Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hollywood Ending

It's New Years' Eve and I can't find anyone to be nice to. No one is around. Even the homeless people I want to give my recycling to are not hanging out at their usual spot by the dumpsters in back of the corner liquor store. Mr. Foxypants and I will be ringing in the New Year by watching a marathon of MAD MEN episodes and eating Chinese take-out like the crabby shut-ins we are.

Okay. I admit it. I'm too lazy to find someone to be nice to today. I just want spend all day in relaxed contemplation.

Oh, why is it that I cannot talk about self-reflection without sounding like a self-involved twit?


I am a failure. As far as my 2008 pledge to be nice every day...well, I didn't do it. Finding 365 new and inventive ways of being nice for no good reason is much harder than I ever anticipated. That, and I'm a crappy memoirist, so even when I was nice, there were many days that I just didn't get around to writing stuff down.

But even though my resolve was shoddy, and my follow-though haphazard, being consciously and actively nice had many unintended positive consequences:

1. Not only did I pay down my debt, but unlike everyone else I know, I can actually say that I am better off financially than I was last year.

2. My charity allowed me to downsize my material possessions by a whopping 85% without feeling a sense of deprivation or guilt. In fact, I found the entire process liberating. Less things = less things to dust. Duh. Simplifying my life by getting rid of my stuff has brought me a level of mental peace I've not had in years.

3. Being nice has brought me new friends and strengthened my relationship with the friends I already had. There are many ways to be rich that don't involve money!

So, the experiment was a success?

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Umbrellas of East LA

She looked miserable.

Selling fruit as a curbside vendor in this city has to be a terrible job to begin with. All day long you face the rejection of hostile LA drivers, car exhaust, and a multitude of other annoyances that come with using a traffic median strip as your workplace.

I drove past the fruit seller on my way to the video store. She looked like a grumpy toadstool, squatting on a parched strip of parkway lawn, hunched under a small black umbrella that didn't even shade her feet, behind cardboard flats of mangos and sweaty bags of oranges. Today was one of those freakishly hot December days in Los Angeles that just makes me want to slap everyone who doubts the reality of global warming. The sun beating through my windows had turned my car into a sauna, so I knew that the fruit seller was not having a good time. She had perspiration stains that dipped halfway to the hem of her shirt.

Back at the house, I pulled a large nylon umbrella that I use to shade my chair on set out of the garage and put it in my car. I drove back to the fruit seller's corner and bought a flat of mangos before giving the fruit seller the big umbrella. "I thought this might give you better shade and it's very light" I said as I passed it to her. She took the umbrella exactly how she took my $5 bill for the fruit, without a word and without changing her sullen expression.

As I drove away, I watched the fruit seller in my review mirror. She tossed the big umbrella aside unopened and crouched back under her black umbrella. At that moment I realized that I had unintentionally insulted her dignity by bringing her unasked-for charity. I should have asked her if she wanted a larger umbrella before assuming I could just solve a problem for her. Or, maybe she's just rude. But the nice thing to do in this situation is to just assume responsibility so I don't repeat the possible offense to anyone else.

As I unpacked the mangos in my kitchen I discovered a surprise hidden in the bottom of the cardboard box:

A dozen cockroaches.

I spent the next 30 minutes, shoe in hand, staking out the corners of my kitchen and pantry, having visions of what horrible poisons I am going to have to bring into my house to conquer my possible future roach infestation.

That fruit lady sucks.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I found a random rubber stamp in the garage that says "cinnamon."

Where did this come from and why do I have this?

Today I walked it down to my local vegan restaurant, which just happens to be called CINNAMON, and gave the stamp to the very startled counter girl.

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Wish I Had Thought of This!

In addition to a rash of people leaving presents and thank you cards on the doorsteps of fellow freecyclers, Leslie, a woman on my local freecycle group, has taken Christmas spirit one step further:

"Hope you all had a Merry Christmas. If you didn't get all the chocolate you wanted in your stocking, I have two Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate bars imported from Belgium.

Why Day 7?
Freecycle has been very helpful and generous to me over the years, so in the spirit of the season I am going around my house to find little presents that might brighten your day and give me the joy of giving it away...I will be offering 12 days of Christmas."

Wow! What a great idea. I wish I had thought of this!

I wrote Leslie a fan letter:


I'd just like to say you are awesome! What a great idea to pass along to other freecyclers! Thanks! I think I'm going to have to steal this one for next year."

She wrote me back:

"Yes, please feel free to freecycle the idea!! Spread the love...a ripple effect is awesome!

Here I am, spreading the love.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paying (The Difference) Forward

December 19, 2008

I'm splitting the cost three ways on a $100 gift certificate for a journalist who has been indispensable to one of my projects this year. Yesterday, I sent the screenwriter, who is in charge of procuring the House of Pies legal tender, a check for $34.

I had a college room mate who ALWAYS shorted me on the extra penny whenever the bills were an odd amount. During the time we lived together, I probably spent only 80 cents more than she did on bills, but's the principle!

What irritated me most about that situation was that I never felt like I could confront her about her pettiness, without being, well, petty myself.

Since graduation, I've probably spent $8000 in extra one dollar increments on odd numbered payments because I was that annoyed by that extra three or four penny gouge I felt every month.

Today I received an email from the screenwriter: "You get extra points for sending the 100th dollar by sending in $34, not $33."

I'm pleased that he noticed my gesture, but sad that paying the difference is so unusual that he had to thank me for it.


December 20, 2008

Today I ran into Helen, a really old friend who I haven't seen in years, at Trader Joe's. She tells me that Pablo, the five year old son of two of our mutual pals is fighting cancer. Which is just the worst news. My heart just breaks as she gives me the horrible details of his chemotherapy.

Helen is running the direct donation blood bank for Pablo. Pablo is Type O. I am Type A+. I'm totally bummed I'm not a match, even though I'm too anemic to donate whole blood anyway.

Helen tells me that she's also short on platelet donors. "Oh my God!" I yell as I yank up my sweater sleeve, "Check out my track marks!" The two annoying women who were trying to shove by me to get at the German Wheat Beer, turn abruptly and skitter away before I can add, "I donate platelets twice a month!"

(Because there are no red blood cells in platelets--the clotting element in blood--it doesn't matter that I don't have the same blood type as Pablo).

I feel strangely honored to be able to donate my sticky blood product.

Go here for details on how to donate platelets to Pablo or another kid:

Go here to find out how you can help Pablo fight cancer:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Do Nice Gestures Make Up For Mean Thoughts?

I know I sound like a jerk when I say this, but Margaret is dumb.

She's that person who asks you for directions, but never writes them down, insisting that she'll remember them and then calls you in a panic when she can't find your house...even though she's been there a dozen times.

Maybe she's had a stroke that I've never heard about or was in some terrible accident that damaged her brain. No. Really. If I found out that she'd been lobotomized as a young girl...well, that would explain a lot.

I hate it when Margaret shows up to book club. She never reads the right chapter or, on occasion, even the right book. But, that doesn't stop her from asking endless questions about what happened in each book, because she can't be bothered to finish any text. She appears startled every time someone suggests that she actually read the book that is up for discussion. And by every time I mean EVERY ding dang time.

This evening, I packed a bunch of my knitted hats into my book bag. I was hoping to get some last minute holiday sales from my fellow book worms who are fans of my needle work.

Then I left them, by accident, in my trunk.

My own personal dumbness made me slightly more tolerant of Margaret during the book club meeting, even though she fell asleep for about ten minutes, woke up with a start, and proceeded to ask the exact same question that someone else had asked during her nap.

I was on my way out the door when Margaret walked up to me. She usually accosts me on the way out the door, generally with a question about what I thought of x, y, or z. She usually tries to argue some point that I made during the meeting, even though she didn't read book.

"I'm collecting hats and scarves for children who are going through chemotherapy," she said. "Would you make one for charity? Their bald heads get cold easy."

Margaret, who makes me crazy with her dumbness, is collecting knitted hats for children with cancer. I stand there with my mouth agape as I try and gather up the pieces of my blown mind.

Then I give her my three softest hats.


December 15, 2008

Today I heard the most delicious gossip. The Fat One, a producer who has been pure evil to me, cried every day on the set of his last movie. He just couldn't take the pressure.

I try and rid myself of the pleasure I feel in the small, petty little lump of coal that is my heart. Knowing that he suffers really does make me want to clap my hands with glee and jump around.

But it doesn't make me a nice person.


Friday, December 12, 2008


Yep. That's me!

Today, Chase restored my $100,000 line of credit.

Ah! It's so nice to be out of financial quarantine.

Maybe I will be able to fix up my house enough to rent it out next year and not be so reliant on Hollywood for my main source of revenue.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Holidays! You're Fired.

My friend Elle called this morning to ask me for help on getting fired.

No. Not on tips on how to get fired, but for advice on how to deal with the production company you've given five years of your life to when they decide, two weeks before the holidays, to downsize your entire department.

They are offering her $25,000 in severance, which sounds like a lot of money, until you take into account the fact that they are trying to give her this in lieu of paying her a producing fee on a 100 million dollar feature film she set up.

Hollywood, the happiest place on earth.

I hooked her up with my lawyer, who's commonly referred to as "that terrorist," to work things out for her.

Apparently, things are already looking up for her. She just called to compliment my taste in lawyers. "Wow! He is so scary!"

It's good to be nice to others, but having a mean-ass attorney assures that others will be nice back to you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Not So Secret Santa: Part 2 a.k.a NSSS:2

December 8, 2008

My friend from Bakersfield emailed me today. She's decided to take me up on my offer and allow me to give her my old VCR and treat her to the postage too.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Producer As Future Decamillionaire

Thomas J. Stanley, the best selling author of THE MILLIONAIRE NEXT DOOR was interviewed about what common traits decamillionaires (for those of you who didn't grow up in the seventies and experience the metric system that means people with at least ten million dollars) have. The number one trait of really rich, self-made people?


