Monday, August 27, 2007

my unexpected day

i had plans for today. big, lofty, written in list form with red pen on the back of an envelope plans for today.

but when someone dangled the carrot of a lunch get-together via the contemporary lure of the text message screen, i had to say yes.

lunch became not just about midday sustenance, but rather first a play by play on the chosen restaurant's nasty-mannered staff (have "thank you" and "enjoy your meal" vanished entirely from the modern waitstaff vocabulary? is it difficult to set a plate down without an evidently angry thump on the table? am i asking too much when i ask for an affirmation that the menu i'm meant to order from is the one that's folded and in a stack tucked up front next to the register that no patron can see until they reach said register, particularly with a line ahead?) and then a more topical look at the state of the blog we both write for. which segued easily into a strategy session, a walk across the street to a donut shop ("this is THE donut shop" a patron schooled us) and a phone conversation with a third party held in a mcdonald's parking lot that lasted over an hour, and ended with everyone happy and me almost a melted puddle of mid-afternoon ninety degree sweat.

and i only like to get that sweaty when i'm doing something else entirely.

of course my unexpected day gave me the somewhat more expected headache, which took the fun out of grocery shopping (yes, i think grocery shopping is fun), then made me kind of moany-groany and unable to fully appreciate the episodes of 90210 i'd recorded while i was out.

i know, i know: the horror of it all.

then i made cookies. because i had to. because at the start of the quarter when my students find out i like to cook and bake they ask me to make them something, and i always tell them if they're good we'll do a pot luck party on the last day of classes and i will bake them cookies. and so that day was upon me, and even though i'd go so far as to say not all of my students were as well-behaved as i'd have liked, they still will get the chocolate chip cookies i promised.

but unexpected doesn't always mean bad. in fact, sweat and headache aside, all the unexpected parts of my day wound up being all for the good, including the cookies. normally the cookies stress me out and take a lot of time and make a lot of mess, but this batch was totally under control and simple and everything's all tidied up in my tiny kitchen and the kids' cookies are bagged up and ready to go and i even set aside a smaller bag of them to give to my still-away darling boy. and i'm proud of myself, because i lasted a whole week before i sent him an email love letter type thing which he won't even see until he gets home. i mean, seriously, ten days without the internet is what i really call a horror. well, it's a close second to ten days without the fella i love. even my ability to not go completely mental about missing him has been unexpected. fancy that.

i'm ready, at day's end, however, to wrap up the unexpected elements and get back to the usual routine. i think, considering i'm still behind on my paper-grading, ready for bed at just a little past ten p.m., and already not sure about what i'm going to wear tomorrow, that things are looking up in the normalcy department.

heck, give it another couple of days and get me my darling boy back and i will tackle all those items on my to-do list. i might even enjoy 90210 again.

oh, who am i kidding? even when i hate that stupid show i still love it.


Friday, August 24, 2007

an assembly of my parts and thoughts

right now i am nothing more than a weary lumpen pile of dirty clothes, sushi, research papers, workout sweat, shoes of questionable hygeine, unanswered emails, writing-less regret, birthday bbq, tonight's this american life, new dress for two wedding receptions, leg-lifts, kitty cat gone to heaven sadness, getting my hair done, need a car wash, cramps and bloating, endless august heat wave, ipod playlist condensing, art show in redondo beach, unreturned phone calls, toronto trip planning, letter drafting, anxiety dreams about teaching, fast food nation, another crowned tooth and more dentist visits, messy room, burning desire to sleep in, check writing, and missing the darling boy ever so very very very very much while he is out of town until late next week (boooohoooooo!).

can you blame me for turning out the light and hitting the sheets right now?


Saturday, August 18, 2007

what i wrote elsewheres this week

every week my goal is to write at least a post a day on LAist, and then i let myself off the hook and my goal is actually to just be happy with whatever i write at all when i write it and to stop holding myself accountable for all sorts of self-imposed expectations. this week i got three posts up, all of which were essentially unplanned and all of which came out well and make me happy.

17 august: Intelligentsia: Signs of Smart Coffee in Silver Lake
my favorite chicago coffee emporium finally opens its doors in sunset junction

16 august: "Hey Jack Kerouac" in America's Loneliest City
as part of a three-piece feature feting the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road; i get to pass on the darling boy's theory about the music we like, pay tribute to the 10,000 Maniacs in the Natalie Merchant era, and talk about teaching the part of OTR that's set in Los Angeles to my English 102 students

14 august: A Hell of a Hangover: Kitchen Finale Viewing Party
write up of the viewing party i attended at Tanzore in Beverly Hills held for Bonnie Muirhead, the one who didn't win


