I quit my job at a legal servicing firm when I was twenty-four to pursue a career in film and television. My very first interview in the business was for a three-week temp assignment assisting a talent manager named Celia Burr, who worked out of a large production office in Beverly Hills. I was nauseous in the lobby while I waited to be taken in to meet her. Having worked in the law, I had been accustomed to a clear understanding of procedure that all parties involved had to follow. I had been warned that in entertainment, all bets were off; every company had its own method for getting the job done. And at the sign of your first mistake, word would get out that you were a disaster, and you’d never find work again.
The manager of the office, Deborah, fetched me from my spot on the sofa and took me through a pass-coded door. From there, she led me down an under-lit hallway lined with other twenty-somethings at outer-office desks, all eyeing me suspiciously, bored faces and cheap shoes. Deborah had a tightly woven perm wrapped around her head like a helmet, and a skirt that extended below her knees. I noticed as she put one leg forward, she added a last-second kick before pulling it back to replace it with the other leg. This move caused her skirt to fire out ahead of her, as if she was clearing a path for herself, and anyone who was smart should get the hell out of the way if they knew what was good for them. Before we had reached the end of the hallway, Deborah had already told me plainly that the company had a very complicated copier machine, that they were heavily financed by investors from Saudi Arabia, and that she was a lesbian and people who had problems with it didn’t last long.
A 22 year old man died trying to swing by a rope from Utah’s 110 foot tall Corona Arch. The Corona Arch is a natural landmark made of sandstone and shaped like, you guessed it, a giant arch. People climb up to the top, secure a rope to it and then jump off with the other end tied around their waist. The idea is when the rope reaches the end of its slack, the person attached at the bottom will swing wildly back and forth beneath the arch, suspended in mid-air like a human pendulum. But the guy who died miscalculated the amount of slack he needed on his rope. So when he jumped off the Arch, he just plowed straight into the ground. And that’s that.
When I read that story, I realized something wonderful. I realized that nothing like that could ever happen to me because I am a complete wimp.
I don’t mean to say that I’m a coward. I have courage. I just know where I don’t care to apply it.
The reason I would never jump off the Corona Arch is not because I’m afraid. It’s because I know me! I’d be that one hapless ninny up there who miscounts the number of feet in his rope, jumps off the top thinking, “Look at me! I’m really out of my comfort zone!” then slaps straight into the ground, ending my life at the center of a giant dust cloud just like Wile E. Coyote.
Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s wonderful when you finally accept being a wimp as part of your natural human make-up. I no longer have to pretend I’m okay with things that make me afraid. Like the iron. I hate the iron. Do you know how hot those things can get? You might as well keep a fuel rod from Fukushima under your sink. Most people don’t worry about using the iron. But again, I know me! Enough time around one of those things and I’m sure I’ll find a way to accidentally burn off my appendix.
I’m a wimp and I’m ok! I no longer have anxiety over it. Meditation and has freed me from it. Meditation and the little blue pill I have to take every morning. So what if I run from danger? Lots of people do that. Don’t ask me who right now because I can only think of C-3PO, and he’s not actually a person.
But they’re out there! Lots of them, all waiting a full three hours after eating before they get in a pool, and hiding in the basement when the stove needs to be re-lit. So what if I’ll never jump off The Corona Arch with a rope tied around my waist? I do other things well. I’ll keep to them. And I’ll also keep wearing shoes whenever I’m on shag carpet, just in case there’s a scorpion. I know me! It’s just a matter of time before one shows up. I plan on being prepared. And that’s that.
I was four seasons into watching Game of Thrones before I finally had the nerve to admit to Michael I had no idea what the fuck was going on.
So many beards. So many heads on pikes. All the boobs and scullery maids and stone walls. None of it makes sense to me. I feel like HBO forgot to air one of the seasons and just decided to see if anyone would speak up about it.
