You probably just stopped having nightmares over last week’s email from my mom, Babs. Remember that one? With the deer carcass? Babs had emailed graphic, carnage-ridden pictures to me, describing how her neighbor had strung up a dead deer only yards away from her back porch.
Then, a couple of days later, Babs emailed again, saying she’d bought us tickets to see Spank!, the 50 Shades of Grey parody/musical.
Surely, you’re thinking, in such a short amount of time, Jules’ mom couldn’t possibly electronic-mail any more atrocities?
Wait for it.
Subject: This Almost Killed Me…
I’m almost done with the eaves clean-out. It was a cross between a Chucky movie and a 30’s dust bowl.
Opening some of the last boxes was very scary. The mother [squirrel] nest wasn’t the straw [I’d seen] on the floor, but inside a box disguised as Christmas storage.
And the choices of nesting material? That was found in a stuffed animals/dolls box. Yup, the doll is missing her face! Plus lots of the pink insulation from the ceiling.
This was such a gross job.
Obviously, Babs needs her own blog. Or a new storage space.
What’s your least favorite / grossest household job?
No, no. I’m not giving away Rache. Nice try. She’s mine.
I saw her on Monday (we have totally taken our friendship to the next level), and you canshould must check out the rest of our adventure on her fabulous blog.
She gave me a fantastic Christmas present (see? Next. Level). “The kind of gift,” I told her, “that makes every day better!”
Those are custom ‘stache glasses tile coasters! Yes! Handmade just for Go Jules Go! For when I put down my vodka / champagne / beer! Well, ha ha, I’m sure I can find another use for them!
Rachel explained that she worked with Julie Maida, a talented artist out of Fredericksburg, VA, to make these coasters. Julie owns the best first name evermaidasomeart, and specializes in wedding gifts and nursery art. She describes her work as “affordable, (mostly) utilitarian art.”
I took one look (okay, lots of looks) at my new coasters and thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazeballs to give away something like this on my blog?” I contacted Julie and here we are!
Custom artwork from Julie Maida (value: up to $40 US incl. S/H). That’s right! Work with Julie to design something that’s allll you, baby. Coasters, wine charms, jewelry, wall art, bowls, sculpture, trivets, etc. Once you decide what you want, Julie will work her magic and then ship your prize to you!
How to Win
Tell me, in the comments section below (or email me), a favorite “drunk person” story – you don’t have to be the drunkard. If you are, it’s okay, because you have a chance to class it up with some custom art.
12 NOON EST, Wednesday, January 30th.
I’ll announce the winner on Friday, February 1st, 6am EST.
Thanks, Julie and Rache!!!! (I’m sorry. That fourth exclamation point was uncalled for.)
I woke up at 8am this past Christmas Eve. Late, for me. I’d been up ’til midnight, doing something I’d never done before. Something mortifying. I stared down the clock. My family was coming over at 2pm and my To Do list was more ominous than a week without vodka.
I headed straight for my lap top. For the first time in 5 months, I skipped my morning writing. This was more important. Far more important. The reason I wrote a journal to begin with.
My heart pounded.
I can’t do this. I know I promised myself all year I would finally do this, but I can’t. I just can’t.
I stalled. Checked email. Facebook. My mouth felt dry.
I have to. I have to do it.
Let me back up.
I was 7 years old when The Little Mermaid was released. It was November 1989. I sat on the living room floor of our little Cape Cod, wearing out my VHS copy by rewinding “Part of Your World” over and over again. I paused it every five seconds, and wrote out the lyrics, line by line.
When I was sure no one could hear, I sang along.
What would I give to live where you are…
I sang with longing. I felt like Ariel. Dreaming. Wanting the impossible. In the end, her voice earned her just that.
When I was in 4th grade, my music teacher asked for volunteers for one-line solos during the holiday concert. I raised my hand, heart racing. She plunked out the tune on the piano as I sang, “Up on the housetop reindeer pause…”
“Let’s try again,” she said. By the third time, she not-so-subtlely moved on, leaving me to wonder what I’d done wrong. My classmates said nothing.
Could I really not sing? One simple line? Even with the notes played for me on the piano? This was bad.
When I stood in front of all the parents the day of the concert, I tried not to fidget, even though I felt faint. I sang my one-line solo as best I could, and afterwards, my mother praised, “You sounded like an angel.” No one else complimented me.
“You have to say that,” I grumbled, afraid to believe her.
By 12, I’d taught myself how to play the piano, barely, and when no one was home, I sat at my great-grandmother’s ancient upright and played the songs my parents listened to. John Denver. James Taylor. Carole King.
I was terrified someone would find out. Not only were the songs I secretly adored lame, old fogey music, I heard my voice. How weak and flawed and uninteresting it was. How bad my timing was.
