Friday, August 29, 2008

The Political Balancing Act.

This morning, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has come out of the political shadows to be announced as John McCain’s VP candidate, and the first woman nominated for VP since Geralidine Ferraro in 24 years. And last night, Barack Obama gave a stirring speech in Denver to accept his presidential nomination, complete with streamers, confetti, families, and sweeping music to create the ultimate feel-good movie ending, painting Obama as America’s hero.

Now I have questions. And I should probably wait to ask them until after watching the Republican National Convention next week, but I’m compelled to write about it now, so deal with it.

I question EVERY motive of modern politics nowadays. It’s hard to decide what’s real…everything seems to be smoke and mirrors. Was Joe Biden chosen because he’s the best guy for the job? Or was he chosen as an old white guy to keep the Democratic ticket grounded and appealing to the undecided masses, because he’s the typical face America is used to seeing on a presidential ticket? And on the other side of the coin, was relatively unknown Sarah Palin only chosen because she’s a female, and could help the already old-white-guy-saturated GOP look more progressive? “See guys, we can slap a minority on our ticket, too! Ta-dah!” Don’t get me wrong, it’s about time we mixed it up in the political arena. Either we’ll have our first black president, or our first female vice-president. WOW! But I can’t help but wonder if my previous questions are true. These campaign teams have a lot of money and pride on the line to make sure their candidate wins. Are they motivated by the need to win, or the need to do what is right?

The vast majority of the American people make their decision based on a sound bite, or a knee-jerk reaction to something they think they connect with a candidate on, without doing any real research about where they actually stand on an issue or what their voting records are. I’ve been guilty of that in the past as well, but I really am trying to remedy that during this election. I’m looking for something genuine. Nothing phony or scripted. Just straight answers. That may be a pie-in-the-sky thinking, and I know that’s not the way the world works, but I’m within my rights as an American to want that.

The information out there is overwhelming, for sure. But it’s our responsibility to find out the facts. It’s up to each of us. Until we as Americans stand up and demand real facts, and actually go out and look for them, things will not change. Elections will continue to be dumbed-down for the American public, and we’ll continue to be spoon-fed attack ads, spin, finger-pointing, and candidates with perfectly crafted answers.

Soap box aside, I’m LOVING this…

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We all get porn/viagra/cialis spam emails. Tonight I couldn't help but notice the subject line of one of these emails that made me laugh out loud.


Huh? What weird fetish demographic is this catering to? Wait, nevermind. I don't want to know.

The hats I wear.

Like everyone else, I wear different hats in my life...daughter, sister, friend, musician, recruiter, hooker (just making sure you're paying attention). I started thinking about my weekend job as a wedding coordinator, and about all the things that get thrown at me and my crew every week. Below is a list of all the different hats I'm prepared to wear on any given Saturday...while most of these are hopefully handled by a hired vendor or specialist, the wonders never cease as to the myriad of ridiculousness that has happened over the years. I've learned to anticipate ANYTHING. It keeps things interesting for sure, and no two weddings are alike. I have no doubt that this list will continue to grow with each passing Saturday.

Jen's Hats
-Ceremony Coordinator
-Crisis Intervention
-Timeline Nazi
-Vendor referral service
-Tour Guide
-TOTAL Bitch
-Wrangler of Drunk People
-Ass-Kisser (of Bridezillas, Momzillas, and any other 'zilla' you can imagine)
-Traffic cop
-Hostess/General People Pleaser
-Bride Gopher
-Place Card Alphabetizer
-Improviser Extraordinaire
-Cab Driver
-Cake Decorator/Frosting Fixer
-Security Guard
-DJ and MC
-Makeup artist

and last, but certainly not least...
-Verbal punching bag for a drunk and/or high DJ (yes, this HAS actually happened.)

With the help of my amazing crew, ALL of the things on this list have had to be put to use in one way or another over the years. I LOVE my brides (most of them, anyway), so I don't mind rolling with the punches and putting out fires. It's definitely a labor of love.

