Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Monday, February 26, 2007

For Your Consideration: My Oscar Commentary ( In No Particular Order):

Martin Scorcese FINALLY wins Best Director!!! Oh MY GOD!!! Lynnie, Kit and I literally got up and cheered like we were at a sporting event. WOO-HOO! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY has waited far too long for some acknowledgment. I was going to seriously go apoplectic if he didn't win. You should have seen us all waiting for the envelope to be opened: it was dead silent and all of us on the edge of the couch.

As we were for Best Actor, which, fucking hell, speaking of somebody who has waited FAR to long for some acknowledgement, Peter O'Toole still rocks the house at 112 or however old he is, has been nominated what? 4, 5 times and never won? I mean, I wouldn't begrudge Forrest Whittaker a thing, let me tell you. He's awesome. But he's ( comparatively) young still. At this point, Peter is going to be dead and no Oscar. WTF is with that? We all consoled ourselves with the notion that perhaps he would get a lifetime acheivement next year or sometime soon. Seriously, Academy, SOON, because he's gonna keel any second and he deserves to be around to accept it in person. Doncha think?

Why did ( the lovely and talented and deserving) Helen Mirren call her Oscar "The Queen"? I don't get it. Love ya, Helen, but I missed it on that one.

Only 4 hours this year and Ellen was tolerable and at times quite funny. I like John Stewart better, but I did laugh heartily at Ellen's asking Steven Speilberg to take a picture of her and Clint Eastwood "for my MySpace page".

Wow, Jennifer Hudson won for "Dreamgirls". She was the best thing in that damned movie, which I didn't like. ( Eddie Murphy was good, but at times he seemed to be channelling his James Brown impression from "SNL" and I expected him to shout out, "gettin' hot in the hot tub! HEY!". ) Then again I don't like movie musicals very much, as it is. I should clarify: I don't like stage musicals adapted to the screen very often. It's very difficult to do and most of the time just doesn't seem right. I DO like musicals that are originally concieved as movies, like "Singing In The Rain" and more recently, "Moulin Rouge!". Anyway, all to make the point that I'm probably not one to judge whether or not it was worthy. KWIM?

We all misted up when Ennico Morricone got his lifetime acheivement award. What a sweet, humble man.

Alan Arkin is cool. So glad someone noticed it, too. Love him, love everything he's in. He's one of those actors who just make anything bettter by being in it. Sometimes that gets taken for granted, and it's nice to see that sometimes, it gets rewarded, too.

I commented to Kit that I never get to see animated shorts anymore. There used to be this thing in STL every year where they'd do this Festival of Animation over two nights. "Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation"(?) I think it was called,and it had everything worth seeing. Great stuff, like all of Aardman Animation's first stuff ( the creators of "Wallace and Grommit" and "Chicken Run"). I miss that. In a town filled with film, sometimes it is next to impossible to track down any place that's not showing the Latest Studio Big-Money Releases. Maybe that's because we're a high box-office polling site ( meaning that when you see the box-office grosses for the week for some film, certain sites have been selected and polled in particular. It's kind of like the Neilsens: a cross section of ratings have been culled from a group of homes across the country and somehow statistically represent the overall opinion. Anyway, Burbank in particular is a polling site, evidenced by the fact that we have 3- THREE- AMC Theatres within a block of each other. NO, I am not exaggerating for effect. And yes, some of them are even showing the same movies).
I don't know....but it seems harder and harder to track down an independent film in this town, of all places. It's like I have to go into some sketchy neighborhood where they will show the film at random, weird times and ONLY then. There's no REALLY good indie film theatre in all of L.A. Isn't that odd?

Okay, on to fashion:

Ladies, loving the pale, neutral colors: Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth, Rachel Weisz ( how is she so beautiful? It's unreal.), even J.Lo.

Love the aging-gracefully-but-still-looking-damned-great element, too, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton. How nice to see your un-Botoxed faces and your lovely, gorgeous selves in great dresses and jewels. I wanna be an grow into my older years like THAT!

