On Checking Things Off My List

I have the worst gardeners. I don’t feel bad saying that because I know they will never read this. No matter how many times I tell them what I need done, they shake their heads yes and do whatever they want. I have actually printed articles on how to cut grass; for example how high the blade is, is is how far the root will grow. They still cut it to 1/4″ and wonder why it all dies.

Who invented leaf blowers? I know. A lazy gardener. Really, can’t they do it the old-fashioned way and just rake up the leaves and fallen petals? Instead they insist upon blowing them and all the dirt they sit in, and then it sticks to my  car, my patio furniture, and the lovely 1920’s stucco walls that cover my house. Every week I have to wipe shit down. It kind of reminds me of cleaning up before you maid comes, only in reverse. And just because I know you are going to look it up anyway-Dom Quinto invented the leaf blower in the late 50’s.

My roommate takes 3 hours to get moving in the morning. I don’t feel bad saying that because he won’t read my blog either. He told me so. He also doesn’t read books. He told me that too, while he was puttering around.  I have never in my life seen anyone putz around and get nothing done. Except to smoke and drink coffee. I’m not being judgmental, I just don’t understand. I can’t even sit and just watch TV or relax and do just one thing at a time. By the time he actually is moving, I have already walked the dog, had coffee, checked my emails and composed a list of to-do’s for the day.

As I was going through my list while playing ball with my dogs, I walked by my grill which had dirt all over it from the shitty gardeners, and decided at that minute I absolutely had to scrub my grill down. And then my car.

An hour plus later I decided to wash and condition my hair since I was all wet anyway, which was good timing since it started to rain. Rain makes it hard for me to be motivated-I want to sit inside, drink tea and curl up with a good book and contemplate my life. It is fairly obvious why I don’t live in Seattle like my sisters do.  I started with conditioner soaking in the strands and sat under my pink 50’s dryer. First things first.

I then made a few calls and went to put a recipe away I had just cut out while under my dryer from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine that I have been getting for the past two years, which by the way I never ordered-someone apparently thought I needed it. I have 2 recipe boxes, one being an accordion file from the 50’s that I found in a kitchen shop at the Farmers Market, and when it started to bust at the seams I bought a file box at Target and just started throwing recipes in haphazardly. Today I decided I could no longer stand it being disorganized and I pulled all the recipes out of both files and organized them by obvious sections: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Asian Food, Jewish Food, Party Food and the typical, eggs, frittatas and other breakfast food (I love breakfast for dinner), Pies and Tarts, Straight Veggies, Veggie Tarts and Gratins…you get it.

There were recipes from magazines and newspapers with dates, so I knew what phase of my life I was in when I cut them out. Dating a Korean, that’s when kimchi eggs was thrown in. Seriously? I love kimchi, but we fought about that very subject weekly-eggs are breakfast, kimchi is not, which of course was my take.  And this is why this little side project I would quickly do on the way to checking off items on my list took me so long to finish. Did that go under eggs or Asian food? Ultimately, it was a frittata but I threw it out because really, those are two things that just don’t belong together. Ever. 

The seven different chicken cacciatore recipes were from my 20’s. That is the only meal I made for dates. I thought it was very impressive at the time. If you dated me then, I am sure you had it. I never ate it again I was so sick of it. I dated a lot. 

In case there was any question, I also found out I adore cheese. Goat cheese especially. In salads, stuffed in chicken breasts, wrapped in prosciutto with asparagus and in tarts with everything from cauliflower to eggs (a recurring theme).

I  like cheese and sugar together. Cheesecake. If you are friends with me I am pretty sure during any random Thanksgiving you tried my pumpkin ginger cheesecake. One year in Seattle I made it for our family as well as bourbon pecan sweet potatoes. I told my nephew he couldn’t have any cheesecake until he ate some sweet potatoes. He told me he would throw up. I told him he was drama and to eat them. He threw up. But I did let him have the cheesecake for trying.

Carrot Cake cheesecake. Trash. Because I love nothing better than cheap diner carrot cake with cream cheese icing, and why mess with perfection. Crack cheesecake from The Chew. I don’t think CBS would let them call it that, so they called it Clinton Kelly’s Chocolate Pretzel Covered Cheesecake. You know, salt & sweet. I never made it but it sounds, well, like crack.

Three hours later… I kept thinking I had so many recipes, in my whole life if I made one a day I still couldn’t get through them all. Plus, I collect cookbooks. I should mention I maybe cook once a week. Many of the cookbooks I collect aren’t even really about the recipes; The Mike Douglas Cookbook, The Nancy Drew Cookbook, The Dead Celebrity Cookbook. I collect Martha Stewart cookbooks. I especially love the ones from the 80’s-she’s fantastic! I L.O.V.E. her.

