Thursday, December 30, 2010

One-Hit Wonders: December 2010

... search terms inexplicably pulling up this blog ...
  • famous person,place or thing in the pacific northwest
  • lesbian 1 hit wonders
  • jdate cheeky soandso
  • cook in the kitchen
  • i know i can fly landmark forum songs
  • skunk smell face
  • milla time gangsta
  • why can't i party like i used to
  • when i was on vacation and my dog was submitted to family at our rv, he nipped my sister and that is something he has never done, what could have caused it
  • mary milla on young adults not being prepared for job interviews

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


as the saying goes, another day, another dollar, and another year, another broken resolution. still, i keep making them, hoping against hope that i can rid myself of a few pesky bad habits that cling to me like leeches. hopefully i will score points just for trying. as they also say: it’s the thought that counts.

though when i consider last year’s list of resolutions, my track record doesn’t seem that bad. out of the four things i promised to do, i actually did 1) take better care of my health in the form of a meatless month, a semi-regular exercise regiment and the undergoing of many stress-relieving and, of course, medically necessary massages; i also did 2) work as much as possible, and oftentimes too much, which i fear has turned me into a bit of a workaholic.

sadly, i did not 3) spend less time in front of my computer or 4) become a prolific writer. in fact, i became a lazier one, no doubt because of all the time i wasted in front of my computer not writing.

thankfully, i have another year to make things right, to get closer to the person i want to be, as another saying goes. and though that person is much younger, thinner and smarter than i’ll ever be, she’s also someone who keeps her new year’s resolutions. as yet another saying goes (last one, promise): if not now, when? finally, i have an answer — january 1, which is when the following list of healthy new habits will take effect and transform my life into something AMAZING:
  • fix the damn house: lots to do on this front. short list includes replacing a few windows, finally adding closet doors to the bedrooms, converting the garage into a rental and a completely remodeling the exterior. as i intend to continue working as much as possible, i hope i can afford to make some of these happen.
  • be a better friend: i don’t think i’ve been horrible in this department, but i have been incredibly self-involved all year — even more so than usual. obviously, part of it was me taking time to deal with what i needed to deal with, but i fear that all that time alone has made me terribly insular so much so that i’ve been unavailable to the people i care about. well, no more, cherished friends! next year, i will totally come to your party and reply to your emails and even help you move. (well, some of you.)
  • take writing holidays: in my neverending quest to become prolific, or at least semi-regular with my writing, i vow to take a few out-of-town trips that will be solely devoted to writing — not just this blog but something substantial, something book-like. to this end, i shall make sure whatever hotel i stay in does not have internet access to distract me with things like Facebook, which means i’ll end up writing in a Travelodge in Oxnard. but at least i’ll be writing. in an alternate universe, i would be able to write at home, but the dogs, the dishes, the friends, the laundry — i always find a reason not to.
  • meditate and shit: i’m nowhere near regular with this either, and i need to get regular. it’s sort of like the gym, where i hate going in, but am so happy i did when i come out. (not that i ever go to the gym, but you know what i mean.) thankfully, i have a meditation center very close to my house to help me with this one. i intend to become a regular there. it will be my gym.
  • the usual suspects: as with past years, i will continue to take better care of my health, to work more, to pay down debt and hit my savings goals, to be a good dog mom and a good daughter (in addition to being a better friend), to keep evolving and growing, living and learning, laughing and loving, screaming and shouting, rocking and rolling.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Vacation 2010: Newport, Rhode Island


the life: Newport had never been on my list of cities i really wanted to see and i admit that my first impression of it wasn’t exactly positive. i’m not sure if it was the lack of diversity or the abundance of adirondack chairs, but i felt as though i had entered a country club where everyone but me owned a yacht. it was big pimpin, whereas i was only pimpling, and the first day i spent in town filled me with feelings of inadequacy.


good friends to the rescue! John, Karen and i go way back. eleven years, to be precise, when all of us lived in san francisco during our collective salad years of job jumping, paradigm shifting and partying like rock stars. i know i’ve said it before but i’ll say it again: thank god this blog did not exist back then!


the legendary John John: we were virtually inseparable during those early SF days and at one point even worked for the same company. ours was not a romantic partnership, but we still acted like an old married couple who bickered, explored, whined, dined and watched movies together. Karen entered the picture during my last year in SF to become John John’s proper other half. years later they were married and living in Newport, not far from where Karen grew up.


fast forward to my visit: and we’re all getting hammered together, just like we did in SF as if no time had passed. this time, however, we didn’t need to ditch the bill when the waiter wasn’t looking because we were too broke to pay. we are all growed up now!


