Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Read any good books lately? How about some of the classics? Orwell's 1984?

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

Grapes Of Wrath? The Invisible Man? Lord of the Flies?


How about The Catcher in the Rye, The Diary of Anne Frank, or Farenheit 451? about The Da Vinci Code? Or any of the books in the Harry Potter or Twilight series?

How about the DICTIONARY? Surely you've read parts of that offensive book...what with its horridly foul definitions of filthy words such as "bed," "knocker," and "balls."

Oh... you didn't know you were reading banned books? You weren't aware that some people fear, above all else, individual thought and ideas that differentiate from the norm? And you didn't know that Sept. 26th through Oct. 3rd, 2009 is Banned Book Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, celebrated by Amnesty International, and endorsed by the Library of Congress?

Well now you know!

And in celebration of it, Ellen Hopkins, an author who wrote fairly candidly about her daughter's addiction to crystal meth and then had the book banned from schools, wrote a manifesto. I've heard it's long, and it's hard to find (if you find the whole thing please feel free to post it in my comments section or just post the link) but the last four lines are thus:

Torch every book.
Burn every page.
Char every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I succumbed.

I'm cruising through my grocery store, grabbing a few things for dinner (Cuban-style tacos) and it's just three items, honestly, sour cream, 6 pack of root beer, and hard shell tacos, I don't even need a list, I'm just running through the store chanting sour cream root beer tacos to myself and trying not to scare the other shoppers and

before I even know what's hit me I succumbed to the siren song of the Halloween candy aisle, which is Not.Freakin'.Cool at all because purchases must be planned and plotted and carefully budgeted (I am not an impulse buyer) and wow, there went an entire bag of candy into my shopping cart.

You win this time, chocolate! I shake my fist angrily at you.

K, guys, so 'fess up: what's your Halloween candy guilty pleasure?

As you can tell from above, mine is Kit-Kats... oh, and those little boxes of Junior Mints...and those mini Snickers and Three Musketeers...and sometimes M&Ms...

Yeah. I have no self control when it comes to fighting off the wiles of the Halloween candy aisle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

gratitude- and a really big YAY!!

K, so I realized shortly after publishing my slightly-longer-than-necessary autobiography that I forgot to include two important things:

a) if I were in charge of the world I also would have gone back in time and adopted out Adolf Hitler to a lovely hippie Canadian family; and

b) I don't take a single second of my life thus far for granted. Every moment, every memory, good or bad, has all lead up to me becoming the person I am today, and I wouldn't change any of that for the world. So I apologize if I came across as bragging or that I didn't appreciate how lucky and blessed I feel I've been, because not a day goes by that I don't appreciate all the friends I've made, all the adventures I've been on, and all the adversity in my life that has made me stronger.

Just wanted to clear that up :)

Also, two more notes of gratitude (the last one with an added large helping of HELL YEAH!) that I neglected to mention earlier:

First of all, a huge THANK YOU to Dionne over at City of Dionne for hosting a fantastic giveaway that I won! If you guys haven't checked out Dionne's blog, it's about twelves shades of adorable - Dionne does all her own illustrations and photographs for her blog topics, hosts incredibly awesome giveaways (like the one I won - a delightful little peacock teacup in my favorite color, how cute is that??) and is an all-around generally freakin' cool girl.

So Dionne, I'm sorry that my gratitude is a little belated, but thank you so much for your generosity, kindness, unfailing support of other bloggers, and very sweet comments. You officially rock (not that we didn't already know that).

and finally, I am so excited to tell you guys:

The web-series I'm in, Hell Froze Over, won its first award at its very first festival!!!!!

Yup, this weekend HFO premiered at the New York Television Festival with over 50 other applicants, and we won the Outside the Box Award!! (how more appropriate can you get?)

We are so excited that all the hard work for Season One of Hell Froze Over paid off at the festival, so keep your fingers crossed that this means people will be interested in financing a second season of the show :)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

biography, nutshell version

So I promised myself that when I got to 50 followers (don't laugh, oh ye of the 900 followers; I never thought I'd have more than 5 people reading this random thing) I'd write a short(ish) bio introducing myself for those new to following my blog, or just visiting, or really really bored.