Somebody didn't give Emily Blunt or Nicole or Jessica Biel the memo about the awful, awful colors and odd 80's inspired choices they made. Jessica: it's the Oscars. Make an effort. Emily: you're so pretty, and that dress was such a bad color on you. Fire your stylist immediately. ( BTW: loved your bit with Anne Hathaway- oh, to look like that, in my next lifetime- about Meryl and getting her coffee. Loved Meryl's dead-on, mock Look-of Death. Hilarious).
Nicole: don't even get me started about the giant bow. WTF, is all I can say.

Except to add that when Lynnie came in and looked at her, she said, WITHOUT any prompting or commentary from me, "She looks like a fish with her lips like that. What has she done?" Kit also commented -- again, no prompting--"Oh, my GAWD. What has she done to her face?" I rest my case about the oddity that is she, supposedly the most beautiful woman in the world. Admittedly, she is model-perfect and in the Years Before Botox, she was absolutely, unequivcably, STUNN-ING.
But as Lynnie when blurted out, "she looks like a Stepford Wife", it just goes to show you how actresses need to be CAREFUL about what they do to their most precious resevior of expression: your face. You shouldn't be giving up "life" in your face because you're desperately holding on to beauty and youth. 'Nuff said.

And no, I'm not picking on her out of my bitterness over her marriage. I just think she's a primary example of Too Much Product and The Unspoken Fear of Aging that is behind all that beauty you see in women in this industry these days. ( Look at Catherine Deneuve. God. So amazing, so beautiful, after all this time. And I'm sure she's had work done, no doubt. But she looks normal, age-appropriate, fully expressive. Gorgeous!)
I'm behind plastic surgery, I'm behind injections, I'm behind doing whatever you can. I'm not, and never really have been, an all-natural gal. I'd get certain things done if I could afford it. But I still want to look like ME. And I want to look like me NOW, not Me When I Was 25 ( that's a dangerous unrealistic delusion to go into any sort of treatment with). And I want to be able to say, "I still look like myself, only like I had a nice long vacation" and smile and laugh and frown and cry. What's life for- or being an actor for- if you can't do that? I rest my case. Off my soapbox now...

....and I'm off to bed. It's now almost 4:30 am, and this working gal has to go some sleep. I have to go and try and make my own road to the Oscars ( God willin', it'll not be trudging through horrendous crap for an excessive, torturous length to get there) one step at a time.....Lynnie, Kit and I vowed to be there by 2010. ( I say, dream big, and hey, don't be ashamed of it or let anyone tell you it's silly!) So I've gotta get on it, including working odd jobs to pay the rent while I do....all a part of a master plan, mwhahahaha! ( LOL! But seriously now...) Refocus, recommit, renew the creativity that was lost to me for awhile back there. Regardless of the outcome, that in and of itself is an undoubtably good thing for me,

So off I go....wish me step at a time....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

La la la LA! Walking on air, ego enormously boosted.....

I don't know if you, Dear Reader, have ever read ELLE magazine, but you've probably seen it at the newsstands. It's your typical fashion rag, with some very interesting articles and columns thrown in. I make a habit of picking it up regularly .
Anyhoo, there's this witty, whip-smart advice columnist featured there. Her name is E. Jean, and she's just a riot, not to mention completely go-girl positive. I love her stuff, and make a point of reading her regularly.
So, when I saw that she was looking for paid interns, I jumped at the chance to apply. The assignment was to go the ELLE website and answer 3 different questions out of the catagories listed. ( Apparently, she gets beseiged with letters and turns some of them over to her forum of online "advice vixens" and lets them have at it. The public is allowed to comment as well.)
I did so. I waited. And I thought, "oh well, it was a new adventure, and fun, and who knows if she ever even saw it personally? I shall press on...."

Then today I got THIS in my email box from HER private email:

My dear Miss ,

Your talent is immense. Your picture is gorgeous---YOU have stunning hair! And your advice to Benson about his college friend visiting and living a “Grown-Up life” was brilliant. You made it into the top thirty (out of HUNDREDS of applicants). I nearly filleted my poor brains trying to pull the finalists out of the top thirty. You are brilliant, but unfortunately, the places have been assigned for the Spring Ask E. Jean Internships.
I urge you to apply for one of the Summer Internships. The Summer interns will work 10 hours a week and be paid $7.20 an hour. The responsibilities will be varied, but mainly I want good writers. Please apply for the Summer Internships the last week of May. You can reach me at this e-mail address.

