Monday, February 28, 2011

Jobs that I secretly dream of

Haberdasher – primarily so I can use the word “haberdashery” more often.  The major obstacle to realizing this dream is the fact that I care very little about ribbons, buttons and almost anything related to sewing.  Although, I really could find it in my heart to care more about this if I could refer to myself as a “dashing haberdasher” with a straight face. 

Lipsmackers historian – Don’t you want to know more about the lip gloss we all know and love? What secrets does Bonne Bell hold? 

Intoxicated lounge singer – At the height of my singing career, I will have a fifth of vodka a day habit.  I will wear a run down glittery dress that falls off my shoulders and reveals my right nipple. Horrified customers will have to point this out to me, since I will to be too drunk to notice.   I will only remember 50% of the lyrics and show up late to work 25% of the time. 

Palm tree enthusiast – the core duties of this job would be to roam around the west side of Los Angeles and get tourists extra excited about seeing plants.  At every opportunity I’d scream “OOOOH PALM TREES” and pee a little in my pants.

Founder and President of Snazzle Pants in Akron, Ohio –The target audience would be the discerning women of Ohio who yearn to be free from the shackles of regular pants.  What are snazzle pants, you say?  The sky is the limit as long as it involves made-to-order lycra and fuchsia.  Oh the fuchsia. 

Living dream catcher – perhaps the most dangerous career of my dreams.  I’d have to creep around people’s bedrooms at night and steal their thoughts.  As karmic punishment, I’d be forced to watch their dreams and I’d die a little every time I realized I had stolen a dream about ponies. 

Drummer for the Foo Fighters - You win this time, Taylor Hawkins. But I will see you in another life!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The (depressing) facts of life

There will be Friday after work traffic for the rest of your life.

You will never be as cool as The Fonz.

It’s really hard to find the book you want in the library.  It’s easier to go to Borders.

Someone somewhere is scratching themselves right now.

Your friends don't take you seriously.

Every time you leave home, your plants attempt to commit suicide.

You are not lactose intolerant.  Lactose is intolerant of YOU.

Oops, you didn’t do it again.

When you are crying alone in your apartment, prettier people are out drinking mojitos and getting laid.

You cannot give birth in a hot tub.

Everyone can tell you are wearing your ugly underwear.

Your parents never took you to see Bozo the clown.

Jason Segel will never be your boyfriend.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My (brief) musical theater career

When I was about 9 I attended a fine arts summer camp in Blue Lake, Michigan This was one of many early signals that I would never become prom queen.  I was intensely curious about summer camp at that age.   I had read every book concerning sleep away camps at my local library in preparation.   These were actually pretty shitty books.  But I needed a way to vicariously get my fix until the day I arrived in Michigan I read the Blue Lake brochure approximately 400 times and could recite, word for word, the litany of amenities and programs the camp had to offer.   Picture cabins in the woods full of band geeks, acapella singers and soon-to-be-unemployed thespians.

I went to camp with my best childhood friend.  She was a ridiculously talented pianist and I fancied myself as a ridiculously talented actress.  We signed up for our respective crafts, piled into her family station wagon and headed north.  Leaving the bubble of Chicago can take forever – partially because of the distance and partially because staring out a car window at rows of corn makes the trip SEEM longer.  In those long trips, you almost wish a knife wielding bum would jump in front of your car – just to stir some action in the front seat. 

I arrived in Michigan, ready to reach the heights of pre-teen theater.    The first thing you do when you get out of the car (besides change into a cult-like blue uniform and write your name on everything you own) is to head to auditions.  This is where the wheat would be separated from the chafe.  I had vigorously prepared my monologue for weeks and was ready to dazzle my camp leaders.  I grabbed my map of the woods and skipped excitedly to the audition stage.  And since this was the Midwest, where cheese and land are in abundance, it was actually pretty fucking confusing to figure out where I needed to go.  When I arrived (I think about 20 minutes late), I saw a group of about 20 kids singing and dancing on stage.

Shit! I thought.

There were two options for Blue Lake theater campers – musical theater or contemporary acting.  I *thought* I had chosen the summer session for contemporary acting (given my limited singing and dancing abilities, this was the right choice).  I watched the sea of bodies move in choreographed motion and wanted to cry.  I suddenly realized that I had signed up for the wrong session – musical theater was my future.   And apparently I was late to the audition because I was the only one who had missed the choreography session.  So I dug deep into the pit of my competitive soul and decided I needed to leap on stage (literally!) and make the most of things. 

