Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How My Jade Plant Reminds Me To Butt Out

If I made a list of the things I would like to change about myself in the next five years it would be my ability to kill houseplants within a week. There, I said it: I have a black thumb. Every time I have tried to own a plant, the plant is dead before I can even nonchalantly reference it when we have those dinner guests over we keep imagining we will one day host . I grew up in an apartment complex in North Hollywood that had a pavement patio and one small plot of dirt that had an overgrown rubber tree my father had to eventually uproot. And once we got a puppy, forget it. I'm pretty sure the levels of ammonia in that plot rendered it useless for plant life ever again.  But, the courtyard in between the two apartment complexes at Whipple Street boasted a strip of green grass and fabulous well-manicured bushes that include jade and birds of paradise and a beautiful magnolia tree at the entrance. None of this (except for the magnolia tree) did I appreciate until years later when I realized how unusual and beautiful that all was. Living in the land of maples, oaks, pines and elms with their intoxicating fall colors has made me pay more attention to the trees in my urban world but also made me appreciate the very unusual foliage I grew up with in Los Angeles.

Take the jade, for example. At Whipple Street, we had these big full jade bushes outside of our windows. I remember not paying much attention to them, other than when my brother and I were kids and we would rip off their leaves and launch them at each other which actually left a pretty good welt, equivalent to that of a snapped rubber band. I remember thinking they were kind of annoying bushes, cumbersome and bulky but strange in a Dr. Seuss kind of way. I never knew what they were called nor did I care... until I came out here and I found jade plants in almost every New York apartment I went to. I liked seeing these tiny versions of the behemoth jades I was lucky to grow up with. But even better, something about the jade made me happy which when thinking about Whipple Street isn't always the first feeling I get. The jade plants remind me of the fun my brother and I had even though we grew up in a tiny apartment. It reminds me of climbing up to the roof of the carport with my brother and my cousins and hanging out, even passing a soccer ball back and forth high up above the worlds we would all return to by sunset. The apartment complex of Whipple was our urban treehouse, the Dr. Seuss bushes our ammunition, the roof of the carport a place where we felt like kings simply because it gave us open space. The jade reminds me of roller hockey in the parking lot, and being yelled at by the neighbor on the other side of the apartment complex every time we missed our complex's brick wall and kicked the ball too high, smacking against the wooden slats encasing his patio and knocking down a sundial or windchime.  How we would run, terrified of getting caught even though we were always the obvious culprits. We were the only kids in all twelve apartments.

I finally decided  to get myself a tiny jade plant and within a week, I could see it was beginning to die. What was I doing wrong? Aren't plants like goldfish? You feed them every other day? Thankfully, when in Colorado, I had asked a neighbor to water my new plants and she informed me that I was over watering it. "Jade is a pretty resilient plant," she told me. She suggested once a month! In other words, "leave it alone, and it just might grow." Ever since I have stopped trying to care for my jade plant, it has been thriving, and I have had daily reminders to stop trying to fix everything around me and worry about myself. And every morning I wake up to my little jade plant, just like the many mornings I passed the jade bushes at Whipple and something about this ritual makes me feel just a little closer to home.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Turning F-Bombs Into Faith Leaps

For about a year now I have been consciously trying to change my attitude. I've been trying to change my "f- bombs" into "faith leaps" and no one is a greater teacher for me than Mike. I don't know what attracts people to each other. Who knows why we fall in love with the people we do? Is it sexual attraction? The opportunity to work out something from our childhood in an intimate relationship? An unresolved demon we can't shake? An itch we can or cannot scratch? An escape from our home, our families, ourselves? A simple question of patterns? Or is it opposites attract? Is it the idea of yin and yang?

Mike and I are inherently different in our daily attitudes and general approaches to life. He is of the mindset, that things have a way of working out. He never really worries or stresses out. He has faith, for lack of a better word, that life will take care of itself, that the universe will provide. I am a worry wart, prone to getting knots in my back due to stress or stomach aches from my emotions, my one-too many fears. I am like a cat, hair standing, claws out, ready to jump when the sky begins to fall. No one is born this way. It is something we learn over time based from experience. For me, it comes from having a parent who has battled addiction, a childhood steeped in chaos and unpredictability. When something really wonderful and awesome happens, for me there is inevitably a crash, a worry that it will be taken from me, which of course leads me to start planning how to protect it, how to avoid it, how to save myself from the promises of heartbreak life "always" delivers...but I am trying to rewind that thought process and revise the attitude.

I grew up Catholic. Did the whole communion, confession thing. But something about the religion was always troubling to me. In high school one of my favorite classes was in world religions and my freshman year of college I actively sought out different religions that might resonate more with me. I considered becoming a philosophy major so I could spend my time thinking about questions that don't really have answers. After enough time, enough experiences,  I found that what wasn't resonating was religion itself. The times I felt close to "God" were in nature, a hike up a mountain, a swim in the ocean. And since this realization I have moved away from religion and have developed more of an appreciation for spirituality...whatever that means. But my compulsion to try to force outcomes, force solutions, "figure it out" constantly gets in the way from the lightness and faith that I want to feel in life. And even when I think I am really turning it over to the universe, I have to watch myself because somewhere there is still me working against me, trying to create "an answer."

