Thursday, December 18, 2008


So I’m home in Ohio.

I feel wonderful.  I’m back with the fam.  I’m sleeping in my old bed.  It’s goddamn COLD outside.  Yeeeeeeesssss.

And as I anxiously await Christmas (and every next conversation with Michael), I find myself sorting through the ghosts that live around here.  I have stories.  Lord, I have so many stories.  But I don’t know how many of them even matter anymore.

There’s this branch of therapy.  I was reading about it for a paper once.  It’s called “narrative therapy.”  Basically, it’s built on the premise that human beings have an innate sense of narrative, of story.  Like, try asking someone for his life story sometime.  He can’t tell you all of it.  So he will select episodes and scenes that he thinks are important.  These are the scenes he uses to define who he is.  These are the back-stories of the character he plays in his life every day. 

And so narrative therapy attempts to reconstruct someone’s life story.  The therapist will suggest that the patient select difference episodes and moments from his life, happier moments, or stories with more meaning and order, and use these episodes to construct an untroubled character for him to play. 

It’s pretty cool.  But boil it down?  It’s the art of letting go.  It’s the art of starting over.  Simple. 


But worth a shot.

The more I talk to Michael, the more of my stories that I tell him, the more I want to just scream, “BUT NONE OF THESE THINGS MATTER ANYMORE.”  Because honestly?  Honestly?

I don’t hurt much these days.  I’m not too angry.  And I’m really not scared.  I’m playing an untroubled character.  So somewhere along the way I think I must have decided to begin my period of reconstruction.  My renaissance.  It’s like I’m not even much interested in my life story any more.  There’s nothing in it at all.  I would make a terrible TV show. 

It’s maybe why I haven’t been blogging much lately.


Monday, December 1, 2008

In case of 400 YEARS

I really love mornings at my apartment. 

I usually wake up around 8:30.  Not because I have to, mind you, but because I’ve been going to bed so early these days, I simply can’t sleep past 8:30 anymore.  And by 8:30, Beth and Jes are already gone.  So it’s not like there’s a line for the shower.

But Rachel is usually up.  On my favorite mornings, Rachel is already up and sitting at the kitchen table.  She’s reading.  A steaming mug of coffee sits in front of her.  I notice that there’s another inch or so of coffee in the pot. 

“Is that for me?”  I ask.

“Sure,” she replies.

I pour the coffee for myself and pad out into the living room (aka My Office).  Why do I pad, you ask?  It’s because I’m wearing my slippers.  Of course.  I’m also still in my pajamas.  Why?  Because I can be.  Work doesn’t start until the afternoon.

I take a minute to appreciate our beautiful view…

…and then plop down onto the couch (aka My Desk).  I set the coffee on the coffee table (FINALLY using that piece of furniture to its exact purpose!), open my laptop, and get to the day.  The day is inside the laptop.  The day is job hunting, paying bills, e-mailing people, getting e-mails back, watching LOST, and writing writing writing.  And if it’s a really good morning, there’s already something in my inbox from Michael waiting for me.

You know, I can bitch and complain about money all I want.  I can fret over not making my bills, bemoan the few hours I get at the after school place, and beat my brains out hunting for a job.

But there’s a simple joy in the mornings now.  A joy of stillness, of not rushing, of being able to open my eyes up slowly to every new day.  

Last night at church we talked about this.  About how, just before the New Testament and the birth of Christ, there were 400 years of NOTHINGNESS for the Israelites.  400 years of waiting.  400 years of the profound, empty silence of God.  That’s so long to wait for even the simplest word from the Almighty.  How many generations lived and died in that silence?

So, yes.  I really love mornings at my apartment. 

But here's hoping that there's a point to all this waiting.  Here's hoping that into the silence of my life here in California...God will finally speak.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008


On November 26, 1992, my mother told me that I was about to turn 6. I burst into tears. (I don’t like growing up. At all.)

There are so many wonderful things about being young. You get to goof off, be irresponsible, be imaginative, be cute. People laugh when you make mistakes and they help you out. Your parents grant you grace. Your friends are young, too. Nobody gets married. Nobody can’t come out to play because they have to work. Nobody has children to take care of.