Hmm...I've never had to be a minister/officiant. Maybe I should get ordained wouldn't be a bad idea.

* RANDOM WEDDING STORY: Last weekend's wedding was for a Korean family. On the guest list, there was a gentleman by the name of Dong Won, who I'd like to think was a romancer of women from the Far East. Connie Chung (unfortunately, not Maury Povich's Connie Chung) was also in attendance. I absolutely love the names I come across at these weddings.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Olympics

I love the Olympics. Always have. This year hasn't disappointed. However, my friend Jodi astutely pointed out that all the Olympics do is make us realize how lazy us mere mortals are. And it HAS. I haven't even set foot in a gym in well over a month. My biggest accomplishment this week is that I powered down an entire container of Trader Joe's chocolate covered almonds in under 3 days, with very little help from my co-workers. Not exactly the picture of health right now.

Hell, my previous post was about donuts. I'm on a ROLL. Suck on that, Michael Phelps.

Monday, August 18, 2008


First of all, let me say how excited I am to have internet in my house!!! We've been living here since August 1, and we FINALLY got the internet up and running. I was going through serious withdrawls. It's good to be back. Hallelujah!!!

Now, down to business....

I'm about to share a picture that would bring a tear to the eye of anyone that grew up in Glendora. It's a thing of beauty. A work of art. Here it is.... The Fresh Peach Donut from Donut Man on Route 66. These donuts are legendary. They're an institution in Glendora. It's what happens when a glazed donut and a peach pie have wild nasty sex. I was home this weekend, and my car actually flipped a u-turn completely out of my control. True story. I scarfed it down, and it was every bit as amazing as I remember. And worth every calorie, fat gram, carb, etc....

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Today I paid $3.89/gallon for gas at my local Shell station today. Lowest I've seen in a while.

Question 1:
Is it wrong that I wanted to hump the leg of my gas station attendant out of sheer joy?

Question 2:
How sad is it that the "low" price of $3.89 for a gallon of gas gets me this amped?

When I was in high school, I could buy an entire tank of gas for my Buick station wagon with a $20 bill, and still have enough change leftover to hit Del Taco afterwards. So I guess that's the kind of thing I'll be telling my grandkids. "Well, back in my day, Sonny...."

Guilty as charged.

I’m an Irish Catholic. We feel guilt. About everything. All the time. However, I've started to think about all the things I regularly feel guilty about, and I’ve realized how it’s all just too much. I’m too hard on myself, and I should cut Jen a break. AND stop talking about her in the third-person.

Below is a short list of the things I regularly feel guilty about. My friend Vrej always reminds me of my “first-world problems”. These are ALL things people only in the first-world countries would think to concern themselves with. I suppose in any other place, I’d be worrying about rape, disease, female circumcision, dictatorship, famine, etc. Of course, all this does is make me feel guilty that I even FEEL guilty about this petty shit in the first place. Thanks, Vrej.

Roll call of guilt:

-I have gone church twice during the summer. Of course the first thing I list would be Catholicism related. Naturally.

-When I’m on a date with a nice guy, and I’m not attracted to him, yet he’s into me. I beat myself up about this.

-I’m not taking enough time to understand all the current political issues in this election year. Sorry, but when your presidential candidate choices start to mirror the South Park episode when the kids have to vote between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich, it’s hard to get inspired and bone up on the issues.

(**NOTE: I'm aware the South Park episode I linked above was made to make fun of the Bush/Kerry race 4 years ago, but I think it still holds true with the current race, where I honestly can't get behind either candidate. But that's a rant for another day.)

-I haven’t been to the gym in over a month.

-If I ever have to back out of plans with friends, I feel bad. REALLY bad.

-I owe at least 3 friends birthday presents.

-I’ve kept crappy contact with several of my friends lately. CLOSE friends. And in many cases, they haven’t bothered to call me either, yet I still feel bad.

