ancient relics

Every year when I realize it's April 19th, a distant bell rings in my brain: Whoa, I got married on this day, a billion lifetimes ago. And while I toyed with the idea of digging out a photo or two, because my dress was epic and Chaucer as ring bearer was the cutest thing that will ever exist in the universe -- I ultimately decided nah

But before I decided nah, I had half-heartedly pawed through my memorabilia box -- and I found a few things that still make me smile. 

1. For my RSVPs, I wrote and designed these letter-pressed reply cards: 

I ask you: how many people find a way to use the word "beast" on their wedding stationery? Or "coop" for that matter.

2. For my table seating plan, I had assigned each table a number that was pictured - in actual photos - that we took with a vintage typewriter we dragged all over the place. It's kind of hard to explain now, so here's an example:

And no, it doesn't snow in Tucson. We took the damn typewriter with us on a ski trip with friends, just for this one shot. So dumb, I know. But it was 2008 and if your wedding wasn't Creative As Fuck what even was the point?

Anyway I asked my artistic friend Sarah to doodle some stick figure pictures that corresponded to what was in the photos, that would sit on the entry table and guide guests to their seat. Because #fun and #clever. SUPER COMPLICATED AND TRY HARD I KNOW OK?

She did so, and they were adorable...but she also roasted me by first handing in this as her homework:

Note the varying boob sizes and hair styles. 

3. Each table had a truly breathtaking arrangement of pale pink and white peonies, English roses and spring greenery. At the end of the night, naturally all the women wanted to take the flowers home. But they were all in various vintage silver vases and tea pots and things, that I'd been scavenging from thrift stores for months prior. I was happy to send them home with whoever wanted them, didn't really care about getting the silver pieces back.

My friends Molly and Mike took one of the bouquets home, including the silver centerpiece. About a week after the wedding, they sent by mail a ransom note and printed photos of Mike holding the teapot in various threatening poses. It was fucking amazing:

4. Last thing isn't from the wedding, but it's fun and reminds me that my engagement wasn't ALL bad (only like 99%). Before we got married, my fiance and I threw a few absolutely epic parties (he had a huge house). One was a Halloween party that I like to believe remains legendary in Tucson, among the few dozen people who were there. When I say epic, like... every room was intricately themed and designed. I would KILL to have pictures, but this was pre-Instagram and you just kinda lived your life back then.

There was an Exorcist room where I had a life-sized Reagan doll suspended with fishing wire above the goddamn bed (ASK me how long it took to get that bitch aloft, omg). There was a deranged clown bathroom with a bloody shower and mirror, filled with a knife-wielding clown and dozens of colored balloons. There was a creepy "Betrayed Bride" room where I created a whole mystery scene with a half-packed suitcase, a diary with cryptic entries, and a vintage wedding dress (thrift store find) laid out on the bed - also a record player with music from the 40s and flickering lights. But my favorite was the alien abduction bathroom. I changed out all the lights to green bulbs and spent DAYS writing inch-high glyphs in white grease pencil, all across the mirror that spanned the bathroom. It was perfection. Green glow paint all over the shower, green glow sticks, the works. 

The living room was full of traditional decorations, including a huge flying creature hanging from the chandelier (bulbs replaced with flickering LEDs, of course), black light that lit up a white tape pentagram on the floor, and a Gryffindor scarf and broomstick tucked away in a high-up nook near the ceiling. I shit you not: I hired a palm reader to camp out in the office and give readings to my guests for free. There was a sign-up sheet and everything. We had a costume contest, and since I was still dancing at the time the prizes were unreal, first place being a damn iPod (second, IIRC, was a gift card to a steakhouse). 

And all that remains, of all of that, other than my memories of feeling so unbelievably proud of my creativity when my friends arrived and their jaws fell to the floor - is this cute sign from the costume contest:

That is parchment paper that I tea-stained by hand and then burned the edges off of. Please ask how many times I had to redo, because I burned too much off.

Oh, the things we do to be loved and admired.

team fierce

Today's small item is a happy nicetime from the friend files. 

