Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A femmetastik story

Who's ready for some philosophical life reflecting? Eh?

In my recent busyness I caught myself thinking, "What to do... what to do... so busy! I've got to carve out some time in my week to get some writing done! Gotta write gotta write gotta write."
...But why?
When my life is so swamped in every which way, how does writing somehow rank above a solid night of sleep?

This is what I've collected so far.

I've always felt compelled to write--- anything and everything--- my thoughts, my opinions, my day to day tedious activities or recipes or quotes. Songs, poems, anxious or bitter or hopelessly enamored little letters that are never sent but rather stored in shoeboxes, shoved into books or left in folders on computer desktops. I've never made rules about writing. Never commanded myself to write once a day or to keep a diary perfectly put-together in sensible chronological order. I write in blurbs. In run-on sentences. On post-it notes. With coffee spills or cat barf stains. No rules. Just writing.

For the first time it just happens to be in the open---here. It's very exhilarating, not to mention challenging-- determining what is appropriate to share and what is entirely pedestrian to readers.

So why do I write? Though it hardly is something that I can corner, I stumbled upon this quote that touches on some of my sentiments:
"If we live inside a bad joke, it is up to us to learn, at best and worst, to tell it well."
Jonathan Raban 
In the search for harmony and balance and gratitude, I write. I certainly don't think my life is a bad joke. Actually, if my life was a joke it would probably be a subtly clever anecdotal limerick with a bit of potty humor, just for good measure. I like that.

And of course there's the simple sake of having a story. Because that's all we really want in life, right? To have a story. To make a story. To follow our instincts and affect and learn from others as we do it. And ultimately to simply be happy while everything unfolds.

There's something very therapeutic and empowering about creating your story. Taking something incredibly disheartening or embarrassing and looking at it in a light-hearted way. Receiving a threatening note on the windshield of your car or giving a man a facial massage or scraping your arse on the shower faucet.

And then there's the joy in recognizing and reflecting on something so uplifting and life-changing yet unassuming as a chance meeting or a missed opportunity. Making a community around you, laughing and thinking and piecing threads together until it all starts to look like something colorful.

I like my story. I certainly like the way it's heading. And things aren't always perfect here in Jennytown. But I don't tell my story just for the sake of telling it. And certainly not so it can be a comedy, or a romance, or a dramatic life-changing self-discovering journey. But rather just that--- a story. There's something quite beautiful about that. Having a story. And sharing it with someone.

Ahem. Allow me to just step down off of here for a second.

I've been good. And man, was that weekend good! Watching Christmas movies, eating chocolate crinkle cookies and popcorn, watching football...

Sigh. The calm before the storm.

Thank goodness for little Sundays. I needed one. I'm pooped from this past week. I spent yesterday shopping at the Americana in Glendale, picking up some Christmas presents here and there and adding to my growing professional working woman attire. I am now the proud owner of three very sassy, fitted blazers.

Oh yeah, it's all coming together.

We've got a big week coming up for us at the SAG Awards! Nominations are announced Wednesday morning. And really, I wouldn't be a very good publicity assistant if I didn't plug the show, now would I? TNT, December 14th, Wednesday morning 9 am ET / 6 am PT. Judy Greer and Regina King will be announcing the nominations. I can't wait. We've got some busy days ahead of us!

Here's a link to a little promotional video I made for the nominations! You can see all the fabulously talented people I get to work with everyday. There are some real characters in our office. I adore them.


So yes, I've been busy. I love what I do though, so that's good. My week has also been full of friends, too.

Monday night after work Jackie and Nikolai went to see our friend Bobby's show at M Bar in Hollywood. The show was a collection of scenes from various plays and was titled, "Love, Sex, and Other Crimes"--- the other crime, I'm assuming, was putting on a show that was anything but ready to be performed in front of an audience.

First of all, it was $15 to get in, which was fine, except there was also a $10 minimum per person for drinks. Luckily the show called for drinking. The show was hilarious, and no, it was not a comedy. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than trying to suppress uncontrollable laughter. Whether it be in church, in a scene, or in this case, attending a really bad play, there's something so human about trying not to laugh. For this reason, I shall never become a vampire. I would rather have a lifetime of trying not to bust up laughing as a silly human than be a handsome sparkly immortal.

Yes, I am bitter that I still have not seen the new Twilight movie.

Judge me, I dare you.

Bobby was fantastic though, of course! Though we might be a little impartial; we love him.

Tuesday night was the one night of the week when I didn't have plans. (Well, I did have plans to go to Fox & Hounds but everyone pooped out). So what did I do with my evening? Just what any hot-blooded, single girl in the big city would do...

I cleaned out the shelves under my sink, of course!

