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Once More, With Feeling

buffysing1
Mood: Tired
Drinking: Tea

Overheard at the Buffy the Vampire Slayer sing-along:

“It’s too bad Angel isn’t in this episode. He’s so hot.”
-teenage girl behind me in line, standing with her clearly unenthused mom

“I have a friend who has a friend who went to high school with Faith and — no surprise — she said she’s a dumb bitch.”
– know-it-all twenty-something nerdcore girl standing in front of me with the guy who brought his dry cleaning to wave around during the Mustard song

“So, like, the Grrr Arrrgh monster at the end, sometimes he changes.
Like when Buffy had to kill Angel, he cried. And when she graduated from high school, he wore a little graduation cap. And, like, in the Christmas episode, he wore a Santa hat… I mean, I didn’t, like, see them all myself, but that’s what I heard.”

– Marina beeyotch with muffin tops

“In my opinion, Anya totally out-Cordelia-ed Cordelia.”
– big balding geek of a man sitting behind me with a big buttery tub o’ popcorn

This weekend, I wholeheartedly embraced my inner geek. The one who worships at the throne of all things Whedonesque and has a whole collection of Buffy action figures and comic books (hooray for Season 8), and owns every single DVD, from “Welcome to the Hellmouth” to “Chosen”.

For those not in the Buffy-know, there was a sing-along this week at the Bridge Theatre, put on by the Uncool Kids and attended by legions of my fellow fanboys and girls.

If that’s not going back far enough for you, then you need to be informed that there was a musical episode called “Once More, With Feeling” (originally aired in Season 6 on November 6, 2001). There was singing, dancing, and spontaneous combustion, and fun was had by all.

And although I fully enjoyed singing my little strange heart out to such favorites as “I’ll Never Tell” and “Walk Through the Fire”, it is a bit disconcerting to see, live and in person, all the freaks who share your geekhood. Especially the drunk Marina trixies who have “like, totally seen all the DVDs and, like, love them” but never watched the show when it was actually on TV.

Yes. I’m a Buffy purist.

It was entertaining, to say the least. And big friend points to M & K, who sat through the whole thing without ever complaining. (Although I think M and I are now even for that My Chemical Romance concert I sat through earlier this year!)

-Lo, who lets her freak flag fly on Sundays and bank holidays.

Girls Will Be…

mannekinMood: Distracted
Drinking: Diet Coke

They say what goes around comes around, and sometimes it’s true. Though not as often as you’d hope.

The evildoers don’t always get their comeuppance.
The naysayers are not always proven wrong.
The good guys don’t always get the credit or even the white hat.

But sometimes, sometimes it all works out.

Lately, the goings and comings around here have been a surprisingly pleasant resurgence of people from the past.

Most of it started on myspace, which is not, as the talking heads would have you believe, just a “teen website”. There are a whole heckuvalot of us non-teens on there, mostly because we’ve discovered that if you do enough clicking around, you’ll run into some long-time-no-see faces.

Sometimes during the expected lifetime milestones (like high school graduation), you look around at all those familiar faces and think to yourself, “Weird. I may never see these people again.” In my case, that thought was quickly followed by a “Thank God!”

But many times the milestone rolls by unnoticed and you transition from this thing to the next without taking notice of the names and faces that will soon be forgotten or, at the very least, grow a bit musty there in the back corner of your mind.

Then years later, when a name resurfaces unexpectedly in your myspace inbox, the recognition kicks in, with a whole host of unbidden memories of the time when that person was just another fixture in your daily routine.

One of the familiar faces that has recently reappeared in my virtual world belongs to AP, a girl I knew just in passing for about 4 years or so in my mid-twenties.

And here’s where the part about girls being (catty, competitive, backstabby) girls comes in…

AP and I could never honestly have called ourselves friends back when. True, we shared mutual friends and often collided at parties, but usually we shook it off and kept on walking. Much of it was my fault.

You see, one of the people I chose to let my little light revolve around during that time was Queen of the Misfit Social Club, and fought tooth and sparkly silver nail to keep her crown. She never wanted anyone to shine brighter or longer than she did.

As her unspoken understudy, it was my job not only to keep my own wattage on the dim side, but also to fend off the advances (real and imagined) of other “unworthy” luminaries.

So I’m afraid that AP got the brush-off, more than once. I didn’t give it much thought at the time. There was so much else going on and, let’s be honest, most of us don’t have the brain-space to think about anyone but our own sorry selves in our twenties, during that mad rush to figure out who we are, with accompanying whys and wherefores.

