31 December 2005

Mr. Postman, Look and See....

Yesterday, I got a Christmas card from my Gram. The Boise postmark was December 5. Underneath it was an "official" red ink stamped date that said "Santa Ana, CA" around the outside edges, "December 29, 2005" in the middle, and next to it the text read "FOUND IN SUPPOSEDLY EMPTY EQUIPMENT". So obviously this happens often enough for them to go to The Rubber Stamp Store and order a specific stamp that points out the nature of their mail loss error.

It got me to thinking about what else is in the collection of rubber stamps next to the mail sorter's cup of coffee.


And, maybe the stamps aren't just to explain what the error was, but actually let us know they're thinking of us and don't have an explanation but want to acknowledge that there was a delay:

For Birthday Cards: "FOUND OUT YOU'RE NOT ACTUALLY 29"

I suppose I could go on like this all day but I have to go mail your gift certificate. Look for it soon!

28 December 2005

Libby, Libby, Libby on the Label, Label, Label, But 1st a Nod to Nicole

Neil Kramer of "citizen" fame has been writing for Blogebrity and made my partner the "ebrity" of the day which is pretty cool and the particular blog entry was actually going to be up for discussion here but he beat me to the punch on a bigger front so kudos to Nicole!

And now, the thing I've been avoiding writing about....My life has alway been a tish intertwined and has a tendency to go back over explored territory in order to re-draw the map of relationships. This year, my husband and I had my ex-husband and his new "girlfriend" over to our house for Christmas Eve. Girlfriend in quotes because I'm not sure that they are at the stage that they're actually labeling one another with an official title at this point. For all you internet daters, Nicole, pay attention here...they met on-line. He lives in Minneapolis and she lives in the Los Angeles area so other than the 1000s of miles between them and the fact that she is a toe-tag liberal and he is a hard-core, true-blue (or should I say Red?) Republican, it seems to be a match made in cyber-heaven.

Which I suppose brings me to the real point, which was touched on in Nicole's entry and actually recently discussed by Kris of "I'm Not a Girl..." fame - just what is it about labels that we cling to? Yes, the ex is a Republican, he's also pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, and for all intent and purpose, a social liberal. So, he's more "Mark" (his name) than Republican....While they were here and she was ranting about his *gasp* political affiliation, we asked if she could agree to disagree and she said "no way". So I guess the relationship is doomed from the get-go, but it brought up a memory of what another close (liberal) friend said to me. "I want to be Democrat but all the liberals I meet can't have a political discussion without getting judgmental...it makes me lean toward becoming a Republican just so I can have an open political discussion that weighs both sides without it becoming a name-calling free for all." Now, I'm sure that there are plenty of close-minded, right-leaning folk but I have to agree that the liberal people I talk to (and I'm a democrat) have a tendency to take a holier than thou "I'm an intellectual and I know better than you" sort of attitude about things. On the other hand, you've never really experienced "holier-than-thou" until you have mixed religion with the right.

All this rambling to say, HEY PEOPLE LIGHTEN UP!!! We aren't our political affiliation, we're not our color, we're not our sex or sexual orientation, our religion or our medical condition....those are all merely portions of our make-up. And it's not just how other people see you, the thing is, until you learn to let go of your own labels for yourself, no one else is going to clearly see you for the amazing multi-faceted individual you are.

27 December 2005

OMG - January goals just around the corner

Man, in November I set all kinds of goals for my time off before the next semester of writers' group, thesis work and the new year all started up again. I haven't finished a single one and been very lazy this holiday season.

1. Go through poetry manuscript, pull poems that need some tweaking and do it.
2. Finish 1st draft of screenplay.
3. Write every day.

1. Well, I did re-order the poems and did manage to plug in some stuff that I wrote since the workshop of the first draft. In the shower yesterday, did come up with a new twist to a poem with a weak ending. Have not followed up on my shower musings.
2. Still sits next to my computer completed through the mid-point (about page 60)
3. Have written in my journal about once a week. Have been more active on my blog so I guess that counts.

My New Years resolutions are going to be chock full this time around. What are your resolutions?

22 December 2005

Teaching our Children

With all this talk about the "meaning" of Christmas and what we're teaching our children, either in the true Christian meaning of Christmas or the all-encompassing meaning of the kwanza, judeo-christian-roman-celtic meaning of the re-birth of solstice,we all missed the one main politically-unencumbered salient point.


There is an old riddle that will give you a clue.....If you are living in a house and all of the windows face south...what color is the bear?


WHY??? Because Polar Bears live in the arctic circle....and penguins????

Yup, Antarctic....

So if I see that baby polar bear slide down that hill one more time to the Wilson brothers into the penguins' beach party, I'm gonna' scream -

Stop worrying about the true meaning of Christmas and start worrying about basic geography people!!! What the f&#@ are you teaching your children???

21 December 2005

Holiday Shopping (yes, I mean Christmas...)

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately about canceling Christmas because of the religious connections and even more from the religious right complaining about the fact that it has lost all meaning because folks have to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas to the shoppers. It all seems fairly silly and if you want to impart the true meaning of Christmas and think that the winter festival talent shows just aren't doing it for you, rent the Peanuts special and have your kids replay the Linus speech over and over.

In the meantime, here in "Christmas has always been a holiday celebrating material gift-giving" land, the holiday is tight for us this year and even though we told friends and family "no gifts" and they all agreed, I just got a UPS package containing a bunch of little presents from Carl's sister. It's okay, she had sent a warning email that we were getting a UPS delivery so we arranged to send something today (thank god for 1800Flowers because the last minute shopping is made easier with their food and flowers).

Unfortunately, I didn't do any shopping for my own family and I'm feeling a bit like a grinch this year. A grinch that just spent a ton of money on tuition last year. The Trojan Horse is eating prime hay this year on me.

I guess this post is to say that my new year's resolution (albeit early) is to do what a close friend does, which is to throw herself into the spirit all year round and if she sees something during the year that she thinks would be perfect for you, she picks it up and puts it in a box in her closet until the appropriate time. Next year, you'll get something small but perfect and you can start making suggestions in January.

Winter solstice today comes with 80 degree weather, to answer the sick weather gods, I'm listening to Winter Wonderland - the ambiance feels a little off so I'm leaving the veloblinds closed.

19 December 2005

Tis the Season

For reflection on accomplishment over the past year, for the blues, the blahs and the perfectly timed parties to pick you up.....

Went to my friend, CJay's, open house yesterday and wasn't in the jolliest of holiday moods but it was great to see old friends and even better to make a new one. Yesterday, I ended up having one of those "oh my god we're the same person trapped in separate bodies" conversations with a lovely man named Tony who is incredibly handsome, funny, smart and just a wonderful soul. Now, before you fear for Carl, understand that Tony is also gay.

Tony and I, having been born only two months apart, had one of those, "oh my god I read that book the same year!" while we both sang the lyrics to various schoolhouse rock videos, conversations... It didn't matter that I grew up in the midwest and he grew up in Long Island, we had all the same cultural (and pop culture) reference points.

Meeting Tony cheered me considerably. It was real and funny and the energy of matching wits and truly connecting with a fellow human being made me realize that while reward for creative output would be nice, the truth is, sometimes that happens but most of the time, you are creating to create, writing to write, and you do it because you love it. And I do. In the meantime, in this life, I get to hang out with cool, creative people and sing ...

}} Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
}} Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
}} Conjunction Junction, what's their function?
I got "and", "but", and "or",
They'll get you pretty far.

