Saturday, January 31, 2004

please excuse punkin, as she has been absent from her blog

i (somewhat unapologetically) cite the following reasons for neglecting blogdom this week:

  • discovering my superpower of being able to make time stand still
  • to counteract the fact that my superpower renders me incapable of telling time, i've had to acquire a special new time-telling device
  • 2 gal pals, 3 babies on the way (yes, someone is having twins)
  • the stuff obsessions are made of: netflix
  • having to become an expert on the detailed explication of passages from milton's paradise lost, as well as the history, religion and politics of early 17th century england. antimetabole and the beheading of king charles the first, anyone?
  • my good friends sarah, jessica and justin
  • sushi
  • a conversation with the hunky professor where my wittiest remarks went something like: "bluuuuurrrrfffgggt"
  • impending term paper proposals concerning two novels, some as-yet determined aspect of literary criticism, and, once again, my good pal john milton and his poetry.
  • the pleasant discovery that the new swank restaurant on campus sells beer and wine
  • riding the red line
  • the demeter fragrance library. my three favorites: thunderstorm, mojito, and tomato
  • oh, and work. can't forget work


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

feeling for the ring
in which reflex behavior theoretically signals subconscious desire

i caught myself rubbing my left thumb on the crevice of skin where my ring finger meets my palm on that same hand today. i can't explain what prompted me to do so, or what prompted me to take notice of the act, even. being unmarried, unengaged, and just superstitious enough to not wear jewelry on the traditional ring finger, there's nothing there to rub, though, save skin itself. but to take the idea of superstition further, i remember once being told, or having read, that to rub an empty ring finger where the ring would be is my subconscious signal that i am searching for the mate who might put one there and claim me. to believe this, of course, is to first believe in the power of the subconscious thought, and, second, that my subconscious actually thinks that i need to be married.

the trouble with that line of theory, however, is that i'm not consciously interested in marriage. oh, i used to be, once upon a time when the fairy tale of "till death do us part" served as validation and a guarantee to my naive mind. i wanted to take any given romantic relationship i was in and force it to forever-dom, to sharpie marker it into a state of permanence. i was marriage minded, and maybe the expression of my marriage mind, always prematurely, cost me all my potential mates. i had subscribed to the myth of matrimonial perfection; while i'll happily concede to those happily wed, i did not, however, just fall off that hackneyed turnip truck. i've grown to realize that to say "i do" does not ensure they "will not".

in this era of the glory of the singleton girl's sex and her city, a woman of any age is allowed to delight in her unmarried-ness. what we once dismissed as spinsterhood we've made a linguistic compromise in exchange for the seemingly less diminutive "single". i'm part of a generation that came of age post bra-burning and ms. magazine, we don't think twice about voting or buying a home or donning a pair of pants. but most of us still grapple with braving the tightrope walk that serves as the precarious balance of marriage and individuality. at what cost will the end of the single life be? we ask ourselves, but then ask, at what reward? are we programmed, as far and deep down to the pesky nether reaches of our subconscious, to believe we need to get married? but what about us who don't want marriage, but who nonetheless are in search of a viable romantic partner? does my finger itch to wear a ring that stands for "i love you but want to keep my own bank account"?

it's only in the past couple of years, months maybe, that i've come to realize i'm not cut from the cloth of the stereotypical apron or baby's blanket; my dreams of the future are far from domestic, and i have no qualms in admitting i've no urge to procreate. in fact, i rather fear the idea, and think i'm rather brave for asserting that i know i'm just far too selfish to become a parent. when i shared a flight with a screaming baby last week i did not spend those grueling take off minutes thinking, "oh, the poor little dear", but rather muttered "kill it, kill it" repeatedly under my breath. even at my dearest, i'm no mommy. and, yes, i know that one does not have to be married to have children, just as any woman does not have to abandon career or independence in order to be a wife. but if this desire is programmed in me, the roots of the programming surely must stem back farther than the year of my birth.

so there i was today, my thumb instinctively reaching to the ring finger as though it wanted to twist or touch a ring that simply isn't there, a ring i'm sure i don't want. many with whom i've shared my opposition to having a husband and/or kids have shook their head slowly, solemnly, knowingly, and assured me that i would change my tune when i really fell in love with the right man.

am i looking for mister right? mister right now? i don't know. i know that while i am a self-satisfied single who could use some sex in this big city, i am ultimately looking for just one special mister, and if he showed up right now, well, all the better. and who knows if my box of cracker jacks might someday end up holding the prize of a ring.


