Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I'm a magnet for Crazy people - Babygate edition

Its happening. The first wave of divorces are underway and many of the 30 something friends are starting their new lives becoming accustomed to being single again. Ofcourse, being single now is different from being single 10 years ago and not just because you are different, but because the rules of dating have now changed. People text. People Facebook. People make it easier to have a more removed experience from the possible rejection or heartbreak that could accompany what starts as a drink at a bar.

The people who are still married and survived the first wave of divorce among their friends, see the wounded and mamed newly single vets as cautionary tales of where they don't want to end up. More likely than not, this is where the first round of baby gate opens up.

Yes, baby gate. I personally have several friends and a sibling currently experiencing this wave of babies everywhere. Now, I know what you're thinking, sure, most people you know aren't having a baby due to some reactionary whim! How cynical of me. Mind you, I don't think there is anything wrong with realizing that you do not want to be divorced and are entering your third decade and more stable; realizing that you do indeed want to have a baby. Nothing! Its probably, actually, a great time to start! I certainly don't mean to imply its only because the newly single bobble heads are left out in the cold wondering what a text with no smiley face means vs a text with one.  Ofcourse not. But for a moment, lets talk about those people who are.

You know who I'm talking about. Not the person genuinely happy to be having a healthy, happy baby, but the person who sits in judgment of you because you are no where near that place. I met a person like this today actually. I was at Starbucks, minding my own business, sipping on my iced double tall latte when I befriended a woman in line. She was a chatty kathy like myself so ended up sitting together talking about the neighborhood. Now, Im new to Culver City, so I figured, what the hey.

Within 10 minutes of the conversation, I was onto her. I heard her entire life story about meeting her husband, how wonderful he was and lucky she was to have him. She continued, telling me about how she learned her lesson with her first divorce and had a baby right away upon marriage number two. This strategic alliance was not only proof of her love, but also, an insurance policy, she confessed.

I was dumfounded! Who admits to this outside the privacy of their own diary, confessional in church or reality show application? Certainly, this girl must have friends who she can confess this to and not the total stranger who could potentially write about this on her blog! But then I realized. She was practical. She was a business woman. She, was a New Yorker.

I identified myself as a New Yorker as well having lived there for seven years. She shattered my little bubble of pride and informed me that i was in fact, NOT, a New Yorker as my attitude towards my own failed marriage and my trepidation about entering the dating arena without a plan of action, clearly disqualified me from such claims. I wanted to take out the pepper spray on my yankees key chain and prove her wrong, but I figured when in peaceful as the Californians.  I thought she was finished, but she went on. She informed me that there were resources available to me, to help me reach the baby gaters in a quicker way. There were several websites she recommended and a phone number for the casting of Millionaire Matchmaker.  This went on for several agonizing minutes where she proceeded to tell me that she didn't believe my claims that I needed to be on my own for a little while. She said it was a coping mechanism. She said, I clearly needed to play the numbers game and date as many people as necessary before my uterus rebelled against me and gave me cancer. Cancer. This was a fact she said. When she was done scolding me, we said goodbye and I gave her a fake number.

You know, I may be a long way indeed from baby gate. I don't feel any clocks in my body or have any desire to find the person that will change my feelings on the matter anytime soon. I think that's okay. I'm excited to buy fun onesies for my friends with fun sayings on them or ornate baby baskets with toy handbags and duck pacifiers. I have nephews, a niece on the way and lovely friends, survivors of the divorce wars who are going to make amazing parents this year and next. I can't wait to play with their babies and return them promptly upon boredom or fatigue.

