Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear Lane Bryant...

Santa's good.

Two days before Christmas, I received an email from Lane Bryant heralding their day after Christmas sale. Bras and jeans on sale. I made a mental note because, really, when bras are 'buy 2 get 2' I'm all over it.

Lo and behold on Christmas Day, what does little Reesie get? Gift card to Lane Bryant. Well played, Santa!

So, off to Burbank I go the day after Christmas. I know, I know. Crazy Reesie out with the other crazies at the maul mall. I got into Lane Bryant by 8 o'clock that morning. I was out of the mall parking lot by 9:15 a.m.

I was the lone crazy person shopper in the store. Kid in the candy store, money burning a hole in my pocket, I looked around, wide-eyed at all that lay before me inside Lane Bryant. Like the responsible adult I am, I tell the girl I need bras and jeans for sure and maybe something fun if there's enough leftover.

I get measured. I try on. I select. I set aside. Moving to the wall of jeans, the gal asks my size. "4 yellow tall" [Lane Bryant has this 'Right Fit' way of measuring for jeans based on your shape]. "Oh, we don't carry talls in stores anymore."

You don't carry talls in stores anymore?! Huh? Wha?

"How am I supposed to get jeans?"
"Just go online and order!" She was a bit too cheery about this.
"How will I know if the jeans are long enough?"
"You can return the jeans to the store if they don't fit."
"So...I have to BUY jeans, WAIT 4-8 business days to get them, then TRY THEM ON?"

I have to buy jeans that may or may not fit, wait for them to arrive, then return if they don't. That just doesn't seem right. And, I tell the girl. Sorry for her. Why can't I go into the store and try them on, ensure they fit, then purchase? I was livid. The sales gal had me try on 'average' size jeans "for the fit" and then guessed how long the talls would be. Ai yi yi! A lot of stores increase the rise of the jeans and call them tall. Uh, my legs are long. I need length!

Later that night, I found Lane Bryant on Twitter (@lanebryant). Dear @lanebryant, Why did you take tall jeans and pants out of your stores?! I got a DM (direct message) saying all I had to do was order online.

Dear @lanebryant, I have to BUY jeans that may or may not fit?
Yes, then return if they don't fit you. Thanks!

Are you kidding me?! What a tremendous pain! These messages went on for 3 or 4 more rounds, each with a line that has nothing to do with anything, really - have them shipped to the store! There is no demand for talls! You can easily return to a store!

I have to spend money in hopes that the jeans fit? I've shopped like that for most of my life! Many is the number of times I've been tremendously disappointed when something I adored in a catalog didn't fit. It's frustrating. It's disappointing. And it pisses me off!

NOW where am I going to find tall jeans?


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Food Review ~ The Bazaar

It's no secret I like to eat. Dare I call myself a 'foodie'? Well...okay!

I traipse over the hill to meet friends at The Bazaar, a dark bar/restaurant/hip spot in the SLS Hotel on La Cienega. The bar looked cool - all dark with its tall glass-topped tables and cushy bar stools. That's really all I saw as we were immediately whisked off to our table.

We were seated in the dark dining room with a view of the bright white, well-lit kitchen. The room was bustling, movement of all sorts going on; mainly waiters dashing about carrying plates of delicious looking food. Our waiter - young and adorable - greeted us and recited his spiel like a seasoned server should. He explained the tapas menu then took our drink order. "Three 'Winter Wonderland' drinks please."

Winter Wonderland is one hell of a drink. I could write an entire post about this drink alone. An entire post! But, I won't.

So, over to our table comes young and adorable waiter #2 pushing a cart. For a minute there I thought were were getting table-side guacamole service. Nope. It's table-side drink service - even better!

This is what I remember of the Winter Wonderland - delicious, crushed nuts, liquid nitrogen and a lot of alcohol. Oh, yes, the drink is made with liquid nitrogen. It's scooped into a glass and served with a spoon. I know! Ohh, it's so yummy.

Then, there's the food. Oh, the food! Here's what we had:
  • Sweet potato chips with yogurt sauce - not sure who started the whole sweet potato chips/fries thing, but, thank you whoever you are.
  • Green asparagus tempura - these things were huge. Huge! I can't even...I mean...they're! They are the size of those jumbo pencils at Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. You know what I'm talking about. THAT was the size of the asparagus. Fact.
  • Endive with goat cheese - for me, if the description reads "...with goat cheese..." I'm IN. The goat cheese had a light and lovely citrusy flavor to it; perfect pairing with the endive.
  • Beef hanger steak - much too rare for me, though I'm sure it was tasty.
  • Tortilla de patatas "new way" - this was very interesting...potato foam/soup + egg 63 *in an egg shell*! Clever. Yummy.
  • Jicama-wrapped guacamole - Oh. My! Tissue paper-thin jicama slices filled with guacamole. Ohh, yes. Simple. Very very good. I would eat that plus the little sandwiches and be perfectly happy.
  • Philly cheesesteak - these little air pockets of bread filled with beef and melted cheddar. It's no Geno's or Jim's or Pat's. These little sandwiches stand on their own as far as cheesesteaks go. The vegetarian version (Hilly cheesesteak) has mushrooms instead of beef. These are ordered per person. Do yourself a favor and order at least two. You're welcome.

