hillary duff

hillary_duff_400×300.jpg I just read on Us Magazine’s web site (which, yes, it’s eating my brains and there is not much left) that Hilary Duff “is working on putting herself first.” On one hand, I can understand what that means. On the hand, you’re like a millionaire with a kabillion handbags. It kind of looks bad to say that, you feel me?

a small note about mom friends

images9.jpg Just a PSA about Mom friends. I am a big fan of babies so I’m happy to see my Mom friends with their tiny nuggets, but what has never gotten easier for me is when they breastfeed in front of me and don’t cover up. Then I have to pretend the wallpaper is really interesting or whip my head 180 degrees away from the nursing scene, as if something really riveting is in the, I don’t know, the AIR. It’s like, I love you, but I don’t need to see your boobs, you know? Thank you.

the effects of sleep deprivation

images8.jpg Wow, so you know what’s not so good for insomnia? Watching a scary zombie movie right before you go to bed. Ahhhh!!! We popped in “28 Days Later” directed by the awesome Danny Boyle at like 10:30 last night, me figuring this will count as writing homework (I’m trying to write a zombie movie), and the flick was pretty darn good, but I forgot about how jittery scary movies make me. Like I got so scared, I had to leave the room a few times to just survive the film (and we live in a studio, you feel me?) When I was lying in bed, waiting for unconsciousness, I imagined zombies bursting through the front door, how much green tea I had been pounding all day to be functional, and I was WIDE AWAKE, people.

You know what’s even scarier? When you do massive f-ups, at work. Dude, I’m planning a goodbye party tonight for senior peep and just thirty minutes go, thought I had neglected to invite like ten key peeps — and I think my body dropped 30 degrees in temperature over the span of a minute. All the organs in my body are like “Retreat! Retreat! Unsafe zone!” as I go into nuclear reactor meltdown mode. Luckily, my brain operates without me at times and turns out, I was on top of the whole thing and invited people when I was…asleep — but don’t you hate that? Or do you not go through that b/c Darth Vader doesn’t work in your place of work and you’re like mentally healthy and never want to throw up?

This is why people shouldn’t entrust me with tasks. Do not allow me to babysit for you when I’m saying stuff like “my brain is like two eggs and a side of ham,” which I just sang to my husband this morning. Eeee gads. Right now, I’m reveling in the moment of not being in trouble. Ahhhhh!!!

Groundhog’s Day

images7.jpg Remember that movie “Groundhog’s Day” starring Bill Murray and Andie Mac Dowell, where the guy keeps having the same exact day over and over again, until he figures out what he has to do differently to move on? Me neither. Or rather, I never saw it, but still the plot reminds me of LIFE, and I’ve read in the Times that they actually use this film in Buddhist philosophy classes to illustrate the whole maya (i think that means illusion) of life. (Um, I’m probably totally abusing the whole belief system of Buddhists, so don’t quote me.) It’s about how we’re destined to relive the same question over and over again until we crack it — which seems precisely what I do ALL THE TIME.

Recently, I realized my writing has been a bit on the stink-o-rama side. I haven’t been doing it from my gut. You have to write from a place of wild abandon, of fire, in order to do it well, and I just spent the last year writing a novel from dogged, grim determination, and who the heck wants to read that? This realization was a big a-ha (shoutout to Pal) moment for me, but it’s one I have already had many times. I seem to keep forgetting lessons, and am forced to relearn the basics over and over again.

What next? My friend Kris’s husband suggests rather than put all your energy into a book you care about that would have a small print run, why not write the cr*ppy bestseller and write your own ticket? Aside from the fact that cr*ppy bestsellers are also difficult to produce, I’d actually be happier with a book I’m proud of that only two people read than something I found embarrassing that everyone read (though, please, a million bucks would be very comforting),

Perhaps I’m just a bit fatigued after trying so long, but I find my friend Gabrielle’s approach to writing very intriguing right now. She stopped. She says throughout grad school, she always felt guilty about not writing enough and felt the pressure of gotta get published we all did, until finally thought, who needs this.

Maybe it’s just the influence of a movie I just saw (“Into the Wild,” where the young lead lights his IDs and money on fire), but I’m feeling like it makes sense to let it go.

concert dress

pc-5.JPG Do you ever go to work and look down at your office and go, ACK, I’m dressed in “concert dress” today AGAIN. How did this happen?

If you did band or orchestra in junior high school, you know what I mean — the white button-down shirt and black pants. It’s a goofy look (and I’m not talking about people who were super-chic versions that are well-tailored). The key to concert dress is that the top and the bottom don’t really fit you well and doesn’t look natural. You have to recapture that adolescent feeling of looking uncomfortable and trapped in a press shirt and pants, trying to look adult. THAT’s concert dress to me. And although I am finally an adult with a powerful credit card who can dress as she pleases within a certain limit, I still find myself back in concert dress. I think those years must have molded my unconcious that this is how you dress when you want to look FORMAL. Just thank your lucky stars that I don’t flip my hair on the sides of my face any more.

If you were in band in the same space-time continuum as me (80s, Jersey, enough said), this is what you would’ve enjoyed:
* a rousing medley of songs from “Annie” in rehearsal
* young boys wearing long scarves featuring a piano keyboard
* pimping sodas at $0.75 a can for mysterious purposes
* discovering your teacher may have embezzled the soda fund
* the thrill of performing
* finding love in the oboe section
* the awesome site of your same teacher, in concert, desperately shouting and semafor-ing the 4/4 time to the solo trumpeter who was whizzing by the rest of us.


