So This Is Me, At 33

Posted in Random, Stuff That Bothers Me, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by sperpis

This weekend is my birthday. I will be turning 34. Thirty four! When I was a kid I would have thought that 34 was the age most grandparents were. It just seems so…old. But you know what? I don’t feel a day over 21. I still feel young and think young (I can’t decide if that’s good or not). Especially since my body is starting to do the things that everyone’s does at some time or another – it’s aging.

Yep, this gray mare just ain’t what she used to be. If I sleep on my back for too long, my lower back aches. If I squat to pick something up off of the floor, it takes me considerably longer to stand up than it used to. If I don’t have a full 8 hours of sleep I pay for it dearly the next day. But the worst thing of all, the sign that I am no longer the teenager I feel like, is that my doctor prescribed fiber supplements. That means that once daily I am required to drink a tall glass of orange flavored Metamucil. And if I don’t? You don’t want to know what happens…

Which leads me to the most crazy, grown-up, I’m-not-a-kid-anymore example of all: next month I have to go in for a colonoscopy. Apparently they are not just for senior citizens. And once you are the patient who has to have said colonoscopy, it loses every ounce of humor that may have been associated with it prior to making the appointment for the procedure.

I’m not scared of the procedure itself, which goes a little something like this. No, no, that doesn’t scare me one bit especially considering I will be heavily sedated and/or totally knocked out. (Currently I am rooting for the latter.) What absolutely terrifies me, however, is the preparation for the procedure.

The day before I take a ride on the flying scope, I am required to drink no less than one full bottle of laxative accompanied by ten tiny little laxative pills. While reading the information packet on the prep, I actually came across a section that suggested I take some books, magazines and my iPod into the bathroom and prepare to just hang out there all day. Oh, and I have to maintain a clear liquid diet in the meanwhile. (Vodka is a clear liquid, isn’t it?)

I am mature enough to reason that this is for the best, and that I need to find out why I have the symptoms I have been having. I know that if there is something seriously wrong with me it is best to discover it now. But…but…I don’t wanna hafta! Thankfully my mom will be in town to drive me to and from my appointment and attempt to get me transported up the two flights of stairs into my waiting apartment. I only hope the drugs I am on won’t prompt me to say something inappropriate.

God bless him, my boyfriend offered to take care of me. I quickly blurted out a “no thanks!” and then more calmly told him that as much as I love him and as comfortable as I am with him, this is going to be a solid 6.7 on the embarassment richter scale. I could almost feel his relief over the phone.

None of this sounds like any fun at all. But now that I am an adult, and not the youthful spring chicken I once was, this is the responsible thing to do. This is where I am as an almost 34 year old; goin’ crazy, havin’ colonoscopies…the whole works! (Boy what I wouldn’t do to be 18 again!)

P.S. I am really really really not stoked about having a colonoscopy. Just for the record.

I Don’t Eat Meat. Or Do I?

Posted in Cooking, Random, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2012 by sperpis

It’s like a work of art…

It seems as though I am caught in what is referred to as a quandary. Said quandary is ongoing and I don’t see it coming to an end soon, especially since I am a Libra. Those born under the Libra sign are on an eternal quest for balance, which is really just a nice way of saying we have an incredibly difficult time making decisions. Whether it is deciding which brand of deodorant to buy or choosing which university we will attend, no decision is too small (and thus, too easy) for a Libra.

Alas I digress. My quandary is such: I don’t know whether or not I should eat meat. It seems like a pretty cut and dry decision but in typical Libra fashion I have pored over the pros and cons and still have not come to a satisfying conclusion.

Here’s the thing: I grew up in a family where eating freshly hunted pheasant or venison was par for the (third) course. I have eaten the hearts of both pheasants and deer, I have sampled buffalo jerky and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy the hell out of a nicely roasted quail.

This all seems okay until you factor in the fact that I love animals. I think they are valuable creatures and at the end of the day it is quite unsettling to me that a hamburger being served on a plate once had parents and a face. How do we know it didn’t have a soul? What if it was attached to its siblings, only to be broken-hearted when one or another of them went to face their fate at the slaughter-house? How is this any different from eating one of your pets?

And then there is the fact that in many practices, animals who are being raised to be our dinner aren’t really treated that well. I find it hard to believe that any of them, as they are on the slaughter line or riding on the truck to meet its destiny, look back and think, “You know what? I’ve had a good life. If I have to make the ultimate sacrifice so that some guy in Jersey can win a Hot Dog eating contest, than that is my contribution to the world.”

