reframe

The first part of today sucked could have been a lot worse.

First, I discovered that yet another blog designer had copied and re-sold some of my work been so impressed by my originality and creativity that she wanted to pass it off as her own. So that ruined my morning flatters me.

Then, I acted like an idiot made a mistake and now a friend is pissed off at me mildly annoyed at me. I am mad at myself for upsetting him and feel really low about it can't say that I blame him.

I've been out of touch with some loved ones for a little while, so I feel like no one wants to talk to me assume people are just busy with their own lives. I wish they'd reach out to me. Seems like a good opportunity to reach out, say hello, and let them know they're on my mind.

On top of everything, I had run out of half-and-half the perfect excuse to work heavy whipping cream into my morning.

Basically, it seems like the universe is conspiring against me life as usual.



I sent this pic of Roscoe to Upstairs, to show him how fabulous a fish sitter I am. He texted back saying that he lost his license and passport, and has no ID with which to board the plane home. To cheer him up I told him that Roscoe says he likes me better, since I let him eat dessert first. He answered, Fish don't eat dessert. It's too sandy for them.

I replied that he's awfully clever for a man with no identity,

2.29.12

Chaucer wakes up early and starts begging for breakfast immediately. I'd love another two hours of sleep, I'm sore from work last night, but I'm up.

A friend calls, wanting to know if I'd like to do some paid creative work for him. I'm game, and we set a time for tomorrow to figure out the details. After we hang up, I remember that it's Wednesday and text him back: Buy you lunch at the farmer's market? He says sure, and ten minutes later I meet him at Pershing Square, where the market is in full swing with vendors selling locally grown/made fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, soaps, candles, pies, and more.



We make a quick refill run to 7-11 (he's addicted to Diet Coke) before returning to the market and getting kebabs with rice and grilled vegetables. We eat at a table in the sun, curiously watching a group nearby. It's a seated circle of six or seven demographically diverse people, in the center of which play some dogs. It looks like some kind of therapy session, but we can't figure out why the dogs are there. We guess at the conversation: Coco, it's good to see you back at group; it's been a long time....Now, Rex, it's Muffy's turn to talk. Please wait until she's finished, and then you can speak.

Over lunch, he tells me about his latest idea for a creative business. He's already decided to buy the main piece of equipment he'd need. We talk about three of our favorite subjects: puppies, ex-boyfriends, and the shortsightedness of Republicans. He's a font freak like me, and I tell him about the awesome, name-your-own-price foundry I just discovered.

I mention I'm in the market for a road bike, and he suggests we walk over and check out the selection at a nearby shop where he's had some work done on his own. He doesn't yet know it, but he's just signed on to an hour ordeal involving me looking at and test-riding bikes, and ultimately falling in love with this beauty:



While I'm kicking tires, he reads to me from the events section of the local paper. We make plans to try out a new restaurant, and possibly attend the upcoming Beerathon.

Somehow, the nearby Bradbury Building comes up, and when he finds out I've never seen it, insists on taking me. It's an architectural and historical landmark downtown, and he's flabbergasted I've not yet been inside of it. He's right; it's incredible:



The Bradbury is where, among other films, Blade Runner was shot. Being inside of it is like stepping into a time machine. I'd never seen an exposed mail chute before.



The space is beautifully maintained. I couldn't find a speck of dust on any of the intricate wrought ironwork. I couldn't get over the elevator cages.



We walk back to his apartment, where we bring his dog downstairs to visit with two others in the building, on the faux grassed patio of a neighbor he's become friends with. The small-town girl in me with a still-strong tendency to be starstruck, despite my constant exposure to The Industry, is tickled to learn that this neighbor is the director of an extremely popular, award winning television show. He's not home when we go downstairs, but my friend has a key. We let ourselves into his loft to allow the dogs some play time together.



Love is a longhaired doxie puppy named Duncan.



As I step carefully around this stranger's home, I mentally inventory the pieces I recognize: Eames Lounge Chair, Arco lamp, Eames molded plywood dining chairs. I glance curiously at the two huge monitors on his desktop, thinking dorky, provincial thoughts like, Neat stuff happens there.

