Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cuz I AM a girl, after all.

Okay, here you go.  I submit to you, entirely unapologetically, for MY money, the ten hottest men found on TV today.  I could pretend I don't notice, and that I'm far too evolved to care.  But who the hell do I think I would be fooling?

The shows may still be filming, or they may not.  Either way, you can still find these simply gorgeous humans, listed in absolutely no particular order whatsoever, somewhere among the hundreds of channels.  Happy hunting.  And, gentlemen....consider this an appreciative and heartfelt nod.  Because, the truth is, I could swallow your characters whole.  They're divine!

My humble apologies to the overlooked...

- Josh Duhamel: LAS VEGAS - Danny McCoy
- Jared Padalecki: SUPERNATURAL - Sam Winchester
- Timothy Olyphant: JUSTIFIED - Raylan Givens
- Michael Weatherly: NCIS - Anthony DiNozzo
- Chris O'Donnell: NCIS LA - G. Callen
- David Conrad: GHOST WHISPERER - Jim Clancy
- Simon Baker: THE MENTALIST - Patrick Jane
- Nathan Fillion: CASTLE - Richard Castle
- Joseph Fiennes: FLASH FORWARD - Mark Benford
- James Denton: DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES - Mike Delfino

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Death of Movie Theaters?

Contrary to popular belief, it won't be the Blockbusters, Netflix & movies-on-demand that kill the American movie theater.  It will be the ever increasing prices.  It was 11:30 am on Veteran's Day.  In an unusual confluence of events, we were all three home and wanting to go see a movie.  Disney's Christmas Carol @ 12:30?  Well, I thought it was still a bit early in the season, but there wasn't exactly a glut of family-friendly films out at the moment, so I was in.  Taking my customary trip through the MovieWatcher's site, I dialed us in for three tickets - two adults and one child.  $45?  Really?  $45 just to get in the door, to watch a 90 minute film?  And that's not even with snacks!

I love movies.  LOVE them, just like my Dad does.  I love the insane, all-consuming volume.  I love the comfy seats, and the fact that I can put the chair arms up and sit cross-legged or with my knees pulled up.  I love the popcorn - even the faux butter that tops it.  I love everything about the experience.  When I was a kid, my parents used to take us to movies with great frequency.  In fact, there was a period when we would see how many nights in a row we could manage.  It does seem like there must have been a lot of great films back then, given that we managed an 8-night streak at one point in the early 70's.  Then again, I was a kid.  What the hell did I know?  I grew up watching movies like Kelly's Heroes, Tora Tora Tora, Gone With the Wind, The Magnificent Seven, Sometimes a Great Notion, every Disney live action film made, and all the Clint Eastwood westerns.

So when I decide NOT to take my family to a film on a lazy Monday afternoon, it's significant. Because I also love sitting at home with my family, with a lovely dinner or bowl of homemade popcorn slathered in butter, and watching movies-on-demand on the 61 inch TV.  And if I have to choose between the two, which I would dearly prefer not to, I will choose home, where a movie costs $1 to $6 for as many folks as I can cram into the living room and the food costs me nothing, where I can pause the movie to run to the restroom after my third glass of water, beer, or whatever else the film calls for, and where I can sit comfortably on my couch with the dog nearby.

Just sayin...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sticks and Stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." I understand why my mom taught me this when I was a child.  I understand that words are just sounds out of a person's mouth, and should not have the power to hurt me in any way.  I held tightly to this phrase while I was growing up, squeezing it like a worn out blanket.  I believed in it with all my heart, and it carried me through the moments of unkindness that occurred as I grew.  I have repeated them over and over, to hundreds of children in my life.  I have taught them to my own child, tender to the barbs of the sharp tongue.

Why, then, when someone utters two ignorant hurtful words, do I crumble? Mouthed words, directed at me, in a moment of anger. I don't know this person, have never seen her before, and will no doubt never see her again.  Yet they implode me into an endless stream of tears and pain.  I cry until I cannot cry anymore.  The image of her face will not leave me.  It is ugly with anger.  I cannot for a moment imagine that people know what they the face contorts into something fiendish.  It is the very embodiment of "monster."