Somewhere in between I ordered my second drink - Hendrick's gin and tonic. Not too exciting except for the ice ball. The perfectly shaped ice ball kept my drink cold through the rest of dinner and into dessert and it kept me fascinated.

After dinner, we were escorted to the Patisserie for dessert. The dessert bar had a fantastic selection of bons bons, cookies, candy (chocolate covered Pop Rocks anyone?), cakes and assorted pastries. I had a lovely, light green tea cookie and an absolutely delicious eyes rolled into the back of my head chocolate coffee bon bon.

The Bazaar is a wonderful food and drink experience. The sights, the sounds, the tastes all add up to something good. Bring friends and plenty of cash.

The Bazaar
at SLS Hotel
Reservations: 310.246.5555

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Girl of 100 Lists ~ 20 Movies

This meme is makin' the rounds on Facebook ~ thanks, Liz

20 movies that will always stick with me...

[in no particular order]

  1. Rear Window
  2. Amazing Grace and Chuck
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird
  4. the Shawshank Redemption
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  6. Angels in the Outfield
  7. Akira Kurosawa's Dreams
  8. Hair
  9. Godspell
  10. the Sound of Music
  11. The Manchurian Candidate (the original thankyouverymuch!)
  12. the Wizard of Oz
  13. Sounder
  14. Boyz n the Hood
  15. Grease
  16. the Goonies
  17. Sixteen Candles
  18. the Truman Show
  19. Billy Elliot
  20. Duel

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creative Writing In-Class Assignment 10.26.10 - Best & Worst Gifts EVER

Ten minutes to write about the best gift and the worst gift ever received.

Worst gift ever? EASY!

My godmother, bless her heart, was a bit...oh, y'know...crazy. She was a very dear friend of my parents and of my grandparents; made sense she would be named my godmother. Every birthday and every Christmas, she would send money. OK, she would send a card, but there was money inside and that's what I wanted.

At the age of fourteen, we spent Christmas eve with my grandparents in San Pedro. It was a change to our traditional tradition and I liked it. Mainly because it meant homemade lemon meringue pies. (Hey - that's a contender for best gift!) Anyway, my godmother, stopped by that Christmas Eve. I remember a green-wrapped box and something about giving a gift instead of a card and money. Didn't she know I had plans for that money?! So, there I sat - me, fourteen years old and a green box. I ripped the paper to find...

The Jamie Somers Bionic Woman board game. Seriously.

And it gets better!

The game? Used. Uh huh. Battered box, round yellow sticker with "$1" handwritten on it and two of the Bionic Woman's teeth blacked out.

What a tremendous waste of a dollar.

Best gift ever? I don't even know. Loads of gifts have been the best gift ever at the time...Rick Springfield tickets, Duran Duran tickers, my first dual-cassette stereo, the California King bed I got in ninth grade, surfing lessons...with Hawaii - yeah, that was pretty stellar. I'm leaning toward being asked to marry Laura and Jerric. I guess it's a gift, right? Maybe it's a gift from me...? Oh, I don't know. This class is a gift. To me, from me. This journal is a gift. On tour with Squeeze and the English Beat was a gift. Each of you is a gift - well, your friendship is a gift. Yeah, I guess all gifts are best.

And that's how I am wrapping this up.

Creative Writing In-Class Assignment 10.26.10 - writing prompt

Ten minutes to write on the following prompt:

The town is so quiet. Its heart beats just twice a day when the train goes through.

Tumbleweeds roll. Dust clouds spin. Leaves on the trees sway. Jeb had ridden past, ridden through this town dozens of times. Good and bad points to being a hobo. First time through, Jeb fell in love. Perfectly manicured lawns, tidy white houses, blue shutters, floral curtains and porches that wrap around the house. 10:05 a.m. and 6:37 p.m. Number 733 rolled through the town. Ladies waved at the train from doors, windows and porches. Kids waved from bikes, trikes and bus stops. Men waved from corners, cars and lawns. Every day, twice a day. Jeb thought this must be the friendliest place in the world.

He jumped from the 733 and went looking around town. Hadn't he just seen women and kids waving? Didn't he just see a group of men chatting on the corner? Where did they go?

He walked along Front Street, which ran parallel to the tracks. The streets were clean and quiet. He stopped at the corner of Front and Mirage, staring at a tidy white house.

"Aw, hell!"

Jeb jumped at hearing the exclamation. Up the steps, onto the porch, Jeb peered in through the front window. Inside, a little old man rifled through a heavy metal tool box and muttered to himself. The old man was working on some sort of a cutout, attached to springs, that lay flat on the floor. He tinkered and cursed then stepped back. The old man hit a remote control; up popped the cutout from the floor. A cutout of a woman smiling, one hand waving automatically. Jeb slumped against the wall and slid to the porch.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

NaBloPoMo 10.5 ~ Play!

When this song came out, the local radio stations changed "play my motherfucking song!" to "play my mother's favorite song!"

I can't sing it the right way.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

NaBloPoMo 10.3 - Play!

