Friday, September 6, 2013

Poolside Confessional

You know, sometimes this world seems to have fallen off its hinges just the least little bit. Aurora called last night to invite me over for a swim. Since Barney and Pea-brained Barbie called from Peru to say they'd be home Monday she thought she'd take a quick run-through of the office and do some deep snooping. Let's just take a moment to wrap out minds around this. She, the housekeeper...invited me, the destitute my old house for a swim and a look at Barney's personal paperwork. Hum. Well, okay so I went and, in addition to drinking up several bottles of Cristal, we sat by the pool and chatted like regular people. Turns out that back in the day 21-year-old Aurora was a 4.0 student at CalState Fullerton and headed to grad school for an MBA when her father died and her mother fell ill immediately afterward. She quit school to care for her mom. The months spooled out into years and by the time her mother finally passed, Aurora was 37, the family money was about gone, and she had no real work experience, with the exception of caring for a household. Her first temp job turned into the permanent gig with Barney. She's parlayed her money into some deep investments including a beachfront lot in Nicaragua to which she's planning on retiring. Some bitches get all the luck.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Long, Hot Summer

I'm beginning to think that this summer is never gonna end. It's hot, it's difficult, and it's going to keep grinding me into the ground for the rest of my life. At least that's how it feels.

I'm continuing to work for the slumlord. I've never talked to so many crackheads, prostitutes, retards, assholes, and ho-bag skanks in my life. That's all this guy rents to! Jesus, deliver me from low-class human beings. I keep an economy-sized pump bottle of Purell in my tote and pat myself down after each interview. I wish I could wear a hospital mask and get away with it. Michael Jackson might have been onto something.

Everything else in my life is on hold. Mark and Kurt (remember my next door neighbor?) have been spending the summer on a new-relationship pink cloud and neither one has had much time left over to hang out with me. How pathetic is that? I'm jealous of my gay friends because they left me. Aurora has had nothing to share, evidence-wise, because Barney and Harmony are in Machu Picchu. As in Peru. He's so out of shape he can barely climb the stairs, let alone a high-elevation mountain in the Andes or wherever the hell it is. Harmony would have to find some high-heeled, wedgie hiking boots before she'd set foot on the trail.

I need to take a brisk walk and drink a green-energy smoothie. Unfortunately, my favorite Juicy sweats are wearing out and have a huge run in the seat. I think I'll drink a mudslide and watch 'Dancing With the Stars'.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Slumlord Millionaire

This job sucks. I had no idea what I was getting into. That's not exactly true. This guy is a friend of Mark's so I just assumed I would be sitting in a beige converted-garage home office organizing and filing a bunch of papers. I expected air-conditioning. And a desk.

How to describe this? Ok, the guy's office is in his home...everywhere in his home. There's crap in the kitchen, hallway, living room, out in the garage, even in the (ick!) bathroom! Not relatively neat stacks of paper. No, these are huge drifts, mountainous mounds, throat-clogging clots of paper intermixed with all manner of personal things that I'm horrified to even admit I've had to touch. It's like an oven in there because he won't fix his air-conditioner, and it's not because he doesn't have the money. I've seen his bank statements. He's just cheap.

This job is supposed to be temporary but, honestly, it will take me weeks to straighten it all out. What's worse, just when I get into a rhythm, he gives me some actual office work to do. Today it was posting rent to this archaic old program that runs in...wait for it... DOS. I though the last DOS computer died around 2004. Anyhow, next he wants me to get some vacant units rented so tomorrow (yes, I work Saturdays) I'll be posting on Craig's List, reading applications, and running eviction checks. He doesn't even bother with credit checks. Says that it's a given that the people who would rent from him have less-than-stellar credit. Gee, ya think?

I know, it's a job, right? I save a ton by not having to drive anywhere. I can wear sweats to work and I'm learning a new skill...I guess. I look back on my life thus far and I can't reconcile how it used to be with how it is now. Life is becoming a big, tiring grind. Do most people feel this yawing sense of desolation day after day or am I just having a hard time adjusting to 'real' life because things have been so easy for me in the past? I don't know - it's something to ponder. Or maybe I'll just go eat the rest of the Nutter Butter cookies and have a good cry.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Adios, Jag

Well. Here I am. Same place, no car. Sold the Jag. Paid July and August rent. Can barely think in complete sentences.

Being carless in Los Angeles is almost a misdemeanor. I feel like I've been caught doing something shady and my punishment is public transportation. Although, I have to say that I can get just about anywhere via bus, and, thanks to my trusty Samsung phone, I can at least be productive while I ride.

Mark's coming over tonight for mojitos and mosaic crafting. Who would have thought he'd become my new bestie? We've both discovered that we're crafty - thank you Pinterest! We love you Youtube! So far we've tried flowers made of diet Coke cans, flowers made of coffee filters, and flowers made of melted plastic spoons. Mosaic flowers are now on deck...and if I could figure out how to embed the pinterest photo here, I would. Go to my Pinterest board 'Craft Ideas' at 'Alexis Wiseman' to see our current inspiration.

Got another temporary, part-time job...uh...yippee? Actually, it pays ten bucks an hour and - best part - it's walking distance! Mark has a friend who owns apartment buildings and he needs someone to organize his office. He had brain tumor surgery about three months ago and the office is totally messed up. Anyhow, I'm helping him whip the place back into shape...slowly, very, very s-l-o-w-l-y.

