Dirty Talk

February 22, 2010

Roommate Katrina pops her head into Ann’s room from the bathroom, preparing to brush her teeth: Do you ever feel like you’re going to get a disease from walking downstairs barefoot?

Ann, on bed, wrapped in a towel, delicately applying moisturizer to her cheeks: Um, why? Because the floor is so dirty?

Katrina: Yes, and it’s cold tile.

Ann: No, not really, but I grew up in an auto repair shop. It’s about as close as you can get to growing up in a barn.

Katrina: You should put that on your eHarmony profile.

2009, Reprise

January 1, 2010

Comparatively, I didn’t post much in 2009. Factors including busy-ness, tiredness, and laziness contributed to the lack of writing, but I also just needed a break from posting aspects of my life online. I needed to live them instead of feeling like I was looking through a camera’s eye — a photographer snapping away at life instead of living it.

It has been the best and the hardest year of my life. In cliche blogger fashion, here’s a list of accomplishments and set-backs:

– I lost a very dear friend to the epidemic called breaking up

– After several rigorous interviews, I got my amazing job working with women rescued from prostitution in India. Also, my supervisor and only co-worker at said job is pretty freaking awesome.

– At that job, I have spent the past year learning, learning, learning. I have been humbled and honored to have the position, but it is a lot less glamorous than it sounds. Like any job, there are good days and bad days.

– I left my life in Los Angeles and moved to Orange County — a bittersweet deal.

– For the first nine months in Orange County, I suffered from the strongest sense of culture shock that I’ve ever known.

– I gained an amazing house three blocks from the beach, with the most fantastic roommates I could’ve dreamt of having.

– I traveled to India in April and October.

– I was a bridesmaid in an Indian wedding.

– I visited the Red Light Districts in Mumbai, Kolkata, and Tenali.

– I rode in a rickshaw, ate food so spicy it made my mouth bleed, felt heat so hot I think I melted a little, became part of a family across the world, and saw and understood love in a way I had never experienced it before.

– I witnessed an argument in Telagu between a pimp, a madam, and the leader of one of the social organizations we work with.

– I saw my family in May, August, and December.

– My brother came to visit in May, and we went to an Angels’ game, saw the new Star Trek movie, ate Indian food, went to the beach, and had an all-around good time in between my work and the conference he came to LA to attend.

– Friend K moved away in May. It was very, very sad.

– I went on vacation with L to San Francisco, Jackson Hole, and the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming.

– I started attending a Wednesday-night church and a Monday-night support group with people who are quickly becoming my Orange County family. After meeting weekly with them for three months, I realized I hadn’t felt a grain of anxiety for about that long. I attribute this to their prayers, support, love, and honesty.

– I lived through three of the most busy months of my life and am thankful my friends have been incredibly understanding about how I’ve neglected them.

– I turned 27.

– My car was towed, and I had to spend a lot of time at the DMV. Thankfully, a good friend came with me and read to me out of the book, How to Make Anyone Fall In Love With You.

– I got an amazing tan.

– My very, very dear friend A.S. and her husband and daughter moved to Southern California in November. I can’t tell you what an incredible blessing it is to have their lovely selves close by.

– I went on several very bad dates, some of them hilariously bad. I desperately wish I could blog about them.

– I started dating a lawyer. A lawyer? A LAWYER. I’m so professional, even in my romantic pursuits. His name is C.K., and, no, he is not a fragrance from the ’90s. He took me out for southern food and mini golf on our first date. Just give me sweet potato fries and a giant wooden windmill, and I’m happy as a pup. Oh, yes, and he is a pretty stellar person as well.

– I went to the ER for the first time in my life with a kidney stone. Said kidney stone is still just hanging out in my vital organs.

The year was a blur of change, grief, and beautiful moments of losing who I thought I was and accepting who I really am — the good and the bad, the strong and the weak, the anxious and the hopeful. Though the difficulties were few, their magnitude was overwhelming. I had to re-learn many things and had to reintroduce myself to myself. I think that’s kind of what happens when you break up with someone you’ve been with for a long, long time. You forget who you were when you were alone, and once you’re alone again, you find yourself with a stranger.

But I have learned who that stranger is again, and I’m a better person because of it. At least I think so.

It’s been an incredible year. And an incredible decade, which included the end of high school, college, various jobs, various living situations, various states, deaths, births, and so many incredible people God brought into my life to carry me through the past 10 new years. It has been a joy to know you all and to experience your grace and love.

