denver

Day 24

I had a migraine harshin’ my vibe all day, so this will probably be on the short side but the point of it all, I’m still going strong on Camp Nano goals so, I can’t stop now. Day 24: Camp Nano project, question of the day.

What is your biggest regret?

Source: I don’t know

Everything I do is a biggest regret moment, so with that in mind, just know that I know it’s all trivial but try telling my brain that at 3am. However. My biggest regret in the last 12 months has got to be going all LA on a neighbor here, but not intentionally but, okay look. We had just moved here from The Valley. I love The Valley and everything about it; let me preface this. And where we lived in the valley (Encino) we had across the living room window neighbors that were The Worst. And the woman that lived there was… not of the societal norms of the mental health scale and I’m not saying this to be a horrible person (I am horrible for tons of other reasons), I just don’t know how else to describe her without going INTO IT. She would decide on a whim that you were the devil, reasons unknown, and then actively make your life misery. Like, conspiracy level misery where you’re gaslit into buying skunk spray to spray into their a/c unit in the middle of the night misery. I’ll write a whole book on THAT one day. Her husband was an ex-gang member. He was harmless and nice and the only thing that annoyed me about him was the loud parties he threw with all his gang banger friends outside of my bedroom window every other night.

Last summer, we had just moved away from this and come here in our new home and our new life, and this nice woman and her nice husband with their nice kid are outside of my front yard playing frisbee and the frisbee hit my window and I went FULL ON LA on them and skunk eyed them out my front window like I had a point to PROVE. It was a gut reaction. I’ve spoken to her since, moths later, and she brought the frisbee thing up to me and apologized for it. And if I didn’t feel like a jerk before, well, hahah.

This is Colorado. Everyone here waves at you, yells “Hello!” to you across the parking lot, I’m not used to this. You do NOT make eye contact with strangers in LA and you don’t flag them down to say “Hello!” unless you’re trying to get them to go to your “fun church!” or you’re about to mug them.

And I was so excited to meet this woman and make friends! But now she’s scared of me. I know it. I see it. She avoids me, they don’t play in front of my house anymore, except the one time a month or so ago when she was playing frisbee again with her kid in front of my house and I was taking a picture of her belly out my window to show my mom that I thought maybe she was pregnant??? and I was caught taking the pictures and now I’m the crazy one.

How do I fix this? How do you retrain yourself to trust other people enough to small talk because this sounds like the absolute worst to me, to be fair.

Whatever, I don’t need her. I made some mom friends these past couple weeks at my kid’s swim lessons and we talk about childbirth and perimenopause symptoms so you know, I’m still cool. I’m young. I’m hip.

I’m not. I’m shaking the broom at youngsters on my lawn, let’s call it for what it is.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Day 12: The City Mouse

Remember that Aesop fable about the country and city mice? I mean, of course you do, they even made a Tom & Jerry episode about it. Well, growing up in Colorado, there were farms everywhere and I always wanted to live in one when I grew up. A cute little red farm with cows and chickens and I would have a dog to run around and be cute and chase sticks and I’d maybe have a lake on my farm and I could go out on a little boat in the summer and read. I’m not sure who I thought would be doing all the farm work, but those are silly details. And I would enjoy iced tea on the porch and birds would chirp and I would listen to the baseball game on the radio and look out on my lake and my cows and my chickens as a light breeze would blow through my hair. That’s it. That’s the dream. And the nightmare. Let’s get on with Camp Nano project: Question of the Day. Day 12.

What Is Your Silliest Fear?

source: here

I grew up in a suburb in a field in an area in Colorado that couldn’t even decide if it was Westminster or Broomfield. The first few years we lived there, we didn’t even have a paved road into our neighborhood. The neighborhood itself was paved, just nothing else around it. The whole thing was built at once for the most part and they had even laid out a golf course behind our house. There was just no one to take care of it so it just turned into really tall grasses and sand traps and snakes and that’s where we adventured.

Because almost everyone moved there at the same time and almost everyone was a new family, there were about 20 of us kids all within a couple year age range and we grew up together like that all the way through high school. I’m still in touch with a bunch of them to this day now that I think about it, and that part has nothing to do with my fear. I’m getting there though.

