Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'll Be (not) Home For Christmas.

I feel like a toddler on the very first day of pre-school. The moment that you arrive to that building where all those other people are and you know that something is up. That something is a little off kilter and that you're about to be "alone", in a building full of strangers, and away from the safe people you know.

Only, today, I was the person driving to the building full of people, dropping off my mother at the airport. I kissed her goodbye quickly, got her coat out of the car, and wished her a safe flight. For a moment I was surprised at how calm I was. At how unemotional I was being. I got back into the car quickly, to avoid even more damp clothing and drove away. I didn't look in the rear view mirror.

I reached toward the volume knob in the car and there was the Christmas music that I loved. The feeling of grief came over me like an unexpected wave hits a body in the ocean. I held back tears and tried to find a song which would stir up any other emotion. I couldn't find one.

The truth is that my mom kind of IS Christmas. She makes it beautiful. She makes it warm, cozy, and fun. And she's going to be hundreds of miles away from me for it, for the first time ever.

And I will be at circle time in a room full of my fiancé's relatives experiencing my favorite holiday with all the kids that know each other from play groups. I'm the new kid.

Very strange.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Today, I paid $2.99 a gallon for gasoline.

It was a glorious thing worth blogging an entire post about.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Keg Stand.

First time for everything.

Went to a Halloween party last night. Did a Keg stand. (First time).

Had 5 or 6 red solo cups of home-made beer......

AND threw up twice when I got home.

I don't think beer likes me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

$900 Present to Self.

Today I gave myself a $900 present.

For the past 2 years I've had my eye on numerous Digital SLR cameras. All were expensive and I've never quite wanted one enough to go ahead and spend the money. Both of my digitals are past their times. They are done. I am in a photo class where we are using film cameras but as a visual learner, a digital would help greatly to undestand what happens when I do what to the camera and it's parts.

I went to Sears and I knew that I was in trouble when I brought my wallet in. It can only mean one thing. I intend to purchase.

I entered the electronics section on a mission. I stared down the 5 D SLR options for a few minutes and then spoke to a sales person about which one was right. I quickly decided on the Sony Alpha 200K and bought the extra lens (a 75-300mm) to go with it. I was so excited, I felt like I was getting a puppy. I left the store with a big smile on my face. I cannot WAIT to play with my new toy.

My biggest purchase for self and I am sure one of the best ever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Misunderstood Words

Some words that people have been misunderstanding/not knowing around me lately:

A: Relationship:
1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.
4. a sexual involvement; affair.

--People seem to be afraid to use this word around each other these days. Men and women shy away from using it when they have been having some sort of personal connection to one another, be it sexual or emotional. People seem to fail to see that just about any interaction with a person that we have on this earth is a relationship. We have a relationship with our teachers. We have a relationship with our friends and family members. We have a relationship with the acquaintance we met years ago and keep in touch with. We have SOME SORT of a relationship with each person we work with and every person we sit on a bus with. The relation between us has a lot to do with where we are and what we are doing. Yet in conversation today people avoid the word fearing someone will take it too out-of-context and blow it out of proportion and make us some sort of stalker or something. It's sad how we, as human beings, are pushing ourselves further and further apart by just the misuse or no use at all of a simple word.

B: Date:
1. An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest.
2. One's companion on such an outing.

--I had a misunderstanding on this one some time back on a few different levels and it helped me immensely to look it up in a dictionary. It actually blew my mind. Two things happened here, for me. First, I realized that a date didn't have to be anything that really "meant" something to someone. And second I realized that to some it could. I realized I had been on dates with someone who I cared a lot for, and who didn't interpret the date to mean anything. I realized that I'd been on dates, unintentionally, with a married man. In this case I was the one who thought that the outing between this person and I had no particular meaning. Simply looking up the word and fully understanding all that constitutes a date by dictionary definition, I put ethics in on myself. I didn't want to go on lone-outings with the married man anymore because I felt it was now wrong, having a full understanding of the situation. I also understood more of where the guy I had been "dating" was at. Made it a lot easier to accept things and to go on.

