Archive | January, 2017

The Six Types of People in Trump’s America

31 Jan

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There are some truly terrible things happening right now and I do not want to minimize that or ignore that. Every day I am trying to balance being informed and taking action and not letting anxiety rule me. I am still working through what this current climate means for my writing and this blog, but I wrote this in my attempt to understand how we are all coping right now. I have been most of these people at different times, sometimes within the same day.

I am trying my best.

I believe the vast majority of us are trying our best.

The Six Types of People in Trump’s America

 

1. The avoider

“I just can’t bring myself to look at the news right now. It’s too much.”

2. The hysteric

“ALL I CAN DO IS LOOK AT THE NEWS AND THEN EAT AND THEN LOOK AT THE NEWS AND THEN EAT AND NOW I AM A SNARLED MESS OF A HUMAN AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE RIGHT AND THE HISTORY IS REPEATING ITSELF WHY ISN’T EVERYONE SEEING THIS AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?”

3. The fighter

“F*** this s***. Where’s the protest? Where are we meeting?  Not on my watch!”

4. The yogi

“There are three aspects to the ‘yoga of change.’ First is ‘tapas’ or giving yourself a new challenge. Second is ‘svadhyaya’ or self-study and reflection on what you learned. The last is ‘isvara pranidhana’ which is letting go of thinking you can control it. If you’ve done the first two, you now must let it go.”

5. The religious

Psalm 37:37 A future awaits for those who seek peace.

6. The willfully ignorant

“It’s kind of funny to watch everyone freak out haha. Please! I burned my tongue on my drink, Trump’s fault!”

20 Things You Should Eat in Malibu

26 Jan

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Whoever says Malibu doesn’t have good food, get out of town.

1. Sunlife Brazilian Bowl

I actually like the dragonberry bowl best, but acai is the cool thing, OK? Malibu now has TWO locations of this health shop, complete with crystals and surfing videos because it’s just that popular.

2. Lily’s Breakfast Burrito

Add potatoes. Use the sauce generously. Call ahead at least 30 minutes. You only need a medium. (Trust me.) Ooh! Also a good donut.

3. Coral Beach Cantina Nachos Roberto

Add chicken.

4. Duke’s Key Lime Pie + Fries (And Ranch)

Malibu’s pub. Treat it as such. I like their blue cheese burger. I like their nachos. They know me by name here, get off my back.

5. Taverna Tony Avgolemon Soup

Their pita bread is also divine.

6. Vintage Grocers Chai

Honestly anything from Vintage Grocers. They have homemade kombucha on tap, this is what we’re dealing with. Rob likes their poke bowls.

7. Grom Gelato

Whatever you get, add the heavy whipped cream on top.

8. Malibu Seafood Fish and Chips

Better fish and chips than London, hand to Harry. The line is always a beast, though.

9. Malibu Farm Quinoa Oatmeal

This place has its own cookbook and honestly it’s all great and it’s on the pier and I’ve seen Orlando Bloom here so I can’t ask for more. I usually get the quinoa oatmeal with fruit, maple syrup and coconut milk because I’m an oatmeal girl at heart. Their smoked salmon scramble makes the Best of LA lists regularly.

10. Cholada Drunken Noodles

Best Thai of my life, no joke. This is spicy. Usually the other person orders green curry and we split.

11.  Malibu Chicken – Spicy Chicken Wings

A new addition (where KFC used to be, Yelp is not helping here), but my oh my I do enjoy a bucket of hot wings. They make them in a lot of pepper so they have great flavor. Fries aren’t bad.

12. Neptune’s Net Clam Chowder/Thick Gravy

Go for the sunset on the patio. I like to get one of their fried fish plates and a thing of clam chowder, which, as mentioned before, tastes like gravy.

13. Paradise Cove Fried Calamari

This order comes in an enormous plastic cocktail glass with fries and dipping sauces and it’s worth the $10 parking to split this with a girlfriend.

14.  Old Place Restaurant Noodle Bake

Technically considered Agoura Hills, this one is up the canyon from Malibu and feels like you stepped into a Western. There are peacocks wandering around and dim lights and a wood cabin and I quite enjoy the noodle bake and potpie.

