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.

Friday, July 23, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.23

Aww, man! I missed a couple of NaBloPoMo days. Could back date...nah, I won't :(

It is Day Two of Summer Tour 2010 and I'm in Minneapolis MN today. This little inn where I'm staying is nice - clean rooms, shuttle service to airport & local attractions, free breakfast, indoor pool, free wi-fi. Dig it.

Day One started yesterday at 4:00 a.m. I do not wear that well at all. The flight from LAX to Denver wasn't so bad. Well, loud talking dude was annoying...but the flight itself was uneventful. I changed planes in Denver, a nice airport with several Caribou Coffee stops in Terminal C, clean bathrooms and, judging by the crowded recharge stations, free wi-fi.

While waiting, I realized the plane I was about to board originated in another city. Crap. It's been my experience that changing planes usually meant I would not be in an exit row with leg room. And, this was to be my experience once again. Short people in the exit rows, all the way across. Grr. They were all smiles and laughing. I consoled myself with two Screwdrivers.

Within seconds of walking into my hotel room, I get a text: Sound check @ 5. I showered, dressed and went to the lobby to hail a cab.

Let me interject right here: the Apple Valley MN AmericInn has the best customer service. There for less than 24 hours, these girls were awesome! I wrote to the general manager so he would know he done good.

OK...back to the lobby, looking for a cab. "Where are you going?" "To the zoo." "You don't need a cab, we'll take you in the shuttle." Well, alright! I was shuttled to the zoo, given a business card with the phone number highlighted and told to call before 11 p.m. to get a ride back. No problem, the show would be over by 10:30.

The sound check was fun! I loved watching the guys roam about, joking and chatting up Dave. I couldn't help but smile like a damn fool - here's *me* in an empty venue watching two legendary bands sound check. I was afraid to move, afraid to draw attention to myself for fear someone would figure out I didn't belong or something then kick me the hell out. It didn't happen, luckily.

Both sets were great. The crowd was on their feet dancing and singing along to both bands' classic hits. After selling EB shirts through the first few songs, I ran down to watch some of Squeeze's set. Perfect timing as one of the songs was Goodbye Girl - which I love love love! The rest of their set, I was back at the merch table awaiting the rush, so I only heard Pulling Mussells, Tempted and Up the Junction.

During the encore, I called the AmericInn for the shuttle service. Turns out, the shuttle was stuck on the highway behind an accident with guests going to the airport and I was out of luck. I asked Melissa if I could get a number for a taxi service. She didn't hesitate - I'll call the cab for you, give them your cell. Thank you! She called me right back to say the cab would be at the zoo in 20 minutes.

I made my way through the zoo to the front entrance. Within 5 minutes, the cab company calls to say it's on its way. The only problem? Was I to meet it at the zoo entrance or on the street? I called the company and saw the cab approach as I talked. At the same time, two too buzzed guys spotted the cab.
"Taxi! Taxi!" One of the guys yelled.
"Whoa, guy - that's mine."
"No it's not."
"If it's Airport Cab company, it's mine."
"Fuck you."
"Have a good night."
I get into the cab, with the 2 guys right on my heels.
"Dude, can you call us a cab? We need a cab."
"Where you going?"
"To the near the airport." The cab driver looked at me. In a low voice he says "It's past where you are..."
"Hey," I say "He can drop me off first then take you guys, if you care to share." They scrambled in.
"Thank you! You're not scared of us?"

We had a nice chat about the show and music and stuff in the ten minutes it took to get me back. I hand the cab driver money, but one guy told him not to take it. "We got it. You didn't have to share the cab with us. Thank you." I smiled and saved myself $11.

I am now in Denver. Lunch tomorrow with Ruthie. Drinks, dinner and whatever with Marco tomorrow. Lunch on Sunday with Esteban. I'm a happy girl!

I love vacation!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.20 - Summer Tour 2010

Several months ago, I found out two of my favorite bands would be touring together. At the time, I made a comment about following the tour around for the summer. And that's exactly what I am going to do!

On Thursday, I head to Minneapolis to start my 8-city tour with Squeeze & the English Beat. How freakin' awesome is THAT?! VERY, I say. Very!

Let me say I am not touring WITH them; but I am touring with them.

Y'all already know I am a huge fan of Dave Wakeling & the English Beat. When they're in town (sometimes even when they're not in town), I go see their show. It's my 2 hours of happy ~ dancing, singing, good times! I have always been a fan of Squeeze. Last year, I saw Glenn Tilbrook perform in Philadelphia for the Love Hope Strength PhillyRocks show. My love was rekindled. I was lucky enough to see Glenn on a swing through L.A. - such an excellent showman. Put all that together and it's a tour I can't miss! I won't miss it.

