Friday, June 16, 2006


I have always contended that living with another person is a good thing because it's much harder to get set in your ways, curmudgeonly so to speak. Indeed, when I have lived with roommates my naturally controlling nature was subverted to my sweet considerate self who had to acknowledge that there were other people under the roof and sharing the rent who had a say in how life went in the house. I did pretty well with this as long as they were easily manipulated, er agreeable to my preferences, and for the most part they were because I like to live a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing life. I also owned all the furniture and appliances and dishes and art work.

There was this one time when I went away for a week and came home to find that my manic depressive roommate, the one with 5 years of sobriety in cocaine annonymous, had decided to redecorate the living room. She had a penchant for plastic flowers and also felt that pushing all the furniture against the walls was a way to create more space. Consequently when I came home, late at night on a Sunday, it was to a room that looked a lot like what I imagined rehab to look like - everything was oriented around the television set instead of the fireplace. As soon as she left the next day I "fixed" it and it actually looked better than it had when I left.

Outrage proved to be inspiring.

I've been living by myself for the last 7 years because I got into a great apartment that is perfect for one person. It has two bedrooms, but only one bathroom and so it's better for a single, or possibly a couple. I say possible because A. moved in with me back in February when he started his remodel and things have taken longer than he thought so we've been cohabitating at my place for the past four months. During this time I have become aware of how curmudgeonly I've become, or plainly speaking, what a weirdo I am.

We get along exceedingly well for two people who spend almost 24/7 togther but there have been times while he's been...visiting, that I thought I was going to lose it. Like when I came home and he'd re-organized my bedroom. Or when I get in bed at night after he's "made" the bed in the morning, only to find that the sheets are wadded up under the comforter. Seriously? I can't sleep unless the bed is neatly made and the blankets are put on in the proper order. Can you say OCD? I'm letting stuff go because I don't want to become one of those tight lipped ladies whose face gets more and more puckered with distaste. But some of his foibles could use a little examination as well.

He doesn't throw food away. Ever. There are cheese rinds in my refrigerator. They're sitting next to the container of juice leftover from the tomatoe and cucumber salad. There are no more tomatoes and cucumbers. Just juice. Maybe he's going to drink it. I don't know. When he takes a shower he leaves his underwear draped over the side of the tub. Each day there's a new pair sitting next to the pair from the day before. As I mentioned he insists on making the bed, but this is more of a covering of the covers wadded from a night of sleeping. I mean, why bother? He spends hours shopping on Ebay. I didn't really know how many hours until he moved in.

It's one thing to go stay at someone's house. It's another thing when their space is your space, or as I interpret it, my space is their space. This is why I am choosing to see the occasional annoyance or irritation as a gift. It's my opportunity to stretch and go with the flow.

Cuz, I'm not getting any younger and flexibility is something you've got to use.
Or lose.

Monday, June 12, 2006


My friend Nanette was one of the first serious music fans I ever met. She turned me on to Jackson Brown and Nils Lofgren and Rod Stewart. Not spandex pants Rod Stewart but post Jeff Beck, singing with the Faces Rod Stewart. She also had a major thing for Bruce Springsteen that did not translate for me although I thought he was a total babe. (Years later when he walked in on me taking at pee at a party that fact was confirmed, but I had no idea how short he was.)

I developed big, big love for Rod, as Nanette called him, when I would babysit for the people around the block who had the album referenced above and an extra large stash of marijuana that my friends and I would smoke as we listened to it over and over. Maggie May, Mandolin Wind, and his cover of Tim Hardin's Reason to Believe sung in an amazing soulfull voice that we just knew had the cutest british accent ever when he spoke.

We ignored the rumors involving gallons of semen and multitudes of cylindrical pant stuffing stories and pursued him relentlessly through the hills of Beverly. Yes, that's right. Nanette and I stalked Rod Stewart although back in those days it was still innocuously thought of as groupie love. Not that we were groupies because that would require a level of hotness that two freckle faced girls from the suburbs didn't have. This did not deter us because we really just wanted to see him. Like up close and personal.

Over the years we did see him although I don't think he saw us because we were always in the bushes with our cameras. I have lots of shots of blurs in the distance behind crisp, sharp pictures of emerald green leaves. We knew where he played soccer on Saturdays and we would pack a picnic and go hang out on the nearby lawn to watch the game in sidelong stares so that we wouldn't appear to be stalking.

In the early 90s when he was dating, I can't remember which blonde, I finally met the man. He was pushing 50 then, a fact that became very apparent as I moved drunkenly across the very posh bar at the top of our hotel in San Francisco. I'd had enough vodka to think that it would be a good idea to finally go and meet the man whom I'd adored throughout the years. The singer who sold out with Do Ya Think I'm Sexy in the 80s and broke my heart because I used to think he was really sexy, but he put on spandex pants and made a video, and it was more scary than sexy.

He was very kind and stopped to say hello as I went on and on and got really confused because he didn't look at all the way I thought he would. He had make up on for Christ's sake and fake blond hair and more hairspray than I've ever used. And even though I was clutching my camera because I'd thought that at last I'd get my picture and maybe even be in it, I didn't ask for one.