On Finding a Setting

August 13, 2008

This evening D and I had a conversation on the phone that lasted more than our typical phone conversations now-a-days. Actually, we had an argument, but that’s not what this post is about. In the midst of all of it, during the resolution of the whole thing — the time when we are done with the heightened feelings and adamantly trying to prove a point, when we both re-cap what we need and try to find some sort of compromise — I closed my eyes for a moment and could picture my apartment back in Arkansas so clearly, right down to the feel of my bed and the cat’s tail ticking against my leg and the way my bed creaked when I moved. We spent a lot of time talking on the phone in those days, back when he was the California branch of our relationship.

It’s funny that the very thing the argument began with (our arguments rarely end with what they began with) was the very thing I was picturing: Setting. This post is not about the argument, so I’m not going to go into the details of what transpired. For the past few days, however, I’ve been attempting to put into words a discovery I made on the beach Saturday. But I’ve also been trying to challenge myself to improve my writing style so it’s slightly less amateur and emotive. Today I tried writing a post entirely devoid of “I” as a subject. It just doesn’t work in blogging. This is what I came up with:

“One of the major components that separates a seasoned writer from an amateur is the emphasis on setting. The category of seasoned writers is by no means this girl’s dwelling place, but freshman year fiction writing left me with a better understanding of setting in writing. Heck, this blog nearly tripled in its readership once it took on the personal of a Midwestern transplant living in Los Angeles. Or maybe it was the advertising to friends on Facebook that did that.” Can you say boring textbook? I just need to stop trying to justify blogging with failed attempts to turn this entirely narcissistic thing into something literary. It’s a blog. Of course it’s going to have a high degree of gush.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is that often amateur writers neglect setting in their work, and they leave their poor characters floating around in a readers’ mind in banal, shadowy places like generic bedrooms, rather than putting them someplace specific. In real life, we live in specific places: not just any room, but my room with the pile of laundry on the bathroom floor and the broken blinds and the stale scent of herbal shampoo. Not just any old park, but the park with the statue of the man who invented the chocolate bar. J.R.R. Tolkien is so fantastic with his settings that I am having such a terrible time getting through The Lord of the Rings. Any time Frodo or the other hobbits think of the shire and how they long for their home, I start crying. Homesickness…meh.

Saturday, le roommates and I went to the beach, and the fact confronted me that I’ve only been to the beach three times in the last seven months even though is less than five miles from my apartment. And by going to the beach, I mean donning a bathing suit with at least a slight intention of getting wet. Saturday was the first day since I moved here that I actually immersed myself in the Pacific. And then I realized that part of the reason that I have been homesick to some degree since I left for college back in 2001, moving away from Minnesota for the very first time, is because I have never given myself a chance to get to know the land in any other place.

If you were to ask me about Minnesota, I wouldn’t just say that I lived in a house there or went to high school there. I would tell you about the countless snow structures we built and how we would hang our mittens and hats and scarves over the radiator in our first house to let them get warm before we put them on. I would tell you about the mulberry bushes in the backyard and how they would become so ripe and juicy that you could bump the branches and they’d fall to the ground, washing it in purple, and how the birds would poop mulberry seeds all over the patio. I would tell you how our family built that patio with bricks and sand and cement blocks, and it all went quite well until the ice that winter built up under the bricks made them explode. Every winter the fire department would flood the park for ice skating, and Jack Frost would paint our windows. I remember how it feels to lie in my bedroom, the exact way the bed fits my body, and how it is to wake up there to the sounds and smells of absolute comfort — to knowing the people you love most in the world are only a wall away. When I was a little girl, in our first house, I could always tell who was coming up stairs by the rhythm of their steps. Mom would always stop at the bottom to pick up toys and bring them up. There were twelve steps at my first house. Sixteen at my second.

I never gave myself the chance to know Arkansas that well. There was the damp and musty feeling of our house on Maple Street, where I lived with 3 other girls, and the sounds of the frogs outside my window in that studio above a professor’s garage. There was the feeling of desperation and sadness when I finished college, broke up with my boyfriend, and moved out of that apartment all in a few days. But the same elements and concretes are not there. I was so busy being productive that I didn’t take the time to memorize the number of steps from the ground to my door. These were merely places, apartments for a temporary life. It’s no wonder they never felt like home.