I leave soon afterward, feeling inspired and upbeat.

a night in the life, part one

6pm

I eat a small meal, typically a salad dense with vegetables, or maybe a large apple and some milk. Sometimes just a bowl of raisin bran. I read once that eating foods high in fiber about 45 minutes before you exercise helps maintain your energy during a workout. It seems to work for me.

7pm

Some days, I struggle to find the motivation to exercise, which I consider to be the first part of my work night. And some days it's already there. It depends largely on how much caffeine I have in my system.

My workouts are simple and never vary: I spend about half an hour using five pound weights, doing sets of 30-35 reps of various exercises using my arms and legs. Leg lifts, squats, donkey kicks, extensions, lunges - things like that. I do abs, too. There's nothing fancy about my routine, and I have no great secrets of Stripper Fitness to impart. I just take my time and keep my movements measured. I don't particularly enjoy the process, so I try to make the effort count.

Running is another story. That I truly enjoy. After weights, I throw on my beat-to-hell trail runners, grab my phone and my keys, and run south out of downtown for anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Some nights, I run the entire time. But usually it's about 70/30, running there and run/walking back. I listen to the music I'll know I'll be dancing to later that night, which helps pump me up. I've always relied heavily on visualization to help me get through workouts - thinking about how I want various parts of my body to look, in clothes (or out of them), when I'm dancing (and here I mean just dancing out with friends), or lying on a beach, or walking through an airport - anything. It's dumb I know, and super narcissistic, but it works for me. So thinking about how I'll look on stage, in my underwear, with a room full of men scrutinizing every part of me, is a pretty big motivator.

It's extremely difficult for me to muster the will to go to work if I haven't worked out. I don't feel tight or sexy. And dancing isn't easy to do if you don't feel confident in your body.

8pm

I get ready. I'd guess I spend as much time and effort getting ready for work as most women put into getting ready for a big date. I have to be aware of pretty much every inch of my body. Which is not to say I'm always a completely polished sex kitten. Not even close. There are plenty of nights when my nails/toes desperately need a mani/pedi, or my hair wants cutting (or coloring), or something like that. But for the most part, when I leave for work, I feel well put together and pretty. I have to.

I don't actually wear more makeup than when I'm going out. Nothing crazy, no glitter or harsh eyeliner. No over-the-top lipstick colors, or eyeshadow. I learned quickly that my appeal as a dancer is the "natural", girl next door look. Many's the time I've heard some variation of the question, What are you doing in this place? You don't fit. So I go with that image, because it seems to still be working. God knows I'm neither innocent nor all that natural, but if men want to give me money because they think I am? Brilliant. Have at it, gentlemen.

9-9:30 pm

I walk Chaucer one last time, then lock up and head for the subway, where I buy a one-way ticket for $1.50, because I still haven't gotten a TAP card. The Metro station is just around the corner, but the schedule is somewhat unreliable. Sometimes I have to wait for ten minutes or more before my train comes in, and another fifteen before it leaves again. During this time I play 7 Little Words on my iPhone and listen to music. My stop is another eight minutes down the line, and from there, I have a 12 minute walk to the club.

The area I walk through is not nice. A few of my coworkers have freaked out when they learn that I have to hoof it through this part of town. You're nuts, they say. You have a death wish. Some have offered to give me a ride in, on those nights they plan on working. But for one thing, it's pointless for people without fixed work schedules to make plans, because things always change. And for another, I really don't mind. Living downtown has gotten me more than used to shady areas. I don't want to sound like a naive idiot and say, Oh gosh, I'm completely safe, nothing will happen to me! But I'm as careful and aware of my surroundings as I can be. And I move quickly. And dress in dark colors. Plus, I actually like the brisk walk. It's a time for me to mentally focus on the night ahead, and get my energy up and running.

Sometimes I text a friend on the way. The thought of a loved one - of someone supportive and rooting for me - is a great source of inspiration. That's part of why I'm doing this, I'll tell myself. Good people like that, who I want to stay close to. If I'm feeling low or pressured or negative about the fact that Oh my god, I'm dancing AGAIN, I'll remind myself how much more opportunity there is in LA for me, professionally, socially, culturally. I'll remind myself of the bigger picture, and The Plan.