 In continuing with the L.O.L lifestyle, you really need friends and family who will support you on that baby journey and right now, I'm happy to help and support them. Perhaps I'll join the next wave of baby makers in ten years. Who knows, but I'm hoping I won't be handing out any advice on landing a baby of your own to an unsuspecting single in the coffee shop.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Curd Milk to Divine Design

The philosophy behind being a Lady of Leisure is to make the time to do the things that make you happy. If you've been through a major life change or divorce, sometimes its hard to remember what these things that one made you happen are. Sure, you remember that once upon a time dancing or dining made you happy, but you don't exactly remember why or how it is that you enjoy the things you enjoy when you haven't been enjoying them in a long time.

I've extended this idea of trying things I once use to enjoy to try new things I have never enjoyed. At least, that I thought I had never enjoyed. The results have been astounding! My entire life, I have never enjoyed Yogurt. When I mention this to people, they say that I've obviously never tried it this way or that way that they enjoy it. They are dumbfounded that I would not like yogurt. With its extended health benefits and its variety of flavors and textures, I decided to give it a try. After all, it had been at least 10 years since I'd last tried and I figured, I'd changed a lot over the past 10 years. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted back then and a divorce and several career changes later, I know I had no idea. Why couldn't it be the same with Yogurt. 

I prepared like a marathon trainer to ready my taste buds for the invasion of the lactose acidic enemy I was about to consume. I bought about 10 different varieties. I bought Greek, I bought soy, I bought goats milk. I had no idea there were so many varieties of yogurt. Some came with a granola topping, others came with a  fruit or honey topping. Some, maddeningly came with both or none at all. I was overwhelmed, so I went back to the basics I been trying to apply to my life in general. I started with the things I know I've enjoyed before. I know I like frozen, non tart yogurt. So I froze some Greek yogurt and added something I love and enjoy, granola. Those first spoonfuls had me sweating like a hooker in church. What was I so afraid of? Was this yogurt going to forever put me in the category of yogurt eaters? Would that be so bad? Why had I identified my whole life as a non yogurt eater; comfortable, complacent, unbending. To my surprise, it was consumable. I kept eating to try and savor the flavors, to really understand what I liked about it and what I didn't like about it. After a lot of trial and error and lots of different combinations. I have arrived at a conclusion.

I like some yogurt. Not all yogurt is for me. Not all combinations of yogurt/fruit/granola satisfy my taste buds or make me feel full. I now enjoy a good yogurt parfait at least once a week and consider it a treat. My poison of choice as I write this? A Starbucks dark cherry yogurt parfait. Its a whopping 8 points for those of you counting weight watchers points, but I feel like Kanye West (better, faster, stronger). I'm satisfied for hours and I enjoyed my treat. I can't believe I've been missing out on this for so long! What else have I been ho-hum about that is delicious and exciting? Hmm...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kirstie Alley - You go Lady- you go!

Kirstie Alley looks amazing. If you haven't seen the latest pictures, mosey over to US WEEKLY .

The Dancing With the Stars and Cheers alum not only flaunted her new amazing curves at Fashion Week in New York, but appears to have made a complete body overhaul. Having watched Fat Actress and seen her weight yo-yo over the years, you cannot help but cheer her on. Like most women, she has struggled with several weight loss programs and has finally with time, exercise and a food plan managed to take off most of the weight. It may seem like overnight to most of us, but she has been working her butt off thanks to last seasons DWTS.

So normal women don't have the opportunity to work out with a dance partner 10 hours a day and as a Lady of Leisure, I think it would severely limit my time to pursue other interests like writing, photography, cooking, etc. However, there has got to be a way to adopt a L.O.L lifestyle approach to weight loss and enjoy the benefits that Kirstie is enjoying. Lets face it, being a size 4 does not suck.

I think the take away from this is that Kirstie was able to stick with something (in addition to being contractually obliged) because she enjoyed it. Dancing was fun for her and doing something that you enjoy at least sometimes can only help. The trust test of course is doing things that are good for us even when we don't feel like doing it. A true L.O.L takes her leisure time seriously though and that means planning all of those things that we don't necessarily want to do. Having a plan of attack makes this all much easier.

