Saturday, December 31, 2011


As befitting any situation where I make great plans, the end of 2011 saw me not being uber-productive in anticipation of 2012, but rather vomiting for several days. Unlike Bridget Jones who could claim hangover status as her reasoning, I ended up with the stomach flu (I blame every single person on my flight back to Los Angeles, including that baby—reasonable or not). Joy. BUT I am determined to find the bright side of the situation. For instance:

  1. I wanted to lose all that extra holiday weight (mission accomplished)
  2. I wanted to be able to fit into my new clothes (mission accomplished)
  3. I wanted to be well-rested going into the new year (nothing like not being able to move for three days to accomplish that one)
  4. I wanted to catch up on all the season finales stored in my DVR (check—do you know how hard it was not to be spoiled?!)
  5. The X-Files: Fight the Future was on Cinemax this morning, and normally I'd be compelled to be productive or festive instead (thankfully, I got to kick back and hear "you made me a whole person" once again—swoon)

See! Not a total loss. I am a tiny bit concerned that my body was reacting to the consideration of joining dating service right before the vomiting began, but I'm going to stick with plane cooties.

In an effort to stop focusing on the tumultuous stomach, I've started reviewing my annual New Year's Resolutions. Last year my resolutions were pretty short and were headlined by one item: "Quit job." Well, I got to check that one off the list. Oddly enough "get job" isn't on this year's list, though my year of wandering and pondering will be over at the end of April. That's not to say that my list isn't career oriented—it is. In fact, this year is one of the few years that the list does not include a single body, dating or lottery winning goal (not that those things aren't still swirling around my mind). Instead, this year focuses on specific elements of what I want to do: projects I want to pursue, people with whom I want to work and writing opportunities I wish to pursue.

My success rate with these things is mixed, but in an effort to guarantee success, I succumbed to the vision board encouragements of a friend. In fact, she led a vision boarding activity just before the holidays. My board is a bit sparse. That's either because my vision is limited, or my goals are focused (let's go with that last one). What did make me laugh was the section of the board dedicated to projecting how people see you. My board has words like "smart," "fascinating," "genius," and "powerful," instead of words/images like "sexy" or "desirable" in any possible connotation. We may have narrowed down why I never date.

As you all dive headlong into 2012, did you make any resolutions? What is your normal success rate?

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

As An Aside

You know the "must do skin allergy test 48 hours before coloring hair" warning that shows up here and there on the packaging (and by here and there, I mean on the front and back of the box, on both of the top flaps and in the instructions)? Well, I didn't have 48 hours, so I quite reasonably thought, "Probably not that important."

Totally. Important.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yep, Just Like the Picture

I'm going to color my hair right now. I'm feeling confident. I can read directions. How hard can it be?


Step 1: Smile calmly and think benevolent thoughts while staring into mirror just like woman in picture.

No problem. I'm smiling. I'm in a zen place. I've also removed the bathroom rug and my shirt just in case there is a tiny drip during this "oh so easy, anyone can do it" process.


Step 2: Twist cap, pierce other cap and mix the dye together by shaking.

Alrighty. Just a little overzealous in the cap removal process, but it didn't really spill, and now I've squeezed the daylights out of some type of hair color into the mixing bottle. Feel a little bit like the girl on the "Shake Weight" commercial. Must check directions to find out how long I'm supposed to shake this thing. "Shake well." Hmmm. My arm is getting really tired, and I'm pretty sure the tip of the bottle just pierced my plastic glove. Must not give up.


Step 3: Evenly part your hair with bottle tip and apply color from root through ends of hair.

In the picture, the thick color streaks are zig zagging down this woman's hair as though her head was some sort of blue diamond ski run. And yes, she's still smiling—a symbol of ease and comfort to all. In the meantime, I can't really see the dye because when I part the hair with the tip of the bottle, the dye goes under the hair, but I'm trying to use my left hand to sort of pat the color down into the hair while squeezing the color out with my right. All of this would be much more successful if my hair wasn't quite this long because all this "gentle layering" of color is starting to turn my shoulders and arms purple. Not entirely purple—just gigantic slashes of purple, really. Also, should I be alarmed that it's purple? Is praline normally purple? I don't think so.


Step 3: Make sure that your hair is completely saturated with even amounts of color.

I can't see the back of my head. Why didn't I realize that I can't see the back of my head? How important is it that the color in the front isn't on 20 minutes longer than the color in the back? I'm twisting and turning trying to get a glimpse of my hair in the back—which naturally means that the slices of color are now on the walls and mirror as the strands go along for the ride. What if I found another mirror? I could put up another mirror so I could see the back. If only the hand mirror wasn't in the back of the cupboard in the hallway. Clearly, not worth the risk, I continue to pat copious amounts of strangely congealing purple goo in hopes of reaching the elusive saturation point.


Step 4: Wait 10 minutes—15 minutes for stubborn gray hair.

Ten minutes from when I started or from when I gave up adding color? Just in case, I'm going to leave it on an extra five or ten…


Step 5: Cup a small amount of warm water onto your hair and massage.

I got this one. I have a hair washing attachment in my shower. Also, I turned it on before I started this process. HA! Take that for forward thinking. Unfortunately, as I open the shower door (which I had to close because the spray was getting everything wet), I notice that I'm leaving more purple hand-prints everywhere. Also, I sort of forgot about the small amount of water part. That's probably the only real explanation for the rivulets of color running over the tile (though it's beginning to look like I stabbed Barney). Now what was I supposed to do? Oh, right massage. Got it.


Step 6: Rinse until water runs clear.

This might have worked better if I had been in the shower at the start. I'm standing here in soaking sweats watching the attachment swing wildly. Clearly, all is not lost. I can just get into the shower right now. Anyone ever try removing soaked clothes and underthings without using your hands (which are… wait for it… still covered in dye gloves)? Not easy. Also, quick question, how do you know if the water is running clear if your eyes are closed to keep from getting blinded by the dye? I guess you don't. I guess you just sort of stand here for a very long time and hope for the best.


Step 7: Something

Yeah. Just realized that I left the directions with the next step on the sink.


Step 8: I think it involves adding super conditioner for a length of time.

I'm not really sure what it says. I stepped out to grab the conditioner pack and the directions, which are written on paper, and things sort of went soggy because naturally I brought them into the shower with me. What? It's not like they were going to do me any good on the counter, and apparently my short-term memory is gone because I haven't retained any information on the future steps.

Just realizing that there is no clock in the shower so actually knowing the duration of the conditioning phase would not be all that useful anyway. Probably.


Step 9: Dry hair and style normally

If only there hadn't been so much standing water on the floor…


New Year's Resolution: Never again fail to make hair appointment with skilled professional.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mad Procrastinating Skills

Some people procrastinate by cleaning the house, rearranging furniture (I do that one), or staring blankly at the television. 

I had one task for the day: grocery shopping. Now, I loathe grocery shopping, but I understand it is a relatively necessary evil-- unless Brad from WebVan re-emerges. Oh, Brad. Anyway, when I roused myself this morning, I glared at the world and resigned myself to my fate. But then the devil on my shoulder (who looks remarkably like my friend Pen) whispered, "Or you could go to Santa Barbara for breakfast."

Hmmm five minute drive to get a necessary chore accomplished, or spend an hour and a half winging my way north-- which would win out? Soooo difficult.

And as I sit outside on the sidewalk at Cafe Shell listening to Christmas music and basking in the warm late November air, I do try to feel some remorse for my lack of productivity. I'll fail, of course, but I'll keep trying...just as soon as I finish my pancakes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vista for a Friday

I stood on this vista point near Solvang yesterday, and I thought to myself:

This is amazing.

This is beautiful.

I feel so incredibly free.

I'm alone here on this outlook communing with nature.

I'm just going to stand here alone and breathe this in.

Alone... and it's a really severe drop off this breathtaking cliff.

In fact, no one would hear me scream if I fell, or if I was pushed by someone lurking in the lush and glorious foliage.

Which is why I'm going to walk back to my car quickly under this extraordinarily blue sky.

Ahem. Look, I said I left my problems at home as I drove north, not my personality.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Step Behind

I think that the most successful people are not always the most innovative so much as the people best able to communicate why people need this new product, service or concept that has likely existed in other forms. Sadly, I'm always a step behind. For instance, the other night I mentioned to Pen that someone needed to create a dating service for finding single doctors. Naturally, as I planned my new venture and ultimate world domination, my quick Google search landed me on Apparently, I'm not the only one who thought it would be a good idea, and someone else clearly got there first.