I sashayed into the middle of the stage to show the director that I was fearless.  I watched the group and mimicked their movement.  A tall blonde boy started the chorus and the rest chimed in.  I hummed along loudly and gave a big flashy smile.  I added my own flair to the dance with dramatic dips and spins.  I think I attempted to break out into an impromptu solo to show off my voice.

The Director moved towards the stage and was staring directly at me.  Clearly, he had an eye for talent.  He stopped the action and asked me what I was doing. 

I stammered “Sorry, I was late.  We were stuck in rows of corn.”

The Director looked bewildered.  “I’m sorry about your traffic but we’re in rehearsal here for Guys and Dolls and we need our stage.”

“Isn’t this the Blue Lake theater audition?” I asked.

“No, we’re the Mid Michigan Theater Troupe.”


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The worst people you’ll ever meet

….. are (hopefully) ones you meet in high school. 

Property lines and city taxes determine where you go to high school.  In my case, I spent four years with the dredges of society.   And despite what teachers and parents tell you, high school behavior continues well into adulthood.  While there aren’t cheerleaders and football players after you turn in your cap and gown, there are mean girls and assholes.    And ultimately, if you look around the brunch table in your late 20s and see a bunch of catty angry women that you call friends – well, my dear, you asked for it. 

And, I admit, I have indulged my need to be popular.  As a former nerd – a part of me was curious to see what life was like on the other side.  I dove head first into social circles where friendship was measured by what I wore and who thought I was hot.  I’ve met the popular girl criteria of being a cheerleader, sorority girl and eventually a Boston socialite.  I checked my brain at the door and picked up a straightening iron.  I surrounded myself with people who only cared if I met the criteria for their image.  And as expected, hot guys wanted to be in near me.  But then I’d get disappointed that these oafs of men didn’t care to see the side of me that was witty, intellectual and downright sweet.  The truth was that I was the one who needed to grow up.  It was like showing up to a hockey game and hoping that the boys would eventually put down their sticks and write me a sonnet.  I have only myself to blame for not striking boyfriend gold in those years. 

But back to high school – I was reminded this weekend about how difficult life as a sophomore can really be.  I was at a writing workshop, sitting next to a teenage girl who wore a raccoon tail pinned to her leggings and Chanel sunglasses indoors.  She carted around an oversized pink designer purse (which only held her smart phone) and spent the entire day not paying attention.  I both hated her and wanted her to think I was cool. It was a sentiment I had often felt in high school.  The rational part of me knew that this young Beverly Hills girl’s future would involving dabbling in modeling, taking up coke and eventually confiding to strangers in bathroom stalls that she wanted to die. 

I thought a lot about what it means to envy the ridiculous and to want their approval.  When you don’t have the cool kid’s approval, you scheme desperately to get it.  When you have it, you can’t figure out why you’re so miserable.  And even after years of growing up, there is still temptation waiting in the forms of VIP sections in Vegas and executive golf outings. 

The tricky part of graduating high school is that now the choice of which road you take is up to you.  And as a soldier who has seen both sides of the battle I leave you one piece of advice.  When you eschew the cool and the beautiful for the weird and the quirky – you’ll find happiness and love on the other side.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The One About News Years Resolutions (a month and a half late)

Here are the things that I told myself I needed to do this year (in ascending order of difficulty to implement):

Stop letting TV rot my brain – One of the most intellectually stimulating times in my life is when I was an obituary editor (just let that thought sink in) who could not afford cable.  My boss at the time was also a part time movie critic.  He’d load me up with suggestions every week and I’d watch them on my portable DVD player on the hour train ride to grad school.  So off I went, cancelling cable this year and left my entertainment choices up the capable hands of Netflix.  The results are mixed.  I do not recommend attempting to watch The Diving Bell and The Butterfly at midnight when you’re already half asleep.  However, if you have not seen Freaks and Geeks, you haven’t lived.

Eat something interesting for breakfast – Cereal and I had needed to break up for over a year.  But laziness and inertia had kept me from cutting the cord and finding a better option.  One day I hit the cheerios wall and decided to start scouring food blogs for ideas on healthy breakfasts.  This lead to …

Learn how to bake – I have been an avid cook for many years.  For those of you who have had my home made hummus, you’re welcome.  But I had always snubbed my nose at baked goods because it requires precision, adds more calories into your life and makes a mess out of your kitchen.  Now that I have a dishwasher and an aversion to everything I used to eat for breakfast, it seemed like it was time to start making some morning muffins.  And this has led to the inevitable – hundreds of dollars thrown at Target and Trader Joe’s acquiring exotic flours and muffin tins.  (No word yet on what it has done to my waist line).

