Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Dear Annie,

I have recently realized that the intricacies of life, the sinews of real human relationships are filled with far more drama and excitement than even the most preposterous of movie plots.

I enjoy watching life unfold... the subtleties of our every day interactions.

God is most certainly the ultimate storyteller.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Conspiracy Bug

Dear Annie,

This week my mom discovered a video on the Internet. It is one where a bunch of kids put their cell phones around corn kernels. Then, their phones ring all at once, and the kernels suddenly pop. Voila! Popcorn! 

After viewing this horrifying video, she sent me an email. Note the concerned red ink:

Hi Lisa,

Did you see this?   Maybe we should rethink carrying cell phones in our pocket!!  We want to be sure you aren't sterile . . . . . .

Could these waves, be dangerous??  Try this with all your friends phones.  See if it really works.


My response:

Um, those are obvious actors.  =)  Read following article.



OK, but you have a GROUP of friends, why don't you try it with them.  Just take some popcorn to your next meal out, or to church, and try it OK???

Might be fun.



WHY??? ha ha. it is a JOKE. it doesn't really work!  


MAYBE,   TRY IT!!!!!    Ha Ha

Yes, that's right. My mother really thinks that a cell phone could pop corn. Once you put an idea in her head, there is no undoing it! 



Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Time Capsule

Dear Annie,

I was going to begin this blog with a poem I wrote at nineteen, but I thought better of it. In fact, thumbing through my poetry journal just now makes me blush, and the only thing keeping me from setting it aflame is the thought that I just recently replaced the battery in my smoke detector.

What was I doing at nineteen? Tell me, for crying out loud!

The year I graduated from high school, my senior class buried a time capsule over by the tennis courts. They plan to dig it up on our twentieth reunion. I remember that I wrote a note to myself, and also one to my high school sweetheart (who dumped me six months later for my roommate). My only regret now is that I am compelled to return on that fateful day to watch my class open the thing. Will I read those letters? Should I read them?

I would really like to know what advice my nineteen year old self has for me now. What would she tell me?

“You old prude,” she’d begin, “You grew up to become everything you loathed.”
“Yes I did,” I’d reply, “and my only regret is ever being you.”

If you could go back and relive your youth with the knowledge you have now, would you? I don't think I would. Even with all the mistakes I've made, I'd much rather not suffer through the misery of being a teenager again.

I had three best friends in boarding academy: Heather, Tiffany and Breanna. We would sit around and joke about who would get married first, and now I'm the only one still single. Two of them have kids, and the third is the one who married my high school sweetheart! I guess the joke's on me, huh?

I wonder what I'll be like ten years from now. Will I be married? Will I have children? And most importantly, will I be fat? I better not be. I'm going to write a letter to myself right now.

Dear Lisa,

It has been a long time since you were me. I wonder what you are up to. I hope you are married with children, and own your own island by now, like you planned. Have you ran for office yet? Perhaps you are a supermodel, a housewife and the president? And you better not have gained a pound!

Your younger, better looking self.


Friday, September 12, 2008


Dear Annie,

I’m sitting here listening to The Mission soundtrack on my iPod. It was written by Ennio Morricone, who is probably one of the most brilliant composers alive. On my way to Gelson’s for lunch today, I had it playing, and everything seemed to pass by in slow motion. Much like your Oblivion soundtrack does for you, when I’m listening to this music, the minutiae of life suddenly seem meaningful. Stop lights, passing cars, a dog peeing on a fire hydrant... 

My favorite song on the album is Gabriel’s Oboe.

I’d say that the oboe is, without a doubt, my favorite instrument. I did not discover this until about a year ago. And when I realized it, I looked online for oboe music, and found it surprisingly hard to come by.

The oboe is a rather unassuming instrument. If you saw one, you’d think it would make an ugly sound, and never guess it would cost you thousands of dollars. I wish I had one. I’d promise my firstborn to whatever devilish creature could conjure me up an oboe...

Few sounds can wrap themselves around my heart like its perfect timbre. It is melancholy, passionate, haunting, yet strangely hopeful. Subdued, yet violent. 

People always imagine angels as playing harps, I think of them as playing oboes.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Dear Annie,

Few things are more enjoyable to me than walking to the gas station on a late summer afternoon to buy a soda and a candy bar. 

