Monday, December 28, 2009

Slaughter House Rules

"I stepped off the stage and took a piece of her heart

we knew from the start
that things fall apart, intentions shatter

she like that shit don't matter
when I get home get at her

through letter, phone, whatever

let's link, let's get together." -The Roots

There are people I should never be alone with. I should never sit across from them in a dimly lit bar sipping freshly made Greyhounds discovering that I can't catch my breath when they look at me. I should not find myself so close to him that I can feel the vibration of his voice run down my spine. Oh yes, there are most certainly men that I should never get caught on the dance floor with. Too strong. Too much heat, too much chemistry. The odd part about these simply delicious connections? The weight of their hand on my lower back electrocutes me and yet rarely do they end up turning into successful relationships. It's like we combust on contact. It isn't for lack of trying. Phone calls are hot right before they fizzle, laughter rumbles right before it turns to nervous giggles. I don't get it. Shouldn't fire like this be the secret? The deep, dark secret that keeps me coming back for more?

It's not really a secret that, if I could, I would trade in my freckles for a life that looked less like Laura Ingalls and more like Lauryn Hill. In a futile attempt to escape my Scandanavian roots and pale skin I have adopted what I consider a healthy obsession with hip hop, ridiculously large hoop earrings and beautiful black men.

He isn't just beautiful, though. He is smart. He can keep up with me and usually even outruns me. There is no one who flirts more than me. Except him. And when we are together there is only one place we are headed: a little town I like to call Trouble. We've seen our share of hip hop shows together, seen our share of partying into the morning hours. We've also seen our share of each other's deep, dark places we don't show anyone else.

Life swims forward and before I know it he is tied to another with a little one on the way. I think about him sometimes when my spine reminds me that I want to be with someone who makes me feel as darling as he did. I think about him when my lungs remind me that I have a breath to be taken away.

One night that found me particularly breathless was by accident. I was on a date and he was on a microphone. I took my date to meet up with my Portland crew to check it out. Before he took the stage, he sat at our table, his worn-in notebook placed tenderly in front of him. Styled out and looking good, he was eying my date in clear distaste. My date was wearing an argyle sweater vest.

Don't get me wrong. I like prepster, but this was not in the hip and happening kind of way. His Porsche had chatted with me and convinced me to go out with him. I knew we wouldn't get further then a polite kiss on the cheek. So there we were, me and Mr. 5'7" Argyle about to watch a hip hop show surrounded by devastatingly cute men. He took the stage and looked directly at me. I looked directly at the table cloth. Before I knew what was happening I heard my name. Then I heard about our sexual tension from a crackling speaker. I blinked hard, turning to shyly look back at the group. Mouths were open and most were eying the argyle sweater to see what his response would be. Luckily, he was as dumb as his outfit and didn't get it.

As much as the whole thing made me blush, it also made me feel like I was the most amazing girl that has ever stood in front of him. I don't get that a lot. I don't have a lot of men tell me how they feel about me. He always did though. It's probably why I ran away scared, my armor of sassiness placed solidly in front of my heart.

In the spirit of the holidays and feeling like the best present I can ever ask for is honesty, here are some of his words, from him to me to you:


I need a sample, a little hand full- of a tasty treat no candles, keep
it Campbells.
Keep ur soup spoons handy, for the taken and scrape'n of this bowl of mine
She's only had a small amount and only one time.
Give me mine I love presents as a gift-
I've only laid, been lead a stray and coveted with a kiss. A highly anticipated moment from the past.
My should of would of could of mentioned times wanting to last.
I wore my Jordans polished them, seen the light and hollared in,
wanting for the favor of a Neo- fosmopolitan.
I say it with a grin, it's seeping from my soul. The energy is still
lurking as my thoughts are outta control.
Buy this say that, wrap that with a cool bow- Santa has a helper with
a nice ass, I'm sure though!!!
Come on smile, will u smile, and won't u smile for me- and when I
think the seasons gone well I think of we-
Woo is me, who was he I can't remember- I wish I had a table to back u
down a sweet surender. Moments to December and some time for holiday
craze- I'm crush crazy mole hazy locked by sexist ways.
These Christ like rhymes save me now from time to time- I only hope
it's better when it's time for me to shine.
And we can get it cracken, keep it pop'n off for show. And only time
will tell but some telling times may show.
Missing time see the signs shopping time now a war- A seasonal
greetings from me to u and yours!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A holiday for one, please.

