Friday, October 29, 2010

I have a confession: I SEE DEAD PEOPLE.

Several years ago, my sister Carly brought a group of high school students to L.A. from Northern California to tour college campuses here. I met up with her and her gang at UCLA, where I was a student at the time, and spent a glorious evening showing them around the area, gorging on deep-dish pizza together, and throwing the wee ones an impromptu dance party at my apartment. Except no one danced.

SoCal Safari!

Fast forward a lot of life and a baby, I got a call recently from one of the girls who was on that tour that fateful day in early Spring and she wanted to interview me for the UCLA newspaper. She ended up going to school there after her visit with Carly and now works on staff with The Daily Bruin—you go girl!

“So why do you want to interview me?” I asked her over the phone.

“Well, it might sound strange, but I remember the ghost stories you told us when we were visiting. About your apartment, the cemetery…and I would like to write a story for Halloween on it” she replied. Ugh, did I really say all those things to you poor little kids?

Ok, so I guess the cat’s out of the bag. I see dead people, and it didn’t help during my last year in college when I chose to live RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from a huge cemetery. A lot of freaky things happened that year (freaky as in supernatural-freaky, not sorority-girl-freaky) like rabbits and dogs mysteriously dying on me, teakettles blowing steam when there was no water in them, and full-on ghosts just chilling out by my apartment. I’m talking SERIOUS STUFF.

Me at my apartment in Westwood circa 2007

I’ve always been kind of “sensitive” to the other dimensions (hence my strong belief in past lives and souls) but it’s just not something people talk about over drinks, you know? But since it’s that time of year again, I figure I’m in good company to disclose some of this stuff and if you have an encounter to share yourself, I’d love to hear it!

For those of you interested, you can find the newspaper article HERE. But please don’t click on the link if you’d be heartbroken to find out my birth name is not really Artemis and Patrick is not really Patrick and King…well King is still King.

For those of you REALLY interested in talking more about multiple lives, paranormal activity, and all things of a mystic nature, feel free to email me if you'd like. Ok, that’s it for now and have a great Halloween weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Almost Famous

My claim to fame is that James Franco asked me out once twice.

Well, almost.

Why hello. You again.

I was a student at U.C.L.A. when I caught wind he was also taking courses on campus and no sooner had I learned of the life-changing news did I switch my major from studying humans to studying him. Or at least his schedule.

My assistant (assistant? Who am I kidding?) confirmed he was taking some creative writing class and I stealthily enrolled, justifying the sudden change in my course load with the impromptu itch to connect with my inner soul and…write.

My plan was semi-successful as I did manage to “bump” into James Franco twice during that quarter (you know what they say—gotta be at the right place at the right time) and on both occasions, I made myself completely, wholly, and utterly available to him. He, of course, passed on the offer. Looking back, I can’t say I blame him much.

Plus, it all worked out for the better seeing as I’ve totally upgraded by hanging out with THE Patrick these days. With his curly dark hair and piercing eyes, he’s gotta be at least almost famous, right?

Patrick is clearly, indisputably the only man for me.

Seems like everyone in Los Angeles is almost famous but last night, almost just wasn’t good enough anymore. During the season finale of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (c’mon, you know you watched it), my world was irreparably shattered when I learned football star Miles Austin only dated Kim for some eXXXposure to give his career a little something eXXXtra. What a horrible, absolutely horrible man you are, Mr. Austin, for using that poor little rich girl, you. You fame whore! And then—

“Hey Patrick, I got an idea for us,” I looked over at him on the bed.

“What’s that?” he replied so innocently.

“Why don’t you accidentally 'bump' into Kim Kardashian at a club and try to get with her. I’d make a one-time exception for her,” I suggested.

“And why would she want to be with me?”

“Because she is hungry for love. Wait, you’d really cheat on me with her?” I needed to know now.

“Um…” It’s okay, Patrick, you don’t need to answer that.

“So anyway, date her so you can get on her show and then I’ll come in and pretend to be your super jealous and crazy ‘ex’ girlfriend and create tons of drama,” I devised.

“But you’re already super jealous and crazy—"

“And then,” I continued, “You break up with her, we get back together, and we’ll be offered our own reality TV show! This is my best plan yet!”

After giving it a second of serious thought, Patrick could only say, exasperatedly, “What’s wrong with you, Missy?!?”

Nothing Patrick. But IF anything is wrong, I blame it on Hollywood...and James. For making me feel almost famous that one time our elbows brushed in class. For almost asking me out but it’s okay. Truly. I’ve moved on. To better things. With suppler skin. Use more lotion next time, ‘k?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 12

Missed the last chapter? Read it HERE.

“So how are you doing?” Kathy asked as she swiveled her chair my way.

“I’m good,” I tried to sound honest as I took a seat on the sofa in her office. “I just wanted to update you on some things going on in my life.”


“I’m pregnant,” I said firmly, “and I wanted to tell you before you found out from anyone else.”

“Is Patrick the father?” she asked. I nodded a “yes” and a thin smile emerged on her face. “Are you in love with him?”


“And is he your best friend?”


“Well, congratulations sweetie!” she blessed happily as she stood up to give me a warm hug. “You will love being a mother. It is just the most precious and joyful experience for any woman to have.” With that, my lower lip started to tremble and I so didn’t want to cry in front of my boss’ boss but I couldn’t help it. Tears flowed like water coming out of a dam on my face and Kathy handed me a box of tissue paper.

“It’s okay to feel emotional right now. This is a very special time in your life,” she tried to comfort.

“I know. So Patrick and I are planning on getting married soon,” I volunteered the information. “There’s just a lot going on right now.” I knew there were a lot of hormonal things going on in my body, too but the uncontrollable crying was still from feeling so uncertain about everything. About the baby, about Patrick, about life.

