Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm a Midnight Rambler, baby

I wish I could write.

Sit down, pen to paper (fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), sans prompt and just write.

Write something witty and warm; something biting and sarcastic; something open and real and insightful. Yeah. But I can't. Honestly, I am amazed I made it through three Pamela sessions!

I often sit - like I am now - desperately wanting to write. Somehow, random words or snippets or scenes come to me and I think I could write something with this or about that. Then, I stop to analyze - where did that come from? Where can I take this? Has this been written about before?
This is not my beautiful house! Where does this highway go to? Am I right, am I wrong? And I say to myself: My God, what have I done?!

So, I stop. I analyze. I talk myself right out of writing. What is that?! Why is that?!

One hurdle is that I have trouble closing or ending a story. I have pretty good openings. My middles are sometimes muddled and rambling.

Hmm...maybe I should just write openings. That's it! I'll write essay openings and story beginnings, turn a clever phrase or two then let someone else finish what I've started. Yeah, that's the ticket!

My class assignment? To collect those snippets and scenes. Your class assignment? Complete them.


Writing isn't that hard at all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Party dress - new year's eve

Consider this if you will:
I certainly am! The ultra-sexy Evalyn dress from b&lu plus-size fashion site. Purrr! $56 minus 25% ~ it's a steal.

Wear with peep-toe stilettos or over-the-knee boots. I'm thinking a chunky boot to throw a curve at ya :)

I have arm issues; I'll have to figure out the bra situation...whatever! I need to rock this on New Year's Eve!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I had beef-flavored Cup o'Noodles for lunch today. Sometimes, you just gotta have ramen, y'know? Sitting in my office, I remembered when there was a time if I never saw ramen noodles again, that would be too soon.

In 1993, I was engaged to a not-so-nice guy. While both of us worked, we never seemed to have enough money to cover things other than rent (read: food). There was always enough for his beer; not enough for a jar of peanut butter or loaf of bread. He stocked up on top ramen noodles, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and cans of tuna. Yes, this is what we lived on for most of the last year we were together.

He would say: Starvation is the mother of invention then prepare some concoction using 2 out of the 3 items above plus whatever condiment packets were around. I got so sick of ramen noodles and Kraft M&C! I swore never to eat that crap again. Even if I only had one dollar left in my pocket, ramen noodles would never pass these lips!

Yeah, well...the best laid plans...

At least now the choice is mine to make.

Riley - 2 Weeks

It's been 2 weeks without Riley. A very rough and tough 2 weeks.

Riley & I moved into this apartment together; this is the first time I've been alone here. Yeah, I expect him to be belly-up at the door when I walk in. Or, his face in the window, meowing when coming home late. I really miss him at night - cold nights in particular because he'd curl up on my feet and I'd be warm.

Had a chuckle last night while reading a magazine. Any time I'd read a book or magazine, Riley would jump onto the bed and stretch across the pages as if to say "If you've got time to read that, you've got time to pay attention to me!" I had a pic on my previous cell phone of Riley's paws wrapped around my Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book. Too funny looking at that.

Most of his stuff has been cleared out ~ bowls, scratching posts, treats, meds, food, litter. Was caught off-guard when the bathroom door swung all the way back to the wall. Forgot it went that far without a litter box! I did keep a couple of things: his kitty bed, the feather & mouse toy on a stick and a ball of yarn he was unraveling. Sitting at the computer right now, his bed under my feet, I half expect him to start biting my toes...

Almost everyone has asked if I'll get another cat. Right now, my answer is NO. No! No! No! I couldn't go through that again. Told my friend Sarah that I would rather have stuffed animals; have no problem being known as the crazy old stuffed animal lady.

The decision to put him down was the right one. I know it. Doesn't make it easier.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Four Days in November

11.26 ~ Thanksgiving at my sister's house. Since Grandma died, our family spends the day with my sister and her in-laws. She's got it good - she cleans the house, everyone else brings the food then cleans up. I bring my Tupperware and a fork (I'm good that way!). I really wasn't in the mood to be social, put on the happy face, etc. But, it's family. And I needed a hefty dose of it! My brother + his kids were in San Diego with his wife's family; but my niece was in from Las Vegas (she's in the Teach for America program). I got to talk with Dad for a while, got to cry to Mom for a while, got to laugh with Trey & Mia for a while, got to eat for a while. It was all good. I left that night feeling full of food and family.

11/27 ~ Connected with my cousin Nepunnee at Duke's in Malibu. All she wanted was to drink with family! And I, of course, was more than happy to oblige. I'm so impressed by her - she was this extremely shy child, clingy with her mom, barely talked; now, she's talkative, bright, funny and wants to have a drink with her favorite cousin! :) We shared family stories - hookers, dogs, Transformers, Grandma's pies, cousins + family. It was a great time! Makes me want a family reunion...

11/28 ~ Had an incident at the hair salon - glasses off (can't see a damn thing!), hair in foil, Glamour magazine at my nose, trying to read. Next to me is an empty salon seat then two stylists each with a customer. The 4 of them are talking about the Tiger Woods incident...blah blah blah...

"Well, he is half black and all black men are violent. Just look at that Chris Brown."

I lowered the magazine, squinting my eyes to see who's talking. It's 2009, right? I didn't hear that, right? It's 2009, right? I don't even know what kind of look was on my face. Probably not a very good one.

Stylist #2: "That...was...just one incident." I was fuming, so anything said after that was static and noise.

I wanted to say something intelligent and wise. All I could think to say was something vile and angry. And, I sat there. Silent. I'm still shaking my head.

Later that night, Diana, Scot, Rochelle and I met at the Troubadour in West Hollywood for the English Beat show. We danced up in the VIP loft area which is all fine and dandy; I just love dancing down in the crowd. It was a very good show! I've been to a lot of Beat shows. A LOT. And this one was very good - everything fired on all cylinders: the band, the crowd, the vibe, the songs, everything. They're off to Hawaii this week; then back to ring in the new year in Redondo Beach.

11/29 ~ private shopping event @ Nordstrom! We get food, personal shoppers and the store to ourselves for at least an hour. I did some Christmas shopping and holiday shopping for meeeeee (boyfriend blazer, 2 sweaters, adorable holiday top). I'm in love with a fabulous Marnie hobo bag - navy leather, brown strap, big and gorgeous. It's even marked down to $1,290.90!

Left the event to have sushi @ Midori (our favorite all-you-can-eat sushi place) with Joe. LOVE HIM!! I'm glad we had the chance to catch up, haven't seen him in a while. We always have a good time together, no matter what we do. Just seems that we have a particularly splendid time eating at Midori...

And,'s pay rent and back to work. Pffttht!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rant: Smooth Away

I really should not be allowed into Bed Bath & Beyond without supervision.

I hit up Burbank's BB&B to purchase one thing. Shoulda known that was impossible. All I needed was a shower caddy. Found that section and their selection, no problem. Turned around to see a pillar covered in Smooth Away boxes *and* a TV infomercial on endless loop.

Have to admit I've seen the product advertised...and wondered how 'crystals' could make hair removal instant, easy and pain free. Painless isn't exactly a term used with hair removal - whether it's waxing (physically painful) or Nair (painful frustration - and smelly, too!).

