Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interrupting all programs...

So, there I was...sitting in my office, listening as my VP told stories of her trip to Cabo the weekend before...when I noticed pressure and a stabbing pain on the left side of my chest. There was no pain in my arm, no irregular breathing, sweating, nausea. Nothing. Just this pressure, this heaviness and stabbing pain. It was 9:30 a.m.

When hunched over my keyboard, the pain & pressure weren't as stabbing or heavy; so I sat like that. Until 11 o'clock.

That's when I had this tremendous explosion of pain on the left side of my head, behind my eye. Nothing happened to my vision; just pain in my head. And pain in my chest. Still.

I call Kaiser...talk to the advice nurse...and end up in the ER before noon.

All of the test results were good ~ blood pressure, blood test, x-ray, EKG. I left there 4 hours later with the pain unexplained. The doctor said the chest pains were likely due to stress and/or anxiety. "Do you have any stress in your life or at your job?" You're kidding me, right? *Sigh*

Anyway...I was sent home with instructions to 'rest and avoid stress.' You're kidding me, right?

I'm feeling mostly okay today, just a bit of discomfort.

Time off from work has been discussed with my boss; the dates TBD.

And how was YOUR Monday?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Open the Door and Let Him In...

Six people have been in my apartment since confessing I am a hoarder.

The 7th person came in today.

I haven't had gas in my apartment for ten years. Yeah, I know. I've had no heat. I use the microwave or crock pot to cook, or simply order take-out. Today, I had the gas turned back on in my apartment.

I spent most of the morning cleaning & clearing more stuff, clearly wishing I had a normal apartment before letting someone else in. The guy knocked around 1 o'clock and I hesistantly let him in.

To his credit, he didn't startle or blink. But after the third time out then in, he said "My mom and sister are hoarders. Like, really bad. Like the ones on that TV show." Blink blink "I'm a hoarder myself. But not like the ones on TV." Then he walked out. Blink blink He did his thing ~ lighting the pilots, cleaning the vents and lines and such. I told him my apartment has been a work-in-progress for 2 years. He said congrats and told me to keep moving forward. Then, he left.

I'm encouraged now more than ever.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Creative Writing In-Class Assignment 02.16.10 - Look What I Found in the Dumpster...

We're given a prompt and 12-13 minutes to write...

Look what I found in the dumpster...

it's my life...in black Hefty trash bags!

I spent my Monday morning in the throes of decluttering. You'd think I'd have nothing left in my apartment...you'd be incorrect, Sir!

Like I said, I spent my Monday morning decluttering. I started with a set of drawers - purposedly untouched because I know what lurks inside. Bills, magazines, receipts, mail, letters, notes, crap, crap and more crap.

Crayons, markers, coloring books. Really?

Boxes of stamps and ink from my "crafty" period.

Tons of scrapbooking items from my "craty" period, phase II.

Pictures from my last day of teaching in 2000 of kids I don't remember.

Cards from people all over the world congratulating me on my pageant win. In 1997.

Without thought, these pieces of me were thrown into black trash bags, tied up and left outside my apartment door. I moved on to three stacked drawers and attacked with the same fervor and absence of thought - toss, tie, outside the door.

As I dragged the last of six bags down to the dumpster, I stared at the scene. Pieces of me and my life in six black trash bags, sitting in a dumpster. I ran upstairs and right into bed.

I thought this process would be freeing, lifting a burden, relief and release. Not yesterday. It was almost paralyzing. It's left me raw and exposed and feeling extremely vulnerable.

I know this is a good thing. Or, it will be. But yesterday, I found pieces of me in the dumpster and that sucked.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

WB Mentoring 2010 ~ the Match-Ups

Today's mentoring session was all about the matching of mentors with mentees. It's one of the most fun sessions.

Each person had a sticker placed on his/her back. The stickers had the person's name + a random word - salsa, Lucky, Luigi, mustard, milk, etc. The purpose of the matching game was for mentors - only talking to mentees - to ask ONE question in hopes of learning the word on the sticker on their back. After you correctly guess your word, mentors and mentees were to find their pair - milk & cereal, chips & salsa, Mario & Luigi, Mickey & Minnie (we're WB! tsk tsk tsk), etc.

My word was Jelly (as in I don't think you're ready for this...). My first thought was jelly donut (hey - I was hungry!) but figured I should find Peanut Butter. Alas, there was no Peanut Butter to be found. The 2 girls I thought would likely be matched with me were no match for my Jelly. I was matchless. Boo!

I overheard one of the administrators say my mentee didn't want to stay in the program. I was bummed; but knew Hoolie and Derry would kick some sense into the girl. Relief! I get to stay in the program!

