Monday, August 28, 2006

busy bee bits

i completely missed out on watching the emmy telecast in its entirety last night, which is kind of surprising for me. however, two of my favorite people--and two of the few reasons i turn on my tv in the first place--took home statuettes last night. as an aside, and to bastardize a beloved episode of cheers, those two people have never been in my kitchen. but i've actually been in one of their kitchens. and held their previous emmy. so, really, we're all winners.

instead of sitting at home watching said programming last night, i was enjoying a coffee beverage and the fine company of a dear friend who'd intimated a few days ago via email that i was of late a rather busy bee. she's right; last week went by in a flash, thanks mostly to a perfect balance of crafty home projects (still some painting left to do, and an ungodly mountain of laundry to negotiate) and a series of delightful social events, like a fancy-shmancy tasting menu dinner at the watergrill with one lovely gal pal, a foodie shindig with another, and an anniversary luncheon for a most deserving couple. toss in the cooking class wherein i mastered hollandaise sauce and souffles and i can easily say it's been a bang-up busy bee week.

this week should bring me to a stopping place in the great cleaning, purging, and reorganizing project of summer 2006, as well as on thursday i'll be winging my way northeastward ho to convene with the amazing laurie and her family. she is, incidentally, the reason i began this humble and largely unread blog in the first place; obviously i'm torn between hugging her in thanks or throwing her a right hook in blame. just kidding. it's all good. and, sooner than later, this week miss thing gets her darling boy back after loaning him to the midwest. hooray!

and, last, but not least: how fucking awesome is deadwood? with season one under my belt i am fully hooked on the show, and itching for netflix to get more discs in red envelopes in my mailbox. who knew i'd be into slitting throats, gun slinging, whiskey-soaked prospectors, and good-hearted whores so much?


Thursday, August 24, 2006

the real-life adventures of miss monikers

in my everyday life i answer to a handful of nicknames either bestowed on me or used by those nearest and dearest to me (if i were edgier i'd call them my posse, but let's face it, i'm all soft edges and shit, so why bother). "sassy" and "punkin" are two steady faves, and i've shouldered the burden of cuteness attached with "tiger" thanks to my mom for nearly thirty years now. i will admit, however, that since i am a totally dorky girly-girl, i get a little pink-cheeked and smiley when the darling boy tosses me a moniker. i'm "miss thing" more than anything else, and that works just fine with me. of course, because of a couple of things i've been up to lately i was called "crafty" and "crazy girl." to explain:

"crazy girl" got a last minute one-way ticket to sin city on monday to meet bunny and her bro for a whirlwind trip that lasted just over 24 hours. i drank, i laughed, i ate, i frittered away some cashola, i complained, i sweated, i took a bubble bath, i stayed up way past my bedtime, and i didn't get enough sleep. i did not see celine dion, naked breasts, or the inside of a toilet bowl. i didn't get anyone any souvenirs (sorry, darling boy!) and i think next time i'll vote to skip the staying up all night and drinking in vegas followed by exhausted power-shopping the primm outlet stores and replace it with just plain ol' power-shopping the primm outlet stores.

"crafty" has an assigned painting project to fill her double whammy bonus time (teaching gig is over, darling boy is out of town) and has secretly crafted another painting project to do after that one. both involve furniture and the goal of home storage improvement. furthermore, crafty is hellbent on reducing clutter and upping organization. (okay, secretly "crafty" is like your basic hyper-organized, label-maker wielding, big-plans-but-lazy-in-the-excution-department, nightmare of a girl.) anyhow, "crafty" has lots to get done, and, for once, the time to do it all.

these days, punkin is pretty happy making the "gung-gung" sound with housemate l.q.t. when watching law & order: s.v.u., taking time to photograph the food and the flowers, getting back to being the food editor of laist, having tasty adventures with her friends, getting sucked into deadwood, and raiding the container store. of course, when i get to be "miss thing" it's just the cherry on the cake...


Sunday, August 20, 2006

sense, memory

i found myself stopped today at the intersection of franklin and highland during my drive down to the new school of cooking in culver city. in that brief hiatus from forward motion i took some time to take a good, long look at everything around me and think about where i'd come from; not where i'd come from in the past dozen or so minutes in my journey over the hill from my house to hollywood, but rather where i'd come from since those days when that very same intersection was my nearest major set of cross-streets. once upon a time that was my part of town, and it never ceases to amaze me just what has changed--and what has remained the same--in its physical landscape, and in my internal geography.

a glance to my left had me eyeing the corner starbucks; when that corner was my turf starbucks was known not for being ubiquitous, but for being an interloper on the coffeehouse scene. to my right in the distance were the looming elephant-adorned towers of the hollywood and highland shopping and entertainment megaplex clusterfuck; back in the day that was just another shady lot of land populated with brave tourists and a potpourri variety of lowlifes and vagrants. and me, sitting at that light, with my air conditioning humming, the tunes playing over the serious stereo system, and all systems brand new and more than just ready to go in my one-month old prius; back then my travels were at the helm of a rickety old '84 honda accord with a barrage of costly repairs needed at any given moment and a persnickety tape deck wherein i might play my mixed tapes--me aside, the only thing that carries over at times are the songs i sing along to, albeit via either the cd changer or an ipod playlist. then "that was then" versus "this is now" contrasts could go on for miles of road and more than mere minutes of time.