But I can’t stop growing up any more than I can stop the earth from spinning.

So here’s my salute to youth! 21, you were a great age. I liked being you. Let’s get together and reminisce, shall we? Yes. Let’s share some memories and then we’ll go our separate ways. Okay? Okay.

Let's start with the time I turned you. Remember that? And even though we were under contract, we went out to that pub in Pasadena. But, of course, the bartender wasn’t even going to card me. So I told him that you and I had just gotten together and so he asked to see my ID and checked you out? That was really great. Rian bought me a cider and snapped this photo of Beth and I, this one that is “too cute to be allowed.”

And then there was that cocktail party, which would later be crowned the best party ever, when I felt you because, hello, it was a cocktail party! I thought, I must be 21 because I’m drunk and wearing this super nice dress in a tiny apartment full of other drunk, classy people. I really felt you then.

And right after that I graduated from college!

And remember when we got involved with Derek, who was so much older, but it was okay because you and I were together?

And we directed a high school musical?

Ooo, ooo! And we bought that car in New York, you and I, 21, we flew to Utica and drove back across the state. And then, later, we drove across the country. And if I’d been with any other age, 21, it wouldn’t have been cool. But you were the perfect companion.

I like, too, how you and I have never had any money. You didn’t bring me any money, but I’m okay with that. I was never with you for the money anyway.

Man, I really loved you.

But, you know, you didn’t bring me all joy, either. You and I did have to bury my Grandad together. And we did lose Kevin and Katherine and Rian, even after everything. And we hurt a lot of people. And we didn’t do all the things we planned and so much hoped for.

But you were always there. And you showed yourself in so many ways. With you, 21, I perfected my karaoke technique, drove to Pennsylvania and Virginia, scoffed at people who were getting married, boomeranged to live with my parents, vacationed in Bermuda, got involved in a string of crazy relationships, flew to Orlando all by myself, stayed out late and all night if I wanted to, joined my friends in being concerned for anyone who drank responsibly, moved into an apartment in California, paid bills, took strange jobs, bonded with my brother, and slept on couch after couch after couch. All because of you!

And let’s remember our last night. Wednesday night. When I sat at the computer and watched you leave me, so quietly, minute by minute.

21, we were great together. Thank you; I’ll really miss you.

But this is goodbye.


Monday, November 24, 2008


I listen to us as a song

Discovered in my youth and caught, bright

Between the panes of memory.

We’re still here

And there

In symphonic phrases

Hymnal lines tripping to their ends

Lyrics insisting FM radio

And in the smoke of our melody

bluer than blue.

I play our love deliberately.


I listen to us as a song

A gentle vinyl spin

Scratched by the sharpest of needles

Around and around

Beginning to end

And then –


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Michael and I made lists of things we can do.  Why?  Because. 

I guess sometimes it helps to know that even if the CIA suddenly decides that you’re a malfunctioning 30 million dollar weapon, you still might stand a chance out there in the world. 

And while Michael and I can’t necessarily tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars outside, we’re not entirely without game.

Here’s what we can do.

Michael Can:

Find his way around a train station
Walk on stilts
Do accents (Australian, English, Scottish, Irish, Yorkshire, and a variety of American)
Navigate the LA public transit system
Give extemporaneous speeches
Operate a puppet
Sleep in close proximity to loud sounds
Drive stick shift (and on the left side of the road!)
Arrange education, employment, and lodging overseas
Turn up to work on time
Cook (at least 3 complete, well-balanced meals)
Clean a toilet and use a vacuum
Pay bills on time
Stay 4 nights in Vegas without luggage and reacquire lost luggage
Survive surgery
Ride roller coasters

I Can:

Take clothes to the dry cleaners
Navigate airport security
Blend in at a Goth club
Drive a jet ski
Diagnose appendicitis
Shoot a gun (9mm, shotgun, and assault rifle)
Read music
Tie knots with my toes
Check in and out of a hotel
Stay calm and follow emergency procedures in an earthquake, car accident, tornado, hurricane, or snowstorm
Throw a punch
Catch fish
Drink 5 beers and walk a straight line
File Taxes
Speak conversational Spanish (as well as minimal Italian and French)
Wait tables

And that isn’t even everything!  Move over, Jason Bourne.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In case of A GIANT SHARK

My parents came to visit a couple weeks ago and I started to talk to them, really talk to them, for the first time in years. 