I know. I don't know what's wrong with me. But really though, look how organized that is. Sometimes I just open the cabinet doors so I can admire my systemizing prowess. I'm slowly making my way through cleaning and organizing my life. Next up? Many of you, (my dear friends especially) will be pleased to learn that my car is next on the list. It currently looks like I am living in my car. And actually, I probably could if I wanted to.

Here are some items currently in my silly little Jimmy:

  • Two apples that roll around every time I stop or accelerate
  • Various sizes of microwavable cooking bowls
  • Roughly sixty cds (and a Monster cable for my iPod that is only good for very staticy renditions of my music)
  • A boogie board
  • A full-size oldschool television
  • A blow-up mattress
  • A cookie dough scented candle that melted all over my middle console (note to self: even though you're not in Tucson, cars still get hot)
  • A U of A flag that attaches to my car window
  • A bag of shoes
  • Two yoga mats
  • A basket full of cookie cutters
  • A can of split pea soup. I don't even like split pea soup. It's origins are a mystery.
Breaking into my car would be like hitting the thrift store jackpot. 

I know, I'm a car item hoarder. Like I said, it's on my list.

I spent all day Saturday hanging out with Kathleen, the assistant director at Camp Bravo, training to become the newest 'tour guide' for Bravo Student Travel! It's only a very part time gig--- once a month on the weekends. I was just training yesterday and I'll get my first tour in February some time (so, PHEW, after the Awards!) 

I had the best time. It's not so much being a tour guide as it is being a trip coordinator. The trips are all personalized for each high school and usually revolve around Hollywood-related activities. They meet with casting directors for a workshop, they learn some improv, visit CityWalk in Universal Studios, see shows, and walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard.

I am well-acquainted with these trips, having gone on three myself with my drama class in high school. Kathleen was our tour guide every year, which is actually how I learned about Camp Bravo in the first place! It was all too familiar to me. After we got the kids set up in their classes, Kathleen and I enjoyed some coffee and hours and hours of catching up. 

Kathleen and I are incredibly similar. First of all we look very similar. Kathleen is like a taller goddess-like version of myself. She's the Audi to my Volkswagen. We also have very similar opinions and reactions to things, along with a very like-minded leadership style when it comes to working with kids and peers. And if that wasn't enough, we also just learned that we have the same middle name. That may not seem very weird, but it is for us.

Michele. With one 'l'. I've met just a couple Michele's in my life, and certainly no one with Michele as their middle name. Not that interesting--- but incredibly thrilling for us. It's the little things in life, ya'll.

We shared some lunch at CityWalk and then led the group to a matinee of Wicked! I hadn't seen the show since I was a high school student on the tour myself, which was so odd. I just love that show. It was Kathleen's eleventh time seeing the show. I suppose I should prepare myself for that if I'm going to be doing this for a while! Done. Prepared.

I left the tour early in the evening to jet over to Bang Comedy Theatre for the opening night of the Femmetastiks! And boy oh boy, was it ever femmetastik. We are a funny group of ladies. Ezra was the only person who had ever seen the show so we were so excited to get some audience reaction. It was such a great crowd--- especially because I had some dear friends there, too! Rachel, Nikolai, his friend Daniel, Bennett, Lorelei, and more! So fun to catch up with humans that I don't work with every day. I miss Bang a lot and it's always so fun to see the family that took me in so willingly when I first moved to LA.

For realz though, if you missed the Femmestastiks, you still have another chance this coming Saturday at 9:30 pm! Trust me, it's hilarious. And I'll give you a hug if you come.

After the show Nikolai, Daniel, and Rachel and I headed across the street to get some drinks at Rosewood Tavern. We sat at the big wooden communal table, had some seasonal beers and steak fries, and lingered until last call. Such a fun evening! Nothing quite like good conversation and yummy beers to make a girl smile.

Speaking of making girls smile, I watched "The Iron Lady" last night with Meryl Streep. It was incredible. She plays Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain--- and the first female to lead a nation. I sometimes forget how far women have come in the world. And so recently, too! As exhausted as I was I was glued to the story. Women are quite incredible creatures, really. We have the capability to be kind, reasonable, sympathetic, yet strong and determined at the same time. Take some time to appreciate the women around you and all they are capable of. It's pretty darn femmetastik.

Ahh... here we go again... Monday morning! What an adventure.

I hope you all have a great start to the week. Here's to sleep and happiness and hoping that we all have plenty of it. Cheers!

(and kisses.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm a working woman!

If my life was someone's belly, it would be full. But not to the point of being overstuffed--- just the right, happy, warm amount. 

I suppose that metaphor would have been more fitting after Thanksgiving. Damn, my timing.

