Friday, December 15, 2006


farking hell, december already. i don’t know why time and its passage still surprise me. the way the days pile on top of each other to turn into months and now, almost, a year. not like i could expect a different outcome. but here i am again with the requisite, “oh, where does the time go? oh, the days move too fast.”

i remember how dreadfully slow time moved during childhood when i would count down the days until winter recess, summer vacation. the school year seemed so long and dreary, like adolescence itself. and though i don’t miss being a kid one bit, i do miss the nervous anticipation that accompanied every new calendar year, which signified the approach of a birthday, one year closer to emancipation at 18, to ultimate freedom.

nowadays, new years signify tax season and the need to put 2007 instead of 2006 on my checks, which will trip me for months. they signify the end of holiday gluttony, with the scattered picked-over party trays and dried-up poinsettias. then come the repercussions in the form of credit card bills, increased gym visits, crusty fruitcakes.

not to scrooge. i’m quite content with the present state of things, which, by all measures, is delightful. i have goodness all around me. i feel stable, secure, loved, in control and... bored.

the days are predictable: wake, work, sleep, rinse and repeat. and next year will be no different. i also feel perpetually sick, having just shaken off a cold that kept me home from work for a few days. i had gnarly sniffles that moved me through a box of tissues a day and left me with tender nostrils. when i went in for a haircut last weekend, my hair guy seemed alarmed by their redness, and asked whether i had a “colombian hangover.” now it feels as though the bug jumped from my nose to lungs, making me wheezy.

while home sick, i roamed around in my polka dot pajamas, looking for low-effort things to do between naps. at some midday point, the phone rang and i went to grab it, checking the caller ID as usual before answering. “Zsa Zsa Gabor,” it read. fuck! “hello! hello?” dial tone. fuck!

it was the highlight of my day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Digs

much of my spare time and money the past several months have been poured into beautifying my home. it’s become such a favorite pastime of mine that i don't know how to exist without it. and if my lengthy Upgrade List is any indication, i won’t need to know anytime soon as even perfectly functional housewares – like the Martha Stewart dinnerware set i bought at Kmart years ago – have been deemed in need of replacement.

most recently, my living room underwent a major facelift that saw its walls painted and furniture replaced. we cancers are a domestic ilk who prefer their houses to be homey and i am no exception. my lounge time at home is one of my most cherished activities so i aimed for comfort and color when reimagining my living room.

luckily i had a design guru boyfriend to help me in my decorative pursuits. “you need to get over your color fear,” Mo would say (almost daily), picking out a Cabbage Green swatch at Home Depot. i can’t say we agreed on everything, but i am glad i went with his suggestions as they produced a mighty cozy room. and i’m very thankful that he did the painting and put together most of the furniture as my sorry self can barely use a level correctly. here are the results.

in this corner: we have my lustrous desk/work area where all the sitting on my ass takes place. nothing really changed here. still disorganized as ever.

another corner: i should be lighting those candles more often, but they only ever seem to burn during a party. whoops, just thinking aloud. so yeah, this is another corner of the living room.

the blue dog: Mo didn’t paint this, but it used to hang in his apartment before he moved in with me.

also Mo’s: this is a flattened spray can painted by L.A. street artist Buff Monster, whom Mo recently interviewed for a feature on Archinect.

this one’s mine: anyone who’s eaten at Canter’s on Fairfax has likely passed the Blitzstein Museum of Art. i surely had, and was long desirous of something from his store. i landed on this piece very quickly upon walking in – the lightbulb man painted on natural wood with a hole in his heart. i snatched it on the spot.

Matryoshka: that’s the Russian word for Soviet nesting dolls. i also snatched these up as soon as i saw them, a few years back while on my European adventure. they feature former Soviet leaders, starting with little Lenin in the center, then up to Stalin, Khrushchev, Yeltsin and Gorbie topping them off with painted hickey on his head.

more Soviet: the 1980 Olympiad poster, plus another one of Mo’s Buff Monster cans (he has three total).

the non-blue dog: no living room of mine could ever be complete without the sweet and smiley juice.

always been a stunner: here we see the photogenic wonder wide awake, at left, aged four months; and sound asleep, at right, six weeks old.

her boyfriend and mine: exchange knowing glances while sitting on the couch together, both probably wondering, “what the hell is up with these bitches?” black Max is a neighbor’s dog and frequent houseguest.
(maybe this is my color fear taking over, but i’m worried that those uber-bright throws are a bit much for the already bright room. i’m thinking of replacing them with solid brown throws that match the chocolate-colored futon underneath. yes?)

another bulbous head: Mo says i have a penchant for these in the artwork i select, like this painting i bought several years ago while on a trip to mexico.

another Soviet head: dusty, busted Lenin bust in iron with russian devil figurine nearby.

the wall: wide shot of elements combined.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Shit List

rather than run through the usual list of things i’m thankful for, which i’ve done countless times in the past, i figure it’s more useful for me (and entertaining for you) to run through a list of all the less-than-blessed things i’ve done this past year or two.

certainly i’ve committed no murders, save the occasional spider or cricket, but i’m hardly an exemplary humanitarian and i’m still ages from becoming the person i’d like to be (a retired superhuman). just kidding! i would totally be a philanthropist.

i must also confess that something inside me is convinced that my toe drama resulted from my being a lackluster jew this year – every year in fact. i don’t remember the last time i observed my culture’s holy days in any meaningful way. then for a giggle, i ridiculed the devout in my last blogging. and to top it off, i’ve lapsed from my once regular yoga practice, causing another blow to my “spirituality.” blasphemy to the bone!

so now i atone for my wretchedness:

• perhaps, maybe, probably a few times i’ve called in sick to work this past year i could have mustered up the strength to come in. not every time, though. and if you’re my boss, i totally was sick.

• i’ve been an L.A. flake aplenty – missing parties, screening phone calls, deleting emails and ignoring instant messages, often times very deliberately. most of the time, it’s just that i’m too wrapped up in my own dealings to be bothered, though there have been occasions when the people themselves are the bother.

• also bothersome was the length of Mo’s list for me when i told him about this entry. i guess i need to get better about taking care of his CDs and DVDs, like i do my own, putting my dishes into the dishwasher and apologizing when i’m wrong.

juice likely has complaints of her own. having a yard in the back has made long walks through the neighborhood far less frequent. and i’m sure my fish hates me for almost killing him this year and not changing his water enough.

• i still use my expired student ID from grad school to get discounts on movie tickets and museum admissions.

• many, many blog-related regrets, none of which i care to link to lest they perpetuate my own personal embarrassment. but trust that i cringe aplenty when rereading past entries that highlight my bad writing and overblown ego, and contain overly intimate disclosures and the occasional grammatical or spelling error.

• to be filed under Megabitch Moments: i fancy myself much like the gentle stingray that swims through life wholly peacefully, only attacking when provoked. yet when i do attack, i will stab you in the heart. in recent times, a handful of people have tapped into this ire with their comments and actions, to which i’ve replied with a mighty verbal beatdown when i probably should have taken the high road instead. in no particular order, these people include: my sometimes critical parents, rude waitstaff, Mo on a bad day, an ex-boyfriend’s immature girlfriend, an overbearing coworker, unsavory car mechanics and a girl who tried to feed chocolate to my dog.

what a cunt i am! and how thoroughly déclassé to even use that word. i am going straight to hell. oh, wait a second, jews don’t believe in hell so i’m all set. phew.

truth is that i don’t regret all the happenings on this list (except the part about being a deadbeat dog mom). i do believe employees should use sick days as needed – that is what they are for – and i believe that, on occasion, people need to be told to “fuck off” when they are being ridiculous, myself included.

still, this list is rather mild when i consider the types of “sins” i committed in my early twenties when i partied nonstop and shot my mouth off for sport. i like to believe that my bitchiness is more purposeful nowadays, even ethical, succeeding where the passive high road fails. there are definitely things worth shouting about and bitchiness has its benefits.

i certainly don’t shout as much as i did before and in another 10 years – when i’m trying to get into movies under a senior discount – i hope to be shouting even less. guess this means that i’ve always been and always will be a bitch, but hopefully i’ll keep getting better at it.

happy thanksgiving, turkeys.

