Perusing Craigslist

Tue, Oct 02 2012 | 4:04pm

So, listen. Since I just wrote two pieces that could be filed under the heading “downer”, and since I just said I was sick of crying, I decided to do a little research on Craigslist so I can write a more positive blog.
Oh man, what a great idea. First of all, I proffer a disclaimer. Not all of Craigslist can be used as a “pick me up”. In fact, over the weekend my sister reminded me to avoid the “missing pets” section on Craigslist, since it had driven her to tears. (Thanks for the hot tip, V. Now I know that perusing the section plastered with photos of missing animals, probably some posted by the sobbing children who left the door open themselves, is a bad idea when I am in an emotionally compromised state.) BUT! I propose that checking out the personals section is not a bad idea when you want a laugh.
For instance, the first post I went to was submitted by a 31 yr old Latina chick (she still gets carded, people) who is looking for another Latina woman to date on the side. Her man knows, but is not involved, so there be no drama, dig? She's looking for a femme who can fill her jeans with curves, but is not a BBW. (Oh, you don't know what a BBW is? Yeah, well I didn't either. It stands for Big, Beautiful Woman. Ha!) And finally, this tan and luscious woman specifies in all caps, NO GHETTO CHICS. I think she means “chicks”, but I could be wrong. Maybe ghetto chic is a new thing?
Also, I learned that FWB means Friends with Benefits. I probably should have known that one, but le sigh. And ladies, beware the Cougar. Yes, I am referring to an older woman seeking someone on the younger end of the spectrum, but I also mean the woman who photoshopped her face onto a cougar's body. This is real. I mean, someone actually did this. Same woman who said that she is “drug and decease free”. Decease free?

Musings on a Monday afternoon

Mon, Sep 24 2012 | 2:02pm

When I cry. When I sob, I sound just like my mother. I look in the mirror and the tears have magnified my eyes, making them less squinty than normal, less Telles-like, and that face in the mirror is a mirror of my mom's. It's moments like these, when I see myself and hear myself gushing pain and heartache, that I feel most like her daughter.
There are few foods as comforting as spaghetti with red sauce, or as filling. Spaghetti fills everything.
I finished the second draft of my screenplay, but now I need to hand it over to an “outside party” for an unbiased opinion before I start the third draft. This terrifies me more than the near collisions that occur as I flit in and out of frenetic traffic on my commute to work.
I don't know what I love more, romantic comedies with a group of fun and witty girlfriends, or buddy films with a bunch of quirky middle school boys.
I have never lived in a town where people recognize the sheriff right away and call him or her by their first name.
To the neighbors that live below my apartment, sorry about my crazy dogs. They like to play, ok?
To the 92 year old author of the book I just read . . .your novel kind of sucked, but I am blown away that you are nearing 100, and are still writing books. You are my hero.
To my friends in San Francisco, I miss you.
To the girl who plotted and created in a fit of passion and romance and left her mark of poetic love on the Williamsburg Bridge . . .the joke's on you as you now have to bike past the graffiti every day.

Beautiful Brides, Beautiful Wedding

Tue, Sep 11 2012 | 5:05pm

On Saturday, September 8th, my gorgeous cousin Joey married her beautiful girlfriend Meghan at the Women's Club in Evanston, Illinois. The ceremony and reception were amazing, on so many levels, and I feel so blessed that I was invited and able to attend such a lovely wedding.
Both brides wore white, and though the gowns were detailed and lavish, I am positive they would've looked divine in anything they had chosen to wear, considering their happiness was evident no matter where you were standing. The priest was well spoken, also smiled broadly throughout, and managed to touch my heart with words I have heard so many times before, yet seemed so relevant and fresh coming out of his mouth and on that particular day.
Most vividly was a passage read from the book of John, chapter four.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