I have had a seriously wonderful week. I started at my new job, much to my delight. I thought I might stray away from talking about it, simply so I don't make any mentions that I shouldn't. But I so desperately want to share what a lovely time I am having and how much I am learning. So I shall do so with great caution.

Monday marked the first day of working as a publicity assistant at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I am quite the lucky girl to be working there. My desk faces the Los Angeles cityscape with a view of the Hollywood sign nestled in the most beautiful hills. Perched upon the nearby phone lines are a family of pigeons that I so love to watch when my brain needs a break. I work on my own laptop, updating our various social media websites and reviewing how the SAG Awards are being represented in the media. My co-workers are incredibly brilliant and lovely to be around. It takes me far too long to get to work, and I have been trying a new route everyday. I leave my house early in the morning and don't leave the office until it's far too dark outside. But when I do head home, I feel accomplished and inspired. 

I'm a lucky girl. 

On a less poetic note, I have noticed some interesting differences from working in a production office of a reputable company and that of a payday loan consolidation company. For one--- the snacks in the kitchen come from Trader Joe's and are not questionable off-brands. Secondly--- everyone spends most of the day actually doing their job. And finally, the quality of toilet paper is like BUTTER compared to what was offered at SOS. We also have our office decorated with pretty little Christmas lights and we had lunch catered in one day from this fantastic little Italian place nearby for a committee meeting. 

So yes, I love my job. It can be challenging at times, especially because there is so much to do in such a limited amount of time. AND THE STAKES ARE SO HIGH! This is the big leagues. That, and I didn't have much training. I'm definitely learning on the fly. Luckily Belinda's there, the other publicity assistant. She's been working with the SAG Awards for the last couple of years which has been very helpful for me. I am also slowly becoming much more tech savvy thanks to Belinda. She is incredibly skilled at HTML (and really, just basic computer and Mac things that I don't know). She' s good with the technical things, I work well on editing and writing-- it's a lovely balance. We make a good team. Here's us looking adorable.

After work Monday night I booked it over to the Staples Center for the San Jose Sharks game with Hilda! Hilda has been one of my favorite girls from LUSH. She, however, is a Kings fan, so that made things interesting. That and the Sharks played awfully. Truly, it was embarrassing. Luckily the game was slightly redeemed by the bottomless popcorn buckets offered at the snack bar. Perfect. Hilda got the popcorn and snacks and I got us some beers--- which cost $8.25 each. Which is fine--- until Hilda realized she DOESN'T ACTUALLY LIKE BEER. 

"It doesn't taste good. I don't like it."
(Jenny's mouth agapes) "It's beer, Hilda."
 "I guess I don't like beer. What? Here. You drink it. You like beer."
"Hilda! What?!! That's not the point! I just paid way too much for that beer for you. And I can't drink two beers. I have to drive."

Look, they were big cups, okay? That and I am quite the cheap drunk. So the poor beer went unloved and unappreciated. Hilda!! (Shakes fist) She's lucky I love her so much or I may have not been so forgiving.

Tuesday night I met up with a great mix of friends at the Fox & Hounds pub in Studio City. We've been trying to make a thing out of it for quite a while, and I think we're just now starting to succeed. We've got the regulars, we know the drink specials, and everyone's getting acquainted. This week we're going Mad Men themed... because the core of the attendees are theatre people and we love an excuse to dress up. Basically we just have to show up like the sexist, alcoholic, nymphomaniacal, business men and women that we are. 

Dry humor. 

Wednesday night was spent rehearsing for the Femmetastiks, the all-female sketch show coming up next weekend! It took me a ridiculous amount of time to get to Bang from Westwood, no thanks to the DRY HURRICANE that blew through town that night. For those of you in the LA area, can we just talk for a minute about the insane winds this week? What was that about? Good thing I don't drive a semi-truck or else I would have surely crushed everything around me on my drive home Wednesday night. Going to bed was another story. I was truly frightened. The sounds that were coming from above me were deafeningly loud. By the sound of it I had apparently woken up a baby giant who then in turn decided to throw a tantrum on the roof. I was 84% sure I was going to die. 

Driving to work Thursday morning was a crazy maze of palm fronds decorating the road. It took me a little over an hour to drive into Westwood from the Valley. Stop it, Santa Ana winds. You're not welcome here anymore. Unless you want to play nice and be sweet and breezy like I like it.

After rehearsal I decided to have frozen yogurt for dinner. Look at me, being a rebel, eating treats for dinner. I do what I want, I'm a working woman! (I've decided to use this as an excuse for anything from here on out). Yeah whatever, I make u-turns when I want to--- I'm a working woman! You bet I use clipart in my blog--- I do what I want--- I'm a working woman!

You get the picture. 