“You know what, Missy? 24 years ago, I was in the very same position as you. I was very young, working, and got myself pregnant with a man I was dating. My father was so upset that he wanted me to get an abortion. My mother, on the other hand, was the only person who told me if I wanted to, I could just have the baby. She said ‘Kathy, you can have the baby no matter what anyone else says or thinks.’ That was all I needed to hear and I chose to have my baby. Well, I married the father anyway and had two more kids with him,” she shared with me. Kathy reached for a picture of a beautiful brunette on her desk and showed it to me. “This is Caroline, the baby I had when I was 22. And she is my everything, my heart…” Kathy’s eyes welled up looking at her daughter’s picture and I cried some more. “See, you’re making me all emotional, too,” she joked. You can just have the baby, Missy.

“I just…I don’t know. I feel so guilty. Like, I have this little being inside of me and I don’t feel anything for it yet. I don’t feel like it’s real and I don’t love it or anything,” I confessed about my baby. My “It.”

“And that’s perfectly fine, Missy. You have a long road ahead before you meet this little one and things will turn around for you,” Kathy encouraged me. “So is the word out yet in the office? Can we all officially congratulate you two?”

“Um…we are slowly getting the word out. It’s sort of hard to hide when I’m feeling so sick all the time. Oh, and another thing—am I still on track for getting promoted to the writing position?” Ah, yes. I remembered now why I needed to talk to Kathy in the first place.

“Yep,” she answered with no hesitation. “Just keep up your good work and we will figure out what this means for you when you take off for maternity leave. We have a lot of ground to cover before then so don’t worry about it too much now.” She stood up again to give me another hug before I left our meeting. Like telling the HR director (my godmother), I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders after disclosing my baby news to the head of my department and was relieved that at least my pregnancy didn’t seem like it would get in the way of my corporate career.

*      *      *

Corporate life…it’s funny how I ended up in the very place I vowed I would never find myself working no matter how dire my circumstances are. I’ve always hoped to be able to liken myself one day to some variation of a tortured artist, opting for a hedonistic lifestyle confined in a live-work loft in Downtown Los Angeles and pondering over red wine the bleak and twisted fate of the human condition.

And I managed to be sort of that person for a while; right after I’d graduated from college, I spent the first couple of months self-indulging in my writing and photography, leaving my apartment only at nights to work closing shifts at a local coffee house. My boyfriend at the time was an equally yoked daydreamer, telling me on certain days he was going to write the next Oscar-worthy screenplay and on other occasions claiming he’d somehow make the big leagues in baseball. He didn’t even have a laptop and his baseball bat was collecting dust in his childhood home.

When I received a call from my godmother one Thursday afternoon in July about a temporary position at her company, I agreed to move an hour across town for the job only because it gave me an easy out from a relationship heading nowhere a mile a minute. I didn’t leave my old life in search of a career or love; I left simply because I was too polite to break up with somebody.

I started my assignment the following Wednesday, cold-calling clients to promote a conference we were putting on, and the day after that, I met Patrick.

My godmother Kristine and I were in the break room grabbing our mid-morning cup of coffee when Patrick quickly poked his head in to see if there were any snacks lying around. I almost wouldn’t have even noticed him had not Kristine deliberately introduce us over our piping hot mugs.

“Oh Patrick, did you meet my goddaughter Missy? She just started working this week for the marketing department,” Kristine said. “Missy, this is Patrick. He works in sales.” Patrick and I exchanged quick and forced “hello’s” and he returned to scavenging the cupboards for leftover food.

“Well, nice to meet you,” I tried to be nice and Patrick left soon after, saying “Seems like everyone at the company is brought onboard by someone they know” as he walked out the door. I didn’t think much of Patrick—decked out in his gray V-neck sweater and dark-washed jeans—except he was by far the rudest person I have met at the company so far. While the other employees at least feigned interest in where I came from and what I was doing at work, Patrick couldn’t even spend a full minute in a room with me.

“He’s the VP of Sales’ nephew, which was what he meant by that comment. He came to California from New York just to work here,” Kristine explained.

“That’s cool,” I replied, and with not much more to say I added, “He seems like the only person here around my age.”

Kristine’s face went white and she couldn’t hide the frown that was forming on her face as she pursed her lips tightly together.

“He’s not someone for you to make friends with,” she warned sternly.

“Why?” I wasn’t planning on going out of my way to be friends with Patrick but I was still curious what was so “wrong” with him.


*      *      *


I managed to avoid crossing paths with Patrick for the next couple of weeks since we worked at opposite ends of the office. I had already completely forgotten about him when I yelled for someone to hold the elevator downstairs in the lobby so I could catch a lift to the seventh floor. I scrambled in past the closing doors, looked up at the only other person inside, and “Oh…hi. It’s Patrick…right?”

To be continued...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ask Artemis: Are you there, Soul Mate?

***Amended to note that I am aware my viewpoint on soul mates may go against certain religious doctrines. I often hesitate to share my take on God, religion, and other things of a supernatural nature in fear of angering or offending friends and family who believe otherwise. But I am still searching for truth myself and welcome all viewpoints, criticism, and opinions so long as they are not stemmed from hate.***

Dear Artemis,

I recently found your blog through a friend and need your advice and insight on my current situation.  I am in my twenties and have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for several years.  We are the best of friends and have a supportive, loving, and practical relationship.  We come from similar backgrounds, enjoy many of the same activities, and love eating the same foods.  I can see us having a very functional and peaceful marriage in the future.  However, I am at a crossroads because as much as we love and care for each other, we have more of a brother/sister relationship compared to a romantic one.  There is no passion or fiery lust.  We are so young and yet already settled.

