Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Metaphor

I'm a daredevil.

Didn't I tell you?

I've been a daredevil for oh, about 10 years now..huh...didn't realize how long it's been. But yes, I am a daredevil. There been some really great moments in my ten-year career. Great heights I've reached, always daring to raise the bar the next try. Bigger risks, bigger pains. But hell, what's the point without the thrill of falling?

My first amateur attempt for the thrill was when I was 13. I was naive in many ways and got my research from the media. Taking notes of my favorite techniques and methods. Trail by error. The jump was Lawrence (named change for the sake of well-not completely calling someone out in cyber-space for my need to tell this blog). So jump no. 1 obstacle 254: one big long ramp leading up to a big horseshoe dip. For this, it was all about the speed. I needed to pick up my bike and drive the hell out of it if I was ever going to make it to the other side of that horseshoe. So I rode. Fast.

Lawrence was brooding and dark. Quiet and so romantically mysterious to my 13-year old self. The less he said the more I was convinced he was a god, which ironically was quite blasphemous as most of the time I sat worshipping him was at church. Thinking back, I'm really surprised I left every Sunday unharmed for a solid 7 months. No lightning. No thunder. No massive finger pointing out my drooling eyes and lovesick sigh. I was speeding alright.

When I got to the first dip the sensation was unreal: Lawrence hugged me-it was trying to ride up to the other side that I began to fall backwards. It was all wrong and my footing was nowhere near where it should have been. I fell, off the bike, without a helmet and got my first concussion.

Jump 2, Obstacle 612: Wilson. This was a course. Like full-on twists and bends and loopy-loops. I found myself at the beginning, with helmet this time, and I just went for it. I really didn't even know the course was a course till half-way through. Never realized how long I would be on it but I was having one hell of a time breezing through it. I stayed in one piece for most of it, which gave less and less fear to the daredevil laughing triumphantly inside of me. He was feeling like top dog and, of course, wanted to dare to do more.

So more it was.

I caught some major air with Wilson: I said I love you. That was the first time I got the wind knocked out of me, wheezed for a few days trying to recuperate the couple of ribs I hit. This was one tough course I couldn't stop riding. I swear I was flying most of the time. My shimmery cape ruffling through the winds. Sun setting around my figure, glowing in my courageous glory.

And then there was the last ramp I needed to get over: mammoth. The Grand Canyon would have shriveled up in its presence, it was that big. I just couldn't get myself to do it. What a puss. But not for long, no sooner had I said "I'm finished!" than I strapped on my helmet and leaped. But it was too late. And luck was not on my side. I broke almost every bone in my body. Full-body cast for two years: it was my worse recovery.

When I finally healed I retired my daredevil years and sought after a nice, calm, quiet life of just me. Me and my pals. I lived quietly for a good number of months before I started to itch for the thrill. I got mad at myself, at first. Lectured to an audience of one-me- till the wee hours of the morning. But I knew there was no use: I would have to dare once again.

And dare, I did.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Bookworms' Thrift Shop

Sunday I went to the festival.

Not Coachella or Stagecoach but books, festival of books.

In high school, I would spend random bits of time I had free between when school let out and when rehearsal began. That was usually an hour or two. The library was still open for business and I always found that my favorite game to play as major bookworm was a version of musical chairs, but with shelves filled with books.

My fingers trickled through each colorful bind, touching lightly the titles of my adventures into another place, another time. My head cocked completely to the side and pacing one foot in front of the other, I would entertain myself with the selection. Fiction was my first home and in it I found mystery, drama, psychological intrigues, romance, and unknown love of my literary life: Harry Potter.

The librarian, Mrs. Dacker, came to be a lovely friend of mine through the years I spent playing my game. She was always willing to recommend and I was always willing to accept. She was a hilarious woman who had a vivacious passion for books. I loved her immediately.

And then she spoke three words. Three small little words:

"Festival of Books."
Me: "I love you too."

She was making an informal field trip with her literature club and asked me if I wanted to come along. I was 15 and I knew I wanted to spend my Saturday in no other place but this festival of everything-I-loved. But, I wanted a buddy. Again, I was 15 and the idea of going with other kids I didn't know was not really cool, so I needed my buddy, my bookworm no. 2 : Elise Herrera.

Elise was two grades older. A senior, but a great companion, despite the age. (I mean any grade above your own was like the equivalent of 10 yrs.) She taught me to dance, and I taught her to bring out her inner geeky bookworm. Together, millions after millions of pages would be read.

This past Sunday was year 7. Yup, 7.

Elise on our Sunday morning walk from the shuttle stop to the Etc. Stage spoke of our future fame in later years to come as the number increased (we have no plans to stop ANYtime soon) and the L.A. times will one day catch on and BAM! we got a cover story and our own booth. That, would be our shining glory: our own white-tent booth. I would totally request as much artistic freedom as I could and make that booth the belle of the ball-or festival.