It was hard.  I was unkind, I think, because we talked about the truth.  The truth of what it was like for us kids growing up.  The truth about some family secrets, things that been swept under rugs my entire life, old rifts in my parents marriage that have become exposed in recent years.  When I brought up these topics, I was a little angry, and I was a little cruel.  I’ve grown tired of the bullshit.  And, in the moment, I felt like it was useless to pretend otherwise.

My parents bore it well.  They weren’t angry at my disrespect.  They bravely answered my questions and treated me like an adult.  To tell the truth, I think I simply made them a little sad.  Because I was so obsessed with speaking the truth that I forgot something important.

I forgot that my parents are people.

Or, more accurately, I hadn’t fully realized it until I saw all these illusions torn to shreds in my hands.  I went on a crusade to rip them apart, imagining this facade as a wall that would require a sledgehammer to destroy.  But I found that it was so fragile, thin and frail as a spider web. 

There’s this scene in Jaws.  This giant shark has already killed two people and Chief Brody feels responsible.  He’s the sheriff in this town and people are dying.  Children are dying.  And he's weak, overmatched, insecure, unprepared to face down this incredible evil.  So he’s sitting at the kitchen table with his head in his hands and then he looks over…and there’s his son.  Sitting with his little head in his little hands.  Imitating his father.

So Brody lowers his hands.  And so does he son.  Then Brody makes a face.  And so does his son.  And then Brody says, “Give us a kiss.”

And his son says, “Why?”

And Brody replies, “Because I need it.”

Thanks, Spielberg, for the best picture I’ve ever seen of parenthood and human frailty. 

I think every parent must be Chief Brody on some level.  They're just people.  They're weak, overmatched, insecure, unprepared.  And the world a dangerous place, full of incredible evil.  For all they know, there's a giant shark out there!

And no one expects children to imitate their parents forever.  No one expects you to always just give your parents a kiss and run to bed. 

But they do need it. 

So even when you grow up and grow tired of the bullshit, that's something to remember.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I’ve seen a lot of Bobby over the past few days and it’s been great. 

I really can’t be more honest than that.  It’s great.  There’s no lingering pain, no real sorrow, no pangs of guilt or regret when I look into his eyes.  There’s only joy.  He and I both love what we were and what we are and whatever we’ll become.  I think we’re a rare breed of exes.

But I do still ache for the fracturing of relationships in general.  Why do hearts have to break?  Why do human beings hurt each other?  The fact that Bobby and I are good now doesn’t erase all the damage that we’ve sustained over the years.  He and I built a boat and it didn’t weather the storm.  It broke apart, smashed on the rocks.  And this new vessel we’re crafting from the pieces is different.  Lighter, more fragile.  Water-stained. 

I don’t know.

I’ve seen so much pain recently.  I’ve seen so much history.  It seems like everyone I know is walking around with these scars from past voyages, dragging shards and remnants.  Anchors and chains of seaweed.  Ghosts in billowed canvas.  And we’re all just trying to move on.

But can we do that?  Should we even do that, fully? 

Look at the sheer number of memorials we’ve built in this country.  We have a memorial for every painful thing.  The Vietnam War.  The Holocaust.  We try to get past it, try to get past the crimes and the tragedies, but at the same time we want to remember.  We have to remember.  We move on.  But we never really sail away.

And I don’t think it’s bad. 

I don’t think memorial is bad. 

Because every now and then, no matter where we’ve gone since the wreck, we need to look, really look, at the storm.  We need to say, “This is the wave that capsized us.  This was the night we lost sight of the beacon.”

So maybe, I guess, we can also say, "Never again."  

Never again.  That's what I hope. 

Monday, November 3, 2008


“Don’t try to talk politics with me.  I hold very few political opinions and none that I’m willing to discuss.  I don’t care and I care even less for people who think I should.”

