Sunday, June 26, 2011

I've Either Got My Mouth Open Or My Eyes Shut

This is my Dad's mother and me at their home in Illinois. My grandmother was probably thinking "Doesn't this child ever shut up?" 

And no, I never shut up.

As you can see I was made for a life in show business because when the camera is on me, I close my eyes. I love this picture of me and my Dad because it shows I was a fashionista even when I was a little girl.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Ridiculous Thing I Did For A Guy

Going through the two million things I own and have to pack has rocketed me back to some memories that make me groan. For example, the disappearance of Book Four in the Basic Reader series of children's books that belonged to my father's family.

It happened while I was living in NY and dating The Doctor. When we met I had just moved to NY from Paris and was on Food Stamps. He thought that was hilarious. The girl from Paris was on Food Stamps.

I kept the books on a table in my living room and one night he saw them and said he had them in his family too. They brought back so many memories for him. He was elated to see them again.

That cliche about what do you get someone who has everything really applied to The Doctor.

I mean, the guy had his own plane.

Sidebar: He once flew me back from New Orleans during a storm while I drank Jack Daniels straight from the bottle in the back of the plane. I was drinking the Jack not because I was afraid of the storm, I was eventually too shitfaced to be scared, but because I overheard him tell the copilot that not only was I a girlfriend BUT YOU SHOULD SEE THE PICTURE OF HIS OTHER GIRLFRIEND.

He also had a chauffeured stretch Mercedes and a 10 room apartment on Park Avenue. His shirts were all bespoke, his shoes and belts were always Gucci and he favored Armani.

So for his birthday I gave him Book Four.  I thought I'd come up with the perfect gift for him. And I was right. He loved it. Gushed over my thoughtfulness, my generosity, my creativity.

The Doctor and I went out for three years. After we broke up BECAUSE SOMEONE COULDN'T STOP CHEATING ON ME, we remained friends and a year or so later I asked him whether he still had Book Four.

"Book Four of what?"
"The books that were in your family, my family, you know, those children's books."
"Sorry, no idea what you're talking about."

That was a frequent theme in our relationship.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Apartment I Shared With Mick Jagger

While packing up my current apartment I came across a picture that reminded me of my first apartment.

I was desperate and crashing with my friend Henry, who lived in Berkeley. He woke up one night and found me sitting at a desk naked, playing solitaire. The actual solitaire, with playing cards. I'd forgotten he lived there. So he drove me into San Francisco and I found a place on Ellis Street, below Polk.

The apartment was a furnished studio, on the ground floor. $110. a month. A stone cold drunk lived on one side of me and often knocked on my door in the middle of the night so he could crawl through one of my windows out to the fire escape and into his own apartment. Upstairs were a bunch of transvestites who used to push Seconals under my door so I could sleep at night.

I had this giant poster of Mick Jagger on my wall.  My friend Albert, a guy I went to school with in Paris and also a friend of Henry's, was visiting the States one year and took this picture. I used to keep the photo in a frame and every single person who saw it thought it was really me talking to Mick. The fact that he's on a stage singing and I'm standing in front of hanging beads didn't register with anyone. Also? That whole two dimensional thing.
I remember my shirt. It was black and had tiny red and black sparkles on it. I'm loaded down with all my Indian jewelry and wearing a hand-tooled belt I bought in Corsica.

Now I can't fit into that belt unless I wear it as a thigh tourniquet. Which could totally happen if someone happened to sever my femoral artery by accident and the belt was lying nearby.

This was the apartment I left after I found the heroin addict in bed with my gay hairdresser Eugene.

I abandoned my Calvin Klein sheets and the forest green hanging beads. And Mick Jagger.

The landlord was upset I was leaving. He offered to lower my rent to $100 because he said I was the best tenant he'd ever had.

I'm pretty sure I was, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Mother Still Talks To Me Like This

As I pack furiously, I pick through the millions of memories lining the walls and cabinets of this apartment. I've stopped to re-read some journals, a habit I picked up last summer. Inside each one is a lost treasure from my past. Faded, pressed roses from a Dominican boy named Frankie who I was absolutely nuts about, snapshots that I hadn't deemed worthy of a photo album, business cards, invites to weddings and parties. A ticket stub to see Raquel Welch in concert.

All rammed inside pages and pages of the torment that is a journal. It took me years to figure out that the reason all my journals read like Dostoevsky was because I never wrote in them when I was happy.