I'm thinking color. We'll have some drapery going on the walls. Patterned fabrics to bring out the homeiness of the tent. Have a painted fireplace to place in the back. And of course, shelves. Shelves of our books from festivals passed: the best of our collection and now handed down to the future festival-goers. Pictures framed of all our past visits will decorate the shelves, aging as you move along to really give our visitors a true scope of our tradition. Elise and I would sit to one corner, sipping herbal tea because it's better for our health at this age (mid-60s). We'll have a nice cafe table with two arm chairs because again, this place is a home.

We'll have our banner: "The Bookworm's Thrift Shop: our library is your library."

It'll be a hit, because any good bookworm knows the wisdom of another good bookworm and recognizes the quality as well as the quantity. Recommendations between book lovers never disappoints. The love shared for the printed word is so universal that despite genres, or different authors and tones, or subject matters, or techniques, one book lover to another will find a way to common ground and exchange.

It's the most diplomatic relationship in world.

Nothing would give my retirement pleasure than this future booth. And a picture in the internet paper (let's face that fact: newspaper is going full viral by my mid-60s).

My quest as a passionate advocate for literacy will find a satisfied destination in sitting in my comfy armchair, with my herbal cup of tea, watching others purchase and carry on the same books that I hope will move them too, with my friend Elise by my side telling me about a book I just have to read.

Long live the festival.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Evan is my homeboy

Alex, my boyfriend, always tells me that if you put it out on the internet, than you really mean it.

I met Evan when I was 13 and freshly picked from the midwest to the west coast. He was tall, long, and had a huge smile the first time I saw him. (When Evan smiles, you're a goner.) Meeting Evan was the beginning of a beautiful, hilarious friendship I had no idea I would be a part of: great friendships are serendipitous.

A transition from the midwest to the west coast is about the same as a transition from one country to another. The dialect is different, the people are different, the textiles are different, and as a budding teenager I was in shock. And depressed. But Evan, ah Evan would be in the group parting welcoming arms into my new home, and life.

There's a list of memories I can scroll through of my favorite moments I shared with Evan. So many years I was blessed to be around him. Now, I was having a conversation with my good friend Ben the other day and we concluded this: we were part of the pre-"EVAN!"-era, that is, we were friends with him before he got famous.

Evan Peter is famous. Really. You get yourself off the 210 freeway, exit sunflower ave. and cruise around residential Covina, and ask anyone between the ages of 20-25 and say "where's evan's house?" you'll get an automatic "behind taco bell, off glendora ave. i'll come with you."

The Peters Residence has a bigger following than the Greek Orthodox Church down the street, that I am positive of. Sorry to the Orthodox Greeks but I'm pretty sure they don't offer around-the-clock soda service with an all-you-can-eat munchies bar and endless sectional of board games. But that, my readers, is a religious gathering of the most deepest and sincerest love.

Evan is like Jesus. You can't help but gravitate to him. I've seen it firsthand with other people. It's fascinating! Everyone is wearing an invisible "Evan is my homeboy" t-shirts and I don't blame them. If anything, I see it as a true testament that, despite my several flaws, something I have is an impeccable taste in friends. It never fails me. And because of that: I am sane.

Otherwise, I'm sure I would turn to some sort of warped version of a beat-neck and crazed feminist.

Evan is one of my true crowning moments as a friend-picker. He's the damn funniest guy I know. My face hurts whenever I hang out with him for too long. But it's like that pain that feels good too. Pain in my face muscles but good in the heart.

I got him back though when I kicked the shit out him in our high school's production of "1984." My teacher decided to shake things up a bit and casted me in the male lead of O'Brien and lucky Evan was my Winston. Before Act Three I would cup his face in my hands, look him right in the eye, say "I love you", kiss him on the cheek I would later smack, and proceed to the pool of light to begin his torturous beat-down. That nightly ritual was my favorite, private moment I shared with my best friend. It's so defining.

All that we did on stage together as actors, and as friends in life, would be impossible if it weren't for our mutual trust.

Evan once told me that acting was only good to him when he was acting with his friends.

And friend, life is only good when I'm laughing it with you. Thank you.

Happy Birthday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm Ready For My Close-Up

I went to the mall today in what seem like decades. Between work, sleep, friends, and more work, the mall is not really on the top of my to-do list. But I love to shop. I blame my mother. Weekends was either cooking or shopping or both, on good days. My sister and I would spent hours at the mall with our mom, window shopping and bargain hunting. My mother never, ever, (even today) let us spend too much on one thing. Clearance was our mecca and we walked straight to it.

This afternoon Julia and I conquer my quest for a dress for the many upcoming graduations I will be attending. I found the dress, but honestly that’s of no importance considering what I saw. I saw beauty and it was UGLY.

Macy’s, and I’m really not sure why, but Macy’s was putting on an event? Now I end that with a question mark because from here on out this is only speculation…and horrifying observations.

So it was a line of glamour stations down two halls sandwiched between the women’s section and make-up (where else?) and hairspray was like a fog machine: thick and definitely unhealthy. There's twice that I had to walked through these halls and once where I stood and watched. Watched with appalling fascination.