"It's coming on Christmas, they're cutting down trees. They're putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace. Oh I wish I had a river, I could skate away on" -Joni Mitchell
The holidays. Yes, here I am again, dutifully playing the role of Single Girl. I'll be making appearances at work parties, family dinners and anywhere else that will give some jackass the opportunity to comment on me and who I will end up under the mistletoe with. Go ahead, I'm used to it.
I can see the onslaught of Christmas crawling toward me, a storm picking up speed as the temperature drops. I can't even escape it at the grocery store. Cases of satsumas? Not made for single girls.
I am perched on the familiar blue stool in the corner of my mom's kitchen watching her cook. She's watching me stew. "Why don't you use this opportunity to write a really lonely, sad holiday story?" She says, shaking salt into the pan. Thanks, mom. Go ahead and bring that salt over here. Rub it directly into my wounds.
Not this year, mom. I can prove her, and everyone else, wrong. I don't need a man to have a merry freaking Christmas. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus, for God's sake. Last time I dove into religious studies (reading The DaVinci Code counts, right?), Jesus was single. Or at least singlish. So by hanging one stocking with care, I am simply honoring the memory of Him.
All the "hims" I have had, they just string me along. They never string my Christmas lights. I might need a hired hand, but I don't need a boyfriend to get through the twelve days of Christmas.
So now that I have decided what I don't need, what do I need? I guess I need a list. A "things to do to be merry and bright without a boyfriend" list.
1) Wine.
10am. On a Tuesday. Too early for wine. By Christmas Eve, I am sure I will have a different opinion.
2) Coffee.
Corey, Kelson and Nick. Who needs the three wise men of Bethlehem? I have three the smart-asses of Langley that start my latte before I even get to the counter. They are handsome and funny and I am already feeling more festive. This is going to be easier than I thought. I pry myself away from flirting to scan the tables in the bustling cafe. I am meeting Nathan and I spot him already waiting. He stands, buying my coffee and, knowing my sweet tooth, doesn't hesitate to add a cookie to the order when he sees me eyeing the pastry case. Christmas alone is a piece of cake. Or cookie. I settle into the warmth of the ruby-red banquette, starting my mental winter-wonderland prep list.
"Naaathannn?" Eyelashes.
"Hmm?" He answers skeptically through a full mouth of cookie, barely looking up.
"I need a favor." Smile. "Can I borrow your truck for like, an hour?"
"I need a tree." I take a deep breath. "I'm single and I need a Christmas tree. I just... I need a tree and I need you to help me get one. I can't do it alone." I know he won't be able to argue with this. He is an ex. And as an ex he is fully aware that part of his new ex-turned-friend job description includes being called to duty in my occasional moments of vulnerability.
"I'm hunting at 3... I guess if we go right now..."
I'm so relieved that I resist any urge to drag him into a dialogue about the oddities that come along with our dynamic; starting with the fact that he spends Sunday afternoons dressed in camouflage, knee-deep in a deer stand, where I spend Sunday afternoons in loungewear, nose-deep in a book. It's a Pacific Northwest kind of Yin and Yang that I have spent way too much energy battling. In the end he isn't really that different. Everybody else has Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer and so does Nathan. He just has him for dinner.
Walking through the tree farm I realize what a horrible mistake I made. I am single and brave for Christmas, but it doesn't make me invincible. I know what we must look like traipsing through the trees, him teasing me with Charlie Brown trees, me playfully pouting back. We look like we will choose the tree and head back to decorate it in front of the fire while we sip wine and talk about what we are going to get all our family members for the big day. We look cute. Like a cute couple. Yes, I am single and brave this year. I have done a lot of work. But I know the truth, and it's a truth that could bring me to my knees if I let it.
Nevertheless, I have a tree now. It's waiting patiently on the front porch for me to make the next move. I lean against the cedar shingles staring at my new accessory. He is a handsome, this Noble Fir. Strong and silent (not to mention horizontal), this is my kind of man. All he needs is some flair.
There is no light quite like Christmas light. I can never resist the glow, sparkling from the tree, in a house otherwise steeped in dark silence.
I've never done the outside light thing, or this Christmas tree thing. I feel slightly empowered, and equally overwhelmed as I figure it out and figure out to just leave some things for later. I decide to tackle the outdoor lights while the sun is still shining and while there is still a part of me that believes an elf will take care of the tree while I am not looking. Three hours and two frozen hands later, I have a perfectly crooked line of twinkling white lights leading from gutter to gutter and down around the railing. Holiday decorating without a moment of moping. I am well on my way to making this the most wonderful time of the year. Back inside to build a fire and warm up while I decorate the tree.
For a little jovial motivation, I must have holiday music. I've just moved in and my electronics department is lacking to say the least. After a half-hour of trying to figure out exactly how to stream Pandora, I remember my good friend, Mr.Lamb. His job is A/V. He will solve all my Christmas music needs with one phone call.
I'm not the only one who needs music. I am in charge of music, centerpeices and employee gifts for my boss' company celebration. I completely forgot that in addition to prepping me for the holidays I am also prepping him for his festivities. It also reminds me that I need to invoice him and my other boss, too. Nothing under my tree unless my two main men pay me.
I'm exhausted. My list looks good, though, and I would rather feel tired and accomplished than lonely and depressed. This year feels so much better than last year. I still see Christmas on the horizon, but now I am actually excited about it. There will be lots of laughter, lots of friends and family. There will be moments that make memories: some planned, some not. And some of my very favorite people will be touching down in Sea-Tac very soon and that makes me very happy. Who knows? Maybe on the other side of this, there will be mistletoeing and hearts glowing.
Wait. Shit. Looking over the last few days of holiday madness I realize I didn't need a man. I needed several. Shit. What's a girl to do? I guess all I can do is be a very good girl and ask Santa for a one-and-only next year.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Love Story