Brent is a ridiculously talented and hardworking chef I used to work with, who is now a close friend. He was one of my mentors in my company, and had a not-small hand in endorsing me to the higher ups who granted my promotions. He had to leave LA last fall when all the restaurant jobs dried up due to the pandemic. He was gutted.

He went back home to North Carolina and took an executive chef position at a super hot, high end restaurant in Charlotte. It wasn't a match, though, and didn't last. He'd been out of work for a minute and was starting to get down about it and I was doing my best to keep him positive.  

The first text is me telling him the script he needed to repeat to himself when he felt discouraged:

And this one is from less than a month later, when he landed Director of Food and Beverage for a national company, a job that will allow him to eventually transfer anywhere he wants, including back to LA:

Where I come from, your friends' successes are your successes, and vice versa. Where I come from, being a friend means being a a fierce fucking cheerleader, always.  

Anyway, there is your happy nicetime item for the day. A happy ending, even before the pandemic has ended. 

lest u worry

Today was a much better day. Good things all day.

1. Got some answers and set some plans in motion at work. Got to tell some people they have jobs again. Got to tell them their hazard pay raises are permanent. 

2. Got (more or less) final word on my own pay. I've been hourly until now, with tips being a substantial part of my income. I'm the last standing hourly GM in my company, because it's worked out better both for me and for them, for various reasons. But now my responsibilities are shifting and I'll be floating between two stores and hourly shifts won't make sense. The big hurdle of me moving to salary has always been an inability to match what I make now, because of those tips. But they found a way to make it work: by splitting my salary between two locations. The gap is not insubstantial. In fact it's kind of unreal how much they are ponying up to make this happen. And today when my boss assured me it was really happening and I balked, saying "That's a ridiculous amount of money for slinging ketchup" he said "You don't just sling ketchup, Ellie, and we wouldn't do this for just anyone. You are worth it and we want to keep you around."

I have been with my company almost five years. It has by and large been an awesome experience in which I've been mentored by incredible people who are now some of my best friends. And I've stayed as long as I have because I love my bosses so much; they are unbelievably supportive and caring people. I started in October of 2016 an absolute mess, financially broke and emotionally broken. And now I have a legitimate career that no one can take away from me. I'm overseeing two locations, have familiarity with a third location, and I know my company's product line, story, and ethos inside and out. I'm technically still a GM, though at this point with the responsibilities and knowledge I have, I'm on the way to the next step on the ladder if I want to keep climbing. Regardless: I have a real fucking job, with real fucking skills, that I can really take anywhere, if I decide to move on. And moving to salary now gives me "the number" I can justifiably command as my rate going forward. 

3. Caught up with some friends and even got to see one of them, who did my hair. And while I still have the sadz over how short it is right now, at least the color is okay again:

Yr LA 6, over and out. 

some facts

There is a thing I have been going through for months now, a thing I have been struggling with, and that is the fact that I am not over my last relationship.

This relationship didn't have a clear ending. Some shit went down, it was confusing and chaotic - and then suddenly he was gone. He moved away. And I understand his reasons and I support it, 100%.

But here I am, still down here in stupid LA, still holding all of the feelings I had for him. I keep waiting and waiting for them to fade and disappear, but they don't. And it is hell. And I am so tired of keeping it buried and secret. 

I walk home at night, with nothing but the stars and quiet streets for company, and I have hours and hours to remember. It was only a year and a half. Most of the time he was wildly unavailable. But then there were times that he wasn't - that he was right there next to me. And though I am trying to forget, I am not forgetting. 

When I forced him to, he told me to move on. But I am a storyteller, and I can tell myself any story I want to, like He doesn't really mean it. He's trying to do the right thing, not keeping you on the hook. But he doesn't really mean it. He doesn't really want you to move on. 

But I tried, because he said to. I tried because it's been six months since he's left and other than responding to me when I text him, he has had nothing to say to me. He hasn't reached out at all. So I tried to move on. And it was a joke, like the dumbest, cruelest joke ever. Because these two first dates I had weren't even the same species as him. They didn't have one tenth of his spark or his light, and all I saw when I looked at them was the lack of him. Not his smile. Not his laugh. Not his mind. Not his shoulders. Not his anything. 