Minneapolis 7/22
Aspen CO 7/24
Denver CO 7/25
Vegas, baby 7/27
Home sweet home 7/28
Saratoga @ a winery 7/30
Napa not @ a winery 7/31
San Francisco 8/1

If you are going to any of these shows, let me know ~ we'll drink and talk or hug or something.

Woo hooo!

Monday, July 19, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.19

Last night's show at the Hollywood Bowl was amazing. Amazing!

I was invited by a friend to join her in a garden box, essentially upgrading my ticket. It was my first time in one of those and it was lovely. Tables, box service, close to the stage. I could get used to that...and might consider an upgrade next season...

The KCRW theme of the night was male/female songwriting teams. First up, the Bird & the Bee. I am a recent fan, only having learned of them earlier this year when their album of Hall & Oates cover songs was released. The girls were all sparkly dresses and colored tights, the guys were all business. I enjoyed the short set - pop, melodic, fun. The downer was they only played one H&O song. They have a pretty decent catalog of music that should be explored.

It wasn't until last night that I learned half of She & Him is Zooey Deschanel. To be honest, I was neither impressed or excited about their set. Until they hit the stage. Whoa! I am definitely not much of a folksy rock fan. That label just brings to mind Guthrie, Baez and Puff the Magic Dragon. I was quite surprised by her singing; it wasn't always strong but she was consistent with the good. She had some stage presence when she pogo'd during musical interludes; other times she just stood there, playing a tambourine. I liked every song in the set - even the folksy ones. Theirs is also a catalog I'll be digging into.

The night ended with The Swell Season. Holy crap! This duo hit my radar when my friend Porter suggested I check out the movie 'Once' starring Glen and Marketa. One of the songs from that movie 'Falling Away' is far and away one of the most beautiful songs ever written - lyrically and musically. Their voices compliment each song - his booming, hers subdued and longing. I was so struck by all of the elements - harmonies, horns, vocals, delivery. Most of all, I was struck by their sheer delight and awe to be playing the Hollywood Bowl. The look on Glen's face when he asked the crowd to sing along was true beauty. The set had the feel of an intimate pub gig and a huge party simultaneously. It was glorious and gorgeous and amazing. Check out Once, Falling Slowly and the song Low Rising. Actually, do yourself a solid - check out all of their music.

I had such an incredible night...I really wanted it to go on and on...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.18

One of the best things to do in Los Angeles is spend an evening at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl is a huge outdoor theater whose iconic shell stage is easily recognizable. With a season that begins in May and lasts through the summer, the Hollywood Bowl has got to be the best place to see concerts.

I became a season ticket holder in 2002 when Patrick and I bought tickets for the Wednesday night jazz series. Every other week, jazz greats graced the stage while we sipped wine and enjoyed the evening. Since then, I've kept my seats for the jazz shows. Until last year. That's when I switched over to the KCRW Sunday night concerts. Last year, Adele and Grace Jones were amongst the performers in the series and I had to go. Great move for me - I've seen some fantastic shows.

Tonight, I'm heading to the Bowl for the Swell Season, She/Him and the Bird and the Bee. I'm excited to see Bird/Bee - only having discovered them earlier this year, but too late to see them in Los Angeles. There's huge buzz surrounding She/Him as well, though I am not as familiar with them. I saw the Swell Season last year - love 'em! Hey...just realized that all 3 bands are made up of one guy and one girl...hmm...

Looking forward to another night of great music under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.17

For the second time this year, my favorite band played my hometown. I was so stoked to see the English Beat and spend time with friends from home. Thanks to Facebook, I have reconnected with people (a few from as far back as elementary school!) who have become good friends.

I am a huge English Beat fan, go to a lot of shows and I know the band. Their shows give me two hours of happy ~ I'm singing and I'm dancing and I'm having a good time. At the same time, I am totally aware of those around me. At 6'2", I know I'm the last person you want standing in front of you at a show. I care and I don't. I care, so I hit the floor before the end of the opening act, find my spot and stick to it. You can curse me and fill in around me. I care, so I don't flail about when I dance, I don't jump up and down or side to side, I don't flip my head and hair all around, and I care so I don't try to push my way to the front of the stage to jump on it, touch Dave or steal water and a set list.

On the other hand, I don't care because, hell, I want to see the band just like you do. I want to enjoy myself, too; I want to dance around and enjoy the show just as much as you do. I don't care that you complain to your friends, in that stage whisper voice, that I'm too tall or that I'm too tall *and* wearing heels. You can wish aloud all you want that I would move; believe me when I say I wish the same for you. When you start pushing? That's when I care.

Look, I know that everyone wants to stand at the very front of the stage. I get it! But, when you start pushing me or hitting, bumping and jabbing me, I am not moving. I will ignore you once or twice. After that, I will likely push back, bump you back or jab you back.