Final Eulogy for Grandma Betty, Written by 2 Granddaughters

Tue, Aug 07 2012 | 8:08am

This is a letter, written to Grandma Betty, by her granddaughters Vanessa and Lacy Telles.
Dear Grandma,
Whenever I read the word “grandma” in a book, I envision you. To me, to us, you are the epitome of the word, the idea, the existence of “grandma”. Slightly overweight, jolly, wearing big glasses and sweatshirts and perming your silver hair. This is what a grandma looks like. You cooked for us, spoiling us on our birthdays with meringues and popcorn balls. You made mashed potatoes for holidays and put out a plate of olives ostensibly for Grandpa Otto, but we loved them, too. And you were a good cook, Grandma, and you passed that along to your daughter, who in turn passed it on to us. Christmas was warm with your cooking. This is what a Grandma smells like. You supplied us with fresh tomatoes from your amazing garden, teaching me that with salt there is maybe nothing better than a garden fresh tomato, and the ubiquitous grape soda. (But oh how you made it clear that we were not to leave a half-drunk soda in the fridge...we had to finish it!) You were soft when you hugged us and the tops of your hands were pliable and your lips were thin and wrinkled when they kissed us. This is what a grandma feels like. When we got underfoot, and inevitably we did, or when it was time to wrap up our game and sit down for dinner, you would yell out a slew of names before you got to the right one. “Shelly, Treen, Jenny, Ro, I mean Vanessa, Lacy!” which made us laugh, which just added to your frustration. This is what a grandma sounds like.
And our memories are our own, but they overlap with each other, and probably with those of our cousins, and they probably vary from our Mom's or our Aunts' or our Uncle's, because you were their mom, and I think maybe you settled into the role of “grandma” with a little more ease.
And so we remember:
You had many things that fascinated us. A menagerie in a glass cabinet, though we can't remember what those things were, but there was a big cabinet for displaying them. Your craft room was labeled "Betty Stablein Manager", and it had tomato shaped balls for sticking sharp pins, and scraps lying about. You had this one glass top table that was hollow on the inside, filled with a fairy wonderland of trolls and fake moss and another world. I never understood when and how the cast of characters changed, but sometimes we would show up and something new had appeared.
You had fancy looking perfume bottles in your room, and Betty Boop paraphernalia scattered about the house. You also had an embarrassingly large collection of Harlequin novels.
You kept a giant trunk full of legos that were at our disposal every time we came over. We would dump it out on the living room floor, and you allowed this.
Games play a large role in our collection of memories. We played gin, Pokeno, rummy, waterworks, dominoes, Yahtzee, go fish, cards, and it is pretty clear that you implanted the gambling bug in our blood. We often played old maid. For some reason, even though it was just the three of us, this game held our attention endlessly. You thought it was appropriate to tease the loser by saying over and over again “You're the old maid, you're the old maid,” and one time I chimed in so it was two against one saying “You're the old maid.” Lacy, who hates to lose, burst into tears. That taught me not to kick somebody while they are down because 20 years later, I still feel kinda bad.
We loved to play Monopoly, but this used to torture you because we used to get pretty heated about some "Telles family rule" or some other perceived wrong. I guess our arguing got to be too much because one day you proclaimed Monopoly was banned from the house. At the time, we did not take you seriously. I mean, who bans monopoly? Well, come to find out, you were totally serious. We never played Monopoly in your house again.
There was one time at the Palm house when you gave an old partial loaf of bread to the two of us and Eric to feed the birds in your backyard. This bread was seriously old, as in it was covered with moldy patches. After awhile we looked over and it turns out that while we were feeding the birds, Eric, just a small toddler, had been contentedly chomping on the moldy bread. We immediately ran in to tell you and you, in turn, burst into belly laughter.
We can envision you sitting in your chair, watching the news, Empty Nest, or the Golden Girls, caressing Monsieur as he sat on your lap. You were so dang proud of that cat. You would sit with your hands across your large belly, laughing, and saying “ Wellll . . .”
You were a master at hosting garage sales, and at taking us “garage-sale-ing”.
You had an endless supply of nicknames. When we were a little older, I remember mercilessly teasing you. Shelly was often the instigator. When you finally realized the joke was on you, you would usually call us "turkeys" and when we were older, "shitbirds". We are still not exactly sure what a "shitbird" is, but it was funny.
You were a good Grandma to us, and we are blessed with so many memories. We love you.
I remember my mom asking me years ago if I thought Grandma Betty's dumplings were as good as they used to be. I was kind of puzzled and then realized my mom was trying to figure out if something was different about her mom, like her mom was losing some parts of herself. Denser than normal dumplings signify the beginning of losing my grandma. It feels strange to say "I miss her", “we miss her”, now that she has passed, because truthfully we have all been missing her for quite some time. Watching the dementia creep in, grab hold, then eventually consume was so hard, and bearable only because of our family that shared the fear with us. We find comfort in this amazing family that shares our blood, and in the comfort of knowing she is finally at peace.