18 December 2005

The Art of Happiness

Nicole of Verbs Via Ones and Zeros wrote a wonderful post today about eating v. feeling that got me to thinking about another close friend who has a great attitude about life in general and a philosophy / faith based belief system that I have to admit has gotten her pretty far in her career. It basically has to do with feeling positive (not thinking positve, that's a whole different Anthony Robbins point of view) and having that positive feeling evolve into faith in the universal "wow" (or God, as is her case) to take care of things for you.

All that said I have to admit that I'm feeling pretty low today. I'm down in the dumps after a second publication rejection notice in a month and a lack of response from a job opportunity that actually went into a second round of interview process and at this point I've pretty much written off. The thing is I was one of five being considered out of 250 resumes and 20 interviewees but somehow they can't send an email saying "so sorry we went with someone else" sheesh. Anyway, I know I'm supposed to feel lucky and also feel like it just wasn't the opportunity for me and that something better is going to come along but somehow today I just feel like I want that big break that allows me to show someone what I'm really capable of.

It's hard to feel positive about the universal wow when you're feeling the universal blahs. I could list all the ways I'm lucky and perk myself up but sometimes you just want to be allowed to feel what you feel. Thanks, Nicole, for reminding me that it's okay to listen to my heart.

12 December 2005

Day 7 - the weekend and discovering new bloggers

Today I ran my 7th day. I took off over the weekend because (1) I went to the salon Saturday morning and when you maintain your natural hair color you can't wash it for two days; and (2) tis the season for party, party, party and I had people to see and things to do.

Friday night I went to the Mary White Variety Show and it was a hoot. All of the singers were incredibly talented and if you like country music, you should check Mary out at her regular gig at The Cowboy Palace. My good friends Hugh Cline and Bret Coker were among the performers and you should check out their music here. Hugh also plays as part of Mary's regular band at the Palace.

Saturday night I went to my friend, Jen's, party. I know Jen through the MPW program at USC so a bunch of my USC cronies were there but I have to say that one of the most interesting guests was Eric, a French astrophysicist who works at CalTech. I managed to coax him away from the wall he was hugging (we are a bit of an overwhelming group of folks) and I have to say that chatting about fractals and the vast universe takes on a whole new meaning when you're talking to a guy who is calculating the implications on a daily basis. I wish I had slowed down on the wine because I know the conversation will now have to catch up to me in bits and pieces.

Sunday morning we woke up late (we're just not used to these wild party nights) and while I cleaned house, Carl made his world famous killer meatballs and spaghetti. Carl, true to his Italian heritage makes his meatballs light as air and his sauce a little spicy. We had our good friends, Chris and David, over for dinner and then "taught" them Texas Hold'em. I say "taught" in quotes because Chris
cleaned our clocks! Yeah, Chris, sure we'll play for real money next time....cough, gasp...

I got up today ready to start my running routine again and not only did I run but I added a half mile to the run and ran longer before walking for one minute and then ran the rest of it. I feel pumped today!!! Oh, and the half mile added also added a steep hill to the workout so I am feeling a little like Rocky this afternoon.

I went to visit Brian at one of my favorite blogs today and discovered he's
in love and he pointed us to his gal Monica who has her own blog. I like Monica and although they didn't ask me for it, I'm giving the happy couple my blessing.

In the meantime, Neil, who we all know and love introduced me to The Retropolitan and I have to say he's now competing for the top spot on my list of favorite bloggers. His entry today, December 12, 2005, is one of the finest, non-whiney, I'm-sick-posts, I've ever had the pleasure to read.

Well, back to work, I have a poetry manuscript to tweak and I've ignored it long enough! 13 more days to Christmas....probably should get a tree tonight as well....

08 December 2005

Day 5 & Lester Burnham

My upper thighs no longer hurt so that's a good thing. I've gotten several supportive comments from friends and family and that's really nice. Have been thinking a lot about why people exercise and have decided that Lester Burnham had it right. We all just want to look good naked. You know it's one thing to have that favorite pair of jeans that fit your waist just right and the top that shows the cleavage to distract the masses from your hips but when you peel out of the forgiving outfit and crawl into bed with your sweetie, it's nice to show that it's not all illusion and a trick of the light.

06 December 2005

It's the Shoes

I'm on my third day of running (which contrary to your evil thoughts, is not a record for me) and I felt good today. The fact that I went out yesterday and bought real running shoes is probably part of it. The last two days have been fairly excruciating because my upper thighs have been hurting and then I remembered the sage advice of my older sister. Get a decent pair of shoes or your back will hurt or your knees or your ankles...take your pick...something ain't gonna feel right.

Yesterday, after my run I decided there might be something to that and went to Big 5. Now, I don't know if you've ever been to a Big 5 but there are a couple of things to know about them. No one, in any part of the store, partakes in any sport. They couldn't tell a running shoe from a run in your stocking. The problem is that they have big sales! After asking for a 5&1/2 in my shoe, he came back with two different pairs because that's what they had in 5&1/2's, lucky for me, one of the pairs was actually a running shoe and more to the point they fit me well and they were cute! (yes, older sister, I said "cute"). So I grabbed a couple of t-shirts (on sale), 3 sports bras (on sale) and some capri workout pants - since I'm 5 foot, they are ankle length and perfect for me. Home I went. When I got home I decided to try on my new athletic self and realized as I walked around in the shoes that my toe was going to jam against the end when I ran (I belatedly remembered the guy I bought my cross-trainers from a year ago who said you should really go at least a half size bigger in work-out shoes for this very reason.) Back to Big 5 I went.

Now, the other problem with Big 5 is that they don't actually stock a full supply of what's out on the shelf. They didn't have 6's in my shoe so he brought out two different pairs in a 6. This guy was brighter than the first and both pair were, miraculously, running shoes. But neither of them quite fit my foot right. He said he had a 6&1/2 in my style if I wanted to try it. Sure what the heck, as long as I'm here. It fit (just a tish long but the arch is in the right place) and they feel great (and yes, even in a 6&1/2, still cute).

Today, I had a spring in my step and as a bonus, my breasts were adequately supported. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I'll wow the neighborhood with my snazzy "capri" pants.

04 December 2005

No Really This Time I Mean It!!!......

I started running again today. Now to say "again" implies that I was once a regular runner. Don't be mislead. I have "started running" several times in my life. My older sister used to be an avid pounder of the pavement (marathons, etc.) but recent back issues have taken her out of the....oh, yeah, bad pun on its way....running.

See, I woke up yesterday morning with this crazy notion in my head that I want to run a marathon because getting a useless masters at my age is not masochistic enough. So I called my sister and said "I think I want to run a marathon." Her response, appropriately enough was "Oh, brother." Then I think she laughed a bit. I waited her out and then said "no, really". She sobered up adjusted her position so that the titanium rods in her runner's wracked back were in alignment and gave me some websites to visit and told me whatever I did needed to stretch, buy a decent pair of shoes, log the miles on them (you can only get 400 miles out of a pair of shoes....pretty sure my first pair will last more than six months) and take it slow. I'm thinkin' not a problem for me...

I stretched for 10 minutes today. Ran for 10. Walked for 1. Ran for 5. Came home and stretched another 10 minutes - I guess you could say I had a 36 minute workout today but most of it was in my dining room.

I'm taking it slow and this time I mean it!