I felt it shelter to speak to you. ~Emily Dickinson

Not all love stories end with wedding bells. Big love does not always announce itself when it arrives on the doorstep. No, some love never leaves the heart yearning for a missing beat. Sometimes love rests peacefully; a muted glow in the middle of a stormy night. Sometimes who we get is not who we wanted, but instead who we needed.
With reputations that preceded us, we were an unlikely pair. But timing and location brought us together and a fast friendship was formed. He made me laugh and think. Layers of deep talks took long naps on top of no talking at all. I felt alive. He made me feel alive. A lopsided grin impossible not get a smile in return. A daredevil with a quick wit that put mine to the test. The banter was non-stop. Somewhere along the way, the days grew longer and my feelings for him grew deeper. I was sure that, come autumn, leaves would not be the only thing falling.
I planned for falling, but I wasn’t prepared for breaking. And hurting. And rejection. He chose her. The darling one. She was sweet and charming and I should have known that she would be his. I cried. I sat in my mom’s dining room and sobbed into folded arms. Like any mom, she wrapped her arm around me and told me it would be okay.
As the world woke up from its winter nap, so did I. I was stronger, my head held a little higher than before. I gathered myself, took a deep breath and looked up. She was standing in front of me. She was everywhere. With him. I smiled and nodded and accepted that she was his and he was... my friend.
He was my friend, but I would be damned if she was. Why be friends with someone when I could, instead, hold a bitter grudge toward them and live in misery? I stood firm that her and I would never be close. The shitty part about my big, stubborn decision was that I kind of liked her. She was funny and hardworking. She knew I blamed my sadness on her and yet she still greeted me with a smile every single time I saw her.
One night, we ended up sitting out on their deck, side by side in the dark. She was spilling her guts. She was describing the struggle to be herself without losing him. Not sure why she was telling me, I stared out beyond trees to the sparkling lights of Mukilteo. I feigned disinterest, even though I was soaking in every word. A part of me wanted to be her friend. I wanted to tell her it was going to be okay. I looked over at her, her sorrow diluted as it floated out over Puget Sound. This was the crossroads. I knew I had the words to comfort her. I looked over my shoulder into the kitchen. The light spilled out on to the deck. Beyond the window was his lopsided grin. I looked at him and knew that while I could love him, he would never be able to love me. The time had come for me to make a decision: hold on to my past or embrace my future. I sighed as I felt myself give into the universe. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder, still looking at the lights in the distance and said, “It’s going to be okay.”
He didn’t choose me and because of that, I got to choose her. Seven years later, Jaime is my rock. We ended up being roommates, co-workers and best friends. We still laugh about our story, about how he brought us together.
There are more memories than I could ever capture in the flimsiness of these two dimensions. For us, Central Oregon was late nights in lawn chairs, wrapped in blankets under the falling snow, wondering where life would take us next. Riding the chairlift down from work in the glow of the setting sun, giggling about the latest scandal, clutching travel mugs filled with red wine. “Loungewear Sunday” evenings at the local pub playing dominoes. Floating the river, reading in hammocks and finding our friends out and about.
In our journey from that darkly lit deck on the island to the skyline of Portland, we grew up. Seven years ago I knew I had the strength to pull her out of the dark. What I didn’t know is that she would return the favor over and over again.
No, not all love stories end with wedding bells. It isn't always about finding the love. Some of the biggest love comes from the people who own the strength to wrap their arms around you and tell you it will be okay.