Which is apparently rich person lingo for the word "nice."

I was so excited when I heard this that I had to call my producing partner and tell her that Thomas J. Stanley, who is like the Jane Goodall of rich people, has shown in his expert research that people get really rich because they are really nice.

Nice guys do finish first!

At least the ones outside of Hollywood do.

I am thinking about my future integrity-driven wealth today in an effort to be less angry with one of my friends.

My friend, whose initials are Tom, is currently on unemployment. He divides his time lying on his sofa watching the Hitler, I mean History Channel and the Starbucks around the corner from his apartment where he has been writing the Great American Short Story that is sure to be published in McSweeneys whenever he gets around to finishing it. I've been able to look beyond his pretentious writing asperations, along with his propensity to bow and say, "Namaste" instead of "Thank you," and not think he sucks until now.

I have an annoying document that needs to be signed by a city employee whose office is 30 miles from my house. The city office is, however, conveniently located in the same building as Tom's Starbucks. I called Tom and asked him if I could mail him the document and would he then be so kind as to run upstairs and get the document signed by the city employee the next time he's over at Starbucks.

He said no.

Yep. He's that lazy *cough* busy. So busy that he can't take ten minutes out of his day to save me a two-hour drive.

As I write this I realize that I'm really mad at him. And disappointed.

I'm not disappointed in him, I'm disappointed in me. The niceness experiment has had an unintended side effect: it's forced me to realize that I chosen some lousy people to be friends with. Tom being a prime example of the self-involved twittery of many of the members of my social group. He has no problem asking me for favors all the time, often citing his extreme poverty. Can I loan him my car while his is in the shop? Can I bring an extra bottle of wine to his party?

For the last five minutes I've been thinking of all the favors I will deny him in the future because of his refusal to help me today, but I just now realize that Tom has another thing in common with a lot of my friends: Tom has ridiculous credit card debt. Tom is really poor.

Tom's need for immediate gratification has left him with so much credit debt that he's actually considering going home to England, so he can walk away from a $70,000 debt...which means that if Tom were a subject of Dr. Stanley's studies, Dr. Stanley would discover that Tom is part of the no integrity control group.

We are all the architects of our own destruction.

I am struggling not to think of ways to punish Tom, because he's already in Hell. He lives a hideous, boring, debt-ridden existence. And wishing bad things on people who I am angry at isn't, well, nice.

My nice act of today will be letting go of my anger toward Tom as I drive through traffic across town to deal with city bureaucracy. Believe me, this is proving to be much harder than playing not-so-secret Santa.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Maureen 2: Electric Boogaloo

The son-in-law of my recently departed neighbor called me this morning. I have a ridiculously productive kiwi vine that has overtaken my front porch and he was calling for permission to pick some for himself. I was actually really happy that he called me about this. His mother-in-law, bless her, had been a crazy food hoarder. Her house was always full of cases of past-sell-by date salad dressings and withered vegetables that she'd gotten from her friend at the grocery mart for free or pulled from the dumpster behind the corner bodega. Her last conversation with me, the week before she died, was about me bringing some kiwis around to her, so his request gave me an odd sense of closure to my relationship with his wife's mother.

My late neighbor was a nut. But, as a gardener, she was kind of a good nut to live next door to. She was constantly bringing me fresh tomatoes seedlings that had sprung up all over her yard (yay) and almost moldy bread (bleh) in trade for tiny apples from my tree or cuttings from my roses. I'm only too happy to continue my fruit-giving ways to a second generation of nutty neighbors.

This afternoon I found a sack of oranges on my front porch from the son-in-law's backyard tree. Sometimes being nice has immediate, and delicious, repercussions.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Don't Believe in Santa Claus

I'm not Christian, so a fat guy delivering presents for Jesus was alway a difficult concept to wrap my head around as a kid. What's the deal with the North Pole? Jesus was from the Middle East. There were no reindeer in any of the manger pictures or lawn displays I'd see. Is the flying sled motorized? Christmas spirit? So Christians are only good in December when they're worried about some list that involves getting coal? What? What!

None of the kids I asked seemed to have answers to my questions that sounded at all reasonable.

I sat on Santa's lap only once when I was five. I pretty much decided he was bogus when I had to wait in line for 40 minutes to talk to him and he then didn't make good on my requests for a pony or a talking dog.

As an adult, I do believe that I have a friend in Jesus, but the whole Naughty or Nice secular aspect of the holiday continues to bug me. Is there any wonder why Christians continue to behave horribly if Santa's punishment for being bad is coal and onion-filled socks? If that's all there is to having no Christmas Spirit then I say bring it on, fat guy.

Bring it.

Recently, I discovered the joys of adult pen pals. I have sent books, Star Trek figurines and a pocket guide to the mercury content in common sushi fish to several people who I've met through my internet travels. In return, I've received Bakelite buttons, trash-picked yarn and a vintage sink from people who would be strangers to me were it not for our shared love of saving the planet from an over-packaged consumerist culture.

Today I'm sending the entire series of SISTER WENDY'S STORY OF PAINTING on videocassette to my pal in Bakersfield. For those of you who don't know who Sister Wendy is, she's a Consecrated Virgin (as opposed to all those nuns who are, apparently, getting action), who also happens to be a brilliant art critic. The two hours every day that she doesn't spend in monastic solitude and prayer, are spent enthusiastically lisping through her English bucked teeth (I know, "English bucked teeth" is redundant) about such things as "the wonderfully fluffy pubic hair" in one of Stanley Spencer's paintings.

I heart Sister Wendy.

My pal in Bakersfield is loyal to her VCR. She doesn't own a DVD player. She's also, by her own description, a "conservative Christian." It's these two reasons why I think SISTER WENDY is the perfect surprise gift for her. She really is a nice, Christian lady who is devoted to her grandkids and her church. But we really are very different. If I'd met her on the street, I doubt that we'd be friends. So I'm glad we didn't meet there. In cyber space we were able to put aside our generation gap, our religious differences, and our politics and have great conversations about environmental issues every day. So I think it's only appropriate, that on Black Monday, retail's biggest internet shopping day of the year, that I send my friend a not-so-secret Santa gift of lightly used videos. She's got Christmas Spirit year around.

NOVEMBER 30, 2009

I just got a thank you email for my pal in Bakersfield for the SISTER WENDY videos that arrived today! Those guys at the post office are on it. Unfortunately, her VCR now appears to be broken so she won't be able to watch the videos. And because she's a nice person and a good environmentalist, she asks if it is okay to send the videos to a friend with a VCR.

Of course this is okay. But I also happen to have an extra VCR in my house which I immediately offer to mail to her. And because she's a nice person, she insists on paying for my old, unused VCR. I flat out refuse. "Don't be ridiculous," I write back, "It's my treat." She refuses to back down. "Let me pay for the postage then. I INSIST." She fires back.

I'm sure the all caps is not a typo and this is my pal putting her foot down. Which I imagine makes a satisfying clacking noise as she stomps her sensible, low-heeled church shoes that I'm certain she wears.

Luckily, we're communicating via email so she doesn't notice the odd pause in the conversation while I contemplate her footwear and have the following tweaker conversation with myself:

TWEAKER SELF: "Well, if I let her pay for the postage for the VCR then that really does negate the whole point of the not-so-secret Santa gift of the SISTER WENDY videos. It's not a gift is she has to pay for it. "

TWEAKER SELF: "But if she feels guilty that I'm spending too much money on her, then it really takes the fun out of the gift too. Why does she have to be such a nice Christian lady?"

TWEAKER SELF: "Also she wrote "I INSIST" in all caps which means that arguing with her will also negate the gift so it will no longer be a nice gesture to her, but an annoying one.

TWEAKER SELF: "Why does my mental image of her include a red pant suit and white patent shoes? She's not Mrs. Clause. Or James Brown."

TWEAKER SELF: "At least the phrase "Conservative Christian" still evokes for me an image of Tammy Faye Baker and not Sarah Palin. What was I just thinking about? Oh yeah, the VCR."

TWEAKER SELF: "I can't count the not-so-secret Santa gift of the videos as a nice gesture because her nice gesture back to me about the VCR makes my nice gesture not so nice."

TWEAKER SELF: "I can't believe I just had that thought. Just having that thought means the videos don't count as my nice act of yesterday because I'm arguing with my pal just so I can still count it. That's so lame.

I email my pal in Bakersfield back and tell her that I'm going to mail her the VCR and have no idea what the postage will cost until I get to the post office (which is true). So, she will just have to wait until the package arrives to see how much she owes for postage, even though she totally does not have to reimburse me. Or anything.

I'm hoping at the post office they'll have a way of franking the package so it's impossible to tell how much the postage cost.

Is it still nice if I have to resort to devious ways of ensuring that I'm not out-niced?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

There Are Three Kinds Of Life Experiences...

1. Good experiences
2. Bad experiences
3. Screenplay material

I have been struggling with one of our projects. I've carried the script around with me for months. To the club. On vacation. If this script were a traveller, it would have enough frequent flyer points to go to Uranus.

(Insert childish snickering here).

I've been carrying the script around with me, as if proximity to the 3-hole punch paper would somehow impart, kabbalah-like, some hidden set of brilliant notes that would fix every problem I can't seem to crack.

Alas, even Jewish mysticism has failed to help me come up with a way to make the jewel thief protagonist a more sympathetic character in the first act.