Sometimes I think that I will never feel at home again unless I get married, have kids, and settle down somewhere. Nothing reminds me of home more than watching my niece and nephew play and seeing again the things that are important to children. For my niece, it is wearing pink, putting on chapstick, and reading books. My nephew just wants to run everywhere with his binky in his mouth. They want other kids to play with, adults to entertain them, and lots and lots of cookies. They remind me of what it was like to grow up with an older brother and what it was like to have such a big living room… what it was like to have a house not just cover you, but protect you. There were all the alcoves and crannies to that place… the towel cupboard you could climb inside and close the door, the secret storage closet in my brother’s room, the turning cupboard in the kitchen corner where breakfast cereal was kept.

At the same time, I know that my life is here in L.A. now, at least for the next few years, and I need to be investing myself here. I need to pursue the land with the same intention that I pursue the friends I am making here. I need to count the steps from my carport to my apartment. I need to go to the beach every weekend and find a spot to memorize. I need to stop floating around in this generic place and make it specific. I need to find my setting.

Dear Los Angeles,

At first I thought I ought to write something heightened and romantic to celebrate our six-month anniversary. It would be a vulnerable comeuppance, full of all the six-month sentiments I have developed for you in our time together. I thought I should go to a place fitting for this sort of letter, taking my quill and pen to the ocean, for instance, to write to you from the very edge of the continent. Or I could bring my pencil and notebook to the gardens at the Getty and tell you about art and flowers. Yet the more that I thought about the atmosphere for this letter, the more I realized that the most appropriate setting is right here, in the bedroom of my little, messy apartment, full of the every-day noises that are slowly becoming home.

Right now there are six of us living in our three-bedroom apartment, which is quite a change for the girl who used to live alone with her cat, slowly degrading into a life of crochet and watching library movies on her laptop computer. Four of us are legally bound to our place, and the other two are here for the summer, completing internships before they return to their respective institutions of higher learning, both in the South, where it rains. I would not have mentioned the South, except that it rains. I miss rain. You would not understand, Los Angeles. It has been so long since I have smelled the earth.

Right now the closest thing to rain is the sound of E’s shower in the next room. There is also the faint movie mumblings from the living room where M and J are flattened against the couch, watching the TV, and there is the periodic clank of dish and spoon as G washes the dishes. I will never get used to the noise of our little house, nor your noise, Los Angeles. Over my bedroom balcony waft in the noises of the second largest city in the U.S. (I mean you, you fat, fat city) — the distant freeway, the chatting pedestrians on their evening walk, the passing sirens, and the nightly helicopter hover, which I like to pretend is the news instead of the LAPD spotlighting its latest criminal’s rise and fall.

For a while I would miss home at these moments, and I still do sometimes. I miss the kids playing in the lot next to my dad’s auto repair shop, above which my family lives. I miss the dank, musty basement smell of the shop, and having my dad make his living right underneath our home, just a staircase of 12 steps and three rooms away. I miss the quiet evenings and the settling of summer — the stars in the corn fields and the country drivers, my church and my cousins, and the people who have known me longer than I’ve known me, the people who know me because they knew my grandparents. I miss the hospitality, the neighborliness of it all, in the place where all the Thrift Store Owners know me by name.

Do you remember, Los Angeles, a few months back when I left you for the first time in three months? And do you remember how hard it was for me to come back to you, how I cried all five hours back on the plane, and I wondered why I was coming back — why I had to leave my parents and my niece and my nephew and all the comfort of being known? D was busy that week, and I felt so very alone, surrounded by thirteen-million people, coming home each night to this little apartment with a few roommates that I only just met. I think this is what they call culture shock, a thing I only mildly experienced when I moved from Minnesota to Arkansas for college. But after that initial breakdown, things got better. They really did. I think I came to the decision that I was here, with you, and here I would stay. Perhaps I needed that last goodbye, that last purge of what it was like to be a child.

At D’s encouragement, I have recently begun reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It has been so very long since I have read a book. I think I’ve been afraid of falling back into my girlhood, where I would hide in my room, reading stacks of books, instead of making friends. It is a lot harder to be an obsessive reader when you have a job. I’m only about 100 pages into the first book, and oh, how I’ve cried. I know, I know, it’s a little early to start crying, but Tolkien has just introduced one of the major themes of the book: Home. Frodo is speaking with Gandalf, and he is first realizing that there is a large and courageous journey he must take, and that no one else is going to do it for him.

