.d.b. means so well that he doesn't want to offend neither me, nor his benefactors of the party locale, nor his other out of town guests?

what to do, what to do?


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