And now I'm in trouble. Because the writer is back in town, after being conveniently out of the country all summer long, and I still don't know what to tell him about the latest draft, other than his script needs a major overhaul and we don't have the development fund to pay him for a rewrite.


I meet with the writer for coffee, fully prepared to admit that I am the loser producer who can only complain about all the faults in a script, and offer no helpful suggestions whatsoever. For the first 40 minutes of the meeting we talk about Barcelona in the summertime and how expensive the coffee is at Intelligentsia Coffee.

I try and stall the inevitable conversation about the script by asking him what he thinks about the 700 billion dollar bailout. He's angry about it and points to a "Bank Owned" sign on a house across the street from the cafe. "They could have bailed out that guy for a lot less money."

And that's exactly when I figure out how to fix the script.

The jewel thief in the script, isn't stealing because he's trying to achieve the American Dream, he's stealing because he needs to save the family home! (OMG). The writer goes crazy for the idea, spending the next twenty minutes vamping on what else could happen that would drive his now likable hero into a life of crime.

In thirty minutes we figure out how to solve every character and plot problem that have dogged me for the past four months.

I get a creative bailout due to the failing market. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Napoleon and Josephine and Josephine

I met Josephine in a supremely American fashion: she bought stuff from me at a garage sale.

She happened to be jogging by our sale and stopped in just to look around. She bought a vintage silk dress and my grandmother's red, white and blue Skyway luggage set. She told us that the set looked just like what her childhood Barbie doll had carried. We talked for two hours while standing in my neighbor's driveway. She was just this cool girl who was in town to edit her documentary about bisexuality. I had her over for dinner and invited her to all our parties.

Do I have to mention that my guy friends could not get enough of her? Hmmm...I wonder why.

Then she moved to New York City.

Last year, when my computer crashed, I lost all her contact information.

Today I spent an entire afternoon google stalking her across the internet. I was inspired to find her because I unpacked a spare set of luggage keys and an extra organizer pocket for one of the suitcases and, as an OCD tweaker, God forbid I just throw those away. Josephine paid good money ($20) for that three-piece luggage set! Let's just say that the words "Josephine" and "Bisexual" and "Documentary" bring up many more movie titles than you'd expect. Most of them involve Pompadour wigs and tag lines like "Watch Josephine Eat Napoleons! XXX!"

Why do so many roads in my life lead to porn?

I called her as she was leaving La Guardia and we talked all the way until she reached Union Station. Her documentary is done and she's got a distribution deal with LOGO. She's coming back to LA soon so we made plans to hang out.

She loves her luggage and was surprised that I'd tracked her down over spare suitcase parts.

Friendships can be forged out of the smallest moments in life. I love that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get a Free Lunch on Me (cough) I Mean Kinkos

It's official. I have now been cleaning my office for an entire month. And it's still not done. I thought that I'd been good at getting rid of old documents that I no longer needed, but somehow, every year I find another check register from 1996 and another stack of inter-office memos from a company that I haven't worked for in over a decade.


I also have a big stack of business cards from people and companies whose names I don't recognize that I pulled from various files.

Here's what I just learned about myself:

Apparently, I'm friendly or competent looking enough that people give me their business cards. And, I am bad at following up with them...

At my friendly neighborhood Kinko's where I spend all my hard earned cash making script copies, there that fishbowl by the front door with a sign that says, "Drop in your business card for a chance at a free lunch!"

Today I dropped 20 random business cards into the fishbowl.

Maybe someone I don't remember meeting will get lucky.

Friday, November 14, 2008

That Sinking Feeling: 2

My friend the Prop Master came over today to replace my disgusting kitchen sink with the vintage sink that Ellen found for me. I was prepared to pay him our agreed "Mate Rate" of $20 an hour, but when he arrived at my house he told me that he would install the sink free of charge because I'd let him stay in my second bedroom rent free during his last commercial job.

Oh how I love traded labor. Especially traded labor that involves me doing nothing but giving my friend a house key.

Did I mention that I have the original, impossible to match 1930's deco tile counters in my kitchen? Did I mention that the porcelain-on-cast iron sink weighs 60 pounds?

Even knowing this horrific combination of facts, the sink replacement was still much worse than anticipated. If the Prop Master were not my friend, I would have had to pay a carpenter, a tile mason and a plumber to get that sink installed. It would have cost me over $1000 and would have taken several days to complete the job instead of merely eight hours.

After the first four hours of grueling labor (during which time the Prop Master built a winch out of some rope, scrap lumber and a shovel he found in my garage which he used to swap the sinks out from the underside of the counter), I took the Prop Master to lunch (At this point I'd offered repeatedly to pay him for his work, but he refused each time).

I was only too thrilled to discover that the Prop Master's fiancee was in need of a television, because I happened to have an extra one that I could offer up to him for free as a tip for all his hard work.

He was super happy to give his fiancee an even better T.V. than she was looking at new.

I was super happy that I didn't have to feel guilty that I was torturing my friend and I got a huge appliance out of my house.

Nice is a much better currency than money.

PS: Not one vintage tile was damaged during the sink installation! The Prop Master = Handiest Man Ever.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gifts in the Mail

I recently sent some of my online buddies gifts for no good reason. For example, yesterday I sent a chart that shows mercury levels in fish to one of my online pen pals who's been eating a lot of fish recently for health reasons.

Imagine my surprise today when I arrived home to find a large box of trash picked yarn from one of them, which will be used to finish my afghan that I'm making for a veteran who lost his or her legs in combat, and a box of vintage red buttons from another online buddy that I'll use to make a Christmas wreath for the Foxyinlaws.

Wow! How nice is that?


Today, as my nice gesture of the day, I referred my genius travel agent to two film makers who are flying all over the place to promote their new movie. I think I get extra nice points considering that they just passed on one of my projects.

Since I can't afford to travel anywhere this year for New Years, I've been living vicariously through my friends who can. "Oooh! Send me pictures from Thailand!" "I'd love to go to India. You're so lucky! You'll have to tell me all about it when you get back!" "Let me refer you to my excellent travel agent!"

Why am I doing this? I know that I'm going to be so jealous of them when I hear all their stories and see all the pictures.

Not being able to afford to travel is starting to really get to me. Last night I had a dream where I was giving a tour of the Mahon, Menorca harbor to my parents who complained the entire time. Then I dreamt that I was hiding in an English manor house from George Clooney who was trying to cut my fingers off with tin snips.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Minion of the Devil Doll

My friend Devil Doll is going on tour next Wednesday. She called me today about doing some prep work for her tour. And by prep work I mean washing all of her dishes because she currently has no clean silverware and picking up her leather pants from the dry cleaner. Ah, the joys of running a record label out of your house. It's almost as simple and easy as running a home-based film production company. Since I'm too busy running my entertainment empire out of my spare bedroom, I referred my friend Kate for the job. Hopefully this arrangement will work out well for both of them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Live Long and Prosper

Do you feel the rift in the Time/Space continuum? You should, because you are reading a blog post from the future.

As I write this it is 8:47 on November 14, 2008. I'm posting what I did today, November 3rd, 2008, from the future so I don't ruin the surprise for my friend The Non-Consumer Advocate, who has been known to read this blog.

Today I sent seven Star Trek action figures to my friend The Non-Consumer Advocate. I had failed to sell the toys at our fancy garage sale over the weekend, even though they were reasonably priced at $20. And, we couldn't sell them on ebay, even though the figurines are a limited edition, highly collectible, very expensive set, not because Mr. Foxypants had opened the original package so he could play with them, but because he had removed all the weapons and accessories and put them into an Altoid tin "for safekeeping."

And then he lost the Altoid tin somewhere in the garage.

I can't believe how well the last two sentences explain my boyfriend.

But back to my gift to the N-CA and why I just didn't sell the Star Trek toys on Craigslist. One thing that I've learned this year is that giving up things of value doesn't bother me at all if that super-fabulous whatever goes to the perfect home. And who could provide a more perfect home to phaserless Star Trek figurines than the Non-Consumer Advocate?

(Yes. I know there is technology that allows me to do some fancy highlighted text that links directly to her blog instead of writing out the entire address to that specific blog entry. And I don't know that technology. But get over it, okay? How many of you have mastered time travel like I clearly have)?

At any rate, yesterday, Wednesday, November the 12th, (for those of you not familiar with screenwriting lingo, this is known as a Flash Forward even though I'm writing about something that's already happened because I'm writing this from the future) I received the following email from The N-CA:

"I got home after a long drive (3-1/2 rainy hours) back from the beach yesterday to find your package.

I took it into the kitchen to cut it open, and had to call the boys to join me when I spied the contents. I had a hard time though, as I was laughing really hard.


My son (the 10-year-old) has them all lined up in front of his fish tank, which looks cool as they're all backlit. He doesn't like that I told him they were mine to share and not just his.

I want to take a picture of him with them for you to show "Mr. Foxypants." So he can see they went to a loving home. They've been added to our "Guinan" and "Picard." So far they're playing nicely with minimal conflict. Although . . . Kirk and Sulu have been having their issues."

See? The perfect home. Now I'm glad I didn't sell them at the garage sale. That $20 would not have been nearly as satisfying as that thank you note.

Friday, October 31, 2008

That Linking Feeling

Everyone is so mean online these days. Even people on my do-gooder, stinky treehugging sites are being short with each other.

I blame the election. I think everyone is stressed out about the economy and we are all waiting to see how the election goes down before we make any big choices about our future.

The problem with this online grumpiness is that it's never the big jerks who leave in a huff. It's always the nice people, the ones with all the great ideas, who get fed up with the sniping and backbiting who leave that online community for good. I think a lot of great sites are ruined by the people being mean with their comments.