Ravishing Regards,


Needless to say I about choked my drink. E. Jean thinks I'M fabulous?? Well, shut my mouth wide open!!!

I realize that in part it IS a form letter. And that I didn't make the cut this time. But it was such a boost to hear that one of my beloved magazine writers thinks I have what it takes to maybe, just MAYBE, write a little. ( And she loves my hair!!). WOO HOO! I'm on Cloud Nine, no matter WHAT happens or how it pans out. Which I really don't know yet, obviously....

I kind of just answered the ad on an impulse, thinking, "well, Christ, I could give snappy, sassy advice to poor saps just as well as anyone. And it's for E. Jean!" I have never really thought of myself as a Writer, capital "W". I didn't go to school for it, ( although god knows I spent enough time in school writing all sorts of crap, and I mean that really. Poetry, papers, research, abstracts summing up art work, proposals, PR releases, blah blah blah. ) , and anyone who reads this blog can tell my grammar is severely in need of some polish. But I HAVE entertained the notion, from time to time, to write an article or two, freelance. I'm certainly opinionated enough, fairly erudite when it's called for, etc. I CAN write. I just never really thought I was entirely qualified-- not a "real Writer"-- so never mind, I'm so busy anyway, no one would buy it, and so on and so forth.

But maybe.....just a little, on ocassion, when it seems right? Maybe I might try? The encourgement goes a long way to letting me entertain it more seriously when I do so...

Oh, I would never try to make a living at it-- it's really hard to keep that sort of thing going, and there's plenty of other Actual Writers out there who are competing for the work. And I don't think I have what it takes to Write All The Time. But you know what? I think on occasion it might be a fun side-project to pursue. And it's nice to hear that that idea isn't completely delusional!

Like I said, it's just an idea, and who knows where it will go? But I'm open for positive adventure right now, and other avenues of creative expression....and it's great once in awhile to hear, "Hey, kid, you have something! Keep at it!" Especially living here, where there's so very, very little of thatgoing around, in general, and in my life ( about the creative end of things).

So. I'll let those compliments sink in and enjoy them while they last, for what they're worth.

It's nice. I rock, I rock, yes I do. La LA!!! :)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Random thoughts.....

I watched that Oprah special on Oscar Winners Interviewing Oscar Winners and I have a few comments:

Julia Roberts is a bitchy, moody, self-involved diva, just like everyone I've ever known who's worked with her swears she is (Anthony will attest to this vehemently). Comments like, "Aren't my kids cute? I love my kids." and "Don't I look cute? I'm pregnant!" make me want to slap her.

Nicole Kidman has injected some sort of lip-plumping agent into her top lip and it looks like she's having an allergic reaction to something, as a result. Other than that, she's smarter than I thought she was. Yes, I'm actually making that concession. World peace is soon to follow, I'm sure.

The only thing of worth Jaimie Foxx asked Sidney Poitier was how he felt winning the Oscar in 1963,( as he was the first black actor to do so). A valid question to be sure, but if that's the only thing you can think of to ask Sidney Poitier, then you don't deserve to be talking to him.

I have a headache.

It rained all day today and it snowed up in the mountains. YAY!

We seriously need another kitten around here. Angel is so bored he's driving me crazy. He got a swat today because he would NOT stop whining. And when I say whining, I mean saying "meow" over and over and over and over and over again even though he'd been fed and petted and let out ( only to discover it was raining). He shut up and hid under the dining room table for 20 minutes. I did not feel guilty about the swat,either. It was on his backside and not very hard, and he's been working up to it for a good 3 weeks now.
I know he's bored. He's 5 and really needs someone to play with him and keep him preoccupied. I'm on the lookout for a female baby kitty. For some reason, something is telling me to wait til a gray one comes along. I hope she shows up soon....