Just walking through it I was able to divert my eyes and my sister's and leave without much damage. However Julia had a Macy's gift card and she wanted to look around. At this point, I tried very, very hard to remember the manners my mother and father taught me and not stare, or say anything if I don't have anything nice to say.

I had no manners.

I stared and I thought of some not-so nice things. But trust me, you would too. I'm not interested in preaching you my feminist agenda (at this time) but I have to say that this display of beautifying was not by any means, beautiful. There were eyeliner pencils thrown back and forth. Brushes for layer after layer of powders being applied. Lipstick shined and spit on numerous lips, big and small. And the hair. OhLord, the hair. Curled and hairsprayed, curled and hairsprayed, tease, tease, tease, and finally pin. Spray (one for extra measure).

Then the costumes came in. Or more so, half costumes. Women and girls, and even grandmas! were draped in silks and shear fabrics to give the illusion of evening gown. My personal favorite was a purple silk fedora paired with a silk fabric draped around like a shawl. Silk fedora: genius.

I watched while pretending to browse through clearance blouses. The photographers capturing each ladies' moment to shine. I'm sure the soft blurry hue effect will be clicked and added to each final photo. It will be framed and put aside next to the nightstand, on the husband side. A small remind that you got something good, and that, I get.

I don't get the process or choice to voluntarily push yourself through a assembly line of seemingly innocent but torturous beauty enhancements but I get why: it's dress up. Even as adults, years later from our first encounter with "dress up," we still crave to play. Put on those high heels, smack on red lipstick, and pouff out Chanel No. 5: a photo shoot is a bonus we get as adults.

But to all the husbands, boyfriends, and soon-to-be boyfriends and husbands out there, tell your lady she's pretty every once in a while (or better yet, every day). It's a hard, starving world out there for us ladies and we try our best to see the light, but when others see it too it just gets that much brighter.

Now I'll stop here before I allow myself to get any cheesier on you. In the end, beauty, please, should not be pain.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Food For Thought: Taking Care of Business

Today a good friend told me he had never gone to Souplantation and I almost slapped him. But luckily for him I was behind the counter at work and I like him enough to not walk around the counter and go through with my slap.

But honestly, never?!

It's a catastrophe. Souplantation is a dining experience everyone needs to be a part of sometime in their life, if not many times. The trick though about the place is that you gotta be careful; you gotta be careful to not leave feeling like fatass over soup and salad. That, makes you feel worse than anything. I mean, leaving a burger joint that way is ok because you had a baby cow smothered in cheese and pushed between two buns, and most likely fries or onion rings so you leave heavy, yes, naturally. Add a beer to that and you're in for the night-sleeping. Very coma-like. But with soup and salad, it's a bit shameful.

Now I get it, Souplantation when you go (either your first or twenty-third time) is a tantalizing feast of endless possibilities. That's the beauty of it: options! We Americans LOVE our options. I try to go pick out a deodorant and I get stuck for half an hour looking over my options. (My bad, bad problem of indecisiveness over small matters doesn't help). But with food I welcome the idea of picking, and instantaneously making your dinner. That's the other hot idea about Souplantation is that not only do you choose your menu, but you get it right away. No fuss. No waiting. No needless small talk amongst your company when really all any of you are thinking is "where's my damn food.."

Sometimes eating in groups is are hard thing to do. Ironically I preached the awesomeness of groups in last Friday's Food For Thought but like I said, pizza is special and a totally different circumstance. Plus, the group is only agonizing at the beginning, once the food arrives it's really a big party with chairs and tables. You eat and mmmm your way through your meal. If with friends you definitely talk with your mouth full. As your friend, and voluntarily be part of the relationship they must now deal with your lack of manners because friendship, true friendship, is the lack of impressing. Manners are means of impressing, which isn't a bad thing, it just doesn't belong among best friends.

Souplantation is a great setting to put two great things together: big company and ready(delicious)-made food.

The Caesar salad is by far the best of its kind. It's the dressing, they add lemon, and it's light. And I usually forget the fatass rule and get whole plate of it.

The Clam Chowder-AH- exquisite. I highly recommend a bowl of that. With oyster crackers on top of course.

The Strawberry Lemonade is not even funny how good it is. But just one glass, you don't want to hog your stomach with that instead of the food, trust me. If you overload on the sweet fluids you'll never have room for the cobbler. And when they have the apple-cranberry cobbler, um you better pair that with a dollop of vanilla frozen yogurt. Hot and cold, with desserts, were meant to be together.

I would skip the pasta, it's always a disappointment. Always. Do not, I repeat, do not be fooled by it's looks. It's like most men at a downtown club: looks good but really, bland. Made out of cardboard box (the pasta and the men).

Yes Souplantation is a buffet and yes you have to be your own waiter but hey, it's not all that bad, especially when you're young and half the people you know are waiters, and you know that they know that food customer service is hell on earth. So go give your would-be waiter a rest this Friday and say, "hey, let me take care of it tonight."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hats On

Diamonds are not a girl's best friend, hats are.

Hats, actually, are everyone's best friend. Seriously. Whether on rainy, windy days or cold, windy days or i-forgot-to-wash-my-hair days, hats save the day. With style.

