Thursday, May 27, 2010

Aww Love

How do I start off this post? Everything I write feels covered in cheese. So I'll tell you a story incorporating cheese and see how that goes.

Last Thursday I was tired and crabby on my way home from work. I was chewing on godknowswhat up in my head for the whole drive with the lovely Margaret as we beebopped to music and made fun of silly license plates and ridiculous drivers i had a bad attitude brewing. So when I asked Kamel to walk to the bank with me to deposit a check and then the check wouldn't work in the ATM, I was snippy. In order to cure the snippyness we went and had quesadillas at my favorite mexican place. This place has amazing margaritas, amazing homemade chips, amazing guac, it is... amazing. The lighting is low, the booths are well worn, the people there want to eat great good and drink great tequila. I love it. (That's where the cheese comes in, get it? Queso.)

And then we walked home and I climbed immediately into my sweats, plopped down on the futon and started to work on some writing. Kamel walked into the room while I was working on a beautiful sentence involving a thunderstorm which had turned the sky dark and lasted until night. (See that? That's art right there.) So Kamel walked into the room (with a priest and a donkey.... just kidding) and just stands there. So of course the conversation began like this:

Me: What are you doing?

Him: Nothing.

Me: Ok. Can you sit down? You're being weird.

Him: Ok.

*And he sits RIGHT next to me. Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh.

Me: What are you doing?

Him: Loving you.

*And he snuggles in closer - if that were possible.

Me: Oookay...

Him: Today's a really good day, Lauren.

Me: Yeah it was ok.

Him: And I love you and I want to start a life with you.

Me: You're making me nervous.

After more romanticizing and lovely words that are all kind of blurry, and after i interrupted him so I could save my work and close my computer, he pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. To which I repled, "Ok!!!" with much enthusiasm.

The next day I went to work and felt like I was a walking zombie. I kept checking to make sure the ring was still there and all I wanted to do was spend time with Kamel. When I got out of the car at Kamel's house he must have been watching for me because he burst out of the apartment and came trotting over to my car for a massive hug. And then we went to the 30th anniversary of Star Wars Movie Number two (But really it's like number 5 or something?) - that I can't remember the proper name of - work event at Lucas because I am the QUEEN OF AWESOME GIRLFRIENDS.

I had told everyone I didn't really want to start planning the wedding for at least a month, but as these things often happen, it was out of my control.

The date is set: July 16, 2011 and I have a chapel (Holy Names) and a reception place booked. I think that will be quite enough for now.

On saturday morning we went to Yosemite. More on that later. But here is a picture of our hands that I took in the car while on the way back to San Francisco. We were in the car a lot.

On July 16, 2011 I will be Lauren Dupuis Perez and Kamel will be Kamel Dupuis Perez. Cuz we share stuff. Aww love.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm thanking Margaret LaFleur today for linking me to Everday Genius: Stephen Graham Jones's Modern Love. It's a fabulous seven point short story and I think you should check it out because it works your brain in all different kinds of thoughtfulness. My favorite bit is number 6.

6. The most terrifying moment of the twentieth century has to have been when I walked into the living room one night and sat beside my wife in front of the TV. We watched it together for a while and I didn’t tell her that my love was like a wooly mammoth frozen beneath the tundra, a half-chewed daisy in its teeth, and she didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, that topiary gardeners dream of a naturally occurring shrub in the form of a horse. Instead I asked her if this was a commercial we were watching, and she shrugged, and we waited it out.
I'm headed off this weekend to hide in the mountains of northen california. An overnight in Yosemite will do me good. I'm taking an old lensed-out canon such and such with me that uses real film and I'm going to capture beauty with my mechanical eye. Probably not true, but let's try anyways, right? And I'm hoping our hotel has free wifi. Writing will happen, attempts at hiking will occur, and hoodies will be worn because apparently it's only about 50 degrees their currently. A far cry from the 90+ the first time I went. Ahh the life of an artist.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fashion: Glasses

I used to have amazing pink and brown ralph lauren glasses that cost me about $400 because - hell0 - glasses are shoes for your face! And then i lost them. I think maybe they fell off my shirt in an airport, but regardless of how or why, they have vamoosed. I thought maybe I would find them when I moved, but no such luck.

I finally accepted that I needed new glasses, I brought this knowledge into my heart and swallowed it. Except I had two problems. 1) No money and 2) i do not remember my prescription (from right before I turned 23). So Kamel and I went to Costco where you can have both your eye exam and get new glasses for about $200.00 give or take a fancy lens or two.

