October 2007


Music is one of the few things that I feel that I absolutely couldn’t live without. Having experienced pain and loss and hardship, as we all have, I have come in recent months to carefully analyze my needs versus my wants. And, while it may sound strange to some, music has emphatically landed in the ‘need’ category. I grew up in a very cultish-Christian environment, went to private school, and one of the things that was prohibited for me was music. I was not allowed to listen to any ‘secular’ (read: Not church) music. So, my exposure to music came late…and fortunately, came in a way that has shaped my life! Out of curiosity, I stopped in a music store after school when I was almost 16. I knew nothing about any of the music, and I began asking the older man who was working questions. When I explained to him the lack of music in my life, he was awed and then involved! He made it his personal mission to introduce me to “‘Real Music’ – not the crap these kids are listening to today!”. And I couldn’t have been more lucky!! Jazz, blues, rockabilly, doo-wop…this is the music that I cut my teeth on! Since then, I’ve had a passionate love affair with music, & I often imagine the soundtrack to my life as I’m doing mundane things. I love Steve Jobs & Apple for giving me iTunes & my iPod, I love last.fm and my Scrobbler, I love the internet for making available to me more music than I ever dreamed possible, & I love my 360 gig external harddrive which houses my 180 gigs of music!! I’m a very lucky girl. And thus, though it seems impossible to choose only ten, these are the songs which comprise Angie: The Mixtape. 🙂

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This past weekend was reminiscent of my life in Los Angeles. No, I don’t mean the drinking til all hours of the night, waking up the next day feeling like crap. I mean the feeling I get around my group of amazing friends in Los Angeles. I have slowly over the past year started to grow a community of friends here and all of that is coming to fruition lately. This weekend was filled with fun, light-heartedness and some deep discussions.

First off, I am not heading back to Los Angeles so quickly. The job that I thought I had nailed to the ground, fell through. Life goes on, and Stacy applies for more jobs here in Chicago. I found a great gig working for a company who produces Webinars for the Financial Sector. This is definitely more up my alley and I am looking forward to working hard and becoming passionate about my work again. Although the past six months have been an extremely tough time financially, I have enjoyed my coworkers and have made some great friends who I will definitely keep in touch with after my last day tomorrow.

Anyway, Friday started out by finding out I had this new job and happily skipping into the Managers office and letting my boss know that I was outta there. I thought about staying on part-time, but knew that I need to have my life back for now (Oh yeah, the new job has hours of 8-4!!!!!)

I skipped out of there and headed back to the city to experience the lovely spitting (spoken word) of the lovely ladies called Sister Spit. Michelle Tea and her crew came back again for a night of funny words and pictures too! This is a little video that was taken at the event by yours truly. The ladies decided some impromptu dance moves were in order:

Afterwards, we tried to go to this little divey bar called Simons but for some reason, it was actually packed. We then decided to check out Mary’s Attic and hung out there for a little bit. It was a cute little bar, and had a nice little stage in which my new friend Marie commented that it would be a great place for a burlesque show. Of course, the girls were silly and started actually dancing on the stage. Here’s a pic of everyone looking at the pics of us acting goofy:

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 My family is bananas about Christmas.

It started, I think, with my Grandpa. In the old Super-8 movies, there are elaborate sets around the christmas tree. Each year, he would spend weeks building faux Santa’s Villages or North Pole cardboard stand-ups. Then he would spend Christmas Eve putting them up and filming them with his camera. Grandpa Ralph* was a graphic designer–so these were no joke, yo.

They had six kids and my grandpa worked to make Christmas a magical time for them. He had a little Santa in his heart and my mom inherited that in spades. When I was a kid, there was always Christmas carols blasting year-round and christmas itself was super fun. My mom always baked tons of cookies and we got to frost them. We made ornaments together and we always had a blast putting up the Nativity Scene (which my brother called “the Bethlehem barn”. We weren’t very religious.) (more…)

“Any journey away from the room you’re sitting in will increase the potential for coming upon the unexpected and occasionally wonderful, but that’s not to equate travel with ultimate enlightenment or universal solutions….It helps, but that’s about all. I’ve learned that what I like about travel is that it doesn’t sort everything out. Actually it doesn’t sort anything out….It’s just that being in unfamiliar surroundings watching unfamiliar activity is something I find, on the whole, deeply refreshing.” — Michael Palin

 

My life is pretty strange. Lately, I started hanging out with a sixty year old stoner.

