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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I just bought the new Miranda Lambert CD, and I can't help but send out big raves for that girl. She's only 23 or so, and this little teeny thing, but a really smart songwriter and sassy as hell.

I have the lead track stuck in my head, a little ditty called "Gunpowder and Lead":

(I wish I could find the ripping live version of her singing it on the recent CMAs, but this one'll do. Her singing partner there is Jack Ingram, a fine singer/songwriter himself.)

I'm goin' home - gonna load my shotgun
Stand by the door and light a cigarette
He wants a fight- well now he's got one
He ain't seen me crazy yet
Slapped me on the face and shook me like a ragdoll
Don't that sound like a real man?
I'm gonna show him what little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead.

Powerful stuff.

As I'm posting this, I'm thinking:

I know it makes people uncomfortable to see that kind of aggression and anger in a woman's words, and believe me ( or click on the link and see for yourself) she makes it even more compelling by her empowering delivery. I don't think she or anyone would ever truly espouse that kind of violence ( I wouldn't), but I've got to say, it IS empowering to listen to. Because:

Any woman ( which is way too many, including way too many *I* know, including myself) who's ever been hurt in that kind of way, even with other kinds of damage, words or actions or cruelty that can't be seen on the skin...well, it takes you out of your own center. And understandably so. And it's not about playing the victim or switching places with the perpetrator, but perhaps sometimes regaining your center of power is finding parts of yourself that will go to such extremes to protect it, even if they're just fantasies or songs. The process of looking through that lens is powerful stuff, primal stuff, and whew. Just whew.

It blew me away- the song and my own reaction. It certainly makes me think and feel deeply, and maybe that's its job; it's succeeding at its job. (Not to mention it's a kick-ass song to boot; can't get that chorus out of my head. ). All I can say is: whoa. Wow. And: I defy you not to rock out to this song, whether or not you agree with its premise. Go on, try not to!

Really compelling (and super rocking, muscially speaking) stuff......

Friday, November 16, 2007

Submitted for Your Perusal: From The Dental Files of A Miss Jessica White, c. October 2007:


Sometime in the mid-to-late 1980's, one Miss Jessica White (Party No. 1) and a Miss "Sassy Pantz " ( Party No. 2) entered unwittingly and unintentionally into a cosmic contract which had the effect of random but parallel events in their personal lives (heretofore referred to as "The Parallel Lives Continuum"). Due to the unintentional nature of this contract, it has yet been determined how to break it. Until such time as the contract can be officially terminated, Party No. 2 wishes to request an injunction against Party No. 1 for the purpose of her personal health and welfare.

1.1 Since the actual parallel events cannot be predicted or controlled, Party No. 2 wishes to encourage party No. 1 to restrict her activities in order to minimize risk for both parties. Following is a suggested list of activities to be forbidden at all times:

1) Bull Fighting
2) Bull Riding and/or all rodeo activities
3) Rock and/or mountain climbing
4) Sky diving
5) Bungee jumping
6) Target shooting (both firearms and archery)
7) Cliff diving
8) Running with scissors
9) Smoking of any type

1.2 In addition, the following activities should be limited, or only performed under the strictest of supervision and professional assistance:

1) Horseback riding (all horses being ridden must be at least 10 years of age)
2) Boating of any sort
3) Swimming in water in excess of 4 feet
4) Cooking over open flames
5) Carving of any object more firm than a bowl of pudding

1.3 Should a career change be in her future, Party No. 1 is forbidden to pursue the following careers:

1) Firefighter
2) Bomb Squad technician
3) Any job requiring any of the activities listed in paragraph
4) Circus performer (particularly trapeze and large animal performances)
5) Postal Employee

2.1 Because the Parallel Lives Continuum is not restricted to voluntary activities, and also has coincidental events with regards to bodily health, Party No. 1 is requested to do the following:

1) Eat vegetables daily
2) Brush AND floss per dental professional's instructions
3) Bathe and/or shower regularly, cleaning thoroughly behind the ears,
on back of neck, and in any and all crevises of the body where dirt and/or germs may not be readily apparent
4) Get regular recommended checkups and screenings with a qualified physician
5) Stretch before exercising
6) Wait at least 20 minutes after eating before swimming

2.2 Party No. 1 must acknowledge that pregnancies are not always planned. In accordance with this fact, Party No. 1 agrees to use contraceptives until such time as she has decided to become intentionally pregnant or until such time as she has officially entered menopause, as confirmed by a physician.