I'm not sure why, but I've developed a taste for curry lately. Here's my latest quickie meal -

Curry Rice and Vegetables
Follow the directions on a package of instant rice (use two servings - one barely takes the edge off) with the following modifications:
- add an extra quarter-cup of water, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, dash black pepper and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup frozen vegetables (I like Northern-style Chinese) and boil for 2 minutes.
- Add instant rice and 1 tsp coconut oil to the vegetables. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff an serve.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thanks, Chair

Okay, here's one to file away under 'unexpected last minute reprieves', my apartment manager finally caught me at home. I've only actually spoken to her once, when I rented the place. She's a trip. She looks a little like Mrs. Roper from that old tv show, 'Three's Company" only shorter and wider, sort of like a bowling ball in a polyester caftan. She knocks, and I know she knows I'm home, so I figure I might as well face the music and I let her in.

"Well, dear, you're in quite a pickle." She told me I was in a 'pickle'. Who even says stuff like that anymore? Anyhow, I invited her to sit and figured that I should calmly explain my financial  situation. As I launched into it she noticed my 'shabby chic' French chair, the one I painted with shoe polish and nail lacquer.

After giving me a long winded description of her new, all-white decorating scheme, she asks where I got the chair - apparently she never noticed me painting it out on the lawn, dripping white shoe polish all over the fescue. I almost told her that I'd made it myself, but for some reason that I'm still unclear about I said that it came from an exclusive shop off Melrose. I don't know why, I just opened my mouth and the lie fell out. She looked at me askance, as if to ask why I'd spent my rent money on overpriced furniture. I just went with it at that point, "Oh no, I didn't buy it! It was one of the only things I took from the house when my husband and I split. He didn't know, but it was done by a really famous European designer. It's only going to appreciate in value..." Her eye got this acquisitive gleam in it and I realized that I might be able to parlay that gleam into something useful.

By the time she left, with my lovely chair tucked beneath her pudgy little arm, she'd agreed to drag her feet on my rent predicament and gave me until the 24th to get the rent before she files the eviction papers.

So, thanks, Chair, for inspiring a useful lie and buying me some time. Maybe I should be a writer...or a con-man...woman...whatever...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Oh Crap

...3-day pay-or-quit...3-day pay-or-quit...oh, crap...oh, crap...oh, crappity-crap-crap!

When I first moved to this apartment I was a little, um, how shall I say...critical...of it. I loved my old house - actually Barney's house, apparently - in the hills and this place was a disappointment, even with its proximity to the water. But lately I've begun to appreciate it. The rent is relatively cheap for the location but not, unfortunately, cheap enough for me to afford it on my alimony alone. Which segues me into the tangential topic (I've been adding a word-a-day to my vocabulary then using them in conversation. 'segue' is today's word.) of my currently unemployment.

What is up with this!? For the past couple of days I've been trolling boutiques, following Craig's List hits, looking for someone who might need sales help. Here's what I've learned: 1) there must be some secret society of boutique workers, like a gang or something, and only people who throw up the right sign or know the handshake or whatever even get to interview, and 2) it helps if you're a gay male with way too much style for one individual.

I sent Mark out to a bunch of places I found that I know for a fact are hiring. I suggested he wear the blue wig. I figured that if he got a job then he could give me a leg up. Problem is, it could be a loooong time before anything comes up so I'll probably be pushing a shopping cart loaded with black plastic garbage bags and aluminum cans or (much worse) back in Fresno living with my mother before I can get a job and save this apartment.

Maybe I should sell the Jag.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Things on Facebook That Make You Go...WTF?!

Conversation on Facebook:

Girl # 1
"Some Of The Statuses I See On Facebook I Swear How You Gone Say As Long As Im His Main Forget The Side Chicks?Noooooooo You Sound STUPID Like I Can Argue About This For Days..If If He Need Side Chicks Istead Of Stickin With You And Your Ok With That Then First Off Your Not You Probably Not Doin What You Should Be And You Must Know That If You Coo With His Game Or He Just Mo Goog Like I Cant Figg Smh Words Can't Even Explain..What's Your Opinion??Comment"

Girl #2
"When ur a dime you don't fuck with pennies and loose change and if that guy does..let him struggle lookin for penny hoes..and u find a guy who knows ur worth..but first you gotta know ur worth..cuz if you don't you'll get lost In the just as
That's my opinion tho."

Girl #1
"Lol Thankyou"

Girl #2
"Your welcome!"

And then...

Girl #3
"I'm not entirely sure exactly what you ladies said but I can tell, in principle, that you're precisely on-target with your analysis of the side-chick/penny-ho question. Indeed, if he needs side chicks and you're cool with that then, obviously, you're suffering from low-self esteem, which is frequently accompanied by self-destructive behavior. Your friend offers sage advice. Always consider yourself the dime in a relationship with pennies. You are bright and shiny, coated with silver and worth at least ten of the dirty-penny man who is treating you with disrespect by associating, presumably sexually, with dirty-penny women. So, metaphorically speaking, keep your purse-size mirror always at hand and gaze into it frequently while repeating this mantra: "I am a shiny dime, not a dirty penny!" This constant self-assurance will help you stay strong and keep from getting lost in the mix when the next dirty-penny man attempts to seduce you with his mo goog game. In other words, I concur!"

