To Don’t List

Happy Monday everyone!  A friend recently shared this extremely inspiring article with me and I wanted to share it with all of you.  What better way to start your week than with a “To Don’t List” of the 30 things to stop doing to yourself.  It’s a quick, moving and ultimately useful reminder of the basics that are easily forgotten while life happens.  Once you’ve read it, be sure to check out the follow up article with “To Do’s” that you can start applying right now…

Enjoy, and have a great day!

The Friday Funnies

You know how people ask, “you want to laugh?”

A) Who doesn’t?  Really, when was the last time you heard someone reply, “No, not for me thanks.”  Exactly.  That’s just silly!  And B) there’s a 50-50 chance the person will not laugh at all after having set such high expectations.  But in all seriousness, the important question is…you want to laugh?

Then go see The Change-Up this weekend!  I promise you will laugh more than if you didn’t.  The movie is hysterical, raunchy, and even has a sensitive side if you can believe it.  You know, the grass is always greener until you walk a mile in someone’s shoes on the other side of the fence.  Okay I may have just combined two sayings but you get the idea.  Perfect date movie compromise, or even see it with your girlfriends/buddies.  It’s that good.

Bateman, Reynolds, Mann, and Wilde.  Public urination into a creepy fountain.  Babies.  Hot leading ladies.  Again, Reynolds.  What more could you want?

Can you guess which one is my celebrity crush, a la Ross Gellar and Isabella Rossellini on my all time favorite, Friends?

On another note, check out these “Friendly Foes.”

Happy Friday!

Mommy Issues

As you know, I recently graduated from the Second City Training Center in Los Angeles.  You may not know though that such people as Steve Carell, Jim Belushi, Tina Fey, and Mike Myers, those nobodies, are also products of Second City.   So is John Paul Karliak, whom I was fortunate enough to be in class with and perform with him on stage.  Talk about talent.  I mean I always knew he was a great improviser, but after seeing his one-man show that he also wrote, I’m just in awe.

J.P.’s Donna/Madonna is an incredibly moving nature vs. nurture story about his life, or semi-secretive life, with both his adopted mother, “Donna,” and his birth mother, “Madonna.”  Through storytelling, reenactments, song a la Bette Middler, and dance, J.P. keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting to see what will unfold next in his story.

Now although one-man shows are usually not mah thang – unless referred to as stand-up comedy – J.P.’s changed my perception altogether.  The entire show may be performed just by one person, however each character he plays feels as significant and well-rounded as when he is playing himself and you quickly forget you are watching one person do an entire show. That is called acting my friends.   This show is truly lovely and translatable to anyone who has a mother.

You don’t want to miss his last show, trust me.  I’m not giving my seal of approval because my friend needs help filling seats.  He by no means needs help doing that as it has been sold out weekly.  You should see it because it is talent, creativity, honesty and heart at its best.  See it…and then call your mom.

Celebration Theatre – August 31, 2010 @ 8PM
7051 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA‎
(323) 957-1884‎

Funny People!

Every Wednesday night I get together with the special people in Ithamar Enriquez’ Conservatory 4 class at the Second City Training Center Los Angeles to pitch sketch ideas and cast scenes just like we are producing SNL.  These scenes are then performed again in our improv shows before a live audience.   We are collecting material that will soon be used in our 8 week show run once we graduate from Conservatory Level 5.  What ever makes the audience laugh will stay, and whatever doesn’t, well…it will probably also stay!  Just kidding folks.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve been up to…

Want to see more?  You can still catch us on April 11 and 25 at 7PM.  And the best part?  The show costs a whopping ZERO f-ing dollars.  I know, I know.  It just seems too good to be true.  And it is.  Hope to see you all there!

Eyes up here, thanks.

Have you noticed that over the years you’ve been seeing a lot more of people’s eyelids?  Way back when, you’d never see a guy’s eyelids unless they were sleeping or for those females out there, if they were staring at your chest.  You’d see a female’s eyelids because she uses eye shadow and other eye makeup.  But now, you almost see more lids than actual eyes because everyone is staring down…at their cell phone.