I believe my first hat was my Easter Sunday hat: wide-brim, thick pink ribbon to compliment the subtle pastels woven into a soft pattern. Sorry to admit this but Easter was all about the hat (for me, at 7 yrs old) and the gloves. Ah, the gloves (another fine accessory). But there was something about putting on that hat that made me feel older, sophisticated, and lady-like.

Nowadays the hat has evolved to many things for me. In all honesty it saves my ass most of the time, especially for work. Like I stated before, I am currently blessed with a no-uniform policy at my current job and most graciously hats are o.k. too. Our work is outdoors, so really on a day like today (rainy and windy) a hat is must.

I wore a purple hard felt cloche hat (bell-shaped and 20's inspired kinda look). A nice band tied across the brim that fell straight all-around; it was the perfect rainy day accessory. I considered the saggy, beanie cap that's crotched with heavy black cotton for extra warmth but I wanted color on a gray day so purple it was.

I'm glad to report that it was a hit. (Thanks Mom) And it got me thinking, where are all the other hats? I mean, why is that on an everyday basis in my San Diego community, especially at San Diego State, I don't see more hat wearers? And I don't count baseball caps. Sorry lads, but that's so...ordinary. When I think of hats, I think fedoras, newsboy caps, berets, knit caps, trilby hats, and panama hats. I think diversity. And for the baseball cap, the only diversity is in the color and logo, the structure is essentially the same. Hats are made to bend and shape into a distinctive style for a distinctive look for a distinctive person.

I know hats are not for everyone but maybe that's cause you haven't found the right one for you. I say explore the hat world. It's a daring and bold accessory that most of the time pays off because you took a chance. Or maybe it pays off because your head is warm and dry and happy. Either reason is beneficial.

And during the summer ladies, try on that wide-brim hat and bask in your lovely shade, and luxurious flair. That kind of hat, I promise, looks good on any face or head. Put those foxy sunglasses on, sit back, and relax. You'll thank me later.

And men, try on a nice Dobbs hat, or a linen blend fedora to give your head a nice breeze during the summer. Be cool and feel cool.

So I tip my cloche hat to you all out there. Bid you goodnight, with love.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bringing Funny Back

I love women that are funny. Like, real funny.

Lucille Ball had it all right. She was fearlessly funny. I mean that chocolate factory worker episode is hilarious EVERY time you watch it. Even if you don't crack up (which is rare), you can't help but giggle. Lots of times. Miss Ball had all the different faces, lighting up the screen continuously. She didn't "go for it" in her comedy, she jumped.

I love the jumping.

Tina Fey is my favorite modern day jumper. Lucille would have been so proud to see her in action. I went to go see "Date Night," (Tina's latest silver screen gig) at the early bird showing ( 6 bucks!) and could not be more in love with Tina Fey than I already am. I mean 30 Rock only is enough to call for a statue in her honor. Like "Tina, give me your funniest pose.." and BAM you got yourself the funniest work of art in New York City.

I think with all our yuck and grim of the day. 9-5 or 5-midnight, whatever your shift may be, it's hard to remember to laugh when all you want to do is cry because you're pretty sure your body hates you more and more every day for stressing it rather than massaging it.

I don't have a lot of money and therefore cannot afford (yet) a professional massage every week, but I do have my instant watch via Netfilx and I do have 30 Rock every week and I do laugh, heartily.

So women who are real funny are like this: they don't give a flying hoot. That is, they don't care or think inside that sweet feminine box the world decided to put us females in; the box that has way too many frillies and lace and no gumption for God's sake. We women need GUMPTION!

And Tina, and Lucille, and Porta de Rossi (Arrested Development), and Amy Poehler, got gumption. As women, what do we have to lose by being balls-out funny? Nothing! I swear. Perhaps you may not look pretty doing it or the humor may reveal more about women than women may like for others to be aware of, but hell, you'll laugh because it's so right!

Tina Fey's character in 30 Rock, eats. Like actual eating. Amen! She puts her face in her potato chips, rubs her belly when she sees a donut, and cries when she hears the "diet" and believe or not, no woman, and I mean NO woman is actual happy that she diets. It's just not funny.

But embracing the wonderful flaws we carry not only as human beings, but as three-dimensional females, that's the real last laugh. Tina and Lucille portray these dimensions. Portia's chicken dance in Arrested Development is the god damn funniest thing to watch a women with long legs do. And she looks goofier because of her lanky, long legs. There's no heels to make her calves look great, there's just her clucking and jigging. And she's beautiful.

Real funny women are hot.

Gorgeous, beautiful, sexy, funny, hot women should ban together and throw a pie in a model's face. Or pop Heidi Montag's boobs to see if candies come out. Or give those Gossip Girls a whoopie cushion.

Who knows what will happen if we can make all women, especially representations in the media, realize: we don't have be serious all the time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Private Dancer

Do you remember that commercial where you got different people walking through streets listening to music on their headphones and when they pass by their reflection, the reflection is dancing like there's no tomorrow?

