Archive | September, 2014

Today I Made New Mistakes

30 Sep


As of midnight tonight, October 1, 2014, I am no longer a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

That era of my life has passed, the social work era, my early 20s, my first career, my first love. It all seems wrapped up in one jumble of wrong decisions and the slow, painful process of learning how to make the right ones.

It all seems wrapped up in Seattle Grace.

This year I finally, finally dropped Grey’s Anatomy from my TV schedule.

I’ve been a devoted Grey’s fan for going on a decade now, blocking out Thursday nights for MerDer, sticking with it through the ups, the downs, the Aprils.  I’ve watched the show go from must-see-change-my-life-TV to what it is now, a Denny Duquette ghost of its past, barely recognizable, limping along on nostalgia and shock deaths.

And I’ve stuck with it.

I have freaking stuck. with. it.

You don’t give up on something after you’ve put this much effort into it!  Not after 225 hours you don’t!

I’ve labored through season after season, grimacing a little more each episode, clinging a little harder to the good times, the 8-year-ago-times. And it wasn’t until recently that I realized my ridiculous relationship with Grey’s Anatomy sums up one of the great problems in my life:

I hold on to things for what they once were to me not for what they currently are to me.

Luke, the little econ major, refers to these things as sunk costs.  They are things I invested in in my past, things I cannot get back and therefore shouldn’t enter my analysis when making future decisions.

The example he uses is a fourth year med student who decides they don’t want to be a doctor.  This student shouldn’t finish their last year of medical school just because they’re already so far in.

I shouldn’t finish the final season of Grey’s simply because I gave it a decade of my life.

Or so the theory goes.

It’s hard for me to comprehend this, though.  Shouldn’t I dutifully renew my social work license every two years, slogging through hours and hours of CEUs, paying hundreds of dollars, hating every second of it, because I once decided to be a social worker?

Shouldn’t it mean something that I once gave five years of my life to this career?

“Sunk cost,” Luke says.

He says this to me often.

When I stare at relationships or traditions or things I’ve spent my time and money on, but no longer help my life.

“Sunk cost,” he says.

It’s refreshing, really.  He, so good at seeing life simply, at letting go of things that hurt.  Me so terribly, tragically bad at both.

But learning.

Snailing along, hinting at learning.

Today I got up and went for a walk on the beach.  I ate an extra large bowl of oatmeal and read some of my favorite Harry Potter book.  I worked on my novel and curled my hair and told my boyfriend, my kind, wonderful, nothing-like-what-I-ever-imagined-for-myself boyfriend I love him.

Today I am no longer a social worker.  My DVR will not record Grey’s Anatomy.  I am no longer 20 years old.

The mistakes I’m making are new mistakes.

What a revelation this is!  For so long I only made the same mistakes over and over again.  I hurt in the same ways.  I refused to let the past go, dreading it up for what it once was to me.  Dredging it up because it can’t have all meant nothing!

All of that time, that effort, that pain had to have meant something!

And yet.

Today I made new mistakes.

Today I made new mistakes.

Let’s Talk About Necklaces

29 Sep


I went to this party shortly after high school.  I use the term “party” lightly, because at the time “parties” consisted of the same 15 people, gathering at one of our parent’s homes to play Trivial Pursuit and giggle a lot.  If things got rowdy perhaps Cool Ranch Doritos were involved.

At this particular get-together I was wearing an arm full of bracelets—bangles, textured monstrosities, cuffs so big one might mistake them for armor.  The bracelets wound their way up my arm, nearly touching my elbow.  They jangled with every arm gesture, announced my presence in every room.  My jewelry would not be ignored and neither would I.

One of my friends laughed when he saw me, “Jill, no one else in the room felt the need to wear 45 bracelets tonight,” he said.  I laughed too.

I’ve always been the 45 bracelet girl, both literally and metaphorically.

There’s this writer I follow on Instagram who recently decided to revamp her closet and focus on the basics–neturals, pieces that will last a lifetime, classics for every occasion.

I’ve watched her project with a twinge of envy.  How nice to pull of pencil skirts and nude pumps!  What a fabulous thing a trench coat is!

And yet I know in my heart of hearts I’m simply never going to be living #thatneutrallife.