24 November 2005


Things I'm grateful for in no particular order:
1. My friends, Christi, Lori, Mark, Nicole, David, Chris, the people who check in with me on a daily/ weekly basis and actually listen to the answer when they ask "How are you doing?"
2. Family that doesn't drive me absolutely bonkers. I listen to some people's tales of woe when it comes to parents/siblings/step-family and I know that I am lucky to be surrounded by regular joes.
3. My health.
4. My house that I pay mortgage on and love and when I lie in bed at night and hear its creaks as it settles and contracts from the days heat, I feel it is telling me its secrets.
5. The education I'm getting at USC and with that have come amazing, giving mentors and teachers....Holly Prado, Syd Field and Donald Freed among them, with a special nod to Diane Wakoski who does not teach at USC but was introduced to me by Holly Prado.
6. My cats, who keep me amused on a daily basis.
7. The universal "wow" which recently has been answering my questions and giving me little gifts of opportunity.
8. The job interview I had on Monday that confirmed that I am on the right path, whether or not I get the position.
9. The writers' group that I share with Nicole. It continually allows me to push the creative envelope.
10. Finally, Carl......no explanation needed.

18 November 2005

Just so y'all don't worry

Thanks to folks who read my blog and emailed me directly the last few days. Just a short note to let you know that I'm okay, just getting old and you'll probably be seeing me on Metamucil ads in the near future! (Family: please note that although I expect no end of *&(!@ in response to my admitting that I'm aging, I would be pleasantly surprised if it didn't happen.....hint, hint....tough week...take it easy on me.)

Thanks, Mom, for passing along your "redundant colon" and here's to less red meat, no cheese, no potato chips, no fried food, more fiber, blah, blah, blah.....

15 November 2005

Things I Know

I can tell you that the Tarot Fool lives his life moment by moment but his right foot is poised over a precipice. I can tell you that the moon was full today at 4:58 p.m. PST at 23 degrees Taurus. I can tell you that Uranus came out of its retrograde and now is ready to create sudden waves in Pisces waters. I can tell you which corner of your home needs to be feng shui'd for money and what color ribbon to hang your healing crystal from and the length of that ribbon and the corner and the outcome. I can read your palm and tell you how many lives you'll follow in this lifetime. I can tell you to keep your drains covered and your toilet seats closed or money will escape with the water. I can tell you a straight beats a set in Texas Hold'em. I can tell you which "English" to use on the cue ball in order to make that side pocket bank shot.

I can't tell you my cholesterol level. I can't tell you my white cell blood count. I can't tell you what the doctor is looking for in the CEA blood test. I can guess.

How many times do we wish on a star or an eyelash. Today I found a worn penny and picked it up. It was gritty from the sidewalk, from being lost too long. I picked it up, but not without first checking whether it was heads up or tails up -- the Irish in me ignores the tails up penny, the Scottish in me sometimes wins and picks it up anyway. Today I noted the face on the coin and picked it up, glad to have a talisman.

I can't tell you exactly why I haven't been able to move without pain for 3 days. I can guess. On Thursday, the doctor will let me know. Today Uranus, planet of sudden destruction went direct in my sixth house of health and daily living. I can't tell you what that means yet. Today the doctor asked me whether I know what my family cancer history was, I told her I wasn't sure, that,
"I don't know much about -"
"Your health?" she finished for me.

14 November 2005


Back when I was 22 I had my appendix taken out. Now the funny thing was (not funny haha) that my appendix was fine - other than the stool that was in it (I know, gross). The fact was that I had diverticulitis. I've had a couple of episodes with this nasty little chronic problem and the last two days have been fairly miserable. There are a lot of reasons why it strikes, too much red meat, too much cheese, not enough fiber and today I found out that the fact that I smoke is a strike against me as well. So today, I'm going to try to begin the process of quitting.

In the meantime, I suppose the fact that I can't move without serious pain in my left lower abdomen is probably enough reason to call a doctor. I hate going to the doctor (big news, so does everyone else I suppose). I hate being sick and I hate being put on antibiotics but there again, I suppose most people would agree with me on that issue as well.
So you might find me missing in action for a while. (Not that you'll notice with my track record!) See you all again real soon.

06 November 2005

Feng Shui

I had to do it. My office was set up so my back was to the door, I was facing an empty wall and had been thinking of putting a mirror on the wall above my desk so I could see the door behind me. Bad feng shui, never put a mirror on the wall above your desk, something about refracting the energy of your work. So today Carl and I completely rearranged the office. I am in the northwest corner facing south east (which according to my lucky star number is where I should face, by the way, I'm not just making this s#&t up). The couch is now on the wall where my desk was, oh, and the poster advertising Ilford films that features Carl's photography and his picture and quote from him on the bottom left hand corner that I had framed for one of his birthdays is now back on the wall above the couch (I had moved it because I didn't like staring at it while I worked) and I just found out that that is the "fame" wall. So, duh, it's back where it belongs. The money corner has a red bag with money from several countries, Canada, Ireland, Poland and Czech Republic. Oh, and my desk is now in the learning/self-discovery corner so it's all good.

I know this all may sound frou-frou, new agey but I swear to god sitting here typing away I feel in control and more creative, the room looks pretty (not to mention dust free - cough, wheez) and I feel like friends could actually hang out with me here and talk. So much was accomplished today even if I didn't go for my usual hike in the hills. Today the office, tomorrow the junky drawers and a mirror for above the stove in the kitchen (which supposedly everyone should do no matter where your stove is, something about reflecting abundance).

01 November 2005


Today, November 1, is Samhain and marks the new Celtic year. Last night was in effect "new year's eve". From sundown on All Hallow's Eve until sundown on the Day of the Dead, the veil between this world and the next is thin. Let go of the old, embrace the new. Life is reborn at dusk.

31 October 2005

Ghosts, Forgiveness and All Hallow's Eve

Today, appropriately enough, I am thinking about ghosts. I went to a poetry reading at Beyond Baroque last night. Several poets read from a recently published anthology edited by Gloria Vando and Philip Miller called Chance of a Ghost and all of the pieces have to do with ghosts or hauntings. It was put out by Helicon Nine Editions and its proceeds go to The Writers Place, a non-profit literary community in Kansas City. This book has an incredible collection of writing and truly all of the readers last night did a great job.

The point though is that, of course, it did get me thinking about ghosts. Yesterday afternoon, I watched the movie Magnolia for the first time and so on my way to Venice, I was thinking about forgiveness. So now, the two subjects are linked in my mind. What is forgivable, have I completely forgiven myself for past transgressions and is there anyone out there from whom I should seek forgiveness? In the meantime, I think about actual ghosts who have haunted me in a home that saw the end of my first marriage.

I suppose the first ghost that comes to mind is the man in brown wing tip shoes who held me when I was sick with the flu shortly after my marriage ended. He wore wool pants and stayed with me for two weeks until one morning I woke up and felt, for the first time in several days, healthy. He left me that morning and I haven't seen him since. I wonder about him sometimes, wonder if he was always a caregiver or if, in tending to me, he was working off some karmic debt. In any event, I'm glad he was there and was not afraid of his presence.

The second ghost is, of course, Dean. A man I lived with in 2000 who died while he was here. I found him. He was too young to go and the interesting thing is that when someone dies of no "apparent" cause, the coroner takes over where the police left off in the interrogation process. Probably more information than should be shared here but I think I'm working toward something. He died of alcohol abuse. He was literally hours from his 32 birthday. Dean haunted me for five years and then I put together a chapbook of poetry, dedicated to his memory, and I haven't seen or heard from him since. Perhaps he knew in the culmination of that project that there was forgiveness and could move on. Perhaps he sensed that I had finally forgiven myself. There is a great line in one of the poems by Cathy Colman called Sex Ghost that was read, not by the poet because she was too ill to attend, but by her best friend, Elena Karina Byrne (a wonderful poet as well) that goes:

The questions://do I want time to move faster so that the pain might decrease?//Or more slowly, so that I will be closer to the instant you still took breath?