2.2.1 Should Party No. 1 become pregnant, she must adhere to all current medical advice with regards to her health and welfare, and must conduct herself in such a manner that does not increase risk to either her or her baby. This includes, but is not limited to, such things as:

1) Taking pre-natal vitamins
2) Eating "healthy" foods, even if they taste "icky"
3) Refraining from all pogo-stick related exercises, contest and activities

3.1 In exchange for adhering to all of the above mentioned restrictions and guidelines, Party No. 2 agrees to conduct herself accordingly.

4.1 Both parties will be released from this agreement when it has been determined that the Parallel Lives Continuum Contract has been broken, and both parties are free to act on their own accord without regard to the health and welfare of the other.

Now that tooth #31, my right bottom molar in the back, has been extracted (by what can only be described as Draconian Practices), I, too have been relegated to eating "soft foods only" indefinitely until I no longer need prescription medication to withstand the pain. I can only rejoice that I am not allergic to narcotics.




PUBLIC STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO NOTICE BY PARTY #2 (Issued by her Publicist, a Jeannie M. Crawley of Burbank CA; dated 10/ 23/2007):

"While Ms. White ( cited as Party #1) certainly sends her continued empathy for Ms. Pantz (the self-proclaimed Party #2)'s livelihood and welfare, she in no way takes responsibility for any harm that may have come to her during the course of their extended relationship. As no one can ascertain the exact nature of The Parallel Lives Continuum or pinpoint the exact moment when it occurred, it cannot be assumed that Ms. White is the Source Person of said Continuum, as Ms. Pant's injunction might imply.

However, Ms. White agrees to the listed contigencies per Ms. Pantz's request, as she is always health-oriented in her personal life, and then, purely on the basis of the values that inform her highly regarded, publicly lauded and continued humanitarian work.

Ms. White will be drafting her own list for Ms. Pantz's approval as soon as she recuprates from her own tooth extraction (#18, last lower left molar, on October 13, 2007; #31 was extracted in 1999, when Pantz and White had lost touch for a period of time. The Parallel Lives Continuum appears to have been re-ignited almost immediately after regaining contact. ).

In the meantime, she continues to wish Ms. Pantz, her fans, and the global community at large peace and healing."

incl/: signed headshot



A PUBLIC NOTICE TO MS. SASSY PANTZ, ( dated 11/15/2007):

The following is brought to the forefront in light of the Parallel Lives Continuum, so that no one can say I was negligent :

I have recently been informed that as of December 3, 2007, work upon my teeth shall commence once again. I will be receiving four (4) root canals, four (4 )crowns and two bridges ( to help assist with chewing after the loss of both last molars). Any additional cleaning and cavity work will be seen to, more than likely, after the new year.

During this time I request that Ms. "SassyPantz" refrain from eating the following items:

1.) Oversized hard pretzels, of the Bavarian sort or other
2.) Taffy, caramel, or any other kind of sticky candy
3.) Whole kernels of corn, such as those found at the bottom of a popcorn bowl
4.) Peanut brittle
5.) Hard-crusted bread items such as biscotti, crostini, croutons, or French/Italian bread more than 2 days old.

It is also being asked that Ms. Pantz continue a strict regimen of brushing, flossing and using an anti-cavity rinse at least twice a day. If there is any question of this being neccessary, Ms. White will gladly send an itemized bill from the endodontist performing the services as a cautionary measure.

Ms. Pantz can take heart in the fact that Ms. White's endodontist is exceptionally good-looking, amusing, young, of good reputation, and thorough. Perhaps the Parallel Lives Continuum can allow her to enjoy Ms. White's good fortune in this manner somewhat vicarously.

I believe my public duty has heretofore, been met. Thank you, and good night.