I am definitely part of this group.  I literally walk around emailing, texting, bbming, tweeting, and Facebooking.  It’s amazing I haven’t been hit by a car or walk right into a pole.  That’s how often I look down at my phone.  Forget about texting and driving being a hazard to everyone’s safety; texting and walking is just as harmful!  I like to think of myself as a great multitasker, however I could realistically respond when I am no longer moving about.

That goes for social interactions as well.  How many times have you sat at a table where everyone’s cell phones are placed somewhere near their silverware?  Last time I checked, you don’t need a cell phone to eat.  And the worst is when someone actually answers the phone at the table.  Unless it’s an emergency, real crisis, or a business lunch, it just shouldn’t happen.   Or how about when someone is texting with someone else while hanging out with you?  Um hey, how about what’s going on here rather than over there?  Be present!  This was one of my New Year’s resolutions and I haven’t done a great job of curbing my texting habits, but I am trying.  I also tend to text if I see the person I’m with is doing it because then it feels less rude since they are already being rude.  Work-related things are excusable but anything other than that can wait.

I’ve become so socially dependent on my phone through texting and emails that when the phone actually rings I get scared.  Having an actual conversation gives me anxiety because I have to think quickly and there might even be some awkward silence, oh my!

I am going to change my ways now, before it’s too late and I become incapable of real life conversation.  I vow to disconnect during meals, driving and walking for that matter, and plans with friends and family.  Who’s with me?

The Real Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill planned to go up the hill,

to have a very romantic dinner.

Jack was late, and ruined the date,

So Jill figured she must need to be thinner.

What we should take from this kids, is that Jack and Jill just don’t understand each other and never will. Jack was late, having nothing to do with Jill at all yet she assumed it must have been because of her.  No matter how much a guy and girl think they get each other, they don’t because they are so drastically different.  Always have been, always will be.  Even when we think we’re getting close to understanding the opposite sex, we wind up taking two steps back and have to reconsider all that we know.

Let’s start with the Jills of the world.  Sorry ladies, I’m about to expose us, but hopefully it will bring about a better understanding of our general behavior and thought process.  Women obsess.  That’s just what they do so it makes perfect sense that they’d obsess about relationships too.  The minute we are interested in someone, or they make a move of some kind, we instantly wonder where this will go.  We also consider what our name will sound like with your last name and if you are the one.  Crazytown, we know, but we do it anyway without hesitation.  We also stare at our phone hoping you will contact us, and once you do, we obsess about what to write back and may even enlist a few choice editors to save us from the embarrassment that will come from  writing exactly what we would say if unsupervised.   No really, true story.  Obviously there are exceptions to this, but those are few and far between, and most likely vary only to a certain degree.  Girls tend to be driven emotionally rather than logically.  We know you’re not right for us, we know your reputation, we know we can’t change you but we want to anyway.  Clearly it makes absolutely no sense.  We don’t claim that it does.  We are hearts, rainbows, and butterflies to the bone and that’s why you love us.  We are hard to figure out and say things we don’t mean hoping that you will understand we really mean the opposite.  We are a challenge until we’re not and turn to mush.  When you do things, we instantly assume it’s because of us, not that it’s just you.  We analyze, and re-analyze searching for answers and meaning and more answers.  We innately want to trust you so we try, and unfortunately sometimes ignore major warning signs.  Damn you hindsight, damn you.  We often put you first, ourselves second.  We usually only cheat if we feel emotionally disconnected or abandoned and search for the need to be understood and appreciated.  We are hands down different from men.

Now Jacks, you guys are much harder to crack and any female who says she totally gets your sex is kidding herself.  I’m so baffled and fascinated by the entire lot of you that I don’t even know where to start.  My dream is to be able to pick guys brains and get answers to the bazillion questions I have.  I clearly have my own opinions, beliefs, and understanding about the male sex from my own experience and others, however I will not begin to start listing them as I did with the Jills.  It all goes back to the whole “I can say that because I am that” situation.  I am female so I can talk about females, however I can’t talk about men because it would be solely based on observation and opinion.

