F**K Waze, I’m Taking Metro

6993565854_2e13e49305_b“I can survive two weeks driving to Santa Monica. How bad could it be?” I told my husband after accepting a freelance job there recently.

How bad could it be? I’ll tell you — an hour and a freaking half bad, each way, in miserable bumper to bumper traffic with people cutting me off, honking and tailgating, all the while that freaking Waze app telling me to “Turn right.”

Sure, I’ll turn right from the farthest left lane of Wilshire Blvd. What the hell are you thinking with your “turn right” bullshit crazy Waze lady?

Then, to make things worse, I discover that this particular job does not provide employee parking . . . in Santa flipping Monica, where every street has a “No Parking” or “Permit Required” or “Hipsters Only” parking sign.

So after enduring ninety minutes of hellacious traffic, I get to circle the neighboring blocks for an additional twenty minutes, while my blood pressure spikes.

That commute and the parking nightmare brought out the worst in me and by the time I reached the office I hated all of humanity.

But what seemed odd, and slightly infuriating, was that no one in my new office seemed to mind. What was wrong with these people? Why were they not justifiably outraged?

Then I realized. Most of my new co-workers were millennials, still foolishly optimistic about the trajectory of their careers. They had yet to be beaten down by the daily humiliation of working life.

“Do you use Waze?” one of the perkier ones would ask.

“No, I just arrived on the planet. Yes I fucking use Waze you little twit.”

Okay, I didn’t say that, but I nearly did, because that commute chipped away at my already tissue-paper-thin filter.

And by the end of the day, my hostility turned to dread, knowing that I’d have to battle the freeways again to get home. Not even the dulcet toned NPR hosts could calm me down. I did not like the person I had become.

Then, as I lunched near my office, a shiny new Metro train whizzed by the window of the café. As I caught a glimpse of the blissful urbanites nestled in their seats, the train was beckoning me.

Though the Metro stop was but a few blocks from my office, when I asked my co-workers if anyone had used it, I was met with blank stares, “The Metro? Yah I should do that some day. . . but I hear it takes, like, ninety minutes.”

Oh, that blows. Wait, I’m lucky to make it home in ninety minutes now. What did I have to lose?

I resolved to take the train, yet it took a few days to work up the nerve. After all, it’s a huge leap for a native Angeleno to give up her car. It’s like a part of me. Actually it’s more like a really big purse, stocked with emergency items like snacks and sundries, coats and sensible earthquake-shoes, and of course, a first aid kit and a blanket should I stumble upon a errant shock victim. How could I get by without these items?

A heinous 2½-hour drive home convinced me that in fact I could, and at 8:15 a.m. the next morning, I was headed to the Pasadena Metro station, 15 minutes from my home.

But damn if that train wasn’t leaving the second I reached the platform. Oh well. No need to stress. This is going to be an adventure!

By 8:38 a.m. I’ve got my TAP card loaded and am successfully on board. I take stock of my fellow train commuters, an eclectic mix of business people, blue-collar workers, and students. These are my people now.

Five minutes in, a Metro officer enters our car and announces a TAP card check. Really, they actually do that? Mine thankfully passes the test. The officer turns to a rather drugged-looking gentleman in the corner who admits to having no such card. “You gonna cause trouble?” the Metro officer asks. “No, no,” the man claims.

The Metro officer moves on and the drugged-looking man immediately causes trouble. “Why aren’t you married?” he asks his neighbor, a young professional. “Oh I see your ring. Your husband better be nice to you.”

The woman is remarkably patient. I admire her restraint. I admire it from way across the train where I sat glued to my seat, doing absolutely nothing to assist her.

Instead I remember to share my location on my cell phone with my husband. “For one hour” or “indefinitely” it asks. “For 1 hour” I select optimistically.

Two stops later, a tattooed ruffian boards the train. He immediately zeros in on a cute French girl, a fashion student at FIDM, perhaps? Within minutes it appears a Metro love connection has been made! Or quite possibly an abduction; it can be so hard to tell.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-10-13-27-amBy 9 a.m. I’m at Union Station where I board the Red Line to NoHo. Wait that can’t be right. Darn it, am I on the wrong freakin’ train? I panic. Okay, yes, I do want to go north to go west, two stops to 7th St/Metro Center.