There is a tiny handful of moments that I could imagine ever becoming truly hurtful, ruthless, & venomous, and they generally involve my child.  Any person who ever knowingly endangers her will know the outcome of this transformation.  Any person who ever knowingly endangers any of my loved ones in any way will experience the unturned cheek. A mother's/sister's/child's defense is as daunting a foe as you'll ever encounter.  And while I have been tempted to lash out at strangers who have irritated or inconvenienced me, or who were outright rude to me, I am without exception overcome by my parents' lessons on how to treat others. I find my safe place, far from the eyes and ears of the offending party. Quite frankly, screaming at the top of my lungs in the car has repeatedly proven a wildly cathartic experience. And I would rather the passengers in the passing cars believe me mildly crazy than to leave someone as devastated as I was left to feel.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can eviscerate me in an instant.

I wonder what she was feeling...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How Do I Look?

It has been over twelve years since any real interviewing occurred.  Twelve years at one company, where conversations took me to the next step rather than interviews.  In 1997, I was 37 years old - old enough to know that I didn't want to work anywhere that I couldn't be myself.  Going against the tide of mounting warnings around me, I dressed casually but professionally and marched myself through four interviews.  In all of them, I was honest, direct, and wholly myself.  At the end of them, I was hired, beginning a twelve year adventure at Disney, not one moment of which I would ever take back or do over.  What I learned in the interview process was that you can't read everyone, but you can read some, and you should never pretend to be anyone other than you are.
I am now 49 and unemployed for the first time since I walked through those magical doors.  The idea of interviewing fills me with dread.  In an attempt to gently lift myself out of the deepening hollow, I remind myself that there is humor to everything, so there must be some here.  What will this process be like for me NOW? as opposed to 12 1/2 years ago, when I felt, well, a frightful lot younger?  Shall we take a look?

1. Do NOT put on a suit.  Well, in fact, I don't own a suit.  And just as with my last experience, I wouldn't dream of it.  It in no way reflects who I am.  If the suit is a deal breaker, the job shouldn't be mine.  Easy peasy.

2. Unleash your energy.  There is this fear that 49 year olds are just tired and worn out.  Well, in fact I am.  But all of that disappears when I talk about what I love, when my brain and imagination kick in to reflect on the power of learning and knowledge.  I suppose I could go over the top.  Naw, it's not in me to go over the top.  Unleash it I shall.

3. Of paramount importance, and vastly different than my prior experience, by all means let's make sure the nose ring post isn't sticking out of the nose.  I'm clearly going to have to make a decision here - to wear it or not to wear it.  The "common sensors" around me would of course mandate "remove the damn thing."  Heavens, what will it say about you?  What will people think?  Really?  I am quite undecided for the moment. Besides, I'm still terrified that I won't be able to put it back in without stabbing myself unnecessarily.

4. Know what your short-term goals are.  Sure, but I think that short-term is actually a bit more challenging than long term.  Long term, I want to learn as much as I can, and enable the rest of the world to do the same. What the hell are the short-term milestones for this?  And are they relevant to the jobs I'm looking at?  Let's be damned sure they are, missy.  Let's be damned sure they are.

5. Don't show your tattoos.  No prob, unless I decide to wear a sleeveless shirt to meet with these folks with whom I desire to spend many, many years.  Not going to happen.  NOT going to happen.

6. Take some home-baked goodies along for the fine HR folks.  Yeah, I added this one.  I'm thinking nothing makes a statement like bringing something truly tasty that you made yourself.  Pretty much a guarantee that I will continue to bring them over the years to come.

Okay, so the nose ring thing seems to initiate the most debate.  I can handle that.  As for the rest, as the immortal poet, Popeye, used to say...."I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam."  Turns out, I'm pretty much a rock star! xoxox

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank You, Sweet Humans. Thank You.

Thanksgiving is hours away, and I wonder how one can possibly give appropriate thanks for all the deserving in a single post.  At the same time, I welcome the moment to reflect on my unfolding life.  Giving thanks is an afterthought in our lives.  It is not that we don’t feel it to our core.  It is merely that we forget the power of words spoken out loud.  I humbly offer the words which frequently threaten to spill from my lips.  And offer the possibility that perhaps I will speak them more frequently in my life from this day forward.

