Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

"The only gift is a portion of thyself."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

This year my family celebrated a "simple" Christmas. In response to mopey mood of the economy, my mother and sister stated that they were limiting their gift giving to a few inexpensive, thoughtful items. On our part, Jason and I gave almost entirely homemade gifts.

The result?

Twofold success!

1. I was so pleased to not receive any superfluous junk this year. Every present that I opened was a joy - useful presents, heartfelt presents and things that were clearly carefully chosen just for me.

2. I have never before been so pleased with the reactions of people to the gifts that I gave. My family was genuinely thrilled with every gift, and I felt so proud of the love and work that went into each of them. The most memorable moment, for me, was when my mother was moved to tears by the gift that Jason made for her: a frame that displayed three photographs Jason had taken inside the church that my mom used to work at.

What was your favorite gift given or received?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In which I force myself to write because I haven't written in a month and there's NO excuse for that...

Last night Jason was working on a project for Spanish I and I assisted him by helping to pick out some songs that he could play during his presentation on "Música Hispana". For the portion of the presentation on tango, I chose a fairly well-known instrumental recording of "Por Una Cabeza".

As I listened to the beautiful and dramatic melody, I began wondering about the strange title. Por Una Cabeza. Here is how I originally broke it down, by way of my barely passable Spanish skills:

Por = For
Una = A
Cabeza = Head

What could this song be about? My imagination ran with it. My favorite theory was the story of a lonely headsman with a shiny, unused guillotine in a crimeless region in France.

Upon looking up an English translation of the lyrics, however, I was reminded that "por" often means "by way of" or just "by". So, the song title is actually By A Head, and compares a man's addiction to gambling on horse races to his addiction to women.

I like my translation better.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Mother's Reception Dress

At my parents wedding reception, my mother wore an incredible paisley dress with one of the shortest skirts I have EVER seen. I adopted that dress when I was in high school, and would wear it as a shirt over a pair of jeans.

Here is a conversation that I had with my mother a few months before my wedding:

ME: I was hoping that towards the end of the reception I could change out of my gown and into your reception dress. Would that be okay with you?

MOM: My reception dress?

ME: Yeah, I thought it would be really fun and meaningful.

MOM: (Doubtfully.) Oh... okay.

ME: Would that be alright with you?

MOM: I suppose so. It's just that...

ME: What?

MOM: What would I change into then?


ME: (Sighing.) No, Mom, I don't want to wear the dress you're wearing to my wedding. I want to wear the dress you wore at your wedding.


Friday, November 7, 2008


Three reasons to celebrate creativity...

1) I received the big, black and beautiful notebook for the Moleskine Projekt in the mail a few days ago. So far, I have completed 3 of my 8 pages.

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

I am planning on a handmade holiday this year... Jason and I will be creating all homemade gifts for Hanukkah and Christmas.

And, the most exciting news this week...

3) Jason has begun his own blog, where he will be showcasing his phenomenal talents as a photographer and a writer. Check him out at !

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh my god...

I want to move to Austin more and more every day.

World Record Shattering THRILLER Sync Dancing in Austin: 881

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Freeze Tag

Mademoiselle Kolleen tagged me in an online task that involves posting "five non-important things/habits/ quirks" about myself and then tagging five friends who have blogs to do the same. I am not sure, however, that I have five friends who have blogs so I am only doing the first part.


1. Often, when I find a song that I love, I can happily listen to it over and over and over again... probably up to 100 times in a row before its magic begins to dim even a bit!

2. Just in case it ever happens, I sometimes like to consider how I might conduct myself if I got sent back through time into my infant body, but with my my current adult mind and all my memories.

3. I almost never wear identical socks, and have not since I was probably about 12. I put great care into matching my socks... coordinating colors, patterns, or themes between the lefty and righty... but they are always from two different pairs. The one exception to this is when I am in my work uniform and wear two identical black socks.

4. I credit the movie Jurassic Park with being the combustible that ignited years of horrible teen-and-young-adult depression. I remember lying in my bed at my family's beach cottage, my mind replaying the scene where the Brachiosaurus rears back on its hind legs and the music swells... I was overwhelmed. I didn't think anything in real life could ever be as beautiful as that Brachiosaurus.