Last night, seconds after the band ended, some douche pushed me. "Don't push me." He pushed me again, harder. "Who the fuck do you think you are?" I pushed him. He pushed me again. Joe and Jason, on instinct, stepped between me and the guy. "Why you gotta get all violent?" he said to me. "You pushed me!" I yelled. He yelled right back "Just because you're bigger than me doesn't mean you can bully me and push me around!" Security stepped in, pulled the guy away. Another security guy had me around the waist, which I didn't even know about. He asked if I was okay, let me go with my friends. I was shaking. That incident had me shaken and rattled, which doesn't happen often.

I tried to shake it off, forget about it. But the guy's words really hit me. It was okay for him to push me...but me pushing back, sticking up for myself makes me a bully and violent? It brought up feelings from elementary school...the assumption that, because of my size, I was a bully or violent or mean. That wasn't the case at all. It was at times of self-defense when those words were thrown at me. Is that how I was viewed by others? That's not who I am. So, I became passive and introverted, a doormat. Pretty tough lesson to learn in 3rd and 4th grade.

Anyway, I feel okay today. It has absolutely nothing to do with me - I recognize that; it struck and stuck and I had to work it out. That guy was a total dick. And a total idiot - he pushed a girl who pushes back *and* has friends who have her back.

Hell yeah!

Friday, July 16, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.16

I couldn't flee the office fast enough.

It's been a hellacious few weeks. I am stressing. I am frustrated. And it shows. We lost an employee recently so her work was divided between me and our manager. Several times I've wanted to yell at employees - hey, gimme a break, will ya?! I walked around muttering "I hate people." Yeah, not so good for some who works in Human Resources. Oh well, 'human' is in the title for a reason.

On top of all that, new job responsibilities are being transitioned to me. It is quite exciting! I love that my boss and my team are giving me more exposure to the HR world. I'll be doing more project-based, deadline-driven work; employee relations & compensation stuff; and moving me back into a recruitment role - internships, more than likely. I am ready to take on this challenge. I need the change, this challenge, to shake me up.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.15

I'm doing it again.

I know. I suck.

Exhausted. Hitting 'submit' and going to bed.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.14


I am totally gonna rip you off today...

Work is stressful and kicking my ass. I've been leaving the office around 7:30 - even a couple of 8 o'clock nights. When I finally get home, I am so ridiculously exhausted. Team that exhaustion with the crazy heat and you get me, exhausted yet unable to sleep. That ain't right!

My head hurts. My brain is fried. So, you get a complaint disguised as a brief blog post.


Good night.

*face pillow*

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.13

I love getting mail. Birthday cards from my grandparents & godparents in San Pedro (with money) and my Aunt Alice in Baltimore started it all. It gave me a tremendous thrill to see my name on the envelope. The thrill continues even now when I get a card or invitation or postcard or letter. I remember when I went to Girl Scout camp, I made my parents promise to send me letters. Hearing my name at mail call or finding a letter on my sleeping bag was so exciting!

As a teenager, I was completely enthralled with Tiger Beat magazine. In my humble 15-year old opinion, Tiger Beat had the best pictures and stories of the heartthrobs of the time. I would wake up early Saturday morning, allowance in hand, ready to hit Stater Bros. with my mom. While she would grocery shop, I would be at the magazine stand, reading the latest teen magazines. Tiger Beat would be tucked under my arm, saving it until I was safe & secure in my bedroom where I could dream about going on a date with Scott Baio or being serenaded by Rick Springfield. One section that was of particular interest to me was the Classified page. There, kids could list ads looking for pen-pals. I always read the ads, but for some reason, I never replied to one. *Light bulb* Submit your own, Rissa! So, I did.

A couple of months later, I started getting letters: Hi, saw your ad in Tiger Beat - I like Rick Springfield, too! I love Loverboy! I love rollerskating, too! It was such a thrill to get letters from all over the country. I wrote back to each and every person.

One of the first to reply to my reply was Kristin from Iowa. We were pen-pals throughout high school - sending letters, birthday gifts, photos, even phone calls on occasion. After high school, I think we lost touch for a bit but reconnected after Kristin married and became pregnant. She moved out of Iowa and we once again lost touch. We briefly reconnected when she moved out to southern California. That was...oh, geez...late 80s/early 90s...and we hadn't been in touch since.

Over the weekend, while spending quality time with Insomnia, I got to reminiscing. I used Facebook search...and found a girl that could possibly be the same Kristin. So, I sent her an email ~ hey, this is random and name is Rissa...I had a pen pal...are you her? Two days later - voila! - OMFG! That IS me! Friend request me!