Believe it or not, this is actually good news- now that I'm without work, I need no longer panic about getting this neccessity out of the way. With the exception of the crowns ( "large fillings" are recommended instead; way to go Denti-Cal, not scrimping on the quality!!! ) , all of it is being covered by my insurance. And then it's me and a trip to Outback Steak, baby, ( prolly in time for my birthday!!) without a care in the world! WOO HOO!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

She fired me.

And y'all knew she would. I figured she would. I spent the weekend updating my resume. And I was weighing it out today, dependent on how she acted, whether or not I was going to give my notice. I was going to give her 60 days, since Jan the 15th would have been the last day I was required under any sort of agreement or contract to be there. Plus that would have given me time to get things in order, and let her have someone through Christmas.

But she was pretty resolute today that things had just reached a head with her on Friday. And I agreed. I didn't argue. She said that she really appreciated all my organization and general assistant skills, but felt I was just too pissy and controlling to be a receptionist. ( Not her words, but the gist of things). I told her that the way she spoke to me was verbally abusive and inappropriate and that if she were looking for success in her spa, she needed to make some decisions about management. And she said she might keep me in mind to do creative things in the future.

Clearly, I'm in the wrong field. I never wanted to be a receptionist. It was a job I took many a time to keep money in the bank. But I'm obviously not cut out for it, even as nuts as she is. I am too controlling and too willfull. I have too much of a mind for things and opinions I can't keep to myself. She thinks I would be better off being in a creative field. Well, DUH. Honey, if I could make a living at it, don't you think I would be? Jesus.

I gotta rethink my game plan here. Either I gotta learn to deal with dysfunctional workplace situations ( and it seems like alot of those are around, according to all reports by friends and my recent experiences) or I gotta do something else that at least makes coping with it a little more worthwhile.

Meanwhile.....I'm off to the homestead for Thanksgiving. If I had waited a day I might have been able to arrive sooner ( since I bought the damned ticket yesterday based on this job). But maybe I'll just go look for holiday work. It's that time of year, and it's that time of hiring season. That should keep me busy for awhile. I don't know if I can pass as an elf at my age, but I'll do SOMETHING. Pass out samples of nog at Trader Joe's. Do holiday catering events as a waiter. Hell, I'll even do (groan) retail. Shit, it couldn't be worse than the holidays with T. At least I know what to expect with a new job, by the time the bloom is off the rose I'll be out of there, and it's temporary.

Still: Dammit. Dammit. DammIT.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Very Amusing Story.....

......In Which Miss Jessica Struggles To Find Master N. His Birthday Gift:

So, Sassy's DS's birthday is next week, and I had called her to ask her what 6ish boys were into now, and so forth. She said Yu-Gi-Oh was all the rage, and he would be thrilled with the trading cards. I'm thinking, AWESOME, this is easy, I can do this! She even said, "THey're usually near the checkstands at Target and stores like that." Even better.

SO here I am, going to Kmart this weekend, and the first thing I see is that it is decked out for Christmas. I mean all the way there, gift sets and animated singing children and lights and the whole nine yards. ( This really freaks me out. I know Black Friday is less than two weeks away, but it still wigs me out. I still believe in Thanksgiving, and to me, The Christmas Season being inaugarated any earlier than Dec. 1 is totally against nature.....I'm just weird that way. ) THey've added 3 extra aisles of toys, and since my initial two passes by the checkstands reveal no cards to speak of, I find I must traipse through them. ALL of them. And let me tell you, it was already looking like locusts had come through and picked it over....

No success after surviving that experience hearkens me on to finish my own shopping and get the hell out of there. So I do, and go up to the checkstands, looking around once MORE for this item. Nothing. A checker calls me over because her register is open, and I head that way.

It was at this moment, God chose to open the Heavens and shine down Heavenly Light upon the general area, illuminating what I had missed before: an entire AISLE next to Registers #1 and #2 that are solely devoted to trading cards. This truly was Grace, because had I gone to ANY. Other. Frickin' register, I wouldn't have found them. I rush over and quickly try to ascertain which of them are the cards I'm looking for.

