Some Needed Inspiration

Three months without a new post?!?! I'm dropping the ball here. It happens this way because after a while the pressure to produce something funny, after so much time has passed, is overwhelming. A week long hiatus is equal to a post that will make you readers chuckle; two weeks needs a least one good belly laugh. A month gone by needs to make you laugh consistently all the way through, so what the f!@# does three months mean? It's too much pressure; I'm not overweight or a lesbian so I have nothing witty to say.

My mother and I were talking today about on-stage personas for stand-up comedians and she said, "Black people really are the funniest". Let me assure you, I come from a super liberal background that always taught acceptance and equality for all mankind, but I will only state this once because I don't want to have to tip-toe around perceived racism, it's boohockey. ANYWAYS... While discussing on-stage personas and how they work to a comics advantage, I said I felt like it is good to figure out what you are "very" of and use that to formulate your jokes. For example if a person is "very white" playing that up a little (without being a hack) is always hilarious, or "very tall" works great for lots of jokes. You are stating what the audience has already seen and judged you on, so it creates a dialogue. My favorite local comic is my friend Ray who is "very tall", "very big" and "very white", pair this with his stunning intellect and quick tongue and it is a recipe for brilliance and hilarity. Why can't I be a big awkward genius? Life's not fair.

This now begs the question, what am I very of? I'm a middle-class, average weight, average height, white jewish girl who doesn't even have a big nose to poke fun at. So what? I'm very ordinary? That can't be right. So I started thinking about many of the jokes I tell on stage and realized that a majority of them were about excrement. A fellow comic and friend of mine, Derek once pointed this out to me like it was news, but strangely, it was to me. I flipped through my joke book and saw things like, "my poop smells like Fritos" and "peeing in my own car" (if you ask I WILL kill you) and realized that I really had a lot of gross thoughts. The jokes that people have mentioned back to me most are my "farting during yoga" bit and "sharting while running"... what's odd though is that this pattern was never intentional.

My mom asked me if I was going to these jokes because I thought they were an easy laugh or if they spoke to something deeper inside me (I see the joke there and I will resist taking it). As I thought about it I realized that it had nothing to do with the audience response, I simply love poop jokes. To the depths of my soul I truly love gross stories about excrement (as further proof of this I just tried to use a thesaurus for the word excrement so as not to repeat it and laughed whole heartedly at every other option... haha waste matter). My mother then reminded me that growing up she used to tell my sister and I what we called The Gross Fairy Tales. We would beg her constantly to tell us one whenever we thought to and she would simply retell the classic fairytales with a little, shall we call it, flair. Sometimes Cinderella had stinky feet so the prince couldn't go near her to put on the glass slipper, or my personal favorite was the step sisters who missed the ball because they had diarrhea. They were easy changes to make and my mother clearly delighted in my sister and I roaring with laughter every time the wolf missed Red Riding Hood in the woods to lift his leg on a tree.

I have no doubt that these stories are somehow embedded in my psyche and now every time a person says "do do" in a sentence I laugh unapologetically. The first time I told my sharting joke at an open mic the host came up after me and said, "That pretty girl just talked about pooping herself!" So lets put it all together here, (I'm typing out loud, if that's a thing). I always dress to impress, Coco Chanel taught me that. Mix that with the very ordinary white girl perception the audience has and I am "very put together". Nothing is more surprising than a girl in stilettos and a silk chiffon blouse talking about the feeling of liquid poo dripping down her leg as she scrambles for the bathroom door; and nothing brings me more joy than saying it to a crowd.

So this post is to my mother, the woman who raised me on poop jokes and unlimited hugs, a combination I can only hope to emulate with my children someday. To a woman who always looked straight out of a magazine with the perfect outfit, hair and nails but then talked openly to her daughters about penises and vaginas and giggled all the way through it like a shameless kid. She told me today that she needed something to look forward to each day and that these posts would provide that for her. I can think of no better inspiration. I love you.

Sleep It Off

I guess I'm not 18 anymore. I use 18 rather than 21 because at 18 my hangovers were far less frequent and intense than they were by the time it was legal for me to have a hangover. I think maybe 21 is the drinking age because it it just when your body starts to slowly reject the idea of consuming too much on a regular basis. The morning after my 21st birthday was the day I realized that I had to make a choice; either A. Stop drinking copious amounts of alcohol when I go out, or B. Drink more alcohol all the time to work up a tolerance and thus avoid hangovers in the long run. Unfortunately my parents did some things right so I chose to drink less on party occasions. Now don't take this to mean that I stopped drinking, I'm not a party-pooper, but I try no to just start consuming blindly until I have to be carried out, it's just not a cute look for me. Sadly, the instance and severity of my hangovers is getting worse with age. What used to be a carefree night on the town with friends is now a two day sentence to be bedridden and cranky. If I have anything more than one or two drinks I'm doomed to be ill the next day and it makes me a little sad that I wasn't more committed years ago to building my tolerance, I really dropped the ball there.

If this trend continues down the path it is on now I will end up like my mother. Now I should mention that she is the cutest person ever, but damn is she a cheap date. She never ever drinks except once in a while at Passover when she'll have  grape juice all night and then one sip of wine, or special occasions. She reacts to alcohol like the rest of us do, but somehow her body takes the stages of drunkenness and condenses them into about ten minutes.

Minute 1- She drinks the wine (usually about half a glass is all it takes).

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Minute 2- She starts to giggle and talk about feeling tipsy and how much fun the evening is.

Minute 3- She joyously admits that she is now fully drunk.

Minute 4- She becomes the life of the party, a good time is had by all.

