Thursday, September 29, 2011


I love food. Eating food makes me really happy. 

And one of my favorite foods to eat are pancakes. Especially blueberry pancakes. YUUMMM! I could eat them everyday and seriously never get sick of them. They’re pure deliciousness, the kind of food that makes you tap your feet and hum a happy tune with each and every lip-smackingly savory bite. 

Pancakes are the only good thing about mornings. Besides coffee. And brunch. And unlimited mimosas! (Or brunch with pancakes, coffee and endless mimosas).

Can you think of a better way to start the day, than with a heaping stack of sweet, fluffy, syrup-drenched, buttery…heaven-sent GOODNESS?! I can't.


So I headed to IHOP the other day (as I often do) and had this for breakfast:

Blueberry harvest grain pancakes w/bananas and scrambled egg substitute

Not terribly exciting, I know. But it’s one of their low-cal options. And I’m trying to include  healthier fare in my diet to balance out all the beers and burritos. Plus I have to say eating at IHOP is a lot less fun since they started listing calorie counts on their menu. Makes it a lot harder to lie to myself.

Those pancakes were, o.k. But they sure as hell don’t beat a super-sized, funny face chocolate chip pancake! 

Just ask Super Mario, aka my cousin’s four-year-old, my go-to-guy for happy, fun times.

EVERYONE loves pancakes. Even fictional plumbers/majorly awesome kids.

Now that right there friends is the face of sheer pancake joy.

Please note that this is not a paid advertisement or endorsement for IHOP. But if any of the lovely folks at IHOP should happen to find themselves here and decide they’d like to PAY ME FOR THIS POST. With say, free pancakes. For a year! It would be a welcome gesture. And frankly, well, the right thing to do in these hard, economic times. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


When you live in L.A. you spend A LOT of time sitting in traffic.

As a New Yorker who is hard-wired to move as quickly as possible and not waste a single second, this used to make me insane. 

I’d sit there silently seething, calculating how many precious minutes I’d lost that day. Doing. NOTHING. All the while giving death stares (behind dark sunglasses) to every idiot driver who dared look my way. Uh, problem?!! Stupid L.A. drivers. Hate you.

Now I try to use this time productively, mostly by making plans. I’m a chronic planner.

I’ll plan what I’m going to buy later at the supermarket. Or what I’ll do over the weekend. What movie I should go see. Or even ponder what is my best means for escape should my tiny westside apartment ever go up in flames while I sleep.  

I'd finally die fat and alone. And be found three weeks later, half-eaten by dogs.

See, I have this fear I’ll die in an awful, stupid way. Or worse, alone. In my “cozy” (Craigslist for damn tiny) L.A. apartment. With no means for escape. Gasping for air.

Thing is I have two windows in my whole apartment, which open left to right, rather than up and down. But they only open A MERE TWO INCHES on either side. And the screens behind them don’t open at all.  It’s a real fire hazard! If a fire were to break out, climbing through the window for safety isn’t an option. I can’t stick my head out the window to breathe let alone try to slide my healthy ass through a two inch crack.

What I needed was a plan, which I began to hatch as I sat in traffic on my way home.

I’ll run out the front door. That’s the obvious solution. OK, yeah, but what if I’m asleep and the fire has spread?! I’ll have to run through my bedroom and the living room to reach that door. Through a fiery blaze! I’ll sustain serious burns, there’s no way around it. After careful thought, I decided that I could live with that. I wanted to survive.

But I am going to run really, really fast. And cover my face. I prefer my face didn’t get burned. It’s hard enough to get dates in L.A. I don’t need an additional challenge.

I'm a real good person.

As I pictured myself explaining to a future suitor why I was wearing a turtleneck in August, a cop suddenly appeared to pull me back to reality. He explained the stretch of road ahead, which included my street block, was closed due to a bomb threat.

Ah c'mon dude, seriously?! I’M TIRED. I JUST WANT TO GO HOME.

Slightly annoyed, I parked a few blocks away and proceeded to walk to my apartment only to be stopped by yet another officer. Turns out the bomb threat was down the block from my place and I wasn’t allowed anywhere near there. At this point the bomb squad arrived and all my nosy neighbors gathered around to watch the action. Then one of them pointed out the source of all the excitement: See that red suitcase? They think it might be a bomb. That one. RIGHT THERE. HANDCUFFED TO THAT POLE.