I watched the infomercial loop for several minutes, grabbed a box and checked out.

Sucker. I know.

Inside were two different sized rubber 'applicators' and several 'crystal' pads in two different colors. I prepped my skin according to the directions and used the recommended light pink crystal pad on my upper thigh. Clockwise 3 times, counter-clockwise 3 times. Repeat until hair is gone. If that didn't work (it didn't work), instructions said to switch to the dark pink, more coarse, crystal pad.

Clockwise 3 times, counter-clockwise 3 times. Repeat several times. All I got was sloughed off dead skin; not much hair removal. I admit there was some hair removal. Just not sure how it works - is hair removed by the twisting or by removing so much dead skin that the hair falls out?

I'm sticking to my razor.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving used to be a trip to San Pedro to visit my grandparents. They had the tiniest house; somehow there was plenty of room for everyone.

Though the usual Thanksgiving grub sat on the table, I was more interested in the sticky rice and chicken adobo and Spam. Grandma would spend the entire day cooking and baking. Ohh, the baking! Everything from scratch. People would place orders for her pies. She would bake pies for the sisters and priests in the rectory behind the house. She would bake pies for our Thanksgiving dessert as well as bake pies for families to take home. And she would bake a lemon meringue pie without meringue just for me...

At Grandma's funeral, someone (Uncle Nicky maybe?) mentioned her pies. There was a collective groan from the crowd.

Not sure why this memory came to me. I'm sure glad it did :)

Thank Your First Commenter Day, Year Two

I filched this from Neil over at Citizen of the Month blog: he thanks his blog commenters once a year. Isn't that a great idea?!
Last year, I thanked Lys for being my first-ever blog commenter. This year, the title goes to...MHB! He commented on my 02/08/06 blog post about poor grammar.
Hey - I just realized Lys introduced me to MHB...anyway...

Today, I thank YOU, MHB - my 2nd blog commenter!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: Save New Wave II

Save New Wave II
House of Blues Sunset - Los Angeles CA
Hosted by Richard Blade
Blasphemous Rumours
Joshua Tree
The Cured

Any gig with Richard Blade's name attached is a sure-fire way to get me to go. I mean, c'mon - any (every?) SoCal kid who grew up in the 80s knows Richard Blade - KROQ, MV-3, Video One. He introduced me to my favorite bands and my favorite music...ahhh, Richard you, call me...

I have no expectations going into this show. Cover bands are cover bands, y'know? Except now they're known as 'tribute' bands. Yeah, I don't get it either. Tomayto/Tomahto. I've only seen one other 'tribute' band - Hollywood U2. And they were ridiculous! In an awesome way.

Before the gig, HOB is spinning the requisite 80s music - Duran Duran, Flock of Seagulls, PFurs; all the familiar stuff, the usual, the stuff kids now know and call 'oldies' (uhh...OUCH!).

First up - INXSive. Sound GREAT! The curly-haired Pauly Shore-looking Michael Hutchence-channeling dude is pretty much hittin' it. I'm dancing and singing along, thoroughly enjoying this band. Musically, all the members are pretty talented. They played most of the INXS hits - Don't Change, What You Need, Never Tear Us Apart, blah blah blah. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

Next, the Cured. The lead singer dude was wearing a wig. A horrible horrible wig. Fail. His so-called Robert Smith moves were fail, too. He forgot lyrics to a couple of songs. FAIL! I was totally bummed. He mumbled and fumbled. Ashley said: it's okay to pay tribute but don't try to BE Robert Smith! The guy walked around the crowd in his wig for the next two sets, all but begging for attention. Sad. Fail.

The Joshua Tree was up next; by this time, I was ready to go. I did not want to stick around for more tribute fails. Joshua Tree performed the Red Rocks concert from 1983. They did a fine job.

In between the sets, the 80s music became more obscure and fantastic: Let Me Go, Plans for Nigel, 80s by Killing Joke were a few standouts.

Blasphemous Rumours closed the show. OK. The opposite of FAIL! I was blown away. Martin Gore-looking dude was great. The lead singer dude was fantastic! I danced through the whole set. Well, except for 'Somebody' - I just sniffled and comforted my friend. But the rest of the set was crazy good - People are People, Enjoy the Silence, Get the Balance Right, Everything Counts, Master & Servant. They hit the big DM hits; though I was disappointed no Blasphemous Rumours or Just Can't Get Enough to be heard.

Overall, I had a great time with friends - dancing around to fun 80s music. I will not see the Cured again. However, next time BR hits Romano's in Riverside, I may have to go home for a night...

Monday, November 16, 2009


He was a gift from my roommate, Peggy, for my 30th birthday. We sat in the living room, watching him prance and stumble about, calling out names to see which one suited him. When I said 'Riley' he turned and walked toward me.

Riley was soooo little - 8 weeks. He couldn't make it up the stairs; he tumbled down them. He would curl up with Daze, Peggy's cat; they'd groom each other; steeple-chase around the house.

Peg told me Riley was a girl. So, for several weeks it was all "she she she" or "her her her." When I took Riley to Dr. Moon's office to get fixed, he said "Mama, Riley is a boy. How do you not know if your baby is a boy or girl?" He chuckled. "If it was a human, I could tell! How can you tell on a cat?!" The office staff laughed. Poor Riley had a complex his entire life because I couldn't stop calling him 'her'!

Today, Dr. Winter told me Riley has a tumor growing behind his eye. It's causing his eye to bulge out (which means broken bones) as well as impede his breathing. The diagnostic estimate was $4k; treatment would be a completely different estimate. I was floored. I called J, asked her to come to the clinic - I couldnt' function nor think rationally. She did...asked all the detailed questions about the tests, the surgery and long-term for Riley. Dr. Burbridge said with home treatment, Riley would have 1-2 months of not-good quality of life. I could not do that to him. He was already suffering quite a bit.

I sat with Riley in my lap, kissed him. I kept apologizing. I put him back in his carrier box, leaned in for a kiss - he gave me one; then he head-butt my hand - his signal for love & attention. I walked out.

I will miss him curling up in the crook of my knee. I will miss the face-pawing - his way of waking me up. I will miss his little face in the front window when I come home from work. I will miss his belly-ups. I will miss his head-butts.

I will miss you, Riley.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NaBloPoMo IV: 4"

Torrid sent me an email yesterday announcing a 3-hour online only shoe sale (I know!). Of course, I clicked on the link. Whoa.

Selected booties on sale for $19.99! I couldn't get through on the site - too much traffic going after those booties. So, I gave up.

An email came this afternoon - sorry you couldn't get into our site, heavy traffic, sale extended.

OMG! It is love:

I love these shoes! I want these shoes! I deserve these shoes! I only have to pay $19.99 for these shoes!'s a 4" heel. And I really have no business wearing 4" heels.

What say you?

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaBloPoMo III - Already?!

It's only the third day and I'm ready to quit.

I won't. But I feel like it.

These first few days of the month have been extremely hectic - work, my boss, home life, personal life. ACK!! So many different directions, so many different things and I can't get a handle on any of 'em.


Devo starts their tour tonight here in L.A. at Music Box at the Fonda. Excited! They'll be playing their first album...should be tons o'fun. Will let ya know...

