Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Little Idle Chit Chat

I am usually a pretty humble person. I don't like to brag about the things I'm good at (or the things I think I'm good at), therefore I tend to be incredibly self-deprecating. However, one of the things I am very good at is small talk. I can do this with just about any willing party, and God knows I'll try with the unwilling parties as well. Here is an example of the small talk I made with some of my regulars at Starbucks one lazy Sunday.

Wait...I should probably start by saying that they are both gay men, but not flamboyantly so. I say this because I did not know for certain that they were gay and my go-to chit-chat with men on Sundays in the fall is football....(In the winter, it's basketball, and in the spring, it's about how baseball has become too long and they need fewer games because the individual games actually mean nothing when you play 500.)

Ok go.

Me: So, any football viewings on the schedule today guys?

Hank: Is it football season?

Bob: (ignoring Hank) No, I'm not straight enough for that.

Me: (realizing they are gay and that, duh, football would not be on the schedule) Ooooh ok....

Awkward silence.

Me: So any antiquing on the schedule for today guys?

Bob and Hank, who I have discovered are incredibly cool, both laughed hysterically and, finally, when Bob could breath again:

Bob: No, I'm not that gay either. But you're definitely too quick for me.

Me: Why thank you. It's all the caffeine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, C!!!!

I have to say, it takes a lot to be best friends with me. I don’t mean just friends, because I’m kind of awesome and fun and entertaining and a good listener and all that jazz, but to be best friends with me takes work. I am too loud for my own good. I say things that, while true, are not exactly the things you want to hear. I am demanding and incredibly opinionated. I can be a little too energetic and my brain sometimes goes off on tangents that don’t make sense to anyone but me and if you can follow along then more power to you but a lot of the time I can ‘t even keep track of where I’m going with something…I’m getting a little off topic because this was not supposed to be about me and all my quirks. Moving on…

There is one person who has been doing this job for almost 10 years now, and since today is her birthday, I thought I’d dedicate a little post to her. Much like I did with my Grandma’s birthday, this a little list I came up with about the things I love about Cierra, who sometimes makes me angrier than Chris Brown in a Lamborghini and crazier than any of the patients at McLean Hospital, but for whom I thank my lucky stars everyday to have in my life.

10. She lives in New York, so I always have a reason to go. Much like I had a reason to go to Philly when she was living there. Now all I need is for her to move around to all the major cities in the world so I’ll have a reason to visit, other than I just want to visit all the major cities in the world.

9. She is the only one of my friends that can keep up with me on the dance floor, even though I’m totally the better dancer.

8. I can talk sports with her and her eyes won’t glaze over. Although, she’s a Laker Lover and I’m a Laker Hater. It really makes for some quality arguments.

7. She never holds back with me. When I’m being stupid, she will tell me so. When I’m down, she’ll yell at me to get over it. When I’m being annoying, she will reach through the phone and smack me. (As of right now, it’s only verbally, but I’m sure that once the technology is developed, she will do it literally.)

6. She offers to ship all the books I buy and can’t fit in my suitcase when I come visit. She doesn’t tell me I bought too many or that I read too damn much. She fully supports my addiction, and usually asks me to send one or two back when I’m done.

5. I have never met anyone that can talk shit like she can. She’ll do it to your face, to your back, to your mama, to everyone about everything. Even if she has gotten a little nicer in her old age, she can still throw out an insult like a pro.

4. She didn’t go to college and always hated school, but she made her own way and is one of the smartest people I know. Even if she doesn’t act like it sometimes and I have to be the voice of reason. (Which will not always work in our favor.)

3. She believes in me. She has been saying for years how I’m going to do something great, so when I don’t believe her, she just gives me a verbal smacking that reminds me of how capable I am and that everything will work out. (I am just now realizing we have a bit of an abusive relationship, but that's ok. It works for us.)

2. She enjoys a good beer and likes going to Timmy Nolans when she comes out for a visit. ‘Nuff said.

1. She is the strongest person I’ve ever met. She has been through so much and has never let it get her down or ruin her. I know so many people who have been through things similar and have broken down or become terrible people. But Cierra still remains the amazing, smart, beautiful, kind, wonderful person I’ve know for the past decade.

So, I raise my glass to you, C. Happy Birthday and here’s to another decade of friendship. I love you.

(Ok, and because we can be a lot like Lucy and Ethel, here is a little video for you as well.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Agreement with Mother Nature

I have never been one to love the outdoors, but just recently, I have come to an understanding with Mother Nature. I will stay on the marked paths and she will keep the larger, scarier creatures away from me.

Recently, I started hiking. I’m not talking about hiking like whole day affairs that involve packs and rock climbing and wildlife. I’m talking about short, paved or gravel paths with the wildlife well aware of the fact that humans are horrible and will harm them out of fear. Unlike true hikers, I do it because I am too broke (and cheap) to have a gym membership. However, I have found that a hike is one of my new favorite ways to workout.

It all started when I got bored running around my neighborhood and on the Chandler bike path. I was trying to think of another place that would be nice but not so secluded I’d be afraid to go myself. (Yes, I have fantasies of falling down the side of a mountain and no one finding me for weeks. Yes, I am aware this makes me slightly crazy.) I remembered my dad driving us around Lake Hollywood, aka the Hollywood Reservoir. I knew there was a path around it and I figured that if I needed to, I could just walk. Plus, it’s round so there is very little chance of me getting lost and ending up having to live off the wild until someone finds me or I find my way out. While this wasn’t technically hiking, it was outside and I realized something: Animals don’t like humans and, for the most part, will stay away from them. So, after running most of the way and just walking to enjoy the rest, I decided to look for some actual hiking trails.

Griffith Park seemed like the easiest place to start. I found a lot of writing about the Charlie Turner Trail, which leads from the Observatory up to Dante’s View, a cute little picnic area. The reviews all said that it was an easy hike and fairly short. I was pleased to see that they were correct. It’s a steady climb up, but not overwhelming. Plus, there was a ton of people out, so again, I didn’t feel like I was going to get lost and go missing. Dante’s View has a picnic area and I totally thought it would be a great spot to bring a book and just read. Although, it also made me think about who this Dante was and if this "view" of LA was really supposed to mean something...

After doing that one a few times, I decided to try out Runyon Canyon again. I’d done it once with my friend Ellen, but it was so strenuous that I didn’t think I would ever do it again. But, for some reason, I was in the mood for a real workout that day. Boy did I get it. There are these stairs that I like to call the “Stairs of Death” because unless you are in the best shape of your life, they will kill your muscles. They play tricks on you by making you thing you’re almost to the top, but NO, you’re not even close. However when you do finally make it up to the top, you feel incredibly accomplished and good about yourself.

I am usually a solitary hiker, but I did take my friends Jason and Meaghan out to the Charlie Turner Trail once. It was a lot of fun and it didn’t feel as long because we were talking most of the time. It’s always great to have someone to talk to when you’re out doing these things. Plus, the risk of falling down a hill and going missing is much lower. If I do fall down the hill and die, at least someone will be there to call the coroner.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’ve found a workout that I can actually keep up. When there are days I don’t feel like working out, it’s just a nice walk to get fresh air. When I want to really push myself, there are plenty of paths to make me regret wanting to push myself. As long as I don’t meet any scary creatures and the birds stay in the air where they belong, Mother Nature and I will be cool.