Always the...

Well, I've been a bridesmaid before, but never a Maid of Honor. This is the latest honor bestowed upon me, by a Miss Jessica. The good news is I get to stand in her wedding. The bad news is I will be memorialized in her wedding photo album with kimono arms if I don't get moving!

Tonight we went to look at bridesmaid dresses. Now, I fully understand the attention is on the bride, as it should be. But just sifting through the dress collection -- engorged rhinestones, sashes, taffeta, oh my! -- was enough to make a girl jump out of a street-level window. Because, you know, being the same age as the bride and unmarried isn't bad enough? Because walking down the aisle with someone else's husband isn't enough? Because sweating whether you'll be a plus one or your usual "plus a few shots of tequila and mild single depression" isn't enough? Apparently not, because some of these dresses were horrific. Apparently there's a killer market for chartreuse and turquoise, but you have to wrestle for the ONE grey or black dress.

Don't worry, I distracted myself by looking at the fake bouquet of roses they had for brides to ostensibly walk through the mirrored dressing room with. Or the collection of tiaras. Which were in a plexiglass case, you know, just in case someone really "street" tried to bust into Angelo's of Claremont and make off with their bedazzled headgear.

I spent much of the time being VERY grateful that the bride in question has great taste and wasn't trying to make herself look even better by making a spectacle of us. I said a silent thank-you to the women who had put her through that, thus assuring she would never do the same to others (an emerald green velvet cap-sleeved gown with sausage-curled hair sealed her fate as a gentle bride, one who would care for her bridesmaids and their egos!!!)

I was so swept up in the moment, in trying to understand what brown sauce could have possibly found its way down the front of a particular pink number, when I realized that I was about to put on the misshapen (and DEFINITELY not my size) boustier that the woman had suggested I wear under the dress. A boustier that hundreds of women before me had worn, trying on this same parade of Single Friend Who Will Taste Weddingness For Just A Night dresses. I was so absentminded that I ALMOST put it on.

But then I came to my senses. Fortunately, so did Jessica. She decided on the second dress I wore (unfortunately the brown-juice-ed number had already been tried on, and the mystery continues...). As is required on any female bonding event, we then adjourned to dinner. And don't think I didn't stop by McDonald's to get a fudge sundae (it's on the 99c VALUE menu!!) on the way home. The diet starts tomorrow?

Me, as cliche.

I almost rented 27 Dresses this weekend. Despite that I'd wanted to see it and that I'm already racking up wedding invites for 2009, it seemed apropos. I did not, however, rent said film because:

1) I can't stand Katherine Heigl. I've never seen one of her movies, and her interviews and glossy mag persona don't really make me want to.
2) Dan had told me it was bad
3) Even I can't overcome the incredible cliche-ness of a single girl renting 27 Dresses alone on a weekend.

So I didn't. Instead, this afternoon I watched The Lady Eve, an old film with Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck. The cool thing about old films is that you get sucked into the era. For a little while you (here: me) can forget the recession, forget the new products innovation paper you need to write, forget the bills that need to be paid, and forget that you blew off working out yet again. I watch old films and I get nostalgic for eras I was about 30 years off even having a chance to experience! I think the old film star I most identify with is Katharine Hepburn, who happens to share my Nov 8 birthday. The more I watch her, the more smartass and not-typical-feminine, but sassy she is. I have never been a proper girly girl (although my attempts with makeup would suggest otherwise). She just offers an alternative approach to being a woman while not being manly, and she always gets the guy :)

In other news, I had a debate with myself today. I'm trying to figure out at what point do you let the burden shift on being in touch with people? I always keep up with everyone- I still email and call with elementary school friends, high school friends, college friends, you name it. When do you stop carrying the baton? I realize that, while people love to hear from you after years, they suck at initiating or keeping it going. So do you just let it go? Should I send out a "notice of potential termination"? (Jon: Tact papers?!?!)


It's been great being friends with you. We really had some great times doing ___________________________. However, the older I get, the harder I find it to keep in touch with people I don't see regularly. I'm sure you feel the same way! Basically I just wanted to gauge where you were on things. How about, unless you initiate regular communications via ( ) fax ( ) phone ( ) email ( ) smoke signal ____________ times per year , then I'll stop nudging you with my Facebook one-liners and holiday cards. Sound fair?

Thanks! Hope all's well! ___________ forever!


The Right Stuff

There's something to be said for consistency. The other night I went to see New Kids on the Block perform for the first time in 17 years or something like that. The last time I went to see them I was in an oversized knit sweater and braces, let's put it that way. When you go to something after so long, you run a risk. Will it be ridiculous? Will it finally justify everyone making fun of you for ever having been a fan, even when it was borderline socially acceptable?

As we pulled up to the concert I got my first text message from a friend asking whether the fans were 16 or 33. I ignored the direct slight to my own thirtysomethingness, but naturally had to confirm that the only children or youth of any sort in the confines of the Cox Arena had been brought there by their mothers. We all hurriedly peed, because by the time you're 30 you know that all the coffee you drank to get through your day has a price to pay. And you barely glance at the memorabilia because it's a recession and while you are not old enough to keep yourself from Jordan Donnie Joey Jon and Danny, you are old enough to keep yourself from bright pink tee shirts you can't wear even on casual Friday.

You sit down and see that, all techy-like, they've set it up so you can text message to a screen above the stage. These texts are increasingly profane, but funny, because most of the people sending them are married and write things like "I'm married now... but he's not here!" You might send a text that says something to the effect of "Jordan, I'm legal now!" Your mom wouldn't be proud but she's also not your chaperone this time around. Unlike the concert back in 1990 or whatever it was, she doesn't need to take her pack of cigarettes and go lock herself into the elevator and pull the emergency stop just to give herself a break from the screaming (yours included).

The concert begins, but for your friends who aren't really interested, you'll fast forward through performances by Lady Gaga (whose song you can't get out of your head) and Natasha Bedingfield, who ends up being an incredibly talented performer and frankly blows your mind with how overproduced her albums are compared to her ability to carry a mic and make it happen. But this post isn't about her, so you move on.

When a band decides to go on a reunion tour, there are a few different ways they can play it. They can try to pretend that they never left the spotlight. Maybe it's even true- maybe they played the wedding and country fair circuit. Or they can pretend that they wanted or needed the time off. But what New Kids did was something I didn't expect- they were incredibly humble about it and they absolutely reveled in the attention. I mean, they acted like they were 18 years old again, hamming it up for the audience and soaking up every blood-curdling scream that flowed forth from the sea of estrogen.

I've never been to a concert where there were no men. When I say there were no men, I mean I spotted 4 husbands/boyfriends and a couple of security guys. That was IT. And you would have to be a very secure man to go to a New Kids concert, because women were ready to chuck their husbands for a go at the boys from Beantown. I've never seen anything like it. At one point they performed out in the audience and someone threw huge granny panties and I'm still not sure to this day if they were a joke.

Another question when a band hits the road again is- do you pretend that you never had your old hits? Do you try to pimp your new album which is good enough, or do you do a crowd-pleaser? Always knowing their audience, they threw in only a few songs from their (actually quite fantastic) album The Block and instead performed every song I could think of from their Greatest Hits album. Now, if it wasn't enough to HEAR Hanging Tough, let me assure you that they performed the exact same (yes, I know them by heart) dance moves as they did in the tour of yesteryear. So here we have these guys, now in their 30s, doing their 1990s cutting-edge dance moves. Can I get a running man? They were absolutely comedic in the way they performed, stopping the show to make fun of each other and just not take themselves seriously. Their moves weren't quite as smooth as back in the day, but try lining up some thirtysomething guys and making them dance in unison. It's an ugly process and they made it as pretty as they could. For those of you wondering, they did the leg-swingy-Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh Right Stuff move. Worth the price of admission, naturally.

This, my friends, is something that is missing from the younger generation of performers. The folks like Justin who are on their first go-around, they still take themselves so seriously, it's their art. I'm not saying they're not talented, but sometimes I go see these shows and you can see the ego oozing from their pores. These guys were freeze-dancing and making fun of sticking a shoe up each other's asses. We didn't have to take them too seriously because, well, they didn't.

Lest you be concerned, there were ample costume changes, giving it a Vegas spectacle feel (oooh, idea!) They each had a chance to perform alone for the audience, so all the girls could have their Joey time, or their Jordan time. Jordan performed one of my favorite (because it's frankly ridiculous) quasi-Michael-Jackson thingies. (see photos, above) He stands all windblown and does MJ moves while singing a ballad called "Baby I Believe In You". Oh, you laugh, but his belief in me got me through junior high, people! They didn't try to jazz it up. Maybe he learned because Jordan had tried to re-record NKOTB songs as a solo album and it flopped. So he knows his place, and he knows his place was before 1992. They just rewinded and, for a night, we could all be 13 again.

There's a lot I wouldn't want to have back about being 13, but that rush of being completely starstruck is something I haven't felt in years. Dancing to good music, belting out the lyrics, swooning with your girlfriends, that's stuff money can't buy (ok, it can, I have the $100 ticket stub to prove it). Sure, this time there were differences; the girl behind me did her banshee cry again and again, and I was going to hit her. Back in the day, *I* was the banshee (and probably the reason mom ended up in the elevator). So yeah, maybe I"m a bit older, but it's fun to grow up with your music. I've been to so many shows and yet I don't think I've enjoyed one that transported me like this.