Okay, so you’ve got this overgrown golf course that leads into a field for miles and miles and miles on nearly all sides and there was a lake that would freeze over in the winter and we would all go skating on it and someone’s dog fell through once (don’t worry, he was saved) and I remember they dragged it one year, because I’m of the belief that they were looking for a dead body but that probably isn’t what was happening.

I remember one morning waking up to cows mooing outside my bedroom window and my dad yelling. I sat up and looked out my second story window and saw hundreds of rogue cows eating everyone’s lawns. They had broken through a fence at their farm a couple miles away and descended upon our little suburbia with ruthless abandon. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Good job, cows. This part also isn’t related to my fear.

There was never a shortage of kids to play with and we generally all played together, either in one big group or in smaller side stories, but there was never NO ONE to play with. One of our favorite games was dark hide and seek. We would go outside after dinner and play hide and seek in the dark. And it got dark out there. And we felt like spies!

And then there were times in the late afternoons, just after the sun had set that we’d be out in the golf course playing in the tall grasses and jumping snakes when all of a sudden I would turn around and everyone was gone and I was alone in the big vast space and the panic would set in. It’s not that I couldn’t see the kids all off in the distance walking back to their houses, and my houses was right there, but I was so far away. And alone. And I would run as fast as I could to catch up to them, and I’m not entirely sure what I was scared of but it felt like that one scene in Poltergeist where the mom is running, trying to get to the bedroom door but it just keeps getting further and further away. Like that.

I still have that panic. Someone once told me it sounded like agoraphobia and I’m not sure that’s it? But to be fair, I haven’t really researched it. I’m not scared of going or being in places where people are. Even if I don’t know anyone. I mean, I get anxious about it sometimes but, that’s just me with my anxiety nonsense, but it’s not that terrified panic like I need to run somewhere. I have never ever felt the feeling in a crowd of people. It’s when there aren’t any people and I’m not where I need to be. I couldn’t even tell you what I’m even afraid is going to happen if I stay somewhere alone. I mean, I can be in my house alone, I love that, but like alone in an office building? Or in a pool? Full-on Poltergeist hallway panic. I even feel the panic when I start thinking about space or when my husband and I were talking about flying to Maui.

And that’s why I could never live on a farm. Maybe not even in a big house. I’m apartment people. Because I’m a city mouse. I need people. I would never make it in an apocalypse, obvious reasons aside like I’m not drinking fish tank water, or eating my neighbor’s cat, but ALSO because I don’t know how long I could handle being alone.

If You Were In A Band…

Here we are, 4th of July and Day 2 of answering random questions I found on the internet, which, by the way, I take requests like a wedding dj if, you know, you had something you wanted my useless opinion on. Also, I just realized that by doing this here, I’m essentially doing Camp Nano in the open and that’s a fool’s game. So let’s strap on our patriotic clown wigs and get down to business.

 If You Were In A Band, What Kind Of Music Would You Play? And what would your band be called?

source: https://www.mantelligence.com/questions-to-ask/

I have actually been in several imaginary bands, thank you so this question is very near and dear to me. Back in the late 80s there was this tiny little group called New Kids on the Block. I practiced their dance moves in the backyard because I was going to become a member once they discovered how good I danced and sang and dressed, but then I would leave them once I found fame and then start my own group of girls who happened to all be 5’3 and we would be named Five Three. And then when we won our Grammy I would get into a fight with Axl Rose as I was accepting the award. This didn’t happen, probably because I’m too tall now.

Then when I was 18 or 19 or maybe 20, I had become obsessed with weezer and also a bit later, The Beatles. So now I am forced by the laws of music to be in a four piece girl band. Also, the ouija board told us to. We think it might’ve been John Lennon’s ghost because the spirits said it was and also he told us Timothy Leary was going to die the day before he died so either one of us was a liar cheat who also was a really good fortune teller, or it was John Lennon. And if John Lennon tells you via ouija board in a haunted apartment in Denver, Colorado to be in a four piece girl band, well, you do that. So my friends Vicki and Michelle and I get instruments we don’t know how to play and start learning the opening notes of The Sweater Song. Michelle was on drums so she had that first part easy. Vicki was on bass and actually practiced and learned a bunch of stuff. I was on guitar and I put a lot of cute stickers on my guitar and picked out a fancy guitar strap. I think we named ourselves Help after the Beatles movie and so, as you can tell, we were on track to stardom. Only problem, there were three of us. We needed a fourth. Like in The Craft.

