Parton Ways

Several years ago, I played an embittered first wife in Arthur Miller’s play “After the Fall”.  I was meant to deliver this line, “I am a separate person”, with stoney certainty, but at the time, I didn’t quite understand it.  What does that even mean? Of course I’m a separate person, I’m standing apart from you.  But I’m married to you, so I’m connected to you? Either way…you’re leaving me for a thinly veiled version of Marilyn Monroe?

after the fall

But the play wasn’t about Louise, the nag, the shrew–it was about his second marriage, with Miller’s most famous wife, Marilyn Monroe, the red-hot mess.  (Before he can possibly consider marrying his third wife, the breath of fresh air).   Now, I love me some Monroe, my heart breaks for her, but historically speaking–Monroe was not a spectacular wife.  She just wasn’t. She was a selfish star who self-medicated with pills and champagne.  She was mentally ill, and wasn’t properly cared for.  Of course, Miller tried his damnedest to save her, but it was a truly impossible feat.  It would have been so easy to love her, but it was have been impossible to sustain that affection because it would have been like trying to fill an eternal void with all your precious energy.

miller monroe

The issue for Miller was that he was at a great height in his success, he was a beloved playwright with a Pulitzer Prize, and catalogue of important work.  But under Monroe’s spell, his work dwindled.  His sanity suffered.  He lost himself in trying to keep their relationship afloat.

miller behind monroe

He worked on her projects, followed her everywhere and even wrote the last film she ever completed, “The Misfits”.  By the end of filming, they flew home on separate planes, and their marriage was over.


Monroe was a rapidly wilting flower, and nothing could be done to change that.  I think she was convinced that marriage could save her life, but that’s a pretty lofty expectation for any relationship.  But Miller wasn’t without fault, he had told reporters that Monroe would make fewer pictures now that they were married: “She will be my wife.  That’s a full-time job”.  And that’s a mistake old Joe DiMaggio made as well, that marriage would somehow tame Monroe’s ways.  When in fact…I think marriage brought out the worst in her.  Anyhow, she and DiMaggio didn’t last a year, and her relationship with Miller failed after five years.  They split in 1961, and she died the following year.

unhppy monroe

Being married to Monroe would have been an all-consuming gig, and it would not always be rewarding.  (Louise ain’t looking too bad now eh Arthur?)  Demanding to be thought of as a separate person is not a crime.  It’s not a crime to demand that your spouse all but dissolve into your own being, but it’s certainly a misdemeanor.  In marriage, perhaps a bit of separateness is  needed for longevity.  Now married, I am just learning what that means.  We belong together, we live, eat, sleep and travel together, but we are still separate entities.  I think of marriage as a kind of three-legged race.  You are bound to each other, and are trying to run in a unified order in the same direction.  But what if you want to go in opposite directions?  Is that the fork in the road that signifies the end of your marriage?  That’s a perfectly terrifying thought.  In your marriage…or in any long-term relationship, there are decisions to be made.  These range from, “where are we going to order our Chinese takeout from?”, “which grocery store will we shop at?” “what movie are we going to watch tonight?” to “where are we going to live?” “how many children are we going to have?” “how will we spend our money?” “if I become a famous [insert profession here] will you accompany me to [insert award show, press junket, photo shoot here].  These are serious questions, and when the answers vary, it’s cause for concern.

picnicrace1946As a couple, my husband and I are polar opposites.  He is a strong silent type, and I just won’t shut the fuck up.  I want to be onstage, and he’d prefer to be behind the scenes.  I’m a social butterfly, and he’s a solitary bear.  He’s a sturdy structure, and I’m a twister swirling all around.  Our unifying quality is that we are both stubborn as  hell, and we often lock horns.  Our marital three legged race can be a challenge, I want to go one way, he the other.  But we don’t want to break up, fall apart, get divorced.   Is it possible to remove that tie and change the game?

These conversations have been occurring more frequently: “your thing doesn’t have to be my thing”.  Of course, I’ve never been married before, and obviously all my relationships failed before I met my husband, so I’m no expert on how to get these things right.  I love him deeply, I am committed to him, but I still belong to myself.  How do you successfully live your life as a spouse without letting go of your personal goals.  How does that important role not engulf you?

wedding photo

Last night, lying in the dark, thinking about my marriage, my husband, myself, my thoughts turn (naturally) to Dolly Parton.  Hasn’t she been married for ages to a man that has nothing to do with her career?

Dolly-Parton wedding

Yup. Dolly Parton has been married for a staggering 47-years to Carl Dean, whom she met at a laundromat when she was 20 years old.  Dean has absolutely nothing to do with the public aspects of her career.  She explained this in an interview with Oprah–another gal that knows a bit about being a “separate person”.  She and her partner of 25 years, rarely appear together publicly, and prefer it that way.  They also never married and claim that is what kept them together.


As for Dolly and her camera-shy husband, they learned quickly what worked for them:

“Early on in my career, I’d won [Song of the Year] in 1966, and I asked him to go with me. … He was so uncomfortable…He said: ‘Now I want you to do everything you want to do. I want you to enjoy every minute of your life. But don’t you ever ask me to go to another one of these things. Because I am not going.'”

And so, she never pushed him into partaking in another public event ever.  What is really interesting is that in exploring these ‘separate’ relationships, I’ve noticed an abundance  of criticism and suspicion.  Open marriages, secret lesbianism– Parton is rumored to be in a homosexual relationship with her best friend, a rap Oprah has also dealt with. God forbid it has anything to do with being comfortable in your marriage and and confident about going your own way.  And it is just that–she wanted to go this way, he wanted to go that way, but at the end of the day, they wanted to come home to the same place.

“He’s proud of me. He’s just basically shy about things like that. He doesn’t like crowds.  And I respect his privacy. I respect the fact that he loves to be out of the limelight. That’s one of the reasons I think we’ve lasted so long.”

parton marriage

(Wow, they seriously do not appear together in public, pictures of them are hard to find, and those you do see are grainier than a poorly made sex tape).