Grandma Betty

Mon, Jul 23 2012 | 4:04pm

My Grandma Betty died on Sunday.
My Grandma Buttsy, who I can envision clearly, puttering around the kitchen, making mashed potatoes and offering me grape soda.
She once made me a popcorn ball the size of a basketball for my birthday.
She had a garden that was so lovely, so tasty, that I thought for sure her gardening genes were so strong they would automatically be passed on to me. Alas . . .my attempts at gardening will never compare to Grandma Betty's.
She loved her cat Monsieur, and he loved to sit on her lap while they watched the news. How she bragged about that cat.
She had this one glass top table that was hollow on the inside, filled with a fairy wonderland of trolls and fake moss and another world. As a kid, I never grew tired of looking down through the table top to see if anything new had moved in.
We played gin, Pokeno, rummy, waterworks, dominoes, Yahtzee. Maybe she taught me how to gamble?
She had a giant trunk full of legos that were at our disposal every time we came over. I would drag it out from her decorated craft room and take over the living room floor.
I recall perfume bottles in her bedroom, and of course Betty Boop paraphernalia scattered about.
For so many years, Christmas was held at her house and it was a scene from a film--the dressed tree in the the corner, with wrapped gifts teeming underneath, and loud and raucous children whipping in and out while Grandma would yell at us for being too loud or for getting underfoot in the kitchen.
She was soft and wrinkly and had a beautiful head of silver hair that curled and flopped above her thick glasses.
She was a good Grandma, and it has been hard over the past few years watching dementia grab hold of her mind. It feels strange to say "I miss her" now that she has passed, because truthfully we have all been missing her for quite some time.
Thank you for your prayers.
July 23, 2012

My first Fire Island 4th of July Invasion!

Mon, Jul 09 2012 | 10:10am

This fourth of July I ventured to Fire Island for the annual “Invasion”. Now, if you are a native Californian, such as myself, or if you are not too familiar with the queer scene on Fire Island, you may have never heard of The Invasion. Every year on the 4th, a ferry full of drag queens makes its way into the dock at The Pines on Fire Island. Spectators abound in bars and restaurants, spilling out on the streets, waiting to cheer the queens as they arrive at The Pines. I was lucky enough to party on a docked boat which gave us a great view of the ferry. After the MC announces every single drag queen exiting the boat, revelers dance, shoot pictures, sweat, and make merry in the harbor. This is an annual tradition that started almost 40 years ago, and hopefully one that will continue 40 years from now.
It started in the summer of 1976, when a restaurant in Fire Island Pines denied entry to Terry Warren, a patron in drag. When Warren's friends heard what had happened, they dressed up in drag, and, on July 4th, 1976, they sailed from Cherry Grove to the Pines and stormed the neighborhood. Every year this event is commemorated with the Fire Island Invasion.
At first I was nervous to take pictures with the drag queens, because I didn't want them to think I was treating them like objects to be photographed, but I quickly got over it. It became apparent that not only were photographs tolerated, they were somewhat expected and enjoyed. It was quite a scene, and I am definitely stoked I got to participate!

A letter to God, July 2012

Mon, Jul 09 2012 | 10:10am

Dear God, And so I live in a time and place where my letters to God are typed on my iPhone inside an arctic subway car. But surely You are used to this-followers and children squeezing You in when they can, doling out snippets of time in between. In between anything and everything that supersedes a relationship with You. And I am happy. And I am worried. But I am happy. And that girl is something else, God. Did you create us for each other? Or is she one of many created with me in mind, and vice versa? I don't know how that part works, and probably by the time I am able to ask You I won't care so much. And I need to trust in You more. Trust that my finances will balance out, that I'm using my talents the way that You were hoping I would use the. And church was good today. Not great, but good. What do You think about that? Do You expect more? More from the preacher? More from me?
But it was good. And I took communion, which was also good, since it had been awhile and reflection needs to happen throughout. And I can't help but wonder, worry, focus on this idea of humans wandering this planet for such a short period of time, worrying just as much as living. How strange it all seems. But why? Why, God? And am I doing ok? Am I doing ok? What's the point in planning for a future when the future is so short, anyway? Maybe I should meditate on other things, like love, and cultivating relationships, and creating new things, and helping others, instead of focusing on a short-lived future. I'll work on it.