but what's changed inside? it's hard to pinpoint or itemize my own evolution, so instead i think about what i remember from then--a patchwork of visceral memories that have varying degrees of strength and significance. i remember the taste of a mocha over ice topped with whipped cream in a styrofoam cup, the powerful rush of a marlboro red cigarette, the afternoon sun streaming in through my studio apartment's unscreened windows, the clacking of the keys on my electronic typewriter, the heft of my cordless phone, the dull gleam of my purple clip-on pager, the purring of my cats, lying prone on my beige carpet watching movie after movie on the independent film channel, the unschooled bachelorette food rotting in the old fashioned refridgerator, the poetry, the burning desire to pen a chick-rock anthem to sing while strumming the electric guitar i didn't know how to play, the tremendous weight of my front door, terra cotta colored matte lipstick, and the never silent echo of an excitable heart. all those slivers of my experience are part of my fiber, along with strands of fears and hopes and wishes and troubles i've tried to shake or cultivate as the decade moved forward.

i couldn't have imagined back then that i would be who i am now, in some respects--the degrees, the work i do, the published writing, the new friendships, any number of accomplishments--and yet in many ways i am still that girl who spent her afternoon curled up by the window, writing rapid-pace in her diary about the workings of her easily provoked heart and mind, listening to tori or liz or natalie or janis on the stereo as the afternoon light faded away to night. i'm still afraid of so many things, and yet have conquered so many fears. back then i nursed a broken heart that, to my absolute and continued amazement, has for some time now been recharged by the very same person who caused that fracture. i never would have guessed it. i never would have guessed the starbucks, the retail megaplex, the new car, the ipod, the drive to cooking school navigated by a satellite and a computer in my dashboard, the cellphone, the classrooms full of freshman waiting for me to teach them how to write in college. sometimes i have to pinch myself so that i can remember that i'm not the freshman anymore, but the experienced one.

and, by instinct and routine, when that light changed i did what i did then, and will continue to do.

i moved forward.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

poetry spam

why is it that i've found some of the subject lines of recent spam emails particularly resonant and superficially relevant? behold, spam-etry, my "found poetry" of spam email:

too many to count
you have feelings of guilt and embarrassment
time to build a good position
new new i think, yes.
relax with
second chance bank account
kill the pain or it will kill you


Friday, August 11, 2006

red letter day

...brought to me by the letter s.

yesterday was about a couple of great experiences; i enjoy both frequently, but one after the other (and the second being perhaps of the once-in-a-lifetime breed) was just phenomenal.

oh, you'd like a hint?

the most you'll get from me is that the second "s" was sushi.

a toast--to life's great pleasures!


Monday, August 07, 2006

close up on the center of things

Originally uploaded by sassylittlepunkin.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

the state of the union

i'm trying to change my mode of thought from "i want" to "i am."

i want that to be easier for me.

sometimes those nasty "but why isn't it me?" whines creep in--cutting off a perfectly delightful sigh of relief and reminding me that things never turn out the way we plan them. case in point: an ex of mine is getting hitched next weekend to the woman he left me for. now, i don't want to marry him--hell, i don't want to marry anyone--and here comes that sigh of relief: i'm so glad i'm not with him, i'm so glad it's her and not me. uh's not me. not with him. or the one before him. or the one before... you get the idea. it just hasn't been me.

i suppose we don't really pick who we end up with; something within us draws (and with often unequal force repels) people to us who somehow represent a mixture of what we know, what we're willing to accept, what we want, and what we never imagined possible. and sometimes it's right, and most of the time...

where i am right now--the state of my union--is somewhere knee-deep in the mix of the above ingredients. sometimes, like right now, it's right for me. it is definitely not what i planned. that said, it's also something i never imagined possible. sometimes i want to reach back inside myself and tell a very heartbroken nineteen year old me to hold tight and forge on ahead, because things really do come around again. i also want to tell that same me to be careful with her heart; ten years later and it's still beating the same tune. but i can't tell her that, although i desperately want to.

i am here now.

what i choose to share about with whom i'm sharing moments is a study in proximity. the closer you are to me, the more likely you are to hear the distinctive sound of laughter reverberating off the upstairs walls while the afternoon sun filters through the balcony windows. you can smell the thai basil that cradles one perfectly stunning deep purple dahlia, or the lemon verbena that has stretched and grown beyond belief. you've probably helped dry up some hot salty tears, or reached your arms around me for a comforting hug. you've heard the "once upon a time" coffee-stained tale that was picked up unexpectedly, almost redefining our own history. you understand peppermint soap, a fresh coat of paint, and the sticky sweetness of takeout meegrob.

if you're farther afield, you will know even less, save the most important bits that are told in long gab sessions, and might require a compass and map to navigate. "where are we now?" you might ask, and i might even have an answer.

and what of us--those two of us who are the mix and its center?

this time, in an entirely different way, it is me. only i don't see it in phrases that begin "i want," with "i want to see you" as the exception.

to conjugate: i am. he is. we are.

it doesn't matter what that means to anyone. to me it's sensory and memory. it's visceral. it is exactly what it is.

and that is the state of the union.


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