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

show and tell: flora

so i wasn't kidding when i said i took pictures of all the flowers i get. these two bouquets are from the last week or so. having flowers in the house seems to do something rather lovely for the soul; for me, they make me happy. i'm a lucky gal.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

eight things perhaps you don't know about me

1. i recently quit smoking. "but sassy," you might say, "i didn't even realize you smoked! or at least thought you'd quit years and years and years ago!" yeah, well. not many people knew because i only smoked in two scenarios. one was at home on my balcony, usually when i was upset or in some state of ennui, or trying to bridge some irreconcilable gap in time. the other was in social situations, like at parties, and usually only then if i were drinking and near to others who were smoking. for many years i could turn my smoking proclivity off and on like the clapper controls your home lighting and electronics, but the closer i got to thirty the harder it got to stop. since the late 90s i'd say i've stopped and started dozens of times, if not more. sometimes i would stop for years at a time, sometimes months, sometimes hours. i would venture to guess that sometime around the great debacle of my life known as the "summer of 2006" i started smoking more consistently, to the point where even when it made me sick or even more upset i couldn't stop. again, i stopped for short periods of time (months, days, minutes) but a few weeks ago i called it quits for good, and this has actually been really easy for me, because i think i made the break in my brain as well as my body. i guess i've been just as secretive about quitting smoking than actually smoking itself--if not more. it's just that it was really starting to mess with some serious functions in my body and my inner control-freak persona realized that she needed to set down some control-oriented ground rules in order to restore, well, order. and it's been really quite fine, and--dare i say--easy this time around. so i'm done. and now that i've told you, i expect you to hold me to it.

2. i'm going to toronto next month! i haven't been in years, and i'm really excited to see some friends i haven't seen in the environs of fifteen or so years, and also to navigate the city from a fresh perspective. and with a digital camera. that's my only trip this summer, so i plan on really enjoying myself.

3. i'm doing a blog entry right now because i am stalling in the attempts to put off having to build grade databases for my classes this quarter. at least i don't have rough drafts to grade, which make my eyes bleed and my shoulders ache and makes me a miserable person, so i'm grateful for that.

4. i talk to my car like she's a person. "oh, lola, look!" i will say when we drive past the toyota dealership where she came from, "look at all your cousins waiting to be adopted over there. i love you lola! you're so cute!" or when i can't find her in a parking lot (which totally happened on friday at fashion square in sherman oaks) i will say to myself "lola, where are you?" and then, under any circumstance, when i happen upon her in a parking space, i will say "hello my lola! mommy missed you!" and other assorted corny kinds of things. the fact is, i freaking love my car, and i love to drive her, and wipe the dust off her, and get her washed (oh, yeah, i also watch her go through the car wash like a mom watching her kid at a dance recital) and so on.

5. i try to take pictures of all the flowers the darling boy gives me. this wouldn't seem like a chore to many because getting flowers is frequently associated with special occasions or apologies or celebrations and such, but, actually, i am rather spoiled in that the darling boy works with flowers and loves to share them, so i often end up with anything from a solitary stem of something pretty to a big ol' bouquet of a whole lot of stunning blooms, or the occasional tomato, eggs, stalks of rosemary, bundles of lavender or basil, or pots of plants that i invariably kill (mainly because my apartment is north facing and i never get enough sun). so i take a lot of pictures (man, dahlias make for a great subject) and get to really enjoy the spoils of my floral situation.

6. i have 8354 songs on my itunes right now. jeez, song hog! and, no, i haven't listened to all of them. sigh. i'm trying.

7. when i am upset, sad, nervous, or any other such non-upbeat emotion, i sometimes write letters or cards to myself. i've even mailed them to myself, which was pretty cool, actually. it's a really cool exercise in self-expression and also affirmation. i suggest it heartily.

8. i'm contemplating changing my blog template and layout. just preliminary thinking. i am also toying with the idea of reinstating comments. just toying, though. sometimes i think just as seriously about shutting it down. but lately i've realized that blogger is capable of letting me do more than it used to with layouts and such, and this pink has been assaulting eyes around the world for years and years now... so i don't know. sometimes i think a redesign would be prudent. and sometimes i think i'm just too lazy nowadays. but i'm thinking about it.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

words about words

whenever i walk into my classroom, set down my armfuls of books and files of paperstuff, then announce "it's time to do some writing!" i'm met with groans and complaints in response.