5. I get so nervous about my front teeth jutting out again like they did when I was a kid, I have developed the anxious habit of pushing on my teeth with my thumb.


Now, I extend an all-inclusive tag to anyone who reads this. Give it a try... it's a fun writing exercise!

Monday, October 20, 2008

He Looks Just Like His Father!

Per request, I decided to upload another old photo. Guess which scene in which movie this pic reminds me of...

I'll give you a hint. The scene contains the quote, "Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!"

Dig that haircut? When my Grammy was alive, she loved to tell me how people would see me as a small child and say, "He looks just like his father!"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Why doesn't some homemade superhero/supervillian try to harness the power of static electricity?

Once, when I was probably four or so, I ran down a carpeted hallway in socked feet to give my sister a kiss. The moment my lips touched hers - BLAM! Her lip exploded. Exploded! My parents later told me that they heard the "pop" all the way downstairs (and they certainly heard the horrified wailing that followed too).

That example aside, haven't you all heard the stories of how static electricity can cause fires at gas stations?

For such a little spark, it can sure cause a lot of damage.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i love words

JASON: ... so keep your ears peeled.
(Laughter from LOLA.)
JASON: What?
LOLA: I don't think that's the expression.
JASON: Oh. (Laughs.) That's right. Keep your eyes peeled and your ears... to the grindstone?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

She Bangs

Recently, I took a pair of scissors and gave myself some bangs. Also recently, my parents moved from Hopedale to Plymouth. In the purging process that accompanied their move, my mother gave me a stack of photographs from my childhood. So, tonight I celebrate two things:

1) Having bangs for the first time since grade school.

2) My scanner working again.

Clearly, my mother decided that the best way to offset my asymmetrical teeth was with asymmetrical bangs.

This is me with childhood pal Danielle at my family's once-upon-a-time beach home in Rhode Island.

Oh, little Lola... so much angst for such a young girl...

This is me with my guinea pig, Woody (that's right. Woody.)

This photo demonstrates an interesting fact about me: when i abstain from tanning, I am capable of achieving a level of paleness usually only reserved for albinos.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

wowza beautiful!

Oh, I love it...

7 Abandoned Architectural Wonders of Modern Asia

I don't know when I first developed a love for the haunted, morbid beauty of ghost towns - maybe it was when I was about six years old and visited Mayan ruins near Cozumel with my family. Maybe it was when I was seventeen and traveled to Italy, where I spent a day walking through the narrow, ash-dry streets of Pompeii. Or possibly it happened when my friend Tessa turned me on to a website managed by a woman who was able to get permission to ride her motorcycle through the abandoned areas surrounding Chernobyl and take pictures.

Ghost Town

Some day, I would very much like to visit some ghost towns here in the U.S.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Una mas cosa hoy...

I thought I would share this very helpful website with you all:

After spending an hour being bounced back and forth between invisible robots at two different credit card companies, I remembered hearing about this website a few years ago on the news. It contains a database of companies and instructions on how to bypass their automated voice systems and go straight a real human being.

The older the violin...

Check out this article for some great tidbits (bits of tid?) regarding superheroes. Some of my favorite information in the article:

- What effect does pink kryptonite have on Superman?

- Photo of the "Interactive 3 Level Batman Hamster House".

In other news, my older sister turned thirty on Saturday. The occasion was celebrated by a large group of friends and family at a Japanese restaurant Saturday night. At some point, Julie's friend Kara supplied one of the waitresses at the function with a cake and a set of candles that, when arranged properly, were supposed to say, "OH NO THE BIG 30". However, the language barrier reared its funny head and Julie was presented with a cake that said, "OH NO 30 THE BIG". She got some really cool gifts, most of which could be separated into the categories of red sox clothing and booze (both of which she enjoys). I chose a slightly different route and gave her a snuggly homemade pillow with the following image that I designed ironed onto a pretty ribbon-trimmed panel on the front:

Also in aging-related news today: Guess who found their first gray hair this morning? Ugh. I'm trying to not let it bother me because I really don't want to let myself care about that kind of stuff.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Those Crazy Dreams...

The other night, Kolleen had a dream that Jay and I had two daughters. That very same night, I had a dream that Jay and I were being chased by an enormous crocodile that reared up on its hind legs and yelled, "Flesh!"

