Dream House

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Here is the rest of what I was saying:

I know that we will eventually move back to the East Coast. There is a lot about the East Coast that doesn’t suit us but there is a lot about the East Coast that does (namely family and friends and some of the weather and the food and…)

BUT rather than living in NJ again, maybe we can move to NY. We’ve never lived there before so maybe we’d like that better. OR at least we can move to a different area in NJ that is still close to NYC ALTHOUGH NJ is not that big so if you are near NYC, you are basically near where we are from and therefore in a similar neck of the woods. What I DO know that I like is Upstate NY. If there is anyplace on Planet Earth that I would definitely WANT to own property, it is there. It’s beautiful, it smells good, the sky is full of stars, there is a huge amount of open space and trees and grass and hills and water…There are a lot of interesting boarded up houses and farms that are interesting to look at and photograph (and it is rumored that a lot of these properties are going to be restored to their former glory). There are county fairs, drive-in movie theaters and tons of antiquing and thrifting. It’s beautiful. BUT I have also spent two weeks straight up there and after a little while it’s like, “Okay, I feel a little too removed from the world.” So I know I can’t live there full-time but I want it as an option in my life. Also, there aren’t enough job opportunities up there for my taste.

SO the way I think our lives will go is that we will probably eventually buy a small house up there (or just land and build a small house on it) and then rent an apartment in Montclair or NYC. We want to be close enough to NYC so that it’s not a shitty commute but there are things to do and conveniences around. There are NO conveniences in Upstate. Not like in Northern NJ or NYC anyway. Shit shuts DOWN. And the area I like (The Hudson Valley/Catskills) is about an hour and a half to two hours from Northern NJ/NYC. In not much of a time investment, you really feel like you’ve gone somewhere else. It’s simple to drive in a weekend. When you’re there you actually FEEL the shackles of your life coming off of you, the little stressors you didn’t even realize were there until you don’t have them anymore. I just feel like up there, I actually sit down and read newspapers and books and kind of get up out of my chair and DO physical things. Take walks, go swimming, go biking, collect rocks, look for firewood, just kind of rudimentary things that seem like a hassle (or aren’t even an option) to fit into your daily existence but up there are ALL you have to do. No schedule or appointments, just EXISTING for a while. And you don’t have to go to bed at any particular time but you fall into bed EXHAUSTED at the end of the day anyway and wake up at the crack of dawn naturally.

We’ve always gone up there camping in the summer but can’t go up there in the winter because there the heat and electricity gets shut off in the part of the campground where we stay. I feel like if I had my own little house or cabin, it would be nice to go up there year-round. Spend Thanksgiving and Christmas up there. Have Easter egg hunts in the woods. Have a fireplace inside and outside. Maybe have a pool for the summer. It’s just a different world up there. There’s no one around to bother or to bother you either. Also the general lack of visible police is actually more comforting than you’d imagine. First of all, a visible police presence isn’t NEEDED because you’re not in any danger. Second of all, you don’t realize how monitored you feel until you are somewhere that isn’t passed by a police cruiser every ten minutes. I’ve brought people up there who get uneasy because of this. They don’t feel safe that there aren’t police around. But if you really stop and think about it, they’re not there constantly because they don’t need to be. That is nice. (And in the 30 years I’ve been going up there, I’ve never needed a police officer or SEEN anyone need one either. There is a general “live and let live” policy up there where everyone minds their own bidness and respects each other’s stuff/privacy.) Third of all, it is kind of freeing to know that, for one, there aren’t eyeballs on you other than those that belong to the people you have invited. You don’t realize what a stressor that is until you don’t have to worry about it. (Not that I do ANYTHING that is illegal. I am a girl scout but what I am saying is that it’s nice to just be away from prying eyes and left to your own devices sometimes.)

Also, when we used to go camping, we had clothes, towels, toothbrushes and just “stuff” we used there that stayed there all summer. And that “stuff” wasn’t ever pretty or stylish or anything but functional. That “stuff” was always handmade or thrifted and was always fell into one of these two categories “useful” or “fun”. Nothing was “have to”, everything was “want to”. It as a relief to have a space full of things that didn’t hold any ties to “have to”. When you only have your house or your apartment, you don’t know how relaxing it is to have a separate place where ONLY your “want to” things live. And responsibilities DO come with owning such a place because you have to clean it and weatherproof it, etc but even THAT is a “want to”. It’s like a giant craft project and if you involve your family and your friends, it can become a “want to” space for everyone and therefore a craft project everyone can get involved in. Everyone can contribute things that can be used later by everyone like games and toys and puzzles and warm blankets and books etc.

So anyway, that is what I want for myself. And if anything ever happened to my apartment in/near the city, at least I’d have a home to go to. *shrug* As much as I like people, I need a space to get away from people too. And living in such close quarters to other people on other people’s land is just too shaky for me. You never have a sense of ownership or power in your station. But buying a house in even a semi-urban area like where we’re from in NJ stresses me out because that feels like it would be sort of a kick in the ass. You OWN this property and yet you STILL can’t turn your radio up or have a party or not have to hear the person in the next house throw up. Haha. I feel like I would feel too indignant all the time if I owned a house that I didn’t have total control over.

We have to stay here for a few years and work and go to school. Ultimately what I want is to have a job where I make enough money to have an apartment on BOTH coasts. It would be nice to be able to fly back and forth for work and get the best of both worlds but I am dreaming in that respect. But I feel like if I had a house Upstate, I could move West for work if I had to and then our families could get use out of it. We all win, whereas if I owned a house in Montclair, NJ why in the hell would anyone want to take over that house when I’m not there? I mean it’s a cute town but not different enough from anywhere else so that you feel like you’ve gone on vacation. If we had a house in the woods, even when we were out of state, someone else could enjoy it and relax for a weekend or for a week.

So that’s the plan for someday. And I WILL make this happen, mark my words haha.

I miss the Northeast

I know it sounds crazy but I hate LA’s weather. I guess you can take the girl out of the unpredictable weather but you can’t take the unpredictable weather out of the girl. Whenever I see snow or coldness on TV I get really jealous!

And you know what else I miss? Old things. Everything in LA is basically brand new. Even the older buildings are not as old as they are in the Northeast. I miss being close to DC and Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and New York. I feel like holidays are cozier there.

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A Touch of “Little House on the Prairie”-related Homesickness

Lately I’ve been feeling kind of far away from the world, sort of out of touch. Our cable is off so I can’t even watch the same TV shows everyone is watching as a way to stay connected. I gave up my internship for a couple of reasons, one being that we couldn’t afford it anymore, especially since we were both doing Internships. It’s better for Kristyn to do hers because I’ve had my chance. And I don’t regret that because fair is fair and I love that she is so happy.

The problem with not going to that internship anymore is that I am home alone all of the time. And Kristyn is gone and out of the house all of the time. So I have nothing to do. Ever.

But I’m sort of okay with that too. It gives me a lot of time to think, a lot of time to create, a lot of time to job hunt and clean. I’m okay being by myself most of the time. But this is a lot.

When I love a TV show, I have to buy it on DVD. I like to have the option to watch them over and over again. I know that that’s crazy in the era of Netflix but there are some shows that I just can’t get over. And I want to work in television so I think of it as a form of research. I don’t ever want to mime someone else’s work but it’s important to study the things you like to gain creative inspiration, no?