10-10:30 pm

I arrive at the club, playfully fist-bumping the valet in greeting. We're gonna have an awesome night tonight, right? The bouncers call me by name and hold the door for me. We wish one another a good night. This is de rigueur: we all build one another up with positive energy, jokes, and flirtation - dancers, doormen, managers, bartenders, DJs. It's a service industry thing. There is no camaraderie like that among a well-run strip club, with hardworking, friendly employees. It's the us vs. them mentality on crack. We protect our own, emotionally, financially, and physically, if need be.

On my way down a separate hallway from where customers enter the club, I swing by an unmanned check-in window, where I tap my fingertip on a tiny scanner. My stage name loads on a computer screen above: I've just been automatically added to the stage rotation. I change out of my street clothes, swipe on a bit of lipgloss, and put on a single spritz of perfume. It's incredibly sweet and youthful, and I love it, but I would never wear it outside of the club. I don't bathe in it, like some dancers do with scent. One of the first things I learned about dancing is that men don't particularly like to return home to their wives and girlfriends reeking of another woman.

My things I store in a locked locker, in a dressing room four times the size of my apartment, which is clean and well-lit. I greet the other girls, but stop to chat with very few. I quickly check myself over in the mirror, then head around the corner, through an entrance/exit just for dancers, and out onto the club floor.

My energy and optimism are high, and I'm ready to make some money.

(to be continued)

pilot light

When Upstairs texts, asking if he can come by, my place is still a mess from the night before. A last minute invitation to an Oscar-watching party had me scrambling to pick out a dress. Virtually every one I own has been pulled out of my closet, draped across the couch or my desk, or hung in the window.

rejected contender #1

The party itself hadn't been anything spectacular, but that was mostly because I was the invitee of an invitee. I barely knew anyone there, and wasn't feeling especially mingly. I hung back with familiar faces and did my part to deplete the catering table of ahi tuna and sea-salted chocolate chip cookies. The hosts had gone all out decorating, complete with a red-carpet entryway outside their apartment door, and a blow-up Oscar for photo ops. They even had small plastic statuettes to hand out to the best red-carpet ready guests.



After the party, a friend and I had gone to Faultline, though we did even less mingling there. We planted ourselves at the bar and talked for hours, the bartender occasionally buying us shots and joining in the conversation. He clearly had his sights set on my friend. I wasn't in the mood to drink heavily, but had felt it my duty as Wingwoman in Chief to partake.

I'm still feeling the lingering effects of my good sportsmanship when Upstairs knocks and lets himself in, a heavy glass jug with a narrow neck in his arms. Inside is a plump goldfish named Roscoe. I'm going to be fish sitting for the next five days while he's out of town.

Upstairs puts the jug on my kitchen island, carefully positioning it like a centerpiece. He comments on the spread of formal wear and shoes around my apartment. Though I explain that the mess was occasioned by a party with friends, he teases me, insisting I've been on a date.

He takes a seat on my couch, and I sit opposite him on the edge of my bed. We chat about his pending trip, about his work. After a minute, I stand and return to the business of tidying up. He lays down lengthwise, twisting his body to face me, and extends his arms in a wordless invitation: come. This is a direct, blatant regression of our reclassification efforts, and we both know it. But he's an appealing sight, stretched out on the sofa. I can't resist the temptation to be held, so I only hesitate for a moment before laying down with him.

And that's when it happens. It's something in the kiss he gives me, gentle and soft. Reserved, even, as if to acknowledge that this is an anomaly in our new paradigm. As if reading my mind, he confirms this verbally. "I know we're just friends. But I like kissing you."

But whereas before when he'd kiss me, I'd feel myself floating away mentally, detached and frankly, uninterested in the physical experience of it, at this moment, I am very much present. My senses are fully registering, and I am dialed in. What got shut off so forcefully late last year, at the hands of another man, is suddenly back on again.

It is unexpected and wonderful and intoxicating. I can't explain why it's happening, but I don't care.

He feels and hears my response, and pulls us upright on the couch. After a few minutes like this, he stands, still holding me wrapped around his torso. He yanks the curtain sheers closed and we tumble onto my bed. For some reason, I'm acutely aware of colors: the white of both our shirts, of my sheets, and of the afternoon light filtering through the soft cotton drapes. The blue of our jeans, which are almost the exact same dye of denim. The red of his lips and the deep gold of his eyes. He knows and understand the significance of my reaction. He recognizes that I'm suddenly miles apart from where I was just a week or so ago. He's solicitous and encouraging, whispering in my ear how sexy I am, and how pretty.