That's me.

When I first saw that commercial years ago, I'm pretty sure I stood up in a mix of fear and excitement that someone had discovered me. And my dancing.

I have my public forms of dance. Some signature moves here and there that I pepper in to get the party started. I got the MJ moves, the Beyonce moves, the Bee Gees moves (my favorite) and the twist. However, when I'm alone, with my noise canceling headphones, and my ipod is on playlist: "Move It," I move it.

But this moving happens within the realms, and privacy, of my mind, and no one but me is really watching or knows it's happening. Walks to class when I started college were collections of my greatest hits. Popping, locking, head-bangs, and hair flips were only but a few in the mix. On the exterior though, I was walking briskly, a well-mannered student zoned to her next destination.

Dancing to me has always been part of the package that is "I."

Even before my beloved passion for reading, dancing was there. I had my Big Bird slippers as back-up shoes during the family Christmas party at age 4. The heels always killed my groove (as they will prove in years to come to continue to do so) , but I kept on the lacy socks.

Back then, I shimmied a lot. You gotta shake like you mean it. My cousin Frankie was my dancing idol. "Pump Up the Jam" played and it was "go time." Frankie would kick, slide, and I would stare jealously and vowed to one day kick and slide just like him. Dancing was my first love, and I fell hard. I saw others giggling with it, naturally fitting into its embrace, (like Frankie) and I was mean and green. I wanted Dancing, and damn it, I would get him.

In one way or another, I did. Snagged up Dancing real good. There were the public performances at parties, sometimes the music would be so right I would fall into that private dancing and for a few moments I couldn't hide it. Last time that happened was my Quinceanera. I had full charge in picking all the music for the night, needless to say that was like my parents saying I could have my own dance party with a bigger space than just my room. And louder. Much louder. That dance affair was epic in my life.

I'm hoping my wedding will be the next.

But back to the commercial and really my appreciation for what it presented: we're all dancers. Dancing can be one of the most liberating acts, more so than skinny-dipping (trust me). The best way is to do it is like you don't care about anything else but how your body moves and how that music feels when it's pulsating through those moves.

Let the music lead. (Lame, I know but there's really no other way to describe it)

The bass, the beats, are like extra hands to ripping each clothed layer your Ego has draped you in. Your heavy with insecurities and pressured to always impress. But in dancing, you take that right off. Ego, in true liberating dance, can sit down for once. Mind his own business and the only thing he needs to be in charge of is raising the volume.

So I say go dance, and if you don't have a reason to, play Funkytown by Lipps. Inc. and tell me your hips don't start moving.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Super-Size, Please.

Yesterday I spent 8 hours at The Southern California Show Choir Invitational. It was a mix of awe and oh-god-I-remember-why-I'm-23-and-not-16-anymore. I was a bit out place naturally because I cared about less important matters like when my water bill was due and how much my new eyeglasses were going to cost me without insurance. Such concerns running through my mind during the day placed me in a very far away circle than the rest of these ladies clicking and clacking their way around to the main stage.

But regardless of the distance between them and myself, the awe was a bigger part.

Glee-sorry-doesn't even come CLOSE to what these kids are doing-if you can even call them kids once you see their talent. As a large group, it's hard to get that energy so focused to the point of sheer spectacular presence, but hell, all these schools achieved that, and more. I was impressed and nostalgic.

Now, I've never been much of a singer or a natural at choreography, but I could act. I still can act, the skills never really let themselves go. I'll act happy when all I want to do is throw hot water at rude customer # 2 for the day. I act cool when I'm not (ask any one of my friends.)

But really, throughout my high school journey, the stage was real home.

Being in the mist of talented teenagers, happy and joined in the passionate efforts to be larger than themselves, I thought back to my own group-The Engine Class. (they know who they are)

We were-the engine.

Best compliment, to this day, I have been given in regards to my drive. Granted, it was not only my drive that drove our department, a lot of other talents helped push my own.

One group can be so influential on your character-building. I owe a lot to my fellow "engine" colleagues to the attributes I have today: multi-tasking with heart.

The dynamics one encounters in a special blend of personalities can be once-in-a-lifetime. But as with all good groups, they are such: once. (All the more reason to enjoy it while it's in action). I honor merely a few:

The Lost writers-(damn) that's one helluva of group.

Judd Apatow & Company- HILarious. humbly so.

Conan O'Brien and peeps- I bow to your humor and spunk.

Girl Scouts-I bow down to your thin mints. and your salesmanship.

The Cast of Buffy- you really saved the world.

John Hughes & Kids- pioneers to teenage wasteland

COHS Engine Class 2001-2005- laughing and fighting the whole way through.

Groups are a part of our evolution as characters. Fictional or real. As adults, the group sometimes gets forgotten because our linear, singular path to our ultimate successes, but it's the company, the matrix, that makes the efforts bigger and the pay-offs better.

23 or 53-be larger than yourself. More than once.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food For Thought: The Intimacy of Pizza

Ok. I lied. Strawberries will be for another Friday, promise. Today let's do pizza.