Really LIVE in Los Angeles Now that I’ve moved, I have whittled down the list of the excuses that kept me from enjoying the rest of the city.  I look forward to wonders beyond my West LA bubble which will lead me to sleeping overnight on Skid Row, punching hipsters in Silver Lake, vomiting in Beverly Hills and conceiving a child in Pasadena.

Be a better daughter – this one is tough to work on when you live thousands of miles away.  But I’m also getting to an age where I realize that geography is not a valid excuse for not being a participant in your family’s life.  I’ve given a critical eye to my stance that my life choices reflect my independence when they often may just reflect my selfishness. 

Work out before work – one of these days I will admit to myself that this will never happen.  I will always and forever work out after work.

And as a side note, apparently my blog goal was to either make a joke about suicide or incorporate Jason Segel into every post.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Awkward things I did in high school for boys I liked.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I present to you the awkward things I did in high school to get boys to love me.

Moved into the locker next to him. He was a junior, in a band and had nice hair.  His locker was next to one of my best friends.  I innocently asked her one day if I could store my stuff in her locker, which was closer to my chemistry class.  I chatted him up in between classes.  He gave me a mixed tape.  We went to a high school dance.  And that was the last time I’ve ever spoken to him.

Made a t shirt out of a nickname he gave me.  There was one boy in my Spanish class who liked to tease me.  He was a giant stoner so of course I was in love.  He called me Kenny.  My cheerleading coach gave us the option of putting our nicknames instead of our last names on our cheerleading tees for the basketball season.  I came up with the brilliant idea of putting “Kenny” on the back of mine.  And then I wore it to class on multiple occasions and he never noticed.  In retrospect, I assume that’s because he was completely stoned.

Attempted to turn down a trip to Costa Rica.  Another giant stoner and I were starting to hit things off at the tail end of my senior year in high school.  My parents had paid for a summer abroad in Costa Rica as my graduation gift.  As the departure date grew closer I started freaking out in the way only a 17 year old girl could.  I refused to renew my passport; I skipped the orientation meeting and faked a mysterious illness.  I worried that if I went away I’d miss my opportunity to have my first real boyfriend.  Luckily, my mom drove me to downtown Chicago for an emergency passport and shoved me onto a plane. And to her credit- I forgot about the boy and made out with everyone in Costa Rica

Bought way too many J Crew sweaters.  He was tall, dark, handsome and on his way to Yale. And now that I think about it, probably gay.  He worked behind the register at the J Crew at the Woodfield Mall.  Each time I paid $100 for a boxy, lifeless wool sweater I had a chance to stare into his dreamy eyes.  And now those sweaters are collecting dust in the back of my closet in California.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine’s Day – a good time to remember why you should be alone forever

St. Valentine – a day we all look forward to as an excuse to overeat, well mascara tears, make irrational decisions with bartenders and get one nice card from our parents.

These are the days that you look fondly on failed relationships and ask

Where did it all go wrong?

And in this yearly state of confusion and vodka, I find myself grasping towards one memory.

This is the memory of the love of my life.  We were two young, attractive people.  In love.  Holding hands.  Fucking at regular intervals between classes at college. 

We had a nice romantic dinner planned on Valentine’s day in downtown Champaign, Il.  At a restaurant that loosely met the criteria for both romantic and dinner.  He was handsome and had nice biceps.  I was smart and had a big rack.  We were a match made in fraternity heaven. 

The one downside to courting anyone in college is that nearly 80% of your interaction with that person involves alcohol.  Valentine’s Day is no exception.  My boyfriend had his typical 5-6 cocktails at dinner.  We drove back to my apartment for the ‘rest of the evening’ where I’d down a bottle of Boone’s farm and attempt to seduce him while he was handcuffed to my computer desk chair.  My emotionally scarred roommate was only separated from the theatrics by a thin wall.  She should be lucky she did not witness the flailing arms, wonky eyes, and eventually a boyfriend begging to be unhandcuffed because his arms were losing circulation.  

After the boyfriend was unhandcuffed, he consoled himself with more mystery liquid in his 80 oz plastic cup.  It looked like Sprite to me, and I assumed he was thirsty. 

I swear on Jason Segel’s hotness, that I had no idea how much he’d been drinking.  I was too focused on the pomp and circumstance of Valentine’s Day.  But after we both fell asleep, lulled with the belief that we were meant to be together forever … I was awoken by a strange sound.  And I saw a dark figure standing very tall in the corner of my room.  I realized this was my boyfriend.  I shouted at him but he didn’t respond.  And then the sweet sound of rushing urine falling onto 3 week old clothing.  Boyfriend got so hammered he was too blacked out to realize he was peeing in my laundry basket.  On Valentine’s Day. 