After a few of the aforementioned costume changes, I noticed that Donnie was always wearing a baseball cap. As those of you who have seen his film appearances know, he is balding. So the guy throws a cap on no matter what. He tried to play it like it was just his hoodlum street style, but thirty year old women know better. You know, because none of the guys we know are thinning up top, right? ;) He kept referring to his sexy speaking voice in a noble effort to distract us.

For all the fun and games there were some sobering moments in the show too. They did a slide show of people who have passed away, including some of their parents. It's something we couldn't have dreamt of at that age. And as we watched the show I analyzed them as an older woman. I used to think Jordan was the hottest. Susie thought Jon was (and these days I might agree with her, despite the fact that he isn't of the liking-girls persuasion from what I understand). Every girl had a New Kid she associated with- just ask them. And who we liked tells you a bit about us. Donnie was for the edgy girls. Jordan was for the girls who like a hyper guy. Joey was for the girls who like a cutie. Jon was for the girls who like the strong silent type. And everyone knows that no one liked Danny. He was the fifth round draft pick, and since in junior high it's absolutely impossible to maintain a group of more than four friends, it just wasn't an issue.

I have to be honest here and confess that I spent much of the ride to the arena making fun of Danny and how no one knows what his part in the band really is, etc. So of course then I lost it when the first song started and they forgot to turn his spotlight on-- punchline for all my jokes! But then early into the show he started breakdancing and he was *really* good, headstands and all. Hm! This guy can dance and is a breast cancer fundraiser? Cute! And there you have it- my evolving maturity as illustrated through NKOTB attractions. Who wants the guy who everyone wants? Not me! For Susie's benefit I'll add that Jon was super hot but is also (says the rumor mill) gay.

The most telling part of the show was when they did 1010249024 encores. We were the end of their American tour, and, as much as *we* didn't want to go home, you could tell they didn't want us to leave. I've seen some great shows lately, but the common theme has been that the performers make you feel grateful that they bothered to perform for you. It's like they're doing you a favor. But these guys knew they had been touched by the magic comeback dust, and they weren't fronting about it. It was refreshing to see stars realize there's an element of luck. I can only hope they're reinventing stardom.

I don't have to tell you that I"m already excited about their next tour. For two hours I got the gift of being 13 again, minus the sea green stirup pants and the perm. Perfection.


So, if you are what you read, I'm not really sure what I am. Clearly I'm confused, clearly I'm making a life to-do list. And clearly I am procrastinating on what I should be getting done.

Current list of bedside books:

1) Meggin Cabot's SHE WENT ALL THE WAY.

People, I'm in a PBE (post breakup era). The girl wrote one of my favorite chick lit books ever (EVERY BOY'S GOT ONE) and continues to write scandalous titles and clean books with snarky heroines I identify with. So I curl up with her books, I identify the hell out of them, and then I find out that I get a happy ending! What's not to love? In the current read her snarky, under appreciated, recently dumped writer heroine is stranded with a hot actor and isn't giving him the time of day out of principle. They just had a brawl about whether to ditch her laptop in the snow. Finally, a REAL moral dilemma! This is writing I can get into.

2) Michael Berg's THE WAY.

I was super depressed this weekend and I was talking with a girlfriend about inspiring books that changed our lives, and this one popped right to the top of my list. Before you read any further, allow me to disclose that it's about Kabbalah. Yup, don't hate it til you try it! If I were to offer a gross oversimplification I'd say that it's about how being good to others can solve the world's problems. I told you it was a gross oversimplification! I bought it years ago and have found it to be one of the most enlightening and peaceful books I've ever read. I'm usually reading something spiritual at any given time, but this is one of the best.


My mom gave this to me for my birthday. Which was possibly ironic given that I had a serious boyfriend on that morning (but not, notably, on that evening). It applies Buddhist principles, Quakerism (yup!), and other stuff to the realm of relationships. It's good, but Buddhism sometimes bothers me because I"m not evolved. I'm not always down with 'what is'. I"M NOT THERE YET!!! I don't feel in the mood to date yet, so this book is technically mid-read, but more realistically tucked in my drawer.


I know you think I'm on a self-help bent, but this is actually a sarcastic and witty (sardonic? is that the word for it?) book using Proust's life story and excerpts from his work to give you tongue-in-cheek on topics such as "how to fail successfully" and so on. I was running out of Milan "Marry me!" Kundera books to read, so I looked up authors influenced by him and came upon this one.

I've never read Proust's famed books, which are 204902249 pages long, so getting the recap is nice too. One of my favorite quotes from his writing so far has been "one must never miss an opportunity of quoting things by others which are always more interesting than those one thinks up oneself". Other highlights of this book include discussions of his ongoing urinary issues and the codependent relationship he had with his mother.


Wow, I guess I'm all up with the weird titles right now. This one is Richard Branson's business lessons books. If I had to list the top 3 people I'd like to meet, he'd be up there. (Madonna's not on my list, so har har Susie!) He's a fascinating, gut-driven businessman who tries anything and everything. I don't have his set of nerves, but it's fun to step into his shoes. Plus it's a happy book to read when business school is boring you out of your skull. It helps remind you (here: me) why you went in the first place. And it's always nice to see someone who has a jolly good time of their life. I don't know many people like that lately!

If you are what you watch, I am a Desperate Housewife.
If you are what you listen to, I just might be "No Way Out", the Puff Daddy and the Family album that I dug up this weekend and that is, if you ask me, not even as good as Ma$e's first album. But that's another thought for another post.
If you are what you drink, I'm green tea.
If you are what you eat, I'm a soy turkey wrap.
If you are what you wear, I'm a heavy grey wool vest with misaligned buttons.
If you are what you think, I'm the mental drafting of a very, very bad professor review for one of my instructors.
If you are what you do, I'm sudoko to the zillionth power and a serious, serious procrastinator.


I've been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother Lately. I've been trying to think of why this show resonates so much with me, beyond the great humor (and by obvious, I mean amazing. If you don't watch this show, my esteem for you lowers, that sort of thing). The show is about Ted, a guy who is basically a girl (emotionally) who is on a quest to find "the one". He's just like so many of us in that he has his dream list, he has his group of friends that keep him company and help him reflect on the path of dating (plus remind him of stupid relationship moves, like the butterfly tramp stamp). He keeps dating girls who are nice or interesting or weird, but who make for good episodes and develop his character as we go through the show.

In season one he dates Robin, a gorgeous, witty reporter. Basically the only thing she has going against her is being Canadian and a gun-nut. They date for a year, and have lots of fun, but the chemistry just doesn't seem completely on. They are a great couple on paper, and they are best friends with another couple, and all that stuff, but as wonderful as Robin is, she isn't the girl for him (I have my $ on her being the right girl for sleazy but beloved Barney, but that's another story).

As I watch the show, I see so much of what my friends and I go through with dating. Everyone becomes a story, we embellish the details in our minds and around the dinner table. We have little quirky things we hope against hope for (Ted wants a girl who can quote Ghostbusters). We keep trudging forward, not exactly sure where we're going but bumping against this or that and slowly moving forward.

The way I see it, dating is a lot like a game of Marco Polo, or one of those games we used to play in the pool on a hot summer night. You close your eyes, you stick your arms out in front of you, and you wait for the indications. "You're getting hotter!" "nope, colder" "warmer, warmer, colder!"

And eventually, or so the game goes, you get there.

W. by L.

It's a week later and I can't get this movie out of my head.

I thought I would and I thought I would spare myself (and you) having to blog about it, but the entire experience was unsettling... mostly because it was so unexpected.

You see, I thought going to see W would be like going to see a Michael Moore movie, the ole "preaching to the choir" experience. It's like when you go to see a romantic comedy. You know you're gonna laugh. You know you're going to get choked up when the couple that almost didn't happen gets reunited by fate. You know you're going to feel comforted by the omnipresence of Tom Hanks.

Well, the election was getting me down (I will hold my breath until midnight on November 4th; I've learned not to count my Obamas before they hatch!). I wanted some light comedy, so we decided to go see W. It would be a roundhouse kick to his wee wee, right?


The first thing you should know is that Josh Brolin is distractingly handsome. I didn't expect this. I never thought twice about him, have never seen him in anything, and kept getting him and Christian Bale confused (Lilly's Pop Vault will tell you the reason: both of their dads married famous women; Brolin's dad married Barbra Streisand, Bale's married famed feminist and former Lilly hero Gloria Steinem). But he's a hottie, and so the first problem I had with this movie is that I spent 2 hours being vaguely attracted to George Dubya. That I had never expected. I never anticipated the lethal mix of Brolin's good looks mixed with a compelling portrayal of George.

Stone knew what he was doing. He puts a disarmingly handsome and capable actor in the seat, and suddenly our defenses are down. That old thing about how you can't hate on beautiful people and all of that. He's pretty, so we listen closely and watch his actions.