I've started sticking to an outlook calendar color blocked schedule. I know, how on trend of me. This way, I can have a visual of the chunks of time I'm spending on my writing, my work out regiments, my artist dates (damn you Julia Cameron and your wise words of wisdom), and my social life. All of your extra curriculars affect your weight loss both positively and negatively. I don't schedule my life so that I can't eat, I schedule my life so I can do all of the fun things that keep me happy and keep me on target to embrace weightloss. Its easier to say no to that second piece of cake when I've been saying yes to that blouse, that hike, that photog session, that writing class. I suspect that Kirstie has followed some what of the same attitude because she looks fabulous! She's also been spotted with several hotties. You go Kirstie. You make 60 look like the new 40.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dognap- A true story

Okay, So while I was out trying to make movies while still maintaining a Lady of Leisure outlook on life, my dog, was kidnapped. Yes, kidnapped! Taken from my grandparents home at gun point and held for ransom.

Okay, that may be a slightly exaggerated dramatization as I'm not sure about the gun with no real first hand knowledge of it, but I will recount the story from Sabrina's point of view below. I can't help myself. A medium once told me I was an actress in another life and writer in this life which would account for my sense of grandiose feelings and recollections. It makes sense to me. But I digress.

This is so typical of my mom! She just left to go who knows where and I'm stuck here, alone in this crazy country! Sure, there is my friend Lucas, some strange breed of dog I've never seen in Manhattan. He's nice enough I guess. Thank goodness my mother speaks spanish to me on occasion or I wouldn't understand a word he said. Everyone is just really different here. I don't have most of my toys, I have one bed, and my vitamins and greenies are all gone. How is a girl from the city suppose to live like this? I haven't been groomed in a month and I'm expected to cool myself off on the floor. Where is my air conditioner? Where is my large bed? Where are my pajamas? 

Dogs here just have very different lives. I had a really great situation in Manhattan. I live in an upper east side apartment with my mom who has gone off the deep end on some Eat, Pray, Love kind of mid life crisis I think. Yoga every morning? 6AM? Gross. I mean, don't get me wrong, she's successful I guess, but lately, we've been doing less shopping and play dates with other society dogs and more running and hiking and early morning dog group dates. I don't get it. She doesn't buy as much clothes as before and I've had the same pink spiky collar on for the past four months. Before she would have bought me new things every week! Probably her way of buying my affection since she is rarely home, but I'm not complaining. 

Now I'm here in this really hot country and the maids barely pay me attention. No one plays for me except for Lucas and everyone treats me like an animal! I don't understand it. They had been expecting me to sleep on that dog bed, but I've been crawling into bed with Yesenia, our housekeeper, every night. It freaked her out at first but now she lets me stay. 

Tonight, however, my plans were thwarted because its Yesenia's day off. I mean, who knew she had a day off and why didn't anyone bother to tell me. No one tells me anything. My great grandparents aren't really canine savvy so they've left me out here, like some sort of outdoor dog with a bowl and a pillow. So degrading. I'm sure Tinkerbell never had to put up with this at the Hilton place.  I'm way too exhausted to fight it, I've been chasing some weird looking lizard animals all day. I know, very unbecoming of a lady, but when in Rome...or a third world country I guess. 

Am I dreaming? The images are still a little fuzzy but I can hear some men speaking in Spanish. I'm still so exhausted. I've never seen them before. What are they saying.

DOGNAPPER 1: Mira que bonita esa perra.

SABRINA: Aw well, thank you muchachos, clearly you have good taste.

DOGNAPPER 2: Ni siquiera nos ladra ni nada.

SABRINA: Umm, yeah no comprende what you're saying eh, but what are you guys doing here.

DOGNAPPER 1: Ay que venderla.

LUCAS: Sabrina! Cuidado

Lucas what are you talking about?  Doesn't' that mean be carefu-

Hey why am I being snatched up by you? I don't know you! You smell like, I don't know, they must not sell that brand in New York, but I demand you put me down buddy. Hey, whats that bag. Wait, why am I  in a bag!! I can't' breathe in a bag!! Lucas do something!!!