I'd rather keep the pictures in my mind from the Faces concert at Anaheim stadium where he rocked my world.

I'm posting pictures I do like at Flickr and you can check them out at

Friday, June 09, 2006


My nephew is graduating from high school today. A. and I are not going. I will miss seeing David walk across the stage, but I will not miss watching the 500 other kids in his class doing the same thing. When his sister Michelle graduated her mother started a tradition which I'm sure will be carried on for all the other kids to come. Everyone contributes a page for a book commemorating the journey thus far. Since I'm not the attending kind of person, not one who makes a point to go to homecoming games, etc. I don't really have memories to evoke so I try to dispense with useful advice. The stuff I wish someone had told me when I graduated from high school. Not that I would've paid attention, but you never know. If you keep it simple enough something might stick. When Michelle graduated and was heading to college I warned her in great detail to stay away from the evil credit card dealers that hang out in front of the bookstore and in the quad, offering the opportunity to dig a deep hole of debt to entering freshman. I also advised her to never leave the house without #30 sunscreen on. For David, whom doesn't seem to be as academically directed I offered some thoughts that he may or may not find useful. I'm hoping that some of it may come in handy, but mostly I just want him to know the last part.

The years after high school are often fraught with fucking up and the most important thing to remember is that you are loved.

No matter what.

June 2006

Dear David –

As you climb into the catapult that is graduation and prepare yourself to be launched into the world – wheeee! I wanted to wish you well and offer some words of wisdom from a little farther down the trail. The standard stuff still stands; credit cards continue to be the work of Satan and sunscreen is more important than you can know right now. Melanoma is not your friend, so use anything that’s a 30 or higher and pay cash. And floss everyday.

But there’s more.

Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. It’s how you succeed and also how you learn so it’s all good. Travel as much as you can to places you know nothing about and meet the people who live there. Don’t stay in your comfort zone because you can grow old and bored there before you know it. Move it or lose it. Learn to listen to your intuitive self and discern what’s true for you. Live in that truth everyday even if it makes you and those around you uncomfortable. Stop and ask yourself if you’re happy, if you’re not then figure out how to get there because life is way too short. Find your passions and pursue them passionately. These are the things you would do if no one told you, or paid you to do them. Be compassionate and kind to yourself and it will be easy to do so with others.

When it comes to love practice good personal hygiene and you will be ahead of the game. Your natural scent is always better than cologne, but if you must splash on the smell well, do so sparingly. Take responsibility for birth control unless you want to have children. Communication is key and if you can communicate well you can navigate through almost anything. That said there will be times when dealing with the love of your life where you’re just plain confused and/or scared – ask questions, it’s always a good way to go.

There’s all kinds of other stuff I could tell you, but I am trusting that you will learn for yourself as you go because that’s the best way. My wish for you is that you have as much fun and adventure in life as you possibly can and that you know you are loved and supported whatever you do and wherever you go.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It's starting to bother me that I don't have an Ipod. All my friends have them. They download music from Itunes and they make play lists and have all the cool adapter stuff. I was in the Apple store with Inbar when he was was here and he bought himself a nano. I was amazed at all the things you can plug an Ipod into to create home stereos, to play it in the car, to take it to the beach or to a party and share your music with others. There's an armband you can wear that it slides into.

There are lots and lots of accessories for this gadget and that really makes me want one.

The thing is I'm only just now figuring out how to work my cell phone and I can't really manage it while I'm walking and it's super dangerous if I try to use it while I'm driving. It takes all my attention to see what I'm doing and to press the right buttons. The Ipod challenges the same skillset as the cell phone and therefore carries with it the same risk of accident.

With each new generation these products get smaller and cooler and more gadgety. I totally missed out on the Playskool training toys for todays technology so until they make it so simple the toddler set can swing it I'm going to be listening to music on CD.

Or vinyl.

Monday, June 05, 2006


We got back from Israel a couple of weeks ago.

The day after we returned A. got violently ill. He though it was food poisoning. I did too until I got the same exact food poisoning complete with violent hurling and flaming muscles and the ass-id spackling of the toilet while puking into the trashcan. And then there was the crying and prayers for merciful death - that was A., I moaned and rocked myself like a catatonic mental patient.

This was after the grueling flight home; twelve hours from Tel Aviv to Toronto and then an hour and a half layover in "the room" where El Al places it's passengers, sort of a holding cell between flights, and the final leg which takes about five and half hours but it feels like forever, especially that last hour.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Tel Aviv at 1am on Sunday morning. We arrived with an hour and a half to spare, but A. had to return the rental car. As I sat in the airport with all of our luggage, tickets and passports, the time passed. At first I was kind of fascinated by the hordes of Hassidic Jews. It looked as though the entire cast of Fiddler on the Roof was shuttling luggage through Ben Gurion. Actually more like the cast of about 10 different productions of Fiddler. There were just tons of them everywhere. And they get very miffed when you stare at them which is strange considering that they're wearing knickers and white stockings and shiny bathrobes and fur hats. What else are people going to do but stare.