By the time this was all finished, it was time to meet my friend Lexy for dinner. My shoe repair is in the same complex as the restaurant, so I was able to cross suede cleaner off my list. I felt accomplished.

And then it occurred to me, not that it hadn’t before, but it clicked in once again;  I can entertain myself better than anyone else, and though I am always super busy and multi-tasking, sometimes I just need to focus and knock the shit out on my list.

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On Addiction: A View From the Outside, Inside.

When someone of note dies with a needle in their arm, this topic comes back up and it seems there are two sides; the sad ones who feel for their pain and the angry ones who admonish them for being selfish. And they are both valid.

I fell in love with someone who on first meeting, told me he would marry me one day. That should have been the moment I ran. But I didn’t, as I of course was intrigued.  After nine months of wearing me down, we went out on an official first date and had sex for the first time all in the same night-no judgement. That night turned my life upside down and took me away from the course I was on. And I allowed it.

I had never met someone so passionate and feeling and deep, which made him alluring and sexy. And dark and scary. When it was great, it was the best. By the time I knew I should go, I didn’t. I’m a smart girl, how did it happen? I think I get it now, after a few years of therapy and hundreds of hours of introspection. But really who cares. Most of the time I feel like the story is a book I read.

Since Philip Seymour Hoffman passed away yesterday from a supposed heroin overdose, Facebook and Twitter have been on fire. “It’s sad, he was a huge talent” to “I’m angry. That was so selfish to leave 3 kids and a wife behind.”

After loving and living with someone who was addicted to crack, I feel both. Strongly. Though I thank god have no kids.

When we met I thought he seemed a little off,  though in most moments he was funny, extraordinarily charming and very bright. He told me a very sad story of his life from being born in Korea to coming to the US when he thought he was about 12, and I was hooked. That’s a whole other story; the short version is he found out about a year after we were together that he was born about 1 1/2 years before the date he was told his whole life. Yes, I was hooked for sure: someone I could love and care for and show him what it was like to have real love and…LOL! Youth.

And then the drinking started. It was ugly. I would threaten to leave, and then he would sober up just long enough for things to go back to normal, and then boom, again. When I found one of our kittens locked in a plastic box sitting in their own urine, which he swore didn’t remember doing, you may think I would’ve bolted. But no, that gave me more resolve to help. I demanded he go to my Doctor, who was not a psychiatrist but a general practitioner, or I would leave. I knew nothing about mental illness. He put him on Wellbutrin and within a few weeks he said he should be the poster boy for the drug company, he felt like a new person. Until he wasn’t.

About six months later I threatened to leave again unless he would go to a “real Doctor” at UCLA Neuropsychiatric. He did, and they diagnosed him as being bipolar. He didn’t hear that this was something he could control, though it would never be easy. He heard you are crazy and hopeless, good luck with that. This was about 5 months before we were supposed to get married. He started taking the new meds, but said they made him feel numb, but he was still taking them, or so I wanted to believe.

At that same time his secondary career, acting, was taking off . He was booking and making quite a bit of money, though he kept telling me he was stressed out from working so much. I decided if we were going to get married, we had to start therapy. Together. We both went and mostly I talked; he acted indignant like he didn’t need to be there. I asked my best friend if she thought I was making a mistake getting married-HELLO!! I thought if he felt secure and loved and could see his future he would decide to take care of himself.

At that time he had long, thick straight hair that hit his shoulders.  I love a guy with lots of hair and always told him how beautiful it was. One night I came home from work and he was behind the door with his arm outstretched holding a brown bag out to me. I opened it and there was all his beautiful shiny black hair stuffed in. “I hope you’re happy. I cut it all off to piss you off.” I can remember how hard I laughed, thinking I suddenly was living with someone straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.  He looked crazy with his wasted eyes and 1/8″ hair in some spots, 2″ in others.The more I laughed, the more sullen he became, skulking into his office  undoubtedly to smoke or drink some more.

You think I would’ve left then. I didn’t, though those thoughts started to populate my brain on a daily basis. The thing was,  I planned the wedding and invited everyone and spent lots of money and…how embarrassing. And it would be so much work to extricate myself and the animals from the situation, and I was busy. I was in a job I loved. LOVED. And I was  filming a documentary I created and knew it would set me on a new direction of success. The happier I was, the more miserable he became. As an aside, I  recently found a plastic bag in my storage that was stapled shut with the date and his name and said ” …cut all his hair off to spite me while wasted.” I laughed so hard tears were streaming down my cheeks. What the hell was I saving THAT for?? I think it was in the hope that when he became sober I could show him. As if.