Justin, the homeless man on 23rd Street

Mon, Jul 09 2012 | 9:09am

Justin is a man, but almost a boy, or at least he looks more like a boy when you get up closer. His beard is deceiving, his big worn hands are deceiving, his homeless status is somewhat deceiving. On my first go around, I saw a dark head tilted down into a jutting collarbone, dwarfed by a large cardboard sign that said, "Anything helps" (anything helps, need work, I am trying to pull my life together, please) I made it three stores down before I turned back. When I addressed him with my perky and sunny "Hi" he immediately looked up. Direct and sober and if one ignored the cardboard sign and the slightly grimy fingernails, normal, like you and me. I gave him a banana and he slipped it into his pristine backpack, and immediately asked if I knew anyone hiring. I tell him that I work in a salon, a place that requires training and experience (and stability, but I don't say that word out loud). We talked for ten minutes about how tough it is to find work and no I can't relate to being homeless (crashing on friends' couches certainly does not qualify) I can somewhat relate to how hard it is to be out of work. That initial feeling of liberation that quickly turns into staving off panic as a wave of “what ifs” threatens to break. And if a man, an unemployed man living on the streets, wants to get a job he must look clean, presentable, not dodgy or filthy. And so Justin wears his hair shorn and maintains his beard and grooms his fingernails. He's serious about finding a job. But. Yet. When he sits in the street with his cardboard sign and his open palm he is ignored. Like he is too clean-looking, too young, too "put together" to really need charity. He tells me about the young kids with the patchy beards and the greasy long hair who rake in the big bucks because who doesn't feel sorry for a homeless teen who could benefit from a hot shower? And I see an unpleasant side of Justin as the diatribe gains steam and volume and the resentment is glaring.

Another job posting that makes me shudder

Mon, Jun 04 2012 | 10:10am

The following is yet another Craigslist ad that appears to be for reals, and is basically my worst nightmare:
“ Hello girls we are an upscale foot fetish company specializing in foot fetish
parties where you get paid to party, have fun at a cool stylish party, and make
$400 a night on average while having your feet massaged and kissed! This job is
100% legal and you do NOT take your clothes off this is only about your feet, and
we immediately fire anyone that breaks any rules or laws. This party is held
in commercial upscale nightclub in the financial district and we are hiring ASAP
including for the next event coming up Thursday May 17th!! If it works out we
have work avail on a weekly basis we can hire you for!
Interested? Great we are looking to hire ASAP, so reply to this post with the
following 2 things... 1. Your Photo 2. Your Phone Number.
P.S. This job on thursday the 17th is only avail to girls 21 and over however if
you are 18 - 20 years old we have other foot fetish jobs in nyc we can hire your
for aside from this party so just email us and specify your age and we will call you
with more info. ”

So does one send a photo of one's face? Body? Or feet? This would be my worst job, and then after that I think my second worst job would be the screener who interviews the contenders, looking at their feet and such. I am envisioning a person holding up a measuring tape, a buffer, maybe lotion, I just don't know.

Serial killer? Or future employer?

Mon, Jun 04 2012 | 9:09am

Sometimes I peruse Craigslist ads, looking for writing positions. Yes, I currently am juggling like 6 different writing projects, but the thing is, I thrive as a multi-tasker. I came across this ad a few weeks ago:
“ I am a fun, energetic male 30 something year old and I'm currently writing a book and I'm very stuck. All I need is someone to listen to my stories and type fast...It would help me I think if you were an attractive female and a good listener! Nothing more required except for asking the occasional question. Your punctuation and spelling to do not have to be great because I have someone for that. Mostly, I just need to get this into writing. I am finding sitting at home to be very boring and not inspiring at all. The stories are mostly good ones and might actually make you laugh...but I need to do this with someone who does not already know the stories and might will find them entertaining. Anyway, I am really willing to pay well...This should only take a few days in my opinion, but I think it will really help if I click with this person. All I ask is that you have a laptop and a some speedy typing skills. ”
So, here's what I want to know: Did anyone actually respond to this not so subtle “Serial Killer seeks next victim” posting? What the?