Today, while loitering outside of Pink Taco waiting for my cohorts in chips and salsa diving, I stood mesmerized at the doors of The Container Store. I love the idea of this place. My brain shuts down if I have too many days of disorganization so every time I look at this store, I think that the key to my success is quite clearly more bins. How can I continue to function as a human being without the benefit of a panty box? And not just one—how will I know if I have black panties without having a box that is clearly labeled black panties? Sure, I could look, but that is such a time waster. You can't have undergarments mingling all willy-nilly. That's madness!

My writing would obviously flow much more smoothly if I could only have each and every one of the desk/contact/paraphernalia office organizers. It's the only thing holding me back! Well, perhaps not, but when I'm standing in that store, I'm absolutely convinced of it—enamored by the mere thought of it. Apparently the promise of order is the most powerful aphrodisiac you can offer me. Gentlemen of Los Angeles, you might want to keep this in mind.

Beyond my potential seduction by a Don Juan promising a neat closet for all eternity, the most fascinating thing about this is the enormous success of an entire industry based on expensive boxes and clothing hangars. There are organizational experts who have been working steadily for more than a decade. There are shows on HGTV (and similar type networks) to explain how to do this (I know this because I'm unemployed and watching them). Oprah had specials on it (and then there were spin-offs of those shows and spin-offs of those shows).

In the face of all of this, I just keep thinking, "Why on earth didn't I think of this first?" and "How do I become one of these experts?" I'm uncertain of my next step, but I have a feeling it's going to involve the purchase of a Stockholm Paper Drawer (ooh, those are pretty, and useful, and Merry Christmas to me!).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Assertiveness and the Lady Syndrome

As will be a surprise to absolutely no one, I have difficulty being assertive in certain situations. At work, I had no problem expressing my opinion in relation to work matters. I had confidence in my abilities. Unfortunately, in social or personal situations, I am often unable to express myself. While I did go to an all girls school for six years, it wasn't a charm school (either in the etiquette sense, or the spy sense), so I really don't think that I suffer from the "ladies don't…" syndrome (though I do think that I have a propriety veil in social situations that would seem staid and reserved to others).

It's not just that I am invisible (or make myself invisible) in social situations; it's that I often don't stand up for myself. I don't make demands. I don't tell people what I want, and I certainly don't take it. Rather than risk the confrontation, I remove myself from the situation… most of the time. While this approach has always made sense to me in the past, I'm finding that it's less practical in a city like Los Angeles which is filled with people who will step up and ask for what they want and damn the consequences. These people make the connections, take the meetings, and are forward enough to offer their skills. In a sea of people, I can't picture myself ever saying, "No, look at me!" I stand in a corner and hope that someone notices how intriguingly gifted I must be (funny how this approach works poorly in both dating and future employment situations).

Having recognized this tendency, I started scouring the web for assertiveness training seminars. Most I found were part of management training. This was not wildly helpful—again, I'm assertive when it comes to work, just not when it comes to being my own advocate. I'm convinced that this is one of the reasons that many writers have agents: we're great in a room alone with a keyboard, but take us out into the world where we have to sell ourselves (or at least our ideas), and our more internal natures become hindrances rather than assets.

I even checked out actual charm schools (see this fascinating post about the Sears Discovery Charm school: to see if enhancing my ability to carry on inane conversation with strangers might be the key. When that didn't pan out, I literally Googled "talking to strangers" and landed here: Interesting, but it turns out I don't fear strangers, so much as I often find them frustrating and tiring (though I did like the idea that everyone is a learning experience, and do believe that many people are actually out to pillage my village).

I decided to start slowly rather than immediately trying for round two of the networking follies. I've started to be more social with people I actually know (and like). Through them I've started to acclimate myself to meeting one or two new people through clubs, or other events. One or two people I can handle—50 people make me shut down (to be honest, 5 new people make me shut down). And as silly as it sounds, I've taken one of the charm school ideas to heart—I have to start dressing like someone who is a capable adult worthy of notice. This is difficult in a city like Los Angeles where t-shirts and jeans are normal even in offices (well, not the one I used to work in, but in many others). I don't want to show up to casual events in a semi-formal, but I have started focusing on the image I present to the world. Pen and I jokingly refer to this as my social experiment: make-up on, hair done, something with style on the body when I'm out in public (and no, I don't mean George Clooney draped over me, although…). Only time will tell if this moves me forward into the "force to be reckoned with" category. It's a start.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Books Around Me

At a recent wine club gathering (look at me being social!), the conversation turned to books we've read, ones we should have read and the "classics" that have disappointed. For instance, I can't figure out why Wuthering Heights, Portnoy's Complaint, Lady Chatterley's Lover, or The French Lieutenant's Woman are absolute musts, though I have sneaking suspicion that Meryl Streep has something to do with at least one of them. Innovation could be a culprit with Lady Chatterley's Lover—it was certainly shocking subject matter for the time. I think the novelty of style has a lot to do with Portnoy's Complaint, as it was probably quite unique when it was written. While critics at the time found it to be one of the funniest works of American fiction, with the passage of time and much duplication of style, it lost something for me. And yes, I realize that if I like Californication, I should enjoy one of its literary predecessors. All I can say is that watching the antics allows for the touching and human elements to shine through and bring balance to the absurdly lewd tone in a way that isn't always possible for me to experience as a reader. Now while I think my opinions are obviously correct, I do recognize that others may find my favorites somewhat less than inspiring, as well (fools).

What many of us did admit was that when faced with the choice between picking up one of the unread, older classics and pop literature (or chick lit, in my case) that we tended toward the latter. It left me wondering why that is the case. Is the ease of language the reason? Are the topics of modern novels more relatable? It isn't the happy ending—pop literature has its share of tragedy. What makes reading The Thing About Jane Spring (which I think is quite subversive, actually) less valued to the BBC than Jane Eyre (which I actually love)? I used to think it was the test of time, but as you can see from the list below, Harry Potter novels haven't been around for very long. Is it commercial success? There is no denying that an entire generation of kids (and, admit it, adults) have embraced them, and anything that brings people back to reading should be applauded (unless they involve sparkly vampires, and then I'm just too old to get it). What makes a novel a classic?

When the BBC began the debate on the top 100 books that everyone should read (, they claimed that most had only read six of the top 100. I'm happy to say that from the sampling of the room, we had far surpassed that (go team), but there are still many I have not yet tackled. Conquering the list became a goal of mine two years ago, and with this year off, I've rededicated myself to exploring the "must reads." Last night I grabbed Brave New World. Aldous Huxley, you have been warned.

This is the most recent version of the list that I could find. I don't give myself points for films I've seen if I haven't also read the book (for instance, I've seen Dracula countless times, but never read the novel). Unlike the BBC, I give half points: I've read much of Shakespeare's work, but not every piece (and I thought it was interesting that Hamlet received a solo mention at the end). Full disclosure: I have only read 52 of these to date (and still can't believe they didn't choose On the Beach for Shute instead). How did you score?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien 
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte 
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6 The Bible 
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman 
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy 
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier 
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger 
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger 
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot  
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens 
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame 
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis 
34 Emma - Jane Austen 
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis 
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden 
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne 
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell 
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown 
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins 
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy 
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding 
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel 
52 Dune - Frank Herbert 
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley 
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon 
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov 
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt 
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas 
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac 
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy 
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding 
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville 
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens 
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker 
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce 
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath 
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray 
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker  
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro 
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert 
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White 
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom 
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad 
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl 
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo 


If you don't like this list, try: This list is from Penguin Classics, and while you will see many books overlapping, it does give you a slightly different take. I have much more work to do with this list—I've only read 40.

While I'm not certain that I will manage all of the novels I have missed before the year is over (I could be swept off my feet by a handsome stranger any time now), I'm willing to give it a shot.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Endeavor

Part of the new life/get a life year plan involved a little bit of travel and a lot of exploration. To go along with that plan, I've started a second blog that will focus on those travel plans, sights and sounds. If you are curious, this is where it will be:

Never fear, I will still be posting here! In fact, I have an event on the 18th that might just give my social skills a test. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Destination: Anywhere

Blue skies, The Commitments on the radio and open road in front of me...

Destination: Anywhere
East or West, I don't care

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And I Got Here How?

I'm in a bar in a hotel in San Diego. I'd like to be able to tell you why I'm here, but that part isn't quite so clear to me. 

It started innocently enough, as these things often do. I was having lunch with Pen, and we were having a discussion about passion. I'm reading a host of books right now about new careers and finding the vocation that makes you jump out of bed with unrepressed joy most days (not period days, of course, because nothing is that good). Much to my continued dismay, I don't seem to have a passion for anything. I have lots of interests. I have vague intrigues, but nothing that drives me. Worse, I tend to fall into things that occupy my time because I'm good at them, rather than for the love of them-- and then stay doing them for 16 years.