Minor trials and tribulations

darth-vader.jpg I don’t know how you are about confrontation, but I absolutely hate it. I would much prefer the world get lessons on how to act and communicate clearly, rather than take their BS out on others, especially me. So when the office bully started to attack me, I had to, at the urging of a friend, stand up for myself. Nothing fancy. No yelling, just as calm and specific communication possible.

I literally feel like I faced Darth Vader, and while I didn’t kill him, I think I nicked his arm pretty darn good.

And now, I feel utterly drained.

Tae Kwon Do confessions

images6.jpg When I started working in New York after college, my mom insisted that I take up a martial art to learn how to defend myself from all those, you know, serial killers and every imagined danger on earth. That was fine with me, because I ended up loving it. I found it utterly ridiculous that someone so desk-bound like myself was learning how to deliver round house and 360-degree kicks (which I never quite managed. I think I could do like 300 degrees at my peak). And I would laugh and laugh in sparring matches, while the 17-year-old boys in my class would wail on me and my tae kwon do gear.

Confession No. 1: After I learned a super-groovy self-defense move where you take your opponent’s hands off your shoulders and topple them over, I’d come home and practice on my parents. (And if you’ve met them, you know they’re tiny and I’m like an adopted giant from another species.) They were the best, because they go down immediately. It was like magic. And they looked so cute when they fell down on the bed! This move really works!

Confession No. 2: When I got fitted for my gear, we all tried on different size helmuts, and while my real size was an X-LARGE, I lied and ordered a LARGE….because I just felt it was more feminine. Jees. Does everyone need to know about the largesse of my Korean noggin?

That is all.

junior high teachers

images5.jpg I was talking to my friend Alex J. about old classes we had to take in high school and junior high, like home ec and typing. My typing teacher, who was maybe in her fifties, wore a short blond-frosting hairdo and had all these perfectly preserved dresses from the 1960s, sweater sets with matching poodle skirts and pearls, which she wore without irony. And maybe you’re too young to have taken typing as a class, but I remember her drills where we had to type “F” and “G” over and over again, where she kind of waved her hands like a conducter faster and faster. And you could only hear the sound of her excited voice yelling “F, G, F, and F, G, F” and the growing storm of taps against typewriter keys. Alex’s typewriting teacher was named Mrs. Kitchen, and when she drilled her class for the letter “P” she would strike her palms together like cymbals, while she yelled out “P! P! P!”

For home ec teacher, I had the youthful, attractive Mrs. Shearer, who told me brightly that I spoke English really well. To which, I returned that she too spoke English really well (which Alex interpreted as a rrrerrrh [insert cat noise] moment, but it was more reflexive politeness than anything else, a deeply ingrained call and response.) Aside from the English comment, I enjoyed that class, where I made teddy bears that looked handicapped and other lopsided creations. In cooking, we made Apple Brown Betty.

But all these teachers, with their subjects completely obsolete, must be like on the dole now, right? And must have had strange lives in these towns where they taught such obscure arts. Maybe they were happy and fulfilled, but I prefer to think of them as….crazy.

oh sayid

images4.jpg You know, there are days when even the gossip rags bring you down. Britney is going bonkers, Heath Ledger passed away. I need to hear about wardrobe malfunctions, people, not this sad stuff. I have the regular news for that.

But all is not lost, as it were. US Magazine recently did a photo montage of the “Lost” stars captioned with their secrets on staying in shape. While most of the actors cited kickboxing or yoga, or running, weight-lifting as their primary, aid, the actor who plays Sayid, the ex Iraqui military commando on the show said his secret was buttered toast. If you don’t know the show, he speaks very slowly and carefully. So lines like “I will slowly flay your skin away until you scream to the hills” sounds methodical and clear, just the way he’d give like instructions on say…how to get your whites whiter. So hear that tough-guy voice for: “There is something about buttered toast that is so satisfying but not too filling. It gives me just enough energy.”

That made me giggle.

And another thing, if you’re a fan of the show and you want to see something totally weird, click here for a link that link features cast members with their body doubles. Creeeeeeepy.

Meditation and Mosquito Bites

images3.jpg I didn’t expect to, but totally dug this book. I’m jealous of it on multiple levels–the writing is exquisite, the jokes are funny, and the epiphany seems really — and dude, I’m in DIRE need of epiphanies. Someone in my office was like “oh yeah, she writes exactly the way I write, like the way I talk.” And I didn’t mean to be totally snotty, but this co-worker is a numbers employees and I don’t like when people dismiss hard-to-do feats, said “Yeah, she writes exactly the way I do to, if I could finish a book of complicated themes and sophisticated structure with a conversational tone.”

It’s going to make a great movie, which is what I’m sure lots of people were thinking, b/c it just got bought up to be a feature starring Julia Roberts. One of the aspects that’s interesting about the book is there’s an extensive description on the experience of meditation, which interesting, b/c I don’t really meditate but I think about meditating frequently, as in “I really should start thinking about meditating.” But it was interesting b/c even reading about meditating made me feel calmer. I heard about a friend’s marriage falling apart and took it in stride, when I would normally start obsessing overtime on what happened and if it was infectious. Meditation bubble. Nice.

But for me to actually commit to a meditation routine is another story. I don’t know when I’ll actually decided to commit to it. The author cites the distraction of getting twenty mosquito bites in a meditation cave in India, and how she just thought, for the first time, to ignore it and let it go. And soon enough, those bites became part of her lesson, to not give too much importance on a feeling that would pass. She started to notice that the bugs went away and her bites were annoying, but also were unnoticeable. That would never work with me. As anyone who has ever lived with me can attest, I’m like DISTURBINGLY allergic mosquito nibbles and swell up to the size of a tennis ball around landing areas and proceed to get very cranky.