Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The One with my List of Five.

Back in The Day, I was a huge fan of the television show, FRIENDS (still am). In fact, I recall watching the pilot episode in my dorm during my freshman year in college. The dialogue was quick and witty, and it adopted the ever-growing idea that your friends could not only substitute for family - they could all but replace them. As I had recently moved out of state for school and had no family within several hundred miles, it was a theory I could relate to.

In fact, I'll admit that my blog titling is stolen from the show. As a film student I got ahold of a few FRIENDS scripts, and they were all titled, "The One...." starting with the pilot, appropriately called, "The First One."

So, it seems only fitting that I divulge yet another premise from the show that my husband and I have copied: Ross and Rachel's List of Five. You might recall...

I think it was before we were married that we each compiled a List of Five, and I will admit it's evolved for both of us. However, in the interest of time (and good taste), I'll only share my current List of Five and not go into the gory details and or all the versions this list has adopted.

1. Martin Sexton. No matter the version of my list, this guy's consistently held the top spot. You might be saying, "uh, who?" Well, he is a musician. Though he may not have broken through the ranks of celebrity, his fan base is wide and rabid, and for good reason. I've always had a thing for the short and stocky type, but outwardly he might not be everyone's cup o' tea. He's got a wicked sense of humor, though, (evident even on the short video clips available on If you're still not convinced just take a listen to his voice. My God, that voice. All at once dark and gravelly yet smooth and pitch-perfect, it alone could cause undies to remove themselves of their own free will.

2. Michael Symon. Unless you've been under a rock during the past decade (or two) you're familiar with Iron Chef. Originally, this show was a Japanese wunderkind, pitting accomplished chefs of varying cuisines against each other in food battles centering around key ingredients. This spawned an American version of the show, aptly called, Iron Chef America. As is our country's copycat way of creating television shows, The Next Iron Chef was born, and Cleveland native Michael Symon was crowned its winner. A man who knows his way around a kitchen is a huge turn-on, but Symon knows his way around many kitchens as the chef and owner of several restaurants. He's even a James Beard award winner (think the Oscars of food). This is all well and good, but it's his attitude that hooked me: he always seems to be having fun. That coupled with his unique, infectious laughter was enough to land him the number two spot on my list.

3. Matt Damon. Is there anything this guy can't do? After a few strong supportive performances, he burst onto the scene with a great little movie called, "Good Will Hunting". As if it weren't enough that he starred in it, he also wrote the thing and won an academy award for it. Acting chops aside, he's got boy-next-door good looks and a down-to-earth manner (as evidenced by his marriage to an everyday Jane: a waitress with a kid). In the Jason Bourne movie trilogy he got his action on playing the title character while still letting his portrayal of an amnesiac struggling to find (and accept) his identity while convincing the CIA to just leave him the hell alone for cripes sake take center stage. Plus, his mega-watt smile never fails to charm the pants off me.

4. George Clooney. Speaking of charm, this man eats charm for breakfast. It oozes from his pores. He is our generation's Cary Grant, as at home in a tuxedo as my husband is in a t-shirt. As Doug Ross on the first several seasons of ER, Clooney won over virtually every American woman (including me) as an emergency room pediatrician. I mean, come on - a handsome doctor who works with kids? AND he prefers to spend more time at his Italian villa than in smog-choked Los Angeles. Uh, yeah. I could get used to that.

5. Antonio Ballatore. Yes, the tattooed Design Star winner with clunky black glasses and a stocky boxer named, "Chewy". He's the guy who stood his ground in the very first show of his Design Star winning season and insisted that hot pink spray-painted ducks fastened to a wall was the right way to go. While the rest of his team took relish in throwing him under the bus for the decision, the judges saw his genius (and though I'm no interior design expert, so did I). He brings a rock n' roll vibe to design, and his brash exterior is tempered with (yes, I'm going to say it) a heart of gold. For all these reasons, not to mention his unabashed love of his dog, he is securely set at number five.

And there you have it. After reading my list you may be wondering who is on my husband's list. I am too, actually (I told you the List is ever-evolving). I know at one point his list included Debra Messing and Genevieve Gorder, though I'm not sure either remain. The one consistent List-member is Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (not that he watches the show, but every time a commercial comes on he never fails to comment on how beautiful she is). 

It's a silly little thing about which some people may roll their eyes, but listing those (albeit unattainable) celebrities with whom we are "allowed" to have relations without consequence is just plain fun. Now, if you haven't already, make a list of your own (you've probably already started making mental tick marks either for or against my list, so go ahead and make one for yourself). Just be sure to share it with me - tit for tat, you know.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The One on the Eve of my High School Reunion

Twenty years, people. That's how long it's been since I graduated high school. It feels just like it was yesterday and light years ago at the same time.

I had a great time in high school. I grew up in a small town in Oregon, and there were only 60 of us in my graduating class (in the one and only public high school in town). You can imagine there wasn't much competition for extra curricular activities with that size student body, so I got to be involved in just about anything I wanted. I was on the volleyball team, on the cheerleading squad (don't judge), in the drama club, in both choir and band, in student government (student body president my senior year - oh yes I was), and I even played on the golf team for a year. I tried anything and everything that sounded interesting or fun, and I often, if not usually, succeeded (there was a reason I didn't play on the golf team a second year).

Since then, Life has thrown me a few curve balls, and sometimes I have a hard time finding the fearless and outgoing girl I used to be in my current, adult self. Occasionally, I fear she's just up and gone, leaving me inside the shell of a 37-year-old self-doubting pessimist. When I get to my reunion tomorrow, I wonder if the only thing my classmates will notice is that I've gained weight and lost confidence.

But lately, I've seen glimpses of my former self. Though I still sometimes wrestle with the selfishness of our decision not to have any more children, that was really the springboard for me to embrace the search for, well, me. The past few months has seen me become healthier and lighter, and while my writing career hasn't quite taken off yet, it's racing down the runway.

The person I'm becoming resembles the girl I used to be, but she's less naive and I'd like to think a bit wiser. Though I'm a good 20 pounds heavier than I was in high school, I'm going to walk into my reunion tomorrow hoping people recognize the old me - the girl with enthusiasm and wit, the girl who welcomed a challenge.

And I hope when I get back home I'll remain up for any challenge, because like I said, I've still got that 20 pounds to lose.