Prophetic dreams, perhaps?

Not too soon, I hope.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lamest Dreams Ever

Regardless of where I was working, I have had work-related anxiety dreams fairly regularly for about six years now.

I recently made the difficult decision to move to a different restaurant after two years with the wonderful people at Edgewater Cafe in Salem. Last night I was engaged in four and half hours of paperwork, informational videos, and "fish school" at the new restaurant I was hired at in Peabody. And, after my very first night on the clock at my new job, the anxiety dreams began...

I dreamed that I was at an unfamiliar restaurant as the lunch shift was just beginning. There was some nice old gentleman who, for some reason, was supposed to be sat specifically in my section. However, I realized suddenly that I didn't know any of the table numbers or how the sections were divided. Frustrated, I went around the restaurant asking other employees to tell me where my section was but no one would talk to me.

Ugh. I feel so cheated after a night of obnoxious dreams like that. Dream time is supposed to filled with weird, dark, crazy goodness. It is supposed to be spent climbing through secret passages in your home that don't really exist, or being swept up by hundred-foot tidal waves, or running away from monsters that terrified you as a child (my personal demon seems to be the giant from Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure). It is not supposed to spent enduring an eight-hour unpaid work shift under the most stressful conditions your lazy, overworked brain sees fit to conjure.

What dreams do you hate having?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Writer's Block

Friday, September 12, 2008

More on ego.

It occurs to me that "artsy types" walk a very thin line - the line between being inspirational and being unbearable.

One of the key traits of being an artist, I believe, is having a strong sense of self-awareness. The practice of regular, conscious, honest analysis of the self can give a person invaluable insight into how to conduct negotiations between the world inside of them and the world outside of them. Self awareness is the gateway to that elusive goal of "finding your voice".

Unfortunately, I think that a lot of people in the arts (performing arts, visual arts, writing, etc.) cross that line and leap right over self-awareness into self-absorption.

I am tempted to wallow in frustration over all the people that I've encountered and taken classes with (I was a theatre major) that fall into this category. However, I am instead going to admit that I am aware of this epidemic mostly because I was a prime offender, especially in my late teens. In more recent years, I've been working on walking the line and plan on continuing to do so.


In other news, I received my edited manuscript from the beautiful and talented Kolleen today - hurrah! Along with it, Jason got the amazing monster that he ordered from her at her Etsy store, along with the monster's handwritten autobiography. It is now hanging on our livingroom wall, along with our Warwick Davis-signed photo of Wicket.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

whores de vore


I remember watching Saturday Night Live with my older sister and her friend, Michelle Johnson, down in the finished basement of the Johnsons' house while our parents were upstairs playing boardgames. Wayne and Garth uttered their famous catchphrase, "Shwing!", and Julie and Michelle burst into laughter. Going on their cue, I laughed too.

Julie turned to me (I was probably about nine at the time) and said, "You know what that means, right?"

My face burned as I shot back, fiercely, "Of course I do!"

I didn't.

I marvel now at the misguided pride that I clung to all the way up into my first college years. I hated admitting that I didn't know what a particular word meant, or that I was unfamiliar with some concept that other people were discussing. I held on to the unrelenting sense of shame I felt when I publicly discovered that the word debris was not pronounced, "deb-riss", and hors d'oeuvre was not pronounced, "whores de vore". I was so afraid of looking stupid that I would smile and nod whenever I heard an unkown word or idea, promising myself that I would look it up when I was alone but usually forgetting to do so.

I had good reason to be afraid of looking stupid - I was stupid; stupid for being afraid to admit that there were things I didn't know. Did I really think that I was fooling anyone? That people saw me, smiling and nodding, and thought, "Wow. That girl knows EVERYTHING."

What a pompous dope I was. I put my ego above the opportunity to learn something new.

Eventually, I made this revelation, and I resolved to always ask for a definition when presented with a word or idea that was foreign to me. I promised myself I would ask for the proper pronunciation of words I was unsure of, and I would learn to laugh at myself if I got it wrong.

It's made me a much happier person.

What's something you've changed about yourself from when you were younger? How's it workin for ya?