Kristin & I have been messaging and commenting back and forth, catching up. Her family is beautiful; she looks fantastic and her life is good! It's one time I'm not cursing Insomnia.

My other pen-pal from that Tiger Beat ad, Shari, lives in Kansas. We're still in touch. I've even been out to visit her & her family a couple of times. It wasn't awkward or weird or anything; we had fun and talked like old friends. Which, we were.

Crap...this went all over the place, didn't it?! Ha! Can't really wrap it up how I, I'll just stop.

The end.

Monday, July 12, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.12 - My Happy Place

My favorite band performing one of my favorite songs to hear live. Ladies and gentlemen, the English Beat with "Save it For Later" ~ enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.11 - Do Something!

For the past few weeks, I have been emailing a girl who came across my blog via NaBloPoMo. She asked several pointed questions about my compulsive hoarding; and I answered as honestly as possible. The last email she sent was interesting: No offense or anything but why don't you stop talking about it and DO something. No offense taken.

I talk about it because it is a huge part of me, my life. I talk about it because I need help to DO something. I talk about it because I can't be the only one struggling with hoarding. I talk about it because I need the support and encouragement and understanding. I talk about because if I don't, I will live with it, add to it and ignore it. If I don't talk about it and I live with it, add to it and ignore it, it will consume me. And I refuse to let that happen! I am bigger than this. I am better than this. I know I can't do this on my own. I have tried; and though progress is being made, it isn't enough.

DO something?! I am! I struggle every single day over throwing away a receipt, a magazine, mail, anything, everything. I threw out two boxes of junk mail and magazines yesterday. Damn, that was a lot. Small steps...but they keep moving me forward.

I've decided to do it 'their' way - throw that shit out. 'They' say it's so easy. 'They' say if there's no need for it, no use for it, throw that shit out. If you say so. Next weekend, that is exactly what I'm going to do.

I will need help. A couple of people who will keep me on task, tell me those green capris are not coming back in-style, the red shoes are too beat up to keep; a couple of people willing to help me out.

So...there...I have asked for help.

And it did kill me a little bit inside.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.10 - Splurge and Save

What's one thing you think it's worth spending money on? What's one thing you always cheap out on?

Toilet paper and tissues.

When I first lived on my own, I shopped according to what Mom bought. This brand of that, that brand of this. I didn't really budget - everything worked out at the end of the month.

Then, I moved to Los Angeles.

I had to make a few adjustments. It was definitely 'trial and error' - no-name peanut butter does not taste as good as Jif; Hydrox cookies pale in comparison to Oreos; store-brand 'puffed rice' cereal doesn't quite snap, crackle and pop but it is a pretty fair trade for the name brand. So, I cut some corners and moved on.

Then, I discovered the 99 Cents store. :::insert angels' chorus:::

Wow, what a great find, right? Everything you could EVER (and NEVER) need in one place for one price: chewing gum, cat litter, paper plates, those fake designer perfumes, candles, batteries, potpourri, notebooks and NSYNC pencils. Seriously, everything. Wisely, the stores stock tissues and toilet paper in the prime impulse point - at the front of the store. It's perfect placement! You (or I) are standing in line, the display catches your eye and you think "99 cents? Why not? You (or I) will always need toilet paper right and tissues? Right." So you (or I) grab a coupla four packs and a box or two of tissues.

Then, you (or I) use it. dun dun dun

These are horrible paper products. "Paper" :::shiver::: I remember having a cold; those tissues were so rough, my nose was bleeding! I'm serious. And the toilet paper? Trust me: don't do it. So, I splurge. And, I'm okay with that.

Save: shoes.

I've been buying shoes at Payless Shoe Source for over 20 years. I bought my first pair of high heels (white pumps that I absolutely loved!) from Payless at the age of 20. Every Tuesday after work or school, I would make a stop at the two Payless stores near my home and troll for size 12s. All of the shoes were less than $20, so a little money went a long way. I was - and continue to be - rough on shoes, usually lucky if the shoes last one season. My favorite shoes get a regular beating; it's the reason I typically buy more than one pair.

Through the years, the quality and styles of shoes at Payless have improved tremendously. The choices of styles in size 12 has improved, too. While I will splurge on a great pair of Franco Sarto high heels from Nordstrom, most of my shoes are inexpensive ones scored from

Friday, July 09, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.9

incorporate the following into the middle of your story:, very slowly the old lady turned the corner and was so startled she dropped her bag of apples. Was she seeing things?

With a flick of her wrists, the beach towel floated to the grass. "Ahh, perfect!" smiled Sabrina, clearly pleased with herself. The scene was set - sprinkler on hight from the far side of the lawn so little droplets kept her cool, a cooler filled with ice and drinks so she wouldn't have to leave the lawn, the kitchen timer 'tick tick tick'ing so she knew when to flip over and her new sexy summer mix CD emanating through the window from the stereo inside.