the foods: when we weren’t drinking, we were doing a whole lot of eating — with drinks nearby. meals were decadent affairs, usually set in fancy restaurants, where we sampled fine seafood and premium steaks like yuppie assholes. it was awesome.


speaking of shameless: this yacht is named Cocktails and likely belongs to some liquor scion who summers in Newport. did i mention i paid for this trip with my credit card?


trivia: Newport is mighty historical given that Rhode Island — the biggest little state in the union! — was one of the original 13 colonies. signs detailing a building’s history are ubiquitous here, appearing on nearly every block.



more history: Newport is also home to the nation’s first synagogue, Touro Synagogue, founded in 1658. rosh hashanah celebrations coincided with the day of my visit and i tried to take my jewish ass inside to photograph the interior but was shooed away at the door for wearing jeans and a sleeveless shirt. i argued with the doorman, swore to him that i was part of the tribe and even showed him my hamsa but he had none of it. damn nazi.


i want to live here: after the synagogue debacle, i walked around town alone, camera in hand, taking shots of cute colonial buildings until my camera battery died. this is when i really began to understand the charm of Newport — the cuteness, the quaintness, and the familiar and relaxed nature that seems to characterize everything in this sleepy seaside town. life in Newport is good because the people who live here seem to really love it, my friends included. and after spending three days in town, i began to love it, too.




what should i name my yacht? i’m thinking Big Pimpling.


anchors away: it’s no exaggeration to say that my trip to Newport was one of my most favorite vacations EVER, largely in part to my two fantastic hosts, who share my sadistic sense of humor, which meant we spent three days laughing nonstop by one-upping each other with offensive jokes. but alas, i had friends awaiting my arrival in Maine, New Jersey and New York, so i jumped on the Amtrak, gathered my anchor and set sail.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One-Hit Wonders: November 2010

... search terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • why is my head a scrambled mess?
  • 100grams vodka
  • gay nipple blogspot
  • nick rhodes hair thinning
  • dogs hives from crayon
  • a bit of moitfull catering
  • superstitions itchy boobs what does it mean
  • landmark forum told me to get a divorce
  • o'bryn sinn fein
  • unknown smell in house like burnt rubber

Monday, November 22, 2010


this thanksgiving, i am all gratitude and no attitude. in fact, i am erupting with love like a geyser — love for my friends and family, my health and house, my dogs and job, and every other person, place and thing that has caused a smile to cross my face. i don’t take any of it for granted, not even for one second. i count my blessings every day and recognize that i’m one lucky bitch. i know how corny all of this sounds, but it’s the stone cold truth.

clearly, this has not been my favorite year, and i’ll be most thankful when the clock strikes midnight on new year’s eve and ushers in not only a new year but a new decade to wipe my slate and reset my record. only six more weeks to go. i hope to be out of town on that night, among good friends, adequately buzzed and near someone cute to kiss.

on thanksgiving, i hope to be in the same predicament, though i’ll likely be in town, alone and with no one to kiss. the buzzed part i can probably pull off, however. i am orphaned this year, just like i was last year, as my folks are out of town and my sister is with her in-laws. my family got together already last weekend to stuff our faces, drink away our worries and share a few full belly laughs.

it was a nice evening, in the same way that all evenings with my family usually are. for that, i am endlessly thankful. i had a few close friends lose their parents this year, which made me cling a little tighter to my own when i hugged them goodbye after dinner, whispering “i love you” in their ears and planting kisses on their faces. they are my rocks.

thanksgiving also means getting together with old friends, some of whom i already have plans to see on the friday after thanksgiving. i know i’ve said it before, but my friends are my life support system. this year especially, they have provided the oxygen, the nutrients and the therapy i needed to get through some of my darker moments, showering me with far more kindness than i deserve. for this, i am also endlessly thankful, moreso than usual. they are my world.

add to this the furries, the shelter, the regular paychecks and the beauty all around me that floods my senses with fine music, books, food and art and you have my list of things i’m thankful for this thanksgiving. it’s a good list, one i remind myself of whenever i feel a pity party starting to form in my head, one that makes every day a day worth living.