I’m a 45 bracelet girl, through and through.

I feel like jewelry, perhaps even more so than clothing, is a window into someone’s soul.  We all have to wear clothes, to some degree or another, but jewelry is optional.  Jewelry is the cream on the top, the extras, the fun.  Jewelry is the stuff that defines us.

Lately, for me, that means a whole lot of gold necklaces.

I started this gold necklace collection quite a while ago, but it wasn’t until last weekend that I finally found the last ingredient.   I’ve been thinking of these necklaces as a soup, of sorts.  A fall gold necklace soup that takes just the right mix of textures and lengths and pieces of one’s soul, carefully brewed over a hot fire, and red peppered to taste.

The added piece was that little clock you see there, picked out by Lucas and made at a bead store in Silver Lake for $4 on a hot afternoon, just because.  As soon as that chain went round my neck I realized the meal was ready.

I’m just red peppering at this point.

Jillian Denning’s Fall Gold Necklace Soup Recipe

Combine ingredients, bring to a boil, add red pepper to taste

1. The Fleetwood Mac

 2. The Malibu  (Similar-ish)

 3. The Luke Original

4. The Sylvia Plath

Lady Di

24 Sep


This is Lady Di.

Lady Di is my new best friend.

She sits atop my dresser, smiling with her rimmed eyes, shedding her regal light on the room around her.  She protects my essentials, my SPF moisturizer, my Moroccan Oil.

Where some people would place a mirror, I place Lady Di.

She is my best friend.

(We know how I feel about friendships.)

Hilary found Lady Di for me, because Hil is just that sort of fantastic person.  She told me LD was an housewarming slash friendship slash early birthday month present.

Birthday month preparations are going well, thank you for asking.

Luke says others enable me when they buy into birthday month, but then he opens the note on his phone and adds things to the “Jill Birthday Month” list so really there’s not much more to say about that.

Lady Di and I feel it in our bones that this is going to be a good birthday year.

Gilmore Girls is released on Netflix on the first day of birthday month. Lucas and I also celebrate our 6-month anniversary that day.


I’ll be in Malibu for my birthday.

You can see the stars in Malibu!  Have I told you personally about my testimony of the stars in Malibu?

It’s a wondrous thing to look up and see a mess of speckles against a dewy sky.  It’s a wondrous thing to be far enough away from LA I can pretend LA doesn’t exist if I want to.

I always pretend it doesn’t exist.

I’ve only been in Malibu a few days, but already the past little while feels like a weird dream.  Malibu is where I should be.  In Malibu I’m always on holiday.

I’m a holiday sort of girl.

I met Luke for dumplings this week, and when I showed up I said, “I forgot to wear a bra.”  He laughed, “You sound like you’re on vacation,” and that’s what it feels like, honestly.

The no bra thing occurs as often as socially-acceptably-humanly possible in my life.

But the forgetting about the bra thing? That’s a vacation thing.

It’s vacation 24/7 in Malibu.

Plus work and writing.

I’m good with the work and writing if I’m on holiday vacation anniversary jubilee, though.

If you know what I mean.

Lady Di does.

She says hello, by the way.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of her.

A lot of her.

Infinity Lady Di.

I’m considering starting a LD Instagram account so you can follow her adventures directly.

I’ll keep you posted.

The Time I Didn’t Get My Dream Job

18 Sep


Earlier this year I interviewed for my dream job.  I was fairly confident about the process.  If there was any position in the world tailor-made for my skills, resume, and writing style it was this one.

This job was my future.

I skipped out on the end-of-year festivities with my classmates and headed up to San Francisco for a few days.  The dream job, of course, was in the dream city.  Dream things go together, that’s how the universe works.

I bought a fabulous new BCBG dress that flared in all the right places. I wore my favorite Zara ankle boots and 10 rings on one hand and I spent a day in Starbucks impatiently watching Frasier and waiting for my meeting.

The interview went well, I think.  Nothing glaringly wrong.  They had read my blog and enjoyed it.  I had competent answers for their questions.  The offices were bubble gum pink and made me feel like I was at home.

I left the interview and called Luke back in LA.  “It was good,” I said.  “So, so, so, so good.”

