Monday, November 26, 2012

Inviting 50 people to Thanksgiving Dinner. I was clearly sniffing glue.

I haven't posted in a while because I think I am suffering from some sort of PTSD relating to the past two weeks.

WARNING: I have reviewed this post and I am afraid it reads like an Eloise book on speed, but with less bandaids and no elevators. I'm Eloise - you be Nanny. And.........go!

Let's Recap:

On November 10th, I chaired an event for the team in a warehouse. Something on a scale we had never done before, and GOD HELP US we are going to do again as soon as possible because it was a total blast. In the days leading up to November 10th I was juggling logistics, writing press releases, giving phone-in interviews while driving to on-air interviews (don't worry, I used the speaker phone), lining up vendors, shaking down sponsors, renting portapotties at the last minute BECAUSE I FORGOT ABOUT POOPING, and spending some serious quality time in that super dirty, seriously awesome warehouse in the 36 hours surrounding the event. (I am still finding dirt in the craziest places).

I tried to make a to-do list to work off of, and to help me delegate, but that was ultimately an exercise in futility because so much stuff came up at the last minute. Like this sort of stuff:

I don't even know what they are up to, but it was hot and manly and happened at 9pm the night before the game and "blowtorch the floor" was not on my fucking to do list.

And speaking of last minute, got my hair did the morning of the event. When in doubt, I think we can all agree: Put a Bird on It.

And then the event happened and it was glorious:

I know you cannot tell from my one blurry cellphone photo, so head over here and check out the photos posted on our wall if you are interested. It was awesome. I still don't know how many people showed up. A lot.

While chaos was unfolding and birds were being applied to my head and people were blowtorching things, there was also a lot of personal (I know , I know I write about all sorts of personal things here, but this is not fun or funny to read about so we'll just skip that part m'kay?) shit going down that made me feel like I was possibly the world's worst human being or at the very least the worst event planner in the history of the world, and a terrible communicator to boot.
Yep, I felt like I was a terrible communicator. Me. The one who never stops talking.
It was a total mindfuck, let me tell you.

 By the 12th I was pretty worn out. Thank goodness that was a holiday. Except I got called in to work. So actually, not so much holiday. I took a nap. That was nice.

The 14th I left for Camp Mighty. That involved a red eye flight and a few cocktails and some tearful emo moments alone at the airport at night, listening to music in a massage chair and feeling really sorry for myself. Again, I can see the ridiculousness in hindsight: I was on my way to Camp Mighty in Palm fucking Springs waa waa boo hoo poor me I KNOW I GET IT I WAS IN A BAD PLACE OKAY?

So there I was, totally overtired and hyper-stimulated to begin with, and then I spent two days inhaling this huge sparkly burst of Camp Mighty energy and information. I was just totally on overload which is when I decided to skip the Tangtinis and just drink the Tang and take a Xanax. Straight up, chump.

I may have been able to rally if The Ace Palm Springs still had mashed potatoes and gravy - it's a travesty that they have no gravy on property, and mashed potatoes are a food group and I have yet to get to the bottom of this miscarriage of justice but suffice to say that HIPSTERS WILL HAVE THEIR GRAVY SO HELP ME GOD and I believe that in time, the cries of the masses will be heard. I am also starting a Facebook campaign and a board on Pinterest about this very sensitive subject so please stay tuned.

On Sunday the 18th I felt like death warmed over. This is what the desk next to my bed looked like:

The only thought I could get through my little brain was "help" And also "If I am the one driving back to LA, we will never make it."

And then our flight to Maui got cancelled. Did I mention I was a mess? So, yes, I was a mess.

Thank god Sarah and Amber were primed for road tripping. Dana and I cuddled in the backseat while I talked to the airline and Dana sent outraged tweets into the twittersphere about how hard I was taking it in the ass. You could totally feel the love.

They are so money.

We did eventually get home without having to sleep in the airport by the grace of Twitter and some epic social media-responsive customer service that totally blew my hair back.