So now I open the floor to you Jacks.  Send me an email or comment with standard guy things – be it an explanation, story, example, anything.   I want to know the why, how, what, and when about the things you guys do and think.  Keeping with Growing Up Golden anonymity, I will not include names, nor will I share them with anyone.  It’s just not my style, and definitely not the point of the blog.  I want real answers from you guys so send em on over to growingupgolden@gmail.com and let’s solve the mystery of why men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.

Warning: Animal has escaped from the zoo and is disguised…

…as a MAN.

Here’s some background. My friend basically swore off dating for 2010, but went out with this guy one night to get it over with since he had asked her to hang out a few times before that. She had no expectations and really wasn’t in the mood to go have drinks with this stranger at the Belmont on a Sunday night. It turned out that they hit it off and spent five hours talking about everything and anything. He had qualities she hadn’t found yet in other guys, he was assertive, direct, a great listener, and very manly – a real guys guy. She was very intrigued by his time spent in the Israeli army and the fact that he wrote a book about his experience there. An intellectual tough guy, she thought. Perfect. He seemed very into her and made all kinds of future plans to see her.  At the end of that week he would be leaving town for over a month and wanted to see her as much as possible before that.  She was taken back by his eagerness to see her since they’d just started hanging out but liked it. No games, finally.

A few days before he left, he became distant, less talkative, and canceled plans, if you can even call what he did a cancellation.  She was disappointed but not upset because by that point, he had hardly made a dent on her life.  Then, lo and behold, once he got situated on location in Europe, he resurfaced with his excuse being that he was extremely busy before leaving town and needed to take care of everything. Fine, that’s understandable, she decided.  I mean he hardly knew her.  She definitely wasn’t a priority yet. It made sense and she forgave him. They continued talking via text, calls, skype and email. He constantly kept in contact. She figured it couldn’t hurt and would at least be entertained.   However, quickly it went from careless entertainment to real feelings and real feelings turned into missing him.  How could that even be possible after knowing him for such a short amount of time?  It was illogical and unrealistic.  They spoke all of the time, revealed things about themselves in “morning messages” they’d send each other letting the other know how they felt and concerns and questions, and grew closer by the day.  He even initiated talks of her flying out to see him in Europe (on his dime) and brought up what it would be like together when he returned to LA.  He wanted to integrate himself into her life, have her cancel all of her plans for the month of April and spend it with him once he got back. He wanted her to leave a toothbrush and pajamas at his place and be comfortable there with him. Aside for a few small things, and the major disappearing act he pulled in the beginning, he seemed like a good guy. A little pushy and quick to dive into a relationship, but great otherwise. She was definitely excited by his enthusiasm, yet still reluctant because it was all stemming from the two times they hung out before he left. She wasn’t sure she wanted to rule out seeing other people for this person she hardly knew, but hey, she didn’t want to date in 2010 anyway so what was the difference at this point?

Sooner than she expected, they had a series of fights and make ups where each time she wanted to call it quits because hello, it was just absurd to be dealing with this much trouble in the short period of time they knew each other.  He felt the opposite – that the problems were due to the distance and that once in the same place, they would be completely fine.  Again, he pursued, convinced, and on they went.  By this point, she was one foot in, one foot out.  She didn’t allow herself to get completely involved emotionally because things had been so inconsistent and so she kept herself at a distance.  She definitely didn’t see a future with this guy because of their personality differences. He had a temper, would drop off when stressed out with work, and had a mouth on him – most likely due to his time spent in the army.

Then for a while, it seemed like smooth sailing. No fights, just great talks, supporting each other, and becoming close again. Time was passing and soon he would be returning to LA. They’d finally get a chance to really see how things would be together. She was actually really excited to pick him up at the airport on March 27 and decided she would give it a shot. Lo and freaking behold, about two weeks ago he dropped off again, growing distant and less talkative. She knew something was up and in her likely fashion, she wanted to check out emotionally. Not the best defense mechanism, but one nonetheless. Only this time she couldn’t. He had worn her down, after all of the red flags and hesitance, and she let him in. The only difference was that now he had really dropped off. It came right after they had gotten their closest too. She couldn’t get in touch with him and finally gave up. Until yesterday. She couldn’t take it anymore and wanted answers. How could he suck her in like this and then completely go MIA? He was the one driving it the entire time and now silence. So she called him. She wasn’t surprised when he didn’t answer and left a message. But she couldn’t leave it at that. She called the hotel he was staying at and was connected to his room and finally got through. Only the person answering the phone was not him, it was a female and then he got on the phone and pretended he couldn’t hear her on the other end of the line. Now she had an answer. He was seeing someone else. Who knows if it was just that one, or maybe others he was seeing too. For all she knew, he could have been married this entire time. Of course this led to a series of other questions like why, how, when, and who. It also led to anger and disappointment and utter shock. How could he treat her like that after everything they’d planned for and told each other and supposedly felt? What kind of emotionless animal was he really? How can people treat other people like that at all? People pretend to be someone they aren’t, and basically disguise themselves as the person they know you want them to be. The truth always comes out though and someone is always left with the rug pulled from underneath them.