There were no stores in my neighborhood growing up, not to mention, I had very little money. I remember one day, though, on which my sister, our friend Mandy and I made the three mile trek to the grocery store to buy some candy. I must have been about six, and I'm sure my parents would have died had they discovered.  But I remember how good it felt to choose something off the shelf... anything I wanted, and pay for it. 

That day comes to mind on the rare occasions I leave my office chair and head on over to the convenient store down the block. If I do go, it is usually in the warm glow of the late afternoon, there is a breeze and I hear the sound of the passing traffic. At these times, even the gum spots on the sidewalk seem to call my name...

I smile at the clerk as I make my entrance, and walk over to the soda section. I survey my options. 

Recently I discovered Dr. Pepper. I never drank it growing up (we were a Coke and Pepsi family, if anything). But then, on the Foundry retreat, I ordered a Coke at lunch and the waiter goofed. He brought me a Dr. Pepper. What a pleasant surprise it was!

So I grab a Dr. Pepper off the shelf, and head on over to the candy section. So many choices... so many candy bars I have yet to experience... I choose a classic: Reese’s Pieces, which  always remind me of the movie E.T., my first movie going experience.

Now I sit here crunching candy and slurping Dr. Pepper, and I lament that this blog must end, for it means that I shall have to continue editing. 



Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Dear Annie,

While on a walk early this morning, I heard a rustle, and when I turned to look, I discovered two squirrels in someone’s front yard. One was in a tree, and the other, in a trap on the ground. Both were upset, making frantic noises. The caged squirrel was tugging and pushing at the wire mesh surrounding him, and his friend was watching intensely from above, obviously pained. 

I know it is not always the best idea to anthropomorphize animals; however, it was rough seeing this squirrel struggle, and even more miserable watching the frantic concern of his little friend.

Several years ago my parents had a feral cat living in their back yard. They set a trap to catch it, and once captured, the thing hissed and yowled and hurled itself against the cage as if it were demon possessed. My parents were afraid to go near. Hearing the ruckus, our family cat, Macadoodle, decided to scope out the situation. As he approached, that wild beast transformed into a timid little kitten. His hissing now no more than meek mews. Just the presence of another cat, another creature who spoke his language, calmed him down.

I have always had trouble watching animals suffer, even pests. Most girls kill insects, I rescue them, even giant hairy six eyed spiders. So, you can imagine the horror I felt upon seeing this squirrel in a cage. My first instinct was to set it free. I took a step closer, analyzing the contraption. Could I open it? Was it safe? I glanced up to the house. Was someone home? Were they watching? I stepped back as a car passed, embarrassed. Then I turned away and walked up the street a ways. I stopped. It hurt. I wanted to go back. I could still hear their painful sounding squirrel chirps...

At this point, I began to rationalize. We live in a sinful world. Creatures suffer, they die. Besides, a squirrel is nothing more than a bushy tailed rodent. Think about it. What do these squirrels do to warrant a trap being set by their tree? Do they dig up Mrs. Smith’s prize petunias? Do they destroy the lawn in their attempts to hide nuts? Maybe they torture the two year old. Or perhaps they are rabid squirrels, in which case, just opening the cage would put me at risk!

I started to walk further away...

Then again, what if the homeowner is a maniacal sadistic man who loves to torture innocent creatures. Maybe he is a taxidermist and his living room is decorated with stuffed squirrels. Or perhaps he is a mad scientist with a squirrel research lab in his (non existent)  basement. I turned around, with the genuine intent of going back, but instead I hesitated. If, indeed, one of these above scenarios were true, what would the people living in that foreboding house do if they caught me in their front yard, liberating Mr. Squirrel? It was getting late (8am perhaps). Surely these people are awake. They will open that front door any second now to pick up the morning paper, and how embarrassing it would be, for them to discover me hunched over their trap, freeing this little pest.

Alas, I walked away. That’s right, Annie, I turned my back on the squirrels and continued on my way home, their memory growing fainter with each step.  

And thenthe watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Littlelessnothing!and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.
                   —excerpt from “Out, Out—” by Robert Frost


Friday, September 5, 2008

Picture Day

Dear Annie,

When my mother was pregnant, she told God, “If you send me boys, I’ll send them back.” And, I think, as some sort of divine punishment, He sent her my sister and me.

From day one, Laurie, especially, refused all things feminine. In fact she kicked so hard in the womb that my parents were sure a boy was on the way. I highly doubt that child would have accepted even so much as a pink pacifier.