I shit you not.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Getting Real

I've been having buyer's remorse for an item that I can't return - my laser treatments. Not that I don't love my skin - I do! It's smooth and even. So beautiful. Unfortunately, the car went back into the shop, I still owe this month's rent, I had car insurance/registration to pay this month, and, (gasp!) I got a ticket...for jaywalking! $190!!! Even after I get my alimony check I'll still be in the hole for last month. Things are getting real, financially speaking.

I did have the chance to debut my beautiful new skin at my cousin's kid's wedding this weekend. It was at Wente Winery in Livermore, Ca. Ugly name for a beautiful area. I guess you could call it the eastern Bay Area wine country. I had to pay for my room ($93) and transportation ($117), putting me further in the hole. My cousin and I aren't all that close but her daughter married a rich kid and they invited, like, 600 people - everyone they knew, apparently, who were on the west coast and not away on some far flung vacation or basking in the cold wind at their Hamptons summer houses.

It was beautiful, as all weddings are (in one way or another.) The flowers were exquisite - peonys, roses, hydrangeas, stock, and dusty miller - all in the most delicate shades of peach, cream and pink. I snagged a couple of bouquets to take home and made four large arrangements which I've artfully scattered about the apartment.

The bridesmaids, all 12 of them wrapped in slightly different peach silk chiffon dresses, looked like tall, fluffy flowers themselves. Dinner was salmon, harcots verts, mescalun salad, and tiny roasted potatoes, followed by big slices of spongy white wedding cake filled with lemon curd and topped with a froth of ivory tinted buttercream. The dancing lasted long into the night, lubricated with oceans of wine, champagne and microbrews.

By 10 am the next morning, 27 people had come down with the flu. Today I'm queasy, but it's probably just the nauseating reek of dying flowers.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

From the Headlines

OMG! did you read about that guy, Papa Joe Aviance, who lost a ton of weight eating from the '99-cent' store!? What did I tell you guys? It's an awesome place to shop, and it's not all about the junk food, either. You go, Papa Joe!

File this under 'what-the-hell-is-happening-to-us': Santa Monica College, where five people were gunned down on Friday, is about a mile and a half from my apartment. It's as if the 'nice-guy-suit' that most people walk around wearing is beginning to fray and split at the seams. I mean, violence is a constant, I get that, and stuff like this has been happening all along but it seems to me that more people are boiling over faster and bringing down more victims more often. Is is just me, or does it seem that way to any of you? So many people are unemployed, and a growing percentage of them aren't even being counted because they've just given up. They live in friend's garages, on auntie's couches, in tents in their ex's backyards, or in walmart parking lots in their cars. And those are just the 'homed'; let's not even start on the 'homeless'.

It makes me ashamed of my recent whining, and all the more determined to get a job. Or make a job, or something...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Namaste, Bitches!

Ok, just how did you bitches (and you know who you are) read 'homophobe' into my last post? I've had an onslaught of flack about Mark and my 'attitude' toward him. First, I didn't call him a weirdo. I said "we ALL" are weirdos. Humans, it seems to me, are all a little skittish, twisted, dangerous, and demented. Every one of us, in one way or another. Mark was very forthcoming about his fetish and I listened politely. I didn't try to talk him out of it or suggest a 12-step group. I just listened and nodded occasionally - that's what friends do. We support each other. Besides, Mark's not gay...exactly. He's maybe bi, he thinks, but he's not sure because his only gay affair lasted just a couple of weeks when he was in high school. Whatever...point is: as long as it doesn't include kids, animals or dead people I really couldn't care less who Mark, or any of you all for that matter, do the nasty nekked with.

I do, however, care who I do it with. And I haven't done it in quite some time. So I'm a little bit tense and snapish. Sorry. Peace out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Blood Orange Pinkberry

Remember Mark, the former lawyer I met on the bus? The one who used to work for my lying cheat of an ex-husband? Well. he called last week to say that he'd remembered something about Barney's business dealings, something he thought I'd like to know. We met at Pinkberry yesterday. He bought me a Blood Orange frozen yogurt (with chocolate chips) and dished a little dirt about Barney. Apparently he was shuffling assets around while claiming to be broke while he waited out the statute of limitations on a few debts he'd stopped making payments on. The companies he was defaulting on pursued him, even started judgement proceeding, but he slipped through their hands like a greased pig. Mark has a lot of paperwork and notes and stuff. I haven't really wrapped my mind around it yet but I know there's something there that I can work with.

Mark and I talked about how our lives have changed in the past year or two. We used to have 'everything', or we thought we did. Now we're both taking the bus. I asked him about the transvestite thing. He said it started when he was still working as a lawyer. His job was seriously stressful and sometimes at work he'd have these panic attacks, which he had to try and hide from everyone. He'd always been fascinated by women's underwear and had a few pairs of satin panties hidden in his drawers at home. He never wore then, just took them out and looked at them every once in awhile. Well, this one day things were getting pretty tense at work and he felt an attack coming on so he went to the men's room and locked himself in a stall to calm down. He checked his jacket, looking for a cigarette, and discovered that he's stuffed a pair of pink thong panties in one of the pockets. He began to stoke the material and noticed after a few minutes that he'd calmed down. Something about fingering the fabric made him more relaxed. He started carrying a pair around at work. When things got bad he's just slip his hand in his pocket and stroke those panties for a minute and it would pass, kind of like a security blankie, I guess.

