Thursday, May 31, 2007

Even the mighty fall sometimes

I rarely get sick. I might call in sick to work, but you know, it’s usually more like sick of work sick. Not sick-sick. On the rare occasion when sickness gets a hold of me, I almost always take to the couch for a day and wave it away with a quick brush of hand. I do NOT get sick for days, and definitely not a whole week. Unfortunately, I think I am sick-sick. Here’s the timeline:

Tuesday: Felt a little under the weather. Left work an hour early. Went to bed.

Wednesday: Stayed home on the couch. Felt poorly, but could have pushed it and gone to work. This is my strategy: get it before it gets you.

Thursday: Went to work. Felt fine for the most part. Slightly run down. Stupid move #1: Despite feeling a tad rundown, went out for drinks with friends I haven’t seen in months.

Friday: Work was cancelled so stayed home on the couch recovering from yelling at the bar all night Thursday. Still felt run-down but also sure I could make it to Texas.

Saturday: Stupid move #2: Hopped on a plane to Austin feeling decent, but a little run-down. A cough has taken hold of my bronchial system. Buy cough syrup that does nothing to help the cough.

Sunday: The cough seems to be getting worse. Still tour around Austin and go to BBQ that night. Buy homeopathic cough syrup that does nothing to help the cough.

Monday: Continue coughing and denying I am sick. Tour around Austin. Shop, walk and run myself down more. Stupid, but necessary move #3: Hop a plane back to LA.

Tuesday: Wake up feeling like utter hell. Stay home from work and cough like mad.

Wednesday: Repeat Tuesday. Finally admitted defeat and called the doctor for drugs. She informed me it sounds like I have a virus and I have to wait it out, but took mercy on my and prescribed cough syrup. Stupid move #4: Had the cough syrup prescription sent to the pharmacy by work so I couldn’t get it last night. Spent the night coughing so much I puked. This has not happened in my memory before (vaguely recall this possibly happening when I was a child).

Thursday: Stupid Move #5: Deny that I am still sick. Drive to the pharmacy to get cough syrup and onto work where I planned on taking it. The cough syrup is full of drugs that will knock me out and make me sleep like I am on, oh drugs. I am stuck sucking Ricola and drinking hot water with lemon and honey. I really hope this cough syrup works.

So, I am finally admitting that I am sick and called HR to request a temp to cover for me for the afternoon. I can’t wait to get home so I can go drug myself and get healthy.

Also, send a prayer for all those poor people on the planes with me and my friends in Texas. I really, really hope I didn’t get them sick.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Give us MORE!

As if all the wedding magazines out there aren’t enough to make me feel like I need to do MORE with my day. MORE flowers! MORE favors! MORE themes! MORE hair, make-up, dress, ribbon, photos, chair covers, lighting! MORE EVERYTHING!!! I’ve found that there are blogs devoted to making this one day even more amazing (said with a hint of sarcasm).

Yes, if I am lucky, and I plan to be, I will only get married once. I will also only have my first child once, my second child once, graduate from college once, fall in love with my future husband once and loads of other things that I will only do once. How this day got so completely blown out of proportion, I have no idea.

One theory that I recently read (but can’t remember where – sorry), thinks that since women (it’s mainly women creating these days) aren’t worrying about moving in or losing their virginity anymore, they need something to MARK this major change. A blow-out, knock-down gorgeous day is the only way to truly mark it. Or so this one person thought.

I think the whole greening of the country is also making us more aware of how much is wasted on weddings and how this waste effects the earth. By chance, and some thought, my wedding is semi-green. I am wearing a recycled (sounds so much better) dress, thus not creating more waste by creating more fabric. We are using locally grown flowers. No airplane flight for them (I won’t mention that we plus many of our guests are flying there). We are using rental plates instead of disposable. Okay, this is because I hate disposable plates at weddings, but my mother pointed out they are much better for the earth.