Monday, January 26, 2004

punkin goes out

it's not often that i get the burning desire to actually go out. i suppose i should even go so far as to put "go out" in quotation, because there's a difference in leaving the house to run an errand, meet a friend for dinner or fulfill some kind of obligation. in this sense, however, i truly mean to "go out". as in, out on the town. out and about, carousing, drinking, et al. because, well, we all know i love the nightlife. i love to boogie. (note sarcasm.) but here it was, friday night, payday, done with a hideous night of catering to the whims of the precious little darlings belonging to a local girl scout troupe and their precious moms (note sarcasm) at my place of employment--the girl needed a drink. a shot of liquid courage. an opportunity to, well, boogie. so i located my beloved housemate l.q.t. with her trouble-finding ways, gussied myself up a tad, and set out in to the wild night.

our first stop was a neighborhood bar that had undergone a recent metamorphosis. a couple of years ago i'd seen a friend's band play in the bar's prior incarnation; it was a low, long, concrete-floored and neutral gray-walled dive bar that boasted a clientele of four or so dirty old men and the girl who played nellie olson on little house on the prairie. i noticed a few weeks ago that the front of the window-less nightspot had seen a transformation; it now had a rather respectable look to it. so i suggested to l.q.t. that we check it out. well! turns out my neighborhood now has a bona fide watering hole for the 22-35 set! young, borderline hipster folk abounded within the velvety wallpapered walls. tipsy birthday girls with digital cameras danced extra close with guy and gal pals to the familiar hard rock and flashback alternative tunes coming from the neon lit jukebox. cute boys scoped out cute girls, and vice versa. a sassy bartendress served overflowing cocktails in her tummy-top and tongue piercing. i ordered one such drink and settled in with l.q.t. on the comfy couch in the very back of the room. we were soon joined by l.q.t.'s pal simon, and eventually attracted the likes of a gentleman who called himself tito jackson, and an even younger man who works on a popular sitcom and confirmed my guess that one of its stars is as unpleasant as i wagered her to be. l.q.t. and i were the only souls brave, or intoxicated, enough to make a dance floor of the carpeted room as we shimmed to some excellent tunes. we drank until closing time, but felt the night was young, so simon, christopher, l.q.t. and i paid a visit to the local 7-11 and got a hold of some beer.

our trip to 7-11 allowed us to truly define what "neighborhood bar" really means. yes, i've used quotations again. because while there we discovered a rather interesting neighborhood character who insisted we join her and her new friend jake at her conveniently located apartment. we agreed, and, unlike your typical angelenos, we actually walked down the street to her fabulous pad. and the party continued. jamie, our hostess, we discovered, is an actress-slash-yoga teacher-slash-jewelry designer--a georgia peach by way of new york city. granted, she didn't 'fess up to the actress bit, but i spied her campy headshot on the kitchen table and the wheels of rationality set themselves in motion. tiny, blonde, energetic and unapologetically drunk, jamie made the perfect hostess. we danced, we laughed, we had an impromptu jam session complete with guitar, bongos, maracas and tambourine. l.q.t. indulged her drinking weakness and offered to do jamie's dishes.

....oh, and i took photos:

sometime around 4:30, l.q.t. and i arrived back home, with simon in tow. we threw britney spears' in the zone on the boom box and popped the cork on some cheap hand-me-down champagne my boss had bestowed upon me before christmas. i danced until my hips ached, and the three of us dozed off on a pile of cushions on the floor just after sunrise. i woke up later that morning with a mild headache and the burning desire to go out. just plain go out--to get a coffee and some bagels. after a night like that, who knows when i'll be willing to "go out" again. ahhh, but it sure was fun!

photos: l.q.t., jamie, jake & simon: jamming; l.q.t. does the dishes; me and l.q.t. posing; me and l.q.t. doing the drunk self-photo.


Friday, January 23, 2004

not what i'd originally intended, but...

...blogger ate up my post for lunch. grrr. i bet it was tasty eatin'. it's left me with nothing new for you to digest, however.

but, for dessert, try this: burnt desserts. mmm, delicious! my twin sister is back in the land of the blog. enjoy!


