Goodbye, Janet Stotts: The Mother of Alaskan Children’s Voices

I turned 28 years old on Saturday, April 25, 2015. When I logged on to Facebook the next day for the obligatory, “Thank you for the birthday wishes”, post, I was stunned to learn that someone near and dear to my heart had passed away. Janet Stotts was more than just my first choral director. She was my first introduction to the world of professional performance, and everything she taught me from the moment we met has been engrained into the fibers of my musical being. Her lessons leave my mouth on a daily basis and has laid a concrete foundation, a solid platform on which I’ve fallen, risen, and flown from.

People have been telling me my whole life that I was born singing. I wouldn’t cry, I would belt. I’ve always been one to use my words and when I discovered that I could sing words to make people feel how I feel, I knew I had found my purpose. My biological father passed in the spring of 1991. April 1, 1991 left us wishing that the self inflicted gunshot wound to the head was just a sick and cruel April Fools joke, but it was our unfortunate and immediate reality. Five days later my devastatingly young mother would turn 27, 14 days after that my twin sisters would turn one, and I would be four on the 25th.  My mother was not receiving the kind of support she needed in Anchorage, Alaska, so she made the decision to move us all back to her hometown in the Philippines while she figured out the best way to move forward raising us outside of the, “suicide scandal”, that the majority of the Filipino community of Anchorage couldn’t help themselves from speculating on. From what I can remember we had a nice little life, but eventually my mother felt we deserved every opportunity that could only be afforded to us in America, and before I knew it I was starting 2nd grade at Bayshore Elementary School. 

It was hard for me to make friends at my new American school. Everyone had already been going to school together since kindergarten, and I was the new kid from another country. One serendipitous day, my mother saw an ad for open auditions to join the The Alaska Children’s Choir. She drove me to the studio on Arctic, and I thought we were going to the novelty store, Party Craft. It became evident that we were not shopping for party supplies when we walked into the ACC rehearsal space. I took of my shoes and walked toward a woman sitting at the piano. She was tall, poised, sharp, and her short blonde hair was perfectly in place. For the past couple of years I have been living in Los Angeles, and I have found myself in the presence of celebrity on more than one occasion; a casual conversation about my rude t-shirt outside of Dior in Beverly Hills with Emma Watson, the late Robin Williams casually waving hello from the other side of the lot as I pulled into work in the morning, singing with Jeff Goldblum accompanying me on piano,  

  

 and a very brief/very embarrassing dalliance with an actor on a show that rhymes with Schbates Schmotel…but I have never been more starstruck than when I saw Janet Stotts step on the stage for the first time, and every time for the next seven years of my tenure with The Alaska Children’s Choir. I was introduced to Janet, and the audition began. I sang scales, did a little sight singing, and held my part against hers, and that was that. I made it! I made fast friends with the girls in my section, and my social life began at that first rehearsal. Months later, we did a tour of elementary schools. Bayshore was one of the schools on the tour, and I got to sing in front of the whole school. After our performance, my class rushed to me to say, “Good job!” and from that moment on, I was The Singer. Suddenly, everyone there knew one thing about me that made me special. ACC and Janet gave me that huge part of my identity.  

Boom, right in the center!

I was never particularly close to Janet. To be honest, I felt lost in the crowd, just another tuition check; my voice went unjustly unheard because I wasn’t able to take private lessons from her. Coveted solos always went to the same people, and I resented the favored and featured elite, or at least I resented in the way a six year old is able to resent. Why wasn’t I getting any solos?! This went on for the majority of my time at ACC. Why did Janet always give Eva Nelson the best solos? The answer was simple: Eva Nelson got the best solos because Eva Nelson was the best singer. Some of you might be saying, “Ali, you can’t say that! You can’t say that the one kid is better than the other at something! Everyone is a winner!” No. I think that’s really stupid. It seems to me that the majority of parents these days are telling their children that everything they do and say is amazing, when most of the time it’s really not. We are creating monsters of entitlement and false senses of self; a delusional generation that expects praise regardless of whether or not they’ve excelled at something to warrant it. We might as well be saying, “Congratulations, kids! You’re doing the absolute least you can do! Good job, you exist!” This mentality was not embraced by the director of our choir. We were constantly proving ourselves and showing her that we all deserved to be there. Before each concert we all participated in something called, “Passing.” One of each voice part was grouped together and by appointment, we would sing through the entire repertoire. This was to ensure that every singer had their parts and lyrics memorized. If you were a singer that did the work, practiced at home, and passed, you had the privilege of performing. Performing is a privilege, not a right. We were always held accountable, and I am most thankful for this. With each season, I advanced to the next rung of chorale. I was singing every day. I got better. She saw this. We went to Australia, and I soloed in the Sydney Opera House at 12. I will always want to be better.

I left ACC after the tour of 1999. My voice had matured and I was starting to become involved in musical theatre. Because of my time with the choir, I was able to transition seamlessly into an adult ensemble as a 12 year old. Because of my time with Janet, I have the confidence in myself as a vocalist. She would come in to Nordstrom, where I worked in high school, and she would smile and say hello. That was the extent of our contact for a while. When I became a full time member of Theatre Artists United, she would attend the shows and commend my performances. After a performance of, “Gold Rush Girls”, at Cyrano’s, she hugged me and told me that she couldn’t take her eyes off of me. “You sing as beautifully as I always knew you would.” I will never forget those words. I had the great fortune to be able to see Janet before she passed. In February of 2015, Steven Alvarez, my mentor and musical director, gave me the opportunity to sing in a show back in my home town. This work was a collaborative piece, and happened to include singers from ACC.  

  

  

Flowers and card from Janet and kids of ACC

The ACC singers were well behaved and professional, which is what we all come to expect from the group. I had flashbacks to hemlines measured to the exact centimeter, uniformed in every way, and the same Clinique red lipstick and pink blush on each one of us. We were bright and vibrant, but no one stood out. The only thing that stood out was the music. I told the kids to thank their parents. My mother and step father both worked full time, juggling my music activities with the activities of my athletically motivated twin sisters, so we were constantly pressed for time…and tuition. Somehow they made it work, and I was there every Monday and Wednesday, and the occasional Saturday rehearsal. Parents and former parents of ACC, thank you. You’ve given us such a wonderful gift. Your investment in our passion and aptitude for music may just be the thing that makes us extraordinary. To the kids who didn’t get enough time with Janet: Don’t stop getting better. Keep singing. Keep singing together.

I feel so unbelievably lucky to have been able to tell her how much she meant to me. I’m glad she got to know how important she was to everything I’ve accomplished, personally and professionally. Because of her, I am discerning with my praise, and I listen to those around me. Because I followed her direction, I am able to lead. Goodbye to a woman who commanded the stage and my respect. Goodbye, Janet Stotts, the mother of Alaskan Children’s voices.