Until then, please enjoy this selection from Devo. D-E-V-O!

Monday, November 02, 2009

NaBloPoMo II - writing

Yesterday also marked the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Similar to NaBloPoMo, except at the end of the month, you will (should) have a 50,000 page novel. After a writing drought, wouldn't ya know I signed up for this, too! Ai yi yi!

As much as I love creative writing, the thought of writing a novel never ever crossed my mind. Never. Ever. My writing and creative thinking is better suited for short stories. So this novel writing thing is completely terrifying! I wanted to at least give it a shot...maybe I could write a bunch of short stories and call it a novel.

Yesterday, I struggled. I had no plot. I had no characters. I had no idea what the hell to do. I called Lys - help! Just needed to talk it out. A lot of it was crap; but some of it was doable. I finally settled on a character that had been in my head for a while; just wasn't sure how I could put her into 50,000 pages. I wrote about 200 words and was soooo over it.

A conversation I had had with a good friend several years ago popped into my head. Something she'd said...*that* was my story! I sat and wrote. I didn't hit the 1600-word goal; but 466 isn't too terrible.

We'll see how this works out...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaBloPoMo I: ...and they're off!

Today marks the beginning of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo - lovingly referred to, by me, as NaBlahBlah). I've done it before. I've actually made it through an entire month blogging every day. I know, right?! So, I'm back. Don't call it a comeback; I've been here for years.

I haven't written in several months. Nothing. I haven't blogged. I haven't done any creative writing. I haven't even journaled. That alone is cause for alarm as I've journaled since the age of 19. Yeah. It's not like I haven't had time...I haven't had the desire. I'm calling it a midlife crisis. Who's gonna argue with me?

November should be a fairly exciting month full of blogworthy topics - lots of shows (Devo, Cy Curnin, the English Beat, Ray LaMontagne to name a few), lots of family time and lots of regular everyday type o'stuff.

So...let November begin.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LoveHopeStrength Foundation ~ PhillyRocks 09

The Field House
Philadelphia PA

Robin Wilson (Gin Blossoms) ~ Mike Peters (the Alarm) ~ Nick Harper ~ Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) ~ Cy Curnin (the Fixx) ~ James Stevenson (Gene Loves Jezebel, the Alarm) perform a cover of Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Step 1 - Operation: Clutter Clean-Up


Wow! Quite a bit accomplished in 3 hours. Ain't gonna lie to ya - I'm pretty amazed.

Though exhausted, I slept fitfully last night. I was up around 5a, watching The West Wing; not paying attention, just distracted enough to keep the edge off the anxiety. Around 8a, I decided to channel that energy into cleaning: cleaned the litter box, the toilet, the bathroom sink, counters and cleared out clothes from a drawer in the dressing room. The drawer wasn't too bad as it was mostly t-shirts and shorts I don't wear. Figured that was a good sign of things to come once B showed up.

She got here around 11:30a and went right to it. She had a plan, she was very systematic, pushed when I needed it and backed off at the appropriate times. In order to get through the tossing out, I had to do a lot of pre-emptive striking: before she could say "Do you really need/wear/want this/that/the other?" I had to do it. That helped and hurt; I threw out clothes without thinking. I didn't want B to say anything, I wanted it to look easy; like I was okay with it. I wasn't.

So, B had a plan: attack the closet first. Ai yi yi! We went through all the items, one by one. Some stayed, most didn't. It was so empty. That was the first painful twinge - you just threw out X-amount of money! Pushing that aside, we continued. I wasn't going to share this part because it shows my warped way of thinking...but that's why it should be shared. :::exhale:::

In my closet sat a white hamper. This white hamper used to sit in my parents' bathroom. Then, it was passed to me while I was in high school. This white hamper moved with me in and around Riverside then out to L.A. This white hamper sat in my closet, stuffed. I didn't know what it was stuffed with or how long it had been since I opened it (to me it was another flat surface on which to pile more things). B told me I had to get rid of it. Ohh, easy, Turbo! I had to go through it - what if there was a top I could wear? Or towels? Or something, anything I could wear in there?! B said if there is something in there a) I probably already bought one to replace it or b) it just doesn't matter now. So, sight unseen, the whole hamper was tossed. Without me looking in it. And that brought about another twinge - although I KNOW that was exactly what should be done.

We moved from the closet to the trifecta - the 3 places in my living space in which I pile clothes: the rolling rack, the stacked bins and the unstacked bins. The rolling rack was easiest as the clothes are on hangers already. We moved those into the recently cleared out closet. Then we tackled pile A - clean clothes. We put each piece onto a hanger then into the closet. Then, pile B - did the same thing. Clothes in the closet. Amazing.

3 hours, 3 trips to the trashbin, 4 bags to Goodwill, 2 baskets of laundry & dry cleaning, clothes on hangers in the closet. Not too bad for Step 1, eh?

To my credit, I didn't cry until B left.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i see the edge, i look, i fall

Like some glutton for punishment, I've been watching the TV shows Obsessed and Hoarders on A&E. Good grief. I really want to know and understand how & why I became a hoarder. I thought the shows would be interesting, obviously fascinating and, hopefully, insightful or at the least inspiring.

Yeah, right.

I watched the season one finale of Obsessed about Richie, an excessive compulsive hoarder. For that hour, I was anxious and upset and crying. Richie was speaking his truth; in it, I heard my own: how difficult it is to throw out a piece of paper, how emotionally attached he is to most everything in his home (paper, books, magazines, stuff). It was heart-and gut-wrenching to watch.

Then, Hoarders started. Good grief. The first show focused on a couple who were on the verge of having their children taken away because of the clutter/hoarding in the home; the other segment was a woman who is a food hoarder threatened with eviction. Let's just say it was horrific, at best. Thank God I'm not a food hoarder! But her 'logic' or reasoning for the clutter aligns with mine - throwing out stuff is throwing away money. Boy is that a thought I struggle's my Mom's voice ringing in my head: don't waste this or that, money doesn't grow on trees, etc. The one good thing about these shows is that I've opened up to people, shared my 'dirty little secret' (no pun intended). The more I share, the more I expect people to judge me. However, the more I share, the more accountable I feel; the more compelled I feel to do something.

Several weeks ago, I opened up about my hoarding/clutter to my friend B. She shared her experience with hoarding - her aunt is a compulsive hoarder who slept in a chair because it was the only place with no clutter. B offered to help clean up/clear out. I (as usual) thanked her profusely and politely declined.

Last night, I started to watch the new episode of Hoarders...that anxious feeling returned; and so did the tears. I asked B for help. Her first piece of advice? Stop watching those damned television shows! "You're emotionally cutting. The shows aren't helping you." I deleted them from my DVR.

B is coming over on Saturday. I/We are starting the process. :::exhale:::

My goal? To have people in my home by the end of the year. For the first time.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In-Class writing assignment 07.02.09

For in-class writing assignments, we get a topic and 15-20 minutes to write. I usually sit for 5 minutes trying to think up something...
Assignment: Write about an incident in history you'd like to change; rewrite history.
OK ~ let me just state for the record that this is what came to mind. I do not wish it to be true. It's creative writing, people.