I asked those questions for a long time. Then I met Carl. All time began to move forward and it moved without pain. Now my only ghost is the muse I meet at 4 a.m. in moments of insomnia. Which brings me to Elena's poem called The Mask of Insomnia. It's about those wee hours and the spirit that takes over when we are alone in our thoughts. Brilliantly written, it begins with an epigraph that goes: There are two gates of Sleep...but deceptive are the visions the Underworld sends that way to the light. --Virgil 893. The last several stanzas are:

Look at you: you are inside--
out, all eyes, wide-awake

with the precise ticking heart
in your ankles, strung-out on words, brought in
on the one underwater wave of the refrigerator noise.
The windows look back lightless in disapproval.

You can't predict the clacking of the teacups
coming from all the clocks
or the church smell of your own skin. Prolonging
sleep, the clairvoyant stranger
you have invited to stay, cleans house.

The night is young. Yes, You can invent more
ways to be afraid than this.

And perhaps that is all these ghosts are, inventions of fear so that we can avoid thoughts of our own mortality and the tick, tick, tick of time passing and the Autumn days that now bring darkness with the dinner hour. Happy Halloween everyone and tomorrow All Soul's Day/The Day of the Dead brings a new Scorpio moon, sign of secrets and underworld marked by a new lunar cycle, a way to start fresh. Forgive yourself, forgive your ghosts and move forward in your reality, it will all be vapor soon enough.

30 October 2005

Poetry Readings

Yesterday I went to a poetry reading by Steve Goldman at the Abbott Kinney branch of the Venice Public Library. If you've never heard of Stephen Goldman, there's a reason why. He just had his first book of poetry published at 66. Stephen has been a tireless supporter of poetry in the Los Angeles area and has set up, promoted and run poetry readings in the Venice area for years. He's originally from Brooklyn and he's one of dose rough and tumble gruff guys complete wid da accent but with a twist, he has a vocabulary like he has swallowed on OED which catches you off guard and makes you smile at your own inane assumptions. The book by Steve Goldman has been published by Sybaritic Press and is called The Canon of the Lone Ranger (A Hymn in Dysfunction; An American Life; and The Autobiography of Just About Everybody) and its pieces are humorous and poignant and well, just great. I congratulate Steve for his book and for giving an entertaining reading yesterday afternoon.

Tonight I'll be going to a Halloween Party given at Beyond Baroque and featuring some of my favorite local poets, Eloise Klein Healy, Cathy Colman and Elena Karina Byrnes among others. I love poetry readings. I love the play with words and the poet's ability to coax an emotion up to the base of my throat and with one final twist of an image pull it out of me in a gasp.

27 October 2005

Checking In

A friend of mine called this morning because although we generally try to get together every week, we hadn't touched base for awhile. She told me that she said to herself "gee I haven't heard from Sam in awhile, I'll just check her blog to see what's up with her" Of course, not much has been added since I saw her two weeks ago so she gave me a call. Now this friend would have called anyway, but I find it interesting that she went to my blog first. Which brings up another point, one of my blogger acquaintances emailed me the other day to say (and I paraphrase), "haven't seen you post for awhile, you must have written two screenplays and a novel by now". I emailed him back and gave him a quick synopsis of what I've been up to. He didn't reply. So was he just being sarcastic with his suggestion that I've been creatively tied up? I guess so.

Anyway, for those of you who don't call or email, here's what I've been up to: (1) the first two weeks of October were occupied with workshopping my full poetry manuscript. It was well-received although I have some re-ordering of the pieces to do and am working on re-titling the sections. I'd like to be done with a close to final draft by December. It is not due until next spring so I will have the ability to work in any stuff I write between now and March or not depending on whether I write anything of import between now and then. (Import, of course, being a relative term.) (2) I had a friend from Canada come to stay with me and to show her a good time, I roped her into the 48 hour film contest that I participated in this last weekend. It was one of those contests where they email you with a line (that you must use word for word), a character, a prop and a genre. Our line was "Where on earth is your faith?", our character was Chris Wiffle, a DJ, our prop was a boat and our genre was action/adventure. I co-wrote the script with David Kopp. Chris Miller directed and, of course, Carl shot it. My Canadian friend, Sarah, was our script supervisor, keeping track of shots and which take we wanted to use (key to quick editing on Sunday). We shot it on Saturday, I was 1st AD on the set. Chris and David (who also starred in it) got it edited Sunday night and sent it off Monday. I haven't seen the final film yet but am looking forward to it. (3) I have revised and honed the first 30 pages of my screenplay and am now writing up 3X5 cards for Act 2. (4) I am in the process of writing a short that I'd like to shoot in December and have completed by the new year.

In the meantime, I've been going to my poetry workshop (Tuesdays) and screenplay class (Wednesdays) and running my writers' group (Thursdays).

Now, I know that you all have equally busy lives and somehow manage to blog on a daily basis and I applaud your tenacity. I sometimes feel sitting in my little back room that I am a bit hermit like and therefore my life is just not as interesting as one would think a writer's should be. I guess that's why there are sometimes gaps in time between posts....not apologizing, just explaining. Thanks for the calls and emails. You keep me aware there is a whole wide world out there.

13 October 2005

Naked Man Dance

A little story about my husband that took place shortly after he moved in (before we were married)...

One Sunday morning I was in the yard inspecting the recent bougainvillea trimming done by a new yard man. Carl was in the shower.

Now, if you're not a southwestern native or have never been there, let me describe a bougainvillea bush. They start out small and pretty, medium sized green leaves, red or orange or purple or white blossoms that appear year round. Two drawbacks to the lovely bougainvillea...(1) it is essentially a well evolved weed which means it grows like a son of a buck; and (2) its lovely, forever sprouting branches have one to one and a half-inch slender thorns to protect the bush and to help it climb and entwine any structure. Back to the story...

So I'm walking around barefoot in my jammies when I step on one of the slender branches that was missed by the rake. One-inch thorn goes deep into the ball of my foot. Suffice it to say I let out a scream that would have made Hitchcock proud and proceed to hop to the cement patio/veranda and sit on the edge, still yelping, to survey the damage. Behind me I hear Carl's voice "Baby are you alright?" I continue to yell..."Baby, come in the house, are you okay? Come in the house..." I continue to whimper. "Baby, what's wrong..." Carl is now a few feet behind me. I continue to whimper "Ow, Ow, Ow!" trying to pull three inch thorn from foot (well, it felt like it had grown!) Carl is now frantically pulling at my shoulder trying to get me to get up and come into house....."Baby, I'm naked." I look up behind me at Carl, who is doing a naked man dance (moving back and forth from one foot to the other, glancing over his shoulder at the neighbor's window and alternating between covering his penis and reaching for me). I watch, completely stunned for a moment and then pop the thorn out, hop in through the back door, where I collapse in laughter on the kitchen floor.

I decided then and there that I had chosen the right man because anyone who would hear their loved one in pain, drop their towel and run to their aid is a mensch.

We were married in front of friends and family in our backyard two months later.

07 October 2005

He takes such pretty pictures...

Look at previous post to figure out where we are:

he's an amazingly talented photographer...that goes without saying except that not enough people say it. I say it, anyone who has seen any of his black and whites says it and by the way, Runner's World and Sports Illustrated has said it in the past. Yup, this boy has Dr. J and Larry Bird in his portfolio. (did I spell either of those right? because I'm not a sports fan....) and also judging by the sports stars mentioned you know he is no 2o-something - but of course, you already know that I'm not either....anyway, great talent hard knock kind of guy...did I ever tell you the story about his starvation days when he showed up on the set as second unit? No? Okay, so the dude hasn't gotten work in a few months...so he puts his light meter around his neck, figures out where a big shoot is, shows up at lunch, gets in line....the caterer looks at him and says "I don't think we've met" and he replies, without skipping a beat, "2nd Unit"...and eats....for free...I know it's technically stealing but I can't help but smile at his ingenuity...anyway...more to come....

