Friday, August 26, 2005

Still Going

funny how time refuses to stop for you and accomodate your need for more of it. i was telling zee that i feel like a soccer mom lately, minus the kids and soccer. but lately there always seems to be a place to go, a task to do, a fire to put out. sitting down only complicates matters. sitting down causes that fire underneath me to intensify, so the idea of getting rest remains just that -- an idea.

this weekend i shall finally rest, i told myself. this weekend my only task will be taking care of myself, i told myself. but instead: this week my computer had a meltdown. and i'm thinking, what a fucking upstager! that meltdown was supposed to be mine. but NO, my iBook had to get all dramatic and blow out its motherboard. i had hoped it was something simple like the power button. i took it to the computer hospital and spent the day worrying about it like it was a child, awaiting the diagnosis from the geeks at maclandia. the verdict: upwards of $600 in repairs, because no, it's no longer under warranty and no, your motherboard was different from the one apple recently recalled.

so there will be no rest this weekend. there will be a weekend spent shopping for a new computer, as salvaging the one i have seems dumber than going for an upgrade. a G4 powerbook, i'm thinking. oh yeah, baby, titanium. oh shit, expense.

the rats in my yard are still going, too. but the best news about them is that they are really mice. juice helped clue me in to this fact when she caught and killed one of the little critters. i found him all stiff and punctured one morning and considered putting his head on a stake to serve as a warning to the rest of the mice bastards living in the hedge. i shoveled him into the trash instead and have since reconsidered the whole poisoning-them thing, lest my dog decide to chew up any more. reading up on ultrasonic rodent repellents has found that they don't work, if message boards can be trusted. so i've basically done nothing to address the problem because -- as the wisdom of 29 years on this planet have taught me -- ignoring a growing problem is the best way to solve it.

there's been other bullshit going on. still heartbroken over Angela. a health scare i'm not ready to discuss. disagreements with Momo. my skin looks bad. i'm sleep-deprived, malnourished and unfocused. i've been having these George Costanza the-whole-universe-is-against-me type moments.

i'd like some good news, please. i'd like happiness to return and i'd like to quit sounding so pathetic. but at this point i'd settle for a piece of cheesecake.

the one worthwhile thing has been Juice's Oscar-worthy performance in Momo's irrationally intense short film about dodgeball that he made for his film class. give it a whirl. it's truly something else. then visit Momo's blog to tell him if you like it. then send me a cheesecake. or, better yet, a bottle of wine.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Angela Phipps Towle -- 1973-2005

copied verbatim from her funeral program:

Angela Marie Phipps was born in Burbank on December 21, 1973 -- the eldest daughter of Robert and Diana Phipps. Just 14 months older than her sister Michelle, the two were good friends and playmates from the start, a relationship that grew stronger through the years.

Growing up, Angela consistently baffled people with her announcements in mid-December that "I'm 8 now, but I'll be 10 next year." With her birthday late in the year, this was of course possible, but she loved to watch intelligent adults struggle with the concept.

Angela was creative and extraordinarily loving. She connected deeply with others, gave her full attention to people when she spoke with them, and always gave the warmest of hugs. Her charm and manner made it so that people just did not want to say no to her.

Music and dance were important throughout her life; starting with her first ballet, piano and singing lessons at age 5. She grew up performing in musical theater workshops, sang with her choir behind REO Speedwagon on the Goonies movie soundtrack, and co-starred in her high school production of Grease. After high school, her love of music and dance continued on a more personal level and were often deep methods of expression for her.

She was a voracious reader from a very young age. Her parents encouraged this by allowing her to stay up indefinitely past her bedtime, so long as she was reading. However, during her parents' dinner parties, Angela could often be seen in the corner with a book in her hands -- not actually turning the pages -- as a ruse to stay up and listen to the adult conversation!

Writing played an equally large role in her life. She majored in creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and made her living as a professional writer. She wrote short stories, essays, poetry and journalistic articles. Her first poem was written at age 8, and her first professional writing was published while she was still in high school.

Angela was so full of life that everything interested her. She studied languages, becoming fluent in French. She lived abroad for 5 years, and gained a new perspective on the world through those experiences. She touched people everywhere she went and has close friends in many different countries. She was socially aware, and always enjoyed engaging others in friendly debates -- as a way to learn varied perspectives and further her own causes. Colleagues describe her as "sweetly combative" and cite her "unique way of blending an exceptional gentleness with an utter commitment to her beliefs." Through writing a story on them for The Hollywood Reporter's Philanthropy issue, she discovered Chrysalis, a charity which helps the homeless and disadvantaged prepare for and find jobs. She was moved to volunteer many hours toward their work.