About six months after we married, I started to plan on leaving. Though I was making no money at the job I loved, I figured if we could get the doc in festivals and something good would happen, I could go. I could wait it out. Until I listened to his messages one day and heard his drug dealer saying he knew who I was and where I worked, and would get to me if he didn’t pay them. I think he sold his $5500 Rolex for like $50 to keep them at bay. Because that’s what people with addictions do, and that’s why people get angry. That and when they go through $200,000 in about six months while you’re making $40,000 and putting the groceries on a credit card to keep up, and then you call them selfish. Because it is.

That call scared me enough to move out and take the three dogs and three cats with me. I let him keep his cat and another one who was his bestie. Every once in awhile when he sounded together, I would take the dogs and we would go to the park and play.  In those pieces of time he seemed normal. One Saturday I took them over even though he wasn’t answering his phone, since I had a couple errands to do nearby.  I left them in the car and went to go knock on the door, since the only parking space was a block away. When I got there,  the front door was open about 5 inches and I heard him talking, presumably with someone. In that split second, my only thought was now I could file for divorce since I was going to find him in an adulterous situation. That was my get out of jail free card (not so free) so I wouldn’t feel guilty leaving him when he clearly needed help.

But what I found was him rushing out to me with a dirty, burnt pan with caked on chili, screaming that the people upstairs were eating his food. My first impulse was to flee, but I was transfixed on the multiple piles of garbage bags, some half-opened with old crusted food containers and dirty rags  spilling out into our once lovely home. There were three large bags of cat food ripped open and spilling out onto the dirty hardwood floor. The litter box was now in the living room that had no furniture, though already filled to the brim, there was excrement all around. Now my only thought was, I have to get the cats out of here. And we have no upstairs.

I was semi afraid if I tried to leave at that point he may hurt me in his mental condition, so I followed him around the house while he pointed out the kitchen cabinet handles he had padlocked shut, so “they” couldn’t steal his food. He put a coating of grape jelly on top so he could see “their” fingerprints if they tried. He poured the bright green paint I had used to paint the outside patio railings on the darker hardwood floors in the hallway to see “their” footsteps so he knew when they had been creeping up on him-didn’t I see those footprints? Our bedroom which I had painstakingly painted yellow, even though I hated it but read it was good for people with depression to keep happy and sunny, was now covered in dirt. The huge California King bed was moved up against the window, which now was covered with curtains that he had nailed to wall. This way when he caught “them”, they wouldn’t be able to get out.

He never mentioned the dogs and I told him I had to leave as I had an appointment and thought I would just stop and say hello on my way. The second I got in the car I started to hyperventilate and called our therapist. I asked if I could call the cops and they could commit him. No, not unless he was in the middle of hurting me or himself. And if I called and they found drugs they would arrest him, and I didn’t want that on my shoulders. I called my parents and finally told them he was using crack. My father told me I was a drama queen and always had been, and that my estranged husband would never do that. He liked him. I hung up and didn’t speak to him for a year, but that’s not what this is about, other than to show how an addict gets in the way of every relationship you will ever have outside of them.

I then vowed to get him to rehab, as I wasn’t going to file for divorce until I knew he was ok. This happened four times, if you count the time he stayed for a half hour.

The first time was a place the therapist suggested deep in the Valley. On his insistence, we drove there separately. He wasn’t there when I arrived, and I waited a little over an hour, getting more agitated with every single minute that went by. I left many voice mails, and finally as I decided to go he pulled in. He said he got held up at a work meeting and kept talking but I wasn’t even listening, since it was an obvious lie, though he obviously thought I was actually that stupid. I was just taking in the visual; the filthy hair, dirty hands and unkempt clothing, which for someone who was so vain and always was fastidious about what he looked like was shocking in itself,  but at least he showed.

We went inside and as he was filling out some paperwork, he realized he forgot his cigarettes in the car and asked me if I would go and get them. When I opened the car door, I saw he apparently stopped at his dealer before meeting me at the rehab and picked up some large chunks of crack-he left them right out in the open in the middle console.  I threw them in the garbage, as well as tons of old food containers, broken lightbulbs and pieces of burnt wire. After giving him his cigarettes, the nurse said it was time and I said goodbye and walked out, even though I wanted to run far away very fast and not look back.

He decided a few minutes after that he wasn’t staying because the people there were seriously crazy. He ran to his car and when he saw I threw his drugs out, he jumped behind the wheel and tried to run me over, as my car was parked at the far end of the lot.

