Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Could Have Been the Next Steve Jobs

I'm grumpy. I'll try to narrow the field of this vast and often felt emotion...

Today's dissatisfaction is due to technology. But to be fair, I've always found technology a touch disappointing. For instance, when I was a kid I thought our family was poor because we had to use a CAR to drive to New Jersey instead of simply 'beaming' ourselves there while a nice Scottish man pushed buttons. I'm not kidding. This was my thought process. And even though none of my other friends had a beaming device, I still thought we should have one. 

I have never publicly announced this but I feel like now is the time to go on record as letting you know that it was actually ME who invented the answering machine. Let me explain...

In the early 80s, a friend and I realized that it would be great to be able to leave a message so you wouldn't have to continually call (aka "stalk" as it's now called) a friend to catch them when they're home. So we drew up a crude drawing of what we thought an answering machine would look like. There was a speaker, volume knob, as well as a group of other buttons that would obviously be what controlled the playback of our new device. We took this diagram and mailed it to the phone book company (as we thought THAT was the heart of the phone industry). We were SURE that we would hear back in just a few days because our idea was just that revolutionary. Also, we included BOTH of our home phone numbers, you know, in case one of us was not home because 5th grade.

Fast forward to 3 months later and I'm in Radio Shack with my parents and OH MY GOD IT'S AN ANSWERING MACHINE. It was right there in front of me. Exactly as we had drawn it. It was even the same color brown as the crayon we used. It was all I could do not to burst into tears and throw blank 8-track tapes at everyone around me. (I should note that it was at that moment that I knew life would be one big screw-over. I was 11.)

This is like EXACTLY what my friend and I drew.
Damn you for stealing my dreams, Pennsylvania Bell!
So there you have it. You can (and should) thank me for the answering machine. I'm sure that had my genius been nurtured instead of stolen, I'd have gone on to invent other amazing things like GPS, automatic can openers, and laser discs. YOUR LOSS, WORLD. Your loss.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I had a lot of things to say....

...but then my mind went blank. All the thoughts I had during the day about "wow, that would be really great to write about," are dead. How did they die?

Oh right. "The Voice." (Spoiler: Not the TV show. Although that can be annoying too.)

"Except for me, right, Jennifer? I mean look at me. My tatoo. My vest. Look into my swarthy eyes. Don't resist. And don't forget to watch The Voice,  sometime during the week on television only on Fox. I think."
I had this idea the other day to write about the umbrella that I've had for just about 10 years finally dying. But then a voice in my head said, "Nah, dumb."

I had another idea about reviewing all the new restaurants I've been to in the past few months. "Meh, who cares?"

I had another idea about using photos I find on the web to illustrate what a migraine feels like, "Yeah, yeah, you're a victim. Pffffft."

I had another idea....... no wait.... I stopped having ideas.

So here's my blog. About how I'm stumped about what to write about because I'm getting in my own damn way. So I'm just writing this. So I can say I wrote. I'm not going to copy-edit this or think too hard about it. This just is what it is. A big pile of words. Some of them make sense. Most don't.

And now a photo of a pig in leaves for no good reason other than when I Google "pig in leaves" this is the first photo that shows up. Enjoy.

"Oink oink, my good man!"
(photo credit:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Daily Burn Reminds Me I'm Lazy

In my 20s I could eat anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, and I never put on a pound. This is not a joke, nor is it bragging (or a medical condition - stop worrying). If you don't believe me, you can ask any of my theatre peeps who watched me on countless nights snarf down large plates of greasy diner bacon followed by voluptuous pieces of chocolate cake damn near the size of my head. And then the next day I'd be be like, 'Hey my pants are too big. Weird!' I know.... I know... I was THAT asshole.

I would like to acknowledge that my head is larger than this photo. Shut up, it is.
(photo credit:
In my 30s I put on 10 pounds in the span of an evening. I went to bed at 29, woke up at 30 and BLAM, all that cake caught up with me. (Mostly in my middle in the form of a muffin top, which I at least found poetic.)

10 years later at 39, I went to bed and woke up at 40 and BLAM... my metabolism was actually sitting on the end of the bed, packed and ready to go. It said to me what all the men I date say, "Peace out, babe. I'm done. There's a 20-something over there with my name on her." (...Insert sad trombone noise here...)