We are hardly perfect, and yes, we are spending money that doesn’t need to be spent. We could have gone to the court house or Big Sur for an elopement, but I really want to mark the day with family and friends. I don’t need fireworks or skywriters to make it special. My friends and family will be enough. But hell if it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to feed the crew.

Anyway, I’m trying to keep it all in perspective as we get closer to the day. I’m still reading wedding blogs, which have beautiful pictures and some good, cheap ideas. I haven’t looked at a wedding magazine since I flew to Portland in April (what else was I supposed to read at the airport? I already read People). All in all, right now I’m pretty mellow about the wedding. Maybe Xanax does do something….

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the move with Crazy: Part 2

The movers showed up as planned at 8am on Saturday. On time. I took this to be a good omen for the day, but then again, I had been up since 5:30 obsessing over what boxes went to the apartment, what went to storage and what piles of crap went to charity. I wouldn’t have known an omen if it crawled out of a box and introduced itself.

Things went smoothly. After two hours, we were finally MOVING. It took about five minutes to drive the whole mile down the street to my fiancé’s place. Amazingly, he had his storage things stacked by the front door, too. I was impressed. Of course, he is German. After two more hours, things were in place for the final stop: storage. By in place, I mean the hallway was lined with boxes of my stuff, chairs for the table and the table in pieces. It looked like the before pictures on Extreme Makeover.

I ignored my nagging hunger, and we headed off to the storage place. Or what I like to refer to as the crack den. We pulled up in front of Al-American Storage, and I asked to be shown to my storage space which I reserved earlier that week. This is where my planning failed me. I didn’t go look at the space.

Up an elevator, around six corners, three small flights of stairs and finally we stood in front of the unit I could call mine. The worker opened the door, and inside I saw two large steps. LARGE, like where-the-fuck-is-my-stuff-going large. At this point, my very nice Russian mover said, “How much for this? $100? No, too expensive. Plus, your stuff won’t fit.” We walked away.

After hyperventilating while reminding myself I was paying for the two movers by the hour and all our stuff was inside their truck, I called my fiancé. I think the conversation went something like this:

“We’re at the storage place and it is a FUCKING JOKE. I NEED you to find another place. Now. I don’t care that you don’t have internet. MAKE IT HAPPEN! I’ve been up since 5:30. I AM LOSING IT!”

At this point, my very nice Russian mover prudently walked away from me with the premise of giving me some privacy. I think this man is very smart.

Finally, my fiancé called to tell me reserved us a space at a Public Storage unit nearby. I got into my car, half-crazed from hunger, fully crazed from moving, and inhaled a Cliff bar that my fiancé left in the car door two months earlier. Keep in mind, I hate Cliff bars, or I should say hated. That Cliff bar saved my life.

We arrived at Public Storage to find the manager gone. Seriously. I almost fell over laughing it before starting to cry. The sign said he’d be back in thirty minutes. At least someone was eating. And I was still paying my guys. Some god took pity on me, and the manager strolled up with his lunch bag. Finally, things fell into place.

The story ends sweetly with me finally getting a storage unit. Me bribing the Public Storage guy with DVDs to break early from his lunch and let my guys unload my stuff. Me completely over-tipping my awesome movers. Me collapsing on the floor of the new apartment begging for a burrito. Me eating a burrito and a half a pound of chips that my fiancé sweetly brought to me. God, I love this man.

Notes on Moving:
1. It will always take longer than you think.
2. It will take even longer than the longest you think.
3. Never use the cheaper storage company. Always go with a name you know like Public Storage.
4. Hire competent movers who speak up for you when exhaustion and hunger strike you unreasonable and irrational.
5. Marry someone who can handle your neurosis and freak-outs and stores food in your car.