So we mostly have a collection of sitcoms…and “Little House on the Prairie”. I bought season one a few years back, got through a quarter of it, got tired of Kristyn making fun of it and put it away. During those times we worked on the same schedule so we did everything together. There was literally no time to watch a television show that we didn’t both like (even though she would fall asleep as soon as we put something on haha). Anyway, I started watching it again and just love it so much. It’s so comforting. I like that it’s so innocent. And it remindeds me a lot of my Mom and my Nana and being a little girl.

The problem is that it is making me homesick. I love LA but I don’t like the climate. Everyone at home feels like it is something to be jealous of but honestly it gets old fast. We are only truly happy when it’s “cold” (aka 60 degrees) or rainy. There’s no change in the weather ever. But IDK, I’d surely be just as sad if I were back there.

Sometimes it feels like, “Why are we even here?” We’ve been here for over a year but haven’t gotten to experience what it’s like to live here at all. There’s no room for fun or enjoyment. Any day Kristyn has off, she just has to collapse and rest because tomorrow she has somewhere else she has to be. We’re always hurrying her out the door and it stresses her out and makes me feel guilty. But I’m trying, it’s just not working. And when she has off, all I want to do is get out of this horrible apartment and into the world but she needs that time to be here. To see the cats, to lay down on the couch, to not move. And when she’s at work, I can’t take the car and go out because we can’t afford the gas. So IDK we are in a bad cycle. We have come up with a plan that will likely be more affective than what we’re doing now in terms of the quality of our lives.

Because Kristyn works late, we tend to stay up late and then sleep late and then she has to rush out the door. We realized last night that if we get up early on the weekdays no matter what time she has to be to work, she will have more time to write her blogs, call her parents and enjoy being here. And I will be able to get up, keep regular hours, spend more time with her and maybe we can even go for a walk together or something. And then we can sleep in on the weekends like normal people do. So IDK, we’re going to try it this week and see.

Another problem is that we are not in our element here. When you live someplace for your entire life, you know how to keep yourself busy. You know where to find all the things you need and want. That is a huge reason why we LEFT NJ. We were tired of not having to use our brains. We WANTED a challenge. We WANTED to have all new things. The prospect of not knowing where to find things was something we wanted. And it’s something we still do want. The problem is that sometimes you DON’T want to have to think or plan. You just want to do. And everything we want to do involves a big-ass plan. So it’s tiring sometimes. For instance, I desperately want to go to a yard sale. Not a Hollywood Hills yard sale where everything is a ridiculous amount of money. I want to go to a cheap-ass yard sale where someone’s aunt is selling all their weird crap on their lawn for a bean. I want to buy seven things, hand them a fiver and get change back. But this is fucking Hollywood. There are regular people all over the place but the odds of me finding yard sales like that around here are slim to none. I found one recently but it was seriously just JUNK. Like stuff that ought to have been thrown out fifteen years ago and not saved under any circumstances. In NJ we went yard sale-ing all the time because we knew exactly where to troll for sales. And NJ is small so the odds of you finding a little nook with a sale are great. LA is huger than you can ever even begin to imagine. You could probably fit five New York Cities in LA (or more). It’s huge. So where the hell do you start?! That is the problem with this city. It’s so goddamn big! For everything the first question is, “Where do we start?!” So then I think, “Well I’ll go to a second hand store to get my thrift on.” Wrong. Everything is priced the way it would be if it were brand new and in a store which takes all the fun out of it even if I DID have money to spare. The fun part of thrifting is the hunt, the surprise of finding weird stuff you didn’t know you wanted and the low commitment of expense. I’m not interested in ripping people off but if you are charging $50 but a point and shoot 35 mm camera that probably sold for $10 five years ago, we have a problem.

And I know I’m rambling at this point but I need a good ramble and it’s doubtful you’re even paying attention anymore so whatever. Another problem we have is that people keep giving us advice. We appreciate it but this city is way too complex for anyone to really advise us on anything. In NJ/NY everything is so close together. Our conventional wisdom that works in that area just doesn’t work here. You can’t really walk to anything here. And when people said that to me before I moved here I was all, “Malarky!” But it’s true. Everything is farther than you imagine it to be. For instance, when driving down Santa Monica Boulevard towards home, there is this fast food place that I always take as a marker that I am home…just a little bit further now. But that fast food place is actually twenty minutes from my house. The drive is just so long that my brain remembers it as “almost home” and it is in no way “almost home”. In NJ, anywhere you want to go is 20 minutes away for real. We’ve gotten so used to LA’s hugeness that a 40 minute drive (one way) doesn’t seem like anything at all. When I drive Kristyn to work and come back again that’s 40 minutes each way and then another 40 each way to pick her up at night again. So that’s 160 minutes in the car which is TWO HOURS AND FOURTY MINUTES driving time so that I can have the car to go food shopping. Do you know how much gas that is?! Haha. It’s a lot. So we FINALLY learned that it’s just best for us to run these sorts of errands when Kristyn has off or when the car is already in this area either before she goes to work or when she gets home. Which of course leaves me here babbling to you guys, watching a million episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” and thinking about all the things I want to do but don’t know how to do here but would know exactly how to do if I were home. Vicious cycle guys, vicious cycle. And the horrible part is that I KNOW that if I were home either because we left here or because we never came here, I’d be crying about the exact reverse problem. I have ACTUALLY said these words in NJ, “Even sitting in an apartment in LA would be better than having a good time here!” I’m an asshole, what can you do?

BUT on the bright side, we are going to start the process of applying to schools out here. As much as I’m bitching, we both know that this is the place we have to be right now if we want to work in this industry. Naturally we can live home and work in New York in this industry if we wanted to but we both suspect that our resumes will look shinier if we learn the ropes and pay our dues here rather than there. Nothing says “Hollywood” like a diploma from “Hollywood”. And we are smart enough to realize that while adding school onto our load is only going to make us whine even more and look back on these times as “simpler times we wish we could go back to”. Life = suffering. Once you understand what that means it actually is kind of funny. The past and the future always look rosy and the present, no matter how sweet, always looks bleak because you’re in the midst of your problems, the realities right in front of you and the future unsure. I do know that despite all my whinging, we will look back on these days fondly. We were young, we were stupid, we didn’t have anyone to take care of but ourselves (and our million pets). We were living in the city of our dreams and following the path to the careers we always wanted. And I know we’ll definitely say, “Why did we need all those crocheted blankets again?”

So anyway, I’m gonna go now, cross-stitch and watch some more (you guessed it):

P.S. Someone needs to buy me the full collection of this show. Who cares if it veered into “who cares” territory towards the end. THE COLLECTION COMES IN A GODDAMN COVERED WAGON! How lovely (obnoxious) would that look presented on a mantle? “Welcome in friends. I have a mental illness not classified by the latest version of the DSM. Please put on a bonnet and have a wheatflour cookie.”

P.S. #2 Here is the episode I am going to go watch. It is a BEAUTYFUL episode and I tried to force Kristyn to watch it last night to no avail. This clip shows all the important parts, enough to rip out those heartstrings.

What’s Going On

We have really, really given it our all here in LA. We have given up so much to follow this dream that there’s not much else left for us to give up. I just got word that I didn’t get a job that would have been our brightest hope. I’m not saying that all is necessarily lost but things are looking mighty bleak at this current moment.