The above speech probably sounds familiar to most of you.  It’s mine, an old staple, that I like to pull out and give to strangers in bars, relatives at dinner parties, and unfortunate friends stuck with me on long car trips.  It’s the silver bullet I use to slay the political werewolf inside everyone when I see a full moon rising. 

Political ignorance is bliss.  This is been my policy for years.

But tonight I’m drinking coffee and trying, like everyone else, to get through my Voter Information Guide in anticipation of tomorrow’s “election.”  I say “election” because I’ve heard that there’s one going on.  It’s supposedly pretty important.  Go figure.

My problem is that I live and breathe for art.  Art, religion, and love.  And while I know, yes, on some cerebral level, that political movements and decisions will affect EVERY part of life – including art – I simply have a hard time believing that.  How?  Okay, this is important, I get it.  But HOW?!?

Art will thrive, no matter who is in office.  Art is story, it’s the heart of humanity, it’s the food of the soul.  Art isn’t even restricted by national borders or language barriers.  Art is and was and will be.  Art transcends.  So does religion.  So does love. 
I’m glad for America, yes, I am glad.  I’ve enjoyed my life here very much; I hope America continues to prosper and that she passes into the hands of a wise and caring leader.  But my role in this country has so little do with this wall-building, heartless monster called politics that makes us all grow fur and fangs.  I’m not interested; I’m not.

But more power to you if you are.

I just don’t have the rage.  I don’t have the burning need to fix this system.  I think it’s broken; I think those that have the gift of understanding the mess should sort it out.  Please do.  But that person isn’t me.  It’s like reading an electrical map of the circuitry of a New York City block.  I can’t read that.  But I’m glad there are electricians who can.

I can, however, read other maps.  Maps of story.  Maps of the heart and soul.  And those are the maps to which I’ll devote my time and study.  

So will I vote tomorrow?  Probably.  I’ll vote on everything I’m inclined to vote on.  If I arrive at the polls and nothing seems right to me…well, then, I guess I’ll go home. 

I'll leave it to others to howl at the moon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I’m a different person. 

I’m not the person I was last year.  I’m not even the person I was last week.  I’m new. 

The girl who wanted so much to date Andrew (Andrew!), the girl so capricious and impulsive she had to enforce a Prohibition, the girl that went angry and embittered to a wedding on October 11th?  Who WAS that?!?

I admit, I do bear a resemblance to her.  But our similarities are fleeting and shallow; they’re expressions we simply wear the same way.  It’s like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except she’s the emotionless pod person and I am Becky.  I woke up and I’m Becky!  Alive and scared and in love!  I’ve been reverse body snatched!

(i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimatably earth)

And here in this new world there’s Michael. 

And yes!  I know everything of all the reasons there “shouldn’t” be Michael!  I know of the complications – how neither one of us has a certain future or any money, how difficult long distance is, etc.  I know, too well, the width and depth of the Pacific.  And maybe down the road, in a month or two months from now, I will rue those complications and groan with how frustrating and difficult they make it all.

But today?  I just can’t.

Today I don’t care.  Today I couldn’t care less.  Today those things make me laugh, in a vague and amused way.

Today I want to run the road, banging on car hoods and screaming, “You’re next!”

(now the ears of my ears awake and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In case of LOVE

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimatably

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-- e.e. cummings

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I had a job interview on Saturday.

They told me I got the job on Sunday.

I started on Monday.

It has been a crazy week.  The job I took is part-time at an after school program for primarily Chinese elementary school kids.  I’m the “teacher” in the 1st and 2nd grade room, which basically means that I baby-sit.  It’s my job to get a bunch of munchkins to do their homework, to stay quiet, and to not seriously injure each other.  And there are 17 of these miniature human beings in my charge.  SEVENTEEN!

So here’s a fun story from my week. 

Yesterday, I was alerted to trouble by the sound of crying near the back of the room.  Upon investigation, I discovered that Alan had decided it would be fun to use a pencil sharpener to, I shit you not, SHARPEN MATTHEW’S FINGER.  Matthew, as anyone would be, was sobbing.  I got Miss Christine to watch the kids and took Matthew to the bathroom.  Half his fingernail was missing!  He was bleeding so much that I had to put pressure on his little baby finger for a few minutes to get it to stop.