Should I be happy and content with him or should I risk losing a good and stable thing for the unknown?  Does romance last throughout the years?  If romance is lost, is there a way to get it back?

I love him but can't help wondering if there is a greater love out there for me, someone whose soul I connect with.

-Lost in love

* * *

Hi L&L,

If you’ve ever been at the dinner table with me during one of my soul mate spiels, you’ll know to brace yourself right now. This is something I love talking about.

There isn’t just one person out there for you. I believe in reincarnation and multiple lives and for each life and dimension your soul lives and passes through, you have the opportunity to build strong bonds and connections with other souls. On this earth, you may find yourself inexplicably drawn to certain people or meet someone you feel like you have known all your life; this isn’t just some chemical imbalance in your head—you are attracted to certain people (mind, body, and soul) because you DID know them from a past life. When souls move through their journey from one world into the next, there is an energy that pulls kindred spirits together. You could be sitting in a coffee shop one day, look up at a stranger standing in line, and your soul will say to his, “Oh there you are. I’ve been looking for you.”

That being said, just because your soul has history with someone else’s doesn’t mean your physical bodies came back into this dimension as compatible partners. Your soul could be desperately in love with your uncle’s, your 80-year-old neighbor’s, your best girl friend’s…but these people do not make suitable lifelong companions for obvious reasons. What contributes to a lifelong union on this earth depends heavily on practical day-to-day stuff that keeps marriages together such as compatible physical bodies (close enough in age to produce viable offspring), family and community support, agreeable lifestyles, and congruent spiritual beliefs.

Back to your question, you need to think about what you want for yourself. There is never “settling” in life, be it in your career, your relationships, or even the lifestyle you choose to maintain. Part of being human is this unquenchable thirst to strive to be better, to live for progress, and to deplete your potential as a building block to society. There is something awesome to be said about seeing yourself being able to have a peaceful and functional marriage with your current boyfriend but you can have the same stability with someone who also challenges you to really explore and discover the untapped resilience, compassion, and strength deep inside of you. If you are with someone because your futures together seem safe and predictable, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice as you have taken the excitement and unknown out of a big part of your life.

Please don’t mistake this as encouragement to chase after torrid affairs or fleeting conquests; instead, I am urging you to make decisions based on hope rather than fear. You have other soul mates out there so it’s okay to let your boyfriend go with the promise of a deeper and more powerful relationship with someone else. Rest assured you’ll never let go of something without the universe replacing it with something tenfold.

There is nothing wrong with the unknown and you may find the best times of your life were when a lot of things were exciting and up in the air. You are young and there is still plenty of beauty to be discovered in the world and in yourself. Stay open-minded and when you find that magic combination of kindred spirit and real-world compatibility in someone, you won’t spend even a minute questioning the fate of your futures together. The answer will be YES.

As far as lust and romance goes? Lust is a physical reaction part of the mating cycle (see We Are Not Monogamous) and romance is the intentional acts of tenderness and sweetness in a relationship. Lust begins to leave a relationship as soon as you seal the deal and is probably non-existent in long-term monogamous relationships. Thankfully, you have every control with romance and it only disappears from your life if you and your partner don’t make a concerted effort to woo.

I hope this helps and in the end, the decision is yours and your gut always points you in the better direction.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Recipe That Could Save Your Marriage

As part of our self-prescribed and self-mediated couple’s therapy, Patrick and I are taking things back to the basics. Not to imply men are simple, but putting on a little bit of makeup, letting him have a poker night, and melting some meat and cheese together can do wonders for a relationship, I tell ya.


Allow me to present the dish that could save a marriage. This super easy recipe gives you almost an unfair bargaining advantage and if you make it for his friends, too? Why, they’ll think you’re the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow. I’m not guaranteeing it but you’ll probably have the rest of the neighborhood banging down your door and asking for your number as well. I don’t know what it is with men and these sliders so keep this recipe close to you just in case.


Jalapeno Sliders

Form thin patties out of 85/15 ground beef (don’t go leaner). Grill on a generously buttered pan, salting just one side of it (there’s enough going on that you don’t need a bunch of salt). When you flip the meat to the other side to cook, pile on jarred jalapenos (you know, the stuff that comes pickled) and top with a slice of cheese (any will do but I use Colby-Jack). Cover the pan for 1 minute to let the steam do its magic and get things all gooey and wonderful. Butter some mini focaccia rolls and when the meat is ready, just slide it in between the warm bread and YUM.


So maybe you won't be too pretty a sight making these (I imagine I am somewhat of a greasy mess when I am working over a stove) but the sliders are so good your guy’s going to kiss you 100 times anyway—I promise!


What are your guy-pleasing meals?

Monday, October 18, 2010

How To Go From A Doormat To A Ball-busting Cunt

Putting something out into Internet-verse can make you feel extremely vulnerable and insecure, especially when you are sharing a scandalous, juicy, and incurably racy baby story (please, if you didn’t read into the sarcasm, read again).

Up until today, I have received only wonderfully supportive and uplifting feedback each time I have posted my chapters; I thank you all for reading and keeping me motivated to continue writing about a very emotionally and physically exhausting time in my life.

This afternoon, however, I came across this little “gem” left for me on Chapter 10 of The Making of King:

Anonymous said...
Ugh! I can't stand reading this self-centered garbage! You sound like a ball busting cunt who doesn't deserve a good man like Patrick. Someday he will hate you for the way you've treated him.

My first instinct was to delete this comment immediately since it sounded like it came a very hateful and miserable place but upon further reflection, I feel oddly empowered that somewhere along my coming-of-age journey, I’ve transformed myself from a nerdy, shy, insecure, and pushover of a girl to a “self-centered ball-busting cunt.”