I seemed to have a real knack with the scissors. It was cake and pie as soon as the shiny metal touched my strong fingers. I was nimble and quick and made my family quite happy. The true test would come when I could work with real people.

At age 20, I became an apprentice with Hank. He had one of the busiest shops in town; mainly because of his location was so close to the TV station. My job was to sweep, get hot towels, clean the brushes, tend the straps and straight edges. I was quick and thorough, yet still took the time to watch, listen and learn.

One very busy day, Mr. Ed came in unexpectedly. Seems he fiddled with his sideburns, making a mess.

Artie! yelled Hank. You gotta handle Mr. Ed here. He ain't got time to wait. Get ovaheeya!

Thus began a beautiful relationship. I became Mr. Ed's preferred then personal barber. I would make special trips to the station, even his home, as well as tend to him at the shop.

One day, while at the station, Mr. Ed pulled me aside, talked a few minutes then slipped me folded bills. I walked back to the shop to find the four young lads from England waiting for me.

Mr. Ed told us you do a great shave and comb. No cut please. one of the shaggy-haired boys said.

I smiled slyly, sharpening my straight edge razor. And scissors.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rissa's Guide to Pancakes at The Griddle

Creative Writing homework assignment 06.18.09 ~ describe in detail a meal you've had recently...

I’ve enjoyed quite a few pancakes in my time ~ IHOP, Denny’s, summers at Girl Scouts’ Camp Azalea Trails, Mrs. Gilbert’s god-awful blueberry mess, my Mom’s Sunday morning smiley face masterpieces. If a place serves pancakes and I’ve been there? Chances are I’ve eaten pancakes. However, the pancakes at the Griddle in West Hollywood are thee best pancakes I have ever had! They’re huge; they’re filled and/or topped with yummy deliciousness and taste just as yummy as they look.

I go to the Griddle for pancakes about once a month; and have been doing so for at least five years. Here is Rissa’s Guide to Doing Griddle Pancakes Right:

1 – Which to order? With close to 20 pancake choices, your head will undoubtedly spin. If you like bananas, try the Banana Nana – brown sugar-coated bananas mixed in buttermilk batter; Feeling like Violet Beauregard? Try BLUESberry – blueberry pancakes topped with blueberry sour cream and powdered sugar. There are pancakes that taste like coffee cake, all cinnamon swirled and streusel topped. Eyes Wide Open with chocolate chips and a shot of espresso. Or, my favorite ~ Tis the Season – pumpkin pie filling in the pancake mix, topped with whipped cream, more pumpkin pie filling and powdered sugar. Mmm! Oh yeah, they have plain good ol’ fashioned pancakes, as well.

2 – How to order. These are not normal-sized pancakes, my friends – ohhh no no no. The Griddle calls them “over-sized.” I call them huge. HUGE! They’re bigger than my head. Let’s see…they’re the size of a…a Frisbee. Possibly bigger. These pancakes are so big, they hang over the edge of the plate. Now THAT’S big! A regular order is 3 pancakes. That’s A LOT of pancake! A short stack is 2 pancakes – this is what I usually order. Of course, you can order just one pancake.

3 – How to prep your pancakes. The plate of huge pancakes comes to your table steaming, with lots of yummy goodness on top ~ be it melting butter, whipped cream, pumpkin pie filling, powdered sugar or blueberry cream. I’m giving you my personal prep technique: Take your fork and spread all that yummy goodness all around the pancake, avoid the edges (reason for this to follow). Push that pat of butter over the hot pancake, let it melt…let it seep in…concentrate all that yummy meltiness in the middle. Use your fork to cut a hole smack-dab in the middle ~ push some of that mix of butter, pumpkin and whipped cream in there; let your entire stack be touched by the yummy goodness. Mmm!

4 – Eat! A couple of things: you probably won’t finish the stack. I never have. No, I’m completely serious. I’ve never eaten an entire short stack of pancakes. And, come on now, I. CAN. EAT. The other thing? With these pancakes, all the goodness is in the middle; so, start there, avoid the edges (you’re welcome).

The second bite is my favorite ~ the first one, you’re just trying it out…testing the texture…the temperature…checking to see if it’s a combination of flavors you can tolerate. But the second bite? Ooh, yeah ~ the cool whipped cream hits the tip of your tongue, that hot fluffy pancake soaked with hot buttery goodness, a smattering of pumpkin all comes together…mmm! Oh, sorry – I’m salivating.

So, there you have it ~ Rissa’s Guide to Doing Griddle Pancakes Right. Whaddya doing Saturday morning?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

it's been a long time...

Writer's block.

That's the problem. Writer's block.

I haven't blogged since April. I know! I haven't really written since April. Which, coincidentally, coincides with my last writing class. So...maybe I was just on a break.

Yeah, that's it - we were on a break.

Writing class has started again. Our first in-class assignment (15-20 minutes to write on a particular topic) was to write about something that happened to us in the 8 weeks since our last class. Below, is mine:

I turned 42. And I wasn't even traumatized. No, I'm serious! I was not traumatized., 3 girlfriends, birthday weekend plans ~ road trip to San Luis Obispo (SLO), wine tasting, birthday dinner, English Beat - yay! A couple of weeks...plan, plan, plan. Excitement grows. *My* plan? Fly to Sacramento on my birthday to see the English Beat (yay!), then meet the girls in SLO.

B backs out on week prior - ok, fine. D and J decide we should all drive up to SLO (3 hours) together - stop at a winery or 3, nice leisurely drive up the coast. Ok, fine. I buy a one-way ticket back to Burbank, book a hotel and watch a chunk of my birthday money go bye bye.

It's Friday, my birthday. Me. Sacramento. The English Beat. Birthday song. Birthday hugs, kisses and wishes. Birthday shots. Yay!

Fast forward to Burbank Airport - me still riding high on my birthday night festivities. I walk off the plane, through the airport, out to D's car. No J.

"Ready to go?" I ask.
"No. I'm sick. I don't want to go."
"I don't feel good at all."

Silence. I only spoke to give her directions to my house. I get out of her car. I get into my car. I yell 'Fuck!' a dozen or so times. Then, I cry. Do I go? Do I not go? Fuck! Fuck it. I'm going!

Before I can stop crying, a call comes through: a problem at the hotel in SLO with the suite I booked. The sweet girl at the Marriott - so apologetic - can we move you to another room? Sobbing, I said "Put me in a tub witha pillow and blanket - I don't care! It's my birthday weekend and all my friends just bailed on me." ::sniffle:: She stammered. "No, we have a room for you..." ::sniffle:: Ok, fine.

On the 101, I blast Rage Against the Machine for over an hour, yelling, screaming, raging. Then, I was done. By the time I hit the hotel, my makeup was smeared, my hair was indescribable and I wanted a bed.

When I gave the gal my name, she let out a little gasp. Then, her manager stepped forward - do you have plans tonight? Well...nooo...since my friends bailed, I need to find a place for dinner, then I'm going to the Downtown Brewing Company. "We would like to treat you to dinner - here's a $50 voucher to our hotel's restaurant. Happy Birthday! Enjoy!"