Here is where it gets weird. The past two weeks I have been house sitting for a friend of mine and during my stay have watched my fair share of Food Network and other food-related shows. Many of these programs focus on largely carnivorous offerings: ribs, pulled pork, hamburgers, etc. And you know what? It doesn’t gross me out! (Most of the time. I drew the line at the sight of an oxtail sandwich.) In many cases these dishes look so appetizing it’s all I can do to not run to the local butcher and walk out with a side of ribs flung over my shoulder.

Part of me really believes that humans have been eating animals for centuries upon centuries, as our ancient ancestors found them to be a hearty, relatively easy way to feed themselves and their families. However, our ancient ancestors didn’t have to worry about beef injected with hormones and scallops made from the wings of a stingray. In addition, the carbon footprint being left on the planet from raising animals for food has proven to be astronomical. Do I want any part of this?

Confession time: a few days ago I baked up some spicy chicken wings that I am certain were not raised ethically and were probably pumped full of hormones, MSG and other things I can’t even spell. And they were tasty! I felt like I was eating the forbidden fruit, and I never would have partaken in such a snack had I not been alone. I knew it was terrible for me, but the temptation was too great.

And have I mentioned how much I love In ‘N’ Out Burger? There is nothing – NOTHING – more delicious in this world than that amazing iconic burger. Perfectly soft and squishy buns that don’t fall apart, savory caramalized onions, a quality beef patty and the quintessential toppings of cheese, fresh tomato and hand-leafed lettuce. It turns out you can buy perfection for less than $5.oo (fries included).

When I am in Kauai, it is next to impossible to be vegetarian. There is so much wonderful fresh fish being offered on each menu I would be remiss if I didn’t treat myself to some of the best meals the islands have to offer. Mahi mahi, o’paka’paka, ahi, ohno…so many delightful varieties. How could I not sample these types of meals?

So you see what my quandary is, but as I have been writing this piece I can’t help but recall that whole Libra mantra: balance, balance, balance. I may not be the world’s most staunch vegetarian but my heart is in the right place and I keep my morals and values in check while every so often slipping down a delicious, meat-covered slide.

The sandwich I saw on Food Network that brought me to my knees – shredded beef with onion jam and bleu cheese mousse. I have yet to try it…and it looked better on TV

Please Help My Cousin Find A New Kidney!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 27, 2012 by sperpis

My cousin Sean was recently diagnosed with kidney failure. After spending his high school and college years as a fit, able-bodied athlete, it appears as though he has an autoimmune disorder that has now rendered his kidneys with a 12% functionality.

Sean is a wonderful person – charming, funny, personable, loyal and talented. He was married to his wife Katie in May and the two are planning a long, healthy life together. However, unless he receives a new kidney within the next month he will be forced to be treated via monthly dialysis for the rest of his life. Unfortunately, his brother Ryan was determined to not be a match for him so we are back to square one, so to speak.

Yesterday, his mother sent out this impassioned plea for help. I am in the process of being tested but have already been told that since I am a woman, giving him my kidney would likely be a temporary fix. The analogy the donation coordinator used was that it would be “like putting a little Mercedes engine in a Mack truck.”

PLEASE help us spread the word. More info regarding the transplant is available HERE and in addition, the Transplant Coordinator Sharon Stencel can be reached at (916) 734-3295.

Thank you for reading this and for sharing! Please feel free to email me with any other questions you may have –


Say No To This Show

Posted in Stuff That Bothers Me with tags , on July 26, 2012 by sperpis

I think it’s sad that the process of selecting a bridal gown should include “New Drama”


Have you seen this show “Say Yes To The Dress”? For those who haven’t, here’s a super-brief rundown: recently engaged women patronize a bridal gown salon to select their wedding dresses. It’s a pretty basic concept, but it is just so bad in so many ways. 

First of all, I am guessing it is somewhat normal for a woman who is getting married to invite her mom, sister, best friend, etc. to tag along while she chooses her one and only (hopefully) wedding dress. That seems completely normal. What does NOT seem normal is the bride-to-be inviting her father in on the action! Who in their right mind would want their dad to be there? Personally I think my own father would just as soon watch paint dry. What really gets me, though, is when the dad actually chimes in and vetoes the bride’s choice of dress! On several occasions, I have seen the father of the bride flat-out tell his daughter that he doesn’t like the dress and she’d better choose another. WTF is that all about?