Lucas starts barking, the lights turn on, the men have fled. 

Okay get me out of this plastic bag!! I can't breathe, I'm gonna die, get me out of here!!

DOGNAPPER 1: Que ladra esta perrita

SABRINA: Yeah I know what that means jackass, I not only bark, but I bite too! Jackass. Hey wait, why are you putting a muzzle on me. i was kidding, No biting, no don't! dammit.

Its been hours. Maybe days. Who knows how long I've been in here. Dognaped. Humiliated wearing this ugly muzzle. My nails are chipped and honestly, who eats this food. Its disgusting. I miss my mom. I even miss that ugly Lucas, who by the way, didn't get kidnapped. Something about his teeth being undesirable to the sellers? I pick up a little spanish but not mucho. The kidnappers are okay I guess. Other than the room service being terrible in this place. I mean, I don't even mind the dirt floors so much as I mind the accommodations and the food. I mean, no linens, no toys, the food is awful. The only thing I don't mind is that they let me eat chicken bones which my mom never let she do in New York. Something about them lodging in my throat, but they are my crack. I get very unladylike with them. They give me chicken bones here. Don't judge me, I may as well enjoy the savage lifestyle a little bit. 

And even though I guess its not awful here. I miss my family. I just want to go home. Back home to my great grandmas house until my mom comes back to pick me up. It feels like she forgot about me already. 

DOGNAPPER 1: Hola Sabrina, vamos pa tu casa.

SABRINA: Hi Pancho, how do you know my name? Oh, right my collar. You can read English! That's wonderful. Its a very useful skill you know. I dabble in reading a little myself. If you had a collar it would say Asshole Kidnapper who separated me from my family. If that fit, that's what it would say. Now where are we going Pancho. Don't tease me with this Casa business. 

DOGNAPPER 2: Metela en el carro. Que se vea limpita para que nos den mas plata.

SABRINA: Why didn't I pay more attention when my mom was teaching me spanish. And by the way guys, this car is filthy. Don't' you clean it? And your perfume i think has gone bad. You should return it to Saks immediately. 

This car is making me carsick. I'm going to throw up on you. The car is stopping. Wait why do you have a gun. Please don't kill me. I'm too adorable to die!!

The guys are getting out of the car. Strange. Wait, where are you guys going? I wonder who they are talking to. Wait, I know those people! That guy is a friend of my moms!! Maybe she kissed him, maybe it was some other guy!! and that is my great grandpa!!!  Yes, of that I am certain! get me out of here!!! Its bark town USA and I'm not stopping!! Yeah I see you coming back to get me, you're letting me out Pancho, whether you know it or not! 

DOGNAPPER 1: Tome, Don Angel, esta es la peor perra que he conocido! solo pasa ladrando!"

GREATGRANDPA: Gracias. Tome la plata.

They are handing me over to Papi? My great grandpa?!! No way! Shut up! This is amazing! Wait, he's giving him money? How much? It better be a lot because I'm no cheap or easy dog here. Whats that bill..seriously $100? That's it? IS this a joke? My babysitter charges more than that. This is a joke right?

$100 bucks? I'm kind of insulted. I am not happy about this. O look you brought me treats!! And you're being nice to me? Oh, Papi, I knew you'd like me someday! I am gonna be so good you don't even know. Keep me under house arrest. Someone prepare a bubble bath for me, perfume me and give me some vitamins I think  my blood sugar levels are really low. 


That's more or less what happened. With a few minor liberties on Sabrina's POV as I haven't really gotten to download with her fully. She is currently still in Nicaragua, awaiting my pick up. Hopefully soon!! I miss that little Sabrinhole. 