"The girl who can't dance says the band can't play." ~ Yiddish proverb

Saturday, October 02, 2010

NaBloPoMo 10.2 - Play!

"I play the harmonica. The only way I can play is if I get my car going really fast, and stick it out the window." - Steven Wright

I have musical parents. Dad is a piano player. Never had a lesson. Ever. He plays by ear. Yeah. After seeing a matinee performance of Phantom of the Opera, my dad sat at his piano and played "Music of the Night." At the age of seven, I took piano lessons. I realized quickly that lessons sucked and I wouldn't be playing like my dad for a long, long time. So, I gave up.

Mom is an opera singer. She trained as a young girl and won several competitions in her teens. When she was in the Air Force, she was part of the entertainment troupe that traveled to other Air Force bases all over the world.

I don't sing like my mom. I don't play piano like my dad. Me? I play the stereo. Like my dad, I've never had a lesson. Ever. And, not to brag or anything, but I am pretty damn good. I can shuffle CDs, change a cassette from Side A to Side B at the push of a button; I can program a few songs to play over and over. I can even switch from radio to cassette to disc then back again! Not too shabby for a self-taught stereo player, huh?

I turn it on then push PLAY.

Friday, October 01, 2010

NaBloPoMo 10.1 ~ Play!

Confucius say: It is better to play than do nothing.

So, I am going to play with National Blog Posting Month!

It's the first of the month - time for me to attempt a blog post every day in October. The NaBloPoMo theme is PLAY! So many ways to interpret the word...should be a fun month :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Flash Fiction Writing Challenge - Round 1/Challenge 2

genre ~ Romantic Comedy
location ~ a plastic surgery clinic
object ~ spider web


Her black leather portfolio wreaked as much havoc as she had, Monty mused. After sliding across the tile floor, collecting its crumbs and spilled coffee and grime, the notebook hit – and broke – the leg of a display stand. Let’s just say it was a bad day to be low-man on that coffee shop’s totem pole. The portfolio’s owner had managed to spill coffee on the businessmen behind her and the twenty-something next to her. Red-faced and apologetic, she turned and hefted her tote bag onto her shoulder…only to have the strap break, sending the bag’s contents to the floor. Her pièce de résistance was executing perfect splits while dozens of colorful sugar packets rained down on her like confetti. The patrons of the coffee shop erupted in applause when she triumphantly threw her arms up as if ending a perfect Olympic gymnastics routine. She stood, curtsied and walked out. It was quite an amusing sight.

“8.75 – it was a sloppy routine,” said a frumpy soccer mom seated at a table nearby.

“No,” clucked her companion. “She gets a solid 10 for the splits alone!” They laughed.

The cheap brown napkins were better suited for smearing than wiping off, but Monty did the best he could to clean the nice leather. The letters ‘DW’ were embossed in gold on the corner of the portfolio. He opened it, pulling out papers looking for a clue as to the identity of the owner.

“Do you always snoop through other people’s belongings, sir?” Monty met her weary gaze with a grin. She was still red-faced and not amused.

“Only when trying to find out to whom the belongings belong to, madam.” Monty put the papers back inside and closed the portfolio. He held it out to her. With no hands free to grab, Monty tucked it into her broken tote bag. She turned, started to leave.

“You’re welcome.” She looked back at him.

“Uh...thanks…” she smiled weakly. “I’m sorry. It’s been a rough morning. The very last thing I wanted to do was come back here. But, I need this thing. Thank you very much.” She adjusted her bag and jacket. “I’m Dorothy. I’d shake your hand but…” She shrugged.

“I’m Monty. It’s nice to meet you, Dorothy” he nodded. She turned and walked out the door. “Hey, wait…” Monty stooped to pick up pieces of yellow paper. He read the Post-It notes – his words, his writing.

She rushed into the office, late and completely disheveled. In the six months she had worked at the Viren Center, Toni had never been late.

“I’m here! I’m here! Sorry – it’s been a ridiculous morning.” Toni dropped her stuff beneath her desk and plopped down in the chair. Nadine, Viren Center’s receptionist, opened the glass partition.

“You look a mess! Are you okay? What happened?” Toni took a deep breath. There was no way to avoid sharing her story. In this office of women – including the doctors – her personal tales of humiliation and embarrassment were vicarious moments for the others.

“Oh, it was nothing. I simply put on a show for the patrons of Coffee Grinders…that’s all.” By this time, everyone had gathered at her office door or partition. No way to avoid it now, it was time for show number two.

“First, I spilled coffee on a few people. Then, my bag broke. My notebook knocked over a display rack. And I slipped and ended up doing the splits. I only scored a 9.85 – those judges can be so harsh. It was clearly a routine worthy of a ‘10’.” Her co-workers laughed.

“Toni, we need every single detail. Tell me more, tell me more!” sang Bonnie, the patient care manager.

“Dorothy,” a soothing voice came from the doorway. Dr. Viren always called her by her given name. “Are you okay?” Toni shrugged her shoulder and shook her head.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Just embarrassed. I had to go back to get my notebook. Some guy was looking through it. He was thoroughly amused.”

“Glad you’re okay” said Dr. Viren. “Leslie wants to know if there’s a note today.”

