Sunday, November 28, 2010

Boxing Gloves

I've spent the last week in the Motherland, aka Tejas to all of you out there who don't speak Texan, for the Thanksgiving holiday and waiting for my nephew Andrew to arrive. No baby yet, but I've been able to fill the time reconnecting with friends, both from my youth and college years. Meeting up with people has required me to go all over the place and has led me to two conclusions: 1) God has blessed me with a good sense of direction and 2)Dallas is much cooler than for which I gave it credit. I moved away from the Big D almost a decade ago and during that time, my hometown has changed just as much as I have. How is it possible that I spent 18 years of my life living the metroplex and know almost nothing about it? Needless to say, it's been a surreal week.

Over the past six months, I have had several people, important people to me, talk to me about moving back to Texas, to which my reply mimics that of a scoff, and after a brief moment of existential thinking, claim that I would only move back to Texas if it were to Austin (as it is the closest thing to LA that Texas has to offer). However, after this past week, the main thought that has been rolling around in my head is the question: can you ever really go home again?

Let's let them fight it out, shall we? In far right corner of the ring, we have the rough 'n tuff Lone Star State herself, Texas; and in the opposite corner we have the king of cool, California. In the department of economics, Texas throws a right cross at Cali and breaks his jaw. The killer combo of no state income tax and gas under 3 dollars a gallon brings round one to a quick close. Cali fires back with a sucker punch and upper jab when it comes to culture. Texas blocks with exponentially better food, but begins to lag at the end of round two after ingesting a lethal amount of butter and barbeque sauce. Round three ends a draw after California swings and misses when it comes to politics and Texas missteps in the category of climate. It all comes down to round four, sudden death. Will Texas pull it together to defeat Cali's fun in the sun? Can California must up enough strength to combat Tejas' Southern charm and hospitality? After a brief moment of silence and a tension so thick you can feel it in the air, Cali winks from across the ring and kicks Texas in the teeth: the Pacific Ocean, baby! TKO.

This probably won't be the last throw down for my two homes. . . but for right now, the PO is where it is at. Thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Having an Affair

Well, being that it's the Lord's Day, I figured that now is as good a time as any to come clean. I'm cheating on Thanksgiving with Christmas. Yes, I, Michelle Heather, have broken the cardinal rule of my family and committed the mortal sin of indulging in the Christmas spirit before the carving of the turkey. For this, I may have my nickname status revoked, but this year, I just can't help myself.

What led to this blasphemy you ask? Well, a long series of events and influences culminated into my concession today by putting up the tree. It all started with seeing my first Christmas commercial on Halloween eve and it all went down hill from there. Starbucks busted out their holiday cups almost three weeks ago and stores have been blasting Jingle Bells since the Santa Annas started blowing. Even the Colony has trimmed the town with tinsel and garland. A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) is a November 1st kinda guy and has been talking about Yule Tide Cheer for quite sometime. He convinced me to start watching Christmas movies, so this week, I decided to kick the season off right with my annual viewing of my favorite, Miracle on 34th Street. Thursday night I made my famous fudge, a Christmas staple in my household, and yesterday my roommate busted out the carols. I even broke out my apple cider body wash this morning in the shower. But it didn't become official until this afternoon.

I was at the mall picking up some last minute items for my trip home (and by that I mean buying another sweater dress) and could sense that the pre-holiday rush tension was in the air. I managed to wiggle in and out of the dressing room unscathed and waited in line at the register while the crowd swelled around me. Finally I made it to the front of the line and cringed as the total began to rise, but my buyer's remorse was quickly interrupted by a yelp to my right. Nondescript words and hand gestures soon followed. Then I heard it, "Oh no you didn't." People actually say that? Who knew? Then a woman in line behind me began to yell at the sale associates behind the counter to do something. She then took it upon herself to intercede and try and stop the fight. . . that's when the punch was thrown. The gentleman behind the counter smiled and handed me my receipt. "Happy Thanksgiving and an early Merry Christmas," he said to me. "Thanks," I said, "and be sure to keep you scan gun handy."

Peace and joy to all mankind.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chicks Dig Scars

Working with college students usually keeps me abreast as to what is now considered cool, that my daily dose of E! News. Though I do a pretty good job of keeping up to date on fashion, music, film, etcetera, I rely on them to give me the inside track on being hip. For this week, the word on the street was HP.

No offense to my students, but I don't understand how wizards are cool. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the artistry 0f a British pre-teen version of Friends that involves wands, but I'm not sure it constitutes patronizing a midnight showing. Under the recommendation of a few friends, I once cracked open a copy of the supposed monolithic children's book and three chapters in gave up the ghost. Boring. Everyone who hears the tale of my Harry Potter debacle tells me that I must push through the first few books in the series in order to get to the goods, but I have more important things to read, like this month's issue of Cosmo.

I get it, they (my students) grew up with our beloved HP, but what concerns me is how they know more about the Black family lineage than they do about pronouns and antecedents. Okay, no one gives a rip about the parts of speech, but my point still remains. Harry Potter and his epic tale of epicness/wonder-some wizardry/broomstick bodaciousness is not real. Owls haven't served as carriers for years as they were replaced by pigeons long ago, and according to Back to the Future, cars won't fly until 2015. The Jig is up J.K.R.(insert additional and superfluous initials here) Rowling, Hogwarts is merely a figment of your little English imagination.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, I mean, I truly believe that Zak Morris and I will meet and fall madly in love one day, but at least he drives a jeep and has a band. Harry Potter is the chosen one and only has two friends in his entire school. Lame. He has been chasing the same villain for 6 movies and still hasn't come close to catching him. Not impressed. HP's confidant and BFF is a sexually frustrated 186-year old man. Creepy. So, to all of you who love you some sorcerer 's stone, knock yourself out, but as for me I'm sticking with season three of Saved by the Bell.