And then it was Sunday night and I climbed into bed with my body clock all shot to hell and I prayed for morning. Because I had turkeys to defrost. 48 pounds of them. 

And let me tell you something. I was jetlagged, on emotional overload, and those fucking turkeys were frozen solid until Wednesday morning. I almost had a stroke I was so worked up about it. I ended up putting them in a bathtub full of cold water overnight. It was dreadful.

Are you still with me? Because WE HAVEN'T EVEN HAD THANKSGIVING YET.
(Do you need a break? I know, this is ridiculously long and I have tried - oh how I have tried - to edit this thing down but I cannot because this ALL JUST HAPPENED. But if you need a break, this is a good time to take one)


Okay, now it was Thursday. Now it was Thanksgiving.

A little bit about Thanksgiving. It's my favorite day of the year. I love Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving food. I love the historical aspect of the holiday - maybe because some of my ancestors came over from England in 1600s, seasick as hell and praying for some clotted cream and a nice scone, and some of my ancestors were already here, probably not wearing pants, and none too pleased to have visitors. And then they had a big dinner, and got it on after dessert, and here I am. It explains a lot about me, doesn't it?

Okay, maybe I am taking some creative liberties with that historical footnote, but you know what I'm saying. Thanksgiving. The holiday of gravy. ARE YOU LISTENING ACE PALM SPRINGS?

Because I love Thanksgiving, and because I am manic, I invite a lot of people over for dinner. I invite everyone over for dinner. I invite people who live on other ISLANDS and in other COUNTRIES over for dinner. And they TOTALLY SHOW UP. It's pretty awesome.


This is the brown food station. Turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, squash.

There is a table for salad, and another table behind it for pie. 
We have a pie table.

Eating outside BECAUSE WE CAN

I know, Martha Stewart is looking at this right now and rolling her eyes but you know what? Who cares. Because IT'S THANKGIVING. Yes, it could have been prettier. Yes I could have had everything in matching dishes and taken professionally lit photos and YES my guests are sitting in plastic chairs that THANK GOD someone lent to me to seat all of these people I had invited to dinner.

I take no small amount of pride in knowing that no one ate their Thanksgiving dinner on a paper plate. I have finally purchased enough dishes to feed everyone with real plates and real forks. \

Knives are another story, but I have added it to my life list to buy sufficient knives for next year.

We had more than 40 people at dinner, but less than the 50 I was planning for, so I had a lot of leftovers which in my mind is actually a win. Plus, someone brought hunks of sweet potatoes wrapped in bacon.


Our last guests toddled off after midnight, and then GOD HELP US ALL ME it was Black Friday. I refused to go Christmas shopping, but we had two important errands to run: I needed ink for my printer, and black pants for the Drag King show the next night.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Yes, see, after all of that, I still had some loose ends to wrap up. Like MCing an event and making a pair of tear away tuxedo pants.

It's hard to explain.

By Saturday morning I was a complete and total mess. The emotional upheaval was still going on, I had turned off my email and been awake since 2am crying. I spent the day in bed, because - and I know this is going to come as a complete and total shock to you but somewhere in the emotional wreckage, between the 4 airports, 2 events, 3 jobs and 45 house guests, I caught a cold. I had to rest my voice and conserve my energy. Which I promptly drained on Saturday night while my tuxedo pants were wrestled off me onstage while ZZ Top played "Legs". Like I said, really hard to explain.

And then Sunday I worked.
"Um, are you really going to work?" Sam was horrified. I was lying in bed with my eyes shut, clutching a fistful of tissues and gently swabbing my entire face, which appeared to be just.....leaking. From everywhere. 


And now here it is Monday. The last of our guests flew home today. Lucy stayed home with the tail end of a cold. I didn't take my sweatpants off until 2:30. Everything has settled down, I have caught my breath, and tomorrow I tackle my second draft of The Book and a stupid amount of laundry.