He has never left his home, the Shire. He tells Gandalf, “I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.”

I read this after I got off the phone with my mother, after I told her I will not be able to make it home for the Clipperton Family Reunion in August. High gas prices have made it nearly impossible. This is the first Clipperton Family Reunion I have missed in my life, ever since I was 6. And I will be 26 next month. Mark my words, Los Angeles: If you do something to prevent me from going home for Christmas Eve with my family, going to Grandma’s church for the same Christmas Eve service I’ve attended since I was born, I will up and quit my job and move home.

You cannot ruin 26 years of Christmas, Los Angeles. I do not care how big you are.

All my love,

Ann

Once Upon a Dream

April 29, 2008

I left work at mid-day today, struggling with a migraine. I’m not even sure what I told my boss before I left. It probably did not make much sense. I had to stay about an hour later to process a few orders and make some phone calls. Now, after 3 hours of sleep, an overdose of ibuprofen tablets, and a hot shower, I finally feel better. I cannot tell you how much I wish my health would return to me. I’ve always been a naturally tired person (need naps!), but I haven’t felt 100% in a long, long time. I need to start exercising, but I think I might have mono, and I don’t want my spleen to erupt. How’s that for an excuse?

All that aside, I love my apartment. It was a glorious day, and now the wind is blowing through the palm leaves and into my bedroom through the balcony door. I especially love the night-time. Summer evenings are some of my favorite things. I can’t wait to return to Minnesota for a family reunion in August. We’re totally camping at this hoe-down of a fair called the Threshing Bee, which celebrates old methods of farming. My grandfather built a windmill on the grounds where the Bee is held, and one of his tractors, an old green  and yellow John Deere is one of the focal points of the train, tractor, and antique car parade. It’s a great ol’ time of threashin’, blue grassin’, and barbeque-in’. I am trying to convince D that it will change his life. We have been dating two years this July, and he has still not been to my hometown. He has still not met my dad. Send him nasty notes, please.

Speaking of D, the other day someone googled “my boyfriend is a model,” and it led them to my blog. It showed up in my stats, and I felt this amazing breadth of anxiety fall from my weary shoulders BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TIME. IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MY BOYFRIEND IS A MODEL.

(thank you)

And also speaking of D, I am going to be single this weekend. D is going to a retreat for a class at school, and that means plenty of margaritas and inviting the pool boy up to my bedroom to fan me with palm leaves. It also means that I am going to spend the whole weekend sleeping, eating ice cream, and looking very, very closely at my cuticles. Oh, and I’m hoping to go to the one and only Newport Beach community garage sale to see if I can find, among other things, a bicycle built for D. That, and a Free Box full of Gucci bags. Oh wait. I am not really looking for that. That was just what I dreamt about last night. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if I actually have a pool boy.

Inspiration

April 8, 2008

Yesterday evening one of my favorite art bloggers, Emily Martin of The Black Apple, posted a link to a podcast of an interview on Craftsanity. The interview is a long one — over an hour and a half — but inspired me at this I-don’t-know-what-I’m-doing-with-my-life period because Martin took something that she loved and made a successful business of it in just a few years. I listened to part of the podcast last night before going to bed, and while I enjoyed hearing about the process of her business, I was struck by how similar her experience living in Brooklyn for a few months was like my recent experience moving to L.A. Martin says that when she moved to Brooklyn, people never asked her what she was doing in Brooklyn — the moving to Brooklyn in and of itself was the large accomplishment. I’m not patting myself on the back here in saying that moving to L.A. was some gigantic feat. It’s just that what Martin said about it resonated with me. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that anyone besides my mother asked what I DO at my job. A year ago when people would ask my parents what I was doing, my parents would have to tell them that I was working at a church in Arkansas. Now they can just say, “She moved to L.A.,” and that is interesting enough. Perhaps it is such a huge accomplishment because of the sacrifices one must make to live in cities like New York or L.A. or Chicago or San Francisco. The cost of living is so high, the traffic is so crazy, parking gives you ulcers… I paid $400 a month back in Arkansas for my huge one-bedroom apartment with two walk in closets and abundant parking. Now I live with two other people and pay… well, that’s my secret. It’s shameful for a mid-western girl to admit how much she pays for rent in L.A. I’m doing all right though. Working at a church for a year back in Arkansas and getting paid on the non-profit organization level taught me a lot about what my mom likes to call, “living on a shoe string.” Plus I’m not too far removed from the student stage of my life when having $60 in my checking account was a solace.