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Resolutions RE: Solutions

Great news! I have finally kicked jet lag’s ass! I’ve fallen into a soothing rhythm. 4 am wake up call, write, brekky, and 6 am laps around Roxbury Memorial Park. No matter how many steps I take to move forward, I’m faced with the reality of circling around a trail that is literally called…

2015/01/img_0449.jpg So then it’s work, write, work, write. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It’s been two weeks since my Swissmas adventure, and 2015 is lush with possibility. The Entertainer resumes his role as my brother from another mother. We text, FaceTime, and he continuously sends me the love and support I need but could never ask for. When I returned to Los Angeles, I allotted myself one week to retain everything I learned from the man from another time. I had one week to engrain more of him into my muscle memory. When the week was up, I released him from the clutches of my mind and returned him to the recess between my head and heart. I came down from the clouds and hit the ground with both feet running. I am grateful for my perpetual inspiration. I know that in whatever capacity, we will return to each other in waves. This is how water loves. This is the spout from which my words pour out. The universe seems to be on my side.

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There is no question that the best thing to happen in 2014 was meeting the tourists. Knowing them has opened doors I never had intentions of knocking on. Ok, so I didn’t get the fairy tale ending all you ladies and Tirrell were hoping for. After a full recap with MK, she said this:

I want to fucking shake you both until you’re in love.

I laughed. Stephen Sondheim summed it up perfectly in his song, “Moments in the Woods.”

Let the moment go. Don’t forget it for a moment, though.

Side note: If you have yet to see the movie version of Into The Woods, I highly recommend it. It’s one of, if not the best, stage to screen productions I’ve seen. I appreciate that there are people in my life and strangers in the world who want me to be happy. I have readers who reach out to me and tell me that they are rooting for me. They want me to write stories about being swept off my feet, and I feel so fortunate to have a following of those who want my life to be lit in candlelight. The fluorescent reality is that I am a flawed human being who just really wants a man to love her, claim her. I want someone who saves me in their phone by my real name, someone uncomplicated that stalks me on social media, adds me right away, and finds me hilarious. I want unconditional and reciprocal love. The most recent gift bestowed upon me by yet another blisteringly honest dialogue with The Time Traveller was realizing that it may be something I desperately want, but it’s not something I need. I’ve been chasing, searching, at times hunting for someone to love. I refuse to look anymore. I’m not hiding, whoever you are. Seek and ye shall find.

So 2015 is about fulfilling and accomplishing things I really need. The top 3 things I need to do are:

I NEED TO LEARN HOW TO FUCKING COOK! I’ve gotten by on making food that’s already been cooked hot again, but as a 27 nearing 28 year old adult I think it’s time to get my shit together. Resolution #1: Cook real things. So far, I’ve been able to make eggs!

2015/01/img_0490.png My banging around and swearing at 4:30 in the morning doesn’t go over too well, but I can make the shit out breakfast now.

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2015/01/img_0489.png I can also roast the hell out of vegetables and look like I know what the fuck I’m doing!

I NEED TO NOT HAVE CAFFEINE COURSING THROUGH MY VEINS.

2015/01/img_0491.jpg It started, accidentally, on my vacation. Given the choice between tea and coffee, I found myself voluntarily forgoing the latter and actually surviving. I haven’t touched a drop since. Resolution #2: No more caffeine. I’m giving it all up! No more coffee, Red Bull, and 5 Hour Energy Drinks. When I yawn, it’s a silent scream for coffee, and it’s blood curdling.

I NEED TO TIGHTEN IT UP!!!

2015/01/img_0405.jpg See, I can clean up alright. This body’s got potential, and I resolve that in one year’s time, to be so hot that people assume I’m stupid. Resolution #3: Weigh less. Don’t worry, I’m not joining the LA weight supremacy movement. I still don’t understand quinoa and kale is fucking gross. If the running and Soul Cycling don’t do it, I’ll probably starve into hotness because all I can do is make eggs.

Other goals for 2015
Meet Jennifer Aniston
Learn French
Try stand up one time
Write more
Sing more
Read everything
Watch a movie every week that I’ve never seen
Do things out of my comfort zone
Go outside more
Sleep normally

So that’s where I’m at. It’s mid January so of course I’m all stoked and committed to these resolutions. Check back with me on Valentine’s Day when my friend Jess and I will inevitably eat 2 pizzas, buckets of sour candy, and drink a bathtub of margaritas.

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Beauty and The Beatz (feat. that random, brown, American girl following them around)

Once upon a time, there was a television executive who was overworked and undersexed. This giant ball of stress wore her trademarked exhaustion the way normal twenty-something SoCal girls wore jean shorts in swimming pools. Our heroine can’t pull off jean shorts to save her life, and forget about getting in a public pool. She’d rather die. Then one serendipitous day, she opened her door to two dashing young men from a far away land, and her life changed for the better. Cut to present day. She’s sitting in what is now hour 8 of an 11 hour layover in Moscow, (where smiling and laughter/anything resembling joy is strictly prohibited), and she is actively missing the tourists whose chance visit became a permanent residency as part of her very constitution.

As far as vacations go, this was one for the books. There was some sort of magic in every day, I was introduced to lovely people, and I left with a fresh new outline for the next chapter of our story. The pits and peaks of my trip strongly resembled the scenery in which I found myself inhabiting for the past 10 days. The mountains and valleys, in tandem with a cold distance and my emotional ups and downs, were a necessary backdrop to paint a complete picture of my experience. I’m in a, “happily ever after”, kind of haze at the moment. I’m sure it will pass. To stay true to the fairytale theme of this post, I choose to leave the pits in a tiny corner of my mind in a very, “time out”, sort of way, and focus on the moments that made my heart sing. I present to you, in no particular order, the top 5 moments of my Swissmas Vacation.

1. The time I stepped off the tram and into a parade.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2015/01/img_0221-1.jpg It was for the most casual, almost mundane of reasons why we left the house, which is what makes this one of my favorite moments. We went to buy a phone charger. The tram doors opened and I stepped onto the road, into a parade! The brass instruments and drums sounded throughout the streets of Geneva, and for a brief moment before I was yanked back onto the sidelines, I was amidst a sea of red, pomp, and circumstance.

2. Walking into St. Pierre’s Cathedral on Christmas Day to find an orchestra rehearsing.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2015/01/img_0137.jpg The boys took me to Lake Geneva and then we went for a walk around the old town. I was walking on literal cobblestoned roads, and feeling shiny, almost lacquered, compared to the antiqued architecture around me. The cracks in buildings, wrought by time, looked like laugh lines and wrinkles. Geneva has aged gracefully, leaving it looking distinguished. They took me to St. Pierre’s and as I walked through the doors, my heart swelled as soon as I heard the music. There was no amplification, but the sound was perfect. The three of us sat in a mid section pew like an unholy trinity in a symphonic sanctuary.

3. The first day/night.

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2015/01/img_0105.jpg After being delayed over 24 hours in godforsaken MOSCOW, embracing my favorite boys and seeing their handsome faces was well worth all the stress sweating. I ate, I laughed, and napped. We played games and I was on a level beyond bliss, regardless of losing at Risk. Like, really super losing. I was being timeshared between the two, not unlike a child of divorce, so I had dinner in Switzerland and woke up in France.