Because I have nothing else going on. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Mighty Good Time - with the photos to prove it #CampMighty FTW

Last year, I gathered up all of my courage, bought a ticket for Sarah so I couldn't back out at the last minute, and went to Camp Mighty. When I arrived, I was anxious and awkward and overwhelmed - and when I left, I was a strange mix of inspired and depressed. I felt as though I was so far from where I actually wanted to be in my life, that meeting any goals at all was just...impossible.

And then I put on my big girl panties, and decided to just go for it. Sarah was equally inspired. 
You guys? We totally did stuff this year. We changed our lives. And we did it because we made those life lists, and then went to Camp Mighty and told everyone about them. There was no avoiding it after that. 
Onward and upward.

When the passes went on sale for this year's Camp Mighty, I grabbed that brass ring. I was going back for more. Sarah got the same email and sent me a text: "Camp Mighty?" She was right there with me. We're a team, after all. And we still had plenty of living left on our life lists.

Thursday morning dawned (sort of) through the LA smog, and we picked up Dana and Amber and made our way (with plenty of pit stops) to Palm Springs. When we got there, it was........magical.

There were old friends, new friends, and the hot tub glowing in the darkness, steam rising up to the stars.

I fell into bed that night (and each night thereafter) pickled in every way. It was just lovely. We talked, we joked, we drank, we floated.

And then each morning, we got up to face the Great Big World out there.

There was even a rainbow to greet me my first day. Just like home.

But it wasn't all hot tubs and rainbows and pretty vistas. There was work to do. And inspiring people sharing their stories to make all of that work seem totally manageable.

I learned about seeing a need, and meeting it.
I learned about setting a goal, and reaching it.
I learned about making things and doing things.
I learned about being the best I can be, and letting everything else go.
I learned about being perfectly imperfect.

I learned not to be scared. Not to give up. 

People said things I really needed to hear. And I was grateful.

And there were presents.

And there were parties

And mornings after parties.

It went too fast, and it felt as though we had to say goodbye far too soon.
But I carry Camp Mighty with me all year long. My top 5 is right here in my wallet:

So I knew when I left I wasn't really saying "Goodbye". I'm just saying "See you later!"

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dispatch from Camp Mighty: You. Are. Here.

I am sitting in my hotel room. Lying down, actually, with the red lights on so my roommates can sleep. As I type, I'm simultaneously worried that the sound of my fingers on the keyboard are keeping people up, and also having serious flashbacks of being in the photo lab in high school. All I need is some Nine Inch Nails blaring and a cigarette - two things that can be easily remedied  at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club.

I am so content right now. And honestly, saying that is just the best thing ever. I spend too much time wishing for more, striving and reaching and worrying and being so damn hard on myself or disappointed in myself........ it is nice - BEYOND nice - to be content.

Being here at Camp Mighty the second time around is a different experience. The program is slightly different and there are some new faces, but the biggest difference is that I am not terrified and feeling like a total outsider. Oh, don't worry - I have still geeked out (sorry Jenny Lawson), and put my foot in my mouth (repeatedly), and felt plenty awkward (true story: the seating poofs by the pool are not easy to navigate in a skirt and heels while balancing a plate of food) and I am sure people are secretly wishing I'd stop hugging them (I did remember not to hug people in the bathroom, so that's progress) and I only flashed someone once. Okay twice. Maybe three times, but it was for a photo. And yes, somehow my cleavage did end up on twitter but that was not my fault.

The bottom line is that, even with all of my usual awkward fuck-ups, I am also feeling totally relaxed.
I have spent some serious quality time in the hot tub.
I took a nap.
I made friends with a staffer who happily hooked me up with sausages and tea this morning when I couldn't find either at breakfast. (Becky you are my hero)
I talked to strangers.
And I have taken a few pictures here and there - I'll try to post them on my twitter @daffodilblog

The thing that I love the most about this event is that everyone looks so damn fabulous. People have broken out their cutest shoes, they have on adorable brooches and brightly colored corduroys and sweaters with appliques and it's a total joy to be around a group who have such eclectic and diverse styles. It definitely inspires and allows for a lot of self-expression. I almost tackled a woman today who was wearing the cutest dress ever. It had a cowl neck, which doubled as a hoodie, plus she got it on sale. I wanted to give her a high five and we agreed that the only way that dress could be better, would be if it had pockets.