thank you also, dear reader, wherever and whoever you are. i know posting has been light as i’m taking a little winter hiatus to eat, drink and be merry, but i appreciate your eyes, ears and occasional gifts and emails that let me know you’re tuned in and awaiting the next chapter. i’m right there alongside you, also wondering what will happen next, and thankful that you’re accompanying me on this journey.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One-Hit Wonders: October 2010 terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • gay nipple tug of war
  • counter strike millatime
  • letting go of obsessive thoughts chakra
  • i can't shuffle dance like i used to
  • "satan's fridge"
  • superstition itchy nipples
  • tube galore taco
  • "landmark forum" "glass of wine"
  • how to clear base chakras massage
  • our dog raped my wife stories
  • videos of russians throwing vodka glass containers on the wall

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stuff and Things

i don’t know why the passage of time still manages to surprise me with the way it just marches ahead and disregards everything else around it. but here i am again, bemoaning the changing of the seasons, lamenting over the lost summer and marveling at the fact that november is around the corner, dragging a gaggle of holidays behind it.

and then comes the new year, which will certainly pass in a flash, leaving me all agog again at how fleeting its appearance was. it’s become a ritual at this time of year when i look around and take inventory and feel largely displeased. without fail, i’m always disappointed in myself that i haven’t done MORE — what MORE means i’m never really sure. maybe i could have done more “to get ahead,” even though i don’t really know what getting ahead means either.

i certainly know i could have updated this blog more, especially in october, which was a whirlwind of activity for me. both september and october, in fact, were a little nutty with their boundless productivity, freelance work, travel and socializing. i guess they make up for my lackluster summer, which never really seemed to get off the ground.

it was unseasonably cold all summer, so cold that i never once fired up the grill, and instead spent my time ambling through the mundane in solitary confinement. i saw little incentive in breaking out of that routine, where life was calm and predictable. there were storms, yes, but they raged only inside. it was not the summer i expected when i sashayed through my birthday party in a red dress, but i see it now as the summer i needed to ground and center me.

these past two months changed all that by turning life into an endless stream of comings and goings. beyond the east coast train trip in september (which i intend to finish chronicling), i made a trip to the pacific northwest in october, first flying into Portland to visit with family and then driving up to Seattle with friends to witness the nuptials of one of my favorite couples, Nick + Zee.

it was a lovely long weekend, a four-day vacation spent socializing, eating and laughing. i played with my cousin’s kids, squeezed in afternoon bubble bath and enjoyed an incredible dinner at one of Portland’s swankiest restaurants, where i sampled bison tartar. then came one raucous night in Seattle, which started with the wedding and ended in a downtown pub crawl and search for an elusive after-party that was never found, so a hot dog cart had to make due. there i learned a very important lesson: hot dogs with cream cheese and sauteed onions are delicious.

the most amazing thing about the weekend? not a drop of rain fell on the usually rainy pacific northwest during my visit. the day i returned to LA, however, a week-long rain storm kicked into gear on my drive home from the burbank airport. a week later, i would have strep throat and have to go on a 10-day cycle of antibiotics, which i’m still finishing up.

no complaints, though. i had an awesome time, a time i am trying to remind myself of as i sit and stare into the eyes of november with thoughts about how i haven’t done enough this year “to get ahead.” truth is i have done plenty this year — from Landmark to leaving a relationship that was no longer working for me to writing articles for publication to reawakening my spiritual self with the help of chakra clearings and meditation to visiting old friends on the east coast and in the northwest to getting a roommate and making new friends to landing new freelance clients.

a lot has happened, some of it bad but most of it very good. it should be enough to make me feel like i’m “getting ahead”; it should be enough to quell the restlessness that has plagued me my entire life.

but it never is.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Vacation 2010: The Newseum in Washington, D.C.

The Capitol

the daytrippers: when we weren’t eating, drinking and laughing with my family in Baltimore, my parents and i managed to squeeze in a daytrip to Washington, D.C., which is roughly a 90-minute car ride away. we split up when we got there, with my folks heading to the Smithsonian Museum to drool over the Hope Diamond and me heading to The Newseum to drool over the museum for journalism.

Congress Shall Make No Law...

congress shall make no law: i cannot recommend this place enough. as someone with a degree in journalism, visiting a place that celebrates the news so enthusiastically was thrilling. here, i was the proverbial kid in the candy store, ambling excitedly through the exhibitions and turning occasionally to strangers to exclaim, “isn’t this awesome?”

Headlines Gone Wrong

among the awesomeness: the restrooms in the Newseum were tiled with headlines gone wrong that were hilarious enough to make me consider sneaking into the men’s bathroom to read more doozies.