This is revolutionary thinking.  When Ben comes home from work, I’m invigorated by this concept–that I can have a life that I want, and the husband that I love, and that I have solid evidence that separateness can occasionally work.  I’m following him around the house and jabbering away about Dolly Parton.  A smile creeps across his face when I explain that Dolly happily goes it alone, and her husband happily stays at home.
Now, my husband doesn’t want me to be alone, but he’s relieved at the thought of having his own choices as well.     What I’m learning is that while there is room for growth, people have unchangeable qualities.  And I’m pretty sure that would appear on any ‘Ways to Not Cock-Up Your Marriage” lists:  don’t try to change your partner.  If you marry someone thinking that the ring on their finger will magically make them go against the values they started out with, then it will never work.  For a marriage to succeed for decades upon decades, there needs to be a bit of room; freedom to wander away, and know that there is a place to come home to, and a person who is waiting to hear about what you achieved all on your own.
o and dollyAll Images Courtesy of Google

Fancy Meeting You Here

There’s an old joke that I’ve heard from time to time: “I ran into my ex today…then I backed up and hit him again”.  I don’t really care for that joke, because I hate the thought of hating someone like that.  Why, just yesterday, I read one of my favorite blogger’s postings, and it literally hurt my heart to read her angry essay about her cheating ex-boyfriend.  I feel for her dealing with the betrayal and anger, that’s a huge pill to swallow. But I can’t help but think–you lived with this person, were married or engaged to this person, you shared secrets under bed sheets,  you laughed, shared meals, payed bills, you once loved that person so much that it hurt…to hate that person after the love died is like hating that whole chapter in your life.  Do that enough times, hate every person that left before you did, you’ve got a lot of hate in your heart and a lot of bitter chapters in an already short life.  Of course, these things are painful, and nothing heals like time, but I’d prefer to be on friendly terms with all my ex’s.  I don’t plan to go on an Alaskan cruise with any of them, but in the off-chance you run into them on the street, I’d like to think that a hello and hug would be in order.

Still, running into an ex can be a bit of a minefield.  It is wholly dependent on your new station in life… or your place in the world compared to their place in the world.  If you’ve gained weight, recently gotten an unsightly scar, have just been fired/dumped/punted off a reality show, and he’s looking better with age and his new wife looks like she invested being young and hot…then yes, it’s a struggle.    A girlfriend of mine once told me that she saw her ex-husband  in a grocery store.  She had a moment where she recognized him, then took a step towards him, before realizing that they were divorced, and had been for quite sometime.  It’s sort of surreal, like being a kid and seeing your teacher out of the classroom. “So you don’t exist solely to teach me life lessons?”  I ran into my ex on the way to the post office.  It’s all very friendly and respectful, but there is a strange moment when you think… remember when we were a thing? And then years later, after all the dusted has settled, exchanging pleasantries by the cash register, wearing the turquoise American Apparel hoodie you pinched from him the day you moved out. Afterwards I headed to my appointment with my massage therapist.  Once on the table, she asks about my day.

“Well, I just ran into the man I almost married”.

“How was that?”

“Oh, it was nice to catch up, but I think as a rule, you’d like to be stepping off George Clooney‘s speedboat, or wearing a ballgown when you run into any of your formers”.

“I hear ya.  You always wish you looked prettier, were ten pounds thinner, and dressed smarter”.

But, then you’d never bump into them.  That’s Murphy’s Law; you could spend your whole life dressed like a fashion model, and the one day you nip out for a quick sweatpants-wearing, make-up free errand,  looking totally bland and pedestrian,  that will be the day you bump into those kinds of people.   The massage therapist’s comments about wishing you were all different kinds of things made me think about how you want to be perceived in this fleeting moment.  So, I’ve compiled a list acceptable times to run into an ex.

When looking effortlessly striking…


On a horse, amid winning a polo match:

polo player

Fresh from winning an Oscar…

audrey oscar

Being admired by millions…


…somewhere in between being a star and a princess…

grace kelly

Or just passing by, hiding behind giant sunglasses…

Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Or while casually glimpsing over your shoulder, looking impossibly young, fresh and stunning…


Furthermore, most ladies want to run into the ex with new lovers in tow…

“Oh that’s just me with Richard Burton…pissing of the Pope in Italy”…


“Have you met Paul Newman? He’s possibly the most gorgeous man ever, so that’s what I’ve been dealing with these days”…


“Oh him? That’s just Steve McQueen…no big deal”.

mcgraw mcqueen

What you don’t want–is to run into said ex–sans make up, or post stomach flu, or maybe ten minutes after you’ve given birth or had your mug shot taken…


Don’t let him see you making your sex face, out of context it just looks weird…


“Oh hey…how are you?” “Good”.  “So…Things are good?” “Oh yeah, real good” Good…I’m good too…” “Well you look good…your hair is…completely gone, which must be…cool in the summer?” “Yeah…it gets so hot when I beat the shit out of random vehicles with my umbrella”.  “Oh I’ll bet…”


You want to be bubbly, not blasted.  It’s wise not to get drunk as fuck and fall on your face, you never want you ex to see you flat out like so…

polo fall

Don’t we all have ex-husbands/wives, ex-boyfriends/girlfriends…and whether we run and hide, or march up and say hello that’s your prerogative.  But you don’t want to duck cowardly into an aisle, and have them pass you as you try to cram yourself behind a display of hemorrhoid cream or personal lubricants.  “Oh hey…I just dropped a penny back here, just trying to retrieve it….”

It’s like the end of “Annie Hall”, which is a small montage of them running into each other with new partners, and having lunch and laughing over old times, mixed with flashbacks of them meeting and falling in love.  And in the last shot, standing in the street, they shake hands and go their separate ways.  Rather, she walks away first, and he watches her go before he turns and walks in the opposite direction with this thought in his head:  “It was great seeing Annie again…I realized what a terrific person she was and how much fun it was just knowing her”.  The love story happened.  And then it ended.  But there’s no bitterness or anger, no regret or vengeance.  Just gratitude.  And it’s always nice to say hello.


