Saturday, May 30, 2009

Not Getting What We Want

There has to be a brass ring around here somewhere.

My friend Natalie didn't get her $20 million ranch in Ojai that the Argentinian dermatologist had promised her during their whirlwind romance.

My cousin Sean didn't get the sexy entertainment gig he was so sure was his upon arrival in Hollywood.

Many years ago, I didn't get the baby I carried for 12 weeks, which suddenly, violently, left my body upon its own volition. As did a couple after that more recently.

But you know what? Turns out that Natalie's dude was slightly sociopathic and faked cancer in order to break up. She's with a lovely man now who makes her feel like a rock star. Sean ended up taking a job at the only place that would have him, Greenpeace, signing up members in front of Trader Joe's. He's now the No. 1 canvasser in the country and will be able to go anywhere he wants.

As for myself, I can't say that I have a logical explanation of why I didn't get what I wanted the most in the whole world -- nobody could ever find anything wrong. But I do have a deep spiritual understanding of it. That it wasn't right, it wasn't time, that it was practice for the real thing. And that a child will come into my life in some way, whether he or she passes through my body or from someone else's.

The view tonight from the 40licious-yard line is this: If you're not getting what you desperately, urgently want with every fiber in your body, and have done everything you can to get it, there's probably a really good reason for that. Which will make itself clear eventually.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

The Question on Everyone's Mind ...

My hairstylist, the sassy and savvy Sue Ann Jewers, is amazing. She makes me feel like a movie star every time I see her. So I'm helping her put together a "recession special" class, Cut Your Man's Hair, which teaches women and men how to help properly coif their partner. Check out the video, and let us know if you want to come to the class! Send a note to us at

The blog is here.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


The thing about 40licious, as I've likely explained before, that with all the goodness of wisdom and the puzzle pieces taking shape ("oh! this piece finishes that bit of sky and connects the umbrella to her hand ...") is that there are people who finished this earth earlier than I have.

My friend Todd, for example, who was a raucous mess of a man, who called me "Van DeKamps" and outdrank my Irish visitors and did a Payless Shoe Store commerical with Star Jones, lived in Long Beach. The last great day I remember with him was taking my friend Alexandre, then a small boy, to visit and we walked for miles along the beach, laughing, remembering college, remembering New York craziness. Besides my mother, I do feel like nobody loved me more than Todd. After Todd was gaybashed by a crowd of thugs at the wrong train station -- and then, later, by Long Beach Police when they were all hauled into the station together -- he had a hard time holding everything in check. They broke the bone around his eye. Cops raped him with a billy club. His normal excessive tendencies became exaggerated. He died on Dec. 4, 2005, after an overdose of perscription drugs he'd brought with Christmas-shopping money he'd borrowed from his roommate. His neighbors had heard the pleas for help, the scrathing on the walls, the last gasps for life. They thought it was more of the same.

So that's why it's hard for me to go to Long Beach. I keep looking up to the tiny turret on top of a downtown hotel where he once lived. Whatever I'm doing that's supposed to be fun -- seeing a band, riding bikes, sipping coffee with friends -- is always overshadowed by the ghost Todd.

Santa Barbara, where I am now for work, overflowing with charm and bouganvelia and Spanish architcture and funky artiness, is the same. Kim Wexler was my best friend during the last half of high school and into the beginning of college. We were club kids, up all night in our Betsey Johnson finery, bagels at 4 a.m., pretending to be European models with very vague and funny accents. Her dad, Lloyd, would take us out for matzoh ball soup in the middle of our Saturday evening carousing. He'd leave us again to our night, and then we'd make fun of his Capezio jazz shoes (three pair, "grey for work, black for night, red for dancing"). Kim, one of the most beautiful women I'd ever known, with long thick blonde hair to her waist, giant blue eyes, a smile as wide as a beach, always felt "less than," fought a sligthly thick middle, fought expectations from her father as he paid her to lose weight.

The last time I saw Kim was here in Santa Barbara, as I sidled my way up the West Coast, moving from New Mexico in the early '90s. She'd lived in a pink house (she'd wished for it and it showed up) on Bath Street with her boyfriend. She rode her bike everywhere. Her head and that big blonde hair looked disproportionate to me, on her newly skinny frame, shoulder bones popping out under her tank top. Letters went unanwered, and we faded away, like so many friends do.

The last I'd hear of her was in 2005. She'd gone back to school in New York to become a teacher. She was driving and the car in front of her hit a pole, which fell down, and the lines "tripped" her car and she died instantly.