We are both optimists, me moreso than Kristyn. We’ve been struggling like whoa but not complaining about it because we chose this path. We don’t want anyone’s help. We don’t want anyone’s sympathy. We just have been trying to maintain a single-minded mindset of total success. “This thing has to work.” There is only so long you can accept circumstances as “setbacks” rather than “horrible situations”. We are at the point where we don’t have any more room left for optimism. It’s time to look at the cold hard facts and make some tough decisions.

We have a million reasons to move back to NJ. We have a million reasons not to move back to NJ. For one, life in LA is just a higher quality of life, even if you are dirt poor. The weather is nice. The sun is always shining which gives you energy and motivation as well as elevates your mood. Because there isn’t any rain, you can leave stuff outside and not worry about it being totally ruined in a flash storm in the middle of the night. My allergies are basically nonexistent here probably because nothing ever dies truly so there’s no reason to fully repollinate. People are nicer which goes a long way with sensitive people like us. If it’s hot, it’s only when the sun is out unlike in NJ where if it’s 90 at noon, it’s 90 at midnight still. Also, most importantly the largess of the entertainment industry is here which is where our hearts lie.

BUT I am here to say that although wild optimism can take you further than you would have gone otherwise, it also can’t get you everything. I am a hard working person. I am a person who methodically turns every stone. I am a person who dots every “i” and crosses all the “t’s”. We have looked high and low for a good-paying job for me and have come up empty-handed. We get a lot of well-meaning but stressful suggestions from people all the time about avenues we already went down six months ago. And we get a lot of offhand comments about how “lucky” we are. There’s no luck to this at all. Our noses are firmly on the grindstone making our own circumstances and paying dearly through the nose for the privilege. So IDK.

I’m sure there are those who would love to call this whole thing a failure and you and I both know who you are. But regardless of what happens, this past year has been the time of my life. I had the rare privilege to follow my heart and my dreams, something that most people aren’t in the position to do. And being here has made us appreciate every little nuance of life. Little pockets of joy the would otherwise seem mundane are the only things that have kept our chins up through some terrifying times. I know that I can tend to be the “everything is fine!” girl and that is not a put-on. I am nothing if not endlessly naive, well-meaning, purpose-driven and optimistic. These qualities have made a lot of great things happen in my life, including and especially this adventure.

Not all is lost, not yet. We talked it over before and we might still have some tricks up our sleeves. Kristyn is at work and when she gets home, we’re going to put on our thinking caps and come up with some idears. At first we were quick to throw in the towel but have realized we might just have more resources than we thought we did. So IDK we will see.

Anyway I’m not writing this to worry anyone, to ask for help or to garner sympathy. I’m just expressing myself and how I feel right now: kind of defeated, kind of resigned, kind of newly optimistic about our upcoming plans and generally happy we did this/bummed that it didn’t necessarily work out the way we wanted it to.

Things can turn around but in the meantime, wish us luck!

Vanessa and the Blueberry Beer of Ter-ror

This weekend our friend Vanessa came down to see us. Vanessa is a special effects makeup artist so there were a few stores she wanted to check out. We went to Frend’s Beauty Supply. It was pretty cool in there. It was half regular beauty supply place and half special effects makeup.

They had really cool appliances to make some really devastating injuries but I wasn’t sure how many pictures I could get away with taking so I only took pictures of fake noses and ears haha.

But here is a particularly grievous injury for you to enjoy:

Along with some really gross fake vomit:

I don’t know why these cartons that say “Wildwood, NJ” on them are in a makeup supply store in LA but let’s roll with it:

Here is a creepy-ass face mold. I want this for my collection of disembodied (fake) heads:

Here are some more creepy faces. They are examples of different foams that you can mix to make molds:

And there were a few science-experimenty things that I suppose were being sold so you can mix chemicals?

I even peeped a bunsen burner at one point (though this isn’t it):

Some test tubes:

And here is the most important picture of all. I present to you, Vanessa in her element:

After that store, we went to Halloween Town, Rob Zombie’s year-round Halloween shop. Vanessa bought two awesome prints of local artists’ work. Then we went to a couple more more-or-less forgettable stores in Burbank. We stopped at Michael’s so I could buy some yarn to finish a project and so Vanessa could buy frames for the prints. After that we went to Vons to pick up some pizza and blueberry beer. We chilled on the lanai and feverishly talked about Harry Potter.

These pictures were taken around 1am when Lil Krissy finally came home. Me and Vanessa had each had about two and a half blueberry beers and were three sheets to the wind. I don’t know what is the matter with these delightful blueberry beers:

We went in not too long after I took this picture because we thought we heard gunshots:

So we watched “Hot Tub Time Machine” until we all fell asleep where we sat like a bunch of lightweight drunkards.

The next day Vanessa got up and went to Medieval Times which made us jelly because we love us some Medieval Times.

So that was our time. Good times had by all. We all were kind of sick the next day from our “rager”. And that is what you get.

Fin.

2004

Oh so I forgot that in 2003, we also took a road trip to Boston and Salem.  I’ll put it here because that 2003 post is waaay too long.

Around my birthday/Halloween, we wanted to have a party but my sister’s friend would not allow it under any circumstances.  I know right?  Who’re you?  (Things had begun devolving at an alarming pace.)  So we decided to take a trip to Boston and Salem.  We’d already all been to Boston before but none of us had ever gone to Salem.  So we spent a couple of days tooling around Boston and having a generally great time.  I remember having a Guinness in an Irish pub and I think the barkeep either made a heart or a shamrock in the foam.  I know it’s supposed to be a shamrock but for some reason I’m thinking “heart”.  Whatever.

We took a little drive up to Salem and went to every single museum and or exhibit about Tituba that exists.  I have pictures of this jaunt somewhere but not on me so whatever.  It was so cute up there!  We loved it!  There was a brewery called Beer Works that we were dying to have dinner at.  They had the most awesome blueberry beer that they put a zillion actual blueberries in!  We had our meal and it was delish and then me and Amanda ordered this Apple Crumble Ice Cream Parfait that we’d been eyeing on the menu.  It came to us and we were like so excited we high-fived and even jumped up and bounced chests.  We were screaming with delight when Amanda gagged.  Alarmed, we asked what was wrong.  Amanda hacked something onto her shaking paw.  It was  brown lump of meat gristle.  Apparently the “Apple Crumble Station” is a wee bit to close to the “Meat we don’t want station” and forces collided to create Beer Works’ first Apple Crumble Ice Cream Gristle Parfait. (At least I hope it was their first.) They were hella nice about it and I think took some duckets off our bill.  Thanks Beer Works for the laugh and the monies!

Natch when we came home, our house was in shambles due to the PARTY that our roommate had thrown while we were away.  B*tch.

But THAT was okay because in 2004, we started the year off with a trip to Philly and DC for Kristyn’s birthday.  This would be the start of an annual pilgrimage we’d make to DC for one reason or another every year on Kristyn’s birthday which is January 22nd (Coming up!  She accepts presents large and small!).  First we stopped off in Philly.  We did some shopping on South Street (so awesome), had some Cheesesteaks (I know, I never learn) and visited the Mutter Museum.

Philly in the bitter cold.

While shopping, we wandered into this awesome store filled with all Mexican Day of the Dead and Friday Kahlo-inspired art. It was around this time that me and Kristyn were just getting obsessed with Frida so our eyes were agog. We couldn’t afford to buy anything so we just gawked and I’ve never been back since. (Damn you Coleen!)

