Monday, September 3, 2012

SO I MARRIED MY FYNSK VIKING...

















     It was the wedding I didn't think we'd have. ONE week before the wedding, I was diagnosed with acute pertussis (whooping cough). FOUR days before the wedding, my family was stuck in Paris, unable to get out for two days (due to SAS-ballyhoo).  TWO days before the wedding, they were in Copenhagen...with no baggage! ONE day before the wedding, there were threats of all-day Saturday thunderstorms. 

And then, in a poof, all of our troubles magically disappeared. Martin and I had the exact wedding we wanted to have. It sounds so cheesy, so cliché, but it was "the best day of our lives." 

We had a theme that incorporated both of our countries. Call it Danish-Americana, with a palette of white, red and blue.

We enjoyed: a beautiful, Catholic ceremony (in English), gorgeous sunshine all day long, a canal tour with homemade ice cream, 65 close friends and family present, frolicking in the park, dinner & dancing in a greenhouse, and heaps of Danish speeches, toasts, kissing traditions and singing. 



Yes, I coughed a few times during the day, so I puffed on my inhaler. Martin's knees went a bit weak during his heartfelt groom's speech. The day was full of honesty, laughter and gratitude. Our family members were phenomenal.


I felt lucky to be standing there, and I reminded myself constantly to remember to 'stay in the moment.' 

It helped. 

Our wedding was a day that I will always cherish because I got to marry the Man of My Dreams. The Dude of My Life.  The Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me. 

Martin is just so good to me. And now he is my husband!



























Thursday, March 1, 2012

On the loss of Andrew Breitbart





So this is what it’s like, losing a hero. Today, I read the news that my hero and friend, Andrew Breitbart, had died. He was 43.

Slumped in my chair, struggling to catch my breath, I scanned the news story on his website BigHollywood.com. I sat at my desk in Copenhagen — inside a Creative Suite stuffed with 8 sweet Danish art directors and copywriters, and 1 thin-skinned American — and I cried. A lot. I’ve never cried over the loss of a 'public figure’ ever before.

If I had been alive, I doubt I would have been one of those secretaries fixing her mascara, watching the funeral of Marilyn Monroe on TV. Perhaps I would have cried over the assassination of President Kennedy. But I don't really know. I fancy myself "tough." When Lady Diana died, I was sad, but I did not go into mourning. Those events felt removed from me.

 Today, I mourn. Deeply. I feel shock, sadness, bottomless heartache for his four kids and his committed sidekick and wife, Susie. 

And so today, I blog. Because Andrew was a blogger. And he would have wanted it this way.

So I want to tell anyone who stumbles upon this blog a few special things about Andrew.

He was a passionate lover of music. He would tweet for hours about his favorite obscure 80s British rock bands whom I didn’t know, but people far cooler than I did. His favorite group was "The the."

I remember chatting with Andrew on iChat right before he was to go on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld, the brilliant late-night show. We discussed me writing for him one day, for his site BigHollywood.com. 

There has only been one person who could lure me back to California for what would be "The Job of My Life," and he died this morning. As we chatted, Andrew politely excused himself to go on air, then returned to his keyboard 15 minutes later. Full of gusto, back on task. 

You see, gestures like that mean everything. Because I am a nobody and Andrew was a Big somebody. But he gave this lil' nobody who used to "work and write for Governor Schwazenegger" his precious time. And little did we know, how precious his time would be.

No one was more plugged into pop culture than Andrew. The Internet was his playground. He started the Huffington Post with Arianna Huffington, back when Arianna was a conservative married to a gay Republican oil-magnate/aspiring politico. Before that, Andrew worked with Matt Drudge, creating and building up the incredible Drudge Report — one of the first of its kind and today, one of the most trusted, most visited news-aggregate sites on the Web.

Andrew was deeply linked to Hollywood. It's where he was born and raised. He was adopted by nice, middle-class Jewish parents who ran a restaurant. Next door lived his best friend (and current business partner) Larry Solov, also adopted. I learned a lot about Andrew reading his book Righteous Indignation — and how his path from Hollywood smart-aleck to conservative pundit was a winding, hilarious road. He lost friends along the way. And made new ones. He was loyal. He was kind.

