Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ghetto Gratitude Moment

I just want to take a moment to express gratitude for the place in which I live: For the one washing machine on the premises and the lady downstairs who has to wash each of her 6 loads of laundry 3 times each day before the clothes are actually clean. I'm also thankful for OCDs. For the minutes I use on my cellphone calling our landlord to fix the pipes in our apartment that have been leaking for months. For the Fix-It guys he finally sends that do not speak a word of English. For the sliding glass door that doesn't quite close and the cockroaches we had to exterminate ourselves. For the walls that keep us frozen in the winter and help us lose weight in the summer. For the newly installed gated fortress doors surrounding our building that sometimes I can't even get into. For the lack of parking that gives me a 20-minute morning and evening walk a few times a week. For the beautiful sounds of tamale carts, ice cream trucks, and accordion music every weekday after 3:00 and on weekends as the sun comes up. For all the people west of Roberston Blvd that live in large, tree-lined, spacious houses and block the rest of us out with 30-foot hedges. Sucks to be you! For all the things that make this ghetto glorious, I am grateful.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hollywood Walk of Shame

Two redheads in the ghetto. We took it by storm - or at least we caught a lot of people's attention. I think two redheads walking down the street here is something of a phenomenon. At any rate, we had fun and lived to tell about it. We started Saturday off running on Venice Beach and then having breakfast at Jack and Jill's in Beverly Hills. I'm not sure which Ben found more entertaining - the crazy, hate-filled lady on the beach that yelled "barf ass" at one of us (we're still deliberating as to which of us she was yelling at) or the 50-year-old Botoxed blond in her black Rolls Royce on Rodeo Drive. The diversity in this city's astounding. Of course we had to stop at Sprinkles for some of their lovely over-priced cupcakes. Carrying around the box was part of the experience. It helped us feel truly important as we made our way slowly through traffic. Ben had been learning that everything in California, even the grocery store, is 20 minutes away (unless you're going to Hollywood. Then in takes an hour. He wanted to see the Kodak Theater, but what he got was an entertaining cultural experience for only $1. Scruffy drunk men with dogs and signs that read, "Retired super-model - Please help"; kid street performers extorted by their own family members; out-of-work (and might I add unoriginal) actors dressed up as Superman, Wonder Woman, King Kong, Snoopy, Dorothy (checking her cell phone messages) Sponge Bob with tube socks and his home-made magic marker sponge, Shrek, and our personal favorite - Gollum. Tall and Lanky with part of his black fro coming out the back. He was also wearing a fanny pak for all the money he's making off pictures. Ben made me get a picture taken with Shrek without realizing it costs. He was bewildered when the man in his mother's stretch pants pretending to be Shrek unfolded a crumpled bill and said, "You got a little something for Shreky poo?" Ben gave him the dollar. What they say about LA is true - everybody here's trying to make a buck. This was expertly demonstrated by the blue Ford Van with the top cut off displaying a home-made sign that said Hollywood Tours. There were actually two passengers, although we think they were bought off to make it look like they had business. We had a good laugh as we passed the groups of people gathered around the red carpet for the premiere of Enchanted. I guess they felt waiting 4 hours for a glimpse of important people in expenseive shoes was well worth their time. Hmm. I guess there are a lot of out-of-work people in this town. We finished off the night with In-N-Out burgers, animal-style. After the expensive cupcakes, that's about all we could afford. Thank you Los Angeles for the entertaining weekend, and thank you Ben for making the experience complete and helping me see the city through the out-of-towners' eyes. I love LA.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Turning Tables

November's off to a great start! Last week I had the pleasure of subbing at a school in Compton where the class consisted of all African American males (need I even mention they were twice my size. Who isn't?) I held my own ok until one of them called me a bitch and then I lost it and now I'm in prison. Yes, there is email in prison. Actually, the vein in my forehead (remarkably) stayed in place and I had a Phil McGraw-like talk with the young man instead. I think he learned his lesson. Actually, I really don't but I have hope.
I was also recently called as the new activities co-chair in my ward. The "congratulations" are flooding in as if I won an election or something and believe me I would not run for this, but I will try my best.
Today, Marcella and I set out to find a table (we're tired of getting in touch with other cultures by sitting on the floor). So, because we live in the ghetto, we thought we'd stick with that theme and go to the Wal-Mart on Crenshaw, where incidentally the LA riots took place. We found some card tables and chairs that will do the job, atleast until our lease is up in February. Three customers asked us if we worked there and one asked if I was Marcella's mother. I checked and she didn't appear to have bloodshot eyes or smell like pot (I know the smell very well from my neighbors)and she didn't have a service dog so she could see. I don't know, are people just insane? We're not even of the same ethnicity, although Marcella mentioned that people on our street think we're sisters and, strangely enough, in this celebrity look-alike website my brother sent me I was matched with Eva Peron and various other South American and Spanish ladies. Maybe I don't know myself as well as I thought. Or maybe living in my neighborhood is rubbing off on me, which is good. The adventures never end. And can I just say that I'm really glad the holidays are upon us. This is the best time of year!