27 June 2010

Moving Day

I'm moving this week. It started with just a few things that I took over Saturday when I went to pick up the keys. And enroute, I called a friend.

"I'm moving! I'm moving! I'm moving! I'm moving!"

I sounded like the audio version of a 6 year old on a pogo stick, bouncing up and down with excitement. Who gets excited about moving? Nobody. Certainly not me. I've never been this excited to be physically carrying my things out of one residence and into another. Normally, like most peoople, I dread moving.

What makes this time different? Well, one reason is an painfully negative, current living situation. The friends that already know about it have heard enough and the ones that haven't heard don't need to, right? Right.

Another reason is that almost all of my belongings are still in a luxurious temperature controlled storage locker in Los Angeles. I haven't acquired a lot of household goods on this coast and the things I do have with me are either very necessary or very inexpensively acquired. It's an odd thing, buying something that is so ugly you know you'll be glad to take it to Goodwill one day in your fantasy future. But that's what I've done.

I asked my mother for the ugliest, tackiest holiday decorations she could send at Christmas. (She showed an absolute flair for that, by the way! Thanks Mom!) A beloved niece handmade my miniature Christmas stocking sticked with a personal message. And I've picked up anything else I needed at thrift stores and out of the way places. It's been sort of fun.

I think once you've been through the whole mess of being able to buy whatever you really wanted and then having to carefully box, stack and store those things thousands of miles away, you don't need to feel sad that they're gone. I don't need anything more because my stuff is just somewhere else at the moment.

If you have heard part of that Carrie Underwood song out in the last couple of months, called "Temporary Home," then maybe you understand a little of how I feel:

"This is my temporary home.
It's not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I'm passin' through.
This is just a stop on the way to where I'm going.
I'm not afraid because I know this is my temporary home."

I'm not sure how long I'll stay in the Washington area. It might be just a stop. It might be The Stop. But I do know this: Monday night, I am moving.

And today, three different friends all volunteered to drop everything and help me move. So for a temporary home, this is feeling pretty good right now.

15 June 2010

People Candy: Gordon

As you may have noticed, my life is sometimes a bit like a soap opera.
So it can't surprise you that I consider most of the people that I meet to be very interesting characters. In fact, people-watching is one of my dearest joys in life. It's how we end up here at People Are Candy with such a plethora of delights!

This is Gordon. He's 6-7.
Which is to say, he tells me he's 67 and I'm guessing he's 6'7" in height as well. I'm not quite sure what to make of that perfectly round goose-egg looking thing on the upper portion of his forehead. It was, uhhhhh, actually more pronounced in person.
Here's how I came in contact with Gordon: I was in Dupont Circle, having a spot of pizza with a relative who was about to leave the Washington area when I caught a glimpse of Gordon, all 6'7" of him, walking by out in front of the restaurant.
"Wow, look at that man! He's totally an eyeful! Isn't he just wonderful!?"
My cousin is actually accustomed to my great delight in people who are out of the ordinary, so she turned around to see who was walking down the street.
In addition to that sleeveless campshirt, Gordon was wearing khaki shorts and a brownish "nude" colored sock on his right lower leg that made me contemplate whether it was "orthopedic" (support hose?) or an ultra-cool fake lower leg. He had a bit of a "gait" going on.
It was all so delicious. I decided I liked him immediately... for a part in the next John Waters' film set in my mind's neighborhood.
But too quickly, Gordon lurched off and I lost hope of further relishing his presence.

After dinner, the cousin and I wandered over to Second Story Books (directly across the street from my favorite pizza place ever) and when I walked into there store, Gordon was behind the counter! And when I asked if I might take a few snaps for us, to my utter delight, he graciously agreed. (And before you ask, YES, he does have a left arm. He's just tucked it behind his back.)

This is when you know someone is The Good Stuff. He said yes. He knows he's a character in someone's "yet to be written book" and is so wonderfully comfortable in his skin. He has a bit of a gentle way about him. It was possible to like him immensely, so I did. How could I not?

Gordon told me he's lived in Washington for all his 67 years. He doesn't own Second Story, but he's been working there for a very long time.

I may need to go back and buy a book. If you go into Second Story Books in Dupont Circle, be especially nice to Gordon. He'll likely be a famous movie star some day.

08 June 2010

My Someday Neighbor

This is my new friend. Her name is Rachael. I'm thinking about moving back to Los Angeles to be her neighbor.
I should explain to you that I've been at a global conference on women's sexual and reproductive health called "Women Deliver" all week. In pursuit of this fascinating topic, I've interviewed a couple dozen people each day and although I have greatly liked many of them, I am pretty sure Rachael is my favorite.
Which is very unusual for me. Because the smiling, sweet, funny woman that you see there is in fact, an actress and director. Her full name is Rachael Leigh Cook.