“I don’t know…” For the past several weeks, Toni and one of the night janitor’s had been exchanging a series of notes. It started with a hand-written note on her Daily Affirmations calendar – crap read the sticky note.

She replied with why?

not an affirmation

what is?

She laughed when she saw a spider web drawn on a note with the words some pig written in it.

affirmation for the pig

The next day, two more spider web notes: terrific and radiant

Toni wrote good book
great book!

The one or two-word notes eventually became letters, though still written on Post-It notes. It was weird talking to someone you’d never met. Toni thought of the two of them as pen-pals – asking and answering questions, sharing stories and anecdotes as if writing a journal. Today, there was no note. Toni turned on her computer and started working, hoping it would erase the morning’s event.

Right before lunch, Nadine opened the glass partition and handed Toni an envelope.

“This was just dropped off for you, doll. I’m going to forward the lines to the answering service. I’ll meet you in the lot.”

Toni opened the envelope. Inside was a brown paper napkin; written on it was nice splits. She shoved it in her bag and walked out to meet Nadine. Monty was sitting on the bench.

“Hey…what are you…” Her face turned red. Toni pulled the napkin out of her bag. She held it up to Monty, cocked her head. He nodded and held up her collection of the notes they had written. She grabbed a pen.

great splits! Monty took the pen from her.


“Hi, Dorothy.”

“Hi, Monty.”

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flash Fiction Challenge 2010 - Part II

OK...Round 1, Challenge 1 scored me 14 points and a current 6th place standing. Round 1, Challenge 2 assignments were sent last night:

genre: Romantic Comedy
location: plastic surgery clinic
object: a spiderweb

I feel pretty good about this...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rock out with my ink out!

So, remember that writing contest I entered in August? Yeah, well, my story took 6th place with 14 points in Round 1/Challenge 1.


Round 1/Challenge 2 starts tomorrow night. Another set of parameters [genre, location and object]. Another 48 hours to create a 1,000 word story.

The points total of Challenge 1+2 will determine if you (me) moves onto Round 2.

Super excited and totally proud of myself!

Saturday, August 21, 2010


You don't need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.
- Guy Finley

Friday, August 20, 2010

my Flash Fiction Challenge entry

Feast for Lady Simone
Challenge 1
Group 1
Sci-Fi genre - a magic show location - a sandbag object
(48 hours to write a story 1,000 words or less)

Butch tried to look as disinterested as the others in the theater lobby. One hand shoved into the front pocket of his skinny jeans, the other tapping a rhythm on his thigh, he considered the art deco lamps a little too long. Shaking his head to focus on the now, he looked around at the others. All of them slight, young boys dressed in hoodies, “manpris” and skinny jeans; costumed as though it were a casting call. Small groups huddled in corners...separating, segregating themselves; diminishing, dismissing others. All of them leaning or lounging and feigning disinterest. Much like Butch.

The foyer lights slowly dimmed, hushing the crowd, their silence reverential. One spotlight illuminated twelve raven-haired beauties on the second level. Dressed in white halter tops with black bow ties, tight black leather pants and sexy stiletto heels, one by one the twelve descended the dual staircase. Perfectly executed, precise timing and practiced moves; measured, mechanical moves. Though some wanted to whistle or yell his appreciation, barely audible gasps were the only sounds. Butch watched, mouth agape, as the girls sauntered by him, through the parted crowd to the theater doors. Damn he thought. I’d like to get my hands on that right there...oh, yeah…

At the door, Butch was handed a pair of silver plastic glasses with three buttons on the wide temple. The gorgeous girl gave simple instructions: adjust as necessary and enjoy. Butch stared at her ruby red lips, hardly suppressing his urge to lick, bite and kiss them. Damn…he thought as he was pushed hastily into the theater. Butch strolled down the aisle, finding a seat on the end. He looked around, admiring the beauty and decadence of the theater – the gilded fixtures, the lush colors and fabrics. The heavy red curtain, with its gold-fringed embellishments, was lit by lights set on the edge of the stage.

Butch put on his glasses, tilted his head back and fingered the buttons on the arm of the frames. The button closest to the lens brought the ceiling zooming towards him. The middle button set his focus. The third button moved the ceiling back to its proper distance. Butch looked around as the others explored the theater with their newly discovered controls.

Under the theater, twelve more raven-haired beauties collected data sent from microchips hidden in each pair of silver plastic glasses.

The private chamber above the theater was a scene of striking beauty. An amazon, clad in a long red robe, stood in the center of the room, surveying monitors and computer screens. At her feet sat several young men, gazing up at her, adoringly. More raven-haired beauties stood at attention along a wall, awaiting a command and direction.

“Ten minutes,” said a red-haired boy.
She returned his adoring gaze. “Thank you, my love.”

With a simple nod of her head, two of her girls moved from the wall in measured, mechanical steps. She disrobed and allowed her girls to dress her in black halter top, black stockings, black shorts. She looked at the red-haired boy. “Boots.” He moved quickly, taking the black boots from one of her girls. He steadied her as she stepped into each boot. He knelt behind her, zipping one boot to a close above the bend of her knee. He licked and kissed behind her other knee, then zipped the boot. “Thank you,” he said, returning to sit in front of her. She drew him to his feet, kissed him lightly on his lips, turned and left the room.