So I’m standing there, holding Matthew’s pinky, tears just streaming down his face, and all I can think is, THIS IS NOT MY CHILD.  Excuse me!  I don’t remember getting knocked up and carrying anybody around in my womb for nine months, thanks very much.  I never pushed another human being into the world and agreed to take responsibility for it.  No way.  I’m not Matthew’s mother.  I’m not anybody’s mother! 

But Matthew needs me to hold his finger.

And more than that, Matthew needs me to hold HIM.

So I take him in my arms and rub his back and tell him to just breathe.  In.  Out.  Breathe with me, Matthew.  Like this.  In.  Out.  And I tell him that he’s so brave.  You’re so brave, honey.

And eventually he stops bleeding.  And eventually he stops crying. 

So I take him to the principal and she puts a band-aid on his finger and sends him back with me to the room.

But the whole thing made me realize that you must not know ANYTHING about yourself until you become a parent.  How could you?  Parenthood requires a selflessness most of us can’t even comprehend.  I held onto Matthew, his entire heart completely in my hands, for about five minutes.  My existence during those five minutes?  Insignificant. 

AND I had the luxury of knowing that if Matthew didn’t stop crying, we could call his parents.  His real parents.  And they could come take care of it.  Imagine not knowing that!  Imagine sitting there in a bathroom with a child on your lap and you’re it!  You are the only resource you have!  And what if Matthew doesn’t stop crying?  Dear God! 

I don’t know.

So this is going to be my life? 

Maternal instincts, don't fail me now.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

In case of DRAMIRONY

Hello, Ohio.  I’m yours.  Yours.  Yours forever.

I really am SO Midwestern – which is boggling, if you think about it, considering I didn’t even grow up in Ohio.  Not really, anyway.  I wasn’t born there.  And I didn’t have any sense of “Ohio” when we lived in Toledo.  So my life in Columbus was really only two years long.  Aaaaaaannnndddd…they were the worst two years ever.

But Ohio is planted deep in my heart.  It’s as deep and old as the roots of my family.  And we’re still growing there, still at home in the Ohio earth, spreading and changing and becoming new with each passing year.  There’s no feeling on earth like coming around that last bend in the gravel driveway and glimpsing The Burrow through the pines.  There’s no color on earth like the oak and maple trees in spring, the cattails by the pond in the late summer.  There’s no view so pretty as the view out that big front window when the world is covered in snow. 


The crazy thing? 

I can’t live there.

I wish I could.  I honestly wish that I could.  But I’m a writer and it seems that Ohio doesn’t want me to write when I’m there.  It’s like the worst dramatic irony ever.  DRAMIRONY!  I’ve really never written anything good in Ohio.  It dries me up and when I sit down with my computer or a pen? No words come.  For some reason…no words come.

Maybe someday they will.  That’s what I keep hoping.  Maybe after years of life in the tumultuous spiral galaxy of Los Angeles, maybe I’ll go home.  And maybe my hands or my heart will unclench and release and I won’t be plagued by writer’s block and I can sit in a rocking chair on a porch in a sweater and write write write in the richness of life in Ohio.  Maybe.

Ah, Ohio!  I’m yours!  Yours forever!

But not yet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In case of OCTOBER

Dear God,

Thanks for seasons. 

It’s pretty cool how every four months the weather changes and different stuff starts happening.  Deciding to make the earth revolve around the sun?  Superb idea.  Really good work there. 

And let me just say that Autumn is an especially neat time of year.  I like how the air starts to get colder and the smog over Los Angeles thins out.  The weather makes it nice to walk outdoors in the mornings and at sunset.  Plus, we get to start eating soup and drinking hot cider and coffee.  And sweaters?  Come on, who doesn’t love to cozy up in a nice sweater?  Sweaters are like hugs you get to wear on your body all day.

Autumn brings all kinds of fun events and holidays too!  Halloween, for example, which makes us all bust out colorful costumes and feed each other candy.  Halloween sends little kids to my door.  Seriously!  Tiny people come to visit me!  That’s so cool!  And then there’s Thanksgiving, which is full of Harvest Parties and family and friends you haven’t seen in years.  And time off work.  And trips to San Francisco.  I mean, the creation of this stuff is pure genius.  Football season?  Who would have thought of that one?  But it’s great, God, just really great thinking.