15. Farmers Market Chicken and/or Cheese + Chili Tamales

I get both sauces, but green is best. There’s also tasty bundt cakes and decent falafel. It’s a gourmet farmers market. There’s a lot going on.

16. Malibu Kitchen Snickerdoodles and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I also like their pulled pork sandwich for a nice lunch in the sunshine.

17. Marmalade Cafe Artichoke Dip

And/or pot roast. I used to love their fried chicken meal but it’s let me down the last couple of times and I didn’t want to mention it and now I’m regretting it.

18. Ollo Brunch

It’s trendy, it’s got a great interior, and if I just want a stack of pancakes and crispy fries for breakfast I go here.

19. Nelly’s Catering Carne Asada Tacos

A taco truck in the middle of a nursery. Good stuff.

20. McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin with Egg

Duh

 

BONUS: Malibu Yogurt Cookies and Cream Frozen Yogurt

Can’t believe I almost forgot! Forgive me!

About Me

25 Jan

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Good at:

Planning surprises

Keeping in touch via text

Making bran muffins

Recommending books

Being alone

Finding mumus

Editing pictures until they are unrecognizable

Teaching church lessons

Singing tenor

 

Bad at:

Forgiveness

Mornings

Remaining calm

Being friendly to strangers

Grocery shopping

Waiting patiently

Cooking chicken that is not dry and frightening, but totally safe!

Saving money

Singing soprano

What I’ll Tell My Future Daughters About The Women’s March on January 21, 2017

22 Jan

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I woke up at 6:30 bubbling and ready to go. This never happens, you know. Well you really know if you’re my daughters.

I’m sorry about me in the mornings.

We met at my friend Shelley’s place to finalize our signs. Poster boards were sold out all through Los Angeles. “I had to buy them in packs of 10,” LJ said.

I went for a double-sided post: “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” and “Women Unite.” I carried a bit of Hillary with me today.

We drove to the Metro and were greeted by snaking crowds and bright signs. As soon as we stepped out strangers yelled, “Get back in the car!” It was 2,000 deep to even purchase a ticket.

Back in the car we got.

We parked nearby and joined the throng wandering to Pershing Square. The air was electric. I don’t know how to describe it. You could taste the hope. Smell it, feel it.

This was history.

We gathered, unable to hear the speakers or what was going on. Every once in awhile we held our signs up and cheered. We were here! We were ready!

The crowd was too big to march whatever route was planned and soon we dispersed. All through downtown, hundreds of thousands of us marched and cried and chanted Beyoncé.

There was a lot of Beyoncé.

We danced in the street to “In the Name of Love.” We hugged a stranger who said “Now hug someone else. Get to know someone else who is here.”

Every kind of human being, every kind of American imaginable was present. We had women sporting Republican signs and Communist signs. We had people in costume as the Dakota Pipeline.

Everyone had a different reason for being there. Healthcare, the environment, immigrants, women’s rights, LGBT rights, anyone marginalized. Human decency.

Love.

Above all, love.

There were babies and men. A woman with a broken leg whose husband was pulling her on a converted wagon.

There were seven of us girls who came together. Seven of us girls who are women of faith, feminists of faith. We met at church and through each other.

Feminists need women of faith.

Women of faith certainly need feminists.

We shared stories about the sexism we’ve experienced in our lives. We introduced ourselves. We sat on each other’s laps in our unexpected journey downtown in a car.

We held signs.

My mamma taught me how to march

Girls just want to have fun-damental rights

Girl Gang Forever

We all had different reasons for coming, different backgrounds and feelings. Different issues at stake.

I was slightly more hysterical than some (all), perhaps.

What else is new?

I wish you could have seen the signs, girls! The signs were such a highlight.

So many creatives, so many beautiful posters. Star Wars was everywhere. Carrie Fisher was everywhere. “A woman’s place is in the resistance.”

The resistance it was.

We gathered a crowd of millions of people worldwide, hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles alone. Women across America and the globe said no.

No, this is not ok. This is not normal.

No to hatred, no to bigotry, no to sexism and bullying. No, no, no.

No.

We will resist.

We did it peacefully. We did it happily. We were hopeful and inspired, we stood in solidarity with different viewpoints and different backgrounds.

Today we made history, girls.

I did it for you.

I did it for me.

Today we made history.