Monday, October 12, 2009

dating, style, men

“Some men recognize the light, but they can’t handle the glare.” Common

Um, I think there has been some kind of mistake. I was told this was happy hour. You know, cheap drinks, cheaper food, worker bees celebrating the end of the week?
Instead of getting loose over cocktails, at a waxing salon in Seattle it’s all about getting more than inhibitions removed. Instead of beer, the ladies (and a few men) line up for brazilians. Happy, my ass. I am laying here, way more exposed to the elements than any girl should be in front of a woman I have never met, trying to remember why I thought this was a good idea. Oh. Right. Sexier.
He told me I could be sexier. He, being the person I was confident thought I was sexy, or at least sexyish. I don’t know where I got that idea. It might be because he wasn’t just any man, he used to be my man. Silly me. I think he wanted me, he just wanted some altered version of me that doesn't exist. A version of me that would wear a g-string peaking out of my jeans as I leaned over the counter, tapping my acrylic French tips against the marble, daydreaming about finally making the switch from brunette to platinum.
The ironic part is that I am far from being low maintenance. I am slightly obsessed to beauty products and if I could, I would get a daily pedicure and manicure. I love the luxurious primping life, I just believe in real life. A real life that is comfort and function combined with a touch of timelessness. Coco Chanel said it best when she advised ladies to leave one accessory behind before they left the house. Less is more. The most stunning woman in the world doesn’t need hours; she looks good stepping out of the shower. Her radiance doesn’t come from anything she will find in her closet. The real me would rather spend time reading a good book or talking to an old friend then peering into a magnifying mirror armed with tweezers.
If only I was enlightened and empowered enough to say that this story ends with me waving my feminist flag proudly, silently vowing to continue racking up more hours volunteering and less in the salon chair.
But somewhere between the self-loathing of my past and the self-loving of my future, I found myself getting hair ripped out from very delicate skin, thinking he must be right and that I could, and should, put more effort into being sexy. It's possible it might be beneficial to rely less on yoga pants, hair ties and hoodies. Hence the waxing, tanning, blow drying circus that I have become.
Amelia tried to set me straight. “Think of it this way. Some men have more than enough money to shop at Nordstrom. They may even be sitting in the Nordstrom parking lot. They have Nordstrom right in front of them, and yet they choose to shop at Wal-Mart.
Well, hello, men everywhere. In honor of embracing the subtle sexiness that goes the distance, I'll let you in on a secret. I think it’s sexy when you:
  • Open your mind.
  • Drive with one arm draped on the back of my seat.
  • Squint your eyes, smirk and tilt your head to the side when I’ve crossed an imaginary line.
  • Help your mom with the dishes.
  • Tell the truth.
  • Make me laugh. While you make me dinner.
  • Hold a baby and look like a natural at it.
  • Find my feet with yours in the middle of the night just to let me know you are still there.
  • Face confrontation even though it scares the shit out of you.
  • Let me use your toothbrush.
  • Roll up the cuffs of your shirt and show off your forearms that promise to fix anything from my car to my dilemma.
  • Invite me to take an afternoon nap with you.
  • Ask me if I need anything before you sit back down on the couch.
  • Listen to me in quiet amusement after I have asked you question and, without waiting, answer it myself out loud and at length.
  • Let me read for hours.
  • Patiently wait for me, whether it is for me to get ready, say my goodbyes at a party, or just grow up.
  • Make my brain hurt more and my heart hurt less.
  • Wait five seconds and think about my feelings before you say something.
  • Finish what you start.
This isn't about me being sexy or not, it's about me being different. No amount of time in the tanning bed is going to change that. My kind of sexy doesn't change when I put sweats on. My sexy is as unique as I am. Down the road, whoever he is, will do the sexiest thing of all: make me feel sexy. Now that is a happy hour I will get behind.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner

I never leave a wedding weekend with everything I arrived with. This morning was no exception. I left the resort for the Sonoma County Airport minus a flip-flop and a voice. It seems like a fair trade. Because I also left with a renewed belief in true love.

As one of Sarah's Bridesmaids, it was with honor that I gave the new Mr. and Mrs. a toast. As promised, here it is:

"Sarah and I, along with a gaggle of girls, grew up together on a little island in Washington. Our tight knit crew of ladies has been best friends for as long as it matters. My older sister, Arwen, refers to us "affectionately" as the Rogue Sorority. Rogue, indeed. Roger, I would like to thank you for your patience with all of us and our shenanigans over the last six years, and also take this moment to thank you in advance for your continued patience over the next six decades.

I know that traditionally this is a time to give marital advice. Who are we kidding? I am not the one to give relationship advice. My date for this wedding is a bottle of wine. Maybe I should talk about the things I don't know.

The thunderstorm last night had me wide awake and counting. From the white flashes of light to the low rumbling of thunder: one-one thousand, two-one thousand... But I keep losing count. I keep going back to my childhood vacations on the banks of Lake Roosevelt in Eastern Washington. Sarah spent many of these trips with me, witnessing explosive summer storms that lit up the desert sky in an dramatic display.

I have spent a lifetime counting the space between lightning and thunder and I still have no idea what it even means. One mile for every three seconds or maybe the other way around? I don't know, and in the dark grey of last night, I realized it doesn't really matter.

"Relationships are like this. Sarah and Roger are like this. You can sit and try to figure out the facts, work out the logistics. You can analyze and ask questions. But in the end, it doesn't really matter. The power and beauty comes from the unpredictable chaos of it all. And like any force of nature, there comes a moment when everything else disappears and all the only thing left to do is lay back and take it all in.

Sarah and Roger are nothing less than a force of nature. They bring to each other everything they are and everything they have. No filter on these two. They fell in love and fell into the mess of life, arms out stretched. No fear.

One thing I admire about both of them is their authenticity. On an individual level, neither apologizes for who they are. This has proven to be a key ingredient in their success as a couple. The way they move through the world and their lives together is refreshingly organic.

Hold on to this. Keep putting in the work. It's not easy to be so true and honest all the time. Both of you have managed to make it look effortless.

And like the storm that woke us all up last night, sometimes heat and chaos collide to make beauty and strength beyond words. We can't always explain it, but now I realize we don't have to.

I love you both so much. Congratulations and here's to a long, happy life together.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be My Guest, Brian Moote.

I am pleased to introduce you to Brian Moote. He is a stand up comedian and, not to mention, a stand up guy. We grew up together, a South Whidbey Island native like me. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian for driving our crew around in his mom's minivan. Brian was always very patient as the twelve people crammed in his car would loudly decide what sounded more fun: tee-peeing the new freshman's house or burning a couch at the abandoned airstrip.
Brian is returning to his island roots, via WICA, on October 10th. There won't be any tee-peeing or couch burning, but there will be two show times; 7pm and 9pm. Tickets are 10$ for adults and 5$ for students. Email Brian or check him out at for more information.
Enjoy his blog, and try not to judge him for the bootlegging.

