Bay to La

July 18, 2013

I just got back from the most amazing week ever.

  

This is how it started. I was dreading a wedding I had to attend. I mean weddings already aren’t my cup of tea, but the real reason was because it was so far away. It was either 9 hours of driving or an expensive flight plus 6 hours of driving. Either way I was going to be out $200-$300. So after a long search for cheap flights, I came up with a far fetched idea. Instead of driving 3 hours to fly 2 hours there and back, I figured why not make an adventure of it. The plan I concocted was to go to Berkeley for another apartment hunt (that is a story in itself), then camp down the coast till I reach LA where the wedding was held. Now my boyfriend thought this sounded ummm… inconvenient. However, after some major convincing and manipulation and offering to pay for the gas, he finally agreed to go. We found some places to check out in the city on Sunday, which was a week from the wedding. It was a little longer than I planned we would be gone, but when you are desperate for a place you will go whenever you get a response and appointment.

After checking out some travel books from the library (Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California, Fodor’s California Guide, and Back Roads California), borrowing camping equipment from a friend, and researching dog friendly camping sites, we were ready to go. The plan was to leave Sunday to look at two apartments Sunday evening, then either start camping Monday or Tuesday. We decided to not reserve any campsites till Wednesday night in case we found any other apartments to check out or, if by the grace of God, we got to sign a lease. After we packed the car Sunday, we got an email from one of the two places we were looking at, letting us know they already found someone else. Not the best way to start our trip. We drive to Berkeley to look at one place. On the drive, I emailed some listings and got a few more apartment viewings set up. We also ended up meeting up with a girl that was on the same hunt as us. She was awesome, but she also had a dog and the chances of finding a place that allowed two dogs was slim. Nothing seemed to be going right.

Monday started off in a huge fight that almost ended our trip and possibly more. After we resolved the issue, we took a break to fly a kite at Cesar Chavez Dog Park. It ended up being the perfect mood lifter. Neither of us had a flown a kite in years and it was much harder and entertaining than we remembered. Viva wasn’t a big fan of the flying kite monster, but that just made it more entertaining.

 
 
 
 
  
 
 

In the evening, as we were waiting for an open house, we got an email that a landlord was showing the place right then and we could come over and check it out. We hurry over to this apartment to meet an elderly lady who had a two story apartment and a basement that she had transformed into another apartment. The apartment was a little dark, naturally for a basement, but it had plenty of room and a yard! The lady offered us this “kale ice cream” she was proud of creating. I thought it was much better than any kale dish I had made, as for Gabe he was at least smart enough to smile and finish the bowl. Once we left, we went back to the open house. It was swamped with other potential tenants that were all kinds of obnoxious bragging about getting their doctorate degree and the lemon tree they were gonna improve the backyard with when they moved in. Pshhh is your PhD for ass kissing?

Wednesday we checked out an amazing place that was just adorable. It had a teal and red interior paint job and a front yard. Since we had nothing left set up to view, I searched for a nearby campsite. If we stayed close to the area we could come back into the city if we got any responses. I noticed a park to the east of Oakland; so, we headed there for the night. We quickly realized that camping near the city is not the same as camping up North (Redding). We get to East Bay Regional Park campsite and notice that camping here won’t be private or serene. We set up the tent which luckily was quite easy because we lost all our energy on a hike. We then proceeded to make dinner. Gabe had the duty of building a fire, and mine was to fix the meal. They both took the same amount of time. It was an amazing dinner with steak, corn, squash, and beans. True foodies.

 
  
 

The next morning was the iconic blueberry pancakes just like my grandma used to make. Well, other than I bought the mix from a cute bakery in Berkeley. We then proceeded to pack up the car. I had tent tear down duty, which was not nearly as easy as set up. The tent had to fit in a 2ft x 6in bag. After rolling and unrolling the tent 5 times because it was either too long or too short and bulky I decided to hand the job over to Gabe who proceeded 10 more times before we gave up and threw it in the trunk.

Since we didn’t have any emails from landlords we proceeded on our way down the coast. Next stop Morro Bay.

 
 
 

Now, my sister was in Morro Bay recently during her honeymoon and she insisted that we visit the place. Since we brought our lovely pooch, we had to be aware that not all beaches were furry friends friendly. Thanks to a local’s recommendation, we found a beach, North Point Natural Area, where our dog could roam and experience the ocean for the first time. It was so much fun to watch her charge into the water and run away from the oncoming waves. Then she rolled her wet self in the sand and immediately we regretted bringing this selfish bitch.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
By the time we hit the road again, it had gotten a little late. We decided to try out a Mexican restaurant my sis recommended, Taco Temple. After a 40 minute wait and a quick run to the store to buy breakfast supplies we shared a ginormous burrito. It was delish and satisfied even my wallet, 8 bucks for the both of us!
 
 
By the time we got to Morro Bay State Park it was around 7:30. We drove onto what looked like a Best Buy on Black Friday. The tents were set up on a parking lot that had some sand thrown on it. There wasn’t any privacy or nature in the whole place. We were pissed. Do people really consider this camping? Luckily, we had already ate because this place wasn’t worth the firewood… well except for making hot chocolate. On the upside, we were close enough to the ocean that we ran across a golf course to catch an amazing sunset. Worth it? Shmunset… I want to camp dammit!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

That night, Viva reeked from whatever dead sea creature she rolled in at the beach. I drug her into my shower and after we got cleaned up we hit the sack. Viva always insists on being in the middle and under the covers. I’m not the spooning type; so, it’s fine with me.  That and I felt bad because she was still shivering from her traumatizing shower. By 7am we could hear kids screaming and diesel trucks driving close to our heads. We were over that place. We packed up quickly… well that damn tent won’t just go in its home… “You too good for your home?!!” We made a pit stop at Morro Rock, which used to be a Volcano or something before heading to Santa Barbara.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sitting in the car checking our email for the umpteenth time, I notice that I have a missed called and a new email.

“Hello Gabe and Amy,
After meeting with many amazing couples it was very hard to pick one. (another rejection is what I thought) I have decided I would like you guys to live in my apartment.”

I was hysterical with excitement. “Oh my God… oh my God. Gabe! Gabe… we got a place!! We got the place that was our first pick!!!” Right then I get another call from the same number. It was the landlord lady making sure we still wanted the place…. I’m thinking, “Calm down. Don’t sound crazy. Don’t blow this.” Breathe. “Yes Bev, we are so happy you picked us. Thank you so much. Yes we will be back in Berkeley Monday to sign the lease. Thank you.”

Ahhhhhh. The hunt was finally over. The floodgates open which allowed a carefree adventure to begin. We were so excited and relieved. I was so elated I didn’t care where we were going next.  If we hadn’t found a place by the end of the week, we were going to have to forgo a yard and then forgo bringing Viva. Weight lifted. Back to our now stress-free trip.

Luckily, the further south you go the more dog friendly it was… must be the weather. So, we end up on another dog beach, Arroyo Burro Beach Park. Right side of the beach was on-leash, left was off-leash. To the left, to the left. Since the water was warm enough to wade in, we dragged our poor pup out past the waves. She calmed down when she no longer saw white water.  I wonder what parents feel like watching their kids experience new things? I mean it can’t compare to mine because there was no crying or screaming… just a few adorable whimpers. She then surfed the wave back to shore and wouldn’t let us near her the rest of the time. Then she embarrassed us by spraying the burrito we fed her all over the beach. We had doggie bags, but there was nothing solid to pick up… TMI? Well, Gabe picked out a rock that he deemed to be the most naughty and punished it by placing it over the mess. On to the next one.

We then grabbed Viva some real dog food and some more doggie bags. We wanted to have a lavish meal to celebrate our housing success, but realized we are even more on a budget now. So we just got chicken, shrimp, veggies, beans, bread, fresh pineapple… you know the bare essentials. Poor or not, we are still foodies. We arrived at the El Capitan State Beach which had the correct human to tree ratio. Moments after we arrived, our neighbor informed us that the previous couple had a dog that got sprayed by a skunk. Well at least this meant we aren’t camping in a Walmart parking lot any more.

 
 
 
 

Even though the campsite allowed dogs, the beach fifty yards away didn’t. Can you believe that? What is a dog gonna do to ruin a beach? Hey, normally we don’t give her burritos. That was just bad luck. Dogs bring so much joy and to deny them the beach is tragic. One hour later we were drinking hot chocolate and Viva took off barking at something. By the glean of our lantern I saw black and a white stripe. Nooooooo!!!! VIVA!!! VIVA!!! Oh noooo… the smell.