The Answer Is Hope

20 Jan

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I read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon recently, a sweet children’s book with exquisite pictures and poignant, adult messages. At one point, the lead’s father is distressed that she (Minli) has left home without warning. He says to Minli’s mother:

Do you remember the story I told you about the paper of happiness? And the secret, which was one word written over and over again? I have thought a long time about what that word could have been. Was it wisdom or honor? Love or truth?

For a long time I liked to think that word was kindness. But now I think perhaps the word was faith.

At another point in the story, there’s a magical paper that rulers have used throughout the centuries to seek advice and find their way forward. Each time the rulers seek truth, the words on the paper are different. The advice changes according to the times.

I think the two are related. That the one-word secret to happiness does change according to our circumstances.

At some point in my life my one-word answer to happiness was perhaps gratitude or grace.

Now the word is hope.

The world feels so hopeless, especially today, on this dark, dark day. The heavens have been weeping, flooding the streets with their tears. It feels lost. It feels like heartbreak.

But the answer, right now, for me, for most of us, maybe, is hope.

I asked my friends and family today to share what they have hope for in 2017, what brings them hope right now.  I spent the day off social media, instead reading text messages from individuals smarter and kinder and calmer than I. The answers were diverse and remarkable, as diverse and remarkable as the people giving them.

I have hope for the creative community. There’s enough fuel for some truly incredible art.

I’m sending out my book

I’m taking a women’s studies class

I’m going to have a new grandbaby!! :)

I get to see Alaska

I think this will be the year my children become best friends. My goal is to help foster that relationship.

I’m buying a piano

2016 went so wrong that it snapped so many of us out of our apathy. When the unthinkable became reality I know I realized I can’t just sit back and assume people aren’t self-destructing…it was a big wake up call for an apathetic quiet group who didn’t realize their voices matter and they can make a difference in their spheres.

I get to run a book club at the library and choose diverse stories about diverse people

In 2017 I will be done with school forever!

I’m in a healthy relationship

My parents are coming out to visit

I hope for peace. I hope that my voice and views will be reflected by my elected officials in Washington.

I take courage in the fact that amongst the greats, bullying and evil will always look small

I have people that I have to have hope for. They rely on me. I’m so grateful to be needed. We are all needed.

I have hope because my outrage has been channeled into a firm, resolute belief that this cannot, this is not, this will not be seen as okay or normal or acceptable. I have talked to my 5 and 3 year old about racism, sexism, and bullying. I have realized that when we start to have these big conversations at an early age they will never be fooled into thinking any of these behaviors are okay. I have felt more compelled to address those around me engaging in these behaviors. This has led to some really important conversations.

I’m moving into an apartment with an oven

I am planning for a new baby this year

I can’t wait to watch my partner grow into their new job

I’m excited about the revival of Sunset Boulevard on Broadway

I feel hope because I know I’m capable of doing things I don’t want to do

 

There’s so much to hope for, big and small in our lives. Hope for this country, hope for our loved ones and ourselves and the world.

There is much to hope for.

And tomorrow we march.

 

I would love to hear what makes you hopeful for 2017 in the comments or in an email. 

I Am, I Am, I Am. Still.

18 Jan

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I thought I would swim out until I was too tired to swim back. As I paddled on, my heartbeat boomed like a dull motor in my ears.

I am I am I am.

///

Behind the coffin and the flowers and the face of the minister and the faces of the mourners, I saw the rolling lawns of our town cemetery, knee-deep in snow now, with the tombstones rising out of it like smokeless chimneys.

There would be a black, six-foot-deep gap hacked in the hard ground. That shadow would marry this shadow, and the peculiar, yellowish soil of our locality seal the wound in the whiteness, and yet another snowfall erase the traces of newness in Joan’s grave.

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart.

I am, I am, I am.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

 

 

My hands smell of warm tar. I want to go back to the house and up to the bathroom and scrub and scrub, with the harsh soap and the pumice, to get every trace of this smell off my skin. The smell makes me feel sick.

But also I am hungry. This is monstrous, but nevertheless it’s true. Death makes me hungry. Maybe it’s because I’ve been emptied or maybe it’s the body’s way of seeing to it that I remain alive, continue to repeat its bedrock prayer: I am, I am. I am, still.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 

 

I searched the internet to read articles about Plath’s influence on Atwood, particularly this specific idea–the prayer of our heart and our bodies, the prayer of being alive as “I am, I am, I am.”