When in doubt, ask a panel of experts: a small mulling group of young boys are hovering over a certain section, so I crouch down and say, "hey guys, uh...." . Of course this freezes them in mid-chatter, their eyes like headlights, thinking they're going to be chastised. "....are these the Yu-Gi-Oh cards?" I squeak out, feeling like I look like Meanie or a Potential Predator, depending on who's viewing this scene. Two of them return to their banter, clearly relieved I'm not a Squealer, and the third pipes up and tells me ALLLLLLLLLLLLL about it. I pick up two packages, thank him, and move on to pay for my selections.

I think I've got this thing licked. I go home, unpack my stuff, and self-satisfied, I pull out the cards to look them over.

Yeah. I am stopped dead in my self-congratulatory tracks when I read the fronts: "Starter Deck". I drop my head in shame and defeat, not knowing if this is good, bad, or indifferent.

Dammit. I thought I was so hip to Kids Today til this moment. How wrong I was! I am so flippin' old. Clearly I am in over my head.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I almost quit my job tonight. Really. It took alot not to just walk right out the door. In fact, I had to call my friend R at work, and say, "Please talk me out of quitting, " and then promptly burst into tears.

Yes, I got a job. Back at the end of June. I do like my work, I do like my workplace, and I do like my co-workers. I work at a small spa here in Burbank with an excellent reputation, and a devoted clientele. The atmosphere is very quiet and peaceful and it's less than 5 blocks from home. When I got this job, I was so excited, because it IS really a lovely place, and my pay decent ( or so I felt at the time; while I still feel it's plenty of money, it's not nearly enough money for what responsibilities I eneded up having). And I thought my boss was so cool and great. And she was.

For about a month. And THEN the mask came off.

My boss, as has been oft discussed amongst my friends has a toxic attitude toward her business and employees, and so on and so forth. For those of you who have not been able to play along at home until now, here's the sum up:

It's HER business, and we should all care as much as SHE does (work when you're sick, need no time off for medical procedures, school or family. Everything must be perfect and nothing less is tolerable), and yet she offers NO incentive to do so ( the rules of what "perfect" are only apply to us and change daily. Very little appreciation is shown, even when work is excellent- that's just expected. Very high on critiscism, low on keeping her own end up. Cheap, tightfisted- we don't even get free or reasonably discounted services!). What's more, she doesn't seem to understand that there are things she MUST deal with just because she's the boss: when there's trouble - with clients, with employees- she wants to push it off on to others whenever possible. Wants NO part in dealing with the scheduling issues that arise from time to time when people need to change something. Constantly complains about the costs of running a business, but refuses to expend effort to advertise to bring in more revenue. Blames other people for things they have no control over, like how many people book appointments on a given day, or mistakes she has made, like forgetting her commitments. She wants to transition from "Self-Employed" to "Business Owner" with no expenditure of extra cash or manpower. EX: She has made it mandatory that we are all hers from Nov 1- Jan 15. NOBODY is going anywhere for a holiday ( I'm sniping out only because I finageled in with other employees and she had no choice but to comply. Still, I had to wait so long to see if she would, it's now become impossible to find a plane ticket that isn't over $700.). SHE'S going to Europe from Jan 15-Feb 3, however, with a.) no Assistant Manager, b.) no plans to offer anyone extra money to step up, and c.) no concerns that that means we are REALLY not getting any time off from Nov 1 - Feb 3, -no perks! Open Black Friday, Dec 24th, 26th, and 31st !- which is INSANE.