3. Meeting/shamelessly flirting with yet another gorgeous man because I could because he was gay. The Improviser, is one of those people that feels like you’re supposed to know them. I had heard nothing but good things about this person, and I knew how important he was in my leading men’s life, so I knew his opinion of me would matter. What if he found me silly and unbearable? I drank a little to take the edge off. Actually, I drank because I needed the social lubrication. I found myself in a kitchen full of French chatter, latching on to The Time Traveller’s shared outlook regarding our immediate situation. Not that I’m not a fan of parties, it was just not what I was expecting. I really should have followed through with that French course I signed up/paid for because my shitty little Duolingo app was not going to cut it at this soirée. Like a saving grace, The Improvisor made his appearance and the three of us made our way to a more secluded and forgiving environment. He sat cross legged on the floor, hand rolling a cigarette, and I stared. His was an exotic kind of beauty next to the refined and delicate beauty next to me. I do not handle handsomeness like a lady…at all! I’m around an onslaught of handsome men. Whether it’s work related or not, I’m around it. The way these boys effortlessly exist so beautifully is overwhelming. His smile instantaneously put me at ease, his presence and genuine interest made it clear why he was held in such high regard by the others. We spoke of loves both found and lost, and the more time I spent with him, the more space I made for him in my heart. He saw me hurting and his words were a salve on an open wound.

“You are full of poetry.”

He was the last person I saw before I left, and it felt right. We were brought together by the two, but my departure was the opportunity to forge a moment that was just ours.
I told him that knowing him only strengthens my respect and adoration for the two boys because of the quality of person he is. They chose both of us to be in their lives. They obviously have excellent taste.

4. Watching The Entertainer do what he does best. That would be exist! This person is a lightning rod of awesome. No one cares for me and takes care of me the way he does. He’s constantly saving me, and always supporting me. He heard me sniffling and not 5 minutes later, he was in the room with my favorite blanket, tissues, and a cat. He does everything with purest of intentions and with every fiber of his being. I got to watch him prepare for a gig, and I was in awe of his commitment to his craft. This awe and wonderment paled in comparison to how I felt when I was able to watch him thrive in his element. I was moved to tears as I saw him dedicate his entirety to the moment. I’ve never seen anyone more alive.

5. Listening to the voice that scores the soundtrack of my life. It’s so predictable of me to swoon, but I don’t care even a little bit. The familiar lilt, the icy hot effect permeating my core through my ears, and then the bonus of looking at it while his guitar gently weeps; my god, it was both too much and yet not enough. When it comes to this voice, I am insatiable.

BONUS: The snow.

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The normalcy. Some of my most valued moments weren’t drenched in whimsy or purpose, but shrouded in the day to day. When we weren’t eating loaves of bread and blocks of cheese, or exploring castles in Gruyere, I was still having the time of my life doing dishes, watching tv, and the general fuckery that comes with inactivity was perfect for me. I devoured books while he worked. We went to the grocery store. There was a very riveting afternoon at IKEA. We played with cats.

So now I’m en route back to my life and the sunshine. I’ll miss them every day and thank god for the technology to speak with them whenever I can. I’m grateful for their time. I am the lyrics, he is the melody, and the other, the beat; he is the strong and steady pulse that seamlessly adapts to each track, keeping everything alive, and together we are music to my ears.

The End? Not even close.

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Desperado, why don’t you cum to your senses?!

The answer to that burning question is simply, because he doesn’t want to fuck me…that’s why 🙂 The title of this post is about all I can muster in terms of cleverness.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2014/12/img_0199.jpgHave you ever thrown yourself at someone only to have them respectfully decline your offer(s)? I have! Wanna know how it feels? Not super great. I know, surprising, but the fact of the matter is…that it’s absolutely humiliating. Regardless of the declining party’s reasoning and their tried and true reassurances of, “It’s not you, it’s me”, while operating under the guise of trying to do the noble thing; it doesn’t change the fact that it fucking sucks to hear that they neither want a suck nor a fuck specifically from you. How do you not take that personally? How do you not feel primally rejected?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2014/12/img_0196.jpg This is the closest thing to a love letter that I’ve ever gotten. I’m painfully self aware. I’m never going to be the svelte, elegant, glossy haired ingenue that make men swoon by merely existing. I made my peace with all that a long time ago. I’m the funny one who can recite Home Alone 2 by heart. I can be adorable, but never on purpose. It’s more like,”Isn’t it adorable how that terrified girl is trying extra hard not to cry because she accidentally got on the freeway?!” Or like, “It’s kind of adorable how that sweaty girl thinks no one can see her shoving that In-N-Out burger in her face.”

I’m no stranger to rejection…

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2014/12/img_0197.jpg…but this is literally foreign to me. I know that I’m an exhausting human being. I’m frustrating, intense, and the residual insecurities that have accumulated from previously failed dalliances only add to the fun for any subsequent persons of interest…but I’ve always thought my vagina/mouth hole made up for all of that. I once had a guy sit through my 45 minute diatribe against banana flavored candy just to get a second blow job. Hand to God that’s a true story, and seriously FUCK BANANA FLAVORED CANDY. It’s disgusting and you all know it.
But I digress. Because of the veiled and unofficial nature of our relationship, the physicality of it was a tangible validation of something virtually undefined. Actions speak louder than words, so when I don’t get any action, I’m left among the whispers. Is it supposed to make me feel better that this person claims to maintain the high regard in which he holds me? Is his platonic love enough of a band aid for this bullet wound? Does his appreciation for my ambiguous place in his life make me feel any less desperate and hideous? No, no, and no…but his sincerity is undeniable, and I find myself believing him- still believing in him. The kindness in his eyes and the affection remains, the honesty is honored, and there is no trace of malice to be found.

I feel sick tonight. I’ve been sampling from a variety platter of intimate scenarios and I fear I’ve overindulged on something that’s been expired for 5 months, hence the nausea and verbal diarrhea. This last bite was particularly hard to swallow, but I choked it down like the champ I am. Note to self: Memories are perishable goods. If ingested, take the recommended dosage of reality and a cold shower.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/367/54976224/files/2014/12/img_0200.jpg Cat snuggles help too. (Insert obvious joke about getting pussy, here.) (Insert less obvious joke about insertion, here.)

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I’m Picking Up Good Vibrations!

Contrary to the title of this post, this will not be an ode to masturbation. Just thought I’d clear that up right away. Note to self: Write something about self completion. Potential titles include, but are not limited to: “Procrasturbation”, “Do It Yourselfie”, and “That’s The Way UH HUH UH HUH I Like It.”