Thursday, January 22, 2004

...and twice on saturday

this past weekend--saturday, to be specific--i was interviewed unexpectedly and unceremoniously not once, but twice. the second occurrence took place inside the warm and cozy apartment of the gracious dahl; one of her guests for the evening turned out to be a writer for the new york post who'd decided to write a piece on the practice of blogger parties, which he deems to be a phenomena of sorts. as i was the alleged guest of honor he took pen to notepad and threw some questions my way, and off the record i think i said something as narcissistic and beer-influenced as "i just love myself", which surely would have provoked an affirming raise of the eyebrows and nod of the head from some of my companions of the evening. what becomes of my brief question and answer session with the prince of the post remains to be seen, but it was most definitely an honor to be asked, nonetheless.

the first interview took place at the starbucks on 40th and lexington around mid-morning. i was in line to buy a cup of corporate coffee before boarding the good old 6 train uptown to the museum of the city of new york (a museum i highly recommend, by-the-by) when i was approached by a man whom i'll refer to as charlie. this is the unofficial transcript:

charlie: when did you graduate from college?
punkin: i graduate this year, actually.
charlie: from what school?
punkin: california state, los angeles.
charlie: what major?
punkin: english.
charlie: are you going to be a lawyer?
punkin: (laughing) no.
charlie: what, then?
punkin: a writer.
charlie: do you live in new york, or in los angeles?
punkin: los angeles.
charlie: but where in los angeles? east lost angeles?
punkin: no, not east los angeles.
charlie: is east los angeles a beautiful area?
punkin: (laughing) some parts, i guess.
charlie: are there women wrestlers and boxers in east los angeles?
punkin: um, i don't know. i'm sure there are.
charlie: what about ballet dancers? are there ballet dancers in east los angeles?
punkin: i would think so.
charlie: do you know about the boxing match between--(dialog overlaps)
punkin: (to barista) tall house coffee, please.
charlie: she doesn't know, charlie. no, no, no. she doesn't know. (to next person in line) when did you graduate from college? what major?

i took my coffee in my wooly-gloved hands, smiled, and went back out to face the bracing cold. so charlie was just another nut in the fruitcake of new york city. so his line of inquiry was obscure and interviewee non-specific. but it was most definitely an honor to be asked, nonetheless.

photos: blogger party at dahl's, museum of the city of new york. january 17th


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

i heart ny

i'm home. i'm exhausted. i'm wondering why the hell i don't live in new york. i have a ton of photos. i have some funny stories. i have blisters on my feet. i have to go back to school today. i am planning my trip to ny for the spring.

photos: mosaic eye, chambers st. subway station. chalk heart, table at olive tree restaurant, greenwich village. empire state building, view from hotel balcony, murray hill, just after sunset.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

like a prom dress

...i'm off!

don't forget me while i'm gone! see you next week!

slp in nyc


Tuesday, January 13, 2004

full circle

what i remember was that it was january. it was cold. i had shared both the flight from toronto and the cab ride in to manhattan with my uncle-by-marriage.

sometimes the act of looking back causes you to lose the details.

i don't remember if i arrived home before my roommate, whether or not my uncle pressed cash in to my gloved hand, or at what point exactly i realized that the electricity in the apartment had been shut off. but it was january. and i can't forget the cold.

it was a mix-up, really, a misunderstanding on our part. maybe we thought that electricity was part of the rent we paid. it was out first apartment, fresh out of high school, and fresh from los angeles. i wish i could remember why the only heat we had even when the lights were still on was in the bathroom. and it was so cold in the apartment that you could see your breath in a foggy puff hanging in the air; even the cats had dragon-like steam escaping their tiny nostrils. we slept in sweaters over thermals over t-shirts under piles of blankets we'd bought on sale at woolworths. the cats sought refuge and acted like living heating pads under the covers.

i'm sure i felt foolish, coming home that january day and discovering that the power had been shut off; maybe i didn't know not to feel foolish. maybe i just didn't know. i don't remember to whom i confessed this blunder; i know that some people in my life felt my living in new york was an indulgence, an extended vacation of sorts. but it was more than that. it was where i needed to be. it was something i had to do.