All Images Courtesy of Google

Dirty on the Inside

There is possibly nothing grosser than a sleepless night.  My new phone has this wonderful feature that when I set my alarm it says fun things like-“this alarm is set for 4 hours and 36 minutes from now”.  And then you start to do math in your head, “If I fall asleep in ten…fifteen…twenty minutes…”  And then time passes, and anxiety rises from all that late night arithmetic.  “I have to get up so soon…tomorrow is going to be so hard”. You want Mr Sandman to appear over you, remedy is hand.  “Lose the sand buddy and give me the hard stuff”.

mr sandman

“Ew, that is not what I meant by hard stuff…now give me an Ambien and get out before I call the cops”.

The alarm goes off at 345 a.m, I’m at work by 500, and I feel positively wretched.  There’s that sleepless fuzzy feeling that makes me feel dirty on the inside.  I am gagging on the exhaustion.  (98% of my friends are parents, so when they read this I’m sure I’ll hear a resounding “Aaaand, what else is new?”)   To add insult to injury, I also packed the saddest little lunch. I’m talking PB&J on stale whole wheat bread.  I could have given this sandwich to a starving homeless person, and they would hurl it back in my face “What the fuck is this shit? What, just cause I’m homeless means I don’t like a nice steak?”  Even his dog won’t eat it.  I drink a cup of coffee and read a couple of essays by Nora Ephron, my eyes whispering to my brain behind my heavy lids…”Just close me…yeah, that’s right, let it linger…shhh”.

Once home, my husband leaves for his night-shift and I take a hot bath.  My eyes are taking to my brain again, and the bathtub is not where we should be having this conversation.  So I take the party to the couch.  I’m hungry, but don’t know what to eat.  I’m tired, but don’t want to sleep.  I wander over the fridge, and pick at a few things…while standing up with the door open.  No wonder I was so thin when I was younger, I lived alone, I just lived on toast, fruit, and cottage cheese.  Without the adult supervision of my husband, I’m looking at all the salad fixings in the crisper, and it feels like the effort equivalent of rebuilding a jet engine.  It’s a lot of chopping and washing.  Whereas with mac and cheese out of the box, there are so few steps.

I don’t want to read or write. I want to tuck in with a movie–and so I begin a Nora Ephron movie-marathon, or as much as Netflix would allow: “Sleepless In Seattle” and “Bewitched”.  You know, sometimes I think that Rotten can truly suck it, they are as wrong as often as they are right.  This film is considered to be one of Ephron’s “duds”, given only 25% on the movie review website, but you know what? Not bad at all.  Cute concept, perfectly humorous, and totally unexpected cameos–young Steve Carrel! Steven Colbert! and hello, the movie ends with Amy Sedaris?  Love her.

amy sedaris favorite

I’ve made a pretty considerable lump on the sofa, so I decide it best to just move right into the Tom Hanks classic.

sleepless-in-seattle-originalMidway through the movie, feeling listless and lethargic,  I grab the laptop, thinking that I’ll start my next piece.  Of course, while there are vague notions floating around the inside of my skull, the ideas are not pressing in my fingertips that allows the words to flow.  I read about “Sleepless in Seattle“, which is number ten on the American Film Institute’s Top Ten romantic comedies list.  I’ve seen all the movies–“Harold and Maude“, “Moonstruck”, “Roman Holiday”, “Annie Hall“–except for the number one spot–“City Lights” with Charlie Chaplin.

Annex - Chaplin, Charlie (City Lights)_NRFPT_16Oh my, people love “City Lights”.  Rotten rates this film highly, and the comments were dripping with enthusiasm.  The ending! My god!  The ending! The sweetest ending ever! If you don’t love the ending, you have no soul!

I found it on YouTube, watched it, and frankly I’m concerned for my soul.

Maybe it’s because I’m having a bad day…feeling dirty on the inside and whatnot.  Listen, who am I to flip the bird at the AFI? Perhaps I need to see the whole thing. Once on YouTube, I do a bit more poking around, and of course, catch  myself watching a twenty-minute documentary on Natalie Wood’s mysterious death in 1981.  Apparently in recent years this ‘accident’ is a case that needed to be reopened, and a ton of money, effort and police attention has been spent.  Wood, an actress famous for roles in “Rebel without a Cause” and “West Side Story” (and once stormed out on Elvis cause he couldn’t get his little Presley up for her).


Thanksgiving weekend of 1981 was spent on her yacht “Splendour” with her husband Robert Wagner and recent co-star Christopher Walken.

natalie-wood-7-660Much drinking ensued, jealousies flared, and somewhere in the middle of the night, Wood drowned.

The whole thing about this tragedy is that Wood was deathly afraid of dark water.  She even made prophecies throughout her life about drowning.  My thought is…perhaps buying your lady a 60-foot yacht is not the greatest prezzie ever.

Much suspicious has risen about the sketchy details…why authorities were not called, why the search lights were not turned on, and why this women, so terrified of water would have fallen off the boat in the middle of the  night.  In recent years, the boat’s captain, admitted that he lied to police immediately after the accident.   Many critics point the finger at Wagner.  Maybe he didn’t murder her, but some say, that he saw the intoxicated actress fall into the water and he just left her to “teach her a lesson”.  Which is always a fun thing to do in a marriage.  The mystery hasn’t diminished apparently, and now the case is reopened, and 83-year-old Wagner is being forced to reconsider that fateful night.  After all the time and effort, and trips to Hawaii to visit the yacht, police were able to change the cause of death to “Accidental” to “accidental and undetermined”, not “death by Robert Wagner” as some had hoped.  Either way, that’s American tax dollars at work!


Hmmm… what an unpleasant place to take my fuzzy brain.  I glance up at the movie, and that’s still happening.  Jesus, I have got to sort myself out.  I turn off the television and the computer and then proceed to just wander around the house.  I pass the only full length mirror in the house.

Do these pyjama pants make my ass look big?  True, mint green with pink accents aren’t the most figure flattering color, but I also blame the mirror.  It’s a total fun house mirror–though sometimes I wonder if that’s what I’ve told myself somewhere along the way.  Like, even though this mirror makes me look like Jabba the Hutt, in actuality I look like Princess Leia.  But maybe it’s the other way around.


I gaze into the mirror. I look.  So tired.  Looking at your reflection at great length is dangerous, like the equivalent of saying your own name over and over again… Alicia. Ah-lee-sha, Al-eeee-cia.  Something you live with everyday suddenly seems so foreign.