In the midst of the passion, my brain takes a moment to pause for gratitude to him. He's refusing to let me worry about his side of things, and insisting that we completely focus on me. It feels like a gift. It has everything to do with him. It has nothing to do with him. What he's passing on to me, I'll take back for myself and use again, without him. We both know it. And that's ok, and understood. It's a beautiful thing.

I won't let things go far. I keep the original boundary I've established in place. But the twenty minutes we steal, before he leaves to pack for his flight, is dreamlike. He holds me, grinning with a mixture of genuine happiness for me and some undeniable satisfaction at his part in the process. "I feel like a shell has broken off of me," I say. "There's a warmth and a glow deep inside of me that I haven't felt in so long. It's like, I don't know...the pilot light got lit again." He tells me that I'm a spectacular person, and that I deserve all good things.

He goes soon afterward, assuring me that Roscoe will be fine without a water change. After I watch him turn the corner of my hall, I return to lounging in my bed, luxuriating in my senses. I feel, once again, like a whole human being.

A bit later, he texts to ask if he can stop by again, before he leaves for the airport. He pops in the door to quickly hand me a small plastic container on which he's written in Sharpie: Puddin Pie - **Homemade** "I got the urge to make pie crust last night," he explains. "It crumbled and broke, so I made pudding pie. Chocolate. It's good." He kisses me and turns to go. I call down the hall after him, wishing him a good flight. I make a request for beach pictures from Florida. "Every grain of sand," he promises.

Once he's gone, I rummage in the closet for my Nikes. For the first time in weeks, I feel like running.

2.24.12

Upstairs texts around 2 am on Thursday night/Friday morning to say Someone broke the elevators. I sleep through it, and don't respond until after noon the next day: Are you ok? Do you need me to call the fire department? I can drop a Lunchable down the elevator shaft...

He lets me know he's back upstairs, but he's hungry. Would I maybe just grab the string he's dangling down the shaft and tie the Lunchable to that? Yeah, I say. Do you want ham and crackers or tapioca and sliced apples?

Tapiocapples for sure, he responds. I inquire about the elevator problem. Did they just not work? Did you have to take the **shudder** stairs? He did. How many breaks did you have to take? I ask. Did you have a camelback?

He asks if he can buy me a cup of coffee, and I tell him I would, but I'm in the middle of something. He writes back: Is it a clever text?

I'm shaving callouses, I say. It's heavy labor.

A little pedegg action? he replies. I'm floored. You know about the ped egg? HAVE WOMEN NO SECRETS ANYMORE??

A bit later he texts again. Coffee break in a bit maybe?

We agree to meet at Starbucks in half an hour. I grab keys, the dog leash, and my phone, and Chaucer and I head out for a quick walk beforehand. It's pretty and sunny, and I snap a couple of pics:



We get to Starbucks before him, so together Chaucer and I watch him leave our building and cross the intersection. Starbucks is about a hundred steps from our front door. Chauc nearly pees himself with excitement when he gets to the table. Upstairs rubs his head and coos at him. He pulls Chaucer's velvety ears, and nuzzles his jowls, letting the dog lick his cheek. "Jesus, Chauc," I say. "Have a little self-respect. There are tiny hearts floating out of your eyes right now."

While he's inside getting us Arnold Palmers, a Neo Mastiff puppy stops by for a visit. After puppy and owner leave, we sip our drinks and talk about the various, familiar homeless people of downtown. We know some of them by name, as well as what to expect from them: this one always wants to talk about Chaucer, that one just wants enough money for smokes. There's one guy known as Ricky the Pirate, and I've heard it said that he has his own Facebook fan page. Or maybe it's MySpace, I'm not sure.

One man we see around is wildly unpredictable and prone to sudden outbursts. Today he's taken a chair a few feet down from us. He's muttering loudly and at one point, throws his cup violently to the ground. It splashes the sidewalk and a pair of pedestrians. Upstairs looks at me with an eyebrow raised: should we go? But the man's fit passes, and he walks away, calm again.