Me and Gabe’s response:

“Gabe grab her!”
“You grab her!”
“Feel if she got sprayed”
“You feel if she got sprayed. ”

We really are a loving selfless couple. It didn’t seem like she got sprayed, but it was hard to tell because everything smelled like skunk. I figured if she got sprayed, I couldn’t stick my nose in her coat and sniff away. So close. Too close. We leashed her up. I know what you are thinking, “You didn’t have her leashed before?” We are over-confident parents. More like over-confident people which results in thinking we have the best dog ever. Reality slap in the nostrils. Leashed and next to us three more skunks still came to our site. We yelled, threw oaks balls, but nothing seemed to deter these demons. I think our site was on a skunk family farm. What other creatures that small and herbivorous causes so much fear in humans? I will do anything to avoid them, but why do they have to be so cute?

By the morning we are skunk free. We take our time in the morning to soak up the last of our camping experience. After another delicious breakfast, we packed up. On the last and final day, we were able to squeeze the huge tent into it’s tiny home. What a feeling of success. We conquered camping. Man make fire. (wo)Man take down tent. Huhaha. Beat on chest. Ouch that hurts. Rub girls and apologize.

LA Bound! Now that camping is over we could arrive, however late we wanted, and not worry about leaving anywhere before noon checkout. We decide to take the Highway 1 through Malibu because it’s beautiful and there was a hiking trail, Zuma Canyon, that was designed to tire our fury friend. Well this empty trail was on a 45 degree incline for 45 minutes and we didn’t bring any water except maybe one cup. The view was far from worth it. The best part was knowing that I would lack any guilt in having pizza later. What’s better than guilt free pizza?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our hiking delay put us back on the road directly in 5pm LA traffic. Awesome… pizza I’m coming. We arrived at Gabe’s sister’s place in Seal Beach at 7:30 and by 8:30 we have acclimated her new pup, Emmy, and our dog, taken a much needed shower, and hit the road for BJ’s amazing deep dish pizza. My sis and her man mix up directions and arrived a little later setting back our eating time till 10pm. By then my guilt free pizza experience was closer to that of a euphoric drug than carb and cheese binge.

11:30pm pass out.

Next day. Guess what we did…? come on. If you have made it this far you should know. I’ll wait. Come on guess. Please just guess. Ugh you are no fun. We went to a dog beach. Now, don’t you feel silly you didn’t get it? This one was in Huntington and no library book was required to discover it. This one was packed. It was a dog cluster. Just so you know the beach looked like all the other beaches in So Cal. Dogs hadn’t ruined it. It didn’t stink. There weren’t dead sea lions due to dog contamination. People were still laughing and having a good time. I think people were happier here than at other beaches. They were here with a purpose other than tanning and checking out the opposite sex. Or maybe people who take the time to make sure their pets are happy are just better selfless, easy going people. It’s worth looking into.

 
 
 
 
 

We spent the rest of the evening lounging, which is something I normally struggle with. Now, I’m not a fan of board games either, but Gabe convinced the group to play Smart Ass. This is a game I play every day; so, of course, I win. However, when it got to betting time my team lost and it cost me clean up duties after our BBQ. Did I forget to mention we BBQ’d again. If only I was on the Paleo diet. Speaking of diet I would now like to mention that I only got Starbucks once on our whole trip… Yep. Also, I had 5 green smoothies/juices. I’ve very proud of my self control. Never mind there was a Keurig nearby. Proud.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Dog beach. Yep for the last time. Viva was finally getting used to the waves. The water was perfect and the waves were small. Even Emmy was slowly approaching the water.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We were having so much fun that when I finally checked the time it was 3:45. I had a wedding to attend at 5pm that was 45 minutes away. Gabe, Run! Sprinting in my swimsuit and flip flops with Viva in the lead we made it back to the house at 4. Ready and out the door at 4:25. Arrived at wedding at 5:05. Phew. I almost forgot about the reason for this whole trip. My friend’s wedding was in the Fullerton Arboretum which was gorgeous. After the ceremony and dinner I prepped myself for my favorite part of a wedding… Dancing! Well all the champagne in the world wouldn’t make me go out and attempt to salsa with the experts. I underestimated how Salsa inspired the wedding would be. The wedding couple met at a Salsa club and attend competitions and it appeared that is how they met most of their guests. The DJ gave us white salsa rejects some Daft Punk and Gangum Style to dance to while the Latin dance crew took a break. Oh well. I’m going to only play twerking songs at my wedding. So everyone start taking lessons now.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It is now Monday and time to head back to Berkeley to sign our lease. We make a pit stop for lunch to meet up with my Sis again. I hate coming to LA and not going out to dance…. if only we salsa’d then she could have been my wedding guest…. 2 birds. 1 stone. Next time.

Berkeley why are you so cold? Too late now. We sign the lease after a little misunderstanding. The landlord thought we were moving in that day. Weird I know. I mean who packs up their stuff before signing the lease and checking out the place again? Well if I was moving to NYC I would. August 1 is our move in day. The place is pretty dark and will need some work, but we love it and are so happy to have a place. We even enjoy the landlord. She is a funky old lady that critiques Latin American children’s book for cultural relevance and racism. Yep there is a job for that. She did tell us about this amazing satire of the book Goodnight Moon called Go The Fk to Sleep. Hilarious.

  
 
The book reading by Samuel L. Jackson
 
 
 
 
 
 

 11:30pm we arrive in Benicia where we will crash before heading home in the morning. Did I say morning? I meant noon. On the way back the heat temperature rose and we (me) planned our move and reminisced about our amazing trip. I reminded Gabe about having to convince him to come and what a foolish man he can be sometimes. Time for these fools to rush in.

Hairspiration

March 1, 2013

So I have a hair appointment tomorrow. It’s getting that time to change it up. Now I’ve been wanting to grow my hair out for some time, but it just never seems to make it past my shoulders before I get the itch to whack it all off… must be the hot summers here.  Now before you give me any opinions let me please fill you in on the hair style I’ve already rocked… in chronological order.
 

1. 2. 3.4. 5.6. 7.8.9.10. 11.12. 13.14.15.16.17.
 
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Photo on 2009-12-18 at 19.43
 
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So what shall I do next? 
 

Resolutions

January 31, 2013

2013 is going to be my year. A great year. I’m going to make sure of it. First step is to finally complete my resolutions. No more looking back at my previous resolutions to realize that over last 5 years nothing has gotten crossed off the list. So this year I am creating a system to keep myself accountable. I’ll make it public. So that means you… mom. Hi.Thanks for reading. And to anybody else that stumbles onto my blog.

So here is the list… hmmm I don’t like the word list. Sounds so temporary. Here is the 2013 commandments of Amy’s resolutions. Way more official. Nothing like more commandments that I can feel guilty for breaking.

1. Six-pack baby. 
I’ve always wanted one. I’ve come close a couple of times, 4-pack, if I had the flu. I know this seems like a shallow goal that doesn’t have any real benefits, but how is it any different than wanting to do other shallow thing. Ok so judge me… and my soon to be beautiful abs. I’ve been active my whole life so it’s time to take it to the next level. 

 2. Parlez-vous Francais. 
I took French in High school and a little bit recently, but since I want to live in France some day I should commit to learning the language. I just wish that darn Rosetta Stone software wasn’t so expensive. If you speak French or know someone who does please write to me in Francais and I’ll do my best not to insult the beauty of the language. Parlez-vous huma huma? I just couldn’t resist.


3. Rock and roller.  

 Learn to play the guitar even if it’s only a couple songs, good songs, not like happy birthday or Jingle Bells. I figure that if I practice at least 10 minutes each day I should be able to learn a couple songs each month. 10 minutes. That’s about the time I take to shower. Well that’s 7 minutes, but that’s not even worth tuning the guitar.

Joan Jett

4. GoDaddy.  

I created a cheap free website (my site) that has sufficed, but now I want something that has all my content without some long cheesy web URL and ads attached to it. I’m thinking either Joomla or Drupal as my CMS (content management system). Nerdy I know. Anyone have any recommendations?
This is what I want my website to look like. Seriously if you haven’t seen this site it’s amazing.

JimCarry’s Website
But something like these might be a little more realistic
http://fabiominduim.com.br/

5. Blog.
Well I can check this one of the list. Just 2 good blogs a month. Something that requires research, thought, and humor, not just my rantings. Even thought my ranting can be quite entertaining unless you are the reason for my rant. Here are few nice blogs I enjoy. 
http://www.wanderingearl.com/blog/

http://www.designsponge.com/ 

6. Healthy Hip. 
This is actually my number one priority, but there isn’t much I can do that I’m not already doing. Once I hear back from UC Davis I will head down there for another diagnosis. I just wish someone knew what was wrong and I would do whatever it took to fix it. In the mean time I’ll just pray.