One day, ouija board John Lennon told us to go to a place called Annie’s Cafe on 8th at exactly 11am. We had no idea where Annie’s was but we found it however you found things before the internet was real and useful and more than chat boards for fandom and we went and it was a cute little 50’s diner and at exactly 11am, Help! the song played on the speaker system and a girl around our age with red hair french braided into two braids came and took our order. And then as the rest of the Help! album played and we ate our home fries and eggs and toast, we tried to figure out how we tell our waitress that she’s now in a band with us because John Lennon told us to meet her here and Help! was on and it was a sign that it was supposed to happen. We were so nervous we couldn’t even ask her for a refill on our coffees. She probably asked her manager for an escort to her car after her shift. We paid our check and left, knowing we had let John Lennon down and not only him, but the entire girl band actually. I mentally vowed to go back to Annie’s the next weekend and hunt this girl down and make her be friends with us. I never did. And it’s probably a good thing because in retrospect, that would be kind of creepy of me.

Since we couldn’t talk to our fourth, we had to break up and then reband as a new and improved band. Like girl weezer. My friend Vicki (Matt) and Michelle (Pat) and I (Rivers) somehow, and probably without mentioning the ouija board of secrets, convinced our other friend, Jenny into being our Brian Bell. We decided our name should be Manhands because of the bizarro episode of Seinfeld. We were going to be the bizarro weezer even down to the M being an upside down W. Clever right? And just like weezer, we had to move to Los Angeles in order to be successful. But we needed to consult the universe. So one day when Vicki and I were walking through campus, we asked out to the winds, “John? Should we move to LA? If yes, play something on the radio that would give us a clue.” Then when we got into the car and turned on the radio. California Dreamin’ was on. Sign. So despite none of us actually having ever been to LA we got rid of almost everything we owned, packed the rest up in the back of my Honda CRX and somehow landed in Studio City, California. Needless to say, I’m not a rockstar. And no, I still can’t play the guitar. This is not likely to have contributed to our success in anyway though. It’s because Michelle didn’t move with us. We had to be a four piece.

Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?

If anyone knows me at all, they know that I own the entire Monkees tv series on VHS that I spent a ridiculous fortune on when I was dumb and broke and 20. Not only that, I own their tv special 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee AND two copies of their masterpiece movie, Head PLUS a whole bunch of embarrassing stuff they did in the 80s. All of it on VHS tapes that I still own and will not part with even though can’t even watch them because I haven’t owned a VCR in 15 years. Sorry, Marie Kondo, but they do kind of bring me joy. I think. Not as much as if could actually watch them…

The Monkees was my favorite show on television, being rerun on MTV everyday after school at 4pm. I didn’t know they were reruns and I was planning to move to some beach in Southern California and marry a 19 year old Davy Jones. And while all my friends were obsessed with Madonna and Michael Jackson, I was learning the dance moves to She Hangs Out (probably around the same time Axl Rose was) and my sister, Julie and our neighbor, Kelly and I would go out and perform the Monkees’ dances for no one using the wooden frame of the house being built next door to us as our grand stage. In fairness, this was the 80s and no one seemed really that concerned about a bunch of preteen girls at a construction site dancing to The Monkees on unsecured plywood resting precariously 15 feet above a concrete basement hole. With rusty nails.

Best summer on record.

July 7, 1987. I was 10 years old for another week and a half and in my second concert experience ever, The Monkees (minus Mike) descended upon Red Rocks Amphitheatre and my mind was BLOWN, not only because Weird Al opened the show, not only because they rolled out in a bed, but a lot because Davy wasn’t 19. Like, WHAT???? I had been lied to!