Our table outside is next to a window, so patrons inside occasionally point and smile at Chaucer from inside. One young woman and her friend laugh as I allow Chaucer to chew on my straw. They look from the dog to Upstairs and back again. They mostly look at Upstairs. I roll my eyes and he laughs. He's not cocky or arrogant, but there's no doubt he's comfortable being a good looking young man. He told me once he loves meeting women. I told him it was scary how similar we are.

It's suddenly chilly, so we leave. We get our mail together, and he gets off on my floor, excitedly opening a manilla envelope. Inside are printable sheets of aluminum that he's been anxious to experiment with. Last week it was glue trials. He walks me to my door, where he gives me a quick, friendly peck goodbye. I'm satisfied that we've successfully reclassified ourselves as friends.

I set my alarm for seven, and fall asleep. I wake up at four am, twelve hours later. I've slept through an entire night of work. A Friday night. A night I needed, badly. I feel nauseous, I'm so furious with myself. The sleeping problems I've been having have gotten out of hand. I know exactly what I need to do - just stay the fuck awake during the hours I need to be awake and sleep when I should be sleeping - but I'm failing at this seemingly simple task.

I try to forgive myself, focus on the things I am getting right, and start my day optimistic and determined to do better.

Hedwig

I'm pretty sure that the best way to classify time is, days on which you don't see a Neopolitan Mastiff puppy vs. days on which you do.

This is Hedwig. I first met Hedwig one night a few weeks ago while I was walking Chaucer, and it took a while for the street crew to clean me off of the sidewalk. I had melted into a puddle of useless goo, because he's just more than my weak heart can handle.



Today Upstairs and I met for coffee, and Hedwig and his mom/owner came walking by our table outside. M/O asked if His Wrinkliness could say hello to Chaucer again, who was with us. I was all, Uh, forget Chaucer. I'm about to lay down on the sidewalk and have a freakin' cuddle session with your dog, lady.




Having a Neo someday is a dream of mine. They're my second favorite dog breed after Irish Wolfhounds. So getting to see one as a pup pretty much makes my day week month.

They sat with us for a little bit. While the humans compared Mastiff notes, the canines checked one another out until they both lay down, exhausted from the effort of being so adored.

My blog is fast devolving into Downtown Dog of the Day, but hello. Neopolitan Mastiff. Named Hedwig. Gah.

cone of shame

At least one of you is having a bad day, I know, because statistics. To you, I say this: It could be worse. You could be a pink Maltese trapped in the cone of shame.

"Hi, I'm Lu. I'm wearing the CoS because I won't stop licking my butt. I can't help myself. It tastes as delicious as I look."

It's vegetable dye, and it's harmless, so please don't go ringing the ASPCA. My girlfriend does this to her dog occasionally, and it's nothing to freak out about. If anything, the dog probably likes it, since she gets twice as much attention and cuddling from it. Frivolous and silly, yes. Abusive, not at all.

My girlfriend threw a small dinner party last night, cuz she wanted her visiting mum to meet some of her LA friends. She recently moved, and I hadn't seen her new place since she'd gotten settled in with new furniture, paint, etc. It looks incredible:




It's a three story loft with a rooftop terrace, smack in the middle of downtown. One of our friends is a furniture designer (he made my bed), so much of this was custom made with extra love and attention. I love, love, love the couch and the whole color scheme: grey, slate blue, taupe. And check out the vintage TVs in the bottom left pic. She picked those up at HD Buttercup.

We had salmon her mom had brought down from Washington, rice, steamed green beans, and lots of wine. Afterward, orange meringue sponge cake! It was so good to get together with everyone. It had been a while. A lot of us have been in transition - personally, professionally, and geographically. But we pledged to make 2012 our closest year yet, and Imma hold those bitches to it. I showed them the videos I made last month, in which they feature prominently. They were a hit. :)

In other non-news, yesterday an ex (the one referred to here) did something bizarre to either impress me or make me jealous, I'm not sure which. Both, probably? But it's the second time since I fled his Crazytown that he's gone to such elaborately spiteful lengths to try and bait me. Both these gestures (I don't know what else to call them, though maybe "attacks" is the better word) were delivered via text message. Both times I responded with as minimal and dry a reply as I could.

