Saturday, January 27, 2007

Still Here?

Today is the day! More to say on that but I'm really here because some of you have asked. Yes, I moved. I followed Peggy Archer's advice and am much happier at my new location. You can find me there, or just ask.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

America The Beautiful

I have a fucking renewed faith in the American people today! This is Christmas in America! We take back the House. We take back the Senate (c'mon, you know we did) Our first Woman Speaker of the House! Our second Black Governor and first for Massachusetts. Deval Patrick has also stated on record that all the ban on gay marriage proposals are 'rooted in racism'. And now the icing on the cake - Fucking Rumsfeld is stepping down! I literally want to cry. This as a good long time friend of mine arrived in Bagdad just days ago. Maybe she'll get home safely AND soon. I wish I had more time to write.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Nice Set of Pipes

(An email I sent today to declare my sudden feeling of relief.) My ‘vacation’ officially begins now!! :( A few weeks ago I discovered that I had an over-abundance of vacation hours that I had to use. Since I had many, many home decorating projects that I have desperately wanted to address after being a homeowner now for over a year I thought I would use my hours to spend a little quality alone time and make my house a little more “me”. Then it happened… The dreaded clogged kitchen sink. Of course it had to happen during a family dinner party. I made cauliflower and cheese soup and salad for 12 people. Lots of stuff to throw down the disposal. The next day my research hat was on tight and I discovered the disposal was fine. Time for some plumbing troubleshooting. Three days and five trips to Home Depot later I finally threw my hands up and called the plumber. I didn’t know what was worse, my giving up or the stench that I couldn’t get rid of no matter how many pretty candles I burned. Today the plumber came and made everything better. Oh yeah and the clog is gone too. It wasn’t anything I could have taken care of myself!! No one can say I’m a quitter! The problem was in the common lines (meaning the HOA has to pay for it) 18 Feet into the piping!! Yuck! Upsides (trying to be positive!):
  • I didn’t pay for anything (almost all of my “housewarming” Home Depot gift cards have been put to use)
  • There is now brand spanking new in plumbing inside my kitchen (that should up my house value by at least $25!)
  • My obligatory lesbian tool collection has now been expanded with tools I doubt I’ll need again for a long time (well at least let’s hope!)
  • Three entire days of my ‘vacation’ ended up being a crash course in Plumbing 101 (the plumber said I did an impressive job! He was older so I’m going to assume he’s been doing this for a while, plus I seriously doubt he was flirting with me – sweats, t-shirt, no shower, and a very frustrated look on my face!)


  • My entire house has now had a putrid smell since the day after my dinner party
  • Cleaning the kitchen is proving to be just about as disgusting as changing out the pipes
  • My entire ‘vacation’ week is over in a couple of hours and I still have a checklist of about twenty items that never got a minute of my attention

I want to know where I send my request for my new lesbian badge for my sash. Look Mom, I can Plumb!! I may not be able to catch, bat, throw or dunk but give me a computer and a connection and I’ll show you some troubleshooting that’ll put you to shame!!

Ya gotta laugh, right??? Hope you did too. -Monica P.S. Rick can I take Monday off??? Pretty please????

I love being a homeowner…I love being a homeowner…I love being a homeowner…

Friday, September 15, 2006


Today is my one year anniversary since I closed escrow on my condo. Man, time flies! Since I bitch more than I should about life in the Valley, I decided to make a top ten list of positive things I discovered about living in North Hollywood. 10 Things I Like About Living in North Hollywood 1. It takes me 12 minutes to drive to work. 2. The Metrolink! - I take it whenever I can: Hollywood/Highland, Hollywood Bowl, Long Beach Convention Center, LA Convention Center, Staples Center, etc. 3. Cheaper gas in the Valley 4. Convenient to multiple freeways 5. Walking distance to a great movie theater 6. I have a pool for the first time since living in LA 7. Ironically enough, it takes me less time to get to my brother’s place! 8. My commute to Laura’s was cut down by two-thirds. It only takes 20 minutes to drive there now. 9. For the first time ever in my 11 years in LA I have my very own parking space. Isn’t it interesting that most of my list contains things l like that help me get out of North Hollywood? I also can't think of a 10th. Hmm... Oh well, I tried to be positive. The truth is I absolutely love my place and living by myself. In the long run living here was a small sacrifice I made in order to live in a place I feel comfortable, safe and genuinely happy. Anyway, Happy 1st Anniversary to me!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Not Perfect But Damn Near Close