Booze-running into Jesus-apalooza
Written by Brian Moote, Guest Blogger
(Names and details have been changed to protect sinners and saints alike.)
Gunstock, New Hampshire – known for many things: great hiking, amazing skiing and hunting various endangered species. And then there are the summer festivals at the mountain resort, including “Rock ‘n’ Rib Fest” (revolves around ponytails, faded tattoos from the 70’s and grilling meat) and Godfest (revolves around the same things; just add a heaping serving of Jesus). Godfest is a 4-day Jesus Woodstock. 15,000 Christians camp out at the base of the Gunstock resort and take in Christian rock while immersing themselves in Jesus merchandise. Oh, they pray here and there too. Sounds like heaven right? Jean jacket bedazzled in the name of the Lord? We got plenty.
I have never heard of this thing, nor would I ever normally make a 2-hour pilgrimage to the “holy” resort from Boston. My little brother, Kilian, was presenting for his non-profit in a fundraising attempt to get a following from the God followers. His organization is not religiously affiliated, but their cause is one that Christians can get on board with, and since Christians, who can take a 4-day sabbatical in NH, are notorious for having a little money to burn, why not let them do it for a good cause (I’m keeping his organization’s name out of this story…Christians, according to the bible at least, have a knack for revenge)? As for my family, we grew up Catholic. This essentially means that we roam somewhere between atheist and drunk, depending on the holiday. But, I’ll save my Cath-bashing for my live show.
Back to the story. Kilian called me a said, “This Godfest thing is nuts, you have to come up. Lots of material for you.” Never one to shy away from getting religious material, I was immediately onboard. He ended the conversation by saying “Bring a bottle of Jameson.” I didn’t really plan on bringing the Jameson until I got an email from him with the address of the festivities, “No entry unless you have a bottle of Jameson... Seriously.” I started to pick up on the fact that this was indeed a serious situation. As usual, I did not google map my destination until I was in the car. This is when I found out it was nowhere near Manchester, NH (45 min from Boston)… as I had assumed for some reason. It was in fact an hour north of there… on back roads. Realizing my stairway to heaven has just doubled, I took a minute to silence whatever rage it is that comes before the road rage, loaded up my moonshine and embarked on the holy road to Godfest (I-93 North).
When I left Boston, there was not a cloud in the sky and I thought to myself, “What a nice day… to smuggle booze into a Christian event.” The difference between Christian Fest and Catholic Fest, is that at Catholic Fest, smuggling booze would be like bringing sand to the… you get the joke: we drink a lot. As I ventured North, the weather turned horrible, as only a New England summer can do. I couldn’t help but wonder if my devious intentions and the dark black cloud following me up the interstate were connected somehow. It wouldn’t be out of character for God to punish all New Englanders simply for the mistake of one person right? I think back to my past remembering this fact from Sunday school: Jesus died for my right to bring Jameson into a “dry event” and then say sorry afterwards right? Yeah, I think I have that interpretation correct.
It is hard to explain the amazement that I experienced when I took the turn into Godfest and saw a sea of campers and tents stretched in front of me. Hundreds, packed into the side of the mountain and in the woods. You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a tent. An ocean of Kelty. I parked in the remote lot, stuffing The Bottle inside a sweatshirt. I stepped out of the car and the rain started. Not drizzle, but Hollywood-style ridiculous rain. The kind that instantly drenched me. I felt like I should be standing in front of some girl’s house in a teen movie, screaming for her to forgive me as drop to my knees, pounding my fist on the grass, seeing the front door open as the credits roll. I have to admit, at this point, I had the feeling that the rain and lightning (which was not in the forecast the night before when I looked), was related to my moonshine-smuggling activities. I was a little proud of my back-alley wizardry, like I was waving the bottle in the air, summoning the lightning the way Harry Potter might.
I watched my brother deliver his second presentation/pitch of the day. He framed his cause for the Christian folk beautifully. He reminded them that people who are less fortunate than themselves and that are subject to human trafficking are “still children of God too”. I saw a few folks look a little puzzled about that. Wait, what? Poor people from other countries are children of God too? Well, they need to pray harder then, maybe have a Godfest in Rwanda or something to fix the joint up. To get the religious folks to donate, you really have to pound on their guilt. This is mainly because religion trains us to only respond to others when we feel a little guilty about not doing anything. It is also hard to get donations because there are a lot of scams out there in the name of Jesus. Those who did donate asked some respectable non-profit questions like, “How much of your budget goes to administrative costs?” This question is essentially, “We aren’t paying for you to drive a Benz right? Because we had this pastor who told us he was gonna feed the children and, instead, he just bought a Benz.” The question is fair and in fact, I was happy they asked.
The irony is that the entire Godfest event itself is somewhat of a Jesus-based scam. Sure it is fun and it allows a lot of good people to meet and talk about faith. And I am sure some good comes out of it, but it also is laden with money-making schemes. I went backstage with my brother to eat lunch and avoid the thundershowers that I had smuggled in with me and the booze. It was behind the scenes that I got to experience the Jesus energy drink made by 1 to 3 Trinity. This energy drink is, “Energy fused with the fruit of the spirit,” and “made from the roots and vines of the Holy Lands”. And added bonus? Only ten calories. This is insane. “The fruit of the spirit?” That isn’t even a real thing, let alone something you can contain in a 12 oz. can. This is a perfect example of religious marketing. Energy drinks are popular, but religious folks don’t agree with what they stand for. Red Bull is evil, so let’s make an energy drink for those more pure of heart. How do we prove that our energy drink comes from a higher power? We don’t. We just write a bunch of religious stuff all over the can that is impossible to disprove, like “Holy Lands”. Genius! Good luck arguing that ginko biloba isn’t a vine from the holy land. We never specified what the “Holy Lands” were, so how can we be wrong? Our slogan will be “innovative… unique… 1in3TrinityEnergyDrink… spread the light…” What does that mean? It means we get rich! Technically, the slogan means “greatly exaggerated… aggressive marketing… SameOldScam… capitalism is Christianity…”. But, who is really paying attention anyway? (
After lunch (and my energy drink) I spoke to a few of the mainstage music acts. I found out that the headliners were being paid a staggering $80,000. Let me repeat that. $80,000. To sprinkle Jesus through the music that they play? $80,000, and people were sweating $27 a month to help fight sex slavery in India. This is where myself and my religion part ways in ethical decision-making. Maybe if Kilian and I wrote a catchy song about sex slavery and Jesus then we could get up on the mainstage and really make a difference, get some hands in the air instead of clutching their wallets. The total budget for the festival’s music each night was around $400,000. That equates to a rate of $33,000 per hour. That equals more than the total yearly operating budget of the outreach and development activity of the organization Kilian works for. More importantly, for me, it also equates to roughly 17,778 fifths of Jameson. I have to admit, after doing a little math on the Soulfest budget, I felt way less bad (not even bad at all, really) about the booze-smuggling violation. Actually, I regretted that I didn’t bring them a half gallon of Jameson instead of a fifth, and maybe a little Jaeger for their difficult 4-day battle. Maybe that rain cloud wasn’t because of me after all. Sadly though, I had grown kind of fond of thinking of myself as a back-alley booze wizard.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The tracks of my tears