Needless to say I was pretty apprehensive about the glasses selection at the local Costco. These new glasses were going to (hopefully) be something I would wear for years. I didn't want some crappy wire frame. I wanted them to be *ahem* cute.

After the trauma of having my pupils dilated (ew, does anyone like that feeling?) I spent way too much time going from lighted glass case to lighted glass case, going back and forth between hiding behind my sunglasses and trying to find the best women's frame for my face. But it was like hitting my head against a wall.

Do I want gross colors and crazy prints? Or ultra girly all pink and gaggy?

There was more leopard print and heart cutouts than I have ever witnessed in a Claire's Accessories or in a cougar bar.

I was feeling myself start to settle and hated it.

Until Kamel suggested I try the men's section. "No!" I said, "They're going to be too big!" It was a shock to me that buying glasses is not at all like buying shoes. They fit the glasses to your head after you pick them out. Very much unlike my boot dilemma where if the shoe don't fit, too bad for you. So yes, if you have a fat head or lopsided ears, the glasses people will help you! They will work many moons of magic. But in my case, the amazing Converse frames I picked out needed no adjusting. They were perfect.

Understated with just a touch, a subtle touch, of flare.

And I think the touch of masculinity plays off nicely to my usual girly fluff. I like ribbons and silk and poofy sleeves and ruffles. I can't help it, I've been floofy since I was an infant, but these are sturdy and simple, like all my accessories.

Plus they have these tiny engraved stars on each temple, a Converse must, which remind me of my favorite tennis shoes which are now on their second replacement after I literally wore holes into the first pair from years and years of use.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Big N-O

I have a lot of trouble telling people no.

When co-workers, aquaintances, friends, family, family friends ask me to do something or go somewhere, my first reaction is to say yes. If I have the time, if I am not already booked, I will say yes. I don't see any truly valid reasion to say no. It's not that I am insanely popular, it doesn't take hoards of people to fill up my spare moments when I'm working full time. When it's not people asking me to see a movie, go to dinner, check out museums, get a drink, it's the little things on my to do list that have piled up to a stack higher than my head, higher than my arms can reach.

I find my time filled up almost every day with people, errands, things to do, places to go, yes yes yes, even when I don't want to, even when I am gritting my teeth, exhausted, wishing I could catch up on my personal to do list (things that aren't grocery shopping and putting gas in my car), wishing I could take time out to go for a walk by myself, to write, to read, to watch two weeks of missed Greys Anatomy episodes, to be quiet, to be alone.

But I feel guilty. People are demanding my time, people want to include me, there are fun times to be had, adventures to seek out. But I'm tired and I need to be left alone sometimes, I need to just listen to music or lie in bed and finish a book. It's stressful saying no. I feel like I don't have a good enough excuse unless I already have plans. No one wants to hear "No, I can't, I just don't want to." So I wrestle with it, I try to convince myself it will be fun, once I get there it will be great, I say "Sure! but first I need to finish xyz" and then xyz ends up taking longer than I expected and soon the time is gone and I'm supposed to leave NOW to see this person, do this thing, not let anyone down, and then my day is over and I feel like I've lost time.

And besides, sitting and doing nothing is a waste of life, right? I'm wasting daylight when I watch a movie on a sunny day, I am wasting daylight if I sleep in past 830 on a weekend. I'm wasting my mind with television and stupid movies with large explosions, but sometimes I just want to sit there. And it's always a battle inside myself. How do I say no to people? How do I say no to you? And what if I say no and then I miss out on something really fun? or a connection I could have made with someone new? a deeper connection with someone old?

What if I say no and then you don't ask again. I'm even nervous about posting this blog. What if you take offence? I'm talking not the particular you, but the capital You, the large group You.

But all i really want is to sit here and be quiet and see no one and write.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Month 1

It has officially - today - been one month of being 25. One month of having cheaper car insurance (not yet realized), one month of being able to rent cheaper cars (who knew?), and one month of steady running and writing (both of those having nothing to do with cars).

When it comes to running I always feel like I should be doing more, I should push myself harder, run more days, etc. Right now I have Kamel as a running buddy and I have to admit I never knew how much fun running with someone could be until now. I was always very adament about running alone (except for those handful of times I ran with Lauren Mig in college and wow I was in shape then). Running, for me, hasn't been about races or running a better paced mile, it's always been about exercise and stress reduction, about personal goals and private reflection. And those things are still there - I force myself up hills, I push myself the extra block, I run a notch faster than I really want to - but now I also have Kamel huffing and puffing beside me as extra motivation. I know he is pushing himself, I know he is forcing his legs to continue on, and that makes it easier for me to do the same. Right now we aim for 5 days a week of running. I think we're averaging about 4, which isn't bad, but of course I want to be better. We run/walk 2.5-3 miles and everyday the walking becomes less. Right now I am running a consistent 1.5 miles and struggle with the next 1.5 but it's happening.

