Thursday, August 30, 2007

Career Change '07: Update

Here is the short version: There are good things and bad things. But the good things far outweigh the bad.

Good thing: The way I earn money now is something I truly enjoy and receive never-ending satisfaction out of performing day after day. I feel like I have made people’s lives better, less painful, less tense, less harried, and this sense of accomplishment is something I have never felt before in a job.

Bad thing: People who don’t tip. It’s not like money was the centrally motivating factor of me making the switch to this job, but the people who re-book me week after week and never tip are starting to become really annoying. And for the record, a tip could be one little dollar, it could be a coupon for Subway, it could be a flower, or it could be $20. One darling soul tipped me a Lindt chocolate bar the other day. I love the crap out of that! It really doesn’t matter what or how much it is as long as it is something that shows an appreciation for the heart and soul I am pouring into every massage. It is a service business, and should be treated as such. Rising above the feeling of being insulted by these people is something I am struggling with.

Good thing: A lot more time to spend at home with the hounds and a lot less time around lawyers.

Bad thing: Sometimes I feel lonely. I can feel the storm and the pulse around me of those commuting and cubicling, and I am no longer part of it. Which is fine, I did my time and feel like I am over that lifestyle, but at times it does feel a bit like being . . . left out. I remedy this by calling up The Hub or the girlfriends and listening to them bitch and moan about office life. This gives me comfort.

Good thing: Every day is different. My schedule changes constantly and new people, clients and referrals are constantly entering my life in interesting ways. I love this. This keeps boredom away and helps me to flex my organizing and time management muscles.

Bad thing: Sometimes I will have an appointment at 9:00 a.m. and then the next one at 2:00 p.m. Since I am not going to dangle around the Northridge Starbucks for four hours (though I am sure there is nothing wrong with that for those who do so), I end up driving home and coming back later. This ends up being a lot of driving back and forth on some days, not only being kind of annoying, but giving me serious enviro-guilt. I remedy this by reminding myself that I am not commuting over the hill every damn day and that my car is very itty-bitty and doesn’t use much gas. This helps somewhat.

Good thing: The nature of my job now is very physical so there is no slouching behind a desk for hours on end. You should see my biceps these days! Because of that physical nature of my work, some days I come home absolutely exhausted. The reason I am not listing this as a bad thing is because it is a good kind of exhausted – like you just went for a long, kick-ass hike and you know your ass will sleep beautifully tonight.

Good thing: Some days (like today), I don’t have any appointments until 6:00, which means I have lots of time to work on my and Bunnie’s brilliant script. Which is what I’m going to do now. Ta ta!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Go Shawtie, It's Ya Birthday

We gonna party like it's ya birthday
We gonna sip bacardi like it's ya birthday
And you know we don't give a f&*# cuz that's ya birthday!

Since I'm content to let this berfday slide under the radar this year (hence, my broadcasting it across the internet), I am keeping it melloooooooow this year. I'm heading off to Burke Williams to be scrubbed, stroked and caressed, and then having some good champagne with some bad movies.

It's good to be me.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I Am My Own Worst Nightmare

Don’t get me wrong: I have the ultimate respect for homemakers everywhere. There is no more noble or thankless profession. I just never thought it would be me.

As long as I can remember, it has been my worst nightmare: the image of the woman, in the house, in the house dress, barefoot, pregnant, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, cleaning, writing thank you notes, running boring-ass errands like getting water from the water store. Heyall naw, give me human interaction, give me Happy Hours, give me intellectual stimulation, give me LIFE. As long as I can remember, this has been my mantra.

But since the “career change” that is no longer the case. The “career change” has given me ample time to embrace my inner Martha since my massage appointments are sporadic and on some days, non-existent. The house maven duties naturally fall on me. And guess what? It’s not so bad. Turns out I am a pretty good and creative cook, and can organize a household and tend to furry children quite well and with enthusiasm.