Adi finally showed up after about an hour and 20 minutes and El Al doesn't look very kindly on passenger who show up when the plane is boarding, out of breath and spewing excuses about the rental car. He had to drive to a completely different terminal to return the damn thing and then shuttle back to our terminal and Ben Gurion has about 30 miles of road circling it so it was lucky he made it back when he did. After some pretty intense grilling we were allowed to put our luggage through the x-ray machine and then get our boarding passes whereupon it was discovered that they'd given our window aisle seats away. We were provided with an agent to walk us through security and someone came up in a special elevator to take our luggage directly to the plane. When we arrived at the gate A. everyone was on the plane but us and A. started throwing a fit about our seats not being held. I just wanted to get on so I plopped down next to this very sweet boy who was on his way to LA for a vacation before he started his military service. He and I got to talking and he offered to give A. his seat so we were able to sit together. This didn't necessarily make the flight more comfortable, it was 12 hours in coach after all, but at least we could lean against one another.

We landed in Toronto at a tad after dawn. As the sun's first rays gleamed on the wings of the plane the many Hasids among us began praying and davening in their seats. How are you not supposed to look at this? It's not something you see everyday or even on the LA to London flights. As soon as we land A. is all over the El Al employees at the Toronto terminal. He wants to sit in our original seats and he isn't going to stop until they give us those damn seats. I on the other hand have noticed that a group of Orthodox Jews are starting prayer service in the corner. These are regular looking guys who've pulled out their prayer shawls and the teeny, tiny top hats that they wear at a jaunty angle on the front of their heads, attached with straps that wrap all the way down the arm. Kind of like bondage gear. I move closer to watch as they bob in prayer, chanting aloud and facing the wall. I ask A. what the teeny tiny top hat is for and he tells me that it allows God a direct line through their foreheads and into their brains.

I believe him for like two minutes.

I very much want to take pictures of these guys, but I got in so much trouble taking pictures of the Hassidics in Jersualem I'm afraid that they'll yell at me too. And I will have a long ride home with them so I don't want them hating on me. I actually aooreciate all the praying by the Fiddler crew and by these guys too. When you're flying on a plane, up at 35,000 feet, you can never have too much prayer.

A. made a huge scene with the El Al people and I left him at the gate to go the the seat that they assigned me. They found two seats together in the center section for us and, note to self, when flying in the 2-3-2 configuration with another person ask for seats in the center section, aisle and aisle, at the rear of the plane. Odds are you'll get the whole three seats to yourselves. A. wore down the El Al agent and got himself upgraded to first class which serves me right for leaving him, but I did get both of our seats for just me and slept for a good three hours. He roamed the plane because he doesn't like to sit without me, and I do believe it turned out that there was no room for him up there.

When we landed we blew through customs and our bags were the first ones off the plane. They were freezing cold as if they didn't actually make it into the luggage compartment, but were strapped to the outside of the plane. I didn't really care because our luggage came down the conveyor and then they shut it off leaving everyone else to stand there for who knows how long while we jumped into a cab and got home by 11:00am.

I managed to stay up until 8pm that night and woke up on Monday at 6am raring to go without a bit of jet lag. Yeah! A. was puking by 2:30 and moaning and crying all night. I took care of him and he was just starting to feel better when I crashed. He wasn't quite well enough to take care of me although he did totter out to the kitchen to get me some ice chips, but it was hell for 24 hours and as we laid there in agony he looked at me and said, "it's against the rules for you to get sick at the same time as me - who's going to take care of me?"

Oh puhlease.

The jet lag came on with the virus and neither one of us felt well or human until after Memorial Day. I spoke with A.'s brother at the end of last week and he told me that his little boy had a horrible stomach virus the week after we left so we probably got it from him.

And gave it to all those people on the plane with us.

I certainly hope their prayers included good health and no airborne diseases.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

(I wrote this two days ago but was unable to post because I couldn't get on the internet)

We landed at Ben Gurion Friday about 4pm. A. went to get the rental car and his mom worried that his father who'd insisted that he was coming to get her had not shown up. She made a phone call and was told that Yigal would not be coming because Yinon, the third son, could not drive him. It was only when we arrived at her house in Jersalem that we learned that Yinon had had a motorcycle accident and had to go to the hopspital.

Shabbat dinner was to be at Yinon's house and A. left early to go see his brother in the hospital, leaving me alone at his parents house to shower and come later. His parents, who had not seen each other for six weeks alternately screamed in what sounded like an intense spat and then laughed and kissed. Behira had left him for six weeks to come to be with A. when he had surgery. She had thought that she would help him get his house in order after the remodeling was completed but it got held up and was weeks behind so she stayed at my house the entire six weeks of her visit.

This was frustrating for her and I surrendered my kitchen to her so that she could vent her frustration by cooking. The night before we left she stayed up all night cooking tons of food to put in the freezer. I made A. plug the refrigerator in at his house even though it sits in the middle of his living room, because I have no more room in mine. My plan to lose 10 pounds in the six weeks before we left went up in sizzling oil as Behira cooks everything in that sacred sauce. I was raised in home where a teaspoon of butter was used for browning and everything else was steamed or baked. Thus I was enfattened by the oil soaked chickens and various other delicacies.