I was born in a very small town in New Hampshire in a big house on a dead end street. Across the street from my home were the woods and streams and fields where I played all day in the summertime, and I'd come home at night covered in dirt, ticks, and stained with blackberry and raspberry juice. To this day, I hold a special place in my heart for trees and streams and dirt and picking berries. The ticks can shove it.

Highlights from my youth include the time my parents gave the family dog away while I was over at a friend's house and the time my mom decided to dress me up as a Christmas present for the annual Christmas parade down main street. I wore a huge box wrapped in Christmas paper that had holes for my head, arms, and legs, but it was too heavy for my little body, so as I marched in the parade, in the middle of the street, I leaned back too far and lost my balance, landing flat on my back in the box. But because the box was too big and heavy I couldn't regain my footing so all I could do was kick my little legs and flail out my arms like a special needs turtle while the entire town pointed and laughed at me.

No, I'm not kidding. Thanks, mom.

At age nine I moved to Southern California and did elementary school, middle school, high school and then college in Orange County, getting a BFA in Make Believe (with an emphasis in Bad Childhood) from Chapman University and studying abroad for a semester in London.

When I was twelve I was eating sushi and visiting Buddhist temples in Japan, when I was fourteen I was hiking around the base of the Matterhorn in Switzerland and eating bratwurst in Germany, and when I graduated from high school my best friend and I went on a twenty day tour of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

I have flown in a helicopter, reached over the side of a sailing boat to pet wild dolphins, bought a painting of the Eiffel Tower from a street artist in Paris, seen Michelangelo's David in Italy, danced in clubs in London, consumed Belgian waffles as my dinner in a dark corner of Brussels, accidentally opened the shower doors on three naked and surprised Welshmen at a hostel in Wales, sung "Hey Jude" at the top of my lungs with the rest of the crowd at Temple Bar in Dublin, bought puppet masks in the marketplace in the capital of the Czech Republic, eaten bangers and mash and fish and chips (but not together, ew), walked the red light district in Amsterdam, and snorkeled with hundreds of jellyfish in Bermuda (and wasn't stung).

I have hit myself in the teeth with my own nunchucks, I have been carded for buying root beer, I have been in the same room with a very cranky ghost, I have called 911 more times than I'd ever like to talk about, I have jumped on a trampoline and socked myself in the eye with my own knee, I have had a horse sneeze on my face, I have broken three boards stacked together with my flying side kick during my black belt test, I have ridden in an ambulance, I have been pulled over by a police officer while breaking about six laws and driven away with only a warning, I have washed blood out of my clothes, I have been the girl dancing on the speakers at a club, I have seen an entire Green Day concert from six feet away on stage because I was admitted into the private sound check, I have walked into a tree and given myself a concussion, and I once accidentally called Pamela Anderson stupid to her face.


I'm exceptionally bad at most sports involving balance and/or wheels, or that require me to have any sort of lasting endurance past about 8 minutes. This is why I don't jog. Or skateboard. My mini golf scores are obscenely high, my bowling scores are disgustingly low, my Ikea furniture building success rate is about 87%, I was a vegetarian for approximately 8 months in college, I don't usually kiss boys on the first date because I'm a little shy, and I'm a good listener. In fifth grade, when all the other kids in class said they wanted to grow up and be doctors, lawyers, or ballerinas, I told the class I wanted to be a translator for the United Nations.

Some day I want to learn how to drive stick shift, shoot pool and guns better, play the guitar, and do a proper handstand. I also want to learn American Sign Language, Greek, and Parkour.

And if I ruled the world I would bring back the tv show Firefly, and I'd make sure that toilet paper, clean water, and AIDS medication was free and available to anyone who needed it. I'd also change how Quantum Leap ended.

I write, I act, I take photographs, and I blog.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

autumn - a wish list

Meh. I'll blog more personally tomorrow. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and came up swinging. And I'm still not quite over the weekend.