I am thankful for my family, which should NEVER go without saying.
·        My grandmother, for showing me that one can never love too much, and for her peanut butter, pickle & mayo sandwiches.
·        My father, for his acceptance of me as I am.
·        My mother, for teaching me that if you love the world, the world will love you back, and for passing on to me her love of words.
·        My little brother, for being an authentic and loving example of strength of spirit and the power of love, and his outright belief in my ability to succeed beyond my own imagination.
·        My big brother, for his quiet and unwavering appreciation of the butterfly which has yet to emerge.  We get there when we get there.
·        My husband, for showing me what it feels like to be loved without limits, imperfections and all.
·        My daughter, for her unconditional love, brilliant spirit, authenticity, and unending laughter.

I am thankful for my friends and colleagues, with whom I have toiled, failed and soared to great heights in this life.  May our flight continue on a beautiful upward climb.

I am thankful for those who have walked into my path to challenge me.  The journey would be shorter and far less sweet without you.

I am thankful for the amazing and wonderful humans that continue to emerge into my life every day, from places unexpected. Oh, the places we’ll go…

I am thankful for the moments in life which have made me weep, both with deep sadness and great joy, when I feel so powerfully alive.

I am thankful for Ronnie, and the hundreds of thousands of American soldiers standing tall in lands near and far away to keep us all safe and free.  And to their families for accepting sacrifices which no one should rightfully have to accept.

I am thankful that I live in a world of human beings that, while imperfect, have the capacity to change the world and bring peace in my child’s lifetime.

May each of us find in ourselves the words to express what is inside, and the courage to speak them out loud.  I am thankful for each and every one of you - for the spirit that burns within you, the love that spills from your heart, the possibility that wakes you to each new day.  May you feel some small part of that every day, and occasionally be knocked backward by the enormity of it.   xoxoxox

This post was created as part of a global groundswell of gratitude called TweetsGiving. In conjunction with 12For12K, this celebration, created by US nonprofit Epic Change is an experiment in social innovation that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. Join us

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treating in Burbank

This year we walked our neighborhood - our new neighborhood.  No driving a few blocks to trick/treat with friends, although I must say we did miss them.   Dad stayed home, promising to open the door and hand out candy, NOT hide away inside watching scary movies while the hordes emptied the basket in one fell swoop.

The girls and I started out at about 6:30 - me, my daughter and her bestest friend - when it was not quite dark and there wasn't yet a chill in the air.  Beauty and the beast, as it were.  One a beautiful pirate wench, the other a gloriously dead cheerleader.  We hit 7 or 8 blocks in all, spending a good hour and a half going house-to-house. Quite frankly, two 10-year old girls in boots and tights tend to want to go only so far on a chilly evening, and their bags were plenty full.  Not like the old days when my brothers and I would walk for blocks in all directions, and come home with a full pillow case.  Gad, how did my parents cope with that mass of sugar in the house? 

Amidst the healthy crowds of kids, many of whom we knew, here are a few of the things that caught my eye:
1. A father and son trick or treating together.They both had treat bags, but only the little boy was in costume. I thought this was a bit odd, but my husband offered the perspective that perhaps they'd never before experienced Halloween and were both excited about it.  Okay.
2. A roving pack of 6th or perhaps 7th grade girls with not a well-mannered bone among them.  They pushed in front of my girls without hesitation to get to the door.  After the second time this happened, I was compelled to point out quite calmly that they should perhaps let the smaller ones go first.  They ignored me completely.  Really?  Nice job, parents.  Really nice job.  I'll be keeping an eye out for them next year.
3. A couple of really scary clown faces.  Nuff said.
4. A big kid dressed in a dark brown sack of some sort and a dark rubber mask pulled over his head.  When a diminutive, curious mom asked what he was, he responded "Harry Potter."  Not by a long shot, buddy.  Seriously? If you're going to go out and beg for candy, at least dress up. And, if you're over the age of 13 or 14, DON'T go!
5. There were three haunted houses, in varying degrees of terror.  We walked three blocks to the big one to start the evening - a haunted recreation of the Burbank City Hall and AMC theater.  The line was half way down the block, and it wasn't open yet.  We moved on.  Quite honestly, I don't think the girls wanted to go into any of them.
6. A woman, walking down the street, swinging her little flashlight back and forth across the sidewalk and onto front lawns.  Not slowing, not stopping to look for anything in particular, just, well, I don't know...
7. Then there were the vans pulling up on Chandler and infusing the neighborhood with still more kids.  This I understand, and yay that they come and have a great Halloween experience.  And I also struggle with the need to buy enough candy to hand out to hundreds of kids who don't live in the neighborhood.  Honey, I just don't have this kind of cash, and I'm still old-fashioned enough to want to know the kids who come to my door.