Things escalated from there. He started to wear the panties to work, always being careful to avoid letting any of the other guys see them in the bathroom. The constant feel of that soft fabric kept him calm most of the time. Soon he needed more stimulation to keep the attacks at bay so he bought a long blonde wig which he took to wearing around the house after work. He'd sit at the computer and stroke the long nylon hair while wriggling around in the panties. It was a short leap from there to wearing the stuff out in public occasionally. Anyway, it was interesting to hear him tell it.

What a bunch of weirdos we all are, us humans. I have no tips or recipes tonight. Just a splitting headache and a slightly peeling face.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Red Faced and Broke

There is no way to soft-pedal this so I'll just spit it out: I sold the brooch and spent the money (plus some) on fractal laser treatments.That sleazy UPS driver-slash-MLM wrinkle cream huckster really rattled my cage. I stewed about it for days then finally grabbed the pin out of the safe deposit box and hightailed it to Aram, the Armenian jeweler. He's got an elegant little shop off Melrose where he sells estate pieces, makes custom jewelry for exclusive clients and, on occasion, buys baubles off desperate old ladies. He and my father go way back, I mean waaaay back - all the way to Yerevan, in the old country. He was pretty generous, I think, and gave me a more-than-fair price for the aquamarine brooch. I should have put it in the bank, or paid my rent through next month, or paid off the credit card. Anything but have my skin blasted off with a ray gun. I mean, no matter how dewy my face looks I can't change the fact that I'm still thirty-six. That's about fifty-eight in Hollywood years. I must have been temporarily insane.

Nadia, god bless her, gave me a deal on two sessions - $3800. I got $2900 for the brooch and cleaned out the bank account to come up with the rest. So now I'm hiding out in my apartment for a few more days while the swelling goes down. I started another project - a decorated box for my bathroom counter. I found the box in the alley. It's really a drawer from an old dresser. I painted it with the last of the white shoe polish and painted big roses on it with nail varnish. I glued some rhinestones on it then decopaged the inside with a paper party napkin printed in an allover rose pattern. I think it looks pretty cool.

Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished #6
Look at everything with new eyes. People throw out the most useful junk. That beat-up wooden drawer can have new life as a bathroom oragnizer.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nip and Tuck...STAT!! I don't even know where to start. Ok, so I went out for coffee with Larry, the UPS driver. He was so sweet. We talked about how much we both love animals, working out, and skating along the strand. He's also from the Central Valley so we had similar childhoods in common too. Things were going along just swimmingly for about twenty minutes then, out of the blue, he asks me about my skincare regime.

Skin care regime? Really? The guy whips out his business card and a sample of a wrinkle cream he's selling via some cheesy MLM scheme...scam, whatever. He started blathering on about peri-menopausal skin care. "You know, as women age you really need to protect against the effects of reduced hormone production. Especially you blondes." He actually used the term 'peri-menopausal'. I'm thirty-six, not forty-six! I didn't know whether to slug him or sink throught the floor. I was actually speechless. I grabbed my keys, jumped up out of the chair, and left him sitting there with his big, dumb mouth hanging open. Before he could even say a word I'd hit the door and was sprinting for home. At least I was smart enough not to tell him where I live!

Wrinkle cream. I want to cry. I miss Nadia (my cosmetic surgeon) so much I can barely stand it. She's wonderful and we were just about to do another fractal laser treatment when Barney kicked me to the curb. Two grand for beauty treaments used to be nothing - chump change. Now it's miles beyond my reach.

I've got to get a real job. The canvassing continues but it's getting old quick. People are so rude! I've been holding on to one last piece of jewelry, sort of as an insurance policy. It's a beautiful old pin - they used to call it a 'brooch' - that my great aunt left me. It's in a stylized flower shape, made of three colors of gold, and has a large aquamarine in the center. I think it was made in the 1920's. My good angel keeps telling me to leave it in the safe deposit box for a rainy day. My bad angel says "It's raining cats and dogs, girl! Go ahead, cash that sucker in! It will just about pay for the fractal treatments. Think about how good you skin will look! So creamy, so flawless! It's an investment, really. You can lie about your age and pass for 25...27, tops!"

I need chocolate.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

White Noise

My mind has been a blank lately. Nothing but white noise. I used to be so proactive and efficient - a real little problem-solver. Nothing got me down. Now I feel like I'm just treading water in the sea of life, waiting for something to happen. Either I'll get rescued, drown, or become shark food. The canvassing job has another few weeks to go and, quite frankly, it's kicking my butt. I've lost a little weight but it seems to be slow going, even though I'm eating next to nothing and walking miles each day.

Aurora told me that Harmony is sporting a big, honking diamond. Apparently she's planning a wedding. We're not even legally divorced yet and Barney can't wait to tie the knot. Again. This makes number four. I almost feel sorry for her.

