Friday, June 15, 2007

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should be Embarrassed to Know Me . . .

The author of one of my favorite Parisian blogs, Alice of The Late Bloomer, tagged me with a meme and asked me to write “Ten Interesting Things” about myself that you probably don’t already know (unless you are a family member, a former roommate, or a husband – although Fred just read the list and didn’t know many of them. He better study up before I apply for French citizenship. I saw Green Card!)

In no particular order . . .

1. I used to have my own variety show. I performed it live in Los Angeles. It was called The Amy Zoo Show, but my only viewer was my grandfather. He was fairly immobile due to diabetes and spent most of his time seated in a large green leather recliner. I used to drag my puppet stage in front of the T.V. set and perform skits for him. I’m sure he would have preferred to have been watching the Dodgers game, but you’d never have known it. He was a saint!

2. When I was a child, my older sister used to tell me that I was adopted from Mexico and that my real name was Amelia. I couldn’t stand the name and I would cry incessantly. It might have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want to be different or because of the after school special, “Something About Amelia,” which showcased pedophilia and incest. We used to go to San Diego to visit friends. When we’d drive through an immigration check point my sister would tell me to hide under a blanket because if I were discovered, I’d be sent back to Mexico. Now, I love the name Amelia. In fact, I’d prefer to have a name with a bit more spice. Amy is fine, but it’s very common. When I took this issue up with my mother, she said: “There’s nothing wrong with your name. It’s a nice name. It was the most popular name for little girls the year you were born.” I rest my case. Looking back it makes no sense as I am the fairest person in the family. Something I won’t forget as my mother told me that they would sometimes forget to put sunscreen on me when we’d go to the beach because the rest of the family didn’t need it. Oh, if only I were adopted.

3. When I was in 8th grade I thought I was Punk Rock. I took the giant yellow wheels and stopper off of my roller skates (the ones I used to wear just a few years earlier as I rounded the rink at Skateway roller dancing to “The Tide is High”) and wore them as white leather combat boots. I also used floor wax to try to spike my hair.

4. I once worked as a pool ball racker. I was 21 and the job was at a pool hall in Laguna Niguel. There was a main pool table at the entrance of the club. While customers waited for their pool table to open up, they could pay $2.00 to play on the main table. I kept a list and the winner of the game would play the next challenger on the list. The house would get $1 and I would get $1 plus tips per game. In addition to keeping the list, I was in charge of racking the balls for the next game. I guess what I'm saying is that I’m borderline white trash.

5. In the same vein, I was once a trophy girl at Speedway. It was my 16th birthday and I was really dressed up. The real trophy girl was a no-show and an event worker asked me if I wanted to be the stand-in and present the winner with his trophy (there were slim pickings at the Orange County Fair Grounds). Luckily for me, the winner was a gentleman and didn’t try to slip me the tongue. Ewwww . . . .

6. I have implants, just one really. I had a root canal during law school, but couldn’t afford to get a crown. My dentist warned me that I could make due for a year without one, but as soon as I graduated, started my job, and got insurance, I should get the tooth crowned. I didn’t heed his advice when the aforementioned happened the following year because the tooth never bothered me and I forgot about it. But then, one night while eating at Gary Danko, the unimaginable happened. I bit down on a piece of crusty French bread and heard a crack, which was soon accompanied by a sharp pain in my tooth. A trip to the same dentist, along with an x-ray and a lecture, revealed that I had cracked my tooth to the root. He referred me to a specialist, who by the way was gorgeous – and I was single, not that he would have gone for me, but it made the experience all the more embarrassing – who informed me that my tooth was going to have to come out! My options were to get a bridge or an implant. He suggested an implant because a bridge would require grinding down the two teeth on each side of the gaping hole to affix the bridge. I opted for the implant. It required 15 months of prep-time (they had to pack bone into my jaw and then let it heal so they could insert the “post” onto which the implant would be anchored). During this time, I had to wear a retainer (aka “a flipper”) that had a tiny fake tooth on it to fill in the space between my teeth. Yes, I think I mention I was single during this time. Dating, kissing, etc. raised some interesting challenges. Then, finally, one month before I was to get my implant, I was brushing my retainer and the little tooth popped off and slid down the drain. The dentist had to come up with a quick fix, so they fashioned me a tooth made from acrylic and glued it onto my retainer. It would have taken too long to order me another top of the line retainer, plus it was really expensive and not covered by insurance. Every time I drank red wine the tooth would turn purple. I met Fred a little over a year later. Good timing!

7. At the time of my First Communion the church treated my mother (and me by association) like Hester Prynne because she had been divorced. They made her attend special classes and run the gauntlet if she were going to be allowed to walk down the aisle with me while I accepted my communion, like all the other children and their married parents. I never forgot this and use it as an excuse to eschew religion and live a hedonistic lifestyle (which makes my life sound way more interesting than it really is).