Travel is one of those interests. Or rather destinations are of interest. Exploration of new places is an interest. The actual traveling I could do without-- planes, trains and automobiles all have their extreme downsides. If you could convince me that my molecules would all end up in the same place in the same and appropriate order, I might be on board with teleporting. But as it stands now, my options all seem limited and annoying. Still, there is a wanderlust in me that is hard to deny.

I've done my best to suppress it. I once hit 13 countries in one year. But then my passport was exhausted, and my brain and body stuck to moving households within the continental U.S. Even that skidded to a stop once I got to L.A. Despite the occasional foray, I've largely remained mired in my internal dialogue rather than my external wanderings. 

Apparently, I've had enough navel gazing. I mentioned reading about the gaslamp district in San Diego to Pen. We agreed it sounded like fun. I'd like to say there was a well-thought out plan after that moment-- something premeditated, at least. Instead, I took my leftovers, and settled into my apartment for a rousing game of "what do I do now?"

Two and a half hours later I was settling myself into a hotel in San Diego. Just because I could, it was there and there was no reason not to do it. And now I'm reclining on the rooftop bar, writing this blog, sipping my Malbec and agreeing with my people (i.e. Strangers watching the baseball game in the bar) that St. Louis has made a lot of errors in this game.

I imagine I'll be home soon. Probably. Possibly. But I guess you never know.


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Rain Delay

On a normal day from my past life, I would be very unhappy right about now. It is raining in Los Angeles—this never bodes well. People can't drive in it. I don't park close to my apartment, and I really have lost my tolerance for being out in it. If this had happened a year ago, I'd be slogging my way to my car, bitter that I couldn't wear jeans to work, trying to keep my heels from being destroyed, lamenting the early hour and wishing that I could curl up on the couch with a book and a blankie.

This year… DOING IT.

Forgive me for taking a moment and thinking "well, alright!" thoughts. I'm absolutely certain I'll be struck down with the plague for being able to enjoy the sound of the rain outside and wearing sweats. But… DOING IT.

Lest you be concerned that your solid, recent advice has been ignored, fear not. I am slowly working my way around the plan. I even went to the grocery store yesterday (shockingly painful, though it was). And because I did not procrastinate, I now have this day where I do not have to venture out in order to find a way to feed myself (and the poor pizza delivery guy will also not have to brave the hazards to find me).

In addition to getting down to the serious business of exploring my options, I'm trying a new mental approach. Don't worry—it's not very "Secrety." It's gratitude. I know this sounds outrageously positive for me, but I'm going to give it a shot. I am incredibly lucky to have this opportunity (not just the staying home when it rain parts, but the year off, in general). So many people have told me that they wish they had the ability to take a year and just do something else—even people who are relatively happy with their lives. While at the end of this year, I'm really going to need to have landed somewhere with an income, for right now this is a chance I should be grateful for having.

So, I'm going to try this approach and see what happens.

I give it a week.


Monday, October 03, 2011

To Done

I'm not going to lie. When I took the year off, I had a lot of vague notions about how the year would go. Clearly, twenty minutes after I quit, I would be offered my own television series, movie franchise or multi-book publishing deal. A month later, I was supposed to be voted most powerful producer in all the land. I still wouldn't be able to afford a house in Los Angeles, but I'd be getting close to it. A month after that, my husband (George Clooney) and I would start our new studio. I was willing to allow for some deviations in the length of time this would take, and the exact details of my success (perhaps I was voted "most powerful producer in my apartment"). However there was one thing I was absolutely certain of: I would have nothing on my "to do" list.

That assertion was completely false.

What I have found is that the "to do" list is a lot like a purse. The bigger the purse, the more crap you carry around. Seriously, I carry a hard drive around right now. No good reason for that other than the fact that it went in there once, and there is room for it. Likewise, the more time you have the more tasks occupy that time. I thought I would be bored. I was wildly incorrect. I'm as busy now as I was before I quit, I'm just focused on different things. Sadly, those things don't pay me right now, but that's a different issue for another day.

In reality, the "to do" list just grows—and not just in volume, but in complexity. For instance, in addition to "get groceries" I now have "write great American novel" along with the slightly more reachable goal of "post blog." I think the theory is that now that I have all of this time, I should be able to reach loftier goals. The list now resembles a combined daily tasks, New Year's resolutions and grab bag of fate manifesto. I can't decide if having "get oil change" and "find meaning of life" should be on the same list (bonus points to all of you who just yelled out "42"), but the moment they share space. Unfortunately, rather than rolling up my sleeves and really trying to get some of these tasks off my list (Chapter 1 would be nice), I'm gripped by inertia. I've fallen back into the same old pattern: if I have every option in the world, I choose nothing. If I have a million things I could be/should be doing, I only do the things I absolutely must do to survive (and even then grocery shopping will be a last resort).

I'm curious if any of you have ever faced a similar motivation problem. How did you kick start your progress? I've made the big gesture: I quit my job. I took charge: "I am woman, hear me roar." Except with me, it really has been more like a whisper.

Kate (watching House Hunters)

P.S. Fallacy #2: "If I didn't have a job, I'd be really fit because I'd work out every day." LMAO such a kidder.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A True Story

Earlier today a friend said, “Oh dating guru, Kate, could you please pass on a tiny nugget of your relationship wisdom?” Or, you know, something really close to that. Because I’m a benevolent soul with vast (read: singular) experience in the matters of the heart, I will now give you one of my top ten pieces of dating advice. Ready?

Do not let a man see your vagina before he has seen your face.

I mean this literally.

I’m not putting a lot of restrictions on you. It’s not like I’m asking you to wait until he can tell you what color your eyes are. That’s impossible. Guys don’t know because they’ve been either looking down your shirt, or mentally calculating how long they have to pretend to listen to you until they can get you naked (and it only looked like they were staring deeply into your eyes). I get that. It would be unreasonable.

But ladies, you are killing me. How desperate are you that you are sending photos of your ruthlessly waxed and eroded southern selves to a man before your first date—or even your first phone call? Do you charge by the hour? Are you working on the “time is money” theory? Are you a porn star? Because if you are, this totally makes sense—he’s already seen it all. If neither is true, put the DAMN CELLPHONE CAMERA DOWN.

I know what you are thinking, “But Kate, I’m straightforward with my wants and needs. If I want a man, I’m going to tell him exactly what is on my mind.” Newsflash—it’s not your mind he’s thinking of and there are ways of doing this without showing him where the ingrown hairs were. Oh, he may still have sex with you (so mission accomplished), but he has no respect or regard for you at all (we won't get into my consternation over why anyone would have sex with someone they don't respect).

Out of curiosity, if you are someone who starts with VajCam, where the hell do you hope to go from there? Do you just keep a spare snatch snap and send it out to the AT&T phone directory in hopes of finding a way to kill 20 minutes every evening? Is this a reverse type move where you start with porn and then hope to move to deep conversation? I have bad news for you—if you think all you have to offer is a body part, it’s going to be tough for anyone else to see beyond that. I just don’t see him saying, “there’s a fine labia, I wonder what her thoughts are on deficit reduction?”

You’ve exchanged one email with the gadabout through a dating site. Try coffee first. Sure, it could be a waste of time, but think of the penicillin you’ll save.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Oh You Kidder

I've always told my friends that the one thing I'd most want to do with David Duchovny is discuss Russian literature (and no, I don't mean that euphemistically). I understand that this makes me socially freakish, but a good conversation is far more intriguing to me than nearly anything (save winning the lottery, which I would quite like to do as well). So, naturally, this film rumor made me smile and then shake my head (plus, Helen Hunt and Larry Moss? dies):

Relative Insanity

Yep-- the rumor is that he's doing a modern adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull. I very much hope this is true.

So close, universe. So close. Keep trying.

Also, David: try Gogol next.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Something You Don't Know

Something you don't know about me and would never guess...

When I was in first grade, I got an S on my report card (S=Satisfactory). I missed out on the S+. Why? The teacher said that while I was bright, I had a tendency to socialize too much with my neighbors in class.

Apparently, I've spent the rest of my life making up for it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Outside Myself

(now with 100% more pictures)

Seeing your life through someone else’s eyes can be illuminating or depressing. When I look at the changes in my life over the last several years critically (because when aren’t I critical), I see someone who went from employed, living in a 3-bedroom house with the husband presumptive to unemployed, flying solo in a small 1-bedroom apartment. It doesn’t feel like a momentous transition into a delightful new world. It might seem like spectacular failure.

Enter my mother.

She came to visit. She loved it here. She marveled at everything and thinks my life is exciting and full of possibility. And the one thing she said over and over again (other than “it’s so clean here”) was “there is so much to do here all the time.”

She might not be wrong. OK, not about my life (I’m allergic to exciting); however, Los Angeles can be a fascinating place if you let it be. So this past weekend, I decided to let Los Angeles dazzle me—and it had nothing to do with celebrities.