(All dresses should have pockets. If you are a designer, you should forget about putting a bird on it, and put some damn pockets on it instead. Pockets for everyone!)

What it all boils down to is, I am glad to be here. I am lucky to be here. I am grateful to be here.

I think this sums up Camp Mighty for me the most:

I am in the middle of my life, and I am looking for the big red circle that says "You Are Here"

Here I am. Where do I go? Well for starters, tomorrow I am going to meet a whole group of people I don't know yet, and review our life lists. I can't hardly wait. It feels so good to feel so good.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Everyone is having more sex than I am. (Another post I should probably keep to myself.)

And here we are again, in yet another segment of "Daffodil, your oversharing light is on". I know people read these entries and think to themselves, "I can't believe she just said that." It's true. I say things sometimes that I should probably keep private. But on the other hand, I truly believe that if we don't talk about the deep dark secrets that no one ever talks about, and acknowledge them as an actual wide-spread concern, then we find ourselves feeling very alone. The small issues become huge, glaring problems, and we have no idea that every other damn person on the block is having the same problem but they are too embarrassed to talk about it. Silliness. So here we go.


Do you remember those halcyon days of young love? Those days where you were having sex not once, but MULTIPLE TIMES a day? In backseats, on sofas, in bathrooms, on the beach, in the shower.......

I don't either. Wait. I *do* remember having sex in the shower. I ended up with a terrible cramp in my neck and in the end we fell over. It is by some small miracle that the shower door didnt break. Obviously they are built with that sort of accident in mind. I wonder if they have a safety check for that in the factory? Anyway, my point is:

How did I ever have the energy for that sort of nonsense?

My god, I consider it a personal accomplishment worth celebrating if I stay awake for Jon Stewart. And here in Hawaii he's on early. Between the time the kids fall asleep and the time that I finally give up trying to write anything interesting for the day, my evenings are very full. And then I lie down in bed and turn on NPR and before you know it I am out cold. If Sam manages to stay awake long enough to see me stop writing, he always looks over hopefully.

Fat chance, buddy.

I have heard the talk, read the magazine articles, checked out the shelves of weird looking lubricants that makes your bits hot or cold or fruit-flavored or tingly. I've even seen friends recoil at the very thought of having sex with their partner. And every time, I thought smugly "I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are not having sex, if you don't even want to have sex, then something is wrong with your relationship. I LOVE sex!"

And I do. I love it. When I have it. Which is not very often at all these days. You too, huh? Yeah. I guess that is just how things go - even the very hottest of fires tend to burn out eventually. It's all about keeping the embers going, and jumping at the sparks. It's just become a lot less sparkly around here.

At first, it happened very gradually. "When is the last time we did this?" I would joke, knowing it had only been a few days. And then "When was the last time we did this?" became a legitimate question. Was it last week? Two weeks ago? I would feel guilty. I would worry that my husband was going to go find a more attentive partner. I worried that he already had.

But what I didn't want to do, was have sex if I wasn't feeling it.

To his credit, my husband has never pushed the issue. At least, not directly. But he sure is optimistic.

He is patient. He has remained sweet and loving, hopeful, eager to please, willing to wait but hoping I will just come to my senses and realize what I am missing.  Kind of like Duckie in "Sixteen Candles".

"Hi! I'm here! I'll just be right over here.....waiting! No rush! Whenever you're ready! I don't care if you have shaved, or brushed your teeth!"

So as I fell asleep each night, I was reminded that while we might not be actually having sex, this idea of it was definitely still appealing. I was still appealing.

And I got complacent.

Fast forward to a few months ago. I hurt my back. Any prospect of having sex went right out the window. It was just not on the agenda.