I have an interview next week at a swank rehab place in Laurel Canyon. They only take 6 patients at a time. They specifically wanted someone in a creative field who has been recovering for at least 2 years. It's a program specifically oriented toward artists with addiction problems, which believe me, is an idea whose time is looooooong overdue. My only concern is that part of my job description entails "neating up" patients' rooms, and I am not so down with that. Not that it's a hygenic issue for me, more of a philosophical one. If you're in rehab and your job is to get your life going into a more spiritual, humble, "I'm in here because my life is unmanagable and I'm powerless over my addictions" place, you SHOULD be making your own damned bed. In fact, that should be part of your therapy: making your own bed, cleaning up your own stuff, clearing your own plates, etc. Part of the problem for celebrities, et al is they have too many people lighting their cigarettes and letting them get away with such bullshit for far too long. And random anonymous artists justify it with the "I'm an artist; I'm above doing the dishes" kind of nonsense. The thing is, NO you are NOT. You may be an artist and/or a celebrity and need special care oriented toward your creative self/temperment ( which I firmly believe in), but if your ass was keeping it together so well with that kind of lassaiz-faire attitude, would you need rehab? The answer, of course, is no.
We'll have to see about that, of course....

( I'm avoiding the obvious Britney refernce here. I don't need to say anything, because hey, she's already making the point for me with her recent jaw-dropping, it's SO bad, I feel kind of bad FOR her. Here's hoping someone makes her make her bed, and whatever else neccessary....)

My acupuncturist wants me to go find an author by the name of Caroline Myss and learn how to become a medical inutitive. She says I have a gift. This is acupuncturist #3 to say so, mind you, but she's been the first who was able to respond to my concerns about it with a concrete suggestion. Apparently this woman teaches seminars, etc. I've only heard of her in passing as an author whose ideas I didn't agree with at first glance, but I like my acupuncturist, so I'll go read a book and see what I think.
We'll have to see about that, too, of course.....

I ordered Girl Scout cookies from Sassy's DD what seems like months ago and they are yet to arrive. I'm jonesing for a Thin Mint as I write this. Now, I was once a Girl Scout and I happen to know they do not make you actually bake those cookies. So where are they????

Headache slowly dissipating.

Keith Urban is scheduled to hit our town once more June 16. (The next day he will be in St. Louis, isn't that weird? Cosmic kismet or creative tour-bus driving? You decide...) This time he's coming to the Staples Center, which is where the Lakers play, and where I saw U2. I hate to diminish my man's potential draw, but I will be colored shocked if he can fill that arena to capacity. Especially since we have NO country station in this town anymore!!! Can you believe that???? A market as big as this one, and no country station. We've got 6 Mexican stations and one solely for "Old School" R&B, but not one country station. We used to, but it went away about a year ago. It was replaced by "All Dance Hits, All The Time", and well, you can imagine how I felt about THAT.
Mr. Urban is now seeing fit to charge $70-80 ( gulp) a pop to see him. Or Ticketmaster is. I'll be shaking out the couch for the quarters, but don't think I'm not expecting full frontal for that price, mister!!!

If I could afford a lip-plumping agent to be injected into my lips, I would look like a blowfish. I'd much rather have it injected into the circles under my eyes, which seem to be getting larger and darker with every birthday. Restalyne. That's what it's called. Right.

Headache is almost entirely gone. But now I need a donut.

And on that note, I'm outta here. Thank you, and goodnight!!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Could it be?

Could it be......


Great googly moogly, I think I hear the pitter-patter of tiny droplets on my roof. Considering it hasn't rained for crap this winter, it's nothing short of a miracle. And it needs to KEEP raining for awhile, or else this summer is going to be sheer hell with wildfires all over the place.

I find it amazing that my family and friends back in the Midwest are getting one of the worst winters in years, repeatedly slammed with snow and ice and power outtages, and out here, it's been a balmy 70 degrees off and on all season. ( I'm not trying to gloat. I hate it. It's wrong and weird, even for this place).

Maybe Al Gore was right, and we all need to be worried. Those poor polar bears.....

In other news, I'm recovering from 3 days of absolute chaos: I worked temp for a florist this V-Day. Historically, and not just when I'm bitter from a recent breakup, I really hate Valentine's Day. It's so hokey and contrived and full of crap. Anyway.
I spent mine-- and the two days leading up to it-- making arrangements. Standing for hours on end, wrenching my back, my feet screaming, making mostly tacky, tasteless Teleflora arrangements for delivery. And I cannot count-- even if I tried!-- how many roses I stripped, cut, proccessed and arranged for the Valentine Standard (a dozen roses + greens +filler). And then I went home Wed. night and collapsed.