My obsession for the Monkees didn’t die, but my marital plans changed a smidge when I discovered the Coreys and I started writing variations of “Amy Haim” in glitter gel pens on all my Pee Chee folders. (Spoiler alert: That “marriage” didn’t work out so well either).

Okay, skip ahead 10 years, I own about half of my above-mentioned Monkees’ tapes. It was a subscription service so I spent a literal fortune and got sent to collection several times over, ruining my credit because I was broke and subscription services don’t care if you pay them or not. They will send you to collections, ruining your life in overdraft fees but will continue sending you tapes. Thank god. Anyway, in the middle of all of this financial ruin, I packed up everything I had (mostly just Monkees tapes) into the back of an ’85 CRX and moved to Los Angeles, California where I see an ad in the local paper that they need audience members for a video shoot mini-concert of the Monkees at Universal CityWalk. “No Pay, but you get to attend the mini-concert and potentially be seen on camera”. Heck yes! 20 year old me and about 50 other people that were at least twice my age stood in the hot sun while Micky told jokes and Mike still wasn’t there and they played 2 songs over and over and over again and then they were done. And it was AWESOME.

I met another Monkees’ friend, Vanessa and once a week for the next 20 years we would get together and gossip and eat Jack and the Box and binge Monkees’ episodes. And once we went and saw a showing of Head at El Capitan Theatre (I think?) and Micky Dolenz was there and for some reason I can’t remember if we met him or not. You’d think I would remember this, we were so close to him and he was in a white hat and I just can’t remember. It must be stress induced amnesia or something.

And then Davy died and I cried for like a week. Probably longer. My heart was broken and then I got irrationally angry at Mike Nesmith when he decided that maybe now he would like to rejoin the band. Too late, Mike. (Insert “Atta boy, Mike” gif). And I never went to see the Monkees in concert again.

At that point, I thought I had emotionally detached from anything current that came from The Monkees, finally. And then I went on twitter today and saw “Peter Tork” trending and my stomach sank. And my heart broke again.

So today I’m going to just listen to Monkees’ songs all day and watch my Monkees’ dvds (I only have the first season, which is upsetting and I need to fix that) and, I don’t know, cry and be completely unproductive.

Maybe I’ll fire up a dance routine.

RIP Peter.

I Googled: Lifespan of a Squirrel

I did not like what I found.

I am in a continuous and contentious argument with a squirrel. Several times a day, he climbs up the back of my fence, perches himself on the corner post, yells at my cat, Marty, and then runs up the roof in a racket like he’s Chim Chim Cheree-ing up there with Dick Van Dyke. And I have had enough.

At first I thought the squirrel was cute, drinking from the birdbath, sunning himself on a rock, but as the summer months have turned into fall months, my indoor cat that likes to sun himself on the fenced-in patio (but only if the sliding door is left open) is obsessed with being outside now because of that menace squirrel, and it is chilly. And not in that Southern California fall way that I’m used to, where it’s like 68 degrees at 5 am and I might debate bringing a sweater to drop the kids off at school, no. It is currently 51 degrees outside at 10:45 am and I am chilly, and in several layers of clothes, and under a blanket and the cat is howling at the door to get out and yell at the squirrel. I don’t know how I’m going to survive the winter, to be honest.

All of this is fun and games but one major factor that plays into my squirrel feud is the potential for bloodshed. In all honesty, Marty is a scaredy cat chicken baby and probably won’t actually do anything but run if the squirrel got brave, HOWEVER, I can’t guarantee that and I am not cleaning up after any murders, I don’t want to touch a dead squirrel body, I wouldn’t even know where to dispose of a dead squirrel body so there’s that. And what if he didn’t kill the squirrel?? Then what do I do? Take the squirrel to a vet?? What if he bit me? What if he bites Marty? What if Marty gets rabies and I have to lock myself in the car and hope someone comes to rescue me? What if we both get rabies and we terrorize the town like zombies?