i'd gone to toronto on the first day of 1995 in search of some kind of consolation. i'd lost my job the day after my birthday and right after the holiday rush at the midtown location of a chain of popular low-end women's clothing stores. it had been my first real job, one i loathed, but a job nonetheless. it never occurred to me that i could be relieved that i didn't have to return to the drudgery of "don't-think-just-zip-up-the-coats", it only occurred to me that i should be incensed. i suppose it's just like how it had never occurred to us that we should have switched the electric bill to our names when we moved in. any idiot would know that, right? well, i know that now. so we went home to our respective east coast families on new year's day, only to return to a cold apartment made colder by total darkness. in looking back i realized that we learned stupid lessons the hard way--or hard lessons the stupid way--but that's what happens when you look back: you lose the details, but you gain perspective.

so in the details i've lost how we managed to get the lights back on. i know it took money, but i don't remember where it came from. i remember, though, that when the lights came back on we made our plans to go home. not to our respective east coast families, but to los angeles, california--right back where we started from. it was january, and it was cold, and we were loading our possessions on to a big yellow moving truck. we were crossing in to new jersey at nightfall, and in a chain of days through delaware, maryland, the carolinas, louisiana. before january was over we crossed the width of texas. on february first we stood at the edge of the grand canyon. there was snow on the ground, but it was february, and it was no longer cold. and my life as i remember it know, the details, the perspective, had just begun.

i arrive in new york on thursday. it is the first time i will be back since the day i left. it isn't an indulgence, it doesn't seem like a vacation. it's where i need to be. it's something i have to do.

it's january. and it's cold.

i can look ahead now, though not with the details, but with perspective.

...and i will have come full circle.


Sunday, January 11, 2004

she may get weary

i'm wondering if it's really true that men just want to date the jessica simpsons of the world. women who are so beautiful that it doesn't matter that there are rocks rolling around inside their head in place of brains. "men don't like smart women," kelsey told me over dinner last night. "you have to coo and purr over a man and be in awe of him."

now, when it's time for cooing and purring, i know when to start my motor. and if i'm dating a man who is passionate about an interest or hobby or life pursuit, i will happily listen to them talk about what makes them excited, and i will be a little in awe of their expertise, dedication, what have you. but, look, pal, when jeopardy comes on, i'm going to give you a run for your money. 'cause baby here is smart. and i don't play dumb. don't even get me started about how witty, playful, interesting, creative or talented i am. i shouldn't have to script a personals ad just to get noticed.

so i don't look like jessica simpson. i don't have a butt you'd sell your mama to grab a handful of, i don't have flawless skin and a model perfect figure. but i know what i've got and i know how to use it. i have, as they say, skills. i won't leave you wanting. but unless i get a t-shirt printed up that says "i know how to keep my man satisfied" no one will give me the time of day. no one's about to buy me dinner to find out if beneath my smarts and less-than-perfect body i have it going on.

well, guess what. i have it going on.

and if the men out there are so busy looking for someone better, someone perfect, someone invented by mtv, well, you're going to miss the fact that there are good--no, great--people right in front of you.

yeah. that's right. i'm talking about me.


Thursday, January 08, 2004

the story i want to tell

we met in a bookstore--oh, no, wait, was it in line for coffee at that cafe?--well, wherever it was it was warm, and filled with the sounds of murmuring, and i noticed you noticing me. i looked away, back at the brightly-colored spines of the books on the shelf in front of me (so it was the bookstore!) and then stole another glance back at you. you were still noticing me, and this made me blush just the tiniest bit, and tug at my hair, pushing it behind my ears and then pulling it back to hang over the side of my face.

you approached me, like i was hoping you would, and you cleared your throat before speaking. i was ready to hear a line; not a "your-pants-would-look-good-on-my-floor" kind of line, but ready for your introduction, excited, nervous. you told me you couldn't take your eyes off me, that you'd forgotten why you were in the history aisle in the first place, but that you felt you had to meet me. i grinned, and knew right away that i was going to give you my number. and i did.

you tucked the scrap of paper with my number on it in my wallet. later you would confess to me that you'd pulled it out at least once every hour for the next day, not debating whether it would be worth it or not to call, but just to make sure you hadn't lost it, that it was real, that i'd really taken pen to paper and put my name down. and you wanted to call me because knowing just my name, number and the fact that i frequented the bookstore wasn't enough. and so that evening, you called.