I went to Pizza Fushion tonight for supper (it was 5 o'clock). And en lieu of my recent meal, the flavors still swimming around palette, I thought I should write what I just ate therefore providing a more sincere thought to my food.

So grab a chair, let's sit.

Pizza: when I think of pizza I think of groups. A slice for each, and if you're lucky a second or third, though depending on how many pizzas you got, a second slice could be quite disrespectful to your company. Sharing is caring people.

Pizza is a shared dish, most of the time. Personally, I think personal pizzas are a cop-out and completely go against the true nature of the pizza. It's a shared commodity and one that forces you to come into agreement over its toppings.

Toppings can say a lot about a person just like many other decisions we make as individuals: shoes, clothes, coffee drinks, etc. But when there's two individual tastes involved it can go either of two ways: massive heated debate and defense against why olives are God's gift to pizza and in the end two personal pizzas are ordered, OR the compromise. The half pizza can be established, half olives and green peppers one side and the other half mushrooms and pepperonis.

The half-line can bring two distinctive tastes together. The pizza now a colorful tribute to two people who have decided to share their meal. On occasion, an olive will find its way across the half-line and touch your pepperonis and you might try it, seeing what your company think is so heavenly, and you chew the odd texture and process the tarty aftertaste. Your mind screams at you to never, ever, let that vail-of-a-thing called an olive ever, ever to be placed in your mouth again, and it continues to whimper about the fact that it will take like 5 toothbrush scrubs to get the taste off of your tongue and your stomach decides to join the pity act and start pretending it can't digest because of the olive,


you look across the table to your friend, best friend, sister, cousin, boyfriend, and smile. Nod your head and smile because you tried because you cared.

The pizza is shared by those you choose to share it with. It's an intimate affair that often gets overlooked. (Hence my dislike for the rather cold option of getting your personal pizza)

Each slice commences another delicious chew and another moment to look across the table above your plane of cheese and hills of toppings smiling because good food and good company is something worth smiling about.

So if you live in San Diego, call up Madera pizza, located right across from Windmill Farms. Order the New York Giant. And then call LOTS of friends.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You're Invited

Every Thursday is Farmer's Market Day on campus. Amongst my co-workers it is also know as "Andrea's Day."

I love food.

I love the spices (sometimes), the flavors, the textures, and most of all, the colors.

Food has the ability to have the greatest collections of colors. Like true art. I'm no epic cook of any sorts, I can do basic things and get by, but to appreciate what other cooks do, that, I'm a professional at.

Observing a dish is like observing a painting. You gotta take a real, good look at it. Don't rush. It's our rushing, as fast-paced Americans, that give us the habit of eating with no eyes. The eyes should also be given the pleasure of hunger as well. All senses should be a part of the feast!

Farmer's Market Day is my art gallery. In my mundane routine of turkey sandwiches, bagels, and multi-grain eggos, Thursday mornings I take an extra skip off the bus and walk towards the island of canopies and make my menu:

Lunch 11:30 am
Egyptian Shawarma
Jerk Fries

Lunch 4:00 pm
Beachcomber Crepe
-Strawberries, Bananas, and Cinnamon Sugar

On this day, yes, I have two lunches.

But today has inspired tomorrow. Every Friday I will like to introduce a a featured blog:

"Food For Thought" (Literally)

For each dish, let's talk. Let a cupcake take us on a discussion of friendship, or mashed potatoes with peas on what comfort really means. Jello on having fun and white herb chicken on relaxing. Food often goes unnoticed for its ability and power to make the best of conversations. The dinner table a sacred place to make words flow as easily as the wine.

So I invite you, every Friday, to join me at my dinner table.

Tomorrow, let's start with my favorite: strawberries.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Toast

April 14th, 2010: I made my first epic adult decision-

I'm moving to L.A.

And then it was like a domino effect:

I will find a job as an assistant in the entertainment industry.
I will live in Burbank, not L.A. (I will keep my sanity).
I will get a car (thank you mom and dad, i love you).
I will still write every day, here, my new short story, or on my hand.
I will embrace all people and experiences that grace my life. (I thank you all now in advance)
I will get my Master's (maybe non-fiction next time...)
I will keep in touch, as I've always done. (Friends are a essential lifeline)
I will yoga.
I will cook.
I will take pictures, and learn to develop them myself.
I will travel-near and far.
I will rule the world (that's for you batey)
I will evolve.

And eventually, "I will"... becomes... "I did."
And then we do it again: new list, new wills.
Change comes in oddly beautiful waves.

Cheers to that April 14th, 2010.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Hard Pieces

I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love.

When it first came out I was working at Borders and was ringing these puppies up in the 3's and 4's, especially around the holiday season. Customers would gush about the greatness of the text and how most of their gifts would be this book. to all.

I don't know what it is about me but when everyone gets in a hoopla about something, I get a bit disgusted. I know: could I be any more of a snob against society? But come on! The band wagon is not as hot as people like to believe. So I was turned off by the book. If anything, I'm a snob with my literature. I like to experience my books in a very solitary way, that is, I like to think, or at least pretend, that at the time I am reading whatever novel, it's only me. Me and the characters, just hanging out.