Stop #1: The Annenberg Space for Photography: Beauty Culture Exhibit

I had stopped at Annenberg with friends last week, but I missed the beginning of the Beauty Culture exhibit companion film by Lauren Greenfield. I was intrigued enough to go back. It’s a very frank film about the beauty mega-industry and how that has impacted us all. Now I’m inspired to work on my own “beauty” project. If you live in Los Angeles and know me in real life, you should just assume I will beg you to be part of it. I can be relentless. Give in now.

Total cost to attend exhibit and film: $0
Parking: free elsewhere, but they also have validation for site parking

Stop #2: The Getty: Saturdays Off the 405

The Getty modern is a place I’m growing to love more every time I visit. When I went with my mom, we did the gardens tour: beautiful views, interesting information on how it was designed and entirely free—what could be better? Saturdays Off the 405 is a concert series that allows attendees to groove to tunes and take in the breathtaking sunset at the same time. On Saturday evening, I cruised up to the Getty to hear Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band (if you are into R&B/Soul head to iTunes).

While the band was a great new find for me, what I marveled at was the cross-section of Los Angeles that turned out for the concert. From the heavily pierced to the conservative Beverly Hills types, everyone was there—all colors, ages, shapes and sizes. Some were right up by the band (and wine/beer) in the museum courtyard, while others lounged by fountains or the lawns. I felt like I had discovered a new world. At last I know where Los Angeles goes on Saturday nights. Forget the clubs—the Getty Museum is the place to be!

Total cost to attend the concert: $0
Parking: Free at the Getty after 5:00pm

Stop #3: LACMA: Sundays Live (

“Sundays Live” is a weekly classical chamber music concert at the Bing Theater of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (it’s broadcast and you can pick it up on podcast). The program is “the longest-running live music broadcast in Los Angeles,” according to their website. It started in 1948. Despite that, and all the years I’ve lived here, Sunday night was my very first visit. I blame Breaking Bad for my normal reluctance to leave on a Sunday evening. That and the dread of going to a job the next day for many years pretty much shut my exploratory ways down on any given Sunday. And… sometimes football.


This concert featured Daniel Rothmuller (cello) and Bernadene Blaha (piano) performing Chopin: Sonata, Opus 65 and Brahms: Sonata in E minor, Opus 38. The music was sublime, as you would expect it to be as part of a long-running, well-regarded program. I listened to the first half within the theater and the second outside in the courtyard (what can I say, there is something dreamy and romantic about having the music swell around me as the breezes and fountains flow).

Here’s another thing that might surprise you: the event was packed. I now know where the people of Los Angeles go on Sunday nights. I certainly know where I’m going to be.

Total cost to attend the concert: $0
Parking: At the museum it is $10, but street parking is free

People, if you live in Los Angeles, don’t wait to see it until you play tour guide (or prepare to leave). It’s an amazing place and often the fabulousness can be had for free.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gift Ideas

As we get closer to major gift giving holidays like Labor Day and Columbus Day, you may be stumped as to what to get me as a gift. Allow me to point you in the right direction:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Love Life in Brief

Kate: You never know-- my Prince Charming could be at the concert tomorrow at the Getty.

Pen: Yeah, but you won't talk to him.

Kate: I can't argue with that.

fade to black.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Now What?

And I’m back. Since we last chatted, I volunteered at an event and played tourist with my mother—both good things.

But now, here I sit. Mom has gone home. The next volunteer task is well in hand. My laundry is done. My dishes are clean.

Now what?

This is the first time since I quit 4 (?!) months ago that I haven’t had something all-consuming looming. I could do anything (finances being somewhat of an issue, of course). I should be writing. I should be pitching. I should be trying to get an agent or take meetings. Instead I am living proof of the idea that if you can make every choice in the world, you make no choice at all.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I chose to come to this restaurant for lunch with the intent of writing, but find myself trying not to check out the male television star seated across from me. I suppose that is progress—at least I’ve stopped obsessively watching The Weather Channel.

When I quit in April, I’m not sure I planned for this phase of inactivity and lack of direction. I always thought of myself as being driven, as a workaholic. Yet what I have discovered so far is that I could do absolutely nothing for the next eight months and not care—heck, I’m not sure the passage of time itself would really register.

There is a reality star sitting to the right of me. I have no idea what her name is, but I am vaguely annoyed that I recognize her at all. I could hope I recognize her because she’s accomplished something. I have a sinking feeling it’s from a headline involving a sex tape or scandal-ridden divorce. Still she seems motivated and goal-oriented. She will not be dodging the gaggle of paps stationed in the parking lot.

The people behind me either know Kathie Lee or spend a lot of time concerned with what she thinks. But they are driven, planners of morning television, and they have real purpose. Though, I’m not sure I would have observed them at all had it not been for the one woman who sounds exactly like a lawyer at my old firm (it’s a voice I still hear in my nightmares).

I keep seeing people approach the TV star. They know him vaguely. They want to know him better. The current visitor has a project—and he has made his move. I think it’s going to happen for him. He’s dropping the right names, saying the right things.

I marvel at him. I could have a screenplay dubbed “the next Oscar sure thing,” and I would never make that move. I shudder at the idea of it. I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to seem aggressive. Actually pursuing something for me is rarely conceivable—and frankly, every time I’ve even tried, I’ve been slapped by fate for it.

Visitor has left now. They have a meeting set. Mission, at least partially, accomplished by the assertive guy in khaki shorts. Well done, sir.

The TV star just yelled out jokingly, “give me a good story—we need good stories.”

Naturally, I continue to sit here quietly hoping someone will notice me.

Shockingly, they never do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ruffles Across the Butt

I know. It's crazy, but I DO want my ass entirely covered.

You know what I don't want? Ruffles. When did ruffles across the butt on a bathing suit become normal for any female over three? I get the draping. I get more coverage. But ruffles? What exactly do you think the ruffle is hiding? Also, when there is decoration, people tend to look at it more. My butt does not need additional attention. If I could paint my body the color of the sand and match the suit, I would. My goal is to pretend it is not there. Frankly, it's the goal of anyone who sees me in a bathing suit, too. No one needs a ruffle acting as a neon arrow to no man's land.

I understand bathing suit designers are under a lot of pressure. They constantly get harangued by women who have honed their enormous number of body issues into award-winning angst (for instance, medical science cannot explain my thighs… seriously, the finest minds have failed). But must we make it more challenging?

I know you guys are bored, but having a ladder of fabric up the back, while looking interesting, means the tan lines are going to be murder. Do you want the people wearing your bathing suits to look like they were whipped by Dom 47? No? Because they will if they burn in that thing.

Also, who decided that adding metal is a good idea? Metal fasteners in the front, big shiny metal things on the hips, or the big "nautical" looking chain design might be eye catching, but the sun is actually hot. I know. I know. No one ever tells you these things. It is true. The sun is hot. When left in the sun, metal things get hotter. Why would I want metal burning things anywhere near my breasts? And, God forbid, if you are actually wearing the metal (or faux metal/plastic) into the ocean or swimming pool: Nothing says sexy like corrosion.

And another thing—maximum support should mean straps that hold the top up. What it should not mean is that you've added so much padding to the top that when you get out of the water, you'll be leaking for the rest of the day. I'm not saying you should stop providing padded bra tops. The theory is a good one. But when a girl looks for swim top with support, she tends to be looking for… oh… what's the word… support. The tiny little strings and three tons of sponge work, isn't quite what she has in mind.

If you are designing for 6ft model types with perfectly buoyant bodies, well done. Those poor fools need swimwear, too. Life is hard enough for those folks without making them cover their lights under bushels. But for the rest of us, could you please take a moment to reflect on what it was like in the olden days when breasts were real and a woman might not have the metabolism of a racehorse?

Your kind attention this matter is greatly appreciated.


Monday, July 25, 2011

In My Mind

In my mind, I am taller.

My mental pictures owe a lot to Photoshop, apparently. I'm svelte, sophisticated and statuesque inside. The fact that no one in the history of time has ever thought the word "statuesque" in relation to someone like me is probably not shocking to those of you on the outside. To me, I'm left with confusion. Whenever I picture myself in hard-nosed negotiations, or accidentally coming upon an ex, I'm also much, much taller. I'm sure this isn't unusual. I probably just associate tall people with authority, and when I want to seem authoritative, I picture myself as taller. I'm just trying to figure out why I'm so surprised to find out that I'm still 5'3". No seriously, at least once a week I have a "that can't be right" moment.

It doesn't stop there. You should see me shop. I shop like a tall person. Imagine my consternation after buying the dress I saw on the six foot model (sporting a size zero no doubt) when my picture and her picture don't vaguely resemble one another. Maybe it's just because she had red hair?