You can see why she's famous, right? Great smile and bright, engaging eyes? Yes, yes. But I've interviewed a couple hundred celebrities in my life. I've generally thought most of them were a bit more of a pain than the interview warranted. And I'm pretty sure they thought exactly the same of me.
I didn't feel that way about Rachael. She was my third and final celebrity interview of the day.
The first actress was, as my British producer gently pronounced, "a bit of an ice queen." (This is a prime example of the British people's "gift for understatement.") I'm leaving her name out because this isn't a celebrity tell-all blog. It's People Are Candy and I'm thinking the first interview was a Zotz.
The second was Ali Larter, one of the stars of the hit show "Heroes" on NBC. She attended the conference with her mother, which was very sweet. She was very accomodating to us and at the same time, showed a good amount of concern for her mother's comfort and feelings, too. All in all, a solid "butterscotch" experience.
Rachael was with her assigned public relations "friends." We were scheduled for an interview an hour later, but then one of her companions trotted up and offered to bring her a bit earlier than previously agreed. My rule is "Always Accept What Is Offered" and so we immediately started to throw up lights to better photograph her.
A moment later, here came Rachael Leigh Cook, catching us with our proverbial pants... er, lights down. But she was agreeably nibbling on her boxed lunch, so she walked a short distance away where she seated herself on the stairs and finish her lunch.
We finished the lighting set up and I walked down to retrieve her. I hate to drag someone off mid-chew, (and it's hard to be demanding of someone who is already being extra accomodating) so I stood by chatting with her and the other two women as they mostly finished their meals.
As a lot of you probably know, some days I have "it;" some days I don't.
And by "it," I refer to my innate ability to be so utterly offensive in under ten seconds that everyone within a two mile radius gags on their veggie wrap and pasta salad.
This particularly day, I apparently left "it" at home. As I stood there and talked with these women, Rachael Leigh Cook turned out to be the nicest, funnest person I've met in awhile.
I liked her so much that I said, "If you and I lived on the same street, I believe we'd be great friends."
Not to worry; I have no intention of hustling off to LA to be someone's weirdo stalker-ratzi-fan-neighbor. (There's a wide-open "if" tucked in there.) I've still got stuff to do here.

Yet the conversation rambled along. We discussed my concern for American women's health and weight issues. She offered a theory that it's caused by hidden anxieties. I suggested it was caused by hidden sugars. And we laughed and chuckled over my angst-filled meeting of Arianna Huffington the day before. (Ms. Huffington was so stunning in person, that I tried to give her a compliment but instead, wound up with my foot so painfully far in my mouth that I'm pretty sure I was letting off toenail polish on the other end.) I'd been trying to talk myself out of my horror ever since, so meeting Rachael Leigh was both a relief and a delight.
And then it was something more.
I was about to begin her interview when I saw a few stray hairs. I pulled out a comb and asked if she minded if I gave her just a little... touch up? She has beautiful brown hair, but it's very humid here in Washington, so I smoothed it a tiny bit. Not so much, really, right? Right.
Here's where I knew we'd be the very best of neighbors and to me, she became and always will be "Rachael from The Block:"
When the camera turned on me for "reversals," she knelt down, retrieved the comb back out of my purse and started doing the same to my hair. Touching me up. Well, I never!!
I've interviewed a lot of people. I've had a lot of fun meeting them all. (Even the first celebrity of the day, admittedly a bit of a pill, was interesting.) But I found Rachael Leigh Cook to be one of the most genuine, open people I've met in awhile.
So forgive me, but I may buy that house and live in that flower-filled neighborhood in my mind for sometime to come.
And if People Are Candy, Rachael Leigh Cook seems like she might just be an (almond) Joy.

06 June 2010

Of Church Fairs, Wild Hairs, Car Repairs and... Barbecue

I went to get my hair cut and my car worked on yesterday, and I came away with a good bit more.
My hair appointment was about 90 minutes north of Washington, DC in Towson, Maryland. (Towson is not a great mecca of hair styling, but the closest one of those, near as I can tell, is in Los Angeles. Suffer with me here.) (And, no, you aren't entitled to a look. It's just hair.)
After the hair appointment, I drove to the mechanic's house. He lives with his mother. That's actually one of my favorite things about him. He's the son of a friend who I like to beg into doing my mechanical stuff. He's willing to do it, and I pay him a nominal fee for his particular grease-monkeying.
This particular day, he finished the mechanics and tossed in removing a screw that I had stripped. As it turns out, I'm quite good at stripping screws. He expressed his admiration. I expressed my cash. Everybody's happy.
Except on the way in, I had seen this little arrangement off of a wayside church.

Having grown up in a small town, I can't resist a gathering of gentle folk at a small country church. Toss in barbecue and I'm a goner.
I asked the mechanic. Sure enough, he was game. After the car repairs, off we went.

Here he is, with his plate, waiting on me to get my barbecue sandwich so we could find a table to dine. He looks pretty reasonably happy, doesn't he? You can tell it's not a date with that stack of onions! (And he's recently engaged. Congratulations, Grant and Taylor!)
This next picture is the server.
I forgot her name, but I won't forget that grin. Or her generosity. That's MY plate. You think maybe the mechanic and I should have swapped plates? My gracious, what a little chitty-chat will do for the person wielding the barbecue tongs! All I did was ask for a taste of each, and pretty quick, I had a plate full of both!
Along the way to the seating area, we dawdled along the rummage sale. Some homemade goods, some far away stuff and lots of the usual suspects.
This Santa Claus figure caught my eye. He looks like he's trying to hook a ride, doesn't he? But he did not come home with me.
And then I caught sight of this little game:

He's trying... really trying to... Oh! There it goes!

The inflatable alligator lands on top of the barbecue stand. I'm not sure what the game was here exactly, but it seemed to be irresistable.

Maybe you had to be there. You wish you had been, don't you?

I love a little country gathering, with families wandering throughout the entire scene. And me and the mechanic, enjoying the barbecue and the air out there.
All in all, I got a good deal more than just the great deal on automotive work and hairstyling.