I was furious, though I did get the seriously crazy thing.  The first person we saw when walking into the lockdown section (where you have to be when on withdrawal from drugs), was a very tall gentleman in a pink bathrobe that was tied but wide open with his large dick flying in the wind, bouncing a basketball. The second person was on the pay phone in the hall screaming at someone, yet you could clearly hear the dial tone. I kinda got it, but vowed unless he was willing to get clean I was done.

When his bosses called me a few weeks later to see  what had happened(he told them he was just sad because I left him) I explained the real deal. Being based in Canada, they had national healthcare and were sympathetic to his condition and offered to pay for rehab, because they viewed him as an asset to their company. He told me he would only go to a rehab “where people like him” go. Drug addicts? No, corporate smart people he adamantly yelled. I called a friend whose ex had gone to rehab, and the two of them had been friends. She said he had gone to Las Encinas in Pasadena. He agreed to go. The night I dropped him off, I asked if I could stay too; five star chefs, music therapy, a pool, manicured grounds. And yes, Dr Drew was the resident psychiatrist there, though at the time I had no idea it was home to  Celebrity Rehab.

Cut to four weeks later, they said he was ready to go home. I took him to the new apartment he had rented before he checked in. About a month later he was back at Las Encinas, which apparently was a common occurrence. When he was released another month later,  he couldn’t go back to the place he had been living-they booted him and kept his deposit.  After I dropped him at rehab, a dear friend graciously offered to go with me to clean the place, however it was disgusting; drugs and drug paraphernalia everywhere, crusted food containers, bloody rags, blocked sink drains and amidst all the chaos, books on Buddhism and self help. Halfway though we threw in the towel and said fuck it. Why did I care if they kept his deposit? I took any important paperwork and clothes that weren’t soiled and left.  We then went to get his car in the garage which I had been paying off for the past year in addition to the one I was driving. What did I find but the entire side of the Expedition smashed in. Nice. This  car was in my name. If he had killed someone while driving cracked out, I would’ve been liable.

Being that he had nowhere to go, and his psychiatrist (no comment) told him it would be best to be with family, I told him he could live with me temporarily until he got on his feet again. I made him sleep in a separate room and had a male roommate so I felt safe. I thought he was clean until he told me he could hear the people living under the house talking. There was a one foot crawl space.  Bye.

I refused to speak to him and forbade him from seeing the dogs unless he cleaned up. Two months went by, and every time the phone rang my heart sank and I couldn’t breathe, expecting it to be from the morgue. One day I got a call at work from him, telling me he had tried to slit his wrists (if he wanted to die, he knew how-his day job was in the medical industry), had been fired, hadn’t eaten in days and was ready to get help. I said okay, though I had no idea what to do. And for sure I  wasn’t allowing him to go back to 60K a month, celebrity, vacation ranch, doesn’t work to coddle people, fucking rehab. Yes, I do have a strong opinion on this type of “help.”

I called a woman I had worked with who was a bit older and had seen countless friends OD. She knew exactly what to do and how to do it and I begged her to help me. We picked up food and cigarettes, and then sat in front of his apartment complex waiting for him to come out. After multiple calls went unanswered, I was sure he was dead. I had gone through this countless times over two plus years, and honestly knew I would be relieved if it were true.

My friend pointed to someone sitting on a wall down the street-he was Asian and semi- looked like the description I gave her, as she had never met him. I said that couldn’t be him, he was much bigger than that. But it was him. He went from 5 ’11 180 pounds of pure muscle to clocking in at the hospital at a mere 117 pounds. A shell of the man/boy he once was. Supposedly he had 7 heart seizures from the crack and they were amazed he was alive. The doctors asked me to be in the room when they evaluated him. When asked where he was from, he told them he came here from Jupiter with his leader Harry. I apparently was evil and was trying to kill him in a plot with his mother, who by the way I only was allowed to speak with once-he banned her from our wedding (another story for another time).  I wanted to laugh it was so ludicrous, but really it was tragic. A once vibrant, intelligent, charming human being with an even brighter future was gone, replaced by an insane, psychotic skeleton I didn’t even recognize. What was left of my heart ripped a bit more.

He stayed in UCLA lockdown for over a month and then moved to a sober house for one year, afterwards moving to another state where his family finally agreed to take him in. I would visit him in the sober house when he asked, taking candy, cigarettes, work out equipment, books, and anything else he asked for, as well as writing checks for his housing and living expenses. All the while, with the small amount of money he had left from residuals that came in, I paid the rest of his hospital and doctor bills, and used some of it to pay off the rest of our car payments he supposedly had been paying on. Turns out he hadn’t and my credit had been ruined, not to mention all the cards I had been juggling to pay bills and groceries were long overdue and in arrears. Though he told his family and anyone else who would listen that I stole all his money. Fucking addict.