"but this is a writing class," i goad them gently.

and still they protest. they doth protest too much, methinks.

no matter how i remind them that they need to do these small writing tasks to keep that writing muscle toned, or that i insist it isn't so bad, or that it's not the end of the world, they still grit their teeth and pick up their pens and pencils with just the slightest perceptible glimmer of resentment.

but if the shoe were on the other foot, i guarantee my reaction would be contrary.

or would it?

it's been some time since someone sat me down, handed me a blank sheet of paper with a topic typed out for me or wrote a question on the board for me to address. the closest i can think of having come to that would be the few recent saturdays whereupon i convene with some fellow writers and former school-mates for a writer's group and we struggle to locate something in a book somewhere that might adequately serve as an exercise or inspiration and then are let loose to write for thirty minutes or so. but that scenario lacks structure, and the lack of structure is what is hampering my writing life.

i suppose that every day is an opportunity for me to write, but i manage to convince myself to spend my time otherwise. the idiot box is certainly a favorite distraction, as is snack-fooding, going out-ing, gabbing, canoodling, occasionally reading (ack, more words!), or the old reliable sitting around complaining. i mean, i have several viable publishing platforms from which to launch my parade of words, this olde blog being just one, and LAist of course being the obvious other. not to mention the fact that any piece of paper or a word program can be a repository for my sentences and paragraphs. and, sure, i'll jump in here and there--but i'm always so mindful. i'm mindful, out of necessity, about my subject matter and, less out of necessity and more as protection, how said subject matter might be perceived once it's out there. soon a small battle is waging inside me, where my poor squelched writerly self gets trod upon by the heavy-booted nay-saying giant. this giant is also the one who usurps my natural internal editor and overrides even the most innocent of instincts of verbal expression with the mighty "it's not good enough!" veto vote.


so i retreat to my corner, head hung low. no writing for me!

admittedly, blogging has lost the sparkle and fizz that it once had. i have that sort of veteran's stance, a little wounded and battle weary. and i marvel at the many people i know who still can see the shimmer in blogging, much like when i go down to hollywood boulevard and wistfully watch as all the people walk with their eyes cast downward--not in shame or fear, but in constant excitement because the sidewalks! they glitter! and the stars on the walk of fame! it's so thrilling! and me, i'm been there done that use the t-shirt to clean the toilet.

i am a little like my students when they're handed the dreaded in-class writing prompt. ack! nooooo! the horror!

except there's no one but myself to tell me in my best nurse nancy voice that this isn't going to hurt a bit. in fact, it's going to feel quite wonderful.

i'm not sure what the resolution to this is, except to tell that ornery and domineering giant to shut the eff up and to get out as many words as possible, in any shape or form or forum i see fit, and damn the consequences! sometimes i want to borrow a pinch of enthusiasm from the new converts, the old hacks, or the recently reborn just to give my own misplaced writing instinct a shot of adrenaline.

and i suppose this is a start.

and it didn't hurt a bit. in fact, it felt pretty good. fancy that.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

why i love the darling boy, reason #478

me: blah blah blah blogging blah LAist blah nasty commentors blah blah blah neighborhood project blah blah blah garvanza blah blah blah watts blah blah blah logical fallacy blah blah blah email blah blah technorati ranking blah wikipedia isn't a blog it's a wiki blah blah google group blah ranting blah blah called him a douchebag blah going on for two days now blah put in their two cents blah then he said blah back and forth blah like in my post about noho arts blah the fact is because the ha ha cafe is a shithole so whatever blah anyhow back to the drama thing blah blah no right to criticize blah kept my mouth shut blah and so finally i wrote an email because i couldn't stand it anymore!

darling boy: have you actually said anything in the last ten minutes?

me: ...

darling boy: you needed to vent

me: i guess the point is...

darling boy: not so much that i needed to know what you were saying but that you needed to say it

me: exactly

darling boy: (extended remix of our current favorite inside joke routine which involves him imitating an irate mother with a distinct accent who uses the guilt tactic of having performed sexual favors in exchange for the family's liberty from what seems to be some form of political or militaristic oppresion in order to keep her teenaged son who likes to fall asleep in class in line)

me: bwahhahahhahhahahhahheeeehahhahhahh!

darling boy: see, now that's what you needed


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

another 'hood in the series: Garvanza

on monday i posted my second contribution to our Neighborhood Project series over at LAist, this one on Garvanza. please do take a look, as i am quite proud of my work, and it's a part of LA that many people have no awareness of. that and my only payment for all my efforts comes in the form of compliments, and i'm more than happy to cash in...


Thursday, August 02, 2007

sometimes when i laugh i clap my hands and this made me laugh so hard my hands were stinging, and then i watched it again, and again and i still kept laughing

go horse #7, go!

hey man, fart jokes go back to the canterbury tales. you can't (well, rarely) go wrong.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

what to get me

just in case anyone was wondering what would be a great gift to give me either now, in honor of, oh, i don't know, it being august, or me being fabulous, or something, or for scotland's summer bank holiday on the 6th, or next month's labo(u)r day, or rosh hashanah, or grandparent's day, or... okay, well, for any reason



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