In my mirror, I am fatter.

My mirror and I don't understand each other. It's not just that I see every flaw. It's that the flaws seem to come as a shock to me from time to time. For instance, just now I walked past the mirrored hall closet (devilish invention) and exclaimed, "Holy Hell!" Not because I was having a religious vision, but because I just noticed exactly how lumpy I looked and that I had actually gone out wearing these clothes.


In my fantasies, I am desired.

I just heard a collective "Duh" from you people. I don't mean those kinds of fantasies. I mean the kind of fantasies that involve people offering me jobs because they happened upon my blog, heard good things about me from someone respected, or just met me but were completely charmed. And… perhaps… in moments of weakness, I might want Clooney to approach me and say something along the lines of, "I've been trying to meet you for years, and speaking to you now has surpassed all of my wildest dreams." But that's really only when I've run out of chocolate. And Tuesdays.


In my real life, I have never pulled off jaunty.

As a teenager I envied Laura Holt and her seemingly endless supply of jaunty chapeaux. Naturally, I too wanted to exude the confidence that said, "That's right—my hat is jaunty. Not only that, but I'm rockin' this inimitable style that tells the world I am a force to be reckoned with." Instead, dear friends, I envy you your "hatness" and continue to fall far short of perky.


In my delusions, I never have to get a 9 to 5 job again.

We'll see.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

When Dating Becomes a Business Transaction

I'll admit that I'm oddly fascinated with the concept of this website:

I'd like to say that I have my finger on the pulse of the dating scene, but my dating scene is more corpse-like than vivacious and thriving. Luckily, I have friends like Pen to introduce me to the newly terrifying ways of meeting someone else who will waste my time (and apparently cost me money).

I can't decide how I feel about the option of bidding on someone's time. I don't kid myself; I'd have to fall into the "generous" category, not the "For the Attractive" category. On the one hand, I suppose it is practical: someone wants an attractive date and here they can buy someone (or at least rent them). I'm a little fuzzy on how this system guards against being prostitution—I mean if a guy pays $500 for an evening with you, you can't convince me that he wouldn't expect something other than your dynamic personality. But let's go along with the supposition that everyone on this site would be playing by the stated rules. I could finally get a date! I have a little savings for "entertainment" during this year of adventure, so it's within the realm of possibility. And yet…there's something that feels vaguely sad about me buying a date (sorry, bidding for a date that I might lose because my enterprising, would-be partner might be looking for someone with a bit more cash and a lot less ass).

And then there is the other part of my reaction to this: at last a chance for successful men to finally date the gold-digging prom queen who normally wouldn't give them the time of day. Contrary to the press around the launch of the site—this isn't like a fun-filled bachelor charity auction. You are for rent. Now if you are broke and pretty, you might be entirely fine with guys paying you for your time (you get dinner and a little spending money). But how does this inspire relationships (as seems to be the stated intention on the site)? What is to keep you from going out on a lot of first dates through the site? You might have no intention of getting involved, but need some quick cash.

I suppose that takes us back to the practical—you are going to date a lot of people while looking for Mr. First Marriage, why shouldn't you get paid for your time?

The theme that is repeated over and over again on the site is that everyone has a price. I'm not so certain that is true. Did Mother Theresa have a price? I'm not saying that there aren't some tempting offers: $1 million would certainly get my attention. But I'm not sure I could get away from the idea that I'm letting someone buy me, and I don't feel like I'm for purchase. And if I could get past the fact that bidding process, do I really want a relationship with someone who buys women? My relationships have been a lot of things (some good, some bad, some "what the hell?"), but I've never treated anyone or been treated like a commodity. Is this really the way of the future?

It just seems like we're getting further and further away from engraved calling cards, heated glances across a crowded room and arousing debate. And I'm hesitant to call that progress.



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Magical Mystery Tour

My magical mystery tour of Los Angeles has continued. Today's tour stop: Compartes Chocolatier in Brentwood. If you are a chocolate fan, this place is your nirvana. Not only is the chocolate amazing, but you can actually watch it being made right there at the facility. Also, an incredibly nice man brought me chocolate to sample. I'm not sure it gets better than that. In fact, I'm positive it doesn't. Now I'm not saying that Gene Wilder comes out singing about "pure imagination," but it does feel inspiring (and the dark chocolate truffles could inspire many a fantasy, I'm sure).

You'll be incredibly impressed: I limited myself to the five sample box. This was not easy. My one true love is chocolate, and I almost asked about submitting an application now that I'm looking for a new career of adventure and intrigue. Then I got the image of myself being arrested after I ate through the shop's inventory, and I realized that it might not be the best possible plan. I will content myself with the knowledge that I can visit whenever the mood strikes me. And no, my looking for an apartment in the area is not related at all. Why do you ask (she says, wiping chocolate from her face)?

The other reason you should check this place out is they have a really interesting charitable giving program going. Essentially, the proceeds from the handmade beaded bracelet and percentage of the proceeds from the chocolate go to support malnourished children and the only women's center in Darfur through Relief International. Normally, I have to work hard to find outrageous justifications for my chocoholic tendencies. Not so here: a little bit of chocolate goodness can actually do some good elsewhere.

Stay tuned for the next stop on the "how have I lived here so many years and not known this existed before" tour.






Friday, July 08, 2011

Body Blow

I innocently wandered into a store today and admired a pair of jean shorts. They were longer than the typical shorts, which I can appreciate since I've never had the assets of a Blake Lively or Cameron Diaz. I justified the purchase with the fact that they were on massive sale. I grabbed a couple of sizes and hit the dressing room.

Alright, the first pair didn't fit—could barely squeeze them over my knees. Ok. I shook it off. Things happen. Bodies morph. It might just be time to actually work out rather than thinking about it.

The second, larger pair also didn't fit. And it's not just that they didn't fit, it was as though they were spanx meant for outside wear. My legs looked like sausage cases and the jean shorts were losing the battle to contain me. Is it possible to have fat knees? Because I swear to you, it looked like the muffin top and also become mini muffins on the bottom.

In despair, I peeled them back off, sat on the bench and entertained some suicidal thoughts (along with some inappropriate thoughts involving chips and cheese dip). I checked the label just to be certain I hadn't accidentally wandered into the children's section. Nope. They were made for adults—adults who hate themselves.

There on the label explained at least part of my distress: jean leggings.

That's right ladies (and the occasional gentleman who wanders onto this blog in error) I mistakenly tried on CUT OFF JEGGINGS. I didn't even know these existed—and not just because I don't know anything about fashion, but because their existence is just wrong. How do you sit down in these things? Are you just supposed to pose standing in them while holding your breath (provided you get greased up enough to get them on)? Are they actually supposed to act as a new form of birth control? Because no one is getting anything on, off or over in these things.

I'm going to go call my therapist now. It could take years to erase the memory of me trying to stuff my bits and pieces into the jean equivalent of saran wrap. YEARS, people. YEARS.

If I can save one person from this fate, my life will be a success (ok, not really, but you'll still thank me).


Thursday, July 07, 2011

An Afternoon with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson

I'm going to be spending the afternoon (and early evening) with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson (and special guest Chris Carter). And no, smart-asses, it's not because I'll be spending another Saturday night fervently clutching my DVD player remote (though, I love doing that and will do that again). Nope, this is one of those in-person, not in a massive convention hall, charity events that sounds like fun. You should be there, too!


Actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are reuniting for IBG's summer charity event on July 30 in Los Angeles to benefit SA-YES, a South African charity focusing on the empowerment of marginalized youth in the country.

Foregoing an outside moderator, fans will be treated to the actors taking turns as they pose questions to one another about their entire careers, process and future plans. Have any burning questions for the actors? Ask them! Audience members will be allowed to pose work-related questions to Duchovny and Anderson as part of the event. Dying to know what is in store for Hank Moody in the fifth season of Californication, or about Duchovny's role in Goats? Want to know more about Anderson's work in the upcoming Moby Dick or Johnny English Reborn? The opportunity is here! And, of course, the truth is still out there about the possibilities of a third X-Files film.

As a special treat, the man who created the two characters that Entertainment Weekly named among the 100 greatest characters in pop culture, will be joining in the fun.  Chris Carter will take the stage with Duchovny and Anderson during the latter portion of the audience Q&A to field questions from fans and, perhaps, pose a couple of his own to the duo.  In addition, Carter will be joining Anderson for the photo/autograph signing following the Q&A.

VIP tickets are available through the IBG website: 

Act fast! General seating tickets for the event have already sold out. Fans do not want to miss this truly unique, live event.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Euphemisms on a Tuesday

Many of these euphemisms made me laugh, and I figured some of you needed the laugh today, too. Returning to work after long weekends can be hard. I am here to help.