Lips that taste of tears, they say,
are the best for kissing.
~Dorothy Parker

Not everyone cries. A friend of mine has not cried in over ten years or something crazy like that. Some people just don't show their emotions like that. Those "some people" are probably bottling it all up. I strongly suggest you steer clear of them on the day the rains come.

I cry. A lot. I have such a tough exterior, but those who know me, or those who have gotten close enough to hurt my feelings know the sad girl. As soon as my lower lip starts to tremble, I usually try to explain myself, blubbering, "I'm a cryer," my voice a bottomless crevasse. "Really. Don't take it personally, everything makes me weep."

It's cathartic. Vulnerable. The tears are a testament to how visceral the moment is. My body has no choice but to respond. It's me. With no control. My brain, for once, does not get a vote. To tell the truth, I almost kind of... like it. I even like how I look when I am crying. How do I know what I look like in moments of sadness? Well, there is the fact that my mom loves to take pictures of me crying, stating, "there will always be hundreds of pictures of you smiling. This? This is real life." If it isn't captured by my loving mom, it is when the perfect storm of low self-esteem and narcissism collide. I like to make sure the image being broadcasted to the world reflects what I think it should. I hide in the bathroom for a minute and make eye contact with the sad girl. And right before I tell her to snap the fuck out of it, I like to see what she sees and also see what everybody else sees. I detach. And, honestly, I don't look half-bad with bloodshot eyes and slimy nostrils. In a weird way, it works on me. Every now and then the crying gets ugly (Beaches or Steel Magnolias); my face blotchy, my mascara has become lip liner. But in times like that, I am usually already in decade-old sweats and well on my way to housing a large bag of peanut butter m&m's. At that point, I don't have the energy to care anymore.

I used to place the blame on any number of things: I am about to start my period. I missed my period. I miss my friends. I miss him. He broke my heart. I broke my favorite bowl. I am broke. And then there is the classic girl excuse for tears: I am just tired. No, really, I am fine. I am just tired.

I gave up on the excuses. I cry when I am sad and that is all there is to it. But there is another kind of tears I am not used to. Tears of joy. I have had them, but they are rare. Even when I am crying at a wedding, it's not because I am happy for the couple. It is because I am single at a wedding. Again. Looking around at the guest list, the prospects don't look good. I know that dull prospects are probably not going to stop me from drinking my feelings and going home (or just far enough away in the dark) with some douche bag. Any non-married girl in their twenties who tells you, at a wedding, that those are tears of happiness, is completely full of shit.