On all my favorite sites I've just been adding helpful links to do-it-yourself demos, feel-good testimonials, and other sites where the atmosphere is less strained.

I was planning on doing this until the election is over, but I may just keep being the Queen of the Links on these various sites until the end of the year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I've managed to break another printer. Which is really easy to do. At least this one lasted three years before a paper jam brought it to its death of obvious forced obsolescence. Can office equipment just cost a lot of money and not break all the time? I'm just slightly furious about how bad the manufacturing quality of, well, everything is, if you can't tell already. Like we really need more crap in the landfill.

I've checked online. According to a dozen different printer websites, once the paper feed breaks, it's next to impossible for a consumer to repair this printer since the company can't be bothered to sell spare parts.

So, instead of taking this to the e-waste dump, I decide I will give this printer one last shot by putting it on freecycle. I might not be able to fix it, but maybe someone else can use it as just a scanner or a fax machine.

An hour after listing the printer on freecycle, "Jason" arrived at my door to pick up the broken printer. He works in IT and thinks he can make the printer work again or at least part it out to repair another printer. Score one for the environment!

Five minutes ago I received the following email:

From: Jason xxxx
Date: October 28, 2008 at 12:40 PM
Subject: [freecycle] OFFER: Epson 3 in 1 printer/fax/scanner
To: The Producer

Thank you for the scanner. I give massages if you ever need one.


Ew. I'm sure "Jason" is beating off to the printer's warranty paperwork as I type this.

(Patting my arm hairs down).


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Part-time Privateer

Today Mr. Foxypants told me his theory on how people organize their homes. He believes that there are two types of people: those who live in doctor's offices and those who live on pirate ships.

I would think this idea hilarious, save for the fact that he then made it clear that my office is so messy, that the corsairs wouldn't have me.


Really, it's not that messy. It's like 40% Anne Bonny to 60% Doogie Howser.

I'm going to ask Sandy the Captain for her professional opinion on this matter because I think this comparison is unfair to pirates everywhere. I'm sure Calico Jack's ship wasn't filled with frog figurines and a huge collection of plush Garfield the Cat dolls like the office of my gynecologist.

And what's so great about living in a doctor's office anyway, even if it's just a stupid metaphor? My father, a doctor, somehow seems to think Skeet Shooters Monthly and Hi-lights for children is what all his patients want to read, especially when he's running 45 minutes late on his appointments and they're trapped in his waiting room. I would bet a piece of eight that pirates subscribe to better magazines.

And to that end, today I dropped off a huge stack of Elle Decor and Vanity Fair Magazines at the local emergency room.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tea House

My friend Laura just opened a tea house that serves organic, fair trade tea and locally sourced food. She's one of those rare people who manages to make sustainable living look fabulous and chic. When I came across six beautiful chrome-plated serving trays in my garage (from who knows what) while organizing for my garage sale, I instantly thought of her. They are perfect for her restaurant. I dropped the trays off at her house today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Caffeine Achiever

I don't remember when I started drinking coffee.

I was that young.

No. Really. I spent my grade school breakfasts hunched over the funny papers, drinking cafe au lait from 16 ounce mugs my parents purchased at the local craft fair.

When I was little, one of my father's chores was to buy coffee for the house and his office. We would go to the local roaster once a week carrying our bedraggled paper coffee sack for refills of the family blend (50% Kenyan, 50% dark Columbian). I carried on this tradition of the weekly trips to the coffee store for my snooty whole beans all the way through college.

At some point in the 1990's, all the coffee plantations *cough* I mean companies like Starbucks switched over to just carrying vacuum packed bags of coffee at the store. Which made everything easier for them and nothing easier for the environment. Save being really crafty and weaving strands of the heavy plastic sacks together to make prison art handbags and picture frames, the sacks are pretty much unreusable, even as dog poop bags.

So I was very pleased that Allegro Coffee decided to go old school and start selling their coffee in COMPOSTABLE bags. Which really means they're selling their coffee in plain old brown paper bags. But stlll, this makes my unsustainable coffee habit just that much better environmentally.

I called their customer service line and made the operator's day. I'm sure she hears only complaints from customers. I raved about their awesome new packaging. Companies need to get positive reinforcement when they do something smart.

Which makes me more of an aging hippie?

Calling customer service hotlines with all my free time?


Thinking sustainable packaging is an interesting topic for a blog post?


OCTOBER 16, 2008

Today I registered on Yelp! so I could start being one of those know-it-alls who reviews local businesses. I decided to register after noticing that three restaurants that I really love all had some snotty remarks made about them. I spent an hour writing up reviews under my new Yelp! pseudonym.

Thirty minutes later I got a thank you email from one of the restaurant owners. Apparently my interweb disguise did not shield my identity enough and she instantly knew which of her thousands of customers had written the latest review.

If I'm busted for my niceness, does it still count?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Terrible Pawnshop

I am a trash picker. I confess. And if I weren't so worried about running into a sleeping homeless person or a hypodermic needle, I'd be scoping out every dumpster in the neighborhood for abandoned treasures.

I paid for two years of my life by trash picking furniture and other usable items off the curb in my neighborhood and selling those items garages sales. The extra income allowed me to sock away nearly my entire salary and buy a house before I turned 30. I paid for another two years of my life selling stuff on ebay. The extra income allowed me to start my own business and leave the horrible executive job that I hated.

When times are good, ebay and are fabulous estate sales. You can pull together a collection of anything in a blink of an eye. You can also sell just about anything for ridiculous amounts of money and pay for your very bourgeois life selling stuff online.

I spent the day listing books on Or should I say I spent the day looking at how little my books are worth during this recession now that everyone is hocking everything they own to pay the mortgage? The last time I listed books on was about six months ago. The average book price was $8.00. Now, because there's such a glut of books being sold, the average book price for my titles is $2.00.

Ebay has become a terrible pawnshop. There are sad, sad stories that go with many of the listings. People are selling family heirlooms just to buy gas so they can get to work. I can't take it.

What's that arab proverb? "My grandfather travelled by camel. My father travelled by car. I travel by jet plane. My son will travel by camel."

I'm going back to selling at garage sales because the modern world appears to be failing everyone. My mother sold on ebay. I sell on the driveway...

As my nice deed of the day I sent two eastern medicine books to one of my online buddies up in Oregon. Since he's not a fan of western medicine and avoids doctors and hospitals as a rule, I thought he would find an herbal dictionary and an acupressure book useful.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I finally filed my income taxes for 2007 today. I'm getting $400 back from the IRS, but no stimulus check from President Bush.

Which means I made so little money last year that I don't even qualify for the president's lousy attempt to get me to buy stuff and prop up our failing economy.


Well, not like I was going to do anything but pay down my debt with it anyway.

But it will be interesting to see what I get back this next year since now I'm just Miss Moneypenny. What a difference a year makes.

What's really weird is how pleasurable it was to PAY my property taxes, something I also did this morning.

Normally, the payment of my property taxes marks the beginning of the skinny months...the four months were all my big bills are due, conveniently overlapping with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah and New Years, in order to ensure that any gift of cash isn't enjoyed, but used rather to pay for things like my auto insurance.

Just being able to write out that property tax check without stressing about how that big check would negatively affect a host of smaller future purchases like Halloween candy for the trick or treaters, was a huge relief. It was sort of like the mental version of wearing uncomfortable shoes for years and finally getting to put on really squishy bunny slippers.

I've been smiling all day about this.

There was a huge line at the post office today when I went to mail off my property tax check. I let the mom with the two kids and the fussy baby--you know, her--cut in line in front of me. She was grateful for the gesture, but apparently not as grateful as the other people in line who thanked me after she'd left for saving them from listening to a screaming baby.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


My friend Sandy is a yacht captain. Back in 2004, while sailing off the coast of Yemen, her boat caught fire. Under her command, her crew put out the fire and none of the passengers were even injured, but the boat was seriously damaged to the point that they were pretty much adrift at sea. They were working on repairing the engine so they could sail back to the nearest safe harbor when the boat was boarded by machine gun toting pirates. Since the boat was a 40 million dollar vessel loaded with Americans, it was the perfect hostage situation. Sandy and the women hide behind the refrigerator while the pirates searched the ship for valuables to steal. Every night while the pirates were sleeping on their own boat, Sandy and her crew would work on the engine under the cover of darkness. It took them five days to fix the engine to the point where they could outrun the pirate ship and meet up with an American warship. Sandy and her crew won the Distinguished Crew Award, the highest honor of the International Superyacht Society, for their valor and cool under fire.

And because Sandy is a real hero, she, of course, isn't the one who told me this story. I had to hear it second hand from another friend. And when questioned about her heroics, she shrugs it off. "I had the best crew." She's like the coolest person I know.

I mean, really, if you'd battled pirates, PIRATES, and lived to tell the tale, wouldn't you tell EVERYONE who would listen?

I first met my friend Sandy for breakfast this morning. She was in Los Angeles for just a day on her way home from Europe.

I met Sandy on New Year's Eve 2006 while I was visiting friends in Menorca.

I got horrible food poisoning from the fancy dinner we attended, and as everyone else danced their way to the midnight hour, she sat down next to me on the sofa just to keep me company.

She discovered that I'd be in Barcelona the following week and gave me her phone number. "Call me and I'll meet you for coffee."

The following week I took her up on her offer and invited her out for coffee.

Let me just say right now, that had she been single and a man, my day with Sandy would have been like the best date ever. Sandy's girlfriend is a lucky woman.