Dirt, lumber, a hammer and nails... these were Laurie’s playthings. She did have one doll. It was a stick doll she had fashioned out of wood. The thing had no head, hands, or toes. I think she drilled a tiny hole at the top of the stick to represent a mouth. Her stick doll must have been about three feet tall, and she would dress him in her clothes.

Now, you may think that it is partially my mother’s fault that Laurie and I lacked all feminine qualities. It is true we spent lots of time out in the wild, camping and whatnot. We had short hair and wore overalls. And yes, my mother grew up without much feminine influence herself (my grandmother only let her bathe once a week). However, by the time my mom hit grad school she had transformed into a feminine beauty. She had long brown hair with perfect curls. She wore beautiful dresses, most of which she sewed herself, plus high heels and makeup. All that and she knew how to cook.

The truth is, my mother did try her best to feminize us. Oh how she tried. One year for picture day, she wanted Laurie to wear a pretty outfit, and Laurie of course, protested. It was quite the battle, but my mother finally got her way, and as her little girl trudged off to class in a dress, I'm sure my mother sat in her VW Rabbit, smiling.

Triumph! She had conquered!

Two weeks later, this photo arrived in the mail:


Thursday, September 4, 2008


Dear Annie,

I received a call the other day about designing a one-sheet for a composer who is somewhat well known in the music and film industries. He had seen my previous work and was really excited about my designs. All seemed well until I asked him how much he would pay. It turns out that the lady who put him in contact with me quoted him a price that was about half of what I normally would have charged. 

Because I am terrified of speaking my mind, and because he was such an impressive client, I was unable to inform him that I needed more money. Now I’m staring at a blank Illustrator document thinking over all the ramifications of what I’ve just agreed to. Will I be able to create something that pleases him? How long will it take? I’m panicking!

Impressive Client + Flat Rate Pay = an average of $2.00 an hour!

Ah. Such is the nature of freelance!


Pizza & Perfection

Dear Annie,

I know my last blog seemed like a joke, but the sad thing is, it was completely genuine. I had just finished typing “6PM” when my phone rang... half a pizza later and a completely wasted evening, I’m sitting here typing this to you. Instead of going on my five mile walk while listening to sermons on my iPod, I consumed inordinate amounts of cheese and white flour, and watched television. My apartment is a disaster (I threw everything on the floor after returning from retreat, and have yet to pick it up).

Normally I am clean and responsible, but when things get overwhelmingly out of control I don’t know where to begin anew.

Recently, in a conversation with a fellow Epochian, I exclaimed, “I have no will-power!” It turns out that this seems to be another “no no” phrase in Grace culture, because (I surmise) it implies I am trying to do things on my own without any help from God. The correct word is “discipline.” I have no discipline. This is due to my perfectionism. If I cannot get it right the first time, or perfect every time, I don't want to do it at all. If I am dieting and I slip just once, I give up entirely. If I make plans to read every night before I fall asleep, and skip just once, I will never pick up that book again. For crying out loud, if I resolve to do something as simple as take a vitamin pill, and miss just one day, chances are I never open that bottle again.

I can’t resolve to control just one aspect of my life at a time, either. It is an all or nothing endeavor. I must exercise two hours a day, eat perfectly, read a book of the bible every day, and teach myself a new language... all at once, or do none of it. Perhaps I am trying to rely too much on myself after all...


I suppose one might say this is way too personal for a public blog. I DON’T CARE! I need to put it down on virtual paper so I can suffer a little. I need a written record of my misery that I may look back to five years from now.

(At least the pizza was amazing... garlic and sun dried tomatoes... yum!)


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Dear Annie,

Some people fast for religious or spiritual reasons, some people starve themselves for the sake of weight loss, and some people simply forget to eat. I on the other hand, am ashamed to say that I have never gone a day in my life without eating at least something. 

So today, for the first time, I am trying to go a full 24 hours without eating. So far, so good. I don't feel terribly hungry at the moment, and it is already 6PM. 

AAHHH! A friend just called... going for pizza!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Dear Annie,

Few things are more terrifying to a shy, quiet editor than an unruly producer. These creatures are known for their short tempers and ability to throw grande no-foam vanilla lattes long distances.

Overall, as an editor, I have been lucky in my career... most of the clients I’ve worked with have been ever so gracious, patient and jolly. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that my present producer, Jason, is far more frightened of me than I am of him.