I have to admit though, it gave me total glee to go out last night. The walls of the house were starting to close in on me and I needed to get the hell outta Dodge and put my hands on the steering wheel rather than on a person’s back. I put on some make-up and a cute outfit, shit, I even blow-dried my hair, people! I met up with Trish and Shannon for a screening in the Hollywood Cemetery of a new upcoming show called “Pushing Daisies”. Shannon’s friend is the creator of the show. People, O. M. G. It was so good. I can’t wait to see more episodes. It will be airing on ABC soon, so watch for it. I am not a TV show person, but I will make time for this one, it’s that unique and delicious.

Just like my casserole.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

To Bang Or Not To Bang

That was the question.

As you can see, I chose to bang.

I felt like a six-year-old girl for a day, but now I'm kinda diggin' it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Shake, Rattle and Roll Over

Earthquakes are just not fun anymore.

There was a time when they used to be. To this day, I love making Valley Mom tell the story about how, during the ’71 San Fernando earthquake, she stumbled into my room in a panic to fetch me from my crib, and in her confusion and haste, grabbed her baby by the ankles and ran to the doorway to wait out the rest of the quake. I slept through the entire episode. It was a 6.6. And it was 6:01 in the dreaded A.M. – no wonder I couldn’t be bothered to wake up.

Later, growing up in the valley, there would be other quakes here and there, but they were fun. I was about eight or so and in the living room when a little one started rolling the house to and fro, and I distinctly remember it felt like ocean waves and so I started to ride them on the hardwood floors. How cool is that? Some stuff fell over, but it was never any big whoop.

Until 1994. The big Northridge quake. 6.7 Every valley person has their story about The Big One. Here is the short version of mine: It scared the shit out of me. It remains to this day, one of the single most frightening experiences of my 37 years on this earth.

There was nothing fun or rolling or nice about it. It was not a little “hello!” handshake from God. It was like God picked up the entire house and shook it angrily like He was losing in Vegas and here was the last of His cosmic pension on the table and all the hot angels had moved on to other tables and he was shaking those dice with the fury of a thousand angry Jesuses in the temple. Whoa! I guess I get Biblical when I’m upset. But seriously…

I have always had a kind of loving respect for nature. I get white-hot angry when someone litters, especially in a nature environment like a park or Lake Tahoe. To me, it is the equivalent of pissing on God’s front lawn or treading on Superman's cape or pulling on the mask of the Lone Ranger: You just don’t do it. I have always loved swimming in the ocean and been repeatedly swallowed whole by waves before and felt the power and known I could be taken out like that in an instant if nature so chose. But I have never felt nature so violently pissed off as I did that day, and I guess that is what was so scary. We were no longer friends. Mother Nature had become a hit man.

It took a long time for me to find my little dog Sophie that morning. She was a yappy dog with a lot of sass and believed she could kick anyone’s ass (I made a rhyme!). She slept upstairs next to the bed, but she wouldn’t come when I called her and I believed she must be dead since she worshipped me and always came when I called. After wading through the detritus and broken glass, I finally found her under the kitchen table, surrounded by her own pee and poo. She was shaking violently and quietly fixed her beady little black eyes on me with a look of utter fear, like I had caused the quake and she didn’t trust me now. Eventually I got her to come out and it strangely gave me comfort to comfort her. Every aftershock, she would look to me anxiously to see how to react, and I had to make myself be calm, make my heart rate go down, or she wouldn’t believe me that it really was okay. I kept holding her and comforting her through those long hours of darkness with no power, no street lights, when it seemed like the sun was never going to come up – what had happened was too terrible and maybe it would just call in sick today. The loneliness and fear in those hours is something that is part of me now. It’s in my blood. I still respect Mother Nature, but trust is something that is not so easy to reclaim.

So as you know, last night, not long after I had gone to sleep, the house was jolted by a 4.5 and I woke up, panicked, ready for action. This mother-effer was not going to take me, dammit! But it was over as soon as it had begun. My heart kept pounding. Would there be aftershocks? Would it set off a larger quake? Nothing. I checked on the dogs. Maybe I could comfort them and that would comfort me. But they were already back to sleep. Apparently they are so L.A., they don’t get out of bed for less than a 5.5.