Friday, November 03, 2006

In the Streets, On the Stage

given that i take the same route to work at roughly the same time each morning, i tend to see the same people and cars lumbering through their own commute into downtown LA. it’s your standard blend of rat-racers – land rover girl who puts on her makeup while speeding, prius guy who reviews documents at every red light and, of course, the half-asleep but happy me in my cute jetta (new car excitement still hasn’t worn off). it can be a defensive commute: freeway-free, with constant stops and gos and buses trying to merge into your lane. the eight-mile journey each way should only take about 15 minutes, but averages 40.

i don’t mind it so much – unless i see him: the horrible, nutty him my bad luck often forces me to drive behind for several miles. he’s like a bible thumper on steroids, the christ crusader in the godvan. he always has the most agonizing christian music blasting from his car, poisoning the ears of the nice people waiting for the bus, some of whom roll their eyes when they see him passing.

his car, a minivan, is plastered with bumper stickers that love on jesus – tons of stickers, half in spanish, that cover not just the rear of his car, but also the sides and front where you can’t really tell what the original color of the car is (though i think it’s painted Resurrection White). stickers are your basic “jesus is king,” “lea la biblia,” doomsday doomsday crap, and a few attempts at, maybe wit, like, “In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned!!!!”

it gets worse. he has this sizable wooden cross at the ready. it usually emerges when everyone is stopped at a red light where his is the first car in the line. his holy little paw will come out the driver’s side window, cross in hand. then he’ll up the volume on the bad christian rock, and begin jumping around in his seat, causing his car to rock, as if he’s being possessed or exorcized, head shaking from side to side with arm still outstretched. he’ll drive like that for several minutes, sometimes swerving.

it’s totally creepy. i hate driving behind and alongside him for fear that the cross will slip at a high speed and smash into my windshield. i also try to avoid eye contact, lest he reduce me to a pile of dust. sometimes i think of calling the cops on him. he must be breaking some law. at the very least i’d like to encourage him to commit suicide. people like that seem so excited about dying. i know i’m excited about his dying.


i saw my beloved Brazilian Girls perform for the third time in about a year and a half ’cus they are the shit live. it was the night of halloween and i felt pretty beat, having seen The Roots perform the night before at the Avalon. i was dragging ass the whole night, but the show was good, though not the best i’ve seen them have. and then the most awesome thing i’ve ever seen happen at a show happened.

the band headed into their closer: their hit song “Pussy” with its chorus of “pussy, pussy, pussy, marijuana.” for added realism, they lit a joint on stage and smoked it amongst themselves before passing the roach into the crowd. well, that must have been some bomb chronic because they got mighty sloppy afterwards. the music became noticeably out of sync, with my lesbian fantasy girl Sabina, the stunning lead singer whose first language is not english, butchering the bit where she urges the crowd to sing along, mistakenly saying, “boys, repeat after me: i got a pussy and you want it!”

she tried to recover, saying something about “boys being pussies,” but with the rest of the band also high, the comedy of missteps kept compiling and killing the performance. the band seemed good natured enough about it, finally ending the spectacle with the bassist jumping into the drum set. rock ’n’ roll at its finest.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Stuff and Things

• since the big car purchase, my life has been consumed by this strange new concept called “budgeting.” i guess i didn’t know how good i had it pre-monthly car payment. plus, my car insurance has more than doubled from what i paid for the crapmobile. i fancy my fabulousity so it’s difficult for me to accept that i must downsize my bourgeois lifestyle. but having reliable wheels is a bigger must in los angeles so i’m more than happy to eat my car’s interior if times get really desperate. it’s leather and i eat beef, so it must be ok.

• work is slow lately. it’s standard cycle-of-business stuff that affects everyone, not just me. freelance work is also minimal. when things get this slow i’m prone to engaging in a bit of online shopping, but i can’t. see above.

• the toe has been healing beautifully (thank you for your prayers). though it’s not healing quickly enough, as i still cannot wear closed-toe shoes. the one time i attempted it, earlier this week, caused an intense discomfort that turned into throbbing pain by midday. this means no sneakers and, conversely, no gym, and no heels at work. i’m pretty much wearing the same pair of sandals night and day. they could use a good disinfecting.

• Mo turned 30 this month (and whined far less about it than i did). i was having such a great time at his birthday party that i forgot to take photos of it for posting. but rest assured it produced an admirable turnout of beautiful people who enjoyed themselves immensely and didn’t trash my house too horribly.

• halloween. bah-humbug. i’ve never really been one to stuff myself into uncomfortable costumes and put on rash-inducing makeup, even as a candy-craving kid. and now as an adult living in west hollywood, i scoff at the gaggle of cars and drag queens that congest my neighborhood each year for the parade.

• living room beautification is now complete. old furniture sold quickly on craigslist and was replaced by more comfortable seating and a larger coffee table; the walls were painted a fabulous Cabbage Green and then adorned with new art and shelving; i even updated my vacuum with a far superior one made especially for pet hair. it looks great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Road Ahead

i knew we were reaching the end of the metaphoric road. the signs were clear – reduced dependability, moodiness, dread at every interaction, the groans of discomfort that accompanied even the mildest request. each day together felt like it could be our last, saturated with the chronic anxiety: “will we make it? and what happens if we don’t?” i feared for the future, which exceedingly looked dim, hopeless and unavoidably real.

and at that final moment when the wheels stopped turning, i felt no sorrow. only a strange calm as i sat motionless and looking ahead, parked somewhere near fairfax and pico. sunday night, 10 p.m., hearing the death knell ring from afar. i put my forehead on the steering wheel and studied the dashboard, mileage: 165,955. i stepped outside and looked up at the sign: street sweeping monday morning. i would get a ticket.

Mo pulled up beside me in his ride, Juice wagging her happy tail in the backseat. i slide in back with my pup who cheers me with a face licking. “well?” he asks. “that hunk of shit is dead and i’m not dropping another penny on fixing it. they can tow it to the junkyard for all i care. i’m buying a new car tomorrow.”

and that’s what i did. i bought a car. this car. the very next day, i walked alone into a dealership after work, test-drove the car, spoke with the sales dudes, wrote a big check with an unsteady hand, and bang, i drove off in my new ride.

it’s a volkswagen jetta, in case you couldn’t tell. i went with a jetta because no one else in my generation drives one. actually, i chose it because it wasn’t a soulless, nondescript car like the civic or corolla, and american cars, of course, are uniformly out of the question.

but the truth is i had been researching the jetta for about a month and had pretty much decided it would be my next car. great reviews all around and cute to boot. i love me a good european engine and given that i couldn’t afford the luxury mercedes of my dreams, the still german and cozy jetta, which is small enough to park in hollywood and zippy enough to take to SF for the weekend, worked on every level.

it was used, very gently, a 2005 edition with just 20,000 well-maintained miles, bought from enterprise, which sells its cars after renting them. inspected, certified, still under manufacturer warranty with roadside assistance, financed through my work’s credit union for a no-haggle price well below blue book.

i felt mighty proud of myself as i drove off the lot, my eyes slightly misty at the thought of my conquest (and upcoming monthly payments). i had driven into adulthood finally with this, my first real car purchase, after years of enduring my parents’ hand-me-downs. i thought of the dead saab, lonely in the junkyard after 16 years of service to my mom and then me. yeah, whatever, i bought a friggin car!

my chariot is semi-loaded – charcoal grey with a grey leather interior, 6-CD changer, dual airbags, lojack, power everything, automatic 4WD, 2.5L gasoline engine, 5 cylinders and a bunch of other technical things i can’t comprehend. (who the hell knows what “tiptronic” is?) but best of all, it still has new car smell, baby.

driving is brand new. i had a joker grin the entire drive to work this morning, smiling dumbly at other jetta owners. this is the first car i’ve had with a CD player and nice sound system. (Mo has taken to singing “mr. roboto” around me – just like in the commercial.) this is the first time i’m the one volunteering to drive. this is the first time i haven’t been worried about taking my car on a freeway. this is the first time i won’t mind sitting in LA traffic. this is the first time i'm taking the long way home.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Right Foot

having an ingrown toenail pretty much tops the list of ridiculous ailments. it’s one of those things that should be endured instead of admitted to, like an STD. it’s quite silly and i would have thought nothing of it if it didn’t hurt so damn bad. but it hurts really fucking bad, bad, bad and bad.

it’s like the hand of g-d is electrocuting me at the toe, flooding my entire nervous system with pain when even the smallest amount of pressure is applied to my toe. walking makes me very unhappy lately. it’s so difficult that i’ve thought of attaching a pillow to my mouth for biting.

the nails on both my fingers and toes are something bionic – they grow super fast and stay super strong (an unfortunate contrast to my hair, which grows an inch each year and is damaged from years of processing). mom and sister also have these crazy growth nails, much to the envy of our brittle-nailed female relatives. the dang things are also sharp as hell, causing accidental scratches galore. i’ve always considered them my secret weapon in a catfight. they can really cut a bitch up.

point is that when the big toe on my right foot started to bother me on monday, it was just a negligible pinch at the corner. on tuesday, it became red and swollen. by wednesday it was throbbing and purple, and when i finally saw the doctor on thursday the fucker was black and crusty with puss and blood. gangrene seemed on the horizon. amputation would surely follow.