During that year I filed for divorce. It was easy-there was nothing to separate. He had gone through everything, including the 401K which they weren’t supposed to liquidate without my signature. I was advised by a lawyer if I tried to sue, they were so big they would tie me up for years and there would be nothing left anyway. Plus, I would have to face him in court, and I never wanted to see him again.

Yes, what came from his addiction was the vile mess that I had tried to clean up. Yes I chose to stay, but that is what people do when you love someone. No one wants to see what I saw. My heart broke a million times for him, and yes, for me too. The pain inside of him was always there, never far from the restaurant, movie, or wedding. It never left. The moments of joy were so wonderful, that it kept the hope alive. He thought the extreme highs and lows were normal because that’s all he ever knew.  When on medication he said he couldn’t feel anything, but he was just even, what the lucky ones like me feel daily.

There are no right or wrong answers. What I can say is, be educated. The more we know about mental illness, the more we will be able to do something about it. You can’t recognize it unless you know what you are looking for. Parents need to pay attention. Health Providers need to figure out a better way to take care of people and doctors need to ask questions and see what is in front of them. Country Club rehabs need to go away. Las Encinas with the 5 star food and pool cost $60K a month with insurance, had a large portion of the people coming back multiple times. Why would they try to change that, when they are making MONEY and lots of it! You could easily bring drugs in there-they checked nothing. Go to UCLA and you can’t take your pocketbook past the triple three-foot glass doors. No cigarettes were passed through unless they were sealed, and even then you couldn’t give them out, they did. It was hardcore, as it should be.

Suffering from any type of depression and trying to find a way to self medicate and feel”better/happier etc” is not selfish in itself. My ex truly believed he could control the drugs because he was smart.  It is an unbearably hard road for the people who live it, and just as much for the people who live through it with them.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was all of the things everyone says: one of the greatest talents of our generation, incredibly smart and unfortunately he suffered, which is unbearably sad. But ultimately he was selfish, because his life was cut short, and right now the people who loved him the most are without him, trying to figure out if there was something else they could’ve done to save his life. His three young children will be fatherless, having to live with the legacy that their dad died alone with a heroin needle stuck in his arm.

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The Road Less Traveled

Taking the road less traveled is a metaphor for the tough choices we make in life.  Is the main road the path of least resistance that when we travel we compromise our beliefs? Is the one less trekked the one where we don’t compromise? Is one free will and the other fate?

I would have to say I continually take the boulevard less traversed, but I am pretty sure that most of the time it has been the incongruous throughway on the path to my yet unrealized victory walk.

I have been told by many a therapist that I have a grand fear of success. And every time I assert that  isn’t it, but an astounding fear of failure.

This seems to be a popular topic in take charge of your life, you can do it we can help you age we live in. On CNN money.com, there is actually a quiz you can take to see if you do indeed have the Fear of Success gene, which I will refer to as FOS from here on in. Turns out, I am OK! That is actually what it said when I finished. “Congrats, you’re OK.” Whew. Good to know.

Only, I am not successful by my terms. So this can only mean I took the wrong fork, the road less traveled once again.  What should I do to turn around? I turn to Google where I find the answers to all of my important questions. Apparently the answer is a 12-step FOS program in your local neighborhood, brought to you by the lovely followers of Alcoholics Anonymous, who can help you become successful by admitting to your powerlessness and looking to a higher power. Can’t visualize yourself in a successful, contented life? They can help.

Problem is, I always visualize my life that way. I have had more conversations with Oprah and David Letterman in my car than they both had shows on the air. I have had sex with stupendous billed Adrien Brody and rakish Gerard Butler too many times to count. My mid-century house in the hills is gorgeous and almost completely decorated, if not maybe a little cluttered.

But there’s a fix for that! Clutterers Anonymous. Solve the common problem of clutter and help each other to recover. The requirement for membership is a desire to stop cluttering. REALLY. This is for real. Did they all not take the magic path to Easy Street? The three dictionary meanings of clutter are a confused noise, to coagulate, and a confused collection. Isn’t by definition a collection to accumulate? Chaos to one is carefully curated to another. A confused noise.  Yes, if you need CA you are confused, and the noise in your head will only go away with prescription drugs.

However, the 12-step programs don’t believe in that. What to do? Emotions Anonymous: recovery from emotional difficulties like fatigue, jealousy and boredom.

These also are markers for FOS, all which I have.  If you are constantly working to accomplish your goals and meet your success in the eye and you don’t get there, you are going to be fatigued, bored with your lot in life, and jealous of the successful friends you are surrounded by.