But all is not  tears and sorrow chez Alexis, because...(wait for it)...I'm going on a real, live date! I went to an art opening tonite at Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica. The installation was interesting, although I didn't quite get it. Something to do with spaces, and windows, and the spaces between windows...whatever. It was free and included tapas.

So I started making small talk with this guy. He's cute, has a nice personality, and - bonus - he drives a truck for UPS. I mean, it's a pre-req that all UPS drivers are hotties. Anyhow, we're meeting for coffee next Wednesday. Good thing, too, because I was beginning to wonder what might be wrong with me. Do I have 'Desperate Divorcee' scrawled across my forehead in red Sharpie, or something? Maybe I've just been giving off touch-me-not vibes. I'm going to go facebook-stalk him now.

P.S. No recipes or tips tonight - I just can't muster the energy.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Muffin Top

I'm depressed beyond belief. My butt is carrying four extra pounds of lard, compliments of all the cheap carbs I've been eating from the 99-cent store. I'm not generally a compulsive eater but the combination of relative inactivity and processed pasta dinners has caught up with me. This is why every woman should wear her skinny jeans at least once a week. Muffin top won't show up in a pair of Juicy track pants. Not until it's too late, anyhow.

I know I must be getting boring vis-a-vis the 99-cent store but, really, it can't be experienced in one visit. Sort of like the Smithsonian. Today's haul included lean sliced ham, cabbage, garlic chili sauce, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, assorted spices and my favorite find - Crystal Light drink mix in grape favor. What makes it so awesome is that it uses just a smidge of sugar and stevia, no artifical sweetners. So, you can eat healthy even from the dollar store. My neighbor suggested Smart&Final for bulk purchases like coffee or whatever. I've never been there either.

It's funny, I've never had to think about grocery shopping. I mean, when I did go shopping I just trotted down the aisles and tossed stuff in the cart. I never looked at prices. Now it's a major feat of engineering to get the money and the food to both last until the next check.

I haven't gotten a call-back on the Universal City job but I did get part-time gig canvassing for the Republican Silverlake, no less. I thought they'd ran the last republican out of there in 1979. Apparently I was wrong. There were a few sighted last year and now It's my job to trudge up and down all those damn hills and flush them out. I need a dog that can sniff out guns and bibles. I really shouldn't be bitching about it - I'll knock off the extra pounds by next week.

Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished #5
This week's recipe continues the theme of dollar store dining but is designed to reduce the circumference of your ass, not increase it. Ham Roll Ups are a classic dieter's lunch.

Start by placing several slices of lean ham side-by-side on a plate. Spread each slice with plain Greek yogurt. If you must use mayo, don't use the diet variety, you won't be satisfied and use no more than a half teaspoon for each roll up. Trust me, you'll taste it. Shred half a cabbage and put a generous heap on each ham slice. Reserve the rest of the cabbage for another meal. Top with sundried tomato slices - two per rollup - and a few cubes of cheese. Rule of thumb - use only a total of one ounce of cheese per meal. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Roll up and eat, preferably while standing at the sink so you can immediately wash up your plate, fill your water bottle. and get outside for a long, fat-fighting walk.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kitchen Bitch

In response to a recent comment on the blog, I'm going to fill you all in on my cooking cred. I wasn't born-and-raised wealthy, just comfortably well off. My father was a dentist, as I think I've covered before, and my mother was a 'homemaker'. That actually used to be a job description. I'm an only child, and no, I wasn't lonely. I went to public schools, had tons of friends, and - bonus! - wasn't forced to share my beautiful pink bedroom with anyone.

My childhood was idyllic in lots of ways. My father was Armenian, like so many residents of the Fresno area, but my mother is French. Full-blooded, like with an accent and everything. She's an incredible cook. She taught me how to make a perfect white sauce just as soon as I was old enough to hold a wooden spoon. She can create a masterpiece with nothing more than eggs, butter, cream, flour and white pepper. Somewhere in my storage I have a few videos we made of me, as a sullen-but-compliant teenager, learning the finer points of various international cuisines. She was as proficient with Southern Chinese provencial cooking as with South Indian regional fare.

After my father died, she stopped cooking as much. She claimed it wasn't fulfilling without my dad to enjoy it. She did, however, give me our family's cookbook when I married Barney. Until the 1920's, when it was printed and leather-bound, it had consisted of various folders, notebooks, and loose pages, all handwritten and tied together with twine. I'm not sure what happened to the originals. I've used those recipies over and over, and shared many of them on my previous blog. Even though the book still sits in my kitchenette (or whatever you call that strip of wall with a sink, half-sized fridge, and two-burner stove that passes for a kitchen in this cramped little box), I rarely use it anymore. Besides the ingredients being cost-prohibitive (fresh black truffles? really?!), I haven't had the heart to cook much since the divorce. Like my mom, I suppose, I'd be happier cooking for someone who'd enjoy it. Barney never said he loved my cooking but he didn't routinely regurgitate it either.

So, back off Bitches! I've got a pastry-cutter and I know how to use it! Peace out.

Secrets to a Perfect White Sauce
There are but three things to remember when whipping up a white sauce:
1) Use an iron skillet.
2) Cook the flour in the butter until bubbly but not yet brown.
3) Heat the cream to just under a simmer then dribble it into the cooked flour mixture while whisking furiously until it is all incorporated. Cook until glossy - done and done!