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Big Joke

I love this news story: Bigfoot Hoaxers Say It Was a 'Big Joke'

This is exactly and precisely the sort of thing I might have tried to pull off as a kid, had I access to the proper resources. I remember one time, when I was about eight years old, I woke up my mother to tell her that I had seen a large, axe-wielding man with crazy eyes trying to come through our front door. Concerned, though probably sensing that I was lying, my mother sat up and said we would have to call the police. I remember hopping off the bed and slowly backing towards the door, my hands in the air - I clearly hadn't thought this through. Best case scenario, I had imagined, my mom and I would build a fort in the living room and hide in it until we were sure the axe murderer had lost interest. I did not, however, have any desire to deal with the police. "Now, now," I remember saying, "Let's not do anything rash."

Once, when my older sister was very young and spending a few days at my grandparents' house, she made a bizarre claim when my mother came to bring her home.

"How did you enjoy spending time with Grammy?" My mom asked, giving Julie a hug.

"We had a very nice time." My tiny, frail Grammy said, probably giving a gentle smile as she reached out with her fragile hand to touch Julie's red hair.

"Mommy," Julie said, her little voice growing suddenly loud and impassioned, "Grammy kicked me and punched me and threw me down the stairs!"

Julie and I both, it seems, wanted our lives to be more interesting. I suppose constructing imaginary, dark drama was the most appealing way of dealing with the problem.

I didn't stop there, of course. As a teen, instead of gazing out my window and dreaming that a knight in shining armor would take me away, I wished instead to be swept away by a dangerous but handsome kidnapper - one who would seem crazy at first, but would later fall in love with me and take me to his fortress in the woods where he would train me in post-apocalyptic warfare (inspired, probably, by my longtime crush on Kyle Reese from The Terminator). I dreamed of getting cancer - some form that I would ultimately fully recover from, but not before going to the brink of death and subsequently garnering lots of sympathy and praise for how brave and strong I was. I dreamed of joining forces with whoever my current junior high crush was, just the two of us, rare survivors after the earth had been invaded by armies of aliens or robots.

I even began work on a novel, while in seventh grade, based on the invading alien/robot fantasy. In my story, the character I based myself on survived the attack by hiding in a clothes dryer. After the initial attacks let up, I recounted my heroine's discovery of her massacred parents in the swimming pool with such vivid descriptions as, "The pool water looked like Kool-Aid. Red, red Kool-Aid." I didn't get very far with the book, which was too bad because I had made grand plans for a death scene in which my heroine died bravely and beautifully in the arms of her love interest while they sang the duet "A Little Fall of Rain" from Les Miserables.

Ah well. That will have to be my new great goal in life: to someday write a novel that is every bit as fantastic as I imagined my seventh-grade novel would be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wha' happened?

I became a vegetarian in the summer of 1998 to impress a boy. My ex-boyfriend (who had, after our breakup, become suddenly thin and gorgeous) was dating a new girl. "She's a vegan," he told me, with hushed admiration, "and she doesn't wear bras!"

Well, hell, I didn't wear bras either. The difference, I suppose, was that this new girl actually had boobs. So, in an effort to show off my commitment to a good cause, I stopped eating meat. Time passed, and I got over my attachment to this boy but I stuck with my vegetarianism. After serious thought and a good amount of pamphlet reading, I realized that I was really into it! Being vegetarian was my way of showing responsibility while being part of a privileged culture. If scientific advancements in the food industry made it possible for me to eat healthily and affordably without contributing money towards "factory farming", well, it seemed like the right thing to do. As a friend once told me, "Every person should try to make the world a better place in their own small way." Vegetarian living was my way.

I began eating meat again in the summer of 2006. Arguably, it was again because of a boy. I was so pleased when Jason proposed to me that I broke a personal rule and cooked him a steak that very night. After a while, I grew weary of cooking things that I couldn't partake in myself. So, I shrugged my shoulders and decided that I was ready to rejoin the meat eating masses.

While I'm now comfortably carnivorous, I am still aware of the ongoing issues that once made me so passionate about living a meat-free lifestyle. The vast majority of people, including me, are completely disconnected to the food that we put into our bodies - we don't know where it came from or how exactly it got to our plates. Delicious? Often, the answer is yes. Natural? Ugh, no. I've read accounts of people who grew up on farms in earlier parts of our country's history - people who sweated and strained to ensure the well-being of their crops and livestock. These people were, for the most part, truly connected and honestly grateful.