Plus I don't drink coffee, so when I wake up in a bad mood I just have to sit in it, wallowing crankily, until it ebbs out of my system. Onwards and upwards, people.

autumn wish list:

lovely evening walks

yummy hot chocolate

succeeding in carving pumpkins

getting to go apple picking

"exploring" the Halloween candy aisle

sipping hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks

snuggling in fuzzy blankets

finally getting to wear my boots

laughing at the babies who are wearing the most ridiculous and/or adorable costumes

falling asleep with the heater on

wearing my new fingerless wool gloves (and not getting them caught on any of my swiss army knives)

falling in love with new poetry ( I always fall back in love with poetry in autumn)

buying cheap school supplies (hello, life time supply of post-its!)

finding more hiking trails to explore

taking more photographs

good tv shows this season (both new and returning)

holidays, holidays, holidays

enjoying the leaves changing color

being stoked about the possibility of camping in October

putting candles in the windowsill

baking again

and the promise of change and transformation, towards a brighter moment and better version of ourselves...

Monday, September 21, 2009

it's complicated...

So I'm really torn here, as I have a ton of positive, happy stuff I want to share with you guys this week, but had a totally icky experience this weekend that I kinda need to get off my chest. So bare with me as I kick this out of my system and get your guys' brilliant feedback, and then tomorrow I'll catch y'all up on how awesome my life really is. Ready? Break!!

I'm out to lunch on a perfectly sunny day, hanging with a good friend of mine, J., his beautiful wife, and their newborn daughter (not even four months old!) of pure gorgeousness; and one of my best friends, Summer, her husband, and THEIR almost year old baby who is just the cutest thing on the planet. So much cute is at this table, the ketchup bottle is gonna explode.

And in walks two huge guys with a baby, not so unusual, as maybe it's Dad's turn to take the baby for the day, or hell, maybe they're domestic partners and adopted, who knows, but it's two men and another baby.

We're ordering food as the two guys and baby park themselves in a booth about ten feet away from ours, and no sooner had we finished our orders and were playing Make the Baby Dance on the Restaurant Table (you know you've done it) with the older baby when some sort of commotion happens at the guys' booth, and as I am facing the booth I get to see what happens:

The guy's baby at some point must have made a fuss, but must have done so quietly, or maybe I didn't notice or hear because I'm at a table with two already fussy babies, but one of the men (who is clearly the father) puts his head down on the table to the baby's eye level (the baby is in a high chair) and screams at the top of his lungs, "I'M TRYING TO ORDER YOU A FUCKING HAMBURGER!!"

And our table goes dead silent. There is no one else around on this side of the restaurant, so we just have each other to confirm, did that really just happen? Surely this must be a joke, nobody says that to a kid who's not even two years old yet, do two year olds even know what HAMBURGER means, and before we can even assume that the man is just playing around in some awful stupid joke, he roughly yanks the now wailing baby from the high chair, holds him high in the air, gives him a few shakes(?!!) and then plops him just as roughly into the baby stroller, then walks a few feet away muttering to himself about how all he wants to do is order lunch, can't he just order lunch in peace and quiet?

And J. looks at me, and I look at him, and we're both boxed into the booth by our respective family and friends, and J. says, "My entire body just went numb," and I say "I can't believe he just did that," and J's beautiful wife says to J., "You are NOT going to fight," and I turn to J. and I say, "If you are going to fight, I'm fighting with you," and Summer's husband says quietly, "It's not our kid," and I contemplate how to best get out of the goddamn booth so I can bludgeon this man to death and J. says to me, "That's right, I forgot you have a first degree black belt," and I say, without a touch of irony and in total utter seriousness, "If you can hold him down I can punch him in the throat" but I'm telling you, the entire time I'm seeing red and wanting to crack my cell phone against the bridge of this guy's nose I'm still arguing with myself mentally, like surely this can't be real why would anyone who is that angry have a child maybe he has mental issues if I attack the dad is his huge friend gonna come up behind me and flatten me do I really have a chance I swore to myself I'd never get in a fight if I could help it don't I have an obligation to stop this son of a bitch from hurting his kid is it really going to do any good he might just hit the kid again later if I get my car keys into his eyes then he won't be able to see-

-when the guy packs up everything, marches out of the restaurant with his baby and baby stroller, and his friend, obviously embarrassed, skulks out a minute later, and they're gone. They ordered no food, the waitress had no names, I chose not to follow them into the dark and isolated parking garage where the restaurant patrons park, and I did Absolutely.Nothing.To.Stop.Him.

I did absolutely nothing to stop him.