BUT, as is my way, I'm here to give you fellas a few peices of wisdom, gleaned from my experience, to tuck away for next year:

Jessica's Top 5 Least Romantic Valentine's Day Traditions:

1). Any stuffed animal, especially any bear of any kind hugging anything, playing any musical selection, or wearing some pun about love emblazoned upon its body ( ex: "I love You Beary Much", monkeys that play "Wild Thing", puppies who kiss, etc.). This is not cute. I know you think girls will think this is cute, and they do. When they're 12. After that it becomes something they have to figure out where to put so their friends will not laugh and point but your feelings aren't hurt. Spare her the struggle.

Tip for Posterity: If you can get it at Rite-Aid the night before, she doesn't want it. Or anything like it.

2.) Foil balloons declaring your love/ shaped like lips/exclaiming lewd statements about your sexual appeal. Okay, I'm not against balloons on principle; they're festive and fun and certainly scream "I got a delivery!" to anyone who's within a ten mile radius. However, one or two tasteful, plain, heartshaped red ones will do, thank you. They can even say "Happy Valentine's Day", if they must. But please, think of her co-workers when you decide to send a mass of balloons that say, "I LOVE YOU!" and "SEXY LADY". Nobody else wants to know that much about your relationship.

Tip for Posterity: Remember that episode of "Friends" where Ross gets so jealous of Rachel's handsome new supervisor he floods her workplace with gifts, each one more annoying than the last, thus being the equivalent of pissing in a ring around her desk? Yeah. Don't be that guy.
An additional caveat to ponder: If you're gonna chintz out on the flower arrangement, big guy, don't think that adding a million ballons to it hides that fact. Sending her a bud vase with 3 roses and 6 cheesy balloons attached just makes you look like you don't have any taste. It does not fool her into thinking you actually aren't cheap.

3.) Please remember that when you call a florist, someone else will be writing your card for you. (And more than likely, reading it aloud to the entire staff if something REALLY juicy/stupid comes along. ) It's fine to express yourself here, and please: feel free to tell your girl how much you love her. However, if things get too *ahem* personal, remember that it's not going to be in your handwriting and she'll likely be mortified that floral staff knows how great That Time in Vegas was. By the same token, remember this holiday is about romance ( allegedly). It's not the time to sign the card by your old frat nickname, "Booger", or any some such simliar because you think it's cute. You just need to step away from the keg long enough to come to the realization that if that's the case, you're lucky she's still dating you and you should show your gratitude.

Tip for Posterity: Pretend you're both secret agents and write your message in a code only she will understand. Or, send a poem that reminds you of her. The general public doesn't mind a declaration of love, it just resents knowing all the gory details. ( Unless you already have paparazzi stalking you. In which case, we'll go ahead and buy that copy of "Us Weekly").
An additional caveat to ponder: If you're thinking she'll know who sent stuff even if you don't specify a card, you're very, very wrong. It will just piss her off later when she has to call the florist to find out it was you.

4.) A rose is not a rose by any other name, seriously. Ol' Bill had it wrong there, because a rose by any other name is NOT a rose and does not smell as sweet ( Romeo and Juliet were like, 14 and 15 respectively, so what did they know, anyway?). Roses are lovely, and they are delicate, expensive flowers, which is why they are prized. Carnations? Not so much. While nobody expects you to go by the Victorian Tradition and speak the Secret Language of Flowers from sender to sendee, a little thinking might do you some good. I once had a guy come in and tell me he wanted a flower that said "you're hot" to a girl. As a joke, I handed him some random orange bloom ( "hot" versus heat, get it? ). He thought it was brilliant and paid for it on the spot. I never heard how it turned out, but I think it's safe to say it was his first and last date.