Monday, May 21, 2007

On the move with Crazy: Part 1

I wrote this before we moved, but thought it should be posted. So from, May 10th:

I waste no time. I am a crazy planner who worries and obsesses about the littlest details. Sometimes I even scare myself. I really scare my fiancé. So when we decided to move, I started packing. I started sorting books and dvds of what comes with me, what goes to storage and can be sold/given away. Then, I kept going. My apartment is a mass of boxes. And I don’t have to be out until the end of the month. But at the end of the month we are going to Austin to see Jen and Chris and check out the city.

So, after about two minutes of discussion, we decided it would be much easier to use movers THIS weekend rather than spending it renting a truck and hauling stuff up the two flights of stairs to his place next weekend. I wasted no time calling people on Craig’s List, and quickly learned how incredibly CHEAP it is to hire local movers. Famous last words. But really, it is $65 an hour for 2 guys and a truck. My stuff will be all ready to go on the first floor, no stairs. We’ll take my stuff to his house, drop it off and pick-up some of his stuff that is going to storage. Then, they take us to the storage place and we drop off our stuff. Ta-da! Done! They do all the heavy lifting, we do the check writing. It’s a win-win situation.

In my perfect world, I will be in the new apartment by noon eating lunch and getting ready to unpack some stuff. Wait… in my perfect world I’ll be on the beach and come home later to my new, perfectly arranged, unpacked apartment. Where is that genie lantern when I need it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Finding the Middle

“She always has to win. This is why she is divorced.”

My fiancé told me this in regards to a woman who I had a mis-communicated business transaction. She replied to my one paragraph email with four paragraphs. She, the super, busy, professional woman to me, the executive assistant, aspiring web entrepreneur. If she is so busy, and so successful, why does she need to quibble with me over $50? I won’t go into the gory details of something that has taken way too much energy, but his comments left me pondering the concept of always having to win and marriage.

Marriage, like all relationships, requires compromise. Requires backing down. There will always be things that I will stand up for like not having a cat. But most things in life are negotiable. We argued over where to live – my apartment, his apartment, or a different apartment. I’m pushing to leave Los Angeles, he wants to stay. I’m giving in on these things. We moved into his apartment in Venice, and for now, are staying in Los Angeles. I folded on a gas stove (his apartment has electric which is almost unheard of in LA), but I made it clear that the next time we move, an electric stove is a deal breaker no matter how cool the apartment (or, hopefully, HOUSE) is. We give and we take. We demand and we acquiesce.

It didn’t hit me until he said that about her always having to win, that neither one of us works that way. I already decided to meet her original, misunderstood-by-me demands. In my mind, I was giving a little, she would be giving a little. We both come out even. No winner, no loser. Just a lesson in communication to be learned by each of us.

With my relationship, I’m going to keep compromising when I can. And I’m going to feel blessed that the man I’m choosing to spend my life with doesn’t always have to win.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Please Resuscitate

Moving is good for a few reasons. It forces you to ask yourself, “Do I really need to hold onto all of these back issues of Vogue? Do I really need to keep the $8 tea pot I bought in Chinatown for brewing disgusting yet healing Chinese teas? Am I ever going to wear that sundress I made six years ago again?” All questions I’ve asked myself. So far, only the magazines are in the trash.

Moving also reminds me of the parts of me I’ve forgotten. I moved to Los Angeles to work in fashion. I looked for jobs in fashion for almost a year before I surrendered to the entertainment industry. I won't go into why I moved here instead of New York. That's a different post. When I moved, I brought with me boxes of exquisite fabrics I’d collected over the years. I had containers filled with multi-hued zippers, trimmings, elastic for swimsuits and comfy pants and a wall-mounted rack for my rainbow of threads – small spools for machine stitching, large spools for my serger and spools of silk for hand-sewing.