And I'm wondering, where do you draw the line? We've all heard stories of a woman who swatted her kid on the butt in a supermarket and then got a visit from Child Protective Services later that day, or stories where there was obvious, blatant abuse in public and nobody did or said a damn thing. Are we really in the business of telling other people how to raise or discipline their kids?

Then there's this whole notion of It's Not Our Business, it's Not Our Kid.

But don't we also have the right to step in and stop someone? Surely we must...and then what? What would have happened if the men had stayed, and we'd called the cops? Does the baby get taken away and put into foster care, into some worse situation? Or do we just throw up our hands and say, "I called the cops, that's the end of my responsibility."?

And then I remember the time while I was in college when a neighborhood kid jumped into my mom's minivan as we were leaving for the store and pleaded with us to help him, because he was getting bad grades and his father was going to hurt him with the scissors again.

Scared and unsure, my mom and I called the cops and refused to let the furious father and hysterical mother into our home as we sat that kid down on the sofa, got him some water, and waited for an officer to show up.

And I remember, after the cop thought he had the kid alone, I hid behind the couch and listened to the following exchange and this is actually word for word what was said, because I will never forget it, as long as I live:

Cop: Why do you think your dad hits you and hurts you with scissors?

Kid: Cuz I get bad grades.

Cop: Does your dad hurt your sister as well?

Kid: No, cuz she gets good grades.

Cop: So do you think if maybe you studied harder he wouldn't hit you?

Kid: I guess so.

Cop: Good. Because I have real bad guys to catch and this stuff? This stuff is just wasting my time.

He actually said all of that. So we had no choice to give this child back to his family, and a few months later, the family moved out of the neighborhood.

Gone. Just like that.

So let's turn the microphone on you guys: Ever had an experience like this? What did you do? And I won't ask you whether or not you think I did the right thing, because I already know I didn't.

And my nightmares have started up again.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

keep the change...

So I have a love/hate affair with change. But come September and October, those parts of me that grew up under New England trees with bright red and orange foliage drooping down on me every autumn wake up again and I yearn to have a good authentic Fall season. Alas, I live in SoCal. But we Californians do get all bristly if Imported people claim there are no seasons to Southern California, because there are, and we get defensive if people whine that the leaves don't change color here, because they do. I have photographic proof:

Ta-da. Anyways, so here I am, mid-September, dreaming of cozy blankets and hot chocolate and seeing fourteen year old girls on the street wearing Ugg boots with mini-skirts...wait, scratch that last one. But I love cuddly cold weather and going raspberry picking this weekend sort of planted this itch in me to have autumn just show up already, dammit. and I'm not the most patient person so I'm kind of just...waiting. Waiting for the change, for my breathing to slow down just a bit, for an excuse to wear my new alpaca wool fingerless gloves, for the air-conditioner to stop kicking on at night, for my cat to burrow against my warm stomach at four in the morning and for me to see my breath hang in the evening air when I go for walks.

I'm ready for change. Bring it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

week (and weekend) in photographs

So I gave myself an assignment to take a photograph a day last week...not as easy as it sounds, as I have a fairly nice camera and lugging it around everywhere isn't the smartest thing in the world. So behold, for your viewing pleasure...a week's worth of photographs exploring my really, really boring life.

I also went to a most kick-ass Flogging Molly concert on Saturday and then went raspberry picking on Sunday with a couple of my friends, so don't get worried when you start to see alpacas and pies and my roommate and a box of fruit I picked, that's just how I roll on my weekends to make up for my lack of life during the week.


You find the darndest things on your fridge after a party.

official footwear of California summers.


Phoenix toes with a Mocha in the mirror.


it's not a red wheelbarrow, but it'll do...

I have a hard time believing that stuffed animal is a bad dog.

if I ever leave this world alive...

there's a little bit of Irish punk in all of us.

You don't say.

Whoa, pony.

If they made a horror movie out of an alpaca invasion, this would be a great opening shot.

Behold the awkwardness.


Roommate and much better photographer than I am.

I picked these all by myself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wake me up when September ends...

So one of you, I think it was my beloved JMarls (who writes beautifully, by the way...go check out her blog if you appreciate a little creative writing in your blog dashboards) asked what I actually said to those poor unfortunate kids who were stuck listening to me for five whole minutes at a youth conference in LA over Labor Day weekend, after they'd spent the day getting all hyped up on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood at Universal Studios and Grauman's Chinese Theater, and I figured...meh. Maybe I should share.