Minute 5- We watch her start to slow down and her energy fades.

Minute 6- She mentions that she is feeling a little bit sick but still seems committed to enjoying the evening.

Minute 7- She is now ready for a post drinking nap but isn't able to have one because dinner is still going on.

Minute 8- Due to not sleeping when her body needed it, she is now in full hangover mode — spins, nausea, exhaustion, etc.

Minute 9- She remembers why she never drinks and tells us it was only because she indulged too much and next time maybe we should give her a 1/4 glass.

Minute 10- She finds a place to nap and is out cold, reporting the next day that she got a little out of hand.

Little does she know, this is mine and my sisters favorite occasion, she just gets so happy and giddy in the few minutes that she is drunk and I have never seen anything more delightful. Yes, we poke fun at how quickly she heads south but I should note here that it is all in good spirit (Mom, if you are upset that I posted this I owe you extra hugs the next time I see you, and maybe a glass of wine).

At least with age I am also learning how to better manage my hangovers. I'm like an old fart, I try to get home early, take two ibuprofen, a multi vitamin and start in on chugging gatorade. Why is it that gatorade is delicious all the times except when it is needed post drinking, when it tastes like bad medicine and barf? Don't even get me started on Revive Vitamin Water, that stuff works like a charm but since I only drink it when I'm hungover I now believe that it is the official taste of sick.

Wow, this is really the only time I wish I was 18 again.

Excuses, Excuses

Two weeks since my last post. Don't worry though, I had good reason to abandon this project for so long, fourteen good reasons actually. I shouldn't call them excuses because each rationale was completely legitimate but I'm sure they will come off as me trying to cover my ass, so for the sake of humbling myself to my audience I will call them excuses just this once. Day 1; Cooking dinner wore me out- I had actually started a post about rude people at concerts (which I'm sure you'll see published soon) while I was making homemade pizzas. Of course they turned out so good that I had to reward my culinary talents by taking a night off from writing. Also, it's pretty tiring scattering toppings onto crusts and mastering the ratio of sauce to cheese; I'm sure some of you can understand that I was drained.

Day 2; Rehearsal- I'm in an upcoming production of Our Town and this was right when my schedule went from once a week or so to 3-5 days a week, so naturally I had a lot on my mind.

Day 3; Exhaustion- From rehearsal, remember?

Day 4; Shame- After I realized that it had been four days since I had last written I assumed that my readers were all sitting home laughing at my failure. I felt so much pressure to make my comeback post awesome that I was rejecting every idea that came my way. I lost my funny.

Day 5; Guilt- I had received a few comments from people I knew saying that they missed the daily postings and I suddenly felt like I had let everyone down. I suppose I had been downplaying my celebrity status and I should have realized that this tiny blog is changing lives. Without it, others start to lose faith in the world and the whole system crumbles. I am probably now somehow to blame for the starving children in Bolivia... darn.

Day 6; Sniffles- This may seem minor but you never know when an uncared for sniffle will turn into swine flu or small pox. As someone who actually had swine flu, I don't take any chances. I take my vitamin C, drink all the juice in the region and go straight to bed. I cannot be expected to exert myself or my brain when I'm on the verge of a life threatening illness.

Day 7; A Cold- See?!?! I told you this would happen. I think it got to this point because I was watching TV and lifting my many remotes (a post for another day maybe), I have four remotes for one TV setup, it's madness. I'm actually amazed that with that much physical activity I wasn't sicker, I will call it a miracle and next time try to be less reckless.

Day 8; Emotional Recovery- Each time I am sick I try to give myself a day to recover emotionally after I am cured. I think it is important to appreciate that you had a brush with death and came out alive. I use this day to indulge in whatever I want to do most and what with feeling exhausted, shamed and guilty already I certainly wasn't feeling capable of writing something that would get a laugh.

Day 9; Work Deadlines- The writing I do that pays me certainly has to take priority over everything else and since I was in the midst of a very tough week I was running behind my deadline. If I'm going to panic, procrastinate and avoid my magazine articles it just doesn't seem right to sit down and write for pleasure. In case my editors or publishers read this I wouldn't want them to say, "Well her fingers obviously aren't broken, so what's going on?" This was one massive coverup.

Day 10; Messy Apartment- I should clarify that this doesn't imply that I cleaned my apartment this day, thus missing a post; rather this is explaining that the state of my apartment was a very telling indicator of my mental state. I felt like I was living in squalor and it was no place to generate humor.

Day 11; Fell Asleep Early- The thought of cleaning my apartment really wore me out and I passed out on the couch early. I swear by this point I had intended to start writing here again but the mental strain was clearly more than I could handle.

Day 12; Cleaning the Apartment- My method of throwing clothes onto the closet floor in a pile, putting all kitchen items into the dishwasher and shifting everything else into the spare room (now officially the "junk room") takes a lot out of me. All that bending and tossing really puts pressure on my back and sometimes the start button on my dishwasher requires a little added pressure to work. I can barely live under these conditions, I should just bite the bullet and hire a maid... not because I'm lazy, but rather because I need to save my energy for this blog.

Day 13; Pooter Attack- Those of you who have met my cat Pooter, know that he is a terrorist. He waits behind furniture to strike and can only be distracted from his dastardly plans by a laser toy, feathers or copious amounts of catnip. I was sitting down at the computer desk so I didn't have quick access to any of these decoys.  I was all ready to write a post this day and Pooter shattered my confidence and rocked my emotional well being. He made it clear that he didn't want me writing that day and who am I to question him? I would estimate that I'm getting pounced on enough to warrant an added trip to my therapist each week.