When the tears of joy do happen, it is a foreign occasion. I never know what to do. I am crying, so my instinct is to curl up in the fetal position with my favorite treat and a Lifetime movie. It happened to me today. I was overwhelmed, feeling ecstatically blessed and I started to spontaneously leak. My fingers flew to my cheek in wonder and my gut told me to call a friend and have them talk me off the ledge. But, wait. These are happy tears. I am happy. Elated, in fact. I am so happy that there is nothing left to do but... cry? It makes no sense. When things make no sense to me, then comes the laughter. So now I am crying and laughing and all mixed up. Maybe I should run to the mirror and see what the sad girl thinks. See what she would do. I tilt the rearview mirror, the green of the passing trees becomes the green of my eyes staring back. My crow's feet crinkle in unison, giggling at me. Oh, I get it. The sad girl isn't here anymore. I wonder if I will miss her. Maybe even shed a tear.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away."

-David Mathew

Some people are terrified of their boss. I am lucky. My boss is smarter and cooler than me. I am not kissing ass here. He really is. He is kind of nerdy and still way cooler than me. He asked me if I had heard so and so's music that was playing in the background. I had, but had no idea who it was. He found this "disconcerting". This reaction would worry me if I worked in the music industry. However, since we are in the entertainment industry, I silently promised to get some of my cooler friends to educate me musically. Until then, I fake it. "Oh, yeah. This album is epic. I listen to it when I drive," I say, standing over his shoulder as he plays me a new Blu-Ray release of what's-their-names. I listen closely, trying to memorize a verse so I can Google it later. "These speakers..." He yells. "Lossless sound!" Right. Lossless sound. Whatever that is. His disapproval of my iTunes does not scare me.

No, I am not terrified of my boss. Instead, I am terrified of the material we work on. Petrified. I have already told him that I plan on expensing a Costco container of Tylenol PM. Come to think of it, I am going to expense the wine I wash it down with. See, when I got this job I realized quickly that I was about to be thrown into the world I had avoided for most of my childhood and all of my adulthood.

When I was, I don't know, twelve or so I would get invited to slumber birthday parties. That was the cool thing to do. We would gather in a big tent, sit in a gab circle laden with wildly inappropriate pre-teen subject manner (like which of us had pubic hair), followed by Truth or Dare (usually having to prove our answer to the previous question) and finishing the night with a horror movie. After seeing Candyman, I spent a week sleeping in my parent's bedroom. I still can't talk about how Fire in the Sky affected me. I started calling in sick to slumber parties. Eventually, after my mom ran into some other moms, word got out why I wouldn't attend the parties. I guess my reason was less embarrassing than avoiding Truth or Dare. Pretty soon, there was a new house rule: no horror movies for Sarah. The rule still stands.

I tend to take things personally. Movies included. I am the movie goer who audibly gasps when the heroine dies. Jaime, my partner in crime for hundreds of movies, calls me an "11". She says, "as far as being emotionally affected by movies, on a scale of 1 to 10, you're an 11." I believe she said this after I insisted I could handle Ammityville Horror. I didn't care how scary it was; to see Ryan Reynolds chopping wood with his shirt off, I was willing to risk it. I ended the night with a Xanax and an extremely unrealistic dream about Mr. Reynolds and myself.

Besides sticking to romantic comedies, I also have to check my imagination at the door when I am sleeping somewhere new. Living in a haunted house when I was in college didn't help. I pick up the vibe of a house, or campground, the moment I arrive. Phoebe and Arwen like to have me come over upon moving into a new house. If I can take my usual afternoon cat nap on the couch, the house is clear of spirits. Camping is a little trickier. I am not going to pretend I haven't spent too many hours positive that the noise I am hearing is a blood thirsty monster lurking in the ponderosas directly behind my tent.

But the sun rises on the tent and the early morning dew sparkles. The smells of percolating coffee on the Coleman stove linger with crisp air, the promise of summer heat once the sun makes its climb. Everything is as it should be again. Everything has an answer.

Until now. Now, I get to read in-depth investigations about aliens and ghosts. The unknown. I am a control freak who also happens to be a Taurus. Not good characteristics when attempting to dive into the creepy paranormal. I like rational explanations for everything. From why my grocery checker chose that hair color to what exactly causes a wormhole. I would like it to be black and white. The answers, not her hair color.

Maybe it would be better to be terrified of my boss. Maybe if I was being belittled and intimidated, I would forget that I am scared to death reading about what happens when you give an alien an autopsy.

Since I will probably never have all the answers, I guess I will just keep the Tylenol PM close by.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This could be you...

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
~Sylvia Plath

In addition to my unbelievably witty candor, this blog needs something else. You.

Here is the deal. Email me. Call me. Twitter me. Facebook me. Send a carrier pigeon. Tell one of my many family members when you run into them at the grocery store. Whatever. Just let me know that you want to be my guest. It will be kind of like you are coming to my place for dinner. Only, I am not cooking you dinner or sharing my wine with you. But you will get my opinion, and my attention, which is far better than my cooking (or my cheap wine). So get going and get writing. If you need ideas, I am full of them (and it). You can write about anything; relationship advice, how to mow a lawn, your last colonic. You can even make fun of me. If you have nothing to say, send images and some material on you and what you do or maybe what you have been up to. If you are a man with your shirt off you get bonus points. Send links to the websites that keep you clinging to your computer the way a fat kid clings to cake. Speaking of cake, why don't you send me your latest kitchen creation. If you still don't have anything, but you want to get involved, tell me what to write about. I can pretty much go on and on (and on) about anything, so have it.