Many people don't know exactly what constitutes a date, but don't have the common sense to look up what it means. Many a perceived innocent outing turns into a date and blossoms into something more for an engaged or married person and ends up causing a lot of ethical mess.

C: Communication:
1. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.

--I believe you can go a little further into this and also say that communication is thought, expression, distance, receipt and duplication of the original thought between two people. So, if communication is simply this, if one person is communicating with another and is sharing an opinion but not their fully actual opinion, they are in fact not truly communicating. And if one duplicates a false or only partially true communication from another person, then there is a really bad sort of communication going on. If everyone could just be real, say how they truly feel, and then someone could acknowledge it and voice their very own (different or same) opinion how would the world change? How much more understanding and peace would go around? How many more relationships would thrive?

D: Respect:
10. to show regard or consideration for: to respect some one's rights.

--If you've ever had a respect for a particular person or organization and have witnessed someone attacking or simply not showing any sort of respect for that person then you will have a complete understanding of how people can misunderstand what respect is. I have seen many people who are angry with others. They spout out disrespectful words and then they expect to be treated kindly and even more than that. They sometimes expect to be treated royally after having insulted and battered this person in one way or another. If one were to point out to these people that it is nice to speak to people kindly and show some respect they might bicker with you and insist that they were respectful but that they are angry and give a million justifications as to why they don't need to be polite and can use harsh words. If respect is simply to show regard or consideration for another, then that would mean not using the hurtful words which might enturbulate someone and instead, very carefully and diplomatically wording what you need to say and taking careful precaution not to offend the person. Yet people think they are respectful simply by not shouting or severely harassing people. Many people fail to see that simply a tone of voice, a look or even particular wording can be disrespectful. I deal with this every day at work and wish that I had a dictionary to flip open and say "look, if you want me to help you to the best of my ability, I need you to show respect for me as a human being and as a service woman doing what I can to get you the products that you want for less."

E: Appreciation:
1. gratitude; thankful recognition: They showed their appreciation by giving him a gold watch.
2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.
3. clear perception or recognition, esp. of aesthetic quality: a course in art appreciation.
4. an increase or rise in the value of property, goods, etc.
5. critical notice; evaluation; opinion, as of a situation, person, etc.
6. a critique or written evaluation, esp. when favorable.

Specifically I am speaking about a group of people's lack of this for a specific organization. Regardless of the organizations short-comings there are individual people who, I believe, have the very best intentions in their running and working for this organization. When there is only negative critique given to this specific organization as to what they are doing wrong and only orders rather than requests of how to make it better, then there is no appreciation what-so-ever for the people who are possibly working hard to get the people what they feel they deserve. Often times we forget that there are individuals behind organizations and we forget that people are mostly good. An organization, for the most part, isn't simply trying to suck money from an individual. Often they want to give a good product back and sometimes there are unexplained obstacles in the way of doing this. The individual worker bees are the ones that get the brunt of an unhappy public and those people deserve some appreciation. Something less like "To whoever you are, I am so unhappy with YOUR service. YOU are not giving us what we want and I pay YOU to do this and that." It is offensive and shows little care for anyone but the person who is writing in. Not to mention incorrect targetting. It would be much better to say in a letter requesting help or voicing concern for the lack of product given "Dear Organization, I have been a member of organization for several years and until recently have been very happy with the service and products given. Recently however, I feel there has been a down-fall in the amount that we members have been given and I am writing to suggest a few ways that this could be improved. I really want to continue to be a member but if there is no improvement I fear I can no longer justify doing so. Below are mine and several others' suggestions on how we'd love to see you improve. Best regards..." this shows appreciation for the past product that a worker bee has probably worked on and shows appreciation for the good things that there were and also suggests that one likes being a part of the organization. It gives more to work towards and a positive vibe rather than abusive and upsetting words which cause many an individual to lose the desire to please a rude and unappreciative public.

The world is missing the use of some pretty powerful and positive words. I find it sad.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sweet Tuesday.