To turn down her food would have been to turn down her love and she was already disappointed in the way her trip was going. I liked her so much that I couldn't bring myself to compound it. Despite our language barrier we understood each other perfectly and developed a fast friendship, which is a good thing considering that she and I were roommates for a month and a half.

And now I am a guest in her home and she continues to care for me like a baby. Although she promised that after two days I would be allowed to do things for myself. It's amazing to me that A. knows how to do his own laundry and cook his own food. I understand him better through knowing his mother and watching their dynamic. He adores her and loves being loved by her but even he feels smothered sometimes.

She lives for her family and they adore her completely. When we arrived to his brother's house on Friday there were signs of welcome home and singing when she walked through the door. A. had left early to make a movie which they will present to her next weekend when we are at the Sea of Galillee to celebrate her 70th birthday which happened while she was in California. Yinon's wife Dorit, had worked all day to make a feast which brought to mind those celebratory meals described in historical novels from biblical times.

I had sated myself thoroughly on fish and bread with babganoush and various other kinds of middle eastern dips that I usually buy at Erewhon when they informed me that I had only eaten the first course and there was more to come. I thought they were kidding, but they weren't. There were three kinds of chicken, a beef dish with Indian spices and two kinds of salad. The platters kept coming but I was too full to keep eating.

The children chanted my name over and over and the only boy, Eyal who will be nine in August and is just learning English made a deal with me that he will help me with my Hebrew if I help him with his English. He's already doing much better than I am. His little sister knows how to say, "What time is it?" and she danced around me singing the phrase over and over until I told her it was time to party. She repeated after me although she had no idea what she was saying. It will serve her well one day if she ever comes to America.

I was jet lagged and disoriented but very comfortable with A.'s family who knew all about me from Behira's reports and what they'd glimpsed of me on Skype. I knew of them from his stories and pictures and so it was more like a reunion than a first meeting which was good because I was still not all the way arrived and they forgave my disconnection the way strangers might not. We were the last to leave and I slept like a log. Waking yesterday at 11am, only to go back to sleep.

We had breakfast at about 1pm which conisisted of the entire contents of the refrigerator and featured no less than three types of fish in oil. The kind of fish that smells like fish. This was consumed with about two loaves of bread and eggs and salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, dressed in lemon juice, salt and pepper and of course, oil. I love this salad and would happily consume it at every meal. I could live off the good bread, babaganoush and this salad with a little liverwurst spread, but they expect me to eat much more to indicate that I am happy.

And I am, but I am also full. Really, really full.

In the afternoon we went to drop off the energy drinks and body cream that we carted from the states to a friend's mother. She has been ill and lives in a senior citizen home that is located in a tower not unlike the one's you'd find in the states, except here all the helpers are Thai as opposed to Latino. Devorah is a very interesting woman, born in London and raised by a Zionist father she came to Israel in 1948, six months after Independence and she met nad married her husband and raised her family here. Her British accent is still so precise I could have been sitting in London visiting with her rather than perched on a hill in Jerusalem.

Driving home from the visit I got to see more of Jerusalem which is so big. The city has grown exponentially in the last 15 years, flowing out from the old city toward the territories where the conflict never dies down. Yigal took me out to the back garden last night and showed me the hill across the valley, maybe one half mile from where I stood, called Mount Gilo where Inbar, A's oldest brother had rented a house at one time. I could see a line of bright lights which shown out from the perimeter marking the border of this place where Jews live under threat of violence daily. It was only six months ago that the Palestinians were firing missiles toward the south side of A's parents neighborhood and the helicoptors hovered over their backyard returning missile fire.

My anxiety level went up as he pointed out that Arabs live in the valley between Mount Gilo and their neighborhood of Gilo, surrounding the Christian monastary which I could identify by the one white light that shown in the darkness. The Arabs here have a history of randomly shooting at Jews much like the drivebys that occur in south central. Only here the randomness is much scarier. People are always aware of the danger and the middle east conflict has become very real for me, as opposed to some abstract concept that happens "over there." In this reality A's parents live on the edge of the West Bank and the conflict happens in their backyard.

The whole city of Jerfusalem is built of a light colored stone and most of the housing is high rise although when you drive through it, you can see where the Arabs live and how haphazard it appears in comparison to the Jewish neighborhoods. They are right next to each other and the people mix despite their differences, but you don't ever forget the differences. A and I went out last night and he took me to Cinemateque, a theater complex where they host film festivals, and where there is a cafe from which you can see the wall of the old city and the Tower of David. The cigarette smoke was stifling so we went to the Begin Center and sat on the open balconey which was even higher with a better view.

The night was warm and as we relaxed I marveled that people had lived here thousands of years ago and he said the he would blow it all up for a chance to live here in peace. "You can't fight over everything new," he said and it was only then that he revealed some of the level of anxiety that he has over the fact that his family lives here and the risk that is inherent in that. This is a beautiful country and so many of the people who are here were affected by the holocaust so the opportunity to live here is something that is cherished and worth the risk, but still....

Before we could get too heavy the waitress arrived with snacks and my wine and promptly dumped it all over me. I was drenched from head to toe in red wine and my pristine white sweater was splotched with purple. Thankfully I had on a couple layers, but unfortunately that was one of the only warm things I brought with me. It's soaking right now, but I'm thinking I'm going to have to go shopping while we're here.