After walking around Barcelona, Sandy gave me a tour of the 30 million dollar yacht that she was renovating. It was like a floating luxury condominium. Then I went to dinner with her and her crew. It was one of the best dinners I've ever had and I don't even remember what I ate. I just remember that at one point I was laughing so hard I started crying.

Sandy had an open crew slot on her boat. Had I had any money in the bank at that time, I think I would have taken the job as a steward at that very moment and just spent a year floating around the world with her. A small part of me still wishes that I could have done that, but then I wouldn't have Mr. Foxypants as my boyfriend. The timing for us might not have worked out as perfectly as it did. So between him and my fantasy maritime career, I choose him.

But seeing Sandy again, made me think about my future. Life at sea is now the craziest combination of new and old. Sandy's ship is equipped with a million dollars of navigation machinery, but it still takes forever to get old fashioned letters. Sailing is just as romantic as the movies make it out to be, but ten times tougher. The monotony and the long hours are made up for by the mad cash. Sandy's crew work 24/7 for the six figure tips their clients pay at the end of their private cruises, but in the end, they are disconnected from everyday life on land in the most visceral ways. One of her mechanics only sees his family every three months back in Bulgaria.

Today, after dropping Sandy off at LAX, I sent her the one X-Box game we had in the house as a present to her and her crew. I hope it makes the long hours at sea, a little more fun.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bacon, Like Ninjas, Improves Everything

Mr. Foxypants and I returned to The Nickle Cafe--site of our Sunday brunch last week, so we could do a dessert tasting menu of the home made Ding Dongs and the home made maple donuts with bacon sprinkles.

I see the donuts being a problem in my future.

The owners approached us about designing a music playlist for the space because they know we DJ a downtown club that's in a historic building and has music to match. They told us that they would pay us for the CDs. Typically we charge $50 a "mixed tape" CD for this service. I think we're just going to bring them a huge pile of CDs filled with Jazz, Jump Blues, Funk match the vibe of their 1930's exchange for free dessert in perpetuity. As you all know, even before the market crashed, I was a big fan of the barter economy. Trading stuff is a lot more interesting than using cash.

I've been forwarding the good reviews of The Nickel to all the foodies in my life. I really want this restaurant to succeed.

For selfish reasons.

Luckily, I'm not the only bacon fanatic around. As my nice act of the day I copied an article about The Bacon of the Month Club for a friend of Mr. Foxypants who is also a connoisseur of cured meat.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Brush Stroke of Genius

I am a fickle, fickle woman.

Yesterday, I decided that no shade of green was good enough for my hallway. After two separate attempts at adding color to one of the smallest spaces in Dinky Manor, I suddenly decided that PURPLE, yes that color of pre-teen girls and ancient royalty, was the only acceptable hue for my hallway.

So I'm headed back to the paint store...again, to get more sample pots and paint chips.

Normally I try and be good about returning the paper chips to the store when I'm done playing with them at my house. It saves paper, and hopefully helps my neighborhood paint store in a small way. But sometimes the chips just get too beat up to return to the store for reuse.

Today, while filing like a crazy person, I discovered that I was out of the card stock labels that fit into the fancy nickel plated holders of my file boxes. Instead of cutting up a perfectly good buckslip, I realized that paint chips are the perfect size and I can color code my file boxes so I can see what's in them from across the room. A stroke of genius! Okay, that's probably an exaggeration. But a stroke of smartypantsness at least. Definitely a stroke of anal retentiveness.

It's good for the planet, good for the paint store and good for me!

Damn. It's good for me.

Which makes it not nice enough under the guidelines of my super scientific experiment.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Not Necessarily The Lesson I Should Be Learning?

I walked over to my friends house to walk his dogs for him. I get the needed exercise to work off my carbon fatass, and help out my friend who's been stuck in the house all day with a cold. He felt good enough to get out of bed and go on a 3 mile walk with me, so I got to hear all about his round trip train ride to Portland, Oregon for the Pirate Festival. Mr. Foxypants and I are really considering taking the train to Portland for Christmas and New Years. Even though that's 4 days out of a vacation on a train, it's way more environmentally friendly than flying, and we'll be able to do things that we never get to do on the 30 hour trip like read all those books that have stacked up at our house or knit up an entire sweater in one go. We're thinking Portland for our winter vacation because it's really walkable and has awesome Goodwill Stores and Powell's books.

My dog pal is also going to give me a ton of stuff for my garage sale I'm doing in 2 weeks with an old neighbor. He can't believe that I'm willing to take all this crap off his hands. But, I look at it all as free money, whether I sell it or donate it for a tax deduction. And by crap I mean treasure. Beautiful, tax-free treasure...

On the walk home I started fretting about not being nice today. My friend is totally stoked that I came over, walked his dogs, hung out with him even though he has a cold, and agreed to help him empty out his garage full of crap. But have I been nice? I totally enjoyed my walk with him and his dog. And even though I'm benefiting from his garage sale donation, it's not like I went over there intending to relieve him of all his resellable goods.

Am I cheating on my personal challenge today because I'm unintentionally getting something in return for niceness?

Oh no.

When did I decide that nice=torture?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Piles of Sh...I Mean Files

One of my goals of this week is to file every single shred of paper into my filing cabinet. As my cousin Carolyn likes to say, "In our family, we file things horizontally." Why use a cabinet when every flat surface can be storage for paper?

In a minute when I post this, I will resume purging my files of tear sheets on a variety of subjects. Currently I'm going through my crafty crap ideas files. If I had a lot of time, I'd be such a brilliant friend. You should see the ginormous stack of hand made Christmas present ideas I have alone. Handknit hot water bottle cozies, oilcloth school lunch bags, bookends made out of sea shells filled with plaster of paris.

In my fantasy life I'm very creative...and productive.

I owe my producing partner three baby quilts for her children. Her oldest turned ten in August. Oops.

But one thing I will do by the end of the year is knit a lap blanket for a war veteran who has lost his or her legs and is now recuperating at the VA hospital. They are doing a blanket drive (which should really be called "Not All Afghans are Terrorists") and I've signed on to make a blanket. Now, I think the war in Iraq is the United States occupying a country that didn't attack other words I think it sucks. But this doesn't mean that I don't think that our soldiers are doing honorable work. They are. Well, except for those morons who think they're on The Crusades: Part 2 Electric Boogaloo. But I guess that's what makes knitting a blanket for one of these amputees a really nice thing to do. Because I could spend all this time making an afghan for someone who went to Iraq to participate in a "holy war," someone whose values I think are totally backward and stupid. I don't get to choose what kind of soldier receives my gift.

But it's not really about who's suffering ultimately, but that there is suffering. So I will make a beautiful blanket and write a sincere thank you note.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

CMJ melody fair

My friend Michelle has been nominated by The College Music Journal as one of the top 5 programmers of the year!

Yay for cool and successful friends!

She sent out a mass emailing today asking everyone to go to her website and click on her "Follow Me" button to help her win a trip to New York.

It seems so arbitrary that the winner would be selected by web traffic and not the amount of actual listeners or how many bands that DJ discovered. It's like some sort of horrible junior high school election where it's all on popularity and not on talent.

But web traffic is more accurately measured than, say, the Nielson ratings that govern what we all get to watch on television.

All of a sudden I feel old.

But I went to her Myspace page and voted for her as my nice act of the day.

Sometimes being nice has instantaneous rewards.

Parachute by Shugo Tokumaru, the featured song on her Myspace page is a really good song!


September 25, 2008

Miss Freecycle, who took about 50 moving boxes off my hands back in July, stopped by with a demo for her boyfriend's band. I passed it along to my friend Fred, who is the intrepid host of the show Demolisten on KXLU. I don't know if he'll play the demo on his show, or even like the music, but, you know, you gotta support your local music scene somehow...

Monday, September 22, 2008

My New Computer

This is the maiden document of my new computer. I hadn't replaced my laptop until now for financial reasons and moral reasons. The financial reasons are obvious--I've been broke for forever. Since I only replace my computer, oh, every seven years on average, I always end up spending the maximum amount of money on all the latest bells and whistles to keep it current/relevant/working for that much longer. My last computer was the trusty Macintosh G4 Titanium. I ordered it while Steve Jobs was still demonstrating its features and benefits on the webcast. I was the first person to have this model in Hollywood. I'm also the last person to have this model in Hollywood.

My old laptop bit the dirt over a year ago, taking with it 17,000 email addresses and copious amounts of other pertinent data that makes my life run a little easier. "Oh well," you sigh, "This is why you always back up your info to an external hard drive." My external drive died the same week as my old laptop, taking with it about 10,000 songs in my itunes library and all my backed up data. I got most of my documents back. And, I can get the music back. I just won't get the three weeks that I spent importing all those albums into my itunes back. After the Great Crash of 2007 I got my old laptop running again, but without any special extras. And by special extras I mean a mouse and the ability to print documents from the computer.

It's been a trying year technologically to put it mildly.

And it doesn't help that my computer savvy stops circa 2002.

But, as I've told myself since 1992, this next year will be the year that I become computer literate.

The first big test of my new laptop and my new technorati aspirations will be to finally edit the wedding video of my friends Ted and Sue. They only got married last July, so etiquette-wise I'm only, um 3 months overdue on delivering the video (which is my wedding present to them). Oops.

DSL2 told me months ago that he'd teach me how to use iMovie to cut the wedding video, which will be a documentary cinematic feat on par with THE SORROW AND THE PITY I'm sure, and burn the hundreds of copies of the completed film for all the relatives who are anxiously awaiting photo documentation of the event. So I called him over the weekend to see if I could still take him up on the offer of a one-on-one tutorial. He is. Yay for friends keeping way overdue promises of help.