“wow, that’s really infected,” said the doc when i removed my band-aid to unveil my toe.
“it really hurts, doctor. please fix it. but whatever you do, don’t touch it!! please don’t touch it!!”

i was near hyperventilation as he put on his latex gloves and approached my toe to give it a squeeze. my foot began to jerk wildly. i held my leg down at the shin as he poked around to my chorus of “ow! ow! ow!”

“you’re going to need to see a specialist.” i got the feeling he was beginning to hate me and just wanted to make me someone else’s problem. i tried to toughen up, shake free of the crybaby i had (suddenly?) become.

“can you put me under to do your exam? you can remove the nail while i sleep and send me on my way.”

sadly, it wasn’t that simple. the swelling needed to subside before the open-toe surgery, scheduled for soon, which means i have to consume antibiotics for a few days before the specialist can remove the nail. doc sent me on my way with a 10-day supply of Keflex, some weak-ass painkillers and a cane.

being dehabilitated by an ingrown toenail is embarrassing enough, but the cane is the cherry on top of the shit sundae. it’s not even a cool wooden cane i could rock like a pimp, it’s an aluminum orthopedic cane with a foam handle built for grandpas.

problem is it helps; my gimpy, limpy ass needs it. for some authenticity i’ve decided to wrap my ankle in an ace bandage and tell people who ask that i fractured my foot rock climbing. to make matters worse, this is the week when all the painting has been going on in my living room, meaning the room is a minefield of paintbrushes, buckets, scattered trash and a big ladder, with all the furniture pushed together in the center. this leaves me cranky as hell, frustrated as fuck. it just makes me want to use the cane for pure evil.

but i can only use it on myself, as i’m the one to blame. it’s as though my body is poisoning itself with itself. perhaps it’s karmic retribution for not fasting on yom kippur this year, for not even taking the day off of work like a dutiful jew. maybe g-d is pissed at me.

i’m fucking sorry, Man.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Box of Cute

Monday, September 25, 2006

Zsa Zsa

the fall didn’t creep in this year as it usually does in los angeles. it seemed to just land in the center of the city and chill everything nearby. its reach (finally) extended to my abode, where i had been summoning it with an autumn jig while looking lovingly at my jackets. in a snap, the temperature turned, and the heavy blanket for the bed emerged. the top sheet alone would no longer do.

this is the best season, methinks. winter is also a good one, and with fall as its precursor, the upcoming half-year is tops. granted, “seasonal weather” in los angeles is pretty wannabe. the leaves don’t change colors too dramatically, rain is minimal, snow is impossible, and dips into the 40s are infrequent. still, it’s a nice reminder of time’s passage.

my passage of time has lately been centered around home improvements, with my living room undergoing the greatest facelift. newer, better, more beautiful furniture is on its way -- once i buy some -- and the walls will enjoy a little blush on their cheeks, which are currently painted a blinding shade of Hospital White (plus scuff marks). beyond that, i’m reorganizing my closet and compiling a wish list of other repairs to be made, items to be bought. it’s getting lengthy.

there’s also been an outbreak of Relationship Weight Gain in my household. the indiscriminate eating has got to stop, as mexican dinners at midnight do not a svelte figure make. even the dog has gotten tubby. it’s nice to nest, but even the coldest L.A. winter cannot justify this amount of padding. Mo is developing a case of Ethiopian Belly (skinny guy with a protruding belly), Juice looks like a hairy pork chop, and i’m outgrowing my clothes. to repair ourselves, we’ve increased the activity as the calorie intake has decreased (kinda). we walk now, all three of us, wherever we can walk to. oh, the excitement.

odd news: Zsa Zsa Gabor called me -- and bitch didn’t leave a message. the blinking light on my answering machine only recorded a hangup after the tone. when i scrolled the caller ID on my phone, it was her name and a 310 number, i shit you not.

otherwise, i managed to check out the Banksy show the other weekend -- phenomenal. i also managed to almost murder my new Betta fish, Butch, by leaving him in L.A.’s finest tap water for about five minutes while i cleaned his bowl. it was a procedural snafu, entirely my fault, and i thought nothing of it until he started acting sick and sluggish a few weeks later. i hauled ass to Petco and consulted a fish specialist who told me my error was tantamount to leaving a newborn baby in a room saturated with secondhand smoke for five minutes. she looked about ready to call the authorities to place Butch in foster care, maybe at her house, but instead she handed me a liquid blend of antibiotics with tea tree oil, complete with disapproving glare.

five days later Butch seems better. but i still feel a touch guilty, with this sick fish and overweight dog. i’ve vowed to improve my pet parenting skills and will definitely name my next fish Zsa Zsa.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Laborious Apple

twas quite glorious. i loved my long Labor Day weekend this year, which i protracted into four full days in new york city, where i caught up with my west coasters turned east coasters, staying mainly with my best friend and his boyfriend in Manhattan, in the heart of Soho, Little Italy to be exact, in the smallest apartment i’ve ever seen, with just four feet of kitchen space and the fridge in the living room. but since they’re gay, the apartment was well decorated, with a perfect balance of style and whimsy, as evidenced by the gaggle of rubber duckies perched in the bathroom, which i found too cute.

new york was still splendidly itself – whatever that means. to me, it means that life in new york is still twice as hard and three times as expensive as it should be. to me, it means the entire city still smells like ass, particularly the subway. each time i exited the labyrinth that is the new york city subway system, now in existence for 100-plus years, i wanted to loofah the muck off of my hands and face immediately. that cavernous underground reminded me of an ant farm-cum-germ factory, with us passengers as the ants and the germs.

no misunderstanding: i am not a new york hater (nor am i a lover). i think the secret to living in new york is loving new york. i understand the romanticism and intrigue of the city and immensely enjoy my visits there. but as a nearly native west coaster who will defend los angeles until her last breath, i will confess that i don’t fully get it.

i don’t get the big deal with the five boroughs, or what it means to be from long island, or the appeal of the hamptons, or why new jersey is the armpit of america, or why bostonians hate new yorkers. the idea of blue blood and JAPpiness is anathema to me. visiting the east coast, with its oppressive summertime humidity and strangely small states, only strengthens my love for california. and i don’t even surf.

not that i didn’t have a brilliant time during this visit, catching up with many of the fantastic friends i saw during the last go-round: jon-david, allison, nick, cesar, zahra and als. (no john john this time, but hopefully next time.) the food was also worth beholding – oysters on the half shell, sardines wrapped in grape leaves, Portuguese bacalhau, a Tunisian omelet -- with plenty of wine to wash it down. it rained only on saturday, prompting an afternoon viewing of “Little Miss Sunshine” that did much to chase the clouds away.

i did a bit of shopping as well, though most of my time was spent socializing with my peeps, sharing and hearing stories, and marveling at how negligible time and distance are in the face of solid friendship. they played the most congenial hosts and i relished every second of their company. i hope to make my visits annual from this point forward.