The Husband

I realized today that other than mentioning (probably several times in different contexts) that my husband is a cinematographer, I have never really talked about him. I have devoted a whole blog to my wonderful ex-husband and yet, somehow, I missed talking about Carl.

First of all, you should know that tonight in writers' group, we were supposed to write from our Fairy Godmother's P.O.V. describing ourselves. My last line was... "I gave her the prince too soon and now she can't figure out what to do with happily-ever-after." Which probably, unfortunately, describes me to a tee. (If I do say so myself ... and I do... as a matter of fact, I write it.)

Carl is truly a prince. In the next few entries, I have decided to introduce you to this prince of a man.

Second of all, everyone who personally knows me probably believes that I am the luckiest woman alive and that Carl puts up with A LOT. Please note, Steve Brady, that I have realized (after you pointed it out) that "a lot" are two separate words and no where in the English dictionary do they appear as a single word...I may be a wench, but I am not stubborn. More on the men in my life later but right now it is 12:59 a.m. and I should head for bed. By the way, my dear husband is on splits on his current job and I won't see him until he stumbles in at 2:00 a.m. or so, kisses me on the temple and tells me he's home, but buzzed (from work, not anything artificial) and then tomorrow late morning, we'll have a half a cup of coffee together before he has to go again.

It's a hard knock life for us and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

03 October 2005

New Moon in Libra - Solar Eclipse

This morning (3 a.m. on the west coast) was the Libra new moon and solar eclipse. One of my personal favorites because I'm a Libra rising. For the Jewish community, Libra new moon brings in Rosh Hashana, their new year. For me, it brings my new lunar year, especially potent this year because the new moon is conjunct my rising and the solar eclipse only happens once every 19 years in any given sign and so it marks the end of a cycle. Now, this probably all seems like so much new age gobbledy gook but the truth is I've been thinking about what is ending for me today. I will say that 19 years ago this week, I moved to Los Angeles with thoughts of being an actor. That dream was put by the wayside a long time ago (about 10 years) and at that time, I began to concentrate on my writing. But the writing was all poetry.

Recently, I started to resuscitate my dreams of being involved in the film world but my new focus is writing and directing. So today, I am being brave and putting it out publicly in the world that my aspiration is to direct a film I have written and that my husband, Carl, will shoot it. Carl and I worked on a documentary together a few years ago and found that we work quite well together even under less than ideal circumstances.
So there you go Universe, it's in black and white, all spelled out for you....send a little new moon magic my way!

26 September 2005

Not just the news....

I have been reading Neil's blog the last week or so and feeling so much for him and thinking that if it were me, although I would probably also post, I can't imagine that I would be as articulate. What an amazing talent that boy is and how great that we can bring up his page and take a peek into his life. I also like the fact that I can keep emotional tabs on my friend Nicole and know instantly what's tweeking her sense of propriety today. I've never met Kris but I consider her a staunch ally and believe that if we did meet alot of wine would be imbibed. Brian has got to be one of the sweetest guys I know (and, Nicole, he's not self-proclaimed as such) and I look to him whenever I want a reassurance that "kids these days" aren't so bad. These blogs make me wish that all of my friends had blogs because there is something wonderful about checking in and finding exactly what folks are really thinking about.

I mean, most of the time, when I call friends or family and ask how they are, I get a run-down of what they've done in the last few weeks. Not that I mind that, I like to know about my niece starting school and the poems my fellow MPWers are working on and how the new job and new home is working out, but I feel like it's mainly a news report and I'm really looking for the editorial. Okay, this is what's happening, now how do you really feel about it? There is something about a blog that allows you to ruminate on the emotional impact of a situation and truly own it.

That's what brings us back to check in, we feel like we're not just getting the news, we're receiving a letter and the subject of the correspondence is relevant to our fears, our love, our hope and each strand of the web that is weaved reaches to the next, easily, cleanly and is anything but tangled.

18 September 2005


When you go to a restaurant called "Firefly" you do not actually expect them to light it using fireflies, especially since fireflies are few and far between here in Los Angeles. I wonder that because the back wall is open to the elements, they actually expect the little suckers to wander in and hover above the tables. I went to Firefly with friends last night and it was dark. Really dark. Too dark to read the menu, too dark to see what was on your plate. I tried to get a table in one of the cabanas but even though you have to make a reservation, the cabanas are first come, first serve. (Not first to ask for one on a reservation.) The cabanas are better lit and probably a little quieter. The restaurant is pretty noisy. Now all of this would be fine if the food knocked me out of my seat. But it didn't...it was good....but it wasn't fantastic so Firefly is a great place to go have a drink - the faux library bar lounge is a great hangout and their white cranberry cosmos are classy.

15 September 2005

Progress Report & Musing on Mentors

I realized today that I haven't given a progress report on my screenplay for a while. The reason, of course, is that I haven't been writing the actual screenplay. Instead, because of Syd's class, I'm going back and doing the "prep" work I didn't do before I started. So I've been defining the "idea", stating the inciting incident, the key incident and the resolution. All of these things can or may change but he says it's important to have a map for your destination. Last week I had to do a 9 page analysis of my lead character tracing her life from birth to the moment before the story starts. It was actually very good for me to do and will probably help make her more active (instead of reactive) and now this week, he wants me to turn it into a first person narrative instead of the third person sort of removed piece I wrote. Not everyone has this extra assignment but I completely agree that I need to do it. The funny thing is even though I'm not moving forward on the action of the story right now, I feel like when I get back to it, it will move forward more fluidly and probably be more interesting. Syd is a great teacher and a real inspiration to the class.

I've been thinking a lot about mentors this week and wondering why I didn't seek them out earlier in my life - I really could have used them in my 20s. Whose your mentor? If you don't have one, what or who would be the ideal mentor for you and why?

09 September 2005

My 10 Year Old Niece, the Novelist....

My 10 year old niece, Amy, has sent me the gallows for her latest book. Not that she has a publisher or even an agent. But she has a three part book with a female CIA agent as the lead character. Her agent is resourceful and smart and interestingly enough, has really sweet sense of of self-deprecating humor. I actually got this last weekend but with my own schoolwork I wasn't able to read it right away. I have to say I'm blown away by her imagination and the thought that went into the stories. Needless to say, I'm thinking my niece has a little genius wrapped up in that head of hers. Did I tell you when she was 6 she wrote a mystery short story about a mouse? She also has a monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to for $5 and get the latest gossip/news about her mom and dad and sister and brother. Since Derek and I (her dad, my brother) don't correspond regularly, it's often how I get the most up to the date goings on. Amy is definitely a pistol and I'm just lookin' over my shoulder wondering which one of us is going to get paid to write first!

You know normally, I would feel depressed about a kid genius but she's so darn sweet, I can only feel proud of her and glad that we're related.

05 September 2005

All I have to do is dream, dream, dream...

I've been thinking alot this weekend (uh-oh) about life and the goals we set for ourselves and dreams we have in our teens and twenties and how those look some 20 odd years later. It's interesting that as I get older, I don't want to give up on that "but something fantastic could happen right out of the blue!" feeling. It has abated, that's true enough. I think my first wake up call that life wasn't going to turn out the way I planned was at the end of my first marriage. That kind of thing takes the wind right out of your sails and leaves you flapping in the breeze for a while. Then three years later, I met Carl and that spark of "gee, life is grand" became an ember and with our wedding I was feeling the heat of flaming idealism at 39.