Then there’s hay rides, bonfires, turkey, granny smith apples, fields turned golden, leaves turned red, pumpkins turned bright orange and sitting in front of every front door on my street, music played on the mandolin and fiddle, homecomings, reunions, long sleeves, boots, scarves, hats, gloves, plaid blankets, pumpkin ale, rosy cheeks, rakes, cold toes shoved into slippers, and a million other inventions we would never have imagined without seasons!

So thank you, Creator.  As the days get shorter and brighter, and as the weather gets colder and cozier, and as my life gets sweeter and spicier, thank you.  Thank you. 

Just writing to let you know that I’ve noticed and that I'm quite a fan.  

All my love,

Trixie Jean

Monday, October 13, 2008

In case of NED KELLY

Argue all you like, but I maintain that there is nothing not to like about weddings.  Free food, awkward relatives, and love love love.  Even having to wear high heels can’t ruin a day like that.


There are Groomsmen. 

Where else would a girl like me ever get the chance to dance with a charming, tuxedo-clad Australian?  Go ahead and picture it.  The last dance of the night.  A slow dance.  And there I sit, single, wistful, a glass of gold sparkling cider in my hand.  Then a Groomsman begins to walk toward me through the glow of the twinkle lights and I’m in his arms almost before the invitation is even out of his mouth.  It was magical.

And did he turn out to be a Bootlegger (or, in his case, a Bushranger)?


He turned out to be a wonderfully sincere gentleman.  And you don’t meet many of them these days. 

But if you’re looking, I recommend going to weddings.

My point is this.  There is no better place to celebrate life than a wedding.  There’s no better place to rejoice in a God who restores, who heals, who brings people together.  If you go to a wedding bitter, determined to hurt or feel resentment, you’ll only be met with love.  A wedding means that there’s hope in this world.  There’s hope.  A wedding is a lighthouse on an angry sea, a hand to hold, a shooting star.

So raise your glasses to Darren and Maureen.  This (!) has been a long time coming.  See, he’s a Star Wars Geek and she’s a Chronicles of Narnia Fanatic and they’ve now promised to take care of each other in sickness and in health and in all the nerdiness that will surely follow them for the rest of their lives.  I mean, they are just bound to have dozens of book-reading, cloak-wearing, light-saber-wielding Jedi children.  Seriously. 


Don’t be afraid to stand alone out there.  Because people are still getting married in this world. Because you never know when you’ll get asked to dance.

Weddings should make us all a little braver.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Self-Imposed Rules for the Unemployed

1.                  Go to bed at a decent hour and get up every day before ten.  There’s just no reason not to.

2.                  Regular mealtimes.  Three squares a day.  You owe it to your mom.

3.                  As much TV as you want.  It passes the time, it’s free, and it’s a great study of character and story structure.  (How's that for spin?)

4.                  No more than two cups of coffee per day even if you’re brewing it at home.  If you have to buy, only one cup.  Pay for it with spare change if you can.

5.                  Walk somewhere at some point.  A morning constitutional with Rachel is a good idea.

6.                  Wear clothes.  For the sake of the neighborhood children if for no one else.  

7.                  Take a trip during the afternoon.  It’s a fun game!  If you leave before anybody gets home from work, you win! 

8.                  Get drunk as infrequently as possible.

9.                  No false pretensions of dignity.  You haven’t had any “promising interviews” and you’re not “taking a break.”  You’re just unemployed.  It’s okay.  And as long as you’re young and you shower regularly, it's kind of romantic.

10.      WRITE EVERY DAY.  You don't have to work on the same thing all the time and you don't have to keep what you write.  But you do have to write.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In case of INSOMNIA

This is El Tigre.  He is one of my best friends ever.

I met him in High School, junior year.  I thought he was one of Sean’s Brainless Flunkies.  I didn’t think he had a personality.  I didn’t even hate him all that much.  He was that insignificant to my life. 

Then, when things got better, I started hanging out with him by default.  You know, “Hey, everyone’s coming over.  Invite people.”  And someone would invite Tyger and he would just show up!  Like magic!