The Philly Cheesesteak-having was another experience in and of itself. After narrowing down our (plentiful) options, we decided picked a popular-looking place. The line was out the door and onto the street.

We finally got inside and were faced with a Cheesesteak line that was so militarized that it was akin to Soup Nazi territory. You were not given a second’s time to think about what it is you wanted or to look at a menu. You were expected to have considered it on the way or while waiting on line. As this was our first experience, we were totally caught off guard. If you missed the small window that you were to give a response by a fraction of a second, they moved onto the guy behind you and you missed out. It was that intense. But if I were stading over a steaming two foot high PILE of burning meat, I might have a temper too.

They say, “ROLL!” and if you don’t select a bread, they give you whatever they want and you like it. They say, “CHEESE!” and if you don’t say yes or no, they don’t give you any. They say “ONIONS AND PEPPERS!” and if you hesitate, you get dry meat on a dry roll. After many apologies (on our parts) and rolled eyes (on their parts), our trays were literally SHOVED at us and we were sent away. Looking around, there was no where at ALL to sit. An worker goes, “GO UPSTAIRS!” So we walked down this weird like storage hallways with our trays and are met with a stairwell. Uncertain, we climb the stairs and walk in on total pandemonium. It’s a tiny room and it is filled to capacity. There literally no seats or surfaces available and to the right there are a bunch of aggrivated people standing with their trays. Their food is sitting untouched and steaming on their plates. We notice quickly that it is every man for himself up in this bitch. When you see someone lift their asscheek to fart, it is up to you to pre-emptively run up behind them and loom over them willing them to get the hell up already so you can sit down and eat a hot meal. We finally got seats (not all together) and were forced to eat with a quickness. People were literally standing over us sighing heavily and shifting their weight as we rapidly fed meats and cheeses into our mouth holes. Overwhelmed and full, we staggered out of the restaurant, actually GLAD to be in 20 degree whipping winds.

We were really into the L Word at this point so, one night, we went to this bar that was supposed to be showing the premiere. Walking from our hotel in China Town, we meet his guy. He is scary. I am polite to him because we don’t want to get knifed. His nose is running profusely and he asks for a light. Amanda gives him her lighter and tells him to go ahead and keep it. He tells us that we shouldn’t be out walking in this neighborhood because it’s not safe. When I ask why he tells me that there are all kinds of drug dealers and junkies in the area. I asked him how he knew and he said, “Why do you think I’m here?” and leaves. But ya know what? He actually walked us to the bar to make sure we got there safely because after he left us, he crossed the street and walked back the way we’d just came…Nice junkie.

On this trip, we also paid a visit to the Mutter Museum. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a museum about how modern medicine came into being starting with the Lewis and Clark Expedition and ending with a bunch of mangled skeletons and a decayed woman. It was so gross, so weird and so interesting. It’s an absolute must see if you are ever in Philly. Even if you’re squeamish, go check this out. The reason they have weird stuff there is because they show how the study of medical oddities actually advances modern medicine because it outlines “normalities” vs. “abnormalities”. So interesting.

But then it was time to go to DC. We’d never been to DC before and it was a huge shock. I mean it is one thing to see the White House and the Lincoln Memorial on TV or in a picture and it is another thing entirely to see them in person. It was almost dizzying. We were dumbfounded, almost like starstruck. Being there, you really are hyper aware of how grateful we really ought to be to live in this country. At least I was. I’d never given it much thought. But the monuments, the memorials and the buildings remind you that that this country is not just running on steam. It’s running on the hard work of people who are fighting for human rights all over the globe. It really IS the center of the universe there or at least it feels like it. IDK, I am a dissenter with the best of’m but to me, I can’t get enough of visiting DC and I’m never not impressed whenever I go. One of the things I miss about home is being able to visit there whenever I want. Ah well.

Anyway, if it was cold in Philly, it was MIND-WARPINGLY frigid in DC. On the day that we visited the monuments, it was so cold that we were almost crying. We couldn’t hail a cab to get back home for the life of us and we were stuck down by the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. It was President’s Day weekend as well and I just think that either cabs weren’t running as frequently or everyone had’m booked. We eventually got in one though thank GAWD.

We also visited the Smithsonian. I absolutely insisted on visiting the National Museum of American History because I NEEDED to see Archie and Edith’s chairs. We also had some delicious Pakoras in a food court there.

Me, Kristyn, Smithsonian

We also fell in love with Abe Lincoln on this trip. I think the love affair started at the Memorial and intensified the further into the trip we got. We visited Ford’s Theater and that pretty much solidified it. I mean they had so MUCH interesting memoribilia…They had the suit he’d been wearing when he was shot…a bloody pillow he laid his head on…a gun that was exactly like the one that shot him…pictures, letters, factoids, everything. SO interesting. And across the street, there is another, lesser-known museum. It is the house where Lincoln actually died. After he was shot, he was carried out of the theater and a person living across the street told them to bring him inside. They lay him on a bed and nine hours later he died. You actually get to go into the room where Abe Lincoln died. It was sobering as hell. Amanda couldn’t take it and literally FLED the house. We had to run after her hahaha…

Me, Kristyn and our boyfriend Honest Abe

Another awesome place we went to while we were there was the Black Cat. We just went to check it out and have a coupla drinks but who the hell did we find? David Cross. At the time, we didn’t watch Arrested Development and only knew him from Mr. Show and Scary Movie 2. We were all (especially Kristyn and Amanda) obsessed with Scary Movie 2 and swarmed in on him. Kristyn and Amanda kept muttering stuff about a “strong hand” to him because that was their favorite part (even though that had nothing to do with him). He was very nice but kind of nonplussed to be being fawned over right now because he was just chilling with a coupla friends. But at the time we were obnoxious and invasive and insisted on a picture, *sigh*. Idiots. Still, awesome picture.

Me, Amanda, David Cross, Kristyn, Some Guy

The rest of this year was sort of a festive, violent blur. We went to Aldo’s a lot and to the Loop Lounge a lot. I got heavily into painting old furniture and recovering old chairs (to extremely varied results). A bitter war erupted that lasted the rest of our tenure in this apartment and it was pure undiluted hell living there, omg.

When we were moving out, we locked Mitten up in my sister and other roommate’s room because they’d already moved out and it was the only room that was empty while we moved our furniture out. We just didn’t want the cat to get out. While we were at our new place unloading stuff, my cat must have taken a dump. My roommate’s boyfriend decided to take the cat shit out of the litter box and put it all into a bag of clothes we’d left behind. We didn’t notice anything weird for a long time because that was a bag of clothes we were donating. Don’t worry, sweet revenge happens.

In the middle of all of this, we actually had tickets to go see Bjork play at Coney Island. We are huge Bjork fans and had never seen her live before. It was an open-air concert at a ball field. The beach was right behind the stage. The concert was amazing and finished with fireworks that were timed to the music. It was incredible.