Now, I'm in my 40s. The truth is, I'm beginning to lose that feeling that things could change on a dime for the better. To clarify, I'm talking about creative life here. I'm talking about being creative every day and not worrying that the leaky front sprinklers are going to interfere with plans to take a vacation (because you don't have money for both). I'm talking about finally making a leap from being brilliant to being brilliant and getting paid for it! I'm talking about not just getting paid for what you love to do, but getting paid well.

I guess in L.A., it's all about the connection. Meeting someone who turns you on to some big opportunity. (Tough to do when I write in my back room all day....) And here I am probably preaching to the choir by blogging about it. Anyway, how's your life turning out? Is it what you expected? Is it better?

31 August 2005

Some Vacation

So it's been pointed out by a loyal reader (thank you for missing me, Kris!) that I'm obviously on vacation...actually, starting school has bowled me over for a week or so. I must admit that I haven't even read blogs in two days, much less, thought about getting words into the ether. After attending the first class of my advanced poetry class, I had to re-organize my schedule and opt for directed research with a mentor. I won't go into why here...then again, I doubt the dude is ever going to look me up so here goes. First of all, you have to know that this is my second year and indeed, this is my final semester before putting my thesis together which will consist of a full-length poetry book (45-50 poems). The instructor turned out to be a strict formalist who wanted us to write metered verse all semester. Now, if this were my first semester I would be all for playing around with metered verse but to mix metaphors, I'm staring down the barrel of a short leash here. The other problem was that he also seemed to be a fairly bitter poet as well, pronouncing that there have been no major poets since Robert Frost and that all anyone could ever hope to be is a minor poet, especially if all they write is free verse. I guess since he writes metered verse, he's in the running for major poet. That and his incredibly patronizing attitude toward the entire class and his arrogence in assuming none of us had ever even read metered verse was enough for me to say to myself "Self, you are paying way to g#d*&%n much money to be s&*t on for a semester by the likes of a bitter old white man." Patronizing attitudes are a big deal breaker for me and I'm sure many of you can relate.

So, I'm back and I apologize for the break for station identification and I'll try to get Bad Maria to put in her two cents as well. (Although she and I are beginning to sound more and more alike!)

24 August 2005

Combining the Twins

I've been thinking alot about recent posts on both this site and my evil twin and comments that I've made in response to others' queries and ruminations. I find that blogging somehow brings out the worst in me at times. By worst, I mean sometimes I think I say things to be tough or to get a reaction. Case in point, Kris wrote about quirks today and I responded that I love one of my cats more than the other. Not really true. I love them both for their own individual personalities and loving qualities. Ooooh, there's a confession for you. Another case in point, I recently commented on someone's blog that my first husband wasn't really a "partner" - now it was actually wrapped up in another point I was making about the fact that marriage isn't the answer to whether or not you can follow your dreams as a single person economically but the truth is, I wasn't a "partner" in that marriage either. Not that I allowed that to enter the comment, because, hey I was writing "off the cuff" and not going into details....or was I just leaving out details that might make me look bad, probably both. Either way, I think it's okay that he and I failed at our marriage but I don't think it's okay to sum it up as one or the other's fault. We're both pretty cool people, just not together.

You know, on a related note, I like that I have an evil twin blog but I know that it doesn't divorce me from responsiblity for what I say and how I say it. I guess I'm just getting used to throwing my s*&t out there and seeing it actually stick to something. Much different from being a poet and being able to obscure the meaning - not that you really have to obscure anything as a poet, no one reads you anyway.

On a completely separate note, I started school again today and am excited about my screenplay professor. Syd Field. I'm just hoping it doesn't go south. You know how when you were a kid, like say, junior high and the first day of class you said Mr. Wilson is a great guy but Mr. Gunther is a pain in the ass and then by the end of the year, you loved the fact that Mr. Gunther made you think for yourself and started thinking Mr. Wilson was a nimrod for making the same stupid jokes all year. It's the same in Grad school. Kind of scary that you can put your house into hock with a second mortgage and still end up with a junior high experience. In the meantime, I think Mr. Field is cool and I'll keep you updated if he makes the same stupid jokes or if he delivers the way Mr. Gunther did.

I'm waiting for Carl to get home from a meeting on a movie he's prepping. He hates this part, not that he hates prepping a movie but he hates the uncertainty of whether something is actually going to shoot. You'd be surprised at how many movies "prep" without making it onto film. In the meantime, my neighbors are fighting again. I should tell you that my neighbors have knock down, screaming fights with a little physical violence thrown in for good measure about twice a month. I'd be surprised if Jr. doesn't off them when he turns 18. Film at 11:00.

At least it's finally nice enough outside to turn the fans on and pull a little cool air in. Ah, indian summers, gotta love 'em.

Enough random thoughts for you?

21 August 2005

Silver & Gold

I remember when I was a kid, my mom had this book (put out by Reader's Digest I think) of American Best Loved Poems and one of them was about Friendship - called Silver & Gold. It went like this...

Silver and Gold
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Time and change-are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray;
Friendship never knows decay.
For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die;
New friends must their place supply.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

I have been thinking about it the last few days - partially brought on by Neil's post but also because of events in my own life. The thing about old friendships is that the commonalities they are based on change as we grow and change. The friends that recognize that life isn't static, and that we might not be the exact same people anymore, are the ones that hang in for the long haul. I have a few old friends - I've also lost old friends. The ones I have lost were the ones who continued to relate and respond to who I was in high school. I'm not that person anymore (at least I hope not). I have to say that the old friendships I've managed to keep are with people who not only recognize that I have evolved, but they are aware of their own evolution and are able to renew the connection based on who we are now.

My high school friend, Lori, comes to mind - boy, she and I had so much in common in high school, then in college not so much and then she moved to Chicago and began traveling with theatre gigs and as a single woman, she was away more than she was home. In the meantime, I got married, buckled down economically and turned the gas down low on most creative dreams. Not a lot in common. In 1994, I had just begun getting back into acting and writing and, lo and behold, Lori came to L.A. with the cast of
Forbidden Hollywood. She was here for 4 months and we renewed a friendship based on our creative selves and our mutual interest in all kinds of spiritual prompts. We were evolving as women and we could feel the movement inside. After that, she went back to Chicago to move to NYC. My marriage ended and I became a law office manager, continued with my writing and we tried to keep in touch more often. Now, 11 years later, she lives here and she'd like to find Mr. Right, but in the meantime pursues a career in acting. I remarried and now pursue a career in writing.

Not sure where I was going with all of that but I think what I'm trying to say is that "old friends" are great and they are "gold" but the gold has to be dusted off and polished or it loses its shine. In the meantime, I have newer friends I would say have quickly gone from "silver" to "gold" and it is because I know that whether they are a permanent part of my life, they have touched me at a deeper level more quickly. Maybe I'm just more open now, less afraid of being misunderstood because I know who I am and am okay with my flawed self, especially since I feel like I'm always trying to be a better person. I'm also okay with my past mistakes and for the most part can laugh at them. (Those that I can't laugh at, I at least can work up a wry smile.)

I'm going to Lori's tomorrow for lunch..she's loving having an actual kitchen now that she has moved to L.A. (don't even ask about the size of her NY apt.) and just can't stop using me as a guinea pig. I don't mind because I don't like to cook - that's the other thing about friends, their strengths sometimes compensate for your weaknesses....beautiful thing.

17 August 2005

It's nearly 11 p.m.