I've been having a bit of a challenge in my first ever photography class lately, which has irked me to the core. I love photography and believe I'm fairly good at it. So when I entered the class I thought this should be an easy-A and that I should be the best in class. I quickly learned that I was missing the fundamentals of photography in my knowledge and that means there is a LOT of room for improvement. No matter how good I was to start.

I've been a little discouraged. And then today happened.

I arrived to class a mere 20 minutes late (a great improvement for me, who usually misses nearly the entire lecture portion of class) to find that I had received 110/110 points on my first assignment when I felt that this was not my best work ever. The rest of the assignments on the table said 100. I was second-guessing myself when I shrugged it off.

In the lab a few moments later, my partners for the second class assignment were getting ready to finish that assignment. About 5 minutes after I started making my contact sheet, Boko came over and said "I know you took this picture, but can I use it to make an 8x10 enlargement for that portion of the assignment? I really like it a lot!" (to show that you know how to enlarge). I said okay. 5 more minutes later, the other partner comes to ask "Marisa, I know you took this photo of me, but I really really like it. Can I make my 8x10 from this one?". OK!

More minutes later, I, who felt like she had to ask everyone else for help in weeks before, was asked by several people to help adjust their image. And so I spouted my knowledge. And it was right. Boko eventually needed some help on her(my) print and so she asked the teacher what he recommended, which was "burning in". She asked how to do it and he explained that it would take some work and it all depended on how much she wanted the image. "Really, really badly" she said. And so off she went for the rest of the class period to get that image just right. And she did and was so proud.

Moments later I hear people commenting on the print in the developer "oh wow! That's really good! Who's is that?" and then "Wow, that's a great photo of you... who took it?"

I continued on my own work. My own negatives, my own enlargements. Several people passed my work and said "Oh wow... that's cool! What is that? Who took it? Is it Randall's?" (the teachers). I even heard two "that print is perfect!" from one particular student.

Talk about an ego boost?

Then there's work. I go in. I'm the only person and I'm required, then, to work three posts all at once. Photographer, sales, and reception. I fall behind. But the people are so so kind and understanding. The printer runs out of paper and I've never changed it. Manager takes 2 hours to come down to get things all settled. But the people are still patient.

I take the photos, I interact with the parents. And while we almost could have had super low statistics on our sales per sitting at the store, each client I saw bought fairly sizable packages and came to pick them up that same night, despite the delay in time. Our sales per sitting was 30% above where we needed to be. Even at the end of the day when I had been alone and behind. All four of the people I saw wanted to come back and take holiday photos with me. "When are you on schedule?"

It was awesome.

AND THEN there's the song work with Adam. It started that I hated the first vocal track but was okay with the second. We added some different effects to the song and are still not done but have greatly improved it to the point where I can listen to it loudly in my car with no shame as to if someone hears me. It's pretty cool. That's a little huge for me.

So in the end of the day here I am, feeling like it's only noon when it's 1 Am and I need to be up in less than 6 hours. It's beautiful! What a sweet Tuesday!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Vocal Woes.

I'm a little disappointed.

Last Thursday I got together with my collaborator to work on a song of ours. I was excited and was ready to take on the big mic. I felt more comfortable than I ever have before and was ready to get on going on it by the time we recorded. After we were done, I listened to the vocal track and felt pretty pleased with what I heard. I heard some flaws and some places I could improve on but for the most part I felt good about it. Like this one had more emotion and like it was better than the last.

Or so I thought.

The last time we did this, we had a piano only as the instrumental backing and my voice. We recorded the vocal and when I played it back I didn't like it. When I received it in digital form, I listened and I was pleased. I was proud of the song.

This time I received the track planning to be happy with it and I am almost embarassed by my vocal quality in it. I'm bummed out. I can't put my finger on it, really, either. Maybe it's just what I create in my head sounds either so much better or so much worse by memory so when I hear it, I'm either pleased or displeased.

Either way I'm kind of bummin'.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Note to self:

Don't second guess yourself. If something feels wrong, it's likely to be wrong.