Elizabeth Gilbert is the woman I need to hang out with at this moment in my life. Though I haven't had a nasty, awful, soul-sucking divorce, I've been rejected by 8 grad schools. 8.

Should have done 12.
or 20.
or 100.

With 100, I could have scored 1, right?

But yes, Liz is my homegirl. Her narrative is about a year-long personal journey. Four months in 3 countries: Italy, India, and Indonesia. The Three I's as she puts it. Ironically. She seeks to learn the pleasure of eating in Italy, the power of pray in India, and finally to love in Bali. Italy I couldn't handle from the jealousy that had me foaming at the mouth and looking quite ravenous. (It was not a pretty.) I see or hear people having not good, but-there's no words for it- mmmmmmm mmmmmmjesuschristmmmmmm and (moan)-food, I get sad. Watching Man Vs. Food is the saddest thing.

I'm in India currently. She has only two more months there before she heads to Bali. Italy was Liz's charming chapter. Again, I was jealous, naturally. She's a great, personable, writer and her voice is so easily settling. It's a worse jealousy than reading about all the perfect, mind-blowing food she eats. But in India, Liz is really talking. It's God of course, He can always get us to REALLY talk. No b.s.

So now, in this next scary unknown chapter of my life, I'm intrigued by India and its tales. About destiny and free will. God and pray. Basically, I'm constantly thinking about huge thoughts. None of what I listed is light. But I suppose this is a heavy time.

I feel like God, fate, or the literary gods-that-be, in my quest as a writer, handed me a puzzle (I hate puzzles) and I'm on the sky or the fur or the grass part of it. You know, when all the pieces are all the freakin' same color and shade and there's absolutely no distinctive quality to differentiate ANY of 'em.

I'm working with those pieces now.

Whether I like it or not, I gotta put 'em all together.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Multi-tasking with heart.

I'm a proud multi-tasker. As a woman, that's not surprising, I know. In my anthropology class I took my sophomore year in college, my professor stated that, on average, men can do 3 things at once while women can do 11 to 12.

I like to push the envelope and shoot for 13, on a bad day.

Today was a bad Monday. Although, I think we can all agree that Mondays are always doomed to be bad. Sorry Monday but you're reputation is sealed. Sunday however...what's this new thing with "Sunday Funday?"

Catholics wouldn't be pleased.
But, I digress.

This Monday, was a spectacular presentation of wrong. Everything ran to Wrong and Right (which resides in my fierce worker's heart) was left cold, wet, and pissed off.

First order of Mr. Wrong: make rain. Lots of loud, cursing-at-6-am-wakeupcall-rain. There's the first hint of dread as you rub your eyes and 1. realize the rain and it's pounding consistency and 2. the register! The third thought quickly sighs with defeat that you officially work too much.

The register at Peabody's is no grand gesture to technology. It does simple. Buttons to the conceded price. Charge or Cash button. Void or Coupon when needed. It does math, which I think is as fancy as it gets. However, this register has one kryptonite: water. Like any electric invention, it is not a fan of water. Most objects don't understand, clearly, that life or death can exist. Us humans give them that soul. The register at Peabody's has the soul of old man pretending like he knows less than he really does. He puts on an act, poor me-old me, but in actuality it knows EXACTLY what it's doing. Wrong and all.

Ten minutes till 7am and I look at Sir Old Register and I know instantly: dead.

Granted there's only droplets. But all hell is unleashed the moment I try to RIGHT the WRONG and begin to gently wipe Old Reg down. I'm gentle cause I want him to know that he should NOT go into the light and instead come back to me: the owner of the loving fingers that remind him each day: you matter.

He comes back.
For shits and giggles.

The shits: he beeps and beeps and rings up 70 blended drinks
on and on and on and on.

My total is 61.70. Giggles.

Nope, Old ShitReg doesn't believing in voiding after he's seen the light.

My-I-mention, I have not eaten. When I do not eat, especially breakfast, you DO NOT want to NOT void when I say so.

He finally shuts up. And I void. And we open. One last giggle.

Good Morning. Kinda.

A few regulars stream in. He's fidgety but he's doing his job. He dings and opens. Dings and opens. And then, he finds the light, again.

The last of his lively efforts was robbery.

Old, nasty thief trapped all the cash in its small, plastic drawer. It's a bad thing when on a Monday morning you begin to beat, furiously, at an old man and his plastic draw.

It's been two hours. And I've done 2-2 things. Beat and apologize to each customer. Bagels aren't all wrapped. The counters are wet and messy. Ice bin is still empty and needs to be fetched. It's RAINING. And I keep getting looks from the customers as though I maliciously decided to make it impossible for them to get their coffee and cheese danish. Yes, today I woke up and decided to NOT do my job.

I didn't start doing 11-12 things, furthermore, 13, until about 10am.