I haven’t found anything.

There is simply no way these specific words were a coincidence, though. Plath is too well-known, this phrase her battle cry. Atwood is too smart, her words too carefully chosen.

This was one woman nodding to another, through the pages of important literature.

I once ran into a girl at Kinkos with an “I am I am I am” tattoo and it took all I had not to propose best friendship. I own an “I am I am I am” necklace. The phrase hangs in my bathroom.

These particular six words mean a lot to me and so, in the dark hours of the night as I finished The Handmaid’s Tale and read this paragraph I gasped.

I am alive.

Just like Plath and Atwood, like Esther and Offred.

I am I am I am.

 

And to that I add a new word,

Still.

An Ode To Hot Fries // I Love This Snack

11 Jan

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I am a proud alumnus of Piggott Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Piggott was brand new when I attended and I had the honor of voting for the school mascot and school colors. I voted for the Piggott Piglets and “rainbow.” I was in first grade, please remember.

Also I stand by rainbow as a color.

Unfortunately, my peers weren’t ready for such pure ideas and we ended up being the Piggott Panthers with, get this, school colors of black and turquoise.

This was the 90s, please remember.

I have some memories of Piggott Elementary, vaguely. Playing flag football. My brother being elected school president with the slogan “I love this school” a la the Michael Jordan “I love this game” ads of the 90s. Intense Chinese jump rope sessions. And, of course, hot fries.

Piggott had a snack bar that was available after lunch, run by the upper grades. I have no idea what this snack bar was about or any other item there except for Hot Fries.

I remember the Hot Fries.

They weren’t always the Andy Capps brand. I know that, for sure. They used to be darker, more intense. I would eat them with my friends and beg my mom for $0.50 so I could buy them too.

I have memories of standing under the pavilion, hiding myself from the Vegas sun and eating Hot Fries, my fingers maroon and grimy.

When people ask me what Hot Fries taste like I usually don’t know what to say. “Here try them!” I thrust the bag in their faces. They balk at my caked, red hands and overeager attitude and soon it’s just me and my inadequate words again.

The ingredients label doesn’t offer much help.

There’s something called degermed yellow corn meal. I don’t know exactly what this is but it sounds like a yikes.

There are normal things like vegetable oil and spices.

Then the label gets really scary with things like “TBHQ, BHA, and BHT.” These seem like acronyms I would normally look up on Urban Dictionary. I mean TBHQ is like To Be Quite Honest, just with an autocorrect fail, right?

I’m getting off track.

Hot Fries taste like devil dust.

I was going to say fairy dust, but they are spicier than that. Maybe witch dust. I am reading a fantasy novel in my quest to branch out and I’m suddenly upset I’m not a practicing witch. I guess all girls go through this phase at some point, mine was just much later in life.

Hot Fries taste like witch dust.

They are thin, almost see-through, and I’ll be honest, a bit greasy. There’s a lot of spice, like probably too much spice, and they are hot. Not hot in the Hot Cheetos way (gross. I have standards) but hot in the way of whoa that’s a lot of chili powder in this chili, Jill, maybe too much?

Again, I don’t know what they taste like.

I’m not sure why I’m explaining this to you.

To me they don’t taste like ingredients they taste like the desert sun and the kickball pavement burning beneath me.

They taste like Mrs. Alvarez’s 4th/5th grade class and real life Battleship reenactments and that one bar on the playground that I used to do flips round and round.

They taste like my childhood.

Every few months or so I get a hankering to eat Hot Fries again. It hits suddenly and swiftly, this craving, and nothing else will do. (What could substitute?) Soon I’m on Amazon Prime trying to convince myself I really don’t need to buy 80 bags just to save a few dollars. That 10 will do. That really 1 would do, if only they sold in that quantity.

I wait impatiently for two days for them to be delivered, checking my app again and again.

And then they are here. Light as air and too spicy for their own good.

Then they are here and I am eating them and once again I’m 10 years old and my biggest problem is being taller than all the boys.

Hot Fries taste like witch dust, like the dust of my people.

I love this snack.

