Sunday, September 27, 2009

30 and to get a second date.

I was on a date last week*, and my dining companion asked me, “Are you SAG?”

Totally normal question. We live in LA, we’re all actors, no big deal.

However, what I heard in error was this: “Are you sad?”

No big disconnect. Sad/SAG, very similar in sound, just that subtle difference in the final consonant.

Here’s the kicker: “Yes,” I replied without hesitation.

Yes, I am sad, thank you for asking. Luckily, I caught myself pretty quickly and said, “SAG? I’m sorry I thought you said sad. (insert nervous laughter here) No, no, I’m not in SAG.”

Are you sad? And if that’s what I heard, why didn’t I try to cover? I mean, I want this guy to like me, right? I thought maybe he was going to say something about how if I was sad this certain movie would make me happy, or maybe he thought I, as a sad person, would especially appreciate this certain book.

I am not sad. I am……in transition, perhaps. I am not sad. I went to Las Vegas and danced last weekend. Sad girls do not dance.

I think it has something to do with default settings. Somewhere along the line, I picked up the notion that sad is better. Sad is cooler. Sad sees the world in a way that other ‘happy’ people couldn’t possibly. When I was a kid, I was as dark as a girl in the marching band getting straight A’s could be. I reveled in the ‘My So-Called Life’/Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ brand of angst.

I carried this idea with me to college, gained 40 pounds, slept away 2 years, cried, and died my hair that awful eggplant color of girls lacking a real identity. I moved to New York and was shocked to find other girls crying in subway cars. I always thought I was the only one.

In hindsight, I think 90% of it was self-perpetuated. I wanted to be that girl. I wanted to feel something more. I wanted to be special. What else did I have? I wasn’t rich, I wasn’t particularly successful, I didn’t have a lot to show for myself. I had ‘sad.’ I couldn’t see my way around it.

At the end of my twenties, I shed all that. Several self-help books, a little heartbreak, and a cross-country move later, I consider myself a happy person. Now that I’m all grown up, I find that I am only truly sad when I go against the grain. When some part of me knows I’m doing something I shouldn’t. I don’t mean, ‘I’m sad when I say curse words’ or ‘when I eat ice cream’. I mean that I’m sad when I am in the wrong place. I’m sad when I know I’m not doing what’s right for me.

Am I SAG? No, I’m not. Am I sad? Nope, I’m not that either. See, now, wasn’t that easy?

* This blog in no way reflects the author’s opinion of the date itself. She went on to have a lovely time and hopes to have another date in the near future, should he decide to ask her out again. She promises not to exploit their every conversation on the internet.

Friday, September 18, 2009

30 and cures.

This morning while I was running, I heard Kanye West’s ‘Homecoming’ (featuring Chris Martin). My sister put it on a mix she made for us to drive around LA to. I like it fine, as I like all the stuff I’ve heard by Mr. West. (My Mom actually does a pretty great rendition of ‘Golddigger’) But, I’d kind of dismissed it as just another song about a hip-hop girlfriend. I usually think more about Chris Martin when I hear it. So handsome, sigh. Anyway, you see how I could have missed the song’s intended meaning.

Today, I was tuned in I guess, because when I heard Kanye say ‘my name is windy and I like to blow trees,’ it hit me. The song is about the windy city…..CHICAGO! His home town! Suddenly, I’d found someone who was lonely for home just like me!  Oh, Kanye!

(Call me crazy, but in passing I’d always thought that the line about blowing trees was some sort of marijuana reference.)

I know this revelation is probably something of a ‘Duh’ to anyone else who’s ever heard the song. I mean, he starts out by saying ‘Chi-city’ like nine times.  But I haven’t bought a cd since the days of the discman, and most days I listen to NPR or the country station.

I kept listening as I ran. He raps about Chicago like it's his childhood girlfriend. “I met this girl when I was three years old and what I loved most she had so much soul.” In spite of all his impulse control issues, I gotta give him credit.  That's good stuff. I laughed, I got a little teary-eyed, and it kept me running. It takes a good song to accomplish all those things.

I know, I know, he’s no John Lennon. I’m aware that music today is in a sad state and it’s probably a stretch to find significant meaning in any of it. Maybe I’m just homesick and seeing everything through that filter. I have to say, though, there is nothing like a perfectly timed pop song to take what you're feeling and say it in stereo.

Next up:  How Matchbox 20 saved my marriage

Thursday, September 17, 2009

30 and counting....potato salad.

Becca’s Favorite Potato Salad
You will need:

2 lbs of red-skin potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
1 medium shallot
1/4 cup your favorite fresh herb, chopped (rosemary and basil both work great)
1 lemon, the zest and the juice
Salt & pepper

Boil the potatoes in salted water. While they are boiling, whisk together oil, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, and lemon juice in the large bowl where you will be storing/serving the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste and let it sit. When the potatoes are cooked, fork-tender but not falling apart, strain them and let them cool until they are easy to handle, but not cold, 20 minutes or so. (I find this salad comes out best when the potatoes are still warm in the center when you add them to the dressing) Dice the potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. You will lose some of the skin while chopping. It’s no big deal. Keep what you can, what comes off, toss in the garbage. (*I keep a towel handy during this part because the potatoes get all starchy and sticky, and inevitably your nose will itch, or your phone will ring and your hands will be covered in gunk.*) Put the diced potatoes in the bowl with your dressing and mix until well coated. The last thing to do is add your fresh herb and gently fold it in. Done!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's For School Lunch?: USA School Lunch - Pizza and Corn

Some things never change.

What's For School Lunch?: USA School Lunch - Pizza and Corn

In Brazil, they serve real food.  In China, you get a whole fish, eyeballs and all.  In America, it's the same pizza and corn I ate 15 years ago.  Only now, instead of $1.80, it's up to almost $4 in California. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

30 and say the darnedest things.