I paced up and down the gloomy streets of San Francisco giving him the play-by-play, smiling broadly at the flower salesman as he called out to passerbys, nodding to the suited businesswomen, my soon-to-be counterparts.

The sun broke through the fog as I walked and, for a moment, all was glorious in the world.

In a haze of success I wandered into Ghiradelli and got myself a chocolate chip cookie sundae and the biggest, fizziest Diet Coke in the building.

My future.  It was working out!  It was better than I even planned.

Nothing’s better than planned.  I have a huge imagination.  Nothing is better than planned.

Except this.

I waited for the call following my interview.  I knew they had other people to see so it probably would be some time, maybe a week.  I wasn’t that worried, though.  This was what I had been preparing for ever since I started putting words to paper. Ever since I decided writing was my thing.

If I didn’t get this job, I wouldn’t get any job.

After a few days my friends started to ask if I had heard back from the company.  My parents also inquired, fairly regularly, I think to comfort themselves that this writing thing was about to pay off.

“I’ll let you know,” I said, “I’m sure it will be soon.”

“I’m not positive,” I said,  “they didn’t give me a timeline here.”

And then one day it was, “No.  I didn’t get it.  I know.  Me too.”

A month or so later I took another job, here in LA.

I didn’t have to start over in a new place.  I didn’t have to try to survive San Francisco on a writer’s salary.  Luke and I didn’t have to figure out a long distance relationship.

There were positives to this, obviously.

I know there were positives.

A friend once told me that being a writer and hating rejection is like being a doctor and hating blood.  It comes with the territory.  We are constantly, constantly being rejected, even the very best.

And it’s hard. And personal.

If you reject my blog that feels like a bigger rejection than saying I don’t have the necessary experience for this corporate position.

If you reject my story, my words aren’t good enough.  My life, my thoughts, me.  I’m not good enough.

It’s personal every.single.time.

This week I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole.

A girl who works for the Would Be Dream Company posted on her blog about her fabulous studio apartment in her fabulous city and I found out that she’s two years younger than me.

Two years younger than me and three positions above the job I did not get at the company that did not want me and here she is living in my dream apartment and working in my dream career.

Two years younger than me.

Three positions above.

I think the hardest part of being in your 20s is learning to let go of the comparison.

Everyone is just starting life.  We’re building things piece by piece, stumbling and falling and figuring it all out.

I have friends with mortgages and minivans and children enrolled in freaking elementary school.  I have friends living at their parent’s homes, unemployed and unhappy.

I have friends everywhere in between.

I wonder if it’s a bit like when we’re children.  Some of us are quick walkers, or quick talkers, or have really great social skills right away.  Some of us potty train like THAT, while some of us spend years trying to conquer the toilet.  We all develop at different rates and have different talents and what seems so important at that age fades away as we get older.

I can’t tell you which of my friends crawled first.

In 20 years I might not be able to tell you which of my friends got their own place first.  Or if I can, it certainly won’t matter nearly as much.

In these beginning stages of adulthood some people are running a whole lot faster than others.  Some people are talking in full sentences and reading tomes and showing huge athletic promise that will likely mean the Olympics!

And some of us are taking our sweet time, and learning to crawl backwards and upside down and army style before we walk.

Some of us are behind, some are ahead.

And it’s a hard thing.

It’s hard to accept what we already know—that we’re all driving on a freeway, but we don’t know where everyone else is going.  We don’t know their exits or plans and we can’t compare our own speed or path to anyone else’s.

Tomorrow is my last day at my LA job.  I’m off to Malibu and other writing adventures and I have no idea what the future holds for me.



Eesh, I must like doing this to myself.

I’m Moving To Malibu This Week: A Study In Grammar And Psychosis

15 Sep


I’m moving to Malibu this week.

Truly, I’m moving to Malibu this week.

I’m truly moving to Malibu this week.

I’m moving, truly, to Malibu this week.

I’m moving to Malibu, truly, this week.

I’m moving to Malibu this truly scrumptious week.

I’m moving to Malibu this week, truly.

My LA Commute: A Survivor’s Story

12 Sep


Every morning I get in my car just after 8:00.