HI! Life has been quite the struggle lately, but on the bright side: there’s air in my lungs, sun on my face, music to sing…and I just might have a little crush on a boy. Yes, a real boy! It’s in that wonderful/anxiety inducing stage where you’ve just met, everything is new and exciting, and you don’t know where you stand in the grand scheme of things, and (as a chubby little nugget) you are intimidated by the handsomeness in front of you, and you want to text all the time but you don’t want to look like a psycho with nothing better to do, and he has no idea this blog exists…AND YOU’RE OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING BUT YOU HAVE TO GIVE OFF THAT “I’M SUPER EASY GOING” VIBE!!! …or whatever. I don’t care… Ahem. ANYWAY! There was once a boy who called me beautiful like it was my name. I can’t explain the euphoria I was in whenever he’d look at me, knowing that was what he saw. It was a really romantic time in my life. When someone so beautiful told me that they thought I was beautiful, it was hard to wrap my head around why/what was it about me that merited that kind of praise? Don’t get me wrong, I loved hearing it. It made me feel good, but I have been obsessed with figuring out why. It wasn’t until recently that someone identified a specific quality that drew them to me. We were walking down Venice, among the street performers and general bustle of life, when I could feel him looking at me.

ME: What?
BOY: You’re naturally drawn to music. Every time you hear it, you search for where it’s coming from. It’s pretty mesmerizing. You’re like a fairy.

I’ve never been described as fairy-like or mesmerizing, so this was new for me. I guess I could be the Fairy of Stress and Anxiety. We’ve been on 5 dates, he’s really handsome, he makes me laugh, and he’s a ton of fun. My favorite thing about him is the positive vibe I got immediately when we met. His love of life is contagious, and I’m stoked to be in the crosshairs of his good vibrations while we’re hanging out. And that’s all I’m going to say.

IMG_5402.JPG Shut up. I’m trying to not get over excited. I think I’m doing well with managing my expectations appropriately…for me, that is. Meeting me, out of context, must be fucking exhausting. Kudos to him for lasting 5 dates.

As a single female that is casually dating, let me just say that the effort a dude puts into a date/activity can make or break it. Anyone can look up movie times and make a reservation, so when someone thinks out of the box it doesn’t go unnoticed…and you are one point closer to a blow job. Let’s be honest, guys get a blow job point for just having a fucking job. The standards have never been lower. It doesn’t take a whole lot to impress me these days. Here are some things that are appreciated.

1. MAKE ME LAUGH:

A good sense of humor can save the worst of dates. One time, a guy from work took me out to a bar in Santa Monica. From what I saw in the work environment, he was a little more on the reserved side than I was used to, but he was cute and remembered my coffee order…so I said, “Why not!” The conversation was a little clunky and we didn’t have an instantaneous rapport. We were in a little pocket of uncomfortable silence when two guys started brawling right in front of us. One of them spilled a drink all over me, and that’s when I asked my date if we could change scenery. He responded, “You want to leave? After I went through all the trouble of hiring those guys to demonstrate strength in front of you? It was super expensive, FYI. Did it work? Are you impressed?” I laughed so hard that I forgot how pissed I was. Even if we have a strictly P-in-the-Va-G arrangement, if you can’t make me laugh…get out (of me).

2. TEXT ME BACK, MOTHER FUCKER:

IMG_5400.JPG . “…and she always texted back ASAP”, a little excerpt from my eulogy. See that thing in your hand? That’s your phone!!! Come on. It’s not that hard. There’s this fun little feature on the iDevice called Read Receipt. I am a huge fan of this feature. For those of you living under a rock; when you enable Read Receipts, it lets the recipient know when you’ve read their message. If your Read Receipts are on, I’m going to assume you’re a decent and accountable human being. I will also have crippling anxiety when I see you’ve read my text at 2:00 and you haven’t responded by 7:00.

3. WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT, HAVE SOLID TEXT GAME:

IMG_5418.PNG No one appreciates a good iMessage volley more than I do. Don’t “LOL” unless you’re legitimately laughing out loud. If I text you, and you respond with one word, I’m going to assume that you are avoiding me/think I’m human garbage, and I will never bother you again. Please be interesting. Bonus points for the proper use of the MOONFACE emoji. Whether it be to make a plan or just to casually let me know you’re thinking of me, make it count. That being said, I can appreciate a good round of out of con-texting with someone who has their shit together. Texting is tricky.

4. PICK UP THE PHONE:

IMG_5419.JPG We all text. We’re all constantly texting. It’s a great/convenient way to get to know someone, but after a few rounds of 20 Questions, it gets tedious. If you pick up the phone to call me, it shows that you aren’t interested in an indecisive back and forth; you have a plan, and would like to solidify those plans with me. Now. That’s pretty hot. So call me, maybe?

5. LIKE ME…THEN TELL ME:

IMG_5430.JPG Seriously, actually like me. Don’t be afraid to tell me that you like me…it will most likely make me like you more.

IMG_5431.PNG While we’re at it, tell me if you don’t. It’s ok! Being a total weirdo, if you like me then I’m going to assume you’re a weirdo too. So, let’s get weird.

Peace out for now. I will be watching The Walking Dead and simultaneously trying to figure out how Charles Manson is way less single than I am.

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selfie centered (alternate title: selfie-sh)

It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks. I’m finally back in LA! Bridge and I have resumed our rhythm of separate togetherness. This makes for the absolute ideal living situation. She does her thing, I do mine, then we come together and do awesome things like watch recordings of past performances while eating salami and egg rolls. There is a string of texts from a handsome, half Jew, cellist with the LA Philharmonic…that I cannot bring myself to respond to…

IMG_4972.PNG What in the fuck is wrong with people? I JUST met this person. Once again, I have absolutely zero hope.

The purpose for this last stint up north, was to get a couple rehearsals under the belt for the latest project I am involved in. My music mentor, Steven Alvarez, has been granted full and exclusive rights to produce an Alaskan version of Peter Buffet’s Spirit: A Journey of Dance, Drums and Song/The 7th Fire.

IMG_4954.JPG The original piece, A Journey of Dance Drums and Song, aired on PBS as a highly successful pledge break special and combines the dance of Native America and Modern Western Dance, accompanied by a 4-5 piece rock band, cellos, Native American flute and whistles, tribal drums and two percussionists. I was hired to be the lead female vocalist of the show. The piece includes both still and moving imagery. Peter later updated the piece and titled it, Spirit- The Seventh Fire. The updated version has a much more detailed storyline, but does not include the western dance. We have been granted the license to infuse Peter’s work with Alaska Native song and dance, and our production will incorporate both of Peter’s versions, as well as an Alaska Native dance component.

IMG_4971.PNG Spirit – The Seventh Fire tells the dramatic story of one man’s journey to find a balance between the culture in which he exists, driven by the “American Dream,” and his roots, rich in heritage, tradition and connected to the natural world. It is a journey of self-discovery that renews within him the mystery, beauty and spirit of his ancestors and brings him to a magical place where his past meets his present.

The Native dance, song and Lower 48 Native American dancers and featured performers will be working directly with Steven through the Alaska Native Heritage Center, while the Western Modern dancers will be working with Kristen Vierthaler through Alaska Dance Theatre. All modern dancers will come from ADT.

IMG_4893.JPG Theatre Artists United, a local theatre company, will be responsible for engaging all of the musicians as well as overseeing the production end of this project.