Sabrina untied the tiny blue robe and let it pool around her feet. Across the street, two houses down, Dean's forehead smacked the bay window. "Holy shit!"

Mrs. Dawson shuffled down Verbena Drive with her recycle bag full of apples. Miguel Perez always had fresh fruit and vegetables on Thursdays. Mrs. Dawson would walk to the corner of Begonia and Magnolia, wait for Miguel's truck then return home with her apples. As she approached Avocado Street, Mrs. Dawson remembered to move cautiously in case Max, the big sheepdog, was outside. She always seemed to scare him and he would charge at her. So, slowly the old lady turned the corner and was so startled she dropped her bag of apples. Was she seeing things?

"My word!" she exclaimed.

Dean Carter was rubbing his hands all over Sabrina Stanton's body. Dean had straddled her legs...rubbing and massaging oil onto her skin, into her skin. Sabrina writhed and cried out with pleasure, her back archiing. Mrs. Dawson heard them giggle. Dean was encouraging her "Yeah, baby...ohhh, yeahhh..."

"Dean Allen Carter! What in the world are you doing! Sabrina Michelle Stanton! You outta be ashamed!"

They weren't. They just ignored her.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.8


Four lines. All caps. No punctuation.

Pete didn't recognize the email address. He didn't have to know that to know the message came from Nichole. No one else had died recently. He deleted the email, closed his laptop and lit a cigarette. Only one question circled in his mind: Where the hell is Johnny's Pizza?

Pete pulled his Toyota 4-Runner into the small lot, parked and looked around. He expected the lot to be empty at 9:30 on a Sunday night. Instead, there three cars and two scooters. He sat, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, his stomach a sour mix of dread and fear. "Aw, shit" he sighed, jumping out of the truck. He stood inhaling the cool summer breeze and thought of Nichole.

He hadn't know her long; he hadn't known her well. Like the breeze, she blew into his life, unexpectedly. It was at the 24-hour Rite Aid on Sunset and Fairfax. He was achy and miserable; she was sparkly and alive, something he didn't expect at 3 o'clock in the morning in a drug store. He remembers reaching for a box of Sudafed, it spinning and falling and he following it down. When he awoke, his head was in her lap, a blue velvet, fur-trimmed jacket covering him. 'You okay, champ? Let's go. I got chicken soup." She was a free spirit who took it upon herself to nurse him back to health. Nichole had also decided Pete needed mothering and she was the one to do it. The last time he saw her was the day he told her to stop the mothering.

Shaking her memories from his head, Pete smoothed his khakis and walked to the door. The red neon OPEN sign went dark as his hand touched the handle. A short rotund woman with an ample bosom, smiled sweetly and nodded as he walked in. Her soft pudgy hand guided Pete by his elbow through a curtained doorway. An old greasy-faced man offered up a tray with beverages. Pete grabbed a Coors Light bottle and a glass of water, fairly certain he would need more than one of each.

The rotund woman led Pete to a banquet room. He was surprised to see seven other people in the room, each seated at a small bistro table. He sat down as a candle was placed on the table between his water and beer.

Pete did not recognize anyone. No one spoke. No one looked around. Pete's leg started to bounce nervously. He chugged the beer to keep his sour stomach at bay. He did not have a good feeling about this at all. He stood, turned to walk out, but was stopped by a smile and an insistent shaking of the old lady's head.

Like a mirage, Nichole appeared. She looked sparkly and alive - much like the first time he saw her. She was wearing that same blue velvet fur-trimmed jacked over a white halter top and white sequined hot pants.

"Hello" she said to everyone and, oddly, no one. Her smile was wicked behind its sweet facade as she looked at each person. Her eyes were puffy, makeup smeared.

"No one came to my funeral. None of YOU came to my funeral. You were my closest friends. My cohorts. My confidants. Of all the people in the world, in MY world, you all were the ones I love and trust above all."

She stepped to a young girl in jeans and a Juicy Couture hoodie. " sweet girl...I took you in to my home when you were troubled and in trouble. I shared me with you. And you abandoned me."


A bullet to her brain.

"I should NOT have worn white."

Nichole stepped to the next two people - a boy and another girl. And wordlessly shot each one.


Pete jumped.

The next two boys seemed to have a conversation with Nichole. Her smile softened a bit. She threw her head back, a silent mocking gesture, then fired two more shots.



The two remaining girls lit cigarettes and called for a round of shots. Nichole raised her glass, clinked to a toast with the others and tossed back the drink. She smiled, kissed each of the girls.


She walked to Pete. "Oh, Peter. Sweet, sweet Peter..." She stroked his hair, kissed his cheek. "Be a doll and take me to Rite Aid please. I'm going to need a Tide stick."