Speaking of insanity, one has to wonder, since she seems to also think that we should all conform to her personal reality. EX: Earlier this year, she wanted me to start doing the nightly books. This was NOT required of me when I took the job, and had it been, I would have had to recuse myself from the running, as I have a conflict. Namely, I have dyscalculia ( and asking me to balance anyone's books, even my own, is like asking me to jog in 100degree heat in a pair of flip flops. (Sure, it can be done, but how well and to what expense in every sense should REALLY be considered!) I explained this to her, and she said I HAD to do it. I asked if there was some other responsibility I could take on in lieu of having someone else handle it. Absolutely NOT, she answered ( never mind someone else had been doing it all along til I got there). Additionally, she didn't BELIEVE I had this "thing, whatever you call it", and had never heard of it.
Summarily, I produced documents proving it and proving her ignorance about it's existence, and patiently tried to explain to her that it wasn't that I didn't WANT to do this task, it was that I COULD NOT, and really SHOULD NOT for the sake of the business. Then, she threw a FIT; I mean full on, stamp-my-little-feet, you're-not-going-to-do-this-to-ME fit: *I* should have informed her of this when I was hired, ( because I was supposed to understand that this was part of my job description based upon some made-up list of hers she made me sign that was beyond basic- nowhere in there did it say ANYTHING about this. I was supposed to have *gleaned* it from the line "track sales and productivity", (When she brought that line up in the interview she asked me about tracking sales and I said, "I've done that , like, 'we have three shampoos; we've sold two.'" That seemed to satisfy her, and that was the end of it. Of course she had no recall on that.) *I* dealt with her money every day, so what was the big deal with this? ( I take in money for services based on a price list, and use a calculator if I have to make change. Which is only about 5% of the time). *I* was really putting her in a bind and if *I* didn't adjust my attitude about this disability, *I* would be forcing her hand!!! (because, of course people with learning disabilities, well, they just DO that to make OTHER people's life hard. And *I* had a choice in the matter. Yeah. ) And furthermore, she wasn't going to put any of this documentation into my file, like *I* wanted, because "that would mean I accept it."

Um, hey lady? Whether you accept it or not, it EXISTS. And there is a little matter of the LAW to be considered. So :
*I* informed her that while I would certainly be willing to give it the old college try, some of the things she was suggesting were not in the realm of being even remotely legally legitamate. Such as my having to disclose a disability that had nothing to do with my job requirements as I knew them to be at the time of being hired; such as threatening to fire me because I couldn't do part of a job because of a known disability, and refusing to document a conversation because she didn't want to.

This, of course, pissed her off even more, but apparently some later conversation with her lawyer or her husband or someone with any sense at all made her concede the next day. On the caveat that "if you can't do this task, I will have to give the responsibility to someone else, and then I will have to lower your pay." ( I'm pretty sure that's illegal, too, but I didn't mention it, since I'm not so stupid as to give away my whole hand. I made a decision prior to her concession that if any further bullshit happened, I would be making a call to the EDD Board and let them deal with it henceforth, and have her pay me lost wages while they did. ) So far, she's been extremely tolerant, even to my glaring errors. Perhaps someone explained to her just how far into a corner her own stubbornness and stupidity had gotten her.

Anyway. On to now.

Tonight, she called and I gave her a message that appeared to me to be a personal one. She's going to some event tomorrow - in the middle of the DAY, mind you, while she's working; she's taking off 3 HOURS from work to traipise off to visit the Wildlife Refuge, and have lunch. Certainly something none of US could do, even though we're supposed to be as invested in things as SHE is, oh but wait, she's a Business Owner, not Self-Employed!!!) - and there appeared to be some sort of confusion about the time. She asked me to call this woman and deal with it. I said, "Okay. Or YOU could call her, and make plans directly. I have her number right here." She said, "I can't." I laughed and said, "You CAN'T?" "I can't." I realized she was serious: "You can't." "I can't." "Oooookay."

I have NO IDEA where she was that she couldn't be bothered to call this woman even though she could be bothered to call the spa and harrass us for a good 20 minutes. Short of a break during couples' therapy or standing on the front steps at a funeral home, it taxes the mind to imagine what location or event would exclude one but not the other. It was likely bullshit, as it is frequently and as with most things she does, I didn't think much of it. Big mistake....

So I call this woman and she's a total dipwad. First, she doesn't seem to have the DAY right, she thought it was Sunday. I tell her ONE of them has the day wrong, but I do not know WHOM, since it's not my arrangement. Secondly, she's so flummoxed by this develpment,the conversation sinks to the point of stalled silence. SO I say, "well, you could call her directly, I suppose." ( It's never been a big deal for me to give out her cell phone # to people when I can't appease them, so I wasn't defying her or anything. I just figured I'd expedite matters. Especially given the circumstances.) But this woman was so flakey that she didn't have a pen and wanted to call me back in an hour to get her number when she had one. (Whatever.....)
Mind you, this misunderstanding might very well screw up the whole schedule in that I would have to reschedule some clients on Sunday if she actually had to leave. That's my main concern, so I call ToxiBoss back so I can get this straight myself. I tell her what happened and say I was about to give the woman her cell phone number , and she says to me, "WHAT??? NO! I don't want her having this number!" I said, "Why not? I figured you guys could sort out the date. " NO. I'M supposed to call her back and say I don't know when it was, but she has Saturday open and blah blah blah....... I interrupt, and say, "T, wouldn't it be easier just to straighten it out rather than going back and forth?" "NO! JESSICA! Why won't you do what I'm asking you??" I said, "Because, T, this is a personal appointment, I don't know why I am being asked to deal with it, when that's NOT my job and I'm NOT getting anything accomplished. "