7. Dear God.
Speaking of prayers and all that religious stuff. Next on my list is to read the Bible. The whole thing. Now as a Christian I should have done this by now. I guess I just worry about what I’ll find and if it will make my feminist heart cringe. If anyone has a feminist Bible I’d love to read that. Something that puts the injustice to women in some kind of context so I don’t view God as a misogynist. Also, I’m getting paid by an Atheist $150 to read it. Don’t ask. 

8. Live wholistically. 

Now this doesn’t mean become a Buddhist hippy on a RAW food diet… as lovely as that sounds, “Wholistic refers to the whole, a whole item or whole body of a person or thing. The word defines the consideration of the entire structure or makeup, which

includes the body, mind and the spirit in the case of a human being.” Since I’ve hurt my hip I’ve learned that your body needs more attention than just what you see on the outside. I need to take vitamins and minerals and be conscious of what I’m putting into my body. Now while organic food is expensive I know I can cut back on some things in order to get my body in good health. Less sugar, soda, dairy. More greens. I hate kale with a passion, but I’ve gotta get those lively foods into my system daily. Groan.

9. DJ Vive (VeeVah). 
Pretentious I know. When people find out I’m a DJ they always assume I must be like Deadmau5. Nope. I’m an event DJ. I play the songs you want to hear. I don’t mash up good music to crazy rave beats that make you want to take drugs. I enjoy getting people to dance not use glow sticks. However, it is my desire to be skilled in beat matching and mixing. I don’t have all the software I would need, but I’m ready to learn. While I don’t aspire to be the next Skrillex I wouldn’t mind partying it up with Nervo. Not because I love their mashups, but because they look so cool doing it.

http://www.elektrodaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/nervo-cover-girls.png

Nervo

11. Get Scrappy. 10. Work on not being pretentious. 

I’m no Martha Stewart, but damn I’ve always wanted to make one scrap book. In high school I bought stuff for this crafty project. It counted as an art credit. Now I’m heading toward the opposite spectrum; craft nights with the cat ladies. I just want to make one cutesy book about my memories in Europe. I’ve saved all the useless ticket stubs, train passes, museum pamphlets and the memories are constantly collecting dust in the recesses of my mind. Pretty soon I won’t even remember who were in the pictures. I just hate the thought of actually scrapping. Sounds so old, lame, girly, waste of time, but I don’t give a scrap.

12. Lights, camera, action.
It doesn’t have to be Lawrence of Arabia, but just a short film a month Anything about anything will do. I just need to get behind a camera and commit to editing the footage. Or tackle the hours of footage I already have. Just one a month. This month is almost up sooo I’ll start next month. 

http://paullanigan.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8344a4fbe53ef0133f410c5e1970b-pi

 13. You’ve got to Move It Move It!

I’ve been in Redding living with my parents for way too long. I keep thinking someone will discover my awesomeness and hire me on the spot for some crazy job traveling around the world. My only hesitation in moving is that I don’t feel like I’ve made my mark on this darn town. I’m still a small fish in a tiny pond. Well I wasn’t always small. I used to be the big Redding tennis star. Maybe I should have left it at that and never came back. Now if feels like I’m trying to recreate myself. I’ll have to talk to my therapist about that. I have about 6 months before my boyfriend leaves to complete his education. It’s not confirmed if I will follow, but I do love the thought of moving to S.F. I’ve always wanted to live in this amazing city.

http://mcmanuslab.ucsf.edu/sites/mcmanuslab.ucsf.edu/files/imagepicker/m/mmcmanus/san-francisco.jpg

 13 resolutions is enough. It’s doable. Also, 13 is my favorite number and it matches the year. So if luck would have it all should go smoothly…. unfortunately luck is a conniving bitch who gives luck to people in my life that I can’t stand. Damn you luck! I said I was sorry. Anywho. This year is up to me. This time next year this list will be all checked off and I’ll finally have a new list of resolutions.

Friends shmends

January 17, 2013

A part of my 90 days plan to success one of my goals is to improve my social life. I can no longer avoid networking if I going to be putting my services out to the public. I’ve never been a huge socialite. I wouldn’t say I’m anti-social, but I wouldn’t say I’m social. I like the few friends I’ve made over my lifetime and don’t pursue finding any others. I think friends procure naturally. It is about your circumstances. Right now I don’t have any friends. I’d love to blame my circumstances, so I will. If I wasn’t living in the small minded sexist town I would be able to make friends. But due to circumstances I just don’t have any. I don’t really feel like I long for friends. Well yesterday I was talking to a friend, ok it was my counselor (aka paid pretend friend, which counts by the way) and mentioned my need to network and be social. I said I’m just not intrinsically motivated to interact with others and create relationships. My friend disagreed. She said everyone has a little intrinsic desire to have friends. Then I said jokingly, “ahhh I’m so lonely”. She just nodded. Whoa! What?! That shut me up. I did the uhhh pshhh uuughhh phssshhh squirm for a little while before I could regain my composure. Lonely?! Really?! I asked her, “Do I come off as some pathetic loser looking for friends?!” She replied, “That’s not what I said.” Then I got defensive. I tried to prove I was making an effort. Ok Ok. Well I did swing by my sister’s best friends birthday party before work, and not only because there was amazing food there and I was starving . After I stacked my plate I sat down into a bee swarm of menial conversation. Here is what the busy bees were saying.

1st bee: John is sooo cute with his new haircut.
2nd bee: Omg I know.
3rd bee: Ummm no guys, John is a dick. Remember he is a dick. (she obviously in love with him)
2nd bee: Oh ya he’s a major dick. Totally. (Doesn’t care as long as she is talking about boys)
1st bee: Uhhh ya. (not so secretly she still wants to bang John)
2nd bee: Omg I love this.
1st bee: What talking bad about people?
2nd bee: Uh ya. I mean no. Well ya a little.

I wanted shoot myself in the face… even though I definitely think the world could do without 3 dumb bees (haha I’m so funny. Friends… pshhh I entertain myself). This just justifies why I don’t need or want friends. Right? Luckily, I was only there for 20 minutes which included 4 more gossip convos I had to sit through. Who needs this shit?! Right. Well my “friend” said those aren’t the people you will become friends with. That’s all there seems to be in this town though. So I asked my friend if she had any friends, “You are young and professional do you have trouble finding female friends?” Well in college I had friends, but they aren’t here. So um yes.” Well looks who’s lonely now?! Still me. Even my boyfriend agreed with her. “What? I have you, my love.” He retorted, “But when I’m not around. You need friends. They are important to have.” Ok I got it. So I’m starting my search for female friends. I’m being specific because I never seem to have a problem making male friends (ew not like that). So these next 30 days will be my take on “I love you, woman”. But less cool and probably more crying. Let the hunt begin. Will you be my buddy?

Christmas gifts

January 17, 2013

My favorite thing about Christmas is creating the perfect present. The perfect gift is one that is personal, creative, and makes the recipient cry. This is that gift. It only took 20 hours, but totally worth those Christmas tears. This is an album of me and my sister’s adventure in Europe. These are some of my favorite sister memories. I hope that some day we can have another adventure equally as awesome.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Art Flop?

October 14, 2012

I did it. My first art venue. My artwork was featured in an art event where I had my very own venue to fill with anything I wanted. Second Saturday Art Night is put on by the Shasta Arts Council in Redding and every second Saturday of the month from 5-8pm local artists are featured at participating businesses around town. It is free and anyone can drive around town and look at art and enjoy the appetizers. I enjoyed being an observer at these events and was encouraged to be one of the artists of the month. 

So tonight I did it. I had my artwork up at a local real estate company which was located in a prime spot for the Art Hop. From 5-8pm I talked to guests and did my best to schmooze (so that’s how you spell it), which is not one of my best qualities. Luckily, the wine helped bring down a few walls. Most people who came in gave me positive responses and encouragement. Everything went without a hitch. People came, ate, drank, saw, and then it was over. It went smoothly. So why am I fighting back tears? Why do I feel so discouraged? Why do I feel like I’ve just been intimate with someone who doesn’t even remember my name? It’s not like I had a bad experience. It’s like I’m laying in bed naked while a stranger tells me, “hey you’re pretty good kid. I’ll see ya around.” and then walks out the door. I didn’t fail. I satisfied. Didn’t I? But it was a one night stand not love at first sight. As I left the venue and headed over to meet my boyfriends family at a near by bar to listen to some live music the feeling started to sink in. Am I loveable? Am I good enough to love? I sat down at our table and I felt like I was drifting. Somber waves were coming over me. At first I didn’t know what was happening. I had fun tonight. Right? Why do I instantly feel alone? Why do I feel so small? I just accomplished something. I had an art show. I am getting my name out there. I’m networking. I told myself it’s not about about selling anything even though I desperately hoped I would. Wait… I did sell something, but my boyfriend’s mom doesn’t count. That’s like a sympathy sale. I want to be loved. As my party leaves the bar I’m left alone at a big table listening to the soothing yet sad voice of a touring Swedish folk singer. I try fight the tears that are attempting to stain my face. This singer performing is trying to be loved just like I attempted. I love her. I think it would be harder to sing my way into love than just hang it on the walls. Even though there are die hard fans for singers rather than artists; The Beatles, Elvis, Katy Perry. No one buys 300 dollar tickets and waits all day crammed with 100,000 people to see a photo shoot with Annie Lebovitz… who’s that? My point exactly. But singing is never ending. You don’t get to hang it on the wall and be finished.