Tip for Posterity: It's fine if you don't want to send roses, or can't afford them. Not everyone likes them, and yes, they are expensive. But if you still want to stay romantic, don't just slap together the first thing that looks Big and Expensive. It might have been intended for a funeral arrangement.
An additional caveat to ponder: A Dozen Roses are WAY overdone, so if you're going to send them, mix them with something lovely, like white lilies, to offset the generic feel. You'll get the something outstanding for the same cost. OR, find out what her favorite flower is. Likely it's something more affordable ( like, say, daisies) and will mean more.


5.) Don't be a poozer and wait til the last minute to order. Admittedly, this is one I have a personal bias toward, since I'm the one standing there up to my knees in leaves and stems with 50 more orders to go, and it's not even noon. But take this as an" insider" secret: the later you wait, the less likely the stuff you order will be as well thought out, as nicely arranged or as fresh as you'd like. Florists buy for V-Day days and days in advance, and the longer YOU wait to place an order is the longer those flowers have been setting in a cooler, slowly dying. Do something crazy: think ahead! Who knows? You might free up some extra time to plan other romantic things, like, say, bathing.

Tip for Posterity: If you send in your order ON Valentine's, expect us not to give a shit and use whatever's left over from people who actually planned ahead. Do yourself and her a favor and maybe even plan to have something sent EARLY ( like the 12th or the 13th) and get the cream de la creme, not to mention the element of surprise.
A caveat to ponder: This is not a suggestion, but rather, a cardinal rule. Don't call me and bitch if a.) we're out of stock on what you want, b.) your flowers are dead 3 days later because I had to use what was lying around or c.) it was after 5 when you got your delivery. This is the biggest goddamned day in the whole season, and I am not standing there in a field, taking your call, harvesting these crops myself. Wait til the last minute and pay the consequences yourself, Mr. Absent-Minded. Those hearts and candy boxes have only been in the stores since after Christmas, reminding you.

Ahhh. So good to get that off my chest......

At any rate, I made enough money to get my car street legal again. My tags have been expired forever. I hesitate saying that out lound lest tomorrow be the day I get pulled over for the first time in ( cringe) 3 years and get busted. I also have to renew my liscence, and yes, this time it will be for the Great State of CA. I will officially be a resident. I will officially, on the books, live in La-La Land ( well, I can already vote here, but you know what I mean). Where it has already stopped raining and therefore likely be engulfed in flames by May.

There's no place like Hollywood, eh? Gotta love it!

Friday, February 09, 2007

And we're back to reality.....

1.) At Least It's Not Like It Was In Medieval Times, We Swear - Just Don't Look At the Equipment Tray:

No offense to those of y'all who work in the medical field , but I flat out loathe the dentist. And the thing is, --sigh-- the time is nigh, I'm afraid. I've got a molar in the back that's broken tiny part since this past fall, and I haven't actually BEEN in there for like, ummmmm, 3 1/2 years.

I admit that this is in part, me being a big ol' baby. When I think about the money that went into getting my mouth this Hollywood glam- the orthodontia, the surgery, the veneers- well, it would be sick and sad to let it rot away. ( Not to mention, my dad would probably hunt me down and kill me). But man-oh-man, after having people in and out of my mouth ( don't do anything dirty with that!) for 6 frickin' years, I've developed a bit of a phobia about it. Not to mention since I had jaw surgery, the nerves have kinda regenreated in a funny way and it takes twice the amount of novocaine to get me numb as the average person. Seriously. My old dentist back home said, "Um, technically I've given you past the legal limit here. Is it working yet?" ( Thankfully, it was).

So. I need to WILL myself to go in there. I'm begging people to help me out. Tell me horror stories. Cheerlead. Make up stuff. Or tell me about new and exciting improvements to dentistry like free Valium for the waiting room and fun pictures on the ceiling over the chair......anything.