He asked me what my plans were for my old laptop. I told him that I was going to look for a charity that could part it out or use it to raise money for education. "How much do you want for it if I want to buy it?" he asked. "How about free?" I said. DSL2 is so pleased. He's a DJ and has been wary of bringing his laptop to clubs for obvious reasons. Now he'll have a free computer he can load his music onto and not have to worry about theft or spilled drinks and I can keep my old computer out of the landfill that much longer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hollywood is a Bad Dad

This week was shaping up to be a great week. I had a fantastic meeting with a financier on Monday and yesterday delivered such a perfect pitch to ecstatic studio executives, that the writer and I were giddy for hours after the meeting.

Today, I got the paperwork from the financier. They are 1.5 million dollars short on what they talked about in the room. And the studio passed on the perfect pitch because, "It was just too smart."

God forbid anything be too smart.

Hollywood is like the dad who keeps leaving your mom in a lurch, and just when you're getting used to living without him, he shows up at the door, all contrite and bearing presents. It's the ultimate intermittent reinforcer. Just when you're totally fed up with the casual cruelty, the unreturned phone calls, and the glacial pace that projects move forward, you'll have a really good day, where everything seems to go your way and all those bad feelings from before are swept from your brain...until the next project falls to pieces before your eyes.


My father's tombstone will read: "She doesn't throw like a girl."

And for the record, I don't kick my butt when I run either.

Today I donated my baseball glove to charity. The post office is sponsoring a drive for baseball equipment to donate to kids in the third world. I'd had my Bobby Bonds baseball glove for 30 years. It was one of my oldest possessions. While I loved playing baseball as a kid, I hadn't played a game since filling in on an intramural team in college. I'd held onto the glove for so long because of sentimental value. It reminded me all the times my father would put down whatever else he was doing and play catch with me in the backyard. And, although I remember always having to plead with him a little to come outside and throw a baseball back and forth across the lawn with me, I know that to this day he brags to his friends about my pitching prowess.

I'm sure if I asked him, my dad would play catch with me in one hot second. If only to see if I can still throw a mean slider. And because I know this about him, I felt safe with my decision to give up my beloved glove to some other kid who perhaps needs the chance to feel what a father's love feels like.

My father doesn't really care if I succeed in Hollywood or not. He just wants me to be happy. I'm very lucky to have a father who totally believes that I am the most interesting, smartest and prettiest girl ever...except for my sister who is equally interesting, smart and pretty, of course. I reap the benefits of having a dad who really believes that girls are the greatest every single day. It means that I'm not afraid to argue with men. It means that I never have to play the pussy card and use my "feminine wiles" to get my way. (Because once you play that card, you never ever get to play another). It means that my self-esteem does not come from whether or not the men I have to work with actually like me--even though generally they do, and for all the above reasons.

It's good to be a daddy's girl.

Thanks Daddy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeding Cats

While Mr. and Mrs. TNT are vacationing, I'm feeding their old neighbor's cat, Yellowtail.

I'm hoping Yellowtail is not named after the cheap wine, because if he is, then my friends are even bigger drunks than I thought.

The old neighbor, and original owner of Yellowtail, hung himself in the backyard with a garden hose last year. Mrs. Old Neighbor promptly moved out, leaving the cat behind for Mr. and Mrs. TNT to deal with...even though they have two cat-hating dogs.

I haven't seen Yellowtail in the three days I've gone over. Today, his fancy food was untouched in his dish.

I'm hoping for his sake, he's found new, dog-free owners who really love him. Even though he's a cat, I feel like he's had enough heartache for the year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who Moved the Cheese?

I had a disturbing phone call with one of my girlfriends today. Her stalker is back. My friend is in heavy nesting phase, prepping for her upcoming surgery. She's been home more than usual but was out all day last Tuesday. When she returned to her home, she got the creeping sensation that someone (and she knew exactly who that someone is) had been in her apartment while she was out. She chalked it up to stress and silliness until last night when she was preparing dinner and was unable to find the enormous bag of cheese she'd just purchased the week before in the refrigerator. She was sure she hadn't already eaten it. She would have remembered eating two pounds of shredded cheddar. She searched the entire apartment hoping that she'd left a bag of groceries in her trunk or hadn't fully unpacked all her tote bag. No dice. Someone had been in her apartment and had helped himself to a snack.

She called the police today to report the incident. She was nervous before the lone police officer arrived to take her statement. She's complained before about her stalker and had the cops not believe her. We went over the timeline of events together to make sure that she hadn't forgotten any details and to make sure that she didn't sound like an insane person. Yes, she's preparing for a surgery. No, she's not on any medications that might explain her nervousness over missing groceries. Yes the cheese is inconsequential, but this is the straw the camel's back. Yes, I've confronted him. No, he hasn't left me alone as requested. Yes, I want you to talk to him. No, I never had sex with him.

I've been stalked twice in my life. My first stalker was the teenage son of a family friend. He followed me around from age 10 to age 15. The fact that he was a pedophile in training didn't seem to register with anyone. My second stalker was a fellow college student. He spent five years following me around, calling me 40 times a day and generally making me feel unsafe.

The worst thing about being stalked is that you can never, ever relax. Walking, anywhere, alone could have serious consequences. Any wrong number or hang up becomes fodder for worry. The second worst thing about being stalked is the reaction you get from the people who are closest to you. A fair percentage of friends will give you their opinion that you brought whatever fresh hell onto yourself. Even if that fresh hell began with you letting a classmate cut in line at the movies and that's what started his five year long fantasy that you were in a relationship with him. And, there's always those people who just think you're crazy. Those three flat tires you got over the course of one month is just a coincidence. Anyone could have left that gift wrapped porno mag on your doorstep. Stop being so dramatic.

The sucky thing about my friend's situation is that there's nothing that she or the cops can do until her stalker physically assaults her. He can break into her house as much as he wants as long as he doesn't take non-edible evidence that can be traced. He can tell her that "He watched her sleep and she never woke up" or that "He can get any key made because he's a building manager so it doesn't matter that she changes her lock" and the cops can't do anything about it. And there's nothing I can do but treat her like she's totally sane and believe her completely. Even if it's a story involving missing cheese.

I'll believe her and listen to her for as long as it takes for her stalker to go away. And I know from experience that could take years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Help Me

I wouldn't call myself a particularly self-aware person. I admit: I am deeply shallow. One of the reasons why I decided to do this experiment in niceness for one calendar year is to see if I can do a better job of being a human being.

So lately, I've been reading a lot of self-help books. Which, wow, SO pathetic and sad.

I'm currently reading David Allen's best-selling book GETTING THINGS DONE: THE ART OF STRESS-FREE PRODUCTIVITY.

Which I checked out from the library.

And is now two days overdue.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Today I got my Psychic Friend a job helping me out today at my friend's store as a shopgirl. I had to pick her up at our usual spot--a cuban coffee shop on Sunset Boulevard, and drive her to the store. A native New Yorker, she still doesn't know how to drive, even though she's lived in Los Angeles since 1973. She bought me coffee and a croissant, even though I insisted that wasn't necessary, as a thank you for the work and the ride.

While yesterday was insanely busy, today the store was dead. My friend, the store owner, let us go after two and a half hours and gave us $25 for our trouble. Not quite the $100 either of us were expecting. I felt terrible that I'd gotten my Psychic Friend out of bed early on a Saturday morning for such lousy cash. She, on the other hand, was thrilled that she'd gotten paid period.

We stopped back at Dinky Manor to pick more figs off the nasty rash tree in my yard. She's already processed the first delivery of figs and had some jars to give to me in trade for the free fruit.

On the drive back to her home I took her to lunch. I still felt terrible about not coming through with a full day's work for her AND she bought me breakfast.

Back at her house she loaded me down with FIFTEEN jars. She gave me five jars of fig preserve and ten different varieties of chutney, relish, jam, and sauce in exchange for the fresh figs.

I feel like I'm totally getting the better end of the deal, but she is more than happy to be my canning factory if I supply the jars, lids, and can source the free fruit. Canning and feeding her friends are two of her favorite things to do, and nothing would make her happier than a steady supply of fresh, free, homegrown fruit. She thinks that I'm getting the short end of the stick with this arrangement.

This is turning out to be one of the better deals I've made in my lifetime.

So, once I get my act together (which will hopefully happen by the end of October since that's Mr. Foxypant's purge-a-thon stay-cation month) I'm going to scope out the neighborhood for fruit options. I've already grokked a couple homes that have fallen fruit all over their yards. I'm going to approach them with the, "I will give you a couple jars of jam in exchange for access to your fruit which is falling off the tree," scenario and see how that goes.

I'd like my future gift closet to be more pantry and less stuff, because there's something really primal and basic about the pleasure I get from sharing food. It just feels right.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Fig Tree is a Fica

Fica means fig in Italian. It's also an Italian slang term for women who look and act like Paris Hilton. Fig leaves have been used for centuries by prudish church types to cover the goodie-bits of famous statues. Connect the linguistic dots...

Today I picked five pounds of figs off the tree in my backyard. Not only is fig juice harder to get off your skin than beach tar, it appears that I'm allergic to the sticky goo as well. I have an itchy rash all over my arms. So maybe there's another reason why fica has a second meaning...

I drove the figs over to my Psychic Friend who will turn the purple fruits into her Blue Ribbon-winning Caravan Fig Spread. I don't waste my apparently very expensive and fancy variety of figs by letting them rot on the ground, and my friend gets free food.

She informs me of something I already know--that she's giving a canning lesson to Ellen, a fellow exchange for a donation.

A donation? My friends are really too nice, which is why not many of them are rich. My Psychic Friend has problems charging money for teaching what she considers, "A life skill."