Don't give too many chances. You'll just get hurt.

Accept situations as they are and especially when you can do nothing to fix them.

When you can't figure it out, it's likely to be compulsion. Leave it alone. Don't dig. You'll only find it harder to climb out.

Don't take it personally.

Sleep when you're tired.

Drink more water.

Buy chapstick.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Many Adventures of Marisa!

Last night was amazing!

I went on a hike in the mountains and attempted to cross a bridge only to fall into the water and body-raft all the way down a Victoria Falls-sized waterfall.

When I reached the bottom, I then had to climb up and through a meuseum-like giant redwood tree which was located in a dried up canyon with venomous beasts. I swung on a vine with giant spiders which I was terrified of, into the side yard of a haunted mansion on a corner lot in the South that I've been in a zillion times, and terrifies me. Only, this time I realized that the ghost in the high attic is gone and I have nothing to fear.

I opened the door to leave the house, excited I no longer needed to be scared and realized that I was in Europe in some strange town that mixed the cultures and architecture of London, Prague, India and Greece into one. I was without my camera, though, so I didn't get any pictures. It sucked. On the flight over I was really upset and my energy field almost crashed the plane (which had no windows and dentist-like chairs). I was also taking my first flying lesson, so we had an interesting take off with me trying to be both seated coach class passenger and pilot. Turbulent! It didn't go so well, so we landed on CA I-405 and were towed to a military air base where a flight specialist took over and flew us to our destination.

Anyway, back to....Eur...NO! Actually when I realized I didn't have my camera we started to head back to the mansion but got lost and somehow ended up in the North Pole, where I hiked all around a gigantic iceberg down into a sunken underwater pirate ship restaraunt where there was family style dining. We checked into our hotel room, and I got dressed all snazzy to go and have dinner with Minnie Driver to see if my "brother" thought we would make a good couple, or if I should stay with my ex, Alec Baldwin. Minnie ended up being the better match. Especially since we had a child together who was in a Minnie Mouse dress and yellow booties.

We went outside for a walk and were trapped on an island on some other planet where there was a very rocky beach. My foot got stuck in an old Reebok high-top that had an electric eel which was thankfully dead residing in it. I about had a heart attack. I sat on the shore to remove my foot from the high-top when I realized that there was a rather deep drop off and that I was staring at this planet's equivalent to an Orca whale. She told me my friends were kayaking in a male voice, so I departed and ended up with a disease that had me bed-ridden at a Christian camp.

I'd had enough of that and the old Indian chanting, so I stole the Rolls Royce that was hidden in the Winnie the Pooh ride at Disneyland, in the section with the Heffalumps, and drove out of there and never looked back.

Thank God I drove myself back to my bed where I could wake up to laugh at all those funny little dreams! It was rather entertaining being asleep last night. Boy, do I tell you!

...and this is how my unconscious mind apparently works!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


It's beginning to feel like Fall!

The air smells crisp. The weather is cooling down and the light seems to be warming up.

I always jump-start into action when the Fall arrives and feel like I can take everything on. From work out routines and diets to making more money and just being happier, the late Summer/ all of Fall seems to bring it.

Bring on the cute sweaters and fitness!


If I Were Homeless

I’ve thought of this often.

If I were homeless I would stay in Southern California or, depending on where I was starting off homeless, I would make my way there. It can be rainy but often is not so this makes it a pleasant place to be. No snow, not much rain, mostly sunny or over cast.

If I were homeless I would build myself a relatively leak-free roof for my box house, which could be folded up and carried easily. It would consist of cardboard box, duct tape and gathered aluminum cans which I’d cut and make a somewhat single-like roof.

I would likely find a new freeway on or off-ramp to reside under at night time.