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Chair

I finally got the Jag back - yea! Jose, god bless him, brought it back a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I don't have anywhere to go. No job enterviews this week. The upside is that I don't have any extra gas money anyhow.

While driving back from the repair shop I decided to cruise by the Beverly Hills house and pick up my 'mail', which is actually a stack of papers in grocery bag that Aurora, Barney's housekeeper, saves for me. We get along well and have in common childhoods spent in the San Joaquin Valley. She grew up in dusty little farm town about fifty miles from Fresno, which is my hometown. Anyway, she saves stuff from Barney's office trash that might prove helpful to me - reciepts, invoices, correspondence, or whatever - and stashes the bag in the alley behind the dumpster. Barney never goes back there and Harmony apparently doesn't even know where the alley is so there's not much chance that I'll get caught.

Aurora detests Harmony, she calls her 'Whore-money'. According to Aurora, in addition to being cheap, sleazy, and low-class, she's demanding, petty, and a liar. Harmony also enjoys parading around in the nude, especially when workmen are around. Aurora caught one of the gardeners mesmerized behind some bushes in the backyard, blower on full blast in his limp and motionless hand, watching Harmony strolling around the patio with a watering can. She pointed her big old butt toward the yard and bent over to give the potted fern a drink. Right. As if she cares about the wellfare of houseplants. He blew a big divot in the dirt and nearly uprooted a rhododendron.

So anyway, I was driving down the alley after picking up my 'evidence' when I noticed a chair that one of the neighbors had put out for the trash. It's a wooden side-chair, kind of curvy and delicate. The finish was slightly messed up and the legs were a little scratched but other than that it's in great shape. I don't know, but something about that little chair just called to me.

I've been so spun since moving here that I really haven't noticed my surroundings much. I guess deep down inside I thought it was only temporary and that Barney and I would reconcile. Yeah, sure, when monkeys fly out my ass.

My apartment complex is a little drab but in a great location, just a few blocks from the beach. Pinkberry (awesome frozen yogurt place) is walking distance and they have free wi-fi. Apparently we are supposed to get wifi here but it hasn't happened yet.

My place came 'furnished', if you can call it that. There's a tiny dinette set, cheap but all-wood in a not-too-obnoxious style. I bought a new mattress when I moved in - that I simply had to do with the bedbug problems in Los Angeles. There's a chest of drawers in lovely, virgin particleboard, a recliner (ugh!), and the piece-de-resistance - a stinky futon-style sofa with a tubular metal frame and stained poly-blend black canvas. Serious horror show.

I spent yesterday outside on the tiny postage-stamp sized patch of lawn in front of my door, painting the little chair. The sun was sinking low over the Pacific when I finally finished, but I have to say that it turned out pretty well. In fact, Kurt, my gay neighbor, saw me putting the finishing touches on it as he was coming home from work. He actually asked how much I would charge to paint a table in the same style! I mean, not counting art class in school, I've never painted a thing in my life. Kurt says I have a real talent for it. Who knew!?

Anyway, I told him that I'd do it for $50, plus materials. It's not much but it will help keep the lights on.

Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished - Tip # 4

Want to induldge in some decorative painting awesomeness but don't have beaucoup bucks to invest in painting supplies? Not to worry, you probably have something just a good in the back of a cupboard or in the junk drawer. I started by applying a layer of white shoe polish. Don't worry if it doesn't cover completely - you're going for shabby chic. When it's dry, get the scrubber sponge from your kitchen sink and rub down the corners the edges to simulate wear. Let it dry then break out the box of old nail lacquers you've got shoved to the very back of you bathroom under-sink cupboard. In addition to the lovely pinks, corals, and reds, there should be some unfotunate choices like blue, green and purple, which you bought one day at the CVS when you were feeling age nipping at your heels. Lightly sketch a design in pencil then start applying the nail polish, working from lightest tones to darkest. Be sure to do this outside where passersby can see you and, hopefully, commission your work.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Bus

My car is still in the shop so I've been reduced to taking...the bus. The bus! I haven't taken a bus since I was in the seventh grade. I needed to get to a job interview in Universal City, about 20 miles from my apartment. Normally I would have just called a cab if the car were unavailable. 'Normal' went down in flames months ago.

First I had to 'plan my route', which can be done online. Supposedly. I finally figured out the route, found the bus stop, and waited for the bus which promised, a mere ninety minutes later, to deposit me at (well, near anyway) University City. So there I stood, just before eight o'clock on a Tuesday morning, with about a dozen other poor, car-less souls. What a hodgepodge of humanity. Guys in suits, women with kids, old people, and this guy in a wheelchair whom everyone seemed to know. So, we all clamber up the stairs and...damn. I mean, damn! Remember the cantina scene in Star Wars? All those guys were there - the butt-head guy, and octopus-face, and this woman who was a dead ringer for Jabba-The-Hutt. I swear to god! I had no idea where to sit. I mean, the bus was nearly packed. It was a toss-up between the Humong family and their seven kids, the transvestite dude in the blue wig, and Butt-Head Guy. I ended up next to the transvestite - at least I was reasonably sure he wouldn't hit on me.