At 15, I bought a karaoke machine, took guitar lessons and even tried writing songs. I toyed with the idea of sharing them. I didn’t.
“I thought that was the radio,” my sister said, when she heard me in the shower one day. She was never long on compliments, and I kept that gem tucked away with “You sing like an angel,” hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, I could actually do this.
In college, I studied writing, believing it was my true passion, and then landed a well-paying corporate job. I married a musician. Time passed. 25. 26. 27. 28. My life felt off, like I was trying to break in a pair of shoes that would never fit.
I obsessively watched singing competitions, comparing myself to the contestants, always coming up short. I subscribed to an online karaoke service, and heard only off notes and lackluster tone. I thought about how I couldn’t sing and play an instrument at the same time. About my crippling stage fright.
It’s hopeless. Laughable. Not even worth admitting. Move on.
Fast-forward to Christmas Eve morning. I sat at my lap top, frantically sorting through the dozens of clips my first husband, Peppermeister, and I recorded the night before, battling 30 years of “I can’t.”
But you can. Do it. NOW.
At 9am, I hit Publish. And then something miraculous happened. My heart immediately lightened. The hardest part was over:
I made light of it. Like I hadn’t been steeling myself for an entire year lifetime.
I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable by sharing just how monumental that was. Though Peppermeister’s a musician, we’d never tried this before (I know. Ridiculous). We tried for nearly 3 hours to get it right (I really, really hate admitting that), but even in the published clip, I hit a bad note, missed a cue, sounded tired.
It didn’t matter.
I had finally admitted what I wanted. I’d taken the first breath of my new life, wondering when I got so melodramatic how I’d survived before.
P.S. – We’ve been practicing. So watch out.
Have you had any big “Ah hah” moments? What do you want to be when you grow up?
DISCLAIMER: Animals were hurt during the making of this post. Really hurt. Like Bambi’s mother hurt.
This weekend, Babs, my mom, sent an email with two troubling pictures attached. The email was entitled, He Finally Snagged One.
She was quite put out, because her neighbors recently constructed what she called The Gallows in their backyard. Every time Babs set foot on her porch, this monstrosity was in plain sight.
Before I show you these pictures, you need to understand that my parents live in suburban New Jersey, in a town full of white-collar yuppies who take the local train into Manhattan for work. They shop at Pottery Barn. They buy artisanal bread. Their kids play lacrosse.
In my parents’ world, the world in which I grew up, people have graduation parties and swing sets in their back yards. They do not have…well. This:
I’m sorry, Babs. If it makes you feel any better, now that Peppermeister and I are out in western New Jersey, we have deer in our backyard every day, too.
Of course, they’re still alive…
Do you have any neighbor horror stories? No? Any good venison recipes?
Byronic Man, no stranger to excellent stand-up comedy himself, went on to explain that Live wasn’t supposed to be an album, Notaro was just performing in a club at an open mic/showcase. A couple days earlier, she’d found out she had cancer in both breasts. “She just starts talking about it,” he told me. “It’s incredibly funny and raw and moving. There’s no polish – she repeats herself, there’s long pauses, she tries to change the subject. It’s like what humor can be in the darkest of times.”
As soon as I heard her voice, I recognized it. Notaro first appeared on the scene in Last Comic Standing in 2006. Since then, she’s been everywhere from late night talk shows to The Office to the stand-up circuit. She’s like the female James Rebhorn of comedy. You know. “That guy/gal! In, like, every movie I’ve ever seen! …What’s his/her name?” She’s also got Louis C.K. on her side – he’s the one who pushed to turn the Live show into an album.
What made Live so powerful wasn’t just the complete and utter sincerity. It’s what Notaro infers when she says she just can’t bring herself to tell the old jokes. Or even the ones she prepared for that night.
“It’s weird because with humor, the equation is tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Notaro says early on, with a sardonic edge. “I…am…just at tragedy. Right now.”
Reality had taken over, and she just needed to speak from the heart. No filter. And guess what? It was still one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. In fact, it was this very ‘in the moment’ quality that made it so. So much of the comedy we see is rehearsed, the timing perfected.
“It’s okay,” she lightly reassures an audience member who’s nearly in tears on Notaro’s behalf. “It’s going to be okay. It might not be okay. But I’m just saying. It’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.”
At the risk of demeaning Notaro’s very heartbreaking situation and profound performance, I think what happened to her that night happens to every comedian, or every person for that matter. There comes a day when the old methods don’t work. But often times, very unlike Notaro, we’re too scared to try new ones.
On a far more superficial level, when I changed the name of this blog from GoGuiltyPleasures! to Go Jules Go last year, I was preparing for a broader bloggy life. Humorous writing beyond my love of guilty pleasures. I never thought I’d get tired of chipmunks or ‘stache glasses. And I promise, on many levels, I never will. But sometimes it’s really, really hard to tell the old jokes.