I also suggest checking out the following link: Let's just say it includes the quote, "And it was another tequila sunrise for our hero, HP."

Friday, November 12, 2010


So, I'm experiencing a bit of buyer's remorse about my most recent posting. True, I did have an amazing week surrounded by friends, food and frivolities in my home, but I failed to include one of the most incredible experience I have had to date: chocolate wine. Yes, I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but you weren't there, you didn't experience the magic. Though I knew at the time I initially tasted said deliciousness that it would be important to me, but after three nights of dreaming about this cocoa goodness, I think it has seriously changed my life. To be more specific, this was no port with chocolate on the side, but rather bottled burgundy bliss that bursts with bouquets of hazelnut, milk and mahogany confections.

At first I spied the glass with suspicion, not sure of what would come. The woman behind the bar smiled and calmly stated, "Enjoy!" My friend turned to me and nodded her head in excited approval. I grasped the goblet and inserted my nose into the glass. The aroma was intoxicating. Sweet currants of cocoa coupled with the heavier notes of oak made my head spin. I lifted it to my lips, and saluted the potent potable with a wink and a smile. Sip. Ahhhhmazing. I literally went weak at the knees at soon as the wine rolled across my tongue. Mom, Dad, I know you are probably going to read this, so avert your eyes now. . . words cannot do justice to describe what tasting this wine was like, so I have no other choice than to say that I think my mouth had an orgasm. Seriously. Okay parental units, you can look again. It was deliciously delicate with smooth trickles of dark chocolate and amaretto while at the same time being robust with deep layers if aged port and old vine Zinfandel culminating in an explosion of sweet serenity. I think I saw God.

So yes, I realize that this was a bit of a melodramatic retelling of a simple wine tasting, but to sit idly by and not share with the masses what decadant d

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Star Sightings, No Map Needed

Whoa! It's been almost a week since the World Series came to an end, and though I am still licking my wounds from the Ranger's demise, it's been full of friends, shenanigans and baking 34 dozen cookies for my students. I've discovered the key to surviving a loss in this post post-season life is to stay as busy as possible, and today was no exception. What started out as a trip to WeHo for a milkshake led to a spontaneous 4-hour excursion through the streets of L.A. While roaming down Rodeo Drive doing a little window shopping, something white and sparkly caught the corner of my eye. No, it wasn't the stunning diamond pendant drop earrings in the Cartier window, but rather the crowning glory of a one Jay Manuel. For those of you who don't know who that is, he is the stylish sidekick of Ms. Fierce herself, Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model. One of the girls I was with got a little star-struck and we ended up scoping out the store's windows so that she could catch a glimpse of the fashion "icon." While driving down PCH, I began to think about some of the more infamous star encounters I've had since moving to the 'Bu.

My first legit celebrity citing was standing in line behind John Cusack at Malibu Yo. Let's just say I have a whole new appreciation for frozen yogurt. I also sat next to John Goodman at the movies a few weeks later. It's a very surreal experience sitting next to someone when you are watching them on the screen in front of you. Sitting one table down from Pierce Brosnan at Corral Beach Cantina was pretty awesome. Jason Statham even struck up a conversation with me while waiting in line at Starbucks after seeing each other there a few days in a row. In all of these situations, and even in the ones that haven't mentioned, I've been able to keep my cool. But the one time I couldn't contain myself was when Michael Keaton waddled into the coffee shop behind me.

I was with a group of friends at a local coffee shop when Mike, as I like to call him, sauntered in sporting his walking boot behind right behind us. In order to be compliant with the rules of celebrity encounters, we allowed him to cut in line in front of our crew. He ordered his drink and went to stand by the bar, leaving us with a look of wonderment in our eyes. A student of mine saw me from across the cafe and could tell that star power was among our midsts. "Who is it" he mouthed to me. I opened my mouth and felt my hands slowly rise to the level of my head. Unable to stop to stop myself, I extended my pointer finger and began to wiggle them about. "It's Batman," I silently retort. "Who?" Horrified and quite taken aback by my behavior, I repeat the same gesture, forming my digits into bat ears and moving them about. "It's Batman" I whisper more exuberantly. The inner monologue began to explode in my mind. What did I just do? How did I do that? And over Michael Keaton?

After Mike exited stage left, I walked over to my student to clarify any confusion. With a disturbed face, he inquires again, "Who was that?"
"Michael Keaton."
"Michael Keaton"
No response.
"Christian Bale was just here?!?"
"No, Michael Keaton, the original movie Batman, the dark knight of the silver screen."
Blank Stare.
"Mr. Mom. . . Multiplicity. . . Jackie Brown."
Apparently I am speaking a foreign language.
Out of desperation: "Jack Frost?"
"Oh, yeah, I remember that movie from when I was a kid. I didn't know he was a real actor."
"Yeah, I was in high school when that movie came out. I'll see you later."
Hanging my head low and shuffling my feet, I walked out clutching my latte a little defeated. The generation gap between me and my students just became a chasm.