Theatre Artists United has been my second family since 2004. Steven and Kristen have been more than just my music director and choreographer. They’re my teachers, my confidence, and support. They have bred me out of perpetual gratitude and humility, and have always expected nothing less than 110% from me. They push me
to be the best performer I can be.
TAU has trained me for every aspect of my life that I have excelled at, and I owe them everything. It means the world to me that they would bring me back home to be part of this giant show. This production will be a collaboration between the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Alaska Dance Theatre and Theatre Artists United and will include the Alaska Children’s Choir. I’ve come full circle. I started in The Alaska Children’s Choir when I was 6 years old, and finished my tenure at 12, with a solo at The Sydney Opera House. Needless to say, being a part of SPIRIT is very important to me.

There was a moment during our rehearsal which really got me thinking about selfishness and entitlement. Steven pulled me aside, anxiety ridden.

STEVEN: Hey, um, so…UH…there’s this song that you’re supposed to sing, but because of the blocking of the previous song, you can’t make it to the other side of the stage.
ME: ok…
STEVEN: So someone else has to sing it.
ME: Ok
STEVEN: You’re not mad?
ME: Why would I be mad?
STEVEN: Because I’m “taking away” one of your songs.
ME: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Do we know anyone so entitled and ungrateful?
BOTH DISSOLVE INTO HYSTERICAL LAUGHTER
STEVEN: I’m so glad you’re home.

When did people stop regarding performance opportunities as a privilege, and start feeling entitled
to them? Selfish as fuck.

After ping ponging back and forth from: LA to Anchorage- Anchorage to LA – LA to Anchorage, and back to LA again, my body thinks I’m a total bitch, and has exacted it’s revenge on me by deciding to completely shut down. I have been rendered absolutely useless. Thank god for sick days. My vacation days are totally maxed out. Luckily I have a dope ass boss who recently approved 14 glorious days off. For this:

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C: If you are given the opportunity to see another side of the world, you take it. Who am I to prevent you from shining your light?
ME: Just to clarify-
C: Yes, you can go. Take lots of pictures. Hey, I’ll give you three weeks of I can see The Time Traveler’s
face.
ME: Um…never. Pervert. The two is just fine. Plus you already gave me three in Feb.
C: How do you still work here?

So yeah… I’m going to Switzerland! I’ve never been to Europe, and I’ve heard great things from my
more worldly friends. I am equal parts excited and fucking terrified. For those of you that have been emailing me with questions regarding the status of my relationships with the tourists, I’m happy to report that The Entertainer and I are in constant contact. He’s always telling me how excited he is to see me. When I was on the road, he would send me reminders to sleep and be safe. We even FaceTimed the length of Oregon to California. Between our insane schedules, we still find the time to send a hilarious meme or two. I was worried about spending Christmas away from my family. Every Christmas has either been back home
in Anchorage, with my Aunt and my Aussie fam, or in the Philippines. This will also be my first holiday season away from my best bro, Leo, but The Entertainer feels so much like family, I don’t think I have anything to worry about. As for the leading man…Let’s just pretend like I haven’t not heard from the person I’m flying across the world to see, for like a week. I don’t know if the radio silence is a hint, but if it is…what was the point of booking the ticket. “Can’t wait to see how this plays out”, she said while trying to appear nonchalant and not at all insecure or bat shit crazy. Or maybe I should just calm the fuck down because it’s only been a week. Psycho.

It was really nice to be back home for a little bit. It reminded me that there are people who care about what I have to say, even when it’s not all about them. There are people who read my blog even when the articles aren’t singing their praises. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m serving my own story as opposed to starring in it. Instead of wallowing in the constant state of ACT IV desert of despair, I remembered that the supporting male cast of my life more than makes up for my lack of a leading man.

“It was really good seeing you sauce flower. You look great and it’s so good to hear the amazing things you are getting into in LA. There’s a whole bunch of stuff I’ve been learning about universal energy and hippie stuff like that that I didn’t get a chance to talk about, but I can tell you naturally harness so much positive energy and it’s amazing to see it take you places. It inspires me. It’s rare to come by people like that…at least in AK haha. I’m super stoked to find my journey to the next level and I have a feeling we will be making beautiful music in the future that will change people’s lives. Sorry to get so cereal, but I just wanted you to know that your epicness is appreciated.”

IMG_4969.JPG So if I start looking at the great, platonic loves in my life as the leading men, then the guest stars that quite literally come and go…won’t fuck up my story.

I’ve taken so many pictures of my face today, it’s embarrassing. The invention of the front cam has tricked myself  people, into thinking that i am kind of attractive. God bless the right angle at the right time.

IMG_4375.JPG I call this photo: Teeth and Tits. I don’t consider this to be false advertising because this is exactly what I look like to someone who is on top of me.

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2 Girls 1 Car: We Have Yet To Receive ANY Toblerone…

Day 2: 10/01/2014

Waking up  in separate beds next to each other, Bridget and I looked like a modest married couple from the 1950’s. I laughed out loud. After getting our  shit together, we checked out of the hotel.

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning...

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning…

I know what you’re thinking, “How could they leave such a gorgeous place?” The answer is: reluctantly and with a heavy heart. It is Opposite Day, right? B needed coffee, so we decided to give the infamous Tim Horton’s a try.

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There was a giant line, so we figured it was a good sign. Everyone from Canada seemed to shit themselves over Tim Horton’s, so we had high expectations. Well, we were in Canada…so our expectations were converted to mid level. B ordered a breakfast sandwich and vanilla latte, and I had an apple strudel with an Americano. Verdict? Food, fantastic. Coffee…

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hot liquid garbage. Boo, Tim Horton’s. Boo! We found a Starbucks, and got the hell out of Whitehorse at 9:00 am. We reached 777 miles at 10:00 am. Have I mentioned what a champion my Mission Companion is? I would be totally fucked without GPS.

ME: (while looking at a map) Which way are we supposed to go?

BRIDGET: Are you serious right now?

ME: Shut up. My sense of direction is improving!

BRIDGET: … yeah your internal compass is on point (rolls eyes)

ME: Well at least I always know where North is. And by North, I of course mean North West, the child of Kim and Kanye.

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We were officially in a time/seasonal vortex. It would be Autumn for miles, then all of a sudden it was Winter. Was it Halloween, or Christmas? I was really confused. This was B’s third time down this route. This was my first. I had so many questions, such as:

  • Where are we now? I don’t know…
  • What does that sign mean? I don’t know…
  • Can you pass me the salami? We need to get another package from the cooler.

I was super lucky to have her answering all my burning questions. If singing doesn’t work out for her, she has a promising career as a travel guide. We hit 777 miles at 10:00 am, and came across this bridge.

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I call this picture, Bridget Over Troubled Water. 

The Yukon is terrifying. I’m not talking about the icy roads, the erratic weather, or the darkness. When we weren’t singing or stuffing our faces with Cheezits and salami, we talked about what it would take for either of us to live in such an isolated area, and neither of us could come up with a scenario in which we would…ever. I’m not knocking the lifestyle or the choices of  people who inhabit the wasteland, that’s none of my business, it’s just not something I would ever voluntarily do. No one could ever pay me enough. I could never love anyone enough.

