Archive for February, 2009

I’m in Love with My Car!

February 25, 2009

P.J. O’Rourke once wrote:

“There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief among these is the Mercedes Benz 380SL convertible.”

Welp, I don’t know about the Mercedes part, but I can definitely attest to the fact that my lil Sebring gets me HAWT!

Here is my baby:

503379__01_chrysler_sebring_lxi___8600_op_640x480

I spent the day cruising all around town in my sweet-ass, sexy car, top down, bathed in sunshine, funky music blaring, and it was * POETRY*!

I love, love, love being a woman. ‘Love the lotions and potions. ‘Love the chivalry and the getting out of speeding tickets. But, when it comes to cars, I am all DUDE. And my gorgeous V-6 rocks!

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BODY DANCE!!! aka JAMIROLOVE

February 23, 2009

Silly Manda—on excellent writing kick! woohoo!!! Get one new poem published and the floodgates FALL!

Nah—I think it’s that plus my decision to get the Hell outta Cali at last! Funny I decide to move to Texas right after my sweet Will leaves that state! (sorry, love! kisses!) And right before my sister and her fam decide to move to LA! Still, the heart wants what it wants….

And right now my heart wants to write about the most fabulous lil chica au monde: my niece, Maddy.

super-maddy

This past Christmas, Maddy and I bonded like crazy! It was, I don’t know how else to put it aptly—so fricken beautiful! (And yes, I am a writer and those are the only words I have!) One particular moment of blissful “connect” was one excellent naked morning trying to get her dressed after we had showered together. Maddy would have none of it—she hopped up on my sister’s bed, pointing madly at the stereo thing on the dresser. “Manda! Manda! Body dance! Body dance!” she said, her wet gold curls bouncing with delight. Clueless Aunt Manda went to the stereo and put the radio on. Maddy turned to look at me, eyes full of pity and consternation, like I was the dumbest, saddest turd on the planet. (Gotta love the stark honesty of children!) I called for my sister who explained that “Body Dance” was Maddy-speak for a particular song: “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai. Aaaaand Scene:

INT. PARENTS’ BEDROOM— A GRAY WINTER’S MORNING

AMANDA, brunette woman, mid-to-late 30’s, unclothed, wet hair, moves to the stereo.

CLOSE UP: HER FINGER PUSHES PLAY BUTTON: ‘CLICK’

WE HEAR: CANNED HEAT BY JAMIROQUAI

PAN TO:

MADDY, Amanda’s niece, 2, also in the buff, shining like she has swallowed the Sun, starts to hop madly all over the bed, huge smile on face.

MADDY

It’s BODY DANCE, Manda!!!!

Amanda starts to dance too, grinning like a fool at the excellence of her niece, arms akimbo like a goalie, ready to catch the babe lest she take flight.

AMANDA

Go, Maddy!! Go, Maddy!! Raise the roof!

FADE TO BLACK

Or more like, EXPLODE INTO PURE LIGHT

So, ever since then, I have fallen into mad love with Jamiroquai. When Maddy calls we have dance parties that stretch from Cali to Boulder.

Their music is just perfect for me (and, I’m sure, for others, as well—it’s ok—I’ll share)! Since sweet Maddy’s introduction of them to me I have acquired all of their albums and they have become the soundtrack of my life during this excellent new phase! And I am in LOVE with the lead singer and songwriter Jay Kay. He is so damn devil-may-care and delicious in his crazy hats, his whole body full of music. Love, love, love nutty dudes.

Enjoy—and find your own BODY DANCE!

It’s fricken FREEING!

“Only connect.”  — E.M. Forster

Speaking of Rick Springfield and me screaming….

February 22, 2009

So, here I am on a game show with Rick! hee hee

I feel like I should include some FAQs (I’m such a dork!). Let’s see….

How did you come to be on this game show?

It’s a British show that Comedy Central brought to the US. To get on you have to fill out a 10 page questionnaire about your life so they can build a segment around you. This was designed around my answer to the question: “What is the most embarrassing thing you have in your house?” I said my book.

Did you really write a 700 page book about Rick Springfield?