I asked a psychic once why he saw this incredible future for me, yet none of it materialized, even though he gave meticulous details regarding my past that were uncannily on the nose. He told me we have fate set out for us, but as human beings we have the gift of free will. We can choose either fork in the road and neither is the correct choice. We will learn from either one, and always will look back and question if we should’ve taken the other.

If Dorothy hadn’t followed the yellow brick road, she might have had a less scary trip back to Aunty Em, but she wouldn’t have met the tin man, the lion or the scarecrow, and would have never realized that your loved ones are right in your own backyard. And red sparkly shoes always are the right choice.

All throughout my life, I exercised my free will and took the road less traveled. I have struggled, but have experienced life that some people only dream about. They have delineated the individual that I am, and I may have missed if I took the well-worn route.

It may take me  a lifetime to get where I want to go, but I will get there.

With my red sparkly shoes intact.

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Jesus Would Like Peeps

Jesus would like peeps. He loved all of Gods’ creations. Right? I think he had a sense of humor-I mean he did walk on water.

Jesus loved animals and was surrounded by them throughout his life. He was born in a manger and I am pretty sure there were lots of farm animals nearby. After all, he is the “shepherd of the sheep.” He talked quite a bit about animals too. He said something like, “…as a hen gathers her chicks.” See?? He would love peeps. Yes, I know they are bunnies. Peeps were birthed in Bethlehem Pennsylvania! Coincidence? I think not.

If he were alive today, I am pretty sure he would enjoy a good Peeps Contest. I sure do. I think my very favorite, and I have viewed about 1200, is Peepalagus Funessi by Monica Rock in the Seattle Times contest, based on one of my favorite surrealist artists Guiseppe Arcimboldo, an Italian painter who did portrait heads from fruits,vegetables,fish etc.

There were many, many fantastic ones from the Seattle Times, The Washington Post, and The Twin Cities Pioneer Post. Here are some of my personal faves; Peeper Fever by Mel Rogers, Peeps Go To The Vet by Lucashedd, Pablo Peepcaso by MaryArt, Great MN PeepTogether by three generations of the St.Paul Schomburg Family, BlackSwan by Jessica Anderson, Hatching Peeps by Lori Burien, Black Peep by MikeP123, Waiting For Superpeep by Edvoters, and Sesame Peeps, by Kristy, age 6, Seattle Times.

Just a few facts to round this out. Over 700 Million Peeps will be eaten this year. That’s a lot of high fructose corn syrup. Peeps were originally made by a small candy company, Rodda Candy and sold in four packs. Sam Born, a chocolatier from Paris who came to the United States in 1910, started a candy company Just Born in BETHLEHEM,PA . In 1953 Born bought Rodda Candy and made Peeps famous.

If you want to make a Peeps Sushi Platter, and why wouldn’t you, take the link to their website. 

And while you’re there, become a member of the fan club!

Happy Easter.



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Doomsday is Coming

Let’s go back to a billboard I saw about a month ago on Beverly Boulevard by the Grove. The location is important, because you wouldn’t be surprised if you were driving through Alabama and glanced up at this, but in Los Angeles, surprising. It was fairly mundane with hues of browns, and in black it said “Judgment Day is Coming. May 21, 2011. Call us to see what you can do.” Of course in my brain, this simply registered as It’s lent, come to church! Pray with us and we will heal you!

I didn’t really think about that date until I was browsing the news and came across an article, “May 21, 2011, Doomsday Campers Travel America Preaching the Apocalypse.” Golden. As usual, when things like this drop in my lap I thank God. Out loud.

The picture at the top of the article is happy. Two smiling women in front of a brightly painted bus. Like a rock and roll touring van. Only Better. At the top above the cab, the date 2012 is in a circle and crossed out in red. Followed by, “ Have you heard the awesome news? The End of the World is Almost Here! The Bible Guarantees It. It begins May 21, 2011.” All this brought to you by Family Radio Ministries.

It begins? Does that mean we have a couple hundred more centuries or to the end of the day? And the Bible guarantees it? Really? A guarantee? Is it an iron-clad guarantee like the copper magnetic Jesus Bracelet I saw that guarantees to End Your Pain! with the soothing  power of Solid Copper for only $9.97 and free shipping???

Well, it actually costs quite a bit more than that. It costs everything you own. All your worldly belongings and the people you love if they won’t jump on the bandwagon with you. Like Scientology, but Happier. Because after all, It’s awesome news and the Bible guarantees it!