One of the treasures I found was this typewritten letter to my father. It's faded and yellowed and after folding and unfolding, it's ripped across the middle. I discovered it in my father's belongings after he died. He'd kept every letter, every card that both my sister and I sent him over the years. This one jumped out at me and I brought it home 10 years ago and stuffed it in an old journal from the time I moved to Paris. I had left San Francisco after a very failed love affair with a man who turned out to be a heroin addict and who I found spooning in bed with my gay male hairdresser slash good friend Eugene.

This is a letter I wrote my father soon after I arrived.
This excerpt sums up the relationship I've had with my mother my entire life.

 (" with mom is just not possible. from the moment i arrived she has found things wrong with me. my eyebrows are too thin, i am too thin, i use too much toilet paper...")

Yes, I know that's funny. Thanks for enjoying my pain.

Here's a photo from the cruise to the Bahamas that my Dad took me on when I left San Francisco, to get my mind off the Being Dumped By A Heroin Addict Who's Really Gay thing. I arrived in Paris looking like this. Minus the cruise ship.

I was anorexic. On my right arm is a silver bracelet that I wore over my elbow. For those of you unfamiliar with bracelet etiquette, below the elbow is where most people wear them. 

And look, I'm smoking a cigarette!! Marlboros, in the red box. 

I would kill to still have those sunglasses. KILL KILL KILL. The purse is an old lady cloth one that I found in a thrift store. It's hilarious that after all these years my shopping habits haven't changed a bit. I still covet the things that others have tossed aside. The Greek cross around my neck was lent to my sister, who gave it to one of her boyfriends. She had brought it back from a trip to Mykonos, Greece and gave it to me as a gift. Years later, as an act of contrition, she got me another one on a trip to Cabo, but it was all shiny and silver and small AND NOT FROM GREECE.

Girls are dumb.

I still use too much toilet paper.

End of chat.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I'm Not A Beige Person

I keep my remote controls in this old truck. My friend Ann Abeyta was with me and she talked the guy into letting me have it for 8 dollars. He wanted 10. I would have paid 20.

I keep my takeout menus in this. If I leave Los Angeles I have to move to a city with restaurants that deliver or I'll starve to death.

I found this architectual drawing of the Paris Opera by Andras Kaldor at a Salvation Army here in LA. It was 10 dollars! I was with mom when I bought it and she thought it was "horrrrrrrrrrrrible" so of course I HAD TO HAVE IT. Two years later I caught her ogling it and she said, "eeet's really beyutifool, eeznt eeet?" And no, schizophrenia doesn't run in our family. Even though we have plenty of candidates for it.

I found this thingamajig, underneath the drawing, at a thrift shop. I have no idea what it is but it was perfect for my spices. It reminds me of how I went through Alegbra 2. What the hell is this?

This is a table pinball game I found in a vintage store in Santa Barbara. So of course I hung it on a wall.

This is the same table pinball game in my living room. I inherited the two watercolors underneath it. The middle one was done by Tom Street, a Florida artist who got cancer and killed himself.

The one underneath it was from our house in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, my mom, Dad and I were all afraid of water. We like to look at it the way it should be looked at, on a wall.

I buy anything with Paris written on it.

I got this Japanese pillow off EBay. It was made in the 1950's. I entertained the troops in Tokyo and love Sapporo. I can always come up with a reason why I have to have something. Beer is as good as any.

I bought this sign in St. Petersburg, after my Dad died. Emails and texting can never replace a phone call. I feel sorry for the future.

This clock is from the legendary Pasadena Flea Market. It was made in China, when Mao was putting his picture on anything. There were only 4 of them and this one was in pristine shape. The Hollywood Bowl wanted to borrow it as a metronome but said I could keep it in my house because they could hear it from there.

And now it's all going into boxes. To be unpacked on.......

Sunday, June 05, 2011

L.A. Sign Of The Times #84

I got this guy when I was a kid. I named him Teddy because I apparently had no imagination.

I've dragged him from Washington D.C. to New York to L.A.

I'm not a stuffed animal person but I can't seem to emotionally unload Teddy the Badly Named Stuffed Bear. Does anyone else keep a stuffed animal from their childhood?

And what does your shrink say about that?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

L.A. Sign Of The Times #83

Seriously, who bought all this crap?

Friday, June 03, 2011

L.A. Sign Of The Times #82

This is a lot less fun that it looks.

And the moving away from hell begins...