Day 14; Planning for the Apocalypse- I'm sure there is a religious nut somewhere predicting that the end is near and I certainly don't want to be unprepared due to a silly blog entry. How dumb would I feel if I hadn't stocked up on spam?

I think it is clear that I am ready to move forward and go back to writing regularly and may I just say that I appreciate you all being so understanding of my recent hard times. Between my cold and my live in murderer it's a wonder I was even ready to write today, but what can I say... I'm committed. So, to the starving kids of Bolivia, you are welcome.

I'm Just Saying...

Ok, I haven't talked about something on this blog yet because I was nervous that readers would judge me. I can't really get around it anymore because it is a problem that exists and with 325 days left for me to write this year I can't exactly avoid any topic. So I'll just get right to it, I have an issue with ugly babies. Before you all get upset and stop reading, I should say that I think a majority of babies are cute and I believe that by some divine rule they are supposed to be. Most of the time I look at your baby and I think it is adorable, but I think that magnifies the problem I have with the ugly ones; my expectations are just so high. Don't act like you think every baby on the planet is precious, you're a liar and you know it.

How does one handle a situation in which a funny looking baby is involved? You are meeting someones beloved child and you have to lie and tell them that he/she is beautiful, I understand that. I always get anxiety when I see an ugly baby though because then I think that the parent knows I'm lying and that now they are pissed at me. It's really unfair, I shouldn't be in trouble because I was politely sugar coating their offspring's unfortunate appearance.

I wonder if on some level they know; or maybe as parents they are programmed to think their child is perfect, I can't tell. They surely feel, to them, everything the kid does is funny and adorable, but on some deeper level do they realize it? When my good friend Lisa was pregnant she and I were walking around the outlet mall one day and I brought up the subject because I knew she was the type who wouldn't be offended. I also knew that she would be honest with me. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Lisa, can I ask you something a little offensive?

Lisa: I'd be mad if you didn't...

Me: Do you ever worry that your baby is going to come out and be ugly and then you might love her less?

Lisa: (Very straightforward) Every day.

I knew she was serious and we even went on to discuss how she had spoken with her mother about these concerns. Her mother had agreed; this made me feel less guilty about it.

Why should I feel guilty though? As we grow, if we aren't attractive we have other traits we can rely on that are just as (if not more) valuable so it's ok to not be the most attractive, but what does a baby have? They are born cute so we will want to sacrifice everything for them and their neediness will be welcomed and nurtured. If a baby isn't cute they don't have much else going on, they are lumps for the first few months. I'm sorry, if you owned something that served no purpose and was just around needing care and attention, you would at least want it to be nice to look at.

I wanted to attach a picture to this post, but I realized that a lot of the photos I wanted to use were of babies that belong to people I see on Facebook and I was worried they would stumble upon it here. For everyone who sees this and thinks I'm a terrible person and in the interest of not offending anyone I will leave you with a photo of an anonymous baby. I'll let you all decide for yourselves if you still want to say I'm out of line.

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York Peppermint Patties

While we are on the subject of parents and candy, I'm suddenly inspired to reminisce about a candy I consider very influential in my life. My father always had York Peppermint Patties; he would buy the giant dispenser box at wholesale markets and he usually carried a few with him. They were the after meal snack, and he would always ask "One or two?" as though a six year old would ever answer with the former. In the later years, when he would go out, my sister Ricca was old enough to be in charge so we had free rein. The first thing we would do is say goodbye and act casual about our plans for the evening. Then as my father went across the driveway to his car we would crouch behind the sofa and peek out the blinds to watch his car pull out. We would then follow the headlights to the front of the house-- all the while crouched beneath the window sills so as not to be seen. Once he was gone we would jump up and head straight to the snack cabinet. We were too short to reach the minty rewards on our own so she would crawl onto the counter and stand straight up, then pass them down to me in handfuls. Afterwords we got to curl up in our pajamas and watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, eating as though we were racing against the clock.

Often times we would each fall asleep on either arm of the blue polka dotted sofa and wake up as The Beast (The name of my dads car) parked in the garage. The first thing we would see is the rug and couch littered with tiny aluminum York balls that we had created to throw at each other. In a flash we would scramble to pick up each piece of evidence and throw it in the space between the back of the furniture and the wall.

Ricca and I would look behind the sofa and laugh about how many hundreds of wrappers were back there. My father, who was always a clean guy, never noticed them so we just let them build and build. After he started seriously dating his second wife Lynn, she would spend a lot of time in our house; it was nice to have her around for some feminine energy, but she was a power cleaner. Coming home from school one afternoon I bumped into Lynn and found her cleaning in the den. She gave me a look, smiled, then went back to her vacuuming. She never told my father so we technically got away with it, but I suspect my dad always knew it was there and left it because he saw Ricca and I giggling about how sneaky we were. To be fair, we were pretty clever.

It is the one story I have that both my father and sister laugh about. It is the memory I use to bring it all together and remind myself that no matter how messy things can be, we were a family once and there will always be love in that.

The All-American Shopping Cart

Ever since joining weight watchers I find I have a new problem I can't seem to get away from. I judge other people at the grocery store based on what is in their shopping carts... but can you blame me? Have you seen what some people buy?!?! Have you noticed what people don't buy? I can not comprehend having an overflowing cart with not even one fruit or vegetable in it.