" Jessica, you are realling BUGGING ME OUT with your attitude! When I ask you to do something, I don't want to be asked why! I don't want to talk to her, and I'm not in a place where I can talk to her, okay? I AM NOT in a place to accept her call. Is that okay with you? I want you to DO. WHAT. I. TELL YOU TO. I DO NOT want to have to run it all past you. This woman is a client, you know. I have invited her somewhere tomorrow and therefore it IS your job to deal with it. DON'T tell me NO. I don't like your attitude! Just DO IT! NOW, is there anything else?" I was floored she was speaking to me like that, so I said nothing. She seethed, "I SAID, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?" I went ice cold, as I am wont to do when I'm so mad I could hit someone. "NO." And then I hung up.

Was I supposed to be psychic? Was I supposed to KNOW this woman was a client? And since when is inviting someone out with you -client or NOT- not personal? And if you've invited them somewhere, why WOULDN'T you want them to call you? And apparently it's okay to call work every 5 fucking minutes and verbally abuse an employee but you can't take a call to straighten out some plans said employee knows next to nothing about?

My quandry: obviously, I didn't quit ( I just cried and R talked me down and Maggie, my coworker, gave me a hug and sent me out to get myself a hot chocolate). I can't. I need the money. I AM looking for other work, mind you. As of this minute. I have had all that I can take of this woman, and I can take no more. In the meantime, I remain perplexed as to how to handle it:
I don't think it's right for her to have talked to me like that. I just don't know if I want to bother confronting her about it. (She sure as shit won't be apologizing, I can pretty much guarantee it. ) I want to tell her that it's NOT OKAY to speak to me like that, and straighten out the incident in terms of "clearly I didn't have a grasp on the situation, I wasn't trying to be insolent" ( since she's all up in everyone's grill lately about that, thus this snap was probablyjustified, in her head,because it's just more of The Same Shit She's Had to Put Up With.).
But should I just let it go, and silently count the days til I can leave ( hopefully somewhere around Jan 13th, so as to screw her good)?

This is, all, of course, pending my not getting my ass fired anyway, since she's clearly not too sane to begin with ( something I am really, truly coming to believe- clinically; Maggie is totally convinced, and she's been with her for almost 2 years) and has clearly lost her head with me.

I've been trying to hold on to this job as an attempt to change my attitude about discipline with regards to work habits and discipline in so-called "survival" jobs, and because I've been trying to clean up my life, with regards to becoming fiscally responsible. Call it the 12 Steps as applied to my work life; I really needed to work on my shit with it. I'm proud of myself for handling things the way I have, even if there were some moments in there I'm not proud of, I think overall, I'm a good employee and I work hard. I am learning to balance things out in my monetary life as much as I do anywhere else, and I find that not only satisfying, but a relief! I never thought it would be, but frankly, it's better than the crisis-to-crisis mode I was living in. I LIKE the peace of knowing, and dealing with it directly, even if I'm not always thrilled with the amount! (But I've been lucky this year, and I have been trying very hard to deal from a place of abundance versus lack. It really has changed things. )

But dammit, I don't get paid enough to deal with this kind of worry and stress. It's not like I work at a studio where I'm getting $65,000 a year and an iron-clad healthcare plan to be someone's assistant and be screamed at all day. I just don't. I don't want to live my life like that.

I guess I just have to get out there and start looking seriously, and pray that something will find me and catch me now that I really need it to. Oy vey.
Oy vey.

Sunday, November 04, 2007