I hate the feeling that my surroundings are the only thing holding back the well that is close to overflowing. I know that once I leave the table and walk outside my body will release what small restraint it had left. This knowledge makes me stay. A small part of me wants to get the crying over with. I just want to purge myself of this emotion. I notice a tip jar on the stage. I want to encourage this artist. I decide I’ll tip her before I leave. I don’t know what is keeping me at this bar all alone listening to music from this folk singer who is keeping my emotions raw. Then the singer says she’s had bad days. She tells us and by us I think she is speaking only to me, that her dad once told her that being a successful artist isn’t how many cds you sell or how many states you tour in that it is about never giving up. Nothing could have been more perfect and horrifying to hear in that moment. I don’t know why that when you are upset that those perfect words that you needed to hear make you more emotional instead of cheer you up. Now I really wanted out of there to let the flood invade my face. I waited till she was done to give her a 10 dollar tip. I didn’t want to tip her that much, but I felt that I should. I knew it would be a little encouragement and that any amount of encouragement as an artist can make a difference between pressing on and giving up. I made it to my car before I broke down. It’s just so hard and vulnerable pursuing art. As I drove I tried to suck it up, as if tears make you more sad so if you fight the tears the emotion will be defeated. When that didn’t work I thought maybe if I just sob and heave then it will get out of my system sooner. I decided to purge, but I refrained from compounding my pain with pity using examples of how hard my life is right now; I have no money, I’m not good enough, I’m still battling an injury, I live at home, woe is I. I refused to take pity on myself. I don’t want to wallow. I want to get whatever this emotion is far away from me. I’m hoping that I will run out of tears and exhaust myself into indifference. I make it home just at the peak of my despair. As I turn my car off and put my head on the steering wheel my dog, Vive, jumps onto my window. She is so excited to see me. Doesn’t she realize I’m having a breakdown. As she jumps frantically around my car searching for a way to reach me my mind shifts. It feels great to have a friendly face who doesn’t care about how my day went. She is just so happy I’m home. Laughter starts to permeate through my sobs before it over takes them. Now I’m just laughing. This stupid dog has robbed me of my despair. It’s over. I pick myself up and walk inside. It’s not about how many pieces I sell or who likes my art, it’s that I never give up. I won’t give up.

 

Pooping Rainbows

October 14, 2012

I had my first art show. I’ve put my art up in Starbucks and been in a church bazaar, but nothing where I was with other artists at a venue centered around art. The show was at a local bar called Maxwells which promotes local musicians and artists from time to time. The way this came about was that a friend was talking to my sister about an art show she was trying to get together and was looking for some new artists to feature. Well my lovely sister mentioned she should include me. Fortunately, I was standing near by and agreed to it immediately.

I’ve always done photography and tried some art classes here and there, but never imagined myself as an artist. Artists can draw for one. My handwriting isn’t even legible and if you can’t draw letters what hope is left for everything else. Some people assume I can draw because I’m creative in other ways until they are on my team in pictionary and they quickly learn when you assume you make a loser out of you and me.

Anywho. Another reason I never considered an art path was because I figured if you were good fame and recognition would naturally follow. Since I’m clearly not famous (except when I’m mistaken for Megan Rapinoe) that must mean I’m not good enough. I wanted to know what would make me good enough. So as I spent some time getting to know my art professors. I realized that there is much more to art than just being naturally awesome. No one will ever know how good you are if you keep all your work in the studio. This shouldn’t have come as a shock. I guess I figured I’d just be dead when my grandchildren stumbled upon my great works and they made millions with my instant popularity. So what if I want fame before I die? Well… promotion. Art is about promotion. Just like in any industry it’s all about who you know. This was disheartening. I think I like the glamor when I’m dead thing more. Promoting myself requires interaction with others. Interaction with others. It’s not that I don’t play nice with others. It’s just that I don’t play nice with others. I have a low tolerance for small talk so I avoid it. This means I avoid most basic human interactions. Now you can try to analyze why I’m like this. Oh she is insecure, homeschool didn’t develop her social skills, she’s an elitist, just too cool for everyone, ect. I think some people just aren’t social. Not antisocial. I’m not a recluse. I just don’t bullshit very well. Now I’m learning that if I want to become successful I have to bullshit all the time. Now some of you wouldn’t call promoting yourself or networking bullshitting, but then maybe it comes natural to you so it doesn’t feel like you are trying to poop rainbows. For me networking feels like I’m working. Work where I try to convince you I’m a valuable asset to you and if we work together it will benefit you some way. For me it feels fake. I can’t narrow down my interactions with people I enjoy conversing with. Now need to include everyone because you never know what or who someone knows. How does this not feel forced, fake, bullshit? How do you know if people even enjoy talking to each other or if they are just trying to sell themselves? This just doesn’t seem fair. Why do some people get the naturally ability to network while others get anxiety over the thought of it?

OK. Back on topic. So promoting myself is a challenge. I’m trying to stay humble while convince you I’m awesome… because I am awesome (shameless promotion through blog). Over the past few months I’ve tried to “promote” myself, which has lead me to this art show. Well technically my sister promoted me, but thats what networking is about… right? After I got secured as an artist to the art show I’ve been preparing all my work. Picking out new pictures to get printed. Buying new frames. Learning how to build my own frames, cut out mattes (ruined 3 before I just went out and bought the right size), and how to hang a piece. Then a week before the show I get a DJ gig. It’s always like that. Every weekend is free then two events on the same night. Now it was art show or DJ gig? Both! I had a feeling I wouldn’t make it to the art show and I was secretly relieved. First there’s no feeling like no one is buying your art. Second socializing. It was my two greatest stressors together and I wasn’t going to be too upset if the DJ gig went too long. So the morning of I set up my art. There was 3 of us and it still took 2 hours. Now off to the DJ gig where I attempted to promote myself… “ummm can I give you some business cards?” Ya real confident. Now for this wedding the couple had a strict play by playlist going between their Ipad and dvd player. Most people don’t realize that what you want to hear in your house or jamming in your car isn’t always what you want to hear on the dance flour. During the 30 minutes of live Bruce Springsteen playing on the dvd player people started to complain. Now I had a feeling this would happen, but I always want to respect my clients wishes. Well they threw out their wishes and gave me a please fix it plea. Unfortunately, all I had was their iPad and my iPhone to work with. Luckily I’m a damn good DJ and I was able to hurry and put together all the dance music. You say you don’t like Michael Jackson, but then you hear it on the dance floor and notice everyone else dancing and then you just happen to know all the words to “Beat It”. The party at first looked like it was winding down and I get out early and make the art show. Thank you Springsteen. Then my awesomeness intervened and I went past our scheduled time. It’s a pride thing. If you are dancing then I’m doing my job and let’s be honest, how sad was I really going to be for missing the awkward art show. Even though I did want to see my art up on the wall again. It looked pretty darn good. Oh bummer I didn’t make it. Nothing sold, but at least I didn’t have to be there hoping some big art connoisseur was going to join the party during the last 30 minutes. Also, none of the other artists sold anything either. Well hello misery so glad you could join us. I have a couple more things lined up, but I’m afraid discouragement is going to kick in soon. Tell then I’ll just keep trying to poop rainbows.

Elder Abuse?