Angela packed more living into 31 years than most people do in 80. She was an amazing lady, adored and beloved by many. We are all better for having known her, and she will be deeply, deeply missed.


i really dug this chick. like -- A LOT. soon after we first met in 2001 we were each others' new best friends and spent countless hours just hanging out without purpose. i wasn't around her much this past year, for which i will feel eternally guilty. i'm not saying that i could have single-handedly changed anything, but i would have liked to have had the opportunity to try. or to just be around her. i don't know.

i thought that going to her funeral the other day would give me some semblance of closure, but i feel like i'm just getting started with my grief. i've been lucky in that i haven't experienced too much loss, so this is new for me. i'm heartbroken, but not in a lovesick kind of way -- it's more lifesick, more wretched.

i lost it when i saw the coffin. i lost it at many points throughout the day, especially at the reception when i was reviewing old photo albums of her. and especially when i spoke to her mother, whom i had been afraid of speaking to for fear of not being able to offer more than my putrid and meaningless "i'm sorry." she was a gracious hostess, making the rounds to meet the hundred or so folks who turned out for her daughter's funeral. i had met her before once or twice but figured she wouldn't remember. "i'm milla," i said as i took her hand. she held on tightly to my hand, as she did to everyone else's while she spoke to them. Angela would have done the same thing.

"right, milla. i remember you. Angela talked a lot about you." i just stared at her. i tried to contain it, but the hot tears raced up and spilled over in an instant. "i'm sorry," i muttered, embarassed. "i know," she said, "it's tough. it sucks, but we're here now to celebrate her life." i just nodded and breathed a "yeah" while watching the dead girl's mother walk away in a jiffy. she took a moment to compose herself before moving on to the next group of nobodies.

it would have been nice if we were there to celebrate her life, like a birthday, but we weren't. and i'm still so fucking pissed off at Angela for doing this. i'll probably never understand it, and that's probably ok. and i'll always miss her, and that's ok too. and i know that it will all be ok eventually. i understand that. but the now really does suck. it is tough. and sad.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


that sums it up pretty accurately. these past two weeks have been like an I.V. working in the inverse. i find myself less nourished and alive lately. it's akin to going through a meat grinder and coming out unrecognizable and undesirable, yet still congealed, at the other end. i'm fucking exhausted. i have no more thoughts to spare, no more tears to shed, and no more energy to invest in all the crap that's been swirling. i just want to crawl under a rock and wait until the hurricane passes. hopefully it won't blow my roof off. my insurance may have expired. a lapse. collapse?

i'm burying my friend soon. i'm still heartsick -- and pissed at her for doing this. the disbelief has passed and i'm stuck in the anger phase, with one foot in the acceptance door. but it's all been tiresome, this trying to make sense of nonsense. it won't resurrect her, and peace will come with time. so in the meantime, i'm trying to accept and understand, but i'm failing because all i think about is how much i'll miss her.

and i'm spent. and i don't know how to crawl my way into a better place, so i allow myself to be paralyzed by sadness, figuring there's some greater, hidden purpose i'm not privy to yet. but i must be honest: optimism is a pain the ass. i want to tell people to fuck off. i want to tell them exactly what i think of them.

but i can't so i don't. i do my job without pride or prejudice. the alarm goes off like it always has. the mail keeps coming. i endure these weeks and their abject misery, with ex-boyfriend encounters and doctors' appointments. more shit than i care to get into. my pot stirs and emotions escalate and then dissapate, leaving me so drained. so fucking pained.

she's not coming back.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Friend Angela

you couldn't help but fall in love with her. she had a contagious good energy. she was the type of girl you adored from the start; she didn't have to grow on you. she'd throw her head back when she laughed and she gave hugs often. i don't think she had a bad bone in her body.

i met her when she interviewed me for a copy editor slot for the hollywood reporter's features staff back in 2001. i think both of us knew then that we'd be fast friends because we just had too damn much in common. she hired me that same day. we'd take our afternoon coffee breaks each day around 3pm. she's walk with me to the starbucks across the street, but insisted on getting her own coffee at the ma-and-pa cafe so she could patronize local business. she was a lefty like that -- in the purest of ways. she went to UC santa cruz. she never shaved her legs. she even worked once for Ms. magazine, but left when she realized it didn't meet her idealistic standards. she was a heartfelt liberal with a fiery intellect. full of compassion, those doe eyes of hers, framed by a shiny black bob and cat-rimmed glasses, burned with a childlike wonderment. she was fascinating, and easily fascinated. a great listener.

