dim sum

Hey, do you want some new Daft Punk in your life? WELL YOU CAN'T HAVE IT THEY BROKE UP. Oh my god, why am I so mean? That was so mean. I'm just bitter because literally months after discovering The Walkmen - by seeing them live, mind you, at Outside Lands in 2012 and having my mind blown to smithereens - they broke up. Life, I verily whineth, is not fair. 

Anyway yesterday I discovered Dim Sum, so here are some Daft Punk lite vibes for your sexxxy spring weekend:

You like? Oui, tu vas aimer, je te promets:


Those last two aren't so Daft Punk-y, but "Accolade" below is. HERE HAVE SOME MORE DIM SUM HE IS FUCKING RAD.

what the fuck *DO* you do all day anyway, Ellie?

Something a little different today. Something I don't talk much about at all, because boring! My job. Gonna get all reveal-y about the true glamour of managing a two restaurants. Brace yourselves for the envy.

I recently hired a new head chef, whose title is actually Chef Manager, who is expected to be more of an equal to me in front-of-house and administrative duties than our previous chef at this location, and who is therefore more experienced both in the kitchen (she's a culinary school grad) and kitchen management (she ran the show at a very prestigious college in Malibu that you may have heard of).

She's incredible and at only two weeks in my life is already a million percent less stressful. However she's brand new and absolutely brimming with ideas and suggestions, and she keeps coming to me like "We should do this! And we should do this!" and I am like gurrrrl, yes. You should do that. Key word being you. CUZ I GOTS MY HANDS FULL.

And in her defense when we hired her in, there was a ton going on (there still is) and though I really wanted to have a breakdown of our responsibilities ready to give her on day 1, I didn't have time to do it until just now. Like me, she is all about communication and support and teamwork. She just hasn't been properly introduced to how my store - really, all of the stores in company - are run. What gets delegated by the GM (moi) and what does not. What's all me, what's all her, and what we do together. 

And while it is some seriously boring shit (and probably explains why I dramatize and romanticize my life so much, haha), putting it all down on paper was kind of a holy shit moment, because seeing all the million things I'm responsible for really makes me understand why I have to work a bajillion hours a week to get it all done. 

So here it is, all the wonder and glory. What I do all damn week when I'm not moping and mooning over exes and spending waaaaay too much time making IG stories. I left off her portion of responsibilities and just included mine plus our shared ones, because who cares about her, she can get her own blog AMIRITE.

Just kidding, she's a brilliant and talented chef, but her list is basically fifteen variations of buy food, cook food, sell food.

Just another dysfunctional Gen X liberal arts major fulfilling her destiny. Sigh. At least, like me, this destiny is mutable.  

compatability chart

On a storm grey beach, beside the dark deep blue

I hug my knees in tight, let my thoughts swim through

You're just up coast, you're just a walk away

If the walk was walkable and not forty days

And the moon is pulling, and the tide is pushing

And I have no choice, despite all my wishing

There's five thousand stars, bright buttons in a clear black sky

But just one gem in the sand, waiting and sitting

And wondering why

They say you're the balance

They say you're the beauty

But I weigh what you say against what you do

And neither of me understands you

Every day the constellations are a map that I can trace

From the cross streets of my memory, where no lines have changed your face

And I know it's silly, and I know it's fake

But when it seems to fit it somehow stops the ache

They say we are right

They say we belong

But I can't write a duet solo

You have to sing along

box of thots

Lately on my days off I am so exhausted I can barely stagger to the Chipotle across the street and back. Seriously, that is my big weekend treat right now. Chipotle. That's not Chipot-hate. It's just a reflection of my complete lack of energy to go hunt down anything more interesting, or spring for delivery when I'm in a $aving season of my life. 

I don't mind being righteously tired after working all week. There isn't much else going on yet, and by the time there is, I'll have reached the second of my two Very Grown Up Financial 2021 Milestones and about a hundred tons of weight will drop off of me and I will adjust my work schedule to allow for more adventure, connection, and creativity. 

But right now, I'm singularly focused and singularly fucking tired

A thing about being this tired: I can't run. I can't run literally and I can't run, figuratively, from the shit I am working through. I'm too tired to even handle much media stimulation, so I'm only on my phone to talk to friends. Okay and maybe to post IG stories, because I am nothing if not the perpetual party latecomer. Mostly I'm spending hours of my days off pinned to my bed, just listening endlessly to music -- and thinking.