Either I really need a nap or the mushrooms I ate sometime in the late 90’s are making a comeback in my sleep-deprived cells.

I put on a bra, brush my teeth, redo my ponytail and head outside for a walk.  The fresh air is dignifying.  I even swing my arms a little as I breathe deeply.  I feel 1% less disgusting, and in my condition, I will accept that as a vast improvement.  Less Jabba, more Leia.  As I walk, I think about poor old Natalie Wood,  and the mysteries that people are forced to deal with.  Well…some people live with mysteries, others live with secrets.  And I wonder if it makes them feel dirty on the inside, like the feeling after a sleepless night stretching out forever.  Heading towards home,  I think about how easy it must be to fall from splendor into murky waters, never to return.  And it makes me glad I don’t own a yacht.

natalie-wood-pic-rex-351029347All Images Courtesy of Google

Day in the Life

My co-worker Jessica, who I have not seen for a week, approaches me in her usual jovial manner.  “Hey–how are you? I’ve been reading the blog…lots of movie reviews huh?”  She makes the kind of face you wouldn’t want a doctor to make while looking over your chart.  “I mean…they’re good…but, I want to know more about you.  What did you buy at the grocery store? How do you spend your days? What’s your routine like? These are things you should explore”.

Those are excellent questions Jessica, and my apologies to those who read my words voraciously, but crave further knowledge about my “inner life”.

I start most mornings by walking about the property…

Duchess of Cambridge takes Lupo for a walk in Kensington Park Gardens.

I’m going to stop you right there.  Yes, I do look exactly like Kate Middleton. Is it frustrating to be her super attractive doppelganger? Of course it is.  People ask me all the time what it’s like to be as beautiful (if not more so) than the future Queen…and I say that I simply don’t know any different.  Even as a tiny baby in my pram, I was elegant and breathtaking.  So what’s it like to be so beautiful? That’s like asking what it’s like to breathe…I just do, I just am.  But I’m not Kate, and I’d really appreciate it if she’d stop calling me for beauty tips and fashion advice– get your own look girlfriend!


When dressing myself, I really like to take my time crafting my look.  I have a hair and makeup team, there’s a dozen or so individuals, working tirelessly to polish the diamond that is…well, me.  My closet, oops sorry closets, there’s one for every home, but wherever I am, these spaces are large enough to land a plane if necessary.  At the beach house, it’s a lot of linen and silk, lots of white, lots of  flowing dresses, you could imagine, my kind of wealth affords you only the finest fabric.  In my city home, it’s a lot of black, but again, only the most luscious material.  I’m not a hobo darling, so I don’t dress like one.


Definitely not me, that’s Paula Abdul, a very dear friend who I call “Crazy Sauce”.  Look at her sitting on my belt holder and sunglasses display case.  What a hoot!  (PS-Do NOT let her mix Percocets with tequila, though–you will lose her for at least an 24-hours, and will most likely have to post her bail).

In order to keep my body in it’s peak physical condition, I have the most magnificent trainer: Johnny Hardbody, but those of us in the know call him “Johnny Bod”.   But because my body is already impeccable, I mostly just watch “The Bod”  punch large slabs of meat a la Rocky while I smoke cigarettes. By my third morning cocktail, its probably ten-thirty or eleven in the morning, and I’m feeling pretty loose.  I start to get ‘hands on’ with my trainer.  Sure, it makes him uncomfortable, but I just throw fistfuls of dirty money at his washboard abs and insist that he dance for me.  And he does dance…they all do.  If I’m feeling a bit bloated, like I maybe  I accidentally ate something the week before, and it’s really pushing the limits of my couture, I just sort of lay there as “The Bod”  stretches my limbs to and fro.

Once the hard work has been accomplished, I am ready to head into the office and do the real work, the writing.  But first, I just sit in front of my many leather-bound books and ooze sexuality.


At the end of the day, I make time for my husband.


Whoops! sorry, wrong slide. Not my husband, though George was rather persistent.  I said “George, you don’t love me, you love the idea of me”, and then I got on the jetliner, not looking back once.  Naturally, he was  devastated,  he sent endless cards and presents–claiming that I was “the best he never had”.  He then dated every other brunette under the sun, searching for a suitable substitute.  Get over it Clooney, I’ve moved on…so should you.

As a general rule, I don’t eat much, so by nightfall, I usually go Gwyneth on this one and have a Guinness because it says that I’m posh, but also “down to earth”.


But, at the end of the day, when it’s time for bed, that’s when the fun begins.

Vogue Dita foto 1 055

Pajamas are for sissies darling, you haven’t lived until you’ve slumbered in an evening gown and high heels.

So, dear Jessica, I hope this glimpse is sufficient.  Of course, this is an average day without press junkets, visits from my many celebrity friends, or when the nanny insists that I look my children in the face.


But despite the unearthly beauty, the money, the fame, I’m just a regular woman trying to live life to the fullest.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check on the groundskeeper, he’s been giving me so much grief lately, and you know how hard it is to get good help these days. Images Courtesy of Google

The Downward Spiral

Due to some social media sharing, (cheers for that, friends) there was a bit of boom on the ole statistic pages.  We are talking triple digits people.  My ratings were comparable, if not better, than than the number of viewers watching the Psychic network at four am.


Suffice to say, the success has gone to my head.  I am strutting around the townhouse like the big deal that I am.

I’m also thinking of getting a fur coat.  I’ll lounge in it, and wear it in the office when I write each spectacular blog.  I will make outlandish remarks like, “The reason people compare my work with Steinbeck, is not just because we are both incredible writers, but because we are incredible human beings” and “Elizabeth Gilbert got the idea of ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘ from me.

My hair will get larger and more bulbous.  It’s like Amy Winehouse, when she was just starting out, her hair looked like this:

The Brit Awards 2004 Shortlist Announced

In her later years, after her meteoric rise to fame, it looked a little like this:


I think the hair is a perfect metaphor for ego.  And mine will be so astronomical you could see it from space, and smell it from blocks away…there could also be a rather discernible smell because…how do you even wash these fucking things? Oh you don’t? You eventually just lop in off in a state of drug fueled psychosis in a New Mexico motel room? Okay, just want to know the facts before really start trashing hotel rooms, lashing out on Twitter and saying “Do you know who I am?” to stray cats and telephone poles.