So now it is exactly like I knew it would be, when, I don't know, a year or two ago I was writing about him and said I don't know how I'll ever get over him. I clearly remember writing that. And it's played out, just like that. It's the worst. He got under my skin and I'm never going to get him out. 

And I am just so, so tired of punishing myself for feeling this way. I am so tired of feeling like it is wrong or bad to still care about someone. I don't care who knows. I don't care if he knows. 

In fact, I told him the other day. I sent him a dumb joke and I didn't even think he'd respond, but I knew it would make him smile. And I knew exactly which smile it would be, and how my sending him a dumb joke would make him feel - and that was enough. I didn't need anything back.

But then he did reply, and before I knew it I was telling him that I'm not over him, just like that, just deadass, straight out. And do you know what? It felt really good. It felt really fucking good to just say it. Like, massively relieving. Because what the fuck. Why not. He has literally moved away and set up house in another state. There is nothing left for me to lose.

And we went a few rounds because he doesn't believe me, because per his direction, I tried to move on. So, LOL. Every last existing LOL on the planet. Because my god. So let me be real clear:

I am not over you, you idiot. Read it here, read it in your texts, read it in your heart. Drive down and read it on my face.

You made me feel alive in a way no one else ever has. And if I can't have you, I will wait until the right person comes along to finally shove you out of my head. 

And that's facts.

fucking blah

Hi hello, greetings from the hellscape that is my mind tonight. I haven't been this low in a long time, and I know it's temporary, but holy fuck. We're talking a ten car pileup of anxiety and sadness, and I'm sorry, but there are no emergency services available at this time. Please try your call again later. 

Things are good. Things are objectively good. Got my second dose yesterday. Filed my taxes today. About to level up with a de facto promotion. Adulting like a motherfucker. But also, feeling frustrated and semi-hopeless, like everything I'm working towards, everything I want, hasn't gotten any closer.

Frustrated by having to pay out $$$ in taxes and tax-preparation fees. Frustrated by a lack of communication at my work. I'm not getting a lot of direction on what's coming next, and I don't know if it's because no one actually knows, or because I'm being tested, like Just figure it out, Ellie. Frustrated that despite California now having the lowest positivity rate in the country, normalcy is still months away. Missing my friends so bad. Cameron always spends long weekends with his boyfriend - unavailable. Brent just started a massive new job last week and is working nonstop - unavailable. Erin has her hands full with her new job, new house, and new city - unavailable. Steve is going through some shit - unavailable. We're checking in on one another as we can, but it's just a time when everyone has to buckle down and take care of themselves. Meanwhile all I want to do is lay on the living room floor with someone and listen to music and talk and laugh and feel connected and warm. 

This might all just be a physical thing. The second vaccine dose has absolutely knocked me on my ass. Walking home last night I got hit with a fever and chills, and I spent most of today trying to sleep off a headache. I never get sick - like, ever - so my coping skills are nil. I feel tremendously resentful at losing one of my precious days off to having no energy, no spirit, no inspiration.

Fucking blah.

date recap

Super cool guy. Not the super cool guy for me though.

sprint/survival interruptus

Quick check-in, though not much to report.

It being 2021 and us being in a panini, I was able to submit my restraining order online, literally as a 40 page PDF scanned and sent to an email address at LA Superior Court. Felt super sketch but it was received! Bit more paperwork and legwork on it to go, though.

No news yet how my work will be changing, though the gears are starting back up on DTLA. Conversations need to be had, and will soon, about roles and responsibilities and scheduling. TBH I'm pretty exhausted already, the commute to West Hollywood is a bear, so we'll see. Right now I'm in sprint/survival mode, which is when I focus 100% on work to the exclusion of pretty much everything else, including self-care and creativity. Has to be that way for a minute yet. But I'm trying to come through here as much as I can on my weekend and, like, dump my feels and say hello. 

I hate myself for how much I'm enjoying the spring weather here in LA. Totally off-brand for me, but there it is. 

