Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What To Do

I texted Blood Sister A.

"Do you ever wish some wise being would just drop into your life and tell you what to do?", I texted.

"All the time," she texted back.

I can't claim to be a wise being.

And I can't weigh in on life's mysteries.

But in the mean time, it's the week between Christmas and New Year's.

I plan to write about our trip once I am recovered from it, but I thought that maybe

just maybe

until then

you would let me tell you

what to do.

1) Rent Hanna.

It was fantastic. So unexpectedly delightful. So fully entertaining. This movie had it all--script, cinematography, set design. Hanna is a young girl who has been trained as an assassin by her father. If that doesn't hook you, I don't know if we can be friends. I don't want to give away too much, I'll just say the movie was more than I thought. It had both more depth and more levity than I anticipated. Saorsie Ronan is one hell of an actress. Just watch it. It's one of my favorite movies I've seen in a long time. This is the kind of thing you wish you had written. Or at least, I do.

2) Rent Midnight in Paris.

What? It's cold outside. You're tired. You're recovering from too much food, too much drink, too much socializing and elbowing with the relatives. You deserve to sit in front of the tv for five evenings straight, might as well have fun while you're at it. While you're having fun, you might as well escape to the City of Light. Mr. V and I just finished this one moments ago. It had me at hello--opening with a long montage of shot after shot of Paris, City of my Heart. I could watch this all night, I thought to myself. Pleasant music, pleasant Seine's (get it?) So clever. So delightful. Ten minutes in, I'm thinking to meself, "I am in love with this movie". The glow didn't fade. (Don't worry, I didn't get all the literary/artistic/cinematic references. Just gives you something to google later).

3) Rent Far North.

Ok, seriously? Yes. It's unlike anything you've ever seen. The story felt different, off somehow, until I realized it wasn't modern cinema. It's a fairy tale. A grim fairy tale (pun intended). Not for the faint of heart. Not for the squeamish. It takes its time, don't go in expecting 27 Dresses or whatever the hell the masses are watching these days. Oh boy. Just rent it.

4) If you haven't seen any of these, see them: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (watch Heath Ledger act the pants off Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell), Let The Right One In (do not, under any circumstances, watch the American version), and the Swedish version of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Swedish Title? Men Who Hate Women. Awesome. Let us always call a spade a spade, dear Swedish ancestors).

5) Read The Hunger Games.

It's possible you haven't already, and you know what? It's time.

It. Is. Time.

What the world needs now, is Katniss, sweet Katniss.

I'm for real, guys. You won't regret.

When you're done, go watch the trailer for the movie and see if it makes you cry like I did.

6) Read Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey's books.

Again, if you haven't?

It's time.

Bossypants made me laugh so hard I nearly peed my pants. I only read a few pages of Kaling's before I had to return it back to the library, but I'd bet on it being every bit as good. I read an article of her's in the New Yorker that still makes me chuckle, sitting here in my cold, cold house, dark and all alone. (Strep vs Yeast Infection. Ha!)

7) Prepare yourself to watch Supernatural on Netflix instant queue.

It hits instant watch in January. You're going to need these few days to prepare. Act like you're having a baby, and don't pinch me, I ain't jokin'. Clean your house. Make and freeze plenty of casseroles, cookies, and soups. You might even consider asking friends to drop off meals and neighbors to pick up your mail and shovel your sidewalks. We are talking 126 hours here of pure silver screen bliss. I am telling you to prepare for this 126 hour marathon (once you start, you will not stop) like it's one of the biggest events in your life because IT'S GOING TO BE. Stock up on cozy socks and hot cocoa, and get ready to have your world rocked.

You know why Dean fell out of bed? He just watched the first episode of his own show.

Someone served this at a dinner party we went to. She was off gluten for her nursing baby and boy am I glad that sweet baby was having gastro-intestinal upset! Otherwise I might never have had this cake. Incredibly moist and flavorful, it was served to us with big spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt on top. Yum. Yum.