we worked together for about a year, and hung out often outside of work. we'd have hours-long conversations on my couch, her socked feet always dug in between the couch cushions. her husband, an aspiring filmmaker, shot a short film at the house on spaulding where i lived for two years. he brought in a full crew and she catered the whole thing single-handedly. her cooking was terrific. so were her writing and editing skills. she was published, talented, vivacious, beautiful, always sincere and very loved. i loved her. she was my friend Angela.

i found out the other day that she killed herself. she wrote a few goodbye letters, then hanged herself. just like that. and i really don't get it. i'm bowled over, crushed. i left work early and spent the afternoon crying in bed, trying to understand what could have happened to extinguish such a powerful life force. she could brighten a room with her smile. she touched your arm when she talked to you. she was incredible.

our mutual friend dave says she got sick, fell into an abyssmal depression that she couldn't wriggle free from. he heard that her letters likened this depression to a demon that possessed her. that's why, he says, she didn't return our phone calls or emails this past year. she isolated herself, saying she was too busy, too much going on, and she would catch up with us when things settled down. she divorced her terrific, terrific husband for no good reason. she told me she was meditating and had a vision that they should no longer be married. she told me that she stopped attending the weekly dinner with her close-knit family. she told me that she started seeing a psychologist and wanted her career to be more purposeful. she was doing some soul-searching, she said. i told her i supported her, which i certainly did, but privately i didn't understand all her choices, which seemed out of character. and then no word from her for many months. and now comes this final word.

i feel guilty, like i failed her. dave says not to. he says to remember her warmth and the beautiful soul she was before the disease arrived and ravaged her. i still don't get it. this is not something you do when you're 32 and your possibilities are, essentially, limitless. this is something you might do when you're 16 and stupid, when you can't see beyond your summer vacation. but Angela had everything she needed to make her life work. disease, dave reminds me, took her will to live. zapped. 'mind over matter,' i think to myself, but what the hell do i know? i do know that depression ran in her family. she told me stories of her father's depression and how it taxed her. perhaps that's why she isolated herself -- she understood the burden better than anyone. but if she stayed open, if she accepted help, things might have been different. they would have been different. i'll miss her. my friend Angela.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I Got Hit

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What else?

truthfully, there hasn't been much else going on. i'm still quite preoccupied with my new honey and returning to baseline doesn't seem doable just yet. i intend to ride this crest for as long as i can. things have settled down somewhat. that sense of urgency that kept me up 'till all hours of the night talking to him, trying to learn everything about him, is slowly being replaced by calm. there are weekends; there is time, brief as it may be. plus, i can't sustain this running on empty, where i would go into work after having slept only a few hours, yoked on coffee, distracted by butterflies and just aching to return to the love bubble.

my responsibilities wouldn't wait for me. bills? what are bills? you mean i have to put gas in my car regularly? it won't run on good vibes alone? the reality check arrived when i arrived home one day after being gone for what seemed like many lifetimes. spring in my step, i opened the door to find juice looking up at me with these puppy eyes that incised right into the space where my heart used to be before i gave it to Momo. (awww, isn't that sickly sweet? i think i'm getting a cavity. just shoot me, please. please!) her tail was still wagging, but her food and water bowls were completely dry. so damn deadbeat of me.

i'm getting it back together, ever so slowly. i'm hanging with juice more. i actually went and saw my other boyfriend gym last week for the first time in a month. i paid my bills on the first -- instead of the second -- notice this month. i picked up a book to read. i cooked some meals at home instead of engaging in midnight rendezvous at Bossa Nova. i'm doing laundry again and replying to the backlog of emails i've had sitting in my inbox. but then the weekend will come and lure me back into the cocoon. ah, the silk.

ack, the rats. there are rats or mice or maybe even hamsters living in the hedge in my yard. they've made a nest and there are many of them. i hear and see them scurrying up the tree, across telephone lines, along the fence and back into the hedge where they party well into the night. they never invite me over. i would bring beer. so i must evict them, but i have no idea how. juice loves them and the new drama they bring to the yard. she pokes her face into the hedge, emerging with a snout covered in sticky white flowers and spiderwebs. i worry that one will happen to be ground bound when i let her out, and she'll try to engage in a little cat-and-mouse/dog-and-rat game that will leave her bitten, possibly diseased. who knows a good exterminator?


-- i've been doing tons of freelance editing for an ad agency i used to freelance for before going corporate. cha-ching!
-- my boss at work resigned, leaving me and other coworkers quite uneasy. we've been assured no layoffs, though.
-- work is much more manageable now. no more overtime or stress-induced, panic-filled dreams. my part of the heaviest lifting has been done, and the unsubstantiated rumor is that i did a good job at doing my job.
-- i can't believe it's friggin august already.
-- i desperately need to go out of town.
-- i desperately need to get more sleep than i've been getting. i think i'll start right now.