All in all, it was a lovely Halloween.  It was nice to be out walking in the neighborhood, which was busier than I'd expected but far less so than I'd prefer.  The constant flow of kids through the streets, which I remember from my own childhood, was missing.  It was a bittersweet experience - the juxtaposition of young costumed children giddy with delight, and the older kids either not dressed at all or dressed more appropriately for an adult party.  The rows of houses on each block gone dark for the evening, many of them hiding in the back of the house and avoiding the holiday altogether.

Perhaps what stood out most for me this year were the people that not only lit up their homes and opened their doors for the event, but were also part of it.  They sat outside.  They enjoyed the evening.  I think that next year we shall perhaps do the same.  Bundle up outside, with friends, drinks in hand, and toast All Hallow's Eve out loud with the passing streams of monsters, princesses, furry animals, and heroes, scary movies on the big TV, ghouls adorning the yard.  Ooh, and maybe make some smores for the occasion. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Brief Stroll

Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity.  Walking my daughter to school is not the norm for me.  It should be.  There is no reason, earthly or otherwise, for me not to simply stroll the four blocks every day with my perfect child, books and bags thrown across our shoulders, gawking at storefronts and chatting about the day that lays ahead.  The walk today was rushed, having left the house five minutes too late to truly enjoy the walk.  I cannot recall any of the topics we discussed - only that the chat was easy, lovely, and happy.

The walk home was slow, meandering, leisurely, and productive.  A 2-block detour to Porto's for a crunchy loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread and a small, sweet Cortadito for the walk, and then back toward home.  I make a quick stop at the bank ATM to make a deposit - a lovely change with no lines awaiting - and realize how quiet the street has become.  Crossing over to the north side of the street, I stand and stare blissfully at the beautiful buddha and Ganesh statues in my favorite second-hand store.  It's been far too long since I've wandered this cluttered place.  I walk on, stopping to gaze curiously at the playful robots decorating a favorite new neighborhood haunt.  Their handmade collections always make me smile.

The next block is haunted by a massive concrete structure whose beckoning doorways are constructed on the other side of it.  For this reason, I generally walk on the other side of the street.  Not today.  Today, I am already here.  And so I walk, head momentarily down.  But my eyes are drawn immediately to the base of the tree that has entered my periphery.  And I look up fully into this most beautiful creature.  It's base is strong and bare.  And there, just above the height of passing humans, sits the most lush and forest green mass of leaves - reaching high above the concrete roof.  And there ahead, another, and another, and another.  Fortunate that no one is walking toward me, I stare up at these giants of life, swept into the dark green curls that seem at once wild and clipped.  I wonder at the bare trunk.  Have we cut back any green shoots that grow down at our level, or have the trees managed this on their own?  Have we readjusted nature to fit us?  Or have they spared themselves the occasional prying and pulling fingers of human passers by?  It matters to me, and I want to believe that they have chosen to blossom far above our heads.  To protect us, shade us & delight us, safe from unintentional harm.

I have strolled much more slowly along this block.  Breathing in the life of the trees, I cross to the next block - now one block from home.  The same young man we passed on the way to school, is still working to rid the street of the mounds of wild leaves that yesterday's winds have heaved down upon us all.  Good morning, we again greet each other.  As I turn the corner and head toward the house, a woman sits in her car on the phone.  She is one of many waiting for the italian deli extraordinaire to open.  9am comes far too slowly for those who want to slip inside and crawl into the glorious smells of this place.  I smile, and head for home.

Often the moments of personal benefit are borne of necessity.  Tomorrow it will be borne of sheer desire to be in the world.  Maybe I'll bring the dog.