My photo on Tinder after 40.
(Photo credit:

Now I should clarify -- I am/was by no means fat. I just wasn't in good shape or at all strong. I was just walking foie gras. Soft and tasty! Wait... that's a different blog. Ahem.... cough.

So this past August (age 42) I realized that I gotta get my shit together and work out. I've avoided it long enough. I'd recently seen the ads for DailyBurn and it appealed to me. I hated the gym, I'm (always) on a budget, and I finally have an apartment big enough to do a jumping jack in... I signed up.

The first workout I did with them was part of their "True Beginner" program and it KICKED my ass. KICKED. MY. ASS. I was a wreck after my first workout. My thighs burned. My arms ached. My everything hurt. I hobbled around for a few days afterwards before even daring to do the next workout.

"At least I'm cute so you have something to look at while you cry and throw up."
(Photo Credit: Justin Ruben, True Beginner trainer,

But here I am several months later and I gotta say, I look great:

My profile photo on Our Time.
(photo credit: They most likely don't want to be associated with this inane post...)
I'm much more fit now. I can open jars and my arms have a shape other than "lump." As a result, I've moved on from True Beginner to Cardio Sculpt, so again I'm going through the "OMG, I can't walk," and for none of the "fun" reasons.

I still struggle with the urge to just sit down and watch Hulu/Netflix until bed time when I get home from work. (I mean, Gotham is soooo good this year, right?) But I try to hit DailyBurn at least 2-3 times a week.

I do long for the days of plates of bacon and chocolate cake for dinner. But I guess this is worth it. I should be completely kick-ass by 43. And 44. And 45 + infinity!

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to eat my "gluten free Indian Aloo Mattar wrap" and then do my "Lean Abs" workout. Then I'm going to stretch (aka lie down) and reflect (aka cry) while my dog smothers me with love (aka judgement).

It's funny, cuz it's true.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Things I Will Not Apologize For....

Accept everything about yourself - I mean everything, 
You are you and that is the beginning and the end - no apologies, no regrets.
Henry A. Kissinger

Recently writer Washington Post blog author, Alexandra Petri, wrote an article titled, Famous Quotes, the Way A Woman Would Have to Say Them in a Meeting. (Read it, I'll wait...)

While hilarious, this article is also incredibly sad due to its spot on accuracy: Women apologize. For everything. All the time. (I'm sorry, was that too harsh? I totally mean that some women apologize, certainly not you ever. Only some! The weak few, of which you are not! You are amazing and I'm a big stupid nothing! I'm so sorry for breathing your air!!)

I've decided in the spirit of Petri's article to blog a list of things I absolutely have apologized for in the past. As of now, no apologies. Not now or ever. You can't make me. RAWR.

I will not apologize for....
  • ...wanting to be in a relationship. 
  • ...taking copious pictures of my dog in the same exact position every day. (#MaggieAndLady on Instagram, people!)
  • ...speaking confidently. 
  • ...having opinions.
  • ...having an autoimmune disease. 
  • ...not believing in God. 
  • ...supporting and using Planned Parenthood.
  • ...not knowing something that isn't in my area of expertise.
  • ...aging.
  • ...not digging Halloween.
  • ...listening to copious amounts of Pitbull.
  • ...the amount of bacon I eat.
  • ...the bevy of emotions that live inside of me.
  • ...not wanting kids of my own.
My dad always said to live without regrets, but don't be an asshole about it. (Well, not exactly that, but that was the gist.) So here's to keeping apologies limited to situations that actually deserve them. 

Okay, until my next blog.... Rock on! (Oh, I won't apologize for using that phrase either... also, I love saying "Groovy." #Sorry/NotSorry)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Quick post....

Ugh. Tonight writing holds no interest for me but I promised to write daily. (I wish I was the kind of person who can't keep a promise....)

I will make this easy on myself. Here is a list of expressions my dog makes:

1. The same one. A lot.

The end.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

"If I ever have to stop taking the subway,
I'm gonna have a heart attack."
-- Edward Norton

I get it, Ed. Me too. I actually adore the subway. Let me explain....