Andrew kept the secrets of many dear celebrity friends who were too afraid to come 'out of the closet' as Republicans (that whole fear of reprisal and job loss is a drag). Andrew had the good sense to "marry up" as he put it. He was married to Susie Bean, the daughter of actor Orson Bean, whom I "knew" from high school. You see, I spent 4 consecutive high-school homecomings at home, curled up on the sofa watching Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and Orson was a star on that fine show. So when I learned Andrew had such illustrious Hollywood ties, I loved him even more. 

Unlike most father/son-in-law relationships, Orson and Andrew were best friends. Andrew even convinced him to be a guest blogger on his site, BigHollywood.com — a safe-haven for those in the Industry of the neo/conservative/libertarian persuasion.

Back in 2009, when Twitter was rife with fumbling tweeters like myself, my comment referencing Andrew was the first Tweet he ever favorited. I wear that badge with pride. Here’s what I wrote:

Though Andrew grew up in Hollywood and was once a default leftie (like me), he experienced a revelation that pushed him to the other side. When he made the decision to go public as a loud-mouthed blogger and media critic (and boy, was he ever! He declared war on the 'media complex' for their outrageous bias) he assumed the role with fearlessness. It was rumored that he worked 20 hours a day, and he did so with unflinching commitment. He never missed a beat, or some malarkey "news story" to seize on.

He persisted and never veered. From far away, it seemed Andrew could expertly manage being pulled in a thousand directions. He was omnipotent. He zigged while other zagged, always remaining two steps ahead of 'the story' as he buzzed around the globe and the Web. He blogged from the sky, flying in and out of piddily club meetings in podunk towns across the USA, just to help. He was brave and generous, with an unflappable work ethic.  

Andrew had grace and an egalitarian approach to people. He passionately made it a point to be accessible to people. All people, real people. I hope people can appreciate today what a rare gift that is. Anybody could talk to Andrew, instant-message him, chat with him, spar with him, of all political beliefs. 

His brand of humor was dry and hilarious. And though he had fun, he remained deeply committed to "the fight." To helping dispel the ridiculousness, the hypocrisy and the myths bandied about by a media biased against conservative truths. He loathed that the left controlled the Culture. He was a warrior for the truth. Hated hypocrisy (don't I know that feeling?). He fought for honesty and transparency among our elected officials, and went to great lengths to expose the shenanigans that slithered by us, unreported by the press. Nobody else was doing that.

He gave me my talking points. 

I would turn to Andrew for his response on most everything, with the exception of make-up and shoe advice. Any issue, tragedy or triumph, I needed to know where he stood. Like right now, I need Andrew Breitbart to help me make sense of the death of Andrew Breitbart.


Through him, I learned that it was okay to speak up about my politics. I never would have done it in my post-Schwarzenegger life (spent in the welfare-state of Denmark) had it not been for Andrew. He was my rock 'n roll Republican. Unbuttoned and crass, he leveled words like 'cocksucker' at hysterical NY Times journalists; gently swearing as he sipped beer from a plastic cup, while giving speeches to struggling young conservatives.

He assured me that I could be proud to be a conservative — that it didn’t make me *lame.* Laaaame. There’s nothing worse. Or a selfish, greedy asshole — I learned I'm not that either. Or boring - or not a true creative. You see, I'm a "creative" at heart, I've been told. I wear Wayfarers and orange lipstick, and I work in advertising. I try to pretend I'm not a screeching hipster, while reconciling that my blood runs red

Andrew's close circles were Artists and Creatives in Hollywood. Closet conservatives. His and their street-cred meant a lot to me, because I have an insecure streak. He was the safe place for Republicans in Hollywood to fall.


Andrew had a tough exterior but a soft, loyal interior. A fellow UCLA'er (Adryana) knew him too, and she described him as "misunderstood." He was vilified by left-wing stalwarts. But he was okay with that; and maybe even enjoyed it. The bark was bigger than the bite. "I sleep well at night," he said.

Andrew was a friend to all conservs, moderates and political-searchers of all colors, stripes and religions. He served on the board of GOProud, the gay Republican caucus. It was because of him that I hitched my wagon to the "marginalized Republican," which is why I am today, a dues-paying member of the National Black Republican Association and GOProud. I am neither black nor gay, but I stand with those whom others believe should *not* be in the Grand Ol' Party. Andrew was MY kind of conservative, and what makes me so sad is that there is no one to take his place.


No one. There is a gaping hole in my heart and the rock 'n roll neo-con movement.