Another, rather drugged looking man comes on board and makes a b-line for the seat near mine. Karma. Suddenly he turns around and gets off. Phew!

It’s 9:36 a.m. and I’m finally on board the Expo line. Wow, what a great, clean train. I settle in for an enjoyable journey sailing over the streets and freeways of Los Angeles, much like the monorail at Disneyland. There’s so much to see!

Look, kids playing soccer, and a guy painting his house, and old men playing cards on a porch, and who knew there was a skateboard park there, and wow there’s some really shocking squalor you don’t see when you’re stuck on the (10) or trying not to get killed when Waze tells you to suddenly turn left.

Before I know it, I’m in Culver City (and isn’t it nice now?) and should be arriving at Bergamont station any second, and it’s only 10:32. Really, 10:32?

I sprint to my office and immediately try to share my Metro experience. But I’m met with more blank stares. My experience is so far out of my co-workers’ reality that I might as well have said that I flew to work on a fire-breathing dragon. “Oh really? I hear they take 90 minutes.”

For the rest of the day I feel strangely liberated not having a car. I smugly watch as my co-workers scramble to move theirs during street cleaning, and there’s a weight off my shoulders knowing that I don’t have to fight traffic to return home.

After work, I approach the train station with the swagger of a seasoned commuter. I easily navigate the hop from line to line, and even offer help to virgin riders.

As my train whizzes past the gridlocked streets and freeways, I smile. “Suckers!” I’m tempted to yell at the cars below.

On the last leg of my journey it occurs to me that what this Metro Train really needs is cocktail service, because oh my God it’s nearly 8 p.m., and I sure fixing for a glass of cabernet.

Finally back home I extol the virtues of my Metro trip, exhilarated from accomplishing my trip crosstown – such a contrast from the anger that I usually brought home.

I go on and on in excruciating detail until my husband reminds me that he once lived in a city with public transit and that riding the subway, for many, is nothing new.

But for me it was new, and so different from my decades of driving in L.A. traffic. Taking the train made me realize some fairly obvious things. For one, L.A. is big. I mean really freakin’ big, and two, there’s a ton of people living here, and three, a surprising number of these people appear to be on narcotics.

You miss these things driving in your car, insulated from the world and focused only on your destination or traffic.

You miss the diverse neighborhoods and the interesting people. But riding the train, past the soccer games and the men playing cards, and sitting with Eastside fashion students and Westside millenials, you feel a part of the city.

Maybe it takes ninety minutes – okay maybe a little bit more – but to not have the stress of driving, it’s totally worth it.

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TRUMP AVERSION THERAPY BILL

Posted today under pen name Bunny McGillicutty on The Dandy Goat

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In an unusual show of unity, House Republicans joined Democrats in a 421-2 vote to pass the Trump Aversion Therapy Act, which would allocate $300 million towards the rehabilitation of Trump supporters using the controversial Trump Aversion Therapy technique.

The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Richard Whiteman (D-Ohio), said the bill would provide cash incentives to those willing to be rehabilitated.

Details of the therapy have not been released, but sources confirm the Trump Aversion Therapy (TAT) would include the administration of the nausea-inducing drug apomorphine while participants watch Fox News’s Sean Hannity, read stories on Breitbart News, and of course, view clips of Donald Trump’s  (click here to keep reading)

 

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I Saw A Meteor and Lost My S…

meteorIt’s 6:38 AM and I’m making my kids’ lunches and staring out my kitchen window mindlessly at the valley below, when this light – this incandescent neon green light – catches my eye low on the horizon. The light gets larger and travels east. It’s a meteorite, my groggy mind realizes, a flipping meteorite, shooting across the morning sky.

Quickly I turn to search for my phone because I have to get this on video, right? Because it’s nothing if it’s not on video. But no, I can’t find my phone and even if I could, who was I kidding? There’s no way my middle-aged fingers could have managed to get my video camera on, and capture this thing.

So instead I turn back and watch and just take it in, all the while feeling guilty that I’m witnessing this magnificent sight all-alone. The streak moved across the sky, grew larger, and then turned into a ball – a big, freaking green ball with flames coming off the edges! Then, just like that, it burns up and it’s gone.