Recently, it occurred to me that while I was lying there with various ice packs and hot packs and pillows and bolsters, my husband was not really able to get within arms reach of me. And with all of that distance, Duckie had left the building. He was still kind and gentle and loving........but the idea of having sex never seemed to cross his mind.

Now, some women would be whooping it up, clapping me on the back, congratulating me on my good fortune. "How did you do it?" they might ask. "I've been waiting years for him to give it a rest."

But the reality is, that is more difficult to lie there and realize your husband isn't reaching for you, than to lie there and wish he would keep his hands to himself.

So one of the items on my Life List that I am going to be very proactive about, is planning date nights. And I am not talking about hiring a sitter, having a quick dinner and then grocery shopping or something equally exciting. Nor am I talking about going out with others.

I just want to go out with him. Just us. On a date. Talking about something that we both enjoy. Eating food we like. Planning a project or adventure. Sleeping in from time to time. And yeah, maybe even having (gasp!) sex now and again.

I want to remind him that while I am not waiting for him to sneak into the bathroom while I shower (really, please don't) I am waiting for him to come home each night - and I am always happy to see him walk in the door. We are in it for the long haul. When the kids are grown and gone, our marriage will remain. And there's always that tingly lube stuff at Walmart if we need some inspiration.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Life list. Refined.

Oh, life list. How's it hanging? I hate that "updating my life list" somehow found itself on my To Do list for today. But, there it is. I leave for Camp Mighty in a week (ONE WEEK) and ohmygosh I am trying like hell to get everything under control here before I leave. Starting with this list.

Let's start with my top five, shall we? Here is a list of my No-time-like-the-present, things I really want to do list:

1. Get my book published.

2. Drink 32oz of water each morning before I allow myself any coffee or tea.

3. Establish a daily yoga practice, heavy on the meditation and stretching, avoiding sun salutations whenever possible.

4. Create photo albums for my kids of their lives so far, to give them on their birthdays.

5. Take the family to Inishbofin to see my grandmother's house before it is sold (a race against time)

And now for the rest. Some brought back by popular demand and lack of motivation last year, others brand new and open to interpretation. Liberal interpretation.

6. Drive around the country (literally, around the perimeter: west coast, across the south, up the east coast, then across the midwest) with Sam and the kids in a VW bus, documenting the trip thoroughly - even the messy parts.

7. Take my kids to Lebanon to get to know their relatives and learn Arabic

8. Master a killer karaoke performance that will bring the crowd to it's feet.

9. Yoga retreat in India

10. Learn to can/jar things

11. Open a roller rink

12. Buy a small house right on the beach. On the sand.

13. Set up a sewing nook and sew some stuff.

14. Laser hair removal. It's time.

15. Have an apple tree in my backyard for climbing and snacking.

16. Become a competent surfer who can paddle out without making an ass of myself or getting tired halfway out.

17. Touch my toes.

18. Change the oil in my car.

19. Also learn how to use the jack. Why the hell not.

20. Live in a city and rely solely on public transportation

21. Be the primary breadwinner for a while.

22. Find the perfect pair of Red Cowboy Boots

23. Teach English in a foreign country

24. Write a wedding ceremony. Then marry people.

25. Learn to sail a boat then spend a week on a liveaboard crewing one

26. Raise chickens

27. Run for public office

28. Learn to like my big nose

29. Knit something that doesn't have holes and look dirty when I am done.

30. Dive off the deck of an overwater bungalow. Over and Over again.

31. Fly a plane

32. Have a regular column in a magazine

33. Springtime in Paris

34. Live in a hacienda with Bakey when we're old and gray with a hot pool boy/gardener and a masseuse(Can be the same person)

35. Pose for one of those costumed old-timey sepia photographs with Sarah

36. Play tambourine for Pearl Jam

37. Make croissants from scratch.

38. Become debt-free

39. Raise my children to be amazing, kind, generous, loving people who can support themselves.

40. Have a bedroom that is big and bright, with a huge antique iron bed and lots of storage

41. Have a house with an AGA stove. A big AGA stove.

42. Go to a show on Broadway at night, all dressed up with a new makeover like Cher in Moonstruck.

43. Be able to live half the year in Maui and half the year somewhere else.

44. Forgive 2 people who have hurt me and who I no longer speak to.

45. learn how to play chess

46. learn how to rollerskate backwards

47. spend some time living in a farmhouse in France. Bonus points if David Sedaris is my neighbor.