September 3, 2012

Do you remember that scene in “Happy Gilmore” when Happy’s grandma gets put into a rest home where they use the elderly as free labor and one of the “nurses” (Ben Stiller) continues to berate and belittle everyone. Well it’s not exactly like that, but close. Close enough that my heart hurts from the way that my grandma is being treated. Now she isn’t forced to knit sweaters or run a hamster wheel, instead all her dignity is stripped and she is left immobile in her tiny apartment only to come out when it’s feeding time. She used to live in her own house with a yard, living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, backyard, in a small community where when she walked her dog friendly faces would wave at her. It was my uncle’s idea to move her. He said that she wasn’t stable enough to live on her own. Regrettably she is losing her memory. She isn’t forgetting places or faces, but short-term conversations. She will tell me the same story 3 times within 10 minutes. I just let her tell it. Or I’ll help her finish it. Or say what a great story it is. I have an overwhelming amount of patients with my grandma. This should be considered normal to some people, but sense I have absolutely no patience for anything else it is my only time to see this virtue at it’s peak performance. Back to gma. I completely understand being concerned for your ailing parent. You don’t want to worry that she will fall or something will happen and no one will be there. So you would think that the “retirement home” (old people hotel) would have nurses on staff or a daily caretaker, or someone around to check on her, making sure she is taking her pills, coming to meals, keeping up with hygiene. Otherwise what is the point of moving her all the way across town! Further away from the only grandchildren who visit her. Further away from town. Only closer to death. Not only did my uncle move her without my consent he did it without my mother’s. Unfortunately, before my gpa died he assigned my uncle as my gma’s caretaker. Supposedly he has last say. Not sure if it’s officially documented somewhere, but for his sake I hope it is. But for now he moved her into this small sterile retirement center as far out of town as it could be while still being in the same zip code. Before it would take me 10 minutes to get to my grandma’s and then another 10 to take her into town. Now it takes me close to 30 and another 15 to get back into town. I know what you might be thinking, “shouldn’t I be glad that there are people around her to take care of her so I don’t have to worry?” Well I would be comforted if that were the case. But no one comes and checks on her. She doesn’t have a weekly or monthly doctor that gives her checkups. If she misses a meal no one goes to see if she is ok. If she falls or hurts herself no one will know. I’m more worried about her now than I ever was. Before she was always eager to get out of the house. We’d go out for lunch or we’d cook dinner or cookies. Now all I can do is bring a take n bake pizza out to the only over in the facilities “activity” room. Due to what they are feeding her she is putting on weight. She just sits in front of the tv and waits for meal time. How is this the way to treat your mother?

Now for the worst part… my Aunt. She is my uncle’s second wife that he married secretly because he knows how much the whooooole family hates her. Detest might be a better word. You know that teacher in Harry Potter that worked for the Ministry. Professor Umbridge I think it was. She would show up in her pink tweed outfit with her high pitched giggles and cat portraits and terrorize the students. That’s this lady. Her outer demeanor might seem genuine if you are either an idiot or a Death Eater. The worst part is that she calls my gma mom. This demon calls my gma something only saved for my mom and the few daughters-in-laws that have earned it. She calls her mom, but then treats her like a child. A slow-witted child. She finds away to take away all my grandma’s independence and dignity with a smile on her face and a concerned tone. For example, my gma gets her hair done at JcPenny’s ya they have a salon in there. Well instead of letting my gma pay for her new do when she is done the witch tells the salon worker’s to wait for her supervision before my gma can pay. I mean how could she mess up handing over someone a credit card. So they summon Lord Voldemort over to take my gma’s credit card and hand it to them. Really? Then last week my gma passed out and was taken to the emergency room at noon. My mom wasn’t called till 5pm. Now if you are 20 and you pass out you might not call everyone to scare them, but when an 83 year old passes out something could be fatal. I understand my mom’s rage when she found out. Even though my mom tried to calm herself she was obviously upset when she said that she needed to be called immediately next time. Acceptable I’d say. Well Ursala says to my sister, “oh wow does your mom nag you all the time too?” So you might be thinking… Aspergers disease? I mean while else would she think she could talk shit about my mother to my sister. So maybe she is more like those dumb laughing hyenas in “The Lion King”*
You might be wondering why this women is always around harassing my gma. Well did I mention my gma is rich. I don’t know how rich, but rich enough to start checking my gma’s pills to make sure nothing deadly is slipped in Sometimes my family will call and Jiffar answers the phone and says my gma isn’t feeling well and to make it a quick conversation. I’ve even seen a note that Scar left by the toilet that read “Wipe from front to back -Love Lucifer”. The first time I saw it  I immediately ripped it down and threw it away. How degrading is that? I wish I could wipe my ass on that women’s face. Well the next time I was there the sign was up again. “She who shall not be named” took it out of the garbage and posted it up again. She didn’t know it was me that took it down. My gma could have been disgusted and embarrassed and took it down herself. Where is the decency? So this time when I ripped down the side I peed on it. Wiped with it from front to back… cause it really is the only way to wipe. Then I threw it away uuuughain. Then today there it was again sitting on the sink. With my pee stains all over it. I just had to laugh. Laugh cause Satan touched my pee and probably didn’t wash her hands before eating. My pee is in her mouth. I did wipe my ass with her face. I didn’t have a bowel movement coming so I just threw it away again. Even though it was my own pee I still picked it up with a tissue. Gross.

 Ok this is the last thing. Big thing. Today I went to take my gma shopping and out to dinner. I know she likes JcPenny’s. Gotta love those bargains. I even had picked out a nice restaurant for us too. I was excited. I get to her prison and she can’t find her credit cards. Sinking feeling. Not just cause my gma usually insists on paying for dinner, but because I knew it had reached a new stage of dependency. Sure enough she calls my uncle to ask where her cards are and I can hear him tell her that he just gave her money. So I guess the new system is that he gives her a $20 every now and then and holds on to her credit card. Yep. Now the dream team has total control over her finances. She can’t even go shopping. I’m livid. How does this guy with his devil wife get away with this? The worst part is that they have made her feel like she can’t handle it and that they are doing her a favor. Oh “mom” we will hold on to your credit cards for you so you don’t lose them when you sit on the couch watching tv not allowed to go anywhere with your grandchildren. Besides btween the couch and the bathroom where you wipe front to back you might unintentionally donate all your money to the Obama’s.

Can something be done? I still take my gma shopping. I mean it’s JcPenny’s even I can buy her something there. Of course she is no longer in the mood to shop like most people are when they realize that their wallet has just been stolen. I buy her some See’s candies and we combine her $20 allowance with mine to get some decent dinner. No one will stop me from enjoying time with my gma, but someone is taking away her joy and I don’t know what to do. I tell my mom to step in, but she get’s too emotional. I hate this. I hate it when people no longer fend for themselves. When they let go cause others have told them that they can’t take care of themselves. I hope some day soon that… ummm… darn I’m running out of evil villans… Darth Vader’s spawn throws her into a nursing home to wither and mold while someone with bad breath and cold hands changes her burlap diaper.

*the reason all my examples are from movies are:
1. I love movies
2. my bf says my analogies are usually terrible so when I use them I try to stick with what I know

Surviving

August 9, 2012

Every time life lifts up my head to grab a few breaths something dark and unknown comes and dunks my head under water. I’m back to gasping, flailing, sinking. All I want is a deep breath. To fill my lungs with fresh air. To my chest expand as I take in my source of life. Why most I thrash in dark murky waters fearing what is lurking underneath? This is my life as an artist.

 
It’s Friday and I get a call from a frantic friend who just got screwed over by another friend she hired for a promo video she wanted. He didn’t tell her his fee till 2 days before the event and it was way outside her budget and outside what the guy deserves. She needed a videographer tomorrow! Of course being the kind of person that hates to see others sink in the same pool of anxiety I agreed to help. She couldn’t pay much, (but enough to pay this months bills) and it was for her wood-fire pizza catering…. soooo free pizza! This was my first little breath. The video shoot went great. Best pizza I’ve had since Europe and the video turned out pretty good as well. The next day I edited it and kept on working on it all week. I was also setting up my pictures at galleries and getting ready for an art festival. I was finally doing it. I wasn’t making exactly the money I wanted yet, but I was still surviving. I was afloat. 
 
Then somewhere in the dark deep waters something started moving. I felt something brush my leg. I couldn’t tell what it was. It was such a good morning. I was taking breathes, not full breathes, but enough to satisfy. I dropped off my boyfriend at work and then was headed to the river trail to walk my dog then visit my grandma. I was in a good mood. Then there it was. The shark. I saw him too late. I was headed straight for him. I tried to slow down, but it was too late. Red and Blue lights were flashing and the sound of the enemy was blaring. All hope was lost. Motorcycle cop. My breath had left me. I’m gasping. I’m going to suffocate. How can this be happening? I was doing so well. Things were finally looking up. As I’m trying to calm myself I also having to keep my dog from growling. Nothing I did or said helped soften to beasts heart. Not even my puppy who went from growling to panting and being pet by the evil one. I just sat in my car and cried. Cried for what I had lost. Cried for a slip in judgement. I know when I’m trying to speed, but this time I had no where to be. Just a carefree day. I couldn’t believe I was going as fast as he said. I tried to understand. If I was in my own car and not my boyfriends would I have been going that fast? I drive a stick and it takes me a little longer to pick up speed. If maybe I had pleaded and apologized more to the creature on his black horse. If my puppy hadn’t growled at first. If… if… if… it was too late. I had the ticket in my hands and the discouragement in my heart. Why?!! I’ve never seen a cop there before. I’m hardly driving this car. All is lost and I should just give up. I’ve never cried getting a ticket before. Mostly I’m just pissed. I usually get over it and move on. But sometimes you are in this place where you are so close to the edge that anything might send you over. You are stranded in the ocean and you are finally gaining your strength back from your last crash to keep your head above water. It’s just when the waters seem to calm that another wave comes crashing down on you. It hits like a car crash. You don’t know which way is up. The whole time you are wondering will I make it to the surface before I drown. Where’s the surface? My arms and legs are moving, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m drowning. 
 
