Happy New Year everyone! I selfishly had so much fun writing last year’s Woodsy recap that I thought I’d sit down, have a tasty beverage, and reflect on all the events that took place, or I took place in, “wink wink” this last year. I also welcome the challenge of only being able to pick a few select nuggets out of all that excitement! And away we go….
So in January, I rediscovered Instagram. I signed up for it when it first launched a couple of years ago and just didn’t get it. Facebook, Hipstamatic, Tumblr, Flickr – it’s all too much!! But I decided to give IG another chance and was instantly hooked! I felt like an amateur photographer – I looked at everything around me differently, imagining different filters, angles, and wondered “Is this IG worthy?” I spent this year capturing moments, places, people, thoughts. I followed friends and others who’s lives I admired, dogs I adored, cars I coveted. My friends became annoyed with me constantly on my iphone like a teenager. Instagram is like a window into your world that you’re willing to share with others. I think it can be amazing. Facebook for me became a thing of the past until they bought Instagram – that was a bummer #bigtime.
February took Fun Laurel and Heather aka Jonesy to India!! Heather, one of my closest childhood friends, and I had drinks in December of 2011. She casually told me that she had been invited to an Indian wedding of this bartendar she knew through a friend. I grabbed her arm and said WE ARE GOING. First off, I owed Jonesy because she took care of me when I had my cab accident and this would be the perfect treat and getaway.
Secondly, INDIAN WEDDING? It was 2 long flights with inflatable pillows in coach, and a lifetime of memories, laughs and newfound friends. When I travel, it’s 50% location and 50% the people I meet. I have to say on this trip, it was 90% the people we met. We both went knowing no one and came home with about 15 new friends. So magical, Bobbie and Santosh’s wedding with their lovely friends, oh and India was cool too…also worth mentioning is that whilst everyone else lost 10 pounds, Heather and I seemed to gain about 10 each #bullshit.
In March, a close friend, Susan Kelly, who I knew from the good ol’ days at Industrial Light + Magic died of breast cancer. She began her battle several years ago and came to New York to receive treatments at Sloane-Kettering Hospital in NYC. I saw her regularly and she was even in remission for a few years. She helped plan my 38th birthday which I had on my old rooftop, with about 70 people, a keg of beer and a shitload of glow sticks. We were up till about 6 the next morning. Susan was such a trooper, she barely had her hair back then.
She was one of the strongest women I’d ever met — direct, funny, self-deprecating, larger than life. It never occurred to me that she would lose her battle when the cancer returned a couple of years ago. I didn’t even realize how sick she was and I texted her to check in on her. I wish I had called. She died 2 days later and I found out via Facebook, damn you Facebook. I cried into my laptop until I could barely see. I miss you Bubbles.
Beginning of April I had foot surgery – yay! My second time going under the knife for the left foot, third time on the left leg – WTF? The doctor said I had the foot of an 80-year old woman because my arthritis is so bad. The doc went in, tried to take out the 3 screws that were already in there but couldn’t get the suckers out. Screws like me. He took out a part of my big toe joint and tried to make some artificial cartilage out of tissue. If this doesn’t take I’ll need yet a third surgery to fuse the bones together.
I had to stay home from work for a MONTH, which initially I thought I’d be productive – write, lose weight, do some spring cleaning. Instead I felt incredibly alone, paranoid and sorry for myself. I was like James Caan in Misery. I drank excessive amounts of wine and obsessed over The Walking Dead. I could only Instagram pix of my cats. I left my apartment about 3 times so I was going absolutely crazy and could not wait to get back to work. Special callout to all my friends who came to visit me, bring me wine, cook, and carry cat litter for me! I will never forget you!!
Beginning of May was my dad’s 70th birthday. I remember his 50th birthday like yesterday. He rented a yacht in Marina Del Rey and invited about 50 people. We ate chilled shrimp, drank sparkling champagne and cruised along the Pacific Coast in the evening. This time in prison, we drank bad coffee and ate frozen burritos.
When my father was first arrested I remember thinking any day he will get out of jail. After his conviction, I remember thinking any year when he gets his appeal, he’ll be released from prison. Now I think that there is a possibility he may die in prison. I have so many memories growing up of my dad — waiting for nearly an hour in the pool for me to jump from the high diving board at the YMCA, fixing the TV so I could watch a Bionic Woman rerun, teaching me to drive at 10 years old, pushing me in the backyard on the swingset he built for Kristen and me. Never did I think that this is the life we would all end up having. I still have hope to have more memories with Dad in the free world and the first thing we’ll do is go to Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, where he used to take us as kids – “2 chili cheese dogs and a cream soda please.”
Et voila June! I went to Auriol, Provence region South of France, to visit my second family, the Roustans. I’ve known Emeline for about 12 years and I just adore her family. I get to pretend I’m French, speak French, eat stinky cheeses and drink lots of rose wine! Pure Heaven. Her husband Denis is also a huge Star Wars fan so we discuss Star Wars at length, in French of course. For example, did you know that the French call Darth Vader Dark Vador?
After leaving France, I spent the beginning of July visiting friends in Bristol, England. I had never been outside of London, except for one quick jaunt to Bath when I was 15, so was eager to see more of the motherland. Bristol reminded me a lot of San Francisco with lots of water, hills, colorful houses, Banksy graffiti everywhere. Union jack stuff was everywhere because of the Olympics and I was obsessed with it all.