So, what do I DO here? And more importantly, is this job contributing to the big scheme of my life? Well, I work at an organic juice company in Santa Monica, as I’ve stated before. It’s a small start-up company, but it’s quite successful, and the products are high-quality and sold nationwide. The company has grown 50% in sales since last year. It feels weird for me to be talking about all this because business never really interested me until I took this job. My official title at said job is Administrative Assistant, but I mostly assist on the financial side of things. This is a new realm for me, and even though the thought of entering numbers and searching for missing pennies and balancing accounts once sounded like prison to me, I have to admit that I sort of like it. My last job was almost entirely creative, and while I loved it, my creative energy was completely sapped at the end of the day. It’s kind of nice to have a job that is one giant formula, so all I have to do is plug the numbers in.

And the real reason I am kind of liking my job is because I’m learning a bunch of things about running a small business. Now, I’ve only worked there a few months, but I did grow up in a small business as well, so I’m catching onto things pretty quickly. And even though this job isn’t the answer to my quarter life crisis, at least it seems to be leading somewhere. Which brings me to another somewhere:

Today I signed up for a beginner and intermediate sewing class. It’s an adult evening class at a nearby elementary school. It starts April 21 and will continue for 5 Mondays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. I know how to sew already at a rudimentary level, but my skills need some refinement.

And this class, small as it may be, fills me with excitement. Maybe I’m not doing exactly what I want to be doing right now, but in some ways I believe this class may be the beginning of something very fulfilling.

Emily Martin’s podcast

Hip Hop Hooray!

March 28, 2008

First of all, thanks for your suggestions on a gift for D. I’m still accepting them, so please send them my way. 

Last night, my roommate J had me sing the chorus of a hip hop song he is working on. Now, I have two Roommate J’s. One is Girl J and one is Boy J. Boy J is also known as J-Ray, and he records his own hip hop music on his lap top computer. It’s a pretty neat little gig he has going on there, and last night I found myself singing into his hand-held video camera where I held it vertically in my left hand (the microphone), holding a notebook with a brief pencil-written chorus on it, and wearing a giant pair of foamy headphones which even Princess Lea would envy.

Yes, folks. I have officially done the girl-voice on a hip hop song. I even spoke the chorus over a track of my own “aaaahs.” When Girl J arrived home a few hours later, I told her about our shenanigans, and she had a hearty laugh when I re-spoke the chorus to her, just as I had spoken it into the video camera. “What? And I missed it?!” she exclaimed.

Boy J will show us the finished product when he is done mixing it. Perhaps, if he doesn’t mind, I can figure out a way to post it on here. No promises. I’ll have to get permission first. And I’m not exactly the most tech-savvy person in the world.

In other news, this evening I am going hot-tubbing with D and his roommate B. It was between that or going dancing in Hollywood with Girl J and her friend H. Though dancing in Hollywood sounds fun and exciting, especially with these two girls, I chose the former. I can’t think of anything more scintillating than spending a Friday evening in a hot tub with two guys.

As It Turns Out…

February 26, 2008

I spoke too soon. What seemed to be developing into a black eye is actually allergies. The bright, red blotchy-ness of my left eye led me to believe that my eye had suffered bruising at the whim of D’s elbow. On Sunday night, however, the redness and eye boogers spread to my right eye, thus incurring the fear of the dreaded Conjunctivitis, e.g. Pink Eye. I took the day off work on Monday and went to the doctor only to find out that it is not, in fact, Pink Eye, but an allergic reaction. It could be from a lot of things… smog, pollen, dust, whathaveyou… but I’m positive that the cigarette smoke I was around on Friday night is the main perpetrator. My eyes always feel like they’re burning when I’m around cigarette smoke, but I’ve never had a reaction quite like this. It’s actually been a little bit scary. Of all the body parts that could get hurt on me, my eyes are in the Top Five List Of Body Parts NOT to Injure. So, sorry, no pictures for now. We’ll just have to wait until D actually gives me that shiner, and by that I don’t mean Texas beer.

The illness that has ransacked the majority of Southern California in the last month or so has also pillaged my body. I spoke of it briefly in a post from a few days ago, but let me tell you, this thing is hanging on, and it’s not fun. I can’t sleep because I’m up late coughing. The worst part about it is that my voice has been gone since Saturday, and though this wouldn’t seem like a big problem for a staunch introvert such as myself, it really is getting difficult.