And here's the second problem -- Oliver Stone had the gall to paint an evenhanded portrait of the President! Ever the sucker for psychology (me), Stone goes back into the Bush family dynasty and the father-son dynamics. You start to feel for W and to see the position he was in, the need to prove himself that so many people (author included) feel. While Stone puts Bush where he chronologically belongs, ie. in meetings with his team about WMDs and Saddam, he also makes sure the other players are there. You have heard about Cheney's machinations, but to see them play out (courtesy of an uberCreepy performance by Richard Dreyfuss) allows you to take new stock of Bush's behavior. Stone even throws him a smarty bone; Bush makes a comment about his father's campaign against Dukakis that is marketing genius. It would probably go unnoticed if I wasn't so darn b-school obsessed. Ultimately Brolin portrays a likeable, warm, and often charming man.*

I struggled with the call from God. Man, President of our country is not a job I would want, so you have to wonder who would, and why? W's "calling" is portrayed so sincerely that I couldn't even muster up the laugh I had been practicing all week. His religious conviction is so sincere and was so necessary in light of his drug/alcohol abuse that you can't even taunt him for it. It's a problem we see, not just in the American presidency, but worldwide: what do you do when someone believes so sincerely and with the best of intentions that they're doing the right thing, when you know what they're doing is wrong?

I don't know George Bush, so I'd spent a good 8 years painting himself as aggressive and evil in my mind. What if he's not evil but, to use Dan's phrase, just "has a tiny brain!"

When in Texas, do as the Texans do. I fold. Not without resentment and disbelief that we had this guy in office for 8 hours (I was touched by the film; I didn't get a LOBOTOMY!).

I am as ready as ever to usher him out of office but will do so with a little less hatred.

*to answer your question: Brolin is a staunch Democrat and apparently a very dedicated actor?

The Great Depression; My Solutions for the Modern Economy

So maybe I'm not the only one feeling this way. Lately I wake up every morning in a complete state of panic. I have weird dreams and then awaken to a beautiful California day and a sense of dread.

Some say it's the unreasonable number of things I'm up to at any one time, to which I say "well then I'm just not trying hard enough!"

In any case, as you all know, I'm in business school right now. While I was in law school I saw how that changed how I thought and operated, but now I find myself undergoing a different type of change. I'm an efficiency machine. Today I heard my friend get off the phone with someone at work about the schedule and I looked at her -- oh so knowingly -- and actually said "Operations management issues, huh?"

B school is taking over my life, and by my life I mean my mind. It's true. Basically I find the entire world operating inefficiently and have to control my desire to consult for everybody all the time. I see business school everywhere:

Recent examples:

*I wanted to tell the people at the dog pound last Saturday that they should have an automated call system to indicate the status of your wait for dogs (Queue Analytics); if their goal is to efficiently adopt pets out, they certainly need to operate better. And they need to train their front desk people not to be bitchy (Human Resources). I also felt that they could do much more with their internet presence and pet descriptions. IT, people!

*I wanted to scream at some publishers recently for not immediately issuing my clients' contracts and checks. (Business Law, Accounting, Information Systems)

*I finally understood the value of the bonds my parents had tucked in my baby book (Finance). (note to self: find them!)

*I was watching ESPN with friends, and the show was interrupted for a commercial by the sell-your-gold people. You know, where you send your gold and they respond with $ for the weight in gold. (Acceptance by performance is a unilateral contract, by the way, thank you Business Law). We discussed why they would possibly advertise something meant for old ladies on ESPN.

Then my friends pointed out that it was probably for old men to become inspired to go snatch their woman's jewelry and hock it. Thank you Marketing!

And so on. I find myself astounded that anyone would want to run a small store by the way. The pain of ordering inventory and managing it can not be underestimated (Operations Management). I find myself torn between supporting my local Cortez Mart and not wanting to give them the trouble of having to replace that one candybar!

The economy frankly scares me these days. I work for four different organizations and still think twice before ordering my latte. It's just not right.

Revenge of the ATM

"We're in a recession, people!" is a quote one of my dearest friends says often these days. She has found the self-restraint to buy only 4 dresses when she wants 6 "because we're in a recession people!" and so on. These days, no matter who you are, chances are you're clinging to your wallet and thinking twice about whether you want that as a "tall" or a "venti".

The other day I actually found myself saying "a penny saved, a penny earned!" in my head. Who have I become?

These are troubling times. But what may be even more troubling is how we react to it. This evening I was talking with a woman who is like a grandma to me. She was telling me (disapprovingly) how she knew someone who couldn't afford a house because their credit card debt was too high. The debtor whined "Well, we wanted to eat, what were we supposed to do?" To which Paula sagely replied "back in my day, if you didn't have enough money to eat, you certainly didn't go OUT to eat, you stayed home and cooked."


Somehow, no matter how much I am given this responsible adult advice, it never sinks in. I have come up with a variety of theories to explain why I am unable to comply with basic financial laws such as this. My #1 favorite rebuttal is that it's cheaper to go out than it is to cook for one person. My mom's counter-rebuttal is that if I cooked more often, I'd have all the ingredients. But I don't, I have to buy one onion, one thing of fresh basil, one apple, etc etc each time. To which I retort: Ok, I'm lazy.

I'm curious how other people are feeling the recession, and if they feel as much bitter jealousy of the Hills girls as I do. There is just no apparent reason why Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt needed to buy a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom. What did she do right in a past life, I ask you?

In general I have a sick fascination with the Hills lately. Dan caught me watching it the other day. I hid it the way children hide cigarettes from their parents. I"m not proud of how much I love to watch them eat yogurt, gossip, and effectively continue doing nothing for $70,000 an episode. I daydream about it. That camera crews will fall over themselves to document my daily treks and my chatter with friends. And that they will pay me handsomely to simply be me, plus stylists.

I know we all roll our eyes about reality television, but I think it's because in most shows people trade something for the glory, and the money is never a given. You're going to be locked in a house with a gang of people with personality diarrhea (or the real thing, you never know). Or you're going to be on an island fending for food, minus Sawyer and Jack. Or you're going to get weighed on national television (THE HORROR!). And so on. But in The Hills, the rewards and incentives line up juuuust right.

But back to the recession and my current reality. Maybe someone wants to film a show about ME, "just a girl, making her way in the world today, takes everything you've got..." Oh, is that theme song taken? Producers, lean in. I promise you scenes money just can't buy.

Scene One: Drama ensues when lilly discovers that her Ralph's card has been crediting a Jane Artin the whole time instead of her.
Scene Two: Lilly makes a vow to take colder showers than her usual scalding twice-daily ritual as a nod to the environment.
Scene Three: Thoughtful montage while I consider my election ballot, resisting the urge to just vote for President. I flip through the voter information guide, make notes, and smile at democracy.
Scene Four: Lilly sneaks away from her desk to catch a glimpse of The Hills.

And CUT!

Come on, a girl can dream. The Lilly Show. It's gonna be a thing.

In the meantime, as reality continues to sink in, I have to admit that I'm more than a little nervous for my business law exam on Wednesday night. The class itself is fine, but ooh, the flashbacks...

Just One More Reason I Won't Vote for Him

The other night I was talking to my mom about McCain and told her about the famed 1992 story in which McCain flipped out on his wife in front of reporters and called her the c word. Ick. I can't even type the words "The C Word" without wanting to wash my hands with soap.

When I told my mom this, she looked at me blankly.

"What's the C word?"

I wouldn't tell her, so she asked my dad. And HE didn't know (bless my parents and their clean mouths). So they looked it up.

And there you have it folks. Innocence lost. Make no mistake, McCain is ruining our country. I'm so busy washing my hands that I can't even comment on how inappropriate it is for anyone to use that word, much less someone who wants to represent me and my country to the rest of the world. You call the mother of your children this, John? Yikes. Through his behavior he's causing good, responsible citizens to have to learn The C Word just to understand what he's about. He likes to say "I've never been Miss Congeniality..." No kidding mister.

Sadly, this episode may actually be more horrifying than his lower teeth, which are all kinda smooshed together and yellow. I didn't think he could top that.

Vote for whoever you want, but if you know what The C Word is, I know who you WON'T be voting for!

Resolution Schmezolution

So this year I tried to give up a few things, but they haven't quite worked. To wit:

1) Horoscopes.

I had an astrology reading by phone at the end of last year with someone who came highly recommended to me. Some of what she said was so dead-on that it made my hair (hairy arms) stand up. However, some of what she said just didn't make sense to me. She said that I would be starting graduate school but not finishing, and that it was a bad time in my life to start. And she said that I should avoid doing business or getting involved with Aquarius people at all costs.

So of course I get to school and who do I fall for? An Aquarius. I actually debated not dating him for this reason. I mean, is there a power higher than astrology? Oh wait, yes there is, and it's called common sense. I quickly learned that I have to take my decision-making out of the hands of Astrologyzone (which has promised me wads of money for years now) and random psychics.

Or maybe I just really wanted to date him. In any case, I know she was wrong on this, I've never been happier with a guy. (author omits extended and mushy musings about her boyfriend for sake of reader non-barfosity) I mean, can we really say that ALL Aquariuses are alike? People born within the same 4 week span differ, sorry. Bleh on astrology, you lost me there.

Plus she told me I wasn't REALLY a Scorpio, but a Libra. And to read Pisces' horoscope instead of mine. That's just too much work yo.

2) Meat.

I tried so hard. I gave it up. I barely even ate fish, which I loved. I cooked tofu this way and that. I even slowed the amount of milk I ate. I found new comeraderie with Susie G. and I discovered new cuisines and restaurants I adored. I even changed my screensaver to that Peta sticker that says "I AM NOT A NUGGET!" I read books about being vegetarian, I bought the supplements, I lectured other people, you name it.