Even though my mind has given up my body takes over and refuses to quit. I can’t control it. My lungs are telling my body what to do. Swim. Swim. I notice that the water is getting lighter. That must be the top. It looks so far away. Breath. I survived. I’m exhausted. I can hardly stay afloat, but that little breath was enough to keep me alive. This is my life as an artist.

DJME

June 23, 2012

Wicka What?!

I finally did my first solo DJ gig. I was so nervous. My biggest fear was technical problems that I wouldn’t know how to fix. Doesn’t matter if I pick all the best songs and mix them well that even Grandma Mimi is dancing if the speakers fail and the music stops. When me and the DJ I worked with met with our client the week prior he brought the equipment for me because he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the gig due to a family death. We set up the equipment in my dad’s shop and I recorded where every plug went and what the vital buttons did. I had spent the days leading up to the gig downloading music. I made sure I had the specific songs; processional, recessional, first dance, cake cutting…ect. The bride music preference was slow rock or easy listening… No one can dance to that. Even though I did my best to clutter my iTunes with her long list of elevator music I hoped that once everyone was dancing she wouldn’t care to hear Third Eye Blind or Matchbox 20. Also, she was a country fan. Ugh. Other than heavy metal country is my weak spot. So I spent a couple days jammin with Swift, Chesney, McGraw. If you don’t know who that is then lucky you. I guess it could be worse. Screamo wedding? I would have to double my price.

So I downloaded hundreds of new songs… and by download I mean pirated. Did I say this was my first solo gig? No way can I afford to buy every album. I was excited for the wedding. The day of the event I got help setting up the equipment. The wedding was upstairs and even a buff chick like me could use an extra hand, speakers aren’t light. The wedding went off without a hitch. Everything sounded great, no technical issues, and I got everyone on the dance floor. I love seeing people sing and dance along to songs they enjoy. My next favorite thing about being a DJ is when I’m packing up people of all ages let me know how much they enjoyed the music and how I would mix it up between new songs and oldies they grew up with. However, I still got to work on my MC skills. Next on the list is to pick a DJ name.

Training days

June 9, 2012

You know those days when you open you’re eyes and you are overwhelmed with fatigue and it stays with you all day? I was dreading my long day and the struggle my eyelids would have against me. Just stay open for 10 more hours. I love busy days, but right now I’d kill for tomorrow to come sooner. Kill.

I was so prepared for a bad grumpy day, but was sleepily surprised. My first stop of the day was to check on video camera. Very knowledgeable guy gave me all the info I need well except how to afford them. For a Canon 5D the body alone is $3,000. What’s so special about this camera you might ask. Well since I’ve been educated let me tell you. The Canon 5D has become the standard for filmmakers. I mean Spielberg isn’t using one, but the directors of the show House are. What’s great about this SLR (single lens reflex) is that it not only takes pictures at 28 megapixels, but also HD video. With the add on lenses you have control over your depth of field unlike in a standard video camera. There are 2 problems with this camera. One is that the internal microphone is useless. You have to buy an external mic which aren’t cheap either. Second problem is with the auto focus. It doesn’t have one while filming. So if you’re recording and your subject moves out of focus you have to focus them manually. This can get really tricky if you are shooting wildlife, sports, or documentaries. It is rumored that Canon is coming out with a new camera in a month or two and possibly the focus problem will be fixed.

I guess I’ll just wait for the new one that comes out the decade I can afford it. When I walked into the store I thought maybe $1,500 or the most $2,000 was what I had to save up for not $3,000 plus an extra $1,000 for some lenses and a microphone. Who is buying these? No wonder they are being used in the film industry because no average hobbyist could afford it. Including me.

Here is what the lovely camera looks like. Isn’t it beautiful? If anyone wants to donate some money to my camera cause I will humbly accept. Or if you are one of the lucky millions that has one and is tired of it not being put to use I will gladly take it off your hands. Or you can make an investment and I will make you a beautiful video.

Canon 5D Mark III

Countdown

May 30, 2012

30 days left. I’ve chosen a path. I don’t know what this path looks like. I don’t know where this paths leads me. I look at this allusive path and it’s dark. It’s scary. But its mysterious. It looks like adventure, success, pain, doubt, but freedom. Freedom for the average. I’ve decided to be an entrepreneur. No more job interviews. No more being controlled by the man. Freedom. So here is what I’m doing.

I’m moving towards something. I’m not sure what. I’m moving slowly, but anything is better than stagnant. So far I’ve taught one tennis lesson, put up my art in a gallery, had DJ beat matching lessons, and filmed a promo. Only 2 out of 4 have income, but I’m hoping to bat 1000 in the future. It’s amazing how expensive life is. I need about $500 a month to survive. But I don’t want to just survive. I want to live, invest, enjoy freedom.

Reflect

May 24, 2012

37 day.

37 long grueling days of work left before I quit to pursue something better. 37 days fast intense days to find another source of income. What am I going to do? I have a long list of ways to get by, but nothing substantial. No career path. I just don’t know what I want to do. Well I know what I want, but don’t know how to get there. How does one become a National Geographic Explorer? How does one travel the world documenting what’s going on in places we have never heard of? How does one tell stories of people that we know nothing about? How do we love the unknown? I don’t know how but I do. I love what I don’t know. I love places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met. I love tastes that I could never imagine and experiences I couldn’t have written myself. I love not knowing what the day will bring. I’m not looking for security. I’m not looking for a husband, a job with a good maternity leave, and a house in a safe neighborhood for kids. I’m looking for adventure. I want a life worth telling. I want a life you could read about in books and magazines. I want a life worth living. What I have now I wouldn’t call a life. I’m not living. I’m surviving. I’m passing time. Wasting away. I’m a vegetable and no one has had the courage to pull the cord. Life is my feeding tube. But recently my eyes have begun to flicker. I think might hand might have twitched. Wait it looks like their might be some brain activity. The doctor says I’ll never be the same though. I’ve killed too many brain cells in my coma-like life. Is it too late? Never. I feel the fog lifting. I can hear voices. My eyes aren’t open yet, but the voices are there. The voices are back telling me I’m going to live. I’m going to pull through. It’s not over. There is so much left for you. There are aromas you haven’t smelled. Flavors you have yet to taste. Places to go and so many sites to see. Hearts you have yet to touch. Life you have yet to live. It is all waiting for you. Just hold on. Wake up. Open your eyes. Come to life. Breath. Take out the tubes of mediocrity crippling you. Wake up Amy. As I struggle to come to life I feel fear. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know what I’m able to do. Will I ever run again? Can I leave the comfort of the known. The comfort of being average. The comfort of not failing due to not trying. What if I fail? Can failing be worse than this numbness. Can trying be worse than feeling like a victim to unfair circumstances? What if I’m not good enough? Is it worse than knowing I’m better than to live out my remaining days in a coma? What can you accomplish in a coma? All you can do is imagine how you were made for something more. She was so young. She had so much life yet to live before she put herself coma of average. It’s like a dream the moment before you wake when you realize you are dreaming. You are relieved it’s just a dream. There is the small voice that says wake up. Hurry and wake up. You are going to be ok. This isn’t real. This coma isn’t real. It’s just a dream, more of a nightmare where you run and run but your legs are heavy. So heavy. You know you can run faster, but the lead in your legs is slowing you down. If you could just run as fast as you know you can run you’d make it to safety. The bad guy wouldn’t catch you. Legs Run!!! Wake up Amy. I’m awake. I can run. I can breathe. I’m ready to live. Life what do you have for me? I don’t need any more insecurity. I’ve had my share of doubt. Give me the good stuff. Give me what you have given the heroes. Give me hope. Give me life. If you don’t give it to me I will take it. I will take it and never give it back. I will be great. Nothing will stop me. I’m ready. Even though my muscles have atrophied and my mind is muddled. I can’t remember what greatness feels like I know it feels great. My coma has made me realize how wonderful life is. The soreness my body feel reminds me that I was made to move. Move mountains. Move hearts. So I’m at the starting line. I’m down in a runner’s start position. My muscles are twitching in nerves and anticipation. I look around and no one else is around. Where are the other runner’s? When will the gun blast? When do I start? I’m ready. Someone tell me when to start. Judge? Wait is this a sprint or marathon? Am I prepared. Just give me the sign to go. My muscles start to relax. I’m waiting. Maybe I should stretch some more? No I feel ready. Let’s go. If I’m to run alone in this race why do I need someone to tell me when to start. Start now Amy. Now? I didn’t hear a bang, a go, or start. You don’t need one. This is your life. Just go. Now? Yes. RUUUUNNNNNNN!!!!