I lived in LA for 15 years and I spent about 14 1/2 years of that trapped on the 405. (I am pretty sure I spent the entirety of my early 30s year trying to get onto the 10 and failing to be let in even though I used my blinker and a bevy of hand signals. If memory serves, I was finally able to make a u-turn on La Tijera Blvd somewhere around my 36th birthday.) Needless to say, listening to a Mariachi band while riding in a subway car that smells like fresh poo is actually not too bad in comparison.
I have to admit that my favorite part of the subway ride isn't that I can get to midtown in 20 minutes or that I can buy a monthly pass for less than a car payment. My favorite part of my commute is the temperament of the MTA employee who is in charge of the announcements. Often, the announcements are fairly benign, mumbled and usually without enthusiasm. However, this morning was chock full of excitement and I was pumped.

To set the stage you need to know that the train was delayed. So at 8am, the platform was filled to the rim with more assholes than usual. The train arrives and it's already full. FACT: This capacity issue doesn't mean that one should wait for the next train. It actually means, "Shove and push and mutter 'Jesus Christ!' under your breath in the most irritated stage whisper you can muster then glower at anybody who makes eye contact."  (I've heard that many New Yorkers actually list this talent as a marketable skill on Linked In.) 

I was able to squeeze into a small space while the MTA employee reminded us, "Make sure to let the customers OFF the train before you enter the train. Stand clear of the closing doors." The train doors banged shut (BING BONG), then sputtered open (BING BONG). The shut (BING BONG), then open (BING BONG). Then we heard: "STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS! PULL YOUR BAG IN! IN THE FRONT!" (BING BONG, BING BONG, BING BONG, BING BONG)

With each stop, the train became more and more full of indignant assholes. The MTA worker was going mental: "PEOPLE OF NEW YORK! LET. THE CUSTOMERS. OFF. THE. TRAIN. BEFORE. YOU. GET ON. There is another train right behind this one! WAIT FOR IT. It will show up! I promise! Stand clear of the closing doors!" BING BONG - BING BONG. "PULL YOUR BAG IN! DOWN IN FRONT! STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS!!!! THERE IS A TRAIN RIGHT BEHIND THIS ONE YOU STUPID FUCKERS!" (He didn't say 'you stupid fuckers' but it sure was implied....) 

I'd like to say that this is the first time I've heard a MTA suffer from a complete mental break. But it's not. 
And while I feel badly for the MTA worker, I secretly enjoy the drama as it unfolds. Plus the yelling scares away the Mariachi band...... 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Let's try this again...

Let's try this again. And by "this" I mean "writing." 

I just haven't made the time to write in recent years. That's right, it's my fault. I can't say that I don't have time because I have found time to do other things like post ridiculous status updates on Facebook, take copious amounts of photos of my dog in the same exact position with the same exact look on her face, and to iron my hoodies. (Okay, that last one is a joke. I don't iron.)

I recently read (actually, listened to) Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. This book made me cry. It was an amazing cry. It was the cry that finally let out a bucket load of pent up fear, self judgement, and creative stagnation. 

Since I left the entertainment industry I've become scared of writing as in my mind it went from being a vocation to being a hobby. I simply didn't know how to handle the transition. For some reason, for me, the word "hobby" felt... small. Unimportant. Like I'm suddenly that weird uncle who "tinkers" instead of a strong woman who creates. Why was this transition so paralyzing? Why was I even labeling it a "transition"? I don't have answers to that. All I know is that I suddenly became very afraid of people judging me for not being a "real" writer and for some reason, this really mattered to me. 

Back to Elizabeth's book....

Hearing her describe the fear she went through as a writer was like an old friend wrapping a blanket around my shoulders and offering me a cup of tea. It was comfort in the form of support. I was able to digest that I'm not alone, nobody is judging me except me, and my fears are of my own doing. What a great revelation... and right on time.

So here's my plan: It's NaMoWriMo coming up and I'm going to use this to jumpstart my journey back into being an active writer. My plan, to simply write daily in this blog. That's all. No word limits. No big goals other that, "Put words here and hit 'publish.'" To help myself succeed, I'm going to use my favorite habit tracking app (perfctday) so I can watch my writing streak increase with each passing day. (Also, I love metrics... I'm sure I'll blog about that at some point.) I will also post my ramblings on social media so you can follow the journey.

So here it is. First day of writing = done. And it didn't hurt! Much.


PS - I should note that I understand that this whole "fear of writing" post is a first world problem to the gazillionth degree. I'm grateful that this is my biggest fear.


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