No one liked my blog.

Well, not for a few days at least, which is kind of the equivalent on going on an amazing date, but never hearing back from the guy.  I mean, I’m sure people read and a smile flickered across their face, but not in a way that drove them to lovingly guide the mouse towards the LIKE button. Sometimes I write a quick throw-away piece, and there’s a response.  Lord knows, I post a picture of Ben Affleck, and write “I’m eating tuna melts with my husband and watching ‘Argo'”, and people are liking it all over town.  Sometimes I spend quality time on a piece and then…whatever the internet equivalent is of sage brush blowing through a ghost town.  It’s hard to know what the people want.

I’m feeling awfully foolish in my fur coat, wishing I hadn’t sprung for the matching hat.  It’s too hot and doesn’t really fit over my enormous beehive.

But, is it quite possible, that it was so good, that people were just like…whoa, my mind is blown, this is cutting edge.    Maybe it’s like at the ending of “Shakespeare in Love“… “Romeo and Juliet” had just been invented, and the audience does not applaud…not because it wasn’t amazing, but because it blew their minds?

Have I blown your mind? Is that what’s happening here?

Either way, I’m working on it.  I have charts and graphs, and one day I’m going to figure out how to apply them to this.

In terms of success,  if you try to shape your art form in a “This is what today’s kids are listening to” kind of way, it won’t work because it’s not authentic.  It doesn’t sound like you.  So you just have to do whatever comes to you, and not take the lack of response too seriously. But it is nice to be liked.  Don’t worry, that’s just your ego talking.  I think ego has a place in your work, but it must occasionally be placed in the corner wearing a giant dunce cap.


If you’re lucky and have talent like Winehouse, I still think it’s best to have the work ethic of her back up performers; singing and dancing like they need the work, like their lives depended on it, while she mumbled her own lyrics and snorts bumps of cocaine from the stash she had tucked in her hair.  Work like no one is watching, judging, liking or disliking, just tell the damn story.  You’ve got to move forward, refuse complacency, and never think that your capacity for success is a star that can not rise or fall.

AmyWinehousebackup.jpgAll Images Courtesy of Google

The King’s Speech

When the deadly 6.3 magnitude earthquake happened in Christchurch in 2011, my husband and I were in a downtown cinema watching “The King’s Speech“.  This film, which went on to win many accolades, including Best Picture and Best Actor, was the last thing I ever saw before the world tried to end.

kings speech yellow

Deeply engrossed in the death of the King George V, abdication of his successor for his twice divorced lover, and the stammering Duke who was choking on self doubt and fear;  I did not think about the outside world. Throughout the film, Colin Firth‘s Bertie is angry, frustrated, and in need of a friend, whom he finds in Geoffrey Rush‘s speech therapist Lionel Logue.  We are on the cusp of World War Two, the country needs a strong voice of reason and Bertie needs to sort his shit out.  I am right there in the room with these two men, witnessing the growth of their friendship, watching them learn from one another.  Ben, on the other hand, was sensing mild tremors and stuck his bottle of water in-between the seats ahead of him, to watch for tremors a la “Jurassic Park”.

The-King-s-Speech-2010 oficee

With war imminent, and the royal role thrust upon Bertie, the pressures are mounting for him to address his country.     And so, the story barrels towards the final address.  The mood is tense, and the heartbeat of the film becomes a ticking clock.  He heads towards the microphone with the same trepidation of facing death.  In the small room, Lionel prepares Bertie for his speech.  The room is soundproofed. The window is opened.  The light will flash three times and then shut off.  And then, there is silence.  Everyone is holding their breath, he opens his mouth to speak.  And then God shakes us as if we were an insignificant snow globe.

600full-the-king's-speech-poster god save the king The film cuts to black and sirens wail.  We scrambled with others out of the cinema.  The streets are flooded, cracked and the end of the world is nigh.

The-Kings-Speech window

What I remember most about being in that movie, was that I was happy and relaxed. I was immersed in the story and then I was wrenched  into a biblical kind of terror.  Watching it now– the new King stumbling at first, but gathering nerve and confidence with each word–this is what I would have seen if the earth had remained still.  It was like looking into a different dimension.  What would have happened if we saw the happy ending the first time. I would have cried, and we would have walked out of the cinema, into the sunshine. We would have gone off to the places we meant to go afterwards, where buildings crumbled and bodies were crushed.  Instead we were in England, in that small room with Bertie and Lionel, and we were safe there.

I’ve often wondered how that the film ended.   Going over my notes about the earthquake,  my curiosity for the ending was like a buzzing in the back of my brain.  I borrowed it from my parents.  And then we put it off.  For a solid week.  And then we let it happen, let them count down the precious seconds to the moment when the light dimmed and before a word was uttered.  And then we heard his voice.

      ” In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you, as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself. For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war. Over and over again we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict, for we are called to meet the challenge of a principle, which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilized order in the world. Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge. It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home, and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own. I ask them to stand calm and firm and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, then, with God’s help, we shall prevail”.

At least, this is what he said according to IMDB, because I was having a good old sob with the box of tissues on my lap.  Ben had edged closer to me, and tried to condole me. “It’s okay, we’re okay”.  Of course it’s okay, I don’t think “The King’s Speech” has the ability to cause earthquakes.  It was about inching closer to the end, and recognizing that there was an identifiable moment, this cinematic line in the sand– that second before everything I knew was completely shaken.

colin-firth-the-king_s-speechAll Images Courtesy of Google

Late Bloomer

The other week, I was in a funk; feeling discouraged and lost.  My shoulders stooped and face slumped in a frown, I was acting in a way that my husband described as “being a grumpy goat”, (you headbutt someone once while bleating and that’s the nickname they give you).  Although I think it more references my inability to cause any actually damage, my bleat is no worse than my bite. Lifting this mood required some heavy artillery: “Julie and Julia“.