Friday, August 25, 2006


that’s what the lately days have felt like. but it’s a rare kind of full (and busy) that isn’t overwhelming. it’s providing just the right amount of activity to keep me engaged yet frazzle free, productive but relaxed. despite the bizzy, i’m still managing to squeeze in afterwork naps and lazy nights of lounging on the couch.

work is the greatest perp of all, of course, with project deadlines looming and minutiae that needs knocking out. freelance work arrives with the moonlight, almost nightly, with me juggling the red pen and frying pan, as i edit and cook, edit and cook, with Mo nearby minding the chopping block. the boy refuses the garlic press and instead minces by hand. we eat well, perhaps too well and often too late in the evening, prompting me to drag my chub to the gym during office lunch hours, where i run the treadmill. ok, jog.

weekends call for playtime with the puppy, who, each day, breaks the world cuteness record she set the day before. i know i’m being objective when i say she’s flawless (except for her bum hips). and that claim was corroborated recently when a random driver pulled our way to inquire about her breed, leaving surprised to hear that a mutt could be so damn stunning. he wanted as pretty a dog for himself apparently, but her hots are the jackpot of a genetic lottery that can’t be replicated. as dude pulled away, Mo asked me whether i was jealous of my dog being a traffic-stopping beauty. au contraire, i’m quite proud –- and living vicariously.

lots of long walks have abounded: to the Whole Foods on the corner, the liquor store on the other corner, and elsewhere through the neighborhood, often to the video store for rentals of “The Joe Schmo Show” and “Everything is Illuminated” (both must-sees). concert viewing has also been plentiful, with extra-ticket invites to see Devotchka, courtesy of Chad, and Manu Chau, courtesy of Juan.

been socializing up a storm via parties and dinners and hangouts and club nights and bar hops. yet still, i’m behind on returning phone calls, replying to emails and scheduling visits. good thing i recently procured wireless DSL in the home and a cheaper cell phone plan to aid my social pursuits.

and the tree in front of my porch is dropping overripe figs on the walkway, attracting a grip of flies that flurry around the entrance to my house and zoom inside when the door is ajar. bless her gorgeous self for trying, but Juice is no cat and sucks at flycatching, convinced though she is that her mouth is a powerful venus flytrap.

beyond that, i’m grossly content and wishing that the fall would arrive.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

On Blahging

it's been quite the effort to blog lately. probably because everything else this side of life has been relatively effortless and i'm prone to using this space for soppy lamentations on life and love. though now that i've actually said that aloud by posting it on the internets, i'm sure Mo and i will break up and i'll be laid off and then struck by lightning. all of this will happen on the same day. then i'll rush home to blog about it.

but really, it's just standard bloggers' block, i suppose, happens to all us hacks. school kids get a summer vacation and even TV shows take a summer hiatus. i felt entitled to a break, having grown tired of crafting my life's sitcom for this blog. it began to feel like a chore, akin to clipping my toenails. so instead, i decided to roll out summer programming full of reruns, photos, flashbacks and punchy lists predicated on hindsight. it was partially therapeutic, but mostly lazy (though i like the idea of ongoing series, so perhaps more of those will appear).

fear not, as the break from the break is nigh, motherfuckers! my battery is buzzing again, however slight its din. weekly blogging will resume in september, i hope, and this season's lineup will feature fabulous storylines and special guest stars and new and improved photo essays. it'll rate off the charts!

or maybe not. we'll see.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Days & Nights

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Next Ten

who knew a birthday could be dragged out for months? it’s the kind of fixation that’s only appropriate when one’s turning 21, not 30. or maybe that kind of fixation is never appropriate. in any case, i’ll stop with the birthday bonanza after this post. by now, i’ve made peace with my twenties and have already put both feet into being thirtysomething. the view from up here is different.

well, not really, but there are a few things that thirty means to me. primarily, it means that it’s time to quit being the go-with-the-flow girl. not that i’m to become inflexible, but the carefree attitude that’s characteristic of the twenties -- where you can float for years in crap jobs and mediocre relationships -- is something to kiss goodbye.

my (slightly) older girlfriends have given me the wisest advice on the matter, saying that this is the time to start fermenting plans and building a sound foundation for achieving them. this is the time to discern the outline of a future that suits me and start steadying toward it, because it will take years before it looks just right.

and to think i once didn’t believe in making plans, figuring everything will work out just as it should. to make g-d laugh, tell him your plans, har har. he has a plan for each of us, har har. bull-fucking-shit. what a copout. it’s lazy, existential drivel -- the twentysomething “i’ll let the wind carry me to my destiny” attitude one takes when she’s goalless and clueless.

i know i’ve spent enough time wallowing in that romantic ideal, where everything happens for a reason and life is one great search for meaning, with some absolute truth awaiting discovery. whatevs. we make our own meaning, our luck, our destiny, our reason.

to recognize that it’s all meaningless has been remarkably liberating, i gotta say. there’s no ultimate answer to subscribe to, no limitation to accommodate. finally, the search ends through forfeit! i wasted enough time on it as is.

where the hell was i going again? oh yeah, my list of things to focus on in the next ten years. i have a feeling these years will pass rather quickly and be less eventful than the last ten were. even in the last few years, life has turned rather monotonous: i’ve finished all the schooling i’ll ever need, have a steady job i have no reason to leave and, at a mere two and a half years, i’ve lived at my current residence longer than i’ve lived at any other residence that came before it, save my childhood home.

as someone who’s inherently restless, i get uneasy by a lack of flux. i need stimulation and newness and adventure to keep my senses engaged. but i’m trying to reprogram my thinking to see the stability as something positive, where i have my basic needs met and can focus on creating controlled adventures that still enliven. i certainly don’t care to return to the days of “find a new job because you’ve just been laid off... again” or “find a new apartment because you’ve just been evicted!”

yeah, that wasn’t much fun at the time, invigorating as it may have been. future adventures should be far more adult, as the following list demonstrates:

• have a kid! maybe even two (three tops). maybe this won’t play out completely perfectly, maybe you’ll need to visit the sperm bank when you hit your “scary age” but have a kid at some point, even if it’s just one, because from the outside, parenthood looks interesting, exhausting, otherworldly and definitely worth knowing.
• don’t get married just to have a kid or just to be married. honor the promise you made to yourself regarding marriage -- that you’ll do it only if it feels absolutely right in your bones, your blood and your brain. and even then reconsider.
• write a friggin book! or two or ten. find the time and discipline and just write already. potential without action is worthless. publish or perish, bitch.
• quit being negative. we’ve gone over this before.
• recognize that everything that’s happened up to this moment, whether good or bad, is not as important as what happens after this moment. remind yourself every day that the past does not have to impact the future.
• get better at buying your own bullshit if you expect other people to.
• buy some property. g-d ain’t making any more real estate. and then sell the property. paper equity is not as good as money in the bank.
• dogs. have more.
• all that adult shit that your pops has been telling you about for years -- saving for retirement, insuring everything, maintaining good credit -- subscribe to it. also, eradicate all student debt by 40.
• prepare for deaths in the family. you aren’t the only one who’s aging.
• don’t bother with people you don’t care for, tasks you don’t need to do and situations you’d rather not be in. you have the freedom to politely excuse yourself from all of them. up until you have that kid, your greatest obligation is to yourself.

now go get ’em, tiger.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Meantime

motivation, where have you gone? don't you know how badly i need you to accomplish even the smallest task? you've done gone and left me to my own devices, allowing my inherent laziness to take charge and prevent anything from happening. you've made me neglect my blog and the other blogs i eyeball in my blogosphere. you've let my house get messy and my hair grow too long.

i know it's not your fault for disappearing. we'll place blame where it's due -- on that fireball in the sky. it's evaporated you into smog and paralyzed me with its heat, making me want to do nothing more than nap indoors with a fan pointed at me. and that's precisely what i've been doing. i guess my siberian genes are built for little else.

i took the first week of july off of work and went nowhere. i don't know that i've ever done that before. for me, days off are usually purposeful ones that involve travel. but given that i had a bevy of vacation days stored up at work and no real place to go or money to go with, i sat my ass indoors with the fan pointed at me and got sucked into the vortex that is my house, lounging in the haze with my man and my mutt.

the boyfriend Mo has been living with me these past few weeks, finding himself in between residences and pursuits. he put his apartment belongings into storage in mid-june in preparation for a months-long cross-country roadtrip that he'll be embarking on shortly. in the meantime, we've been playing house.

he kindly accompanied me into my week-long journey of nothingness and in return i accompanied him and his video camera on architectural drives throughout the city. but mostly, we spent a week doing our collective nothing, occasionally following a whim that led us out of the house and into the heat. this summer has been a scorcher so far, with temperatures already into the hundreds. LA can suck that way. i hate sweating.

back at home, we stayed up late barbecuing each night, slept in each morning and enjoyed lazy afternoons filled with sex and siestas. in betweens were occupied by DVD rentals of the first two seasons of "project runway." we ate watermelon. we coddled the dog. pure bliss.

and then, all too quickly, came the return of the work week. bleh. daylong meetings, mad deadlines -- the project i'm working on is reaching its critical mass. luckily, i had post-vacay euphoria to carry me through the first week back at my desk. hope i have leftovers for this upcoming work week, which could suck the hardest.

beyond that, i've already forgotten about turning 30. as predicted by many a peer, the panic dissipated as soon as the big day came and went. i feel silly for having worried so much about it. i can't rearrange the hands of time and at this point i'm not sure i'd want to. i got a mad future to mold. final chronicle of the series, discussing the next ten, to be posted next.

happy summer.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Celebration

well, the world didn't end. thirty arrived on june 26 and incorporated itself rather seamlessly. no great fireworks or traumas or parades. it came, sat down with me for a drink and recessed into the laugh lines around my mouth -- the only wrinkles i enjoy since they reflect happy smiles.

the happy smile was much displayed during my annual birthday party, which drew the usual crowd of suspects, commemorated in the photo essay that follows. thanks to those who showed and brought gifts and booze and warm wishes. i felt loved.