Me, Kristyn, Bjork (somewhere in the far, far distance)

Me, Kristyn, Amanda, Voldemort

Me, Kristyn, Amanda, You-Know-Who

We moved into our next apartment that was pretty much a total dump. BUT it was in our price range and across the street from Kristyn’s parents. Kristyn’s father insisted we take the apartment and loaned us the security deposit (thank you!). It was a tiny, one bedroom cute little apartment in a two story walk-up apartment building. Everything in it was old as hell though and the landlords, though seemingly nice, were stingy as hell with fixing anything. Any time the shower broke, the landlord would come upstairs and regale us with irrelevant stories for hours (much like I’m doing to you right now). Then at one point he’d accuse us of taking up his time, slip off to the bathroom, shut the door behind him and come out five minutes later telling us that the shower was broken, nothing he can do about it now, see you later. Later, it’d be fixed but we’d find that he put a device in the shower to lower the water pressure drastically since they paid heat and hot water. Also, that winter was BITTERLY cold because since they paid for heat and hot water, they wouldn’t provide us with any. Sweet people.

That fall, George W. Bush was elected to a second term in the White House. John Kerry, a promising candidate, royally f’d up his run and let the Swift Boat Veterans concoct a bullshit story tearing town his Purple Heart in Vietnam. I mean seriously? I was working at a Printing Company in Lyndhurst and scoured the Newspapers daily waiting for his rebuttal that never came. When GWB was re-elected, me and Kristyn were filled with a fury that could have set the entire White House ablaze (again).

Also during this time, was when we got sweet revenge on our roommate’s boyfriend. We’d gone to a bar in Newark and were feeling rowdy as hell. On our way out of the bar, some guys started calling me and Amanda fat in Spanish. There was a hot dog truck right there and they were all eating hot dogs. Me and Amanda basically told them to screw off but KRISTYN…Hahaha…KRISTYN walks right up to them and goes, “Fat? Who’s fat?” and SLAPS the hot dog right out of one of those dudes hands! Haha…They were just kind of like “OH SN-AP!” and we congratulated ourselves all the way to the diner where we wanted to eat like pigs, haha. So we enter the Lyndhurst Diner and are enjoying our meal when guess who walks through the door…It’s my ex-roommate, her boyfriend and some other people I won’t name to protect the (somewhat) innocent. They sit at a table across the room and straight off the bat, douchebag starts giving us the finger and making faces at us and mouthing cursewords at us. Alright, have it your way.

So what we did was order two large Cokes, no ice before we left. We were seated by the door and they were seated further into the restaurant. Amanda got the car and pulled it up to the door as a getaway car. We walked the long way around so we could approach him from behind. The people on the other side of the table saw us coming but didn’t think much of it since we don’t have beef with those mothers. I don’t remember who did it first but all I remember is seeing my arm through tunnel vision taking that large glass of Coke no ice and pouring that shit right over his head. Seperately we each took our glasses and poured them over his head. It splattered all over our ex-roommate and everyone at the table was stunned. We like flat RAN out to the car before anyone could stop us, jostling into Guidos and Guidettes as we ran. We got threatened a lot but didn’t care. I know that sounds mean but I don’t give a shit. That was the hands-down best revenge either of us has ever gotten in our lives. And you know what? He didn’t do crap about it because he knew he had it coming. This was a guy who, before the cat shit, we’d both really liked. He was a lot of house parties I threw, he was there at that fateful New Year’s Eve 1999-2000. He even cleaned the champagne off the floors, ceiling and walls. I guess, in his fervor to impress my roommate, he’d gotten a little carried away and taken it to a level. Before we poured Cokes no ice over his head, he’d started calling us on a regular basis and leaving voicemails threatening us and calling us dykes. Why? I have no idea. We weren’t doing shit to him or his girlfriend, he just wanted to be a jerk. So this is what happened. Guess who never got a filthy voicemail again? Oh they’re married now too. Bookends.

Anyway, when we were in our other apartment, on the day of the Friends finale (which according to Wikipedia was May 6, 2004), we decided out of the blue to go and buy us a bunny rabbit. We trucked it on over to the pet store and picked out the first “dwarf rabbit” who caught our eyeballs. His name started out as “Stephanie” (because the words “Mr. and Mrs. Stephanockanoodle” sent us into gales of hysterical laughter at the time, don’t ask). When his testicles descended, we realized that Stephanie was a bro but naming him Stephen was out of the question due to a biker we all knew who had the same name. This assmunch had literally 21 shirts that he’d had made that ALL read “Blow Me” on the front and “Then Leave” on the back. It wasn’t our idea that we knew this man and I won’t reveal his identity to protect the (somewhat) innocent. But anyway, it was beyond out of the question, let’s leave it at that.

But our boy rabbit turned out to be the farthest thing away from a “dwarf rabbit” that one can actually be. He was behemoth. But he was a total delight. He was like a little puppy. So full of energy, so happy. So much fun that I whined until we got another one. Big fn mistake. My bad.

Kristyn and Biggie

Knowing that the pet store we bought Biggie at were full of liars, we marched right back there and did the whole thing all over again. Just like last time we were feverishly reassured that this was a girl, this time we were feverishly reassured that we were buying a boy. We named our new little boy “Little” because again, he was a “dwarf rabbit”. (And I WONDER why my mother is forever saying to me, “COLEEN, the definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing over and over again and expecting different results…”) So we bring Little home and he is just such a little charmer. So sweet. So meek. Loves to be held. We fell in love.

Before long, we heard weird squealing noises coming from Little. Suddenly Little did not want to be picked up. Suddenly Little started putting on weight.

It was December 4, 2004 and I will never forget that date so long as I live. It was a Saturday and we’d been out dancing until all hours the night before. I woke up in a haze to go to the bathroom and noticed that something was haywire in the kitchen (where we kept Little). There was white puffs of hair everywhere and upon further inspection, streaks of blood all over the floor. Now fully awake, I became terrified and started trying to find Little. I found her and she was okay, not a scratch on her. Biggie was okay too so what was the problem? I looked to my right and saw a wriggling, hairless organ. BABIES. Little was a SHE and SHE’D had babies…four of them. Oh my god they were DISGUSTING. I have never seen newborn puppies or kittens or bunnies before in my life and to me these looked like little evil hairless aliens or organs. Dry-heaving, I scream and run into the bedroom waking Kristyn up. She runs in and we are stunned.

Kristyn and Little

I guess you can imagine that up until this exact point, we have no idea what we are doing. We haven’t researched what it is to own a rabbit, not really. We know how to feed one but we have no idea how to tell the gender of a rabbit, how to tell if one is pregnant, how to handle babies, gestation cycle, NOTHING. I remember going to Willowbrook Mall that day because I had to absolutely get the hell out of the house. I kept getting all grossed out that those guys were wriggling on my kitchen floor. Thankfully, we looked up The House Rabbit Society and found a ton of information. We needed to get a box and cut a hole out of the side of it leaving a like four inch wall so Little can get out but the babies can’t. We had to gather up all of the fur she’d shed and put it in the box. We learned that when rabbits are about to give birth, they rip out their own hair with their teeth to make a bed for their babies so it was important to put it in the box and make a nest. We learned that we WERE allowed to touch them and she wouldn’t shun them afterward. We had to put them in the box and literally bury them in the fur so they can stay warm like an incubator. We also learned that rabbits will not go near their babies during daylight hours to minimize threats from predators. You won’t see them approach the babies or feed them because in the wild, if the mother does approach the babies, a predator could be watching and she could inadvertantly lead him straight to them. Instead, the mother waits until dawn and stands over the babies who suckle from her.

Christmas that year was adorable. They grew fast and sprouted fur quickly. They followed each other like a row of ducklings all over the house. I distinctly remember them marching in a line out of the kitchen and into the living room in front of the tree. It was a lot of fun. And then they grew up, more on that mess later.