When I forwarded this latest piece of weirdness to my closest friend, his response was OMFG. That's so fucked up. Jeebus. Which is basically what he said when he heard about the first bit of weirdness. Then last night after dinner, we were talking about this dude's over-the-top attempts to suck me into engaging. He shook his head in wonder and said, "That must be some magical pussy you have, my god. And I'm a gay man, so it feels really weird to have 'magical pussy' come out of my mouth." He looked at me. "But not as weird as it would feel going in to it."

I almost dropped to the sidewalk.

I told another friend who works in internet security. He has the coolest job, actually. He's the guy corporations call when they get hacked. Told me one story about doing what was essentially hand-to-hand combat with Anonymous. Crazy cool shit.

ANYWAY. When I told him about the text from my ex, he hit the roof. He insisted that I immediately sign into my AT&T account to block Crazypants's number, and then email him a screenshot to prove it. I did. His email reply: In accordance with our strict terms and conditions as friends, I will be randomly conducting checkins to the AT&T portal. Upon request you must submit a new screenshot within 5 minutes of request. All requests will come when I know you're near a computer hooked up to the interweb.

The point of this lame story is that I have rockstar friends who took what was an otherwise ugly thing and made something awesome out of it. Dude sets out to crap on my day, and instead ends up reminding me how lucky I am I have to such hilarious, cool, and supportive people in my corner.

I think someone else needs a cone of shame, too.

israel: the dead sea

After spending the first part of the day at Masada, we headed to the Dead Sea for a few hours of floating, mud-slathering, sulphur-soaking, and finally, scrubbing like Meryl Streep a la Silkwood, to get the stink off.

The spa area has locker rooms, showers, a gift shop where you can purchase overpriced bathing suits, and a partially enclosed, heated sulphur pool.

After changing into your swimwear, you walk down a paved path to get to the water. There are lounge chairs on the beach, so you can hang out and watch the fun after you've had your fill.





There was a really curious but enjoyable energy about the place, and about the experience in general. A friendly, quiet, amused sense of intimacy. I mean, here are people from all over the world, come to this very famous place to partake in a highly fabled experience. We're all in bathing suits or underwear. Lots of skin. Few physical secrets remain hidden. It's not the French Riviera; the bodies are imperfect and natural, and average. Everyone's speaking a different language. But here we all are, stepping gingerly across the sharp limestone, wading carefully into the water, and squealing like children (of which there are very few) as we feel our bodies pushed up with weightlessness. You can't help but laugh delightedly, and you look at the person next to you - a middle-aged Eastern European woman with whom you could barely exchange the most minimal of pleasantries if you had to - and you're suddenly sharing an extraordinary moment with her.

It's kind of beautiful, actually.





This was the day I started buddying up with some of the guys from the tour. One of them, a stocky dude, had mud covering every inch of his body. I asked politely whether he'd saved any for the rest of us. He told me later he was terrified to answer me, because he didn't want to engage, not knowing whether or not I was legal. LOL. I love liars and flatterers.

It was nearing sunset, and the quality of light was beautiful.





My dad:



Gah, my hair looks crazy red here:



A friend saw this picture and said, "Oooh, I love the retro bathing suit!" Haha, it was a shirt and underwear. Super ghetto, I know, but I couldn't find a suit I liked before I left for the trip. Ok, that's not true. I found an Anna and Boy one I wanted like crazy, but I couldn't afford it. And rather get something cheaper that I didn't love, I decided to wait until I found the right suit at the right time (read: when I have money to get it).

The area was clearing out since the hour was so late, and I had a few moments to myself to just float quietly while I took in the surroundings. That's Jordan beyond my feet:



Afterwards, you can either rinse off near the water, or back up by the lockers.



I went into the sulphur pool for a little while, after soaking in the sea. That was a trip. Reeks to high heaven, but makes your skin feel amazing. It was pretty crowded, but everyone was talking very quietly and keeping polite distance. It all had a very spa-like vibe which I didn't want to disrupt or intrude upon with my camera. So, no pictures of that bit. But here's someone's YouTube video of it, in case you're curious what it looks like.