This weekend was humbling. I had many different experiences where I was trying to "figure something out" and one by one, they all figured themselves out without any work  by me. And they weren't some sort of intangible, miraculous "Wow! The universe just provided!" moments. But rather very generous offers and answers given by people who love me and are actually also thinking about this happy time for me and Mike right now.  And for the record, Mike has been right all along so far. Maybe the next time he says, "I don't know how, but it will work out," I might actually believe him. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Breaking Up With Your BFF

When a relationship with a lover comes to an end there is a handful of reasons said in a 1,000 ways that can explain something we all universally understand- we fell out of love, I fell in love with someone else, I learned to love myself. I dare to say these are many of the same reasons we break up with friends, but when you break up with a best friend, these reasons aren't always as clear to understand, to pinpoint or to grasp. I mean why do you even have to break up with a friend? Can't you just stop hanging out and eventually the friendships fades? I think with men that might work. (Gentlemen, correct me if I'm wrong) But not with women. We women are a tricky species and our female friendships are complex and beautiful, potentially painful and yet undeniably rewarding, full of mistakes and apologies, compassion and laughter, jealousy and a fierce protective guard. We are territorial by nature perhaps stemmed from a motherly instinct or perhaps an antiquated instinct of survival, that basic question at the root of any woman, hell anyone who has ever been burned or let down, Who can I trust?

In the course of a year, I have met several women who for one reason or another have expressed to me the painful experience of losing a best girlfriend, some by break up and some by a misunderstanding that just can't get cleared up, maybe because it is not supposed to get cleared up. I remember my dad once saying to me, "We all make mistakes, you just never know which ones are going to count." I have always tried to keep this in mind when coming to that rocky cliff of a friendship. Is this just a mistake, or is this one that counts? Which leads to a bigger question: Am I being too sensitive? Which leads to another question: Well how the fuck can I control that?! Feelings are feelings, and it is no secret that women are more emotional. (Hard core feminists, correct me if I'm wrong) But no matter how it happened or why it happened, I think losing a best friend is more painful than losing a lover.

When I was eighteen, I cut off three of my best friends like a damn guillotine. One of the friendships had no choice. My best friend throughout high school, the first really inseparable female friendship I had was forced to an immediate end after something happened that was larger than both of us. Nothing can save a friendship when you're forced to put your best friend's brother in jail.  The other friendships were more confusing to end. They were on the periphery of the demise of that first friendship, but after a year of trying to understand, forgive, move forward from things that in hindsight none of us could fully understand at the time, I cut those two friendships out, unable to see things from any other angle other than my own pain. Amazingly, one of those friendships did reignite 10 years later, and the other friendship had a nice catching up session in New York last summer. But the inseparable friendship will never rekindle, not even on facebook, not even if we passed each other on the street and it has always been important for me to accept this truth. But what happens when there isn't one big traumatic event? What happens when it's a series of tiny avalanches that eventually brings down the mountain?

While I have perfected the art of cutting someone off in a heartbeat if they do me wrong (which is a vengeful behavior I'm trying to unlearn), perhaps my most difficult obstacle in life is setting boundaries with those I love but for one reason or another they affect me in a painful way. And usually it isn't even something they can control. It is something that just happens to trigger one of my many hot spots and within seconds, a simple greeting can send me soaring into "rageville." It is even more difficult to set those boundaries when you can have a damn good time together most of the time but the rest of the time you feel like you got your teeth knocked in. Just like asking, is this a mistake that counts, it is harder to ask is this friendship good for me?  It is hard to ask the question, have I outgrown this friendship? And even harder to ask what the hell you want to do about it. What am I giving to and what am I getting from this friend and is it a two way street? Is this a person I can count on when the shit hits the fan? Will this person see I need help or love or a laugh before I even see it myself? Will I understand when they need me? Am I growing from this friendship? 

It is hard when life moments come up and these fuzzy friendships do not have clear boundaries or perhaps they are there and it is hard for both to accept. It is never fun to accept friend rejection especially when the reason might be, I just don't like you anymore.  It is hard to watch our best friends, often reflections of ourselves, pass us or to allow ourselves to pass them by in the spectrum of life and even harder to let them go. I read somewhere that we are each allowed the dignity of making our own mistakes. Is it more loving to raise the red flag and to ask a friend, What the fuck are you doing with your life? Or to allow them the dignity and grace of finding that question on their own, as we most likely would prefer ourselves? And on the flip side, you have to ask yourself Who the fuck am I and what the hell do I know? When is passing judgment ever loving? And we all know advice means shit. We all do just as we damn well please.

I had a friend say to me recently, "So many people hang on just for old times sake." There was something even sadder in that idea than the idea of just letting someone go. I thought about old boyfriends and how I have never been one to "stay friends" or keep in touch with exes mainly because, at least for myself, I don't think it allows you to fully move on and give yourself completely to the next one. However, I do think after enough time, these friendships can form but not if they are forced and never if it happens in a low point in your life or a low point in a current relationship. (That's just asking for trouble.) But here I am catching myself in a lie, because I did loosely stay in touch with my now fiance after breaking up when I was 19 allowing for a new relationship to bud when I was 25. But there isn't a quote for lost friendships like there is for lost lovers. (Example: "If you love something set it free; if it returns its yours forever, if not it was never meant to be." -Anonymous) But in writing this blog post I did find something that may apply: "If you love someone, you must be strong enough to allow them to be." (by Anonymous) But where does that leave us in terms of the cliff? How can we be strong enough to get out of the way of a crumbling mountain and yet not throw anyone including ourselves over the cliff? And more importantly how do we fight the urge not to save the things that perhaps need to fall down?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tramp Stamp Thursdays: The Flower Child

Lindsey, Brooklyn, NY
Tramp Stamp:
Daisies...I mean, wild flowers...you know, 'cause I'm wild

Time of Tramp Stamp Tattoo:
19 years old

Lindsey is now 30 years old and works as an assistant to the Head of School at a private school in Manhattan. She is also a script analyst for two TV/Film production companies, tutors, blogs, volunteers at the Park Slope Food Co Op and recently got engaged. This was the first of four permanent decisions and also her first regret of those four decisions.