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.7

I didn’t plan to steal anything that day. In fact, I had never stolen anything in my life. OK, that’s not exactly true. I did have a plan. It wasn’t a plan to steal; it was just a plan to get what I needed. Man, nevermind. I didn’t plan to steal anything.

I needed to get to California. I didn’t know where to go; just knew I had to go, had to be there. Phoenix was a dead-end, man. There was no music scene; no people worthy of being in a band. No one is serious about music. No ambition, no dream. My friends just want to party and smoke out. I do that, too; and I have dreams – a band, me making music, gigs every night. California, that’s the place to be, man…Los Angeles or any place around there would surely have a place for me and my bass. I can get myself to California; then what…?

That’s when I met her. We struck up a conversation on some party line. She lived in California – a city called Riverside. She had 2 jobs, a house, a car and no self-esteem. It was perfect; she was perfect. Within twenty minutes, she had given me tons of information – and her phone number. This was the perfect scenario, man.

We talked throughout the night, every night. She was desperate for affection and sex and love. I hate to admit it, but I used this to my advantage. Whatever, dude – gotta do what you gotta do. We would talk, I would dangle some sort of compliment, she would eat it up then I wouldn’t call her for days. She would call; she would always call – early morning, late night. I would sit there, listen to her messages then delete it. Her tone went from casual, to frantic, to distraught and then apologetic, like she’d done something. This went on for weeks. By this time, it didn’t matter what she looked like or what I looked like. I had her, man. And I was moving to California.

Let me say that I am a master of twisting words, manipulating them and, in turn, controlling people. It’s twisted, circular logic. A girl with no self-esteem is very easy to manipulate; especially this girl. I contradict myself, get her all turned around and she ends up agreeing with me, no matter the topic or how strongly she disagrees. She was thrilled with my plan to move to Riverside to “be with her.” I had her talking about all the things “we” could and would do and see – the beach, the mountains, the desert, her favorite places. I was agreeable – sure, babe; I’d love that, too, babe; I want to kiss you under the stars, babe – quoting that Eagles song. Damn, that was just too easy. When she pushed back at my moving in with her, I was surprised. I was also ready for her resistance. My voice took on a harsh tone; I didn’t raise it or yell. It was clear I was angry. I called her a tease (You said this is what you wanted – me out there to do all these things with), said she was mean, called her a liar, called her selfish. She was flustered; couldn’t get words out to make her point – or any point. Then I dropped the three little words on her, man – “I love you;” let that hang for a minute…”but you don’t love me.” She started crying. “I do love you…” I kept the stern tone, talking over her as she uttered, sputtered and cried. She caved in, of course; I would be moving to California, baby! And moving in with her. Done, man. Perfect.

Over the next year and a half, I was able keep her under control easily. The stern harsh tone worked best on her. She didn’t know how to deal with me being disappointed. She just wanted to please me, man. If I didn’t like the TV program, I would say so and she would apologize. If she liked something, really really liked something, I would dismiss it (and her) as being stupid or not worth my time and she would apologize. I bought her the new Gin Blossoms’ cassette, telling her the band is from Phoenix and I’d heard they were good. She loved it; played it all the time. When she would ask me to listen to a particular song, I’d scowl and call the music crap. “How could you listen to that crap? That’s not music. That’s crap!”

Yeah, sometimes I yelled and threw things. She yelled, too, so that didn’t work for me because I would want to hit her. I would see red and come so damn close to hitting her with my cane. I had to throw shit or hit something else. I broke out a closet door one night; and knocked the bathroom door right off the hinges! Damn, I was pissed. I don’t even remember why, dude.

I complimented her once in a while and crushed her often. It wasn’t too hard to be nice to her, any little thing from me made her happy. She craved physical affection; she ached for it, man. I would touch her then I’d shun her. She would even beg for it – that was a trip. Never has a girl begged for it, man. But, she did. Yeah, she did. She begged. Oh, man – one time, we were making out and her mom called. I told her it was a ‘sign from God’ telling us we should wait til we were married. It was total bullshit! It worked though. That was a good one…

Food was another way to keep her in control. I would buy Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, telling her “I thought of you today. I love you.” Then, blast her shit for being fat as she ate it. I would read then throw away her mail, I didn’t tell her when family or friends called and I gave her mixed messages – give her food, call her fat; tell her I love her but refuse to touch her or sleep in the same bed. I took her car for my own use, forcing her to carpool or miss work entirely. I used our bank card and money with complete disregard, causing checks to bounce; which resulted in us being kicked out of our apartment. Whatever. This girl was so twisted up!