But deep inside, something didn't quite click. I fell off the wagon in a big way and haven't quite climbed back. I love what vegetarianism stands for most of all, and I want to comply again, but I was left just feeling bloated and not devoted enough to the cause. It's easier to eat on par with your partner, so I guess there was a social element there too. Is there a support group out there for lapsed veggies?

3) Swearing.

I'm happy to report that I'm actually doing quite well on this. My mom pointed out that my language had gotten a bit, well, less than classy. I've really tried to curb this. I know it must have REALLY bothered her if she took the time to lightly remind her grown daughter of her language, so I don't want to think about how rampant it must be. Granted, it's a trying time to be sweet-tongued... what with the Palin Situation. But that's another post for another day. Mom, cover your ears!


It's been too long, friend.

I keep trying to find the energy to blog, but I can't, namely for two reasons that I will state here:

1) School. I am so tired. Who knew that the acquisition of "just the right" school supplies could be so darn consuming?

School is crazy as ever. I'm taking a full load on top of all my different jobs in this world. It's cool, I'm reading up on how to function on less sleep. And my multitasking is really shaping up.

My current gripe is that I'm somehow required to take this "business law" class that is honestly more time-consuming than law school itself was. The fun part is I'm not mentioning to my professor that I"m a lawyer in the hopes that unlike professors before him, he won't hold it against me. I figure sheltering him from my accomplishments may lead to excessive praise. Which I wouldn't mind.

2) More importantly, I've been consumed by the stupid election. The election isn't stupid, but the entry of Sarah Palin into the race does render it rather silly, and much like an annoying student council election where people aren't elected based upon merit (true merit = "I will install pop vending machines in the cafeterias!") but upon ill-earned popularity. Sarah Palin has no experience. She tends to bulk up her talks with introductions of her admittedly cute family (although we all know where "cute" got her teenage daughter...) and her "Champion Snowmobiler Husband". With all due respect to Mr. Snowmobiler 2008, I have to say that I expect a bit more accomplishment from the people who work out of the White House I freakin pay to keep up! Just seeing her face makes me want to cry for people who have devoted their lives to female causes and to feminism in general.

She makes me want to barf my face off.

I'm sure you'll hear much about her from me in the weeks to come, but suffice it to say that I care more about this election than ever before. I've been astounded by how many lovely, smart people I know who are just, well, non-voters. This is my personal plea: please please please please sign up and vote. Look! I even posted a cute picture of Obama so you'll like him! Go to and please make sure your friends are signed up too.

The funny thing is, I'm not some wild die-hard pro-Obama person. I mean, once he got the nomination, sure, I trotted to my local Urban Outfitters and bought a tee shirt with his profile. And sure, after a big meal the placement of the design means that Obama gets a puffy lip from me, but hey! Support is support!

But I am against the current administration and I am for a taste of something new and I am for wider liberties and acceptance of people and their choices. With one vote I can say that.

The other day one of my smartest friends told me she doesn't vote because "she doesn't really care and doesn't know that much about the issues". Who we elect ends up appointing judges you could one day end up in front of, so you best like em! Yeah, some people don't realize that. They think just because they didn't vote means that Bush gets a term, so what? What = Bush-appointed Federal judges are in house now and worse, Supreme Court Justices!!! These justices get terms FOR LIFE. So your vote (or non-vote) can echo for a long ass time. Plus the president is our face to the rest of the world (a world which, by the way, pretty much hates us).

I was so stunned by her admittance (although she wasn't the slightest bit embarrassed about it) that I actually went quiet (imagine!). That's what this entire election is going to depend upon- people *starting* to care. The way I see it, I can't complain about things if I don't avail myself of my lil liberties. As my friend used to say "people can complain to me about being fat while they're on a treadmill!"

And for the record, let me make a personal plea: a McCain election pretty much means more US aggression in the middle east. And by "Middle East" I mean "Iran".

No bombing my grandmama, yo!


A Blessing and a Curse

Many things are considered both a blessing and a curse. Perhaps nothing more so than my own reserve of pop trivia.

This came to my attention recently when I attended a Coldplay concert. I know enough of their stuff to appreciate when I'm offered a ticket to a sold-out show, so my friend and I hopped in a car and drove to Las Vegas to see them in action. What I did not expect, however, was that my entire evening would involve a subtext of Gwenyth Paltrow. But it did. For the first time I found myself listening to the lyrics of their work and paying attention to Chris Martin, who had always struck me as too skinny and pale for my interest. First of all, I'd like to recant that statement- I never gave the guy enough credit. His stage charisma was incredible, and you could have knocked me over with a feather when he began what was effectively a one-man mosh pit performance, jumping up and down and all around for two hours straight.

As I listened to the lyrics and watched him perform, though, my mind kept straying to that darn reserve of pop knowledge. I thought about him and Gwenyth, how they had met. Was this song about her? Was that one? Whose idea was it to name the kids Apple and Moses? Were the names meant to be kinda funny or were they done with the dead seriousness of his pledge to support Oxfam? Does he like Madonna or does he just put up with her because she and Gwen are BFFs? Does he eat Macrobiotically like Gwenyth does? Does he get along with his mother-in-law, Blythe Danner?

And then I got philosophical and started to wonder where Gwen was. I doubted she was in Vegas, not with young children and such unhealthy food. And then I wondered how she was coping with her father (director Bruce Paltrow's) death. Was Chris supportive of her during that tough time? And when Chris practices his music at home, does she dote on him or does she get annoyed like the family of most musicians who can only take so much, no matter how good it is?

Yes, that's literally the ticker tape of babble that went through my head as he played his incredible tunes one after another. It's not to say that I didn't enjoy the show (I did), but I was amazed at how our knowledge of stars' lives rounds out our enjoyment of their work (or takes away from it, as the case may be). Celebrity Watching has become our new national pastime, but at what expense? If people had seen weekly articles of Paul McCartney being "Just Like Us!" would the Beatles have had the longevity they did, or would we have turned our backs on them? (This is a digression because I don't love the Beatles the way everyone else does and frankly don't get the mania, but that's another post for another day.)

At the same time, I can't help but continue absorbing as much pop culture as I can. It's not intentional in all cases, but once I hear it, it sticks. Tonight I blurted out that Laura Dern was dumped by Billy Bob Thornton for Angelina Jolie. So yeah, this whole pop culture knowledge thing-- it may not be a blessing, but if it's a curse it's a darn funny one.

(bonus points if when you read "Laura Dern" your first thought was "Ben Harper's wife")

And the games continue.

Humpty Dumpty

One of my favorite things about business school so far has been that the concepts discussed in the classroom have immediate, observable application in the outside world. I’ll hear about supply and demand in class, then step outside and see that Taylor Hicks’ album is in the bargain bin. Or we’ll discuss branding, or more specifically, the possibilities for expanding your brand, and I’ll step outside and see that Madonna, author of the book “SEX” and the song “Erotica” is now writing children’s books. So, I get it – what I learn in the classroom translates to everyday life.

This was never the case with law school. I never got the connection to the real world. While we sometimes (read: rarely) read interesting cases, I never quite saw the parallels to reality, and this is a large part of why I never quite found it, well, compelling. Who really cares if your fox runs across your land into your neighbor’s? I don’t. I grew up with “finders keepers”. The end.

We studied a host of theories in law school, but I’ve finally found one that makes sense in my reality.

Here you go:

Recently a girl friend of mine broke up with her boyfriend. The guy took it pretty hard. As wonderful as this girl is, his meltdown (and that’s putting it nicely) had only somewhat to do with her leaving him. I’ll leave the details at that because frankly I fear he may be a reader of this here bloggy blog blog. But suffice it to say that he took this breakup to the hilt- to a point where we had to feel there was something much bigger going on.

What she was dealing with, in legal terms, is the EGGSHELL PLAINTIFF.

The idea is that you get someone how you found them. So if you get in a car accident and you break someone’s leg, sucks for you. But if you cause an accident and that person was already in a neckbrace, tougher shit for you. You can be responsible for all of it (depending on the laws of the state; this blog is not to be taken as legal advice, just opinion and blather, la la la).

Dating is just one big darn Eggshell World. We take people as we find them. You date someone who is hypersensitive to weight comments because her last boyfriend made lots of snarky remarks on her curvature or you meet someone who completely breaks down if Celine Dion comes on the radio because that’s the last song he danced to with his ex. You take people as you find them. Which seems unfair, because, when you start dating, you date people’s representative. Psychology commonly believes that it takes 2-3 years for the “true” self to show up, for you to start revealing the little flaws that you have been perhaps subconsciously hiding. My boyfriend and I recently discussed this, trying to pre-empt the ugly revelations with confessions. I admitted that I am a little more OCD than I’ve shown him (ok, my mom -- and now sister- call me "Monica", in a reference to the anal-retentive character on Friends). Fine, and I’m an all-out car stereo hog. I told him that too. He thought really hard about it and, only after consulting his sister, came up with the fact that he eats ClifBars instead of meals. But the truth of the exercise came to me -- the whole point of that psych finding is that people don’t even REALIZE they’re hiding their annoying quirks and behaviors. Interestink.

Back to the Eggshell Plaintiff: I realize this should make more cautious daters out of all of us. But then you might be thinking that, hey, obviously you take people as they come. But why is it that we expect people to be scar-free? We expect everyone to come perfectly packaged, straight off the assembly line. (By “we”, I mean “me".) It never occurred to me that I could be responsible for adding to previous damage. It feels like you should only be responsible for the damage you cause, but wise legal minds teach us otherwise.