Three Kinds of People

equally awesome: the walls of the place were peppered with quotes about journalism that made me smile wide with dumb pride. another one i particularly liked: “If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.” — Justice Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Supreme Court

Berlin Wall Sections

the exhibitions: none of them were the least bit partisan beyond advocating for complete freedom of the press. most of the major exhibitions centered on the biggest news events of our time, such as the fall of communism and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. sections of the wall were on display as was the pen Mikhail Gorbachev used to sign a treatise that effectively ended the Soviet era.

9/11 Front Pages

another headliner: given that my visit occurred in early september, about a week before the ninth anniversary of 9/11, seeing this collection of front pages from 9/12 made it feel as though it just happened. the exhibition also featured a mangled piece of metal from one of the collapsed Twin Towers.

9/11 Exhibition

Katrina Relics

another disaster: Katrina was the subject of another exhibition and featured several relics, many of which were visibly water damaged. a wall of front pages after the disaster was also included.

X Marks Your House

Elvis Stands Guard at Newseum

all shook up: i didn’t really understand why Elvis Presley had his own exhibition here (and why it was so heavily trafficked). i get that he was a newsmaker, but doesn’t he have his own museum already — a place called Graceland? take note, Newseum curators. let’s keep out the fluff, ‘k?

Newsboy Caps

speaking of fluff: the gift store at the Newseum was full of awesome, featuring famous framed front pages (“Dewey Beats Truman”) and newsy knickknacks, such as a mug that read, “Not tonight, dear. I’m on deadline.” i thought the newsboy caps were a particularly brilliant addition.


Dope Floors at Katrina Exhibition

also brilliant: the design of the building, WOW. it was stunning from every angle, inside and out. the Newseum is on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the Capitol and directly across the street from the National Gallery of Art. its seven floors appear to be constructed mainly of titanium and glass and are designed to mimic portions of a newspaper. the place is also huge. i spent four hours there and probably saw only 70% of the collection.

The Food Section

Ethics Game

reporter’s notebook: in addition to several screening rooms and computer kiosks where visitors can leave comments, the Newseum is full of interactive exhibitions, including this game where two teams can play against each other to build a newspaper by answering ethics questions. i played handicap with the girls in the photo, me against the three of them, because i knew i could take these bitches.

Ethics Game

pwned! i won the game, building my newspaper in what i’m sure was a record time — all thanks to Bryce Nelson, the awesome ethics professor whose class i took when i was getting my masters. naturally, the girls were impressed with my genius and asked how i became so knowledgeable about journalistic ethics. high off my victory, i blurted out, “because i’m a journalist!” which was received with the requisite chorus of oooohs and ahhhs. then one of the bitches had to ruin it by asking me where i worked, to which i stammered, “oh, you know, the internet mostly. i write a blog, but, you know, i write for other publications, too. i’m not only a blogger. actually, it’s really hard to explain. i gotta go. bye!”

Awesome Shot

hall of fame: the Newseum has a collection of all the Pulitzer Prize-winning photos taken since 1942, when the prize was established. needless to report, i spent a lot of time here looking at the photos, all of which were remarkable. (and no, i did not tell strangers i was a photographer.)

Stepping on Lenin

Cornerstone of Democracy

i hope you can read this (click here if you can’t): thank you, Newseum, for a terrific day that reminded me of every reason i ever wanted to become a journalist. hopefully, i will be one again, one who records more than just the mundane aspects of her life on a blog. until then, i take my hat off to those who are doing the hard work, serving as the watchdogs of democracy and writing the first draft of history.

a bunch more Newseum photos are in the slideshow below — and include more prize-winning photographs, political comics, erroneous headlines, gift shop items and exhibitions i haven’t covered here — though if you’re really curious, i suggest visiting my Flickr page for this set to see bigger versions of the images. better yet, just go to D.C. to see this place for yourself.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One-Hit Wonders: September 2010 terms inexplicably pulling up this blog...
  • why did my third eye tickle
  • meditation journal worried about partner
  • somebody times somebody face
  • lactating for my dog sex
  • "i can't finish it soon"
  • landmark forum causing divorces
  • writing my new roommate an email
  • wooden canopies
  • lesbian boob touchers
  • milla thousand and one nights of love with you on the beach

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vacation 2010: Baltimore, Maryland


warning: this blog post contains photos of russian food, vodka and members of my big fat russian family. these elements were the main fixtures of the first stop of my train tour up the east coast: Baltimore, Maryland, where my father’s two siblings and their families live. my parents and i paid them a visit over the recent Labor Day holiday. hijinks and hilarity ensued. well, not really, but a lot of drinking, eating and laughing did.