It stopped raining. The sun came out. My clothes dried and I
1. cleaned the counters
2. grind coffee
3. brewed coffee
4. double-checked the order for the week
5. grab coffee and replace.
6. clean counters
7. organized the sheds
8. texted manager
9. rearranged milks to fit cold tea pitchers
10. pulled shot
11. steamed milk
12. stir, lid, and sleeve
13. asked, "how did your jazz concert on sat. night go, richard? "

13. That's the one that makes all the rest worth anything.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Me vs. It

There's something simply unholy about uniforms. Really, UNholy. No offense to clergymen, priests, the pope, etc. but uniforms, I believe, are probably mandatory in hell.

Naturally my passionate disdain for the uniform stems from my own personal experiences with it, but I know I'm not alone. Throughout my yearly changes in jobs: pita pit, blockbuster, borders, border's cafe (seattle's best coffee), and the "RA year" ( yes, even as an RA there was a uniform, an occasionally one but I have the pile of crappy cotton t-shirts to prove it was enough times to be put on this list). Each uniform was no better than the next. I literally had to throw out pita pit cause it smelled like I bathed myself in ranch everyday.

Pita Pit was a simple beginning: black tee, my own capri jean shorts, my black converse, and the apron.

Ugh, the apron. That, could be a whole god-awful blog in itself.

I was young and freshly picked from the virgin wagon of the workforce. I shook hands with my manager one ordinary afternoon, never to look back again.

My delicate, soft hands would never be the same.

Blockbuster was a step up, introducing the need to buy khaki, and also trying to accessorize with a blue, baggy polo so that you could still remind yourself you were a girl. Fortunately, being a busty lady, yes I said busty-no need to be vulgar about a non-discreet fact- the baggy polo created the illusion of no bustiness, but at the end of my time with that uniform, I realized I missed my chest. What that means, not really sure, but I hope it's somewhere along the lines of being happy in my body that my mother gave me. (Seriously, physically, I am my mother incarnated)

Borders, as a bookseller, was business casual. I felt like a girl again, but there was pressure. Like shaving my legs everyday. And washing my hair. Some mornings, I really don't care to look presentable, especially when the mall that I work at is called "fashion valley," which means 4 months later I would be out of job, replaced by a much needed make-up store. Yay literacy!

The RA year was a day camp I accidental signed up for. And by accidental, I mean I had no idea what I signed up for. It was ASB on crack. In high school, I was far from that. My organization was dysfunctional and beautiful and invigorating and chaotic: it was the theatre. Now in college, I didn't really have the need to belong to a group, I made my own. However, I was an RA, my senior year (of course) and I wore the restricting-crappy-cotton-cliche-logo-collar t-shirts and the smiles and the concern looks and politely supported all the 12-year-olds I was surrounded by.

So now we come to the most recent of jobs I have juggled: Seattle's Best Coffee aka Border sellers who happen to smell like coffee. That uniform was a lie. The others I can forgive because it was truly a part of the job, a reflection of the professionalism the company wanted to emit. SBC is another accident. I accidentally became an actress again. I wear my costume: black polo, black pants, black..apron..., and my vans and I say my lines: Would you like (insert pastry name) to go with your (insert starbucks knockoff drink)? Do you have your Borders Rewards card? I can look it up by your email (please for the loveofgod don't say no) No? (smile) Phone number? No? (balls, i'm gonna get a write-up again.)

People don't really believe in eye-contact when you don only one color. It's like they want to pretend you blend into the bright beige background and that the black is the natural state of the machine parts you are made of.


That, is what I do not love.

Peabody's, I love. It's my only shining grace. My Mary; my wardrobe. I work full-time at a small coffee kiosk at SDSU. 2 years now. The moment I found out there was no uniform I rejoiced. Although my clothes took major stain hits, I discover the saving power of Tide-To-Go stick and skill. I'm quite good as a Peabody's barista. I pull my own shots. Most of time I call 'em too. In my clothes, in my "reading is sexy" tee, jeans, and moccasins, in my african-print sundress, in my leggings and a sweatshirt, in my fedora.

My clothes=me

In my chain of customer service jobs, I always have to make sure to see, Me, at the end of the shift.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Name Sake

Ice Cream for breakfast is the working title of my 30-years-from-now memoirs. I know it's a bold approach to predict that I may have a life worth notating and that people would later like to read about it, but hell, if anything I know my mother will buy all the copies, even more so to her connection to the title.

The story goes something like this:
I'm 4/5 years old and my pseudo grandmother, Miss Julia, takes my older sister, Karla, and I out to breakfast. Miss Julia is married to an obscenely genius man who is not only a lawyer but a doctor as well. My memories of conversing with him were like tests, constant tricky-multiple-choice tests, with a pen. Needless to say, herself and her husband are quite well-off, and Miss Julia never hesitated to spoil us.

She reassured us on this epic breakfast outing that Karla and I could have what-ever we wanted. Our mom was not here, and therefore any, and all rules with her.

So we order.

At the age of 4, or 5, the ice cream for breakfast was a moment of true self-awareness.

I'm hoping that this virtual word venture can follow.

P.S. Between you and my new short story, I WILL write everyday. Let the revolution against my manual labor job, begin...