If I were homeless I’d start myself in Long Beach, California so that I could scour the alley ways for things like old lawn chair padding or an old air mattress with a whole or two that I could patch up. A large backpack and old clothes to stuff in it; a single sleeping bag would be a “find” and would do for years to come. I would search for a stroller because those would be the easiest to find in an alley way in long beach…or as one of the smartest homeless men I’ve seen had with him…I’d find myself a bike and one of those toddler houses that trail behind one and I’d load my bedding in there while carrying my clothes on my back.

I would find me a big stray dog to wake me when someone unfamiliar or unwelcomed was near.

From time to time I’d save 5 dollars and I’d do my laundry, but only when I was unbearably stinky and needed to do something about it for my own sanity. I’d also take a trip to a new place from time to time in the summer.

I would drink frequently from park and beach water fountains, and I’d swing in parks (at night so as not to frighten the kids or their parents) to amuse myself……..I’d try to think of ways to make life better.

But then I suppose that the one thing that separates me from the homeless guy is that I think about this frequently. I don’t suppose that many people (except for the rare exception who actually choose to be homeless as a lifestyle) thought that the would be without a home. I guess they sort of lose control. Of their finances, of their mind, or imagination, or their desire to live.
But I do think about it a lot.

I see a homeless person I imagine what I’d do if I were them. And actually, I wonder if they’d ever done the same.

Have you?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

List to Photograph.

London parks; London buildings; London transportation; London people; Castles in England; Castles in Ireland and Scotland; Landscapes in England, Ireland and Scotland; Cathedrals in England, Ireland and Scotland; Landmarks in England. Paris! Everything there, from the cracks in the sidewalks and streets to people, boats, rivers, landmarks and buildings; Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyon, Orleans, Marseille, Nice, Monaco. Italy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITALY. I'll say it again. ITALY. Venice, Rome, Sicily, Pisa, Tuscany, Naples, Capri, Pompeii, Amalfi Coast. Greece & Turkey. Every single ruin there. China. The Great Wall and some petrified wook under a lake that I've heard of. Japan, Korea. Costa Rica beaches and jungle and all sorts of fun and scary creatures there. A zillion caribbean and tropical islands. Montreal. Alaska. Africa on a safari all over. Victoria Falls. Washington DC. Mexico. German concentration camps. Egypt and all the pyramids and ruins and some really neat little villages. San Francisco, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Maine. Funky doors around the world. Antarctica.

...and the rest of my life.

So much the photograph.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Edison, This Stinky Cheese Exceeds 95 Decibels!

Last night brought a night at the old Edison building in Los Angeles. I love the Edison when it comes to ambiance. The music is just so interesting, and the old Hollywood films on a few different screens bring you back in time. Very old world. Classy.

I would say two things negative about last night's experience. No, three. For one, my fiance was not there. Two, the seating is.... wow. LOL. Stools. No backs. I need to work on my posture if I am going to be wearing short dresses, looking good and sitting on a stool. LOL. I felt like a hill-billy. Slouch, slouch, slouch. And three.....

THE STINKY CHEESE! Oh wow! One of them smelled like something that sits in your drain for weeks when no one does the dishes. It smelled like that but I thought to myself, "self! This must taste better than it smells because no one would purchase cheese that tasted like this smells!" So into that little tiny morsel, I bit. And I regret it. Yep. Tasted just like it smelled. The other kinds that I tried were fine. Just not the stinky sink cheese. Bleck!

After a few hours and cake at the Edison for Ana Luisa's going-away party, we headed to go dancing. Just a few blocks away from the Edison. And when we went.... I saw a sign on the door. I figured that with all of the other signs posted on the door, it must be just for decoration. It said "The sound level in this venue exceeds 95 decibels." I walked in, the music was loud and then it felt louder and louder and louder and louder and louder, until we walked out and my ears were ringing so loud!!!!!! They still are ringing. I'm hoping it's not permanent dammage.

Also, I think that in the walk to the place we must have gone through some sort of vortex and had some time travel. Because when we walked up to the club there were so many people dressed like the 80s and as soon as we walked into the club, it was 80s music remixed and people were even DANCING 80s style. My mom actually looked cool when she danced. I had no clue how to dance like that. OMG it was just soooo strange.