48. have a long paved driveway that we can ride bikes and rollerskate on.

49. intern as a merchandiser at several iconic retail stores who's aesthetics I admire. Like Anthropologie.

50. Have a bicycle of my own.

51. Buy a large piece of land with friends and family, build homes, and share responsibilities and expenses as
a group. Stop calling it a commune, mom.

52. Buy a fabulous vintage ballgown and attend an event like The Costume Institute Gala at the Met.

53. get rid of those frown lines between my eyes. I frown too much, obviously.

54. Go to a really great music event like SXSW with my husband and discover new bands together.

55. find a way for my husband and Slam's boyfriend to jam with Eddie Vedder here in Hawaii

56. say "I'm with the band" and then actually get on stage and perform instead of just helping to plug in cords.

57. do a five minute stand up comedy routine at an amateur night

58. get a film role, even just a walk-on

59. win an award that I am proud of

60. start taking pictures again.

61. Make videos of the kids regularly.

62. Take a river cruise in Europe (France?) where I can hop off and bicycle around. Bicycle must have basket. Fresh baguette not optional. Pack neckerchief.

63. Make a list of amazing things to do when the kids say they are bored.

64. Clip articles I love out of magazines and file them so that I can actually find them again

65. Volunteer with Charity:Water in Africa.

66. Re-establish Sunday night dinner at my house, and have a circle of friends that join us regularly.

67. Have a hot tub in my yard.

68. Finish my epic tattoo, so that it actually tells a story and isn't a random bunch of small pieces.

69. Start speaking a foreign language at home with Sam and the kids. Maybe just in the car, or at dinner time
to start.

70. Create a family tradition for Christmas Day.

71. Only use the computer during working hours.

72. Live somewhere with an incredibly low cost of living, so I can have a $10 massage every day if I want to. Oh, Thailand, I miss you.

73. Teach my kids to be really good drivers.

74. Choose a beautiful, heirloom quality rug for the living room.

75. Stop keeping "the nice stuff" hidden away so it won't get damaged or worn out - use it and enjoy it every day.

76. Start storing things in glass mason jars instead of Tupperware.

77. Establish a cleaning routine that includes the inside of the fridge.

78. Date night once a month, with heels and fancy underwear. Like a real date. (Making out in backseat optional)

79. Go to the beach once a week, even just for a walk in the sand.

80. Find the perfect vintage cocktail dress

81. Bring Back "The Hive" - a ladies night.

82. Work on a presidential campaign at headquarters

83. Have a radio show

84. Try a new recipe for dinner every week

85. Keep a houseplant alive.

86. Host a clothing swap

87. Get professionally fitted for a bra at an atelier

88. Make pasta from scratch

89. Fly home just to make soupy with my family in January. It's that important.

90. Bring my grandmother out to Hawaii.

91. Install a fold-down ironing board so that ironing isn't such a hassle.

92. Have a fun, funky collection of something, like antique lighters or hats, or ????

93. Keep my car clean. No, really.

94. Tedx Maui. Someday I will have something to talk about.

95. Read the entire Little House series to Lucy, and then introduce her to some other favorite series. The Shoes books, for example.

96. Paint. On canvas. Yes I can.

97. Reorganize the closets. Lucky to have them, let's make the most of it.

98. Personalized note cards for gifts and thank yous

99. Stop letting money stress me out and make me feel bad. I give it too much of my time.

100. Decide what I want to be when I grow up