Sad Sushi and Book Recs (Or Random Procrastination)

I have a confession: SugarFish has basically ruined all other raw fish for me. Today I thought I’d make a feeble attempt at frugality, so I walked to the Sushi Stop up the street for lunch instead. I saved myself a sad $18 and ended up with salmon I wanted to feed to the dog because it just wasn’t on a bed of warm, sticky rice.

Albus will now have albacore for dinner because I just couldn’t choke that down…

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And because I love the goofy bastard more than I love people.

He really is, like, literally a bastard. He doesn’t actually have a daddy — a truth that troubles my grandmother during the rare, lucid moments when she remembers who I am.

She recently asked me no less than four times in the span of a 15 minute conversation if I had a boyfriend. Each time I simply answered, “no,” while my aunt sniped at her in the background a) for repeating herself, and b) for caring more about my relationship status than my career. My grandma finally said, “Hedy said I asked you that question five times.”

“It was four. Tell her she can’t count.”

We are not nice people.

I don’t mean to mock dementia because it’s awful watching the woman who used to send you care packages full of homemade cookies forget how to turn on her stove, but if I’m being honest I must admit we ALL feel like we’re losing our minds with the situation. It’s hard on everyone — including her.

The whole thing has given me an idea for a novel, though, so I’m starting to outline the story beats.

I have procrastinated by reading other people’s books long enough. It’s time to try to write my own.

But before I do that, here’s one last ditch effort at procrastination:

A short list of the best books I’ve read recently while not writing my own stuff.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – This book is super disturbing and you may not want to be my friend any more after you read it, but I promise you won’t be able to put it down. I finished it in 24 hours.

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall – This is one of most delightful books I’ve read in absolutely forever. I devoured it in four days and was devastated when it ended. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Polly. The woman shoots blanks at squirrels, doesn’t understand why her daughter’s Jesus doesn’t let her drink margaritas, and brings a falcon to a parent-teacher conference. I want to be Polly when I grow up.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This is not to be confused with Still Alice, which I can’t bring myself to read because of the whole-my-Grandma-doesn’t-know-who-I-am-thing. Coincidentally, it also deals with memory loss, but in a charming, Moriarty kind of way that leads to love and stuff.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Yes, Liane again. This woman can write. Trust.

And now I really will work on my outline because I’m not trying to wait tables for the rest of my life.

Also?

I need to make more money so I don’t have to make any more sacrifices that involve cold sushi rice.

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Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

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What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently and I’m mad at him for as many reasons as that state has lakes.

In truth, I never really needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me, and if I’m being REALLY honest that was sort of a crappy move on my part, but I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did. In more ways than one. (It wasn’t just the mirror.)

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone.”Yes,” he agreed, “because they can count on you.” #aww

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just doesn’t feel like real life.

Real life, to me, involves situations like: Can we hang my faux deer head without killing each other even though we’re both covered in the gum we accidentally melted with the hairdryer? (Obviously that example is too specific to be fictional.)

My parents practically filed for divorce every time they put up wallpaper or got in a car to go anywhere that involved a map, so I’m not trying to subject any future hypothetical children to that noise.

I’m not saying I have anything against dinner (I’m actually quite fond of it), but I guess what I’m saying is: the other stuff matters more to me.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

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Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.

I Miss College (Or I Sound Like an @$$#%!* Post)

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ll admit that adulthood has been a colossal letdown. No part of my adult life has lived up to the promise/greatness of college.

Sure, it’s nice to have your company pay for your sushi and your room at the Four Seasons, but I miss the days when my only responsibilities involved learning new things and, on occasion, laundry.

If I’m being really honest I rarely did laundry back then….

I usually brought it home to my parents who missed me so much they took care of it without question — even when I was in grad school.

I realize it’s ridiculous I flew 3,000 miles across the country with a suitcase full of dirty clothes, but my parents needed to feel needed. (Or something.)

I had a chef and a cleaning lady in college (thank you Pi Beta Phi), and now I handle most of that business for myself.

It’s a bummer.

Well, actually, I love cooking so I don’t mind THAT part, but the cleaning could definitely disappear and I wouldn’t be devastated.

I DO miss the not learning part of college, though, desperately.

Living in LA, I fear my brain is atrophying at an alarming rate.

I try to read books and listen to NPR regularly, but even that isn’t as awesome as staying up until 3 am writing a paper on postmodernism because I need intellectual masturbation like my dog needs chicken.

Even though I’ve become proficient at laundry, I still miss the safe womb of college. I miss looking at a catalogue of courses filled with possibilities. I miss cramming for finals, and I miss 4 am dill pickle deliveries.

Somewhere in this sad lament I should probably give you a recipe or tell you about the amazing DIY Halloween decorations I found on Pinterest, but I’m not sure I can. The best I can do is show you this…

it’s a picture of my dog.

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He is the only thing that makes adulthood acceptable. 

The truth is: I could have had a dog in college, though, so that brings me right back to… missing college.