Tattoo Meaning:
"I'm a rebel, Dad!"

Tattoo Goal:
Complete removal...or another permanent decision to cover said regret.

I may be the first woman in history thankful for stretch marks because they distract you from staring at this "beauty mark" for too long.

If you are interested in having your tramp stamp profiled, shoot me an email (button on the right side of my blog), leave a comment or tweet me! (@rewindrevise)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post on Resume and Interview Preparation

Because sometimes we all need a little help, I thought I would ask my father who is an expert on resume and interview preparation to write a guest post.  Having run his own Job Training Partnership Act program in the 80s and 90s and now holding department chair at College of the Canyons in Hotel and Restaurant Management, my father has trained thousands in resume and interview prep. I don't throw the term "expert" around lightly, but the man is truly an expert on this topic.

Resume and Interview Preparation According to Professor Kevin Anthony

I always begin my interview preparation classes with a simple question, “What did you give your
last employer for free?”

Rarely, has an attendee given the correct answer to this question.  And it is at the very core of preparing a resume for employment.

Make no mistake, resume, interview preparation, job search and the rest are more closely related to sports than to academia and in sports you are far better served by practice.

First off, resumes need to be prepared in tandem with the interview.  Resume preparation books that focus solely on the construction of the resume so often disconnect from the interview.  We need to do them both together so that we are not putting interview statements on the resume and slipping resume statements on the interview.

For example, one of the most common mistakes of doing resume work on the interview is when the interviewer asks, Why should I hire you? And the applicant responds by explaining what their skills are.

Trust me, if the interviewer does not have a good sense of your skills they would never interview you in the first place. One of my clients went to an interview and when she was asked why the company should hire her she explained in detail what her skills were and the interviewer smiled politely and responded, “I know that from your resume; if I didn’t think you had the skills I would not be interviewing you.”

Click here
In answer to the first question, (What did you give your last employer for free?) everyone who receives a paycheck is basically being paid for the work they do — not their time. Everyone gives their time to the employer for free.  Your time is not compensated for.  For my students that do not yet grasp this concept I ask them if they would work for me at double their last working wage.  They always agree to that offer and then I tell them that when they work for me they will have to sit in a chair in an empty room, alone and do nothing.  They look at me as if I am crazy. They ask, “But, what do we do?”

“Nothing, just sit there.”

Nobody wants that job to sit there and do nothing even if you are getting paid double your current wage.
At this point they have opened a door and I ask, “So, you are willing to work for half the pay I offered instead of twice the pay for doing nothing.”

Then I close the deal with, “Time is an investment and cannot be bought or paid for.”

What is a good investment of your time? Creating relationships, achieving a goal? What about education?  Is that a good investment of your time?

When I ask students if education is a good investment of their time, I always get a Yes answer.
Can a person learn in employment? Of course, they can. Good, what did you learn in your last employment?

Answer this question and we can begin to construct your resume.

Stay tuned for more resume/interview tips or check out this book and get started now!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Treats: Alexandra Mattraw

Introducing the enigmatic, charming and ever intriguing poet, Alexandra Mattraw. I had the pleasure of getting to know Alex on the beaches of Cape Cod and in a poetry workshop this past summer at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. We were taking a poetry workshop with Carolyn Forché where I quickly learned two things:
1. I had a lot to learn about poetry.
2. Alex was on another level.

I had a rather humbling experience in that workshop, the kind that made me want to pack it up and call it quits on poetry. But after defending my piece (which seemed to fall on mostly deaf ears) Alex slipped me a note while I was receiving a somewhat brutal critique letting me know, "Don't listen to them. This is a poem!" She then asked questions and highlighted some of the images in my poem. She did what I have found is not always the case in workshops with other writers, she encouraged me. Besides being a poet, Alex is also an amazing teacher.

Our phone conversation started late because Alex was asked to chaperon a dance at her school the night before. We talked about her job and how she loves being a teacher and feels so lucky to spend her time with brilliant and inspiring students while swimming in readings and discussions of James Joyce, Toni Morrison, Camus, Shakespeare, and Dostoevsky. She also admitted that without her job's support of her passion, completing her MFA would have been much more difficult.

Alex is the only person I know with three degrees and not only does she have three very enriching degrees, all of which I would have loved to pursue, but she does not regret any of her student loan debt. Alex, who holds a BA degree in creative writing from UCLA, an MA in humanities from University of Chicago and her MFA in poetry from University of San Francisco (as well as being a former resident of Vermont Studio Center), has been encouraging me to pursue an MFA degree since the summer. She said, "I used to think getting an MFA was frivolous...but I think it is a really good thing and very well worth it, even the debt." I told her the debt is what keeps me from pursuing any further higher education, and she understood but suggested an alternative solution by doing night school (which she did) or a low residency program. She said that while in school, the intensity of the writing program and her amazing and inspiring teachers made her feel that "poetry is everything."  "It makes you feel like it is worth while and you can be confident about it and pursue it and I learned so much more about the craft of poetry and about the eras and movements that rendered the poetry movement with where we are now. I learned what's possible  in terms of the creative writing process and what a poem can be."