Allow me to share with you, an excerpt from my travel log.

  • 900 miles reached at noon
  • 1:35 Watson Lake
  • 1000 miles reached at 1:47 pm
  • 3:40 pm: Bridget and I have our first “fight.” It was about Lady Gaga. I will get into more detail about this, momentarily.
  • 3:45 pm: See a buffalo laying on the side of the road. Try to convince myself it’s just napping. Bridget shatters my dreams with logic.

BRIDGET: Look at that dead buffalo.

ME: Well we don’t know that it’s dead. It could be napping.

BRIDGET: There are crows eating it.

  • 1,200 miles reached at 4:50 pm

As we were driving, we kept seeing this sign, and we had no idea what it meant.

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I decided that it meant there would be Tobelerone up ahead.

Toblerone-Marshmallows-in-package

 

Yum!

Back to the “fight.” B put on a playlist of super upbeat pop hits, and Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga came on. 

ME: I think she wrote this song for her grandfather.

BRIDGET: I thought she wrote “You and I” for him.

ME: No, I’m pretty sure it  was “Edge of Glory.”

BRIDGET: No. It was “You and I.”

ME: This is bullshit. There’s no internet.

BRIDGET: How are we going to find out who was right.

ME: I’m right.

BRIDGET: I don’t know.

ME: This is our very first fight.

Fast forward to this morning…

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I win! My celebration arms went right back down after I Google’d the answer to settle our second “fight.”

(While driving through farmland)

BRIDGET: God this is depressing

ME: I know. It looks like we are straight up in a Steinbeck novel

BRIDGET: EXACTLY.

ME: This is some East of Eden bullshit. I’m afraid I’m going to look out the window and see a woman breastfeeding a hungry man.

BRIDGET: …Uh.What?

ME: You know how at the end, the dude sucks on boob for sustenance.

BRIDGET: No. That never happened. I just read that book like a week ago.

ME: How do you not remember a grown ass man breastfeeding?!

BRIDGET: That didn’t happen.

ME: Yes it fucking did!

I found out later this morning, that it absolutely did happen…in John Steinbeck’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH.

BRIDGET: Ok, that makes sense because I’ve never read The Grapes of Wrath…

ME: And I haven’t read East of Eden.

Although this argument was more intellectually redeeming, I still looked like a dumbass. So we were even. We were both on the same level… in terms of being humongous idiots.

By 6:45 pm, we had arrived in Fort Nelson. We were about 3 hours ahead of schedule, we made the executive decision to fuel up, start an IV drip of Red Bull, and continue on to Chetwynd.

Music is the driving force of this trip. We really hit the jackpot with each other as far as tastes in music goes. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to journey alongside someone with opposing tastes. As a passenger, my one and only duty was to keep B company/awake, and provide any kind of respite she may require. I had made several Spotify playlists available offline, customized to anticipate any musical need she may have. For example:

BRIDGET: I just really feel like singing super high right now for some reason.

ME: I got you.

*Cue Sia’s Chandelier

BRIDGET: OMG.

My homie from Australia, Leonard, has described me like this:

Sometimes an American stereotype (includes knowing how to play charades on a strategic level)

What can I say, I like to be prepared. By 8:30 pm, B had been behind the wheel for 11 hours. I implemented a strategy. I put on Jesus Christ Superstar, and we sang through the whole show. The challenge of remembering our parts and lyrics kept her alert and it was so much freaking fun! By the end of the show, it was 10:15 and we had reached 1,500 miles.

  • 10:30 pm: Vocal rest
  • 10:38 pm: Vocal rest over
  • 11:06 pm: Oh hi, Canadian Cop. We pull over. He is hot. He is nice. He invites himself to live with us, despite the Cheezit particulate all over my tits. I eat it.

HOT COP: Sorry for pulling you over there. Where are you ladies headed?

BRIDGE AND ME IN UNISON: Los Angeles 🙂

HOT COP: Can I come with you, hehehe.

  • 11:10 pm: No ticket! Onward!

Success! So we had made our way through several Broadway shows. From the time we left my parents’ house the previous morning, we had already sang through:

  1. Bonnie and Clyde
  2. The Book of Mormon
  3. Newsies
  4. Jesus Christ Superstar

I was trying to ration our music until we got back to America, and I’m proud to say that after almost 26 hours in the car, I didn’t have to recycle very many songs! The Turtles’ Happy Together came on. Bridget said that it was one of those songs that never gets old. I was starting to get restless, so I decided to conduct a little experiment. I wanted to see  how many times in a row I could play the song before she lost her shit. I started at 12:41 am on October 1, 2014, and the last play was at 1:18 am on October 3, 2014. Here are my findings.

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End of experiment. We got to Chetwynd at 1:05 am October 2, 2014. We pulled in to an A&W parking lot to siphon their free wifi, and ended up making camp right then and there. I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing that I was perfectly content sleeping in the car, next to a dumpster. Free wifi= Netflix. Netflix = happiness. Add road trip cookies.

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2 days and 1,600 miles later, and we have yet to receive any Toblerone.

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2 Girls 1 Car: Canadian Money Is Hilarious

DAY 1: 9/30/2014

We’re alive! Bridget and I took off from my parents’ house at 6:00 this morning.

IMG_4666-1.JPG Tirrell and Alyssa were with me the night before, and I honestly don’t think we would have made it out of Eagle River without their investment in our survival. Tirrell got us supplies, and Alyssa went all Rain Man on The Milepost, to ensure we didn’t venture too far off the beaten path. I highly recommend having friends who don’t want you to die/have very little confidence that you won’t die without their guidance/support/interference. What I mean to say is, thank you. We loaded the car, peaced out of South Anchorage, and began the journey back to Beverly Hills. We were about three hours outside of Anchorage, when I suddenly became aware of the 12oz Red Bull and two water bottles I had
chugged. We spotted a rest stop and pulled in. I scurried to the ladies room, and discovered this:

IMG_4669.JPG Apparently Pee Season is closed. I peed behind a tree that looked like Halloween.

From 6 am to 10:50 am, it had been clear skies, an open road, and the Autumn color scheme was flawless. Then 10:51 hit.

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BRIDGET: Um, it’s kind of snowing.
ALI: Shut the fuck up?!
BRIDGET: I’m serious.

10:59…

IMG_4675.JPG Yeah, it was definitely snowing. Shit. Bridget’s driving position went from casual cruise, to 80 year old Asian driver. By 11:11, we were in the clear.

IMG_4688.JPG Don’t worry, it didn’t last long! By 2:15 pm, we were in Canada, and the fucking snow returned with a vengeance.

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IMG_4690.JPG Total bullshit. At 3:45, we hit 500 miles. Of course we had The Proclaimers blaring.

WE JUST DROVE 500 MILES AND WE WILL DRIVE 500 HUNDRED MORE!