And, I did!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Creative Writing final assignment ~ short story

As you may or may not know, I've been taking a creative writing class with the wonderful Miss Pamela Des Barres (author I'm With the Band). In this session, we worked on character development with the end goal being a short story. Below is my final assignment...

Tracks trudged down Los Angeles Street, shoulders hunched with the weight of her world. The sun is bright this morning, heating the dark asphalt of the streets. Though she sweats through the many layers of clothes, Tracks is cold. It’s a cold the sun can’t chase away. It’s the cold that is lives in her bones. She trails her hands over dusty windows, stucco walls, wrought iron bars, chain link fences and corrugated metal. “Closed. Closed. Closed.” She repeated. “Stay out.” She stopped to peer through a metal grate into a tailor’s shop. “Stay out.” Yolanda dropped her elbow onto Tracks’ shoulder. “Baby girl, it ain’t to keep us out. It’s to keep them in.” They stood a moment longer, staring at the mannequins, sewing machines and pin cushions. Then continued on their way.

Harlan Haines strode confidently past tinted storefront windows, discreetly checking his profile every few steps. From a distance, he looks like every other downtown-working businessman – dark suit, white shirt, bold colored tie. Up close, the details set him apart. Harlan still wears cufflinks. His son, Hunter, had scoffed when Harlan gave him his first pair. Since when did cufflinks become passé? Harlan wondered. No matter. Harlan liked the glint when caught by the sun at the right angle. He liked the double H monogram – simple, not haughty or tasteless. All of Harlan’s shirts were monogrammed with the double H on the pocket. He and Gwendolyn liked the subtlety of tone-on-tone. Both of them thought flashy was tawdry. Both of them were elegant in simple ways, evidenced in their homes, their cars and their appearances.

Harlan stopped in front of the doors, adjusted his cufflinks and sleeves; gave himself the once-over. He patted at the sweat on his upper lip. Slow inhale. Slow exhale. He adjusted again. He hesitated. Slow inhale. Slow exhale. Harlan walked into the bank.

Inside the Downtown Women’s Center, Tracks and Yolanda ate lunch. The yellow walls and rows of windows, while meant to be warm and cheery, sadly highlighted the age and wear of the building. More bars Tracks observed silently. DWC is one place she feels safe. She wishes they could stay…

“After you shower, I’ma go. I’ll be back to shower before it close” said Yolanda, her mouth full of pasta. Tracks never asked where Yolanda went or why she went alone. She always came back for her. Yolanda always came back…usually stoned and happy, sometimes with money, one time with a black eye and bloody lip. No, Tracks never asked where Yolanda went or why she went alone.

“Good afternoon, Mister Haines.”
“Hello, Donna. Safe deposit box, please.”
“Certainly, Mister Haines. This way.” Together they walked to the far corner of the bank. Harlan filled out the form and signed the entry sheet. The buzz alerted Harlan the lock was disengaged. He pushed through the door. Donna slid a card key through a scanner then entered her key when a tiny light turned green. Harlan followed her into the vault. “5-5-Oh” she said, sliding her key into the bottom lock. “Thank you Donna.” Harlan slid his key into the top lock and together they opened the small door. “I’ll only be a few minutes.” Donna nodded, “Take your time, Mister Haines.” She left him alone.

Harlan removed the box, set it on the table, and lifted the lid. Inside were copies of his and Gwendolyn’s wills, their passports, several envelopes, two ring boxes and an Airweight snub-nosed revolver. He grabbed the envelopes, pocketed the gun and called for Donna.

Tracks was relieved to find the arts and crafts room empty. Fresh air and sounds of the street blew through the open windows. Tracks removed one envelope from the front of her jeans emptying its contents on a table under the window. Pictures, postcards, paper and Polaroids spilled across the tabletop. Pushing her damp hair back, Tracks began to arrange the items – girls here, boys there; smiling, not smiling; groups of people; places. She studied each picture, making up her own story to go along with the faces. She didn’t know why people threw out the pictures; she didn’t care, really. She liked having them; having them close.

Tracks read the labels on the craft boxes – pencils, pens, crayons & markers, glue, glitter. She took the pens, glue and glitter to the table. She found orange construction paper and scissors on a shelf then sat down. Tracks picked up a stack of pictures, thumbed through and selected. In the picture, a group of boys in party hats made silly faces at the camera. On the table in front of them sat a huge pepperoni pizza, 3 pitchers of soda and presents. Tracks carefully cut around the boys, their pointy hats and elbows, the pitcher, the pizza and the presents. She glued this onto a sheet of construction paper. Tracks folded the paper in half so the picture was on the outside and wrote “Thank you for the food” inside. Tracks sat uninterrupted in the arts and crafts room for 3 hours, making cards with most of the pictures, postcards, paper and Polaroids from the envelope. She cleaned up her mess; put everything back into its proper place and walked downstairs.

Harlan sat outside the Starbuck’s checking voicemail. He skipped through the first four messages – Patricia will answer those. At the fifth message – which was marked Private and Urgent - Harlan froze. “Harlan, it’s Jack Leverett. Come see me.” Jack Leverett was the company’s Senior Counsel. He never left a message. His secretary left messages for him. Harlan loosened his tie. Tiny sweat beads sprang up across his upper lip and forehead. Could he…? No. No! Jack? Jack?? No. No way. No way. Harlan closed his eyes. Slow inhale. Slow exhale. Slow inhale. Slow exhale. Harlan took a minute to scan his emails on the blackberry. Nothing out of the ordinary there. He relaxed. Slightly. He pushed 4 on the phone which rang his office.

“Harlan Haines office.” Harlan wondered if she’d heard anything about his call to Leverett’s office.

“Hi Patricia, it’s Harlan. I’m at Starbuck’s – would you like anything?” Did you hear – I took money from the company? I took lots of money from the company.

“No thank you Mister Haines. Would you like your messages?” Business as usual. Does she sound suspicious? Does she sound different? She does. She doesn’t. His stomach cramped. I’ll give you money if you don’t tell. Shh! It’ll be our little secret.

“Yes, please.” She rattled off his messages. “Thank you, Patricia. I’m going to the 17th floor then I’ll be in the office.” He hoped she wouldn’t be suspicious. She didn’t sound suspicious. His head pounded.

“Yes sir. Bye.”

His stomach cramped, his mouth dry, his head pounded. Harlan trudged to his office, shoulders hunched with the weight of his world.

Curled up on a cot, Tracks dreamt of home. The pretty green house with white shutters; rose bushes, flower beds and kids running through sprinklers on the front lawn; a blue hammock in the shade of 2 trees. She’s running and laughing with the children but they don’t see her. She’s pushing the hammock but they don’t see her. She yells and screams. But they don’t see her. She cries and screams herself awake. Vanessa, the Day Center manager, is sitting on a cot next to her. “You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re at the Center. You’re okay. Here’s some water.” She placed the cup of water into Tracks’ shaky hands. “Let’s go outside, Tracks. Come on. Let’s get fresh air.”

Harlan sat in his Mercedes, head on the steering wheel. Relief. Sweet relief! Jack wanted to talk about secretaries. Secretaries! Harlan practically giggled with delight when Jack asked if he could promote Patricia when his assistant left in September. “Of course you can, Jack!” Harlan bellowed. “Of course you can!” No, Harlan didn’t need to think about it. Yes, Harlan will tell her. Great, great. Yes, it’s great. Though relieved, his heart beat wildly. His stomach still cramped. His head still pounded. The bottle of water did nothing to his dry mouth. Harlan pulled the car out of the garage and merged into downtown traffic.