“I saw a meteorite!” I screamed to my kids, as I ran down the hall towards their bedrooms. They were duly impressed, but their interest quickly waned, lasting about the same amount of time it took the meteorite to cross the sky.

Their fleeting interest was frustrating because, after all, it’s human nature to want to share your unusual experience with others, to get validation, to hear other people’s stories, but mostly to tell your own.

So I did what anyone would do next; I turned to Twitter. I searched meteorite and found a lone woman, a young millennial, who tweeted that she had seen it too.

“I saw it too!!!” I wrote back, excitedly.

Minutes passed, yet no more posts appeared. “Maybe only you and I saw it?” I wrote to her again, suddenly feeling very connected to this stranger.

Again I waited, but by this time my own millennials had grown mouthy, impatient that my meteorite obsession was preventing me from providing them breakfast and filling their bags of lunch.

“How can you think about food when I just saw a fiery green ball in the sky?” I asked.

They had no answer.

I refreshed Twitter again. Finally more posts appeared. “Other people are tweeting about it too, I’m not crazy LOL” a DJ wrote in response to my original tweet. “I feel so lucky,” he added, belying the too-cool tone of the other posts on his feed.

Then a young music producer/DJ tweeted, “A green light, bright, shooting over the San Diego sky!”

Like a character in a science fiction show, I felt inexplicably drawn to these people. Did we have something else in common perhaps; something that explained why we were the select few chosen to witness this special sight? I scoured their feeds. Tweets about music and dancing were the only similar threads I could find. Hmm. Sometimes I watch music and dancing shows on TV. Perhaps that was it?

Soon I was indulging in a fantasy of the four of us meeting and forming a meteorite club. “Hello, my name is Kristen and my family doesn’t understand the importance of what I saw, but I can feel like you people do.” “Welcome Kristen.”

Then, as I looked over their posts again, I noticed that they all saw just a green flash or a green light. Really, that’s it? They didn’t see the freaking giant green ball with the freaking green flames surrounding it? Just a green light – that’s it?

I was obviously the queen of this meteorite. I had the best story, by far.

But then I realized something else. They were calling it a meteor, not a meteorite. I Googled. Turned out it’s only a meteorite if it hits the ground, if it doesn’t burn up. I was calling it by the wrong name. I was not the meteorite queen after all.

Embarrassed, I considered deleting my earlier tweets, but I already had 5 “likes” and was well on my way to a personal record.

Still hungry to share my experience, I turned to Facebook “Did anyone else see the meteor?” I posted. My so-called friends were not impressed, “A little early to be smoking something, isn’t it?” “You sure it wasn’t a special effect for a movie?” “Did you see any aliens too?” they mocked.

My desire to share was not satisfied and now the day was nearly half gone. There were bills to pay, a tax appointment to prepare for, and chores to complete.

But I couldn’t concentrate. I wasn’t ready.

I couldn’t think about bills or taxes, and I didn’t even feel like squandering time on the internet reading about bickering candidates or the most recent celebrity faux pas.

I only wanted to revel in that moment; that wondrous and magical moment, when I gazed out at the newly lit horizon and saw that beautiful unearthly light transform into a fiery green ball, and travel across the morning sky.

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Flashback Thursday: A Trumped Up Government

I was doing a little housekeeping in my blog and discovered this piece I wrote back in May 2011 when Trump first made noise about running for president, then backed out. I wrote this back when the idea of Trump, a reality TV star, being president was an absurd thought!

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May 10, 2011

Ahh Donald backed out. But it would have been so much fun – here’s what will be missing:

President Trump, with Vice President Snooki at his side, could assemble an entire team of reality stars to run the government. To help tackle our huge deficit, Trump could institute a pay-by-text voting system where America gets to vote out his poorly performing cabinet secretaries. And with their jobs and departments gone, even more taxpayer money would be saved.

The whole thing could be broadcast on C-SPAN. Not the current boring C-SPAN of course, but a trumped up C-SPAN, if you will.

Trump’s new press secretary, The View’s Sherri Shepherd, could be given the duty of announcing the new cabinet members beginning with the new Secretary of State, Sarah Palin, chosen for her expertise in foreign policy, of course.