A few things on the horizon: 

1. Sunday I get my second jab, and I guess a month after that I'll be more or less as safe as I'm going to be against the 'rona? I don't know what if anything I'm going to do differently. I may check out bus routes to my work, but honestly I don't think it'll be much faster. It's something like 40, 42 stops to my store. Sounds like a recipe for hellish carsickness. I'll definitely feel more comfortable heading to the coast, so maybe a beach day sometime soon? I scooped up a Zip Car membership again about a week ago. Used to have one and loved it, think it's time again to have that resource in my back pocket.

2. April 30th will mark nine years since my dad died, and on that day I will reach a Pretty Big Financial Goal. Stoked about that. 

3. First week of August, barring any unforeseen changes in my work life, I should reach the Even Bigger Financial Goal. That will be a very exciting day, and around that time I'll have more to share about my longterm plans, which are pretty much all I think about these days. Sprint/survival mode etc. 

Someone asked me the other day whether I have eyes on any festivals this year, with things opening back up. I do not. It's too soon for me, though that Outside Lands lineup is something else. If I hadn't already seen The Strokes, Tame Impala, and Vampire Weekend (ya girl has been lucky) I'd be sorely tempted. But I doubt we'll be done with masking this year, and I fucking despise wearing a mask. It would really ruin it for me, be such a buzzkill to, like, dance in a mask? Pass. If by years' end though we're good to go, and someone wants to offload their Dreamstate ticket to me (sold out), then I might consider it. 

Okay kids. Apparentlyyyyy the thing I have tonight which I was 95% sure was going to get cancelled because #LA, #milliennial (I think), and #panini is actually happening, I just got the text. He suggested sushi. I have accepted. Sushi for a first date, super, I get to immediately turn him off with my disastrous chopstick skills. I guess that means I have to go get a damn manicure now. Ugh, human connection is so exhausting sometimes.

slingshot moon

Time is a liar. "Just relax," Time told me. "I got this."

Time said I didn't have to do a thing. That I had the easiest job in the world. That all I had to do was wait.

"Do nothing," Time said. "I'll take care of everything." 

But Time lied. I waited and waited and waited. I sat on my hands when they itched to reach out. I bit my lips when they longed to call out. I quietly ticked off days and weeks and months, keeping still under Time's stern gaze.

But Time lied. Nothing was fixed; nothing made better. So now I'm looking for a new truth. And I think I've found it in the rising moon.

Last night the rising moon was a perfect disc of cool white neon. It hung low and heavy in the eastern sky, an unmissable invitation. The road curved as I walked, but I didn't take my eyes off it once.

And every tree seemed to split at the top, like a slingshot cradling a milk-white marble. Branches lined up one after another all down the street, so I could follow this slingshot moon and think about how someday, I will launch myself eastward to be closer to it. Like a slingshot I'll fly fast and far, catching the rising moon when it hits exactly the right spot in the sky. I'll let go and drop back to earth, and I'll plant myself there. I'll put my own truths down then, and they'll grow deep and real, like roots. 

That feels like something I can do. That feels like choice and change and control, when the second, minute, and hour hands of time have done nothing but tell me lies. 

wee weekend playlist

Hi dolls. Feeling good? I hope so. It's Friday, and it's been a dog's age since I've shared any music, so here's a wee chill playlist for your weekend. Good luck not leaving #6 on repeat all day. 

1. Pastel Lights, by Ishi

2. Odysee, by Klur

4. sometimes it's scary...but it's still just you and me, by Leaving Laurel

5. In My Arms, Lucid Luv

6. Sea of Clouds, Che-Yung

the barrel of chances

Some of us keep a barrel of chances, in a secret place, just for someone special.

It's hard to hide a whole barrel, though, so our closest friends and family - usually they know. Our closest friends and family have seen us slink off to this secret place, pry the barrel head off, and fish out another chance.

And then another. And another. And another.

They've watched as we doled them out to our someone special like saltwater taffies to children. These chances dissolve like taffy, too, leaving nothing behind but a taste for just one more.

The barrel of chances is deep and wide; it's sturdy like our unshakable expectations, with oaken staves as pliant as our boundaries. It endlessly replenishes itself, like magic, so no matter how hard you try, you can never get to the self-respect that hides at the very bottom.