By the end of our conversation, I too, believed that poetry was everything, at least the way Alex thinks about it. When I asked her, "Why poetry?" She sort of laughed and said, "I could counter with why breathing!" Alex added that for her, "Writing is that innate and inherent in my perception and the way that I live...It is so inherent in what I have to do to be happy." Alex writes with that idea: "because there is nothing else."

Alex's poems are very abstract with strong, gut-splitting images and a mastery of form and language. Her poems are seductive and yet controlled. Mysterious and yet they resonate with me personally. On poetry, she said, "I find the world to be fairly dislocating. It's pretty dislocating and surreal and I think language, sadly, in its status quo is also this. I don't really think society's and the media's prescribed notion of happiness leaves very much room...but the poet can take language and press back on all of those categorizing experiences and the surreality of the world...English, as we claim it in our society, pins us down with exact ways to feel or meaning. Poetry's job is to scatter that. For each writer, we are all writing our own stories or reclaiming language that for better or worse tends to determine who we are. Ideally, the writer should be able to figure out how to express themselves in a way that actually molds an identity and a reality that is freer, more liberating and safer than what the world offers."

All of Alex's answers made me want to title this post: Alexandra Mattraw: Poet and Troublemaker. Her thoughts on language were thought-provoking and dangerously accurate. "Language, in a way, is quite linear and because of that we have a way of building these beginning, middle, and ends of how life should be and when life doesn't deliver, we end up feeling confused and lost...poetry is a way of clarifying meaning."

Alex attributed some of her theory on language to the theories of Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky, and Lorine Niedecker. In terms of influences and heroes, she said at nineteen she read the French symbolist poet, Arthur Rimbaud, and remembers feeling that so many things were possible. She also loves French symbolist poet, Stéphane Mallarmé and Paul Celan for his great image and music, William Carlos Williams for his use of the line and being deceivingly simple, and H.D. (the author of one of her favorite poems, Heat, along with the poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard by Mallarmé) for the way she condenses and makes things so sharp image-wise. She added, Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, Anne Carson, and Zach Savich not to mention prose writers, Beckett, Faulkner, Joyce , Toni Morrison, and Joseph Campbell, the artists Frida Kahlo and Dali and filmmakers, Herzog, Bergman and Fassbinder and so many more. She also credits an amazing teacher she had, Edward Smallfield, who gave her the kick in the pants we all need. That voice that says, What are you doing? You're serious about this, now get to it!

When I asked Alex, as I do all my Tuesday Treats, how they combat fear that creeps in when making art, Alex very matter of fact said, "Writing is not a place where I'm afraid. It's the opposite for me. I would feel petrified if I didn't have poetry in my life."

And on the dreaded question, What is art?  Alex gave my favorite answer to boot: "Anything that inspires the viewer to steal a rush of emotion. Ecstasy is the only word I can come up with... The world should become more beautiful and extremely vast when one is looking at something that is doing the work of art....divinity, the sublime...the feeling that the world is much bigger and much more alive than you could ever have words for..a feeling of joy that is not expressible and tangible in any linear form...A translation for the untranslatable that none the less cannot be expressed in words."

Even the way she speaks is poetic and despite the serious tone of this blog post, Alex is really quite funny and charming and thoughtful. Before we hung up she said, "Wait! Let me ask you a few questions."

Give yourself a Tuesday Treat and if you haven't clicked on the links above where I describe her poetry linking to some of her published works, check out these ditties which really capture the always evolving and exploring voice of Alexandra Mattraw: Summary Between Bodies from her first chapbook, Projection, or To Be Invisible (I love, love, love this one as well as this one, A Landscape Sounds) or check out some newer poems, like Casino Proposals and A Desert Sounds from her upcoming book Inside the Mind's Hotel, that were recently published by Shampoo. You can also check out other published poems by clicking this link here.

In closing, Alex offered great advice to aspiring writers. "Of course, write everyday.
Stephen Yenser at UCLA taught me (as far as publishing) Don't settle for less ever. Send your work to places you actually admire. Have high standards--think, would I want my work to be next to this person? It took me about a decade to get into a journal I really liked but when I did it helped me when sending my work to comparable journals." She also added the importance of finding an artistic community and to keep the creative energy flowing which is why she is starting an art salon in her hometown of San Francisco!

Alex, it was an absolute pleasure to interview and write about you. Thank you for your time and for everyone, thanks for reading another Tuesday Treat! To contact Alex, click here!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tribute Post to my Beloved NY Giants

Something you may not know about me (unless you follow me on Twitter @rewindrevise and read my tweets every Sunday) is that I love the New York Giants. Growing up in Los Angeles, my family members were Rams fans and a few of my cousins and my brother were Raiders fans (sporting Starter jackets and baseball caps made popular by NWA) during the whole Bo Jackson era. But since the Rams and Raiders departure, LA has been left without representation in the NFL for far too long. Many Los Angelinos root for the San Diego Chargers, but it's not the same. San Diego is not LA. So, I grew up a Lakers fan and a hard core Dodgers fan. When I was ten years old I wrote a letter to Dodgers player and recent recipient of the National League's Rookie of the Year Award, Eric Karros, who in return sent me an autographed picture. Even though I am now certain this is a print and not an actual signature, I still keep it among my cherished belongings from my childhood, right next to a stack of baseball cards that recently my brother discovered and said I could get a pretty penny for.

