Friday, April 29, 2005


lollipop, originally uploaded by sweetmondaygirl.

Time goes by so quickly.

This picture I took at the farmer's market a couple of weekends ago made me think of my sister, who used to love these huge lollipops (as well as huge jaw breakers) when she was little. She would lick them for a few minutes and then wrap them in tin foil until the next time she wanted them. Sometimes mom would give her some Tupperware to hold the half eaten jawbreaker, and it would roll around all sticky and spitty inside the plastic. Once on a trip to Florida to visit our grandparents, Corinn got a lolli that had Mickey Mouse on it and she was in heaven. The thing broke long before its time (and if I remember correctly I might have been partially responsible for its demise)and Corinn was devastated. We had to track another one down for her.

In a few weeks, C will be turning 21, and I am in disbelief.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Holly Wood

, originally uploaded by sweetmondaygirl.

When I was younger, in 8th or 9th grade, every week I would walk to the grocery store down the street from our house in Traverse City, and buy a pack of green Extra gum and People magazine with my allowance. My awareness of celebrities -- what they wear, who they love for the moment -- stretches back at least that far. I was always sort of fascinated by movie stars (the glamour and whatnot) and moving to Los Angeles, where the celebrities roam as free as is possible, hasn't really changed that. Five years later, I still love to pour over US Weekly, and I still blush when I see someone famous walking out of the bathroom at the movie theatre.

What's changed is that now some of these people are actually part of my social life. Through various circumstances, I find myself at their birthday parties, or at dinner with them, or simply at their place of business. This has brought an element to my life that is on one hand sort of cool, and on the other hand quite stressful.

Famous people, you see, are wee folk. Male, female, young, old, really famous or only sort of... they are, nearly universally, very short and very thin. In the men, I find this sort of cute and funny. I think it's amusing to know that women all over the country are being wooed from afar by men who are barely over five feet tall.

In the women, I find it to be downright intimidating. I'm a tall girl, and thin but not skinny. Petite girls have always terrified me. I feel like an oaf next them, as if I've suddenly become the most ginormous women in all the land. If these girls also happen to be beautiful and immaculately dressed and, oh, I don't know... FABULOUS SOCIAL BUTTERFLY MOVIE STARS then it gets a bit scary for me. I get shy and sweaty, and all at once I'm back in second grade when my feet grew too fast and my mom made me wear huge pink Converse All Stars and everyone called me Dumbo (nevermind that Dumbo had large ears, not large feet).

It's rather wretched, when this happens.

Before you go ahead with the comments about how I'm darling just the way I am (and aren't I, though?), I must add that you couldn't pay me to switch places with any of these girls. The other thing my fairly close proximity to these people affords me is the ability to see just how rather normal they really are, all physical beauty and riches aside. The vast majority of them are horribly insecure, and with good reason: In most cases, they will be tossed aside for being too old, too undertalented, too difficult, too addicted, too "last year" long before they are ready to be done with their careers. Their lives are riddled with bizarre pressures. The pressure to be microscopic in size and enormous in personality and talent. The pressure to always look ten years younger than they are. The pressure to wear a full face of make up when they drag the dumpster down to the curb, unless they want to be seen by all the world in their pale, puffy faced glory. And Lord help them if they want to have a normal romantic relationship!

So it's not about jealousy (although I wouldn't mind some Prada dresses and perfectly glossy hair) as much as it is about feeling a bit uncomfortable in my own skin when I'm around a certain type of person.

Hollywood breeds that, maybe even for The Stars Themselves.

Monday, April 25, 2005

In Bloom

, originally uploaded by sweetmondaygirl.

This weekend I walked the majority of the places I went. Probably about 7 miles in all, maybe a bit more. It felt really good. I'm always surprised at how much is missed when driving in a car. There are so many things that must be experienced up close or will be lost altogether.

The roses in Los Angeles are amazing right now. It's possible to walk for block after block and smell nothing except their scent. Marvelous.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Enough said, but I'm going to say more.

it's a shame about..., originally uploaded by sweetmondaygirl.

There's a deeply disturbing trend I've noticed in Los Angeles. Somewhere, and I prefer to pretend that these places reside deep in the dark bowels of the city where light and dictionaries dare not tread, there are multiple sign manufacturers who cannot spell, nor, in some cases, can they tell when a letter is backward or forward (I shall provide examples of the latter in a future post, as this is not an issue I will let die quietly).

I realize I live in a City of Diversity and yadda yadda. Doesn't matter. There's no excuse. It's one thing, as a sign seeker, to not know enough english to write down your requested message and spell it correctly. That I understand. I'm all for shop owners who don't speak english. They tend to just let you enjoy browsing in their stores in peace and quiet. It's an entirely different thing to be a sign maker and have not a clue in the whole wide world of how to spell "everything" or "beauty" or so, so many others, and to refuse to inquire about the spellings of such before plastering them on plasic or metal or wood or glass, and giving them to your poor, unsuspecting, peace and quiet loving clients, therefore condemning them to years of looking foolish.


I think this has to be one of the highest forms of cruelty I've ever seen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

"The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago..."