A trick I learned, that many dieters use, is to try to only shop around the perimeter of the store and not to even go into the center aisles. This way you leave with produce, fresh meat, dairy, etc, the good stuff. I now see that there are people who subscribe exclusively to the center aisles, chips, cookies, sodas, frozen pizzas, ice cream, candy... you get the picture. Looking at the overflowing carts filled with junk food being pushed by an overweight family, I have to wonder, do they not know or do they just not care? They must be allergic to fresh foods, or maybe their doctor has told them that they aren't getting enough preservatives in their diet, I hear it's the newest food group at the base of the pyramid just below artificial cheese and aspartame.

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Another popular shopping strategy is letting your 4-year-old choose what they think is best nutritionally. I suppose many of these parents aren't really sure what they should be feeding their little ones so it only seems right to give them free reign of the shopping duties. I can recognize that when a child says they want fruit roll-ups there is no easy way to say no; being a parent is tough enough without also being responsible for letting them down and making them angry. The rule of thumb here is, if they might throw a tantrum do what they ask, this will make them reasonable adults, right? When I was growing up there was no soda, frosted cereals or candy in my house; my parents were real jerks, trying to teach me about healthy eating and forcing vegetables down my throat. I remember being really mad about it so I would go to my friends houses and raid all their sugary snacks, they had cool moms and dads. Now as an adult I find the result of my upbringing is I don't enjoy soda, I never drink the stuff-- parents ruin everything.

The Komen Flop

It all makes perfect sense, stop funding for breast exams because the same people giving the exams are also performing abortions. If we punish the people at Planned Parenthood for their crazy liberal practices we will save the lives of thousands of unborn babies. Who really gives a hoot if thousands of  women go undiagnosed and die from cancer, they've lived long enough right? Let's focus our energy on the fetus' that don't exist yet, they have more promise. Don't even get me started on birth control, those hooligans at Planned Parenthood give it out willy-nilly and now the youth of America is going to run out and have promiscuous sex. If we stop giving them access to safe sex they are mature enough by 14 or 15 to know not to have it at all; when I was that age I know I didn't do anything that wasn't safe... Also, no more free condoms, once the boys get them in their hands they lose complete control of their impulses and become like ravenous dogs just running around looking for a way to abuse their new-found protection.

I'm sorry, I'm putting sarcasm aside because I suddenly became terrified that someone less astute would read this and think I was serious.

Really though, do the men who are against birth control just abstain from sex unless they are intending to reproduce? I don't buy it. If that is what they are doing, I want to protest that. It seems like a hazard, having irritable, unsatisfied people going about their day and bringing everyone else down; I for one would be incredibly bitchy...

I'm relieved that the Komen Foundation reversed their decision to stop funding, and I'm glad that all it took was 26 senators and millions of protestors. They must be pooing in their pants over at headquarters though, no easy way out of this pickle; the PR workers for Komen should probably be put on suicide watch just to be safe. The damage to their reputation is done, they played all their cards and now we know where their political and religious loyalties lie. Several figurehead Repulicans came out today calling the change in plans "hollow and weak"... alright, I can play this game. I don't agree with Komen's politics so I think it would only make sense to tell anyone giving them money that if they don't like the financial decision they made they should stop supporting everything else they do. If Planned Parenthood provides contraceptives and abortions, no more money for breast exams and if the Komen Foundation backs the pro lifers, no more cure for cancer.

It is time to face the hard truth that vindictiveness and ego are more important than anything. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world satisfied...

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Honestly, to all the Facebook users out there, do me a favor... stop with the whining. Remember when the News Feed feature was added and every single one of you complained (IN YOUR FACEBOOK STATUS) that you thought the feature was for stalkers. Now we all spend obscene amounts of time scrolling through and reading what everyone else is doing. I know how it feels when that screen won't load, panic; we can't imagine the site without a news feed. Next up was the new layout and there were groups created (ON FACEBOOK) saying "Join this group if you hate the new layout" or "If we can get 1 million members to boycott the new design, Mark Zuckerburg agrees to leave Facebook the same and tattoo a monkey on his bicep". Even worse are the people who post (ON FACEBOOK) that they don't understand the new layout or their privacy is now somehow in jeopardy so they aren't going the use the site anymore... I'll believe it when I no longer have to read your crappy updates; by all means, what is stopping you?

Every time the site changes I have to spend a full week waiting for all my friends to come onto their homepage, discover the change, then post a paragraph about how it has ruined their day. Wouldn't your time be better spent just learning the changes and exploring the new features? I have to be really frank here, those status updates are not only uninteresting but they make you seem cantankerous and close-minded. A few years ago you were the same people who were saying you would never have a profile on the site because it was dumb.

I have to trust that the programmers at headquarters aren't sitting there shouting across the room in their wheelie chairs, "Hey Larry, I just added a new menu screen that's really going to throw them for a loop!". The success of the website is based on people wanting to spend time on it, so it is safe to say they are just trying to improve.

I think it is a bad sign that we as a community are proving the conditioning theory wrong. After this many changes to Facebook, we should just know that we will eventually get used to the differences and actually like them. I love the news feed and I think the new timeline feature is really nice, wonderful even. I got to look back over some years that were very emotional for me and see how far I've come; the new layout makes that a lot easier. I came up with the idea for this post because I was on my page and saw three different status updates that bitched about timeline.

Okay then, you are right, the ideas that Zuckerburg and his team have are lame and they have yet to prove themselves; they don't know what the people want. So you design a social networking revolution. Go ahead, if you have this many ideas why not make the most of them?

I know change is hard, I understand and I'm here for all of you through these difficult times; but for the love of pooh bear, can't we find something better to be enraged about? I for one am really angry that there are still places that don't recycle cardboard.