Lies and deceit. We, (and by WE, I obviously mean just Bridget), drove another 200 and something miles, and stopped in Whitehorse. We checked in at the least rapey/murdery place we could find.

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IMG_4700.JPG…minus this:

IMG_4699.JPG This was a little unsettling. I’m sure it was just an accident, but my mind immediately went to “This is the killer’s signature…” We had dinner at the adjoining restaurant, then retired to our respective queen beds. As we were getting settled, I looked over at Bridget and couldn’t get over how far we had come. I’m not talking about distance. If you had told me in 2008, that she would be my Mission Companion, I would have laughed in your face, and she would have done the same. We have known each other a little over 6 years, but didn’t become real friends until 2011. When there are two big fish in the same little pond, people expect the two to become adversaries, and that was definitely the case…in mind and my mind alone. She came on the Anchorage theatre scene out of nowhere and was given the spotlight immediately. Meanwhile, I had been working my ass off for years, and still being imprisoned in the chorus. I was just as good. I was better sometimes! All the while, I couldn’t and never did, deny her talents. I was always aware that she exceeded my abilities in many ways. Her voice is accurate, agile, and non-intrusive. She was definitely better than me the majority of time, but no one ever admitted when I was better! In 2010, we grew closer during her first run of The Rocky Horror Show, but it was short lived. I withdrew my affection the following year after a former friend had used her influence on me, untruths, and exploiting my insecurities to get me to see Bridget as a competitor again. DRAMATIC. AS. FUCK. So she didn’t exist to me. And then RENT happened. Bridge has always been the leading lady and although it annoyed me, the casting always made sense. When I saw that she was in the ensemble amongst us mere fucking mortals, I got a little giddy at the thought of her getting knocked down a peg. This is how my fucked up mind works: I relished in her as a nameless member of the chorus, but was also infuriated that she wasn’t cast as one of the leads because she would have totally blown the part out of the water. Have we met? I’m fucking insane. Anyways, I struggle with my own issues with being a perpetual anchor in the ensemble. There are some people that look down their nose at being in the ensemble. It’s either a lead role, or nothing. As much as it pains me to admit, I have succumbed to such thoughts, and since my skill set was being horrifyingly under utilized, the Green Eyed Monster that hibernated inside of me started to wake. Then I started paying attention to Bridget. She knew she could play the role. How was she not furious at this blatant miscarriage of casting justice? Instead, she was committed to her cameo as Police Woman #2 with the same commitment she had to her role as Eva fucking Peron, and with just as much enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity. I was instantaneously ashamed of myself, and greatly humbled. Observing her made me remember that being on the stage, in any capacity, is a privilege and no one is entitled to anything. I decided that she was the kind of person that I needed around me all the time. Doing Into The Woods, Jesus Christ Superstar, and everything else together since RENT, had only solidified my great respect for her as a performer. I let go of my jealousy. I stopped comparing, and I started celebrating her strengths instead of vying to measure up. Now she lives with me. She makes 13 hours in a car fly by. We have been singing non stop since we left Anchorage, and we have rarely been in unison. There are people in this world, who get off on the sound of their own voice. Like, they cannot stand not hearing themselves. This is the worst kind of person to exist. Ever. I’ve been in the car with this kind of person. I’d be quietly singing to the radio; and they would join at an unbearable decibel. -qBridge is the exact opposite. She gives zero fucks about who is singing melody, the highest, or the loudest. She never forces me to sing the boy parts because she’s the only one ever allowed to sing the girl parts. She’s the most selfless singer I know. She supports me, encourages me, and I love that she chose me to be in her passenger seat.

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IMG_4696.JPG We ate the road trip cookies that have since become my reason for living, and went to bed.

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So that’s day one! Ps. I went to the ATM to get some cash, totally forgetting we were in Canada. I was stuck with $100 of Monopoly money that I couldn’t take seriously, although I did appreciate it’s effort to color coordinate with my purse and comforter.

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Draw Me Like One Of Your French Girls, Jack!

Hi! I’ve been home for a grand total of 57 hours, and I wish I could casually come home without adding to my already congested catalogue of catharses…but then it wouldn’t be my life, right? Dramatic as fuck baha!

I took the 7:45 flight from LAX to Anchorage on Thursday night, and as soon as I got to the gate, I started thinking about the last time I was home. I had just ended things/gotten officially shunned by The Comedian, and as soon as I got back to LA, I met the infamous tourists. The timeline still blows my mind. I got on the plane, and hit the jackpot.

Jealous much?

Jealous much?

I landed early Friday morning, and I saw a Native Alaskan homeless man peeing outside of baggage claim. My Pop, Michael, picked me up and listened to my irrational ramblings. Home, sweet home. We got back to my house and I ran up the stairs to snuggle my mother. I never really feel home until I hug, kiss, and breathe her. She made an offensive comment about my appearance and laughed. She’s my favorite thing. I made my way to my childhood bedroom and this is the first thing I saw…

Welcome to the Lu/de Guzman Bed and Breakfast

Oh hello, guest room…What the fuck! I laughed out loud, and looked in the drawer to see if there was a bible in there. Alas, there was not.  Just a gentle reminder that I don’t live here anymore. Dicks. I walked around to say hello to the house and fell asleep immediately. I woke up later in the morning like Kevin McCallister, home…alone. I indulged myself in some free HBO, courtesy of my parent’s giant television, then had lunch with mi madre. After lunch, I went to my grandma’s house. Dr. Reynalda de Guzman is revered in the Filipino Community of Alaska. She’s a legend. She’s been the general practitioner at Family Medical and Dental Center since 1987, and is pretty much the doctor of every Filipino in Anchorage. But to me, she’s just my ridiculous, funny, hovering, and frustrating grandma. She’s my number one fan. She keeps recordings of me on her cell phone, and makes her nurses, patients, pharmaceutical reps, and strangers on the street listen to all of them. She and my grandpa have lived in the same house in Bayshore since before I was born.
de Guzman

Regardless of renovation after renovation, there’s an alien heartbeat that pulses the same way it always has for me. To this day, I can’t identify it, but there it was. Unlike my parents home, which in my mind, is constructed of comfortable memory foam- my grandparents home is like a concrete mausoleum that has entombed memories that I don’t, that I can’t possibly posses. The guilt is waning, but remains. I rarely talk about my late father. For a long time, I felt obligated to keep his memory alive. Through home movies, photographs, and stories, I was simulating memories in order to connect. Then I got really angry about it for a while. Then sad. Then guilty. Then exhausted. I’m still pretty exhausted. Other than looking like equal parts him and my mother, what did Ross de Guzman give me?  I was only three when he passed, too young to really remember anything that I could say, “Oh yeah, I get this quality/mannerism/habit from my real dad”, about- until my diagnosis. The Janet in me definitely takes center stage. I get my resilience, candor, humor, love of the written word, and thirst for dialogue from my mother. We have the same tastes in movies and television. We love to be on the phone. I know that my brain was modeled after hers. It is the imbalance in my brain that screams, “Ross.” So as far as I knew, all my father and I had in common was causing heartache, struggle, and we both possessed an internal monologue that took over. And then I went to the back yard.  Anchorage is so beautiful. The clear sky and the smell of earth and air together, hit me just like falling in love. My grandparents’ back yard was covered in the yellows, browns, and oranges of fallen  Autumn leaves, and I sprawled across the crinkling foliage.