The orchestra of raven-haired beauties played as lights flashed and swirled around the theater. Butch and the others waited anxiously for the show to begin.

“And now…the show you have all been waiting to see…may I present to you the magnificent Lady Simone!”

She strode confidently onto the stage. She smiled broadly, appreciating the whistles and thunderous applause. She stopped stage right, bowed slightly. She crossed to stage left, bowed slightly. She stopped center stage, smiling, until the applause ceased. Once it did, two of her girls walked in measured, mechanical steps from the wings and removed her cape. The whistles and applause started again; she bowed deeply.

The show was a tremendous spectacle of lights and illusions. Lady Simone moved in a confident, sexy way across the stage. The audience delighted in her magic, illusions and movement. She never stopped. She never spoke.

She took great pleasure seeing the smiles on the faces of the lovely young men seated in her theater. She would take great pleasure in them, indeed, as they were soon to be hers. Her boys were growing older. She needed to replace them. Her girls needed to be serviced and fed. Her girls would be pleased. And that pleased Lady Simone.

For her finale, Lady Simone brought four of her girls onstage. She hypnotized two of the girls. Lady Simone placed these girls, head first, into huge empty sandbags. With each bag tied tightly, the hypnotized girls were hung by their feet from a bar. This bar was then slowly raised out over the audience. Butch and the others boys pushed the buttons on their glasses to zoom and focus on the bags suspended above their heads. There was no movement. Well, none that they could see.

On the stage, Lady Simone was blindfolded and given a crossbow. As she drew the arrow back, one of her girls set it on fire. The crowd gasped then hushed. Lady Simone took aim, steadied herself and let the flaming arrow fly. The arrow hit its target perfectly, the bag exploding sending glitter and confetti raining down on the wildly applauding audience. Another arrow. Another perfect hit! More glitter, more confetti, more applause.

Within minutes, the theater was silent. By this time, Lady Simone had returned to her private room, now empty. She watched the monitors, watching her girls collect her new young men in the theater. She smiled, quite pleased. She left to prepare herself for The Feast.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I finished my Flash Fiction Challenge entry last night and submitted with 3 hours to spare. What an incredible feeling! I was more challenged by the title and story synopsis.

Now, I wait...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Flash Fiction Challenge 2010!

I signed up for another writing contest. This time, it's the Flash Fiction Challenge - 48 hours to write a 1,000 word story with an assigned genre, location and object.

Last time I entered a writing contest, it was the Short Story Challenge - one week to write 2,500 word story. I took 4th place in my heat. Not bad for my first foray into writing contests.

I got my assignment last night: Sci-Fi genre, a magic show is the location and the object is a sandbag.


I know nothing of Sci-Fi writing! I had a couple of ideas...ambitious I slept on it. This morning, I took some time to formulate a story, one with a clear ending. And I started to write.

I am halfway through - in story and words. So, I'm letting it sit. I will edit what I have tomorrow; finish then submit by 8:59 p.m. EST.


When they said 'Challenge' they weren't lyin'!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dr. Laura and the N-word

What is up with everyone using the N-word?!

Dr. Laura used it on her radio's okay because you heard it on HBO? Oh, come ON. "Everyone else says it, so why can't I?" Ugh. Seriously? We have a black president now so it should be okay?

To me ~ doesn't matter WHO says it: Whoopi, Flav, some 15-year old black kid on the football field or some 15-year old white kid replacing "-er" with "-a" - the word is hate-based, degrading and intended to hurt.

No doubt the word is thrown
around in homes, smoke-filled recording studios, amongst friends. In private. John Mayer tossed it out to a reporter of a national magazine. Dr. Laura said it several times in a short period of time to dozens(?), hundreds(?) of listeners nationwide (I don't know much about her show).

Have you ever been called that name filled with all the vile meaning and hatred intended? I have. My dad has. My mom has (she's Hawaiian!). My family has. Sticks and stones don't hurt as much as being called that name.

I know many in the music industry throw the word out there for shock value yet under the guise of "taking back the power." It's so pervasive and accepted; which is why white suburban kids don't understand why the word riles.

Don't tell me it's "just a word"...Dr. Laura said the caller had a 'chip on her shoulder' and had the fucking nerve to say "If you're hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race." Unbelievable.


I can't even get words straight in my head.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'd much rather listen to my iPod

In one week, I have heard the phrase 'listen to your heart' a dozen times from half a dozen people. This morning, I heard the Roxette song of the same name while driving the 405, returning home after a trip to LAX. Sign, sign, every where a sign! So, I decided to sit and listen to my heart.

The buildings, the pool are deserted. Strange for a Saturday. Is it a holiday? I wondered. It is almost back-to-school time, but there are no kids to go back to school in the building. Enjoy, don't question, the silence.

I drop my feet into the pool, brief shock of cold ripples through my body as the water ripples from my movement. Be still. Listen to your heart. I fidget instead. I flutter my feet in the water. Anything but still. So, I sit and listen to the sounds...

window slides open...motorcycle revs, tires screech out of a driveway...a telephone rings...MY telephone rings...Burbank Blvd traffic...dishes in a laughing...a gate clanks closed...