I understand that in many situations, the parents of the bride are footing the bill for everything including the bride’s dream gown. But wouldn’t you think that a proud, loving father would allow his “baby girl” to choose what she wears when she gets married? Who the hell is he, Mr. Blackwell? This concept absolutely astonishes me. If my dad so much as rolled his eyes at my dress selection, there would be hell to pay. Plain and simple.

Don’t worry, though. If dad isn’t there to nay-say the bride’s choice of gown, there is usually more than one woman (be it a sister, cousin, friend or future in-law) to disagree with the bride’s decision. I have seen brides on SYTTD who leave the dressing room like they are on Cloud Freakin’ Nine; they’re smiling and brimming with confidence at how beautiful they feel in “The Dress”. Lo and behold, there is always at least one woman whose frown is immediately visible, who shakes her head as if she is a judge in a reality singing competition. Immediately, the bride’s smile fades as she is bombarded with reasons that “The Dress” just simply won’t do. Little by little, they chip away at her until she solemnly turns around and heads back to the fitting room.

I can’t decide which is more frustrating: the women (and men) who poo-poo the bride’s choice of gown? Or the bride who lacks enough backbone to stand by her selection come hell or highwater?

All I know is this: when and if the day comes that I find myself in the market for a wedding gown, there will be one person and one person only who makes the final decision: me, baby. And if you don’t like it? There should be plenty of other future brides in the store you can harass.

See You On The Other Side

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2012 by sperpis

I haven’t been writing much lately for no other reason than I have been really busy. I know: who isn’t busy? Surely I could find time to write some silly little bit about something totally asinine or humorous. Frankly, though, I haven’t felt much like doing so.

You see, my grandmother (“Gami” as she was lovingly referred to) passed away last Monday at the ripe age of 96. She was a character in her own way. Most of the world knew her as a true “lady”; she always wore lipstick out in public and had an extensive collection of jewelry and antiques. She is also the woman whom I credit for instilling in me a love of beauty products and other such fine things. Behind closed doors or around close family and friends, however, she told silly jokes and sang silly songs.

When I would visit her as a child she always had some sort of perfume or face cream to which she would introduce me. She always smelled good and was adamant that cheap perfume was not to be tolerated or worn. By anyone. I would spend hours looking at her jewels and trinkets and playing with them. Most of the time she had some back story of whatever piece I was playing with, and she was sure to let me know when what I was holding was “good” (Gami speak for damn expensive and irreplacable).

She led a fascinating life, living with her grandmother in Colorado before meeting my grandfather and falling in love. He was a mining engineer and when his job took them to South America in 1949, they had already been married for 12 years. It was at this time that Gami learned she was pregnant with my mother. After arriving in Bolivia (which she had reached by ship, naturally) she gave birth to my mother in a small Bolivian village called Chulumani. From there they moved to Caracas, Venezuela. They spent most of my mother’s young life moving back and forth from Venezuela to The States, eventually moving back permanently after my grandfather was killed in a devastating mining accident.

Gami always told me that she wanted to have me dictate the story of my mother’s birth so that we could write a book about it together. As a teenager, though, I figured there was no hurry; we had all the time in the world. But as humans are so inclined to do, Gami began to grow old and her memory began to fail. At the time of her death, my mother said she wouldn’t have recognized me if I had gone to see her. I am just grateful for the stories she did have a chance to tell me and for the appreciation of the finer things in life.

Before she passed, I used to think to myself: “Would I have any regrets if Gami were to pass away right this moment? Would I be ashamed that I had chances to visit her, yet didn’t?” Now that she is gone I can honestly answer that no, I don’t have any regrets. Knowing what I know now, I am so thankful that my memories of her will be those in which she was vibrant and intelligent and sometimes very silly. I think she would be glad that she was spared the indignity of having her granddaughter see her when she was so incapable of doing so many things (including putting on lipstick).

So what else is there left to do but wish her well on her next journey? She was a very special and fascinating woman and I will miss her and think of her every day.