I then sent the comment to Patrick—who wooted and hollered that “Yeah! I have a supporter!”—and he went on to write an email to some of his buddies to show off his newly anointed “unsung hero” status on my blog.

And now, my twin sister can’t stop gleefully calling me a “ball-busting cunt,” wondering out loud how she can get herself christened with such a punchy and full-of-attitude moniker.

As for me, I am still in awe—almost giddily so—that I have somehow gone from a doormat to a ball-busting cunt and thank my faithful anonymous reader for lending me a title and persona I shall use moving forward on days I feel under the weather or a little weak. A BALL-BUSTING CUNT…yep, I can get used to this.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 11

Missed the last chapter of my baby story? Read it HERE.

"Patrick could turn out to be a very good father and husband for you one day."

“You see—" I couldn’t even begin finishing my sentence before I choked up in a mess of tears.

“You see—" I tried to say again. And I looked over at Kristine and Todd, my two sweet and super supportive godparents, and both of them were eagerly looking back at me, waiting for the big news it was so critical that I shared with them right now.

The waiter brought over a pitcher of margarita someone had placed an order for and started pouring everyone an ice-cold glass of the neon-green mix. I pushed my drink away but not fast enough as Kristine raised her glass to toast my engagement.

“Well, congratulations Missy. This is all very exciting—" she said as our glasses clinked in celebration.

“Wait,” I couldn’t bear to keep the secret inside of me any longer. "Kristine, Todd, I’m pregnant,” I blurted like spitting out water after almost drowning. “Patrick and I are pregnant. That is why we are getting married.” Please don’t cry, not now but I couldn’t help it and tears rolled down my face as if I were the windshield of a car going through a car wash. My unexpected pregnancy was all still so emotional for me, and my engagement to Patrick? There was no ring, no proposal…it was all out of necessity to make things better for us. I wanted to marry him in hopes that our paper union will somehow repair and strengthen the love that was so badly splintered. There I sat, now uncontrollable sobbing, next to Carly and across from my godparents and I was certain I could feel my baby’s heart beating inside of me bump-bump bump-bump, its innocent cry for life leaving me more sad than ever. What have I gotten myself into?

“Wow, Missy. Wow. I don’t know what to say. I guess this is even more reason to celebrate…so don’t cry. Congratulations,” Kristine tried to soothe even though she herself couldn’t hide how taken back she was by the news. “How are your parents taking this? How far along are you?”

“My parents were angry at first,” I explained in between hiccups, “but they are much better now. They just want to support me and help me with the wedding. We don’t have an exact date yet but it will be sometime end of this year or early next. I’m ten weeks now so we don’t want to wait too long.”

“Good, Missy. You know Todd and I are here for you, too. I had my qualms about Patrick at first but overtime, I can see how he is good for you. Who knows at work so far?” Work…right. The place where Patrick and I met. The place where Kristine is the HR director. The place where we are all still working, the very small office space where gossip runs rampant like fleas on a stray dog.

“Well, we’ve told very few people but on accident I had to tell your assistant Lonnie…but she knows we are talking now,” I said while thinking in my head who else I may have confided in. “Um, other than that, Patrick and I have not really said much yet.”

“That’s good and you definitely want to tell some people in person before they hear about it from everyone else. And you need to tell your department head as soon as possible since they are thinking about promoting you and deserve to know you're going to have a baby because this could affect their plans,” Kristine advised. “I don’t think this will change anything but put something on Kathy’s calendar this week. Trust me, you need to also be thinking for your career.”

I was so wrapped up in my pregnancy that I didn’t even think how my life changes can deter the good things I had going for me at work. Kathy, my boss’ boss, had recently created a new technical writing position that she was championing me for. As much as I didn’t want to have this conversation with her, I knew I had to if I still wanted to be considered for the promotion. I’ve been feeling pretty guilty that I haven’t told anyone in my department about my baby yet even though I’ve already had telltale bouts of morning sickness at work.

I’ve been sneaking in later and later into my office each day because of my utter inability to wake up in the mornings. And when I would finally be at my desk, I would be trembling so severely with nausea that I usually had to keep my head down lest I completely lose it and throw up over my keyboard. My coworkers quickly noticed my curious case of what most people dismissed as a winter bug, and many mornings I would find packets of tea and other flu remedies left at my desk from caring friends hoping I would just beat the darn cold.

Thankfully, it seemed like no one was truly catching on but Ricardo, my officemate, was a bit more suspicious. One day, he finally asked me what mysterious condition has me seemingly heaving no less than fifteen times a day. Oh how I tried to deflect with stories of a really bad cold or some virus even but, “Don’t worry,” I insisted. “This is not something you can catch. You just have to trust me on this one.”

Ricardo, a married man in his thirties with three kids, chuckled at my response and instigated further. “Have you been to the doctor then?”

“Um…yes,” I said because I couldn’t quite lie to him.

“So what is wrong with you? At the rate you’re going, it looks like you will be on your deathbed tomorrow,” he half-joked.

“Okay, Ricky, I have to tell you something. But you have to swear you won’t tell anyone else, not even your wife,” I whispered as I shut our office door. While I’ve always liked his wife, Geena, she also worked with our company (small world) and had a penchant for spreading news that weren’t always hers to share.

“What, you’re pregnant?” He laughed out loud.

“Yes…how’d you know?” I asked.

“I’m just kidding. So what’s wrong with you really?”

“No, Ricky, you guessed it. I’m pregnant.”

“With…Patrick?” I nodded yes and Ricardo rolled his seat back away from me, blowing into his closed fist from disbelief of the news I just shared with him. “Holy crap,” he said after taking a minute to wrap his head around my office space scandal. “I knew something was really off with you lately. You’ve been so weird. Wow, Miss Artemis. The party girl straight-out-of-college that I used to know is forever gone!”