Fortunately, AP and I have gotten another chance to collide here on the far side of 29. It’s going much better this time around.

We’ve exchanged a very long and ever-growing string of emails, getting reacquainted and reconfiguring our perceptions of each other. And for the first time, we’re actually building a friendship.

I said to her recently, “I don’t think you and I would have ever had this conversation in our 20s. But here we are now, and it’s a lovely thing.”

So here’s to girls being kind to each other, to girls being unthreatened by another’s brightness. To girls just being (supportive, understanding, tag-tucking-in) girls. Woman power and all that.

It’s a lovely thing, indeed.

-Lo, who relinquishes her misanthropy on a case-by-case basis.

Smells Like Children

kids2Mood: Measured
Drinking: Diet Coke in a Can

Last weekend, Boy and I played host to some old friends and their two little rugrats. (It’s an affectionate term, Internet!)

I guess the LeeLoo should get some credit for playing host, too. She was so very polite whilst being covered in shredded bits of Kleenex by small shrieking tots.

I think the game was “TeePee the Dog with the Smallest Bits of Tissue Possible While Giggling Hysterically at Extremely High-Pitched Levels.” She did very well, just laying there and taking it like a champ. But then she does love to lick on baby toes, so I guess the trade-off was more than adequate for her.

We had lots of fun with homemade pizza a walk to the park and small bowls of messy gelato for all. I even dug out a dusty box of coloring books and crayons from the depths of the garage. One of our small guests has a great liking for drawing dinosaurs. He also will only eat crackers and grapes.

The habits of childhood are mystifying to me. I remember having a strong aversion to liver and onions (which has followed me into adulthood), but I don’t remember much about my own toddler-sized likes and dislikes.

After all the sippy cups and ziploc baggies of crackers were stowed away and our guests had tucked themselves back into their minivan and headed east again, Boy looked at me in the blessed silence and said,
“You know, if we have some of our own, they’re not going to go away at the end of the day.”

I flopped down on the couch next to the dog and picked a bit of half-chewed tissue from her ear.
“Yeah,” I sighed.
“I know.”

It’s a topic that’s been beaten to death recently, what with another approaching birthday heralding another year in the Unused Uterus Club, as well as the way one of my very best friend’s little belly is starting to pooch out in an adorably pregnant way.

Boy’s mom wants to know, my Grandma wants to know, people I don’t even know at all want to know, “WHEN ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO START A FAMILY?”

There are so many things I want to say to that question, not the least of which is,
“None of your business!”
And also, “We already ARE a family.”
And then, “I really haven’t the faintest idea.”

At first, there were so many things we wanted to do. And we’ve done a lot of them in the last seven years. But the thing I’m beginning to realize is that you never, ever, finish your To Do List.

Visit one exotic land and you’ll discover six more that you just have to see. Finish one book and you’ll want to write two more. Settle into a little house and you’ll soon need a bigger one. The list will just go on and on, forever.

Meanwhile, in the background, behind all the hustle and everyday bustle, a clock will wind up and start ticking, at first so softly that you can’t even hear it. But the years start to spin by faster and faster and pretty soon the goddamn ticking sound is all that you can hear.

And by “you”, I mean me. Because I’m standing up here with my head cocked to the left like Captain Hook on watch for the crocodile, but Boy can’t hear a thing.

I guess if you’re lacking in ovarian capacity, a biological clock is beside the point.

So there I was on a bright Sunday afternoon, slow roasting in the sun at a playground, feeling like a barren intruder among all those self-confident breeders, a colorless island amidst a river of primary colors, watching the roommate of my bar-hopping days wrangle her children like a seasoned veteran, like a real mommy, like a woman.

And the clock was beating in time to my banging pulse.

Suddenly I was afraid.

They say you’re never really ready for it. I believe it. If I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that you’re never really ready for anything. Not even when you’ve read all the books and done all your homework. You’re never prepared for the real thing. You’ve just gotta jump in and kick and splash and cough and swim.

One of these days, one of these days
I’m jumping in.

Until then, I’ll just let my li’l sister tell me how deep and cold the water is…

-Lo, who wants to know if she’s Auntie to a boy or a girl. What are you, Peanut?!

About Last Night

partygirls

Mood: Done!
Drinking: Celebratory Iced Tea

Party? Check!

Thanks to everybody who came out to The Secrets of Falling Book Release Party last night… you made it a roaring success. Thanks for buying books and prints and for helping Kathy and I celebrate in so much style!