It's slightly embarrassing to admit to the world that running a solid 1.5 miles is a mile stone. I know so many of you are able to pound at 6 like it ain't no thang. I applaud you. I'll get there though. I'm chugging away and I will get there.

I am also proud to say that I have only missed 6 days of writing in one month. 6 days is more than I wanted to miss - I wanted to miss 0, but the truth is my TOTAL days of writing before this month would have been 6 and not the 24 that I have accomplished. I'm going to take this month by month, every time the calendar flips, my new goal will be 0 days of not writing. It's amazing how productive you can be if you just sit down for a minimum of 30 minutes a day and focus.

Sometimes I missed days because I was too busy outside of the house to sit down and write. This is my biggest obstacle. Being a writer who succeeds means having to say "no" a lot more often than I would like. I need to put writing above that last minute social activity or chore, no matter how fun or seemingly important. This makes me difficult and sometimes puts a burden on others, but if I don't look at it like a job, it won't ever be.

As far as my life list goes - as long as we're talking goal making - I'm getting frustrated with the making of lists. I want to start crossing things off of them instead of making them longer. Instead of putting my energy into thinking of new challenges, I want to start taking on those challenges. Coming up in the next few months I will be reading more books by Atwood and Didion, exploring new baseball stadiums (chicago in June!), possibly (Cross your fingers, close your eyes, wish on a star, hopehopehope) working in the writing industry, and possibly possibly (eee!) going to england in the fall. I've started charting a roadtrip between Miami and San Diego for next summer as well (did you know that a one way car rental is RIDICULOUSLY expensive? Anyone have tips for this, please comment!). Once I start accomplishing a few things I'll get back to the list making. Maybe some smaller goals that don't take all of my spare time or all of my (spare) money. In the mean time I'll check in with you next month for a writing/running update. Onward!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Mama's little baby loves shortenin' shortenin'
Mama's little baby loves shortenin' bread
doo doo dodo doo doo dodo
Mama's little baby loves shortenin' bread

Happy Mother's Day Mama!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Cut

On Monday night I was working on my daily writing goal and a large portion of my writing for that day consisted of the delete button. I ended up chopping ten pages from my manuscript, a manuscript in it's infancy, which pretty much meant the majority of the project fell to the cutting room floor.

I had been struggling with it all week and finally a conversation I had with my friend, John, pushed me over the edge. From the minute we started talking about my intent for the larger vision of the novel, and the idea of starting somewhere else, I felt the familiar itch in my teeth, my brain, my eyes, to do something. All through our dinner at Chilis (oh yes, Chilis) I was formulating new scenes, new sentences, crafting necessary and seamless flashbacks, visions of sugarplums danced in my head to say the least.

But cutting is really hard. And even as I highlighted whole chunks to slash, Kamel, beside me, was all "no! what are you doing?! I liked that part!".

But I bet you'll like the new stuff better.

While in the process of writing - as in the putting of words on the page - my first instinct is to hold on for as long and as hard as I can to everything I write. It's beautiful! It's exactly what I wanted to say! It's my story! But then I get frustrated, and the feedback is far from glowing, and when I try to fix, my fixes just make the problems bigger and louder and more obnoxious. And then I am ready to cut.

This reminds me of my first apartment in San Francisco. First it was in the garage. Surprise! Garage apartment! And when I took my jeans off at the end of the day and left them on the floor, the next day they were always damp. My room mate had an abusive boyfriend who bruised her and had her screaming and crying on the phone at all hours of the night and then on the good days they would have sex in the shower while I dry-heaved under my covers. And then there were the mice. So so many mice. In the walls, under my bed, in my mattress, under the sink, in traps, not in traps, walking away with the goddamn traps. It got to the point where I slept with the lights on all night to deter the mice from waking me up with their little pitter-pattering, skampering feet.

And then finally, mercifully, I decided to move. Boom, decision made, and within two weeks I was out and living in an apartment with a cat. The exact opposite of mice.

I am a hold-er on. I grit my teeth and close my eyes and smile through the discomfort until I can't anymore. It's the same thing over and over again with boyfriends, friends, apartments, jobs, and writing. Thankfully with writing it doesn't take me 9 months to get my act together (but then sometimes it does). But once I'm ready to let go, it's easy. It feels like dead weight. I hit the delete button and poof! Look at all the space that just opened up! To write, to breath, to create, to move forward.