And then, silence.

I wait. And, I wait. Red rover, red rover send Rissa's thoughts right over! These thoughts and feelings come up. Afraid, I push them back. I don't want to do this...I know what the answers are...and I know I will have to do something about them when (if) they are out.

I sit still again. Ten minutes of fidget. Ten minutes of stop and start. Ten minutes of silently wishing my phone would ring or for a friendly neighbor to stop and say hello. No such luck.

Again, I sit still. These thoughts and feelings come up. Afraid, I let them out. Oh, how I want to chase after them, like bubbles and dandelions, pop them or blow them far, far away. Oh, how I want to chase after them, gather them up and put them back. I don't. I let them tumble out and let myself look at them.

2 very distinct thoughts return to me, circle around then return to my head, my heart. I am very aware of these thoughts, they are nothing new. They are, however, quite surprising. They are much clearer, more defined to me now. And, I'm not so afraid to pursue them.

OK, that's a lie. I'm terrified! Ha!

"Hi Rissa! Isn't the water cold?"

The still. It's over.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

For the LAST time...

Yep, I'm tall.

No, my parents are not really tall, too.

You feel short next to me because, quite frankly, you are short.

Yeah, I bet you wish you were tall, like me.

And, I wear heels because, quite frankly, I rock the shit out of 'em.

Please. Stop. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

August and everything

Yesterday, I was blue. Leaving Napa, driving home while the others stretched their journey one more night, was incredibly heavy. There was definite sadness knowing I had short-changed myself. How shortsighted I was to think missing the last show of the tour wouldn't matter! For that, I am sad.

Yet on the drive home, I was anything but sad. All of the memories tripped over each other, fighting to tumble out first and wrap me up in happy. I laughed out loud. I sang even louder. I smiled at the little things, fully appreciating them - a joke, a comment, a move, a song, a look. These feelings, this collection of bits and pieces of sights and sounds, will keep me wrapped up in happy for a long, long time.

So, imagine me going back to work today. Yeah. Good times. I was there, I was in it...I was working. And all the good of the past two weeks slowly chip chip chipped away. I was losing the Me of the past two weeks to other people. WTF?! What's up with *that*?! The Me of the past two weeks was IS Me. It's the true Me. It's the Me I allowed myself to become. And, I needed to get that back.

I sat there, door closed, music on, phone ringing. And, once again, let those memories trip over each other, let them fight to tumble out first and wrap me in happy. THAT'S the feeling I need to remember ('member? You 'member!). I kept it, sometimes fighting to keep it, and carried on. It's a slow process, this vacation transition

Writing did not take a backseat during vacation. On my day off at home, I wrote 3 short stories. Three! I know! I tossed one, edited the other and one is just sitting there. I blogged. I journaled. I wrote a lot. The Flash Fiction contest starts in a couple of weeks. Prepare...looking forward to the challenge - one story, one thousand words. EEK!

I did something bold today. Something out of character. And, it paid off. Just one more thing to tuck away...until it tumbles out to wrap me in happy.

Using this feeling to shove me forward when it comes to my living situation. This is possible. I have always been able to see the end, how it's supposed to be. I know how it's supposed to feel...I KNOW it, I can feel it. It's not the same feeling of hopeless under a mask of so-called hope I've spoke of in the past. I see all of this stuff in a completely different light. My life inside and outside these four walls will soon be on the same level.

Going to channel this restlessness toward something good, something new, something improved. Not quite sure why...but August - and everything - is going to be most excellent.

(This rambling writing style is just not me. It just seems unfulfilling and incomplete. But, it's something I told myself to try - just write, put it down, get it out. And I have. It's just not for me.)

Sunday, August 01, 2010


looks like the beast that is Restlessness has been shaken and is currently stirring...just what I need. I can't go through this again. The wanting, the needing, the feeling, the knowing there's something else and/or something more for me beyond the four walls of my office. The uncertainty of what that something is or may be is what keeps me beating Restless back into submission again and again. I'm fearless a lot of the time. I'm fearful all of the time.

So many things are swirling right above my head, all within reach. I just can't decide what to pluck or what to shuck. I don't want to wait for everything to fall down on me, around me...

On another note...someone has returned to my life. It's peripheral, strictly words on a computer or cell phone screen. Talk about stirring. As much as I love the attention, this may very well be a huge mistake. Again.

On yet another note...longing to contact someone. I'm not sure how to do so, how to approach or if I should even bother. But this strange feeling, connection or chemistry or something is drawing me this way. Part of it is this whole caregiver thing I have...


Summer Tour 2010 - It's the End of the Party

Tough to walk away last night. People were milling about and it was bittersweet. Just as I was getting to know them all - Grace, Peter, John, the others. I stood there, longing to be smack-dab in the middle of them, it - the chatter, the drinks, the smoke, the laughter. I wanted to grab it all, wrap myself up so tight in the memories of my new friends...then just stay there, warm and remembering.