Turns out it was much worse - I actually knew him! Or had in my previous life, at any rate. It was Mark, one of Barney's many attorneys. He'd lost his job - drugs - and been disbarred. He'd worked as a paralegal for awhile and now was shilling texture-coating to poor hispanic families in East L.A. We actually had a pleasant conversation, comparing job-hunting notes, sharing our disbelief and horror about the Boston Marathon bombing, and commiserating about the generally shitty state of the world.

Mark got off about half-way through my ride. We promised to Facebook each other. Anyhow, an old lady who smelled like rotting sneakers took his place and sat there muttering to herself and reeking of moldy gym socks until I finally made it to my stop at, no make that near, Universal City. I ended up walking about a half-mile before entering the H.R. office, all wind-blown and sweaty, and 10 minutes late for my appointment. It didn't really matter because there were about five people in the office, waiting to interview for the same job. An hour and twenty minutes later it was my turn.

It was like speed-dating. The H.R. queen bee asked exactly three questions:
1. Have you ever worked as an Administrative Assistant before? (No)
2. Do you have any special skills that qualify you for this position? (No...well, I have a very organized kitchen. Does that count?)
3. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? (No)

Thank you, Ms. Wiseman. We'll call you.

Well, crap. What a waste of time. I won't even go into the ride home. Let's just say it required a shower, a Valium, and a nap.

Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished - Tip # 3
I found a recipe for lemon-bars that calls for only two ingredients: a box of angel-food cake mix and two cans of lemon-pie filling. Simply mix the filling and the cake mix, spread into a nine-by-twelve pan (spray first with non-stick coating) and bake for 45 minutes at 350-degrees F. I added a bottom crust made from crushed coconut cookies - all ingredients courtesy of the dollar store. Incidentally, I checked the price of pie filling at the local Savemart - $5.49! And that was for the Western Family brand!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crying Jag

My car hates me. As a wedding present Barney bought me a brand-new Jaguar. I drove it for a couple of years but when he suggested I turn it in for something newer I just couldn't part with it so it sat in the far stall of the garage while I drove one of the newer cars Barney leased every couple of years.

When I met Barney I'd been driving my sixteenth-birthday-present 1992 Volvo 240 and I was ready for something 'classier'. I'll never forget waking up on my sixteenth birthday and rushing to the window to see my new car. I knew my parents were buying me one and I'd hinted plenty about a Camaro. Seeing that tan Volvo parked where my red Camaro should have been was disorienting at first. For a split second I thought I'd better go outside and look behind it to see if my pretty red car was hidden there. Anyhow, Barney convinced me to sell it right after he gave me the Jag. Stupid move.

When we split I was allowed to keep 'my' car, as per the prenup. If I'd only known that he was planning to dump me for a newer model I'd have let him gift me with a new car every couple of years. And they'd all be Volvos.

So now the Jag and I are stuck together, lurching our way down Santa Monica Boulevard each day in search of cheap food, wifi hotspots and gainful employment. That car is nickle-and-dimeing me to death, only the nickels and dimes are really $500 and $1000 repair invoices. Within a few hours of getting my alimony check the damn car lost its transmission while I was stopped in traffic. I'd just turned off Lincoln toward the 99-cent store (yes, it's becoming an obsession) when - Varoom! Varoom! All rev and no motion. What a nightmare. Everyone was honking and screaming at me to move my fucking car and I just froze. I had absolutely no idea what to do. I sat there hoping Scotty would beam me up or Calgon would take me away. Instead, a couple of hunky guys pushed it into a parking lot. They were so sweet and friendly; I was considering the bend-and-snap (rent 'Legally Blonde if you don't get the reference) but the way they called me 'Ma'am' was crushing, all respectful voices and downcast eyes. If I'd actually done the bend-and-snap they'd probably just assume my orthopedic hip was giving out along with the transmission on my rattle-trap old-lady car.

After waiting an eternity for the tow-truck I finally got it in to Jose, my mechanic. The transmission isn't completely gone but it needs about $700 worth of repairs. Jose is a good mechanic, and fair. And since Barney and I split he's been giving me discounted prices. Even with all that it knocked the crap out of my check.

So here I am again - rent paid, bills late, $127 between me and starvation, and 26 days until the next check. I need a job, and quick!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Dollar Store

My friends used to envy me because I’m kind of OCD organized. I don’t need much sleep and I don’t like to sit still – I get antsy – so I tend to accomplish alot every day. Months ago, my former next-door-neighbor (and former friend now, apparently) said I should blog about being...well, being 'me'. She told me that lots of people make money blogging and, while money was never a problem in my marriage to Barney, there are things a girl likes to keep to herself. Like Botox and vaginal rejuvenation surgery. So that's how MalibuTrophyWife came to be. I didn't make any money, incidentally, but I did get hooked on blogging. It's cheaper than therapy and I get to play with pretty backgrounds.
I was born with an incredibly-hard-to-pronounce Armenian last name, but that was Fresno, a long time ago. Whatever. Let’s just say that now I’m your typical kicked-to-the-curb, pushing forty, high-maintenance blond almost-actress who gambled and lost.

Barney. God, what an asshole. While I was floating on the pink-cloud of our upcoming wedding, he slid the pre-nup in like a cocaine-coated suppository. I didn’t even feel it. I had no idea what I was signing, and frankly, I didn’t really give a shit. I actually loved Barney, almost completely, and he seemed to love me. More with the pathetic. If a woman can be a schmuck, then color me schmuck.