Some Advice To Myself In 2017

7 Jan

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This year…

Take more trips to Utah.

Hike to the freaking Pepperdine cross even though it is freaking hard. Do it again and again.

Start the morning off with a glass of water.

Take off your makeup.

Pull out those reusable grocery bags. You can do it! This will give you some feeling you are helping the environment which you are very, very worried about.

Find hope.

Look for it every day and discover it around you. Scary politicians cannot take away your hope.

Continue to resist, to fight, to do your action items. Call your representatives. Take those surveys. March with women. Become involved in local politics.

What Would Hillary Clinton Do? (Not give up, always come back fighting, reek intelligence, that’s what.)

Keep a box of chocolate cupcake mix in your cupboard. You want them often enough to skip the middleman.

Always have fresh flowers on your windowsill.

Don’t weigh yourself.

Light the candle. Plug in the twinkle lights. Shine that Happy Birthday light chain.

Call home.

Say hi to your neighbors.

Send your yearly Valentine’s letters to women you love.

If you can’t let something go, write it down, put it in a drawer and walk away. Nothing you can do about it.

Pray.

Explore Buddhism.

Go long periods of time without Twitter. Maybe the whole year.

Read outside your genre.

Write with fury.

Embrace change, step into the future.

Beautiful things are coming this year, I can feel it.

Friendships And Flight

5 Jan

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Tonight over burritos with a new friend we talked about old friends. About how difficult it is to live far away from your closest humans, to feel like you are surrounded by mainly acquaintances, to let go of former friends when you’ve both outgrown each other.

She described one friendship in her life as a short flight. From Kansas City to St. Louis. Barely got off the ground before it started to descend again.

When I was younger this concept would have devastated me. I had very permanent ideas about relationships. If you love someone, of course you love them until the day you die. The idea of ever loving anyone else is a betrayal. It couldn’t have been love then!

Friendships were the same. Once a friend, always a friend! Even if you have nothing in common anymore, it’s your job to maintain the dead friendship, otherwise why call it friendship at all!

Adulthood has cured me of that, somewhat.

The first friend I let go of cured me of that, somewhat.

It wasn’t that hard, actually. There was no big falling out, no moment of truth. It was just a gradual moving away from each other until one day I woke up and realized she believes this thing about the world that I don’t and I believe this thing about the world that horrifies her.

And it’s not that you must share all worldviews to be friends, it’s more like

It’s OK.

It’s OK that she was my friend for the time period she was my friend. It’s OK and it was good while it happened and I’m grateful it happened.

And neither of us are terrible people if we just let it go. If we move forward.

The second friend I let go of ended abruptly. Well, it was more like small grievances built up into one terrible, hurtful thing, a thing that still is terrible and hurts me today. It ended poorly and forgiveness will take some more time and that’s OK too.

It’s OK to walk away when it’s not working anymore.

Not all flights take you overseas.

Of course, some friendships you fight for and some are for good–in sickness and in health, till death do you part. I have less than one hand of those and they mean the world to me and there’s no replacing them.

My mom said that once.

After a lifetime of moving and moving and moving again I talked to her about maintaining friends through the moves.

“There’s only one Macey,” she said, referring to her best friend from 17 moves ago.

There’s only one Macey.

And there’s only one Macey and my mom.

And yet, in this hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in a town far from my own, I sat with a girl who became my friend through the internet (of all places) and we discussed writing and day jobs and holidays and mental health.

And yet, you make more friends.

There’s only one Macey, but there’s also only one Hilary.

Or Rebbie.

Or Katie.

Slowly, ever slowly.

We take off again.

The Best Books of 2016

1 Jan

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The Five Stars

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinthi

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of  the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast

Stitches by Anne Lamott

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The Neapolitan Novels 2-4 by Elena Ferrante

 

The Four Stars

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Bettyville by George Hodgkin

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

El Deafo by Cece Bell

The Best Man by Richard Peck

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

 

The Ones I’ve been Thinking About Ever Since

Dietland by Sarai Walker

Shrill by Lindy West

American Housewives by Helen Ellis

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

 

The Ones I Read in a Day

 

The Earth, my Butt and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

The Bunker Diary (*Warning this is an extremely intense book)by Kevin Brooks

I Woke Up Dead At the Mall by Judy Sheehan

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North