Okay, he's not of my flesh. He's not even of my species, but damn when that f*&#in' cat decides to have a night on the town, I worry. This is why I never had kids...I had enough babysitting/caretaking my younger siblings...and I was pissed at them when they decided to act up...breaks my ever-lovin' heart .... now you know why I have an evil twin...she can be cynical, I'll lay awake at night. I don't even care that he actually has a more active and exciting social life than I do, I just want him to call, say he's going to be out late, or at least text message me...damn, what does a cat-mom have to do? The frightening thing is that I'm married, this little s*&t is not my only concern. Pathetic really. Henley, where the heck are you? Listen Desperado, I'm not leavin' the light on for you...of course, you're able to see in the dark so that's not a big threat. HENLEY? Here, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.......

15 August 2005

The Whole Truth

At the risk of posting this prematurely (because of course, Mercury doesn't go direct until 8:15 p.m. PST) I have to address "truth". Someone once said I am a slave to the truth. I suppose that's true at times. Someone else implied recently that I only see my own truth. Also true at times. I have also been accused by more than one person that my vision is a little too sharp and that there are no soft edges to my descriptions of same. Also true - most of the time.

All that said (in the vaguest, Mercury retrograde, terms possible) I believe that the written word (read blog if you wish) is somewhat to blame for the perception of hard v. soft, subjective v. objective. After all, when we write, even if it's fiction, our opinions about, and perceptions of, life and love cannot help but sneak their way into the text. Sometimes the opinion or perception is hard for our loved ones to read, especially if it paints an unflattering or incomplete picture, because they don't want the rest of the world feeling the way we do or even thinking that we feel that way.

Now, you can read into this post all you want but the truth is I'm not talking about you or my relationship with you. Maybe I'm just talking about responsibility and honesty and wondering if I should learn more kindness. Is it censoring when you self-censor?

12 August 2005

Another Progress Report

So I am now on page 29 and have completed the set up for the screenplay and am now continuing work on outlining Act II.

I want to thank everyone for letting me update you on my progress on what, for me, is a new endeavor. It keeps me honest, I think. Which brings me to another point. It's hard to write in a vacuum. A community of writers, for me, has been so inspiring (and at times humbling - since the community is amazingly talented). So today, I just wanted to acknowledge some of my favorite blogs and their incredibly witty and insightful authors and to say, you guys and gals rock!


08 August 2005

Getting what she deserves....

I've been thinking a lot about my screenplay and fully realized female characters in both literature and movies. Has anyone else noticed that women characters, once they reach a certain self-realization, have to be punished? Thelma & Louise springs to mind (although I have spoken with Callie Khouri and it wasn't her intention to make a statement, she was just trying to make a Butch & Sundance for women) - intended or not, the ending goes right along with Anna Karenina throwing herself under a train, Holly Hunter's character in The Piano losing a finger, Million Dollar Baby losing her ability to fight and then her life (sorry if you haven't seen it and I just spoiled it for you). The thing is, often in literature and certainly in the movies, once a woman becomes mentally, emotionally, physically (sexually) realized, they off her or punish her in some way. An exception to this and one of my favorite plays in college, although at the time, I didn't know why, was A Doll's House because Nora finally sees her way clear and decides to stand on her own. Of course, she has to give up her children to do it so perhaps there is punishment there as well.

Anyway, I am struggling with female characters and against the conditioning that there are consequences to being a strong female. Does anyone else have thoughts on this? Understand that I grew up before and after the women's movement (ah, yes, another hint at my age) and struggle with whether or not I am too reactive to certain stimuli. Would love to hear your comments.

05 August 2005

Back to School - Test

Okay, so it's not really a back to school test but it is a "sense of humor" test and I was laughing so hard by the end of it that I had tears in my eyes so I'm passing it on to you good people. (Note, there is a "nazi" test by the same author but that's not the test, you have to go to the bottom and push "Next"). By the way, last night before I went to bed, I was flipping through channels and I skimmed by BET and then went back to it. A T.I. video that Carl (the husband) shot last April was on. It's kind of cool to see stuff on t.v. and know the person you're sleeping with helped make it.

Oh, the results for me on the test were:


(65% dark, 22% spontaneous, 13% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

04 August 2005

Truth v. Honesty

So I'm happily, busily working on my screenplay which has its basic theme of truth invading a community and a friend of mine recently surfaced by email and asked what I was up to and I told him I was working on my screenplay. He responded "about truth?" and I replied yes, and he responded "but not honesty" with a winky face. He and I have gotten into a discussion about the difference between honesty and truth and my feeling is that there are certain undeniable truths for all of us - in other words, truth is not relative. He feels like truth is relative to your reality or some such thing and as much as I understand that he's driving at "beliefs" and a "belief system" I still contend that truth is truth. Maybe I'm missing something. Anyway, no matter how you slice it, you can't have honesty without truth but truth can lie fallow without anyone being honest with one another. Does anyone get the logic of that? Am I out of my ever lovin' mind? Come on, you can be honest with me....

03 August 2005

Happy Birthday Mark!

Today is my ex-husband's birthday. I will not tell you how old he is because it will put you in the ballpark for guessing mine. My ex is one of my best friends. I say one of them because I have several best friends. Mark hasn't known me longer than all of my best friends. (That honor goes to Lori, who I have been friends with since high school in North Dakota and who now lives a half hour away from me and now I have my own car so I can visit with her whenever I want and if I have lunch with her I don't have to "save room for dinner".)

Mark probably knows me better than all of my best friends do. He also knows the dark side better than all of my other friends do. You can't live day-to-day for 13 years without glimpsing the demons in one another. Mark's dark side is actually very Gary Larsonesque (whose birthday is August 14). It's dark but you can't help but smile at its irreverence. Mark is a graphic designer and when I came out with my poetry chapbook earlier this year, Mark designed the book and painted the picture for the cover - he based it on one of my poems and true to his emotional intellect, nailed the interpretation.

Mark is a 6'3", handsome guy with salt and pepper mostly black hair with huge (think e.t.) blue eyes. He's a talented artist, smart man and basically all around true-blue Joe and why the chicks in Minneapolis haven't nabbed him yet is beyond me.

Whoa, I'm starting to sound like a yenta here. I guess I just wanted to say to Mark on his birthday, hey, dude, I feel incredibly lucky that we were once married and I feel even more grateful that we have become good friends who honor that connection with love.

Happy Birthday, Ex-Husband Mark - party like it's 1999!

02 August 2005

Flight Delays and Weight Restrictions

A friend of mine is coming back from North Dakota where she attended her grandfather's funeral. I've been taking care of her plants and collecting her mail while she has been away. She wasn't sure when she was getting back in but left me a message last night that I was supposed to pick her up today at 3:50 p.m. but then she called this morning because there was a flight delay until 4:37 p.m. She called to see if that was alright and, of course, it is although I have dinner plans tonight and that puts me in 5 o'clock traffic but, hey, it's the Burbank airport and she lives in Hollywood so no sweat and I can still make it back in time. Just got another call and they gave away free tickets to anyone who would take a later flight and she took them up on it so she's getting in at 7:30. A bit tricky for me now. But this post isn't about my schedule.

The reason the flight was delayed and the reason they're giving away free tickets is because there is a weight restriction with the flight and they're over the restriction. What? I mean, they have specifications as to how much your luggage can weigh so are they saying "sorry there are just too many tubbos on this flight to allow you to fly even though you have a ticket." If that's the case, then folks, it's time to go on a diet! Time to stop eating the cheetos and start taking walks! Time to read Neil's post Scared Straight.

Maybe when you buy a ticket, they should ask you to fill in your weight so that they know exactly when they've reached the quota. Oh, and how much luggage you intend to carry. And folks, if you're flying to L.A. from ND, you don't need to bring the heavy sweater in August. (Before anyone busts me on the ND comments, know that I went to high school and undergrad there so I feel it gives me a right to give them a little advice.)