Following a big dramatic sigh, I make mention of the movie as being the antidote to my mean reds.

julie and julia 1

Ben scrunches his face like being offered that fifth helping at Thanksgiving dinner.  “You know? I’m good on that”.

How can you be good on J&J? It’s quite possibly my favorite movie ever–top five at least.  I love Nora Ephron.


I love Meryl Streep.

meryl child

And I love this story.  And I love how these two women find their passion in unexpected places.

When I was really working overtime on my writer’s block, I would bake.  Muffins, scones, slices, cookies, and organize them in little Ziploc bags for the freezer.  It can be very soothing, baking–but it doesn’t get any writing done and it makes your pants tighter.  In fact since I’ve started the blog, I’m rarely in the kitchen, and I haven’t baked in months.

Now this is Ben’s turn to sigh audibly.

He’ll open the freezer, and heave a sigh of disappointment.  “Remember those meat pies you made? They were good…and those cookies, I miss those”.

But I don’t have the time, the patience or the kitchen bench space.

Neither did Julie Powell, who started her food blog in a tiny kitchen in Queens.

Julie's kitchen wide

In a year’s time she did 524 recipes, and then wrote about it.  No wonder she drove her husband nuts.  I’m just writing about writing and some days I can be a prickly pear.  I really don’t know how she did it–not five minutes ago I accidentally pressed publish on this blog when there was barely a few lines.  I then mashed buttons desperately, as if trying to turn back time(–and listen if Cher can’t pull it off I don’t have a hope in hell).   I screamed at my computer like in one of those slow motion sequences you see in action movies when someone is hanging out of a helicopter and your grip on their hand is loosening.  So, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be trusted de-boning ducks and molding meat aspics.  But as both Julie and Julia know, sometimes you just have to eat your mistakes.  Or as Julia Child once did, if you drop food on the ground, just scoop it up and pop back in the pan, it’ll be fine.  We’re all human here, put up your hand if you’ve never made a mistake.


Okay, guess who’s being a show off.

So now that I’ve slopped this blog back in the pot, I’ll try to shape it into something appetizing, or at least, edible.  “Julie and Julia” is by far one of my comfort food movies, and I saw it a solid couple of times when living in Australia.  I really identified with Julie as she was turning 3o, and was a sort of non-writing failing writer.  She connected with Julia Child because she was a late bloomer, she didn’t become a fixture in popular culture until she was in her fifties.  Her success story has a ‘its never too late’ kind of flavour, which is a real comfort to gals like Julie and myself.  And within a year of writing her blog, Powell found success as a writer.  Everyone wins at the end of this movie.  And it always makes me cry.

Another thing about this film that I love are the husbands… some one the most supportive husbands in cinema are in this movie.

Stanley Tucci as


I also have an extremely supportive husband.  He is the reason I am able to work on this blog daily.

When I first saw this movie,  the thought of having a blog seemed so foreign, so “that’s something that someone else would do” that it’s remarkable to think that its now a part of my daily routine.  But he has supported me, and loved me and made countless meals, and is a champion in the face of my occasional grumpy-goatness. It makes me realize that the poor bastard really deserves a lovely meat pie now and again.

And I will head straight out to the shop to get him one, because I’ve got more writing about writing to do.

Julia Child's Kitchen Meryl Streep plays All Images Courtesy of Google

Forever is Quite the Commitment

Yesterday, after my daily writing was done, I figured that nothing could be better than an afternoon movie on the sofa.  My neck has been seriously jammed up, as if cement has been poured down the back of my head, dripping towards my shoulders.  Feeling tense, I just want to curl up, and get lost in someone else’s story for a while.

On Netflix, there are so many options that you could practically spend your allotted movie time just searching for the perfect film.  Luckily, I did not have to search that hard: the first thing I see is “Celeste & Jesse Forever“, the film co-written by and starring Rashida Jones, along with Andy Samberg.

Celeste and Jesse Forever1

Warning: if you have ever gone through a divorce or a terrible breakup, or have a dismally stiff upper body and are depending on a Vancouver Canucks neck pillow to ease your pain, this movie is a mine-field, a mine-field I tell you!

The film was beautiful, touching and really funny.  And I was a fucking puddle by the time the credits rolled. Celeste and Jesse, best friends since high school, married young and grew apart, and separate (sort of) six years later.  The dissolution of their relationship is not because they don’t love or laugh, it is that their values in regards to ambition are wildly skewed.  Celeste is goal-oriented and success-driven, Jesse wants to surf and watch television. Though they are divorcing, they are committed to  their friendship–which is difficult if not impossible. He lives in the guest house, they still go out with their couple friends, they spend time together, lean on each other, but they are no longer a couple.  It’s confusing for the characters as well as the viewers. The  crux of their situation is that Jesse is not getting off the couch and participating in building a better life.  Frustrations aside, they still share inside jokes and intimate details, and to each other, they are the very thing anyone wants–a best friend who truly understands you.

117896023_celeste-j_363227bAs the story goes on, my sniveling heightens, as does the pile of tissues on the coffee table.  In truth, even thinking about the movie thickens my throat.  The storyline is completely identifiable–we’ve all had to let go of someone we’ve loved.  But this picture offers the double-whammy: losing your partner is painful enough, but when that person is also your best friend, it’s the absolute worst.  You want to talk about losing someone, with the very person you’ve lost, and that’s a heart breaker. In this film, both parties go back and forth between needing to be apart, and wanting to be together.  But the story really belongs to Celeste and her devolution from polished and professional into a sloppy, unkempt, chain smoking, ranch dressing drenching mess.

rashida jones breakdown The movie examines a number of issues: the long road to recovery after a breakup, moving forward, and trying to find a new way to love a person whom you no longer love.  Of course, it touches on how men always seem to bounce back a little bit better than women.  For some of us, getting over the end of a relationship is like recovering from an illness.  There is no known cure but time, perspective and bottles upon bottle of red wine.

celeste-and-jesse-forever-breaKDOWNThis morning, while poking around different articles, this movie swirling around in my head, I came across an article discussing Brad Pitt‘s remarks about his marriage to Jennifer Aniston.  He occasionally garners criticism for his negative comments about that time.  He makes it extremely clear that his union with the ‘Friends‘ superstar was just about the most soul crushing thing ever.  He claimed that he played interesting characters in interesting movies, but that his life wasn’t exciting to him.  And therefore, what do you do when you have money, fame, success and a beautiful wife? You sit on the couch and get baked…for years.  He draws this mystical conclusion that he was unhappy, wasting his potential, and said:  “I think that my marriage had something to do with it. Trying to pretend the marriage was something it wasn’t”.