-This guilt about not making contact extends to my family as well. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my nearly 99-year-old grandmother. Why can’t I just think to call them and check in?

-When I don’t work hard enough, or don’t care enough about my job.

-That I don’t spend enough time with my family. Or WORSE, that I want to spend less time with them, so I can get my own stuff done.

-Guilty that I haven’t been able to properly update this silly blog, even though it’s because I get Internet access once a week right now (which incidentally, is driving me to drink.). After all, my readership has skyrocketed from 1 to 3 readers. HOW can I let you people down?

These are the things that eat away at me EVERY DAY. Some of them are pretty small, but when you pile all of them up, I'm overwhelmed. And that’s just a sample…if I sat here long enough, I could let that list grow 5x. It’s ridiculous. How does my Eucharist-taking, confession-spilling, Catholic-baptized mind become reprogrammed to let it be ok to not feel guilty about everything?

I normally try not to spend my time dwelling on the negative, but making that list was therapeutic for me. It gave me some perspective, and made me realize that I can’t be so hard on myself, and that I have to learn to let it go. Not all of it, but some of it. After all, if I didn’t worry about this stuff, what kind of a heartless robot would I be? Guilt is a vicious circle we all deal with, but it’s all about keeping that vicious circle in check.

So I guess I don't have an answer on how to stop the guilt train from making regular stops at my station. But being aware of it is a good first step.

UPDATE: Sorry everyone, I have NO idea what's going on with the font on this post. I've tried and tried to get it to be the same, and every time I hit publish, something else goes wonky. So now it's staying this way. Stupid Blogger.

Me Jen. Me Hungry. Me hurt you if you keep me from food.

Let me start this rant off by saying I notice great customer service. I appreciate it. And normally, the good people at Trader Joe’s are AWESOME at it. They make friendly conversation and witty banter, but keep things moving along to get you out the door and on your way. I think there’s nothing better than being around someone that enjoys their job, and you always seem to come across those types of people at TJ’s.

But today, I found out that there’s such a thing as too much customer service.

I went to Trader Joe’s after work to grab something to cook for dinner. I was meeting some friends for drinks later, so I was slightly pressed for time. I had my items in my basket, and proceeded to the check out lines. There were about 6 registers open, and my next decision was crucial. My mission was to pick the quickest, shortest line so I could be on my way home as soon as possible. I was tired from a long day at work, not feeling terribly social, and more importantly, I was hungry.

*Rule of thumb: DON’T. FUCK. WITH. HUNGRY. JEN.

I sized up each line, and decided to roll the dice with a checker named Lonnie. I was confident in his abilities, as it was the shortest line, and he was almost done scanning all the items of the lady in front of me. All that was left was bagging. I was home free.

Big mistake.

Lonnie was in no hurry for ANYTHING. I’d decided he must have been fresh off his 420 break when I got in his line, because that fool was 10 kinds of mellow. While it was true he was almost done scanning, he was taking his sweet time carefully packing away each item in a grocery bag at a snail’s pace, and had an interesting tidbit for every one of them to share with his customer. The customer seemed MILDLY interested, at best. Sometimes he’d pause in his already slow bagging (to my dismay) because he’d be so enamored with his story, that he had to make a point that couldn't possibly be made while doing any other activity. He seemed completely oblivious to the growing line of tired, grumpy people behind me waiting to check out.

I realized that maybe the reason his line was so short was that the other customers were wise to Lonnie before me, and therefore, chose any line but his. The basket in my hands was getting heavier, and my belly was feeling more and more empty. I started wondering how inappropriate it would really be to start gnawing through the box of Mango Mochi I was buying. At this rate, I don’t think I could wait until I got all the way home to start eating. *See rule of thumb above.

Finally, it was my turn. I’m praying I don’t have a similar exchange with dear Lonnie, that he just rings up my 6 items, and doesn’t tell me a tale about the journey my basmati rice made from a rice paddy in Thailand. Here is our exchange:

Lonnie: Hi, how you doin’ tonight?