8. I played the accordion in 6th grade. An old man from the Milton Mann Studios darkened our doorstep and gave my mom some spiel about how it was good for kids to play instruments. I told her that I was interested in playing the piano, but she said she wasn’t prepared to make an investment in a piano until I showed a commitment to an instrument - a smaller, cheaper instrument. I took up the accordion, my first was a red one purchased from a pawn shop in Fullerton. Later, as my musical genius revealed itself through songs like "Oom Pa Pa" and “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musicals Oliver and Fiddler on the Roof, respectively, she broke down and bought me a deluxe white model with a faux pearl keyboard. I’d be entertaining all of you on the 6 Line now had my older sister not crushed my dreams. She was in 9th grade at the time. Her and her cool friends would come home after school and mock me during practice by yelling “Where is your monkey?” Three years later, when I was a freshman in high school, they were all seniors. Unfortunately, they had not forgetten!

9. I went to traffic school for a moving violation before I even had a license. I was driving my older sister’s car. We were leaving a party and I rolled through a residential stop sign (because I thought the cops were too busy breaking up the party to notice, and I was 15 and stupid). We were pulled over down the hill (there were 3 of us in a two-seater, again, stupid). I received a ticket and had to appear in court. The judge was nice and let me attend traffic school (a weekends worth) so the ticket wouldn’t go on my record and prevent me from getting a driver’s license at 16.

10. I’m kind of ambidextrous, not technically. I’ll explain it and maybe someone out there knows what it’s called. I write and eat with my left hand, but I do all sports and use scissors as a right handed person. I can also bend both ring fingers at the first joint. That’s not me in the picture, it’s some kid named Jacob from Mrs. Johnson’s 3rd Grade Class . Despite my talent, I couldn't simultaneously get a good grip on the camera and pose my fingers.

This is kind of like a chain letter, without the threat of harm if you choose not to participate; however, if you're inclined to play along, I tag the authors of the following French inspired blogs:

The Frenchification of Mlle. Smith,
Dents de Lait,
Destination Metz, and
SF Girl in Paris.

I apologize if any of you have already done this, I checked your blogs and it didn't look like it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's that time of year again . . .

Fred gets to celebrate his birthday by providing breakfast for his colleagues. I conducted a poll and none of my friends is peer pressured into providing pâtisseries for their coworkers. I still think that they're playing a joke on the new guy. They probably have big red circles on their calendars and look forward to June 14 as much as April 1. At least this year I didn’t work myself up into a tizzy wondering how he would transport 50+ piping hot croissants, pains au chocolat, and pains aux raisins on the RER. I let him handle it all on his own. He’s a big boy now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Finally, the metro puts a smile on my face!

This morning on my way to work there was an annoying 3ish year old swinging round and round the center pole like a stripper desperate for a dollar. His gypsy mother and her other 4 kids passively looked on. Perhaps she was training him for a new job, one that doesn't require shaking a paper cup in people's faces. A business man with ski feet moved his foot just as the nuisance was making his umpteenth turn. If called to court, I'd be hard pressed to testify whether it was intentional or simply a nervous twitch. The kid flinched, but there was no contact. This delighted me. The mother started screaming gibberish at the man. He was seriously taken aback, which made me think it wasn't on purpose (and made me admire him a little less). I couldn't stop myself from laughing. I buried my face in the paper out of fear that the gypsy woman would put a hex on me. There’s seriously something wrong with me that I would find pleasure in this slice of life.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Your Inner European is Irish!
Sprited and boisterous!You drink everyone under the table.

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

You Belong in Paris

Stylish and expressive, you were meant for Paris.
The art, the fashion, the wine!
Whether you're enjoying the cafe life or a beautiful park...
You'll love living in the most chic place on earth.

Brain Freeze

French people remind me of a 16 year old girl with a fake i.d. at Bobby McGee's. Fred and I tried to enjoy our lunch over the roar of the blender motor while the poor barman mixed up every frozen fruity drink on the menu for the table of six (adults) next to us; of course, first he had to use the electric juicer to grind out a full pitcher of fresh squeezed orange juice, apparently the base ingredient for each of these tropical refreshers. When I was a cocktail waitress, I used to dread approaching the bartender with orders such as: 1 strawberry margarita, 1 strawberry daiquiri, 1 banana daiquiri, and 1 piña colada. I was usually sent back to the table to recheck their licenses and with the unfortunate news that our blender had just broken.

Friday, June 08, 2007

I need a witness!

I can do the Roger Rabbit and the Running Man, something I perfected coming of age in Fullerton in the mid 80s-early 90s. I think I'm a bad ass, but my husband only snorts wine out of his nose when I bust a move. He's too inexperienced to appreciate the complexities of my steps. That's what I get for marrying a younger Frenchman!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ici, minou minou . . .

Years ago my older sister would tease me and ask her children, "Now, which one of you is going to take care of Auntie when she's 80 years old and has 100 cats?" The eldest, Meagan, also an animal lover was the only one to pipe up. Something I won't forget when drafting my will!

We adopted Bilbo in San Francisco when he was a year old. He traveled with us in the plane to Paris and didn't make a peep or a pee. He's the sweetest little cat and I would be so sad if anything happened to him. I'm the first one to admit that I'm a crazy cat lady! But even my craziness has its limits.

Fred is craaaaazzzzzzy! He's convinced one of our neighbors is trying to lure Bilbo from our garden by making "here, kitty kitty" noises en français. He tried to i.d. the catnapper’s location in the event he needs to file a police report later and, as I write this, I can hear him lecturing Bilbo about the dangers of talking to strangers.

He even taught Bilbo how to play dead.