If you missed it, we missed you, and you missed out on the party of the year. BUT! You can still get the book online, in person, or in bookstores soon.

I can’t thank everyone who was there, because there were too many of you (which is in and of itself a wonderful thing!). It really meant a lot to both Kathy and I that you came.

I do have to give special mention and big hugs to the following kick-ass people:
Kimberley – the amazing girl who helped us set up all day and made sure the gallery was sparkling
Sarah – for moral support, from dawn to dusk, and for extremely talented twinkle-light wrapping-upping
Bridget – for expert assistance in picture hanging and gallery design and end-of-the night pancakes
Johanna – for making strawberries look even sweeter than they are and wielding a wickedly-awesome serge stitch
Jason – for smooth wine-pouring skilz and protective police action
Michelle – for video camera documentation, unending smiles, and late-night cleanup help
Chris – for Bruce back-up, gallery appreciation, and heavy box lifting
Dave – for scandalously sexy moves on the dance floor
Lani – for being the best and hottest cash box lady there ever was
Melissa – for a smooth and suave print-selling operation
Carly – for coming and smiling and wearing a cute-ass skirt
Patti – for traveling all the way from Chicago and bringing her sharpie
Jocelyn – for the amazingly adorable party favors, and for wearing that hot Madonna outfit
and most of all,
Bruce – for being the best man, always and all the time. for being my back-up. for being so tech-savvy. for running the lights and the sound and the cinepoems and the show.
and
Kathy – because NONE of this would have happened without her.

-Lo, who will be sleeping for a few days now.

French Vanilla hearts Rocky Road

Mood: Thoughtful
Drinking: Diet 7Up

One of my oldest friends wants to know what’s so bad about Vanilla. (She’s referring to my post from a couple of weeks back about the visiting Suck.)

And I don’t have a good answer for her. Because she’s right. Vanilla’s not really so bad. And although she didn’t say it in so many words, I know I should just be damn thankful for my Vanilla. Grateful for my life and for all the mundane simple things that make it so often amazing.

M from Alabama called that post my “pity party”, and I got my feathers all ruffled about that description for a couple of minutes.
But he’s right, too.

And although we’re all entitled to throw ourselves piteous parties every now and again, although we all sometimes wish to be someone else, someone brighter and more beautiful, a bit of perspective is necessary.

It’s like the celebrities who complain about the hardships of being famous, while all the world below them looks up in awe and green envy. Nobody’s ever just happy with what they have when they have it.

If my friend Sterling Girl doesn’t mind, I’d like to borrow a bit of her email to me. I think it’s very well said:

I never knew she had a name, the Suck. She is an old friend of mine. I guess she was overdue for a visit.

You are my alter ego. You are the complete opposite of me and yet we are the same. You are lucky. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a life like yours. Grow up in a wonderful, loving family. Do good in school, have something you are just naturally talented with. Love someone who loves you back, just live life and be happy.

Me, I’m the one who had that kind of life (from what I can remember) until I was 11 years old. That’s when all the bad things started to happen. Family ripped apart, bonds weakend, bad relationships, single parenthood, ADHD, runaway, talking to cops about my own kids, watching friends fuck up their lives with the shit they do, wondering if I will ever stop loving that one man, wondering why this friend of mine could ever think that Vanilla is so bad.

Sometimes I wish I could write like you do, let the words just flow from my fingertips. I have done my fair share of trying. I have so much pain inside that could easily fill a thousand books.

But I hate to talk about how fucked up my life is because to me that is normal. It is who I am. I am not ashamed and I am not proud.

You may be Vanilla and I may be Rocky Road, but you have always been my friend no matter what. …So if you ever feel Vanilla again just remember this: You are not just humdrum plain ole Vanilla, you are premium French Vanilla, the really expensive shit, with a few wildberries thrown on top along with a few redhots for extra spice.

She’s right. She’s completely right. Vanilla’s really pretty great. (Especially if I get to be French Vanilla ~ ooh la la!) And Rocky Road’s not so bad either. And when you mix ’em together — amazingly delicious.

So thank you, Sterling Girl, for reminding me to just be who I am and stop bitching about all the things that make me that way. And thank you for being my friend, lo these many years (since 5th grade!) Keep on rockin’ your Rocky Road…



-Lo, who’s really hungry for an ice cream cone now.

Dribs and Drabs

Mood: Cantankerous
Drinking: Chai Tea

On the train to work this morning, all the strangers looked somehow familiar.