And he’s got the right to say it, it was his marriage, and how he  felt inside those matrimonial walls.  But that really smarts, doesn’t it?   The relationship ends, and your lover’s life improves in your absence. And this is the issue with “Celeste & Jesse”, their separation causes one’s life to sky-rocket, the other to crumble.  And then it becomes an issue of self-worth.  I’m not worthy of love, and I’m not worthy of making your life better.  When I went through a rather life-changing breakup a few years back, suddenly living out of a suitcase, staying with friends, I occasionally thought about Jennifer Aniston.  Do you think she would ever get over having been married to Brad Pitt?  Do you think she smoked cigarettes on a balcony, recalling only the good times–remember all those dinners with Trudie and Sting?
jen brad sting
Remember the matching highlights, and romantic red carpet glances?
And I suppose, for us regular folk, unless you stalk their Facebook account, you can generally shield yourself from your former partners post-you updates; you can avoid hearing information about our ex’s and their new lives with new loves.  You wouldn’t be standing in line at the grocery store and see a magazine cover with your ex gallivanting with newer, better, younger.
angelina brad bed
And as the years drift by, your ovaries and box office appeal drying up in equal measure, after John Mayer has stopped returning your calls, (but can’t stop explaining to random paparazzi why he couldn’t “make it work” with you), you have to wonder where you took a wrong turn.  Meanwhile, your ex can’t stop procreating with your pillow-lipped replacement, nor can he shut up about how amazing his new life is.  That would truly piss me off, and would send me into a tail spin where I would just get blitzed at public events and make comments like: “I like invented him you know?”
But I’m sure Aniston is perfectly fine, she’s got a house in Malibu and a dermatologist on speed dial.  As time goes on, the hurt lessens, and reality sets in.  It wasn’t all matching highlights and dinners with Sting and Trudie. It couldn’t have been easy for the big hunk of hotness all baked on the couch, wishing his life was more “interesting”.  If you can strike a balance of remembering what was good, but realizing why it was bad, you can make peace with those years and be grateful for what you learned.  And by the bittersweet end of “Celeste & Jesse”, they are also perfectly fine.  They’ll move forward, but will occasionally look back.  But don’t we all do that? Once in a blue moon, take pause and wonder how those we once loved are faring. Occasionally something small or insignificant  will happen and this long-ago feeling twists inside of you that causes you to miss someone who used to be the best friend you ever had.
rashidaAll Images Courtesy of Google

Double Duchess

The general outrage and upset garnered from the recent closing of the local strip joint “The Duchess” is the kind of things that failing business owners hate.  “I can’t believe it’s shutting down…no, I was never a patron…but I was happy knowing it was there”.

kamloops-hotest-new-club_5242149I went there ten years ago when it was known as “Outbacks”.  It was dark and dingy, and it was there that I saw my first and only pregnant stripper.  At least…we were pretty sure she was, otherwise that gal was in serious need of an ab-roller and some bran muffins.  Outbacks was also the place where I say my first-and only wet t-shirt contest.  Three girls: over-weight, under-weight, under-aged and three dudes with spray bottles.  Now you could have put a wig on a dumpster and it would have looked better than these three combined.  Even the sprayers looked hard pressed to moisten the bra-less cotton clad participants.  Watching this like one witnesses a fiery car crash, my face is twisted in fascinated horror.  I feel a tapping on my shoulder, and I glance back at a leathery old man exposing a gummy, toothless grin.  “See that one right there? The one is the middle? That there is my granddaughter”.

Shut it down.

“You must be so proud”, I say, with as much sincerity I could muster.  I guess this girl didn’t take part much in the way of school plays or track meets.

The first time I ever went to a strip club was around my 18th birthday, at a place called “Pinky’s Show Palace” in Alberta.   I think I had seen “Flashdance” far too many times, because the real thing was kind of bleak.

Flashdance_011PyxurzOne performer, Misty, looked tried, bored, and was chewing gum like a cow does with cud. She didn’t dance, as much as she generally walked around onstage wearing nothing but clear plastic heels.  I slumped in my seat.  I figured there would be a routine.  I always imaged that if ever I were a welder by day and a dancer by night a la “Flashdance”, I would really do it up right.  I’d go by Audrey Rugburn, and my playlist would be as followed:

-“One of These Nights”, the Eagles,

-“Crazy in Love”, Beyonce and Jay-Z

-And…because it seems like a stripper essential, “Cowboy” by Kid Rock, but I’d add an unexpected twist, a mash-up with Bob Seager’s Night Moves”.

natalie wood stripper

But the sad stripper at Pinky’s clearly hated her job, and those who gawked at her goodies.  For the ‘floor number’, she writhed around on a plush blanket with a unicorn–you know the kind, those sold out of vans on the side of the road with Bob Marley and “Scarface” etched into the material.  (PS: Urban Dictionary refers to them as a”skanket”).  She hung keychains on her nipples, and stuck posters…in other places and customers would find new and disgusting ways to retrieve these prizes.  I thought the whole thing was rather unsanitary.  Patrons chucked coins at her nether regions, and her eyes were elsewhere while her naked body was pelted by someone’s filthy change.  I just felt so upset as she neatly folded up her blanket so as not to lose a single cent.


If ever a strip joint was visited, it was the “Rendezvous”,  it was a  popular spot, and always a good time.  Around one closing time, after many, many drinks and encouragement from equally drunk friends, I rushed up on stage to swing around the pole.

Props to the core strength of these dancers–for that shiz is not easy.

I grabbed the pole and slid down–“Swing, swing!” my friends cried.  “I can’t…it’s too greasy!”, I just slid down the shaft lamely.  Once back in my seat, a waitress came by to clear the multitude of empty glasses.

“Hun, I would go wash your hands before you touch your eyes”.