So while, in my lucky, privileged world, I occasionally push the boundaries of this little blog that changed my life, I really hope you’ll take thirty minutes to listen to Live. You know. If you think you’re ready for it.
Bloggers: Do you ever feel like you’re ‘faking it’ on your blog? Bloggers/All: Who are your favorite comedians and why?
Babs and I left insanely early since we had no idea where we were going, and wound up with 2 hours to kill. The neighborhood seemed pretty dicey. I’d gone online and found a hipster-y pizza place nearby, so was fairly certain our lives weren’t in danger. Babs was still skittish about the mean streets of Brooklyn, but I convinced her to walk “just one more” block while I diligently explained the meaning of hipster:
“You know like those girls in purple jeans with the wool caps that dangle jauntily from the backs of their heads? And guys with scarves, lots of scarves. And facial hair. Like if yuppies and hippies had a baby. It’s like… they’re like what Hot Topic is to punk, you know? They’re trying so hard to look like they’re not trying at all. Like what the hell is badass about shopping at the mall and paying $30 for tights with holes in them? …I don’t think I’m explaining this very well. But trust me. You’ll like this restaurant.”
We ignored panhandlers and souvenir shops, and opened a nondescript door labeled Barboncino Pizza. A thick, red velvet curtain slapped us in the face. It was heavy. Babs tripped. We shoved the curtain aside, and there lay a sprawling, posh, exposed-brick, hip-ass pizza place. We had stumbled down the rabbit hole, seen Oz, arrived at the pearly gates, or something.
The rest gets a little hazy, because I swear I really did see God: I had my first sazerac (rye whiskey and bitters, neat, with a lemon peel twist, thankyouverymuch). I’m pretty sure the last 30 years were just training for this drink.
When 8 o’clock rolled around, Babs and I stumbled walked a few blocks to LaunchPad, a multi-purpose space that functions as a childcare facility by day, art gallery/film screening venue by night. We chitchatted with Maria and Vanessa briefly and took our seats.
In Cinemacoma, Vanessa plays a women who’s watched too many movies, and can only speak to her husband in film quotes. It was a fantastic showcase of her impressions. During the Q&A session after the screening, Vanessa explained that she’d originally written Cinemacoma as a spec script for Saturday Night Live.
Needless to say, keep an eye out for these two.
No. Seriously. Start by watching Vampire Diaries – Maria just scored a 4-episode role! Yes. She is going to rub elbows with THIS:
Do you ever feel like you’re cheating and hanging out with the cool crowd? …And, um, how do you define “hipster”?
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored; all opinions expressed are totes my own.
Disclaimer of the above disclaimer: I really wish I was getting paid to mention these joints. Do any companies sell pre-made sazeracs?
I’ve always had a beef with New Year’s. Always. There’s that damn depressing song, for starters. It’s so bittersweet. As if you’re supposed to reflect on the could have beens, instead of the thank god there was’s. And then the expectations. Oh, the expectations!
This weekend, I took my $150 Christmas cash and went shopping at one of New Jersey’s many outlet malls. It was snowing, and the drive took longer than the shopping itself.
I didn’t need anything, but of course that wasn’t the point. One of my favorite stores was having a “70% off everything in the store!” sale.
When I finally got to the snow-covered outlet village, I shuffled into the store, knocking my boots on the black mat inside the doorway, trying to avoid the sales clerks’ glares, and the furtive glance of a boyfriend, who was hanging from his girlfriend’s arm while she chatted on her phone.
It wasn’t long before I realized that none of the pants I chose fit. I tried on a red dress two sizes too small and stared in the mirror.
Well, Babs [my mom] was right. Red really is my color. I guess it’s kind of tight, but, it’s still hot. I could wear this. Yeah! …Or maybe…maybe for my birthday in April it’ll fit…
And that’s when I closed my eyes.
Stop! Just… stop.
There’s some insistent force that tells us buying our goal weight outfit will make us feel better, when in fact all it does is make us feel like a pile of crumbled up rice cakes and diet seltzer.
I was 30 years old, and there was a lesson I needed to finally take to heart.
Dress for the body you have today.
I carefully lined up the five pairs of pants, one dress, and three tops that didn’t fit. In another pile, I placed the one top and one dress that did. I took a deep breath and headed for the register. With only two items.
And yet, in 2013, I want to lose 30 pounds, instead of celebrating the thousand (this might be a slight exaggeration) I’ve already lost. In 2013, I want to finish my memoir, instead of fostering the blog that really inspires me. In 2013, I want to tell myself it’s all too hard, instead of recognizing I’ve done some of the scary work already.
So I’ve got this radical idea. Maybe instead of starting all over, we Just. Keep. Going. Sound good?
How do you fare on New Year’s, and with resolutions?