And if they say it, it must be true.

Ultimately I convinced my friend that it wasn’t her responsibility to make up for years of hardship and torment this guy had been through before her, and that she was just the straw, he the camel, yadda yadda. But the idea remains- and he certainly believed it.

So, in relationships, is the case “Buyer beware?”

Butter side down.

"'I have never had a slice of bread,
particularly large and wide,
that did not fall upon the floor,
and always on the buttered side.'
-Huron Reflector, 1841

One day this will be very funny.


The above can be found on a certificate my sister made me for just freaking making it through today.

You know, I thought the worst part of my day would be getting up at 8 to go to the gym. Susie and I decided to make a new start of things and get set up/trained at the gym we joined in sisterly love and avoid in sisterly procrastination. I was the first one there, even though I was a few minutes late, so I ran and threw my bag into a locker.

Fast forward to after the weight lifting, when we decided to do cardio. I reached into my bag and couldn't find my iPod. Silly me, must have left it at home.

Susie left the gym, and there I was, still reading and ellipticizing or whatever the hell you call it. I finally grabbed my bag to leave and felt around for my keys. My keys. My keys... where were my keys?

Let's fast forward through the agony (God forbid I relive it today for the zillionth time) and just say that when I reached in, there were no keys. Hoping against hope, I ran out to the parking lot to check for my car, thinking maybe I had locked the keys inside. No car. Could this be like when I lost my car in the Staples Center parking lot for 1.5 hours? Maybe, but no, I knew exactly where I had parked. I had a lucky spot right up front. Lucky my ass.

I reported it to the front desk guy at the gym and he couldn't have cared less. When I told him it was "very important" he said he'd be right with me, and went on signing up a new member. So I made sure to mention in front of this "new member" the shit that was going down.

I filed the police report and called my dad. I told him what had happened and half expected him to zip over and get me. He is semi-retired, after all! He sent my sister. Which was fine and she helped me get organized and get home, all in a daze.

This is all before noon. People who sleep in know what they're doing. Nothing good happens before noon.

As I drove with my sister I realized the heaviness of my loss. In my car were zillions of things, including but not limited to my favorite (and only) 2 artsy yoga mats, a book of my favorite cds (including a mix I stayed up til 2am making), and my UCLA Law sweatshirt. Ok, that last one wasn't a "loss", but still.

Then it sunk in further. In the trunk was a bag of material to send to clients - including checks and contracts, and...

(drumroll please)

my passport.

Not only am I type A and was renewing it way ahead of time (it's not overdue til October), but I am an immigrant's dream as far as passport photo- even the border patrol guys give me a thrice over when I come back to my home country here! I could be anything, which means my lil passport has market value!

The rest of the day was spent, as you can imagine, agonizingly putting my life (read: wallet) back together. Going to the DMV for 2 hours, no seating. And waiting no less than 4 hours for the locksmith to show up, jumping every time I heard a noise.

Add to that the burn that I had just bought a cheap but cute black purse that I loved. This purse RIP was in the trunk, just waiting to be slung over my shoulder and marched into Macy's (my Macy's coupons were in my purse too).

Other contents of my hijacking:

*My new perfume was in it. Rosy, over-expensive l'occitane stuff.
*Hand cream from l'occitane. Perhaps this brand isn't meant to be.
*My favorite lipstick.
*My new fancy-schmancy inhaler. That's right, these people are SO going to hell (just ask Kirk). They robbed an asthmatic of her inhaler!
*My new lucky red wallet. Not lucky.

I realize these are just things, but somewhere out there, some bitch is being me (it's a bitch because SHE took my keys from the locker room; all those years of watching Murder She Wrote are coming together for me). And whoever she is is also calling my friends- I got a message from someone I haven't talked to in at least a year saying he was sorry he missed my call this afternoon. What, this afternoon when I was living like it was 1988 and giving people my home number to reach me?

The shittiest part of all of this isn't the car theft, it isn't even the fact that I came home to a flooding house (oh yes- the pipes 2 floors up broke and so my paint is bubbling up and water is dripping from my sockets. Right now I'm writing with the whirr of industrial-sized fans deafening me). In my delirium this is almost fascinating, as is how quickly the plumbers ripped up my carpet this afternoon.

The shittiest part isn't any of this, it's that everyone keeps teasing me that "that's what you get for going to the gym!". Har har.

And I can't help but think they're right.

So, with a mouthful of chocolate chip cookie crumbs (contents of this evening's care package from aforementioned angel of a sister) and new resolve, I say: "f the gym".

POSTSCRIPT: 7/11- they arrested a girl with my credit cards and id today, so hopefully this is the beginning of the end of all of this!

Yes Ma'am

If one more person calls me "Ma'am", heads are gonna roll.

The most recent head to be in danger was the guy working at Jamba Juice today. Don't you know that someone ordering a big peanut butter shake isn't a ma'am? How can you *not* realize that anyone who orders that much suger isn't concerned about diabetes and is therefore youthful and "miss"-like?


The problem is, it's rampant. I have been called ma'am so much that I don't even respond to Lilly anymore. I'm not sure when it happened either. Did I suddenly get serious looking? Did I suddenly get grey? (I did, but they don't know that, because I pluck those fuckers out asap). Do I get wrinkles when I frown? Wait, let's not answer that.

So apparently the world sees me as one thousand years old. Yay. But the good news is, I have retained my energetic youth all the while. Sometimes it's slow to heat up, but my inner Lilly still pops up now and then. Most recently, it made an appearance at BEA, the book expo.

What you need to know about book expo: it's a convention I attend practically every year. Publishers come and show off their new and upcoming books and feature some celebrity authors for signings. It's like a fashion show for nerds. Instead of gasping and oohing and ahhing over the latest Nina Ricci dress, you oooh and ahh and shove people out of the way for a copy of the latest Salman Rushdie novel. Totally my style!

What you really need to know about book expo: Kirk Cameron was there this year.

Now, for those of you who didn't grow up next door to me (Hi Susie!), Kirk was my first love. That Mike Seaver smile won me over every week on Growing Pains. (Granted, sometimes my gaze strayed to his dad on the show, Alan Thicke, who was a total DILF, but for the most part I was loyal. Sorry Kirk.) I loved him, I loved how he misbehaved, I loved how he was dumb but sweet, I loved how he teased Carol and misled Ben. I adored him as he dragged the looooong kitchen phone cord around (did anyone else notice that?) I laughed at his clueless friend "Boner" Stabbone (although I wouldn't realize how freaking funny the nickname was until a good 10 years later).

Bottom line is, I understood Kirk. And I knew years later when we were living a life of domestic bliss (I'd be best friends with my sister-in-law Candace, but probably wouldn't invite Bob Saget to our parties), he would appreciate my "kirk notebook", a scrapbook of clips of him from Teen, Bop! and Tigerbeat. God knows I worked hard enough on it. Like a midwesterner scrapbooking for her grandkid, I painstakingly saved and pasted together his life, as much for him as for me. All along, I knew we'd meet.

And I was apparently right!

When I saw his name in the listing of guest authors, I waited for my heart to skip a beat. It didn't quite do that. I wanted it to, and I waited, but nothing came. I considered skipping it- I mean, what grown woman, what "ma'am", would go to something like that by herself (the answer, I would find out, was apparently hundreds of them, but I didn't know that yet!). I mentioned it lightly to my friend and next thing I new she had convinced me to meet her an hour earlier in the morning so we could line up.

The line was exactly what you might expect of Kirk Cameron fanatics. They were all hovering around 30 years old, and they were the giddy I had expected myself to be. A girl a few people in front of us was fanning herself and saying "be cool, be coool!" to...herself. It was like a throwback mall scene from 1987.

When our turn came up, I heard the girls in front of us introduce themselves. "HI KIRK! WE"RE SISTERS!!!!!" Kirk, ever so witty, said "I never would have guessed." to the (proven) dumb blondes. For just a moment in time I understood how annoying it must be to field inane fan comments all day. We snapped a picture for them and they agreed to do the same.

We just said "hi how are you" to him, and got our books signed. He asked my name (out of love, no doubt) and signed the book to me. I wracked my brain trying to think of what questions I had for him, but I really had none. I just didn't care anymore. And it was that kind of deep satisfaction that you get when you see any ex and don't have any pitter patter at all. Anyway, I turned around and we got the picture. The stupid blonds were at least consistent in their stupid stupidity- they were incapable of taking an even reasonable photo of me. I have attached Exhibit A above for your endless amusement.

If you're wondering, of *course* I'm going to read STILL GROWING. I want to know about his turn to evangelical Christianity, and I want to hear about his sordid days as a teen pop icon. I want to read about his "Way of the Warrior" and I want to finally understand why people are obsessed with his video about how God's existence is completely explained by bananas (note to self: youtube that). My experience meeting him was quiet and personal, and it's something I've told people about and have put behind me.

I wish I could say the same for my friend Julie, who the next morning found a picture of herself grinning, holding up his book splashed across... the LA Times book blog for the whole world to enjoy.

It was anticlimactic, meeting Kirk. The butterflies never came, possibly because my type of guy has changed tremendously with time. But I did get the closure I needed to move forward with my own life and to allow him to go forward with his. I know it's going to be harder for him than me, of course.