There are now volumes worth of introspection bound and shelved in my brain, thanks to COVID. How many hundreds of hours have I spent with dead time, with in-between time, with walking time, and now with bus-riding time and being-too-tired-to-do-anything-else time. So. Much. Thinking. Time. So much self-searching and questioning. So much coming to terms. So much stubborn denial still keeping me stuck. So much feeling and confusion and wanting and wishing and dreaming and planning.

Occasionally these thoughts and feelings are hard. Sometimes they're so hard I cry my way to sleep. Some days the very same thoughts hit me with no force whatsoever. I can hold them up to the light, wincing in expectation of the pain -- but instead they are just neutral facts that for some reason, in that moment, don't hurt, even upon close examination.

I don't know what the difference is, or why sometimes I'm let off easy. I wish I knew. Oh how I wish I knew.

Today was a neutral feeling day. As ever, whether I want to mess with it or not, the Box of Thots appears next me on the bed, rattling itself to get my attention. I can't ignore it. I can't pretend it isn't there. It is the Box of Thots and it will not be dismissed. So with a sigh I pick it up. I barely have to touch it and thot after thot falls out, tethered one to the next, inextricably linked.

But today I could just pull the chain through my hands and it didn't hurt. It didn't sting or burn or cut. It was just a chain of thoughts. Facts. Realities. Feelings. Questions. Lies. Truths. Beliefs. Hopes. Expectations. Dreams. They are still going, because I'm here at home with nothing much to do and the Box knows it. But it's looking like tonight, at the very end of it all, will be a dry pillow.



A few months ago, I was helping a customer at my work when halfway through the transaction I realized who he was. He had told me his name on the phone, not a terribly common name, but I hadn't thought anything of it until I found myself noticing him. Not his looks so much as how polite and down to earth he seemed. 

The vibe this guy was putting out kind of pulled me into paying more attention to him and looking at his face with curiosity, which had a familiarity I couldn't place until I mentally reattached it to his name. Then it hit me. He's a music producer that you'd only know if you're familiar with EDM - but he's extremely well known. I haven't listened to his stuff in years, but from 2012 - 2014 I was obsessed with him. He was one of my EDM gateway drugs, and I have many memories of seeing him at probably half a dozen festivals, first as a side stage then as a headliner, which he remains now. Massive following, massive social media presence. A couple of his songs are in my top ten favorites to this day and his Ultra 2013 set was my running soundtrack for months after it was released.

The moment I realized who he was my brain absolutely short circuited. I think my mouth actually opened and shut a couple of times stupidly, while he stood next to me waiting to finish paying for his food. 

"I'm sorry," I said, mercifully not stammering. "I just realized..." I trailed off and shook my head. "Sorry," I tilted my head and made a sheepish face I hoped communicated my helplessness in the moment.

He laughed, understanding. "Not at all."

I nodded at him. "Big fan." I couldn't help myself. 

He laughed again. "Well I'm a big fan of your food, so."

And that was it. He left. I turned around to see my head chef staring at me. "Your face is beet red," he said, and proceeded to savage me for the rest of the day.

Well, he came back yesterday. And here's the kicker. The exact same fucking thing happened again. He didn't call in his order this time. He walked in and gave it in person. And this time I was again noticing the very friendly and warm vibe he was putting out, which led me to notice the tattoos on his forearms, which drew my attention to the t-shirt he was wearing, which made me peek up at his face and...Oh my fucking god Ellie, you absolute moron. He literally just told you his name again thirty seconds ago.

I stopped typing and just started smiling, kind of dropped my head and nodded, as if caught out. He laughed. "We did this last time, didn't we?" I said in a low voice, flinching at my own ridiculousness. "We did," he smiled and answered in the same low tone, sympathetic to my clear self-cringe. 

As it happened, my kitchen was a disaster yesterday, only because we are severely understaffed and in the middle of training two new people. And of course he would come on that day. Of course

Sundays are my Fridays and I'm always absolutely wrecked by early afternoon. Which is probably why I started babbling to him like an idiot, not fangirling I swear, but making small talk about shows and things opening up and how the east coast is open and when do you think LA will be and before I knew it he was pulling out his phone to show me something on it while I'm frantically trying to telepath to the kitchen to HURRY THE FUCK UP with his order before I make an absolute ass out of myself. 