 

 

Screenwriting From the Road (Or The Incoherent Rambling of a Grateful Gypsy)

I’m ten days into my whirlwind gypsy tour of LA, and I’m finally riding the waves of uncertainty better than I was at the beginning. (Just in case you didn’t read this post, the short version of the story is this: my dog and I left our place for two weeks on less than 24 hours notice.)

Some moments have been a little like the really crazy days in production when acts of God prevent planes from leaving Canada, screwing up virtually every aspect of a tight shooting schedule — those days when despite your best planning, things are so f&#$*% that you and the Executive Producer have to blast Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and dance in his office before taking a deep breath and finding 52 contingency plans based on 15 different possible scenarios.

For example…

At one point last week, I had about four different houses lined up with varying windows of availability, and a tent on “soft hold” just in case. (“Soft Hold” is an annoying production term that basically means, “I MIGHT need you, so sit tight while MY uncertainty inconveniences YOU.” And people wonder why LA is flaky….) I also had to schedule service for my car AND my physical therapy appointments, but I wanted to sort out which sides of the city I would be living on which parts of the week so I could set said appointments based on maximum fuel and time efficiency. #themindofaproducer

In the midst of this madness, I somehow managed to finish my feature screenplay. I finished it, in fact, while staying at a place where I was repeatedly molested in the middle of the night by a cat named Carter.

A side note about Carter…

He actively ignored me all day long — like HID from from me, ignored me — but became my best friend when I was asleep. He woke me up every morning around 2 by crawling into bed with me and repeatedly rubbing himself up against me while I was unconscious.

It was like living with a feline frat boy.

ANYWAY…

I finished my script even though I was exhausted from sleeping with a cat on my face, and after I sent it off to producer friends, I went to Lake Balboa to stare at birds for a few hours because there was nothing left of my brain.

Birds are everything.

Birds are everything.

I could go totally off-topic and tell you why I’m so obsessed with birds, but it would be better if I tried to stay somewhat focused.

(What WAS the point of this post?!? Even I have forgotten.)

Now while I’m waiting for feedback on my feature, I’m tackling my television pilot from my current spot in sunny Santa Monica.

See?

Albus totally pitched story ideas for a minute.

Albus totally pitched story ideas for a minute.

But then he decided TV writing was too hard.

Just let me sleep in peace, lady.

Or maybe he was upset Reagan and Pete didn’t make out on page 6.

Either way, we’re having a peaceful, wonderful time near the beach, and I feel so blessed to have a place to stay with my bubba. We’ve even done 15 loads of laundry for my friend, which saves her oodles of money on cleaning services. (Everybody wins!!!)

I should add that I am also incredibly grateful for the place I stayed last week as well, and as much as I’m joking about Booty Call Carter, my friend was super sweet to hook me up with her keys while she was in Hawaii. And to top it off, she’s taking me out for fancy sushi tonight even though I killed one of her houseplants.

(I am NOT amazing with plant life. Probably because it doesn’t try to snuggle with me in the middle of the night.)

So as I continue on this adventure, I’m repeatedly astounded by the generosity, hospitality, and all around goodness of the people in my life.

I am one grateful girl. ❤

And P.S. My pilot is actually about frat boys, so everything comes full circle….

#writewhatyouknow

Happy Birthday, Bubba! (Or Paleo Cilantro Chicken for the Birthday Boy!)

Today is my dog’s fourth birthday. And while I’m tempted to get out my glittery markers to make him a hat, I think he’d prefer kisses and a fistful of meat instead.

What's this I'm hearing about a hat?

What’s this I’m hearing about a hat?

Last night I made a super delicious chicken dish, and I saved some chicken scraps for him. Maybe we’ll sing “Happy Birthday” and make it a proper celebration with candles and everything. (I need help. Clearly.)

Or maybe we’ll just go for a hike and snuggle on the couch together.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

If you want to know why he’s so fixated on the chicken, here’s why:

It's somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

It’s somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

I found the recipe in this great gallery of 22 Paleo-friendly recipes from Bon Appetit.

I’ll be honest, though, I didn’t really follow it closely when it came to the ratio of lime juice, cilantro, celery, or pears. I just piled it all on. (I look at savory recipes like speed limits — polite suggestions for minimizing mayhem and mishaps.)

So basically my version just goes like this.

Celery, Cilantro, and Pear Chicken with Lime

4 celery stalks, sliced
2 Asian pears, thinly sliced
A heaping pile of cilantro leaves
Juice from 1 fresh lime
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Don’t bother pounding them. I think it yields a negligible benefit, frankly. Cook the chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil — in the stove at 350 or on the burner — whatever your preferred method. (I’d give you cooking times but my stove is whack so it wouldn’t be useful. Just don’t overcook them. Chicken seriously sucks when it’s dry.)

Meanwhile, slice the pear and celery. Squeeze lime juice over the sliced stuff, throw in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (This limey salad can be made the night before if you’d like. It’s almost better the next day, actually.)