Dirty Thirty: that was the title of this year's bash, and my architect superstar boyfriend Mo drew a handy floor plan on the dry erase for newcomers.

balloons & booze: the party was largely confined to my backyard and stocked with libations. my drink of choice for the night was vodka and red bull.

happy smile: happy dirty thirty to me.

the view from above: my birthday wish was to quit smoking forever. the monday after my party i awoke with strep throat and haven't had a cigarette since.

revelers: dan, kate, nick and jason cheese it up for the camera.

my future bridesmaids: twas a momentous occasion as Dee and Raidis, my longtime girlfriends, met each other for the first time. i must have a thing for ethnic, dark-haired beauties.

more ethnic, dark-haired beauties: Lacey and Michelle

chin on palm: Chad indulges in fascinating conversation with Tim as Polly looks on.

sorta sepia: Juan and I indulge in our own fascinating conversation in the corner.

you are getting sleepy: Juice got baked like the rest of us.

strike a pose: in an effort to not take the standard smiley picture, Jayson and I make the standard non-smiley faces.

festive brights: Mo inflated every last balloon before stringing them above the yard. then he gave me a special edition box set of all 6 seasons of "Sex and the City." and he helped me clean the morning after the party. i returned the kindness by not taking a single picture of him the night of the party.

blame the booze: there was enough for leftovers.

ok, found one: Mo and Dan talking trash by the trash.

going quietly: what 30 looked like after a few drinks.

it could be food! juice eyes the prized fortune Zee pulled out of her fortune cookie.

coolest guy ever: Nick is tops.

Juice agrees: the furry baby enjoys some mid-party playtime.

shiny happy: Niaz, Michelle, Kevin and Willow

the medication must be working! alien hand dave left his alien hand at home this time.

inner photo: KT and Zee in the doorjamb.

comedy in the hammock: Casey, Raidis and Ann catching a laugh.

more revelers: still reveling.

dang, i got a lot of teeth: thirty's alright.

thanks to everyone who came.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Last Ten

thirty looked different at twenty. it certainly looked much older than it feels today, and i'm very thankful i’m not turning twenty this year. that was a sweet enough time when life seemed so limitless and people seemed so genuine, but it was also a big waste of time, because people in their early twenties are a total waste of cells.

i certainly was, strutting around as I did, convinced i had already unlocked the mysteries of the universe when i was still figuring out how to do my laundry properly, perplexed every time a wool sweater shrank in the wash. those were the salad days, when i could subsist on a diet of coffee and cigarettes and think nothing of the way i was ruining my credit. ten years and twenty pounds ago.

if i could talk to my 20-year-old self today, i’d give her a good shake and smack -- and a long hug, though she'd probably fight me off. she was a bit angry then, capable of mega-bitchiness, and wholly convinced of her immortality and infallibility. she could have never conceived of the minefields and piles of quicksand that she would encounter, the obstacles needed to humble her.

not that my twenties were so horrible, but they had their mania and moments of despair. i changed cities a few times, must have lived in ten different apartments, gone through numerous jobs, boyfriends and paradigms. it was like a decade-long coming-of-age film that i've surely romanticized in being something better than it was.

i know i won't miss my twenties, as i spent most of that time being poor, confused, anxious and fearful. sometimes i cook it up to be something so pure, an age of innocence even in its anguish, but when i go deeper and remember my excesses and missteps, the many nights of lying awake wondering what will become of me, i am so thankful a new demographic is here to wipe my slate.

but if i had that coveted hindsight to do it again, the opportunity to give my 20-year-old self the shake, smack and hug i needed, my stubborn ass probably still wouldn't have listened. perhaps if i stabbed her and wrote the following in blood, it might have gotten her attention:

• quit smoking. it's doesn't look so cool, especially in california, and it makes you smell bad.
• calm the fuck down. you'll waste so much time trying to be tough, independent and self-assured that you'll forget how to be yourself. i know that's who you want to be, but that’s not who you truly are. you’re sensitive, insecure and needy, and you’ll still be that way at 30. get used to yourself and know that it's ok to be vulnerable. it doesn't mean that you're weak, only that you're human.
• be nicer to your parents. they have been so good to you.
• in general: eat more bran, take better care of your skin, never drive drunk, use condoms every time, exercise more, whine less.
• at 23, you'll fall madly in love and be persuaded to leave San Francisco just as you begin to enjoy your life there. don't move back to LA for this man; make him move north instead. a few years later, you'll have the opportunity to attend NYU for grad school. GO!
• trust your instincts more than your heart.
• cherish your friends. they are even more important than you already think they are.
• your writing is atrocious now, but keep trying, though avoid writing poetry altogether. you’ll also keep a blog in your later twenties. it will be a cheap 'sex and the city' ripoff that will amuse your friends and cause you occasional embarassment and intruige.
• don’t skimp on personal hygiene products, coffee, the perfect gift for someone else, a good mattress, a good haircut, sushi.
• on men: give up the fairytale. your happy ending is not guaranteed. it's work and you will make mistakes, but you'll keep trying because you are a romantic at heart. and you won't be married with kids by 30 like you think, but that's ok because you will still like your life.
• don't worry so much. nothing is insurmountable.
• there's more that i'll need to tell you offline -- additional stuff on men, about drugs, and the self-destructive and depressive tendencies you'll be grappling with always. some mistakes you'll need to make; others you don't need to make twice. when you finally know better, do the right thing.
• talk less, listen more. swallow your pride sometimes. stay out of your own way. trust life to take care of you.

now go get 'em, tiger.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Friday, June 02, 2006

I Made It Through the Wilderness

and at the other end was beautiful inglewood, california, where i saw Madonna perform the other week. madonna. madge, madge. fucking madonna. the one, the only madonna. in inglewood, at the Great Western Forum, where the Lakers used to play before the Staples Center, named after a bank that no longer exists.

i was stoked on getting the tickets, figuring i would never again have the opportunity to see my childhood idol shake her 47-year-old moneymaker. i paid a fortune for the seats, which were among the crappiest in the house, just five rows away from being the row farthest from the stage. greedy bitch charged about 350 smackers for the floor seats closest to the stage, meaning the crowd consisted of professionals who could pay that ticket. not a kid in sight. plenty of fags in sight, however, many with their fag hags. my extra ticket went to my bi friend Dee, the hetero hag i’ve known since college. we arrived late, of course, reaching our nosebleed seats about 10 minutes into the show when “Like a Virgin” was ending.