Tracks sat in the shade, against a wall in the empty parking lot - chin on her knees, the tears dried on her face. She rarely thinks of home. She often dreams of it. She can never go back after all of the horrible things she said, all of the lies she told, all of the things Zeke did. Too embarrassing! Her stomach cramped at the thought of it all.

Harlan pulled his Mercedes into the empty parking lot, coming to a stop across 2 adjoining spaces. No one around – perfect. He pounded his fists on the dashboard and steering wheel, yelling and screaming, crying and screaming.

Tracks watched the car speed into the lot and screech to a halt. He didn’t try to park, he just stopped. He was yelling at someone or something. He was hitting the steering wheel. She liked the glint of whatever the sun caught – his watch or something? She stood up, watching the lights dance out from the car.

Harlan calmed himself down. He took the envelopes out from the front of his pants, careful to arrange them on the dashboard. He removed the cufflinks and his watch and wedding band and put them in the envelope marked Gwendolyn. He sat turning the gun over and over in his hand. It was unraveling…he would bring shame to his family, his reputation dirtied by accusations then ruined by the truth. He started to cry...body shaking. His sobs became moans. His façade cracked as his moans became wails. He screamed with the gun in his mouth.

The man’s screams wrenched her gut. He was crying in pain. Tears sprung to her eyes and her body wracked with release. She stood, staring into the car, shaking her head. Tracks said no. No. No, repeating it over and over, louder and louder until she was screaming and wailing. Hugging herself, Tracks rocked on her heels.

Harlan stopped screaming, but the screams did not stop. He opened his eyes and met those of the screaming girl.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Observations from the Deck. Observations from the Line.

Thursday night ~ VH1 Save the Music benefit ~ Carnival Cruise Line 'Splendor' ~ John Mayer, Jordin Sparks, Gavin Rossdale, Sara Barellis, OAR and 2 other bands

Observations from the Deck:
~ when given the option, most girls go for fashion over comfort (me included)
~ 20something girls are really young ("I LOVE YOU JOHNNY! I LOVE YOU GAVIN!")
~ open bar and open cruise ship food is a good thing~ perhaps 'open bar' shouldn't be so open to some people (the 2 ladies in front of us and the whole row of girls behind us for example)
~ Gavin Rossdale really is hot!
~ goody bags are aptly named
~ cruise ships need better decorators
~ when there are several singers on a bill, limiting each to 2 songs is brilliant

Saturday night/Sunday morning ~ Prince ~ Club Nokia @ the Nokia Plaza downtown Los Angeles

Observations from the line:
~ when given the option, most girls go for fashion over comfort (me included)
~ the Religion of No Mirrors has a larger following than I suspected! I'd hate to think friends let friends go out of the house without commenting on outfits...
~ curiosity gets the best of people - if there's a line, everyone wants to know what the line is for
~ one raspberry beret
~ a lot of purple
~ there really is someone for everyone!
~ some people will do anything to not wait in line!
~ $40, if propositioned to the right guy, will get you a place in line
~ waiting 3 hours in line + starting the show an hour late is worth it if Chaka Khan shows up to sing 'Sweet Thing' with Prince on guitar


Friday, March 20, 2009

gimme an S







I woke up this morning feeling those things

Monday, March 16, 2009

Creative Writing homework 03.15.09

In my creative writing class, we're working on character development. The end result will be a short story. Our homework was to describe the bedroom of our character.

- Bedroom -

For the past two nights she slept in the doorway of a Wells Fargo Bank near LAX. Though she and Yolanda blocked the ATM atrium entrance, she didn't care. Much. She liked sleeping in a space like this - three walls of protection. Yolanda sleeps on the outside - her fourth wall of protection.

She pulled her knees close to her chest, stretching her sweatshirt over her knees and leaned her head against the beige colored stucco wall. She rubbed the bumps and closed her eyes.

"Mom, I don't like the bumpy stuff. Can't we get rid of it?"
"Honey, it's up to you."
She hugged her Mom tighter. Her parents were giving her the best 'Sweet 16' birthday gift ever ~ a bedroom makeover!

The result was better than she'd imagined! Standing at the door, the opposite wall is glossy grass green. The window to the backyard has white vertical blinds, white sheers and a green polka dot valance. The other three walls are flat Navajo White. The wall to the right of the door is covered with pictures: framed photos of family vacations, friends at school, at school events, at sleepovers. Postcards of places she's visited and places her friends visited. Posters of Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill and High School Musical. Opposite the photo wall is the framed Michael Parkes print 'Gargoyles' that used to hang in her Mom's first apartment. She'd found it in the garage, had it re-matted and re-framed. Below the Parkes print is her desk and computer. Next to the picture, the walk-in closet door painted the same glossy grass green as the other wall. Her four-poster bed is on the wall opposite the green accent wall. The comforter, dark green on one side, light green on the other, was smoothed across the bed - light green side up. The sheets are white with tiny green and yellow flowers. Six throw pillows, in varying shades of green, are strategically arranged in a haphazard fashion with the darker colored pillows in the middle. Atop the dark green pillows sits a small stuffed doll - wheat colored hair wearing a green jumper and flowered shirt. Her cheeks were faintly pink and her lips a pretty red.

Tracks jerked awake. Some street noise, that's all. In the faint light, she reached for her backpack. Feeling around inside, she grabbed the corduroy. Putting the doll on her lap, she gently finger combed its hair. She lifted the jumper, pulled up the shirt and stared at the hand-stitched heart around the name. Her name.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

character meets me

In my writing class, we're working on character development. The end result will be a short story. Below is my character meets me:

Once a month, I volunteer at the Downtown Womens Center to teach sign language to its residents and visitors. Several women show up, a handful actually participate. Last month, after several months away, Yolanda showed up with a young girl in tow.

"Rissie! Where you been, girl? You still cookin' in the kitchen?" We hugged.
"Yep, still cooking on Thursdays." We'd met last year on a DWC cooking night. She threw her arm around the young girl.

"Tracks, this here's Rissie. She cooks sometime, she serve lunch sometime and she teach those sign things to the ladies."

"I'm Rissa. Nice to meet you. Tracks? Where'd that name come from?" She shrugged a little.

"Come from me. One - she from the other side of the tracks. Two - this girl can run! I seen her outrun Jackson and you know that nigger fast, girl!"

"Are you staying for the class?"

"Nah, not today. We came to sleep and shower, get clothes and eat. You make them two times potatoes?"

"Not this time," I said. "Pasta shells, green salad, garlic bread and jello."

"Mmm!" She playfully punched my shoulder and walked off to the day room. Tracks stood there, staring at me.

The seven ladies arranged their chairs in a circle, while Tracks sat on the sofa against the wall, directly in my line of sight. We reviewed the ABC's and numbers, each woman spelling her name and signing her favorite number. I introduced colors by asking some women their favorite color then showing her the sign.

"Tracks, what's your favorite color?"