“Heh, thanks. So do you think I should marry Patrick?” I felt this was a fair question to ask Ricardo since he’d been a good mutual friend of ours and I genuinely wanted to know what he thought of my situation.


“Why?” I had to know now.

“Because Patrick could turn out to be a very good father and husband for you one day,” he replied.

* * *


Telling Kristine and Todd about my pregnancy turned out to be a lot less painful than I had worked it up to be in my mind but Kristine did bring up a distressing point: I need to find time to tell Kathy before the news leaked any further.

Kathy, a levelheaded woman in her mid-forties and already running her own department, had kids at a young age, too, but I was shitting-in-my-pants nervous to tell her. Perhaps I was embarrassed or not ready to talk about my situation with people I weren’t close friends with. Most of all, I was scared this would make her change her mind on giving me the writing position I so coveted ever since I first started working at the company.

I inconspicuously reserved half an hour on her calendar but she kept rescheduling for us to meet, something I took as a sign that she had already figured out what I wanted to tell her. Even more nervous now, we finally settled on 2 PM one afternoon and I slinked into her office like a little girl.

“Hiya Missy. How can I help you?” Kathy asked cheerfully as she looked up from her computer.


“Do you need to shut the door?” she offered, sensing my uneasiness.

“Yeah,” I said as I reached for the door behind me.

To be continued...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Allergic to Snuggling

Last night, when I finally put King to sleep, Patrick placed our baby in his little crib next to our bed. Patrick sprawled out, relieved to have some extra space to stretch his limbs, and curled up next to me.

I, relieved to not have said baby physically attached to me for the first time all day, grabbed for my laptop and starting mindlessly “researching” celebrity gossip and going on breastfeeding forums. After a few minutes, Patrick rolled away from me, somewhat hurt, and asked why I don’t cuddle with him anymore.

“Because we have a baby in bed with us,” I informed him.

“But that’s why I moved him as soon as he fell asleep. I miss you just holding me,” he confessed.

“I don’t know, Patrick. I don’t know what it is…maybe I am so exhausted from holding King all day that I don’t want to touch anyone as soon as I get a moment to myself. I think I am asexual right now—not interested in other men, women—I am just a self-replicating single-celled amoeba. Or something.

“You don’t court me anymore or make me feel special or attractive. I mean, this is how it’s supposed to be, right? After ‘marriage’ and kids? We just become more like ‘partners’ in raising King. Is there ever romance for anyone after a while?” I pondered out loud.

“We’ve just been through a lot of life changes recently. It’s not like I asked for any of this. I was just happy to be dating my girlfriend,” Patrick tried to explain. I know, Patrick, and I’m sorry for how so many things turned out. And I’m sorry that I can’t help but feel indifferent about a lot of things right now. I feel the romance is dead and I don’t know if it is just how things are supposed to be or if we could actually be happier together one day…or apart.  There just doesn’t seem to be easy answers for us.

“Patrick?” I looked at him. “I just need to know that we did everything we could to make things work out. We need to try harder with even the little things. Like just be sweeter,” I suggested before we both slipped into slumber.

This morning, I felt him kiss me on the cheek before he left for work as I was still dozed off with King wrapped tightly in my arms. When I woke, I found a text message waiting for me on my phone:

Sender: Patrick
I hope you have
a wonderful day today
baby. I love you xoxo

“Thank you, I love you too” I texted back, like sending a secret wish into the universe for inspiration on where to take things next.

Our very first picture together circa September 2008.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Don't have a baby.

Thank you to everyone who offered their thoughtful responses to the latest edition of Dear Artemis: Candice, Old School/New School Mom, Stereo, Martin, Pua, Life with Kaishon, Kelli, and Lilly.

Word on the street is our friend R&C is doing just fine, the takeaway lesson being that comments on a lady’s figure too early in the game is not worth the risk of possibly misrepresenting who you actually are (respectful, considerate, and only concerned with the insides of a woman…right?).

Women are quite the complicated bunch—but not beyond reason and understanding—so keep sending your questions my way and I shall demystify some of the ways our highly evolved and intricate minds work. (Ladies, feel free to offload here, too!)

Onward, I met up with an old friend from college yesterday that I haven’t seen for almost 3 years. She is pursuing her dreams of becoming a music producer and I was so inspired by her relentless determination to go after what she knows she was made to do, no matter no long the journey may take.

The only parting piece of advice I could give her was, “Well, just make sure you don’t accidentally get pregnant.

“Sure, your boobs get really large, but unproportionally so, and you’ll have deep stretch marks on them that you won’t be able to get rid of. And even if you lose all the baby weight, your stomach never quite gets its sexy sheen and bounce back and that thick and shiny hair of yours? Buh-bye!

“You will not have time for yourself and anytime you actually do make it out of the house (on the RARE occasion), all you can talk about with your friends is how you never get out of the house. Your back will ache like an old lady’s because you have to carry around your 21 22 lb baby everywhere and that thing called romance? You’re better off not even trying anymore since once you have a baby with someone, it’s like getting married without the option of divorce.

“It takes ten minutes every time you have to explain to people how you are not a Mrs. but yes, you did have a baby. And the baby’s daddy? Yes, we did try really hard to get married but some bad things happened along the way…GGAAHH it’s just really complicated and I can’t get into it now.

“And then you’ll lose your job, become a reluctant housewife, and forever kiss goodbye your dreams of taking over the world as you spend your days mulling around and confined in a modest 2-bedroom apartment. So nice to see you again, good luck, and whatever you do, don’t have a baby.