Moral of the story: Take things slowly, get to know the person, and push the brakes when you see red flags early on. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a fraud like she did, hurt, confused and afraid to trust again.  Also, it’s much more respectable and eventually forgivable if you own up to whatever you’ve done to hurt someone else.   Acknowledging it and coming clean may be uncomfortable for you, but it goes a long way and definitely will make a difference in the long run to that person on the receiving end.  Promise.

The Window

There is a definite dating window of opportunity that exists before entering the well-known Friend Zone.   By definition, the Window of Opportunity is “a  brief opportunity to do something, especially something that will be beneficial or profitable in some way.”  Think about it.  When you meet someone, don’t you initially wonder what their motive is, be it friendship or more?  How can you not?  Unless you’re faced with someone who is out collecting friends because they don’ have many or obviously networking, more often than not there is a deeper interest.

Coincidentally, the acronym for said time period is W.O.O. and when you woo someone, you seek their affections, hence the window.  The idea is to date the person when you first meet them, before you get too comfortable or share things you’d share with a friend.  If you think getting really close is the idea, your ship will sail faster than you know.   You will become the rock, or the person to vent to, or the advice giver which often leads to advice that will be used on someone else.  Keep your eye on the prize and make a move.  If you don’t spell it out and ask the person out, your intentions can get lost in the shuffle, misinterpreted, and then you’re assumed a friend because you never, let’s say leaned in.

On the other hand, is it better to become friends first and organically move in the direction of dating?  People always say to date your best friend, which I find endearing but also extremely difficult to do for many reasons.  The first being history and its many details.  Depending on your length of friendship, there might be so much history there, desirable and undesirable, that you couldn’t possibly go down that road or want to gamble on whether or not you’d ruin the friendship.  Or, you’ve become almost like brother and sister and are the furthest thing from attracted to one another.  But then of course, there’s the duo that’s always had bad timing and taken turns being in relationships, or both in relationships at the same time never having the chance to give it a real shot with each other.  Even worse, the dreaded one-sided romance where Friend A has always loved Friend B from afar and feelings are not reciprocated.  Ouch.

If you miss the window and fall face first into Friend Zone, you run the risk of the window being closed forever.  Well…depending on the person.  Take me for example.  By forever, I mean cemented shut.  That thing isn’t budging.  It’s hard to cross over once you’ve been compartmentalized.   Once you’re deemed “legitimate friend,” that’s how I see you.  Even former boyfriends and guys I’ve dated that remain as friends are permanently in friendship world.  I can’t help it; it’s almost like my brain has been re-wired.  However there is a light at the end of the tunnel folks.  Lines between friends do blur from time to time, and opportunities may again present themselves.  There is that special closeness friends have and clearly things you like about each other.  If not, why would you even be friends in the first place?    It might take some time, and countless bad relationships with other people to get there, but eventually you both may be ready and realize what you need has been right in front of you all along.  Awww.

It’s called a phase for a reason folks

When you first start dating someone, you do everything you can to impress them.  You put effort into what you wear when around them, douse yourself in perfume or cologne, put on make up, get a haircut, and make sure to have gum handy at all times.  You have butterflies before you see the person.  You wonder if you look alright or should have thrown on something else.  You laugh at things you don’t necessarily think are funny.  You ignore things that usually drive you bananas.  You are basically on your best behavior, and let’s face it, not yourself.  Well at least not completely.