2.) We're Taking Away Your Money Now So We Can Give It Back Later When You're Suffering More and You REALLY Deserve It:

I don't know how to explain this next thing except to say that anyone who says it's easier to sit around on the sofa and collect a disability check is out of their minds. The procces for qualifying alone will make you insane, and then any attempt by you to oh, I don't know- better your life, rely on them less, get ahead?- is thwarted at every turn. Case in point:

I got a letter last week stating that since I made money last year ( a whopping $1,000 in taxable income), I will be receiving reduced checks. Seems that the months I made money, Social Security considers that an "overpayment" on their part, as I brought in some income that was comparable to what they send. That's THEIR version of the story, mine is " I had to go make money somehow or else I would have not had food or power, as the checks you send are paltry. " Hello! The standard of living for anyone on disability is roughly $12,000 a year if you only survive on checks. Unless you live under a viaduct, that's just not feasible. So I got off my ass and did what I needed to do to get by, as well as I could. It's not ideal, but my philosphy is that there is no free lunch. It's ASSISTANCE, not a FREE RIDE.

Then I get this other letter asking for me to provide details -- which I might add, they already HAVE, since they're ON THE LETTER-- about the jobs I've held, including one I had in 1993! They want to know how many hours I worked and how much money I've made and 9 other kinds of bullshit information that they already HAVE, since I file taxes every year even though I make so little money I don't have to. I don't know what the fuck they want to know, but I have a sneaking suspcicion that they're going to use this information to decrease my payments more on the basis of the aforementioned "balancing out" theory.

The whole thing just burns my biscuit. It's not like I was out there, running a Fortune 500 company, I just had little part time jobs here and there, when I could get them, and as I would like to state for the record, IS LEGAL and ENCOURAGED for disabled citizens. As a matter of fact, California is a "Ticket to Work" State, which allows people in the program to work allotted hours and not be penalized, in an effort to get them on their feet again. I am happy to say that I got an education on disability and graduated at the top of my class because of their policies in place to help me become more viable as contributing member of society. I am happy to comply with any rules or restrictions on work and work regularly when it is possible for me, and have. I am not a slouch, or a leech, and I would greatly prefer to contribute to the overall situation of my life versus collecting checks and doing nothing.

What I am unhappy to discover, however, is the byzantine math formula SSD is using to calculate my allotted time. Someone tried to explain it to me once, and I thought my brain was going to explode. It has something to do with 6 consecutive or non-consecutive months of work over an X year period, and something something $500 or less per 6 month period, blah blah blah.....

To sum up, I have to go visit my social worker, a Mr. Dee. A man I've never met, and is sure to be helpful and cheerful and energetic after working in the LA County Welfare Office day after day. I hate to say it, but at least I speak English. It might be a plus.

One might ask me: Jessica, why don't you just go get a job with benefits and pay your expenses like the rest of us. My answer is this: I would be happy to. Seriously. But the thing is, alot of jobs -- even full time ones-- don't offer benefits at all. When you're in the State system, you get State Aid, which pays for doctor's visits, medications, surgeries, and all the rest. Unlike most hardy people I know, I am screwed without health care ( not that they shouldn't have health care too. Trust me, you don't want to get me started on this issue). No psych care, no access to afforadable meds, and Jessica will be right back on the dole unable to work. Find me a job that is flexible enough to allow me a sick day or two if I fall into a depressive hole or god forbid, the Epstein-Barr flares up, with benefits that covers my psychiatric care without labelling it a "pre-existing condition" and I will BE THERE, working my ASS off. Happily. Because this whole proccess with the damned SSA people is a full time job anyway.

3.) "Try To Rest As Much As You Can", Eat More Seaweed and Other Bizarre Advice:

In the meantime, I've been exhorted to rest alot and drink alot of water and-- yes, really-- eat some seaweed along with more vegetables, rice and fruit. Don't get stressed out, keep things calm, so the virus will go into remission. Additionally, my thyroid has been found to be out of whack so I will have to begin a regimen of dessicated thyroid extract to attempt to balance it. In case you didn't know ( and why would you?) said extract comes from pig glands. Yes, seriously. (I could be radically normal and take the synthetic hormone like Synthroid and the like, but the last time they tried that, I had a fun little trip to Crazytown and frankly, I'd like to avoid it again). So I get the real stuff, along with my seaweed flakes, my Kyogreen ( green barely, spirolinea, and some other shit that tastes like grass clippings), no sweets (!!!), and a love affair with my pillow as often as we can hook up.

When I finally find a homeopath I'm sure he'll be adding to the fun by making me take other, interesting little vials of vile tasting things. It all worked the last time I had EBV, so I go with what I know. But I gotta tell ya, even I admit it's apparent weirdness.