So here in Santa Barbara, I think of Kim as I find myself in a lovely hotel (The Harbor House) on Bath Street. Lucy and I have taken long monster walks every free moment, and three blocks south, we pass Kimberly Street, which has made me well up every time.

And tonight, thinking of Todd and remembering Kim, I realize that any ghost is internal. In my head. And that's okay, because I'd like to give them a place to rest for a while. I need them more than they need me.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My New Guilty Pleasure

The family that blows together ...

If you're 40licious, you might be able to contribute more hilarity such as the above to

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

5 Easy Secrets of Success

I am learning the secrets of corporate success. Really, they are very simple.

1. make the phone call, or return the phone call.
2. show up.
3. add your input when requested, even if you haven't thought about it too hard, because probably nobody else will and the the asker will be eternally grateful that his or her request hasn't gone into the deep void.
4. a little charm, a lot of thank yous and a benign joke or two go a long way.
5. whatever that huge thing is you're putting off probably won't take as long as you think it will. And instead of creating something from scratch, chances are, someone's been there before and you can just reuse stuff and shine it up a bit.

I've never been a corporate-type person, with all the freelancing and creative work that got me by. But these days I am especially grateful for this place I go every day, in a suddenly sexy industry, that deposits a sum into my bank account every two weeks. It's all good.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

For my mother

My mother is not the type to be bowled over by a bouquet of flowers on the door. She'd appreciate them, yes, but more than that, she wants a little chunk of my spirit, something meaningful. This year she asked for a poem. I began it yesterday as I volunteered at the Gibbon Conservation Center. My friend and I had the cush job -- hang out in a shady spot under a tree, near a gibbon family compound, to make sure people didn't throw food into the cage. It was an amazing exercise, spending hours watching these apes live their little lives in a wire cage, as they engaged us in conversation ("oooh, oooh, oooh") and howled warnings to the world.

My short but profound time with the apes inspired my poem for Mother's Day, to the woman who taught me, above all, that All You Need Is Love.


These monkeys, they pick at each other.
They swing and hang and end up in a big hug.
Tumble down the tree trunk in a pile.
Swing and hang.
They are family.
Swing and hang.

Mama moves neat and swift.
Baby clinging.
They belong together.
Neither will let go.
As they swing and hang.
Across a jungle canopy.
Swing and hang.

Mama will teach
How to play
How to eat
How to survive
In a place that is not always easy or kind.

Baby will learn
by example
how to love without reserve.
How to swing and hang
and not drop her own.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009


I like to think of myself as a savvy shopper. Up on my consumer issues and always getting the best deal on this or that. So as I'm taking advantage of our fine President's directive to renegotiate mortgages for my properties, I'm naturally curious about my credit score. I'd heard you can get a yearly free credit report.

So I went to freecreditreport - dot - com (I don't want any of you darling people to click on the link accidentally) and ordered my report, all fine and good.

And two days later, I see a charge on my bank account. That I never authorized.

It took me two calls and a conference with a supervisor to get my "membership" removed. They made it difficult and like it was MY problem.

I since learned that the legit place to go for this is it is TRULY free.

But my story doesn't end here. I deal with consumer reporters on a regular basis as part of my job, and I've become quite friendly with some of them. So I took my rage, typed it up in some emails, and sent it along and asked that each one of them, who works for either a major metropolitan newspaper or TV station, warn their audiences about this dirty scam.

There are two things that I realized:

1. It's so easy to give up on something like this, and let that $15 slide. For every one person who fights the charge, there are probably 100 who don't. Those predatory businesses are cockroaches that must be squashed.
2. Never, ever, mess with someone who has consumer reporters' numbers plugged into her phone.

In other news, today I received a press release from someone named Michael Wangbickler. I just thought that was funny.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Written in the Stars

My May horoscope is so right on. It aligned with a phone call that I won a $20 gift certificate from my fave beauty supply shop, and an email I received this morning. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that I combined two of my favorite things and invented something, picked up a couple creative partners and WE'RE IN BUSINESS.

"Lately there has been a lot of emphasis on the media in your chart, with broadcasting and publishing ventures figuring prominently. If you are involved with these industries, you should see surprising, very special results at this time .... This could turn out to be quite a memorable, happy time for you, dear Pisces. ... It's a great time to be upgrading your image with your adoring public"

I know we're in a recession. And I know it's a terrible time to expect miracles. But I also have great conviction that if you just keep going and have a smidgen of talent, whatever you want to happen will.

Anyway, read your horoscope. There's something good for you, too, I just know it.