Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jo Ann and her Fabrics

I hate buying decorative pillows. I think its the biggest waste of money on the planet so I often make my own. I find myself in JoAnne Fabrics about once a week buying some decorative item that is 900% off. Plus I have a 10% off coupon.
The only trouble is that the average age of the people who work there is about 98 years old. They have all sewn wedding dresses, let alone a measly pillow cover. So whenever I'm in there I have this anxious desire to impress them because they always ask me what I'm sewing.
"What are you making today?" I'd love to tell them my neighbor is pregnant and I'm sewing her baby's christening gown, but my response is always, "A pillow." And then I get that slightly holier-than-thou response. "Oh, how nice."
So yesterday I walked up to the cutting counter where Joan, the oldest and most crotchety of all the cutters sits, and took a number. I was the only person there, but I still had to take a number. ("Store policy.") I was number 57. So Joan starts calling numbers when she's finished with her customer.
I shake my head no.
We wait.
I shake my head no.
No one.
Still no one.
"Oh, that's me!" I brought my fabrics up to the counter. The other embarrassing thing is when you tell them you only need a yard. Then they KNOW you couldn't have that big of a project.
"How many yards of this one?"
"Just one," I say in a very chipper tone. Then, she looks down at my bag.
"Did you make that bag?" She asked me with the biggest smile like, oh good a young person who knows how to make something other than a pillow case. I thought for a microsecond. I imagined saying yes and how proud Joan would be. I imagined holding it up and other ladies behind the counter ooing and ahhing over my handiwork. I imagined explaining my process and how it was "really quite simple." I was very excited to say yes when suddenly, God turned my eyes to the bag at just the right angle to show me the designer tag attached to the inside. Foiled. There would be no way to explain away the tag.
"No ma'am. I didn't make it. A student's parent bought it for me as a teacher gift." She stared at it for a brief moment, probably imagining how foolish I was to be carrying a bag that cost more than the sum of its parts when I could have just bought fabric and made one myself. I waited for her to at least give me points for having been a teacher. She didn't smile, she didn't frown. She just said:
"How many yards of the next one?"
"Just one, please."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Typical Family Dinner

While I don't feel quite like I'm at home with my family when I have dinner with my in-laws, I do feel quite loved and accepted (thank heavens). However, I must admit that the conversations at the dinner table at the Cohen household occasionally get to a place to a far off place of weird and uncomfortable and makes it difficult to foresee a way out.
This evening I began a chat with my sister-in-law about fertility drugs. It was a casual conversation between just the two of us. Then a few others joined in and the conversation grew into a new category: sperm mobility. Then vasectomies. Then different methods for birth control. This was all before dessert.
Shortly after dessert was served, someone brought up the movie The Hangover. Then naked Asian men. Then naked Asian men on your face. Then heart attacks and doctors. Then blood pressure and cholesterol. Then someone brought out the electric blood pressure machine and started hooking people up to it. Then a competition ensued over who had the lowest blood pressure. And at this point when David and I decided it was time to go, we were labelled the "party poopers." Yeah. We're the party poopers.

Friday, June 26, 2009


merged, merg·ing, merg·es
1. To blend together, especially in gradual stages.
2. To become combined or united.

Attention people of Jacksonville: As you can see, at no point in the definition of merge will you find the words "come to a complete freaking stop."

Just saying.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Not sure if you've ever seen the "Really?!" segment on Saturday Night Live, but last night David and I re-created it in the car on the way home from the Jacksonville 48-Hour Film Festival.

Really 48-Hour Film Festival? You're going to force the finalists to sit for 2 hours to show ALL the films at the awards ceremony even though EVERYONE in the room just came to see who won!? You didn't stop and think: gee, this audience is here because they MADE the films. Think they've already seen them?! Should they show every film nominated at the Oscars, too?
And really, you think it creates an atmosphere of camaraderie when the filmmakers are forced to sit and critique every film in the top 15 in a sweltering theatre while waiting to receive an award?!
Really?! No one on the film festival team considered including some neutral entertainment besides A NEVER-ENDING RAFFLE FOR GOLF TICKETS AND BRUNCHES?!
Really, 48-Hour Film Festival? You didn't read the bios for the four judges prior to the awards ceremony to notice the self-appreciating nature of their 6 paragraph-long explanation of their qualifications for judging? Really?
And after you show all 15 movies and my poor in-laws are looking at their watches, already having forgotten what my movie was about, you begin to give 27 consecutive awards to the same 3 movies? Really? You couldn't spread it out a little bit more than that?
And there was no way to produce the event efficiently so that when you called people up to present awards, they were aware they'd be called up and wouldn't sit in the middle of the back row and then have to trip and awkwardly run onstage? Really? And you couldn't give them the crap written by a monkey they were supposed to read BEFORE they made the 3 mile jog down to the stage?
Really? The winner of the 48-Hour Film Festival WASN'T ONE OF THE FILMS TO RECEIVE ANY OTHER AWARDS EXCEPT FOR BEST ACTRESS?! And the two greatest films out of the entire competition barely get so much as a nod? REALLY?!
And you're surprised, really, when half the audience stands up to leave when they hear this because they're all too painfully aware of the fact that the winning film cast and crew just happens to be sitting DIRECTLY NEXT TO ONE OF YOUR JUDGES?!
And after 2 days of shooting, 2 weeks of waiting, and 2 hours of deadly awards-ceremony-jokes, they only thing our team won was 2 tickets from the raffle to see The Wallflowers? One Headlight? Really?!
Just let us stay home and send us an email. We don't mind losing. But we do mind losing to crap. Really.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bloody, Bloody, Blood