My sister's husband likes to hunt and fish. He cooks and eats what he brings home. To me, that's responsible meat eating in action, and I'd like to give it a try someday. I'm also reminded of a few friends I had when I was younger, whose families kept a few hens for eggs and tended vegetable gardens. The problem for me there, of course, is that my yardless apartment is not a hospitable environment for chicken coops or gardening.

So... when and where are the farmer's markets on the North Shore?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

un tatuaje de Gorbash

Is there any way to save and print a paused screenshot from YouTube? I would like to have a picture of baby Gorbash from The Flight of Dragons on file for possible future tattoo consideration. A thorough image search online provided me with a few options, but not the exact picture I want. I was able to find a clip from the movie (or, in this case, a clip from El Vuelo de los Dragones) on YouTube, but don't know how preserve the exact image that I like (which can be found at the 3:02 mark, if you care to look).

My inspiration for possibly getting this tattoo comes from both my affection for weirdly animated 80's fantasy movies and my appreciation of the Margaret Atwood quote, "the youngest in a family of dragons is still a dragon from the point of view of those who find dragons alarming."

However, whether this tattoo comes before or after the Watership Down tattoos that I've been planning remains to be seen.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Barbie's Dream House: Not so dreamy

Take a moment to browse through these photos of the current Barbie Dream House.

I'm pretty certain that, proportionately, mine and Jason's small two-bedroom apartment has more square footage. Is this really the best that Barbie can dream up? I mean, come on - one of the house's hottest selling points is a Murphy bed.

My personal dream house would include just a few of the following elements:

An underground bomb shelter

Separate living quarters for my live-in massage therapist

A room where the entire floor is made up of a giant trampoline

Secret passages

What's in your dream house (please don't say, "two songs on the house intercom" because Barbie already beat you to that one)?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


A number of past journals, both actual and virtual, have passed through my hands in a variety of ways. Some I have simply lost, some I have destroyed through self-censorship by tearing out pages, burning embarrassing entries or by tossing them in the trash. A couple of summers ago I deleted about seven years worth of online journal entries in one massive, sweeping purge. I was proud of many of those online journal entries - many of which were written back when I only knew these things as "online journals" and probably would have assumed that the word "blog" had something to do with the sound a cat makes when it vomits. Actually, to be fair, a good number of those early entries probably had less color and texture than cat vomit, but I was proud regardless. Armed with only a primitive knowledge of HTML, a thirty dollar webcam and a passion for MS Paint, I had erected one of the finest websites that Angelfire was capable of supporting.

In those first few years, I enthusiastically considered myself ahead of the curve - a quirky little innovator. LiveJournal was still a year or two away from being widely heard of by the online community and, being the author of an online archive of journal entries, I had the distinct pleasure of being the very first person to explain the concept to many people. Most would ask, "You post your diary online? And anyone can read it? Isn't that... weird?"

Yes. It is weird. It is also now, in 2008, hugely popular - almost an obligation, or an afterthought for some. In 1998, I had only ever met one other person who had an online journal (Kevin Driscoll, a high school crush - his online journal was the first I had ever seen). Today, the number of bloggers coughing up entries all over cyberspace is estimated to be well over 100 million. Today, if I truly wanted to be unique I might entertain the archaic notion of quietly keeping a real paper-and-binding journal by my bedside.

But then, there is the troubling matter of "if a journal entry is written, and no one has access to comment on it, does it make a noise?". That's what seventeen year old Lola might ask, anyway. Of course, the world is noisier now than it has ever been and perhaps what we could really use is more individual quiet time; and that is partly why twenty-four year old Lola decided that the only way to move forward creatively was to erase all those quirky, funky online journals that she'd been resting her artistic ass on for years.

Since then, I have completed the first draft of a novel and recently began revisions. Progress! Art! So, now that I have proven to myself that I don't need the instant gratification of publish-with-the-click-of-a-button blogging, I am ready to start up a real blog again. Because I like it. Because I could use the exercise.

Because I hope someday to be a great writer - the kind that can forge gemstones from cat vomit.