"Do you think $40 is fair?" I ask her. "Because that's what I'm going to tell people it costs to come over and assist your canning efforts. You can give them a free jar in return for their work if you feel guilty about opening your home to total strangers for $40."

So far, including myself, I've got 10 people signed up for her next "class." Canning is the new knitting.

But she insists on comping me the $40 class fee in exchange for more figs.

Was I complaining about figs? Figs are awesome.


August 30, 2008

Today I mailed my old eyeglasses to the Lions Club who will forward my very wacky prescription on to my eyeball twin somewhere in the Third World.

And by old I mean my glasses from college that I stopped wearing in the last century.

I hope there's not a time limit on random acts of kindness. I've only been thinking about donating those glasses since 1999.


August 31, 2008

I took the huge shipping crate containing my new bike (Yay! My bike) to the Bike Oven, my local bike co-operative, today for expert advice on reassembling it. I discovered two things:

1. A lot of guys who are into biking and neighborhood co-ops are really cute. I must file this information away to dispense to all my single girlfriends.

2. Bike fetishists (even the cute ones) are just like every other kind of geek--90% male and obsessed with gadgets and dragons. " that a Brooks saddle?" "Can I look at your disc brake assembly?" "That Shimano gear hub must have set you back a pretty penny. Can I touch it?"

It took me and Mr. Foxypants four hours of constant question and answering with all the guys working away on their own custom bikes to get my bike together. And, wow, is she adorable! I took her for a test ride around the block before biking home. Even the homeless guys on the corner whistled and shouted, "Hey! Cute bike!" Who care about having 8 gears and a hub-powered headlight when you've got the swankiest bike in the neighborhood? Yes. I'm shallow. At any rate, Harv, the resident guru at the Bike Oven was only going to charge me for three hours (they ask for a donation of $5 an hour for rent and community outreach) but I paid him for the full four hours and as my nice act of the day gave him a utility knife I'd brought from home to add to the community toolbox since they didn't have one on hand.

I'd really like to get my life together so I can learn how to be a bike mechanic and volunteer at the Bike Oven. Being a bike activist in Los Angeles is something to strive for...and not just because I'd be the lone girl in a sea of cute boys.


September 1, 2008

The production designer for one of my films emailed me out of the blue today. He just realized, two years after the fact, that he'd never received a DVD copy of the film which was part of his contract. He appealed to me for help in getting one from the studio. Since that film was a particularly miserable experience, made miserable by a power-hungry, yet talentless executive with not-so-secret director yearnings, he was hesitant to call the studio for his rightful DVD copy, as he was sure his call would be forwarded to the executive who never, ever failed to be totally abusive toward him. Naturally, since this is Hollywood where casual cruelty is a fact of life, this executive, whose middle name is Crotch, still has a job even though her lack of professionalism is legendary.

Did I call her? No. She is someone I don't mind badmouthing to anyone who asks, but I just didn't feel like being in a rotten mood today--which is the mood I'd be in if I called her because she is that ding dang unpleasant.

Instead I offered the production designer my personal copy, and instantly felt pangs of regret...or maybe OCD craziness. That DVD is physical proof of my work. It's evidence that I actually do work as a film producer, and not just pretend that I have that job description which seems to be a fib that's reached epidemic levels in Los Angeles County.

I hadn't actually seen the film since the premiere. The DVD was still in its original shrink wrap. Why was I bummed that I'd offered my copy to the production designer who actually will use it to update his reel and his website? It's a movie, not a sculpture. It's not like any of my films are so obscure that I can't walk into my neighborhood video store and rent a copy any time I want to watch them...which has happened exactly never in 20 years.

I fretted over my decision to give away my personal copy of my movie all the way to the post office.

But now, looking at the half inch gap on my office bookcase where that DVD used to sit, I'm elated. I did something nice for someone on my crew who worked really hard for me under thankless conditions. More importantly, this experience has opened my brain to the following thought:

I am a dinosaur. I'm the last generation of producers whose work will be seen mainly in movie theaters and not on the web, or a cell phone or an ipod. For me, the theater is the movie going experience. Watching a movie, in even the scrungiest theater, with a bunch of strangers who want to laugh and cry along with me in the dark will never get old. It's one of my very favorite things to do.

I don't know if I'd have had this recognition of what makes me happy about my job without the nutty preamble as to whether or not I should be stingy with a DVD.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can You Dig It?

A woman named Ellen from The Compact emailed me off-list today. She wanted my expert advice on how to compost. Which, funnily enough, is something that comes up pretty often with me. I guess I'm just really out about all the thrilling details of my life which include knitting, composting and training the cats how to act like dogs.

At any rate, I called her back right away. "OhmyGodI'msoexcitedIcandomyrandomactofkindnessrightnowandgetitoverwith," is what ran through my head as the phone rang.

It takes so little to get me excited these days.

Well, during the course of our scintillating conversation about the controlled rot of kitchen and garden waste, the topic of canning classes came up.

As it turns out, my psychic friend is also an state fair award-winning fruit preservationist. Or jamster. Or whatever you call someone who is an expert at making homemade jellies and pickles.

I hooked them up. Ellen is going over to my psychic friend's house for a "jam session" (cue the yacht rock) next week.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stick With Your Day Job

I spent the day writing notes on a script written by a friend who used to be an executive. The company he worked for folded and he's spending his out-of-work time interviewing for jobs with fifty other applicants and writing a screenplay "that he's been thinking about since college."

He asked me to read his rough draft and give him suggestions.

I hope he finds a new job.

His script is terrible.

It's always shocking how bad scripts written by executives can be. Did all their knowledge about three act structure, and pacing and character development just fly out the window at the Starbucks they now call their home office?

But then look at all the horrible movies that get made. Maybe these studio executives turned writers never had any story sense to begin with?

I'm trying to be as constructive as I can with my criticism.

All seven pages of it.

I really want my friend to improve his script and sell it so he doesn't have to take a horrible executive job, just because there's no other work. I want to help him buy a little more time to find a really great job that he loves.

But there's no good ending for this favor.

Because what it boils down to is that I'm going to have to tell him that his script sucks. In the nicest, most positive way of course. And I have a feeling that my friend has no clue how truly bad he is at writing the screenplay he's been thinking about since college, which he called an "erotic cop thriller in the vein of SEA OF LOVE."

There are many problems with his script. For starters, anytime anyone pitches me anything using the words "erotic thriller" I immediate imagine what that person would look like naked. Don't ask me why my mind goes there. It just does, okay? Maybe I'm just a prude. Or maybe having to read screen description about a hard boiled female detective "cresting" in the back seat of her Crown Vic while having sex with the lead suspect really is embarrassing. Perhaps the biggest problem with pitching a script as an erotic thriller is that what he thinks is sexy is apparently very different from what I think is sexy.

Maybe my friend will be so mad about my notes that he won't ask me to read subsequent drafts.


August 20, 2009

Mr. Foxypants just announced that he will be taking the entire month of October off from work...

wait for it....

to go through the garage and all his earthy possessions and downsize!

And I didn't even have to be a nagging shrew to get him to this decision.

Since we moved into Dinky Manor in April I have been furiously purging stuff. I'd already gotten rid of 75% of my belongings before the move, but it's apparent now that we are in the house, that I am going to need to get rid of another 15% of my stuff in order to make everything fit into my one tiny, badly laid out closet and armoire.

Mr. Foxypants had a really short escrow on his old house and pretty much did not have the luxurious lead time to purge before moving like I did. He had the movers pack Every. Single. Thing. in his house. The partially used soap bar in the bathroom. Packed. 2200 record albums. Packed. 100 board games. Packed. More candles than any man (or human for that matter) should own. Packed.

The garage was so full by the time my stuff came over that I couldn't fit a needle in there, never mind a filing cabinet. There are boxes of precious things, and by precious things I mean crap, still to be unpacked in every room and no place to store the stuff inside.

I have said nothing about the 4 boxes marked "Star Trek toys" stacked in the office. Nor the 8 boxes of tiki mugs taking up space in the laundry room. I just keep chucking my own stuff and talking about how awesome getting down to 10% will be.

So he's finally gotten to the breaking point on his own and realized that he cannot fit all of his belongings into this house, even if we build bookcases in every room (which was his originally nutbar plan).

Sometimes leading by example totally works!

I'm so proud of being the nice girlfriend these last couple of months. Niceness took longer than a tantrum to get my message across, but I didn't have to have cross words with my packratastic boyfriend.

However, I'm having a really hard time not doing my evil, scheming laugh in front of him. I'm so thrilled.

Mwah hahahahaha!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Be Prepared To Be Nice

August 11, 2008

I'm bummed out to discover that my recycle-mania wasn't as fully successful as I'd given myself credit for. There were half empty bottles left all over the set yesterday which I didn't know about. The location manager was kind of furious with the level of trash left on the set. There was a half full bag of plastic bottles he'd collected the night before unceremoniously plunked where I could see it on the IRON MAN set where I'd set up craft services yesterday. Sigh.

I tell the production assistants to help me round up bottles and to put recycling bags next to every trash bin. It's my contribution to the planet to help stop the disgusting waste that happens on every set where even aluminum cans are thrown away. But since I plan on bringing the bottles and cans to the recycling center for cash, I can't call my recycling demands on set my nice act of the day since I'll be receiving compensation. Even though I'm driving sticky bags of used Gatorade bottles in the backseat of my car and will receive very little money in for my troubles, I still feel like I'm cheating by not being "nice with no strings attached" by accepting even small change.

I also wonder if my guilt is rational, or just me being obsessive compulsive.