If you are me, here is what you live for:

A Friday night, you are slightly tired, it's been a long week. You've got plenty of energy for making dinner though. Cheddar and bacon panini with a complicated chipotle relish that you've been making for a half hour. You're cutting an onion. It doesn't sting your eyes, but it does sting the skin around a tiny little crack in one of your cuticles.

In the living room, the boy and his roommate are playing the piano and the guitar, and then the bass and the guitar. They play songs you know the words to, songs you love the words to, but which you're perfectly willing to not hear the words to just now. The music is enough.

When you put the onions in with ketchup and the Worcestershire sauce, which are bubbling on the stove, it smells divine and your stomach growls. The boy takes a break from the piano to check on the dessert he's making while you're doing dinner. He puts his hand on your back and you remind him that it was when he first played one of those songs for you that you realized you loved him.

You remember when you were younger and imagined that being an adult would include exactly these things. Cooking late night dinners, someone playing good music, a glass of wine while you chop vegetables, bare feet on hardwood floors.

When he's back out at the piano, he plays the other song he played for you that night so long ago, maybe without even knowing what he's doing. You smile as you drop in the pinches of oregano and cinnamon, and the moment feels complete.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sally Bishop

Running into something interesting with the book right now. My story has several shorter narratives woven into the larger one, and because these stories are meant to be able to practically stand on their own, they feature characters who don't appear in the primary story. The one I am working on right now centers on a rather complicated girl who, I discovered the other day, I do not like.

When I started her story, I had no idea this would be the case. I knew she would be a bit prickly, and that her choices would be poor ones, but it wasn't until I got into the guts a bit that I realized I'm not at all fond of her. This is the first time this has happened to me. I've written other characters who weren't, overall, the most likeable folk, but I always liked them just fine. I have a soft spot for difficult personalities. So it took me a bit by surprise, my disdain for this nineteen year old and her brazen nature, her selfishness.

I thought for a moment that I should change her, warm her up a bit. She is, after all, the protagonist of her brief little tale, and it would make sense that she'd need to be likeable. But it was too late. By the time I realized what was going on, the character was already fully grown, already sitting at a table looking at a man she doesn't love, who disgusts her in fact, agreeing to marry him. There was no stopping her. So I, her creator, am writing her not how I intended her to be, but instead, just how she is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

And also traffic jams.

My life is too often centered around errant cat hair and ill-fitting pants.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Delightful Neglect

I've been letting some of my self-assigned tasks slide the past couple of weeks. I've only written about five pages instead of my usual ten, haven't been posting here nearly as much as usual, and have fallen behind in a lot of my reading. I can't even begin to tell you how okay with this I am.

I've spent months and months working very hard to get things in order for myself, and I'm really quite happy with the job I've done. Nothing is perfect, in any area, but I've made more progress than I thought I could, and I'm still moving in the right direction. I have no intention of backing up or even slowing down, but when I find moments where it feels good to take a deep breath and stand still for a moment, I'm going to do so. This weekend, during times when I would normally be writing, I instead took a long walk with my pretty new camera, then had a delicious brunch. I learned to play poker. I went to a baseball game (go Royals!)where I ate a perfect ketchup-drenched hotdog and got sunburn on my arms. I literally, dorkily, stopped to smell the roses that are blooming ridiculously all over Los Angeles.

This week, I will get my five pages done.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Things for a Happy Tuesday

The smell of a freshly peeled orange.

My new camera arriving, and the bubbling anticipation I feel while waiting to get my hands on it.

Walking past the landscape guys mowing the office lawn, thus being treated to one of my favorite scents (the grass, not the guys).

The soundtrack to Wicked.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Later we attempted to run through the field like Maria in The Sound Of Music.

Originally uploaded by sweetmondaygirl.

Last weekend, A & H & I went to Death Valley to see wildflowers. We'd heard they were blooming in greater abundance than they had in 100 years, due to the unusual amount of rain we've been getting. I think each of us had a vision of what this might look like, and none of us thought it would be a bunch of people hunched over daisies with their cameras glued to their eyes as if they'd never seen such a flower in their lives. All three of us having been raised in areas where flowers are common, we weren't overly impressed with the yellow, almost weedish blossoms. Add that to the miserable "campground" situation (a gravel parking lot with sites literally two feet apart)and I think we were all a bit confused about what we'd just done to ourselves. But we've gotten pretty good, as a little trio, at making the best out of bizarre or annoying situations. There was a moment of near defeat as we stood on our rocky "campsite," which was across the street from a Chevron. We quietly ate our sandwiches while standing in the shade of the Jeep, absorbing the mess of it all. Then we decided to make an adventure of things, abandoned our site without knowing if we'd find a place to camp that night, and headed off for what was literally the road less traveled, a 47 mile dirt trail that ended up leading us to a proper place to camp in the middle of no where, just us and the mountains and the eager yellow flowers (my pants got covered with pollen). It wasn't until we were sitting in our little camp chairs, eating our hot dogs, breathing the fresh air that we could really look around and see where we were. It was pretty awesome. Desert and flowers and mountains covered in snow. California has taken my breath away so many times. It's been an enormous blessing, and something I didn't expect when I moved to Los Angeles.

That night, curled up in the tent, all I could hear was the breeze blowing in one window and out the other. That alone was worth the drive.

That and the learning how to properly pee in the wilderness.