I have an underground parking spot, and as I pull out I always look at the Yacht Clubbed license plate next to me belonging to Fran, a neighbor I once thought was part of my romantic comedy.

I drive into the gloom of morning-by-the-ocean and my phone adjusts to having service again. I anxiously freeze my fingers on my tumbler, gulping the first water of the day.  It’s the moment of truth, this transition from Searching to LTE.   How bad, exactly, will it be today?

Google Maps lights up quickly, all red, as usual.  It’s 8:02AM in LA and I’m driving downtown.

It’s all red, always.

I quickly take stock of my options.  I can call my best friend in Utah.  Sometimes I’m able to catch her in between baby feedings and being a grown up.

I can turn on the radio and listen to those two know-nothings who hate Mariah Carey. I can brave the fuzzy side noise that comes with my auxiliary cord.

Most of the time, though, it just comes down to me and Luke’s CD.  The one he made me right when we started dating.

It’s full of his Jill songs at that particular point in time, and I have the whole thing memorized backwards and forwards and upside down Beyoncé.

I clip along through the back roads of LA, Norwegian Wood lightly setting the mood.  I admire the palm trees and wonder where I would settle down, if I had to live here for the rest of my life.

Oh please let this not be my place for the rest of my life.

But if it’s this street, I want the Snow White cottage.

And if it’s the next block, the pink one.  Because you can have a pink house in that neighborhood, you should have a pink house in that neighborhood.

I pass the McDonald’s on the corner, never in enough time to stop, but always in enough time to make me want to stop.

The traffic starts and stalls and plays with my heart every few minutes. Google Maps likes to alert me that a new! faster! route is available and sometimes I let myself believe it, and 17 minutes later I’m stuck on a side road, nowhere near work, with only Stevie Nicks to comfort me.

My mornings go Lennon, Nicks, Petty, in that order.

Carey, Swift, Hawkins, too, if we’re being precise.

I slow down at USC.  I speed up for three seconds at a time and jolt to a stop, wondering why I forgot I can never speed up.

I listen to The Cranberries on repeat.

And then repeat again.

After an hour or so of struggle and mixed CDs, I pull into the third row of Joe’s Auto Parks and employ the unnecessary emergency brake.  I’m always a little later than planned and I always hate LA  just a little bit more than I ever thought I could hate a place.

I grab my tumbler, the book that won’t fit into my bejeweled Gone With the Wind purse, and my bruised 3-day old peach.

It’s time to start my day and I’m already over it.

Leopard Print Cardigans! Waistbands! Mimi!

10 Sep


I survived my first sample sale today, which is to say I bought two sequined dresses, one leather mini skirt and a hooded Yeti sweater vest for less than you spent on lunch and goodness does it feel good.

I’m already thinking about those sequins.  The striped shift dress of course, and the blue number, the one people said, “Oh that would be a great dress for New Year’s.” I’m thinking how I’ve never in my life had a New Year’s Eve plan that required a sequined dress, and maybe never will.

I’m thinking that if I pair the blue masterpiece with the right flannel and ankle boots I can probably make that it an everyday sort of outfit.

The thing about my place of employment is everyone is chic.  I suppose that comes with the territory of working for a fashion company (as do sample sales and clothing discounts), but I’m always a little taken aback.

Like, oh.  We wear jumpsuits and lace-up heels and mini skirts and chunky platforms to work…and then sit in a desk all day.

No one sees us, but we’re wearing 54 bangles and we’re looking fabulous.

An “off day” is a day with a neutral lipstick.

It’s quite a thing.  I almost feel like I’m back in London, where the streets are paved with black-tighted girls looking European and fabulous and I’m the American bumpkin straight from the hills of Utah a little too tired to care enough to change anything.


There was this cardigan at the sample sale.  This beautiful, long, leopard print cardigan that hit me in all the right places, and I had to decide, you see.  I got to buy one thing at 1:00 with my team, and then at 4:00 it was doors open, free-for-all. At 1:05, in a moment of panic, I went with the striped shift dress and hid the cardigan at the bottom of a pile of pleather leggings.  It was an impulse, and a risky one, but I felt confident in it, and to solidify my decision I sent a silent prayer to the fashion goddesses to protect my love.