Monologue

May 12, 2012

Good evening Mr. bond

I just finished my first ever monologue for the intermediate acting class. I know I know. Compared to how terrifying the last class was you’re surprised I would torment myself again. Glutton for punishment. Last class was miserable but I squeaked out without doing a monologue. Which was a blessing since it wasn’t really a monologue. This class we were supposed to prepare a monologue and be ready to play 10 measures of music using an instrument that we’ve never played before. Crazy huh? It took me 3 days to decide if I still wanted to take the class. I waited till the Wednesday before the class to register. After much convincing and self determination. I searched for hours online for a monologue. Finally my mom stumbled on one that was a perfect fit. It was a bond girl. One of the smart ones not the dumb blondes that dies after having sex with Bond. Then my dad gave me his harmonica for my other performance. I picked “Blowin in the wind”, by Dylan cause I knew the rhythm. Even though when I played it you couldn’t tell. I was terrified. My sister being present in this class was only a small condolence. She was going to sing for her instrument. I know that’s cheating. Exactly what I told her. She definitely has used that instrument before. And she didn’t prepare a monologue. Can you believe it?! My sister who always talked about being an actress refused to prepare a monologue. Ridiculous. She says it’s not fear though. Who believes that? Not I.

We started the class with some exercises that gets everyone moving and interacting. Next was our music audition. Everything was intense. Every performance was taken to a new level by the instructor, Di. I was nervous what extra stipulation would be added to my performance. Anna didn’t sign up to play her “instrument”. Don’t worry it’s not due to fear.

In one person’s performance she had everyone get involved by dancing or playing music. After 20 minutes we took a break. I looked at my watch and it was only 12:30. I still had 4.5 hours to go. Me and my sis grabbed some grub and headed back to the room of vulnerability. My sister talked to the instructor about her song and that she wasn’t sure she was ready to take acting seriously. Or something like that to get out of it. Well we didn’t go back to the performing music, but shifted to some other exercises. The instructor had us all get in a circle and had one young man walk around the circle and make eye contact with everyone. We were all supposed to give off love and encouragement to help him open up and prepare the space for our monologues. Well after he went around the circle multiple times with multiple instructions Di introduced him to each person and said something about the love that person was giving off. Well when they made their way to Anna, Di told the man that Anna had a song for him. So then she asked Anna to sing her song. Glorious!!! Get out of that one. Oh the look on Anna’s face. I had to hold back my chuckle. Anna hesitated to get her bearings then sang to the boy and everyone else in the circle. The lyrics went perfectly with the scenario. It was a worship song about going through a valley with God and about being accepted for who you were. It was only about 15 seconds, but I think it made a difference in the guy’s demeanor.

After this exercise people started to do their monologues. The first one was from Shakespeare. The girl did an amazing job and Di pushed her to even more amazement. The rest after that seemed to be the same level of seriousness and intensity. I purposefully avoided a monologue that would cause me to yell, cry, or act crazy. I guess in the acting world the more intense the better. As time started to slip away Anna slipped out the back door and off to work. There was one more hour left till I got to escape and I had yet to perform. I was not so secretly hoping that I would dodge another bullet. During a break someone said they had to leave early so he would like to go next. Di said she wanted to make sure everyone got a chance and wanted to know if anyone else had to leave early. I didn’t want to say anything, but since she asked I couldn’t very well sneak out innocently any longer. So I was second. The guy had chosen a calm serious scene that he was having a hard time getting any emotion out of … now I know why actors choose intensity… it’s easier to portray. Having to portray a less obvious and intense emotion can be a lot more challenging. Sadness is crying. Anger is yelling. Joy is laughing. But what about contempt. Or smugness. I look at my watch for the 176 time that day and I have 15 minutes before work. I’m gonna get off the hook… “Who’s up?… Amy.” Damn!

Di asked me what I needed in the scene. James Bond. So after I briefly explained my character and the scene I took a deep breath… and died. Some part in my died. The part that had never done a monologue. The part in me that thought I would never act. The part that told me I wasn’t good enough. The part that apologized when I walked in the room. The part that feared failure to the point I never tried. That part died and another part of me was born. I was alive. I was doing it. I was failing and being ok. I was acting… well… for two lines before Diane stopped me. She said I was acting as if I’d seen the movie and was just trying to portray what I saw. She asked me all sorts of questions to help me understand where I was coming from in the scene.
Is your character smart?
Yes
Is she a virgin?
No
What relationship does Bond have with you?
I have just met him and I want to prove I’m just as smart and good as he is.
So this is a competition?
Yes
And he might ask you to have sex with you later?
Yes

After starting then being told to stop again I thought I wasn’t going to get through this. I just wanted to run out of the room. Di told me to quit trying to act. I wasn’t adding the attitude which is why I picked this monologue. I’m a jock I know how to banter. I know how to put a guy in his place. I shifted in my seat and put Bond is his place. Here was my monologue.

Casino Royale (2006)
by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Paul Haggis

Vesper: Alright, by the cut of your suit you went to Oxford or wherever, and naturally think
human beings dress like that. But you wear it with such disdain, my guess is you didn’t come
from money. And your school friends never let you forget it. Which means you were at that
school by the grace of someone else’s charity. Hence the chip on your shoulder. And since
your first thought about me ran to orphan, that’s what I’d say you are…

Oh, you are? I like this poker thing. And that makes perfect sense. Since MI6 looks for
maladjusted young men, who give little though to sacrificing others in order to protect Queen
and country. You know, former SAS types with easy smiles and expensive watches. Rolex?
Ah, Omega. Beautiful.

Now having just met you I wouldn’t go as far as calling you a cold hearted bastard. But it
wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine. You think of women as disposable pleasure rather than
meaningful pursuits. So as charming as you are, I’ll be keeping my eye on our government’s
money, and off your perfectly formed ass.

Even accountants have imagination. Good evening, Mr. Bond.

I did it. Everyone in the room started clapping. Di told me how proud she was of me. I did it. I can’t believe it. It felt good. I felt the I said the lines how they were supposed to be said. I had conquered that fear. I had to immediately run out of the room and head to work. I felt invincible. On the way to work I was hot, flushed, on a high. I can do anything. 

Facing Fears

April 14, 2012

Today was a turning point in my life. I took a step through a door that I have kept shut my whole life. I took a step closer to my dreams and destiny. I took an acting class. It was terrifying. To some people this might not seem like a big deal. Just like sky diving might not seem like a big deal to me, but if you have acrophobia (fear of heights) then it’s a different story. Well today I was an acrophobic sky diving. I felt like I leaped off a cliff. Now this torment wasn’t my idea. My sister begged me to take the class with her and my mom proceeded to prod me. I figured it was time to face my fears, but really I was hoping I wouldn’t be too involved. That would be a false hope as I received an email telling me to prepare a monologue for class. What?! I have to act?! Immediately I was ready to drop the class. I’m not ready for this. My sister and mom continued to persuade me saying that this would be good for me. Well as doom day got closer I found my escape route quickly diminishing. I had to email a quick bio of my acting experience and what I hoped to get out of the class. My email went something like this:

My name is Amy Brown and I’m a Redding local. I have a BA in Cinema and Digital Media. I do not have any acting experience. I do not plan on acting in the future. One might wonder why I’d take this class. Well my sister loves acting. She is in this class and asked me to take it with her. I understand that if I plan on working in films it’s important to understand what to expect from your actors. I hate public speaking and being in large crowds and I’m terrified of monologuing and this class. This will be quite a challenge for me, but action conquers fear… or so I’m told. I’m hoping this class will challenge me to be comfortable expressing myself personally and creatively.

Quite honest I know. Too honest? Well here is the response I got:

Hi Amy,  Diane Venora here.  Thank you for your email.  I need to let you know that this class would not be advisable for you.  The class is intense physically, mentally and technically.  I do not teach beginning actors.  I know those who do do that more effectively than I.  However they are in Los Angeles.  