My love for the NY Giants began in college when I transferred to NYU and met a boy who loved the boys in blue and told me wild stories of former Giants linebacker, Lawrence Taylor.  Before this boy I had dated a Philadelphia Eagles fan, which gave me a good understanding of the game, but I felt no allegiance towards Philadelphia. I started watching the Giants in 2002 on Sunday afternoons at Down the Hatch in the Village where we (that boy and many other boys) would put back 25 cent wings and pitchers of beer. I felt at home on these rowdy Sundays. The feeling of cheering and the emotional ups and downs of a game were fond reminders of my years spent on the soccer field with all of my cousins watching and cheering and heckling each other. I soon began to look forward to these Sundays and before long I was watching other football games and learning players and rules and fouls. In 2006, my boyfriend at the time gave me a signed jersey by my favorite player, Michael Strahan. It reads "To Tony, Go Giants!" (Tony is a nickname that everyone on the east coast who knows me calls me). Strahan retired the next season after the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

But not to fear, Brandon Jacobs came on the scene and was a tank on the field. The next Christmas, I got a Jacobs jersey and two years later, my new boyfriend (now my fiance!) and his family got me a Justin Tuck jersey. These are some of my favorite gifts that I have ever received.

I have weathered many storms with the Giants- from the trade of Jeremy Shockey who I used to love, the disappointing fall out of Tiki Barber and his continual fall from grace, the break up of that first boyfriend who once asked me If we ever broke up would you stay a Giants fan? to which I had said, My love for the Giants will never waver, to the exciting Super Bowl win over the Pats, to feeling the frustrations of a quarterback we all knew could be one of the greatest if he could just work on that confidence, streamline his consistency...well, Eli, you have arrived.

Last night's overtime victory against the San Francisco 49ers was a well fought, well deserved win over a team that was very good...but not as good as the Giants! I leaped out of my couch with Tynes's winning field goal, blasted my jeers and cheers to haters (my cousin Gret in LA) and lovers, all my NY/NJ friends on Facebook and Twitter and almost wore my Tuck jersey to bed...but I didn't want to get it all wrinkled. We have an important game to root for in 2 weeks. Go GIANTS!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Things Not To Say When Your Friend Loses Their Job

-Big News!

-I know that's tough, but I'm excited for you!

-I think you'll be just fine.

-Is what's her name still there?

-Leaving home let's us all fly.

-That sucks.

-Are they going to give you a party at least?

-I think this is a good thing.

-There was no movement there anyway.

-Want to get a drink? It's on me.

And these gems which were posted as comments by Adrian, but really merit being on this post. 

Per Adrian, things not to say...

- Do you think they'd hire me for your position?

- Wow. I thought you really liked it there?

- Why? What'd you do?!

- At least you'll be fun-employed! Get it?!

- You'll have more free time for your arts and crafts.

- Wow. How are you going to pay rent?

Basically, don't say anything, just listen. You're not going to fix anything by offering half-assed pick me ups. And you might save yourself an hour looking for a card that says I'm sorry I was such a dope on the phone the other night.  There are no words. There are no words.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tramp Stamp Thursdays

So, back in May while drinking cocktails in a Vegas lounge, my friend Courtney and I decided we wanted to make coasters with pictures of regrettable tramp stamps (starting with our own) and what the lovely owners of these celtic, flower, and tribal designs are up to now. When I was nineteen, I got my first tattoo. This was in 2000, before the lovely phrase "tramp stamp" had been coined and then hijacked by all of America to describe tattoos crowning the derrieres of eighteen year-olds everywhere. I picked mine off a wall in upstate New York during my friend's final film project of her sophomore year of college. I had written the script which had a scene that took place in a tattoo parlor. My friend, ever the insightful director, cast me as the role of the girl in the chair, and ever committed to "all or nothing" I surprised her with committing to getting a real tattoo during the filming. I thought I was being clever by taking the design and chopping it up, you know, really making it mine. I mean, it was very meaningful to me at the time- three daisies. That was my flower. How could I EVER be regretful of that???

And so we begin...

Courtney, Indianapolis, IN

Tramp Stamp:
Celtic...I mean tribal...no, Celtic design

Time of Tramp Stamp Tattoo:
18 years old

Courtney is now 32 years old and works as the Director of Community Services at a non-profit independent high school in Indiana funded by Goodwill Education Initiatives. She also has a start up flower business called, Flourish. She is married, responsible, and looking forward to becoming a mom in the not so distant future.

Tattoo Meaning:
"I'm 18, bitches!!! I can do whatever I want!"

Tattoo Goal:
Complete removal one day...one day.

Thanks, Courtney. At least you have awesome shorts.

If you are interested in having your tramp stamp profiled, shoot me an email (button on the right side of my blog), leave a comment or tweet me! (@rewindrevise)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Top of A Mountain

I got engaged!!! On Peak 7 in Breckenridge, Colorado this past Friday. We had been planning a snowboarding vacation with friends for months, literally since June. After a heavy day of traveling on Friday, people were too tired to ski and still waiting for more people to arrive. Mike suggested the two of us hit the slopes for a half day. On the last run of the day, I boarded a little down Peak 7 and stopped at a cross section of the mountain before going down the whole trail. My legs were getting to feel like jello and I was happy that my first runs of the season had gone so well. I told Mike, "I think this is my last run." So he scooted over to me on his knees, still strapped into his board. He said, "I know you've been waiting for this for a long time...but I wanted to do this on top of a mountain." He pulled out the ring that he had in his pocket the entire time! He asked me to marry him but I was so shocked and excited and stunned by the ring, I just said, "YES!!!" and threw my arms around him and kissed him. I was totally surprised and then he told me he MADE the ring.