After wrapping the show for the day I drive over to K.'s house to bake and frost the rest of the prop cakes for the prop master's T.V. show. I'm in her garage, putting the first of the cakes into her spare fridge, when I notice the huge bins of recycling taking over an entire parking space.

"What's up with the mountain of plastic bottles in your garage?" I ask her. As it turns out her son is collecting recyclables to raise money for his boy scout troup.

Recycling bottles for cash isn't a random act of kindness...unless you donate that income to a worthy cause, like a group of ten year old boys saving up to buy whittling supplies.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Not me.

At least this is what I told my friend the casting agent today when she called me to be a contestant on her new game show. "I'm replacing another casting agent last minute. She cast out of work actors who can't understand the rules of the game!" She cried.

How dumb do you have to be not to understand the mechanics of a game show?

At any rate, I had to tell her no because I'm too busy working on my Good For The Planet Army Project. But I did forward her email to a bunch of out of work video game designers I know. I hoping one of them wins the $1,000,000 jackpot and then at least buys me a nice pair of shoes.

Okay, wishing for a commission isn't part of the niceness project. I take back the shoe comment.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Follow up on Boy Wonder's Script

Today I received this email from my literary manager friend about my intrepid assistant's script:

This is fucking hilariously awesome. Really funny ...story's a little all
over the place but I have some ideas ...would love to sit down with him
...let me know when

I immediately connected the manager to Boy Wonder via email.

Perhaps this story will have a happy ending.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love Thy Neighbors

I am so lucky to have neighbors who I can also call my friends. Today I was a food stylist for a tv show. I baked a bunch of edible props for the actors to eat as part of a sight gag. Since I didn't want to spend all day slaving over a hot stove (the job still took 11 hours--ugh) in the dead heat of summer, I borrowed a glass baking dish from my awesome neighbor Lizbeth so I could make two sets of brownies at a time. "Can I have a brownie in trade?" asked Lizbeth. "That's a given," I answered.

Since I'm being a complete tightwad because I'm broke, I decided to use the chocolate chips I had in my house already to make the brownies instead of spending the petty cash I was given to buy unsweetened baking chocolate. I found a recipe on the internet that had splended reviews that used chocolate chips. "Ooey, gooey, chewy!" the reviewers raved.

I baked the brownies. They were ooey, gooey, and chewey as advertised. The top also shattered and flaked off when I tried to remove the brownies from the pan. The recipe is delicious, but not tv ready. I trudged over to the market, bought some baking chocolate, and added another hour of baking to my day by remaking the brownies with the standard baking chocolate recipe.

I don't have time to do it right, but I have time to do it over. Sigh.

At any rate, I returned Lizbeth's baking dish with a full slab of unphotogenic brownies included. She couldn't believe it. She kept saying how nice it was to bring her an entire batch of brownies.

Can I count this as being intentionally nice if I also brought her peanut butter cookies?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Not Working At Hollywood But At Least My House Is Clean

Today I drove my psychic friend to a meeting she had to attend. As a native New Yorker, she's never learned how to drive, even though she's lived in LA for 20 years. She calls me from time to time to ask me if I can drive her to various events, like the county fair, that she can't get to via the city bus. The drive was a long one, and I went through a half tank of gas getting her to the meeting and back to her apartment.

But the commute was really fun and weirdly productive. We agreed that we'd sign up for cheesemaking class together, that she'd show me how to can preserves in exchange for giving her figs from my tree, and she bought two frying pans from me that were cluttering up my kitchen.

When I got back home I was hard pressed to decide who had done whom the real favor.


July 13, 2008

Today Rose called me to tell me that she has to reschedule her dog's charity garage sale. She's going out of town for her anniversary. This change of plans was not surprising to me. Most of my friends are that special evil blend of busy and flakey. You can't really ever get super mad at them for their lack of follow through because they are soooo busy. But this news forced me to make a decision:

Will I be nice and agree to help her on the new date or will I tell her that I am too busy? (And really, I am too busy).

I made the decision to not be that nice. I told her I couldn't promise to help her on the day of the garage sale...whenever that may be. The soonest it will be is August--when it's 100 degrees outside.

But I still feel bad for her dog. I will continue to donate stuff for her to sell at the garage sale.


Bastille Day, 2008

Today I wrote several long posts to The Compact list about my insanity. I've written about my OCD nuttiness before, so it's not like that's anything new, or a secret revealed. It began with me announcing my plan on downsizing my belongings by 90% by the end of the year (as compared to what they were a this time last year). People of course wanted to know how I planned on doing this and if it was a painful process. I explained my Get Rid of 10 Things a Day resolution of 2001 and how that has kept the tide of clutter at bay. I also talked about how weird and liberating getting rid of my stuff has been so far, even the stuff I was forced to sell to pay my mortgage. I just don't miss it. My second post was to a fellow compactor who is struggling to get her hoarding tendencies under control, about all the stupid things I do to keep my house from becoming Crazytown. The response to my posting has been huge. A group of compactors have started their own Get Rid of 10 Things a Day habit and I've gotten phone calls and emails thanking me for my concise and simple advice! Tweakers unite! Although I'm not sure that being the expert on being obsessive compulsive is necessarily a good thing...


July 15, 2008

I had like the nastiest fun fur style yarn in "rainbow sherbert" and a bunch of partial skeins of pink and magenta "fashion" yarns that I'd gotten for free at a swap party taking up precious real estate in my crafty crap bureau (formerly the much larger crafty crap closet). I hated the yarn. It was so cheesey. But being Miss O'frugal McHoarder Knittypants, naturally I couldn't just get rid of it. What! Get rid of yarn? Ever? Never!

So to make a long story short, I just finished knitting the cheesey yarn bits into a stripey hat for Foxyniece's birthday present while at a friend's BBQ. Everyone told me that the hat is super cute without any prompting. Which is good. Because even though I think it knit up pretty well, it's like My Pretty Pony barf...or something. Luckily, Foxyniece is turning 5 next week and is the girliest girl ever. So it's that perfect, horrible little girl combination of fluffy, pastels, and sparkles. She will love it since her clothes are just one scary step away from beauty pageant apparel.

I used up ALL the cheesey yarn. And by all I mean I had to walk a mile (trying to drive less) to my nearest knitting friend to get some of her leftover hot pink yarn to finish the hat. No buying new! Downsizing! No waste! A custom-made birthday gift!

I may be failing at Hollywood this week, but I'm kicking butt on emptying my house. I wonder which of those two activities will actually generate more money for me by the year's end?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ahoy Matey!

Mr. Foxypants is obsessed with having a home orchard. In the past month he's brought home an avocado, a nectarine, an apricot, an orange and a lime tree. Did I mention that we already have a lemon, a lime, an avocodo, a fig, a loquat and an apricot tree already? Every morning he goes out and inspects the little trees, remarking, yet again, how many limes the little lime tree already has on it or how big the nectarines are getting on that tiny slip of a sapling. At least I won't have to worry about getting scurvy. (Which is an illness I think about more than I should ever since one of Mr. Foxypant's co-workers managed to get scurvy during last year's crunch period at work when he ate at Taco Bell for two month's straight because he was too lazy to go anywhere but across the street for all his meals. No, really. He had loose teeth, corkscrew hair, the whole nine yards. This year I think they should start an office pool where they bet on who's going to come down with rickets).

But back to the home orchard. Because Mr. Foxypants has been in crunch period at work for the last six weeks, none of these trees have been planted. They're just sitting in various places around the yard in the ugly plastic nursery pots they came home in looking wilted and sad. Until tonight when I decided that as a present to Mr. Foxypant I was going to plant the lime tree, a job that was only half done when it got too dark to pick the rocks out of the clay soil of my backyard. But it's in the ground. I'm hoping the planting job doesn't look too wonky by the light of day and that Mr. Foxypant's will be thrilled by his industrious girlfriend.

My new neighbors are slowly trying to dig up their former concrete dog-run of a yard and install landscaping. Like everyone, they have no money for this project, so planting is going slowly for them. So, while I was digging the hole for the lime tree, I dug up a clump of lemon verbena which I just gave them as a present.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Boxing Day

Mr. Foxypants asked me to try and go through some boxes today. With what time? And if I go through some boxes, then what? There's no place to put anything that I unpack. I cannot wait until his big deadline at work is over and he finally has some free time to do a major purge and get rid of stuff. I can't fit a needle into the garage it's so packed full of his things.

But, Mr. Foxypants does things every day to make me happy like:

Save me the last Mexican popsicle
Detail my car
Wash the dishes

So I really have to be responsive when he makes a direct request...even if it's irritating. Per his request I unpacked a box of mismatched socks and a box of file folders which are now sitting on the dining room table because there's no place to put them away. I made sure that I was grumpy as possible the entire time I was unpacking because you know being in a bad mood makes every chore that much more fun.

Then I took a break to check my emails because it was all just so exhausting.

That's when I saw the want ad on freecycle for moving boxes from a woman in my neighborhood.

Mr. Foxypants has been threatening for weeks to "break down" the boxes at the side of the house, which he hasn't done because he keeps running out of time. We have probably 50 cardboard boxes in the driveway getting more disgusting with each passing day as they are exposed to the elements. Which in turn makes me kind of crazy because I'm that eco-nut that wants to reuse everything and waste nothing. Especially stuff like perfectly good, slightly used moving boxes.

Let's just say I made Miss Freecycle's day. I flattened out 20 boxes and sent her packing. Literally. She was thrilled not to have to buy boxes for storage. With that one nice act, I also kept 20 more boxes out of the landfill and made some major progress on cleaning off the driveway so we can do something useful with it, like perhaps park a car.

I can't wait to show Mr. Foxypants the side yard, even if it's to distract him from the state of the dining room.