It took about ten years for my new chef to make his food, bless her heart, because he ended up ordering more -- but the whole time he waited he made a big show of NOT being impatient, if that makes sense. Pretending he was super absorbed in his phone or browsing my store, never once betraying the slightest bit of bored body language. Like, truly the nicest, chillest guy ever, with a personality that totally belies the off-the-chain jackassery he plays up online. 

But wait. It gets better.

Not long after he left, one of our daytime regulars came in, a youngish guy who always chats up my FOH kid Johnny about music (they both produce electronic). I've never really engaged much with this guy, though I am aware he's an EDM person. So here I am, all supercharged off my second interaction with this music celebrity, and I decide to get cute and name drop on this kid.

"You produce music, right?" I say to him as I'm getting his drink.

"Yeah I do!" he says brightly. "My studio is right around the corner." 

"Well you just missed Dillon Francis," I grin.

He grins back, pauses for a second. "Dillon Francis is my client. He's my best friend." 

Yes. This is what happens. 

This is what he says to me. This is the web of humiliation that I have woven for myself, on a sunny Sunday, in the spring of 2021, in West Hollywood, California, with a mere six words.

My friends. I wanted to drop into a hole in the ground. I want to drop down into the ground where they're boring the Purple line extension and have the boring machine bore through me, because by now I've realized I've made an absolute, 100%, irredeemable IDIOT of myself to these two men, and in no less than five minutes they are going to be howling about this back in the studio.

"Oh my god," I say. "You can't tell him I said that. Oh my god. Please. Promise me," I implore. I am numb with horror. I am thirteen years old, awkward, revealed for the dork I deeply am. 

He laughs, shaking his head. "No no no, all good. You're adorable, it'll make his day. But I won't tell him," he says. I rub my eyes. We both know he's lying. 

"He's older now," he adds. "He actually appreciates stuff like that now." 

I sigh the deepest, most defeated sigh of my life, resigned to the fact that I have now cemented my identity as the goofy fangirl at their favorite lunch spot.

I accept it. I will assume the mantle. I will wear the crown. I have danced, all day and all night, in much worse.


P.S., motherfuckers -- EVERY GODDAMN TIME


I met Paul at the Wilshire/Western Metro station late on a Friday night. I was not out shopping for a meaningful if brief encounter with a meth addict on my way home from work, but 2021 is full of surprises so far. 

Paul's first words to me were "Never seen that before, huh?" He was stepping through the sliding door that connects subway cars, something riders rarely do. I had glanced his way when I noticed, but mostly I was staring down the length of the train car, which for some reason was unlit. My expression was one of mild concern, not curiosity. 

"What, moving between cars?" I said neutrally. "Yeah, I've seen that. I'm just wondering why the lights are out." At that moment, the lights went back on. Neither of us commented on it. 

I sat down in one of the spots facing the aisle, one reserved for seniors and the disabled. But it was nearly midnight and save for Paul and I, empty. With no seats in front of me, I could kick my legs out and lean back.  

Paul moved past me, deciding on his own seat. I took him in guardedly, unbothered but prepared to bolt if necessary. He was somewhere between 25 and 35 years old, with deeply tanned skin, close cropped light brown hair, and greenish eyes the whites of which glowed against his darkened skin. His clothes were tattered and filthy, with pants sunk half past his hips and work boots halfway unlaced. There was no question he was homeless and either an alcoholic, an addict, or both - but there was an energy about him, an alertness that gave me the impression he had plenty of fight still left in him. Paul was clearly on the losing side of life's many battles, but as of yet he remained undefeated. 

In the entirely empty train car, Paul chose the seat directly facing me, putting us mere inches from one another in the otherwise wide open space. I didn't flinch or glare or get up and move. I allowed it. I waited.

He slumped in his seat for a moment's rest, then immediately yanked the gaiter that covered his mouth and nose down to speak. I jerked upright, scolding "Ep ep ep!", the universally recognized sound for No no no, don't do that. The sound mothers make to their children when they grab at something they shouldn't. 

Paul understood and with both hands, pulled the dirty cloth back up over his face, this time all the way up, covering his eyes and forehead ironically, like an impudent child sarcastically making a point. He took a few sharp breaths, sucking in the fabric that bound his face tightly. It was an absurd and darkly comic moment that I nevertheless couldn't find the laughter for. Pretty much like most of the past year. 