People talk about doing things (like life lists) as being scary and risky and "taking a leap". That the doing of things is important, necessary, good for the soul. But undoing them is equally important and necessary. The shedding of pounds, of baggage, of empty words that only lead you to dead ends.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fashion: Boots

I have been searching and searching and dreaming and dreaming about boots that fit for years. I finally got the nerve to try them on (because the truth is what if I liked them? A good pair are hundreds of dollars!) when I got a stable job way back in September of 2008. I tired out the poor nordstrom man, demanding box after box brought out to me, just to realize I couldn't pull them up, zip them closed or fasten them around my fat calves. The boots I could slide on, the boots the nordstrom man said were for larger calved people, didn't have that "I just threw these on over a pair of jeans and ran out the door" look. They were supposed to be a little gapped around the leg, so you could either where those cute knee high socks that would poke out the top a little and a skirt, or slide them comfortably over skinny jeans, but on me the gap did not exist and they just made me look stupid. So I gave up.

Until I was looking at Mightygirl and what is this, the third post I've mentioned her? I should just be her best friend already and shut up about it. But anyways - I was reading this post and I thought why don't I have adorable grey boots to be the finishing touch to my wardrobe? I live in San Francisco, I should have walking boots too! So then I posted some tweets:

I was hoping to get some encouragement from the internet world but it failed me.

But I was bored at work and on a mission so I headed to Zappos where I figured every boot under the sun would be available. And low and behold:

And plus, I received encouragement. All I really needed was a little nudge and those boots were purchased - in two sizes.

Zappos is amazing and expedited my shipping for free because they love me. They do. and when they arrived I ran to try them on because, internet, this was the day of reckoning, the day I would have to convince myself to buy skinny jeans because what else was going to fit inside my amazing new slouchy boots? The kind of boots that finish any outfit, in grey, because that's not black or brown and that's the color the lady on Mightygirl was wearing and she looked amazing and so will I!

Except not really because I couldn't get the boot over the meaty-bits of my calf and I could already feel the circulation being cut off the harder I yanked and pulled until they got stuck.

There was no way I was sneaking anything between me and that soft, beautiful leather. They looked stupid and felt worse. On a happy note I have a year to return them to zappos for a full refund, so all is not lost. Except for my boot hopes and dreams. I'm still accepting recommendations on full figured calf friendly boots, but I need links and letters of reference. Until then I'll stick to flats and my collection of tennis shoes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lauren Life List Vol. 2

The list grows by ten more items:

Get a tree tattoo on my ribs
Teach at a University
Buy 5 loved one's unique, extravagant gifts (lucky you, eh?)
Read all of Margaret Atwood (Completed: Cat's Eye, The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, Moral Disorder)*
Read all of Joan Didion (Completed: Year of Magical Thinking, Currently working on: Where I was From)
Roadtrip from San Diego to Miami
Sunbath topless in the French Riviera
Go to: Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, France
Visit 50 Baseball Stadiums (Completed: Kingdome, Safeco, AT&T Park, and The Coliseum)
Go to Blogher

I'm making goals and I'm trying to acheive them. Slowly. Goal making is fun, it has me thinking a lot about what I REALLY want to accomplish as opposed to what just kind of seems fun in the moment. It has me remembering things I thought were cool in highschool and allowing myself to keep those activities on the list (feminist rally in DC is one of those). I learned to appreciate things from other people as well (ex boyfriends fueled my appreciation for baseball, as did Maris and our continued tradition of going to games together), better writers and better readers inspire me to be just that: Better. And sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to have fun. It's so easy to get sucked up into the everyday grind. Planning fun things that push you out of your comfort zone is essential to the prevention of becoming stale.

This morning I was thinking about my goals for the year I'm 25 and I'll get into an update about those at a later date, but it occure to me that it's not really about acheiving the number I set for myself or within the time frame I created - and not to sound too "new age sports team theory" on you, but it's really about the effort I put in. If I don't end up going to 50 baseball stadiums, but I end up going to 35 - hell! at least I went to 35, which is pretty awesome. It would be extra awesome if/when I do hit those goals right on the head, but if I don't I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Making this list is already giving me a reason to do things I would normally put off until the latest episode of Greys Anatomy is over, but now I'm reaching for the next book on my list or making travel plans instead. Pushing myself to do new things and experiencing more of life is way better than simply focusing on the end point.

*Holy shit Margaret Atwood is an incredibly prolific writer. I'm impressed by how many stories she has going on inside her head. Even children's books, I kid you not, and at least 15 books of poetry. This is going to be a fun, life-long task.