Now things are gonna get weird. Numbers 9 and 10 are going to be items that I haven't actually read or seen myself but I'm hearing really good things about. So procede, but procede with caution, you feel me?

9) Introduce yourself to something new and read Habibi.

It's a graphic novel. I checked it out from the library before Christmas, sat down with it for about ten minutes today, and my gosh, is it beautiful. The art work and the story are so splendidly suited for one another. I'ma borrow amazon's review here: "Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them". There you have it.

10) Watch Shameless.

I stole this recommend from Mindy Kaling's blog, which is fabulous. She loved it and I can't wait to check it out. What I'm saying is if you don't like it, blame Kaling. Apparently the show is about a widowed father and lots of siblings? And the oldest sister, at only 19, has become the family matriarch? I don't know. The Brits did it first. Don't get all a flutter, it's happened before.

Got something for me to do? Post your recommends in the comments.

That is all, and

I love you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

A warm, windy day, we walked to the beach.

The girls run toward the waves and splash in the sand like life is a brand new joy.

To them it is, every day.

I hear in Denver there was a snowstorm.

I'm glad I missed it.

Snow or sun, life is beautiful.

I hope wherever you are, life is merry and bright.

Merry Christmas, baby.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On The Road Part I: Holy Something

"What if all the girls on the whole earth said 'CHUM-chum. CHUM-chum. CHUM-chum,'" Indy intoned like a chant as we zipped through the endless Mojave desert, brown mile after brown flat mile. "And all the boys said 'Rocka-rocka. Rocka-rocka. Rocka-rocka'."

That's pretty much how the day went.

Mr. V woke me at at 2:30 am and we hit the road. I wished for a valium because few terrors match that of barrelling down out of the Eisehhower Tunnel in the pitch black, in the dead of night.

I woke up in the middle of nowhere, Utah. Black Horse or Black Rock or Black Devil. So beautiful it breaks my heart, I'll say it twice. The rocks are draped like velvet curtains, lit up the colors of sunset. All through Utah, across the stretch of salt flats there was light, powdered sugar snow.

We stopped in Vegas, where the Goblins were finally baptized. By that I mean they had their first In 'n Out. I tend to think of everyone that lives in Vegas as a compulsive gambler. My only evidence this isn't true is that godawful movie, Pay It Forward. I'm pretty sure Haley Joel and Helen Hunt weren't compulsive gamblers, although now I wonder how a single mother got the money for all those lanterns? But look, I've been in the car for seventeen hours, you shouldn't listen to a thing I say.

"I'm smaller than God," says Indy. "But not smaller than baby God."

I think she's a genius.

In San Diego, this: billboards advertising "EZ-Baccarat: Tableside Dim Sum." From this I gather that Burt Baccarat wants to attend at my table and serve me steamed buns, and that he will be sexually promiscuous. We've been driving for fifteen hours and I can't tell if this is a good thing.

I think it might be.

I am disappointed with the number of light-strung palm trees in Southern California. I think my idea of California Christmas was irrevocably formed by my first Sunshine State Christmas in Palm Desert. In that land of milk and money, there is a silver dollar for every retired crevice and a light for every palm tree. Not true in Riverside or San Bernadino. God help me, listen to what I'm saying. I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be writing this. I have been in a car for seventeen hours and I think I encountered the real Jesus--you know, not the flaxen haired, but the Middle Eastern one. He told me he is as indifferent to Tim Tebow as he is to sexual orientation. Then he shared our plan for taking Tebow down, but I can't tell you about that now.

Indy calls them Pom-Pom trees and you know:

She's right.

No More Driving Ever

Friday, December 16, 2011

L.A. Lady


(Please forgive the image issues in this post. The HTC EVO phone I had on the trip makes everything--everything--impossible. This was the best I could do, let's just leave it at that.)