I was a week past my second vaccination and feeling somewhat invincible, so when over the course of the next few minutes the gaiter ended up down around his neck and Paul's mouth and nose stayed totally exposed, I didn't say anything. I did some quick calculations in my head, the variables being

1. How likely I was to get the virus from someone who clearly roamed the city all day

2. How likely I was to get the virus at all when case counts in LA had plummeted so sharply

3. How bad it could possibly be for me if I did get it, now that I was all vaxed up

4. How good it felt to just sit next to another person with our faces seen clearly by one another, with our expressions of hesitancy or amusement or curiosity or compassion plainly visible, like real human beings sharing a moment of normal human interaction

and I came to the scientific conclusion of: Fuck it. 

Paul fidgeted while we waited for the train to leave the station. He crossed and uncrossed his legs. He pulled at the sleeves of his shirt. He cocked his head left and right. The way he jerked around it was like there was another Paul inside of him, restless and captive. 

"Do you live around here?" he let his head hang back on his shoulders, only turning his eyes toward me to ask this. 

"I live downtown," I said.

"Do you like it?"

"Yeah, it's okay," I said. The space where normally I would return the question to anyone that wasn't obviously living on the streets widened and widened, until there was just a chasm of silence. 

"Do you think I could stay at your place tonight?" At this he turned his whole body toward me, an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the plea. I held his gaze in return, smiled sadly, and shook my head. He nodded. What he'd expected. No hard feelings.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Elizabeth. Yours?"

"Paul." He thrust his hand out, but not as an invitation to shake mine. Instead he flattened his palm and held it directly in front of my chest, inches from the zipper of my jacket. He held it there, suspended, as if feeling my life force. He held his palm out to so long I started to think he wanted me to touch it, to meet it with mine. 

"No touching," I admonished gently.

"I'm not," he protested, truly enough.

Suddenly, Paul sprang out of his seat and reached into his back pocket. I watched as he pulled out an assortment of objects, none of which I could identify other than as things I would immediately throw away if I found them on my floor, and place them carefully onto his subway seat. A crumpled up bit of paper. A broken glass pipe. What looked for all the world like rocks but which I knew were not.

He fumbled with these things, putting one or another to his mouth, tasting, testing. I braced myself for I wasn't sure what. I told myself that if he lit the pipe I would have to move to the other side of the train. I didn't want to inhale anything. But just as quickly as he'd started on whatever this mission was, he aborted it. He sat back down, angled towards me amiably. Still fidgeting. 

"What are you on?" I heard myself asking.

"Meth," he said simply. "I drink a lot too." I could tell. I could smell it. "When was the last time you got high?" he asked me. 

I didn't point out the assumption or qualify which drug I meant; I just answered honestly: "A few weeks ago."

"Molly?" Paul had me pegged. I laughed a little and nodded.

"Yeah. I had some molly once but then they gave me meth. It was at a party. They didn't tell me. They were like 'Hey, you should try this blue!' and I was like 'I don't know, I don't know what blue is'. It was at this girl's house, all these people. I didn't know. So then I was like 'Okay, sure' but it was meth and I was hooked."

This monologue went on for a minute, Paul animatedly acting out the scene, changing his body language and voice to reflect the different characters of his story. I couldn't really follow. I just watched Paul deeply inhabit a moment from his past. 

Abruptly, he changed tacks, looking at me intently. "What's the longest you've ever stayed awake?"

I took a moment to genuinely consider the question. I thought of the time in college when my boyfriend and I shot out to Disneyland for a day and then drove back that same night, both of us having to work in the morning. I momentarily got lost remembering the sleep we finally had a day later, when we woke up so disoriented and dream-drunk we didn't even know what day it was. I thought, there must have been a time when I stayed up a day straight at least to write a term paper...

"Hmmm. Maybe a day? A solid day?" I offered this to Paul with a smile, as if it were a small gift I was hoping would delight him. By now we were pulling into my station, and I patted my backpack to check for my phone and keys as I started to get up.

"That's how long you've been alive," Paul said seriously, watching my face to see if I understood. 

There is a phenomenon that occurs when you take enough LSD, that you learn/know/understand things during the trip that escape you once the trip ends. It's just a fact of acid. You can't bring everything back with you, and you have to accept that some of the mind-splitting bits of clarity you glimpsed when you were in the wonderland are going to have to stay back behind the curtain until you're brave enough to go find them again.

That is how Paul's proclamation struck me. Like a slice of universal truth I nevertheless would have to take his word for. He was in a place I wasn't. He could see things I couldn't. 