Damn, this one time…oh, man, this was sad but funny…I bought her an emerald ring for our first Christmas together. She totally loved it. I told her it was an engagement ring until I could get a decent one for her. One night, after late night band practice, I stopped to buy weed. I didn’t have enough cash, but my dude said I could bring the rest in the morning. When I got home, she was asleep of course. I took the ring, hid it in my guitar case. The next morning, before work, she was tearing up the house looking for the ring, but she didn’t tell me that’s what she was looking for. When she was ready to walk out the door, I said “Lemme see your ring, babe.” She stammered and tried to leave. I took on that stern tone of voice. Man, I ripped her up! She was shaking and so upset. I slammed the door on her. A few days later, our roommate showed her the receipt she found in the trash that showed I returned the ring, got my cash back. That was messed up.

So, no, I didn’t plan to steal anything that day; but I did. I broke her down and I stole her soul.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.6

Almost 2 years ago, I came across a message on Myspace - Beginners Creative Writing class! I clicked through to find the 8-week workshop was taught by world-renown author and groupie, Pamela Des Barres. Wanting (and perhaps needing) an adventure, I sent an email to her. "I have never written anything other than class assignments and journal entries. I enjoy writing, it okay to join your group?"

It was the start of a wonderful part of my life. These writing classes have been a tremendous experience - my writing has improved, my creativity has as well, I've developed friendships with amazing, talented and inspiring women who will, undoubtedly, be part of my life forever.

Thank you, Miss Pamela, for bringing this awesome group of women together. And, thank you to Miss P and her dolls for saving me.

Monday, July 05, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.5

I came across several blog posts and comments about compulsive hoarding. Like the impulse to pick at a scab, I read the blogs. As it turned out, most were nothing more than the hoarding entry from Wikipedia. The comments, however, were no copied paragraph. And, yeah, I read those, too.

A lot of the comments were professions of "I'm the complete opposite of a hoarder!" Quite a few were "Oh, I watch that show [Hoarders] and feel so sorry for the families that have to deal with hoarding..." Then, of course, there were the negative comments that got me all riled: "They're just lazy!" "Just throw that shit out!" "How can anyone live like that?"

Well, I am a compulsive hoarder and I am not lazy. If it were as easy as 'throwing that shit out,' I would have done it years ago! I wouldn't have agonized over four fucking handbags in the middle of my fucking apartment, wondering if I'd really get the fucking guts to send them to a friend. Yeah, this is exactly how I want to live my life! When I was a little girl, I dreamt of living in an apartment so cluttered that there would be goat paths leading to the bed, kitchen and bathroom. Yep, I imagined piles of clothes everywhere; imagined every flat space stacked with mail and magazines. My big dream of having no one visit my apartment - absolutely no one inside - has come to fruition. How many people can say their biggest dream has come true?

Hey thanks - your compassion is overfuckingwhelming.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.4 - Saving Myself

"Many people live with a tormentor in their head that continuously attacks and punishes them and drains them of vital energy. It is the cause of untold misery and unhappiness, as well as of disease. The good news is that you CAN free yourself from your mind. This is the only true liberation." ~ Eckhart Tolle

Today will be my Independence Day...freedom from this clutter.

Freedom - my freedom - will be a change of mindset.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.3 - The Love You Save

Write a story (in 12 minutes!) about a couple breaking up and include the following phrases:
  • upstairs the clock ticked softly
  • he asked her to take off her clothes
  • suddenly the door was thrown open
  • the nest was empty
  • all the people disappeared
  • his laughter could be heard in the next county

I sat beneath the tree, staring at the tangle of limbs, branches and twigs. Quietly, I scamper up the trunk, nails piercing the wood. I silently scoot across the branch near the balcony and discover the nest was empty. I contemplate a jump, readying myself when suddenly the door was thrown open. I awkwardly jump down and scurry in the back door. I stop at the foot of the stairs…then silently make my way up. I lay outside the door, in the hall. He speaks.

“I never noticed how softly this upstairs clock ticks…”
You wouldn’t, I thought. Too much time downstairs.
“Yeah…” she said.

Drawers open and close, doors slide to either side. The cross paths but avoid touching. She gasped – “Will I WHAT?!” He points to the boxes atop his gym bag.

“I said will you take off your clothes…from my bag. Sorry…wording…bad…”

I ran downstairs and curled up on the sofa in front of the TV. It was some comedian who had a laugh that could be heard in the next county. He padded down the stairs, looked at me and said goodbye. I was silent. She came downstairs, too.

“Nala…come on, kitty…into your box…”

She kissed my nose and I crawled into the box. She hit the remote and all the people disappeared.

Note – I hand write my stories…and they seem much longer in my notebook. I’m looking at this like, it took you 12 minutes to write THAT?!