I said goodbye to everyone a dozen times in the hopes someone had one wish left to bestow upon me. This was not to be. Accepted, reluctantly. My wishes were used for two weeks of fucking awesome! Guess being greedy just wouldn't be right...

There was no backstage room; the guys all stayed on their buses or on the side street. I had wanted to talk with Chris again, couldn't find him. He's a slick guy, disappearing just as you notice he's around. A car was waiting to take him away. Fans were waiting to take him away, too. I just stood there, staring. Why in the world am I so intimidated and scared? Well, other than the fact that he is Chris effing Difford. It took me a few minutes to work up the nerve. I popped my head in the driver's side door - "Chris, hope you feel better. Thank you so very much for the past two weeks. It was wonderful and fun and true joy and everything." Mind you, I'm saying this like running a sprint, words tumbling out before I could think. He smiled and said some very nice things. I closed the car door, walked away all warm and happy, smiling and bummed that it took me until the end to talk with him. Oh well...

Memories of conversations had and overheard roll around in my head making it difficult to write this...I'm actually tearing up, so emotional. (Crybaby!) I will sit with these memories. I will let them trip and fall, spin and stumble around up there...then smile as they spill out to keep me company on my drive home. Eight hours is a long time.

"Do it now you know there's never a next time..."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.31 Summer Tour 2010 - Northern CA

Woke up in a delightful bed in a great hotel room ~ thank you Cypress Hotel, Cupertino. Yet, I am feeling incredibly lonely. This laptop is a blessing and a curse as I can't stay away from it...seeking some sort of contact via Facebook or Twitter. Someone, anyone to reach out to. I don't know how these bands do it...

Today is my last day of Summer Tour 2010. I do not want it to end! :::stomping feet::: No no no! It has been such an incredible experience ~ the places, the music, the experiences, the people. I am so amazed that this is me. Ten years ago, I would never have embarked on an adventure like this - too introverted, too hyper-aware, too scared. These past two weeks have showed me Me. I wrangled media for Dave, reaching out to interviewers, keeping them entertained while waiting, put myself out there first, no waiting for someone to (hopefully) approach me.

Like their tshirts say, I quite like Squeeze. I'd met Glenn a year ago and reintroduced myself. He's such a delight on stage and off. John, bassist, is nice as well yet seems to disappear quickly. Simon, drummer, is a kick! He's boisterous and fun and funny and is quite the charmer. Stephen, keyboards, is...well...all sorts of things. I crushed a bit. :::shoulder shrug::: And then there's Chris. I finally worked up nerve to talk to him last night. Such a drag I didn't do it sooner. I have to admit to feeling scared of him. So, I looked for him on Twitter, sent a tweet and then gave myself permission to talk to him. I dunno. Weird. Whatever. He was nice to me though I think he wasn't feeling well.

I think I'll flip video tonight's show. Warned Candy I'm likely to cry during Goodbye Girl. Told Glenn "Tomorrow, my hourglass will have no more grains of sand..." He laughed that big lovely laugh (it's one of his lyrics - ha).

I am certainly going to miss all of this...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.28 - the clown to the left of me...

The other night, during Squeeze's encore, a short (5'5"-5'6") guy danced up to me. I was in my happy bubble, as usual, so I paid him no mind. He moved to my left and started to bump me. Eyes on stage, I leaned down.

"You're tall" he says.
"Yeah, I know." I go back to singing the chorus of the encore. He bumped me a couple more times.

"No. I mean you're really, really tall."
"Yep. I really, really know that, too." He taps my shoulder several times, like a kid who tries to get an adult's attention. Still singing, eyes on stage, I lean down once more.
"Will you put me in your back pocket and carry me around?" I look at the strangely hopeful expression on his face and remain silent.

I hope that wasn't his 'A' game.

Monday, July 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.26 - Summer Tour 2010: Denver

Las Vegas NV

Sitting in my hotel room, reliving last night, I decided to not blog about it. I mean, who the hell do I think I am?! I’m just me, so I settled on keeping part of this story to myself and my journal.

About 30 minutes ago, I read my friend Melanie’s latest blog in which she asked herself the same question: Who the hell do I think I am? Well, that’s been answered. Here we go:

I left Minneapolis to spend four days in Denver. This will be the longest stay in one place on my Summer Tour. Other than the show on Sunday, I was so excited to spend time with three good friends – Ruthie, Marc and Steve. I hadn’t spent much time in Denver when I was there as Miss Tall in 1997, so having time to see the city was exciting.