I reached into my bag and opened my wallet, pulled out the twenty, the five, and the handful of singles inside. "When was the last time you ate?" I asked him. He dropped his head. "Here," I said. He shook his head. "Please," I said. He took the money but didn't say thank you. Just looked past my shoulder at the empty car.

All at once, I felt my heart crumpling up inside me. I was going to lose it. We walked out of the train together and I picked up my pace to let him know I was leaving the station alone. I turned back and held my arm straight out. I made a peace sign with my fingers, walking backwards, looking him in the eye, smiling fiercely.

"Don't be sad," Paul called out softly. I was smiling determinedly. I had purposefully, carefully composed this smile out of view, wanting to leave him positively charged from our conversation. But he had seen right through me. I shook my head at him, a liar through and through.

I managed to get a quarter of the way up the escalator before the tears hit, well out of Paul's sight. I wouldn't have wanted him to see me breaking in two like that. He has much better things to see, that maybe I never will. 

tuesday truths

It's been a weird twelve hours. Last night, my first "weekend" night, ended on a downbeat. Sometimes free time is the worst thing for me. Free time is where all of my unresolved shit hides, just waiting to pounce. And it found me last night, kicked me around a bit. Kicked me straight to sleep, in fact.

But then I woke up today in a seizure of optimism and positivity. It's like I fell asleep with a certain familiar feeling in my hand, sure of its weight and shape. But this morning when I opened my eyes and unclenched my fist, what I was holding was something else. It looked and felt different. I felt like I'd been duped.

All of this has left me feeling a little whoaaa, because ffs it's my weekend, and I just want to relax and catch up with friends and be creative and enjoy my lovely loft. I want to reset for another week and not be in my head too much. On top of that it's 4.20, which means it's my annual celebration of dumping all the weed addicts in my past (seriously, every hardcore stoner I've ever gotten close to has turned out to be a ragingly selfish asshole, and that's male and female) - I will be enjoying some *real* drugs later today. 

So, six thoughts on this Tuesday.

1. I am doing pretty okay. Last week I had a zoom call with our HR person, who knows I'm pulling insane hours right now, overseeing two stores, one of which I had a week to prepare for a relaunch of and the other of which lost a head chef, two line cooks, and a FOH person in the span of three days. Good times. Anyway, I can't remember the first part of what she said, something like "You're doing great" or whatever, but the second bit was "Everyone sees it." That landed, in the best way. It's been my mantra all week. Everyone sees it. 

2. I didn't think I could find any more room for music in my life. I didn't think I could make a bigger space for it than it already occupied. But I have, and that's been an amazing surprise. I didn't use to be able to listen to music while I write - I can now, and I love it so much. I didn't use to want to listen to music as I fell asleep - I do now, and it's a new source of comfort and joy. 

3. It's dawning on me that the Imposter Syndrome that has plagued me for years re: my job -- it's fading away. I really do know what the hell I'm doing. And I really do it well. And I know now that I really could move away, do what I'm doing somewhere else, if I wanted to. Everything I've learned can come with me. The past five years haven't been for nothing, and while I would be nervous to try something new somewhere new, I wouldn't be terrified. I would be confident. That's fucking massive for me. 

4. I'm seeing myself differently in other ways, too. I'm starting to understand and accept that pieces of my character are worth something. That they're actually rather rare and precious. I know that sounds gross and egotistical. Trust me when I say my ego is well in check. It's just that I'm starting to finally appreciate what I have to offer, in friendships and relationships, whereas before I just felt like I was tricking everyone into loving me. It's like being inside a darkened church with stained glass windows. The windows were always there, panels of color that without light on them look muted and indistinct. But then the sun hits and they come to life. And you're like Oh wow okay, that's kind of pretty

5. It is okay to say no to people I don't like. It's okay to not like everyone. It's okay to drop out of friendships that are one sided and draining to maintain. It's okay to say no to second dates. It's okay to listen to my gut when someone strikes me as controlling, or terminally defensive, or humorless and dull. 

6. Day-off naps are good for me. They are the hardest thing ever, because I treasure my two days off so much and want to cram them full of ALL THE THINGS, and naps feel like such a waste of time. But sometimes my overworked brain and happy little heart just need more sleep, so they can process and keep forever all that I am learning and loving and experiencing. It is okay to let the world tick by for a little while, so that the world inside me stays strong and safe. 

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.