She signed green.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

character meets a celebrity

In class, we're working on character development. The end result will be a short story. Below, my character meets a celebrity:

She sat outside the Mission, in line with Yolanda. It was her turn to stay awake. The soft sounds of Yolanda's snoring comforted her. She knew any sudden movement would jolt Yolanda awake, prepared to defend. "Girl, it ain't safe out here for us," she had warned. "We gotta take turns sleepin' and watchin'."

As the sun rose, people in line stirred and started, anxious to get a hot meal. The man with the roll of cash walked up and down the line handing out money. Yolanda got a 20. She got a 5. She folded the bill in half, turned toward the wall and carefully slid the money into one of her manila envelopes.

Eyes cast down, she shuffled along the line. She could hear chatter all around. But she was overcome by the smells. The delicious smells of Thanksgiving wafting out the door, swirling around her nostrils, causing memories to crash in her brain. A tear escaped. "Aw, Tracks. Baby girl, don't cry," soothed Yolanda. "You okay, girl. You okay baby girl."

She took the tray handed her by the volunteer, smiled and mumbled "thank you." The went outside, found shade against the building, away from the others. She watched the mayor and the governor visit families sitting at the picnic tables, followed by cameras and women with microphones. A girl walked out - apron, jeans, Converse high tops, hair pulled back and tucked under a beanie. She kept her eyes down and walked toward the dumpster.

"Happy Thanksgiving" she said in a soft Southern drawl. "How y'all doin?" Her smile tightened a bit, realizing what she'd said. "How's your dinner?" she said brightly.
"It's delicious!" chirped Yolanda, just as bright. "We appreciate it so very much!"
"I'm Miley. Miley Cyrus." She extended her hand.
"I'm Yolanda. This here's Tracks." Miley and Yolanda talked a bit, then Miley walked away.
"She was nice."
"Hmph. She's just here for publicity."

She looked at the girl talking on the phone. Their eyes met then each looked away.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In my writing class, we're working on character development. The end result will be a short story. Below is the introduction to my character:

Before...her hair was the color of wheat on a sunny day. It moved down her back like wind through a wheat field, all wavy and wild. She brushed her hair one hundred strokes each night before bed to keep it "soft and shiny" (she'd read that in an issue of Seventeen magazine). She liked trying new hairstyles ~ pony tail, two pony tails, a single braid down her back, two braids, french braid, sophisticated up-do, hair ribbons, hair bands, barrettes. But she always wore her hair down, cascading down.

After...her hair is the color of cardboard. It's the same color as the inside of a pizza box from Johnny Z's. This made her cry. She had found three crusts and one full slice in the bags one summer morning. She pushed her hair off her face, pulling out two clumps. The clumps fell into the pizza box. She gobbled down two crusts, not noticing how they tasted; just that they were. The third crust had some tomato sauce on it. Mmm. She looked at the full slice - Italian sausage, black olives, extra sauce and cheese. God bless 'em, whoever you are she thought. As she lifted the slice, she caught sight of the clumps of her hair. She fingered the clumps, rolled them between her fingers. The color of cardboard, the texture of straw. Dried straw. Tears welled as she recalled her hundred strokes ritual. Before...before...she dropped the pizza, the clumps and the tears. She now wears her hair off of her face, secured by a red bandanna which hides the thinning and the clumps.

Before...her skin was fair yet warmed by the sun. Couldn't be helped, really - she ran track, played tennis and was on the swim team - she was always outside. Her smile betrayed a dimple to the left as well as crooked bottom teeth. She was prone to pimples on her chin and forehead - the 'T-zone' is what the Seventeen magazine called it. She wore sunscreen instead of sunblock because she liked having the hint of a tan.

After...sunscreen hasn't touched her skin in years. Submerging herself in a vat of lotion could not help her cracked heels, dry skin or wind-chapped face. Her nose and chin are peppered with blackheads and occasionally pimples will appear. Her skin color can be described in one word - dirty. She is dirty most of the time; the color just enhances it.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Boot Camp!

Days I and II

Awake at 6. Out the door by 6:30. At the gym by 6:45. Oh, what a beautiful morning :::insert Howard Keel version:::

8 people in boot camp, 8 different levels.

We did squats. We did squats across the basketball court. We did squats on the plastic step thingy. Followed by more squats. We jogged across the basketball court. Bicep curls. Tricep dips. Lunges. Rows. Chest presses. Crunches. Planks. Push ups. On the step. Over the step. On the ground. I don't think Alisha is trying to kill us but she certainly dances right up to the line without going over.

Day One and I was one with the epsom salts that night.

When I told my friends I'd signed up for boot camp, they all said "Good for you!" No one told me I'd get my butt kicked! Sheesh.

I had a difficult time getting out of bed this morning as it was cold, dreary and misty. Once I got moving, it was okay.

Our group shrunk to 5 today; good thing as we worked inside, upstairs in the corner of the gym.

Alisha made us WORK! It was a lot, back to back to back with maybe 10 seconds to rest or grab water in between. While on the elliptical thingy, chest pains slowed me down. I pushed through because,'s boot camp and you're supposed to. Then floor work and back to the elliptical. Whoa! I had to stop. The pain became tense and heavy, so I sat down. Alisha told me to take deep breaths and just sit. As I did, I noticed the relaxation of my chest, shoulders and neck. Huh. Joining the workout again made me realize I tense those areas in order to lessen the work on the rest of my body. Ha! No bueno. So, I made the adjustments and finished the rest of the workout.

As we were alternating between crunches and push ups, I heard General Public's 'Tenderness' coming from the spin class below. Made me smile as I realized the next 3 weeks of boot camp will end with an English Beat concert (Canyon Club this week, Brixton & the Coach House next week, Las Vegas the week after that). Dave Wakeling as a reward for a workout week well done? Hell yeah I'll take it! :)

Oh, we have to keep a food journal. Pfftt.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

you say you want a resolution, well, y'know...

I stopped making resolutions in 2007. At that time, I chose to set "goals" ~ which made it easier to be vague and somewhat non-commital. "I want to be a better person" was my favorite. What does that mean exactly? What does that entail? I hadn't a clue. It sounded good. It definitely sounded goal worthy.

As 2008 was winding down and talk of resolutions increased, I found myself really wanting to make serious and significant changes. Although these have been rattling 'round my brain for more than three months, this is the first time I've written them down or said aloud.

I want to get out from under my clutter. I so desperately need to get out from under it. I want my things to have a place other than any available flat surface. I want to live clutter-free. I just have to live clutter-free! In no way is it as bad today as it was nine months ago. In no way is it as good today as it was nine months minus one day ago. I've had a few friends offer help; and while I am totally appreciative, the shame is too overwhelming to accept their help, allow them in. Yeah, yeah, I hear you - get over it. The shame is as overwhelming as the task itself. I've proven this can't be handled by me alone. It just needs to be handled.