Ok, enough with kevetching about the past for today. This post is about the dollar store. Believe it or not, I stepped my last-season's-Prada-clad foot into a dollar store (actually a 99-cent store) for the first time this week.
OMG! I mean, seriously! You can get anything there! From avocados to ashtrays, hammers to houseplants, flip-flops to food! Good thing too, because I was down to $12.87. I got my alimony yesterday, so I'm not going to starve for awhile, but earlier this week it was pretty grim. The fridge had nothing but a half-full carton of cottage cheese, a tomato, the very last of my precious La Prarie Anti-Aging Stress Cream, and a small chunk of turkey. The state of the freezer was even worse - empty, save a few ice cubes and a lone bottle of Stoli. So, in desperation, I decided to explore the dollar store a few blocks from my apartment. Quelle surprise! After roaming the aisles in abject fascination for awhile, I decided on a box of maccaroni-and-white-cheese-sauce (the good kind that's already made up, not the powder stuff), a bag of garlic, and a bunch of asparagus.

At home, I stir-fried the tomato and a couple cloves of garlic with the asparagus, cut into bite-sized chunks. I made up the mac-and-cheese and folded in the cottage cheese and turkey, cubed up, then topped the whole mess with the stir-fried veggies. Voila! Several relatively balanced meals for three bucks and some random refrigerator leavings. I really think I'm getting the hang of leftovers.

Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished - Tip # 2
The dollar store. 'Nuf said.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

new life, new blog, old story...

For those of you who are new to my blog, let me give you a little background info. I started my old blog, MalibuTrophyWife, about nine months ago. Back then I wrote blithely of my ‘perfect’ life and shared a recipe or household tip each week. Talk about self-delusion. My perfect life recently imploded. For those of you who are continuing to follow me from before, the tone of this new blog will be totally different from what you guys are used to reading. (I’m keeping the recipes and tips, though!)

My name is Alexis Wiseman, at least it was for nine-point-nine-nine years. Part of me still feels like Alexis Matthews, even though I only called myself that for about a year, after I moved to Los Angeles to become an actress. After I married ‘Barney’ (not his real name, but it should be, the dirtyrottenbastard!) life was all rainbows and cupcakes. I could leave my spotty past behind and finally ‘be somebody’. I drew on the name Wiseman like a nutria-lined trench coat. Barney is a ‘Producer’ with a capital ‘P’, but only for television. He specializes in reality shows - big surprise. Even still, on our wedding day I felt like I’d won the lottery. Amazing how things can just turn on a dime. Anyhow, I’m hanging on to my married name. It might be the only thing I get out of the divorce.

My regular readers know that I’ve been silent for awhile. It’s because my husband – soon to be ex-husband – has gone insane and left me for a life-sized, primarily plastic human doll I like to call ‘Pea-Brain Barbie’.
I spent last week reading my old blog posts. Seriously, I can’t believe how clueless I was. For example, awhile back Barney seemed to lose interest in sex. I just thought it was prostate problems. I mean, he’s 56, after all! Then he started to spend more and more nights in town - ‘working’. Can you say “someone’s got a bimbo on the side”?
I guess I wasn’t completely oblivious. I know I was depressed. Even though I’ve taken down my old blog, in the interest of bringing you all up to speed, here’s how my mind was working…

“No wonder Barney seems distant. I caught a look at myself in the mirror today. Damn. I look like an FLDS sister wife. My hair hasn’t been touched up in weeks and I was wearing a t-shirt and a jumper. I mean, honestly – a jumper? At least it wasn’t denim (shudder!) but still…I guess I’ve been more depressed than I realized. Ok, so, today is all about beauty-911, lunch, and shopping.”
Pathetic, huh? What’s worse is that I thought a little sprucing up would actually make a difference.

“This last week was hectic, but I’m feeling back to normal. Franco restored my hair! Where there was straw, now there’s cornsilk. A French mani/pedi cleared up the nails. My face is still a wee bit red, but an intensive European facial will do that. I feel a little sore – maybe three yoga sessions right out of the gate was a bit much but all-in-all I feel fabulous. I met with Nadia, my cosmetic surgeon. We’re discussing the possibility of a forehead lift this spring and fractal laser on my face, neck, and decollete. No more tanning beds! From here on out it’s spray tanning and SPF 100!”
I’m reading the post again and it makes me want to cry. There won’t be any mani/pedis, let alone fractal lasers, in my foreseeable future. On my current income I can just about afford a new pack of emery boards. When I’m done with my nails I’ll just use the damn things to resurface my face.

Ok, well, that’s my life so far. Tune in next week for the latest gory details.

BTW, in the interest of protecting myself from libel, slander, or whatever, all the names in my blog and profile have been changed. Except my first name – that’s real. Just sayin’…
Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently Impoverished - Tip # 1
Did you know that you can use mayonnaise to clean the leaves of houseplants? I didn't either! The bigger question is what was mayonnaise doing in my apartment in the first place? Anyhow, you can polish your dusty ficus leaves with a dab of mayo on a soft cloth (or just rub it off your fingers after consuming a Subway sandwich at 2am while watching 'An Officer and a Gentleman' for the twenty-seventh time and crying your eyes out - again.