The Rendezvous was close to my one room apartment, a place that had become known as the “Hippie Hut”.  In the bathroom…well, in one corner of the room was a shower, in the other corner was a small enclosure with a toilet, and a pink sarong acting as a door.  For the longest time there was a poster inside said space of a stripper that had included me in her act.

I was sitting with friends along the bar that wrapped around the stage, the aptly titled “gyno row”.  This is not an ideal spot, as the strippers will crouch down in the middle of a set and have a chat, and there’s this rather large part of you that wants to ask–“Does your mother know you are here?”  Nonetheless, I’m sipping a gin and tonic, and watching the show, when all other members of the row start pounding their fists on the bar.  My G&T dances like a wind-up toy, and rat-a-tats towards the edge, dumping all over my lap.  And of course, I’m wearing light covered denim, so that spill is as obvious as motel room stains under a black light.  I panic, grab a fistful of napkins, and try to rub out the excess liquid.   Some drunken character draws attention to my one arm feverishly jerking back and forth, pointing out that it looks as if I’m doing myself a big favour. I then say possibly one of the top ten stupidest things of my life: “No-no, it’s not like that, I’m all wet!”  Hooting and hollering ensues.  I was hoping that I could sit long enough for the pants to dry, but clearly, between the rubbing and my inadvertent announcement of particular wetness, I decide to retreat to the bathroom and make friends with a hand dryer.  I get up, turn around, and the stripper makes a grab for me, pulling me from under my armpits and dragging me onstage.  In a packed club.  In my gin soaked jeans.  She then bends forward and dips her sweaty, glittery breasts onto my face, like apples into caramel–it was that sticky.  And then she gave me a poster, which I then used to hold over my crotchal region as I exited to the washroom.  With dryer pants and further cocktails, I saw the dancer later and she autographed the poster, saying something along the lines of having ‘power over men with another word for kitty-cat’.  And so, it came home with me, and was placed near the toilet, for all to enjoy.


The Rendezvous eventually closed, and the Duchess was the only place in town where you could get boobs, beers and a burger in the same place.  But now that her days are numbered, there is a considerable buzz about the possible importance of a titty bar in a city’s landscape.  There are women’s groups that support it’s closing, but there are other types of women’s groups that think it’s a darn shame that these professionals have to leave the province to find work.  I can appreciate both opinions, but I hate to think of this next generation of young people who are going to miss out on wonderful memories of gin-soaked jeans, expectant strippers, glittery breast sweat, and the souvenirs you’d get to take home…just as soon as you wash your hands before accidentally touching your eyes.

stripteaseAll Images Courtesy of Google

Walk of Shame

When I heard the news on the radio, I kind of…couldn’t believe my ears.  I was at work, and between the sounds of machinery, it just didn’t make sense.  On the next hour, I heard it again.  Did they just say slut walk?

Oh yes.  Slut Walk.

How exciting it must be for the announcers to drop a ‘slut’ bomb amid reports of accidents, uprisings, sports and weather.  And so, once home, I research Slut Walk.  This is the moment I stop typing, and rub my eyes as if I can’t believe them.

Slut Walk 2

This is me with mixed feelings.

I get the concept.  I appreciate the sentiment.  I would not participate.


Or maybe…because I am emphatically for women’s rights; and because I also resent this accusatory rape culture, I could partake but wear a bitching muu-muu, or a 1920’s bathing suit.  Can I be a slut but still wear a turtleneck?

This protect march was conceived in Toronto, in 2011, and there have been subsequent events all around the globe. Organizers suggested that women dress in regular clothes to represent the everyday woman suffering abuse in an average life.  But then people showed up dressed like sluts.  And this strange, slutty revolution came from a single comment.  Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto Police officer, while speaking at a safety forum, recommended  that women err on the side of caution and”avoid dressing like sluts”.  Okay, so while he could have found a gentler way to suggest that, it’s not the worst idea ever.  There are bedrooms and beaches, nightclubs and stages where skin is welcomed in abundance.  School, the office, the bank…not so much.  Call me crazy, I don’t want to see that space where the tops of your thighs meet, but with frayed denim framing it.  At the local–twenty people strong–march, one TWELVE-YEAR-OLD girl said she was marching because she thought it was unfair that she couldn’t wear short-shorts to school. Uh…I think you are missing the point of the march, which is that our bodies belong to ourselves, and no person has the right to handle without consent.  No matter what you’re dressed like.  But what is it that we are fighting for? Daisy Dukes?


And I hear the message loud and clear.  But I don’t want to clobbered over the head with it. And I get that the word slut is being re-appropriated in the same way Kanye West and Jay-Z did in a song that the Grammy nomination list had to list as “________ in Paris“.  It’s only okay if we say it.  But why say it at all.  There’s something about this concept that tastes like vinegar.  And as I write about it, I have to question why this is so unsavory to me… and why it feels embarrassing to purse my lips at the notion.  Am I a prude? The police officer, who must rue the day he made that remark–has probably seen a few victimized women in his time. He may have seen common denominators, I don’t know his story.  But I reckon there were some sensitivity training in that man’s future.

The thesis of the march comes from an empowering place.  And hey, I am all for choice.  It is your body, do with it what you will.  And I believe hand on heart, that there is no such thing as ‘legitimate rape’.   We are living in a blame-victim culture, and I appreciate the anger, the clenched fists of feisty feminists that are sick to death of violence and abuse.  I’m one of those women.   But I also believe that rape has about as much to do with sex, as Lindsay Lohan has to do with sobriety.   I also think it wouldn’t kill anyone to throw a cardigan on and leave a little bit to the imagination.  I mean, Grace Kelly was one of the biggest sluts ever, and she was classy as hell.

grace kelly
And again, it’s not about how you clothe your body–it’s about the right to safety, support and sympathy.  Everyone deserves that.  There’s no need to be ashamed, hold those slutty heads high.  And I’ll be here in my giant poncho, championing your cause.

I’d really love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

1348391186-slut-walk-london-2012-march-in-london_1471192I’m not really sure what this means.  Like…I’m not a piece of meat…unless I was wearing meat?  Help me out.

slutwalk1All Images Courtesy of Google