Despite my dampness we went out to a nightclub and met his brother. I marvel at how attractive Israeli's are in general and how, there are no fat people here. The women are not anorexically thin like they are at home, but have normal bodies and except for the fact that it seems like everyone smokes there's abundant health here. It reminds me a lot of California in 1975 before it became fashionable to have inflated breasts and to wear a size zero. Back in the days when kids hung out at night in the parks in groups and couples and there was an innocent anticipation of longer days and warmer nights.

Tomorrow we are going to see his oldest brother Inbar at Hadassah hospital where he works as a doctor (making about $3000 a month) and then we will go to the Ahravat in the Negev where his little brother Amit works as an enginner, and then to the Dead Sea and Masada. A. doesn't care so much about going but will take me as these the things I am most interested in. I know that most people come to Jerusalem to see the Holy sites, but I am more interested in seeing the country as it is today.

On Wednesday I will go to the wailing wall with Rabbi Mimi and hopefully I can get to the flea market to do a little shopping. Thursday we leave for the north and the Sea of Galillee and I will write as much as I can between now and then.

Right now it's time to go eat.

Friday, April 07, 2006


A. is taking me to Israel at the end of April for two weeks. It's my birthday present. I'm quite excited although a tad nervous because in addition to being the Holyland, it's also a place where people blow themselves up on buses and in malls and on crowded streets. Still if you're going to visit the middle east I think it's best to go with someone who speaks the language.

His mom is currently staying with me because he thought he'd be done remodeling his place before she got here. He wasn't. So she's been cooking up a storm and loading my refrigerator with more food than it's ever seen. Food that's been fried in oil, an activity that's never before taken place in my house because my mom didn't use oil, hell she barely used butter. I was raised with Pam, the no stick spray, which also contains no calories. Oil has a lot of calories, all from fat, and they get sucked up into the fried food making it oh so tasty and of course, fattening.

So much for my plan to lose 10 pounds before we leave.

As I write this she's at home cleaning my house. I would imagine that my house will never have been so clean. I could choose to feel intruded upon I suppose, but I don't. I'm so damn glad she's there. A. had surgery last week on Thursday. It was back surgery that had been billed as minimally invasive, to remove two large herniations that were protruding into his spinal cord and impinging on a nerve. Althoug he was able to get up and walk around and come home after surgery he's one of those people who won't take pain medication. He said, "I need to feel the pain to process this experience." Seriously, he said that. So I took the pain medication because it's no fun to be around someone who's in a lot of pain. It's painful.

He also got a complication wherein the space that was occupied by the herniation was next occupied by air and this little bubble created a brain splitting headache that wouldn't go away until we went back to the doc on Monday and he fixed it using a looooong needle. I'm really glad I wasn't in the room to watch that. I would've needed some more medication.

So with new roommates (Adi, his mom and for one week his brother) and the drama around the surgery, I kind of forgot to renew my passport. I could've renewed it by mail if I'd taken care of it back in January, but I didn't know I'd be needing it so it expired and I had to go to a Passport Acceptance office with a new application and my old passport.

I got new pictures taken. Twice. The first set I looked insane and I carried a drivers license with one of those photos on it for too long, your passport is fifteen years so I wanted a pretty picture. I chose a lovely blue sweater for the next photos so that my eyes would be blue and the pictures came out good enough that I could live with them on this official document. Except that when I went to the Passport Acceptance office today, with no time to spare, I was informed that the background was too pink. It needs to be white. I tried to talk the officer into seeing how it wasn't really pink, more of a blush which is actually a shade of white and I should know because I just spent a serious amount of time with one of those color chip bricks picking out paint for A.'s kitchen, but she shook her head emphatically and told me NO.

I was too tired to fight with her. A. hasn't been sleeping very well and the last two nights I averaged about four hours, so I submitted to having my photo taken in the back room of the post office. The sign on the mirror had the Erma Bombeck quote on it that says something like, If you look good in your passport photo, you're not sane enough to travel.

All I know is that my passport photo? It's pretty much the exact picture of what I'm going to look like after the twenty hour flight to Tel Aviv.

I'm trying to see this as a good thing since I'm traveling to a country where that stuff really matters.

Friday, February 24, 2006


I've been working full time for A which is a blessing because the unemployment ran out. It's also hard because I find myself doing things that I would never do. Never. Like last night when I served a rabbi a subpoena. At a board meeting at the temple.

Being a nice Jewish boy A. did work at this temple back in August. The lights were out of code in the sanctuary and to prevent fire they needed to replace them. They actually needed a lot more than that and A. gave them a very good price to do the work. He went and met with the Rabbi and the Vice President of the board of trustees in July and they walked through with Javier the handyman and discussed all that needed to be done. Then a proposal was written and signed by a representative of the temple and the work was performed.

The bill was sent and they didn't pay. We, okay I, harangued and harassed and finally they coughed up about $7,000, which is $2,100 short of what they owe. This is not the first time this has happened. There was a persian guy who didn't pay $4,000 of his bill because he didn't feel like it. I could so totally veer into ugly stereotypes right about now about money and doing business, but I won't. Some of you are already thinking it anyway.