It's just that I've been in a quiet mood lately, as you might notice with the light posting last week, and then I had a full and busy and wonderful weekend with many, many pics that I will post, and now I'm back on Monday and my head is spinning a little and I'm feeling a very strong urge to burrow and then nap for the rest of September.

I also really didn't want or feel like blogging on 9/11 because everyone's got their stories to share, so maybe the quiet was just a little bit more than usual because it is what it is when you really come down to it. I know that sounds all zen/vague but I can't really sit here and wax poetic about something that still burns so fiercely in all of our hearts and pretend we don't all wince just a little bit when someone mentions it. It's the bullet in the room, and every time it's mentioned it kind of goes zinging around and then you're left feeling sad about why you're still sad and angry about why you're still angry. I don't know, maybe the point is that we're not supposed to ever stop feeling sad or angry.

Anyways. Back to my youth event/pep talk/spiritual kick in the butt, because I'd much rather use this blog to move forward than to look back.

Labor Day weekend, Santa Monica: So I'm holding a microphone OH THE POWER in front of 90 or so kids Saturday night and I'm thinking, What would I have liked to hear when I was their age? What would I have wanted someone to tell me about spirituality in Hollywood? Or in general?

So I told them what I thought they might like to hear. I said, "What I would have liked to hear when I was your age is that spirituality and religion help you get everything you want."

I paused as the kids nodded enthusiastically, then went on to say: "And that's absolutely NOT TRUE."

Their faces fell. I have to admit, I felt a little bad. But I wanted to give them something that had never been given to me when I was a teenager contemplating my bad ass spiritual self. I wanted to give them honesty, and perspective. Two things that most teenagers royally suck at. Most adults do as well, and no, I'm not excluding myself, have no fear. I suck as much as everyone else, I just blog about it.

FYI, I'll just clarify right now: I enjoy using the words "spirituality" and "spiritual" much more than I enjoy using the words "religion" or "religious." Spirituality to me connotes open-minded questioning yummy goodness... when people tell me they are "super-religious" I think close-minded, found-my-answers-thank-you-very-much-not-interested-at-all-in-growing. You might disagree, and feel free to (politely and respectfully) beg your argument on this blog. I'm just letting you know what language I use so we don't get all lost in translation.

So this is what I said to those kids and adults grouped together in that small room, a stone's throw from the sunset soaked Santa Monica beach:

Don't use your spirituality to get what you want.

Spirituality isn't selfish. It's not Me-driven, it's growth-driven. If you're going to pray to a god or gods, why are you only interested in blessing yourself? Spirituality is NOT The Secret -- it's not there to use when you want more crap, like that sports car or better job or nice jewelry. Spirituality is based upon an agreement of service, of giving to others without asking for anything in return, in the spirit of GIVING vs the spirit of GETTING. We are a very getting culture.

I remember hearing someone say once that if you pray to God for a better job, and you then receive a better job, but you have not yet learned to love your neighbor better, then you should consider that prayer to have gone unanswered. Because in the end, it's not the cars or jobs or paychecks that allow us to lift up our own thoughts and lives and the thoughts and lives of others, it is our love for each other.

God lifts up those who lift up each other.

So with more personal stories and less soapbox, this is what I said to those kids, because I really would have liked someone to say that to me when I was nineteen and praying to book that audition or for that boy to like me and I really didn't care how much I loved other people or what that had to do with me getting absolutely everything I ever wanted and feeling smug in the notion that God would deliver all of it if I was a Really Good Person. I didn't understand it then. I wish I had.

So I gave what I had to offer to that room in Santa Monica that night, I gave them my gift, for them to forget or discard or remember or treasure, and I told them that in the spirit of service, of pure, un-needing love, for them to go into any career, not just acting, and show up every day, to every audition, meeting, handshake, Starbucks purchase, job interview, whatever, and look someone in the eye and say, "Here's what I have to give. Can you use it?"

And if they can't use it, no harm, no foul, let it go, someone else can use it, because we all have purpose when we decide to live our lives so that our love may shine through, regardless of which (if any) religion it shines with.