You know last time I flew some where it was kind of an ordeal.

But not this time. I Mele Kalikimake'd myself into a state of aviation bliss. By that I mean that I played the Bing Crosby song on repeat for almost the duration of the flight, easing myself into a Paradise State of Mind. I also ordered a glass of wine on the plane.

Best five bucks I've ever spent in my life.

I arrived at LAX and spent the next four hours there. I didn't mind, honestly. I had a new smart phone that hadn't yet proven itself to be an epic and grotesque technological failure. Southwest had lost my bag, my girlfriend's flight arrived an hour late. Whatever. I had things to tweet. If the tweeting didn't get done, who knows what might occur?

Long story short: we rode a shuttle bus to pick up a car, and while we were on the bus my girlfriend showed me Facebook's "check-in" feature. But why would I want to check-in where I actually was? That's boring, and it's not like LAX is giving you free drinks for it. So we checked in at Nudes, Nudes!! and later, at the Grilled Cheese invitational. I don't know. It seemed the thing to do. We drove the rental car twice around the LAX terminal before finding Southwest and my bag.

We drove to downtown Los Angeles.

It was lit up like El Dorado. The high rises and searchlights glittering in the night. Lights on palm trees, lights on Christmas trees.

I was in love.

There were homeless people sleeping in tents on the streets.

There were parking lots advertising cheaper rates for film crews.

There were stretch limos and doormen wearing long jackets and hats.

There were posters at the hotel displaying the movies filmed there.

We stayed at the Westin Bonaventure. Like "good adventure", I guess. All I know is that it decidedly was not named the "Westin Bonavart"--like, Bone of Art--as I told everyone ahead of time.


The lobby was a zen paradise. The beds were a dream, heavy white comforters, everything clean as a whistle. The views were stunning. The guts of the hotel were bare concrete and full of sad little "Japanese Steakhouses" and "Korean BBQ". The guts felt like someone had set up ethnic fast food in a parking garage and abandoned it.

We ordered mimosas in bed. We watched L.A working twenty stories below us, people draped in hats and scarves and thick coats for the 55 degree weather.

We ventured out late for lunch. It was L.A, it seemed the thing to do. People strutted past us in only the finest business wear, perfectly cut jackets and pressed, tailored pants. The homeless circled among them in strange harmony. It looked like a movie set. It felt like a movie set. The streets were clean. Everything was black and bare and glinting in the sun.

Our waitress was getting in to fashion design.

Two fish tacos were fourteen dollars. The burgers were sixteen. We drank Bloody Marys. We ordered off the "600 calories or less" menu.

A set bus drove by our window. Town cars in front of it. Lights and cameras mounted to the outside, facing in. Police cars behind.

"There went Nathan Fillion", I said.

Mark my words.


Hotel. Change clothes. Cocktail hour. Change again.


The doorman hails a cab. Asks us if we want to share with two gentlemen.

My Blood Sister A flirts smoothly the entire six minute trip to the Staples Center.

The gentlemen pick up the tab.

In through the VIP entrance (Thanks Blood Sister A).

How to fit this all in?

We sit at the bar, where we're told Jay-Z and Kanye won't be going on for at least two more hours. We open a tab. Eventually the crowd begins to surge behind us, elbowing for room at the bar, for the bartender's attention. My Blood Sister A chats everyone up. A girl in a fuzzy red vest who looks like a model turns out to actually be one. She was there to shoot the video for "You Know Who In Paris" that afternoon. She lets me snap her picture. We meet a man--"Are you gay?" says my Blood Sister. "Are you Latino?" Wrong on both counts.

He's Greek,I say.

He is. Persian-Greek. Scoffs when asked if he too is a model. He is an entrepreneur. We meet an aspiring web designer, see fashion disasters, stress out the barkeep.



I love L.A.

Everyone here has a dream.

I feel like I fit in. No need to apologize for trying to be something.