I took my lunch break yesterday on the eighteenth floor of a council housing flat overlooking Belgravia, London, having bought a mayo, tuna, and sweet corn baguette from the corner sandwich store. Its occupant is my friend’s dad, a very ill, gaunt hardcore drinker and smoker of pot, in his sixties. Growing up for my friend, with her dad a lush and a stoner, didn’t make life pleasant, but she’s now in her mid-thirties, and after going through plenty of self-development, has resolved her family issues. She visits her pop frequently, living a few blocks from him. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she asked if I’d be interested in going up there with her.

Inside the haphazardly-decorated flat, it’s smoky. The television’s always on, and Dave, my friend’s father, sits in his easy chair. His friends all have rough east end London accents, and so does he. They are weathered-looking individuals with no pretensions and devil-may-care dress sense; I’m aware that I resemble a rare and exotic bird amidst the dulled sofa cushions, with my fuchsia lipstick and bright pink scarf. As out of place as I know I am, my life’s trained me to relax and feel comfortable among the unfamiliar. My friend’s father is gently nursing a beer. It’s three in the afternoon. (more…)

The fires in So. Cal. this week reminded me of this . . .

I was probably in some kind of mild shock for a day or two after I heard that Cheyenne’s house burned down. It didn’t burn down to the ground like you see on Lifetime TV, but it was deemed unlivable.

Smoke and soot damage is an intense thing. I never would have believed just how bad it can be until that time my little orange acrylic Buddha candleholder—the one I splurged on from Fred Segal—caught on fire during a party a few years ago. Such a tiny deity set ablaze offering flames up the kitchen wall. We put it out as soon as we realized what on earth was setting off the alarms. And yet I found specs of soot for months. In wine glasses in closed cabinets on the other side of the room. Even in the linen closet on the other side of the apartment. Soot doesn’t just rise and fall, it glides and maneuvers, sneaking in to forgotten corners and staying until you do something about it.

Cheyenne and her family got out okay. Safely. The first few times we talked, I had the presence of mind not to ask about our scrapbook. I waited until she offered the information. And she did. The scrapbook survived too. Thank God.

We’d been keeping that scrapbook since we met, six years prior, at Big Brothers/Big Sisters. (more…)

the quandary of how to choose sides that don’t involve the house salad, a corn muffin or baked potato appears to be rather arbitrary. this is turf war; bed and box spring style, where size mattereth not. it is less about the real estate and more about location, location, location.

my research question was specific to the post coital, nocturnal layout, or who slept on which side of the bed. the sample group comprised of a married couple, co-habitters living in sin, and a newly single co-habitter. additional information was collected regarding the nature of disputed land and who really won the coveted spot “nearest to the toilet”.

the findings were fairly broad and motivated by both physical and emotional extremes. the token husband reported that his wife insists he sleep nearest to the door. the assumption being that if an intruder were to break in, he would provide a “human shield” and absorb any potential stabbings. interesting rationale.

late night bedtime butchering aside, territories are typically argued over based on their proximity to, and ground clearance for, the inevitable bladder run. i personally tend to be compulsion driven, and have historically “slept on the left”, whether it’s at the holiday inn, in a tent, or a bunk bed (for the record, i sleep on the top, in case there is a fire i will have more of a chance). however, due to changing floor plans over the years, i have since been out-voted by other’s incontinence. revenge is mine though. any of my unscheduled nightime toilet visits usually involves scaling a snoring, farting, heaped hurdle (“ooh sorry, did i wake you?”) to get to the other side. of course if my nocturnal eneruresis becomes too much of a problem i can always invest in some night time pull ups.

Disa, 32, Louisville, USA

Ten years ago, I lost an ovary when a “pre-cancerous” (the term the doctors used) cyst took over and killed it. I went into shock and came close to dying myself. I spent my twenties dealing with many struggles with inherited problems in the reproductive system (fibroids, endometriosis, chronic cysts), and then it all stopped after my daughter was born. I have two children now, despite the fact that my former doctors told me I would never be able to conceive. I’m grateful for my children.

Without going into gory details, I noticed in May that my system was behaving oddly. I participated in a fundraising walk for women’s cancers, and was given a pamphlet about cancer symptoms. I showed a friend and mentioned to her that I was experiencing many symptoms listed. It took me awhile to make my OBGYN appointment, but I finally went. My doctor put me on hormone therapy to see if it would help, and sent me for a full workup with my GP.

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