we talked for what seemed like all night, and might well have been, because the only reason we stopped talking wasn't for lack of conversation or boredom or having other more important things to do, but that we were both getting sleepy and had to work the next day. and so we made a date.

it wasn't particularly creative, but we went to a movie and then had dinner. you told me you couldn't focus on the movie--it was the current indie hit playing in a shoebox theatre that charged far too much for admission, but you paid anyhow--because you wanted to see my reactions. you didn't watch me eat, though, you looked just in to my eyes, and once stopped me mid-sentence to tell me how you'd never seen such beautiful eyes. i told you that you were corny for saying that, and you laughed, relieved. and then softly i told you that i liked that you were corny.

we walked back to my place from the restaurant, and like second nature, falling right in beat with the inhale-exhale you scooped my hand in yours and held it gently. we stopped to look in the windows of the stores, laughing at some outrageous displays, holding wistful gazes at glimpses of beautiful art or items we coveted. it was cold, and we could see our breath in the air. you said it, too, you said "look, we can see our breath in the air." you were fearless.

when we got to my place you told me that it felt like coming home, and i nodded in agreement. it was comfortable there, room just enough for the two of us. you went to my stacks of cds and gave a running commentary; you realized i was just enough of a geek to have all that billy joel, that you were worried you'd have to do some studying in order to follow my like of beethoven, brahms, and stravinsky, you laughed hysterically at the britney spears, and gave vociferous approval to my gen x sampler of rock, alternative and dance. but it was the old jazz you put on the stereo, as i lit the candles, and we settled down on the couch. the cat jumped up, and it didn't bother you; you let her curl up next to you and you happily stroked her soft fur. she had fallen in love with you at first sight.

this time we did talk to morning, about everything and nothing. you threw your head back laughing as i told stories from my past, complete with wild hand guestures and funny voices. i leaned in to your chest and listened to your heart beat as you told me about growing up, about college, about the trips you'd taken. it occured to us sometime just before dawn that we hadn't kissed, and so we did. timidly at first, and then eagerly. we fell asleep right then, under the sunrise light peeking in from between the slats of my blinds, warm in each others arms. and i knew that this would be a story i would like to tell.

someday i would like to tell it.


Tuesday, January 06, 2004


i know you guys think i'm so wise and witty and profound, but to be perfectly honest there are days when all i want to write about is what a really good tv show felicity is. it's, like, a really excellent show. really.


Sunday, January 04, 2004

looking ahead: a retrospective

there are certain things that we expect from our lives, from ourselves, that color our choices and actions. as children we look to the future as an endless fountain of possibility and we proceed accordingly, making plans, sketching dreams, making mistakes and learning a continuous stream of lessons might not make the journey easier but definitely the wiser. i think of myself as a little girl and the way i lived my life; i was the little girl who wanted to be a ballerina, who played elaborate games of 'pretend' with my friends that allowed me to act out what i thought it meant to be a teenager, or, eventually, an adult. i drew pictures on reams of paper that jammed my desk at school to overflowing, i wrote sweet short stories that got pinned to the wall in elementary school. i was poked fun of by the bully boys and i was constantly embattled with my gal pals, i was enchanted by my teachers and sought to be the ringleader of mischief and entertainment in places like brownies or the library club.

i'm not sure if i had any ideas then of what my life would, or could, be like. i was lucky to grow up having things i needed, and often things i wanted. i never knew what it meant to be prejudiced about anyone's skin color, religion or sexual preference. i was taught to like baseball as much as the symphony, and i was addicted to books and television. nothing was off-limits, and i was never made to believe that because i was a girl, or half-jewish, or anything, for that matter, that i couldn't be or do something in my life. but when i told my mother i wanted to be a ballerina she had me point my toe out for her. "oh, you can't be a ballerina," she told me. "your toes need to be in a straight line."