After talking to the money guy at the temple who said that they didn't feel like paying because no one authorized the work, which is a total lie, A. decided to go to small claims to get them to pay. So guess who is doing all the filing and the paperwork, etc. etc. Uh-huh. Me. The small claims thing? It's a big hassle, but I don't mind so much because I think they should be made to pay. I didn't realize however, that A. planned on subpoening the rabbi's ass into court. And the VP of the board of trustees. So not only am I having to do all the paperwork, but he tells me that I'm going to serve the papers on these guys at the monthly board meeting.

This was not on my list of things that I want to do. A blow job? Sure. Serving subpoenas? Ahhhh man, do I have to? It's only because I like A. so much that I found myself standing in the doorway of a huge room last night, moistly clutching two envelopes. The meeting was in full swing and there were about 25 people sitting around tables that had been placed in a circle. Lucky for me they all had name plates sitting in front of them, except for the rabbi, and him I recognized from his picture on the website.

A chunky woman with long brown hair atop which perched a crocheted yamulke was earnestly talking about "what the Torah teaches," and while my presence definitely created a distraction she soldiered on as I stood there waiting for her to take a breath. I spotted the rabbi and stared at him with one raised eyebrow, thinking to myself, "does the Torah teach that you don't have to pay your bills if you don't feel like it? Hmmmm?" He got up and moved quickly toward me. "Can I help you?" he asked. "Are you Rabbi K?" He didn't answer, but I knew it was him. "Are you Rabbi K," I persisted. He nodded. I handed him the envelope and said, "this is for you." I moved into the room and made my way around the table toward the board member with the correct name plate in front of him. All eyes were riveted on me, not the woman who was still earnestly talking about the Torah, and I apologized as I passed her, "I'm so sorry this will only take a moment." I stood in front of the man and asked if he was C.D. he nodded and I handed him the envelope, "This is for you." I had to resist the urge to say, "Gentlemen you've been served," but at this point I was feeling so bad for the lady in the yamulke I just wanted to get out of there.

As I moved quickly toward the door one of the board members asked, "What is it?" and another said, "did you get served?" I passed the rabbi walking back into the room having looked at his subpoena and he nodded and smiled. I sped past and I heard someone say, well you picked a good place to do it.

Maybe so, but it still sucked.

And I hope I don't have to see them ever again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I'm reading several books right now. They're stacked by my bed and under the pillows. I like to read more than one book so that I can switch when I get bored, or if the particular story or subject doesn't strike my fancy. I usually am able to finish a book in a week or so, even when I'm reading like five of them. Since this summer though I haven't been able to complete anything. At least that's what it feels like. This is a bad sign because the same thing applies to my writing. I've got lots of things started and I write on them all, but I'm not finishing. I'm wondering if I start finishing the books will I start finishing the stories/scripts, etc?

Here is, in no particular order, the book that I'm reading:

Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott. This is a book about writing. I love Anne LaMotte, but I can't remember if there's an "e" on the end of her name or not. Anyway, I first discovered her on and then my friend Peggy gave me her book about faith called "Traveling Mercies." Excellent book. I love her voice. I want to go find her and hang out with her and be her best friend. She's one of those people who has a wonderful way of seeing the world that's all her own and I would imagine that she is considered eccentric by many. This book is about writing and how hard it is to finish stuff and what helps to do that. I don't think I've read enough of it for the advice to sink in yet. I do stare at the blank screen a lot.

Vamped - I can't remember who wrote this, but darling Alli sent this to me and I am totally enjoying it. I can't wait to pass it on to Lady Euthanasia, my friend who writes erotic horror. This book will appeal to her sense of humor and dark sensibilities. An interesting story about a vampire in a world where everybody's been vamped. He finds a kid who's still human and decides he wants to be a daddy. This is more challenging than just taking on a six year old. It's a six year old who is considered fresh meat in the literal sense. Can you imagine having a six year old being an obnoxious six year old and every instinct you have wants to eat them? You know there are days where you'd have to put yourself on time out so you don't kill them. I know parents who aren't vampires who feel like that sometimes.

My Grandfather's Blessing - this book is written by a cancer doctor whose grandpa was a rabbi who studied the kabbalah. It's all about the blessing that are around us everyday. This book makes me cry everytime I read it. But in a good way.

On Writing by Stephen King - the master of horror writes about the horror of writer's block, bad grammer and cliches. He too has a distinctive voice that makes you feel like you're having a conversation with him. He has an awareness of his talent as a writer and the fact that in this world a naturally great writer is a rare thing to find. The rest of us work hard to be good.

A Million Little Pieces - Okay, I started reading this book before the great revelation about James Frey's embellishing. I was annoyed by his constant reference to himself as a "drug addict and criminal" before it was revealed that he wasn't that big a criminal. Of course, having dated my share of drug addicts I understand the level of narcissism and delusional thinking that goes along with that type of personality. I don't think that he embellished that bit about the root canal with no novocaine. I can't stand the way he writes. I hate the Constant, Seemingly Random Capitalizing of certain letters. What is up with that?