Also, I had no idea #5 was from Othello. I’m not sure it’s going to make me cringe less if I hear it suggested to me, but I do feel more informed now.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

After Two Months


Wishful Thinking: An hour after I quit my job, my future path will be clear.

Reality: Oh, it's clear alright. It's clear I have no idea what I am doing.


Wishful Thinking: When I quit my job my apartment will be immaculate.

Reality: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Seriously, I keep losing stuff. The Apartment is not that big. I spent 10 minutes searching for free weights this morning. How do you lose free weights in a one bedroom apartment? It might have something to do with the fact that I keep moving the furniture around every 2-3 weeks.


Wishful Thinking: Once I leave this all-consuming job, I will write every day.

Reality: To be fair, I do use a pen every day. So, that probably counts. I should have been more specific.


Wishful Thinking: Once I leave this all-consuming job, my laundry will never pile up.

Reality: Hello, laundry, I promise to turn to you again at some point.


Wishful Thinking: Once I leave this crazy "all time zones" job, I'll be able to sleep in every day (until I start work again).

Reality: Well, I don't get up at 4:30 5 days a week anymore—4:45am is really so much more respectable. Go me.


Wishful Thinking: Because I wasn't open to the other opportunities in the universe while I was working, those opportunities didn't come to me. This will all change.

Reality: Perhaps the opportunities got lost, only had my work address and are even now trying to track me down?


Wishful Thinking: I will have time to read.

Reality: I've definitely started a book since I quit. I have every intention of finishing it someday.


Wishful Thinking: I will travel constantly.

Reality: I constantly watch shows about other people traveling. I'm currently pretending that I'm doing my due diligence just in case I ever need a home in Argentina. You never know.


Wishful Thinking: Every day I will wake up and choose another exciting thing to do.

Reality: Every day, I wake up. So far. Knock on wood.



This transition into my new and exciting life has not exactly gone to the wishful thinking plan I had. It's not that I thought it would be easy—nothing ever is for me—but I did think I would be more focused in one particular direction. I thought at least one pursuit would jump out and scream "give this a shot." Instead, I'm going to have to start clubbing opportunities over the head and dragging them back to the apartment. If only I knew where to find them—though I suppose it would take an act of God for me to approach them once identified anyway.




Friday, June 24, 2011

Alone in a Crowded Room

Anyone else would have embraced the opportunity presented: a room full of industry people actively hoping to form a network of writers, directors, producers, actors and more. Lovely setting. Early enough to not be confused with clubbing.

Anyone would have taken the opportunity to put out a hand and make some introductions. Anyone except me. Instead I stood in that crowded room full of well-meaning, connected people and fought back tears of frustration.

I simply lack the capacity to approach someone and make small talk. I lack the imagination (which bodes poorly for a writing career) to make my answer to, "What are you doing now?" sound interesting.

"I want to…"

"I'm hoping to…"

"I'm thinking about…"

All of these seemed to be conversation killers the few times I actually engaged.

I knew about this event when I quit my job in April. Not so secretly, I thought networking might finally be possible for me—out of necessity, if nothing else. I allowed myself to hope that the leap I took was a leap into this pond – that I'd feel less like a total outsider. This event would prove that the chance I took was based on the belief that real opportunity was right around the corner. Foolish.

Instead, that panicked, "Oh God, what am I doing here?" feeling was followed immediately by its twin sisters: "You are never going to make it in this industry if you can't talk to decision-makers" and "these people want to be interested in you, and you can't make it happen—good luck getting the people who don't care to listen."

I walked in telling myself to be confident and bold. I internally nattered to myself that smiling would invite people into my orbit. Last time I read a freakin' self-help guide.

Apparently the "F**k you" on my forehead is not limited to single, dateable men. It extends to all people because no amount of joker-like smiling was going to tempt someone into anything even vaguely resembling my orbit. In fact, I'm fairly certain I actually repelled people.

I tried the Bridget Jones approach, though stopped short of actually bringing up Chechnya. I suppose on the mortification scale I did rather better than Bridget as I did not make an embarrassingly bad speech, nor did I go home with a womanizing man named Daniel. Also, I did avoid asking any important writer types for the loo by standing in the corner hiding behind my smartphone. God bless Twitter.

I might have oozed intellect if it weren't for my pathetic attempts to discuss new media and … the weather.

Perhaps, in the end, I am far better suited for solo manifesto writing in a cabin than I'll ever be as a screenwriter in Hollywood (though let's substitute beach for mountains, please). Can you picture me in a writers' room? Disaster. I'd have to set my chair up behind the white board.

I live and want to work in a town entirely based on relationships—the one thing I do not seek.

Maybe I should have mentioned Chechnya?


Monday, June 13, 2011

Step Up to Center Stage

It’s 3:00pm. I’m drinking a glass of red wine and watching the sequel to Center Stage. I’m not finished with the credits yet, but it feels remarkably like the Step It Up movies, and I’m left wondering who is going to utter the immortal words: “I am the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy. Who the hell are you? Nobody.”

Spoiler alert: Bad news, kids. Cooper’s dance company went under due to lack of funds, so he’s back being snarky about ballerinas and technique (though now I’m only about 2 minutes into the movie—things could change).

Clearly, this is why I quit my job. I could have been left without ever knowing this movie existed. God bless Netflix.

Also, pointe shoes on carpet…never a good idea.

Not that I just found that out. Because I didn’t. And that would have been silly. So, I didn’t.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I'm sitting in a dance studio-- not any studio; the studio. I can't  begin to count the hours I spent in here-- required hours, stolen hours, all hours. Sense memory took over as I walked across the floor. Same creaks. Same smell. Same sense of wonder even if age has made some of those possibilities dim.

My body remembers this place. It remembers the calluses, the hamstring pulls and the exhaustion. And it remembers joy.

 I had a life here. I knew a boy here. I was challenged, frustrated and just shy of brilliant here-- at least once or twice.

Every five years or so I make this pilgrimage. I see old friends, and we talk about the years gone by. But this place I come to alone. Even though we had rehearsals and class here, each of us had our own experience-- our own blessings and curses. Explaining it to spouses and kids seems unthinkable.

Impossible to recapture youth, I know, and yet it feels so near here. If I close my eyes and take a deep breath I'll be who I was here.

I'm sitting in a dance studio. And I'm me here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I have three red shirts in my closet. For most people, this is probably not a stunning development. For me, it is practically as revolutionary as the color associations have been. I have black clothes, and when I want to spice it up, I move to gray or tan. Seriously. I've flirted with blues, but unless they are navy, even they feel a bit daring to me. And now I've gone red.

When I was a dancer, I had a choreographer who related a theory told to him by his favorite choreographer: "If you wear red, you must dance red."

Naturally, I thought he was a pretentious git, and I did my signature move of eye-roll and dismissal. Well, I definitely did the eye-roll. Apparently, the dismissal didn't happen quite as easily. I think somehow the idea that if I wore red, I'd have to dance red (or be red in non-performance life) took permanent hold.

I can't be red. I'm not a red person. Red means "look at me." It means "passion." It means "pay attention to me, or you will wish you would have."

"On Girls" wear red. I wear the daily equivalent of camouflage.

It's not that I haven't given it consideration. There is a pair of red stilettos in my closet that I have never worn. One of the fashion gurus said something about them being too provocative unless you are streetwalker, and I hid them in my closet.

But apparently, you can only keep red inside for so long.

This weekend I took the red out for a spin.

I liked it.