I still didn’t know much about him.

Then, one night, for reasons I have yet to understand, we got to talking.  We sat in my living room and talked for hours and hours.  We talked all night and into the morning.  My parents were like, “Who is this guy?”  And I’m like, “Yeah.  I have no idea.”  I don’t even know what we talked so long about.  But when he finally went home I decided to myself, “Tyger’s alright.” 

That was senior year. 

This is the part of the story where you think that Tyger and I are about to become best friends.  That we start to see each other all the time and then we’re inseparable.  That he makes everything about high school a little less sucky and I would start to have an ally out there in the world.  Or, at least, that he and I would start falling in love.

But no.  None of that happened.  The talking night?  Isolated incident.  Not to be repeated for years.

The truth is that I have no idea how Tyger and I became friends.  It wasn’t high school.  And it certainly wasn’t college.  I don’t remember the first day I invited him to a family party.  I don’t remember our first time hitting the town together alone.  I don’t know when it was that I called him, just him, to come out with me.  But I do know that he still just shows up!  And it’s still like magic every single time. 

Tyger walks into my house without knocking.  Tyger goes out to movies with my brother and cousins.  Tyger gave my Grandad a present in the last week of my Grandad’s life.  If we’re out together, Tyger always gets me home safely.  He watches me sleep.  He fills my life up with things to laugh about. 

The helping hand on the sets of my movies?  Tyger.  The person I called when my Grandad died?  Tyger.  My Valentine's Day date?  Tyger.  

And when I moved to California, Tyger said he would drive across the country with me.  Because there isn't 2,000 miles of road anywhere that I want to travel without him.  

Tyger is all-in-all one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met.  He’s incredibly giving, good natured, and easy to get along with.  He’s also freaking hilarious and talented.  If you know him, you’re so much luckier than you can even understand.  The man is unstoppable.  Be amazed. 

So here’s to Tyger, my Tyger.  I’ve never in my life been so happy to be so wrong about someone.

Happy Birthday.  Sorry it's late.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

In case of YUPPIES

Coffee used to be coffee.  You could get it anywhere, anyone could make it, and you pretty much drank it black.  It was either the drink of refined foreigners or some bastardized American working class necessity.  It wasn’t a big deal.  There was no “concept” to it.  Just look at old paintings.  Watch old movies.  Ask your grandparents what coffee “meant” when they were growing up and they will have no idea what the hell you’re asking.

But here were are in 2008 and suddenly I feel like we’ve stepped in some strange land of Oz.  These days, every city is an Emerald City.  And the man behind the curtain?  The man who invented Starbucks. 

Now, I’m not noble.  I like Starbucks as much as the next white, young, urban professional.  I like their big comfy armchairs and their vintagey music.  Hell, I know a few Starbucks employees and I like them too.  They are some cool cats.  I even like Starbucks, dare I say it, coffee.  Yes!  I like it!  But how DO they stay in business when they charge two dollars for a cup of black coffee and I could brew my own coffee for a week for that?   

It’s because, hear me out, they are NOT SELLING COFFEE.

They’re selling STARBUCKS. 

They’re selling an idea.   A concept.  A brand name.  They’re selling the type of person you think you are, or think you want to be, the types of friends you want to have.  See this girl who comes in on her way to pick up her expensive suit at the drycleaners?  See how she can afford to spend five bucks on a grande raspberry soy mocha?  You want to be her.  Or see this guy in his hand-knitted scarf and Sinatra hat?  See how he knows coffee so well that he gets into a conversation with the “barista” behind the counter about how they grind their beans?  Oh yeah.  You definitely need to be friends with him.

But what truly floors me about Starbucks is that they’ve managed not just to attract those of us who fit the profile, but by sheer ubiquitousness, they’ve gotten everyone. 

Big tattooed Hispanics?  Check.  12-year-old girl Bible study groups?  Check.  Homeless/crazy people?  Check. 