Last night was the perfect night for my final Hollywood Bowl show for this summer series. The weather was perfect. We were a little late and missed the opener. I did hear her on my trek up to the nosebleed section but I was a little bummed that I missed Angie Stone’s set. Amazing to see James Brown perform though. I still am amazed that I can literally see musical legends under the stars with my own food and wine with a Hollywood Hills backdrop all for the price of one dollar! And now that I can take the train there roundtrip and get dropped off all the way up the hill at the box office for three bucks, what more could anyone ask for? It’s almost wrong! So, this summer I add to my growing list of Hollywood Bowl performances James Brown, Angie Stone (kind of), Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, The Christian McBride Band (badass bass player!), Al Green, Sergio Mendes and Brazil ’66. Because of my seemingly unrelenting schedule this summer between directing LEAGUE and serving on my condo Co-op Board I had to miss some of the performers that I had tickets to see: George Benson, Al Jarreau, Thievery Corp., Flaming Lips and Os Mutantes (supposedly some amazing Brazilian band that reunited for this one show after many years). If I had to miss these performers though, there couldn’t have been a better consolation. My two cheap seats for Thievery Corp/Flaming Lips/Os Mutantes cost me a whopping five dollars each. The show subsequently sold out and became a hot ticket. I sold mine on Craigslist for $100 in the matter of an hour! That alone paid for all my summer series tickets, the train rides to and from and probably even my wine! Can’t complain about that. Back to last night. There was this great group of older black people sitting directly in front of us. I say sitting loosely because more than half the time they were on their feet movin’. We struck up a little exchange over why we didn’t like that James Brown started his set singing everyone else’s songs. He didn’t disappoint though as the second half was all his. The last song had the entire audience on its feet. In all the shows I’ve seen there I have never seen that happen. It was a great night. Even though I had very little sleep I woke up this morning feeling great, energetic and enthusiastic about coming in and punching through some tough work I have sitting on my desk. I’m sure the short work week plays some part but I’m just happy with the mood I’m in today. I have a theory about why I’m currently in this state of mind but I’ll have to save that for another lengthy entry.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Something You Never Thought You'd Hear Grandma Say - " Someone Spot Me!"

Flex Appeal At 86, great-grandmother Morjorie Newlin keeps pumping iron by Tasha Ho-Sang August 2006 Fourteen years ago, when Morjorie Newlin was 72, her neighborhood supermarket had 50-pound bags of kitty litter on sale. Without anyone to help her carry the bags back to her house, she struggled mightily under the load. Never a particularly athletic woman, but staunchly independent, she decided that she had to do something about her deteriorating physical capabilities. Though osteoporosis was also on her mind, the septuagenarian began lifting weights — for her cat. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting "I want to be as independent as I can be, for as long as I can," says Newlin, a great-grandmother and retired nurse who turns 86 tomorrow. "I just want to do things for myself." After 13 years of weight training, Newlin is more than taking care of herself. At her two-story home in Mt. Airy, Newlin, who runs up the stairs with the sprightliness of a 10-year-old, has a room dedicated entirely to plaques, certificates and trophies (some almost as tall as her) from bodybuilding competitions that have taken her as far away as Italy, France and Germany. She's won more than 40 trophies in her late-blooming career. "There are so many, I don't know what to do with all of them," she says. "I chuckled when I saw this little old lady walk inside the gym," says Richard Brown, a personal trainer at Rivers Gym in Mt. Airy, where Newlin began her training. "I was a little leery. I was just training young athletes at the time." The little old lady quickly showed him what an older athlete could do. "She kept coming in day after day, week after week, and month after month," Brown remembers. "She didn't want to do 'girly' workouts. She wanted to train with us fellows." "After a few months of training, I looked at her physique and knew she was ready for a [bodybuilding] show," he continues. "She definitely had something to show." Newlin was bench-pressing 65 pounds when she was 73 years old. A year later she was throwing up 85. The bodybuilding competitions are broken into two divisions. Newlin's first competition was in the Amateur Athletic Union, which is open to the public. Newlin recalls being a little reluctant when she saw the string bikini she'd have to wear in front of the bodybuilding audience. "I knew the contest meant a lot to my trainer so I went along with it," she says. To everyone's surprise, Newlin won. The crowd went crazy on hearing she was 74 years old. Newlin began her competition career in that AAU's Master's Division, which splits contestants into two categories: under and over a certain age limit, usually 35 or 45 years old. Newlin obviously fell way over the dividing line, wherever it was set, but was competing and winning against women half her age. "I was always the oldest in all my competitions," says Newlin. The daughter of very active Barbadian immigrants, Newlin admits that athleticism is in her genes: "My family is used to walking and running long distances." Although she's taking a break from bodybuilding competitions for now, Newlin is still training at least three days a week, now at Bally Total Fitness in Cedarbrook, and can still throw down with the best of them. "I could bench-press 90 pounds with a spotter. I can dead lift 95 pounds. I can squat 135 pounds," says Newlin. She's been featured on Oprah and The View, and has appeared in commercials in Barbados. She spends her time out of the gym as a motivational speaker at schools and banquets, discussing the importance of exercise, weight training and dieting. "A lady called me earlier this week from Hawaii," Newlin says. "She asked questions about how to use weights." Though some in her position might wonder how much longer they can keep it up — or how far they might have come if they'd started earlier — those questions never cross Newlin's mind. "Every day is different. The next day will take care of itself," she says with Zen-like calm. "Age is only a number," says Brown. "There is only one Morjorie Newlin. ... She could do this for as long as she wants." Ok, now there is absolutely no excuse for not taking care of ourselves! Although it is always so much easier to be strict with yourself when you have all the time in the world!