Like a Virgin. that song is THE madonna song for me. i remember singing it around the house, completely oblivious to what it meant, gyrating my pre-puberty hips, arms overhead, determined to become the virgin Madonna made sound so fantastic. it became my grade-school quest. i think i even asked my mom once, “how can i be like a virgin?” i must have been 8 years old.

the thing about Madonna is that everything she touched she legitimized, from sex and blond hair to marriage and motherhood. she owned it. androgyny, disco, fashion, religion, gayness, england. she embodied it. she made being a slut respectable and never apologized for a damn thing. Madonna was the secret alter ego every girl wanted to have. and as this was a time before Angelina Jolie, Madonna was also every girl’s secret lesbian fantasy.

sadly, i had long thrown out my black spandex bicycle shorts and the ruffled skirt i would wear over them. i also couldn’t find a lace bow to put in my hair for the show, but i had some bangles -- though none rubber -- which i piled onto my wrist. i almost shed a tear when i realized i missed the song, my song, coming into the packed Forum as the chorus of “whoa-whoa-whoa-oh” was ending. fucking traffic.

but she made it up to me... kinda. on the whole, the show was great, the performances energetic and the dancers very sexy, but the music just blew. she performed too much new stuff, much of it from her last few albums, none of which i was interested in. i kept waiting and waiting for the hits -- and she threw me a few bones a la “La Isla Bonita” and “Live to Tell” but i still left feeling cheated.

come on, Madge. i know you want to stay relevant and be the artist of today, but admit that your best work is behind you, far behind, like in the ’80s. don’t fret, because the world is still interested in everything you do, but as a musician you’ve peaked already. it’s not a secret and it’s ok to play the old stuff. you are the artist of my youth, the powerhouse who taught me to Express Myself and to Justify my Love. i haven’t bought a new album of yours in ten years and i don’t plan to. i wanted to see you Vogue and wear that pink Material Girl dress and you insisted on closing with Hung Up.

also, Madge, and don’t take this wrong, but your live show could use some work. something about it was strangely out of touch, especially that bit about gang violence. and we’ve all seen you playing with crucifixes and crowns of thorns before; it’s not shocking the millionth time. i did appreciate all the motivational altruism on display, with images of starving kids in africa and videos of Bush and Blair being assholes, but the moving stage, overdone lighting and big-screens made it so theatrical, so Cirque du Soleil. plus, your live singing voice was mneh and all that interpretive dance was tiresome.

but hey, i still love you. you’re Madonna and you’ve earned the right to do whatever the fuck you want without having ungrateful little shits like me judge you. you and that midas touch of yours will always stay on my radar. your impact cannot be overstated or paralleled. you are still the answer to the fourth wave of feminism. and from what i could catch on that big-screen, your ass looks amazing.

still forever your fan.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Thirty Chronicles: The Panic

it could be worse. i could be turning sixty, i suppose. thirty is definitely still young, relativism aside and included. lots of energy left; i’m ambulatory and alive. health, family, friends, security and self-esteem. good stuff in there. no need for this birthday to latch onto my radar like this, but i must confess that it’s thrown me into a Huckabees-esque existential conundrum.

i thought it wouldn’t matter so much, that the turn of the decade would pass through me seamlessly. but i find myself in funkytown lately, unhappy with father time. i hear people around me saying “embrace it” and “be thankful your twenties are over” and “better stuff lies ahead.” and i believe all of that. yet still. still.

thirty’s a bit heavy. i’m taking inventory and coming up short. i’m realizing that i’m still far from the person i’d like to be. i find myself drifting into the fantasyland of where i thought i’d be by now, but am not. and i can’t seem to reconcile the discrepancy. my father always tells me, “it takes a lot to make you happy.” perhaps he’s right.

i know that two years from now, turning thirty will seem as insignificant as turning 28 did two years ago. i know that the grand scheme of life will forget this thirtieth birthday and scoff at the anxiety it’s caused. it’s only as big a deal as i make it. the problem is my attitude, not my age.

the problem is that my crappy genetics had me sprouting gray hair at 19, meaning that i have to color my hair every 6 weeks, otherwise it would look all salt and pepper. the problem is that when i told a coworker about my upcoming birthday (this June 26), she guessed that i would be turning 33, meaning i probably look much older and she tried to underestimate my age to be kind. the problem is that i can no longer fall into the “cute” category anymore, given my gray hair, laugh lines and crows feet.

it sucks that in the twenties, one is “maturing” and “growing,” though once thirty comes, it’s only downhill “aging.” it sucks that my body is already beginning its decay, given my cervical cancer scare last summer, to which my older girlfriend Dee remarked, “welcome to your thirties.” and – i gotta say it -- it sucks that it’s different for men and women.

could i possibly complain anymore? yep, i can and will. this is the first post in a multipart series chronicling my thirtieth birthday.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Sun Is Shining

so much so that i got quite the sunburn during my yard sale last weekend. why didn't i use sunscreen? because i don't own any. that's a mystery to even me. it's not like it's hard to find and purchase. but it never entered my radar to get a bottle, even though i had been planning this yard sale for weeks and even checked the weather to ensure it would be a clear day on saturday.

keep in mind that i'm a russian jew, meaning i only come in one shade: pale. so a little sun on my siberian skin turns me into toast pretty fast. for comfort, i've been buttering my crispy self with raw aloe cut from the plant just outside my door. that soothes so nice, but stinks like shit. was it worth it? hells no! i made a paltry 27 bucks at the yard sale and no one even bought the most expensive items that were on display -- the old bookshelves i had in my room. at day's end, they were donated right back to the same thrift store i bought them from two years ago.

another bummer is that my dry cleaners burned down. they had a great two-for-one special and could turn around your order in a day. how sad it was to pull up to the storefront and find a cardboard sign that read "Closed do to fire" in the window. after wincing at the spelling error, i peeked in and saw the charred floor and machinery. i couldn't believe it. how does a dry-cleaners burn down when it's situated two blocks from the west hollywood fire station and in the same strip mall as the always open and popular 7/11 on santa monica boulevard?

seemed fishy to me. this is the part where i should report that my journalistic instincts kicked in, causing me to embark on a watergate-esque investigation into how my favorite cleaners caught fire given its seemingly fireproof location. naturally, i would have concluded that the owners were arsonists who did it for the insurance money because they are russian and them russians are a corrupt bunch. phew, glad i didn't have to bother with a thorough journalistic investigation to get to my sound conclusion. it's nice to always have the answers to everything ahead of time.

at least that's what i thought as i drove away. then a few troubling realities started entering the picture: the flammability of cleaning supplies, the fact that i was russian and not a corrupt arsonist. i slapped my own hand in self-disgust, then surveyed the area for another cleaners.

i love proving myself wrong. it's almost as good as having other people do it for me, though it's way better because it really helps me trust myself to always make the right decision.

the good news is that i got another clear pap, which makes two in a row since my little cervical cancer scare late last summer. my crappy little car also passed its smog test, which means registration for yet another year. and i'm freelancing up a storm, which means more money to waste and less time for getting into trouble. and the shining sun is doing wonders for the bougainvillea all around los angeles.

otherwise, i could use more sleep and less responsibility, and more aloe for my burn.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Notes to Self

• finish getting your bedroom in order. it's starting to look nice now, with a new bed and new bookcases, a fresh splash of paint on the walls. all that's missing are the new dresser and nightstand. don't lose motivation and settle for that crap dresser you've had since college. keep hunting and the right items will pop up like they always do.

• pay more attention during meetings at work, even though you'd rather be anywhere else. stay focused and engaged in your work. that way, when people ask you a direct question in a meeting, you'll have heard what was said and won't look like an idiot when you ask them to repeat it.

• get that FICO kit you've been meaning to get since the start of the year. how much longer are you gonna sit on it? it's so simple to order.

• argue less with Mo. it's been too much petty bickering lately, and you know it's not all his fault. stay calm and genuine when you argue. make your point, apologize when appropriate and keep your pride and defensiveness out of it.

• get your ass to the gym more. you were doing so well before and now you're starting to again indulge in the sweet treats left all around the office. fear the office ass. you don't want to look like that super fat chick in Meeting Planning.

• throw out that pack of cigarettes you recently bought. don't start smoking again like before, and don't fool yourself into thinking social smoking doesn't make you a real smoker. how many times have we been over this before?

• try to be more upbeat. you're truly a lucky duckie with much to be thankful for. never lose sight of this and pour it into being more positive, because your pessimism is unattractive and people don't enjoy your negative remarks. it's not cute. it's sad.

• return the DVDs you rent to the store on time, so you won't have to pay late fees each week. or look into getting a Netflix subscription, loser.
(and there you go being negative with the "loser" thing. why can't you do anything right? i just said to quit being negative and you default to it right away. sheesh, when will you learn? no, no, you are a winner who's lost her way. you'll get back on the right path soon enough. slow down to rein yourself in. you're ok. you're ok.)

• set aside time each week to write the thing you want to write. you know, that thing you think will legitimize you as a writer, since being a legitimate writer is your life's dream.

• don't worry so much about money. remember that it's not the key to happiness and that saving takes time -- you won't have your dream house overnight. you're not destitute nor homeless, and the things you're eyeballing you merely want, not need.