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Starbucks has single-handedly transformed my generation into coffee snobs.  Because even if you never set foot in a Starbucks, you’ve developed some kind of principle about it.  Even if you’re all about “supporting local businesses” and standing up against “the man,” the man has already won.  Hello!  He’s The Man for a reason!  You’ve still got coffeehouse culture in your blood.  Your life is still not complete without the occasional trip to wherever YOUR place is with comfy chairs and vintagey music.  Maybe it doesn’t have those big corporate letters on the sign, but you still believe in the concept of coffee.  Coffee still “means” something to you.

So my advice? 

Hell.  Keep on keeping on.  There’s nothing we can do here.  Starbucks is inevitable.  Don’t fight it.  You’d have better luck fighting global warming or world hunger, and, hey, Starbucks will help you with that. 

As for me, I try to drink my coffee at home.  We buy it cheap and brew it strong, at a one-to-one ratio.  And I’ll swallow it even if it pretty much tastes like shit.

But every Saturday morning, I scrounge up my money, pull on my ruby slippers, get my roommates together, and yep.

We're off to see the wizard.  Just like everyone else. 

Monday, October 6, 2008


I admit it.  I am a virgin.

I either credit or blame this (depending on the day) on my upbringing.  Thanks to so many years of Sunday School and, later, Youth Group, I fully believed that sex before marriage was WRONG.  And this didn’t cramp my style at all.  I was a “late bloomer.”  Until very recently, sex never even sounded like that great of an idea.  Yes, I am a very successful product of Christian Subcultural Brainwashing. 

But then I met Bobby.  And I discovered kissing.  And the bastion of my sexual prudery began to crumble.

And why not?  We were in love.  Making out with someone you love is GREAT.  We always had so much fun finding new and interesting places to suck face.  We made out in closets, in bathrooms, in cars, on staircases, on rides at Disneyland, on cliff tops, on beaches, in the ocean, in my parents’ house, in his parents’ house, in mission bell towers, in the woods, in the parking lot, in every dark corner of every building we could think of, and a in million other places I’m sure I’m forgetting. 

And when Bobby and I broke up, I was angry and hurt and vulnerable and there was no way I was going to wait too long to see what it was like to kiss someone else. 

Now, that was two years ago.

And I haven’t been all as promiscuous as I could have been.  But I can still count my boyfriends on one hand, and, at this point, I’ve got to take off my shoes to count the number of mouths I’ve stuck my tongue into.  Thank God for toes.

But I miss being in love.

I miss getting to kiss the SAME person every day.  I miss the ease of a relationship, of making out with someone who KNOWS you, who you are, and how to treat you.  I miss getting turned on by my emotions, not just my body.

As Beth says, maybe making out for the sake of making out isn’t WRONG.  Maybe it’s just not as good as it could be.  And even if you’re kissing someone you care about, someone you like, someone you really respect and admire and maybe even love in some way, if you’re not IN love, it’s still not as good as it could be.  It’s not ideal.  Not the way that it should be. 

And why do I want to settle for that?  Loneliness?  Curiosity?  Sexual frustration?  Even to express comfort or affection, is that a good enough reason?  I want to be a part of something as good as it could be!

So this (!) is my official decision.  The next guy that gets to kiss me has to already be dating me.  The next guy is going to be THE guy, for a while.  This virgin is hereby laying off the sex.  I’m getting on the wagon.  I’m quitting, cold turkey. 

Bootleggers be damned. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

If there's room on the train...

...I'll hop aboard.  No problem.
So this is my foray into the world of corporate blogging.  I don't have high hopes that I'll be more consistent on here than I was on Pitas, but I know that at least the change will keep me excited for a while.  I really do like to blog.  Really.
The title of this new little corner of the internet comes, originally, from a legendary advertisment by a man named Earnest Shackleton, who was looking for recruits to join his Antarctic expedition.
Supposedly, the ad read:
Men wanted for hazardous journey.  Small wages.  Bitter cold.
Long months of complete darkness.  Constant danger.  Safe return doubtful.
Honor and recognition in case of success.

But that's all just a story.
Anyway, I chose the title not to draw parallels between my life and an Antarctic adventure (although I DO see more than my fair share of penguins), but because I don't think I would even begin to know what to do if my dreams here in California should pan out.
So, really, the full title of this blog isn't "honor and recognition in case of success."