Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Journal in a Jar 01.18.10 ~ Birthday Bouquet

What is your favorite flower? Why?

My absolute favorite flower? The mixed bouquet I get from my Dad every year on my birthday.

It started in 3rd or 4th grade. I was called to the office at Mt. View Elementary School. On the counter sat a huge bouquet of flowers with a HAPPY BIRTHDAY note attached. I felt so important and so proud to have flowers at such a young age!

Dad still sends me flowers on my birthday, no matter where I am. He's switched it up on big birthdays by sending roses - gorgeous sterling or apricot roses. But, to be honest, the mixed bouquets of brightly colored flowers are what I absolutely love.

Journal in a Jar 01.17.10 ~ the Name Game

What is your full name and who were you named for? How do you feel about that name?

(this post is an updated/edited version of a previous post)

My mom is an opera singer. She has the most beautiful soprano voice...anyway, her favorite singer is Risë Stevens. Now, Rise Stevens spells her name R-I-S-E with umlautmark 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.

The double S gets me the "Riss-uh" pronunciation instead of the correct "Ree-sah" pronunciation. Anymore, I don't correct people. I've worked with this woman named Gloria for 8 years and she still calls me Riss-uh. .

I never gave my name much thought, really...until I got a new bike around 4th or 5th grade. Every kid in the neighborhood got bikes ~ Susan, Tracy, Mary, Sara, Jimmy, Kevin, Brian, Lisa, Ricky. 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! In 7th grade, I actually wanted to change my name. It never really caught on

For my birthday that year, Mom gave me personalized pencils ordered from the Lillian Vernon catalog. Yeah, it was kinda cool to have pencils with my name. It didn't make up for the lack of that blue and yellow license plate for my bike. But it was cool nonetheless.

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. I've got personalized everything!

I've met 3 other Risa's ~ one was a friend of my Mom's, another was a classmate (and later a AST sister) at Cal State Northridge and one who works with me at Warner Bros.

I'm totally fine with my name now. Though, I never got one of those license plates...

Journal in a Jar 01.16.10 ~ Eat This, Not That

What are your food preferences? How did they come about?

I prefer breakfast at any time.
Wheat vs. White
Chunky peanut butter.
Grape jelly.
1,000 Island vs. Ranch
Thanksgiving dinner isn't complete without sticky rice and chicken adobo (it's a Grandma thing)
Burgers without pickles
Spam (it's a Hawaiian thing)
Not a fan of mushrooms, olives or any type of melon
Firm believer that pineapple does not belong on pizza
Roasted pumpkin soup over a cinnamon-braised short rib was one of the best meals I've ever had ~ courtesy of Davio's, PhilaPA
8 times out of 10, I'll choose Mexican food
CrockPot cooking is the way to go

Most of these probably developed because it's what Mom brought home. I could go on and on, but I'm already three days behind!

Friday, January 15, 2010

the Short Story Challenge ~ Oh, it's ON!

And so it begins. The heats have been set, the genre & subject assigned, emails sent. I can hear the faint click click click of furious typing. It's the Short Story Challenge!

I'm in
Heat 4 of 30 with 21 other writers - none of whom have a name worthy of a dog.

Our assignment?

Genre - Ghost story
Subject - a piano

2,500 words. Due by 11:59 p.m. EST on 01.23.10. That's eight (8) days, people. Eek!

I'll start scribbling in my notebook and see what appears. This is actually pretty darn exciting! Eek!

Wish me luck...

EEK! Round One! :::ding:::

Official Delurker Day 2010

I'm using my Filch It Friday to totally filch from Greeblemonkey - where I first learned of Filch It Friday. Follow?

The day all you readers should leave me a comment. Not like tons of people read my blog or anything...but there are a few of you...right?

C'mon, humor me...leave a comment ~ anonymous even! You just have to do that pesky word verification thang.

I'd love to hear from you :)

Journal in a Jar - 01.15.10

Write about some of the places you went with your father.

Dad used to take me to the San Bernardino Civic Light Opera for musicals. It's one of my fondest memories because it was just the two of us. The night before the matinee, Mom would roll my hair in those pink plastic curlers. Remember those? Hard plastic with the spongey middle to wrap your hair around. Oh how I hated sleeping in those things! Inevitably, 3 or 4 would fall out, leaving me with imperfect curls. Dad would take me to Sir George's or the railroad car restaurant that used to be on Magnolia and Arlington in Riverside. Then off to the show.