And if you're feeling all preached to or judged right now, rest assured: no one needs to learn this lesson more than I do. It is the lessons we most need to learn that we best teach to others.

Have a fantastic Monday, and I'll catch you guys tomorrow with So.Many.Photos it will make your head explode. No seriously. Heads.Exploding.Everywhere.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

conversation x2

So I spent a majority of Labor Day weekend actually helping out a spiritual youth group, doing chaperone-type stuff and assisting some of the workshop leaders who were giving various talks to kids aged 13-17. The Labor Day event was geared towards kids visiting from all over the nation who were interested in seeing a more spiritual perspective on how Hollywood (and the entertainment industry) works, and I was asked by the director of the program to be part of a panel discussion Saturday night.

So just in case you couldn't tell from previous conversations recorded in my blog, here's how you can tell that I was raised in a family of smart asses:

Me: So, _____ asked me to speak on a panel Saturday night for the youth group event.

Mom: Really? What about?

Me: She asked if I could talk to the kids about how I use spirituality on a daily basis to help me overcome challenges with my career.

Aunt: That's great!

Me: Yeah, so I thought I'd stand up, and the first thing I would say to the kids would be-

Aunt and Mom: "What career?"

Me: Hah. Hah. Hah. Very funny.


Me: I hate you both.

Also, in case you're wondering, my mom and aunt are identical twins, so quite frequently I'm not only getting crap from both of them, but crap from both of them at the EXACT SAME TIME. You try arguing with twice the regular amount of sarcasm.

Anyways, I hope you all had lovely Labor Day weekends and are enjoying a short week as much as I am :) Happy Tuesday to y'all!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

catching up

So when we last left off I had promised to update you guys on a casting workshop I attended and then fill you in on the UCLA Writer's Faire.

Better late than never.

So Saturday, before heading to work (boo!), I attended an early morning casting workshop given by a casting director at one of the most successful television shows on the air right now. He was fantastic. As an actor, I always love attending workshops run by casting directors because they are direct, honest, and incredibly down to earth. They don't give you a lot of romantic advice like "pursue your dreams, always!" but really stick to being grounded and noting that first and foremost, this is a business. Ain't that the truth.

He ran his workshop much like the way I've always wanted to run an acting class: he gave four or five actors at a time the exact same script, sent them out into the lobby, then had us come in one at a time and asked the rest of the class, based off each actor's script read, whom they would cast. I love that! So many acting classes are about the internal process of an actor or finding a more emotional connection with a person or object, etc., etc. But what a lot of actors really need to do is sit in on a casting session that they just auditioned for, and listen to why or why not they would be cast. SO informative, and I received some really great feedback from the class and a very awesome compliment from the casting director. Yay!

After work on Saturday, I picked up my friends from the airport and we headed back into the (scorching hot, very on fire) valley. Ugh. Thank God for central air-conditioning.

On Sunday morning my friend Isaac and I had decided to attend the UCLA Writer's Faire, held once a year on the UCLA campus for those interested in writing poetry, novels, short stories, and screenplays. Isaac and I decided to split up and attend different courses so that we could compare notes later with our powers combined, it would be like we attended 8 seminars instead of 4! We will rule the world!!

Sorry. Where was I?

Okay, so me being who I am, the Writer's Faire starts at 11 AM. I pick up Isaac at 8:45 AM. Because a) I'm neurotically early to stuff, and b) I had no idea what the parking situation was, where I was going on campus, where the classrooms were where each seminar was, and did I mention I'm neurotic?

We arrive at the campus at approximately 9:15ish and follow signs for where to park. Only the signs are lying jerks, because all of the parking that is available is for those with pre-paid parking passes. So I kind car into a structure that I'm clearly not meant to be in, and Isaac and I look at each other and realize the risk is too great. So we get out of the car, meander around campus, dodge the other cars driving around aimlessly, also lost (we weren't the only ones!) until we found live, breathing human beings, then got directions to the parking structure where we were most likely supposed to park the first time.

We get back in the car, drive, and find an information booth where we can pay for parking. And the following conversation is not made up, I could not make this up for the life of me:

Me: Hi, we're here for the Writer's Faire, do we pay for parking here?

Parking attendant: Yep! What's the password?

Isaac and I look at each other. We can tell she's not joking, but I check, just in case.