I need to be healthy. With my high blood pressure + the recent stress at work, I will die if I don't change my habits. I want to get Work Out Rissa back! I was doing soooo well ~ working out 5 days a week, lowering my blood pressure, fitting nicely into those jeans without Spanx. Then *poof* she was gone. I relaixe exercise is a four-letter word to me. I have to dance or move or do something that isn't called exercise or be held accountable to other people. Well, I'm bringin' Reesie back! A couple of weeks ago, the Fitness Center on the Lot announced an 8-week boot camp. I couldn't sign up fast enough! It's an 8-week program, 3 days a week, 8 people in the group and it's on the Lot. Love it! In addition to the boot camp, I purchased a 3-month trial of Sensa, which I will start tomorrow. Sensa is a weight-loss 'program' which involves sprinkling flavor 'tastants' onto everything you eat. The science behind it is that these crystals work with your sense of smell to trigger the satiating part of your brain to signal your body that you're full. We shall see how this works out...I love my food, so this will be interesting.

Writing! I've started session 3 of Creative Writing. I'm excited to find out what our class goal is (short story, essay, what?!). I finally feel okay with my writing; okay in the sense that I don't have to qualify it before reading it to the class. Doesn't mean I don't do it anyway. It's just nice to be in an accepting place with my writing self.

I want to bring more love into my life. Not just romantic love, but love of myself. I don't have much of that. I love pieces of myself. I want to love myself to pieces.

Love. I've tucked that away for such a long time...mostly out of self-protection. It's much easier to have fun while holding him at arms length. Well, my arm is tired. And, I think, I'm a little more open to love now. Not sure why now or what happened to make me say now. There's been a shift, for I told Chickens - I've told myself for such a long time that I must have this this and this in order to fall in love, but realized how limiting that is; how unfair to me I am being. So, I'm trying to be okay with lowering the walls (how The Bachelor is that comment?!) and being more open to love without my parameters. I will continue to have my fun, maybe with a bent elbow...

Well, there ya have it. Call 'em what you want...I guess they all add up to me wanting to be a 'better person'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mom. Gotta love her.

Phone conversation I had with my Mom about 15 minutes ago:

My neighbor is so cool! Y'know what she did?

No. What?

Well, she knows I've been crazed the last couple of weeks with the layoffs and stress and work and worrying and all that. So, tonight, she brought me a six-pack of beer and a roll of Nestle Toll House cookie dough with a spoon wrapped in ribbon! Isn't that cool?

You drink beer?

Yeah, I drink beer. The spoon is tied to the cookie dough with curling ribb...

I didn't know you drink beer.

I do. I'm 21, y'know.

I have never seen you drink beer. I'm going to bed. Good night.

Note to self: drink more beer when around Mom.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm still here. For now.


That's the best way to describe it: mayhem.

Layoffs. Crying. Worrying. Yelling. Working. Overtime. Craziness. Not sleeping. Stressing. Eating. Not sleeping. Drinking. No blogging.

I'm still standing. Check back in a couple of days. And have the St. Bernard's on stand-by.


Monday, January 19, 2009

final assignment

The following essay is the final assignment for my writing class. The assignment? Write an essay.

Last year, ABC News did a feature called "What Would You Do?" The reporter, John Quinones, put real people in arranged situations to see how they'd react.

There was the girl in a restaurant seeing her best friend's fiance with another woman. There was the healthy 20-something girl parking in a handicap space. The mean girls scenario riled most people - women in particular. The black man yelling at and berating his girlfriend prompted only two women to come forward and offer help. Of all the scenarios, the ones involving race were disheartening. As I watched these scene replayed on Oprah, I had to ask myself: what would I do? As long as I wasn't putting myself in danger, I would speak up, I would offer help, I would do the right thing. Wouldn't I?

Every Sunday, I meet friends for brunch at Saddle Ranch. The staff know us and treat us well - part of the reason we go back every Sunday. The staff may know us, but that doesn't get us a table when there aren't enough waitresses. Sometimes, we have to wait.

Two weeks ago, I watched a man and his family push past the host - a young kid - and sit at the table next to us. The man was ranting about service while the woman and two tween-age girls just sat there. The man's ranting quickly became louder and more vicious as his remarks turned to personal attacks on the young host. The man was relentless with his comments, each ruder and cruder than the last. I was getting angrier with each comment. Until the girls chimed in. These two girls - not much older than 13 - made rude, inappropriate and downright mean comments about the host and his assumed (or is it presumed?) sexual orientation. I was offended and outraged. I was shaking. And I was silent.

I got up from the table and stomped to the bathroom. I was so upset with myself for not saying anything. Why was I so scared? What was there to be afraid of? I stood at the sink, breathless and breathing heavily at the same time. I stared at myself in the mirror - what if those comments were about race instead of sexual orientation? What if he'd have said "Nigger" instead of "Faggot" - would I have said something then? What if those comments were directed at me instead of that kid? Would someone speak up for me? Would someone be as livid and speak out?

I thought I would. I thought I could. I didn't.

I felt sick and sad for several days after. But I wasn't so sure who was worse - the man or me.

John Quinones said "Our lives begin to end when we stay silent about things that matter."

What would you do?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

the write stuff

Hope your new year is off to a spectacular start, y'all. I had a psychic reading on New Year's day (I know!). Damn. All good :)

As you know I've been taking a creative writing class. Our final assignment, due on 1/18, is an essay. Which, in itself, is an excellent exercise in writing. However, the not so excellent part is that I have no idea what to write about!

I've written down a couple of sayings/phrases that struck me and in my mind I sorta see how I could flesh 'em out. Just not sure I can flesh 'em out to fit 3-5 pages. Ai yi yi.

So...I ask you, my 5 readers, help a girl out here! Toss out a few topics...maybe somethin'll stick...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

hell yeah!

I'm not here to test the waters;
I'm here to make waves!

I'm not sure who said it (Dorothy Parker??);
but *I* am sayin' it now!

Monday, January 05, 2009

the Name Game

the following is an in-class writing assignment in which we have 10-20 minutes to write about a particular topic; this time limit does not always allow for nice, wrapped-up endings...I apologize now for the abrupt one here.

Write about your name...

My mom is an opera singer. She has the most beautiful soprano voice...her favorite singer is Risë Stevens. Now, Rise Stevens spells her name R-I-S-E with an accent mark over the E. Apparently, my mom found that to be much too pretentious, so she changed the spelling to HER liking ~ R-I-S-S-A.

I never game my name much thought, really...until I got a new bike in the 5th grade. Susan Gilbert got a new bike. Mary Roberts got a new bike. Sara Palmer got a new bike. Kevin, Brian & Jimmy Hill, Lisa & Ricky Jones, Larry & Tammy Castleman all got new bikes. They all got new bikes with blue & yellow license plates bearing their names! Yep. Every last one of them had their names on a license plate. When I asked my parents for a license plate with *my* name, Mom had to gently explain there wasn't one. I was having NONE of it. She had to be lying. Somewhere there had to be a shiny blue & yellow license plate with my name on it. There just *had* to be! That became my quest, my obsession - find a mug, a magnet, a something with my name on it!

For my birthday that year, Mom gave me personalize pencils ordered from the Lillian Vernon catalog. And thus began my Mom's 'signature' gift - personalized [fill-in the blank] ~ towels, bathrobes, blankets, gym bags, coffee cups, luggage, sweatshirts, back packs, car mats, car seat covers, door mats, wine carafes, wine glasses, wine. Good grief! I've got my name on everything now!