Yes and No. Between the ages of 12-14 I wrote a mad, passionate 711 page roman à clef/ love story about me and Rick and our sexy adventures! Though of course, in the book I was also a rock star and an orphan, and a black belt in karate (naturally).

Why do you act like such a speechless lunatic when you first see Rick?

Because the moment I saw him I was instantly 13 again. And coz he’s Rick.

Holy moley, you rubbed your body all over him!

That’s not a question. And wouldn’t you? And they cut the part where he felt me up before I did that (you can see him starting!). So he started it.

What’s the deal with the picture of you?

That’s what I looked like when I was writing the book—lil Miss Modette. Deal with it.

Do you still have the guitar?

Duh. And one of my best friends actually played it for her audition to get into the Los Angeles Music Academy—and she got in!

Do you still have the book?

Yes. And the show had it bound and embossed for me!

Here is a pic of me and the friend (Elle) who borrowed my Rick guitar:

aj-n-elle

And here is the present Rick mailed me after the show:

rick-001

Hope Rides Again

February 22, 2009

Oh, wow, but I am filled with light!

I spent today at Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California and it was AWESOME! Such fierce intensity! The dynamism and prowess! The heart reels!

All of my “action shots” are blurry and off-center and generally wipe so I won’t post them! (But they make me feel all fluttery when I look at them so I will keep!) So here are some fans—Mark (the dude) and Ned (the Chihuahua). This is actually Ned’s 2nd maillot jaune as Levi signed the 1st one he had at Stage 6 in Solvang.

amgen-005

amgen-006

BUT! for as much of an adrenaline rush the race itself was, the real joy came after.

We zipped over to the Astana trailer and I wove my way through the crowd (being an ex NYer is handy in situations like these!) and I managed to wheedle my way to the 2nd row behind the gate.

Everyone was screaming for Lance to come out—people pushed and shoved like we were at a rock concert. And when Lance finally did emerge, men hooted and hollered and women swooned and cried his name!

All I wanted was for him to sign the book that sustained me through my Daddy’s battle with cancer. All around me, people were screaming and thrusting posters, photos, Livestrong paraphernalia and equipment at him, over me. So typical Amanda—lone fan in the throng with a book!

I couldn’t find it in me to scream for his attention—I haven’t done that since I was 13 and at a Rick Springfield concert! Oh, but I needed this moment—so as he neared I held my book (HIS book!) out to him—and, wonder of wonders, he got the cutest grin when he saw it, and he looked up and his eyes met mine. “This book saved me when my father was fighting his cancer,” I said, “He lived.”

And then, even with all the people there, screaming and clamoring for his attention, and as swiftly as he had been moving around signing so many things, Lance stopped. He held my gaze, took my book from me, signed it, and with the most sincere tenderness in his eyes and face said, “Thank you so much. I’m so glad.”

I clutched my precious book to me and scooted my way out of the throng so that others could have their chance. I got back to my friend and she flipped over what had happened. She texted the people we were with: “Yes, I found Amanda—she was busy having a moment with Lance.” Such a lovely moment it was, too—with such a wonderful, inspiring man.

Here is my treasure:

amgen-lance-sig1

new poem

February 20, 2009


Wow—I’m published again– yay!!! A poem in an anthology, and a live reading April 4th.

What a lovely good-bye to Los Angeles.

As if LA deserves anything lovely…’first town I ever lived in where an acceptable “pick up line” was, “wow—are those real?” uch.

I would like to pop all my writing profs on the noggin for saying I needed to move to LA so I could be treated seriously as a writer. You know, LA eats my soul. My soul is not for sale. Never has been. Never will be. I’d rather write poetry that no one will read than sell my heart. 🙂

I suppose I should include the poem– funny how I am so shy about my poetry over any other form of writing!! I’m all nervous hee hee!

ODE TO THE DANDELION

Little golden cheers

sprouting up from cracks in the cement

(my father’s lament)

holding up your sun-mirror shining heads,

ferocious teeth gleaming.

How every summer

it made my life

to watch you dot the green—

or pox the lawn,

my Dad would say.

Tragic that your fierce gold glow—

force to drive the mower into rage!

more powerful than weed killer!

able to dull steel blades!—

was lost on Dad.