I told him I loved the design and then he said, "Good...I made it." He then told me how he had worked with a goldsmith over the past couple months and actually cut the platinum and heated the metals to make six tiny rings that he soldered together. The stone is a blue sapphire, my favorite, and my birth stone. It was an amazing moment.

We snowboarded down the mountain, called our family in the car and then picked up two bottles of champagne. We walked into a house full of friends and announced our engagement and popped the champagne.

When I said it was the best weekend ever, I really meant it. Love you, handsome.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Best Weekend Ever

More to come because I'm catching a flight! But here's a picture of Mike and me in the trees on Ore Bucket in Breckenridge, CO. Peak 7!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pay Attention! It's your job.

Today I'm featured as a guest post at BlogFestivus mastermind, blogdramedy ! Talkin' about reading the signs that may be warning you of a train coming that you can not see.

On Wanting People to Change...

[picture via El Fashionista]
When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them. 

- Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol: In His Own Words

[via blog: Alexandra Wrote]

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grandmother's Pearls

I bought a silk blouse a little while ago because I recently decided I'd like to dress a little nicer at work, a little nicer in life. The same way I cut bangs and painted my nails, I've been getting in touch with my girly side.

Last May, my grandmother passed away. Although I hate to say passed away as if she was sick or it was just her time. It was neither, but needless to say, she is gone now and I am left with questions, apologies, and fantasized memories that will never be tended to. Life is short, kids. Don't have any litter on the beach.

A month after she died, my mother took me to her safety deposit box and gave me a set of freshwater pearls that she had wanted to give me. I love pearls, something I discovered in my twenties and have only grown to love more and more. Pearls are odd, and old, and buried, and you have to work really hard to find them. They feel of the earth and yet look otherworldly.  They are soft and quiet and strong and remind me of some of the qualities I'd like to have a little more of.

I have worn these pearls a couple of times and I always get complimented on them. They overshadow almost any outfit. Today I thought I would try them with my silk blouse, but they still overshadowed the blouse. And considering I had corduroys on, I realized another fashion rule I will have to add to my list. You can't wear pearls and corduroy. So instead I opted for a chain necklace and fake pearl earrings to bring out the hints of white in the blouse. But after I took the pearl necklace off, I held them in the light streaming in through my bedroom and I was hit with this stomach punch of grief. This is the legacy of my grandmother. The grandmother I wish I knew better. The grandmother who was sophisticated and cultured and had class. The grandmother that kept a treasure for me that I would only find after she was gone. Sometimes the necklace makes me happy because it tells me that she loved me no matter how strained our relationship was. Other times it makes me sad when I'm in the mood of beating myself up over a loss I could have never predicted.

This morning, I felt both love and sadness. And corduroy still is more comfortable wear than a strand of pearls. So, I put those beautiful pearls away back into their secret hiding spot. But I still felt they deserved to be shared with the world.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Wrong Side of the Bed

 For as long as I can remember, I have been useless in the morning. I have never been a morning person. In high school, I always let my brother shower first just to get those few extra minutes of sleep, or I would shower the night before ensuring many, many bad hair days. In college, I chose courses that were closer to a noon starting time and excelled in evening classes. I have always been a night owl, often getting a second wind just before midnight. I can remember leading a camping trip at a summer camp I worked out during college, stumbling out of my tent late, I mean like, I'm the last person awake late. The girls were already having breakfast and breaking down tents while I blindly walked to the picnic table to meet my co-staff. She watched me stub my tow, step on something sharp and nearly miss a hot cooling pan on a rock. As I sat down across from her while she sipped her coffee, having been up for a couple hours, she said to me, "Has anyone ever told you that you are completely useless in the morning?" No one had ever told me that, but it was a truth I knew deep down in my bones: I hate the morning.

My twenties were no different. I lied through every job interview I ever had when they asked me if I was a morning person and would be able to show up at 8:00 a.m. for a position I also would be commuting to from a considerable distance. Luckily I snagged jobs where my bosses were also not morning people and so when I showed up 10 to 15 minutes late everyday, it largely went unnoticed. Even now, I struggle with an 8:30 a.m. show time at work. Most days, I arrive at 8:35 a.m. and quickly shuffle in with students, parents, disappearing quickly into the fray like a blood-thirsty zombie only I'm not dead and I'm thirsting for caffeine.

At twenty-three, when traveling around the country with a friend, crashing on couches at floors, completely at the generosity of friends and friends of friends, my partner in crime would wake have to wake me up. She would even express concern about my rough mornings, suggesting routines that might make it easier. Even recently she sent me an article on "How to Become A Morning Person."

I have tried exercise, diet, earlier bed times, but no matter what I never wake up feeling refreshed or "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed." Oh no, I am more "fried-eyed and frizzy haired." It takes water on my face to open my dry eyes and an immediate shower to jolt my soul into the existence of the day. And no, I don't have sleep apnea. In fact, I wish I did have some common disorder that I could treat and make me magically jump out of bed, arms stretched ready and willing to greet the day.