I hope that this doesn’t discourage you.  Your money will be happily refunded of course.  I do thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone.   The criteria for the class is that everyone is passionate about the craft needed to become a professional actor.  As a creative alternative I can suggest to WPAC a beginning class for non-actors, introducing you to the rudiments of the craft for sensitivity to actors by doing it yourself.  That would be something special and constructed specifically for you.

That’s the best I can do at this time.   Thank you Amy .  I would love to hear your thoughts on all of this.

There was my out! I couldn’t ask for a more painless way to avoid discomfort and humiliation. Most people in my situation would have thanked the heavens for answering prayers. Well it seems that I’m not most people. All this email did was motivate me. My fear subsided and my pride overwhelmed me. No one tells me no. I’m the only one that gets to discount my abilities. So where was my thoughtful response:


Thank you for your response. I was unaware of the qualifications and I appreciate your concerns. I respect your profession and the experience you will bring to the class. I understand the frustrations that can arise when a student is out of place from my tennis coaching experience. However, motivation and determination can overcome some technical skills. I doubt that the purpose of your email was to inspire me to want to take this class, and if so I’m even more impressed. Nothing lights a fire and eliminates my fears more that being told I can’t or shouldn’t do something. I’m not just stubborn, but excited for the challenge. I’ve tried to take an acting class before and it was canceled. I’ve been hesitate to become a local reporter because of being on camera. I’ve made a decision lately to think big and do something I’ve never imagined. I’ve given my self 90 days to quit my job and pursue a passion. Since then I’ve faced opposition and discouragement. I now believe I’m meant to take this class because something is trying to prevent me from pursuing something greater. Now the decision to let me go to the class is up to you. I respect your professional opinion and in no way and I’m trying to guilt or pressure you. I’m confident my life will continue on to a better story whether or not I’m in this class so don’t worry about that. If you think it’s best for me to find a beginner class than I will do what it takes to find one. Once again thank you for your response and concerns. If I don’t see you Saturday I’ll make sure to find out everything from my sister. Enjoy your day. 

I have officially requested my own death sentence. She let me in the class.

Then the worst happened. I find out that my sister didn’t request work off. She waited so long that when she finally asked no one would cover her shift. Now I’m pissed. I guilted this acting professor to let a beginner into her class just because I’m a stubborn over-overachiever and now I’ll have to go solo. It’s amazing the amount of stress that is released when just one familiar face is in the room. What was going to make this class bearable was that familiar face. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t possibly go to the class alone, but I couldn’t bail after the fit I made. I stressed about my decision for the next 3 days before the class. It was all I could think about. I also had to figure out what my monologue would be. I didn’t know what a monologue was so I had to look it up.

mon·o·logue [monuh-lawg, -log]

Noun

 1.

a form of dramatic entertainment, comedic solo, or the like by a single speaker: a comedian’s monologue.
2.

a prolonged talk or discourse by a single speaker, especially one dominating or monopolizing a conversation.
3.

any composition, as a poem, in which a single person speaks alone.
4.

a part of a drama in which a single actor speaks alone; soliloquy.

I thought I understood what I needed to do. So I wrote a monologue. I wrote a personal reflection/monologue.  It was maybe too personal, but I didn’t know what else to write. 

I don’t belong here. Everything is telling me that I shouldn’t be in this class. I lack the experience. My sister who begged me to take this class with her bailed on me. My own fears and doubts tell me that I’m out of my league. I keep telling myself that I don’t have to put myself through this. But I know that no great story comes without risk, suffering, and sacrifice. The fear I have for this class cannot be greater than my fear of failure. I cannot let the voice that once said I was meant for something great be silenced by the voice that now says, “maybe I’m just average”. I’m here to face my fears. I’m here because this is where I belong. 



After a couple of days of practicing and with one day till the class my sister asked what monologue I was doing. I told her I wrote it. Well she informed me that you don’t write monologues, but memorize ones from plays or movies. What?! Why didn’t she tell me this earlier? Now I have a fake monologue memorized and nothing to fall back on. My sis tried to assure me that it would be fine and just go ahead and do it. 
The dreadful day came. As I drove to Inspiration Place (that is the actually name of the school where it was held) I’m terrified. I am hurriedly rehearsing my lines in my head. I realize that it is nearly impossible to drive and say my lines. This is probably why action stars don’t have long monologues. Too much multitasking. I walked into the room of my eminent doom. Luckily and unfortunately I don’t know anyone. If I could stereotype an acting class this would be it. Actually this class looks like any kind of self-help class. Everyone was different which is better than everyone being the same unless you are the same as well. I have no problem joking around with jocks because I can play that role. Now to walk into a room of politicians would leave me feeling a little left out. So the wide array of stereotypes brought me little comfort; the mom giving it another go after her kids got a little older, middle-aged man who still doesn’t know who he is, expressive black girl, quirky British girl, older shy tap dancing women, middle-aged confident competent women, emotional contemporary hipster dancer, too-not-so-cool one earring bro-man, chubby dramatic girl from Hairspray, serious unfriendly teacher’s pet, eccentric amazing acting professional teacher, and me, insecure self-aware out-of-place jock. It was drama. Like any time you put a bunch of people together drama plus ten times more intense. My heart was trying to punch a hole in my chest.

We went around the room saying our hellos and what we hoped to get out of the class. Next was some small exercises. We had to walk around the room reciting our monologues, out loud. Then there were obstacles put around the room that we had to step on, crawl under, jump off of, while still reciting our monologue. During this time I couldn’t stop looking at the clock as the second hands slowed to a stop. I think time was standing still. Not in the good way like you’ve met the person of your dreams, but the heartbreak way when you find out the person of your dreams is cheating on you. All I want to do is run away. It takes all my energy not to break down. As the day continued the exercises got more and more… geez how else do I say dramatic. We were put into groups and had to portray the movement of a plastic bag expanding after being squished into a ball while telling a story about it… without words. Drama… eye roll. 

I was halfway through the class and so far I had survived. I hadn’t cried or run out of the room. I also hadn’t stood out as the worst actress in the room, mainly because we haven’t had to do any solo performances yet. I had started to feel like I was going to survive by blending into the background. Oh how wrong I was. 

One hour before I was released back into the safe world we did one last exercise. We were paired with someone and we were supposed to convey an emotion while we both held on to a stick. The emotion the teacher chose was… wait for it… insanity. Seriously. Insanity. Why not something simple like sadness, anger, awkwardness, frustration, fear, any of the feelings I were currently experiences would have been helpful. Oh no. I have to get The Joker emotion. I didn’t even know what to do. Joining this class was insane so if there was a way to harness that poor judgement I would have been great. Instead, I just stared at my partner who I was convinced needed to be institutionalized while I portrayed terror; sheer terror. I let go of the stick (prop), which  I quickly learned.was a big no no. The teacher told me I had broke the scene and didn’t capture insanity like my partner. I don’t really remember what the teacher had said afterwards because I felt a fuzzy fog take me down to hell where I sweat through all my clothes and minions clawed my flesh. All I wanted to do was crawl in a hole. When I was finally released from her grasp I sat back down and fought back tears. I was extremely shaken up. 

I finally calmed myself down in time for the monologues. As each person volunteered to do their monologue I was counting down the time. We looked like we had more monologues than we had time to perform them. Luckily, so many stage whores were excited to perform that the teacher never had to call on somebody. As each person performed I prayed they would get a lengthy critique. Some people had to recite their monologue over 10 times before the teacher was satisfied. More critique for others meant no critique for me. With 2 minutes left on the clock and another Rachel Berry itching to go I knew I was in the clear. For the first time in 6 hours I took a deep breath and my shoulder found their way down past my neck. I did it. Well not really because I never did a monologue. Not that I had a real one prepared anyways. I was safe. I thanked the teacher and hurried out of the room. I vowed never to go back. Acting is way harder than you think. There is so much emotion and vulnerability. I’m the first girl to try new things, but I have found my limit.

It wasn’t my dream to become an actress so I don’t know why I was so affected by this class. I should have just done the exercises and laughed it off. Maybe I  shouldn’t have forced myself into the class and therefore put so much pressure on myself to keep up. I can’t imagine going to an audition in front of judges and thousands of people and perform your heart out only to be criticized and possibly ridiculed. I wish that I wasn’t so terrified of performing in front of others. I don’t believe in having phobias or debilitating fears. I’m not saying everyone should swim with the sharks or climb Half Dome without any gear, but I believe that if something prevents you from having a full life then you should do everything you can to conquer that fear. Fortunately, being on Broadway isn’t a goal so I’ll just let this fear hang by the wayside. I tried and for that I am proud of myself. Now to go work on my insanity.

Another acting class? http://amebrown.blogspot.com/2012/05/monologue.html

I’ve perfected my insanity.