Below is a picture of me and Mitten. We’d brought Mitten to Florida and she actually ended up staying there when we came home to NJ. We didn’t have a place for her to live here so Karen continued to watch her while we got on our feet. Karen and her boyfriend came to visit during the brief four month period that we lived in that one purple-bedroomed apartment and brought Mitten back with her. Mitten was PIIIIIIIISSED at me…Man of La Mancha. She was happy to see me but full of hatred too. Like I could see it in her eyes that the following emotions were warring in her person: Oh thank God it’s you…AND…BITCH you done left me in Florida for most of a year and I hate you for it!

But she got over it eventually and moved with us to the haunted house and then onto our new apartment full of rabbits. Mitten had always been a standoffish cat that was better suited to go about her own bidness. She’d always loved me though and we were like Siamese twins. I’d gotten her when I was in the second grade and we’d grown up together.

She’d recently gotten a wound that wouldn’t heal and her abdomen kept swelling up for some reason. I took her to the doctor and found out she had intestinal cancer. She was eighteen years old at this point. I was told that so long as she was eating and happy to let her live out the rest of her life in peace. Give her all of her favorite things and let her sleep in all of her favorite places. Test her health based on the things she stops responding to. As you cross the things off the list, you know her time is coming to a close. So that’s what I did.

She was actually very happy and content during this time. Over the past few years, she’d grown from an extremely cautious and standoffish cat to one that was really comfortable in her skin, happy and relaxed. She was really happy at this apartment, just relaxing with Kristyn and I.

Here we are chilling in my bedroom:

Mitten and Me

SO, that was 2004. It was a lot of fun and it was a lot of unneccessary drama.

2005 is kind of a mess* though so hold onto your seats.

*By “a mess”, I mean: RADICAL.

2002

2002 was one of our craziest years yet. We had such a good time this year that it was incredible. To start off the year, I was working at The Bagel Bistro in North Arlington, which I absolutely HATED. Thankfully, my friends Mildred and Charles got me hired at the Fairfield Inn which was awesome. I moved from my Aunt Heather’s house to Amanda’s House. Much thanks to my Aunt Heather, cousin Brianna, Amanda and Mr. and Mrs. DePalma for taking me in. I know I was a handful and I am forever in your debt…

Livin at Amanda’s House.

We started hanging out at the Loop Lounge and at Dingo’s Den a lot. Dingo’s was fun because there werecouches but it was always ear-splittingly loud up in that piece. Still, we managed to eek out a good time.

Amanda, Kristyn, Me, Anthony, Erin and Lauren at Dingo's Den.

We suddenly got into No Doubt this year and went to their Rock Steady tour. It was general admission and we were hella close to the stage. It was awesome and we all walked out with crushes on Gwen Stefani although Kristyn spent a lot of the concert pressed up against someone who smelled like cat urine but that’s another story.

Gwen Stefani!

A few months later, we went on a cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas and the Bahamas. Kristyn’s sister Lynn and her now-husband Tommy were getting married and wanted to do it cruise style. Oh my god, what a great idea that was! Probably like 20 people went, we all had fun on the ship, got to get off and visit the islands, the ceremony was on the beach in St. Thomas and they got off in the Bahamas for their honeymoon. It was a great time.

In San Juan, we got off the boat and walked around the harbor. It was beautiful there and the architecture was amazing. We found out that you’re allowed to drink in public so we all bought cans of beer in a store. But while in the store, we found out that you can drink them in public but you have to drink them in the store. What?! Haha, no problem. We slammed them in the store and then went wandering around. I got a little dizzy at the port because of the size of the ships. The ships are probably like ten stories high, I’m not even joking. And parked close together, it’s like walking down a ten story high hallway. Oh my god even thinking about it makes me want to faint. And we got hungry so we went to a restaurant thinking we’d get some good Puerto Rican food. Nope, for some reason we found the only American Baseball-themed MEXICAN restaurant in San Juan. It was crappy Mexican food too. We get back on the ship and find out that there is a HUGE party on the main deck. Food and drinks for miles. Ice sculptures, music, dancing…it was incredible.

Me and Amanda dancing with Pineapple drinks!

We're in San Juan, Puerto Rico on the boat.

We were supposed to stop next in St. Maarten I think. On the ship, in your room, there is a tv station that shows you what is going on outside the boat. There are cameras on the side of the boat and if you’re moving, you see the water moving. If you’re stopped, you see that the water is flat. We were expecting to be docked already but instead saw moving water. The captain came over the loudspeaker and told us that we couldn’t stop at the port for some reason or another so “Free drinks on the main deck!” Well alright. Some day I’ll post the pictures of what happened that day and you will love it. For now I can’t find them so you’ll have to suffer in suspense.

BUT we went to St. Thomas and it was loverly. I think that is where we are below:

I think I was tryin to make it seem like the water was deep and that Kristyn was walking on top of it but I don't know for sure.

We also had a lot of time to kill on the boat. Stops at ports were only so long. For the most part we were at sea. This day we went and played Bingo. I won $197. It was awesome.

Me and Amanda on the Ship.

On ship dining was a hairy experience. Oh the food was good, definitely. You had your choice of whatever you wanted to eat every minute of the day. They had a breakfast buffet, then shortly following, hot dogs and burgers by the pool, then lunch, then dessert, then soft serve, then appetizers, then you could have dinner in the formal dining room, in any restaurant you wanted or delivered to your room. All of it was included in the price of your cruise ticket. It was bananas. So we wanted to eat in the formal dining room at first because they serve you like eight courses. So we thought that was fancy and awesome. We were seated with a family though (who actually were with our party, sorry Lynn) who forgot who we were every night, haha. They introduced themselves and asked us who we were and what we did every single night. They made constant racist jokes. And they called each other fat every other minute. “Really dear? Do you really NEED that?” “Oh my GOD, why don’t you have a little bread with your butter…” “Oh I’m gonna be so bad and finish this corn.” After a while we were like, “Okay, nevermind” and ate in our room. BUT we liked our waiter and took a picture with him for posterity’s sake.

Us with our Waiter. He reminded us of Simon, Amanda's cat.

In 1999, I had interviewed for and gotten hired to do an internship at Walt Disney World. For various reasons, I decided not to do it and that I missed that opportunity really nagged at me. I decided that I would interview again and if I got it, I was definitely going this time. Kristyn interviewed too and we decided come hell or high water that we’d do it. Well we were both accepted and lost our nerve. BUT after a lot of mutal back-patting, we took the plunge.

We left for Florida in late August/early September. We got to Newark Airport and almost missed our flight because we were enjoying some Pretzel Dogs at Wetzel’s Pretzels. I shit you not. They were closing the gate. They’d been calling for us for a half hour and we plain didn’t hear it. Idiots.

Ooops.

We had Mitten with us in a carry-on case. My parents sold their house and there was no where for Mitten to go. My friend Karen lives in Orlando so she offered to let Mitten stay with her while we were at Disney. You’re supposed to keep pets under the seat but I took her out and she sat on our laps for the entire flight and was a good girl. There was only one little incident that was totally my fault. I put her carrier on top of our suitcases at Orlando Airport and then accidentally knocked it off. Her carrier, naturally, landed upside now. Mitten, thankfully, was unscathed but nonplussed.