In my past life in Boulder, I rented a studio just for sewing. I had a job that was flexible, which meant many days I left at 3:00 and headed to my studio to sew until 9:00 or 10:00 at night, eating a dinner of Goldfish crackers and water. As my uncle said, I had a fire in my belly. I bought patterns and manipulated them into what I envisioned. I studied with a master tailor and apprenticed with a fashion designer. I dreamed of taking draping classes and making gowns like Madame Vionnet. I loved the serenity of carefully finishing a garment by hand. My body and mind hummed in unison with the flow of creativity

Four and a half years ago I moved into my apartment. I paid my good friend Willie to make me tables that nested together. One for cutting, one for my machines. I was giddy when I finally got everything set-up in my apartment. After long days at work, I cut out a few simple items and partially sewed them. And then, abandoned them. They sat in little aborted piles on the cutting table for months. I hung shelves to try to make the space more workable. I put up a brighter light. I tried to tell myself I didn’t like leaving a mess in my living room, but the reality was that I was exhausted when I came home from work. My thread got so dusty that I could barely tell if it was pink or grey. Eventually, I conceded defeat. I put my machines back in their cases and found spots for them hidden from my view.

When I started packing, I found all of these things. I found my past. The woman I was when I arrived in Los Angeles seems like a foggy memory. I remembered why I moved to Los Angeles. I remembered how talented and passionate I once was. I looked at tools I’d forgotten existed. My button-hole knife with just one purpose: cutting open a button hole. A long, metal tool with a loop on it? It turns skinny fabric tubes into straps or belts. I found swatches of silk jersey and hemp and charmeuse that I dreamed I would make three-dimensional. And then I found my fabrics.

I ran my hand over fabrics, the images of the designs I dreamed bounced through my mind. I gingerly refolded yards of wool jersey in reds, black, pea-soup green, shook out sumptuous camel hair bought to make an overcoat. I gasped at the beauty of fabric I forgot I owned. I smoothed my hands over luscious silks and bright cottons. All of the fabrics, the trimmings, the zippers and things that made me truly an artist with cloth, the things I hadn’t looked at in years are heading to storage along with my sewing tables.

During all of this, my mind didn't even dare to conjure up a new dress design to make. Before, I would have so many ideas for a piece of fabric I couldn't bring myself to cut it. Now, I wear black almost every day because it is easier and am not making my wedding dress like I imagined I would. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. That woman seems so far from who I am now. I keep hoping that when I have children, I will make clothes for them. I will remember how to put in a lapped zipper. I will remember how to manipulate a pattern into what I want. I will remember how to make a button hole, and how turn of cloth works. I will remember how to set a sleeve. I will remember because it is in my soul. My bones. I will remember because it makes me happy.

I can’t bear to not have my machines near me, so I am bringing them with me to my new apartment. Even if they just sit in the closet, I will know they are there. Waiting for me. Keeping a lifeline to the artist in me. Reminding me she exists.

And maybe one day, when I have the time and space, I will make a wedding dress if my daughter will allow me the privilege.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

May 8

Mango-banana smoothie
Multiple handfuls of Banana Crisp Bonanza Mix (I like the other one better)
The most delicious white bean bruschetta EVER
2 pieces of very tasty pizza at Mozza (Mario Batali’s new LA eatery)
Some chocolate
Leftover cold pizza. Still tasty.

Packing moving boxes

Yesterday wasn’t so bad, but now I know why all those diet and food gurus make you write down everything you eat and drink. It is scary! I can’t take it. Often, I think I had a pretty healthy day: smoothie for breakfast, tea in the morning, lots of water, salad for lunch, cereal for dinner. Then, I recall the small pile of chocolate covered somethings that I crammed in my mouth at the 4 o’clock low point of my work day. Like all 32 pieces of chocolate plus a half of a bag of nuts. Like I said, scary.

Heaven in a Jar

On the weekends, I rarely want chocolate past a morning Nutella craving. I never used to eat much chocolate at home until I met my German fiancé. It started with my introduction to real pretzels from the German bakery with a smear of the spread. Then he taught me it’s just as tasty in whole grain toast. Seems counter intuitive to an American: chocolate on whole grain bread. It isn’t. It’s tasty. Recently, on a low-pantry weekend, he discovered that Nutella tastes quite good spread on a warm tortilla and then wrapped up like a crepe. This is very, very bad as tortillas are a staple in my house like air in other people’s houses. I’m screwed.