Wait. What? As I turned to look, it slowly…hit….me. 

A bomb is made to explode. That's its meaning. Its purpose.

Bomb = Big Explosion = FIRE = Me running through fiery blaze. Covering my face.

Oh my God, I don’t want to die! I need to get out of here. Right now! Let these bitches stand around here, yards away from a bomb, and burn if they want. Not. Me. 

I want to live. I want to SURVIVE

What. Do. You. Do.

I decided to seek shelter at nearby coffeeshop until the situation blew over. But I wanted to stop by my apartment first and grab my laptop. So I convinced a neighbor to let me cut through her house to reach the back alley entrance of my building. 

Once inside my place, I breathed a bit easier. And I happen to gaze over at my bed, so cozy and inviting, and wondered for a second if there was time for a short nap before the explosion. A shady voice inside snapped: uh hello. Fiery blaze. You sleeping. Ring a bell?!

Oh shit, yeah, I gotta go. So I grabbed my laptop and took one final look around.

This place ain’t so bad, I thought. I mean, apart from the windows not opening and the poor air circulation. Its been a safe haven for me out here in Los Angeles. A place for me to decompress, unwind and refuel at the end of a long, hard day. I’m going to miss it. Then, I turned and left, wondering if I’d ever see my tiny death trap again.

Needless to say, the bomb never went off . And I returned a few short hours later. 

Thankful to be alive. Thankful to still have a home. And thankful to be back in my damn cozy apartment with the annoying windows that open a mere two inches.

I’m happy here. Plus, I've got a plan now in case of a fire. So I'll survive.

1. BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY (2001) Writers: Helen Fielding, Andrew Davies, Richard Curtis 
2. MONSTER (2003) Writer: Patty Jenkins
3. SPEED (1994) Writer: Graham Yost

Monday, September 12, 2011


I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.

I am NOT a morning person. It is without a doubt my most bitchiest time of the day.

I hate everyone. Especially those happy “Good Morning!” types. I want to slap these bitches. So I keep to myself during the early part of the day and have only three goals:

1. Find the closest Starbucks and caffeinate. Immediately.


3. Simply get through the morning.

It’s a fairly simple plan that helps me ease into my day until I’m ready to rejoin civilization somewhere around 11am. But this past Friday, it seems the universe had an entirely different set of plans for me. This was not a typical weekday morning. 

7:30am meditation sitting group
It began with a meditation class which is by no means a regular part of my day. I dabbled in meditation last Spring during a stressful time at work when a jealous co-worker was making my life a living hell. I must’ve told this person off in my head at least 79 times a day! (I tell off A LOT of people in my head). I literally gave myself migraines and sought some relief. I stumbled onto this weekly meditation group and found it was a great way to relieve stress and silence all the noise between my ears. 

Anyway, I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately, worrying about money and my next career move since I recently became unemployed. For the SECOND time. So I decided to drop by an early morning meditation session to clear my head.

Meditate on this I will.

As soon as I arrive, I’m off to a bad start. I’m cranky. I’m exhausted. And worse, I’m uncaffeinated as I peeled myself out of bed and had no time to grab coffee. Then I start to meditate and my brain simply WILL NOT QUIET DOWN— bombarded by worries, plans of action, the occassional ‘man you suck at this’ and that awful "On the floor" J Lo song that hasn't stopped playing since I woke up. I. AM. HATING. LIFE.

Following the meditation is a brief 5-10 minute discussion where we get the opportunity to share what’s on our mind. Yeah, um, I’ll pass. I won’t be “sharing” anything today, thanks.  I’m far too annoyed, and I want coffee.

Now normally these talks tend to focus on how hard it is to quiet our minds. But on this day, rather unexpectedly, a woman shares with the group that her teen son is very sick. Apparently, he suffered a sudden and unexplained mental breakdown. And though he is receiving round-the-clock treatment, she feels ill-prepared to handle something as scary and foreign as mental illness. She is in a lot of pain and fears for her son’s health.


My mind is a total and complete blank for the first time all morning. Um, thank you?

This is a lot to process at 8:30am. So much raw emotion staring me in the face. I want to help this woman. But HOW?!! What could I possibly say to ease her pain?! I feel helpless. And after a long moment, my eyes tear up and everything gets real blurry. 