We got to Orlando a week early to kind of settle in and chill with Karen. It was weird because we had no idea where we’d be living or who we’d be living with. We really even only had a vague idea of where we’d be working. We were going to be given our assignments when we got there.

I miss you Mitten!

On the morning of our checkin at Disney, we got on line and ended up rooming with the four girls on line next to us, haha. Jamie, Mandy, Lynzi and Regina. Me and Kristyn got our own room, Regina and Mandy stayed together and Jamie and Lynzi shared a room. We really lucked out because there were tons of stories of roommates like physically fighting and hating each other. We all got along great!

As for our work assignments, I was to work in Attractions at the Magic Kingdom. At first I worked as a Fast Pass Operator (don’t ask) in Fantasyland. I worked specifically at the Winnie the Pooh ride, Peter Pan and the Haunted Mansion. Later on, they moved me to Mickey’s Toontown Fair and I worked at Minnie’s House, Micky’s House, at a place where you greet characters and the Barnstormer, a children’s roller coaster. I also got to do Parade Crowd Control in the front of the park which is what I’m doing in this picture below. At Micky’s House, I got to meet Ricky Martin (I almost fainted bc like a year before me and Amanda had cultivated a huge Ricky Martin crush and even spent $80 each to go to his concert, haha) and doing crowd control, I saw Gary Sinise (I almost died bc Forrest Gump is one of my all-time favorite movies).

Me in my rain gear and "costume" at the Magic Kingdom.

Kristyn worked as a hostess/line server at Restaurantosaurus, a restaurant in the Animal Kingdom. She hated it because she had to stand on the fry line and came home caked in grease every day, haha. BUT in the mornings, Restauranosaurus was a character breakfast and she got to see all the characters and greet the guests and give them a spiel about how Donald Duck evolved from a Dinosaur into the Donald you see today, haha. And her costume was by far the craziest which made it the most awesome.

Kristyn in her "costume" at Restaurantasaurus in the Animal Kingdom.

We soon got to know our roommates and had a great time. Below, Mandy is teaching us how to shotgun beers to varying success. I still don’t have the hang of it seven years later.

Mandy, Mandy's boyfriend (at the time), Me, Jamie

Mandy, Me, Kristyn, Jamie

Around Halloween, Disney goes crazy. The parks are awesome. The Magic Kingdom does a nightly Halloween party that lasts all through the end of September through the beginning of October. They have the Headless Horseman ride through the park. There are fireworks every night. The characters are all dressed up in Halloween costumes. One of the coolest parts is that they have candy stations set up all over the park so everyone can go trick or treating. I volunteered to work at one of these stations. I got put in front of the Teacups. I had to dress like the Four of Hearts every night with some dude. Honestly, it sucked. Halloween in Orlando is like 85 degrees +. I had to wear a red turteneck, white pleated khakis, a giant felt card and that giant red heart on my head. Nightmare city. Kind of fun in retrospect but ONLY in retrospect, haha.

Me and some dude dressed as Hearts in front of the Teacups.

We decided to have a Halloween party at our apartment. We didn’t know a ton of people so not a lot of people came but we managed to have a great time regardless. We invited Karen, her boyfriend at the time and her brother. Also some people came and brought friends. Me and Kristyn had been going through a serious “Gone with the Wind” phase at the time and talked about that book to anyone who would listen. So, naturally, we cornered some girl we didn’t know and started making long soliloquies about Scarlet’s impishness and Rhett’s sexiness, blahblahblah…we’re going on and on when the girl offhandedly says, “Oh, Margaret Mitchell was my Great-Great-Great Grandmother”. In case you don’t know, Margaret Mitchell WROTE Gone with the Wind. It was all the f over at that point. We started like asking if we could touch her and then touching her without her permission. We wrote down our phone number on little scraps of paper and stuck them in her pockets. We demanded that we hang out with her all the time. We high fived a bunch of times. It was out of hand. Before long, Margaret Mitchell’s great-great-great Grand-daughter remembered that she had to get up early. She yawned and said, “I’m definitely going to call you!” and left. We never heard from that girl again. I wonder why.

Regina, Kristyn, Mandy, Lynzi, Jamie, Me

We didn’t make a lot of money so we couldn’t really go out to too many places. We made like $6 an hour and then had like $70 taken out of our checks per week for rent. So basically we had like $30 or $40 after taxes with which to buy groceries and have a good time. So we had to kind of be careful with what we did with our money. But, we did manage to get out on the town a coupla times. Mainly when we wanted to have fun, we went to Pleasure Island, or “PI” as the locals called it. On Thursdays we could get in for free and there was a free bus to get there so we would get bombed and go dance our asses off. We also had free access to all the parks and resorts so we spent a lot of time going on rides and taking buses and trams to weird Disney Resorts and Parks you probably don’t even know exist. It was hella fun.

Us and our boyfriend Rocky.

From November to January, all the parks get decorated for Christmas. If you think Halloween is awesome, you haven’t seen Christmas. Oh. Ma. God. They make it snow! There are separate parades for Christmas, all the characters are dressed for Christmas…it’s gorgeous. At MGM, they have an area that is all sets. Like one set looks like New York City, etc. Well in this area, they have it crazily lit up with Christmas lights. And they give you these glasses that make each individual light look like a thousand tiny angels. It was AMAZING.

The pictures below were taken on Thanksgiving Day. We are wearing the glasses in the first picture and dying from food coma in the second because we made the hugest Thanksgiving meal I’ve ever seen. It was disgusting and amazing.

Amazing glasses.

Me and Jamie'd had enough.

Then our friends and my family came to visit! I couldn’t find pictures of my Mom, Dad and Charles visiting but below are pictures of my sister Christine, Amanda and Bernice visiting. Bernice actually moved to Florida at this time and only just recently moved back to NJ!

Bernice, Amanda, Me, Minnie Mouse, Christine and Kristyn

Christine, Mickey Mouse and Kristyn

We had such a great time. We were able to get everyone into the parks for free!

Bernice and me on one of the trams.

Bernice, Me, Christine, Karen, Kristyn, Amanda

Christine definitely left her wallet at this bar.

There was a notice put up in the Magic Kingdom that Good Day New York was going to come to Epcot to film a segment. They were looking for “cast members” ie. workers from the Tri-State area to come to Epcot and be part of the crowd. Don’t mind if we do!

We got to meet Weatherman Dave Price!

Me, Dave Price, Kristyn at Epcot

And we got to meet Florence La Rue from the Fifth Dimension! This blew my mind because during my high school love affair with sixties and seventies music, I fell in love with the song, “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In” from “Hair” as sung by The Fifth Dimension! We got to meet them and Florence wore our Mickey ears! Amazing!

Kristyn, Florence LaRue, Me

Self-satisfaction.

During Christmas, we pooled our money bought a fake tree and some inexpensive lights and ornaments. We had a little party and exchanged small Disney-themed presents. We bought each other little dolls and picture frames and t-shirts. It was cute and I still have all of that stuff. We also got an idea that we should get a professional portrait taken at Wal-Mart! Lynzi wisely sat this one out, haha. We’re all mostly wearing scarves that I’d knitted for everyone over the semester. I spent a lot of time home knitting scarves and reading Gone with the Wind like a little old lady when I was in Florida for some reason, haha.

Jamie, Mandy, Me, Kristyn, Regina

New Year’s Eve was a ton of fun. The semester was over and we were all about to go home. There were a ton of parties and we just party hopped around. It was a great time.