Apparently the goddesses didn’t hear my cry. The perfect cardigan was gone when I returned.

So were the pleather leggings.

I was considering allowing pants to make a comeback in my closet because of those things and who knows when I’ll be feeling that generous again.  I can only assume the missing leggings were a sign that I never need a waistband.

Ever again.

I’m also going to go ahead and assume the missing cardigan was a punishment for something in my youth or childhood and its existence and subsequent loss will become a story I tell my grandkids.

“Listen up, people.  I almost had the perfect cardigan once,” I’ll say, pain in every syllable.  “It was glamorous and casual all in one, and won’t you believe it was as soft as the day is long.”

No Mimi!” they’ll moan. “Not this story again!”

“YES,” I’ll boom, carrying on bravely through the hurt.

“Yes this story again. Yes this story every day.  Yes, yes, yes leopard print cardigans!” I’ll roar.

Ugh I sort of can’t wait.

The Many (Many) (Many) Faces of John Mayer

3 Sep

Last weekend in a fit of madness I decided to venture to the Made in America music festival.

It was for a good cause, Caitlin’s birthday, and I’m nothing if not a fanatic for birthday celebrations. (Hey Lucas, 27 more days til birthday month!)

But whew.

Introverts and music festivals.  They really do not mix.

Really, really, really.

I derive no energy from being in large groups of people.  I feel anxious and upset and a little bit like I’m fading away into nothingness and maybe would like to fade away into nothingness if it means I can avoid another person in an American flag swimsuit.

And so it was at this festival.

I was a melty blob in a Kate Moss sequined dress willing myself to fade into nothingness and regretting every life decision I’ve ever made.

And then John Mayer happened.

Ohhhhh John The Freaking King Of The World Mayer happened and I might have gotten pregnant from hearing his voice, and I hope I got pregnant from hearing his voice because then he will live on forever in my heart and in my home.

I am not ashamed of your judgment right now.

To prove this point I will share with you approximately 45 trillion pictures that look just like this.


And this.


And this.

But really can we focus on the harmonica?


Or how about that guitar pick?  Really working it John.  Really, really, really.


And the shirt.  Let me see if I have a close-up of it.

(I kid.  I wanted to sound less intense so I pretended I didn’t know if I took a close-up of his shirt.)


I think a lot of my sudden spike in attraction to this man had to do with his eyebrows.


Are you seeing what I’m meaning?

There were a lot of feelings in the eyebrows.


And the glasses.

Watch out Lucas, for my birthday month you’re getting new glasses!  Happy Birthday to me!  Happy Birthday to John!

John, Happy Birthday!


 OK, and now we have a series called John The Freaking King Of The World Shreds His Guitar.



(Is this what shredding is?  It sounded right.)

And more.


And more.

This is starting to sound sexual.

I did possibly get pregnant from his voice, so I suppose that’s only natural.


More John!  More!

OK, too far.

Back to the brows.

Back to the basics.

Back to John.


John, I love you.

I’ll never let go, John.

You’re the freaking king of the world John Freaking Mayer and I don’t remember you looking any better and who says we can’t get married tomorrow?

Who says?

Writing And Baggy Underwear

2 Sep


Last week I had two great underwear mishaps.

I won’t go into the gory details here, but you should know that both disasters were caused by the end of the laundry cycle where my baggiest, oldest underwear were pulled out from beneath a high school track t-shirt and declared “fine.”

Last week I also wrote exactly two words.

I think the two are correlated.

I know some bloggers say when they aren’t blogging that means they are living real life.  “Sorry I haven’t blogged, I’ve just been noticing the little things, the pumpkin/succulents/flea market things, you know?”  Or “Sorry I’m not blogging, I’ve gotten carried away loving my perfect spouse, isn’t he dreamy? Wink.”

If I’m not blogging, it means 100% I’m not writing. And if I’m not writing you can bet your bottom dollar I’m also having underwear crises.

The truth is, I need writing to be OK.  I need writing to balance me, to remind me I’m not a complete failure, to make me feel like I’m moving towards my goals.

I need writing to calm me, to inspire me, to fill my heart and mind with things bigger than myself, things bigger than the limitations of my reality.

I need writing or it’s all baggy underwear.