Either way, by now I’m quite confident I could handle any personality in the editing bay. Part of this confidence comes with the fact that I know I know what I’m doing, I know I’m a fast editor, and I’m not afraid to admit the things I do not know.

None of these skills are reassuring, however, when it comes to my most recent freelance client. He doesn’t throw things, he doesn’t yell, he simply claims to be a Christian... the type of Christian who God speaks directly and audibly to... the kind of Christian who is given special insight and commands. He believes he’s on a mission and nothing can stop him.

One of our last meetings went so terribly, I swore I’d never return. I questioned his motive on a Christian film project, accused him of misleading his crew and disobeying the rules of the festival. He responded by telling me that God had told him to make the film, that the script was from God (bad language, violence and all), and that he was sure the film would win an award at the Cannes film festival! He also informed me that he has been a Christian way longer than I have, and is far more spiritually mature than I (a line I’ve heard a painful number of times in the last several months as you know!).

When he calls now, I come up with any excuse that is even remotely plausible, and up until now this has worked beautifully. I know what you are thinking... why don’t I just tell him no? I suppose I'm afraid.

Last week he called me to work on an artistic piece for Lexus. I couldn’t come up with any good excuse to say no, so I tried telling him that Santa Monica was too far away to make the money worth it. He responded by doubling my pay! I finally acquiesced.

I woke up this morning and begrudgingly drove down there, repeating in my head “It’s only eight hours... it’s only eight hours!” I vowed to be as kind and helpful as possible, looking at this as a witnessing opportunity.

The day went well, and was filled with more humor than terror. He told me one of his next projects is a documentary about a group of “Christian” dream interpreters that go around and “save” people through these ‘miracles’... uh huh...

I tried informing him that this was entirely un-biblical. He wouldn't have it. “Daniel did it why can’t we?” He gave me this book entitled: Going Deeper, Experiencing New Depths in the Holy Spirit. I’m sure it is full of heresies but I’m too exhausted to thumb through it.

He told me that I’m a talented editor, and that God surely has great plans for me. Then he asked me what my goals were. I told him, “To get married and have lots of children.” He said he’d keep me in his prayers, and my first instinct was to tell him “NO PLEASE DON’T!!” Instead I just smiled.

This guy reminds me of one of my father’s favorite quotes, which is found in chapter three of Moby Dick:

“Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”

Last time I went home, I sat there dumbfound as my father bickered with my mother about the Sabbath issue, saying all the things I had been telling him all along. I saw, for the first time in a long time, a glimmer of hope in his eyes... the tiniest smidgen of light that comes with the revelation of freeing truth! (And somehow I’ve managed to convert my mother to predestination... but that’s another story.) Of course my parents have a long way to go, but they are finally freed from their mental yokes of bondage to a false religion.

A couple weeks ago, while stuck in jury duty, the court gave me a free pass to the MOCA. I eagerly visited on my lunch break, sad I only had ten minutes to enjoy the art. I entered the gallery, only to discover the paintings of Marlene Dumas. Her exhibit was entitled “Measuring Your Own Grave.” The first room had water color paintings of a myriad of faces... men, women, children, different races... all they had in common was the look in their eyes. It was a startling look, a chilling look... a blank, lifeless look. I hastened out of there, hoping that the rest of the exhibit would prove more fruitful. Alas, I was bombarded by images of dead, naked, lifeless bodies... mummified bodies, rotting bodies, children peering at dead bodies, and more hopeless faces. It was truly unnerving. I started fast-walking, and by the end, I promise you (no joke), I was running frantically for the exit. There was a tear in my eye as I gave the desk lady my bag check number. I shuddered as she handed me my backpack, and I barely resisted exclaiming: “HOW DARE YOU!”

One of my text books in sixth grade had a painting of Paul (Saul) persecuting the Christians, and another of him as an older man with the kindest looking eyes, all defiance wiped away. I remember looking at the two pictures and finding Saul quite handsome and the transformed Paul rather boring and uninteresting. “Is this what Christianity is all about? Killing your spirit?” (And oh how opposite an impression I have of this painting today!)

Indeed I only recall this picture of Paul now because it came to mind when I witnessed my father talking about the Sabbath. His eyes looked just like the eyes in that picture, gazing up, not down, with a glimmer of hope and excitement, and most importantly, full of life! What a beautiful image that is.