I have tried sleeping with the shades open to see if morning light would help ease me awake. I sleep with two, sometimes three alarms, and I give myself snooze time, as well. On the weekends, I never wake before 9:00 a.m. and often times I can pull a 10:00er. Thanks to Mike I do not sleep in until noon which if left to my own devices would easily be my Saturday/Sunday start time. And not only do I almost always wake up feeling tired, (sometimes I fall asleep on the subway to work), a lot of times I wake up in a crap mood. From the hours of 6:00 - 9:00a.m., I am certified bitch. It has taken many humbling apologies to now apologize immediately when I snap some cranky diatribe at Mike in the morning.  Thankfully, he is pretty easy-going and can usually laugh at me as I scowl my way towards the shower.

This week has been particularly awful, because I have cut caffeine. In an effort to curb my anxiety, I took away my morning coffee which has made the start of the new year reminiscent to the Jack Nicholson scene in The Shining when "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"...minus the psychotic energy. Just the grouchiness.

I decide to write about this morning phenomenon and ask any of you night owl sufferers like myself how the hell you do it? How do I make my mornings a little less painful, a little less bitch?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Letter to an Abusive Anonymous Commenter

Dear Anonymous Commenter,

When you start off your comment by saying "This is a joke!" You have already lost me. A) Because a lot of my writing is just that- a joke- sarcasm, wit, dark humor, something you may not understand, and B) I already know you are about to attack from a place of irrationality and what strong woman would lend herself to that?  When you then tell me how I should have paid for a lawyer to consult with about taking out a private loan for my college education, perhaps you misunderstood my entire blog post. You know the whole part about how and why I had to take out a college loan in the first place- because there was no money? As for your comment about being an adult at 18, I laugh. Just because the government says so, doesn't make anyone an adult, nor does it make them magically financially eligible to take on the burden of 25 year loan, nor does it make them emotionally capable of picking up a gun and killing people on the other side of the world and walking away unscathed. As for telling me all good things come with a price especially the babies I want to have, I say thank you! You read my blog and read that entire post no matter how infuriating it was to you! It's nice to know I have new readers out there! I also feel I should say, because this is my blog, I have the power to delete your rants at will. You pay nothing to read this and so I hold no qualms about silencing your voice, sorry, your "anonymous" voice. I am always open for debate, but never for abuse.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day!



Follow Me Friday? What?

So, I am still learning a lot about this crazy social media world and Twitter and one of the things I learned was about #FF which means, Follow Friday. So, for anyone who reads, lurks or glances at this blog, it would be awesome if you followed the blog or subscribed. Also happy to take any Twitter followers. If you follow me, a heartfelt thank you for doing me a solid! Gracias! Danke! Grazie! Merci Bien!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Don't Keep Riding A Dead Horse: Lessons Learned in the Work Force

 Since joining the work force many, many years ago, I have picked up a gem or two along the way by working for so many different bosses. I worked for a Peruvian director who in hindsight was a master at balancing work, family, and play. I worked for an A-list, high-maintenance producer who struggled with balancing work, family, and pursuing his true passion, but amazingly was always genuine. And I now work for a woman who has shown me how grace, intellect, and the willingness to accommodate is a killer combination that I have difficulty grasping. But, perhaps one of my greatest pieces of advice came yesterday from my father who was given this great piece of advice from a woman he works with: Don't Keep Riding A Dead Horse. How many dead horses have I mounted in my personal life? My work life? In my friendships and relationships? In my writing? I could be the dead horse whisperer at this point.

Later that night, I went to see the Pina Bausch film, Pina, where dancers part of her Wuppertal Tanztheatre shared some of the questions and very simple pieces of advice Pina had posed to them over the years, questions and thoughts that gave them the courage to break out of whatever fears, insecurities and doubts that were holding them back.

Questions like:  
Why are you so scared of me? I've never done anything to you.
What are you longing for?

Thoughts like:
You just need to get more crazy.
Dance for love.
Remember, you have to scare me.
Dance, dance, or we are lost.

I left the theatre inspired still chewing on the bit of advice from my dad. Change is scary. Change is messy. And for someone who wants to do everything perfectly, change can be a nightmare. But at some point, you have to push yourself off that cliff, off that horse. In the spirit of these inspirational words, I thought I'd add some of the ones I've heard over the years.

From the Peruvian Director:
Jack of all trades, master of none...At some point, you have to choose. 
Life - is - short.

From the Producer:
Not my duck, not my bottle.
Fear is as real as this table. Fear is as real as you and me and everyday you have to fight it with everything you've got.

From the Educator:
We would always like to accommodate, first.
Sometimes when people are anxious, they behave badly.
Is this something you want to take on? Is this a battle we want to fight?

From the Dad:
Don't keep riding a dead horse.

Time to get off that busted saddle.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Life As A Girl Suffocating My Girly

On Sunday night, while watching the NY Giants kick Dallas's ass, I decided to break into one of my many unopened bottles of nail polish and attempt to give myself a mani/pedi. This picture that you're looking at took almost two hours because at 30 years old, I do not know how to paint my nails without looking like a four-year old spilled the bottle. It took several coats and many cotton balls to get the color from bleeding into my cuticles and onto my skin. I attempted to paint my nails about six months ago and they looked so horrendous that before the final coat dried I took it all off leaving me with an even more horrible hot pink glow. And this time I certainly got close to taking it all off...but instead I just kept correcting it until I finally walked away with something half decent. They are far from perfect, but I kind of love my pink/purple nails. They make me feel different. They make me feel girly, something I almost never allowed myself to be. That's why at 30, it takes me two hours to paint my nails. I once worked with a girl who painted her nails a new color every week. I never asked her how long it took her but the actual physical process is not the point to me. The point is that I took two hours out of my day to make myself look "pretty"...even if it is just a stupid nail color.