There was one matchless mentee, Patty. Her mentor was absent; so the 2 of us were thrown together for the sake of completing the task at hand. I remember Patty from our first session - she'd had her iPod on and I asked what she was listening to.

"Do you know Billy Idol?"

Huh? Wha'?! Do *I* know Billy Idol?! Girrrl, who you talkin' to?! Do you know Billy Idol? Ha!

Patty and I interviewed each other, chatted about school, movies and the difference between potatoes and sweet potatoes. We were laughing a lot and having a great time.

Hoolie came over ~ "Okay, fine. You're matched." After some convincing (wink), I finally caved.

May I present to you Patty ~ my new mentee and friend!

Monday, February 15, 2010

you know that dream where you're naked in front of everyone...?

That's how I'm feeling.
This whole Project Clutter has left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and exposed and raw. And, I don't wear it well.
Decisions...choices...reactions...actions...all made by True Reese...but the aftermath of feelings and reactions to those decisions/choices/reactions/actions are taken over by Vulnerable Reese. I'm a bit of a mess. I'm cluttered.
I'll push forward, because that's what I have to do; it's what I intend to do.
Let's hope everything else aligns and becomes decluttered as well...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creative Writing In-Class Assignment 02.11.10 - the Academy

For in-class writings, we have 12-15 minutes to complete a writing assignment.
02.11.10 - We were asked to write using this prompt: I'd like to thank the Academy...


Woo! I'd like to thank the Academy for this prestigious honor. Who knew a story with no ending would lead to such high praise and recognition from my peers in Hollywood?


I *must* thank Miss Pamelas and the group of ladies in her Creative Writing class. I...woo!...In class, I was notorious for finishing stories without endings. I was not a closer. I'd let stories trail off or end abruptly after rambling sentences. I couldn't close.

But YOU, Hollywood...woo! You embraced my style! And my movies with no ending have become the biggest franchise since Harry Potter! After my "It Was a Good Day" script was publicly trashed by the media, I had the guts to write with no ending! And I've revolutionized movies! My movies put butts in theater seats! And money in your pockets!

So, I take back that 'thank you.' And let me say this ~ You're welcome, Academy! You are welcome!

Friday, February 12, 2010


- Derrick Brown

This poem was built after watching Kurosawa’s Dreams and
The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Welles. It is infused with a time
I watched a lover have a nightmare and did not wake her.

your body shook,
hurling your nightmares
back to Cambodia.

Your nightgown wisped off
into Ursula Minor.

I was left here on earth feeling alone,
paranoid about the Rapture.

I think it is safe to say we drank too much.
Must I apologize for the volume in my slobber?
Must I apologize for the best dance moves ever?

Booze is my tuition to clown college.

I swung at your purse.
It was staring at me.

We swerved home on black laughter.
bleeding from forgettable boxing.

I asked you to sleep in the shape of a trench
so that I might know shelter.

I drew the word surrender in the mist of your breath,
waving a white sheet around your body.

‘Dear, in the morning let me put on your make-up for you.
I’ll be loading your gems with mascara
then I’ll tell you the truth…’

I watched black ropes and tears ramble down your face.

Lady war paint.

A squad of tiny men rappels down those snaking lines
and you say;
“Thank you for releasing all those fuckers from my life.”

You have a daily pill case.
There are no pills inside.
It holds the ashes of people who died

…the moment they saw you.

The cinema we built was to play the greats
but we could never afford the power
so in the dark cinema
you painted pictures of Kurosawa.

I just stared at you like Orson Welles,
getting fat off your style.

You are a movie that keeps exploding.
You are Dante’s fireplace.

We were so broke,
I’d pour tap water into your mouth,
burp against your lips
so you could have champagne.

You love champagne.

Sparring in the candlelight.

the mathematical equivalent of a woman’s beauty
is directly relational
to the amount or degree
other women hate her.

You, dear, are hated.

Your boots are a soundtrack to adultery.
Thank God your feet fall in the rhythm of loyalty.

If this kills me,
slice me julienne
uncurl my veins
and fashion yourself a noose
so I can hold you
once more.

Creative Writing Homework 02.11.10

Creative Writing Homework 02.11.10 ~ Write six word memoir regarding the correlation between music and sex.

He untuned my bass and me.

To hear your eyes inside my soul.

Trembling tightrope between reality and imagination.

Who wants John Mayer's dick anyway?

If only I was that guitar.

Don't blame me, blame the song.