Overachievers

You all know a few overachievers. Maybe you went to high school with them and now you follow their adventures on Facebook or maybe it's a family member you can't stop hearing about. Either way... don't they piss you off? I think I'm doing a fair amount with my life right now, I write daily in this blog (which you all hear about WAY too much if you are talking to me), I intern for a magazine publication company who I also freelance as a writer and event coordinator for, I am stage managing a show, acting in an upcoming show and auditioning for another show as well as writing a stand up comedy routine and spending time with friends. It is safe to say that I'm not doing nothing; I seem to have plans every single second and I'm getting tired.

So how do people do it? I know people my age who are traveling the world, saving starving children, they speak five languages, have four degrees etc; but where did this time and energy come from?

It's not that I don't look up to these people, I really do. Yet, a part of me thinks it is possible that they are doing all this just to make me feel bad about myself. They can not possibly enjoy all the rewards that come from a life of constant achievement, it happens too quickly and I think the pride must be diluted by the frequency of their success. I need them to stop though because it is making me feel like I have to do more and I don't like it one bit.

I only speak one language fluently (unless I am allowed to count pig latin), I've traveled a little, but never on the western hemisphere, I don't play any instruments (again, unless I can count the triangle because I'm awesome at that) and when discussing real world politics I would probably reference the season of The Real World in Denver where that guy got punched in the face (because I have no idea who Ron Paul is other than his YouTube video). There must be some reasonable limit to how much a human can take in by a certain age.

All I can hope is that someone else who knows me sees how much I am doing and feels like I am successful. Then some day if I'm really doing it all I may even get a friend to think, "Wow, she does a lot... that bitch."

Digging For Gold

Someone very wise said to me recently, "It's not a coincidence that our fingers are just the right size to fit in our nose." Truer words have never been spoken. You all pick your nose, at least once in a while, even if you are the type who uses a tissue to avoid direct booger contact. Whenever I have been a passenger on a long road trip I have seen countless drivers getting up in there. Why are we all so compelled to pick while we drive? Maybe it's the solitude a car provides or maybe the road inspires people to clean out before they get where they're going.

Nothing is worse than a rogue booger; when you spot one, you want to listen to what the person is saying but all you can do is stare at the booger. I know the right thing to do is tell the person about it so they can remove it, and it would be worse to let them walk around with it dangling there, but it's a hard thing to say. You know that the moments while they have to pick it in front of you are going to be horrifying and they are going to have to come up with something to say to break the silence like, "Oh jeez, I was saving that for later!" (insert awkward laughter here).

I'm not sure why this topic is taboo, we all have snot in common, but nobody talks about it. More than that, most people actively deny that they ever go digging, but I'm not buying it. I can't prove that everyone does it, but I know how it feels to have a big crusty booger up there, it's uncomfortable and it needs to be dislodged. Blowing your nose just doesn't cut it, the gooey ones always stick to the little hairs, it's unavoidable and nothing works better than a finger. Some work better than others for different jobs, for example, the index finger is good for average jobs and big ones near the nostril but nothing tops a swirl of the pinky for the deep dive.

I think we should all stop hiding behind tissues and handkerchiefs and just admit "I pick my nose", it's a good lesson in candor. Although I think the bus stops there; something tells me there is no room in this world for the select few who would then admit, "I eat it."

Look Forward To...?

When we are young there are milestones that we look forward to years ahead of time. The first big privilege is getting your drivers license. In my home state the law allows someone who is 15 and 10 months to start drivers ed and at 16 you can get a learners permit. I wasn't going to waste any time, so I took the week long intensive course to speed up the process. Eighteen is a big one: voting, tattoos, credit cards, checking accounts, cigarettes, lottery tickets,  joining the military and more. Basically this is when you become an adult in society and it feels pretty darn good (and not just because of the new-found access to porn).

We all know about 21: liquor, gambling and guns. Wow, that's a lot of really fun, alarmingly unhealthy new options.

This year I turned 25 and I can admit that I was excited to be allowed to rent a car. Honestly. I guess once the luster of drinking, casinos and firearms dies down all we have left to get uppity about is renting a car. I have been 25 for 7 months now and I have yet to walk into a Hertz. It's not like 16, 18 and 21 where you plan an evening to take advantage of all your new allowances on your birthday. The urgency has vanished and it becomes enough to just say you can rent a car.

Here is what is alarming though, after all these incredible landmark occasions it all stops. There is suddenly nothing left to look forward to except for retirement in 30 years (I shouldn't say nothing, you politicos can run for President at 35). You can be a member of AARP starting at 50 which gets you senior discounts plus the AARP magazine! Next, at 59 and a half (really?) tax law allows you to withdraw money from pensions and IRAs with no penalty... try not to pee your pants, I know this one just got you all excited. Starting at 62 you can choose to start collecting social security, although this isn't fun because if you do decide to utilize this right at that age it's not really the best financial choice. It's like, "Hey, you can take this money now, but that wouldn't be smart... but you can". 65 is a little bigger because that is when you can start taking advantage of all senior discounts; I can always appreciate frugality, but this seems less like a privilege and more like a nagging reminder that society considers you old. At 65 us young folk have to start cutting you slack and taking care of you, but you can take all your social security so don't feel sad. Finally at 70 and a half (what's with the halves?) you reach the deadline for starting a minimum distribution from all tax qualified retirement plans. I understand if you skipped over that sentence, it was as boring for me to type as it was for you to read it.

After writing all this out, I'm wishing I had appreciated my car rental milestone a little more. It is the end of gaining rights. I can officially do everything that real adults can do, and some people might even mistake me for one at first glance. I have lost sight of how many things I'm allowed to do and now I miss the feeling of anticipation. How is it that I have spent years waiting for these opportunists and now I'm not out there abusing my rights? You can be sure I won't make that mistake again. In 25 years I'm going to throw myself an AARP themed birthday bash, it's going to be a real hoot.