I'm waiting...

Oh, I guess you need my email:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wife, I mean life, on the bluff...

I would be content being a housewife if I could find the kind of man who wouldn't treat me like one."
-Terry McMillan
My mornings here start early. There is is a lot to do and I get paid to make sure it gets done. This morning it is the contractor at 7am. This may be a “normal” time for some, but I am not really in early morning person. “Can you open the gate, the roofers are going to start early, with the heat and all.” No problem. I sleep walk down the long hallway to the phone, type in the code, turn the sprinklers on while I am upright, and then fall face first back into bed. In case you were wondering, roofing is extremely loud. I know I should just give up; make coffee, start the day. But I don’t want to. I am right in the middle of a dream and I don’t want to wake up. If there was anyone else here, in the 6000 square feet that surround me, I would whine and whimper. But, finally I give in, rising to the rhythm of steady hammering. Stories are being told in rapid Spanish above me. I can hear them talking about whether the girl who lives in the house is home. Yes, she is home, I think to myself. She is home and she hasn’t had coffee yet. She is home and has had enough travel, school and years in a restaurant to understand the dirty things being said about her. She is home and her mood, lack of coffee and early wake up has her tempted to yank on the rope, that I assume is attached to a roofer, that is dangling over the steep edge of the house.
I throw on my idea of "public pajamas": black yoga pants, one of those tank tops with a built-in bra, flip flops and a ponytail. Coffee made and I am out the front door. Steaming mug in hand, cordless phone tucked under my arm. First up is Stephan, dear friend and groundskeeper. We catch up, talk about what’s happening around the property and also a little bit about what’s happening around town. I wander down the sloping hill toward the guest house. Emma, the housekeeper stops me, asking if I know where she is supposed to be. Funny that someone would ask me where they should be. I have spent my entire life trying to figure where I am supposed to be.
The cats. The three cats, whose home is the apartment below the guest house. They get breakfast and dinner served on three china saucers. If the weather is nice, they dine al fresco. If it’s raining, I set up an umbrella for them (kidding). I walk through their apartment, making sure they didn’t throw a big party while I was sleeping in the other house. A dead mouse greets me in their bedroom. I look out the door for Emma. I have changed my mind; I know exactly where she is supposed to be. It’s too late and she is nowhere to be found. I wish cats knew exactly how shitty it is to clean up a mouse that is laying on the carpet, its entire insides sitting about three inches from its corpse.
As I am holding the dearly departed rodent, the phone rings. My boss. Calls every morning at 9ish to check in. In Seattle today, needs me to cancel London hotel reservations and figure out why they are still getting charged electric for the condo that was sold months ago. I listen carefully, trying to ignore the soft, furry lump in my left hand that is threatening to leak through the paper towel I have it wrapped in. I get off the phone, give the mouse a ceremonial throw over the bluff and begin my search for Purell. I have forgotten my coffee on the porch and turn around to see the cat drinking it.
Back at the house, emails are starting to come in and the phone is still ringing. The guy that takes care of the Ferraris hurt his back and is on pain meds. He is asking me, again, to talk slower. I resist the urge to ask him if he could spare a Vicodin.
My shower is quick, made quicker by a three-inch wolf spider hanging out next to my shampoo, threatening to kill me at any moment. I ask Matt, who is working in the yard, to take care of it, insisting that while normally I am not “that” girl, being naked in a confined space with this spider has made me vulnerable. The look on his face is begging me to spare him the details.
Beds made, laundry started and the phone still ringing. I need to pick my five year old niece up, get her to my mom's and drop off the recycling on the way. Bills need to be paid, groceries bought and there is a mile high stack of mail to be sorted. The dryer just buzzed to tell me that there are clothes waiting to be folded. Then the oven timer chimes in to tell me that if I don't get my ass in the kitchen, the scones will be burnt to a crisp.
Out the door again, my bag slung over one shoulder, cell phone pinned between my chin and my other shoulder as I try to listen to a friend discuss the bridesmaid dresses for her upcoming Napa nuptials. Two screenplays fall out of my bag (my other job) and onto the wet driveway. I peel the pages carefully from the pavement and as I stand up, still listening to the details of the mauve dresses, there is a dry waller staring at me, waiting for a time frame for the coming week.
At the end of the day I watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. Everything is quiet and everything is checked off my list. Well, almost everything. I forgot to return my library books. I crumple into the oversized couch with a glass of red wine and press play. As the opening music for Weeds begins, I take a deep breath of contentment. I am actually pretty good at this. And what is “this”, exactly?
I am a housewife. Without a husband.
I am a lonely housewife living in a big house on the bluff. It’s an unconventional job, being an estate manager/house-wife-in-training/cat feeder/fire putter outer. But this is the dress rehearsal, and with every night that goes by, alone in this house, I can’t wait for the real thing. Instead of days filled with meaningless chores (and wishing there was a pool boy), I will be running a household and sharing a home with a man who is my best friend and partner. Now I just have to find him.