One day I might shake hands with Mother Nature again and we’ll do lunch or something. But for now, her PMS-y nature is something that still frightens me and I have to just keep her as an acquaintance. You just don’t know what’s going to set her off.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Neighborhood Douche

Can somebody please explain something to me? Why, in the name of all that is sweet and holy and good, do some guys feel the overwhelming need to take a perfectly good, nice car and strip it of all its muffling apparatus in order to purposely sound like a herd of Hell’s Angels driving over bubble wrap, erupting with fury from the bowels of hell? Why? Why, bitches, why?

Take this guy who squats on a couch a few doors down from us. I know he squats because of the nature of his doucheness and the fact that he does not get driveway parking privileges. We’ll call him Neighborhood Douche. This is not to be confused with the DBV driver with whom we are all well-acquainted through driving the highways and by-ways of L.A., or by being semi-close to a high school. No, the Neighborhood Douche is a far more sinister creature. He drives a nice, reasonably new Mustang that is kept in good condition. But for some unfathomable reason, he finds it necessary to warn anyone within a five-mile radius of his impending arrival by breaking the sound barrier whenever he is close. And as if that isn’t enough, he also finds it necessary to accelerate up to 60 MPH through the residential streets and squeal around corners, I suppose to highlight his “2 Fast, 2 Furious” prowess.

I say “he” because I know it is a “he” for a couple of reasons. In my lesser inebriated moments, I have had to hear the impending douchousness and suffer the resulting douche annoyance shudders that always accompany the sound, followed by which I am compelled to glare out the window at said Douche and shoot imaginary bubonic plague-dipped darts with my eyes. In my more sauced up moments, however, it goes more something like this: I stick my head out an open window and shout at the top of my lungs, “Shut the hell UP, DOUCHEBAG!!!”

I also know it is a “he” because in my extensive travels of these mean streets, whenever I encounter the Sound of the Douche and whip my head in the direction of the offending party to express my disdain, there is never, ever, ever a female behind the wheel. Well, actually there was one once. But I am convinced that her Civic was in the shop and she was forced to borrow her boyfriend’s car as she was hunched low in the seat and seemed to be fairly mortified.

I guess the real problem I have with the ND is that he brings back bad feelings of a bygone era when we lived in Crackville, Venice. There was a person there whom I referred to as “Ghetto Honking Bitch”. And when I say the “bitch” part of her name, I don’t use it affectionately like I do with you all. Oh no, it was meant to represent all the vilest, meanest, nastiest attributes of the word. She would pull up in front of the house across the street, sometimes at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, sometimes at 3 a.m. on a weekday, but always at the worst, most inappropriate time, and always daily, and honk the horn of her ridiculous SUV like her ass was on fire. Talking to her nicely about it, screaming “SHUT UUUUUUUP” out the window, all had the same effect: It made her do it more. She was one loud, obnoxious voice in a sea of loud, obnoxious voices in that area – people who are noisy and don’t give a shit that there are people living nearby. They want you to hear them and your peaceful enjoyment of your home be damned.

So I have these awful flashbacks of previous unsavory living conditions and I run this imaginary dialogue in my head with the ND. It usually goes something like this:

ME: Hey… Douchenferry McDouchealot? Hey, can I just call you Douche for short? Great. Hey, listen, I was just wondering…. See all these cute little post-WWII houses? The ones with the lawns and flowers and stuff in front? See the kids’ bikes and toys lying around? See the cars parked in the driveways and on the street? Yeah, um…. I know this might sound crazy but um…. People like, live here and stuff. I know, who knew, right? People live here and watch movies here and have children who might be napping here and people talk on the phone here and see, every time you drive by, which is often, you are the equivalent of bad cell phone coverage that causes people to LOSE THE SIGNAL OF THEIR LIFE for a few moments because of you and your douchey ass. The douche shudders of annoyance are seriously cutting into my and everyone around here’s living time and you know what, D-bag? I can’t hang anymore! So you need to take your little douchemobile into the shop, get the standard factory-issued mufflers put back on the shit, and find some other way to scream for attention that doesn’t involve your neighbors, m’kay? Perhaps with loud clothing.

NB: Gosh, ma’am. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I had no idea my douchosity was causing such inconvenience, but now I see the err of my ways. I will get the problem handled immediately. And I thank you for your candor and your feather-light touch.

ME: It is my pleasure, Douchenstein. Have a nice day!