The DaVinci Theory

I have a theory that I formulated my sophomore year in college and ever since it has proven accurate time and time again. It all started with the ice breakers used on the first day of classes each semester. In one of my lit classes we went around the room saying our name, where we were from, where we lived on campus and our favorite book. I noticed I was judging people based on their favorite book answers; this all led to my theory: If you say that the DaVinci Code is your favorite book it is the only book you have read since Hop on Pop in first grade. Don't get me wrong, I've read the DaVinci code and it was riveting. It is a real page turner and I have to say, honestly, that I enjoyed it from cover to cover, but as an English major I can recognize that it isn't the best book out of all the books. People who love that novel will argue with me that I'm being too hard on it and it's a very well done book, but this is about me knowing that literature can not possibly have peaked with Dan Brown. It is along the same lines as someone saying that Danielle Steele is their favorite author... this means she is all you are reading (no judgement, it's just a fact).

It's fine with me, I swear. If these writers are getting people to open up a book for something other than the glossy pictures in the middle, I say great. Again, there is nothing wrong with The DaVinci code being your favorite book, just admit that you aren't a reader and we can all sleep easy. What I can not accept is someone telling me that they have read any of the classics and Dan Brown was better, he's a good story teller, but he's not going down in history with Edith Wharton, T.S. Eliot and even more recently, J.K. Rowling (don't make me explain that random selection of writers, it's late and I'm tired).

Maybe I can compare this to someone eating at a five star restaurant and then saying that TGI Fridays is their favorite. There is a time for Fridays, but it is never trying to be the best, it's satisfying and easy, and while the Balsamic Chicken with Angel Hair is awesome, it's no Chateaubriand.

I Swear I Don't Have an Eating Disorder

I genuinely care about how I look, yes. I've always been somewhat thin naturally, but when I went away to college I blew right through the freshman 15 straight to 50. Since then I've put in the work through healthy eating and exercise to stay trim, but along the way I have had to catch myself on the verge of several eating disorders. Anorexia

So I've never starved myself for very long. The few times I decided I wanted to look thinner for a big event and made the decision to skip a meal, it lasted an hour or so before my stomach would grumble and I would throw in the towel and eat 5 meals worth. It's not that it had been so long that I was hungry enough for 5 meals, but when a girl like me goes two or three hours without food it can be scary. This method of weight loss isn't for me, if I'm going to commit to messing with my health in order to be thin, it might as well be something easier and more rewarding...

Bulemia

This seems like a little more fun because of the binging part. I think I would be really good at that. I like the mentality that comes with bulimia, "I will eat ALL the food then deal with the problem afterwords. In the meantime, pass me the butter!" Starving yourself is one thing, that takes a kind of commitment and mental resolve I can't fathom; bulimia lets you eat as much as you want. My issue here comes into play because sometimes I do eat more than I feel proud of. We've all eaten a full box of Kraft Mac & Cheese and felt that guilt that only orange goo cheese can invoke. After licking the last of the cheesy goodness from the bowl I experience a moment of wishing I had only indulged in half a box and try to figure out how to rid my body of the other half. The problem is that barf is gross and uncomfortable. The worst part is when you barf and then smell it all day because some of it is in your nose. That alone makes this one impossible for me to partake in, not to mention the stained teeth; it's like wearing a sign that says "I purge". According to the National Institute of Mental Health bulimia can also be diagnosed when a person follows up their binging with excessive exercise or fasting, so I guess that would eliminate barf... but both of those sound like more work than I am willing to put in. If I was willing to fast I would be anorexic and spare my teeth and esophagus the burden and if I was willing to excessively exercise I wouldn't have this problem to begin with. That's just silly. There has to be another way to get the food out of my body...

Laxitives

I stumbled upon this horrible idea for the first time before a Weight Watchers weigh in. It was an accident, I assure you. Before my weigh in meetings I would always try to get up early and poop so I would weigh less, make sense so far? Well some mornings I wouldn't have to go number two early enough so I would try to think of ways to lose that weight and, naturally, when you want to poo and nothing is happening there is one cure that comes to mind. The conversation I had with myself went something like this:

My brain: Ugh, if you don't poop before the meeting it's going to show up on the scale.

My brain: What can you do about it? You can't force it.

My brain: Or can I?

My brain: Umm... what are you thinking of doing?

My brain: It would only be enough Senna to get things going.

My brain: No no no, I've heard Johnny Cash sing about the ring of fire and I don't want to experience it first hand I don't have time for that today.

My brain: Just this once, then next week you can go to the gym everyday to make up for cheating a little.

My brain: Well... if it's only the one time...

My brain: Wait... did this just get scary? Did you just talk yourself into an eating disorder?

My brain: Yup.

My brain: Oh, damn.

It's that easy for me to go there. Frightening.

I accept that I'm insane and that I care too much about how I look, but for now I choose to use portion control and exercise to look the way I want. I find this method has the downside of being rewarding and it makes me feel accomplished, which is so cliche I might barf (eating disorder!). Yet something about feeling like I'm making healthy choices satisfies me in a way food never could, so I suppose I'll stick with it. It's just that these other options seem like a lot less work and responsibility so they tempt me from time to time. Plus, these disorders make you a kind of extreme thin that healthy eating could never achieve so if I ever want to be on America's Next Top Model or an actress in a movie about a coke addict I have to keep them in mind as an option.