Friday, July 02, 2010

NaBloPoMo 7.2 - Save it for Later

When I finally faced my compulsive hoarding a couple of years ago, I had to speak it out loud to others. It was tough to do that, tough to face. Hell, it's *still* tough to say it, face it. I received a lot of support and strength from friends and strangers. Those words continue to hold me up.

One such supporter is Melanie. I am not quite sure how it came about, but I told her she'd get my handbags. For a year or so, I have had a pile of handbags to send to her. I would move them from here to there; out of the box, back into the box. I saved the bags because 'what if' I wanted to use the yellow one again, someday? I saved them for later, certain I would need/use the bags again. Some of the bags were added back into rotation. Some were used for storage. OK, some are still used for storage.

Last week, I brought home an empty box from work, put 4 bags into it and took the box to my car. The next day, wrote out a label & card, taped that shit up and drove to the post office. All the while, aching to rip open the box, as if it were a gift for me, and use the bags. Well, not really use them as much as dump them in the middle of my floor so that I still have them. I didn't. Luckily, there was no line at the post office otherwise that would have been the case.

Melanie has the bags now. I'm sure she'll enjoy them. If she doesn't, I am okay with that. I was able to move past this hurdle. It's a huge small step for me.

Moving forward, taking small steps, making progress.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

NaBloPoMo7.1 - Last Night a DJ Saved My Life

'Saved' is this month's National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) theme. This entry was originally posted in August 2007; I've tweaked it a bit and reposted.

While watching my new favorite train wreck on TV "Rock of Love" I saw Richard Blade! :::squeal::: I *heart* Richard Blade!

Richard Blade used to be a DJ on KROQ 106.7 FM back in the days of Poorman, Dusty Street (remember Lady & the Doorknob?), Katy Manor, Freddy Snakeskin, Swedish Egil and the Romando & Blade morning show. KROQ was THE place to hear all the cool music! I owe a huge 'thank you!' to Richard Blade for introducing me to all of my favorite music. He played b-sides, went deep on albums and played incredible re-mixes (to this day I wish I could find It's a Mug's Game, Everybody Wants to Run the World and Should I Should I). Tons of great music was introduced to me by Richard Blade: The English Beat, Dramarama, "Don't Argue" by Cabaret Voltaire, "Kiss Me" by Tin Tin, "World Destruction" by Time Zone, "Dancing in Heaven", "Politics of Dancing", Bronski Beat, the Motels, King, Fishbone, the Untouchables, New Order/Joy Division, the Clash...a list that goes on and on and on...

Then, Richard Blade moved into TV as a host of MV3 (basically, American Bandstand with 'new wave' music) and Video One. It was the first time those without MTV were able to see the bands whose music we listened to on KROQ - Spandau, The English Beat, Yaz, Haircut 100, Bow Wow Wow, Psychedelic Furs, Face to Face, Tin Tin, Oingo Boingo, another list that goes on and on and on. MV3 had live performances - Boingo, the Bangles (performing 2 songs I can't find anywhere - Real World and I'm In Line), Berlin, Romeo Void...another list that goes on and on.

With the music shift in the 90s and 00s, Richard Blade was relegated to an hour at lunchtime "Flashback Lunch" where he played the good 80s stuff.

Then, he was gone. :(

He left KROQ...he left radio. Ohh, sadness prevailed! More than the music he played, Richard Blade told great personal stories of his friendships with a lot of the bands whose music he played (I wasn't the only one who gasped when he said he'd dated Teri Nunn, was I? Who else squealed when Duran or Depeche phoned in?). All you have to do is watch a few episodes of VH-1's "Bands Reunited" - he's the one lunching with the targeted band member! It was a huge loss to radio when Richard Blade left.

A few years ago, while driving home from a visit to Riverside, I flipped stations to Star 98.7. Some 80s tune was wafting out...and then that familiar English accent: "This is Richard Blade..." SHUT UP! NO WAY! Caller after caller: Welcome back! I love you! Will you play...I couldn't get my cell phone fast enough! Yes, I called the radio station. Duh! I asked him to play "Everybody Wants to Run the World" but he didn't have it. So, I asked if he would play "Should I Should I" - which he did have and which he did play. :) :)

I think Richard Blade is now on XM Radio, but I don't have that. I do know he's been hosting the Spazmatics at Universal CityWalk (he sends bulletins from his myspace)...but I've never been to one of the shows.

**I've had the pleasure of meeting Richard on several occasions ~ English Beat concerts, Blasphemous Rumours shows, even a wine tasting event. He is one of the most gracious and warm human beings. He takes time to say hello, pose for endless pictures and hugs. I love walking by, hearing a fan say "Remember when I met you in 1984..." But, he smiles and listens and is wonderful to his fans. Yeah, I love me some Richard Blade.

Thank you, Richard Blade! This is for you :)