In an ironic post-script, Alan Thicke was signing as well that weekend. As fate would have it, I didn't meet Jason Seaver, and he may not know the Way of the Warrior, but I think he might have put a little more "thump" in this old ma'am's heart.

the postscripts
ps. Yes, I realize I look like a chubby troll in this picture. I just think it's funny because of COURSE the one shot I get at a photo with a minor celebrity I have to look like ass. Of course.

pps. Kirk, is that money in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

White Noise

I have nothing cohesive to say, but a few thoughts have come in and out of my mind this week:

1) There is no good way to ask people to take you off their annoying spam list. (I'm working with Jon on a solution. Stay tuned.) So far all I've ever done (it was a former client) was to send an email that was addressed to "Dear Clients" but was only sent to her.

2) No one really knows what happened to Taylor Hicks, do they? Tonight at dinner some friends and I were trying to remember the past American Idol winners. When his name came up, it was like we relived America's surprise of the night he won, all over. "Did he win?" "Who?" "The Middle Aged rock star" "I think he did!" "Who?" "The old guy with the grey hair?" "He's not old, he's just, um, grey" "Did he win?" "Oh yeah, he DID!" "WHAT?! He won?!" I don't even remember who the runner-up was, but he/she must be pissed.

3) The World Poker Tour is the only place on tv where Middle Easterners are portrayed in a positive light. Stop laughing.

4) Liberty Taxes has the greatest marketing of all time. You agree with me, right? As soon as I say it, you knew exactly what I meant! People probably recognize them more than they recognize the IRS. Tonight I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a Statue of Liberty dude as I was walking into a pizza place. I used to think that being stoned would be a requirement for that job, but I"m guessing a sea green velour toga is just super comfy work attire. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

I sleep to dream.

Lately I have been feeling earthquakes no one else feels. I'm batting maybe .0001 on this, only sometimes are there actual earthquakes. Tonight it happened again while I was watching tv. Usually it's at 2 am, I feel like the bed is rocking (get your mind out of the gutter. I spoon with my pillow, people) I think maybe because I live in a high rise this is actually possible (the building is on springs and shakes and I am sensitive like a cat), but who knows, I may just still have sea legs from my cruise last year. (You weren't there. It was ROCKY!)

At dinner tonight, I realized my recurring dreams fall into three themes:

1) I am balding in a big bad way (in the dream it's not funny, trust me), completely suddenly/overnight
2) I am peeing and have an audience that won't leave
3) I am shot (it doesn't hurt by the way. It's a warm fuzzy feeling, except when I realize that, well, I've been shot)

The only ways I can think to deal with these potentialities are:

1) Don't wear baseball caps excessively (which I don't), don't overuse gel (which I ceased under duress around 1996)
2) Don't use urinals anymore!!! Silly me.
3) Don't drive through Watts in a convertible.

Any other suggestions?

The PolyLillybic Spree

I love the book THE POLYSYLLABIC SPREE by Nick Hornby. In it, he lists the books he acquires and the books he reads in a given month. If you are not a reader, this would strike you as an incredibly dull activity. However, if you are among us, the book-buying masses, the collectors of volumes there aren't enough hours to read you will understand why this is interesting. Because sometimes what you buy has just as much to say about you as what you put the time into reading. It's a cool way to log your life.

I will now steal a page from him (and Jon) and try my hand at it. March (so far). My Life in Books.


Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sopher (sp?)
*I haven't read as many of the middle eastern novels/memoirs that have come out in recent years as I'd like to have read. I read READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN and the 4 volumes of PERSEPOLIS and THE KITE RUNNER and then I was kinda worn out of the movement. An old friend of Mom's (am American who lived in Shiraz) recommended this. She's coming to visit and I bought it in honor of her good literary taste, even though I'm sure I won't have time to crack it before she arrives.

What is the What by Dave Eggers
*I put off reading this book for a long while because I didn't like the way I was introduced to it. (I'll leave my explanation at that) I finally received it as a gift for my birthday and I began to read it-- and couldn't stop. I bought it because my copy is currently circulating among my socially-conscious friends and I'm part of a chain letter that involves sending a book you loved to someone else. I went and bought this specifically for that purpose.

Accounting Text and Cases
*Behold! The joys of accrual-based accounting! How did I live for SO LONG without this one?!


Silk by someone Italian
*I was looking for a slim book to read while I"m so slammed with work and life. I picked this novella up off my parents' shelf and zipped right through it. It's the story of a French man's escapades in the silk industry, which take him through Japan and into the sights of a mystery woman. This is a fantastic example of the power of carefully-chosen words. It was very poetic in a way that didn't make me feel like I was cheating by reading something short.


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
*After I read Special Topics in Calamity Physics I promised myself I would go on a book-lover-binge and read books about book lovers (a strange but fun subcategory). Then I kinda just started reading other things. This had been on the top of my "read next" list during that inspired phase. It was also the citywide book selection when I was living in SF. It was a Christmas present a year ago (ie. Xmas 2006). So lots of reasons to pick it up. I love it so far, in a "I can't focus on what I"m doing because I'd rather be reading my mystery" way.

I have been trying to use the library more. I miss that joy of piling books so high I can't see over them (as in childhood, so it continues!) I've reserved some new ones, so maybe I'll add a "BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY LIKE A GOOD CITIZEN" sub-category.

Books books books. I love them so much I would eat them if I could.

Two For the Price of One.

So I'm reading a book about twins. Lost twins, dead twins, you name it. Lately twins have been a theme in my life. A guy in my class is apparently a twin, and I restrained myself from the traditional barrage of questions that twins are subjected to. I never knew they were so subjected until Alpha Twin Jon Yang pointed out to me the stupidity of questions people ask, and their incessant fascination with aliens, I mean, twins. So it began. Then I started reading this book. Then today at lunch I met a guy who has a twin brother and who largely planned his living and educational experiences in college around his brother's compatibility. Twins twins twins. They're everywhere I go.

Twins came up yet again during a screening Degrassi Junior High chez Susie and Miguel. They were watching their show, and I found myself enraptured with the twins Erica and something or other (I was distracted by her skort, truth be told) as they pulled the old switcheroo on a guy who didn't want to go out with one of them. Do twins really do this stuff or is this only in the movies and in Sweet Valley High?

I'm sure there was a week or two when I was younger that I would have wanted a twin. Susie remembers my childhood in more detail than I do, so perhaps she can pipe in. I do recall that it was de rigeur at Highland Park high school- we had many sets of them. But I never wanted them as badly as other people did. Why would I want someone to compete with THAT directly? I think not. Who wants to be the sister of "the cuter one"? I think our parents putting us in matching clothes, even just a few times a year and in choice Units ensembles, was enough to beat any interest in twin-dom out of us.

I wonder if twins feel overshadowed in the age of the fertility drug. I mean, when we have tv shows like John and Kate Plus Eight, two feels like a measly number. Who ISN'T having twins these days?

But on a more serious note (if only briefly), the book I'm reading (THE THIRTEENTH TALE, by Diane Setterfield) mentions that perhaps twins are just complete. The rest of us go around looking for our soulmates, our counterparts, our partners, but twins have that completion from day one. I wonder if that feels true. I wonder if twins feel less pressure to settle down or find a partner because they have a partner in crime from their grand entrance into the world. More than that, though, I was struck by the author's self-assuredness that everyone does wander earth looking for their perfect match. I feel like there's an easter hunt and I wasn't invited. Sure, as you have heard me whine about, I'd love a great relationship as well as the next girl, but not to the extent of feeling "incomplete". (there will be no Jerry McGuire'ing in this house!)

I'm all about 'signs'. I feel like there's a reason all this twin stuff is happening in my life. Now to channel my inner Jessica Fletcher and figure out why.

Public Frenemy #1

This just in: Public Frenemy #1 just got engaged.

This is the part when I'm supposed to be a big person, but I'm not interested in playing that role today. Today I get to be bitchy, ahem, I mean OBJECTIVE.

Public Frenemy is neither attractive nor nice. Nor charming. Nor funny. I'm assuming you already know what a Frenemy is, but lest you be unawares, it's someone who you pretend to be friends with but basically you can't stand each other. There are various reasons that people are frenemies. Allow me to list them (from my own sociological research):


1) The Lazy Frenemy: Old friends, habit, inability to cut tie without awkwardness (this specie closely resembles #2). You have probably caught yourself saying "With friends like these....!"
2) The Pack Frenemy: Shared group membership, such as sorority sisters, high school buddies, etc. This group also includes members of your own family and family friends for certain cultures (such as mine). Most likely you know this person less than the Type 1, but they are equally annoying, I assure you.
3) The Oxygen Frenemy: Frequency of contact with said person mandates falsely social behavior. See also: coworkers, classmates, the girl who checks you in to the gym.

Suffice it to say that this chick and I, we're frenemies. She knows it and I know it. Once when I was on vacation she went out of her way to creatively fabricate and spread a rumor that I was seriously dating someone "old and ugly" behind my parents' back with direct plotting for it to get back to my mom. Haha, I don't date! Who's laughing now! (Secondly, if you knew my parents you'd know they'd take anything at this point!)

I just want you to know where I'm coming from, i.e. she has been correctly classified as Frenemy, subgenus Unprovoked Backstabbing Bitchicus. Once or twice a year when we have to be at friends' togethers I am forced to break a smile and act among our friends as if I am as adoring of her as, well, she is. But in general I practice avoidance. Social abstinence as it were.