In closing, I would like to recall one of my most cherished memories of Gami. Occasionally I would stay with her at her house in Sacramento, usually on a weekend. She would always let me watch The Golden Girls before calling it a day, at which point I would climb high into her four-poster bed and snuggle down into her crisp white linens. She would sing me to sleep; sometimes they were songs that she had made up herself. Here is my favorite (or at least what I can remember of the lyrics; not bad considering the last time I heard it was nearly 26 years ago). It begins with something about visiting a place called Dreamland, and continues as such:

“…There’s a peddler who carries high on his back

a sack

Do you know what he has in that sack?

It’s not candy or gums, or delectable creams

Do you know what it is?

It’s a bag full of dreams

There are dreams for a penny

Some that cost two

There are no two alike

and they’re sure to come true

[forgotten line]

…so just close your eyes

and go off to sleep.”

Okay, So Maybe I Had Thirteen Items

Posted in Stuff That Bothers Me, What Is The Matter With People? with tags , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by sperpis

Over my lunch break I make the trip to the grocery store to do some quick shopping for the weekend. All of the lines are extremely long except for the 4 or 5 Express Lanes, and I have too many produce and bulk items to warrant a trip through self-check. I can tell by looking that there are probably more than 12 items emptied out of my basket, but that is considering each lemon and each avocado as a separate item. You with me so far?

As my groceries begin their way on the conveyer belt toward the cashier, I sheepishly ask him: “Is it okay if I have more than twelve items?” to which he replies by shrugging his shoulders with a smile. (Translation? It isn’t that big a deal.) I would also like to mention that no one is in line behind me. At least not at first.

A few moments later this scraggly, bespectacled hippy-looking guy enters the queue behind me and places his two packets of Top Ramen on the belt. I don’t know what it is about him but something about his presence strikes me as “off”. I just know in my gut that there is going to be some sort of interaction with this person.

And that’s when I notice his eyes scanning my groceries as they are being rung up. His lips are moving, with no sound coming out. That’s when I realize that he is counting my items! Finally he mumbles, “Well you should probably get in another line. You have more than twelve items there.” (Did I mention I am already in the process of being rung up?)

So I turn to him and as calmly as I can say, “Well no one was in line when I first put my items on the belt, and he is almost done ringing me up. If you would like to volunteer to walk with me while I shop and count my items as I place them in the basket, you are more than free to do so. But for now, this is what’s happening and you need to deal with it.” I refrain from stating that anyone buying two packs of Top Ramen in the middle of the day probably doesn’t have anywhere urgent to be.

I can’t believe this joker. And what’s more, the cashier (the very one who just a few minutes prior gave me the “aw, shucks” shrug) just stands there and won’t look up from what he is doing! Where is he with his shrug now? My guess is that he is probably scared of me, as well he should be.

This entire event has inspired me to create a new blog category: “What Is The Matter With People?” Sadly, this is something I think to myself at least 20 times daily and it pains me to know we will never have an answer.

Feel free to share some of your own “WITMWP?” moments. Chances are you aren’t alone. (If only…)

It’s Really Not That Difficult

Posted in Random, Stuff That Bothers Me with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by sperpis

It is so amazingly frustrating to me as a writer the number of punctuation, grammatical and spelling errors I see in major publications and/or websites on a weekly basis. Don’t these writers have editors? An even more appropriate question: don’t they proofread what they wrote? I would be appalled if a column or article appeared with my name on the masthead that contained any errors whatsoever. (And I was…the one time I had my face in a national magazine, someone chopped up my words in the most horrific way. I wonder what horrible deed I did to deserve that.)

Anyway! I have decided that I am going to dedicate this particular spot on my blog to some of the more glaring mistakes I find (look for bold print). If nothing else, it will make me feel better about myself.

Begin Captain’s Log…

June 28, 2012 –

Later, Frankel asked Michaels if he had really been with ans many women as his promiscuous rocker reputation might suggest.

June 28, 2012 –

I grew up on Jiffy Pop on the stovetop, shaking it away, pulling open the foil and the great smell through the house, it was so much fun back then in the 70’s. Then my brother Luke, became the guru so to speak on making popcorn on the stove with grandma’s old saucepan and boy was it ever the best to eat, fresh popped, butter salt, buttery flavored oil, with age it became the best seasoned pan in the world to make popcorn in. Then somehow we got into the microwave age and the fast and furious was born.

– Run-on sentence much?

June 29, 2012 –


– Could it be that they actually have the look of love at lunch? Most likely. This is why there are proofreaders.

July 13, 2012

This one just speaks for itself. The irony is not lost on me or anyone else I presume…