4.) Paying Off My Debt to Society, One Collection Agency At a Time:

In the midst of all this crap of being ill and sleeping alot and trying to get up and around enought to keep things going PLUS fighting with the goverment about whether or not I make too much money somehow, I am trying desperately to pay off some debt. I want to get my credit back into the "At Least It's Not Laughable " Zone, and the only way I can do that is to put my efforts to shelling out what I owe. I have managed to obtain part-time work next week in a floral shop that needs help with Valentine's Day orders. ( Happily, it pays cash under the table!) It's temporary, but it should pay enough to at least help my car be street legal with proper tags again, and MAYBE, just maybe pay off the bank to get my checking account back. (I don't want to say it too loudly, lest it piss off the gods or something). Working like that for a week - because florists around Valentine's are crazy wack busy- will likely put me in bed for a good two or three days after, but to me it would be worth it.
I have also applied for a job that I have been crossing my fingers for so hard the knuckles are going white. It's to be a creative assistant to the Head of Children's Programs at a local Episcopal Church. I almost fell over when I saw it: the chance to use my art skills and my Religion degree all in one place! AND the hours are only 8-10 a week, which in my lame-assed state, I could readily handle. AND it pays $15 an hour. AND the hours are flexible, except on Sundays, when I'm expected to be there from 9-11am. It would be perfect for me- enough money to live on and help pay off debt and still not too much with the EBV problem. Don't know much about them Episcopalians, but hey, I'm open. Dance around, speak in tounges, sacrifice a chicken-- I don't care. Nobody ever called me a conservative, KWIM?

I WANT IT. Send prayers and vibes and blood sacrifices my way, won't ya?


So that's all the news. It's sort of like the snake eating its own tail at this point: I'm sick. I need a job. I need SSD not to yank away the assistance while I'm trying to work and get on my feet. Because I'm sick and I can only work so much. Which in their book still might be too much, so I hope they don't take away my checks. But I need a job. Except I'm sick.....and on and on it goes.

I am holding on to hope this time, though. Nope, it's going to work out this time. Going to figure it out, no matter what happens. Life takes twists and turns but somehow you can end up in the right place. The world turns and the crap phases end and the new beginnings of good come around. That's what I'm working for and counting on.

So, so be it!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It was my birthday this week, and in between freaking out about being 38 (!!!!!!!) I was taken out by some good friends almost every night.

I got to get a tarot reading ( in which I learned that for the millionth time by the millionth psychic, YES, I will eventually get married and have a family -- and I can read my own cards, so I saw she wasn't lying-- although I did get a little huffy and say, "WELL? WHERE IS HE? I'm 38!!! TICK TOCK!!") and eat cake with Dani. I got to have breakfast and receive all manner of fun vintage gifts from Joannie, Jeannie and Irv, and eat cake ( Joannie told me "I'm 4, and we had cake at my birthday. When I was 4..." 4 is a big deal, y'know! ). Kit and I watched a movie and ate cake ( we had Red Velvet cake which is what I'd been wanting!!!) . I got lovely presents from Sassy and R in the mail (Sassy seriously picks out the best clothes for me from BR and will be hired as my stylist as soon as I make it big. R sent me the U2 by U2 book that I'd requested. I called him and said, " I got this box in the mail and what could be in it? Hmm! Oh my GAWD!! It's that U2 book! WOw! How did you KNOW???") . Last night my friends Lori and Arnie took me out to dinner at this hip place in Los Feliz called Electric Lotus which had the best Indian food I think I've ever had (but this time, I ate pie , and not cake). And finally, I've been really blessed with all the birthday wishes coming in from family and friends in general coming my way. It's been a great amount of love and fun ( and dessert).

Which is exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got! I'm grateful for all of it, and for the grace that made it happen. I feel very fortunate. I needed it, too....I wanted to celebrate all I survived and after it all, still feeling glad to be here. I also wanted to laugh....there have been too many tears and not enough laughter, and they should at least balance out, from time to time, I think, you know? Laughing feels so good after crying so much this past year, and I only hope there's more to come. I'm certainly going to be working on making it so!

And so let it be so...