Why did I love Andrew Breitbart? For selfish reasons. Because it’s not always easy, being me. Each article he wrote, each news-show he visited, each TeaParty rally he attended in TinyTown USA, each war he waged against hypocrisy was a comforting nod to me that he was on The Job. He was looking after me and my kind. And America. And freedom. He would never let us down. He gleefully carried the weight of the world on his shrugging shoulders.

Andrew’s best friend Larry Solov wrote the announcement of his death: "We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior. Andrew lived boldly, so that we more timid souls would dare to live freely and fully, and fight for the fragile liberty he showed us how to love."

I was once a timid soul made less timorous thanks to his outstanding efforts. 
Andrew, you brilliant muckraker-You, may you Rest in Peace. All I have left to say is: Thank you for looking out for me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Ours







IT'S OURS

there is always that space there
just before they get to us
that space
that fine relaxer
the breather
while say
flopping on a bed
thinking of nothing
or say
pouring a glass of water from the
spigot
while entranced by
nothing

that 
gentle pure
space

it's worth

centuries of
existence

say

just to scratch your neck
while looking out the window at
a bare branch

that space
there
before they get to us
ensures 
that 
when they do
they won't 
get it all

ever. 

- Charles Bukowski

So, I'm having a tough week. Okay, a tough month. Possibly a few tough months. I take refuge in people like Bukowski, who had it far worse than I. I'll let him speak for me.

I dedicate this gem of a poem to all the people who feel pulled in a thousand directions. People who don't know what space they stand on. People with thin skin, fragile hearts and a stomach in knots. Who feel squeezed and bone-dry, out of blood and tears. People who are scared. Scared to see themselves turning into mean career-fuckers. People who stand on their head, so their frown looks like the opposite, to those who keep staring at them. Keep on chugging. 


Let’s never let them get to us? 

- Cammy

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Desiderata













The first time I read the Desiderata was in a dorm room in Dykstra Hall, my freshman year at UCLA. I was with my friends Joy and Casey, and found the framed poem on the painted brick wall next to Joy's bunkbed. We were giddy and high on life, having just eaten dinner followed by vanilla frozen yogurt on a sleepy Saturday evening. I asked Joy, "What is that story?" And she told me it was her favorite poem, as it gave all the wisdom she needed in life. Casey added that the poem meant so much to her, that the 3 of us should read it aloud together, in unison. Amused and laughing, we recited the whole poem together, the way kids might squeak aloud some Biblical gospel during church. I can't read that poem today without thinking of the wonderful Joy and Casey. They were my gorgeous Kappa sisters who helped me find my way and 'nurtured my strength' that first year, living on my own as a naïve 17-year-old. Though miles now separate us, they'll always have a special place in my heart. Joy now has two beautiful daughters, little Camryn and Charley, who will one day, read the Desiderata too. 
DESIDERATA
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
- Max Ehrmann, 1927
The poem includes some challenging words, so if English isn't your first language, here's a guide:
Placidly: gently, calmly
Haste: speed
Vexatious: cause trouble
Feign: pretend something
Cynical: distrustful + pessimistic
Aridity: dryness, dullness
Perennial: lasting year-round, permanent
Fatigue: exhaustion, tiredness
Discipline: training/behavior
Sham: something fake
Drudgery: exhausting work

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Playroom to End All Playrooms





When I was a little girl, my three sisters and I spent our days horsing around in our very own playroom. It was an incredibly spacious, square-shaped room with two separate doors for entering and exiting. It was positioned strategically near the garage, so the screeching sounds coming from it would float away in a curving motion off the west side of the house.


For the most part, my mom and dad stayed away from our safe space that was The Playroom. But one by one, my mom added pieces to it that slowly transformed our playroom into the most magical, the most breathtakingly creative, the most decked out, ahead-of-its-time, and yet-still-vintage space for four little girls to roam.


By the time our playroom was finished, there was: A train that you could ride on, a player piano, a gumball machine, a foosball table, a jukebox made in the 1950s, a costume closet, a Murphy bed, and a yellow and red pinball machine from 1961.

Entering the room from the west entrance, you’d find the old jukebox, that came to us stocked with songs by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, The Carpenters, Anne Murray, Dolly Parton, and even a few early Madonna hits. It had a hit for anyone (original songs from its heyday, and recent ’80s updates).  You’d only have to punch in the code–say, A14– and the clear yet scratchy music would spill out of the box, lit up in vibrant colors of turquoise, red and yellow. We would hop up and down, dance a jig, and perform routines to the Tune of the Week, accompanied by tap shoes, tutus and jump-ropes. Altogether now. Which was a challenge on hardwood floors. We grew up with permanently bruised knees.





