Posted tagged ‘friends’

An Endorsement for Addiction

January 27, 2009

One great thing to come out of all this recession business is that it gives me a chance to reasses some pretty big questions I was answering via default. If who I am is totally dependent on what I have, what I drive, all my stuff, my status at work, etc. – then who does that make me when that stuff is all gone? Ah, the big question. How do we appreciate and love the material stuff in our life without making it the purpose of life?

I was having coffee a few weeks ago on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my girlfriends. As we were chatting I noticed a big art piece in the display window (for those of you in L.A. I believe it was Modern Living on Beverly). It was one of those kind of pop art looking pieces that only has words, in the same font but different sizes and only in black and white. But I loved the quote, so I wrote it down. I think this speaks to one of the important aspects of life – the company we keep. And who we surround ourselves with can be totally recession-proof. It’s an addiction I’m willing to foster.

“Spending a lot of time at home with your love, family or friends can prove to be an extraordinary and delicious addiction.”




My Taurean Twin

January 25, 2009

I had the best night Friday. It was probably the most fun I’ve had in six months. Let me set it up first so it’s in proper context.

I have become fast friends with a little micro-network of people at work. Two guys and a girl. So I’m always with one or both or all three of them. I love all three of them; they’re great. But the girl, we’ll call her Ginger Avalon (because that IS the actual name we devised for her; my going out identity? Bambi Sycamore. Yep. Bambi Sycamore. We also came up with Jillian P. Jouet and Brynne Perignon – but more alias talk later) is like my twin. In fact we recently discovered that my birthday is May 9 and she is May 10 – so she literally is like my twin.

Every time I say I like something, she is almost exactly the same. I was telling her I’m looking for a new apartment and mentioned my dream place – an awesome guesthouse in Westwood. She too is looking for a guesthouse , only in Brentwood. I saw an ad for a champagne tasting at Cuvee. The same day she stopped by my desk and said, “I just saw Cuvee is having a champagne tasting next week, would you want to come?” She loves great cheese. She has fabulous taste and style. She loves going to hockey too. She has a little bro and older sis (her bro has the same birthday as mine). She doesn’t like the outdoors as much as me and I don’t do the shop/spa thing as much as her, but overall we’re pretty damn similar. Anyway, I could go on and on but needless to say, we have a lot of fun.

So last night I had  two tickets to this dance and art event because my ballet teacher sent out an email that he was doing the tango as one of the night’s performances. I love dance and art so I thought it would be fun to go. My original date ended up being in New York this weekend, so I asked “Ginger” if she would want to go. Being my Taurean twin, lover of art, music and dancing, she was all about it. Game on.

After about two hours of sleep Thursday night, working a long day Friday and then rushing home  to walk the dog, Ginger calls and says she’s downstairs. I’m like crap! So I run into my room to quickly change into some casual clothes and I’m rushing so fast I don’t turn the lights on but notice a crunching sound under my feet. What the hell?

I turn on the light and there is glass EVERYWHERE. Someone shattered my bathroom window – I’ve never seen so much glass. It’s all over in my bathroom (my sink, my makeup bag, my shower) and it has somehow managed to ricochet out of the bathroom and into my room, bed, and on my nightstand. Literally everywhere. I was too rushed to care. My roomie and I have had every problem imaginable with this apartment (her room has flooded twice, someone shut off our power last week, etc.) so at this point if I got upset about it I’d be upset everyday. I just laughed. I safely escorted Labrador out of my room, shut the door for clean-up later, called my landlord to report it, and ran down to meet Ginger.

We went to dinner at a little place in Venice. It was really amazing food. I love the food in Los Angeles, with the exception of great Mexican food (I know, I know, but I’m serious) you can find the best food here. We both enjoyed a champagne martini and a salad and split a delicious duck dish in a  bing cherry glaze. Yum. We were about half-way through the duck when the room started shaking. I had only had one drink so I knew it wasn’t me. The earthquake during dinner should’ve alerted us to the evening we were about to embark on. Or rather the epic journey.

The journey began with trying to figure out where the performance was located. With the life saving GPS on Ginger’s i-phone we finally found the venue. Venice does not have an ideal or simple street layout. We rushed into our seats in the tiny little theater during the program introduction and began, what fast became, the absolute worst night of “dance” and “art” I have ever witnessed. I had to put both in parenthesis because it was an abomination to the mediums I hold dear to my heart. Seriously. That bad. About a third of the way through I thought, Oh thank God my original date is out of town. I don’t think I could’ve survived the shame of actually suggesting and then imposing this performance on anyone, much less someone I like.

And what a performance it was. Mostly it was a night of b, no b is too good, more like z-rate photography and “interpretive dance.” I love the word interpretive. I mean if contorting your body in a similar fashion to having an epileptic seizure in the middle of dark dance hall with some crappy Jo-Ann fabric taffeta “streamers” to the sounds of whale calls is dance; well then I could be a first rate dancer too. It was bad. Really bad.

At one point so bad I was thinking, Ginger probably hates me right now. And it was at just that moment, whilst loathing my existence and rolling my eyes at the yellow unitard wearing sunshine twins mimicking through “dance” the sound of water drops splashing, that I smelt it. Yes, it. It had a tangible presence. Like a large beast descending upon the back row of that unfortunate theater. I thought I was being dramatic but as the stench of someones god awful fart wafted into my nostrils I had to put my sweater sleeve over my nose. I needed a filtering devise to live; it was that potent. Which was bad enough. But the worst is that, as if on cue, more synchronized then any of the dancers that night, I saw Ginger out of the corner of my eye raising her sweater sleeve to her nose in unison with me. That was it. Game over.