i cursed my ineffective toes, and thought i'd prove her wrong. i read every book on being a ballerina i could get my hands on, and i latched on to concepts like that ice skating developed the wrong leg muscles, so i refused to join the rest of the kids on the field trip on the ice. by around junior high it became painfully apparent that my body wasn't built for dancing; few people's are, really. by junior high many realities became painfully apparent. i had hoped that starting a new school would help be create a new identity--maybe even discover an identity because i wasn't sure i'd ever had one. for as much fun and artistic and relatively carefree my childhood had been, it was also very much about conflict. fights with my friends went on for weeks, and my diary was filled with angry passages about my difficult relationship with my father and new stepmother. my mother had happily remarried and found herself first living abroad in india, and then settling three thousand miles away in los angeles. i never blamed her, but i missed her, and i was in search for some one to help teach me to become a young woman.

i don't think i've ever known anyone who delighted in their puberty or junior high experience; mine was no exception, though i'd sooner not apply the word "normal" in this case. my stepmother announced one night after dinner that it was time for me to get a "bobby-robert-allan" which was her translation of "b.r.a." into an anachronism. she dragged a horrified me to the mall where i was fitted for one of those juniors numbers with the sporty tennis rackets on the front. that summer i took it to camp and found i was the only one with that sort of undergarment; the next summer i defiantly left the offending piece at home, only to discover i was the only one without a bra. i went through a stage where i refused to brush my hair until it became a tangled mess so extreme that the hairdresser had no choice but to rip it apart with scissors. i shaved my own legs in secret one weekend afternoon with a pink daisy razor i'd nabbed from the bathroom. i would show up to have lunch with my aunt in these ridiculous get-ups that i thought made me look mature and sophisticated, but i'm sure i looked nothing short of ridiculous. i had a difficult time making friends, and also keeping friends.

when things began to get particularly uncomfortable at home i decided what i wanted was to move to vancouver to live with my maternal grandparents. i'm sure i concocted the scheme late one night as i lay huddled under the covers listening to the top 40 countdown on my favorite a.m. radio station, and i honestly don't remember the conditions under which it was presented to my father. he said he'd have to tell my mother this, and when she found heard she and my step-dad re-arranged their entire lives in order to have me come live with them, instead, in los angeles. it was the fist of many monumental sacrifices they made for me, for which remain truly grateful.

though i was escaping a household in which i was very unhappy, leaving my dad and toronto was not an easy thing to do. it was never what i'd imagined i'd do, it wasn't an action that seemed mapped out for me on my life's journey. but living there had become a charade of threats, incentives, and armchair psychology, and so i left. that crossroads in my teenage years marks the first sign post at the junction of "what" and "if"; i was no longer going to the school i was planning on going to, i was going to have to face the daunting task of making new friends, of living in a new country, of swapping a dad and step-mom living space for a mom and step-dad one. they say you should never look back, and i'm sure i did, a little, but i plunged ahead then, just as i plunged ahead after high school when i left los angeles and my uncomfortable college plans for life in new york.

it's funny how you find yourself in a situation and you say "i never would have guessed a year ago that this is where i'd be now," and i think i've said that a million times over in my life. there are wonderful elements to my life that ring familiar--i still write sweet stories that i post on the internet rather than on the classroom board, i've been bullied emotionally by the boys i've dated, i've been embattled with gal pals but also have shared adventures with my dearest and closest friends who know me inside out and stick by me no matter what strange intersection of life plans i find myself in. i am still the ringleader of much mischief, and i am still enchanted by my teachers, but i don't have the boyfriend i thought was standard issue with entrance into your twenties, i don't have the body of a dancer, and when i made that wide left from toronto that led me to los angeles almost fourteen years ago it created a canyon between me and my dad that neither of us seem able to cross, or even just meet in the middle. it's not exactly what i'd imagined it would be; nothing really turned out the way i'd planned.

i'm not the world's biggest fan of actress kim basinger, but i will concede that when she was interviewed on inside the actor's studio she said something rather profound that has stuck with me since. she said: "if you want to hear god laugh, tell her your plans." so i've learned to face change rather than hide from it, i've learned through both studying improvisation and just the school of hard knocks that it's best to live in the present moment. i've learned gratitude, the power of self-expression, and that self-discovery is mastered over a lifetime and doesn't happen instantaneously in a junior high school cafeteria. i have to believe that my future is an endless fountain of possibility, and i have to believe that any day down the road i will turn my head and glance back, and then look straight ahead again and say: "i never would have guessed that is where i'd be now."


Site Meter