The jukebox came to us from “Santa Claus” on Christmas morning, 1987. Jackie was not quite 2-years old, and though she was an easy, happy baby (mostly my baby, to be exact) she had a meltdown that particular Christmas morning. It was a classic case of her being overtired, sooped on Christmas fudge, and manic about certain presents, like the jukebox. I remember this incident clearly because we have a videotape of Jax sitting on top of the jukebox, dressed in her Cinderella costume, crying and throwing a galactic-size tantrum for reasons none of us understood. I think she wanted a cookie. You can hear the sound of three snickering sisters and witness one unsteady hand of my father’s, who recorded the meltdown on his old Sony VHS video-camera. The camera shook to the rhythm of his laughing.





The wall to the left of the jukebox housed a king-size Murphy bed. Which is one of those surprise beds stored vertically inside the wall that you pull down when you want to jump on it or use for overnight guests. To the right of the Murphy bed was our costume closet – bursting with ornate, hand-stitched costumes, like Christy’s green-sequin Mermaid “Splash” costume, Jax’s Disney princes gowns, Allyson’s “little Orphan Annie” outfit, complete with curly red wig, and my old pink tutus and navy blue sailor-girl costumes from various tap recitals. There were close to 30 vintage works of costume art in that closet. And even some of my mom’s old brown hippie-dippie clothes from the 1960s.

On the wall opposite the Murphy bed was our player-piano. Which was possibly the best toy in that room. The downside of the piano was that we had to have weekly piano lessons from Hot Jay, our piano teacher. I didn’t like Jay because I had a raging crush on him, which interfered with my ability to focus on the keys during lessons.

Jay had 3 jobs: He was a gifted pianist (playing at Nordstroms department store, hotels, bar mitzvahs and weddings); he was a piano teacher to spoiled children; and a model on the side. A real-life über-babe with a headshot. I saw him once on the cover of Sacramento! Magazine. I didn’t like Jay because he preferred Christy over me. I didn’t like him, but I secretly loved him. He struggled for years to teach me.  My heart was into the piano. It was into him. And that made me a lackluster pianist.

Finally, Jay found a genre that I liked to play – ragtime! – and when we ran out of score music, like “The Entertainer” from The Sting, Jay composed his own ragtime songs just for me, in the spirit of rag-master, Scott Joplin. I doubt I ever thanked Jay for going so above and beyond the call of duty, just for me.  I might write him a letter to thank him. Is that weird? To this day, ragtime is the only genre of music I can play by heart; it seems to pour out of my fingertips whenever I sit down on a piano bench.





But the brilliant part about our piano was that it played music by itself. It was an analog machine, where you could stick into the piano body a roll of sheet-music, and it would electrically scroll through the roll, with the punch-holes cueing which piano keys played. We learned all the Broadway classics from that player –piano, but our favorites were “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, the theme song from Hello Dolly! and the incredible “If I Ever Leave You” from Camelot.

In the middle of the room was the centerpiece of the gameroom—our foosball table. My dad bought the table when I was about 2 or 3 years old. I don’t recall ever being excited or happy for it, but I played foosball with my sisters nearly every day.  Ten minutes here and there, before dinner. I’d spend an hour each Saturday or Sunday with my next door neighbor, Amy engaged in foosball warfare. Sometimes she’d run home in tears.





But my sisters and I played often. We played, we spun, we cheated and slammed; we whipped the bars around so fast and with such control that we could position the ball to explode off the armless halfback’s right side, at just the right 45-degree angle that it would fly into the goal, every time. We knew how to win. Sometimes Christy would beat me. Or I would beat Christy. Allyson could sometimes beat either of us – and we often didn’t even keep score. We were training. What was most important was slamming the ball into the goal with such force and ferocity that your wrist would burn as the ball glided into the catching-well inside the machine.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his best-seller “Outliers” that for a person to become an expert at something—like hockey, Chinese, violin, or MS-dos coding—he or she must put in 10,000 hours of training first.