I now understand why Europeans don’t understand peanut butter. Why use peanuts when you can use chocolate? By the way, European Nutella tastes better than the stuff you can buy here. The only difference the web and I can find is that the US version has partially hydrogenated peanut oil. Who knows if that is it… but it tastes better. Smartly, we brought two huge jars back with us. I suggested more, but the fiancé insisted two was enough. We have half a jar left, and his family doesn’t arrive until August. This is a serious crisis. In time, he will learn to listen.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

The List

I’m in the eye of the wedding storm. The official planning is done. The invitations are about to be printed. The rest of the planning is basically on hold until closer to the wedding. I can breathe. Ahhhh…..

Or can I? The damn invitation list keeps coming up. I end up at dinner with someone who I adore, but had to be cut from the list or telling work friends who I love to laugh with that no one from work is invited except two super secret people. My Santa Monica friends got taken off the list, too. Then I think about some high school friends who I don’t really talk to anymore, but would like to invite. There are a couple of my parent’s friends who I really like, but got cut.

We are having a simple, country wedding. It isn’t expensive, but we are paying for part of it ourselves. We no longer have the size limitations of the mountain house location. Do we just invite all the people we took off the list and hope that not all of them show?

Aside from the location, the invitation list has been the hardest. As I’ve told some single friends, stop corresponding with people now so that when you are ready to get married, you won’t have this problem. Damn me for being so good at keeping in touch. Damn them for being such cool friends. Oh hell.

I’m only doing this once, so I guess it should just be BIG. Like my dress.

Friday, May 4, 2007

May 3

1 tropical fruit smoothie
1 cup Choco hot chocolate at work
4-10 handfuls of Antioxidant-ly & Black Currant-ly Walnut-ly Trek Mix
Arugala, buffalo mozzarella, avocado and corn salad
Half a sleeve of Thin Mints
bowl of leftover chicken in mole sauce with brown rice

20 minute walk on the beach
10 minute round-trip walk to lunch
3 hours of couch time watching Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy - oh wait, that doesn't burn calories.

Calling all emergency personel...

Just when I thought I couldn’t move up anymore in my current job, I get handed new responsibilities. Today, I got named the floor warden. It could have been my striking good looks, or most likely, the fact I sit in a fish bowl so was the easiest target to ask. I tried to think of a reason why I couldn’t be the warden. (I goof off way too much. I’ll be the first to head home given any opportunity. If the building is shaking, I’m getting the fuck out.) But nothing speakable to someone I didn’t know came to mind. So, he handed me the groovy yellow flashlight, a whistle, a map of where to go and promises of bringing me a bright orange vest. Who can resist a woman in an orange vest? I mean really, it says SEX. In prison. Or by the side of the road with the surveyer. Hot.

Being the floor warden is a big responsibility if there is an emergency. Although, the fire guy told me that I don’t have to make sure everyone gets out. I just need to make sure they KNOW to get out. I’m down with that. I figure I can blow the whistle, scream, “FIRE (or earthquake or terrorist)! GET THE HELL OUT OF THE BUILDING!” and head out to safety. I can account for the fools when I’m safe.

I went around my huge floor (all 10 of us) and made sure all of the assistants knew where to go in case of an emergency. Only one smart executive cared to know where this spot might be. My boss even laughed about it. He won’t be laughing when we can’t find him because he is in the wrong parking lot and people are headed into a burning building to find him, or maybe he will. I told the other assistants they are responsible for informing their bosses of the emergency plan. I mean, let’s be realistic here. I was the kid who wanted to sneak home during fire drills in high school. I was the girl who sat under the piano during sorority meetings because I could lay down and no one would notice. I make fun of people in authority roles (is this authority?). I’m hardly the type to be floor warden. But I will rock that orange vest. Now, if they’d only give me a hard hat.