What is a girl in love to do?

I shoved my naked boyfriend out of the room and into my bathroom.  Then I took all of my urine soaked clothes and put them in a grocery bag.  And sat in a corner, clutching the bag and waited.  And waited and waited until he woke up (which was approximately at 4pm the next day). 

I shoved the bag into his hands and let him know that HE RUINED VALENTINE’S DAY (editor’s note:  he eventually ruined my soul as well) and he was going to feel very embarrassed in a few minutes dragging urine soaked women’s clothes to a dry cleaner. 

And so as February 14th rolls around every year and I find myself with even less dating prospects than the year before … I look back to the fond moments of bliss with the one I wanted to marry and realize I’d prefer to have dry clothes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

California makes you crazy

This morning I was reading one of the many food blogs that I follow and got a little too excited to see a recipe for “Kermit Muffins”, aka muffins with avocados.  At lunch I made the 6 mile trek to Trader Joes to purchase the ingredients (and some Prosecco on sale) and on the ride back, in my convertible, listening to the new Cold War Kids album, I realized I am a fucking Californian.

How many late 20 something girls in the Midwest are driving around in 70 degree weather contemplating making avocado muffins?  And even if they are (due to some diet that Jillian Michaels told them about), how many can say with all honesty that their friends would be all over it?  I sent the avocado recipe to my old roommate and she peed in her pants at the mere suggestion of them.  This is what it means to be a Californian.

We love our avocados here.  To an unhealthy degree.  One of the signs of “making it” here in LA is finding your dealer.  If you still buy your avocados at the grocery store, you are a chump.  The key is to find someone that hand delivers you fresh avocados from the tree in their backyard.  And if you live in a place with easy access to an avocado tree – share and share alike.  Because the more avocado love you put into the universe, the more likely some red headed girl will make you a 10 gallon vat of guacamole for the Super Bowl. 

A tip on ingratiating yourself with a group of Californians is to explain the bizarre way in which you use avocados.  We are fully aware of caking your face with the mashed substance to clear zits, warts and general ugliness.  But if you talk about that one time at Coachella where you used a non ripe avocado to play hacky sack with Citizen Cope, well you have earned our love and respect.  Double points if you cured any STD you received that weekend by placing your junk into the hole left by removing the pit.  

All hail our vagina looking fruit!

Monday, February 7, 2011

7 Surprising Side Effects of NOT Being Hungover

1) Improved dental hygiene.  When you’re stumbling home drunk at 2am you are typically spending your last few awake moments searching for pizza, removing shoes by throwing them at the walls or crying hysterically.  This is not conducive to remembering to floss, brush your teeth and use mouth wash.  Since cutting back on the sauce, I’ve found that there is actually time in my life for me to be kind to my teeth.

2) You don’t have to struggle to remember who you pissed off the night before. When you’re drinking, it feels like a good idea to tell people what you really think.  The morning after, the laws of human decency kicks in as you struggle to remember what you shouted to a crowd during karaoke.  Maybe you told everyone “heyyyy these ladies here (point to friends) are single … are we surprised?” as crickets chirped and your friends shot you the look of Satan.  Or maybe you dropped the bomb that you were recently fired?  It’s all a little hazy the next day. 

3) You know the whereabouts of your debit card.  It’s in your wallet!  Same thing with your shoes, your earrings, your copy of the Brideshead Revisited DVD, your drum sticks, your sink tequila and your dignity. 

4) Hassle free grocery shopping.  You know why the grocery store is as empty as a wine bottle on Sunday mornings?  Because everyone else in the world is hungover.  Capitalize on the American right to booze and find yourself skipping gleefully down the frozen aisles, not bumping into creeps and homeless people.  You can buy those blueberries in 3 minutes or less.  Fuck yeah!

5) You can be (slightly) more honest to your primary care physician.  When he/she asks you how many drinks you typically drink in a week you can actually throw out a number that is marginally closer to reality.  You have now closed the gap by 10 drinks. 

6) More money to buy other useless, random crap.  Outside of college towns, bars are expensive.  Bars in LA, even more so.  At $14 a martini, you can shift those funds to more practical things such as new running shoes, flour sifters, overpriced almond butter, herb plants for your balcony, organic pain juice, leather vests and lottery tickets.

7) You can devote more time feeding your inner loser.  Less time boozing means more time available for watching Open Yale courses, baking, fantasizing about your life with Jason Segel, and blogging.  Let your freak flag fly!