*******

At work, the woman across the hall turns out to be the LOUDEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD…
“Hieeee!!! This is Blanky Blankerson. You have a Happyyyy New Year, Okaaaay??? Bubbyeeee!!”
Silence. Silence would be good right now.

*******

My sister recently discovered the blog of a girl we both went to high school with. The website includes recent photos which are equal parts enthralling and disturbing. Enthralling to see how someone you haven’t seen in umpteen years looks like a more bland and bloated version of their high school self, with flatter hair. Disturbing to see how someone you haven’t seen in umpteen years looks like a more bland and bloated version of their high school self, with the same knee-length Baptist-approved skirt.
She didn’t evolve.
She didn’t change, except to lose the perm and gain a stomach.
She still believes that rock music will send you to hell.
She scares me, a little.
I can’t stop reading between the lines of her blog…

*******

Last Wednesday, on a whim, I paid someone to seize scissors and cut me a bang.
Bang!
On my lunch hour. Now I look like Emily Strange. I’m even dressed in red and black.
Somebody take my picture, quick.

*******

the time must come
when all things fade
like memories of that perfect day

the leaves fall first
and then the shade
soon everything is bathed in gray

everything
but you

you alone stay true
to form and soon, now,
your brilliant blue will finally blow me away

*******

I recently purchased Neil Gaiman’s new book, Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders. I dropped an extra $5 on an autographed copy at Cody’s Books on Stockton. Just so I know that, one time, he held this book, too.
I can’t stop reading it.
Sometimes the simple genius of his words ignites such a fierce depression.

*******

For once, I’m behind the camera and my friends are in front of it. I’m interviewing five of them for a special video project.
Three down, two to go.
They are beautiful and brilliant. Anyone would want to know them, but I?
I am the lucky one.

*******

At a recent holiday dinner, I heard a man with a red moustache say,
“My house belongs to the Lord. And so does my car. So if Jesus wants to take them, that’s okay with me.”
I don’t believe him.

*******

My neighbors stopped by on Monday with their six-month old baby girl. She was dressed in a white hoodie with lamb ears.
Her head smelled like powder and hope.
(Baby heads have a universal smell, like puppy breath.)
I want one of each.

*******

Sometimes I take pictures of myself to try to see how I look from the outside.
The new camera Boy gave me for Christmas is 10 megapixels.
It helps.

*******

Friday night we’re going ice-skating. Outside. In California.
How cool are we?

*******

There’s a guy out there, in Internetland, who wonders if “Daedalus” is about him.
It’s really not.
And never will be. (She says peevishly.)

*******

At the moment, my toes are wearing a fresh coat of Chanel Fire nail polish.
Purchased in Paris. At the Chanel flagship store on Rue Cambon.
But my fingers are entirely naked, and my fabulously firey-red toes are hidden in boots.
Go figure.

*******

Last night I dreamed of kissing a girl.
When I woke up, I couldn’t remember what she looked like.

*******

I was talking with a friend recently about MySpace, and described it as “masturbatory”.
I’m sticking with my statement.
And my profile.

*******

K and I are this close (holds thumb and index an inch apart) to finishing my book.
Funny how the end takes so much longer than the beginning.

*******

-Lo, who doesn’t think Jesus really wants her for a sunbeam.

I Love Paris in December

Mood: Enchanted
Drinking: Shortly

From where I sit, right this second, if I turn my head just to the left, like this, I can see the Eiffel Tower.

Yes, it’s true. I’m in Paris. I’m still pinching myself to make sure, and the bruises all indicate that I’m really, really here.

Boy and I are in a seventh floor flat near the Bastille. It’s all ours for the next few days. From the windows, I can see la Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, Hotel des Invalides (where Napoleon is buried), and Sacre Couer up the hill in Montemartre. So basically, all of Paris is unfurled just below our noses.

We arrived yesterday afternoon (It’s Friday morning in Paris right now, but nearly midnight on Thursday at home.) by train from Switzerland. So far we’ve taken the Boy and Lo show to Milan, Florence, Zurich, and now gay Paris.

We met up with several friends in Florence, two of whom ran the AIDS Marathon last Sunday. Both of them finished with excellent times (that’s you, Roy and Michael!!!), and we were so very proud.

So now Boy and I are on the last leg of our European adventure, and what better place to wind it up than here, in the city of lights. I’ve got a full day of exploration waiting for me, so I’d best get dressed and get out there.