I had to get up as early as I could this morning to get to the Quest clinic to give my blood sample: doctor's orders.
I've had blood taken many times over the years. The first time I almost passed out in the chair and since then I ALWAYS tell the technician there is a very good chance I'll be dead on the floor by the time the needle comes out. When I don't die, I usually try to make it seem like it's a big surprise, like maybe they just did a great job of only taking the minimum amount of blood necessary using the smallest needle. "Oh wow, I'm usually passed out by now! You are good at this!" They almost always smile as if they could have possibly had something to do with it. And I almost fool myself, too. "Look at you, E, not passing out even though you've never actually passed out before."

This morning was no different and when the grouchy little man came in at 6:35am and called my name (first one on the list, thank you very much) he showed me to my little stall and sat me in the big girl chair. He pulled out 3 vials. THREE. I asked him if he was going to fill all 3. "Oh yes," he said. "And then some."
And then some? What does that mean?
Oh, it means he pulls out 3 more vials.
"WOW! That's 6 vials! That's a lot of blood! Do I have that much blood?"
He didn't think I was cute. "Everyone does."
Then he pulled out 3 more vials. To spite me for being cute.
Are you counting folks? That's 9.
"Ok, arm up."
Nine vials of blood.
"Ok, well, sometimes I pass out when..."
Too late. Needle in. I sat in that chair for about 72 hours while he switched out each vial, one at a time, until each one was full. I kept taking deep breaths, and he kept chuckling. I should have brought Dave. I should have brought my mom. Then I finally felt the needle come out.
"Ok, you're all done with that one. Drink up." He handed me a small bottle of glucose water. Thank heavens it was Lemon/Lime flavor. I drank up and got my things together to try to make it to the car when he said, "You can just wait in the other room for the last 2."
"Just in the waiting room is fine. Here's your slip. Be back in this stall in 60 minutes for the glucose test."
I had to go sit in a waiting room with ugly old uncomfortable chairs with tons of people while I thought I was going to pass out or vomit or both simultaneously?? FOR 60 MINUTES? SO THEY COULD THEN TAKE MORE OF MY BLOOD AWAY?!
The 60 minutes dragged on forever and when my time came up I sort of pin balled my way down the hall. I was so tired, had the worst headache ever, and was seeing little trails behind the toucans they kept perched on the trees in the bathroom. What?
I propped myself back up in the big girl chair and allowed my other arm to be mutilated for another 2 vials of blood. The lady left the stall without even saying goodbye, so I took that to mean I was finished and could leave.
With no blood left to speak of, breakfastless and very thirsty, I finally got to my car and drove back home. I don't particularly remember the drive. But I do know that I will never again agree to give blood without Dave or a lawyer a present. The moral of the story is: the next time you take someone's blood, please say goodbye and smile. It's the least you can do.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Just When You Need It

There's this poem that always pops up in my life when I need to read it. It's on a plain sheet of paper and today I found it in a huge stack I was sifting through while trashing old grad school paperwork. It's worth sharing. :)

Our Deepest Fear
By Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are we not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
You were born to make manifest the glory of God.
That is within us.
It's not just some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Life's Little Auditions

Today I auditioned for something for the first time in almost 5 years. As soon as I finished, I knew that everyone in the room was very satisfied with my audition and might very well have booked me on the spot...if it weren't for my scheduling conflict with some of the shooting dates. The folks in the room quickly began bargaining with each other.
"Well, we might not even shoot on that Thursday."
"Yeah, and if we do, I bet it will be a half day."
"But a schedule is a schedule and we can't bend the rules."
"If we shoot for three days, it could be the following week."
"We don't have the schedule set yet."
"We need people who are available on all of the days."
All this conversation flashed back and forth across the room while I stood in the middle, smiling, and holding my number (27). I began to think, in the moment I stood there, about how I might have reacted 5 years ago. I would have announced, "I'll give up prior commitments!" I would have lied and said it was no problem. I would have chuckled nervously. And by the end I would have walked away thinking, "Oh God, I wonder if I got it!" But today, I just stood and smiled and waited for the other people in the room to figure it out.
And here I sit, feeling so proud of the fact that I totally nailed my first audition. Evolution is the best.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