Me: Fine, thank you. (So far, so good…keeping the conversation light)

Lonnie: So, you making a little chicken and rice tonight?

Me: Yeah.

Lonnie: Right on, right on! So, are you Cuban?

Me (looking at my pale-ass, freckled, Irish skin): Nope, just hungry.

NOTE: the other item in my basket was Yellow Curry Sauce. Why didn’t he ask me if I was Indian? Because clearly I look Cuban. Obviously, since ONLY Cubans would eat something SO outlandish as chicken and rice.

Then I felt bad for being short with him. Wrong. Should have stuck with the "Nope. Just hungry", and left it at that. But when I corrected him and told him I was Irish, he started babbling on about freckles, some sort of Irish food, and then started talking about some movie called Black Irish that I just had to see. I don’t really remember anything after that, because I blacked out.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Is there a better way to be immortalized? I think not.

RIP Isaac Hayes....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Public Service Announcement to Drivers

Cars get dirty. It happens. Whether it’s road dust, pollution, bird poo, tree sap, bugs, midgets, or any number of other things that fly towards our cars while we’re careening down the freeway at an accelerated speed, it’s inevitable that our cars will get dirty, no matter how awesome a wax job we might have.

I KNOW this has happened to everyone out there, because there’s no way that this happened this many times to me without it being a universal experience. Scenario:You’re on the freeway at full speed, driving behind some fool who decides that THIS is the best time to slough off the crap on their windshield. They blindly hit the ol’ washer fluid button about 13 times, and the wipers start going, spraying fluid all over the windshield, until their windshield is pristine. What these driving Neanderthals may not realize is that when they’re driving that fast, the wind sprays EVERY car in their vicinity, flinging their washer fluid and window funk everywhere. And here’s a news flash, Captain Courteous Driver. We’re not grateful for the free ‘car wash’ you’re giving us. We’re just annoyed that your nastiness is now being cast all over our clean cars. Thanks. No really…thanks. And don’t try to get out of “No Washer Fluid on the Freeway” rule with the argument of an ostrich or emu laying the ultimate deuce square on your windshield, because those suckers don’t fly. My momma didn’t raise no fool. Please.

Living in Los Angeles, driving is a way of life. It’s unavoidable. The one part of our car that needs to be clean while we’re driving is our windshield. I get that. Just don’t do it on the freeway. Do it at home. At the gas station. Parked in a lot. Driving down the street when there’s no one behind you. It was probably dirty before you got in the car and started driving. C’mon, people. Think ahead.

Ahhhhhhhhh. It's good to be back.

Is anyone still reading? An Apology.

I’m sorry. This is the longest I’ve gone without doing a post for my blog. I’ve had withdrawals. I've missed blog is my release. In my e-absence, I've come up with ideas for rants/general observances to write about, but one of several scenarios occurs:

1. At the moment I'm thinking of something inspired, I’m not in a place to document my ideas to write down later. While I always used to write notes on my hand in high school, somehow I don’t think “Why do people insist on farting in elevators?” scribbled on my palm conveys that I am a professional employee. So I just hope it sticks in my brain. But it doesn’t.

2. I’m just plain exhausted. And exhausted does not equal creativity in writing.
My computer is packed, and still not hooked up in my new house. This move has been SOOOO long. It’s at the point of ridiculous. The only reason I can do this post is because I'm at a friend's house. Thanks, Cindy!

3. High season for weddings sucks my will to live. No offense to my brides/grooms…I adore them all. I do. But come August, I’m spent. I liken it to my winters in Boston. By February, winter has now been parked over your head for 3 months, and you’ve had it with the cold, ice, and snow. You hit the wall. You’ve had enough. Only winter is not close to being over…there’s still 2 months of cold to go. That’s how I feel right now. I'm done. I’ve hit the wall…and there’s 2 months of consecutive Saturdays to coordinate weddings before I feel like I can breathe.

Short story bad. Posts will now resume.