Just A Reminder

I currently have a lot on my plate because I want to accomplish so many things and I know what I can achieve if I give it my all; but I need to learn to be a lot less hard on myself when things aren't perfect. I didn't write a blog post yesterday and I've been beating myself up today thinking I should write something and back date it so I can keep up the pace. I was angry with myself for missing a day and feeling like everyone who was waiting for me to fail was laughing, so that kept me from this computer all morning. I decided for this post I don't have to be funny, I just have to write it. Then tonight I will write again and be back on track. See, it isn't about not being able to do everything I promised I would do, it's about making sure when I miss something, I don't let the negativity stop me in my tracks. The reason I didn't post yesterday was because I was getting paid by my job to run an event; an event that ended up being hugely successful. When it was all over I was exhausted, but only because I had given it everything I had. So why am I being so cruel to myself today, isn't that a good thing?

I want to learn to be funny, but today I am learning to love myself for everything I am and trying to let go of what I mess up, because I'm capable of so much if I just keep working.

Identifiers

I'm sure I've mentioned previously that I love reality television. It is my guilty pleasure and the trashier the show the better. Something about seeing crazy peoples lives play out that makes me feel like my own life is normal. It is alright that I have some issues in my life, because at least I'm not a forty something year old dressed in twenty something clothes yelling at my brat kids and fighting with strangers at a bar with my panties showing in front of millions of viewers. I can always hold on to that. The problem I seem to be having more often lately though is that I'm recording so many of these shows that I am losing track of characters names and it makes it hard to discuss episodes with fellow fans. My solution to this came naturally and I didn't realize I was doing it until recently; I call people by their identifiers.

We all have a few key identifiers that others use when they either can't remember our names or they know multiple people with the same name:

Billy Bob: You will never believe what Samantha did the other day...

Joe: What?

Billy Bob: She tried to play it off, but she definitely ripped a huge fart at karaoke the other night when she got on stage.

Joe: No way! Wait... which Samantha?

Billy Bob: You know, the one with the big boobs.

(Big boobs is the most common identifier I've heard in my research although I'm sure there are others I'd be less happy to hear about.)

So I realized that I use these subconscious identifiers when discussing the latest episodes of Top Chef or America's Next Top Model, etc. It is early in the season, and Top Chef has too many contestants for me to keep track of so I now know some of them as follows:

- The sweet natured lesbian

- Chill tall black guy

- Mean fat girl

- Really fat girl

- Emotionally fragile asian girl

- Long haired confrontational Asian guy

- Awesome Asian guy who wins

- Uptight blonde

- Guy with a stupid ponytail

- Short whiny hispanic guy

- Uninteresting white girl

- Blindingly hot guy

- Mohawk who can't cook

I understand this may seem offensive, but at least I think I've offended you all a little bit. I'm an equal opportunity offender. Identifiers aren't meant to be insulting, because they aren't something we are fully aware of. Reality shows are a conundrum because they combine not knowing a person at all with insight into their personality throughout the season. So at the beginning of a show someone might be "hot russian girl" and they later become, "hostile hot russian girl". In everyday life the "hostile" identifier would outweigh looks and ethnicity, but on television you still do not quite know them well enough to drop the original attributes.  This allows for far more interesting and detailed descriptors.

You give someone an identifier the second you meet them, it is specific to the circumstances of the relationship and it evolves as you get to know them better. If you are Hispanic and you have one Indian friend, they will probably be "the Indian one" in the group. Race seems to be the initial identifier; secondary is physical characteristics, such as "big nose" or "receding hairline". As time goes on we develop more complex and accurate names like "Girl who always stays too long at the end of the night" and "The guy who always passes out at parties".

This natural, ever-changing means of describing people sometimes becomes crazy events that, with certain groups of friends, will always be the identifiers. These are the trump cards. Major things like, "girl who peed in the dorm sinks freshman year" (actual girl I know) or "the one who slept with all those hookers"; these are the things that people remember you for.

So I guess to some of my friends I'm "the Jewish girl", to others I could be "the one who never shuts up", but I hope for those who know me best I can just be, "the one who talks a lot about poop and giggles".

Find Your Bliss

We all have our obsessions in life, some more severe than others. I myself have several vices and I think shoes are at the top of the list (followed by Lady Gaga and crappy reality television). Recently I lined up and counted all my shoes with some friends and turns out I had 93 pairs. I agreed with my friends, who were saying it was time to rid myself of some of the older pairs and I let go of 17; with the deal made that I could buy one new pair for every two pairs I got rid of. That deal quickly fell through and I am pretty sure I'm at over 100 styles now, but it's reasonable because they each serve a different vital purpose in my life.

My shoes
My shoes

My 93 pairs of shoes pre-purge

The other day while I was busy adding the much needed pairs of army green suede boots and chic black and white pumps to my collection, I saw someone else in the store who seemed to love shoes even more than I do. He was sitting in the ladies boots section trying on a pair of (not so cute) black pleather knee highs with a pointed toe. I had to do a double take, not just because a man was trying on women's boots but also because I thought it might be Newman from Seinfeld shoe shopping here in Rhode Island.

Newman
Newman

His main struggle seemed to be zipping the boot over his large hairy calves, but it certainly was not stopping him. After he had squeezed into them he sauntered over to the full length mirror and gave himself a look in it like he was Miss America, spins and all. He then casually returned to his seat neatly placed the boots back in the box and I assumed he was through. Wrong. He walked towards me and stopped at a pair of red leather knee high boots, again with a pointed toe. The look on his face can only be described by the visual of an 11 year old boy accidentally turning into the girls locker room. It was bliss. My entire opinion of him changed in that split second. I felt ashamed that I had been one of the people judging him as I walked by, because what I realized is, this was really making him happy. I don't know if he bought any pairs because I left the store while he was wrapped up in some matte white knee highs, but it was very clear that he was in his own version of heaven.