Friends also took me to Pembrokeshire in Wales which I was dying to see. Did you know that England is an island and has a coast? I always think of England as just London and even thought they should just rename the country to London. So it was nice to get out of the city and see the rest of the country. It was breathtaking. I remain ignorant. Special highlight was challenging my new friend Desmond, lower right of pic with “Love to Bang” tee, to drink him under the table. Boy was I wrong. He started feeding me tequila shots at about 3pm, while I drank red wine, white wine, and beer in between. At about 3am, I had what I “believe” was my seventh shot of tequila, staggered home, fell into bed. The next day I could not move, I could barely breathe. I had to lay in the backseat of the car on the way home in my pj’s and a plastic bag hanging from my ears dry heaving most of the way home. He won DAMMIT. My friend Fiona coined the new phrase “On a scale of 1 to Laurel…” clever, no?
August graced me with a true miracle – KITTY PROZAC. Some of you know my little bundle of joy Tenzin and what a lover he is. I’ve had Tenzin for 13 years now, he’s always been a momma’s boy, very loving, and very very needy. However in his twilight years he’s also gotten skiddish, paranoid and hates being left alone. He began peeing on my bed and my sofa when I’d go away for the weekend, letting me know he was just a tad “pissed off.” I put up with that for about 3 years having a plastic cover on both my mattress and sofa at all times. I was so used to the plastic that I failed to realize one of my “dates” probably thought I had a peeing problem in bed, I was so embarrassed. The final straw was when I awoke to Tenzin peeing on me in bed!
I took him to the vet the next am, praying it was some type of infection and not just his bad behavior. When the vet gave me the “good” news that he was in perfect health, I then brought up Tenzin’s exit strategy options, if you know what I mean. She pleaded with me to try kitty prozac before I thought about any other type of cat removal techniques. I gave it a shot thinking “this will never work.”
I have never been so wrong. Tenzin is a new man cat – he’s confident, chill, and friendly with strangers. Thank you KITTY PROZAC NATION!
Ahhhh September, that time of year when perfectionist yet gregarious Virgos turn another year older. This year I turned 44, can you fucking believe it? I specifically remember thinking I would never turn 16 soon enough so I could drive, then I remember thinking “when am I gonna turn 21 so I can drink and hit cool clubs?” (The cool club part never happened btw.) Mom took me to Montauk at the far end of Long Island. It was a surfer’s paradise and I’d always wanted to hit it. We had a great time laying on the beach, eating fish tacos and drinking blue moons during the day.
It hit me that my life is potentially and probably half over. I began pondering all the things I’ve done and all the things I still want to do. It reinstated that “life is short” attitude in me. I’m working on making every day, every relationship, every moment count and have meaning. That means cutting out the rif raf, the obligations, things that cling on and drag you down. Know what I mean?
“I had my MTV” come to an end on October 19th as I bid a fond farewell to 6 swimmingly awesome years at MTV and Vh1. I was so lucky to have gotten the job at MTV, after quitting Williams Sonoma without a job and being unemployed in NYC for 7 months. Timing is everything, as some say, and I had just decided to move back to California only being in NYC for barely 1 year when MTV called me the next day and said “Congratulations, you got the job!”
I spent 6 years working with the design team and met so many creative and inspiring people, now my good friends. We had a lot of laughs, late nights at BXL, and working from “home” the day after the holiday party. When MTV Geek launched I even had my own Star Wars blog, Woodsy’s World of Star Wars. I interviewed celebrities like Warwick Davis, Ashley Eckstein and the cast of Mythbusters. Who knew at 42 years old I’d begin blogging about Star Wars for 12 year olds at MTV??? LUCKY I WAS.
After a while it was so comfortable there that I realized it was time for change. I had no new job but knew in my heart I needed a new challenge. Remember my whole turning 44 speech? So I took a risk and jumped without a net. I knew I’d land, but didn’t know where yet.
The following week as I left the local Petco a lovely man on the street offered to help me carry my 42 pound bag of cat litter home for me. He looked European with his neon yellow belt and colorful tennis shoes only the Euros wear. His name was Jonathan and he was British mixed with a poco Italian, and a bit shy. He was visiting NYC on his own and was proudly telling me how he had mastered the subway. I told him to check out my favorite bar called Barcade in Williamsburg. We quickly realized we both had a passion for video games, especially Pacman. I bought him a dulce de leche cupcake when we passed Crumbs as a thank you. He walked me to my stoop, gave me a kiss on both cheeks and said goodbye. I could have loved him forever, but sadly I’ll never see him again. I imagined him waking up in London this morning, craving a cupcake.
In November my mom broke the news to me that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I guess we all know that at some point our parents will no longer be with us, but when you’re a child, it seems like forever away. Luckily she had stage 1 so she just had her surgery a few weeks ago and starts radiation next week. Mom’s a survivor, especially with all she’s gone through with my dad’s murder conviction. I have a positive feeling about a good outcome for her. On a lighter note, I realized I need to feel myself up a hell of a whole lot more – HOLLA!!
Father Christmas brought me an early present this past December, a new gig at The Gilt Groupe! Through my dear friend Scotty, I was connected to the creative team at Gilt. After several interviews meeting some really cool people they offered me the job! They even created the job for me! I was elated, and again, timing is everything. I am so happy to be at Gilt and we have the most amazing creative team – everyone is inspiring, friendly, and supportive. The entire company works very hard and as a treat, they have a ping pong table and well, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but a couple of unnamed people tend to be sore losers. Enough said.
For Christmas, Mom, Kristen and I went to Belize! My second time not spending Christmas in prison since 2000, always a treat. But you know how sometimes when you get away from your crazy life and all the stress hits you at once? I came down with a case of painful shingles, a nasal infection and threw out my back trying to pick up the local kitty cat, CAN YOU BELIZE IT?? Needless to say, I spent the first few days heavily medicated in bed but was still able to enjoy some snorkeling, kayaking and conch fritters.
Well everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this light read. I have had quite a year, and am ready to close the door on 2012, and see what new beginnings 2013 has in store for me. And hopefully for all you too…HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE and don’t forget to seize the moment…xoxo woodsy