Me: Um, are you joking?

Parking attendant: No, she told me there's a password you're supposed to get from the website in order to get free parking.

Isaac and I ignore the fact that this sentence makes absolutely no sense (who's "she?" anyway?) and look at the sign on the booth that says "PARKING - $10."

Me: Can I just...PAY...for parking?

The parking attendant thinks about this for a moment.

Attendant: Okay, yeah, I guess you could do that too.

So I drive approximately two feet away after paying for parking only to let curiosity get the better of me. I lean my head out the window.

Me: Just out of curiosity, what WAS the password?

Attendant: Twilight.

And somewhere, Stephanie Meyer is laughing.

So once we had paid for parking we wandered around a bit, accidentally got ourselves lost in a creepy medical building, then found the Writer's Faire exhibit and got to our classes on time. All four of the seminars I attended were on screenplay writing, which is what I'm trying to focus on right now in addition to my acting, and most of these mini-classes were about structuring screenplays, creating memorable characters, and having the self-discipline to just stick with the writing and the re-writing of a script.

All in all, a very productive and informative weekend...but also very exhausting. Ugh. I came back to work on Monday already craving another weekend...but at least I've got a three day weekend to look forward to :)

things we lost in the fire

Hey kids,

Sorry about the blog tease on Monday and then leaving you guys hanging. Also, for the record, I don't have asthma, and Drollgirl's breathing exercise helped a lot (thanks!) , as did everyone's suggestions that I try yoga or some other sort of exercise.

I actually do martial arts about two or three times a week, so that's plenty exhausting and a great way to blow off steam; however, I still hold my breath quite often, even as I'm working out. I just need to become a better breather, and I'd study meditation if I wasn't so damn squirrely all the freakin' time. In case you can't tell from my writing style and thought process, most of the time I am a high energy, A.D.D.-soaked spaz who runs from one project and person to the next trying to do everything and help everyone at the same time. And sometimes my body just forces me to stop, or starts issuing me not so gentle warning signs. Like when it wakes me up in the middle of the night because I've stopped breathing.

I've been talking to a lot of people over the past few days about fire, and change, and more than one clever person has pointed out that my blog name is Phoenix. I've always loved that image, and have always associated myself with a phoenix, finding strength and resilience in the trials of fire, always changing into something bigger and stronger and from early on I learned to use what others intended to destroy me with to instead create growth within myself. Basically, I had to learn to grow what others had tried to kill.

The irony is, I'm also very afraid of change. (Refer to earlier post of "what kind of girl loves the things she's terrified of?") And as I pursue a career in what can be termed loosely as a very unpredictable business full of change, it's not always easy to roll with the punches. I have my habits, my systems, my patterns, and when I have to deviate and improvise, I can occasionally go from mostly mature young woman to brat in a matter of seconds. I'm not proud of this, by any means.

To add to this, it finally hit me why my breath was so short while the fires are roaring away in SoCal...and no, it's not just the air quality.

It's very hard to breathe when you're grieving.

As I spoke with a friend on the phone Monday night, I told him that at times I feel what the rest of LA feels; that it is very difficult to live in this city. There are so many people crowded into the same streets and buildings and jobs and land that sometimes I feel like I'm running out of breathing room. So in true New Englander fashion, I go for a hike. I get out of the urban jungle gym, I walk down the dirt paths, past the trees waving in the wind, through the streams and across the rocks and I let all the grubbiness and stickiness of the city wash away until I feel clean again.

This fire is burning up everything in LA that I love, leaving only the hardened ugly parts behind. How is that fair?

But my friends are more clever than I am, or maybe simply less emotionally involved. They are quick to point out that fire cleanses too, that it burns off everything old and rotten and decaying and makes room for more growth. My hiking trails are not gone. They are changed. What's been burned will regrow into something healthy and flowering and beautiful, and it is not my place to grieve when such a transformation occurs.

As for those who have lost their homes, their pets, their land, and their lives - my heart goes out to every single one of you. I would never tell you that this fire has been "for the better" or that your homes or your land was something rotting that needed to be cleansed. I speak only from my experience, living safe and sheltered at a good distance away from the fires, and my heart grieves along with yours for all the change coming your way that you might not feel ready for. I am so sorry for your loss.
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