• quit wasting time making elaborate to do lists and start doing some of the shit on them.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Grass Is Greener

lots of rain will do that to a lawn. los angeles has endured a steady stream of mother nature's piss this past month, with the grass seed and compost in my backyard sucking up the rain, the runoff and then some to become an overgrown mess -- a veritable green afro of grass.

i don't mind because i love love love the rain. it gives the semblance of a season in this too temperate town known for perfect sunshine and year-round tans. it cleans the smoggy air and washes my car. and it provides the perfect backdrop for an evening of warm socks, a hot cup of mint tea and a rented DVD that i watch while juice sleeps beside me, her snoring head burrowed in my lap.

unfortunately, that scene has been difficult to reproduce since daytimes find me sitting in the titanium tower downtown while gazing out the window and wishing i were at home. then comes the evening commute, slippery and slow when wet. at least the view the next day is breathtaking.

april came out of nowhere, didn't it? this year seems to be zooming by, and i'm reluctant to catch up to it. what a cognitive leap to accept that the year is almost half over and i haven't done shit. again, i'm not sure what i expected to have done by now, but i'm sure i haven't done it. blame the rain.

my betta fish died and that saddened me. i never thought i gave a shit about that fucker until he went belly up (har har). but every morning, i would sleepwalk into my kitchen and sprinkle a few flakes into his bowl, tapping on the glass to beckon him to breakfast. "what are you going to do today, Fifi?" i would mock while preparing my coffee. "let me guess -- nothing!" i would cackle when he didn't answer me. he'd just swim away in silence and poop in his bowl.

my mom gave me Fifi two years ago and i almost flushed him down the toilet then, convinced as i was that fish weren't real pets. they were more like dinner -- salmon and halibut and orange roughy. juice was all the pet i really needed. then he died (of natural causes) and i realized how much i missed abusing him. it had become part of my morning ritual. so off to Petco i went and got myself a new betta for $3.95. in keeping with the west hollywood fetish theme, i named this one Butch. he's fiery red with blue speckles on his tail.

i also got a new bed. a queen on a queen finally! having slept on it for over two weeks already, i cannot believe i ever slept on that crappy full mattress i had before. flipside is that it's making getting out of bed each morning even more difficult. blame the rain. so that's a new and bigger bed and mattress -- and new pillows and sheets and comforter and duvet cover. i'm broke but sleeping like a rockefeller. a fresh coat of paint on the bedroom walls will soon follow, as will a new dresser and bookcase.

i can't believe how bourgie i've gotten. i went from being a goth in high school, when i wore doc martins and crushed velvet clothing to Cure concerts; then came college with its hippie-esque foray into corduroy and hallucinogenics; post-college style found me rummaging through san francisco's myriad thrift stores; and the move back to LA had me decked out in Hollywood hipster gear.

i'm quite concerned about the fashion sense i'll exhibit during my thirties. i find myself gravitating toward collared blouses and pants with pleats. i don't think i own a single concert T-shirt anymore. i also don't recall ever using the word "blouse" before starting my corporate job -- it had always been just a "shirt."

my new evening look has become "the sexy executive" where i throw one of my business jackets over a slutty top. but perhaps i should lay off the slutty tops? i don't want to be the past-her-prime girl out at the clubs looking ridiculous while trying to seem young. i'm thinking a more sophisticated look is in order. something more fitting with my new demographic. i suppose i should embrace it and become the bourgeois princess i likely have always been. but if i move to the suburbs or begin voting republican, please shoot me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Honk! In the Name of Love

i know that if i saw this shit online somewhere, i would roll my eyes and do that finger-in-throat vomit gesture, but on my blog it’s kinda sweet.

love, in fact, is very sweet, in case you don’t already know. it’s what the world needs now. love, sweet love. it’s the only thing that there’s too little of. that shit that lights you up from the inside. that special person who wants to do you despite your gangly tooth and bunions. the giddiness of approaching a closed door that holds your boo on the other side. it’s so singular, and worth the messy breakups and tear-stained pillows that accompany it.

i’d like to say that i never knew love before now, but that’s unfair and inaccurate. truth is that i’ve had lengthy, healthy relationships with wonderful men who’ve made me a better girlfriend. through them, i learned the delicate art of compromise and communication and how to be more giving and less prideful. tough stuff for a chick like me.

and Mo’s also had some luck in that arena, particularly with the ultra-feminist ex-girlfriend who made him spend six months reading only books written by women. that did much to advance his knowledge of the female psyche, making him more attuned and understanding, a sensitive – but not pansy – man capable of embracing emotion. i’d like to send her a thank-you card.

exes always make us better for our next relationship. they teach us about ourselves and help us grow into our skin, providing a backdrop for behavioral trial and error, where we can work out our unconscious intimacy issues. those childhood slights that set us up for a lifetime of love drama. (as self-indulgent as psychoanalysis is, freud knew some stuff.)

i cringe when i think back to my first love and how clingy and unreasonable i was with him. but at that time, it seemed like the most natural way to be. just as it was most natural for him to be noncommittal at such a young age. and today, that amounts to nothing more than an anecdote highlighting youthful inexperience. first loves are overrated that way. they are quaint, but trivial – kind of like losing your virginity.

failure is meaningful. disappointment raises consciousness. and as much as i couldn’t see its value at the time, retrospect allows me to throw some gratitude toward it. what a joke love at 20 was. what a joke love at 30 will be when i reflect upon it at 40.

i probably don’t know as much about love as i think i do, but in my nearly 15 years of serial monogamy and occasional sluttiness, i have settled on a few maxims. (feel free to add your own in the comments.)

timing really is everything: perhaps more apt: maturity is everything, though that’s a package deal with time. and failure. and disappointment. and eventual recovery.
don’t push it: relationships take time to flower and their evolution should be organic. don’t badger anyone into marriage or force an emotion. rely on nature instead.
every girl has daddy issues: mine aren’t too bad since my daddy hasn’t failed me much, but it’s no strange coincidence that i gravitate toward tall, commanding, dark-haired, handsome men with facial hair, when my pops is just that.
never go for the cock block: a little jealousy is healthy, to be sure, but if someone wants to cheat, they will cheat and it’s better to just let them cheat and get that shit over with and exposed so you can move on from it.
you know it when you see it: love doesn’t need to be ambiguous or complicated. it pretty much is or isn’t there, and you either feel it or you don’t. instincts help with this one.
men are literal: unlike women, there is no need to read between the lines and no reason not to be direct. taking that a step further is my mama, who once told me: Men are simple creatures with a few basic drives – if he’s not horny, give him a sandwich.
the self-evident: in a healthy relationship, it’s important to have trust, respect, integrity, honesty, open communication, a solid friendship, common interests, shared values, etc, etc. the shit you’ve heard elsewhere.
touch each other: affection and good sex enable intimacy, and both should be kept in great supply. orgasms induce happiness and make people much more agreeable in love and in life. after all, the physical is what distinguishes a romantic relationship from a friendship. my happily married parents still greet each other with a kiss and hold hands in public. that affection kept them glued to one another for over 35 years, both literally and figuratively.
throw out the moldy bread: i know i’ve been guilty of hanging onto a relationship far past its expiration date, mostly out of fear that nothing better will come along, despite all the viable men walking the earth beside me.
do the work: once you’ve settled on a piece of bread, don’t allow it to get moldy. butter it, toast it, smear honey on it – do whatever it takes to keep it nourishing.

lately for me, love has been a paradise. and my boyfriend Mo has been my favorite person. he seems to have procured a rare copy of “my manual” with its “special handling instructions” that call for the perfect mix of intimacy and independence. he’s an impressive, commanding character, and i am thoroughly enchanted. it’s the love notes and beyond. he lights me up from the inside.

and i am so thankful for the past, with all its bad and good lessons learned, for giving me the tools and know-how for dealing with my terrific now.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nickels & Dimes

if i had a nickel for every time someone told me to exercise caution in what i post here because it might catch up with me at my day job, i could cobble together about thirty cents. yeah, i think i’ve heard that advice about six times. i refuse to heed it and heel to it, however, cus i’m a wild and crazy nonconformist. with a day job. working in finance. corporate as it comes.

i know some work peeps have found this thing and commented to me about it. for all i know, more could be reading -- perhaps during work hours! -- and i could not care less. this is the internet. it’s the most public of spheres, and i’m well aware that anyone can see this. so don’t go telling me to be careful about sharing racy details about my life when i’ve never once mentioned the name of the company i work for nor have i discussed work matters here. keeping this thing going for three years has already required plenty of self-censorship and has turned me into a person with very little shame. and who the hell wants to read a sanitized version of history, with all its wars and famines and struggles omitted? yeah, yeah. i’m all about keeping it real. word to your mother.