Everyone here is trying to be.


In Colorado, they are aspiring to have lovely homes and happy families and good recipes. So often, I feel foolish. Aspiring to be other.

I don't feel foolish in the City of Dreams.

The bar tab is outrageous. We can only laugh.


Jay-Z and Kanye take the stage. It is a spiritual experience. I believe there are many facets of the divine. I believe that a performer can become a vessel. Challenge a divine energy, make an entire venue--the massive Staples Center--thrum and pulse with it. With an energy that goes beyond the day-to-day range of human experience. This is why some rock stars burn out, overdose, fall to pieces. Die. They don't know what they're channeling. They think it's them. This is what I'm talking about when I say that a Tori Amos concert was the most spiritual experience of my life.

Tori knows what she's channeling.

So, it appears, do Jay-Z and Kanye.

They do the encore ten times. The audience is sweating, exhausted. The energy shifts, becomes bacchanal. Orgiastic without the sex. It is an out of body experience.

I love the City of Dreams.

After the show, I am completely wrung out. Empty. I collapse in bed.

The next day there is only time for coffee and curried chicken salad at Cafe Primo, which is bustling and full of sleek business people on lunch hour. A young woman--blonde, exquisite dress suit, beautiful--whom I fully expect to be a complete bitch, offers to share her table with us. She hates L.A, she says. She says, nobody talks to you.

But all we've done is talk to people, everywhere we go.

Even the girl running the counter casually chats me up.

She's saving up for film school.

The taciturn brown-skinned barista makes art in my coffee.


The dreams are hanging heavily in the air.

I can feel them. If I had a butterfly net, one swoop would capture hundreds. Thousands.

The city is alive with wish.

In Denver, people ask me what I do, and I stammer. The baristas at Starbucks want to know if I'm studying or working, and I, nervous and uncomfortable, quietly confess I am writing a book.

In L.A, I feel I could say it.

I'm trying to be a writer.

I'm trying to get into writing.

Like everyone in this cafe, I have a manuscript.

Like the doorman at my hotel, I have a screenplay.

Like everyone in this city, I have a dream.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mele Kaliki-whatever

I procrastinated (read: walked around in my undies dyeing my hair) all morning and have spent the last hour rushing around throwing clothes at random into a bag and then pulling them out again to fit in the red cowboy boots.

Because you don't go see Jay-Z in your Tom's. I know you feel me.

Tonight I am flying off to the land where the palm trees sway. No, not that land. To L.A., where apparently it is raining.

I don't care because I just know I'm going to see Jensen Ackles. Or Nathan Fillion. Or both, probably both. And they're gonna be all like, "Here, lady Vesuvius, let us purchase you that massive corned beef sandwich and mocha with whip on our fancy black credit cards. Perchance would you like to consume it in our limousine?"

Speaking of Mr.'s Ackles and Fillion, I'm working on a post of Seven for Thursday.

Thanks to The M Half for tagging me for said post.

I think there is a highly domestic ghost in my house who keeps opening the dishwasher and changing the thermostat, but that is a matter for another time.

Au revoir, mon cheries. See you Thursday. Until then--

Keep it real.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

99 Problems But A Burger Ain't One


Today I needed a cheeseburger and a coke.

Not to worry, sometimes I just do.

I've been busy this week. I have mourned the lack of a flocked or white tree in my home anew, and I have kicked myself in the pants and told myself to get over it. I have bought and returned Christmas gifts (already). I have cleaned the house spiffy while listening to Ira Glass only to watch it be decidedly un-spiffed within scant minutes of my daughters arriving home.

I have downgraded to basic cable. Life without a DVR is hairy.

You heard it from me.

I have written no less than four blog posts this week and not posted any of them.

Because my spirit was restive and my heart

wasn't in the right place.

You know what my mom taught me: if you don't have anything nice to say, get on the internet.