This is a real fear, not just “Amy’s overreacting again”. See, about 2 weeks ago I hear that squirrel doing that evil squirrel laugh that they do and I go out there to see him climbing down the fence slowly, looking right at Marty and he’s laughing at him. I go out and Marty runs in the house and that squirrel looks me in the eye, and goes, imagine a squirrel voice, he goes, “Hah!” right at me! I yelled, “Shoo!” cause I’m an old lady, and he didn’t move! He didn’t even break eye contact! I imagine this is what it was probably like in the Wild West just before a saloon fight broke out. So I did what any one of you would’ve done if you were looking down the nose of a brave squirrel. I ran as fast as I could back into the house and slammed the door. I lost a shoe and stubbed my toe and it’s that squirrel’s fault.

I’m pretty sure squirrels hibernate. I saw a Spongebob episode about it once. When do they do this? I’m a prisoner in my own home. That squirrel is going to come inside and then what do I do? He’s mad at me because I squirted him with a squirt gun the other day because he was teasing the cat again. He ran away the first couple times I had to squirt him, but the last time he looked at me and I think he was taking notes. So I googled how long these guys live. I need to know how long I have to look behind my back when I leave my front door. How long this squirrel has to plan an ambush.

10 years. Squirrels can harass people for 10 years! This is bad news. In other bad news, I also found out that they will take over a home and live in the walls. This isn’t your typical mouse or rat living in the walls that come out at night to eat your bread and poop in your cabinets. Squirrels are like little demons that laugh at you in the night and bite your face and give you rabies.

This is worse than that Cujo lady’s situation. Something must be done! I don’t want him to get swooped up by a hawk or anything, I just want him to go take a nap or something. He’s very aggressive and he’s crossed a lot of lines and it’s getting too chilly out to comfortably handle a squirt gun. I would imagine he would feel the same about this and yet, he’s out there now, cackling away, taunting and pestering.

I think my life is maybe just a Paulie Shore movie.

Hi. I have been quite absent from this blog and I have no excuse. Well, moving across 3 states over the summer. That’s an excuse. Also, I’m lazy.

As you may or may not know, I’m writing a book. I’m not sure how much I plan on talking about it yet because I don’t want to jinx it, and I’m battling that voice that is very loudly yelling at me that I’m a fraud and nobody likes me. That’s a fun demon with which to co-pilot this trainwreck. So I’m trying to overcome that voice by writing really bad blog posts. I’m sure that won’t make it all worse. Like at all.

So, a couple of months ago, I moved away from the love of my life, Los Angeles back to my hometown of Denver. It’s a bit of a lot of baggage to unpack. I went from feeling like Link (Brendan Fraser) in Encino Man where I’m the weird but super loved new guy to being Crawl (Paulie Shore) in Son-in-Law when he falls in pig poops at the farm and everyone hates him and he’s barely wearing pants. It has been a good move and my family seems to love it and it will be a great thing for our future. However, no matter how many movies, holiday-themed or not I’ve seen on this subject of moving home, I wasn’t prepared.  Sweet Home Alabama taught me nothing.

While there are a LOT of things (people) I’m glad to be away from, there is SOOOOO much more that hurts my heart to have left. Like a bunch of my favorite people. And I’m struggling to get my creativity back. I feel like I’ve fallen back into a vacuum.

Los Angeles has this reputation of being a vacuous wasteland of plastic beauty, soul-less egos, debauchery, and drugs, and gang members harassing old ladies. And while that does all exist, it is a city so rich in personality and friendships, and lost people and found people. And everyone you meet has something they want to share. And they want to support you in your nonsense and you want to support theirs. And they all hug hello. And whether sincere or not, everybody wants to be your friend and share a bottle or 7 of wine with you over gossip and dreams.

I don’t know if I’m going to find that here. People in Colorado are very polite yet reserved and no one wants none of my antics.

And I am, once again, an outsider looking in.

My oldest son came home from school the other day and says, “Kids just don’t think I’m that funny here,” and then he shrugged and went upstairs to play Fortnite.

God, kid I KNOW, RIGHT?

I sound very dramatic. I realize this. I’m going to go have a glass of wine by myself and try to get back to writing the book.

And in case you were wondering, sobbing it out on the internet didn’t shut the mean voice up at all.

And I do love living in Colorado. I’m just going to drop in weird on everybody like Mork from Ork and make them love me.

Maybe this is the same mentality I need to conjure when I’m writing.

Nanu Nanu.