Returning to L.O.L Lifestyle

I am taking deep exhales as I write this post to you. I've had a very productive morning of writing, running and making fresh juice from fruit I got at the farmers market. no sugar added. It's delicious. My goodness, its been so long since we last spoke, I hardly remember where we were. Oh, yes, I was complaining about not having the opportunity to be a lady of leisure anymore since I had to go back to work.

Complaining was silly because the past few months have been some of the best months of my life. Hands down. Not only did I get to make two movies I'm really proud of and work with some amazing people, but I got to apply my L.O.L lifestyle principals to my work life for the first time. In the past, I would have worked myself to the ground, been the first person to arrive and the last person to leave. You know where that "no one works harder than me" attitude got me? Divorce Court and Layoff town. Don't get me wrong, I think its really important to always do your best, to work your hardest, to give it all 100%. The problem is that these days, no one gives 100%. We either give %150 or we give %50-%75, but very rarely do we stick to a straight %100.

My Lady of Leisure self did not suffer on these work trips. I thought for sure I'd return to being an unmanageable, cranky stress case who didn't know how to enjoy herself. This was gladly, not the case. While making a film in Nicaragua I took time to see my family, to reconnect with old friends, to wake up early and take in a sunrise. I didn't have too many days off, but its finding those moments of bliss in the chaos of our crazy lives that make you a L.O.L.

Zen was certainly not the word I'd use to describe my movie making trip to Nicaragua, however. I would probably describe it as controlled chaos with plenty of room to learn about myself and to grow as a film maker.

Nicaragua also allowed me to get some sun. I think we underestimate the importance of proper photosynthesis, but honestly, you just feel better when you've had a little bit of sunlight. Just getting to feel the sun on my skin and smell the ocean already made the stresses of making a film there more manageable. Sure, there were power outages, language barriers between the crew and hotel to contest with, not to mention some interesting personalities to battle, but all in all, just appreciating sunlight and water, made everything seem not only tolerable, but enjoyable.

When I left Nicaragua to make my next film in Seattle, I thought then I'd loose my L.O.L attitude for sure. How could I take time to smell the ocean and enjoy the sun in a place that is known for its dreary weather and topless coffee shops? How was it possible that I'd be able to cope with the stresses of making a movie in a place that is known for being cold and sterile?

I will tell you that Seattle is anything but cold. Figuratively of course. Literally, it is cold and dreary, but the spirit of Seattle is warm, inviting, and sunlit. Not only are the people interesting because they spend plenty of time indoors creating, talking, making movies, making music, learning from each other, but they also have developed a great capacity to listen. Seattle is a city of collaborators. A city surrounded by beautiful water that can take your mind off of any stressful day. In the sea of flannel you find artists, architects, moms, painters, writers, shopkeepers - all whom go about their day appreciating the rare moments of sunlight and warmth.

I learned something really important in Seattle. Whenever someone asks you a question in seattle, they follow it up with, 'Yeah?' instead of 'right' or 'no'. So for example, they say, "you're gonna take care of that yeah?" instead of, "You're gonna take care of that no?" or "You're gonna take care of that, right?". Yeah, for some reason, lightens the entire tone. It makes everything seem a little more positive. Its such  small thing, but its stuck with me. An affirmative. Not a negative, not a sarcastic, not a condescending comment, just a positive, "yeah".

So yeah, I loved my past few months making films, working my butt off, meeting incredibly interesting people. Most importantly, I'm really glad that I took the time to have interesting experiences and appreciate the little things. One of my favorite places in Seattle was a little vacuum cleaner store. It looked like something out of the 1950s. The sign was bright red neon and inside were all just different crazy looking vacuum cleaners. Something about it really struck me and on days when things got really stressful  i'd try to think about that store. I wonder who owned it, who were the people that went into that store. That whole block looked like a 1950s movie. There was a washing machine store just down the street and an ice cream parlor. These stores didn't sell anything else but what they advertised and there is something really refreshing about that.