(One of those blogs was about my mother-flocking unflocked tree. I wrote about how I sent Mr. V out alone and he came home with something that looked less like a tree and more like a well-intentioned but ultimately disastrous craft of mine. I wrote about how I decided to ignore the tree's patchy crooked visage and be grateful for my Mr. V.

Then I wrote how I call him Mr.V because it unsettles him to read his own name on the blog. I want you to know that so you don't go thinking I'm some hairy-legged feminist, even though right now THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM).

On Monday I instant messaged my sister.

"Do you want to meet me at Ikea?" I said.

"I am actually at Ikea now," she replied. "But yes."

She drove home, put her kids down for naps, and drove me back to Socialist Paradise.

(I call it that because I don't want you to think I'm a socialist even thought right now THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I AM.)

At Ikea I fulfilled Indy's wish for a box of puppies and our own wish for a topper of tree.

(Red. Felt. Star. 99 cents, thanks for asking)

Over free coffee and Swedish meatballs we discussed the important things like religious leanings and should I buy white frames and leave them white or paint them color.

It should come as no surprise to you that my sister is a Lutheran and I remain unaffiliated.

We like it that way. And that's ok.

She took the above picture of me and I like it so much I'm going to frame it and put it on my wall next to my bed. So every day I can arise and see myself being a nihilist. Don't ask me to explain why, I can't say why.

In a move calculated by my publicist to exponentially increase my street cred, I get to fly solo to the City of Angels on Monday night to attend the Jay-Z/Kanye West concert. (Solo flight. Concert with friend. She got the tickets free. She has connections. I can't say who.)

(She used to work for the Governator. That's all I'm saying)

What, you didn't know I was hard core?

Before that, I have to face a potluck.

Potluck, flight, concert, flight, drive, Disneyland, beach, Christmas.


That is all--wait.

I love you.

Over and out.


The blog address has changed. You can find me now at www.vesuviusathome.com .

This makes me inordinately pleased.

Please change your bookmarks and your links, but: not to worry.

tuttlebrewd.blogspot.com should still direct you back here.

P.P.S but seriously, change your bookmarks and your links. Wouldn't you rather see vesuviusathome.com up there in your address bar?

I sure would.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winter Fruit

December first. I wake to snow. I crave hot drink and solitude by a window where I can see the falling white and listen to my soul. Like a Christmas miracle, I am granted exactly that. I sit inside a warm, bright place and watch the barren earth drape itself in purity. Ridiculous, I think of Queen Elizabeth. Barren. White and bare.

I have pregnancy on the brain.

A misplaced desire, I tell my husband. Tell myself. Like the timing of everything in my life, the arrival of this strange want confounds me. I don't think I actually crave a baby. I think I crave the things it represents: joyful anticipation. A cherished arrival. A soft and holy hush. The earth appears unfruitful, but in this time it is waiting. In the cold, life is being knit together underneath. Too deep to see, too subtle yet to feel. Like an artist not deep in the work, but deep in the waiting. Gathering inspiration. Anticipating joy.

Everything appears dormant. One day it finally blooms.

All creation works like this.

What I crave is not a baby, but fruition. A fruit of my efforts, and peace. A soft and settled place. Not the frightful winds of autumn, not the rushed daze of spring. Like a child given a paper bird on a string, I twirl these two things between cold fingers. On one side, waiting. On the other side, harvest. I wait and know together, they can fly.

The miracle is, I feel it all. I can hold all this, and it is all right.

It is good.

A confused desire, I tell my husband, because my spirit likens my creative work to fertility. A book, like a baby, waits to be born. On the first of December, my creativity feels barren.

But all is not as it appears.

What I know is there is value in both these things: the quiet and the coming. One the comfort, the other joy.

Here is the promise in the depths of the dirt, beneath the earth frozen, beneath the solid snow: in the blackest, twisted forest, still things grow.

The barren world slow turns to blooming.

Out of darkness, light.

link within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...