People all over the store were staring. It's not that I don't think he noticed, but he seemed to genuinely not care. He had his shoes and if others could not appreciate his joy, he was not going to let that stop him.

I spend almost every minute of every day worrying what others think of me. I hide the things I'm afraid I will be judged for, and I downplay my addictions when I'm with people who don't think they're cool (except Gaga, I will defend her to my grave). He wasn't hurting anyone or making a scene. He was tidy, quiet and unobtrusive as he tried on boot after boot and each time the mirror was his reward. If I'm being really fair here, he actually pulled them off with some real sass.

I want to be Newman in the shoe store. I want to do what makes me happy regardless of what other people think, and I want to let my inner kook out and let her shine. More importantly I want to take from this that I still have some work to do in regards to how I initially view others. Man in a shoe store trying on hooker boots? Awesome.

A step forward

I know I'm supposed to be attempting humor here, but today has been a big day for me and I felt the need to type some things out for myself. I have been acting as a hobby for years now. I basically grew up in the theatre with my grandmother and mother both involved in community plays. At the beginning I was getting cast in musicals because I was a confident singer and, honestly, because there wasn't much competition. Very few girls my age were auditioning for the same roles as me and so I was something of a default choice. Then after getting cast a few times in every musical I wanted, I started trying out for plays and hit a brutal string of rejection.

Show after show I wasn't getting cast. In one instance I wasn't cast as a slutty maid who had very few lines and came on stage maybe three times. I'm always cast as the slutty maid, that was the one part I could always rely on and now even that was taken from me. A few brave souls finally worked up the guts to tell me that I wasn't the greatest actress. I knew I looked nice on stage and people rested on the compliment, "You were beautiful up there!" (translation: the show was great when you weren't speaking).

I spent months volunteering my time at the theatre in other ways; I built sets, helped with props, joined committees, was accepted onto the board of managers, stage managed, played soldier number two and my favorite role, apparition number four. I tried to feel more and more at peace with not getting roles, although I admit each misstep came with a few tears. I was feeling defeated and at times a little inadequate. I wasn't doing this to "make it" as an actress, I just wanted so badly to be a part of things.

My good friend Jay was the one who helped me start working on my acting and he was motivating force behind my signing up for classes. I took a few and began to just let go. That was the best lesson of all... work as hard as you can work and then just let go, if you have done enough than things will happen, if not, keep working.

As I sat in my callback today with the script in hand I just said to myself, "just do this... lay it all out on the table and then let go." I was told that my monologue was delivered beautifully and I even had one casting member tearing up. Today I was cast as the lead in a show. The only thing I could think to do was dance, so I grooved around my apartment for the entire length of Earth, Wind and Fire's, September. Pooter looked less than amused at this display.

I suppose this isn't the funniest post I will ever write, but I just needed to put this down on the page so I can remember this feeling. If I had been cast in every show or even just most, my appreciation for this one role would certainly be lessened; I might even let the feeling pass me by. Today I realized that every role I ever receive, I can look at the work I put in and feel like I earned it. I will remember how I felt every time things didn't go my way, but the ones that get away now are just more reasons to keep improving, because there never is an end to learning, is there?

I'm not crazy, I'm probably brilliant

I remember a dream I had when I was 7 and in the dream it was my birthday and I got a ton of amazing gifts. When I woke up I actually took a second to look around my room to find the gifts and realized it was all a dream. I may or may not have cried, that detail is unimportant. I was pissed that I didn't have a pony, plus it wasn't even my birthday when I woke up so I was clearly mad about that too. My room looked so stupid and boring compared to my gift filled dream room. Worse than the dream that won't come true is an alarm waking you up in the morning from a dream moments before the dream would have concluded. This happened a lot to me, and there is no worse feeling then waking up just before you are about to see where the magical gnome is taking you or a handsome stranger is about to kiss you.

I'm not sure how old I was, but there came a time when I decided I had had enough. My plan was simple; sleep long enough to see the end of the dream. I had to trick my alarm clock. It was the enemy and I needed to be stealthy.

::Que Bond Music::

I set the alarm for the normal time. I roll over and close my eyes, pretend to relax and allow the clock to think it has to interrupt my sleep at 7:30am. After a minute or so, I casually return to the alarm and reset it for three minutes later. The extra three minutes is enough time to see the end of the dream, but the clock hadn't prepared for this; I reset fate. My original destiny was to wake up at 7:30am and now that I have changed that, I have realigned fate. This is science, I'm sure of it.

I have been doing this now for over 10 years and I cannot recall a time since I started it that I woke up feeling like I missed the end of the story. Call me nutty, but I think at least a few of you are going to try this now.

Resolutions

So my new years resolution this year is to write in this blog every day. This got me thinking about resolutions and I came up with 3 things I resolve NOT to do this year. 1. Crop dust in a quiet room

This went badly for me in 2011 when an SBD (oh, look it up if you don't know) became one of those long loud farts that probably lasts a second but feels like 10. I won't be risking that again.

Crop Dusting
Crop Dusting

2. Yoga

I know how amazing it is and blah blah blah, and I truly wish that I had the motivation to do it. This one isn't because I don't want to do yoga, it's because I know I won't and it is best if I don't set myself up for failure.

Yoga
Yoga

3. Eat Cantaloupe

It's gross. Do I need more of a reason?

cantaloupe
cantaloupe