march 14 makes one year that i’ve been with my current job and to commemorate the occasion, my boss kindly sat me down and gave me my annual review. seems just like yesterday i was asking the world to congratulate me on my hiring. i definitely made the right choice by taking this job. it’s done much in this past year to get me situated and stable. and, more importantly, it’s allowed me to splurge on new couches, cookware, an iBook, lots of clothes and other assorted goodies.

i love the expression, “work like you don’t need the money.” what bullshit! because if i didn’t need the money, i might stroll in at noon and put my feet up while i used my office line to make long distance phone calls. that’s “working” like you don’t need the money. i work like i need to pay my rent. i work because i prefer lobster to canned tuna. a girl’s gotta eat, and when she’s a single mother of a dog with bad hips, she works because she has to, not because she wants to. with that in mind, i don’t LOVE my job, but i do LIKE it, and that’s enough to keep me there indefinitely.

but back to the review... i was expecting the worst because i’ve spent years conditioning myself to be fatalistic. i walked in a bit nervous and jittery, eager to get to the “merit increase” portion of the program. my boss started by thanking me for the great contribution i’ve made to the company in the past year. i perked up and smiled. he then went on with more thanks and gratitude, talking about my great reputation as someone people like working with because i’m reliable and organized (what? me, organized?!), and that i’ve proved myself to be a quick learner and general badass adored by fans worldwide. then the lights dimmed and he broke into an oddly groovy rendition of m.c. hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” while i bopped my head approvingly to the beat. even his corporate slacks expanded into parachute pants for the moment.

ok, i’m embellishing that last part, but it had that same feel-good vibe going on. and the feeling good didn’t stop as he told me lots of nice things other people said about me before he announced the smile-inducing percentage that described my merit increase, which is reflected in my next paycheck. the only disappointing part in the litany of lovely adjectives he used to describe me as an employee -- dedicated, hard-working, dependable, diplomatic, good listener -- is that neither he nor anyone else thought i was “funny” or had a “great sense of humor.” i mean, what the fuck?

then we get to the tricky “areas for improvement” portion of the program and i thought to myself, “here it comes.” but that still turned out well, with general suggestions for learning the industry better and becoming a resource to others. and here i was expecting the “we’ve noticed that you don’t ask others about how their weekends went” and “you seem to arrive 10 minutes late every day but still leave at five on the dot.” but nope, only the good stuff.

by the end of it, i’m sure a blush had crossed my face. compliments embarrass me, despite how badly i want to hear them. he ended it by saying, “you fit in so well here. you’re really one of us.” come again? have i joined a corporate circus? how can i be one of them when i’m supposed to be a racy nonconformist? i have my nose pierced, for god’s sake. i was taken aback, but still managed to utter “thank you” through a gritted smile as i left his office.

then it hit me: i’ve morphed into a good employee, the corporate schlub i feared turning into. one step closer to becoming my parents. i have a retirement account with my name on it. i have weekly work meetings i must attend and “action items” i must complete. sometimes the monotony of my days underwhelms me to the point where i feel like stowing myself in the stern of a ship and sailing into a new existence. other times the predictability pleases me immensely.

i don’t mind the real world so much, but the responsibilities of adulthood can be suffocating. turning 30 in june only compounds the matter. oy, these growing pains. a vestige of my once carefree youth would be welcome right about now. on second thought, i think i’d rather have a new car.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

To Dust You Shall Return

so it's practically march and i'm wondering where the hell my 2006 has gone and is going. i've made good on a few of my resolutions to travel more, as evidenced by the SF getaway, but this year has been largely lackluster. i don't know what i expected, but it's been disappointing. March is basically a bullshit month where nothing significant happens (at least for me). all it's good for is housing the "first day of spring" on march 20, but spring weather doesn't really surface until mid-april. i do have my first annual review at work, however, in a few weeks so that could be interesting. "beware the ides of march," i think to myself. perhaps that's a popular time for assasinations.

i was thinking that the best way to dull march down even more for me was to go at completely sober. it might be time for a little cleanse to coincide with Lent. i must confess that i feel a bit guilty for not fasting on yom kippur with my jewish brethren for the past few years, so i figure the best way to atone for my religious missteps is to give up alcohol during the 40 loooong days of Lent.

after all, judaism and catholicism are practically the same religion if you take all the messiah stuff out of the equation. we both know guilt and guilt trips, courtesy of our overbearing mothers. there's also the boisterous family gatherings where food is often the focal point. plus, we both know what it's like to be persecuted by christians.

my catholic girlfriends are giving up meat for Lent, so i -- never one to be outdone -- will give up alcohol and all other consciousness-altering substances (except for coffee). i mean, why the hell not? life is good lately, so i have no reason to drink, except that i'm bored, which might mean more reason to drink.

but really, it might be nice to teetotal for a bit. after several years of indulgence, extended sobriety will feel like a brand new drug. it's only 40 days. and if i hate it, i can slip in a shot of vodka on st. patrick's day. and if i love the masochism, i can try fasting on yom kippur this year -- or at least not smoking crack on that day.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

SF Getaway

i spent a delightful presidents' day weekend with some good friends in my favorite city by the bay. in short, it was pretty rad and the post-vacay euphoria still hasn't evaporated entirely. i hope to hang onto it until my next trip up there, tentatively scheduled for june. here are some visual souvenirs of my journey -- with some photos being from my last last SF trip, which i took in october 2005 (don't know why i never posted those shots before), so it's a mix of people and events, but it's all san francisco splendor to me.

share-bear: Sharon and I disliked each other the first time we met (about 8 years ago) when we worked together in college. thankfully, we got over ourselves rather quickly and allowed the true love discovery to take place. we've been ridiculously close ever since, separated only by the 400 miles between SF and LA. i'm hoping she'll move back down to LA eventually (or do a better job of convincing me to move up).

i hagged the guy on the left: (from my october trip) Greg, left, pictured with his boyfriend Glen and me. in my fag-hagging heyday, Greg was my gay boyfriend. not to be confused with my actual boyfriend at that time, who was also gay. but that's a story for another time. Greg and Glen kindly met me for brunch one morning.

we ate here: the wonderful Chloe's Cafe in Noe Valley.

more food: for me, one of the most exciting things about visiting SF is the overeating. i generally try a new place or two when dining with my local peeps, but also make it a point to visit some of my old eats as well. Sanraku in downtown SF pretty much has the best sushi on Earth.

gay bay: i'm not so much a fag hag anymore -- i retired several years ago when i realized that straight people are cool, too -- but i still love my homos and any display of homo solidarity, of which SF has much.

divination: the Celtic Cross tarot spread i made for Beanie. luckily for her, the future was bright and the time was right. and yes, i would tell her if it had been bad news.

siamese triplets: this journey saw me traveling with my main bitches Raidis and Ann, whom i've known since junior high school. these are the ladies i have my weekly 'sex and the city' dinners with, where nothing between us goes undiscussed. so beware, if you are/have been/or will be one of our men.

tat for tat: part of this most recent pilgrimage involved getting the ladies their long-desired tattoos. Raidis got a cherub on her ankle and Ann got a flower near her tailbone at the world famous Sacred Rose Tattoo Parlor. i got... nothing. maybe one day, but for now the only ink i can commit to is in my pen.

House of Nanking: where we ate chinese food.

cool storefront: with the city reflected in the background.

note the red eyes: this was from my october trip, which occurred dangerously close to Halloween -- hence, the red eyes on Dan, who dressed up as a devilish priest for a costume party i met him at. Dan was my roommate the last six months i lived in SF. not only was he fairly clean to live with and always interesting to talk to, he was a fantastic chef who brought home leftovers from his restaurant. i must have been the only poor kid on my block eating duck for dinner (or breakfast, as the case often was).

mispucha: that's the hebrew word for “family.”

speaking of family: i need to shout out to my homeboy NegEx whose wife just gave birth to their first child, a healthy baby boy named Judah. Neggy (aka Jeremy) is a great writer, a longtime SF resident, and he gave me my first job out of college. and i'm sure he'll now be an awesome dad. congratos, germ! don't fuck this up.