So here's the rub: I spend all this time telling people that I believe in karma, and that I believe good things happen to good people, then some data like this comes along and fucks it all up. I can't divulge too many details lest PF1 figure out who I'm talking about, but let's just say she's had more than her share of good luck in this lifetime. And I KNOW you're supposed to keep your eye on your own path, but you can't help it, can you? If you're human? Maybe she had a really shitty past life. I'm going to go with that thought for now. But honestly, I joke, but this is really throwing me off. These are not just the rantings of a self-pitying single girl (I said "just"!, I'm honest!) -- they are the observations of the Truly Baffled.

Let's be clear- what this is about, ladies and gentlemen (for her), is bragging rights. Someone afflicted with Personality Diarrhea (see previous blog posts for examples of the behavior of afflicted individuals) now has even MORE to talk about about herself. Blech. I am bracing myself and trying to find ways to overcome this adversity given that OF COURSE as fate would have it I am going to see her before the weekend is out. (a weekend which has just been upgraded to a bender, I assure you)

Fans of my academic work might be pleased to know that she is further evidence in support of my Thesis: "A Little Bitchiness Never Killed a Relationship: A Sociological Perspective" (tentative title). Someone who "launched a thousand nerves" (Helen had ships, she gets nerves), who has such an edge, such a sharp tongue, all of it, is ADORED? Does anyone know another synonym for "baffled"? "Astounded"? I need some new ones.

Now - Fact: This past weekend a man was proposing to his girlfriend and he had put the engagement ring in a helium balloon and...

(guess what happened next)

Yup. That. The balloon, carrying the $12,000 ring, blew away.

But it gets better: now she is MAD at him. And yes, he still wants to marry her.


I want one.

Tired is the new cool.

I should probably feel guilty for blogging, particularly as I probably owe whoever is reading this an email!

I am so tired. Someone pointed out the other day that I've been sick most of 2008, which felt like, well, not a lucky start to the year. I started to wonder if it was allergies, and now that my neighbors across the house (yes, those of previous post fame) have mold and have to tear down their walls, I am getting all whatever-the-equivalent-of-hypochondria-is-for-your-house. I have been snooping around for signs of dampness, dark marks on the walls, and peeling wallpaper. If anyone has any household mold questions, I'm your go-to girl.

Failing that (my investigations are as yet inconclusive), after an excessive nap on Friday (after sleeping in in the morning, so there was really no excuse), Jessica brought up the possibility that perhaps we have carbon monoxide leaking somewhere. So I jumped on Amazon and ordered a detector. Sidenote: I'm quickly becoming like that guy who years ago locked himself inside and decided he'd .com order anything he needed to live on (did he prove it possible? I know I could, thank you Amazon Prime shipping!)

So anyhow, in CASE I am getting Carbon Monoxide poisoning, I want you all to know that at least I thought of you, all four of you, and blogged in your honor.

I've been trying to figure out the perfect theme to riff on for my next blog post (which was going to be this post, but as you understand, I am indisposed at the moment). If you have any requests, let me know.

In the meantime, I will leave you with this bit of Lilly wisdom: "Bust a Move" never fails to get the dance floor going.

I'm not invisible.

Well, apparently I am. Lately I have noticed that my guy friends talk about women like I'm not there. This is surely the result of the "best girl friend" aura that I seem to have, where boys feel they can just be boys around me. For the most part it's fun and I'm sure it would provide great insight into men if I were able to learn something substantive from their openness. But lately the conversations sound like this:

Guy A: Yeah, so I was at my gym and...
Guy B: Did you see that hottie?
Guy A: Yup, hottie was present and accounted for. Smokin'!
Guy B: I'd tap that.
Guy A: I'd bang that in a second!
Guy B: So are you gonna talk to her?
Guy A: Fo sho. She's got a sick body.
Guy B: She's a cutie.
Guy A: She's kinda a slut... but that's cool.

(names of the participants have been changed to protect their feeble attempts to woo women countywide)

So today I had had enough. I took my case to a wise (female) friend. I told her I was losing my faith in men based on a few factors, not least of all being privy to this sort of guy talk. She was quick to point out two things. The first is that men act macho when they're with each other. I had honestly never thought of this. Was Guy A bandying these terms about in an effort to impress upon Guy B his superior masculinity? Maybe. Girl-getting and girlwatching is a time-honored male sport of bonding; I was forgetting that.

And secondly, she pointed out, they would think WE were crazy if they heard what we say in their absence! Before I could debate her on this, I had a thought. It went like this:

Girl A: Yeah, so he didn't email me back!
Girl B: That's crazy. I mean, when you constantly are emailing, you are creating a LEVEL OF EXPECTATION.
Girl A: And he didn't honor that!
Girl B: That just shows he lacks character.
Girl A: Or maybe just email access?
Girl B: Well, think back to his last email. What did he say? Were there any clues in there that he was going to cut communication?
Girl A: He said he'd talk to me later.
Girl B: Did he say "talk" or did he say "email?"
Girl A: Not sure...
Girl B: Because it makes a difference... Did you say anything unusual to him in your email?
Girl A: I told him I had a lot of work to do tonight.
Girl B: OH NO! That's like basically TELLING him you have no time for a relationship!
Girl A: Shit.
Girl B: It's ok, I mean, you didn't know. But we have to figure out how to fix this.
Girl A: I think I still have his last email, should I forward it to you?
Girl B: Yeah, and cc Girl C on it. I bet she'd have some insight too. We'll analyze his email for you.
Girl A: So I shouldn't call him?
Girl B: You have to play the game!
Girl A: I don't like the game though.
Girl B: But you have to be in it to win it.

I want to disassociate myself from such scenarios, but then I'd be discrediting the *amazing* email analysis service I have offered various girlfriends. So my friend isn't that far off in pointing out that girls act crazy and weird when they don't think the other sex is listening. And that, if examined in a vacuum, our behavior would scare men too.

I feel better now.

So next I"m going to try to understand the disconnect between what men *say* they want and what they go for in reality. My paper, tentatively entitled: "A little bitchy never killed a relationship: A scientific examination" will be forthcoming.

Firsts: A Compendium

Got this survey from someone on MySpace. Allow me to catch you up on who I am- a story of me, in firsts.

1. Who was your FIRST prom date?
Jason Marczak, one of my close friends from high school. We wore matching clothes. I had the red dress and he had the red vest to go with it. We just reconnected on Facebook. Gotta love Facebook.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?
Never had a love like dat. Does Kirk Cameron count?

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?
Sadly, it was probably Bud Light or Zima. I probably had sips of stuff earlier, but one of my earliest memories of getting trashed involves shotgunning Bud Lights in South Haven, Michigan.

4. What was your FIRST job?
Working for my mom as an office manager/helper, as a trade for my first pair of army boots :)

5. What was your FIRST car?
My mom's old silver Mitsubishi Montero. Such an awesome car. I still miss it.

6. Who was the FIRST person to text you today?
Texting was quiet today! I think Anita was, but that was late afternoon. It was beautiful out and people were outside I guess!

7. Who is the FIRST person you thought of this morning?
Myself? :)

8. Who was your FIRST grade teacher?
Mrs. Lovi. She hated me, despite my stellar contributions to the Lovi Local.

9. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?
Not sure, I think London? My mom took me. I was teensy, like in a "basinette, stowed in front of her feet" way.

10. Who was your FIRST best friend and are you still friends with them?
Lindsey I think? Not in touch with her.

11. What was your FIRST sport played?
I think swimming? But team-wise, that would be my glory week in junior high volleyball.

12. Where was your FIRST sleep over?
Probably Mama Kay's house (our babysitter). Friend-wise, it was probably Lindsey's house.

13. Who was the FIRST person you talked to today?
Anita. She was at yoga class with me.

14. Whose wedding were you in the FIRST time?
My cousin Haleh's - I was a flowergirl, about 4/5 years old?

15. What was the FIRST thing you did this morning?
Checked email on my phone. Isn't that sick?! Then got up and went to Bikram (hot yoga).

16. What was the FIRST concert you ever went to?
New Kids on the Block... do we really need to go into this again? ;)

17. FIRST tattoo or piercing?
Ears yo when I was 8. But beyond the traditional, probably the piercing at the top of my left ear in the cartilage?

18. FIRST foreign country you went to?
Probably England.

19. What was your FIRST run in with the law?
Probably my speeding ticket in HP. Otherwise - border control on the way back from Canada with my suspiciously dark-skinned friends :)

20. When was your FIRST detention?
um, NEVER. I'm a lil G. We're perfectly behaved ;)

21. What was the FIRST state you lived in?

22. Who was the FIRST person to break your heart?
Matt Evans, when he told me he hated my haircut in 3rd grade. (my hair had been brutally chopped, so in retrospect 20 years later, I can probably forgive him)

23. Who was your FIRST roommate?
Probably the girl from my summer program at Wellesley (sp?), but I forget her name. The important first roomies were Seema and crazy Princess Carrie at Michigan. The Seemster just moved to SD which has been loads of fun. It's like freshman year minus the crazy naked ostrich roommate.

24. Where did you go on your FIRST limo ride?
O'Hare airport. That's just how we rolled in Chi-town, yo!

Condimental Philosophy

So, tonight I was thinking- good things are supposed to come to those who wait, right? But why do we all *know* that you have to bang the hell out of the side of the bottle to make the ketchup flow?