Apparently, God has predetermined that roughly 2-3 percent of people will be saved on May 21st. Right now at this minute, 5:12 pm on April 7, 2011 on the World Clock there are 6,910,564,603 people in the world. Two percent is still 138,211,129 people. By the way, being saved means you will be carried to heaven after the massive earthquake that will shake the world apart, while the rest will endure 153 days of death and horror before the world officially ends on October 21.

But where will the 98% go? All to hell? I read somewhere recently that heaven and hell were the same place, only in hell you aren’t greeted by family members. Really? I’m thinking that would actually be heaven for most people.

When the Family Radio proselytizers were asked what you needed to do to guarantee your save, they didn’t even know. But they are absolutely sure, 100% that it’s going to happen.

I was thinking about my good deeds this week. I gave dog food and blankets to a homeless guy named Fly who hangs in my neighborhood with his dog Capone. But I called the woman  who picked up the phone at eBay a fucking idiot. I guess my good deed was canceled out. So should I not pay my bills? Eat whatever I want? Tell everyone what I think of them? I need answers.

Last October five caravans set across the country to spread the message. In March, two more joined them. And I NEED to find them. A little sleuthing, and you can actually see where they’ve been.

Oh no, they already passed through California. This is when an unlimited bank account would come in handy. I would give almost anything to take the next month and a half and go film them. And find Mark who on March 8th said “ This is certain to happen. I’ve personally known that the year 2011 was going to be the year of Christ’s return since 1994.” I am so curious what happened to Mark in 1994.

I yearn to sit down and meet these people. Are they crazy? Because there are plenty of people that give money to their places of worship and they seem just like you and me. Only way richer. I like Kirsti Alley; how great was she on Dancing With The Stars? Madonna gave over 18 million to the Kabbalah Center. I love Madonna and still have the white corset and rubber bracelets I wore to emulate her in the late 80’s. And Lisa Marie Presley, a Scientologist, and I share the same birthday. And of course Elvis is her dad. Her DAD!!

 

Where I really want to be is in the Family Radio offices on May 22nd. When all the awesome followers who gave up their millions to Family Radio Ministries come marching through demanding their money back. Where will Jesus be then?

A couple of nights ago Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and A Half Men, had one of his infamous vanity cards at the end of another one of his shows, The Big Bang Theory. He was referring to all his well-meaning friends who tried to get him to see that his crisis would pass and what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. A portion of it read, “ Love, sex, food, friendship, art, play, beauty and the simple pleasures of a cup of tea are all well and good, but never forget that God is determined to kill you by whatever means necessary.”

That made me awesomely happy. Until May 21, 2011.

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Chain mail

I recently was sent a post on Facebook which amounts to a modern chain mail.

It read: Pay it Forward for Creative People. I promise to send something handmade to the first five people who leave a comment to this update. They in turn, promise to re-post this and send something they made to the first five posters on their status. It must be handmade by you, and it must be sent sometime in 2011.
I of course did it, because I am more than thrilled to get something handmade from my hippie chick, music loving, capricious friend Maria, who re-posted it from our 23-year-old powerhouse writer friend Nikki. Maria makes me laugh just thinking about her, so imagine what will come in the mail. Nikki, who I am pretty sure started the chain mail to begin with, not only answered my post, but explicitly listed the things she likes; boy bands, Harry Potter and unicorns. O.M.G. I love unicorns! Sometimes for entertainment late at night, i scour eBay for vintage unicorn items. You would be shocked at the multitude of unicorn treasures you uncover.

Obviously, Jesus and the unicorn is my fave. I am going to have fun with this. However, no other lame friends responded. Are you kidding me? Do you KNOW me? You would get the coolest, most exceptional, one-of-a -kind gifts. I am getting inspired just thinking about it.

When envisioning craft projects, I had a flashback of some great chain mails I received over the years.

Underwear. You had to send the letter to ten people, putting your name and address at the bottom of the list. You then send a new pair of underwear to the person who sent the chain letter to you, and to the first person on the address pile. Brilliant!! I got some of the best underwear ever. I did get some boring ones, and ones that were, let’s just say not my style. But imagine how fantastic it would be to open your mailbox and have skivvies flooding in from all over the world. Here’s a pair I got. How insane are these??

I lie. I bought these for myself, but I DID send a pair of these plus a pair of Mr. Bubble and Good & Plenty to my sister Julie during the chain mail time period.

I also was part of, meaning I couldn’t say no to, a dish towel chain letter. Same format, only dish towels. Not quite as good clean fun, but a fanciful way to stock up. I sent vintage ones that had scenes from Alaska and New York. I’m good.

So what I’m saying is, let’s bring back the theme chain letter. Think of something you want, then start one. I am all for underwear, fun socks. Who’s In??