But then I’ll see King as he looks at me with innocent eyes, so bright and eager, as if to say, “I’m lost without you, Mama.”

And I’ll look back, my eyes puffy from lack of sleep for the past five months, and whisper, “I know, baby. I’d be pretty lost right now without you, too.”


Monday, October 11, 2010

Ask Artemis: Sexy Curves

A reader recently posed a question I would like to share with the community: Is there a right vs. wrong way to compliment a curvy woman?

Dear Artemis,

I met a really attractive and intelligent woman at a party a few weeks ago.  It was a public event at a museum.  She was a columnist in her early thirties (I'm 27) and seemed very educated and sophisticated.  She had classic curves - large bust & butt, narrow waist, shapely legs, etc., but not what I would consider "overweight," and was wearing an outfit that really flattered her figure.  We had been talking for about a half hour and really seemed to develop a great rapport. We had even made tentative plans to meet for coffee sometime.

Then, things suddenly went downhill. There was a pause in the conversation and I commented that she had a “really nice, hourglass figure”.  I thought she would take it as a compliment but instead she became deeply offended.  She said, "Excuse me?  Why are you talking about my figure?"  I went into damage control mode and tried to clarify my comments but I think I only exacerbated things as she rolled her eyes and shook her head.  She told me I was being "inappropriate" and with a look of complete disgust, WHAP!, she slapped my face and departed.
As I stood there alone rubbing my cheek, I was trying to figure out why she was so upset.  It seemed like a harmless comment to me but maybe I don't understand women as well I should.  I do have her email address.  Do you think I should send her an apology note or should I interpret the slap in the face as a definitive way of saying she wants no further contact?

-Red-faced & Confused

*     *     *

Hi R&C,

Glad you found me and thank you for sharing your story. First off, as a general rule of thumb, proceed with extreme tact and caution whenever you comment on a woman's figure. Most woman have dealt with some form of body image issues in her past and chances are, a degree of self-consciousness and self-loathing are still present in her everyday thoughts. Women are constantly comparing themselves to other women around us, and even a model will confess to have body insecurities whether or not they are justified. When in the presence of women, please try to divert the focus of the conversation to her talents, her interests, and all the great things she as a person can offer others. The type of woman I assume you are after likes to be appreciated and recognized for her abilities and what she can bring to the table rather than her physical attributes.

I don't think your comment was that inappropriate, however, but it does reveal some news that may not play in your favor: If a woman does not respond positively to something you said about her physical features, then she is most likely not interested in you as a romantic partner. What you said should have been very complimentary to the woman that is seeking it, but she wasn't and probably saw it as an unsolicited advance. The slap was completely uncalled for and also serves as an indicator of what you have in store for you in the future should you establish a romantic relationship with the woman. She is moody, defensive, and probably still dealing with some insecurities that you do not want to be a part of. A truly sophisticated woman may have said something about not appreciating your curvy figure woman comment (if it triggered something unpleasant for her) but would not have physically repelled you.

That said, I do believe in always moving forward with the best attitude possible so I think it would be a nice gesture of you to send her a follow-up email. Keep it short and professional and acknowledge that you regret having had said anything that could have possibly offended her. Don't expect her to write anything back but at least the ball is now in her court and you can wipe your hands clean from this experience.

Lessons to learn from this are: Education and "sophistication" are no indicators of how a woman will respond in a situation that rubbed her the wrong way, avoid pointing out a distinguished feature on a woman (even if you are trying to pay her a compliment) until you are well past the point of just meeting her, and focus on keeping the conversation on her non-physical assets. The best part of this is while the woman wasn't completely wrong in finding your comment inappropriate, she certainly didn't have to wig out over it so see it this way: You averted courting a hypersensitive and possibly high-maintenance woman. No matter how sexy her hourglass curves may be, they can't be sexy enough to have you constantly worrying about accidentally offending her.


*     *     *

Have any insight to add?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 10

Missed the last chapter of my baby story? Read it HERE.

I want the world to see that you'll be
with me.
-Hey Soul Sister

“Dad,” I tried to suggest, “What if I just marry Patrick? What if before the end of this year we get married and have a real ceremony for us?”

While I couldn’t even begin to guess what my father’s response would be, at this point I was drowning in confusion over my pregnancy myself, floundering to get to the top in any way for some air. I wanted to make things between Patrick and me better, and somehow getting married seemed like it would at least hold us together for a little bit longer. I’ve always envisioned a certain way and progression all of these things would happen for me—love, marriage, babies—and even though it all was spiraling out of control, things weren’t quite out of my fingertips’ reach yet and I can still put some of the pieces back in place. I can still get married first.

My dad hesitated long and hard over the phone and through the way he was breathing, I just knew he was at a loss for words and scrambling for answers himself. My parents have said all the hurtful things they could have possibly said already so I didn’t know what else could come out of their mouths. Maybe, just maybe, my father will stick his hand underwater to reach for his daughter and pull me out.

“You and Patrick want to get married?” my dad finally asked. “What does he think about this?”

“I want to marry Patrick, Dad. I really do,” and with those words, I shifted the momentum of the events that were unraveling. My dad’s silent response, defeated and helpless, was his way of communicating a reluctant “Okay. You can get married if that is your wish.”

With those words, I opened the floodgates of wedding planning, all before even consulting Patrick on what he saw our future together like, with or without baby. But I did call Patrick immediately after and suggested that marriage was the answer to at least some of the many problems we were and will continue to face.

I had already given up on the whole “’til death,” “everlasting love,” and “through sickness and health” spiel; I just wanted to make it okay for everyone else that I am choosing to keep my baby. And now that we are having a baby together, I wanted to make sure Patrick was willing to see this commitment through since that was what he said he really wanted to do.