You see, I’m having a really hard time right now and not being able to talk to anyone about it makes it even more difficult. While moving to a new place in a big city is an amazing adventure, all adventures come with their booby traps. Tonight I started crying on the phone with D, which was pretty funny and pathetic now that I look back, and I told him, in my raspy, almost-nada voice, “I feel like I’ve been running up hill for the last four months.” Life will always be full of moments of joy, followed directly by the inevitable banana peel on linoleum. This is called Adulthood. I can’t think of a single day in the last few weeks where I haven’t teared up at least once. Even during the Oscars (several times). (And by the way, my amazing boyfriend won the Oscar pool, thus gaining around $80. I was very proud. And it was very weird watching the Oscars on television in Hollywood when they were actually happening less than a mile away.)

Anyway, today has been especially bad on the emotional venue: I finished the third season of LOST, which is, by the way, the greatest season so far, and how in the world do you people live without a little LOST in your lives? It has changed my life, and I’m not even kidding. I cried through, oh, about the last 20 episodes.

But the thing that really makes me concerned about my emotional health is that my dad and mom sent me a Dayspring e-card over the internet today. It has really sweet music and a sheep knitting socks, then suddenly a gust of wind lifts the sheep up and twirls her around and sets her down, and her socks fall a little ways from her on the grassy hill where she sits. Then the card says something like, “Hoping Jesus knocks your wooly socks off,” and let me tell you, people, I not only teared up, but I SOBBED through the WHOLE THING. I’m like a pregnant woman on her period during menopause.

Now, before you go shipping me off to the loony bin (“I don’t want to go to the loony bin… I want to go to the brewery.” Name that movie, and I’ll give you a prize), please understand that I had just finished watching Season 3 of LOST, which really is something to laugh and cry and whoop about. And I had just finished admitting to D as well as I could through my whispery voice that stuff has been pretty rough lately.

“I just wish I knew what I was doing with my life,” I told him, convinced that all my problems will vanish as soon as I find my destiny.

“But you’re in California,” he said, “you are doing something with your life.”

So, I’m going to keep running up that hill, even though that ridiculous e-card made me miss my family more than I’ve ever missed them before. I’m going to keep running because I’ve made it this far and because D told me tonight that he feels calmer when I’m around and because my brother and his family are coming to visit in a few weeks and because I have a job and an apartment and a life that I am doing something with right now, as I sit at the kitchen table in my pajamas.

Back On the Internet

February 10, 2008

Hi, Friends. This is a post I wrote about a week ago while living with D’s brother G in Hollywood. Since then I have moved into my own apartment — today is day 2 living at our fabulous place! I haven’t had internet access except at work for quite a while, so I haven’t been able to post. Now that things are getting much more settled, and now that I have my own place, I should be able to post more frequently again. Without further ado:

Today was a day of firsts, full of Big City fodder. I am having trouble making my brain work right now – have not started having new job dreams at night but am betting they will seep into my sleep tonight – and I hope I can make sense of all this, because I can’t tell you how awesome the last few days in the big city have been. I might just have to write a list for the sake of letting my mind rest. That’s what you get when you work a largely financial job. I am enjoying my work, but man, there are a lot of things to learn, and many of them require me to stretch my thinking. I look forward to the day when all this comes easily, and I come home from work aching for a creative outlet rather than aching for a shower and a bed.

Today I had my first celebrity sighting since moving here. This might be my first celebrity sighting ever. Actually, no, I take that back – I once saw Kevin Garnett at the Target Center (former Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player), and David Robinson (former San Antonio Spurs basketball player) allegedly waved at my brother and me at another Timberwolves game. We aren’t certain, but it just might be so. Also, when I was little, I met Christine Wyrtzen and got her autograph. Now, maybe you don’t know who she is, but we certainly did as children. She hosted a kids’ program on Christian radio called Critter County when I was little, and the only disappointment when I met her was that she didn’t bring Sydney the Squirrel. And yes, friends, I still do have Ms. Wyrtzen’s autograph.