01 August 2005

Fashion Statement

A male friend of mine sent me an article in the Washington Post and asked me what I thought about it.

Here's what I replied.

Boy that's a tough one - on the one hand, I applaud her self-confidence and ability to admit she wants to be checked out (don't we all really?) - on the other hand, it seems incredibly naive to dress in what most people assume is hookerish and get upset about catcalls....I mean there are ways of dressing sexy, showing off your body that does not involve spandex....I suppose it's all really a matter of fashion taste, as in do you have any? I do believe that in America, we're a little too quick to judge a woman who flaunts her sexuality, you constantly read about Latin cultures and Italian culture that talks about the fact that women in these countries dress hot because (a) they know that's their power (and unfortunately, their only power) and (b) if a man gets out of line, another man will step up and punch his lights out (because that's who's really in power).

In America (and I think more women than men think this way) women have another kind of power because of their quest for equality so they (women) are pretty judgmental about women who use sex as power because they feel it "sets them back 20 years" and to be fair, it kind of does - I am thinking about the Brittney v. feminists backlash here. The truth is I was glad to get back to America after being in Europe for a month because there is still major chauvinism and inequality there and if you're in a bar alone, you're mistaken for hooker no matter how you're dressed (which I was and I was in blue jeans and a tank top - not a slutty outfit by our standards). So do women who dress in "Ho Gear" set all women back? I'm not sure about that but I do think it sends a message about that woman in particular, I mean, sure she's fun to look at but how many people are going to take her seriously as a mind? And I guess ultimately, does she care?

31 July 2005


So I'm up through page 11 on my screenplay, not where I wanted to be but I have 14 scenes written so am feeling pretty good. 14 scenes in 11 pages, I just hope my DP isn't going to kill me. Of course, I want hire my husband Carl, so I figure he'll give me a little leeway. It feels good to finally be writing this stuff down and frighteningly it's true what they say about characters starting to come to life. I mean, I actually feel them inside going "hey, you've left me in the middle of a moment here and I'm hanging out in the saloon nursing my beer, bitch". Man, who-da thunk it?

30 July 2005

I'm a Blogger, I'm a Writer, I'm a Blogger, I'm a Writer...

So today a friend emailed me a link to a New Yorker article. Thank you, Nicole, and it got me to thinking about the possiblities. It also got me to thinking about what the equivalent of this was back in the day. I mean back when folks didn't have computers so agents for publication had to go look for writers in the real world - the world outside. Back in the day, when writers hung out at cafes and bars and goaded each other with sharp comebacks and meaningful analysis of the world around them. In actual conversations no less. It made me sort of nostalgic for the days of face-to-face interaction. Not that I mind being able to plunk my butt down in front of my computer and check in on my new blogging friends. All of whom have wonderfully funny (Neil, I'm talking about you here) and/or deeply felt opinions about art and the world around them (Michael's blog). Or simply a fresh POV about life lived on a daily basis and the issues that confront us in our personal moments (that would be you Nicole). I like my new blogger community but sometimes I wish I could buy them a drink and toast their newly discovered luck in having found an agent that understands their talent and worth which brings them what I think we're all secretly hoping for - to be paid to do what we love the most.

27 July 2005

Stop the Madness - Email Urban Myths

So yesterday, I got an email from a friend that was a mass forwarded email about Neiman Marcus cookies. If you don't know the story or received the forwarded email, it goes something like this:

A little background: Neiman-Marcus, if you don't know already, is a very expensive store; i.e., they sell your typical $8.00 T-shirt for $50.00. Let's let them have it! THIS IS A TRUE STORY!
My daughter and I had just finished a salad at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, and we decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the"Neiman-Marcus cookie." It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe, and the waitress said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not, but you can buy the recipe."

Well, I asked how much, and she responded, "Only two fifty-it's a great deal!" I agreed to that, and told her to just add it to my tab. Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement, and the
Neiman-Marcus charge was $285.00! I looked again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe-$250.00". That was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress said it was "two fifty", which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because, according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money at this point." I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes which govern fraud in the state of Texas. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Attorney General's office for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back." I just said, Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of fun." I told her that I was going to see to it
that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus...for free. She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this." I said, "Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you ripped me off!" and slammed down the phone. So here it is! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make another penny off of this recipe! NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved)

I won't include the recipe - suffice it to say, I was reminded of the old urban myth about the hook arm that the lovers find on the car door after driving home from a remote make out site. Why the stalker chose to open the door with his hook is the Achilles heel in that particular story but it still makes good campfire fodder. This story had too many things wrong with it: (1) it got me to thinking about a woman who doesn't sign her credit card receipt from the waitress when she's sitting right there; (2) I also thought that if Neiman Marcus actually sold their recipe for $250, they'd probably have it in a nice little recipe box wrapped in a gold bow with the price tag on the bottom of it; and (3) anyone who complains about $8.00 t-shirts that cost $50 probably doesn't have a Neiman Marcus charge card.

So I did a little research, fairly simple actually. I went onto the Neiman Marcus website, put cookie recipe into the search engine and viola! Here's what came up.... http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/service/nm_cookie_recipe.jhtml

People stop the madness. Pretend you're around a campfire listening to these stories ... when something sounds outrageous, question the source.

Slogging instead of Blogging

Yesterday, I finally sat down and outlined about half of the screenplay that has been buzzing around my head for the last year or so. This morning I typed the first 7 pages and am committed to getting three more done today so that I'm at 10. I'd like to think I could write 5 pages a day and so have given myself that goal for the next four weeks (which would give me a finished first draft before starting school again). Man, this summer is whizzing by .... remember when we were kids and three months off seemed like an eternity in May?

25 July 2005

25 July 2005 - Monday, Monday

Can't trust that day but you can count on it!

I recently joined Netflix.com and got my first movie on Saturday. I chose a light comedy on purpose. I wanted to ease into the experience of home viewing. I've been fairly remiss about going to movies or renting them for the last few years so I have several movies on my wish list. I chose Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou as my first venture and it was alot of fun. Of course, anything with Bill Murry, Owen Wilson and Willam Defoe as the lead characters is truly twisted. Willam must have had a blast with this film, playing an overly sentimental German boom man. I won't give a narrative of the film's plot, suffice it to say that I was actually surprised several times by the script, most notably toward the end. Also loved that one of Cate Blanchett's last names (since she's an English character, she of course has two of them) in the film is Winslet! Pretty funny.

Now, I just slip my movie back into it's prepaid-postmarked sleeve and send it off to MovieLand and they send me my next flick! I love that! I love that I will never again stand around in an aisle of a movie rental store saying "I don't know, what are you in the mood for?"

23 July 2005

23 July 2005 Patriot Act and Writers

So have been thinking alot about the fact that they're messing about with the Patriot Act in Washington and pretty soon the FBI can have a list of what you're checking out of the library. It seems to me that there was a nifty little socialist democratic party in the 30s that had a very similar agenda. When I was in Prague in June, one Saturday night about 7 of us grabbed a couple of sheets and a couple of bottles of wine and went out and sat on the lawn under a couple of trees. We played this game "Person most likely to...." then you'd fill in the blank and count to three and everyone would point at who they thought fit the category. The person with the most votes came up with the next blank filling category. It was a way to pass the time and get to know one another. One person said "Person most likely to get arrested under the Patriot Act." Every single writer pointed at me. (I pointed at the journalist beside me.) People, I said, I am a poet, why on earth am I going to be the first arrested and they shrugged and said "you're political". I'm not sure what that means actually but I do know that I don't agree with the Patriot Act, don't believe it's necessary for security and do believe that it's a serious infringment on individual rights. Come get me boys......