Ruthie and I met in the tall club, likely at an Orange County 2nd Friday Night dance. We really came to know each other at the TCI convention in Clearwater Beach FL in 1997. She is such a sweet, witty and wise lady. I’ve always enjoyed her stories and company and her great laugh. Graciously, Ruthie was my airport shuttle and Denver tour guide. We lunched at this FAB restaurant called Encore on Colfax . Wow! The food menu wasn’t lengthy; but everything on the menu was such an interesting pairing/combination: seared scallops with watermelon/tomato/corn/fennel relish on mixed greens; fig & pig pizza (fig paste, prosciutto, gorgonzola); mac n cheese with English peas and toasted almonds. Such a delightfully different menu. So delightful, in fact, I went back the next day! Anyway, it was great to catch up with Ruthie…

Saturday afternoon was my Marco time! We met three years ago when he invited the BFFs to his time share in Puerto Vallarta. We got on great, had a great week in PV. The two of us spent a lot of time sitting on the patio or balcony, talking about music and life and everything in between. We became very good friends and stayed in touch. So, when he picked me up, we fell right into our easy chatter like no time had passed at all. I love friendships like that. We headed over to an area called the Highlands, to a bar called Lola. I was digging the vibe. It was eclectic and the crowd was age and ethnically diverse. I’d never seen so many inter-racial couples in one place! Honestly, did not think Denver would be so diverse. Marc and I abandoned Lola for the quieter Forest Room 5. This was a strange place – cuckoo clocks on the walls, a close-captioned Western showing on the wall above the bar, wood stumps for barstools, huge wood slabs (for lack of a better word/description) was the bar. Then, I spotted the Hendrick’s gin and all was less strange.

Sunday afternoon had me back at Encore restaurant with Steve and Chrissy. I’d heard so much about Chrissy that I just knew I knew her. And, it was an easy friendship from the get-go. The two of them walked into the hotel lobby and we hugged. Friends. Done. She is so lovely! And the two of them together are so fantastic. We caught up on life and chatted about John Mayer and Michael Jackson. Steve is out in SoCal often so we plan to get together again soon. Chrissy and I will make our own plans sans Steve.

Sunday night was the 2nd show of Summer Tour 2010. The Ogden is a great theater – huge, open venue with a balcony and split levels. In terms of layout, I would compare it to the Wiltern. Squeeze had their merchandise set up in the lobby, sharing space with the bar. This left a corner inside the theater for the Beat stuff. Candy and I were elated – we’d be able to SEE the show, not just hear it, like at the zoo. We were so ridiculously giddy! When Squeeze came on to do sound check, the two of us stopped arranging the merch to sing ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ as loud as our out-of-tune voices could get.

While waiting, two people came into the venue.

“Hi. Aren’t you Shannon? Love Hope Strength…?” I’m sure she gets that a lot. Shannon is the Executive Director of the Love Hope Strength Foundation which provides support for cancer-care centers around the world.
“I am.”
“Hi – I’m Rissa…met you last year at the PhillyRocks event.”

Shannon and Jeremy were there for the LHS ‘Get on the List’ bone marrow donor drive. (Sidebar: it’s easy, it’s painless and it’s FREE to get on the list at concerts around the country this summer. Do it!). That table was set up on the other side of the venue, we said our “See you laters” and got on with our business.

The Squeeze set was most excellent! With each song, Candy or I would squeal “Ohh, I LOVE this song!” then start singing and dancing. “Goodbye Girl” is the one that makes us pause to relive the memories each of us has associated with the song. I love watching Stephen on the keyboards – he’s so energetic and looks mighty fine in a well-tailored suit. When he breaks out the iPad for “Pulling Mussels” it’s so awesome! Technology, meet the 80s. Fantastic, I say.

After the show, Shannon invited me to join her and Jeremy for a drink at a bar across from my hotel two blocks away. After saying my goodbyes, I walked down to meet them at the Irish Snug. However, they were nowhere to be found. Uh…okay. I’m looking both ways, ready to run across Colfax Avenue to my hotel when I hear yelling. “RISSA! RISSA! OVER HERE!”

I make my through the bar to the outside patio and am greeted by Shannon, Jeremy, Simon (Squeeze drummer) and…Glenn Tilbrook. My stomach did flips worthy of Olympic competition 10s! I’m fairly certain my face did not betray my giddiness. Glenn stood up, kissed my cheek, hugged me and said “It’s nice to see you again.” Naturally, I would like to think he would remember me from September 2009 in Philadelphia. The likelihood of that is unlikely. He probably remembered me from staring at him during sound check at the zoo three nights prior! No matter. I was just hugged by Glenn Tilbrook.

Let me just say this – it is awesome to see movie stars and celebrities when out and about. However, musicians and songwriters bring out the 12 year-old girl in me. I identify so much with music and lyrics; every important or life-changing or defining moment is associated with a song or three. So, meeting any of these brilliant musicians/songwriters is a huge deal for me.

We were joined by Stephen and Ray, keyboardists for Squeeze and the English Beat, respectively. I enjoyed chatting up Stephen, talking about walking in L.A., flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and franchising Hot Chick-a-Latte. He is adorable! (And the British accent does not hurt at all)

I moved back into conversation with Shannon and Glenn, talking about last year’s Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, the upcoming trek to Mt. Fuji, how to get the LHS/Get on the List word out at the rest of the shows and the closing of the Rocky Stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a two-year, $1.5 billion renovation. I must admit, a few times my mind shut-down and all I could think was “That is Glenn Tilbrook. Glenn. Tilbrook.”

Our night was cut short by the tour manager’s mildly scolding “The bus is leaving.” I was sad. I didn’t want it to end! We said our goodbyes to Shannon and Jeremy. Stephen and Glenn hugged me and said “See you in Vegas.” Simon chimed in “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?” We shall see…

With that, I bid you a good-night from Las Vegas.