Once you’ve been on multiple dates, maybe even sleepovers, and the person has seen you looking a little bit less than stellar, things start to change.  You’re slightly more lax with your appearance.  Personal stories and experiences begin to surface.  Opinions are revealed. Your actual personality seeps out and there’s no turning back.

Since you’re much closer now and spend boat loads of time together, the more humanly qualities appear.  Come on people, who are you fooling?  We all have the same bodily functions, some more than others, but nonetheless the same.  The first time a sound is made or someone is in the bathroom for longer than your standard pee, it’s a little uncomfortable and most likely awkward.  But once it’s happened, you can finally let loose and maybe even discuss it.  Couples talk about it, you know it’s true.  And then BAM.  The honeymoon phase is over.  Thank you for playing, hope to see you again real soon.

Now, if you still enjoy each others company once the truth comes out, more power to you.  You really do like each other.  Yay!  But why on earth does it take so freaking long to get to the real you?  I get it, you want to impress this person so you do the things you believe will impress them.  You hold back until you get comfortable enough and secure enough in the relationship to let it all out.  Some people don’t even get to that point where they can fully be themselves.  Hello?  Isn’t this all a huge waste of time?  It’s cute and all but you’re leading someone to believe you’re not who you really are just to wind up getting to that point anyway further down the road and realizing you may not even like the person.  You just got used to spending time with them and have included them in your life to where it is almost natural and usual.  Now how do you escape?  Most people don’t.  They stick because it’s comfortable and now come to be what they know as normal.  Yikes.  So I say, just say NO to the honeymoon phase!  Be yourself right off the bat.  Bring out the red flannel pjs if they are your favorite!  If you have a hard time with that, you clearly think the real you is not all that spectacular and should probably do some soul searching before getting into any kind of relationship.  Just a thought.  Otherwise, you’re just two people sitting together on a couch who fart.  Might as well do it with someone you like.

Holiday Series Part 1: All I Want for Christmas is You

How Thanksgiving has already come and gone baffles me.  Really.  I mean this year flew faster than ever before.  That means New Years is right around the corner and then we start all over again.

This is truly the most wonderful time of the year, for so many reasons, however it seems to do funny things to people.  Aside from the standard family drama that comes out during this time, people all over the world at one point or another are overcome by loneliness.  It’s like right after Halloween, that feeling starts setting in.  But why?

Could it be because of the endless commercials where the girl gives the guy the awesome sweater or the guy gives the girl a mysterious red box and her face lights up?  Or the festive holiday greeting card aisle at CVS that appears and is dedicated solely “To Him” and “To Her”?  Or because the most amazing movies are played at this time, people leave town, and it’s fun to be lazy with someone? Or because it’s also the time when you remember loved ones that are no longer living or part of your life?

I get it.  Holiday loneliness is a different beast altogether.  It’s the time you create memories and feel all warm and fuzzy inside and want to share it with someone, not just in a friendly way.  It’s the season of songs like “All I want for Christmas is you,” “I Miss You Most at Christmas Time,” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and movies like While You Were Sleeping and The Family Stone. I’ve been in relationships the past few holiday seasons so I can’t say that I have felt this strain of loneliness in a while, however there was one year that I went as far as having a “Winter Boyfriend” to avoid it.  He was, and still is, a friend that was in town over the holidays and we were both single, yet interested in the possibility of dating.  We decided to give it a shot so we’d always have a plus one or date during that holiday season.  We were together Christmas day on my family’s boat in Miami, and together on New Years Eve as well.  Then the holidays came to an end and so did our winter relationship.  It was genius.

That particular situation worked out but I wouldn’t suggest settling just to have a body around during the holidays if you don’t really have an interest in them.  If you’re overcome by loneliness, I suggest spending extra time with family and friends and reach out to people you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while.  Maybe buy a Snuggie so you will be cozy sans snuggler.  Start going to the gym now instead of waiting until you make a New Years resolution for it.  Create a blog, if I can do it, you can too.  Anything to keep you busy.   Enjoy the holidays and focus on all of the wonderful things you do have, rather than the one person you don’t have. If all else fails, go to as many holiday parties as you can and stand under the mistletoe.