And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart
grew three sizes that day.

I want to hug her. But you can’t go from “mad shady morning person” to “sympathetic people hugger” in one day. It’s too big a leap. All I can really do is listen. After she composed herself, she tells us that it felt good to speak about her troubles aloud. And that our listening gave her great comfort. It seems I made the right choice.

9am Zumba class
Afterwards, I head to the gym to Zumba and Salsa my ass off for the next hour. It’s exactly what I need to shake off the lingering weird feeling after meditation class.

Our instructor is on fire this day! I get a really great workout and even manage to loosen up and have some fun (normally I'm frustrated I can’t follow the choreography. I’m not a natural dancer). When the music stops, I’m approached by this woman who often joins me in the shady section of class, in the last row, by the exit. She talks excitedly to me about class and wants to know, “hey, how come I didn’t see you at Saturday’s class?” Sheer laziness. We talk for a bit more as we walk out together.  

Then it hits me. Wait, I have a “Zumba friend”? When did that happened?! And we’re TALKING and LAUGHING together! Must be the endorphins. I never talk to anybody at the gym. I’m not myself this morning. Clearly. 

10am COFFEE!!
I head to this tiny cafĂ© near the gym to finally get a cup of coffee. And I decide to treat myself to breakfast, even though I really shouldn’t spend money. I just needed a moment. Alone. With my annoying thoughts. 

Suddenly, the owner pops up to make an announcement. He informs us that the man sitting beside me is a loyal patron named Daryll and that today is his 75th birthday. So he would like us all to join him in singing happy birthday. As the waitresses appear with cake, I join everyone else in singing the most joyous, boisterous rendition of this song that’s ever been performed. It’s like a damn Glee episode!

Daryll is moved. A love fest erupts. The waitresses snap pics. And the owner says….


It’s 10:15am. And I have the biggest smile on my face. What a strange day it's been.

All I wanted when I woke up was a quiet, peaceful morning BY MYSELF. Instead, I comforted a woman in pain. I made a new gym friend. And I helped a nice 75-year-old man celebrate his birthday in a special way.

Despite my initial plans, it turned out to be a really good morning.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


What an idea. What a mad, crazy, wonderful idea.

It's September. Summer is officially over. And the back-to-school season is here.

Remember that feeling at the start of a new school year? It was an exciting time filled with so much promise. A time for new possibilities. And of course, another opportunity to make good on the yearly “things-will-be-different-this-time-I-SWEAR-IT” resolution.

My vision for myself never involved being more popular. Or studying more. Or not taking crap from a stupid guy who clearly didn’t know how lucky he was to have ME for a girlfriend (a popular choice among the overly dramatic girls at my Jersey HS).

What I wanted more than anything was the confidence to venture outside my comfort zone, take more risks and make bolder choices that made me happy. To laugh loudly, dance stupidly, speak freely, fail miserably and be as sexy as I wanted to be without GIVING A RAT’S ASS WHAT PEOPLE HAD TO SAY ABOUT IT.  In short, to be less self conscious and live each and every moment of my life without fear or trepidation.

I just never had that kind of confidence. Maybe if I had bigger boobs, I don’t know.

I know she's kind of socially retarded and weird, but she's my friend...
so, just promise me you won't make fun of her!

Thank God I’m not that scared, chained up little person anymore. (Oh no. Not I). I’m older with far more confidence and I have absolutely NO problem speaking my mind.

Yet, I still sometimes worry what people think. Far more than I care to admit. And there are parts of myself that I hold back from the world for fear it’ll judge me. Nobody wants to look stupid. So I tread cautiously through life, playing it safe and overthinking every step. This is not how I want to live. Its dull, unfulfilling. And doesn’t make me happy. 

But its never too late to make a fresh start and try something new. Hence this blog.


This is where I step out of my comfort zone and make good on that earlier promise to myself to “be bolder”. A place where I hold nothing back. Where I can write and share and connect with others. All truly scary things for a mad shady girl like me who craves solitude and typically avoids any kind of attention or spotlight. 

With this blog, I am taking my first tiny  baby bold step towards living a happier, authentic life. And for once, really putting myself out there and making an effort.

So here I am in all my glory. Mad. Shady. Sexy as I wanna be. Saying judge away. 

I’m not scared.