As a child, I remember

pulling you from mounds of dug-up earth

lying limply on the lawn

and then getting yellow fingers

linking you together

to stage backyard coronations.

And how unaware I danced

as your seed spun from my hair

spreading your fresh Hell across the grass.

Oh, my lion-teethed beauties,

you knew me,

you knew me.

dandelion-gown

Here is the story I recorded after one visit to see my sweet pop :)

February 19, 2009

I commissioned this painting to commemerate this moving event...here is the artist's site! http://www.axelhoney.com/

I commissioned this painting to commemorate this moving event...here is the artist's site! http://www.axelhoney.com/

A Visit from Angels on Sunday

I left Daddy’s bedside distraught. He is plugged into 18 different machines, either dripping fluids into him or sucking others out. He is strapped into a bed that rotates him upside down to expand his lungs to try and help him breathe more on his own. When he is face up, he is swollen and yellowed from the blood poisoning running rampant through his every cell. There is nowhere on his body where I can put my hand on him to hold him without risk of disturbing a tube. I wish his eyes would open. I wish he could move.

Walking back to the car, I am openly sobbing. I have noticed that most people at the hospital—even in the ICU—seem to be doing their best to hold it in. I am incapable. My sobbing is accompanied by great bodily heaves which cause me to convulse. Luckily, I usually only have one session of these per visit. On my way, suddenly, I notice a hibiscus tree with pale pink blooms the size of dinner plates. My crying stops. I am struck by the beauty all around the hospital grounds. Were I not here under such dire circumstances… It is lush here and lovely, and I had never noticed.

I decide then to stop by the fountain that adorns the front entrance for the first time. Adorns—not the right word—it is a great, glorious thing that looks as if it should grace a palace. The round, blue-tiled base surrounds a three-tiered tower of lotus flowers bursting upwards. Atop it all, a family in gold rejoice, dancing and holding their child aloft in the sun.

I sit at the fountain’s edge and run my fingers through the icy water. Three young children, two girls and a boy, are also playing in the water nearby. No other adult is in sight. Seeing coins in the fountain, I begin to fish in my wallet. The little caramel-skinned girl in a yellow dress looks up and asks me, “Do wishes really come true?”

I am struck through the heart and fight to gather myself—I try to go into teacher mode. “Of course they do,” I smile, “why else would I be tossing in coins?” With that, I let three shiny pennies plop into the fountain’s center. The two girls skip over to me and sit on either side. The one who has not yet spoken puts her hand on my leg and tips her small head against my arm. She has long straight hair and bright eyes, and her dress calls to mind something a mermaid might wear. I scan again for any sign of parents, worried how this might look, but see no one. “Yeah, I think they do, too,” she answers, admonishing the little boy not to steal wishes from the water, as she takes my right hand in hers.

“My religion says wishes come true,” chimes in the mermaid girl. “We call it praying. You can pray for anything and it can come true. What did you wish for?”

There is nothing I can do, I am just rolling with the experience, “That my father will live,” I tell them, and the tears come down like rivers.

With that, they cuddle in closer, gathering me up in all the wonder and wisdom that only children can possess. “It’s going to be all right, you just need to pray,” says the girl stroking my hand. As she smiles, her teeth gleam against the backdrop of her dark skin.

Then, the bright-eyed girl stands up and turns to face me. She looks at me squarely with an air well beyond her years, leans into me and says, “Everything is going to be all right. You have to believe that. And in the meantime, you need to pray. And you need to take care of yourself.” She moves in closer, looks me in the eyes and says, “You need to make better decisions.”

I fall still, down to my bones. Every part of my body knows that this experience I am having is something rare, something terrifying, and something immensely beautiful.

“What do you mean?” I ask, daring to explore this exchange more fully. She stops and thinks. “You need make choices that will make your father—I don’t know this word—‘pride’.” She doesn’t know the word? “Proud,” I say.

She nods—yes, I have gotten it right. Then she sits back down beside me, takes my face in her small hands and says very calmly and very slowly, “And if, for some reason, everything isn’t all right, you can’t hurt yourself. Do you understand me?” As her eyes burn in to mine, I hear myself promise, “Okay.”