Both climactic; especially when loved deeply.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Journal in a Jar 02.09.10 ~ Wedding Day

Describe your wedding day

I was seven years old the first time I saw the Glass Chapel (Wayfarer's Chapel) in Rancho Palos Verdes. I stood on the stony path that winds around the chapel and watched a wedding. The sunlight, filtered by trees and branches, streamed in through stained glass, onto the bride. She was stunning ~ all smiles, light & tears in her eyes. The whole scene was beautiful. It was then I knew that's where I wanted to get married. I've been to weddings all over this town, this state, this country ~ in churches big and small, in backyards, on beaches, in Vegas. All beautiful for the couple getting married at the time. For me, anytime I imagine my own wedding, it's at Wayfarer's Chapel.

As a teenager, I used to listen to a Riverside radio station called KOLA. Basically album-oriented rock, the station had no DJs and few commercials. This is where my *love* of rock music stems from - of course, now it's called classic rock. Anyway, I would sit with my fingers poised above PLAY and RECORD in order to catch some of my favorite songs. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen was one of those songs. I sat with my headphones on, listening to Bruce hitting PAUSE then REWIND as I tried to figure out the lyrics - of course now, I just Google it. "...I'll love you with all the madness in my soul..." My teenaged head and heart wrapped around this song like a vine. My teenaged head and heart ached to have a love like that, to feel love like that. My teenaged head and heart romanticized and fantasized, finally settling on Born to Run as my wedding song. No joke. I was vindicated and validated when I read in Tiger Beat that Matt Dillon wanted the same song played at *his* wedding. For 3 days, I figured Matt and I were destined to be together.

Throughout my life, I've had three different recurring dreams. One of those dreams started my junior year of high school, continued through my first year of college, stopped then restarted when I moved to CSUN. The dream was my wedding. I'm walking down the aisle, looking at everything and everyone through a lacy veil though everything is perfectly clear. I stand in front of the groom, he lifts my veil and he has no face. This dream used to freak me out ~ what did it mean?! I was able to describe every single detail - the location, the people, the petals on the floor, someone sneezing (weird!); but I was not able to see the Groom. I haven't had that dream in a very long time...

Monday, February 01, 2010

Journal in a Jar 02.01.10 ~ Driving

Tell about how, when, where you learned to drive.

Driver's Ed at Ramona HS was one of the highlights of my tenth grade year. I was ready to drive. I was ready to have a kick-ass car with stickers on it. I was ready to have a taste of freedom!

For one semester, we had classroom instruction as well as 'simulator' training in a trailer on the outskirts of the campus. Then, we had the 'behind the wheel' instruction with the meanest teachers on staff! I don't recall his name, but the teacher I had was not nice. At all. One afternoon, while driving in the school's back parking lot, I hit some wooden beam or whatever. He shrieked. Shrieked. I, of course, laughed inappropriately; but inside I was mortified! Blah blah blah...I passed. Yay!

I went one day with my dad to the lower RCC parking lot to practice driving. Guess I scared him because my sister took me driving after that. Guess I scared her because my brother-in-law took me driving after that.

I was a pro driving the RCC parking lot! Like most other new drivers, once I hit the street, I was too scared to drive faster than 30 mph. I got in a lot of practice; became a pretty good driver.

And that was it.

Dad had lost his job when Kaiser Steel closed, so a car for Rissa wasn't in the cards. Boo! There was no chance I'd be able to drive his beloved '66 Mustang (don't think I didn't ask a thousand times...). I wouldn't drive again until I got my driver's license at 18.

In a strange twist of fate, I ended up teaching drivers ed and drivers training in the late 90s. My friend Suzanne ran a driving school and she needed female instructors. I took and passed the test then started working at South Bay Driving School. It was pretty great working/driving around the South Bay during the summer - I'd always make the students drive down the esplanade in Redondo and I loved when students lived off PV Drive along the coast.

Oh my gosh - I *just* remembered a great driving story! My first car was a 1977 Chevy Nova. Yeah, I know. Within the first week or two of having the car, me, Sherry and Kathy went cruising Market Street in Riverside. Yeah, I know. But it was the thing to do! Don't judge. So, there we are - music blaring, sunroof open, my friends and me enjoying ourselves and freedom. We get to the turnaround point and I, of course, miss it. We go up one block, turn into a business driveway/parking lot and try to make a U-turn. Crunch! What the hell?! I jumped out to find not only did I hit a huge potted ficus tree of some sort but I'd actually moved the pot a few feet from its original place! I, of course, laughed inappropriately; but inside I was mortified. It's one of those shake my head moments.

I'm a pretty good driver. I have road rage issues; but that's other drivers - not me.