Nothing beats Fall in Anchorage

Nothing beats Fall in Anchorage

There was music playing in my head.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I went into the shed to snoop around, and found what I had been searching for my entire life- evidence of connection to my biological father. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of music, and have a hard time with anything written in the 21st Century. I always credited my Pop for this. Our family took a lot of road trips together when we were growing up, and since it’s Alaska, radio reception was unreliable. Michael would bring all his cassette tapes and blast Stevie Wonder, ABBA, James Taylor, Carole King, The Beatles, etc., and all the songs from these trips comprised the soundtrack of my life. Motown, Blue Eyed Soul, Disco, Doo Wop, Jazz, Blues, and Classic Rock coursed through my veins and aged my 7 year old soul. Cut to 20 years later, as 27 year old me uncovers two giant boxes of his vinyl records- housing every tune I know and love. No tears, just the biggest smile to ever grace my face. I let myself get lost in my own reflection as I stared into each pristine record. I packed them up and loaded them into my mother’s car.

Box of Records

Records

I couldn’t wait to get home and fall asleep to the sounds of Wings, Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles, Benny Goodman, and everyone else in those boxes. ABBA was blaring in my head!

THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC, THE SONGS I’M SINGING! THANKS FOR ALL THE JOY THEY’RE BRINGING!

I picked up The Game by Queen, and saw my father’s handwriting for the first time. His name was Rosseller de Guzman, but everyone called him Boyet.

Boyet

I traced his nickname with my finger and said hello. It was nice to finally meet him.

This has been a pretty emotional post, so I’ll leave you with this. As I was rummaging through the plethora of shit to get to the treasure trove of closure, this was discovered as well…

Awkward Portrait

The title of this post makes sense now, doesn’t it? Unless you haven’t seen Titanic…in which case, you suck.

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In Which I Find Out Why My Knee Hurts

IT’S TODAY! Bridge and I hit the road in T minus 4 hours, and I cannot wait to be back in Los Angeles…for 3 whole hours before my flight BACK to Anchorage on the morning of October 8th. Hi, have we met? I’m out of my fucking mind.

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IMG_4653.JPG The plan is to be in White Horse by tonight. It’s about a 14 hour drive from my parents’ house to White Horse, but I’m stoked to do the trip with Bridget. Shameless plug: You can follow our shenanigans on Twitter @twogirlsonecar #BitchesBeRoadTrippin. Or don’t.

The previous post was about a giant, healing leap forward that I took on Friday afternoon. Progress. I think it’s time to restore balance and regale you with the tale of the stumbling steps I took backwards, later that night. Hella regress.

Vodka, my high school sweethearts, having only eaten two mini Paleo muffins, and this Snapchat from Chibi’s phone should give you a pretty good idea of how this is gonna go…

IMG_4605-0.PNG So after a pre-game of shots chased with a wine cooler, we made our way to Downtown Anchorage. Lemon Drops and Turbo Coronas at F Street, and then we headed to another bar called The Pioneer. I wanted the girls to meet Alyssa, so I invited her to join us. Let me give you a visual. The Pioneer is a small and constantly crowded bar that is more of a hallway than an actual bar. It smells like feet, and you’re bound to run into someone whose name you can’t remember. It is not an establishment that one would soberly patronize. Luckily for me, that was not a problem. There was a “DJ” playing, what I can only assume to be, a Ke$ha Pandora station from his laptop, and I was drunk enough to give zero fucks about the fact that we were surrounded by fetuses that graduated high school in 2011. The girls and I danced and drank, drank and danced, and drank and drank until we needed a change of scenery. Our stop at the Avenue was brief, but apparently long enough to snap this pic…

IMG_4606.JPG…and I don’t remember going to The Buckaroo Club. More importantly, I don’t remember getting thrown out of The Buckaroo Club.

I woke up at 7 am on my couch, head pounding, and without pants. Alyssa was asleep on the recliner next to me, fully clothed, and I booked it for the bathroom. Insert 2 hours of dry heaving. I reached for my phone to text.

ME: Oh hi! I’m an utter asshole.
CHIBI: Well I’m dead.

Alyssa woke up, and filled in the blanks of the previous night.

Turns out, at The Avenue, I shouted abuse at an asshole former friend of mine who totally fucked me over a couple of years ago. There were texts of him saying terrible things about me, and I ended up seeing those texts, so that was the end of a 10 year friendship. Apparently I wasn’t over it. After I gave said asshole verbal whiplash, we made our way to The Buckaroo Club. Upon entrance, I sauntered to the restroom to immediately purge. Random girls
started asking if I was ok, and I guess I told “those townie cunts” to fuck off. A manager got involved and I continued to be a total bitch, so she threw my ass out of the bar. Good for her. I would have done the same thing! Alyssa and I took a cab back to my parents house, and I guess I started talking to Alyssa about Alyssa…because I didn’t realize that she was Alyssa. No worries, all good things. I poured myself out of the cab and crawled onto my lawn. After rolling around in the grass for a solid half hour, Alyssa managed to get me inside and to sleep.

It hurt to blink, so imagine my pain as I laughed while she was filling me in. The laughter woke up my parents and they took us to breakfast. We dropped Alyssa off at her car and headed home. I wanted to die. I felt sick, but kept it together. We were about 5 minutes away from my house when I hiccuped…and projectile vomited my breakfast in the backseat of my mother’s car. My parents started laughing. I was so embarrassed and started crying, which made them laugh harder, which made me cry even more!

MOM: BAHAHAHA! Why didn’t you tell us to pull over?!
ME: (While sobbing) Because I didn’t want you to get mad at me for being hungover!
MOM: BAHAHA! Do you need more napkins?
ME: (Still crying) You’re so nice!

I threw my clothes away, cleaned my moms car, showered, and passed out.

I don’t know how I managed to make the 3:30 meeting with my music director, but I did! I picked Jessica up to take her back to Chibi’s so she could get her car, and told her the story. She laughed herself to tears!

JESSICA: WHY DID WE DRINK SO MUCH?!
ME: I DON’T EVEN KNOW!
JESSICA: Welcome home, Hollywood. You’re a fucking mess.

I left to meet my buddy for dinner, then returned to Jessica’s to bullshit and watch wonderfully terrible television until she fell asleep. At this point, I had only been back in town for 30 hours. This is a good reminder of why I rarely drink anymore. It’s been so long since I’ve had a night like this, and I’m really glad I’ve re-learned my lesson. Definitely not proud of my behavior, but if I’m anything, I’m accountable. Wanna make out!?

When I got home, I noticed my knee was bleeding.

IMG_4607.JPG

IMG_4621.PNG Mystery solved.

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