Anyway, my first REAL celebrity sighting took place this evening, and it’s a good thing D’s brother G was in the car with me because I totally would not have known who the person was unless G had said it. We were driving down Hollywood Boulevard on our way to Los Feliz to find a diner after I got home from work. I had a hankering for some pancakes. We saw the limo and the flash bulbs and slowed enough to look over and see who got out of the limo. She stepped away from the photographers and to the fans to sign a few autographs, and there was this tiny, cute little lady in a bright green dress, whom was none other than Beyonce.

Which really got me thinking, you know. Not about Beyonce, really, or even green dresses even though I want to look up a picture of the dress she was wearing once I have stable internet access. What I was really thinking about was a flannel graph. You know… flannel graphs… those felt boards that Sunday School teachers used to use with all kinds of felt characters and felt settings to illustrate Bible stories. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to set up a flannel graph in my apartment, with scraps of felt nearby so friends who come over could leave their mark on my apartment by creating something for the flannel graph before they leave. Now I have another idea for the flannel graph. Once I move into my apartment, which should be Thursday (!!!!), I need to make that flannel graph, and part of its purpose will be to chronicle my celebrity sightings. For every celebrity I see, I will make a flannel graph character.

Incidentally, Beyonce is the only celebrity I’ve seen so far, though I narrowly missed Donald Sutherland the other day when roommates J and J and I were having lunch at Subway in Santa Monica, just a few blocks from where I work. However, I keep thinking that I see celebrities, or rather, one celebrity in particular: Stephen Spielberg. This phenomenon has gone on since even before I arrived in California; indeed, it has been a years-long occurrence where not a few months pass before I think I see Stephen Spielberg. My Stephen Spielberg sensors have been even more acute lately, now that I am consistently in Hollywood, and I drive through Beverly Hills on my way to work. I find myself staring at important-looking bearded men in BMWs or Lexi (plural Lexus), or sports cars, all the while thinking, Stephen Spielberg? STEPHEN SPIELBERG?

I’ve yet to see him. And even if I did see him, I’m not convinced that I would believe it’s him. I also thought I saw Dustin Hoffman in Panera the other day. G got up and pretended to get more coffee just to get a closer look. No Dustin Hoffman, but at least in that case, G verified that the guy did look an awful lot like Dustin Hoffman.

Today I also wrote a check for more money than I’ve ever spent in one check in my whole life: $1,647.50. Welcome to becoming a renter in Los Angeles. The good news is that I totally planned the exact amount I would need to get started in L.A. whenever I was saving money to get here. That is a huge sigh of relief. The roommates and I signed a lease today, and we can move in on Thursday. The apartment is way more than I wanted to spend – I’m not going to tell you how much per month because it will give you an aneurism, and I can’t be party to your death – but suffice it to say that I will have to make some major sacrifices. But it’s okay. My roommates and I might consider taking on a few more roommates in the future. I can afford the place. It’s in my budget. But it would be nice to have a bigger cushion.

Yesterday I yelled for the first time ever in a football game. How could one not get caught up in the triumph of the Giants’ final touchdown in the Super Bowl? For the first time in my life, someone took the time to explain to me what was going on in a football game. Millions of doors opened for me, and the light shined in. D has enlightened my life in so many ways, but perhaps the most important was on that momentous occasion, when a Great American Pass Time finally made sense. It changed my life.

A Toast To Twenty-Somethings

January 31, 2008

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The lovely expanse of water behind L and me is her boyfriend JT’s grandmother’s backyard. Last weekend L came down from San Francisco with her boyfriend JT, who is originally from Newport. His grandmother, an amazing woman, lives right on Newport Bay, on Balboa Island, to be more specific. JT took us out in his grandmother’s boat, into the bay, and later into the ocean. We would have stayed out for a long time if the day hadn’t been so cold and rainy.

Can I just tell you how amazing it was to see L?!?! I’m not even going to try. I love her…love her.

I could write so much more about the weekend, and I hope to soon. Right now, however, I don’t have a whole lot of time to compile good enough writing to describe what a great weekend we had last weekend. The whole weekend, I felt so fortunate to be young. It felt so fabulous to be with L, and so right when we got together with JT and D and just spent time together. And then there was this picture of JT’s grandmother when she was young:

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L and I are going to take pictures similar to this one this summer. It’s our tribute to our youth. I feel so young and fabulous right now. I totally have a job on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. I can see the ocean while I’m driving to work. We also landed a fantastic apartment today — we just need to go in and sign the paperwork and hand over the money. It’s perfect. We’re excited.

Oh, youth, how I love thee.