I’ll get to the finer details later…

-Lo, who’s looking forward to using the French phrase that S concocted especially for me to use when I’m out shopping and find something irresistable: “Ravissante. Je mourirai de la beaute, mais je suis trop exquisemente sophistiquee.” (Ravishing! I would die from the beauty, but I am just too exquisitely sophisticated.)

There and Back Again

Mood: Beehive Brain
Drinking: Tea

I’m on the brink of a European vacation and fairly vibrating with the excitment. I can’t concentrate on work, am completely worthless in meetings, and really just need to get on a plane and go, already. But I haven’t packed yet. And that will take awhile…

This time around, Boy and I will be visiting the lovely cities of Paris, Zurich, Florence, Milan, and wherever else we happen to stop along the way.

I’ve already got my tickets to see DaVinci’s Last Supper in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, and one of my favorite paintings, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi. I’m also hoping to come face-to-face with the Mona Lisa while in Paris.

It won’t all be museums, though. There will be lots of eating and shopping and general meandering about. I find that getting lost in a new city is one of the best ways to get to know it. And I plan on getting lost both on foot and by scooter. We’re going to be doing a lot of rail riding, as well, but I’m pretty sure we’ll stay on track with that mode of transport.

I’m hoping to get inked by Laura Satana while I’m in Paris. Boy and I got our first international tattoos while we were in Rome last year, and we want to continue the tradition on this trip. (I’m sure my mom will be happy to hear that.)

One of the best parts of this trip is that we’ll be meeting up with friends while we’re in Italy. It will be fun to see some familiar faces in a strange land. Last year, toward the end of our two-week stint, I really started to miss my friends. It’s eerie to be in a country for an extended period of time and realize that absolutely no one except your partner knows who you are.

There is so much to look forward to. I’m already inspired and I haven’t even done anything yet! I predict this trip will yield a cinepoem (or two). Meanwhile, I’ll continue to be manic and worthless. Perhaps I’ll start packing early, just to make myself feel better. It’s going to be a miracle if I can close that suitcase without sitting on it!

-Lo, who has been trying to recall those two years of college French but so far can only remember “Je m’appelle LaDonna” and that football player with Tourette’s who sat next to me with an occasional twitch.

Date of Birth

Mood: Preoccupied
Drinking: In-between drinks

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to outgrow birthdays. I blame it on my Dad. When I was growing up, he was always the first to get excited about his own birthday, even singing “Happy Birthday to Me” weeks before the big day.

I think it’s genetic. I do the same thing. When I called my Mom last week the day before my birthday and sang the birthday song to myself, I could hear her eyes rolling. “You’re as bad as your father,” she said.

But I can’t help it. There’s just something magical about my birthday, no matter how high the numbers go. You just walk the whole day with a kind of glow about you, passing strangers with a smile, half expecting them to know what day it is and to stop and offer their well wishes.

So even when the number is 73, my birthday will probably still be a big day for me. The day that’s all about me, unapologetically, all day long. This year, that day was last Friday, and I made the most of it, even dragging it out into the weekend. (I called it my birthday weekend.)

My friends didn’t disappoint. They lined up with long-distance phone calls, an extended lunch-hour shopping spree, completely unnecessary but totally appreciated gifts, and even an ear-splitting Christina Aguilera-like rendition of the birthday song, courtesy of my adorable sister.

Of course, the “birthday weekend” was made even better by the addition of a film festival, complete with a Best Female Filmmaker award that was appropriately shiny and now sits in my dining room awaiting a good polishing.

So here’s to all my friends and family, who put up with my annual birthday antics. And to Boy, who never fails to weather the event with good humor, and this year went so far as to bake me a homemade ginger cake that was quite possibly the best thing I’ve tasted all year long. Heart shapes to all of you.

-Lo, who now turns her attention to the stockpile of supplies for the upcoming European adventure. Maps? Check! Guidebooks? Check! Outlet adapter thingie? Check! Supercute Red Hat for Parisian Cafe Outing? Check!

Dear Sir

Mood: So very tired
Drinking: I should be

It should be clear by now that
she does not want
to talk to you.

You may find it coldhearted, you may
think it unfair, but still
that is the way it is.

I cannot (and would not) change it.
I am not your ally. (I’m hers.)
And though you may
bear a beating golden heart
within your breast
though you may deserve a doubt
and all its attendant benefits

you have, indeed,
made a mess.

And I cannot help you.

So, please,
please,
stop.

-Lo, who knows firsthand the fire of lost love and the fickleness of email translation, but stands by her woman nevertheless.