Remove chicken from heat, cover in fruity, veggie lime mixture. Devour.

And maybe save some of the chicken scraps for your birthday boy.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.

My MacBook is Sick But Yeasayer Makes Me Smile (Or I’m Still Slugging)

So today’s post? Is coming to you from a computer that looks like this.

This sad machine is still slugging. Sort of like me.

Why?

Because my shiny new MacBook and I are on a break. And using a computer that looks like this beats the horror of using my iPad for anything more than messages that go something like, “I know, right? Call me.”

So anyway, I may have cried too much on my Mac while watching the JK Rowling speech yesterday or my trackwheel mouse thing was just faulty, ‘cuz the good people at Apple have to keep my Mac for a few days to perform some sort of computer surgery on it.

SO now I’m using my six year old Mac that isn’t fundamentally broken per say, save for the fact that it lacks sufficient hard drive space to hold all of my music (tragedy!), and the screen is only about 40% functional. (See, there was this incident while I was on a conference call last year….)

So, anyway, this has just been one of those weeks. You know the kind where your enormous dog accidentally trips you on a hike, you go flying in the air and rip all of the skin off of your shoulder and forearm?

What “enormous dog?” Surely, I have no idea what you’re talking about, woman.

And bruise your hip and your ribs? Yeah, that kind. The kind where you can no longer sleep on your left side and it hurts to lift your arm? Yeah….

At least the large area on my shoulder missing a lot of skin is the same area where I already had a scar. That scar? Was the result of a car colliding with my person while I was riding a bike in Santa Barbara. (I was 18 and selling books door to door at the time.)

So if you’re wondering why I’m blogging today with only half of a computer screen, I’ll tell you. Because I’m the same girl who went out and sold books on foot with stitches in her head and her arm in a sling after that car destroyed her bike. Because I’m the same girl who worked for some people in Hollywood who make Ari Gold look like a funny little teddy. And Because I’m a fighter.

And I have committed myself to writing. So that is what I will do. Even if I do it with half a screen and an aching arm.

And since this blog is really supposed to be about puppies, and cupcakes and rainbows, instead of sob stories about my flesh wounds, I will tell you that I am working on a recipe for Pina Colada Cupcakes right now.  I hope to have that for you next week.

Until then, I will leave you with some Yeasayer. They just released a new album this week, and I’m working on falling in love with it while writing this post.

Here they are, with their shiny words of wisdom. Enjoy.

Ambling Alp – “Now the world can be an unfair place at times, but your lows will have their compliment of highs. And if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of or beat you, raise your head and wear your wounds with pride. You must stick up for yourself son. Never mind what anybody else done.”

Tightrope– “But then I go again, wishing never solved a problem. If you wanna get it big time, go ahead and get it get it big time.”

Get it big time, y’all. I’m off to bake cupcakes.

I Love Scapulae and Sticky Fingers BBQ Sauce (Or It’s Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day!)

The shoulders of the US men’s volleyball team are pretty much enough to make a girl suddenly patriotic. I mean, like, whoa.

Good shoulders are absolutely non-negotiable. (Photo courtesy of ibitimes.)

OK, now that we’ve covered my love of clavicles, scapulae, and Team USA, let’s talk about my other favorite thing: food.

Today is Foodie Pen Pal Reveal Day, and I’m excited to tell you about the fabulous box I received from Leigh at One Day at a Time. She sent me absolutely delightful snackies.

Get jealous of my goodies.

Her adorable son even picked out the suckers to put in my package! I must have had PMS or something when I read that part of her note because I swear I almost got tears in my eyes. (For real.) Leigh originally hails from South Carolina, so I had the distinct pleasure of scoring Sticky Fingers BBQ sauce from her, and whoa, is that stuff good.

I’m absolutely up to my eyes in birthday and baby shower prep at the moment, and despite spending obscene sums of money on food, I don’t actually have anything to eat in my house (aside from this heavenly swag). I have basically been living on a rotisserie chicken from Costco for the last two days, and I have been slathering it with that heavenly, heavenly sauce. It tastes a bit like a honey mustard – but so much better.

There were many other wonderful items in the box, but that was by far the star. Plus, it was cool to try something I can’t find in LA.

Some of the other highlights were the white cheddar popcorn and the Haribo gummy bears (which I coincidentally sent to my Foodie Pen Pal). Oh, and the fruit leather saved my life last week when I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown from low blood sugar. I’m actually still working my way though the box of loot, but I’m loving everything so far.

But back to that BBQ sauce for a moment. You should get some. Here’s the link. You know, just in case you have a Carolina Classic Emergency or something….

So, anyway, I need to turn up the Neon Indian and return to my pirate cookie situation. They’re cooling on wire racks atop my tall book shelves to keep my Boxer from investigating them with his face while I write.

I’ll post that recipe tomorrow, K? I promise.

The Lean Green Bean