Look out Los Angeles.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Wonderful World of Kate

The Wonderful World of Kate

  • If I'm faced with the option of doing anything in the world, I sit down and watch television because having all the options are almost as paralyzing as having none.
  • When trying to decide between cleaning and reading a book, I will always choose reading a book (even if people are coming over to my apartment). In fact, I seem to be choosing "reading a book" constantly these days. And it's kind of awesome.
  • If Judgment Day really is Saturday, I think my V (original mini-series and final battle) viewing event is oddly appropriate. However, I have a date with Mitch Pileggi the next day that I'd rather not miss—and by "date", I mean attending a charity event where he is the guest of honor.
  • I spend a fortune on local phone, long distance and cell and 99% of the time I would prefer to send an email rather than call someone… even people I know. In fact, I think I'm developing a phone phobia. The idea of calling a stranger for any reason makes my heart start to race. I'm not sure why. I guess I feel like I might be bothering them. I think we can safely rule out telemarketer as my next job.
  • A friend suggested that without a structure and set plan for my year off, I will fall into a perpetual vacation mode that will go by very quickly. He is definitely correct. Alas, this has not yet prompted me to make that plan. Frankly, I'm not sure my brain has adjusted to the idea that I'm not going back to my old job, to my old life. Part of me is ready to heave that sigh of resignation and find my security card for the trip back to the office.
  • With all the time in the world, I still avoid going to the grocery store. I do love being able to do laundry whenever the mood strikes me.
  • I keep wondering how I can make a living wage by sitting at home and opining. I know there are people who do it, but thus far, no one has sent me a check. Rude!
  • New shows are staffing with writers at this exact moment. Hands up if you think I should be one of them. Hands up if you think I'm better suited to solitary manifesto writing. Yeah, that's what I thought.
  • I spent a terrific afternoon at the beach with friends (I do so have them) to celebrate a birthday (thankfully, not mine). The day was splendiferous. The sunburn I have right now is slightly less so given that only one side of my face is red, as though only part of my personality is chagrined about something. I'm not sure I want quite this obvious of a manifestation of my dual nature. Best to keep that bit a secret.
  • I feel a deep, personal attachment to the animated Lemon in the new McD's ads. He seems so bummed out that lemons have become synonymous with a whole slew of negative things. That's right—I want to give an animated lemon a hug. Go me. I haven't lost my mind at all.
  • My apartment has no sense of style. It barely has a sense of functionality. How do I get those HGTV people to come and suddenly make this place look like a comfortable showroom? And if that's not possible, how do I get someone to come over and help me move the TV? What about that charming Emily girl? She seems like fun, and really unlikely to make fun of me.
  • Oh, Castle. You need to air all year. I know it would probably kill your actors, writers, directors, producers and crew, but let's think about me for a minute.

And those are the fascinating musings of Kate on an average Wednesday night.

Monday, May 16, 2011


(A Play in One Act)

L: You can be charming!

Kate: Name one time where I have been charming?

L: Well, I'm not around you all the time.

Kate: You can't do it, can you? You can't think of one situation.

L: Yes, I can! At the wine tasting, you were um… talking to people?

Kate: And I was charming?

L: Well, you were talking to them.

Kate: Not what I asked.

L: I'm not around you that often!

Kate: If we were around each other anymore often, you'd be living here.

L: Whatever, Holt. You're charming.

Kate: Lies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Planning and Dating

I'm finding that event planning and dating in Los Angeles are remarkably similar. In both situations, there is so much going on in the city that it's difficult to get anyone's attention in a positive way. Of course, it's still easy to get attention in a negative way, but that's rarely what you really want (unless you are a reality star, of course).

In the dating world, we keep getting sent to the internet. Everyone suggests that you try online dating. For event planning, everyone suggests Twitter or Facebook. But when you have a thousand followers, are they really paying attention to you, or are they just trying to get their numbers up? It's the same with dating, really. Do people head online to find people serious about relationships, or are they looking to get their "score" numbers over 100 (oh, Charlie Runkle…)?

Picture yourself as a young entrepreneur or philanthropist in Los Angeles. You have an event. What do you do? Where do you go? In a city of millions of distractions, how do you get noticed?

Picture yourself as a single, shy female over a certain age in Los Angeles. What do you do? Where do you go?

And if they end up being the same answer, I think I should get my own dating column or advice show on OWN.

Well, technically, I think we can all agree that this should happen anyway.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Walk on the Wild Side

This weekend I went to a club in Santa Ana to hear a rock band called Three Thirteen.

Half of you reading that sentence are thinking, "Yeah, so?"

Half of you reading this are saying, "Bullshit, you would never go to a club and certainly not all the way out in Santa Ana—prove it." Ok… maybe more than half of you. I texted Pen, and she assumed my phone had been stolen. Danielle insisted that I tweet pictures immediately. I'm pretty sure the earth shifted on its axis. So, if you felt that, I probably caused it.

The easy explanation is that my friend B's husband Randy is the lead singer and plays guitar in the band. It was the first time this particular band had ever played, and despite knowing them for years, I had never managed to get out and see him play when he was with other bands. Apparently, the key to getting me to do anything is to send me an invite text at the exact moment I'm feeling slightly adventurous. Also, I didn't really know where Santa Ana was.

What can I say? I like to keep you people guessing.

Believe it or not, I had a lot of fun. I did hang out in the pit taking pictures (in order to dissuade strangers from talking to me, naturally) and stood in the section informally designated as "for older people who aren't dressed for this club, and don't know what to do." This was opposed to the front portion by the stage where people were rocking out and appropriately eye-linered.

Is this a new club-going phase for me? Oh, sure. That's a given. I plan on being out every night. I've hired a stylist, and I'm now ready for every occasion.


Most of the time, I'll still be asleep by 9:00pm.

But the next time you see me tweeting: "I can't hear you--I'm tweeting from a mosh pit" you should probably go with it.


Eagerly awaiting our foray into Club 1984 and roller disco!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mitch Pileggi Q&A Charity Event

If you guys are going to be in the LA area, you have to come out and see this guy! He has been in everything-- from the legendary Skinner role in The X-Files to a much debated recurring role on Supernatural to a guest star on Castle this year (that had a twist that was hilarious). Of special interest to me is that he appears to have radically changed careers to become an actor. I'm always fascinated to hear how other people have come to the decision to take that leap.

So come out to the event and see Mitch (and me!).


IBG Welcomes Actor Mitch Pileggi

Summary: Actor Mitch Pileggi (Supernatural, The X-Files, Stargate Atlantis and Sons of Anarchy) answers fan questions about process, performance and his vibrant career on May 22nd in Beverly Hills.

IBG Inc is proud to announce that television favorite, Mitch Pileggi, has signed on to be the guest speaker in the new “A Conversation With” series thrown by the Los Angeles 501c3. The hour-long conversation with Pileggi will take place in Beverly Hills in the afternoon of May 22nd.

The “A Conversation With” series is designed to bring together fans and some of the most successful producers, directors, writers, and actors working today. The exclusive event will consist of both moderated discussion and open-floor questions in an intimate setting.

A limited number of tickets are available for sale leading up to the day of the event through IBG Inc’s official website,
Television audiences know Mitch Pileggi best for his performances as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner on the long-running hit series The X-Files. He parlayed a guest-starring appearance in its first season into a recurring role and finally a series regular position in the show's third year. Pileggi earned three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations in a row as part of the acclaimed ensemble. Pileggi also played the character in the 1998 X-Files film and, six years after the show's end, reprised the character in the film The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

Pileggi’s recent work includes playing Sam and Dean Winchester's maternal grandfather, Samuel Campbell in the TV series Supernatural, the recurring role of Larry Jennings in Grey's Anatomy and Ernest Darby, the head of the Nordics Motorcycle Club in the Sons of Anarchy, as well as Dan Burroughs in Medium. He also played the recurring role of character Colonel Steven Caldwell, Commander of the Earth Battlecruiser, Daedalus, in the second and subsequent seasons of the television series Stargate Atlantis.

His varied movie roles include the Spanish production of Río abajo (On the Line) with David Carradine and the lead in Wes Craven's Shocker, as well as performances in Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct, Takedown, Three O'Clock High, the crime thriller Gun Shy, opposite Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock, HBO’s Recount, Flash of Genius with Greg Kinnear, Mega Cyclone and Man in the Chair. Pileggi starred in the TV show Tarzan and co-starring with Barbara Hershey and Oliver Hudson in The Mountain. Among his numerous guest-starring appearances are Castle, Human Target, Brothers & Sisters, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Day Break, Boston Legal, Cold Case, Reaper, The Batman, That '70s Show, Criminal Minds and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Founded in late 2008, IBG Inc ( established a non-profit focusing on utilizing the power of philanthropy through the arts to benefit a broad range of charities worldwide. We act as a “fundraiser facilitator” for underfunded, under publicized, and start-up charities that would otherwise struggle with the logistics and costs associated with event fundraising. This work has taken on a critical importance as the economy has been slow to recover, and we find ourselves with increasingly frequent requests for assistance.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


It's 1:40AM, and I am awake. No, awake doesn't quite cover it. There is none of that sleepy quality where I hug the pillow tight, burrow further into the covers and know that additional slumber is not out of my reach.

This is more of a jarring awareness that my body has decided enough is enough. I have a sneaking suspicion that my mind never shut down—too many plans to make, details to settle… a life to get.

You'll be pleased to know that I didn't give in to this stress-induced insomnia lightly. Never! I fought it. Fan on. Fan off. Right side. Left side. Drowsing on my back. When that failed, I gave myself a very stern lecture: "Go to sleep! You have work in the morning." You know, three weeks ago that would have done the trick.

Instead, here I sit: Zone bar in hand, water and a laptop at the ready. No doubt brilliance is about to sweep forth to dazzle each and every one of you. Once that is finished, I will be offered my own television show, book deal, film gig and the deed to a small island to finally call my own. Naturally, once I am firmly ensconced in my new state-of-the-art abode, you might have some trouble finding me as the island will move [though I will leave a key map for the wine tasting club and the 80s mini-series watchers (everybody dies, Meggie)]. But no matter—I will have left my positive mark on the world, and will occasionally send off additional material when the changing tide inspires me.