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe - I'm a big TW fan and I liked this book because I could see it as a film. As usual he creates characters that are flawed and memorable and easy to love and hate at the same time.

And that's all I can remember right now. I know there's more, but I'm fried. And that's why I probably won't read tonight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I meant to write about this last week, or whenever it was that the state of California killed that old man in the wheelchair. You know, the guy who was like 70 something and blind and immobile? He was, apparently, a very bad man who was sent to prison for murdering some folks and then, once he got there, he ordered a couple more hits and some more people died. That's the gist of it anyway. I didn't really pay that much attention because I was so fascinated by the mummified image of him that was broadcast on the news and published in the paper during the appeal process.

All I could think about was how he looked like he was already dead. I also pondered how bad it would suck to be him. Not because of the whole looming execution issue, but more about the being in prison AND old AND blind AND wheelchair bound. I mean seriously! No matter how badass you are it seems like it would be hard to survive in that environment in that condition. Or even one of those conditions. Old. Blind. Stuck in a chair. Hard to defend yourself against prison rape.

I'm completely and totally against the death penalty. The idea of it makes me physically ill. I have no problem with the idea of hunting someone down and shooting them vigilante style, but strapping them to a table and killing them? It reminds me of the hunting clubs that Dick Cheney and his pals go to. The ones where they release a bunch of birds into a cage and then the VP and his buddies shoot them with automatic rifles. It's so calculated and cold. I don't really get it as a punishment or a version of gun sport.

I do however support euthanasia, or mercy killing, just not in this case. No. To me it seems like in this case the proper punishment would've been to let that bad man sit there getting older in his wheelchair, unable to see anything, helpless to the whims of his fellow prisoners. It seems like universal justice was being meted out as I would imagine incontinence was right around the corner.

I'm not sure what exactly the point of the death penalty is when it's a reprieve from a life worse than death.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


This week when we remembered Martin I couldn't help but think about those people in my life who are oppotunities to practice compassion and tolerance. I usually think of them as idiots and assholes who make me crazy, but when I see the example set by MLK I consciously work to see them all as opportunities to practice shifting my perspective from one that is negative and shrill to one that is peaceful and loving.

This particular week there was an abundance of opportunities amplified by the raging hormones that accompanied the insanity that is PMS. It's like the universe is giving me a great big test to see if I can be like Jesus or will I be pushed to the dark side where my head spins like Linda Blair in the exorcist as I spew obscenities.

There's the guy that A. is doing work for who flat out said to him that he doesn't want him to make a profit and continues to call and make demands. He is someone involved in the huge multimillion dollar project that A. is working on, so he doesn't want to burn a bridge and he's being all diplomatic. I have to breathe deeply when he calls so as not to blow a vein.

There's the guy in the massively huge truck that he crammed into a "compact" parking place in Trader Joe's parking lot last night, who blasted his horn at me when I finally backed out of my parking space after waiting five minutes for him to finish. Like it's my fault that he couldn't dock his space shuttle all the way in the spot. Whatever.

And there's the homeless guy who stands on the island at Fairfax and Venice holding a sign that says that he's HOMELESS, HAS A WIFE AND A SON, NEEDS HELP. He stands right next to the left hand turn lane and stares at people accusingly as he moves his hand over the sign, pointing out each line, like we can't read. For some reason I always feel guilty if I don't give him anything. I'm being guilted by a homeless guy who is probably running a scam and makes more money than I do with his pointing routine. I've finally gotten to the point where I won't even make eye contact with him any more and that makes me feel horrible. I've gotten to where I won't make the left turn there anymore if I see him. I can't stand that a homeless guy has this kind of control over me. And if anyone is an opportunity to practice compassion it should be a homeless guy. Right? When I see him I always think about how many people in this country are on the precipice of homelessness.

And that leads me to the biggest opportunity to practice compassion that there is... This president and the members of his administration.

And that's a level of practice I'll have to leave until next week when the hormone level has leveled out again. Because it's a test. A big test and this week I just can't take it. It's all I can do not run over the homeless guy on the divider.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Okay so this is me writing when I have nothing to write about which isn't exactly true because I had an inspired thought earlier today when I woke up at 5:39am. I should've gotten up and written it then, but it was cold and dark and I was kind of hoping I'd go back to sleep.

But I didn't.

I did work out and I have eaten very South Beachish today so I'm getting to experience with all kinds of intensity what a big fat emotional eater I am as all I want to do is go get an In'N'Out burger right now. I'm pretty angsty with the whole lack of employment thing.

My friend Leisa sent me some interesting things from Craigslist that I wil follow up on because what the hell, you know? My friend Sheila suggested temp work, and that is always an option, but that's kind of what I'm doing for A. right now with a lot more flexibility. His office manager is to the point of pregnancy where her bulk blocks the sun when she enters the doorway. All I can think when I look at her is that it's going to hurt like hell when it comes time to birth that baby.