Once winter strikes and the holiday season ends, I usually find myself with an extra 7 -10 pounds hanging around my belly. This season, I'm at six and while six does not sound like a whole lot, it's the kind of "few pounds" that's just enough to cover up with a big wool sweater but also just enough to take away my waist and make my jeans too tight. I have been down about the inevitable weight gain and disappointed that I let myself fall off the "gym train" just before Thanksgiving until now. But I'm glad that I'm setting aside some time to let myself be girly. My whole life I've been a tomboy. My mother tried to make me a ballerina, but with a little brother and many, many male cousins, I never had a shot. Once she left, it was open season for tomboys. And even more than being a tomboy, I just wanted to be one of the boys. Growing up in an all male household (even the dog was male) and spending almost every waking minute with my four boy cousins who lived a mile away, girls were not something they understood. I learned quickly not to complain and definitely not to cry, because if there was anything worse than a girl, it was a crying girl, or a girly girl.

I can remember wearing a heart locket when I was 11 or 12 with a tiny slip of paper with my initials + D.H. (my first boyfriend). One of my cousins fooled me into taking it off and letting him see it, where he then tortured me by hanging it over an open drain pipe. He did give it back, but he won in the long run because I never wore it again. 

I quickly rid myself of any inklings to wear jewelry. In my youth, I had one manicure when I was twelve and went to a friend's Bat Mitzvah. Thanks to many wonderful aunts, especially my Aunt Rose, they would occasionally swoop in and rescue me from my athletic socks, shinguard tan, and mousy hair existence. Sometimes, I think they even overdid it just to let me see how pretty I could be. At the Bat Mitzvah, I was more dressed up then the girl we were all celebrating.

In 8th grade, I started rebelling, but instead of going the "slutty direction," I went the opposite direction where I tried to make myself look as ugly as possible. I shopped at Army Surplus stores and Vintage shops. I wore ripped up cords and vintage Mickey Mouse tee-shirts, and put G.I. Joe or Rambo stickers over my ripped up knees. I wore doc martens and mens skate shoes. I dyed my hair with red Kool-Aid and after a soccer game in the sun, successfully bleached my sandy blonde streaks a dull pink.  My aunts took one look at me Christmas Eve and drove me straight to a hair salon to dye my hair back to its original color. In high school, I started wearing makeup, a ritual that I have gone in and out of my whole life. But in high school, I also got piercings, gross ones. To this day, I can't believe I sat through a tongue piercing on Venice Beach and proudly wore this "lightning rod" (as my Grandma called it) in my mouth until I was 23 and had to get my wisdom teeth out. My belly button, also a Venice Beach piercing acquired at sixteen, lasted until I was almost twenty six. And when piercings weren't enough I got tattoos. I have four tattoos, and I like two of them. They are black ink designs and one word. Even the somewhat girly one of three daisies looks more like Gothic weeds hanging out above my ass.  But I look at them more now with all the nostalgia you might muster up when reading an old diary. These tattoos are just the dog-eared pages of my life as a girl suffocating my "girly."

It has only been in my twenties when I started buying and wearing dresses. And even more recently, did I have a realization that I actually would want a pretty wedding dress. For a year I sat next to a girl at work who was planning her wedding and dress shopping. She kept asking my opinion until suddenly I found myself researching wedding dress designers in Paris. When she asked me to come over to see her try some of the dresses on, she insisted I try some on as well. My god, nothing makes you feel more like a princess than putting on a big flowing wedding gown. It was at that moment I realized there was always a pair of heels in me screaming and kicking to get out. But, just as I had done as a kid, I quickly tucked those urges away as I listened to those toxic voices tell me "this wasn't me" or "that I'd look silly," that I wasn't "pretty enough" or "skinny enough" or "girly enough" to pull anything off.

I have since been paying close attention when those voices, the ones I didn't even know were there, rear their ugly heads. I've been fighting them back with the purchase of shiny flats, the recent decision to get bangs, and nurturing the desire to have pink nails. Little by little, eyelash by eyelash, mani/pedi by mani/pedi, I may just let that girly girl out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tuesday Treats Recap

So, for anyone who has been following this blog, you know that since November 1st, 2011, every Tuesday, I profile an artist in a segment called "Tuesday Treats." These blog posts have become surprisingly a lot of work, although also very popular! I'm not so sure I can keep up with an artist a week, however I will still have Tuesday Treats but they will most likely not be as frequent. Perhaps once or twice a month as opposed to four. But, I have to say, it has been a treat to give to myself to sit down and talk with a different artist once a week and talk about what moves us, what we fear, and why we pursue such crazy things. As a quick 2011 recap and a special thank you to all these artists, here are the artists I have profiled so far:

Jenny Ziomek, Artist & Illustrator

Lexy Casano, Singer
Harry Hancock, Artist

Carrie Grossman, Devotional Singer

The Band Called Fuse
Joe Valentine, Artist
Alex Goldberg,
Design & Mixed Media Artist

Sarah O'Holla, YA Novelist & Blogger