Thursday night I met up with Sarah and Danielle, my two favorite girls from SOS-- my old payday loan consolidation job. We initially had planned on meeting to go bowling, but then quickly learned that it was league play night. Darn. Upsetting as it was, it wasn't nearly as depressing as what occurred in the parking lot, thanks to a clumsy misstep of yours truly.

My mother, being the sweet thing that she is, offered to take my car to get it smogged. We swapped cars for a day--- and here she was--- doing a nice thing for me when my week had been so busy. And there I was--- being a complete dolt. 

I foolishly parked in a compact spot and therefore successfully managed to scratch the passenger side door against a concrete pole. 

I may never forgive myself. I hate being a dumb girl. Though I guess I've had a fairly good track record so far. No accidents, no minor dings, nothing. Welp. I guess I can't say that any more. 

I blame it on the security lady at the nearby Staples. I initially parked near their parking lot because I didn't want to park in said compact spot. Then she came around the corner and gave me a dirty look, as I clearly did not need any office supplies at such a late hour. Rude. So I reparked.

...It was her fault. Yup.

Nope, I'm an idiot. 

Don't worry, I'm paying for it.

After NOT EVEN BOWLING Sarah, Danielle and I went to Carney's for dinner. Carney's serves hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, chili, and all sorts of greasy diner food in an old train car. We felt very American. Though we didn't get to go bowling, I scratched the paint off my dear mother's car and self-respect off of myself, and the food wasn't the healthiest, it was so nice to see those ladies. I love them.

I made chocolate chip cookies that night to take into the office on Friday, which was perhaps the best idea I've ever had. Being the new girl in an office means there isn't much conversation to be had, as no one really knows your deal. Cookies, my friend, are the ultimate (and most delicious) equalizer. Everyone likes cookies and they were a great conversation/friendship started. They went fast. And really, I'll take any excuse to make treats. That night I went and saw HUGO, the new Martin Scorcese film. You guys--- go see it. It was definitely one of the best movies I've seen in a while. It was so nice to see a movie that wasn't half-assed just to get people in the seats. Also, it's worth it just to see Sacha Baron Cohen. He's always been one of my favorite actors. So underrated.

Yesterday I had a lovely brunch with my favoritest of favorite ladies, Gretchen. We met up at Henry's Hat in Studio City and had the most delicious meal and conversation. But more importantly, you guys: when did poached eggs happen? Why have I never known about them? And why do they make me so excited? All I want to do is eat poached eggs all day. I have been craving poached eggs everyday ever since I had them a month or so ago. I think I have finally found my egg match, which according to Runaway Bride, is an important thing to determine.

Silly egg antics aside, Gretchen was the main attraction of the morning. It's getting to the point with Gretchen that I need to see her every so often just to recharge my sanity and balance. We're so similar and we could sit there and talk for hours. She's the greatest. Afterwards I headed straight over to Rachel's to get ready for the Bravo benefit. 

I needed it. Bravo is the summer theatre camp that I have worked with for the last five years. I have met all of my best friends there, had my most precious memories, and really, I am the woman I am today greatly in part because of Bravo. That camp changes kids lives. I've seen it happen. 

For the last three years Bravo has been holding a benefit event to raise money for kids to go to camp. There's a silent auction, performances by renowned Broadway stars, and real heartwarming letters from campers read aloud. I've never been able to go before, since I'm usually in Arizona and have school. It was so fun getting to see all my campers and fellow counselors again. 

This in particular was quite the shock:

The girl on the right is Hannah. I haven't seen Hannah in four years, when she had just turned eleven years old. She was one of my very first campers during middle school week, my first year as a counselor. I had SEVENTEEN eleven-year-olds in one cabin. It was craziness. Because my campers aren't my children... I can have favorites, right? Hannah was my favorite, or at least, one of them. She walked up to be at the benefit and I couldn't believe it was her. 

I haven't had that experience before--- seeing someone who looked older and not actually looking older myself. I guess I've hit the age where I look relatively the same from year to year. 

It was such a good night. Oh! I forgot to tell you my favorite part:

Jason Alexander. Yup. Singing Sondheim. He was incredible. That man knows how to work an audience. We were eating out of the palm of his hand. It's those moments when I know I'm right where I need to be. After the show he was sweet enough to take pictures with all of the kids, too. He was the best. And it was such a good way to cap the evening--- surrounded by good music, good people, and happy, hopeful kids. 

I've had a very mellow Sunday, slowly recharging for the week. I spent the evening with a sleepy kitty on my lap, watching a documentary about Jimmy Stewart hosted by Johnny Carson. If that's not the perfect end to a refreshingly and inspirationally jampacked week, I don't know what is. And here comes another week headed our way...

Can't wait.