I'm getting the hang of doing the work here which just goes to show that my learning curve is about 2 weeks. That's how long I worked for him while she went home to Cuba to visit her family. Of course that doesn't mean that I'm loving it, but it is a lot more fun when you can make out with your boss and go take naps in his bed at lunchtime.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Went to R's house to watch the game and oh what a game it was. Probably one of the best college games I've ever seen. I don't really watch a lot of college games so it's not hard to be one of the best. The two I actually attended were memorable because one of them, USC v. Stanford was so boring, e.g. USC was getting beat through almost the whole game, my friend Kami and I decided to go take a walk in the park around the stadium. We left 20 minutes early and in that time USC scored three touchdowns, the final touchdown was in the last 3 seconds. It was probably one of the most exciting games that anyone who was there had seen. Kami and I were out on the sidewalk listening to everyone scream.

Oh well.

The other memorable game was USC v. Notre Dame. I attended with a bunch of Notre Dame fans. We went on a bus. It rained. It rained really hard, like the rain on the Rose Parade this year. It was also incredibly cold. Since I was the lone USC fan that arrived on the Notre Dame bus, and USC was losing, I was the only one who wanted to go home. I really saw no point in staying to watch the last quarter when it was a slaughter and I was soaked the bone. I couldn't very well whine though since I didn't know these people that well and I was still representing for USC and even if we were losing I couldn't be a whiner. So I snuck out claiming that I was going to the bathroom. I figured I'd go back to the bus where surely the driver was waiting with the heat on.

When I got out to the parking lot I found a sea of buses. Like hundreds of them. The bus I'd arrived on was just one of many and I wasn't sure how I was going to find it. It was still raining really hard and since no one was around to see I indulged in a little cry because I was so cold and miserable. I splashed around in the parking lot, stepping in ankle deep puddles and somehow I found our bus. The driver wasn't there but the door was open so I climbed on and huddled in a seat until the stupid game was over and everyone made it back. Finally. I don't think I've ever been more physically uncomfortable than those hours in the fetal position wearing soaking wet jeans and a stinky wool sweater on that bus.

I know I'm lucky if this is the most discomfort I ever suffer, but it put me off actually attending USC games for life. Even though last night's game was a great game I'm glad I wasn't in that crowd of 100,000 people trying to drive home.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Today is the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. USC is playing UT. It's a big freakin' deal. All my friends who went to USC are coming to town and because I never leave A's side I've only seen one of them so I thought I'd hit the parking lot for some tailgating. This sounded especially good because they're having an IN'N'OUT truck and a DJ. Woohoo! Party in the parking lot. Only problem is 100,000 other people had the same idea and I didn't even contemplate starting the journey until it was 1pm. After doing a little research and listening to the radio I realized that there would be no place for me to park. I could've taken the train from downtown and then walked a couple blocks and jumped on a shuttle but the logistical reality is that it would've taken about an hour and a half and since I was starting so late I would have gotten there and had to turn around so that I could make it back to R's house (where I'm meeting A) to watch the game on TV.

Needless to say I blew it off.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I haven't written a word(other than e-mail), or worked out in over two months. I could blame the holiday season, all the busy-ness, etc. Except I'm still unemployed so I wasn't really busy shopping. I think I've become one of those women whom I've always scoffed at. The kind of woman that starts dating someone and falls off the grid. Because I've pretty much gone M.I.A., or more like A.W.A as in Always with A.

This is mostly due to the fact that looking for work is just damn depressing. Hanging out with A. is a lot of fun. It's been almost a year and it's even more fun than it was at first. Yes, he still wants six kids and I don't, but in spite of that we have a great time together and he has become my best friend.

That's all real great, but it's bugging me that I've stopped writing. I'm trying to figure out why. Is it because I'm happy? Too busy having fun to stop and write coherent sentences? Maybe. But I like to write and I have fun stuff to write about like the time I ended up in an Orthodox temple decked out in my outfit from dinner the night before, relegated to the women's side behind the glass with the wig and hat wearing members of my gender who eyed me like the jezebel shiksa I surely was. We were at a Bar Mitzvah and the rabbi was intoning about what happens when a Jewish man lays with a non-jewish captured in war slave woman and the throes of their passion begets a child and I swear everyone in the whole place was staring at me. A. who is not religious got a kick out of it as he stood there with his tallis shawl wrapped around him like somebody's bubbe at a bbq.

I've got lots and lots of stories about my immersion into Israeli culture. Wonderful people, big appetites and strong opinions. Or at least that's what it seems like to me as I listen/watch them converse. There's lots of yelling and arm waving and emphatic sounds and they may just be giving each other directions but it's all done via passionate discourse.

Along with all the fun I've been having I haven't missed a meal. I am overflowing my jeans with a yeasty roll of blubbery belly and my overflowing hips have been dubbed Chuck and Buck because my arms bounce off them as I walk. I'm not alone in the plump zone either. A. is right there with me and appears to be about to birth one of those six babies he wants. Lucky for him his ass is still where it should be and other than the fact that you could hide a couple of vanilla wafers in his back fat he still looks damn good.

I on the other hand am just heading into fatland. I'm not one for resolutions but I am making a commitment to myself to write here every day. Even if it's just one sentence.

And I'm going back to the 20 minute minimum workout 6 days a week.

Flabby is not the look I'm going for in '06.