la migra! i hope you know this about me already, but considering that my closest friends forget that i am foreign-born, please make a note that i was not born in the U.S. despite how americanized i seem. i immigrated (legally) from what was then the Soviet Union (now Ukraine) with my family when i was 3 years old. this was in 1979 when an exodus of jews with “political refugee” status left the former U.S.S.R. for greener pastures and greater opportunities.


my pops and his siblings: i came over with my parents and most of my mom’s side of the family, but my dad’s side stayed behind until the 1990s, when they began making their way over, landing in Baltimore. my pops, left, is the youngest of his three siblings, who are actually half siblings born of the same mother.


my baba Anna: my grandma’s first husband died in the war, leaving her with two small children whom her second husband (my pops’ dad) adopted and raised as his own. sadly, she passed a few years after immigrating to Baltimore. while we were in town, we made sure to visit her grave, leave her flowers and tell her that we miss her very much. she was a good grandma.


the food: oh, the food. russian food is really in a class of its own. given the climate, there’s not much seasonal, fresh, organic fare crowding russian menus. however, there are a lot of potatoes, beets, pickled things, salty fish, cured meats and colorful salads. the cholesterol and fat content are off the charts. admittedly, i don’t love all of it (aspic is pretty gross), but the food i do love (hello, salty fish!), i love immensely.


speaking of love: i know this is gross to most, but sardines are one of the great loves of my life. (herring, too!) i eat canned sardines weekly, usually in a homemade pate with hard-boiled eggs and mayo, and hit up a nearby armenian store to get my herring fix. i’m also in love with sprats, pictured above, which are small, sardine-like fish from the Baltics that are delicious beyond measure. so delicious i could lick my computer screen.


the family: considering the amount of food that was prepared, it made sense to invite a lot of family over to consume it. the party was at my cousin’s house, in his disco basement, which is wallpapered with faux brick.


100 grams: vodka shots for russians consist of 100 grams (“zhto grahm”) taken in one fell swoop after a toast is given. here, my pops is giving one of the first toasts of the night (many more followed). in typical jewish fashion, the toast sounded something like, “i’m happy that we’re all gathered here for a joyous occasion instead of a sad one, like a funeral.” good one, pops!

Another Toast

l’chaim! my cousin, Oleg, also gave a toast. it was decidedly less morbid and amounted to, “thanks for swinging by. drink up!”


my cute moms! she was there, too, looking beautiful as always and partying it up like it was 1981.


speaking of 1981: this is a picture of my parents taken in that year when they were fresh off the boat and partying like rock stars. (yes, i know i look just like my mom.) i have this photo framed in my house. it’s hard to tell, but my pops has a gold front tooth in the shot. he was so gangster!


back at the party: the karaoke machine, disco ball and flashing neon lights were fired up and ready to go. just add drunk people.


and here are some now: my cousin’s kid, Alisa, took her new American boyfriend, Eric, to the festivities, where he sampled the weird food, met the crazies and witnessed the chaos that is a family gathering. considering that he didn’t bolt toward the door screaming, i’d say he’s a keeper.


me and my favorite uncle: he’s a little bit famous and all kinds of awesome. a well-respected mathematician — first in Russia and now in the U.S. — my uncle is endlessly fascinating and exceptionally smart, a true russian intellectual. but throw him and my pops together with a bottle of vodka and prepare for the stories of grade school misbehavior to unfold. lets just say i learned a lot about my pops as a young man during this visit. gangster indeed.


not so hard anymore: the angioplasty he had earlier this year really did a number on his heart, making it so open that the slightest provocation of sentimentality renders him weepy and emotional. once a sergeant in the red russian army, my pops is a big ole softie now. and i am still his little girl who thinks he is the greatest man on earth.


another daddy’s girl: seeing my family interact, you’d think we were all molesting each other given the way everyone feels everyone else up at every opportunity. but the truth is that we have always been an affective bunch, even without the vodka.


now you tell me! i found a book of translated russian proverbs at my cousin’s house, many of which made no sense. i’ve been hearing proverbs like these all my life, usually from my mom, who once told me, “don’t be so dumb that you don’t notice the piece of herring on your face.” sure thing, mom!


cheers (again)! i’m sure there are a lot of great tourist things to do in Baltimore, but i did none of them. aside from a day trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the Newseum, which will be featured in the next post, i spent my three days in town shuffling between relatives’ houses — moving from one meal to the next, one toast to the other. despite how tedious that sounds, i had the time of my life and i can’t wait to go back.

more family shots in the slideshow: