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thug life

4 Aug

howdy, y’all!  since i’m nearly done mourning my aged pubic region, i figured it was time to get back online and say hi!  hi!

it’s been a super busy summer thus far.  i won’t bore you with the details but if i told you i sorted my sock drawer would you actually believe me?  what if i told you i went on a date that included gunplay?

well, for those who know me may be surprised that actually 50% of the above is true…and it’s not the socks. btw, anyone know of a good sock organizer?  asking for a friend.

as you know, my dating life tends to be a fun potpourri of weirdness mixed with more weirdness. 2016 continues to not disappoint in this regard.  The year started with a bang when i went out with someone so beautiful it actually hurt to look at him…only to find out after a while that he was born in seattle the same year Nirvana released “Nevermind”.   yes, he was so young he could’ve been the naked baby swimming on the cover.  as someone who was old enough to be his mother already an adult the first time grunge came around, i had to release the boychild back into dating pool and wash all the cougar residue off my person. but can i just say hashtag mamma still got it?!


then there was the broody latin musician (yes another f*cking musician…insert eye roll here) who loved mezcal, frank zappa, disfunction, his upright bass, co-dependency, and coco (often in that order).  while he, too, was caught and released…i carry with me a new-found love for mezcal and musician-avoidance.

and most recently, there’s been the special agent, law enforcement guy person who isn’t 22 nor a functional alcoholic to whom i can legitimately ask, “is that a gun in your pocket or you just happy to see me?” promising, right?!

it all started in that romantic “boy meets girl on bumble” kinda way.   hot worldly boy asks awkward weird girl out for dinner.  awkward weird girl says something sarcastic and then accepts. awkward weird girl then has a lovely 5-hour dinner with hot worldly boy where she manages to not really eat a lot because she’s too busy being nervous and awkward…but don’t worry about her because she goes to the del taco drive-through after said date and inhales a ridiculous amount of meat and cheese and crunchy corn shell goodness.  clearly awkward weird girl didn’t screw up too badly because hot worldly boy asks her out again…this time to do something she mentioned she’s never done…

shoot a gun.

i’ll give you a moment to laugh and/or scream “NOOOOOO!” or run for cover.

indeed, if you’ve read more than two of my blogs or have been around me IRL for more than 86 seconds, you know i have ZERO business having anything more dangerous than a plastic spoon in my possession.  and even with a plastic spoon, i would likely find a way to break off the spoon part, trip, fall on it and poke both my eyes out.  so the idea of even being within two football fields of something as powerful and dangerous and scary as a gun is pretty ridiculous.  but hot worldly guy was clearly having a bout of temporary insanity  amused by my trepidation and was piqued to see me face my fears.  and if you happen to ever read this hot worldly boy, i swear i am NOT afraid of heights or sharks or the dark or neil diamond or tapioca pudding.

so i put on my butch-iest outfit which sadly meant i couldn’t wear cute shoes (SCOFF!). hot worldly boy told me to leave the heels at home without me even asking which means he somehow already understood my undying love of hot shoes (SWOON!).  so after dusting off my sneakers and a baseball hat, i jumped in my car to face three of my greatest fears…1) firearms 2) the 710 freeway and 3) wearing athletic footwear on a second date.

when i arrived, i almost jumped back in my car because hot worldly boy did something so horrendous that even now i have a difficult time mentioning without tears.  yes, he had the audacity to wear a boston redsocks cap (yes, aunt ellen…i know you’re crying now too..i’m so very sorry).  i immediately yanked it off his hot worldly head and threw it as far as i could.  ah, relief.

once i got over my shock and anger because everyone knows the bosox suck hard, he commenced with an in-depth firearms training.  he laid out all the disassembled parts of the gun in front of me.  he told me what they all were and how they worked and how they were put together.  i just sat there trying not to freak out as this was the closest i’ve ever been to a gun and omg SCARY SCARY SCARY! at some point i think he realized i was having a minor psychotic break and kissed me.  right out of a rom-com movie, that kiss made me pull my sh*t together and helped me feel more grounded.  so note that if you’re ever in a crisis with me, it’s probably a good idea to shove your tongue down my throat.  hashtag the more you know.

when the lesson was done, we jumped in his car where he had special music lined up for the occasion.  when Straight Outta Compton started blaring from his speakers, i nearly cried tears of gangster joy.  my NWA brothers took all the anxiety away, and suddenly i was ready to put a cap in some paper’s a$$.  hashtag thug life


how i thought i looked


how i really looked

and while i nearly crapped my pants ran out of the range 1,478 times during our session, i’m very glad i stayed and shot 3 rounds. and quite well i must admit.  i can’t say i’m going to join my local gun range tomorrow or even have the desire to shoot a handgun again.  but this experience allowed me to both face my fears and put my trust in another human being…two things that i often suck at.  so thanks hot, worldly guy.  that was pretty cool.


ps can we go to del taco next time?

grey gardens

14 Jun


so let’s just get this over with…

i found my first grey pube.

i like to think that i’ve lived an interesting life. my purposely vague few dozen years on this earth have been filled with a healthy level of turmoil mixed with a splash of discomfort and a dash of disappointment, rounded out with a dollop of surprise and adventure.  as such, i’m not easily shaken by life’s little twists and turns.  if my emotions were personified, they’d be a husky midwest girl who doesn’t bat an un-mascaraed eyelash when she has to evacuate into a basement to evade a twister or deliver a two-headed heifer with her bare hands.

and while i actually haven’t delivered a baby cow or evaded a tornado…i’ve ran after a purse snatcher on Chicago’s mean streets. and in complete anarchy against social norms, i’ve actually worn brown and black together. twice. clearly i’m a woman who’s feathers are not easily ruffled.  and cumulative fucks given?  about 0.25.


and let’s be honest..getting older doesn’t come as a surprise. we grow up being warned about the weird things that happen as we age.  my sudden butterscotch and black licorice cravings? they haven’t caught me off-guard.  the ever-growing need to look things up on  disappointing, but understandable at my age (note: do NOT look up “truffle butter”).  my desire to tell kids to get off my lawn?  completely normal per what i’ve been told.  in fact, i’ve been awaiting the harbingers of old-fogeyness with a mix of giddiness and resolve.  mostly cuz my t*ts are still quite perky.



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so as i try to sober up find meaning in all of this, i’ll be distracting myself with ordering a life alert, watching grey gardens because those ladies know how to get down with the old and crazy, and seeing if urban dictionary has a term for my crotch plight…


and if they don’t, someone might have submit “grey gardens” for their consideration 🙂




WWDJD aka what would derek jeter do?

6 Jul

happy july, people!  do you know if groupon’s offering a liver + skin transplant two-fer anywhere, cuz, like, i might be dying.  and i’m not sure if you can get cirrhosis of the entire body, but i’m pretty certain that’s exactly what’s going on.  and let’s not talk about the REALLY weird orifices that i managed to sunburn.  and HEY, HOUSE, YOU’RE A D*CK STOP SPINNING!


after last year’s 4th of july ebola outbreak, i wasn’t gonna let anything get in my way of enjoying a long weekend in a place that wasn’t my apartment.  and if that meant free-basing emergen-C and mainlining allergy medicine while i snorted ground-up vitamins, so be it. so when i woke up butt-early this friday and i was actually (over-)packed, the car actually had more than three teaspoons of gas, and i didn’t have the bubonic plague or tuberculosis, i could help but to high-five myself for being ready for my mini-vacay.



you see, my girl B and her fam have this place by a lake in a far away place i’ve never heard of and she was silly nice enough to invite coco to join in their annual 4th festivities.  and because i haven’t been on a trip since the industrial revolution and since the last 6 months can suck my right nut, i was more than stoked to get away.  and when she said something about “fast boats” and “LOTS OF BEER” i’m pretty sure a singular tear fell down my cheek and i hugged her for an inappropriately long time.

it was a four-hour trek to the lake house that included 1,230 pee breaks, 50 hundred billion espresso drinks (note aforementioned pee breaks), 1 gas stop, and the realization that if i’m ever feeling bad about myself, i should just spend 5 minutes oogling the really weird people who frequent rest stops. when i finally rendezvous’d with everyone up there, i might have been so excited i nearly drove over a curb because i’m an a$$hole a big believer in making a memorable entrance.

everyone on the trip was super nice and young and skinny and hot and tan and not-awkward. basically the search results of when you google, “coco, antonym”.  but since i brought booze and didn’t do anything too stupid in the first 60 seconds, they let the weirdo who just kept gleefully muttering “boats and beer” and apparently wore cute inappropriate boat shoes hang with them.  and for that, i’m so very surprised grateful.

but while it may have appeared to be nirvana for the coco upon first blush, there were two BIG problems:

1) there were LOTS of activities that required hand-eye coordination/not falling over.

So while i was busy obsessing over the “beer” and “boats” part, i guess i missed the whole part when my girl B talked about all the water skiing and swimming and volleyball and wiffle ball and beer pong and corn hole and… since i have the athletic prowess of carol channing and i’m as outdoorsy as the olsen twins, i was faced with showing a large number of awesome people how NOT to do sporty things.

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these people could waterboard behind the boat like they were in the olympics…all the while, i couldn’t even sit on the boat without incident.  i found myself squealing every time (a) the cold lake water splashed on me (because nature and non-chlorinated water is scary!), (b) we hit any type of wave (because waves are scary!), and/or (c) we had to walk more than 2 feet on the boat (because walking is scary!).  i recused myself from the volleyball matches later and instead challenged myself in a solo game of “drink as many beers as possible then go throw yourself on (and subsequently break) the kids slip-n-slide”, which i clearly won. after that, i caught exactly zero balls while playing wiffle ball (but did manage to surreptitiously drink someone else’s delicious margarita in-between missing every play).  and i’m pretty sure i’m the first person in their beer pong tournament history who was thrown off a team for being the worst ever.  but they let me stay all weekend and be awkward, un-athletic me and for that, i’ll be forever grateful.

coco playing wiffle ball

coco playing wiffle ball

2) we were being hosted by my baseball nemesis.

i forgot to mention that my girl B’s dad is a retired MLB player who i grew up loathing.  he played for not one BUT TWO OF MY LEAST FAVORITE TEAMS EVER UGH GROSS.  and as a girl who was practically born wearing the yankee pinstripes, i was pretty sure my aunt ellie might disown me if she found out i was under the same roof as our enemy.  so i was torn..the promise of boats and beer vs my yankee pride.  what to do?!  i could shank him in his throwing arm then spray paint ‘BRONX ZOO RULEZ’ all over his boat as i scream-sing New York New York.  or i could take this lil girl’s approach.  but both seemed a bit extreme (can you tell i’ve softened up after being away from NY?).  i was conflicted.  confused.  lost.  so i did what i often do…i asked myself, “WWDJD: What Would Derek Jeter Do? ”


ask and you shall receive. i called up to God…aka derek, and said, “hey derek, can you help a coco out?!” and that sexy Jeter voice called down to me through my 6-beer haze and said, “hey girl.  drink all his delicious wine that appears to be A LOT nicer than your usual charles shaw, smoke all his delicious cigars, relentlessly tease him about his love of smooth jazz, and make sure he’s forced to be on your wiffle ball team.” ah yes, derek.  this was a perfect plot, indeed.  revenge is a dish best served with a lot of really nice free wine.  poor guy.  GO YANKEES!

so now that i’ve had my fill of wine and cigars and smooth jazz and boats and beer and being around really amazing people, i’m ready to pass out until wednesday then check myself into cedars for a blood transfusion. hashtag the struggle is real.  hope y’all had a great 4th!


“if things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding.”

11 Sep
september 11th crept up on me this year. it all started yesterday when i watched, ‘extremely loud and and incredibly close’ for the first time.
about 10 minutes in, i was like, “oh crap, september 11th is tomorrow!” the guilt pangs that i somehow didn’t let that “worst day” loom large like in years past started to take hold. but then i realized….this is a good thing, coco. normalcy is a good thing. weird. in the days..heck, even years after 9/11, we all wondered if that day would ever feel “normal”. while for far too many of those directly impacted, it will never feel close to normal, for the rest of us, we now go to the grocery store, watch vapid tv shows, go along like businesses as usual. i have to remind myself that it’s A-okay to feel and be normal today (well, as normal as i’m capable of being). and in my quest to be okay with normal last year, i set out to find out an answer to a question that dogged me for a decade. and like the little boy in the movie, i finally got my answer. may we all keep asking the questions that need to be asked and never give up on finding the answers. because, “if things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding.”
to read about my own personal scavenger hunt on the 10-year anniversary, click here:

sending love and light to those lost and those left behind on “the worst day”.

dear photographer stephen crowley

11 Sep

for the past few days coco’s been feeling like butt.  and said butt-feelingness couldn’t have come at a worse time as work and life seem to be more demanding than a lohan child.  finally calling ‘uncle’ (UNCLE!), i had to jump off life’s treadmill and try to get myself well again.  which meant staying home on a saturday night and falling asleep at an hour even a 6-year old would scoff at.

but before i travelled to sleepyland, i started thinking about 10 years ago.  and since I’m already predisposed to excessive sentimentality, anniversaries are a big deal in la vida coco.  sadly, though, today marks a craptastic moment in so many people’s lives. and like a really bad tattoo inked in a back alley by a guy known as hepatitis henry, 9/11 is something that we all wish we could somehow wash away.  but alas, September 11, 2001 is part of our collective memory, and we all have a story to tell.  and i would like to tell mine through a letter i wrote last night.


“A DAY OF TERROR: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT; Driven Underground, Administration and Congressional Officials Stay on the Job,” new york times, september 12, 2001 

september 10, 2011

dear stephen crowley,

nine years and 364 days ago, you shot a picture of a handful of people evacuating the white house. that image landed me on page A5 of the NY Times on Sept 12, 2001. you might find it amusing that i wasn’t actually a white house employee (as a hard-core democrat, i found my mistaken identity hilarious!). i actually worked for a global health non-profit around the corner. right before you shot this photograph, i was en-route to a press conference about a new vaccine when we were met by men with machine guns who shouted at us to clear the area.  and to this day i still wonder where you were when you took this shot as i didn’t see you nor your camera among all the chaos.

on the night of september 11, 2001, we were “strongly urged” by our work to show up at the office the next day. around noon on september 12, i begrudgingly drove past the pentagon and that gaping hole, still smoking from the plane’s impact, to my office two blocks from the white house. with the sounds of jets flying overhead and the sight of surface to air missiles on 14th street, that was the most surreal commute of my life. my coworkers and i  just wanted to be at home with our loved ones. however, upon discovering our picture in our company’s copy of the NY Times, a strange, but welcomed laughter gripped us that afternoon.

i am the woman in the far right of the shot (behind the suited man). i was 27 at the time. right before you shot this, i said to my colleague (the pretty ethiopian woman in the cute dress suit next to me), “i don’t think it’s a great idea to be so close to the white house right now”. the hours after that picture was taken were some of the scariest of my life. but fear transitioned into challenge over the months that were to follow. my fiance at the time was a flight instructor in maryland. due to the no-fly zone around DC, he was grounded for months. we lived off one income (and a meager, non-profit one at that) for quite some time. we had just moved back from the middle east nine months before with hopes that he would be able to join a small regional airline. 9/11 dashed those dreams for years. i continued my work as a young international public health professional, traveling throughout the world during those unsettling times. but where there was darkness, there was also light. i saw how 9/11 prompted our leaders to look closer at the world and some of its greatest challenges. i believe that the massive response to HIV/AIDS in Africa in the years after Sept 11 was, in part, inspired by this event and our new world view.

ten years on, i now live in los angeles. i still work in international public health…now for a pediatric aids organization. i spend my free time doing theatre, writing a blog and soaking in the sun (with sunblock, of course). my fiance at the time and i are no longer together, but he finally made it to a regional airline and is hoping to join one of the ‘big airlines’ soon…and i’m very happy for him.  i think that day taught me to feel more, love more, live more, play more.  i am very much looking forward to the next ten years…maybe finding my mister right, starting a family, and seeing where my writing takes me.

thank you for doing what you do. that picture will always remind me to live each day to its fullest. and for that, i’m extremely grateful.

warm regards,




happy endings

3 Aug

since it’s hump day, i figured it would be a great day to write about happy endings…or more accurately, unhappy endings.

you see, there’s something about finality that makes coco all sadface. i’ve been known to mourn the end of a bottle of conditioner.  i’ve held small funerals for expired milk.  i sob when i have to say goodbye to a worn out pair of socks.  i detest coming to the end of a good book (ok, i don’t really read…but if i did, i’m sure i’d feel that way).

and most of all, i am totally afraid of dying.

i mean, come on…my blog is titled, “la vida coco”…the life of coco.  clearly, i’m all about the whole living thing.  living is completely awesome.  and come to think of it, the fact that i work in public health shows my obsession my dedication to giving death a big ole middle finger.  and my love of hot vampire dudes further supports the notion that i have an unyielding desire to live forever…edward from twilight, angel from buffy, johnny depp..ok he’s not a vampire but he’s hot and broody and doesn’t seem to age.

but thanks to my friend, zach, i may have a change of heart about living forever.  now that he’s found the perfect tombstone for me, i might be okay with this whole ‘have to die someday’ thing.

takes one to know one

and i secretly hope that my old bones are buried next to this tombstone…

that’s cuz we all know everyone loves a hooker with a heart of gold!

live each day to the fullest, y’all!

thong song

6 Jun

happy june, y’all!  after a week of being struck down with a bird flu/bubonic plague hybrid, i’m stoked to be back among the living.  and while i’ll miss my nyquil sundaes, the notion of solid food seems pretty awesome.

armed with the ability to stand up longer than 10 minutes, i decided to hit the grove in an attempt to restore my appearance to its pre-deathbed state.  as one of my first post-typhoid mary outings, the grove might not be the smartest choices for a gal in my condition.  but knowing that it has all the requisite stores needed to un-fug me, i braved the throngs of pretty, healthy-looking people in hopes of being one of them someday.

my first stop?  the MAC store (makeup…not ipods).  the patient makeup artist did her best to make me look like i wasn’t an extra in zombie flick.  and while she didn’t seem bothered by my unruly, unwaxed eyebrows, she did appear to be freaked out by my periodic bouts of whooping cough.  or maybe it was the incessant nose-blowing? or could have been the ever-appealing dayquil/coughdrop breath?

after i finished with my hussy paint session, i moved on to the healing retail springs of nordstrom.  i couldn’t help but be drawn to those therapeutic red signs announcing their women’s semi-annual sale.

and miraculously, i ceased coughing as soon as i spotted a pair of manolos.  so if anyone from the vatican is reading this, you should canonize the nordstrom’s designer shoe section immediately!

saint hot pink pump!

after i was done enjoying a healthy dose of shoe porn, i ventured up to the lingerie section.  since i’d gone commando for the past 2 days, i figured i had two choices: do laundry or go buy some new unmentionables.  and coco always likes to take the path of least resistance.

so after trying on a bajillion brassieres, i walked up to the register to see if the ‘super-nice, didn’t-call-me-obese-and-translucently-pale-when-she-took-my measurements’ sales lady could help me narrow down the choices.  since she was busy ringing up another customer, i waited patiently on the other side of the register as i mumbled to myself about the pros and cons of each over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder / underwear combo. just when i was about to blirt out that “underwear shopping was titillating”, i noticed that the sales lady wasn’t ringing up just anybody.  nope, she was selling what appeared to be cotton boy shorts to one of america’s most inspiring female singer-songwriters of our time.  yup, i was contemplating whether to buy the pink lace or black satin undies right in front of TRACY FREAKING CHAPMAN!

i suddenly felt flushed (or was the fever coming back?) and awkward.  i mean, i listened to her debut album 4,567,045 times as an angst-filled teen.  my sister would play that CD nearly every night as we fell asleep in our shared room.

too young to drive, young coco could somehow taste the freedom of that fast car she sang about.

and while i hadn’t experienced love first hand yet, i could somehow grasp the complexities of love and loss from this song.

and as a naive an idealistic, card-carrying member of our school’s amnesty international and young democrats clubs, i couldn’t wait to join her revolution

and while i wanted to run up to my idol and hug her good and long, i knew i had to play it cool and pretend that she was just another person buying cotton drawers. and before i knew it, she had paid and was gone.

i should be bummed that we didn’t become BFFs…but to be honest,  i’m actually very thankful for our brief time (ha, get it?!) together…and for the fact that she gave me one more reason to love my new thongs.

and there ain’t no more to say…

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