It's not very often that I feel like I'm among family. I was born into a huge Lebanese family, all of whose names I'm still not clear about. I ate family dinner every Sunday and holidays were unreal.
But when my dad died when I was 7, we moved to Florida to be with my mom's family. That family is a family by choice, not by blood. I spent much of my childhood assuming they were my blood relatives and when I learned that they weren't, it didn't change my love in the least. But it did change my perspective.

Since then, I've gained an entirely new family: the Cohens. They are all incredibly accepting and very lovely to be around. But again, they are still not my blood relatives.

This past weekend I spent 3 days with my mom, her sister, and my 2 cousins. They are all blonde-haired and blue-eyed; I look more like my cousin's boyfriend than like my actual family. But despite looking nothing like them, I felt more at home, more comfortable, and more safe than I have in a long time. I was loud, I belched, I cracked up, I zoned out, and I napped. And that was just Sunday. There's nothing like family.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Working on It

Turning 28 at the end of the summer will put me square into my late twenties. I imagined once that my late twenties would be full of knowledge and freedom and kids while still rocking an amazing body. While it is true that I'm smarter than I was at 18, freedom comes with bills and my rock hard abs are hiding beneath a layer of stubborn fat. I also figured I'd have children by now, because when you decide you want kids you just have them and you're done, right?! I thought I'd have a highly successful career without all those damn worries of an 18-year-old.
I could skip lunch for 3 days when I was 18 and lose 6 pounds. I could run out of money and call my mom. I could create undying amounts of drama in my life in order to spice things up a bit and still have friends in the morning. I could drink 28 beers, 4 shots, and get high and still make it to my 9:30am tennis class on Thursdays. No shoes were too expensive and no skirt too short. Skin cancer, skin shmancer, I'm getting a tan.
Am I glad to be turning 28? Sure. And I certainly don't have any regrets; I've lived a quite charmed and lovely life. But 28 sure does put 18 into perspective...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

48 Hours

When I was asked to be on a 48-hour Film Festival team, I was thrilled! I frankly had very little idea of what I signed up for.
Showing up at the Landing on Friday night, I sat with the crew waiting to find out which genre we would choose from the big hat. The sun was so hot that I almost didn't care what genre we got, just so long as it didn't require staying outside.
Everyone on our crew's face lit up. They kept exclaiming, "We have the perfect location, we have the perfect location!" I met everyone back at the AI School and we ate dinner and talked and waited. I was completely bored, totally unimpressed with the fact that nothing seemed to be happening, and really uncomfortable sitting in a room full of people who all appeared to have something to do while I checked my phone 10 million times.
Finally at about 9pm, the writer emerged from a computer lab and summoned me and another guy. He told us we would be the stars of his film and he needed us to get ready because we may shoot late. I asked him if I could run home and shower and pack a bag; I was completely unprepared. He told me I needed to hurry and handed me a map of the location. When I got home, I Google-Mapped it...Callahan. I hadn't even heard of the city. Why? Because it's in the middle of nowhere. In Nassau County. Ten minutes from Georgia. What the hell had I gotten myself into?!
I arrived at the location, which was an old house on 9 acres of property with the scariest big red barn I had ever seen in my life. I was pretty sure I had been followed by a semi with a man inside who was going to kill me.
We started filming about 2 hours later, with no indication of what the script was even ABOUT! Being told we'd be finished around 1am, I was very happy that I brought my sleeping bag at 4:30am when I finally got to sleep.
The next morning, it was pretty clear that this was not a union film when it was announced we'd begin filming in an hour. Eyes crack, peer at my watch...6am. Awesome.
We filmed all day and well into the night again, never given one iota of a scosche of a hint as to what this movie was about. I had lines. I had scenes. None of them made sense. But I committed. And as the hours dragged on, I watched the people around me commit. I watched them work together, stress out together, and laugh together. I watched a creative, only somewhat-experienced group of people work as professionals together to complete a project. It was inspiring, fun, and exhausting to say the least.
At the end of it all, I still don't know what the movie is about or how it ends. But what I do know is that I am completely proud of the work that we all did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Iceberg Lettuce; a Haiku

You fill up my plate.
No nutritional value.
Where is my salad?