By the time I was 10 years old, I had put in my 10,000 hours of foosball. So my second summer at Two River Soccer Camp, when I strolled into the Rec-room where some 15-year old boys were playing foosball, I didn’t hesitate to ask if I could play a round. They sneered and one huffed back, “But you’re 6 years old!” And he was right. I had the body of a 6-year-old. But what he didn’t know was that I had the skills of an Olympic-level Taiwanese Foosball gold medalist, on steroids. They caved and let me play. So as balls were flying, heads went spinning, and football coaches and counselors started gathering around, I singlehandedly, one by one, took down all five teenage boys. They seemed shocked, but I wasn’t. I was a foosball champion.

Reading this, it probably sounds straight out of a corny rejected Disney script. But it’s true – all because I had put in my 10,000 hours. And with that, I had all the currency I needed to play a 10-year-old’s game of hustle.





I should add that foosball was the only sport I was good at at soccer camp. I tucked that memory away, and didn’t bother to tell my older sister Christy that there was a foosball table in the rec-room, knowing she would go in there and hustle some boys too, thereby stealing all my glory. Like she did every day, on account of her being gorgeous, and me looking like a cabbage-patch kid, only shorter.





Kiddie-corner to the playroom’s foosball table was the bespoke blue-checkered sofa unit and cherry wood-tabled storage unit, nestled into the corner. Atop the table was my favorite piece in the room, our red gumball machine-lamp. My mom always kept it stocked with colorful gumballs that cost a penny each. Like the pinball machine, we could open it up and fetch our money back after getting the goodies. We were under orders not to binge-eat gumballs, and after defying the order a couple times, the excitement over having double bloated cheeks  drooling over with gumball juice faded away, and we followed mom’s orders.

Our playroom was a hit with all the neighborhood children and was probably the single  reason my sisters and I had any friends when we were little. Our friends likely used us for our playroom, which we didn’t seem to mind.

We had each other, and our Camelot on loop. And that was all we needed.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to give my future children the kind of playroom that my parent’s gave me. It was magical.

One by one, my parents have been selling off the items in that room. The jukebox is gone, the pinball machine is too, and so is the gumball-machine lamp, which my dad hawked away in a garage sale for probably 10 bucks. He offered to throw in the cat, Timba, for free, but the buyer wasn’t interested. My dad’s favorite activity is hosting these tacky fire-sales! where he can purge the remaining remnants of our childhood...And finally lay his head in a less cluttered, more adult, modern home.

While my sisters accept this, my mom and I find it sad. One of my mom’s last craft projects that she accomplished with her own father was a bunny-cage for my pet angora rabbit, Heidi, whose home was in our playroom. The cage was only 50% of the attraction, because the upper 50% of the piece was a dollhouse. It had a shingled roof, a chimney and a bay window with doll people living inside. It was a work of art, made of sturdy copper wiring and solid oak wood. My mom loved that bunny-cage-dollhouse. It, too, went away too a new home during their last garage sale.

Soon, when my parents sell their house, our playroom will finally no longer exist, except in our memories.

Which is why I write about it here. It’s gone, but I feel better about it now, having etched it in permanent posterity in my new playroom that is the blogosphere. It’s not the same, but just as much tap dancing can be found.

XO

Friday, January 28, 2011

Things Copenhagen Should Have: More Schlock, please

I love Copenhagen. A lot. 

But I would love her even more if she had the following: In ’n Out Burger, Walgreens, braggarts, California Pizza Kitchen, Jews, Loehmann’s, waffle houses, soft values, Sesame Street, and chivalry...

...Whole Foods, Sephora, Trader Joe’s, drive-thru Starbucks, factory outlets, Boot Barn, Barnes & Nobles, Chipotle, Republicans, Arnold Palmers and love letters.

7-layer dip, Mystic spray tans, marital fidelity, church-goers, Arden Hills Country Club, Super Bowl parties, Apple Stores, drive-thru chapels, schlocky tchotchkes, J. Crew and breakfast for dinner. 


I'd love to see MORE excess in a way that doesn't involve percentage-alcohol. More wallpaper, more tacky, more bragging, more eye-contact, more diversity, more outbursts, more New Age, more pills, more acupuncture, more nice, more modesty, more calories, more largesse, more charity, more taboos, more therapy, more pilates, more blue cheese dressing, more cheap Porsches, more sun. 



Found at: http://cupcakesandcashmere.com/five-things-9/


More tomfoolery, more sober misbehavin’, more g-droppin, more country music, more hip-hop, more Christian debauchery. More postmodern pillow-talk.


And more and more more. 

That's all for now. Feel free to add more, or subtract.

Happy Friday!

XO
Cammy