In other thoughts, today I decided to diagnose a personality disorder. Not my own (I don't believe in self-diagnosis...) but someone else's. This someone else BUGS. It's one of those things where I don't know the person enough to pinpoint why she annoys me, but I already know that, should I take the time to get to know her, she would annoy me, thus I allow myself to be lightly annoyed from a very pleasant distance.

Anyway, I was talking with Jessica tonight about this girl's personality problem. (You see, I'm only one of many people who seem to have this reaction to said person. Here, let me give you something to go off: she's one of those people who, even though she's met you and been personally introduced to you repeatedly, she ignores you until someone introduces you again, at which point she offers you her limp handshake. Blech.

I have diagnosed her with Personality Diarrhea. An absolute inability to control the obnoxiousness of her personality, her mannerisms, even (apparently, as was discovered after 2 hours of having to sit behind her at an event) her laugh. She can't contain it. Whatever is in her childhood, the resulting effects just run (pun intended) out of her, to the disturbance of those around. I use her as an example, but it absolutely applies to many other people, I'm sure. I'm just using her as an example because she snubbed me today (at first) and I like to use my literary revenge whenever I can. I do NOT take snubbing well.

In case you're wondering how that turned out, I then started playing a game called "I'm Deaf". I mean, I had never really cared for her, but I'd always thought "well, she's just getting used to figuring out who I am". But by now she should know my face as well as her mama's, I've seen her enough. So I let the initial snubbage ride. Then, a half hour into our outing (I don't know what happened, the guys we were with had started watching the game and weren't responding to her throwing popcorn at them or something) she began turning around and randomly commenting to me. Baiting me for conversation. And trust me, people, there was a LOT to talk about at this tournament. Apparently rugby fans dress up like it's Halloween, and our section was the guys dressed like Hooters Girls. There was no shortage of conversational material.

So, back to our story: we find our Heroine (me) being volleyed with light conversational tidbits from her Subject. Apparently she was THAT desperate for attention (attention desperation = the "personality" part of her particular PD disorder) and waiting for me to take the bait and be the bend-over-backwards friendly person I usually am... but PMS restrained me from being that good woman today.

Her: (Wrenching around in her seat) "Wow, what's he doing on the team?!" (let me point out here that the guy was Asian and was on some team just not from Asia-- you know, like, I dunno, France. Apparently she doesn't think Asians should emigrate. You're starting to see my point about her.)
Me: Eyes at the scoreboard, intently soaking in Samoa's first goal. Like SUPER intently.
Her: (turns back around, to replot her strategy)

Her: (turns back around, at some nondescript point in the game and says something inane like) "Wow, I mean, what's even happening?!"
Me: Eyes on the field, a laser directly pointing over her head, avoiding eye contact, but with my mouth slightly ajar as if amazed by play, completely fascinated to the point of being physically UNABLE to respond to her.

This method proved highly effective, much to my joy. If only I was genuinely deaf, I might have had better luck actually tuning out the voice, but we can do that on the Beta trial.

It was fun. All those years I've spent trying to win over the most unwinnable-overable personalities were wasted folks. Today I have seen the light. Some people just have a complete inability to control themselves or their obnoxiousness and you, too, America, you can tune them out. Just turn off your ears. It sounds cruel, but when you think of it, it's what our parents did to us all day long!

(This public service announcement has been sponsored by Personality Pepto.)

Can You Play That Track Back for Me Again?

Tonight reaffirmed that you're only as old as your mental age. And mine is 6.

I was sitting in Managerial Economics. Not a funny class *per se*. My prof was using an interesting example of Major League Baseball salaries to explain marginal analysis. I'll spare you the specifics, but suffice it to say that the first player was Albert Pujols. ("Poo-holes") I know. I could barely contain myself. It seems unjust that you could get named both Albert and Poo-holes. I'm surprised he didn't end up being a cage fighter instead.

And yes, I totally blogged about this back in Nov 2004 when I was depressed about the election and needed something to make me smile. Apparently this piece of trivia has a 3.25 year shelf life!

Late Registration

Me and Kanye, we have one thing in common. Late registration.

Yup, I'm back in school. I'm working on my MBA, because apparently it is my quest to become overeducated in this lifetime of mine. I'm trying to wash the taste of law school out of my mouth and to do something that will work my mind in new ways. I know, dumb dumb dumb.

It blows my mind that in between drinking binges (I was a sorority girl, after all) I managed to apply to graduate school the first time around. Doing this *one* application here drove me up the wall. How did we do it back then? Was it just because everyone else was doing it? Was I (am I?) *so* desperate to avoid the real world? (Don't answer that)

Being back in school is, for lack of a more descriptive term, weird. Nothing like walking campus and checking people out to make you feel like a total perv when you realize they are going to be class of 09 or '10 or '11. Ew. I shudder to think.

How did we get through college? As a grown adult I find myself overwhelmed with the registration process. Get your parking pass here, get your books there, return your books, buy other books at another store, find your class, find people to socialize with so you don't feel like a loser, stay on top of your "homework", try to find a synonym for homework and fail, keep saying "homework" hoping it will sound less awful (it never does). Don't even get me started on my Statistics class. I had to switch out of my economics class because it was entirely calculus-based. The last time I did calculus, there was no Puff Daddy yet. The last time I did calculus, you could still peg your jeans. The last time I did calculus you could still buy tapes. At Sam Goody.

Oh, and apparently in the last eight years since I graduated college, everything went online. You have to go online to get your assignments, to get lecture notes (everything is in freaking powerpoint, etc.) I mean, back in my day they were still using CHALKBOARDS! I feel like freakin Lilly Van Winkle (And yes, writers of the world, I am still working. Full time. My latent overachiever gene is going to be the death of me.)

I'm trying to keep my cool by doing excessive amounts of yoga. Which would be fine except my teacher took issue with my wearing longer loose pants today. Because when I'm doing bow pulling pose I really need Joan Rivers up on the block telling me off. Um, buddy, TRUST ME on this, you do NOT want to see me in the spandex short shorts that your studio sells. I mean, maybe eventually, but let's just revisit the issue in, I dunno, 2018, when it might be more appropriate. I don't wear shorts on the regular, so WHY would I wear them in a class where I'm reflected on 3 sides by mirrors? If I want that sort of torture I'll just bring a space heater with me and hang out in a Loehmann's dressing room, thank you very much.

What else is going on in my life? Well, I'll give you the short list of what school has made me realize about myself so far:

1) I like to sit in the back of the room. Part of this is because I'm an observer. There's a certain irony to it, generally speaking, given that I'm short and should probably be front and center. But it allows for maximum doodleage. Due to my seating position, during law school I was able to read books like "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie (it's huge. a doorstop!), Anna Karenina (well, half, but that's like 2 normal books!), The Portrait of Dorian Gray, etc. Basically I take multitasking with me into the classroom.

2) I can't sit still for 4 hours straight (and yes, we're asked to). Nor am I mature enough to sit on a swinging/turning chair and not, well, swing, the entire lecture long.

3) I have a drinking problem. Of the caffeine variety. I just like to have something in my hand and a beverage while I listen. I do not know the root of this. What I do know is that I will be actually spending 2x the stated tuition due to aformentioned Starbucks intake.

4) I get shy on campus! What's THAT about? I keep telling people I have a shy side and no one believes me, but you would if you saw me on campus. Head down, quiet, go about my business, go home.

5) I still have the tic of writing a loooong to-do list during lecture. Today's list was only about 12 items, but a law school friend remarked (unprovoked) that she once saw my list go into the 40s. We have time.

6) I am apparently the same hormonal girl I was at 18. I look around and try to figure out who is cute. And, just like in college, as the days pass, people you wouldn't normally think are attractive become so. It's the LOST effect. Otherwise, who would have hooked up with Saeed or Hurley? Exactly. Personality comes into play. Sometimes I think they should just put single guys and girls in a biodome (yes, that is totally written with direct props to Pauly Shore) and we'd probably all end up liking each other and you could just be rid of us.

What else do you need to know about me right now? I guess just that I can't believe how quickly January is going by. I haven't written out my New Year's Resolutions yet, like not the official "final cut". I keep putting it off, and I can't decide if *that* is the new facet of my personality (chilling out?)

I have noticed that I'm amassing more and more guy friends. While I used to be friends with men just because they're fun, simple friends to have, tonight I realized that this is increasingly due to my wedding duties. The girls are dwindling in numbers (singles-wise), so I need boys to accompany me through their rites of passage (their walk down the aisle, my walk to the open bar). I don't think I ever thought I'd be where I am at 30, but I love it. It's weird, uncharted territory. A while back I found an old report I had written for school where I guessed I'd be married by 24, have kids by 26 and be a judge. I know, keep reading when you're done laughing. All it needed to say was that I was a Republican and I'd have proof positive that my dad wrote it!

In other news, I am reading BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. It is thrilling me for two reasons. One is that I've always wondered whether you put apostrophe-s after a name that ends with S. I have my answer now and can move on with my life. Secondly, this book was written for me (see "uncharted/unexpected lifestyle", above). I didn't realize my comeraderie with Bridget back when I read it x years ago, because I wasn't yet a fully-grown neurotic woman. I mean, I love me some heavy literary fiction as much as the next underpaid literary agent, but talk about a book that resonates. Hurrah!

Now that I have ripened into the reader demographic I needed to be, I can settle down with the book in oversized sweats, nod my towel-wrapped head, chocolate marks on my lips, and a big martini glass of optimism in hand. As she would say, "V good."