I rinsed my clothes off afterward, but they still dried stiff as a board and pungent as hell. I didn't want to spring for the hotel laundering service, so a sink shampooing it was!

I never would have thought I'd get to actually visit the Dead Sea. Very grateful to be able say now that I have.

thanks.

Few quick programming notes this morning.

1. Thanks are in order. I have been loving blogging these past few weeks in a way I haven't ever. I mean, really. Ever. I don't know who if anyone is reading or cares, but I'm having a grand time just putting it all out there. Here's my life, internet! It's nothing exceptional, but here it is! Look at it if you want, or don't! It's just a snapshot of one woman's existence in the early 21st century. That's all it claims to be. It's a much easier and more fulfilling blog to keep than its earlier incarnations, which were an unholy chimera of political rants and personal scrapbooking. Shit was exhausting, ugh. It was the pictures, they killed me. Here, my new policy of keeping my friends' names and faces off the blog has made all the difference. I can just go live my life and have fun, then tell you about it in a few sentences later, instead of feeling compelled to document it with eight billion photos.

2. Thanks to those of you who are stepping in my Twitter and Pinterest pools (both still very shallow). I've been getting my feet wet slowly on Twitter, though I still have no idea what I'm doing. But I look forward to catching up to you pros, and joining in the conversation. For now though, I'm not gonna lie: I'm really amusing myself with it. Nearly everything I think of to say is incredibly crass and absurd. So I'm sure I'll offend people on that corner of the internet, too. I've yet to pin a single thing on Pinterest. Bit intimidated by the whole thing still.

I'm really going to work on reaching out and getting involved in social media, getting to know the people who for whatever reason give a shit about my life (I know, I know: look who's changed her tune. Look who realized, holy shit, she can have a social web presence AND one IRL at the same time), but first I need to feel like I've established some consistency with it. Blogging, tweeting, pinning, and Instagramming with some regularity, which I couldn't maintain during my divorcepression days. Does that make any sense?

3. The poll I had up for a few days in the sidebar tells me you guys wanna hear about, primarily, two things: dancing, and my search for a jerb. Duly noted. Sadly, I have fuck all to report in the jerb department, and I think writing a post to formally announce that might be just too depressing, and I'd spend the rest of the day with my face buried in a bag of Doritos. However, I can definitely satisfy your curiosity and write some posts about dancing. I actually haven't been to work in a couple of weeks (health issues), so I don't have any fresh anecdotes right now. I will after this weekend though. But for now I can do, like, a night in the life sort of thing. Will that work? I can do that. Also in the pipe line: one or two more posts about my Israel trip, a post about selling my engagement/wedding rings, and one about doing ecstasy for the first time. It's a doozy.

2.22.12

Five am, and I can't sleep anymore, though I've only been down for about five hours. I'm desperate to get back on schedule, and wish more than anything I could let the dog out and then pass out again. I know it's impossible, though. I'm up. My best bet is to stay awake as late as possible tonight. The closer to two am I can fall asleep, the better. That's the schedule I need to be on: down between two and three, up around ten or eleven. It's the only way to survive nightclub hours.

There's no coffee, since I still haven't replaced the french press I broke last week while vacuuming. At Famima, I notice that while I've been filling my cup, the machine is still dripping. A small pool of coffee has collected on the counter. I quickly replace the pot and ask the cashier for a rag. He tells me not to worry about it. Oh, no sweat, he says. I don't get anything to eat.

I fiddle with the layout of my blog for a while, and work on a few of the pages. I revise my statement of childfreedom, though I'm still not happy with it. I don't know what it's missing. I don't know how to say what I want. But I feel ready to write my statement of atheism, and I do so, in one fervid shot. It comes quickly and easily, certain turns of phrase still floating in my mind from the last version I wrote. I re-read it a dozen times, wondering if I should pull a punch or two. But when I open the compose window, I instead find myself pushing it further. I don't want to compromise on it, so I let it stand, heavy and loud and unflinching.

Chaucer and I walk to the park, but it's hot, and we don't stay long. Back at the building, we're joined in the elevator by a neighbor on my floor, a husky man maybe five years younger than me with a floppy haircut and light blue eyes. Upstairs thinks he's gay, but I can't get a read. He's always very chatty and friendly with Chaucer, and he invites us to see his unit, which he knows I've got my eye on. Same square footage, same price, much better layout.