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I used to be good about rolling over on mornings like these and recording my dreams. Then I suppose life happened and all that changed. I’m constantly reminded by my therapist that I need to do this so that is exactly what I’m going to do right now. Last night my dream was so intense that I actually woke up in pain from being stiff. I must have slept completely still for who knows how long due to this freak dream. I say dream because it really seemed like one continuous one. You’d think I did some freak shit drugs last night or something. Not me, not now although I did forget to take my meds yesterday. Hmm… I’m on a trip with a group that I know well. (I have no idea what this group is or who most of these people are.) We go to Las Vegas. Thing is this is present time but Las Vegas is the Vegas that existed in the mid to late 80s. I’m so excited to be able to experience and capture pictures of a Vegas era that is long gone. The original Alladin on my right, no traffic, no pedestrian overpasses, no Mirage, no Bellagio, no Luxor, no Excalibur, no tram, no New York, New York, no Paris, no ridiculous competition building yet. It’s a lot more like the traditional Las Vegas and I’m intoxicated with it. I have no idea how we ended up here but I don’t care. Next, our group is in Circus, Circus. Each floor for some reason is a different era but it’s all Disney. (My last trip to Vegas was with work and we stayed there. It was a little sad to see that even this piece of history had changed. It was no longer Pink everywhere and there was no Circus!) In the dream I am aware that I am twenty years ahead of everyone else there. What I don’t understand is that every floor is designed with a different decade yet the people on the floor visiting aren’t living in the 80s. I go to a floor where everything around me is Disney in the 80s; obnoxious florescent colors, Minnie Mouse dressed in a Flashdance top. I try to fit in with everyone by acting like it’s present day only to find out that everyone around me is from the 70s. They’re looking at everything as if it’s a prediction of the future. Meanwhile I’m actually from 2006! Each floor is a different era and there is no rhyme or reason as to what year everyone on that floor is living in. Add to that, my family is floating around on each floor. My Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, distant relatives keep popping up in front of my face. People I haven’t seen in years all in Circus, Circus. My brother Ruben ends up being an employee in a kitchen on one of these floors. Thing is he’s disabled. Has a limp but I’m not sure if his leg is real or not. I act like I don’t notice it so as not to draw suspicion from him. He acts like he’s been expecting me. I end up at a booth with a fellow traveler from my group (no idea who he is) and we are eating sundaes while sitting across from each other trying to play a game. We have this folded set of what can only be described as flashcards but they’re connected together into a string. He proceeds to tell a story with them by flipping the ‘folded’ cards over and over. I gather that the object of the game is to tell an impromptu story while flipping these cards so that they correspond. The trick is each time you flip your hand back and forth, the cards change but are not supposed to look like you changed them. In other words, they should appear to ‘magically’ change as you tell the story. My turn. I can’t get it to work right. My friend/co-worker/whatever is amused but declares himself the winner. I say the cards I have are stiff and don’t work. He grabs them, ‘softens’ them up and begins to tell another story. I roll my eyes and pay the check. Seems that was the loser’s job. I now find myself with Bill, my cousin. It’s as though he traveled with me to Las Vegas and I’ve known this all along. We decide to take a tour of the casino both knowing we must hide the fact that we actually live in the year 2006. I end up losing him in the shuffle and go back to the ice cream parlor. I’m talking to the waitress when I suddenly look to my left and discover that Perez and Veronica are standing there. Perez impatiently tells me to ask the waitress where the lesbian bar is. I’m just about to tell her that I know where it is when I realize that I might not given the year. I ask. We are told where by a simple pointing of a finger. It is obvious that the topic of homosexuality is extremely “hush hush”. Off we go, walking block after block but we don’t find it. Instead, we stumble upon a huge open air store having a “penny” sale. It’s selling active wear. We sift through aisles of sweatshirts, running shorts and warm-up pants. I realize that Perez and Veronica are no longer in the store. When I get out to the street I see them driving off in my Mustang (which until this point I have never seen). I shout at them but they drive right by. I chase after the car and catch up at a red light. The passenger window is down so I reach in and grab a shopping bag. Inside are stolen clothes. I turn and bring the bag to the owner and suddenly he is talking to Perez and Veronica. He takes the bag, Veronica is now gone and