“I just need to know,” I told Patrick, “that you will stay with me through all of this. That our baby will have a father.”

“Missy, how many times do I need to tell you that I still love you and want to with you?! And I would have wanted to marry you anyway, even if you weren’t pregnant,” he consoled me. I didn’t want to dissect Patrick’s true motivations—if there were any—for being so compliant with me about our intentions of getting married. All I needed to hear was that he was willing to play along and that was enough for me.

“Fine, okay. We are getting married. I guess you should probably tell your family soon,” I replied with little emotion to my voice.  I did care that we were getting married and I was excited even though I tried not to show it much at first. My initial concern was that this was the one thing I could control at the moment and that in it of itself provided enough relief in the whole situation to keep me going for just a bit more.


But you know how during the exchanging of vows the groom oftentimes says the decision to marry his bride was the easiest one he has ever made? Well, through all of this, I still have never felt more uncertain.

* * *

The next day at work, I knew the word about my (scandalous) pregnancy with Patrick’s baby would get out sooner than later so I invited the HR director at my company, Kristine, to dinner to break the news to her in person. It was extremely important that she hear it from me first since, well, she also happens to be my godmother. In fact, I have known her for most of my life.

I wanted her husband, Todd, and my sister, Carly, there as well to lighten the mood of the dinner but Kristine and Todd could already guess that I must have had BIG news to share with them seeing as I put an emergency meeting on everyone’s calendars.

“We know,” Kristine started to say as we sat down at a local Mexican restaurant, “that you are Patrick are getting married. I mean, am I right?”

“Yes,” I softly responded. “And—“

“See, I guessed it! Congratulations! You almost had us thinking it was something a lot worse, like you wanting to quit your job. So where’s your ring?” she asked as she reached over the table to grab my left hand.

“Well, I don’t have a ring yet,” I said as I pulled my hand away from her hold. “You see—“ I couldn’t even begin finishing my sentence before I choking up in a mess of tears.

“You see—“ I tried to say again. And I looked over at Kristine and Todd, my two sweet and super supportive godparents, and both of them were eagerly looking back at me, waiting for the big news it was so critical that I shared with them right now.

To be continued...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We are not monogamous.

I took a sex class once in college. While I would love to parlay the juicy dissections of the Kama Sutra, it wasn’t quite that. Instead, our professor focused on the biological reasons why humans mate, and—big surprise—it is to be able to create as many viable offspring as possible. Duh.

In other words, we are not meant to be monogamous. If the end goal is for me to rear as many Mini Me’s as possible and ensure that they live long enough to procreate themselves, then staying with one partner for the rest of my life simply does not serve this purpose.

Let’s start with the male side to the equation. If my domestic partner (I love sounding so 21st century!) Patrick wanted to increase his chances of passing his (super sexy) genes along in future gene pools, then he best not be staying with me for long. He needs to focus on planting his seeds in as many females as possible since putting all of your eggs in one basket is WAY too risky (you hear that, Patrick?).

He got to me already, and I’ll be the first to say our offspring (King) is I-want-to-eat-him-up cute and cuddly but who knows what will come of him in the future? He is a little hefty for his age so who’s to say he won’t prematurely die from diabetes or other ailments caused by being overweight? Therefore, Patrick—being the resourceful man I know he often can be—needs to go out there and hunt for other potential mates. STAT.

Preferably, those mates would be younger than me, like 14-17 young, have perkier boobs (shows that you haven’t had children before), and a more symmetrical face (better genes). Long and shiny hair are a prerequisite (means she is healthy) and she should take light steps with her dainty feet lest someone mistaken her walk for the pregnancy waddle. Juvenile, plump, and glowing in youth…Patrick, I’m sure you will spot many of these out of the crowd.

As for me, I should move on as well if I cared an ounce to make and raise more babies. Patrick had served his purpose and so generously invested his resources (Give. Me. Money. Now.) into this particular family but if he’s to watch out for his best interests, his foot—no, feet—are already out the door. Not that I can blame him since I can no longer compete with women who have never had their uterus stretched out in gross proportions by a Mini Me. Just one look at my feet, my skin, my hands…the tell-tale signs of childbirth are plastered all over me.

So onto the next guy! Maybe he’s on the shorter side and has a slight speech impediment but he is willing to invest (short-term) in giving me one or two more babies and will stick around until most child predators have been warded off. Then he too will ride off into the sunset to search for other (younger) women who are most likely to provide him viable offspring and I will wait in my castle with bated breath for the next male to take care of my family. This time around, however, I’m going with the older man on life support. With no family members.

In strict biological terms, we are pair-bonded at best but definitely not monogamous. So in the grand scheme of human history, this relatively new phenomenon of “’til death do us part” has gotten our heads and hearts spinning as we obsessively search for THE ONE instead of focusing our efforts in finding the best one, FOR NOW.

Liberated because I know how things should be, I feel empowered to make life choices based on what I want them to be. And you know what? All spiritual and emotional aspects to love and loyalty aside, I still think ‘til death is sexier than the progressively decrepit guys that’ll come knocking on my door. I’m such a diehard romantic, aren’t I?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Yes, we're sleeping together.

I have a confession: King, at almost 5 months old now, still sleeps in bed with Patrick and me.

A habit I am at once proud to share with fellow co-sleeping families but almost embarrassed and reluctant to disclose to most everyone else, I feel burdened to make the decision soon which way to let the pendulum swing.

Interested in joining the conversation? Find the full post over at super mom blogger, Scary Mommy. She won't bite, I promise.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ask Artemis

I received a couple of emails recently from blog readers who wanted my opinion on their current love situation. At first read, I thought it was a joke (ha, hee, ho) seeing as how I have completely aired and will probably continue to air my misadventures in life and love on Artemis Clover.  But I wrote back anyway—justifying to myself that perhaps misery really does love company—and my love advice ended up sounding surprisingly and utterly sane. Imagine that!