The first show I recall in great detail is Godspell. John the Baptist stood in the aisle right next to me, blew his horn three times and proclaimed "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!" I was spellbound; completely fascinated by the music and the actors and the spectacle of a live show. I'm pretty sure I didn't understand what was happening - until the end when they 'crucify' Jesus by tying him to the fence. I still shiver at that (Oh God, I'm dying).

Another warm and wonderful memory is Sunday afternoons at Fiesta Village in Colton. Dad would take me and Yancy...we would play video games after a round of miniature golf, then race to the trampolines or batting cages. This was before Fiesta Village added the water slide. There were bumper boats at one point, I think. Jumping on the trampolines was my absolute favorite ~ free and flying for a brief moment. Absolute joy is what I'm feeling then and now.

One last memory...oh so long ago a road ran parallel to Ontario Airport. The area was unincorporated, no stop signs or signals and fairly dark. This road had a huge dip. I loved riding in Dad's '66 Mustang, speeding along, approaching this dip in the road and yelling "Coast it, Daddy! Coast it!" He would say he was coasting down the dip; who knows if he did or not. But the speed, the slight element of (10 year old perceived) danger and giggling always made me beg him to turn around and do it again.

I'm going to call my Dad today and thank him.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Journal in a Jar

Celia over at The Girl From Mars started her Journal in a Jar writings at the beginning of the year. I asked her about it ~ it's a wonderful gift as well as a brilliant idea. She gave up her 'connection' and I got me a Journal in a Jar!

The jar contains 200+ questions to use as journal topics/writing prompts. I'm excited to start this...relive some memories, kick my writing into gear. I've already started writing in my journal; will start posting here tomorrow.

Many thanks to Tami for the jar and to Celia for sharing :)

What Have I Done? What Have I Done?!

I signed up for the Short Story Challenge - that's what I done.

Tomorrow night, I will receive a link to my writing assignment - a genre and a subject (such as horror and family reunion). I will then have eight days to write a 2,500 word short story. Eek!

After submitting my story, a panel of judges will read & review and choose winners of Round I. Those winners will then receive another link to a genre and subject. The kicker? Twenty-four hours to write a story. Eek! 24 hours. That's not a whole lotta time.

The winners get cash and prizes. And, that's always good. But, I'm looking forward to the reviews and critiques. My story will be available for peer review after judging. I'm hoping they'll all be gentle. Hell, I'm hoping my story will be read period.

The past couple of months, I've developed a few characters. I can't seem to get a story going...perhaps this contest will allow me to use one of these characters rolling 'round my brain...

2,500 words? 8 days? I can do this.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


randomness...feed your mind and your blog
Name 3 of each:
-Pet Peeves
  • poor customer service
  • the whole you're/your thing
  • stupid drivers
-Close Friends
  • Ashley
  • Allison
  • the Tall Girls
-Favorite Movies
  • Rear Window
  • the Truman Show
  • the Usual Suspects
-Foods You Love
  • short ribs
  • creme brulee
  • french fries
-Favorite Books
  • Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts
  • Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice (A.N. Roquelaure)
  • Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman
-TV Shows You Like
  • the West Wing
  • Law & Order/Law & Order SVU
  • Saved by the Bell
-Celebrities You Like
  • George Clooney
  • Martin Sheen
  • the Animal - Batista
-Favorite Items of Clothing
  • jeans
  • black cardigan
  • blue cashmere scarf

Saturday, January 02, 2010

All Is Quiet On New Year's Day (and the day after)

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself. - Anthony Rapp

That's the goal: fearlessly be myself. The good, the bad, the ugly. I feel like I'm two different people - the outside Rissa who is social and gregarious and fun-loving and on-the-go; and then the inside Rissa who lives within four walls of hoarding, fear, self-loathing and clutter. I want the two to be on the same level.

I can vividly picture a party in my apartment - it's like an open house type of deal...people chatting in the kitchen, music loud, laughing. It's the people I see most clearly. I know exactly who will be here...that's the part I'm striving toward...that's my goal.

I don't know how the hell I am going to get there. But I *have* to get there. And fast.