Then, just as suddenly as it had all begun, something in the air breaks and they are giggly young girls again. “I’m Amanda,” I say, still in a fog, “May I know your names?” I am half expecting them not to have any. “I’m Leslie,” says the girl in yellow. “And I’m Jeniffer.”

“Here,” I ask, “Will you write your names on this for me?” I pull of my ICU badge and hand them a pen. They sign their names. This really is happening.

“Can I have your phone number?” Jeniffer asks. “Sure,” I say, writing it down for her. “I’m a teacher,” I add, somehow trying to make it okay that I am a stranger giving a child my phone number.

“Okay, well, thank you, ladies,” I say as I rise to go. I am overwhelmed and filled with an awe I have never before felt. I need the safety of the familiar. “Thank you so much for all of your advice. I will pray, I promise.”

“And believe,” Jeniffer adds.

“I’ll try,” I say as I wave and head to the car.

It is dusk now and a perfect light breeze skips along through the crepe myrtle trees, blowing my hair up and about. Then, just as I come upon my car, over the breeze I hear a man’s voice call out, “Mandy!”

I turn toward the sound fast—how could this be? How can any of this be? But all my eyes find is a sweet Mexican family, walking three tiny girls dressed in puffy white communion gowns.

As I drive out of the hospital lot, I stop and wave at them. The little girls smile and wave back at me, beaming, as the two parents look at each other and shrug, no doubt wondering just who in the hell I am.

spirit-of-life-fountain-02

I Love Lance:Survivorship

February 19, 2009


The human body, perfected—Triumphant.

This entry is an Ode to Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not about the Bike

http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-About-Bike-Journey/dp/0399146113/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213733094&sr=8-1

Here is how he opens his book: “I WANT TO DIE AT A HUNDRED YEARS OLD with an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet, after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour.   I want to cross one last finish line as my stud wife and my ten children applaud, and then I want to lie down in a field of those famous French sunflowers and gracefully expire, the perfect contradiction to my once poignant early demise.”

Most people know that Lance once had testicular cancer, but what is amazing is that he also had brain cancer and lung cancer—all three at the same time.  His story is so moving and triumphant and inspiring… but that’s not why I wanted to read it.  In fact, I felt I needed to read it.

My precious father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March of last year.  It was the most terrifying event our family had ever gone though.  It ripped my heart to shreds.  My sweet Daddy– man who few, if any, dudes could live up to—on the chopping block. He ended up being in a coma on life support for 5 months after the surgery.

During that time, Lance’s story sustained me. After winning the Tour de France a gajillion times (more than anyone else—ever!), and defeating his cancer(s!)—he lost his will. He spent his days just golfing, just hanging, drinking beers and scarfing down burritos (sounds like Heaven to some dudes, I know!). He was plagued by the wonder why he survived—when so many others don’t. He wrote that when he had cancer it was easier for him because he had a task at hand, a goal to meet—beat this shit. But after he had beaten it, all he had was questions. Why had he survived? What was his purpose? Was it for something greater than he had ever imagined? If so, how does one uncover what that could be—and could this champion athlete live up to it??

I went through quite the same experience, staring down at my sweet, motionless pop in his rotating bed—making bargains with gods I wasn’t sure existed—I prayed to anyone and everyone who would listen. If he makes it through this—what does it mean? Would I have to go to church since I have been praying for his survival? Which kind? I prayed to everybody! What would it mean for my life? What changes should I make to properly and fully express my gratitude?

Lance’s answer was so clear—it’s what I call a “duh moment”—a solution so plain, so simple that when you realize the extent to which you have been over-thinking you just go, “Duh.” Lance got back on the bike. He won the Tour de France AGAIN.

This to me, is such a lovely “duh” metaphor for all of us when we feel stuck. I think the common vernacular is get back on your horse—or like Lance, get back on your bike—whatever your mode of conveyance is—the point is—GET BACK ON YOUR LIFE AND RIDE.

My Daddy lived. Doctors gave him less than 5% chance of survival (yes, the fuckers told him that) and he lived. I come from lovely, sturdy stock.