This is my current plan.

Yep. That's what is going to happen.

Any minute now.

Any time at all.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

That Didn’t Take Long

It takes precisely 15 days to lose all track of what day it is and to stop registering the passage of time. I know this because this morning, it took me nearly 10 minutes to suss out what day it is… and I don't mean the date. Without my daily, highly regimented schedule, I've fallen into an "every day is Saturday" mode. Tricky because, of course, other people work on weekdays, and if I need to get something done, I should probably do it when they are around. Still, law of averages should be on my side.

This is not to suggest that the crazy panic of needing to do something has left the back of my brain. No, that is still popping up at moments. It's that insidious feeling that I've forgotten something, or that something is looming. Both could be true, but I'm hoping they aren't. Perhaps it's just the consternation that happens when after a very long time, I don't have a paycheck being direct deposited anymore. Clearly, it throws off the balance of even sane people—of which, I might be less and less of one every day.

Luckily, my focus was on when Sunday rolled around because I finally got to see the long-awaited God of Carnage downtown at the Ahmanson. I wasn't going to go because there were big May Day rallies/protests planned for that area, and that sounded far from appealing. I had nearly given up on the idea of going entirely, when I decided to check just to be safe (God bless the people who put traffic indicators up on a website). Much to my surprise, the freeways looked empty—hardly a normal phenomenon in LA. So, despite having less than 20 minutes to get ready, I dashed off.

If you are thinking about going to see God of Carnage, do it! It's very funny… in all the wrong ways (making it hilarious and brutal at the same time). It is not for children. The entire cast (Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden and James Gandolfini) were really "on" for the Sunday performance, and the audience went crazy for it. Here's my tip: you don't need front orchestra seats for this show, so if you don't have the money for the close seats, don't worry about it. This plays to the back rows. I can't tell you my last thought when leaving the theater (spoilers), but if you email me, I'll share.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Awkward Moment

As you all know, I am delightfully oblivious to the people around me most of the time. Absent professors have nothing on me. However, from time to time, I will hear something during the course of running an errand (or saving the world) that just sets me off.

I thought today was one of those days.

I was waiting for the elevator this morning, when I heard a young mother calling her toddler daughter away from the display case to join her. Nothing outrageous thus far, right? Well, it would have remained that way except I heard the mother calling, "Come here, Creepy. Creepy, come here." That… seemed a little off to me. I don't know if slightly negative nicknames actually damage a child's self-esteem or not, but it felt a tad jarring. I thought it might be accurate—I celebrate honesty. But not knowing if the child was indeed creepy did leave me with the temptation to give the mom a little stink eye.

And just as I was getting ready to do that, I heard her calling to the little girl, again: "Come on, Sweet Pea. Sweet Pea, we've got to go."

In my defense, they sound really similar.

::: whistling through my unwarranted outrage:::

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Am I Anyway?

Who am I anyway?
Am I my resume?
That is a picture of a person I don't know.

A Chorus Line


As I've mentioned, the process of willingly separating yourself from a job of 16+ years is a long one, and it involves an extraordinary amount of paperwork. While that is a nuisance, there is only one box on all of these forms that keeps tripping me up: Occupation.

Health insurance, life insurance, rollovers and any other form you can think of all ask for my occupation. It's a reasonable question, I suppose. Health insurance professionals certainly want to know if I'm working in coal mines rather than an office building, but for the first time in so many years, I have nothing to enter into that field. I'm not a student. I'm not an analyst. Unemployed is technically accurate, but doesn't seem right—surely that can't be me. I did this willfully, and in my mind, that seems reserved for people who have dealt with downsizing and other economic woes.

Am I my resume? I don't think I even know that person.

So, after spending a day or two in panic mode (apparently, undefined is something I'm not quite used to), I decided to look at this as a creative writing assignment. People keep telling me I should put my goals "out there," so I'm going to. The very next form will say "Writer," "Producer," "Fashion Model," "Host," "George Clooney's Wardrobe Assistant," or "Deep Sea Diver" (I know, no one will believe I'm a writer). My friend E came up with a great one today at lunch, "Celebrity liaison." Provided that isn't actually code for "stalker", I'm in! Though, naturally, I will refuse to do anything that involves sneaking someone drugs, a mistress or getting them coffee (no joke, I can't make coffee, and since I don't drink it, most drink orders still sound like gibberish).

How about "Celebrity Pillow fluffer?" And yes, the word "Pillow" needs to be in there, because as I've recently been told, people can seriously misunderstand your intentions if it's missing from that title. Sheesh. One little mistake…


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

House Hunters

Well, it has finally happened: my brain has stopped trying to process what I've done by leaving my job and just embraced Property Virgins, House Hunters and House Hunters International. I may have watched (on and off) about 7 hours of those shows on Monday.

I'm no closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life. I'm no closer to writing the great American novel, script or short-story. I have yet to executive produce a television show. I am, however, an expert at the ridiculous requirements first time home buyers have and where cheap real estate exists in the United States (note: nowhere near Los Angeles).

Here is my public service announcement for the day: You do not need stainless steel appliances in order to have a working refrigerator, stove or dishwasher—particularly if you only have $100,000 to spend on the house and you want four bedrooms, a finished basement, a backyard and a pool. The perfectly functioning white appliances do not NEED to be replaced. If I hear you say it one more time, I will slap you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And We Want Him Why?

I received a lot of emails and some comments posted on the blog about my post regarding "The Rule of the First." What really stood out for me was how many people mentioned using the rule as a way to…um…reconnect with a man who had cheated on them. I'm wonderfully uptight, and do not generally supporting cheating (so stop emailing me Ashley Madison), but I am willing to give a little bit of leeway to the girl who is hooking up with her ex who is now cheating on the girl who he cheated with (if that makes sense). It's not good. It's not right. But I'm not sure I have a ton of sympathy.

The thing I do not understand is why is there a compulsion to pursue the man again? Why do you want someone back in your life who clearly had very little respect for you when you were together? Is it just an ego thing? Is there some sort of special validation for you if you can get a man back (however temporarily)? Is it all about winning?

Please keep in mind that I'm not talking about situations where you were both young and someone made a mistake. While I don't know if I could ever really forgive the mistake, I think people can learn from them in certain cases and move on. Also, I'm fully cognizant that women also cheat and generally behave badly. If a woman cheats on a man and leaves, does a man also pursue?

Obviously, love does not go away just because things go awry. Maybe there is a healthy mix of habit in that longing? Maybe after that kind of hurt, the one left behind just desperately wants to return to normal, and the pursuit is the only way that makes sense at the time?

Pen has had these moments. She heard a lot of encouragement on the other end: "She's not you." This, by the way, is catnip to women. She thought she would finally win when the other relationship ended, and he didn't want to be alone. But ultimately, she walked away. Why? Because the only thing she would have won was a man she would never be able to trust.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Breaking In Meets Dr. Drew

Ah, proximity—you seem to be the key to all things dating… which is tricky given how much I like to spend time alone.

This week's Breaking In featured the theory that "love is a numbers game" and that the way for one of the leads to finally get the girl of his dreams is to spend as much time with her as possible. He actually had the day broken down into "quality time spent" components, and spending the day at work with this girl meant he would be "winning" (not in the Charlie Sheen sense, but with actual positive outcome in the mix) the battle for her heart (which he might want along with her other parts).

Then much to my surprise, when I finally got through my email, I saw that Kelly at HLN had sent over another clip from Dr. Drew's show. Now, the piece was supposed to explore what it is that men really want from women. This scared me because I assumed it was somehow pornographic. Kidding. Kidding. Not really, but let's pretend.

Naturally, the conversation turned toward the different approaches of the sexes in meeting a potential partner. The panel and Dr. Drew came to the conclusion that Cam did in Breaking In (only they backed-it up with actual data) that proximity plays an enormous role in finding a potential romance.

I worked many, many, many years in a largely-male environment. Love did not blossom for me. No seeds were even planted. Clearly, I need to work at a place where there is a plethora of options before I can give this theory a try. But otherwise his advice did leave me a little bit stuck. He said, "Go put yourself in environments where you're about to be near people that share the kind of interests that you do." That idea is all well and good, but look at my interests: ballet, theater, museums, movies, reading and watching TV. They either involve being alone, not interacting or involve places not exactly teeming with single, straight men who have also arrived alone. Do you have any idea how difficult it is for a shy, retiring type to pry a guy away from his mother at the ballet? It's not going to happen.

Also, sitting next to the guy sitting alone in an empty movie theater is creepy. Not that I've tried that. Yet.