Every so often Peter Dinklage would say something snarky, or a dragon would fly by, and for a moment I’d be back on board and really proud of myself for keeping up. But it wouldn’t be long before a man with long hair would start growling next to a fireplace about crossing some giant sea and getting revenge against some other flea-ridden Jack Black look-a-like who may or may not still have his penis, and suddenly my head would drop forward like someone yanked my cervical vertebrae right out the back of my neck.
I still have no idea how many fucking Stark children there are. I know there’s the sourpuss red head, the butch one, the paralyzed one, the half-breed. And I feel like there are two younger ones — a Bobby and Cindy Stark — stashed away someplace, deep under the roots of some thousand year old talking tree, cowering in fear because some evil warlord needs to find them and eat their livers so he can take over Gallipoli.
For me, Game of Thrones was over once and for all when the show killed off that bratty little inbred king who liked to stomp around and scream and kill people when they irritated him in the slightest. Was I the only one who liked that kid? I felt he was very relatable.
So now, Michael is in the den watching Sunday night’s episode while I make cheesecake marbled brownies for work tomorrow. I could hear the show from the kitchen, and as I dropped the pans into the oven I said to myself, “I bet pretty soon someone’s gonna be bitching about taking back Castle Black,” and sure enough I was right! I don’t even know which one Castle Black is. I looked it up once on the Game of Thrones wiki, and this is what it said: “Castle Black is one of only three mannered castles left on the Wall along with Eastwatch-by-the-Sea and The Shadow Tower. It has a sept but no Godswood. Those who are followers must travel into the Haunted Forest to take their vows before a heart tree.” It’s like calculus for hobbit nerds. I’m turning my Sunday nights back over to baking. Follow me to the brownies, and leave your dire wolf at the door.
As it has been pouring rain outside for the last two days (the first real storm to hit Los Angeles since we moved into the treehouse), I decided to commemorate the event and the explosion of green we’re nearly instantaneously getting in the yard as the plants and flowers drink to their health and present us with a pre-spring preview bloom.
This is pretty much a standard cooking with a little food coloring added for some Saturday jazz. I happened to have on hand walnuts, pecans, white and dark chocolate chips, so in they all went.
Michael and I have barricaded ourselves into the TreeHouse and we’re not coming out until the rain stops pounding or Monday morning rolls around. So if you want a cookie, slip into your swimsuit, throw on your water wings and dog paddle your way up the river of mud and rocks that has become our street. We’ll leave you some in the mailbox.
You will never be happy with a straight-up old school apple pie after you power down a few slices of this Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds.
I didn’t know that a pie could lift you completely out of a mild January depression and make you so happy that you put on your yellow and purple boxer briefs just to entertain your boyfriend by dancing up and down the hall doing your best impression of a Laker Girl. Yet, there I was, gyrating in front of the linen closet with my arm behind my head, flapping back and forth doing “the sprinkler.”
For real. This is a pie you make only for people you truly love.
As it’s Friday, I’m sure many of you already had plans to tear home from work, drop yourselves down onto the couch and eat an entire jar of peanut butter with your index finger while watching Shark Tank. Well, this week you don’t have to experience any of that pesky Catholic guilt over it because it’s National Peanut Butter Day!
Here are my Tv Food and Drink’s top five peanut butter recipes. I suggest you NOT MISS the recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars after the jump. One bite are you will be re-born.
I don’t know about you, but January 23rd is about my least favorite day of the year. About as far away from Christmas and as deep into the deep, winter doldrums as we can get. Oh, and by the way, it’s still an exhausting nine months until my birthday. Thank heaven for The National Pie Council and whatever high-ranking government palms they had to grease to have today officially declared “National Pie Day!”
In honor of this day of reflection, celebrating all that the pie has given our nation, I give you my FIVE FAVORITE PIE RECIPES also known as the ONLY FIVE PIE RECIPES I KNOW! But don’t let that fool you. They’re all terrific, and well worth the day off of work. Wait.. you didn’t report to work today on accident, did you? It’s National Pie Day, you know! Didn’t you notice the lack of traffic on the freeways?
And don’t go in to work tomorrow either. That’s National Peanut Butter Day! No, I’m not kidding.