Me, Jamie, Lynzi, Kristyn

We had a Graduation Day Ceremony and I know this is 2003 already but I wanted to finish all of my Florida tales in this post. Anyway, no one but me, Kristyn and Jamie wanted to go to the ceremony. The three of us figured that if we did the time, we should get the diploma and ears at least, haha. They had a buffet breakfast for us and gave us some speeches. They took a professional portrait of us at the ceremony too, haha.

Jamie, Kristyn, Donald Duck and Me

Lynzi had decided to stay another semester and had already moved out to live with her new roommates. When we got home, Mandy was about to leave and we were really sad and crying.

Regina, Kristyn, Me, Mandy, Jamie

I think I forced us to take this picture below. Look at Mandy’s face, hahahaha…

Regina, Rene, Kristyn, Screaming Witch (I forget her name), Me, Jamie, Mandy

This was probably the next day. We were standing outside waiting for Jamie’s bus to come. It was really emotional and I actually haven’t seen Jamie since that day. God it’s been seven years. I keep threatening to travel to Oregon and see her. Now that I’m on the West Coast, she’s been put on notice to beware. She DID force me to agree to give her some notice though. People and their details…sigh.

Kristyn, Me, Regina, Jamie

Regina is from Mississippi and her parents had originally driven and dropped her off in Florida. They were going to come and pick her back up again but what the f did we have to rush home to? Also, we’d accidentally booked our return flight to NJ for a week after when we were supposed to leave like morons. SO the three of us devised a plan a few months before it was time for us to leave. We saved up our nickles and dimes and booked a rental car to take Regina back to Mississippi. We took this picture right after we’d shut the door for the last time.

Kristyn, Regina and Me in front of our door for the last time.

We got in our (convertible!) rental car and met Karen and her mother for lunch. I LOOOOOOOOOVE me some Karen’s Momma. She gave me my first, second, third, fourth…ninetieth quesadillas. She gave me Mexican candies in high school and let me sleep over and let me act a fool in her house and didn’t kill us when we listened to the Grease soundtrack over and over and over and over again in her house. She’s like my second Momma. SO we met up with her before we were gonna leave. Suddenly she says, “OMG we have to leave! Someone’s paid our check!” We were like, “Wow who?!” She was like, “I don’t know but we should definitely leave before they change their mind.” We were mystified by our good fortune. Duh and double duh. Second Momma Guadelupe did us a solid and I had no idea. Thank you and I love you!!!!!!!

The Story of LA: Going Away Party Edition

Now I know we also covered the Going Away Party but there’s aaaalways mooooore. Coincidentally, the party happened to fall on Michael Jackson’s birthday. If you know any of the people in these pictures, then you know you’re looking at some hardcore Michael Jackson fans. Who the hell knew that an ill-advised taller-than-lifesize dummy of Michael Jackson would come in handy on SO MANY occasions! Oh the hilarity!

We begin our evening with Ray whispering secrets into MJ's ear. MJ is thrilled.

Kristyn and MJ get kind of...friendly.

Aleix and Michael are so close that they are known to walk on the Wildwood Boardwalk like this together. They're in love and they don't care who knows it!

Silvia, Ray and MJ are always clownin around together. Oh you guys!

I've immortalized Angie in a moment of abandon!

Silvia, Michael, Kristyn, Angie and Ray pose for the Paparazzi.

This is everyone engaged in their solitary pursuits in a down moment of the party. We all took a much deserved breather from the excitement.

And Chewy came to see us!!! Aleix and Cristina are happy to see him.

Nothing like inviting your friends over to hang out with your inflatable mattress...

Silvie Sophie made a pretty buttafly.

I had released the Halloween costumes into the party (obviously) and Ray managed to give himself bangs using a beard, use my Prostitute costume to make himself into a Pink Lady and get MJ in on the act. Good times.

Ray and Angie getting sexual, as usual. God get a room! (Them's just jokes.)

We had a great time with everyone and were sad to see everyone go!

Whip it!

I went to see “Whip it” tonight and now I want to join the Roller Derby. The main problem (of many) with that idea is that I cannot roller skate. Probably the other main problem (apart from my extreme-out-of-shape-ness/girth) is that my body was so broken, I was out of work for a month over it this year (aka backular dysfunction). Anyway, the LA Derby Dolls (whose rink is literally five minutes from us) were IN Whip it, the movie was BASED on them, AND they’re having a match tomorrow. So knowing us, we’ll end up going and will tell you all about it, haha. It’s gonna be PACKED though, I can tell you that much right now.

At the moment, I am watching Chris Rock and relaxing. The job front is taking its sweet time but then again we only just started seriously applying about two weeks ago. I’m just impatient. We can’t really experience LA like we want to until we have steady paychecks coming in. We’re okay for now but we want to be able to go to a movie without feeling guilty ya know?

And guys, I just have to say:

I LOVE LA!!!

Apart from the creepy old man who we just found shuffling down the street, giving us the stank eye, there’s not much I don’t absolutely love about this place. And dudes, there are so many damn Targets here that we never have to go to the same one twice. And if you know me at ALL, you know I love me some Target, ugh.

And today, I went into the hands-down most awesome photography store I have ever seen. They were basically specifically for the film shooter, nothing digital (not really). Racks and rows of different kinds of paper, developer, fixer, stop bath, reels, tanks, enlargers, bags, lomo cameras…and the Holgas…oh the HOLGAS!!!

I die.

I die.

They had Holgas in every color of the rainbow. They had skins you can add to Holgas to decorate them. They had Holgas that made 3D pictures! Ugh, all kinds of accessories for them! They had cameras that look like this:
I can't take how much I want this camera.

I can't take how much I want this camera.

I applied to WORK here. But seriously, if I worked here, I’d make zero dollars but there is no way I would not spend my money faster than I made it. At this moment in time, they are fully staffed (thank god).

So this weekend we have a bunch of things on the agenda:

1) Clean the car. *Kristyn’s parents, please cover your eyes. Thank you.* Guys, the car is filthy. It has filth on it from NJ, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota,

We're mystified at this but we're going with it.

We're mystified at this but we're going with it.

Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California on it AND it also has bird poop on it from all of those states as well. I had to give mental props to the very nice valet man who politely closed my door for me when we went to UCB last Sunday. (Yes, they have $6 VALET for a FREE comedy show. LA is so weird and awesome.) Anyway, since the car has become a moving disease wagon, we have bought car cleaner, sponges and a bucket and intend to right this evil very VERY soon.

2) West Hollywood Book Fair! Amber Benson and Francesca Lia Block will be there!

3) LA Derby Dolls, as mentioned.

4) UCB again hopefully.

5) We had wanted to go to the beach but what with TSUNAMIS threatening the Pacific, we decided it’s best to leave the waves to the surfers.

6) Free Museum Day!

7) Curb Your Enthusiasm

8) Dexter

9) I missed Medium bc I was at the Movies so I have to watch that.

10) I want to go to Pearl Paints and Micheal’s. We want to make Day of the Dead art. Also I want to apply to these stores.

AND….

11) We have to decorate for Halloween!!!

So anyway, cross your fingers for me guys. I needs me a j-o-b.

MJ in better days…

I dint know if you guys know this but I was actually very close to Michael Jackson within the last two years. I guess that’s why I took his death so strangely. Anyway, in memorium, I just wanted to share some of my personal memories of him from the bottom of heart: