Sunday, December 27, 2009

Follow The Bouncing Ball

Last week of the year. My yearly jaunt to the Santa Monica Pier should be coming up soon. Maybe Saturday, if I can make it happen.

Pepe and Pembleton’s human pets have left again, and my quads are screaming in pain at resuming the Running Of The Dalmatians routine, though it’s only for a few more days.

Pepe has a ball and loves to play Ball. Pembleton is older, crankier, and may not really understand what’s going on a lot of the time, but Pepe has a ball and wants to play Ball. A lot. For the rest of your life, if you’d let him.

How Pepe plays Ball is that he waits at the top of the stairs. After you’re finished watering the ten thousand plants on the first tier of the steep hillside (so steep the pathway is cut switchbackstyle) and you’re huffing and puffing it up the stairs, you will suddenly hear it.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.










And a mottled gray tennis ball that used to be yellow until somedoggie chewed off all of its fluzz will come bouncing down the stairs to you.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

You catch it. You throw it. Pepe bounds after it, and you start the second tier of watering. Until you hear it again.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

And you turn around. You catch it. You throw it. Pepe goes after it. Repeat about ten thousand times until you’re done watering or have had enough. Pepe will never get enough.


It’s kinda cute. It’s kinda endearing to watch Pepe push the ball with his nose. The first time.













Today I’m watching the ball bouncing towards me. Like that red ball in the Duran Duran video “Is There Something I Should Know.”

It could be the future. But I don’t know what it is yet. I’d like to think something big is coming. I’d like to think something, ANYTHING is coming. But I don’t know yet.



I hope there’s something more meaningful than a Dalmatian behind it, though.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My New Christmas Tradition

I was sitting with a group of people last week and the question was posed: “What is your favorite Christmas tradition.”

Most everyone else at the table had an answer, whether it was opening presents on Christmas Eve, or decorating the tree, or cooking stuff, or something.

I passed on the question. My tradition used to be Ihop breakfast with my former roomies Heckle and Jekyll. But I don’t think there’s ever been one over-reaching tradition that has stayed with me from little girl to semi-grown up. My new place isn’t big enough to host a tree, and if I really wanted to go look at one, I’d go down to the Grove, or the Americana, because you know they’re gonna have massively huge decorated trees that you don’t have to help tear down after the holidays.

But this week I decided that I was gonna start a new tradition, and I’m ignoring the fact that you can still call it a “tradition” even if it’s the first time out.

So my new tradition is that I’m going to give blood the Sunday before Christmas from now on until the end of time. Because I like the idea of giving that kind of gift. I didn’t have to spend money, I didn’t have to sign up for the Amazon Prime trial membership in order to get free shipping to make sure Agatha, Mr, Agatha and Bug’s presents get to Orlando in time (and then I’ll be canceling that trial membership next week, ho ho ho.) I don’t need to know who it’s going to, but I do know that it will be greatly appreciated by whoever gets it.

For someone who badgers her church relentlessly to host blood drives, this was not my best year in terms of giving blood myself. If I count today’s adventure, I’ve given twice this year. You can give a maximum of six times a year. So I’ve got some ground to cover in 2010.

But today’s blood drive was over at The Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. How can you NOT go, right? Though I was really hoping for warm up comics to entertain us either in person or on a TV screen, there was no such thing, just Jingle, my nurse. Yep. Her name is honestly Jingle, and she had a beautiful smile, and an unexpected sense of humor: after doing the pinprick stick on my finger for the initial sample, she kept squeezing and wiping, squeezing and wiping, and then saying, “Oops, we gotta do it again. Just kidding!”

And though my heart seized up for two seconds when the first round with the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death apparently didn’t go well, to the point where Jingle wouldn’t tell me what the reading was, we did it again, and it came back a 13.1. Yep, my blood pressure is low, my pulse rate is low, I’m two degrees below normal in body temperature, and this was my lowest passing score yet on the Red Hemoglobin Machine O Death but I can STILL beat it. And I’m not dead. I have to say that for the benefit of my Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much, because she will look at the above paragraph and only see the words “death” , “low” , “lowest” , “below normal” and assume that I am a walking corpse.

So as I’m filling up the bag (takes me 6 minutes and 38 seconds, not my fastest time, but oh well) I chatted with Jingle the nurse, giving her ideas about what to get her nephews for Christmas, I say hello to Kyra the nurse, who remembered me from my blood drive in September, possibly because I’m the only one taking pictures with the camera, I chat with the organizers about when my church is going to hold their blood drive for 2010...

AND!

I get my coupon for my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. And I would be lying if I didn’t say that was the FIRST thing I zeroed in on when the Red Cross sent me the pleading email to donate before the holidays. Sure, I spun it to the idea of This Is My New Christmas Tradition, and isn’t it cool and nifty and great. But chiefly, I wanted my free Coldstone Creamery ice cream. I wanted it more than the two free Laugh Factory tickets to a future show (though I got those anyway.)

The plan was to stop by the one on my way home, pick up cake batter ice cream, or maybe that new chocolate Jell-o pudding flavored ice cream, with an add in of chopped up Twix bars, take it home and eat it while watching the documentary Every Little Step, which I have on Netflix DVD.

I was so excited, I was so happy, I started my new tradition, I helped people who I will never meet, I met a nurse with the cutest name I’ve ever heard of, I was going to get my free Coldstone Ice Cream!

But apparently, the one Coldstone Creamery store closest to my house is not honoring the Red Cross coupon DESPITE THE FACT IT SAYS ON THE BACK THAT IT’S VALID AT ALL SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA LOCATIONS.

It doesn’t say “valid at all participating Southern California locations.” It says ALL.

So don’t anyone ever visit the Coldstone Creamery location on 5455 Hollywood Blvd., LA CA 90027, because despite what their corporate parents say, it is my opinion that they don’t want to reward folks who give blood, and that makes them not very nice people.

I will be getting my Coldstone eventually, once I can locate a convenient location. But I’m sticking with my new tradition, regardless of what free stuff I get in the future.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Then Maui Happened

So yeah, I was in Maui last week. It’s a little embarrassing to admit it, as this makes the third vacation this year. I was feeling kinda guilty about going, until my friends pointed out that the other two trips this year were with family members, which doesn’t quite make them vacations. The last true vacation I had without family was my birthday in 2007 , and then a trip to New Orleans in 1999 with my then boyfriend who got mugged in the Quarter when he stupidly decided to go out by himself after dark because I fell asleep.

Nothing like that happened here, though. Just five days of sun, sunsets, snorkeling, ziplining, mai tais galore, and sleeping with the screen door open to the sound of the ocean crashing on the waves. It was glorious.

It was so glorious, that I immediately fell into a deep depression once I got off the plane and entered the Los Angeles rainstorm. It’s enough to make me never want to go on vacation again, I got the blues so bad.

My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much and my Dad The Great Stoic Wonder don’t know what ziplining is. Let’s attempt to freak them out:

Ziplining is where it’s you attached to a harness and you ride (i.e. “zip”) your way across a very thin cable to the other side of a valley, like this. (Except that’s not me. That’s Xavier. Yes, he came with me. No, I will not answer questions about him. What, you wanna scare him off? That aint cool.)










This is me. I quickly developed a signature style of zipping, a cross between Peter Pan and a superhero coming in for a landing, “Here I am to save the daaaaaaaaaay!” The guides thought it was especially graceful: “It’s the shoes!” they joked (I’m the only one of our group wearing black tennis shoes, I had read about the red dust ahead of time.)

I had forgotten how much I like being up in the air. I think it might be part of the reason I stuck with gymnastics as a kid for so long despite the fact that I had zero flexibility. I had no fear, and gaily launched myself over the vault, around the bars, off the beam, anything to put me in the air. In college, I took a circus class (hey, they offered it) and learned a Spanish web routine where I was spun around and around high up in the air, and it was awesome (I have video of that somewhere around here.)

We also went snorkeling, and didn’t take an underwater camera with us, but this is what it looked like from above before we jumped in. We were on the outside of the Molokini crater, where not a lot of boats go, and fish were everywhere. They gave me one of those snorkel shirts because I knew I’d be a wimp about the water. An unexpected bonus of the shirt was that it kept me afloat in the water. While Xavier dived down and swam with the fishies, I floated up top and watched him (and swam with the fishies that came my way. They were seriously not afraid of people. It was awesome.) This may not sound like a lot of fun except for the fact that I don’t float on my own in water. Never have. I sink like a rock and it’s always annoyed me. So I spread out my arms and floated in the water amongst the fishies and the bubbles from the scuba divers way down below, and felt like I was flying again.

I had planned on dreaming big on this vacation. I had big things to think about, big plans to concoct about how I was going to spend 2010, what I was going to write, what I was going to write first, logical steps to achieve my goals.

And I did none of that. I did no thinking on this trip. No plotting, no planning. No writing on the plane (we watched Wall-E on the computer. Much more endearing of a movie than I expected.) All that potential time wasted. I wrote on both of the cruises this year. I wrote during the 2007 birthday trip. I did nothing here.

I suppose it’s not that big of a deal. It wasn’t like I was bored. I was always engaged in doing something. Just not writing, plotting or planning.

I am rudderless, sprawled out in the ocean, floating in the yellow snorkel shirt, watching Xavier and the fishies swim beneath me.

I am senseless, watching a sun set over a table full of Mai Tais, and not being inspired to do anything other than watch the sunset.

I am flying, floating over a Hawaiian valley, looking out at the ocean and not concerned at all that my life is attached to a harness and a thin cable line.

There will be time to write, think, plan and plot later. The New Year is coming up, and my annual trip down to the Santa Monica Pier to have margaritas is supposed to be where I do all of that anyway.

It was a vacation. And now I’m back, and desperately trying to get re-energized again.

Soon. Hopefully soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Blog Is Still Late

Because I've been in Maui for the past couple of days. Which is its own entry in itself.

There's a lot to catch up on, and I promise you I will get back to a regular routine of posting (attempting to going back to posting on Sundays.)

I just wanted to apologize for my absence, and to thank you regular readers who've been wondering where I've been.

A picture for everyone: Clementine the hat in Maui, getting blasting on Mai Tais during Happy Hour.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Post, She Is Late

I've been working on this totally awesome post: A Guide To Your Minor Prophets (Possibly In Flow Chart Format!) and had planned on getting it finished yesterday, but finishing up a grant for my theater company came first, and well, Zechariah is Zechariah.

Have you guys tried to make it through Zechariah? It's all about prophesy and lampstands and women in pots with lead covers, and white, black and dappled horses running through the earth, and THE RED HORSE! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE RED HORSE!?!

So. Hopefully I'll have something ready later tonight. Hopefully.

:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

I'm thankful for a lot of things, especially in the later half of 2009, which is without a doubt the fastest year I've ever lived through.

And while I could do the proverbial List O Things I'm Thankful For, I think I'm going to let the pictures do the talking:

Behold - the views from my front porch:



















Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stop Wondering

There are people in the world who have the metaphorical Black Raincloud over their head all day long. These are the types of people for whom disaster strikes day after day, where bad things go wrong ALL the time. My former roomie Roomie Jekyll was such a person. Her laptop would break, the airline would lose her luggage, someone would hit her car and drive off. There would be bright sides in the form of insurance, luggage tags that eventually tracked down her luggage, etc. But it didn’t ever dispel the black rain cloud. If there was ever anyone I wanted to surround with a white sage cloud in the hopes of dispelling whatever bad mojo there was surrounding her, it was Roomie Jekyll. I never did, probably because she would spit venom at me. And then her clothes would accidentally catch on fire.

I like to think that I am not that type of black rain cloud person, and I work mighty hard at being uber productive to prove that I’m not. I am a fixer, I am resourceful, I can make anything work, I do not need to ask for help, I will solve these problems on my own.

I hate asking for help. If I ask for help, than I’m no better than my former Crazy Boss, the one who fired me because I couldn’t read her mind. She was another Black Raincloud Person, unable to figure out the simplest things, like how to turn on her daughter’s Ipod, and thus made me do everything for her. It’s not that hard to figure out how to turn on an Ipod, people, really it’s not. If you’re smart, you can figure it out. If you’re resourceful, you can solve problems all by yourself.

See my roses? Look at how great they’re doing. Pepe and Pembleton decided to repot them while I was dogsitting for Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy last week. Super sweet of them, sure, even though they confessed that they “couldn’t deal with the tacky Target pots” the roses used to be in. So they really repotted the roses because the Target pots were aesthetically offensive to them. BWAH!

My roses, after the struggle to move them, are doing great. And for me personally, things were so blissfully stable for like, at least a month and a half, the Running Of The Dalmatians not withstanding. I could incorporate that into my routine, because I am a fixer. I am resourceful. I can make anything work, I do not need to ask for help.

But then. A cop pulled me over for running a stop sign, when there was NO ONE around for miles, and I ran it at a whole whopping five miles an hour.

And then. I lost my cell phone. At a Halloween party where there was much merriment, and apparently too much fun.

And finally. My car died. After an oil change from EZ Lube. Suspicious? I think so.

I fixed the ticket by myself, since I hadn’t gotten a ticket in ten years, a trip to online traffic school took care of it.

I fixed the cell phone by myself, a trip to the local AT&T store and a cheapo $30 “gophone” took care of it (still the same number, Mom, don’t worry.)

Ah, but the car. The car. The car, is not something I can fix by myself. Because I am a chick. And Ethel is Ethel.

It took an entire village of people to help me with Ethel (and to everyone’s credit, everyone called her by her name. Nobody ever said, “Um, Amy, isn’t it a little weird to name your car Ethel?” Everyone just accepted the fact that Amy’s car is named Ethel, and that’s what we call her.)

Over a period of 48 hours, no less than 10 of my friends stepped up to help revive poor Ethel. Whether it was coming down to give her a jump, or loaning me a car, or driving me to the loaner car, or being on standby, or sending email prayers and assorted well wishes, everyone all lent a hand.

It turns out all that was wrong with Ethel was that her battery, recently taken out for inspection by the EZ Lube folk, was not put back correctly. That’s it. Tons of drama, two jumps, two tows, a million diagnoses of “it’s the alternator” and it all comes down to a STUPID EZ LUBE TECHNICIAN. DO NOT GO TO THE EZ LUBE IN BURBANK! THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING!

Throughout the madness, which reached a head on Sunday evening, as I was waiting for a pal to come pick me up at the EZ Lube to drive me to the loaner car, I noticed this store, situated right next to the EZ Lube. You can’t see it, but there’s also a giant Jesus on the cross next to the store, which is mildly disturbing.

And I’m staring at the sign, and I know I’m supposed to be thankful, and I know that I’m supposed to be feeling a warm wave of relief, that HERE God is in this situation, he’s a big green neon sign! Whooo hoooooo!

And all I’m feeling is numbness. Yay. God’s a green neon sign. That’s nice.

See, if I was younger, I’d be SO pissed off. Not just because of the car, but because God is SO not here in this situation, and that green neon sign is just mocking me! You want me to trust You? How bout cutting me a break and get my car working again! Raaaaaahhhhhhhhhrrrrrrrrr!

But I’m not that way. Because I know now that God doesn’t work like that. God does not come down with the God wand and tap Ethel and shock her back to life. God works in the form of my ten friends helping me.

So much of the time, myself and the rest of the world say they want God’s help in a situation, when really what they want is for the situation to not exist anymore. And God doesn’t work like that.

I know that. So I’m staring at this green neon sign and I’m not feeling relief., because the car’s still dead. I do still feel the lack of God’s presence, despite the green neon sign, but that’s just a given these days.

And as I continue to stare at the God store, aching for some kind of connection, some kind of thought, some kind of spark, any kind of thought, or reassuring groundedness, the only thing that comes to mind is:

You’re trying too hard.

Heh. I’m TRYING too hard. Constantly examining every situation, wondering where God is, why He’s allowing things to go this way, where are we going, where does He want me to go. I should just stop that.

Not that I’m walking away from God, but I need to stop wondering where He is. He’s there in the sign, see?

Ethel is back up and running, thanks to Wella, and a million other people. Because I asked for help from people. People respond. People respond, and God observes.

And I’m trying to stop wondering.

Except now, I wonder what’ll happen when I stop wondering. Paradox! Paradox! ACK!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not much to say

And that is okay. After the months of upheaveal, after most of this year where wild wacky things happened, I am absolutely okay to say that not much is going on.

And I am okay with that.

It doesn't quite make for scintillating blog reading, but everyone deserves a break now and then. Even me. :)

Hopefully something will happen that I can write about next week. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

One Less Than Five, One More Than Three

My secret dream is that someday I sing a song with the Muppets on Sesame Street. It will never happen, since I'm not famous (nor do I have plans to be.) Maybe if I moved to New York, made friends with the crew, got a gig as a stand-in or something...no. Probably not.

(though honestly, if Sesame Street is strapped for cash, they could make a KILLING charging for just such an experience.)

Anyhoo, when I want to smile, I watch the below video. Yes, I know it's a year old. I don't care. I watch it, and then I dance around my place singing, "BWAK BA BA BWAK! BWAK BA BA BAWK! OhhhhhooooohhhhhOOOOOHHHHHHHHH! We're counting to FOOOOOUUUUUUUUUURRRR!"

I dare you to do it. You will smile at the end.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shut Up And Trust

If I’m perfectly honest (and why not? Lying is so pedestrian.) I haven’t been feeling close to God these days, and it’s probably because I haven’t been sticking to my schedule of Bible reading.

There was no good excuse, I wasn’t lost in the wilderness of Isaiah, or down in the dumps with Ezekiel, or battling the never ending out of order poetry of Psalms. I had just finished Daniel. DANIEL, of all books. Daniel in the lion’s den! Daniel and the diet! Daniel the woo woo prophet! Who doesn’t love Daniel and want to keep going, right? Next up is Hosea. I’ve been DYING to read Hosea again! It’s the freakiest book in the Bible – God telling Hosea to marry a prostitute who continues to cheat on him and give his kids names that will get their asses kicked on the playground! What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I just stop typing right now and start reading Hosea?

It was the dogs. Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets came home yesterday, cutting their vacation short due to some unforeseen complications, so I am officially released from caring for them. Yes, I did indeed wake up every morning for over two weeks and run something close to a mile if not more every day with them. I got used to it, but I definitely did not enjoy it, and the morning routine of caring for the dogs and watering the hillside of plants usurped my Bible time. (It also usurped my evening writing time, so all things are equal in secular and non-secular pursuits.) Last night was the first night in over two weeks that my sleeptime wasn’t interrupted by a lonesome 1am bark, or a 3am scratch on the back door. (It’s a good thing I don’t scare easily like apparently the last tenant.) I woke up this morning on my own and I didn’t have to stumble outside in the dark to walk two crazy Dalmatians. I’ve never been happier.

So THAT’s why I didn’t get to Hosea sooner. I’m shooting for tomorrow. Hopefully.

I know all the rebuttals for why not reading my Bible shouldn’t give me guilt pangs – God doesn’t want your routines to become route, and there are other ways to get close to Him than reading His word, and He doesn’t want you to read it if you feel like you have to (and I haven’t figured out what He thinks about reading the Bible primarily as research for monologue collections), and it’s a good idea to shake things up once in awhile, so you don’t rely on the ritual instead of Him.

There’s more going on. I didn’t sign up for a small group through my church this year, I’ve missed my monthly prayer group for three months straight now, though I’m part of an informal group of awesome peeps that meet once every other week.

But I didn't like the aspect of small groups when we present a list of things to ask God for, because it feels like we’re reducing God to Genie In A Lamp time. And I didn’t feel good about that at all.

I’ve talked about this feeling before (I am aware when I start to repeat myself.) I don’t know how to talk to God. Just start talking, why don’tcha. Oh ho ho, very easy to say, when you’re the only one talking.

One thing that I’ve heard said from multiple pastors at church is “Talk to God about (whatever you don’t wanna talk about.) He’s a big boy. He can handle it.”

How do you talk to God?

1. You ask Him for stuff. DING, you’re doing it wrong. He’s God, not your personal Santa Claus.

2. You thank Him for stuff. I actually do this a lot of the time, perhaps more than asking Him for stuff, since that leaves a bad taste in my mouth currently. I’m the master of Thank You God, Thank You. I can breathe it 24/7.

I was at Disneyland on Sunday. It was super awesome for a number of reasons: Agatha and Mr. Agatha had sent me free tickets, I was with fun people who don’t mind goofing for pictures, I had done my Fast Pass research on how to get through the most popular rides with minimal wait time, and there’s a store on Main Street that sells the most yummers Cinnamon Tea Latte IN THE WORLD for under three bucks.

All through the day, I breathed Thank You God, Thank You. Thank You God, Thank You. Thank You for this company. Thank You that this Fast Pass strategy is working. Thank You that my friends didn’t get sick on Space Mountain, though it was a close call. Thank You for the Cinnamon Tea Latte. Thank You for It’s A Small World (yes, nobody else likes it, but it brings up very vivid memories of me when I was five or so, and flipping through the book that came with the song.)

True, I can get snarky with my Thank You God, like yesterday when Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets’ car wouldn’t start: Thank you God, for giving me the most AWESOME reason in the world to trust You to give me the tools I need to fix this situation. (those tools came in the form of the human pet’s handyman and his jumper cables.)

But there’s gotta be more to the conversation than me groveling with gratitude. Maybe He doesn’t get tired of hearing Thanks, but it can make for a little one sided conversation, like you know He’s thinking, Enough already! You’re welcome! What else is going on!?

3. You tell him what you’re thinking. That usually veers into dissatisfaction (I don’t have x,y,z, if only I had x,y,z in my life, I’d be so much happier,) DING, you’re doing it wrong, because you’re blaming God for your circumstance, which He has placed you in for purposes of His own, mainly to teach you something, like maybe STOP WHINING.

4. You ask Him where we’re going. Again veering into dissatisfaction. (Where are we going? Am I really temping for the rest of my life? Really!? You know I wanted to do a, b, and c, oh shit, is that the whole Here Are My Plans, Please Bless Them rather than Here’s What I Was Thinking About Doing Please Tell Me If You Want Me To Do Something Else. Oh shit, did I say shit? Aw hell. You’re really not gonna talk to me now, are You. If only I was Angel Mouthed. Fuck.)

5. You go to Here’s What I Was Thinking About Doing Please Tell Me If You Want Me To Do Something Else. And...silence.

I can’t talk to God if I’m continually hearing the Ding You’re Doing it Wrong bell in my head. Let’s start there.

Hi God, it’s me, Amy, The Foul Mouthed Writer. S’up? Oh, is that too irreverent? Are You shaking Your almighty head in dismay, that I didn’t approach You with the respect that You command, because You are God of the universe?

Hi God, it’s me, Amy, the Writer Who Sometimes Drinks While Writing. I am appropriately bowing in Your general direction, which is, um, Up? Thank You that Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets came back. I am sooooooooo stoked that I don’t have to run anymore. I rediscovered that I can roll with whatever punches anyone throws at me, but no, I do not like running, I never have, I never will, thanks for that reinforcement. Thank You that I live by myself, thank You that I have the World’s Most Boring Temp Job (but working with really nice people.) It’s a job which means money, so thank You that I can pay my bills. Thank You for Benedryl, my best defense against this wacked out weather and winds. Thank You for Rolling Rock, the sponsor of tonight’s blog entry.

So, God. You know I don’t wanna ask You for stuff, because that seems distasteful. I think we both know each other better than that. I am curious, though. I’m Here. I want to be Over There. I think I could get Over There if I did a, b, and c. What do You think? Yay? Nay? You wanna throw d, e, and f my way? I can roll with whatever letters you throw at me, we both know that.

Hello? Hello, God? You wanna say something? You wanna show me something? Is it wrong of me to ask? Was I supposed to shut up and trust?

Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Feeling Especially Writerly

Because Pembleton and Pepe think if they scratch on the back door at 3am and 4am in the morning, I will somehow open it.

I won't, and I have done nothing to reinforce that I will, but that doesn't stop them from scratching at the back door. Did I mention the 3am and 4am part. For the past week?

I generally like dogs. But not when they do this. Harumph.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

But I Don't Like Running.

Pembleton and Pepe’s human pets have left for a cruise, so it’s just me and Dalmatians for a month. As soon as the humans were gone, Pembleton and Pepe quickly informed me that they require runs through Griffith Park. Every single day. Because they’re Dalmatians, see. If you don’t run them a lot, they go crazy. And when I say crazy, I mean Eye Crazed, Circle Running WHAT GOING ON!? LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!? I’M A BIRD Crazy.

The problem is, I’m not a runner. I’m a gym rat, sure, but I’m an elliptical gal, because I’m all about saving my knees for as long as humanly possible. I don’t run. And certainly not outside.

Pembleton and Pepe would have none of it. Because they’re Dalmatians, and they’re crazy. When we walked through Griffith Park, they’d go this way, that way, they’d get all tangled up in their leashes and HEY! I THINK I’M A BIRD! IS THAT ANOTHER DOG OVER THERE! I’M A BIRD! I’M SURE OF IT! WHY AREN’T WE FLYING YET?

So it became obvious that we were going to run. Whether I wanted to or not. The first few days were kind of rocky, and there’s still parts where we take breaks because if ‘m running, I am NOT running up a hill. But I’m grimly holding my own now.

I know there are plenty of people out there who think of running as a spiritual time. That it clears their mind, and allows them to concentrate and focus on talking to God. Or if they’re not talking to God, they’re focusing on some problem, and running allows their brain to think of the perfect solution.

Yeah, that’s not me. I can’t think about anything when I’m running but the rhythm of my breath and the sound of my feet literally pounding the pavement. It could be because I’m trying to manage two Crazy Dogs, or it could be because it’s the first light of the morning, or the fact that I’m just not a runner.

I better have dropped at least three pounds at the end of this month. Seriously. I’m eating celery and peanut butter for snacks, and apple slices with caramel for dessert. Tonight when I came home, I steamed some veggies and drizzled olive oil on top of them. Because I wanna see what happens when I adopt a healthier lifestyle.

And if there’s no noticeable difference at the end of the month, I’m shoving Twizzlers, Captain Crunch, and Krispy Kremes into a blender, and mainlining it directly into my veins.

I bet I’ll see God then.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Progress


Here are my SuperRoses, closing in on nearly a month since the move. They wouldn't admit it if you asked them, but they really are enjoying the new place. Pepe and Pembleton can't believe how well they're doing. I always say violence and outright threats will get you what you want if you just COMMIT to the anger, ha ha ha.

(yes, this post is short. Under the gun on a lot o' stuff. Thanks!)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Runaway Bunny

In unpacking my bookcase in my new place (I think the Shabby Shack is the winner unless I change my mind) I ran across a copy of The Runaway Bunny


My childhood was a little off in terms of classics. For instance, Where The Wild Things Are? Missed that one completely. I mean, maybe I read it, but it didn’t stick with me.


Same thing with Legos. I never played with Legos as a kid, and then somewhere in the middle of college, I was ALL about LEGOS! LEGOS! I WANNA BUILD A TREEHOUSE LIKE THE PICTURE ON THE BOX!


So even though The Runaway Bunny is in my bookcase, it wasn’t something I read as a kid. In fact, I distinctly remember My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much buying me this copy a few years ago when the bookstore in the mall was going out of business. I bought the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and the Lloyd Alexander Black Cauldron series (still an excellent and underappreciated series.) My mother bought The Runaway Bunny, and then gave it to me.


Now, everyone knows the basic story of the Runaway Bunny, right? He’s not Pat The Bunny, he’s the Runaway Bunny. He runs away. Repeatedly. Because he’s trying to get away from his Stalker Mother.

Fine, yes, I KNOW it’s a religious metaphor. Runaway Bunny is Amy as Runaway Bunny’s Mom is God. And that there’s nowhere that Runaway Amy can run to that God can’t find her, and the depths He will go to get back to her. And it’s touching, and beautiful, and a lovely game of Find The Hidden Runaway Bunny In The Picture, and la la la.


But seriously, people. Have you read the story lately?


Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away.

So he said to his mother, “I am running away.”

“If you run away,” said his mother, “I will run after you.

For you are my little bunny.”


ALERT! ALERT! STALKER MOMMY IN EFFECT! Because I’m sure the Runaway Bunny has a good reason for running away. A reason that nobody is listening to, just merely brushing off the silly reasons of a Runaway Bunny.


(…)


“If you are a gardener and find me,” said the little bunny,

“I will be a bird and fly away from you.”

“If you become a bird and fly away from me,” said his mother,

“I will be a tree that you come home to.”



This picture scares the crap out of me. Stalker Mommy Bunny has turned herself into the only place that Runaway Bird Bunny can land, regardless of where he wants to go. Again, Runaway Bunny isn’t being heard. I’M LISTENING, RUNAWAY BUNNY! I AM!


“If you become a tree,” said the little bunny,

“I will become a little sailboat, and I will sail away from you.”

“If you become a sailboat and sail away from me,” said his mother,

“I will become the wind and blow you where I want you to go.”


Smothering Stalker Mommy Bunny! It’s not about what where you want your kid to go! Let the kid goes where he wants to go! He’s got plans! He’s got ideas! Let him breathe!


(…)


“Shucks,” said the bunny,

“I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.”


That’s right! Beat your kid down so he just gives in to what you want!


And so he did.

“Have a carrot,” said the mother bunny.


That’s my My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much’s favorite part. “Have a carrot” she likes to say.


Seriously, am I the only person who ever saw the story that way? Maybe that’s my next project. A retelling of Runaway Bunny, from the kid’s point of view. A thriller, in which he desperately tries to avoid his shapeshifter mom, and nobody will believe him when he tries to tell the authorities she’s a killer. Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It’s Always Time To Pop The Champagne

It is once again hot in the evenings, which means a return of my allergies and red nosed-ness. Nobody is looking more forward to October and the whispered rumors of cool weather more than me. It is God’ chronic joke that an avowed albino such as myself has to be in sunny Los Angeles to pursue her dreams, but whatever.

Polka Dotted Platypus is closed. Finally. We ran for nine long weeks, plus six weeks of rehearsal before that. It’s not that we don’t love each other, because this cast RAWKED, but we were all ready for it to be over, for sure. At the cast party, they gave me a bottle of my favorite tequila Don Julio, so all my copious hint dropping worked! Hurray! Copious Hint Dropping Is Awesome When It Gets You What You Want! Heh.

And when I got home, I put the tequila on the shelf, like I usually do. It’s special, I said to myself, It’s my favorite tequila. I shall save it for a special occasion.

And then I stopped. That top shelf that I put Don Julio on has several thousands bottles of wine already on there, as Albert and Abbot usually give me a bottle everytime I come over to housesit Basil and Ginger Puppy (perhaps it’s considered liquid strength to deal with them? Who knows.) Also on the shelf is some leftover Sauza tequila. Even a never opened bottle of cognac. Basically, there shouldn’t be a party in the next two years that I have to buy alcohol for, just grab one off the shelf and I’m good to go.

And then I looked around my tiny tiny nest. (We need to come up with a name for it. Amy The Writer’s Hidey Hole? The whole place is perched on a bluff. Could we call it Amy The Writer’s Beauteous Bluff? Bountiful Bluff? That could conjure up inappropriate images if you were, say, twelve. Hmmmm.)

The one benefit about living in a small place is that it forces you to be neat, because clutter makes the place look ten times smaller. No, that stack of un-filed bills cannot stay on the table, the jewelry has to go STRAIGHT into the jewelry box, the dishes have to be put away as soon as they’re dry (takes about ten seconds in this heat.)

I’m still slowly unpacking stuff, but finally tackled the bathroom the other day. And was stunned at the amount of body lotion, shampoo and conditioner that I had pilfered from this, that, or the other hotel (or cruise), really nice stuff that I had kept for YEARS, for a “special occasion.”

Now what, I ask you, what kind of special occasion has to happen in order for me to bust into my stash of “special” shampoo? It’s dumb. Just just dumb. My mentality is something like I have to wait to use it, I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to grab it again. But now I have a whole plastic crate of special shampoo, I think I’ll be fine for awhile (the conditioner on the other hand, hmmm. It weighs down my hair.)

I am reminded of a long ago boss, (and now I’m starting to worry I’ve already shared this anecdote before. Please remind me if I have.) This Bossman was batshit crazy in a number of ways, but ultimately was a kind person, and someone who’s turned out to be an unexpected champion of my writing, and taught me everything I know about organization, which is definitely helpful here in Amy The Writer’s Tiny Teepee of Torrential Tale Telling (Yes? No?)

Bossman arranged the offices in such a way that I was staring at his back all day long, and was able to hear his end of several thousands phone conversations. And one day he was talking to a writer about how the next step of her writing deal had kinda closed, but the studio still needed her to do a lot of work. And she must’ve said something to the effect of “Is it time to pop the champagne?” Because Bossman replied, “It’s always time to pop the champagne.” And went on to explain that you have to celebrate every step of the journey, because you don’t know if it might be your last step, but the fact that you’ve taken ANY Forward Step on this rocky road of screenwriting is cause for celebration.

Which was such an optimistic thing for Bossman to say, it always stuck with me.

There was indeed champagne at the cast party for Polka Dotted Platypus, and we drank copiously. And I was telling Xaiver, Nick and Nora about how this year has twisted and buckled in such a strange fashion for me. “At the beginning of the year, I had a job.” I started, then we all busted out laughing.

Yeah, I had a job, I had a house I was sharing with two slobs, Pink Piggy, my first produced written feature, made its debut at Film Festival C (and I pilfered all the shampoo from that hotel), and plans were in place for Polka Dotted Platypus to debut in July. I took two cruises, (stole the shampoo from there, too) and those was the first vacations since New Orleans in 1999. I looked liked I was the shit. I looked like I was on my way.

Twisty, twisty, buckle buckle, toil and trouble and now we’re here: Scrambling to thread temp jobs together, Pink Piggy seems to be dying on the film festival vine, Polka Dotted Platypus came and went to okay but not rapturous reviews, and now I live in Amy The Writer’s Shabby Shack of Storyspinning (Yes? No?)

But I am here. I am perhaps not on my way (or I am, and simply can’t see the bigger picture), but enjoyed a ride that may be lurching to an end.

I am wanting too much. Okay reviews are better than bad reviews. Temp jobs are better than no jobs. There’s nothing to say that Pink Piggy couldn’t be revived when the right person sees it. And a Shabby Shack is better than the muck of the Slobborium that I left (and those roses BETTER appreciate me!)

Whether a Solid Standing, Refusing To Bow Down Or Turn Around Stance carries as much weight as a Forward Step is yet to be seen.

But I’m popping the Don Julio anyway. And busting into the Special Occasion Shampoo. Unapologetically. Because, if nothing else, it creates more room. HA!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The World's Most Sappy Metaphor

This is my new screensaver on my computer. You like? It’s Clementine the hat, on Serenity Bay, on Disney’s private island, which is one of the stops we made on the 3 Day Cruise over this past weekend.

Yes, it was a Disney cruise. You Cruise Purists who sniff your nose at a Disney cruise can suck it. We were in a stateroom with a balcony on a three-day cruise for $99, and you CAN’T do better than that anywhere in the world.

I was a total dork and took pictures of everything, the big puffy Orlando clouds, the few times it rained (which I totally loved), even the food, which perplexed sister Agatha. I can’t help it. I don’t know when I’ll be on a cruise next, and I have figured out that I LOVE cruising. Actually, I think I dig the experience of not having to pay for anything in the restaurants. If I could find an all-inclusive resort on a Mexico beach somewhere, I’m sure that would work too.

And even though I was in much less stressful circumstances than the first cruise earlier this year., I still didn’t have any breakthrough realizations about my life. Certainly, there was plenty of space to. That big expanse of water that Clementine the hat is staring at? I went out in there, almost out to that pink buoy thing you see. And I didn’t think a single thought other than this is nice. And a couple of thank You God, thank You.

I think there’s something about gazing at natural beauty that just makes my mind go blank. And there’s something very useful about it, because God knows at every other point in my life, there’s a chorus o’ crazies shouting in triplicate inside my brain. So to not think about anything for awhile was very nice, if unexpected.

But then I got home. See, after I picked up my car, my next stop was back to my old house, to rescue the Super Roses. They were already brown and withered because my old roommates were not about to water them because they hate nature. KIDDING. I was the only one who watered anything at the house, and though I can’t do anything about the roses in the ground in the backyard, I can save the Super Roses, because they’re in pots. And My Mother The Phone Harpy, wants me to. She’s already mentioned it several thousand times in the few phone conversations we’ve had, “Are you going to bring the roses to the new place with you? Are you going to bring the roses? What about the roses? WHAT ABOUT THE ROSES, AMY!? SAVE THE ROSES! YOU’RE THEIR ONLY HOPE AMY-WAN!”

I knew I was going to have to cut the roses way back to get them into my car, and since they were brown and withered anyway, there wasn’t going to be any loss there.

But the funny thing about the Super Roses. They didn’t wanna go. They’re Super Roses, which means they’re Super Thorny, and as I clipped and clipped and clipped, they attacked my arms and hands (through gloves) and even my neck. My NECK, people! I PULLED A THORN OUT OF MY NECK! MILIMETERS FROM MY JUGULAR! All these year, I didn’t know the Super Roses were vampiric, it doesn’t make sense, they LURVE their sunshine.

But they didn’t wanna go, and did their very very best to make sure that if they HAD to go, they were gonna scratch the ever’ lovin’ shit out of me, and tear holes in the fabric roof of Ethel the car, lowering her value to about two cents now (she’s not happy with them either.)

They were little bitches about going. And I cursed at them every step of the way, because yes, they are plants and therefore alive, “You have to go! They won’t water you! Do you wanna die here!? I’m trying to help you! Why are you hurting me when I’m trying to help you! YOU HAVE TO GO BECAUSE I CAN’T HANDLE THE GUILT FROM MY MOTHER THE PHONE HARPY IF SHE FIGURES OUT I DIDN’T SAVE YOU!”

And then it hit me. My realization about my life. The one I thought I was gonna get on the boat.

Me versus the Super Roses is God versus Me. Me wrestling the Super Roses, who are fighting me every step of the way, is God wrestling me to this new place in my life.

Me assuring the Super Roses that no, no, we’re not staying here, I know it sucks, and yes, it’s going to hurt, and I’m gonna clip the dead parts off you, and you’re not gonna like it, but you gotta trust me when I say that we’re going someplace better.

That’s the same conversation that God silently had with me, as He wrestled with my anxiety and bewilderment and What, We’re Moving and How Am I Gonna Move All This Stuff, and Where Are We Going, and Why Are We Going Here and How’s It Gonna Work When I Have No Couch as He moved me to this new place. I’m trying to help you. You gotta trust me when I say that we’re going someplace better.

I would like to state that I am better than the Super Roses, because I did not stick any metaphorical thorns in God’s neck. That I know of.

I wonder who God’s Phone Harpy is. The Virgin Mary? Heh.

At any rate, the Super Roses, in all their bare and spindly thorny glory are now outside my front door. Pepe and Pembleton kinda stared at them, and I know they’re thinking something along the lines of, “You’re sure they’re roses?”

But I drowned them in plant food, and they’re getting regularly watered, and if they don’t showing some progress in a few weeks, I have no compunction at all in dumping them, for all the grief they gave me.

Hopefully, God is more merciful.

Oh, and I got my couch yesterday. Isn’t it pretty? It’s got STORAGE!

Oh, and per Agatha’s request, here’s Mr. Agatha and Bug, in half of his Halloween costume. He’s going as Gene Simmons from Kiss. BWAH!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Almost There

I’m currently three hours ahead of most of you as I’m at my sister’s house in Orlando. There is no caffeine here. I am in pain.

I could snag the last Kahlua mudslide in the fridge, but I accidentally drank far too much yesterday night. I was back at the new place packing, and landlords Pembleton and Pepe announced it was cocktail hour, and made me tequila sunrises. I then finished packing drunk off my butt, and woke up this morning with strange puffy spots under my eyes.

Surprisingly, I think everything made it inside the suitcase, and the suitcase made it on the plane as a carry on, and I made it to Orlando in a caffeine-less house.

Tomorrow is the cruise. I cannot wait. I have EARNED this cruise. I didn’t necessarily earn the first one in January, that was more of a Hey We’re Doing This Thing As A Whole Family So Come Along With Us.

But I have earned this time off, oh hell yes I have. I had made a list of Things I Had To Get Through Before Going On The Cruise about three months ago, and it stacked up this way chronologically:

1. Get Through My Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
2. Open My Show
3. Host My Blood Drive
4. Survive My Parents Visit
5. Go On CRUUUUUUUISE!!!

But at the end of the day, the list turned out to be this instead:

1. Get Through My Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
2. Open My Show
3. Get Through The Co-Producing Theatre Company’s Fundraiser
4. Survive The Sewer Line Collapsing
5. Sneeze My Way Through House Painting
6. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy
7. Host My Blood Drive
8. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy Again
9. Survive My Parents Visit
10. MOVE ALL MY STUFF TO A NEW PLACE!
11. Survive My Car Breaking Down and Stella and Wella Fixing It In One Day!
12. Housesit for Basil and Ginger Puppy Part 3!
13. Manage Ginger Puppy’s Ear Getting Nipped By Her Crazed Brother!
14. Pack Your Suitcase While Drunk!
15. Go On CRUUUUUUUISE!!!


Yes, I have earned this cruise. I have earned the right to be Blotto For Three Days On A Disney Boat. The Disney Boat will have caffeine too. I will be happy.

Every day I still say “Lead on, God, lead on. Whatever happens today, Lead on.” And almost instantly, the Bumps In The Road happen as a response. Seriously, number 13 happened less than two minutes after I said that sentence (Basil nipped Ginger Puppy’s ear because a nearby dog was unleashed, and they both went bonkers. Blood, hydrogen peroxide, and angry words at Unleashed Dog’s Owner followed.)

But with every bump that comes, I don’t panic. I just deal. Even on #11, when the gear shift was flapping uselessly like a dead fish, I managed to ride third gear into the parking lot of a McDonald’s. And there was no panic. Just a solid sense of this will be fine. And it was, as Wella called me back within five minutes of my text “HELP! CAR BROKE!” And following that, a solid sense of Wella will fix the car. This will be fine. I had no guarantee that Wella could fix it, could jerry rig a solution in under two hours (it actually took longer for the tow truck to pick me up and tow me to Wella’s house than it did for Wella to fix the car.)

Maybe that’s God. So often, I think that God’s presence is supposed to feel like some angelic light bathing me in pearls, or some supernatural strong tug pulling me off my feet and hey, I’m FLYING.

But instead, it’s more like a strong solid feeling in my gut. This will be fine.

And it is. Except that I currently have no caffeine in my system.

Here’s Bug, my niece, so happy about her Mac and Cheese and Broccoli. I double checked with my sister Agatha, and she is not throwing some gang symbol known only to seven year olds. That’s just her being goofy.

As I will be, starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Transition

Yeah. The original plan was that I would move yesterday, September 1st. Which makes sense, it being the new month and all. But then I got the call that the new landlords wanted me to move in the Saturday before instead, because they were going out of town Sunday through Wednesday. Um, yeah.

So the Pink Padded Mallet continues to whack away, and I continue to roll with it as best I can. It's not a heart seizing panic. It's not Grit Your Teeth From The Pain either. It's a resigned Squaring Of The Shoulders and trudging through.

Trudging through picking up a U-Haul on the busiest day of the month (thank God I have no problem being at the U-Haul place at 7am.) Also the day the Station Fires started, making the day beastly hot and hard to breathe, and that was after I already dove into a dusty, rat droppings filled garage to lug boxes of my stuff out.

Trudging through driving the truck back up to the new place, trudging through getting all the stuff unloaded. I have the best friends in the world, let me me tell you, and they don't take advantage of me enough, considering what they had to do in loading and unloading all my stuff with the truck (though I did have a relatively easy unloading, since the garage is mere steps from my door.)

Trudging my way through boxes in the tiny new space. Bolstering myself up by saying at least it's MY tiny new space. "A new place small and all to yourself," Nadine said as she handed me box after box of my stuff into the attic. (YES! I have an attic!)

It's probably bigger than I think. I have a huge problem with spatial measurements, which is why Stella and Wella came by yesterday to shepherd me through Ikea, and plot out my room's measurements. If I was doing this by myself, I would've taken two steps in, gotten overwhelmed, grabbed the nearest cheapest LACK Table, and high tailed it to the Swedish Meatballs. Stella made a very persuasive argument about how there's a reason that table's only $8, look at it: the thing's gonna break in a year, and you said from the beginning that you couldn't buy anything unless it had storage in it, so pony up for this decent table with oodles of storage, Missy. (I didn't get to the Swedish Meatballs, though. Next time!)

We came out of Ikea with a coffee table with storage, and a kitchen counter with storage. No sofa yet (I have one picked out with...storage!), but I have a blue beach chair to sit in, which is where I watched the season finale of Rescue Me last night, after burning my first batch of popcorn in the microwave that came with the place.

And yes, despite being three inches off the floor and surrounded by boxes (the age old dilemma of I can't move the boxes until there's somewhere to put them vs. I can't find places to put them until the boxes are out of the way!) , it was nice to watch something in my own place, without random roommates walking through and muttering their own unsolicited commentary.

I have carted more of my stuff to the Goodwill than would be seem humanly possible. I have thrown out more drafts of old projects around town, to where various recycle workers must think that Amy The Writer is the Worst Writer In The World, since so many scripts written by her are in the trash.

My Mother The Phone Harpy loves to save stuff. So did Roomie Jekyll. I had prided myself on not being like them at ALL, and then I had to move, and realized that I had saved my class notebooks from Film School. I'm sure there's a good reason....NOT.

No, I know what it is. It's me proving my existence to myself. How can I know where I've been unless I have evidence, in the form of cable bills from the first place I ever lived?

For every useless thing that I chucked in the trash (plastic silverware from college dorm days, Burger King Gulp Cups) I found something that WAS useful (a Christmas present from my boss's wife, two dish towels wrapped in flowery soap. I need dishtowels. I HAVE THEM NOW.)

Here are my new landlords. Should we call them Perdy and Pongo? Is that too obvious? Let's try Pembleton and Pepe, see how long that lasts.








That's Pepe in the window. They like to check in on me, they're just next door, dontcha know.

And though I still haven't felt a distinct presence of God, not even when I look at my view (and yes, I'm well aware it's spectacular, and will probably hit me later when I'm not exhausted and when the smoke from the fires clear. I just point the camera and take the picture. I will be overwhelmed later.) I know that this was without a doubt all His doing.

And how He's continuing to provide for me in crafty crafty ways, like swinging me a temp gig at the last minute for today, because we received word this afternoon that Unnamed Studio would be closed on Friday, which is when my next assignment was. I would've lost a day of work. But now I didn't.

That's pretty sneaky, God. Which is pretty awesome, too.

This place is small, but it is all to myself, and the boxes will gradually disappear, and things will find their places. Including me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Upheaval

The last three weeks have been a lesson in learning to exist in the middle of chaos. And it's surprisingly not as frantic as I imagine it would be, or how it's been in previous chaos of my youth, where it seemed like the only way to deal with stress was screaming at people, yelling in traffic, sobbing my eyes out, listening to a bunch of vintage Nine Inch Nails, a beer bender, or showing up on some guy's doorstep. Because the world is OVER. OVER, I TELL YOU! And I have to make it as bad as possible! I'll kick my own sand castle down! Might as well, I'm already at rock bottom, so let me pile on multiple ways to feel bad about myself, so I get it over with all at once. (again, youth.)

For the past few months, I always told God to "Lead on, God, lead on. Where are we going? I dunno. I'm looking at you to lead me the way you want me to go."

And I guess when I say that phrase, I'm half imagining feeling some supernatural force grabbing my hand and yanking me down some path. THIS WAY! WE'RE GOING OVER HERE!

Three weeks ago, we were dealing with the sewer issue, which rendered the toilet in my house unusable for a few days. I luckily was housesitting for Nick and Nora the first night, and the second night, Xavier let me crash at his place. At a late night dinner with Xavier, I was cackling at the recent events, and I felt like Julian Sands in that awful movie Warlock, where he's shaking his fist at the sky and screaming at God, "IS THAT THE BEST YOU CAN DO!?" (Xavier countered with Forrest Gump's Lieutenant Dan lashed to the boat in the storm screaming at God to bring it on.)

Regardless, I cackled because it felt like the best response to a sewer problem, especially when the plumbers hit tar when they dug up the front yard when trying to fix the sewer line, adding on more days for an unusable toilet.

Xavier might have said something about how maybe I shouldn't dare God like that, who knows what would happen next. And I might have said something like "Bring It On." Because the masochistic part of me prefers to be kicked when down, rather than wobble up only to get smacked again. Much easier to curl up on the floor and continue to absorb the blows. Less effort.

I've said over and over again that God doesn't act instantly or quickly when it comes to my life. He moves about 2 percent the way over something like four months at a time. Like a producer who takes four months to read your script before getting back to you.

But over the past three weeks, God has arranged circumstances in such a mind blowing speedy fashion, it feels like I'm getting clobbered by a loving Deity wielding a pink padded mallet that smells like Stargazer Lillies. It still hurts like hell, but at least there's a slight element of pleasantness about it.

After the Stupendous Sewer Experience, came the House Painters From Hell. Our landlord is putting our house on the market, see, and nobody would buy the place with all the cracks in the walls. (Why anyone would want to buy the place anyway, considering it would probably fall down with the next earthquake over 5.0, is beyond me.)

So here come the House Painters From Hell, who are going to slowly worm their way through our house over the next two weeks, filling in the cracks, painting the walls, moving all our furniture into the middle of the room, hiding our bathroom towels, breaking our curtain rods, unscrewing drawer handles, and covering most everything with a fine layer of paint dust.

The clock has officially begun to tick on this residence, and it's only a matter of time before we're all going to have to move. The two worst things you have to do in Los Angeles are trying to find a place to live, and trying to find a job. I'm currently temping, and now I will most likely have to move on top of that unstable foundation.

But God wielded his Pink Puffy Mallet and KA-BOOM. Stella and Wella call me, completely unaware of the Wormy House Painters From Hell, wondering if I'm interested in moving anytime soon. Because they know someone who's looking for a dogsitter to rent their guest house in Los Feliz, the owners are gone a lot, and want someone onsite to take care of their Dalmatians.

KA-BOOM KA-BOOM KA-BOOM! WE'RE GOING THIS WAY!

I go check the place out that weekend. Compromises will have to be made. It’s small. It’s a shower, not a tub. It’s a stove, not an oven. It’s a half fridge, the freezer’s in the garage.

But it’s utilities included, with cable and internet thrown in there. Access to their washer and dryer (and oven, if I feel a baking fit coming on.) There’s a pool and a view. It’s a gated property, so nobody breaking into my car or house. The Dalmatians are lovable.

And I’d be living by myself again. No more annoying roommates who kick on the door to get you to open it because they’re loaded down with bags. Who have their girlfriends crash with you for over a month freeloading on the rent. Who leave dishes in the sink, shoes and socks in the living room, and veg on the couch watching TV all day.

It’s not ideal, but I’m thinking nobody gets ideal anymore. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than what I have now.

So now as I’m pulling all the stuff off the walls, all the notecards to various outlines, and Panda Express Fortunes that made me smile (“Buy The Red Car”? Seriously?), and pulling my furniture into the middle of the room for the Wormy House Painters, I’m also putting things in boxes, and making multiple trips to the Goodwill, carting half my CD collection to Amoba ($65 in store credit! Whoo hoo!) and making arrangements to rent a U-Haul.

I haven’t moved in years. I’m horrified at the amount of useless crap that I’ve left piled up over the years. It’s literally me shaking off half my possessions, and there’s a certain freedom in realizing that I don’t need this stuff.

It’s a rebirth. A redefining of me and what my living environment will look like and what my life will look like now.

Which will be very different.

KA-BOOM KA-BOOM KA-BOOM! WE'RE GOING THIS WAY!

Here comes the Red Cross Blood drive! Is it any wonder I filled up that bag in six minutes? I'm stressed out of my mind, my blood's just ITCHIN' to come out like a crimson geyser of loveliness.

KA-BOOM KA-BOOM KA-BOOM! WE'RE GOING THIS WAY!

Here come my parents for a visit! Yaaaaaaay! They hate Los Angeles. I don't blame them, necessarily. I've just learned to live with it. Of course, the littlest thing that goes wrong only re-confirms their opinion that L.A. is the worst place on earth to live. TRAFFIC ON LA CIENEGA BLVD!! THE SIGNS ARE IN KOREAN ON WESTERN BLVD! PEOPLE CUT IN FRONT OF YOU ON THE ROAD! SERVICE AT MOST RESTAURANTS IS SLOW! HOW CAN YOU LIVE IN A CITY LIKE THIS!? ONLY BARBARIANS CAN LIVE HERE!

The best part was when we were walking to church and turned the corner to see a dead squirrel on the sidewalk. I have never seen a dead squirrel in my life, let alone in Los Angeles. I'm sure that they do die, but I assume it's under a bush, in someone's back yard, etc. but here is one, smack dab in our path, eyes still open. It's not mangled, it's not twitching. It's as if it had a heart attack and died right in front of us.

Now Mom and Dad think that dead squirrels on the sidewalk are a regular part of life in Barbaric Los Angeles.

But God arranged circumstances to where I got the call to housesit Ginger Puppy and Basil Diva Dog over the last two weekends, which removed me from the Wormy House Painter Chaos for some of the time, and provided Mom and Dad with an unexpected idyllic retreat for one of the days of their visit.

And throughout all the clobberings, throughout every new layer of complexity (temp gigs! Changing over my address! My play's still running! Another Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy gig over Labor Day Weekend!) throughout every new wrinkle that I don't question anymore because there's usually a reason behind it, I have not yelled. I have not gone on a beer bender (I'm waiting for the sister cruise with Agatha!) I have not stamped my foot and shaken my fist at God.

I've just sorta kept going. Trudging, maybe, but forward. muttering thank yous every step of the way. Perhaps that's progress.

I still whisper every morning, “Lead on, God, lead on.” Because I’m a masochist, and I wanna see what fresh-new-hell-that-will-ultimately-be-good-for-me will happen next. But I know better than to think a supernatural force is pulling me. It’s more like a parting of a curtain, revealing some kind of stormy sea. You gotta navigate it on your own, using your own strength, wits, and skill. But there’s a beacon on the other side, so at least you know which way to go.

That last metaphor may be horribly mangled. My apologies. I’m in the midst of a monster sneezing fit, which started as soon as I stepped into the house tonight. Damn paint dust. You could say "Bless you." But I think it's clear that a certain Pink Puffy Mallet Wielding Deity already has. Heh.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Pause For Positive Bleeding

In the midst of swirling chaos that I still can’t talk about, (but boy howdy, does it still suck the very life out of me.) let’s pause for a moment to talk about my third Blood Drive.

Because I went from 8 people to 34 sign ups by the time the Blood Drive happened this past Sunday. Filter out the no shows, the bounceouts, add in the walk ups, and the Red Cross collected 31 useable units. We beat last September’s Blood Drive by 1 unit.

And guess who that 1 unit was?

Guess who beat the evil Hemoglobin Machine of Death with a resounding 13.8?

Guess who filled up the pint bag of blood in a record time of 6 minutes flat?

Guess who made all the nurses laugh with her unmatched enthusiasm for puncturing veins and bleeding into bags, all in the name of Christian Love For Those Who Need Blood More Than Me While Challenging My Fear Of Needles At The Same Time?

ME! ME! ME! ME!
ME! ME! ME! ME!
ME! ME! ME! ME!

Of course I crashed hard a few hours later, and had to leave my show at intermission to get some much needed sleep. But let’s focus on the positive side.

Six minutes, people. Some folks were on that table with a needle in their arm for twenty minutes, and I bounced in and out in six minutes.

THAT’S how much I hate needles, ha ha ha.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On The Verge Of Something

I would like to point out that two hours after I posted my last entry, my sewer line collapsed at my house. They came to snake the drain, and the whole thing went down.

But the journalists were freed from North Korea!

And my Blood Drive sign ups are okay!

And I sobbed like an overcaffeinated baby in the lobby of my church while I was praying with Tricia because of the monumental stress of the past month and a half!

There's something coming on the horizon. It hasn't happened yet, and I've already talked about it with others to the point where I fear I might have jinxed it already into not happening (which is common with my life.)

But it's going to change my circumstances severely.

(no, it's not selling a script.)

(no, it's not a new job.)

So forgive the brevity of this post. My head is not focused to write pithy stuff, not when I don't know what the future holds.

But I know it will be very very different.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Please Stop Kicking Me Around

I told God yesterday that I'm not asking for anything anymore, because whatever I ask for I don't get, or I do get and wish I hadn't gotten.

So I told God to not listen to me anymore, that He should just give me what He thinks I need.

So then God gave my house plumbing issues. And bad reviews for Polka Dotted Platypus. (people have told me they like the show, but the ones that didn't like it are the ones posting online.)

Very few people said goodbye to me at my dream job yesterday, as if it was a ghost doing my job for the past two months. My new temp gig was supposed to start today, but now it's not until tomorrow, so I lose a day of work.

My Blood Drive sign ups are below where they should be, even though we've expanded into a bigger location.

God thinks I need to be kicked. THANKS GOD! THANKS A BUNCH! COULDN'T BE SUPER HAPPIER ABOUT THIS!

blegh

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still Standing (Barely.)

Man oh man, I’ve been trying to write this blog entry for at least three days now. But other things kept getting in the way. Like copious amounts of drinking with the cast of my play Polka Dotted Platypus. I’ve dropped enough hints about my love for tequila that they’ve set me up nicely with Patron shots. And sleep. I have never been so excited about six hours of sleep before (I’ve been averaging five and a half for awhile now.)

So it’s pretty safe to say that, after the 4th of July, this month has been fairly rough. Awful. Would I say awful? It doesn’t look awful.

Here’s a perfect example of how my life goes lately. I got a notification that a audience review on Polka Dotted Platypus posted to the web. So I go open it up, I go open it up, and read this:

This play was just absurd.

I blink, and read it again.

This play was just superb.

It turns out to be a very glowing, complimentary review, that wasn’t from My Mother The Phone Harpy, because she hasn’t seen the play yet. But this audience reviewer has, and not only loved it, but is making arrangements to come see it again. A repeat viewer.

And while I breathe and slowly smile, my superior at work at my dream job walks into the room and tells me that my last day will be Monday.

Okay, okay, that’s a little dramatic.

I mean, yes, that’s exactly how that scene went down, but I knew they weren’t hiring me full time. I learned that little piece of info about two and a half weeks ago, around the same time we had to replace a cast member who sent me long emails designed to make me feel guilty, around the same time a woman passed over for a spot on my theater company’s board also sent an email designed to make me feel bad.

So yeah, this month hasn’t been great.

I’m being rejected by my dream job. In truth, there was nothing I could do. They had already chosen who they wanted to fill this position before I even started temping there. For awhile, it looked like maybe they would hire me if their first choice didn’t work out, but then it did. Second place doesn’t count for much when it comes to employment.

I had a conversation with my friend Winston about it.

Me – This was my dream job. This will be the job that I measure all other future jobs by.

Winston – It’ll be okay.


Me – No, it won’t. It’s like, like, like, what it must be like to have sex with Bradley Cooper. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be measuring every guy against Bradley Cooper.

Winston – (silence)

Me – What?

Winston – You just admitted that girls are secretly measuring guys against other guys in bed.

Me – It’s a metaphor!

Winston – You just admitted that you’ll be judging all guys against Bradley Cooper.

Me – I will never have sex with Bradley Cooper.

Winston – I’ll never be able to go to bed with a girl again. She could be measuring me against Bradley Cooper.

Me – Winston! (Dramatic pause) YOU could be someone’s Bradley Cooper.

Winston – (pause) Okay.

I loved this job so much. A writer, working in the story department of a New Unnamed Movie Studio. Like a bookworm working as a librarian. Like a vampire working at a blood bank. Like a crystal methhead hooking up with a cop who monitors the evidence room and misplaces the keys.

I loved every single detail. I loved that I got out at 6pm, to beat traffic. I loved that my lunch was at 12pm, which surprisingly worked great with my metabolism. I loved that there was so much walking around, delivering scripts. I loved being on a lot again. I loved being surrounded by scripts, scripts, scripts. I didn’t even mind that there wasn’t any overtime, I loved this job so much.

I have an extremely hard time trying to wrap my head around the idea that God has in mind something better than this job for me. This really will be the job I measure all other jobs to.

The only thing that could possibly be better than this job is a spec sale big enough to afford a down payment on my own condo, where I can FINALLY get my Comfy Chair (shout out to Stella and Wella!) and live by myself in a clean kitchen and clean bathroom and no roommates anywhere who don’t ask permission before their girlfriends move back into the house for weeks.

But I don’t see that on the horizon.

And if there’s anything that the past two months of highs and lows has taught me, is that I. Can’t. Trust. Anything.

If I think I can celebrate a good review, I’m smacked with the news that my last day is in less than a week. If I think, yes, the boy and I are talking again, he doesn’t call. If I think my new play is opening, and won’t it be fantastic, then I realize where I’ve come from, and how much hasn’t happened since the last play in 2005.

The opening of Disney’s Peter Pan starts with a narrator, and he says: All this has happened before. And all this will happen again. But tonight it happened in London. On a quiet street in Bloomsbury.

All this has happened before. I had an amazing play in 2005. Critical and commercial success. I was re-reading those journals last week, trying to compare if tech week back then was better or worse than the tech week hell I’m experiencing now, and it was exactly the same. Different factors coming from different places, but exactly the same.

You can certainly look at the circumstances and think I’m on the threshold of a grand adventure that I don’t even see coming. That there’s a huge important lesson I’m about to learn.

And I wish that were true, but I’m pretty sure I know better. Polka Dotted Platapus versus the play four years ago. Still stressed. Still unemployed (soon to be, anyway.) Still single. The only thing that’s different are the words said onstage.

It’s disheartening to me, as it feels like MORE should be different in the four years that have gone by. I appear to be stuck in a rut, when the beginning of the year with Pink Piggy’s film festival was such a surge of YES! THIS YEAR IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT! IT’S GOING TO BE FANTASTIC! IT’S GOING TO BE LIFE CHANGING!

False hope is so so uncool.

Maybe God is teaching me to live in the moment. This moment sucks. Thanks, God.

Nah, that was just an obvious joke, it’s not that bad.

I wouldn’t trade the Pink Piggy experiences for anything. I’m not sad or sorry that this play is happening. And yet, it doesn’t appear to be changing my life in ways I would think they would.

So what is it? Is it that you can enjoy these experiences, but don’t look to them for clues about how your future is going to go? Don’t. Trust. Anything. Your film may get into a festival, but don’t get cocky, because you won’t get picked up for distribution. Your play may open, but don’t get cocky, because it will do nothing for your career. You land a dream job, but don’t get cocky, it’s being yanked away from you in two month.

Are you not allowed to plan for the future? That seems dumb. I’ve even heard sermons that it’s not about sitting back and letting God do all the work.

Where’s the balance? That’s the question, always, isn’t it.

If it’s now established that I can’t trust the present circumstances to give me an idea of what I should do about the future, I’m flummoxed about what I AM allowed to do or think or trust. Because the usual obviousness of Jesus loves You. Trust God. Insert Insipid Phrase Here And Immediately Smack Yourself For Taking God’s Love For Granted doesn’t appear to work right now.

Ugh. Blog is already far too long. I shall close with this:

I trust God. Remember how I found my Super Smarty Pants Favorite Bible verse?

2nd Chronicles Ch 20, verse 12 (the last part.):

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

These days, I’m feeling more like saying,

"I don't know what You're doing, but my eyes are on you. But seriously, what are You doing, huh? It makes no sense to me. I know I can’t see the big picture, but can you just send some insight down? Please?”

I trust God. Absolutely. Because I have no other choice, I’d rather throw in with the Guy Who Knows All The Answers Anyway.

But it looks like this: This is from The Lost Boys. Mom is accepting the hand of the Head Vampire, agreeing to become a vampire to save her kids. This is also how I feel, trusting God right now. I trust Him, sure. I'm also wincing my face off as I trust Him, thinking I'm going to get smacked.

(Also, God would probably not have that kind of thumbnail. But still.)