Inappropriate laughter was an inevitability that night, but common decency could no longer be exercised in the wake of the chemical warfare unleashed on us. So during the absolute quietest portion of the evening, with only the drip, drip sound of water drops over the sound system, I suffered the worst bout of inappropriate laughter I have had in years. Ginger was right there with me. I was trying so hard to suppress it but it kept escaping in these burst, my whole body shaking, my nose running and tears streaming down my face. I had to physically turn my back to Ginger because the mere sight of her would send us both into another spurt of irrepressible laughing. It was bad. The woman in front of us turned around to give us a dirty look. It just made me laugh harder. When I finally gained control I leaned over to Ginger and whispered, “Smells like someone gambled on gas and lost. Apparently thier bowels are giving the same review of this performance that we are.” And we both lost it again.

When the lights finally came back up the Taurean Twins had to dixie two-step it on outta there. We slipped into the car just in time to explode into another fit of unfiltered laughter. I gave the performance a two word review: “Shit Sandwich.” (Spinal Tap, anyone? No? Well Ginger got my reference.) It lasted the whole drive home. I re-read the program out loud in the car and my sides literally ached from laughing so hard. At one point Ginger had to pull over; the laughter was impairing her driving. It was a night that will live in infamy. It was the most I’ve laughed in a really long time.

Now Ginger and I are like war buddies. We survived an awful evening together and will forever be stronger for it. I kept apologizing and she kept saying, Are you kidding me? I will remember that forever. I would gladly pay the $20 to attend again. There is no where else I would’ve rather been tonight.”  Sorry folks, it was only a two night performance. Otherwise I’d send you over there to witness it for yourself. It was a performance that will live in infamy.


July 19, 2008

When I started college in the Fall of 1999 – I had to idea that my journey towards earning a college degree would end nine years later. Yep, nine years. And I’m not a doctor! That’s just your standard Bachelors. The journey included changing colleges, taking several semesters off to travel, a major change to take advantage of a study abroad in Austria, my most beloved brother’s near death car accident, a beautiful – joy of my life – precious niece, three weddings, three divorces, leaving behind a lifelong religion, countless jobs, a Labrador baby, late nights, trips to Starbucks, overdrawn bank statements, frustration, love and joy.

So you can imagine my emotion yesterday when, walking into my building at the end of a long work day, I saw a package – “DO NOT BEND – DIPLOMA INSIDE.” I screamed. Literally screamed, and jumped up and down, over and over, and over. I’ve already taken it to work and copied it and scanned it – just so I have back up proof it’s mine, that I earned it, that I’m a graduate.


And tonight, writing this blog, and looking over at my diploma, I have become overwhelmed with gratitude and love. Yes – I worked hard for that piece of paper. I did. But it was only possible because of the most amazing and loving friends and family. So this is actually a testament to them – to their help – to their support. And like a drawn out Oscar speech you want to play off the podium, I have to say thank you.


To my mom- I love you with all my heart. You are the most amazing woman, the best mom, and the biggest blessing. Without your emotional and financial help I couldn’t have done it. You have always set such a beautiful example of living what you preach. Thank you – I love you.


To my little bear – You’ll never read this, because I can’t share it with you now, but even though our marriage is over, I am so grateful to have had you in my life. You were such a motivator, such a supporter of me and my goals, always pushing me, usually pissing me off, to finish. Just finish. For your support and significant financial contributions, thank you. Maybe it’s not appropriate anymore – but I love you. I’ll always love you. Even though I had to leave – thank you.


To my sister and brothers – thank you for your love and support. I always wanted to be both a good sissy and a good example. Thank you for being there for me, for encouraging me and for celebrating with me.


To my Dad- you were instrumental in getting me to Austria, and I’m very thankful for that. Even though the past few years have been rough for us, and I wish you would’ve come to my graduation, I understand that your support and encouragement and love helped me get through a lot, especially at the beginning.


And finally to Regan, who was there for so much of this journey, no for this whole journey, from the halls of BYU to the transfer to a more sane environment, the crazy college break for the Olympics, the letters and emails when I was in Austria, for supporting and knowing the bore and chore the daily homework and struggles were sometimes – thank you. You are so beautiful, I love you so much, and I am so excited, and so not surprised we both got our diplomas at the same time.


But unlike the package, saying “Do Not Bend,” my thought today is about the wisdom of flexibility. It comes from a translation of the Tao Teh Ching.



Bend and you will be whole.

Curl and you will be straight.

Keep empty and you will be filled.

Grow old and you will be renewed.

Have little and you will gain.

Have much and you will be confused.

Therefore, the Sage embraces the One,

And becomes a Pattern to all under Heaven.

He does not make a show of himself,

Hence he shines;

Does not justify himself,

Hence he becomes known;

Does not boast of his ability,

Hence he gets credit;

Does not brandish his success,

Hence he endures;

Does not compete with anyone,

Hence no one can compete with him.

Indeed, the ancient saying: “Bend and you will remain whole” is no idle word.

Nay, if you have really attained wholeness, everything will flock to you.”