I work with children. Little angels. Little sponges. During snack time, my co-workers and I were sitting at the table with our kids. We were discussing the details of their day at kindergarten.

“Nuva Ring.”

It just popped out, like this child had been dying to say it, to feel it buzz on his lips. Not for shock value or out of curiosity, it seemed to be completely for sensory purposes.

“Nuuuuuuuva Ring,” he said again. Three times total it flew out mixed in with chatter about some sort of “modern-fashioned apparatus” that he had made from tinker-toys. (Amos has a very vivid imagination.)

Obviously, it was a total non sequitur. We were not discussing feminine contraceptive choices over apple juice and crackers.

The adults in the room eyed each other. We were all wondering if today would be the day that we would have to explain intrauterine devices to 5 year olds. I’m all for seizing teachable moments, but this seemed a little beyond the scope of my paycheck.

Luckily, it passed like most things do when you’re small and have too many thoughts to keep track of. We moved on to a discussion of whether applesauce was Kosher.

In the car on the way home, I found myself trying it on for size. NuvaRing. Nuuuuuuuuuuuuuva Ring. It does kind of trip off the tongue.

Friday, September 11, 2009

30 and counting....perspective.

I've been reading my posts from the last few weeks and feeling a little.....petty.

So, here's something good.

I went to high school with one of the clowns.  Where I am self-centered, they are self-less. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

30 and counting....geography lessons.

A few weeks ago at the barber shop, I read an article about Miranda July, the performance artist/filmaker/artist-artist.  I'm a big fan.  (I have been known to site 'Me, You, and Everyone We Know' as the reason I stopped seeing a psychiatrist in New York.  After seeing it, I just felt better.)  The article was all about her exhibition '11 Heavy Things' at the Venice Biennalle.  Call it wishful thinking, call it lack of knowledge about the art world, call it 'I'm Not Smarter Than a 5th Grader', but for some reason, I had myself convinced that this exhibition was taking place in Venice, California. 

Hey, it's a very artsy community, Venice.

Imagine my disappointment when I got online to find out how to get there this Saturday. 

Maybe I'll just go to the movies instead.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

30 and and the small town?

Age is relative to a lot of things.  Looks, experience, health.....geography?

I have been single in Manhattan (and Brooklyn and Queens).   I have been single in Los Angeles.  (Just to be clear, I have also had boyfriends in all of these locations.  Don't cry for me, Argentina.)  I have not been single in, say, a small town in Virginia, since I was 17 years old.  Being single in a big city is easy.  Everyone is too busy to get married.  We've all got jobs and dinner reservations, art openings and happy hour.  Being 30 and single is nothing.  I am one of many, a majority even.  Ever seen a little show called 'Sex and the City'?  I may not ever own Manolos (unless they do a line for Target), but to the dating stuff, hey, I can relate.

Now, I am contemplating a move home.  Home is not bright lights, big city.  Home is four stoplights and a Wal-Mart.  At home, being 30 and single means that there is something wrong with you.  For all my forward thinking and modern living these last 10 years, where I come from, I am woefully behind.

Everyone I know from high school is married.  EVERYONE.  Most have babies, some TWO BABIES or more.  Facebook is a minefield of pregnancy announcements and shower photos.  I have spent most of my twenties trying not to get pregnant.  Apparently, I had it backwards.

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled for all my friends with these beautiful families.  What an accomplishment.  They all seem genuinely happy.  I gotta say, I'm a little embarrassed.  What have I got to show for my life on the outside?  "Me?  No, I'm not married.  I've been too busy paying exorbitant rents and accumulating credit card debt.  But, I do know a surefire hangover remedy!"

What will people think?  And more importantly, who the hell am I going to date?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

30 and counting....quinoa-garbanzo burgers.

Ok, enough with the whining, back down to business. In the midst of all my self-pity, I was able to whip up a really great dinner the other night. My gift to you all for putting up with my sulking.

Quinoa-Garbanzo Burgers
1 cup quinoa
2cups water
Fresh basil – a good handful
1-2 garlic cloves
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas, whatever you want to call them), rinsed and drained
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Put quinoa and water into saucepan with a little salt and olive oil and bring to a rolling boil. Once it hits boil, cover and reduce to very low heat. Let simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is gone. While the quinoa is cooking, pulse garbanzos, basil, garlic, lemon zest and juice**, and 1 tbsp of olive oil in the food processor until well blended, but not pureed.

Take cooked quinoa and garbanzo mixture and fold it together. Add more olive oil if necessary to make it all hold together, and salt and pepper to taste. While still warm, form into patties. Refrigerate patties for at least 15-20 minutes so that they will stand up to pan frying. (You can refrigerate for longer, even overnight, if you like.) Either bake at 400 degrees until browned, or pan fry 5 minutes a side.

Serve over salad, on a bun, or on the plate. We ate them with steamed broccoli and carrots that had been tossed with a little balsamic-Dijon vinaigrette.
**I have been beating this combo of basil, lemon, and garlic to death this summer. It just works in everything.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

30 and counting....

"Come out here.  It's cooler, I swear."

My sister and I laid down on an old tapestry to gaze up at the......corrugated metal roof of our outdoor patio.  It was cool for the first time in days.  Breeze.  Quiet. 

We talked about things I didn't know I remembered.  We laughed at things that we'd both forgotten. 

It was like a really good episode of 'The Wonder Years.' 

I think it's time to call it a day.  Call it ten years.  Call it.  Time of death: 9:41pm.  It's time to go home. 

What's so wrong with taking the easy way for once? Go. Rest. Be around people who love you because they're genetically obligated to.