Justin Willman, host of Cupcake Wars could lead up the Defense Department. After all, if he can moderate those often-vicious cupcake wars, surely he could handle anything the Middle East throws at him.

The Department of Homeland Security could naturally be led by The Situation. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with that six-pack. And we know he’d crack down on those Hawaiian aliens trying to pass themselves off as actual Americans.

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I SOLD MY BOOK!

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I’m very excited to announce that I sold my book to Tidal Press and it will be traditionally published in May/June of 2017!!!!

The book is a collection of comic essays, a few you might have read here plus many brand new ones never before seen!

Between the essays are updates on my life that take place over two summers: the first, when I’m stuck smack in the middle of my mother/daughter sandwich and wanting to please everyone yet satisfying no one, and the second, three years later when I’m trying to savor every last freaking minute before my eldest leaves for college and consequently rips my beating heart from my chest and stomps on it with her expensive Doc Marten boots (metaphorically speaking of course).

The title – well that’s still up for debate. All ideas are welcome! Probably the title should have something to do with summer. Something catchy and funny that makes people want to buy a copy instantly.  That’s all I require.

If you’d like to leave your email address in the comments, I’ll be sure to send you a note when the book is released.

Thanks for everyone’s encouragement over the years. So many of you have been so kind and supportive. I truly appreciate it.

More details and updates to come!

Kristen

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I Jinxed El Niño – You Can Blame Me

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Originally published on LA Daily News

“The El Niño rains are still coming! They’ll be here in January . . . February, no, we mean March, possibly April, or even late May,” the local weather forecasters all say.

Yet our days feel remarkably like summer, and El Niño seems like a bust.

I don’t blame the scientists. After all, our ocean waters have indeed warmed; we’ve seen the dead crabs and poisonous snakes on our beaches to prove it.

The scientists are not responsible for the forecasts going awry. In truth, it was me. I stopped the rain from coming, by massively over-preparing and giving into full-throttle storm-watch hysteria. I jinxed El Niño. I jinxed it good.  Continue reading

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Diary of a Facebook Parent Page Post Gone Wrong

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Calldale Canyon High School Parents

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RECENT ACTIVITY

2223-1013-A2265Sheila Haynes Rasmusen

1 hr

Hi CCHS Parents! It’s Sheila Rasmusen, new PTA president, letting you know about the Varsity Football fundraiser this Saturday!

1PM – 6PM Car wash, bake sale, raffle & FUN!! Support our varsity boys!

GO TIGER FOOTBALL!!

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Jenny Barnes  The Barnes will be there! Wondering – will there be gluten free items at the bake sale? Lucas is gluten sensitive. Hate to have him feel left out.

Like · Reply – 58 mins

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Rick Anderson  We‘re new in town. What football opportunities are there for my 9-year-old twin boys?

Like · Reply – 56 mins

 

2223-1013-A2265Sheila Haynes Rasmusen  Jenny Barnes   I will bring some gluten free items. Rick Anderson I’ll send you a link w/ youth football info. Go Tigers!!

Like · Reply – 55 mins
IMG_4119Jill Wainstock  A car wash – Really? Isn’t there still a drought here in Calldale? Seems pretty irresponsible. Lame.

Like · Reply – 50 mins

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George Stel  FACT: Gluten sensitivity is HOGWASH!

Like · Reply – 45 mins

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Rachel Davidson   Rick Anderson Welcome to Calldale! You’re going to love it here. Not to judge, but why would you let your young boys play football? Have you read the stats on head injuries? Do your research. I happen to care about my kids so I’d never let them play.

Like · Reply – 38 mins  Continue reading

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Laundry 101

I made a video to teach my kids how to do laundry – not sure I actually accomplished that though.

NOW FEATURED ON HUFFINGTON POST PARENTS!

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When Do I Get to Slumber?

 

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Hi all!

Thrilled to announce that my column, “When Do I Get to Slumber?” is up on the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop page – it’s an excerpt from the parenting collection, Martinis & Motherhood – available on Amazon!.

Click here for the Erma page to read the full column.

Click here to order your copy of Martinis & Motherhood!

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Kids: Change the $^*#&% Toilet Paper Roll – A Video

I had the house to myself yesterday so I made a video.

Enjoy!

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