He insists on letting Chaucer, who he calls Big Doggy, come in. While we discuss counter space and pay raises, Chauc wanders around sliming IKEA sofas and Expedit bookcases, still panting from his walk.

It's 11 am, and I'm already exhausted. The dog is wiped out from the heat, and I realize if I stay at home I'll want to nap, too. I run errands while catching up on texts with friends. It's a high traffic day on my phone: A girlfriend is having a small dinner party tomorrow night, and can I come? (Yes.) Another friend asks whether I caught Colbert last night (Not yet). My new Vancouver bestie sends my first weekly city pic and an update: he and his boyfriend have broken up, and when can I come up north to pull wingman duty? (When I've got the scratch, honey.) Another friend has the girl trouble blues, so I send him a Mom Jeans screenshot.

Upstairs sends me a pic which I stare at uncomprehendingly. It's the desk in our lobby, and on it are two boxes of plastic dog poo bags - the tear off kind that come in rolls. The bags are always there, for the use of residents with dogs. I see nothing remarkable about the photo, and I say as much. I'm urged to look closer. Then I see it. One box says "puppy poo"; the other, "people poo". It's beautifully done, seamless really. He even got the reflection of the lettering in the desk's glass. I guess a lot of people from our building have been going number 2 on the street, he says.

You photoshopped this? I ask incredulously. For your viewing pleasure, he says, with a smiley.

You're insane, I write back. I love it.

Back home, I troll job listings. I spend a little while tweaking my resume, but don't send anything out. I don't return my dad's call from yesterday, though I make a promise to myself to send an email tonight.

Chaucer's ready for another walk, and since it's so mild after the hot day, we stay out until near dark. He gets an unusual amount of attention this evening. People stop us on the sidewalk, wanting to talk to or about him, wanting to pet him or take his photo. I always forget how huge and out of place he looks, walking through the city streets.

A few steps from my door, a dark-complected man walking towards us calls out and moves to greet Chaucer. He smiles broadly and says something I don't understand. It takes me a moment to realize it's the Frenchman from the creperie around the corner. He doesn't think I recognize him, and he gestures quickly towards his chest and the restaurant. I assure him that I know who he is, and we have a short conversation in French 101. He's solicitous and warm, and encourages me to use the informal construction of verbs. I'm excited when I get out "Le meilleur Croque Monsieur du ville!" smoothly, though I've no idea if I've strung it together correctly. He tells me his name, and says "Enchantee!" as we part.

I send a tweet, and realize I'm fast becoming addicted to saying ridiculous, even scandalous things on Twitter. It amuses me enormously to not censor myself, to say things I'd normally only say to friends after a few drinks. I realize I need to write a post admitting I was wrong about Twitter, too.

It's 8:00 pm, and I have six more hours to go.

a tour of my 'hood

I've put up some real teal deers lately. So today I thought I'd shut my mouth and just take you on a walk. Here are some things I saw this afternoon, running errands around my neighborhood.




Clockwise, from top left...

1. My building. You can't see my unit, which is on the interior, where I get the twin bonuses of almost no light and a complete lack of privacy.
2. My street. My building is down to the right; you can just make out the edge of it. Back behind my right shoulder is the US Bank Tower (the super tall building you see in establishing shots in movies). To the left is the Millennium Biltmore. This is a stretch Chaucer and I walk at least once a day.
3. A marquee on Broadway. Friends, family? I'd like to be remembered this way when I kick it, kthx.
4. A redonk puppeh on Broadway that I almost kidnapped.




1. My old building (the shorter one on the left). This is where my husband and I lived when we first moved to LA, and where I spent the most miserable and lonely year of my life. Cheers! On the left hand side of the street I'm looking down is the world-famous-but-not-really Bar 107, where westsiders come to slum it and drink PBR with our native hipster population.
2. The train station around the corner from my apartment. This is where yours truly boards her favorite mode of transportation to get to ballet lessons.
3. Produce stand in Grand Central Market, where I shop for cheap heads of lettuce that are only slightly rotten. A little extra dressing and you don't even notice!
4. The bar below (technically adjacent-below) my building, where I sometimes get sequestered with Maxim models.