So…I’ve been thinking for a while to (gasp!!) actually encourage readers to send love notes over my way since this is “The real L.A. love story” after all. If you have questions on love, relationships, or would like to see a specific topic on the blog, please feel completely and anonymously free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to answer it in a post. At best, we can all get a good laugh from it (not your question but rather my attempt to answer it for you).

And I know while I publicly chastised Facebook some odd weeks ago, I irresponsibly threw Twitter under the bus as well so I would like to grovel “I’m sorry, Twitter. Let’s be friends again. It was me, not you. I didn’t try hard enough to truly understand you for you.” Thankfully, Twitter’s a pretty nice guy and didn’t put up much of a fight so it’s back on and hotter than ever! Or something along those lines. I guess this is just a long and winding way to say that you can also send your questions, concerns, and political stance to @artemisclover if that’s more your style and I will be sure to respond.

Thank you and goodnight.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The end of a fairy tale.

I looked at him and cried. Ohmahgawd Daniel you have never loved a girl before. And I cried even more because I know that I have never loved a guy. But I thought I have. Several times before in my life.

At a wedding this weekend.

At 17, I found my high school sweetheart and loved him as desperately as I knew how. I gave him everything I thought I had and I really wanted to. Really wanted to love him, keep him, keep the fairy tale love story I was so lucky to chance upon, the love story that had to have been fated all along. The fairy tale love story I grew up on in cartoons, movies, songs, and books. The fairy tale love story of boy meets girl, boy chases girl, boy and girl fall in love and live forever after in a fiery blaze of excitement, romance, and perpetual courtship.

Somewhere in this whirlwind cocktail of red flowers and rose-colored glasses, however, is a thin but uncompromising thread of deception. I cried that night with Daniel, some four years after my first love experience, because I have been deceived by the fairy tales of our society and culture. And he has been, too. Perhaps we have all been deceived so I cried that night when a burst of untapped or misplaced energy revealed to me what I have feared true the whole time: The fairy tale love story is dead.

“But,” I tell Daniel, “There is still a story and there is still love—everlasting love—out there for all of us. It is just not what we think it is.” Just like that, I was released from my jaded trance of white knights and white picket fences and for the first time, lying on the dirty green carpet of Daniel’s apartment, I felt fully exposed, my mind, body, and spirit completely naked to the world.

I don’t know what it was, the absurdly late hour we were up or the hypnotic throb of Led Zepplin’s music playing on the laptop, but that was the night the fleshed-out truth of human relationships stared me in the face so hard I just could no longer deny how I have always pursued the impossible love story. And I looked at Daniel, my dear guy friend who has never quite been the boyfriend, and confessed with great relief, “I have never been in love before.”

If we would just wear our hair the same way, Carly and I could still be twins.

“I know,” he comforts me. “Here, take this pen. I got it at my Bar Mitzvah and it is a very special pen to me. I want you to use it to write down everything you know and feel about love right now.” He hands me his sacred pen, its ink cylinder encased in alternating slivers of red and green wood, and tells me to keep it for as long as it takes for me to write my story.

In what I could only describe as a mystical and magic moment, my soul connected with Daniel’s and I felt closer to him than I have ever in the seven years I have known him. Not in a sexual or even friendship sort of way but as if we were two orbs of light stripped of every physical attribute that make us human. Looking at our reflection in the mirror, these glowing embers densely composed with stories of the past, present, and all the possibilities and hopes of the future, I discovered in us this universal desire for companionship, understanding, and love.

The love story between two souls is so much deeper, richer, and complex than any fairy romance has us believing and it is our individual destiny to be able to find and keep the partner we will share the rest of our lives with on this earth. Our consumption with love, our never-ending quest to capture those fleeting moments of lust, desire, and intimacy, blinds us to what it truly means to have a relationship with someone. Because sometimes when we want something really badly, we lose sight of what it is. A forgiving and compromising relationship that inspires, soothes, and builds us up as people, not a romantic situation that has us love sick like drug trip gone wrong.

I went to visit Daniel in San Diego from my place in Los Angeles because at the young age of 21, I was already terribly heaving and hung over from my misadventures in love. Because like everyone else, I too craved all the buzz from a good love fix without any understanding or clarity on what it is I am honestly after. I went to visit an old friend because—yet again—I found myself caught in a tight spot between several men, leaving me part broken-hearted, part confused, and 100% jaded. How is it that I have so quickly turned from a bight-eyed and hopeless romantic into a fallen warrior in the battle of love over the course of a few short years?

I needed a good drink and even better answers, and that night with Daniel, I got both. In brief but powerful moments where I literally felt like I had slipped into another realm that gave me the eyes to see myself from a third-party perspective, I saw this victim in the myth of the fairy tale love story and desperately wanted to tell her, “True love is out there, but it is not quite what you have made it out to be in your head.” Sensing my state of revelation and wanting to capitalize on the moment, Daniel bestowed his special pen to me and told me to start putting on paper everything I was spewing out of my mouth, my urgency in sharing my story hot within me like a blistering burn.

By daylight, I had come up with the bones of a book in five messy pages: What is true love, why we are all chasing love, and what is and should be what we are really after. But my spontaneous exploration of the inner workings of the human heart and soul read like an angsty teenage diary so after typing it all out on my computer, I simply saved the document and didn’t look at it again for another two years.

Until this morning.

A lot has changed since some ways the fairy tale is even more dead for me now but with the love story I have with Patrick and King, maybe this once upon a time of finding love in the real world is even better.
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