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Keeping The Magic

It is time to take down the Christmas tree. The holidays are over and a new year has begun. It makes me sad, because my tree is magical. It reminds me of being young and thinking that anything is possible.

My first memory of Christmas made a lasting impression, and changed all my Christmases from that moment on.

My grandfather, Michael Miller, had one of the first small family-owned department stores in York Pennsylvania, called creatively enough, Millers of York. It wasn’t very exciting browsing through the tires and hardware, but making your way to the second floor was when your heart started to race. As you ascended to the landing in between the floors you could see the bicycle tires.  When you reached the top, all of the bikes were lined up in rows, shiny and new and colorful, beckoning you to run over and glide your hands over each seat.

The first time I saw the blue Schwinn stingray with the banana seat and the blue and white streamers dangling from the handlebars, I pictured myself racing down First Avenue, making Bobby Kilgore want me.

But then I saw an easy bake oven around the corner, and that called my name too. It was pink and satiny, and I would bake cupcakes for Bobby, and he would fall in love with me because I was such a good cook. But then, right next to it, were creepy crawlers, and I imagined us making spiders together, and Lite Brite, where we would spell each others names, and…and Barbies. I guess I really wasn’t ready for Bobby Kilgore.

Every time I went to Grandpa’s store I raced upstairs to look at what was then known as, MY bicycle, and then round the corner to the games. But one day it all seemed different. There were silver strands of tinsel everywhere, and curling around the banisters up to the top was shimmering red garland. As I made my way up to the second floor, I saw a sight I will never forget. The most beautiful, glistening, sparkly  tree I had ever seen. It was silver and went around in circles to the sounds of Silver and Gold, from my most beloved Christmas show, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The ornaments were all agleam as well as the gold garland encircling the tree. There was a light that was focused on the tree that changed colors when it went around. I sat on the floor, transfixed for hours.

It was enchanting, and I knew all the dreams I wished for every time it went around were going to come true some day. I made a promise to myself that when I grew up I was going to have a tree just like that.

Being Jewish, we only had a tree once growing up, and I use the word tree with trepidation. We actually decorated a huge plant we had in the den, and then was told that Jews didn’t celebrate Christmas, there was no such thing as Santa Claus, and oh by the way, at Hanukkah you get gifts for 8 nights in a row. I wasn’t particularly appeased, because I thought Christmas was the most resplendent of holidays.  Besides, you got the same amount of gifts under the tree, and the buildup just seemed more exciting.

So began the years of trading holidays with our neighbors the Mangans. They would come over for Hanukkah and latkes, and we would go there for Christmas and tinsel. It was always fun because Anne was my best friend, and I had a huge crush on her brother Tommy, who I used to stare at through my bedroom window. He introduced me to music like David Bowie, and he happened to be friends with Bobby Kilgore. However, the Mangans loved the color blue, and everything was blue and colonial, and nothing really sparkled like the silver trees.

In high school, long after I retired the blue Schwinn stingray, I started to spend Christmas with my friend Laurie’s family. Christmas was a time to celebrate, and they went over the top with decorations, which I reveled in. Plus her dad Nevin GOT me. He understood why I loved poptarts, great danes like Molly, his baby, and Napco ladies-head vases. Nev turned me on to flea markets and buying in bulk, and convinced me to follow my dream of acting. He also instilled in me a love of a huge, grand Christmas.

When I moved to New York, I got a real tree . It didn’t matter that I lived in a sixth floor walk up;  I trudged through the snow two blocks and up those steps with my tree and was gleeful .

When I moved to Los Angeles, my friend Tanya and I had Christmas at our place every year. We chose a theme which exploded throughout the apartment. The year it was music, we hung 45 records on the tree. The next year when our friends walked through the door, a Polaroid was taken of them, which was then glued  to an ornament and hung on the tree. Elvis graced the top.

The following year was all about being actors, and our tree topper was our head-shots cut out and glued on top of sparkly hearts, with ornaments of our favorite actors and directors gracing the tree.

Then I moved in  with my boyfriend and it was coming upon our first Christmas, just as he started to turn the corner into darkness. I decided I wanted something twinkly and bright to make me smile. I scoured eBay and found my own magnificent sparkling aluminum tree. The day it came was the greatest day of my life. Okay, it wasn’t the greatest, but it was pretty fantastic. I eventually found the perfect vintage color wheel and musical tree holder that twirled around to go with it.

Every Christmas when I put that tree up, I still sit mesmerized for hours watching it go around. I feel like I did the first time I saw that magical silver tree in my grandfathers store, like everything is possible.

I will once again place the sublime magic back in the box until next Christmas knowing that, Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

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