Perez and I continue on in our search for the bar. Eventually we find it. The bar entrance itself is a maze, an upward spiral with typical purple casino carpeting complete with red and orange squiggles every inch or so. The carpet is floor to ceiling and everything is very dimly lit. Perez and I keep searching for the main bar only to take the wrong turn in this seemingly never ending spiral. When we finally make it in we find a lively place. Great music, crowded, a long bar with two convenient stools for us to park ourselves. We order drinks and spaghetti and meatballs. It crosses my mind that the meatballs may be real but I decide that I would give them to Perez (she is a vegetarian too). I ask for directions to the bathroom and leave. When I return the food is sitting there along with salad that is obviously one dinner size split into two. As I’m eating I look around the dimly lit room and notice a t-shirt. It’s black with a red silkscreen of the bar name, Jones, and photos of k.d. lang and Robin Gans. I ask if they are for sale. The bartender says they sold out but should get more in the following week. They do have buttons of the same though. I’m not interested in them. The scene changes and I am now being asked to categorize an entire library of CDs. They’re all Disney CDs. I’m not sure how they are wanted, by genre, by Disney character, by year, etc. I line them up in rows in no organized fashion. In the end they are on a big sturdy table standing up, looking very much like a domino line-up waiting to go down. My Mom is not happy and calls the teacher that assigned this task to me. She offers a way to organize to which the teacher agrees. She and I travel to the place where the teacher is so we can meet. It just so happens that the place is the same bar I was just in although I don’t recall being there. Once I am there I am told that I am needed to help record a track for a new CD. The title of the song is “Maria”. It takes a while but I eventually realize that I had already been involved in recording a song titled Maria. Apparently the original recording was rejected. It was back to the drawing board. The song was re-written. I am a little perturbed but quickly push this aside as we go into the recording studio which is oddly an actual theater. The theater is filled with people who are asked to remain silent while we record the song. We do a run-through for approval. The approving person is Robin Gans. She is happy with the new version. The lead singer makes a comment that he likes my voice, which is being used as backups. In the first recording I was the drummer and I tell him. He was not aware that I even knew there was a first recording. The original recording was very Latin. The new one is more of a ballad. We are in our chairs getting ready to record. We are sitting in the theater seats just like everyone else in the room. I decide I need to go to the restroom but I have no idea where it is and I am concerned that if I leave the room I will get lost in the dark carpeted spiral again. I ask Robin and the directions are simple – take a right and another right. I find it easily. As I am returning I repeat in my mind “left, left” over and over. I return to my theater seat and the recording begins. One run through and we are done. The CD is complete. Everyone is happy. I have no idea what any of this means. Then again, I really haven’t analyzed it yet. This morning I’ve been too busy trying to remember and record every bit of the entire dream. I can’t recall there ever being a time that I’ve remember having one long continuous dream. In fact, as I write I am remembering other little pieces. I’m a little freaked by this. I actually woke up this morning in pain. I believe it is because I was dreaming so intensely that I didn’t move. My back and neck throbbed. I had to use my hands and arms to life my body into a sitting up position. One of my blisters broke but thankfully it’s not painful. My Dad called this morning, Laura made breakfast but I am literally obsessed with getting this out in its entirety. This has got to either have one huge message or many small ones. I can’t stress enough that this is not a cluster of dreams but rather one long detailed continuous dream. To make sure I don’t forget this too: – Weather: ridiculously hot and I’m in Simi – State of Mind: tired, I had a couple of beers last night and I forgot to take my meds – What else? Well, I do miss Vegas although I would not go right now in this heat. It does bother me that virtually all of the history of this fascinating city has been wiped out. I have no idea what my brother being disabled means. Perez? Stealing? Got me! The music part isn’t as strange as it somehow always ends up being some part of my life. Always has, always will. I wanted to play drums as a kid but my Mom forbade me with the excuse that it was a “boy’s instrument”. I have to admit she has a point because I have yet to know a female drummer that isn’t at least bisexual. Singing though? Never something I was interested in. I will ponder this one for a while. I’m certain this has more than one message; at least I hope it does!

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