Monthly Archives: May 2003

RED!

my hair is straight.
i don’t know how it happened… but my hair’s texture just changed for the second time in my life. i had straight hair til puberty and then it went wavy, at times curly, but since my wedding day, my hair has most definately changed. i change it up, curl pump it, diffuse it and nothin… it’s straight. especially the new hair growing it. i turn my head side to side in the mirror as i sit on the floor sizing up my new red dye job, within an hour of dying my hair back to flaming red, i had 2 tori amos comments. i’d dyed it a few mornings ago. tsafi was in texas for five days last week on a long-distance job and i wasn’t sleeping. so at dawn i went extreme, tearing into a feria box like an alcoholic, aligning pumice stones and cuticle pusher-backers, unearthing new purchases of nail polish and glitter bought from the night before. dying my hair like a professional, parting my hair into sections, first horizontal, then vertical, then piling it loose on top of my head…i’ve never done a test patch… no need. i’ve been dying my hair since high school. if i was allergic, i’d know it by now. i took a long bath, scrubbing my feet with pumice and polishing toes and fingers naked on our new couch watching james van pragh’s ‘beyond’ show. i dressed quickly and left for work. i parked my car and walked to santa monica’s third street promenade where i got coffee and that’s when someone asked me if anyone ever told me i look like tori amos. later on in the day, someone in the elevator in my office building talked about me to his friend as if i wasn’t there. “she looks like that singer, the piano chick.” i hadn’t had my afternoon sugar fix, so i smiled silently and continued on to the bathroom where in dim lighting i could make out the successful red color, now dried on my hair.
“RED! I’M BACK!”
back in my career, back in soul, back on my head, and on myu way to being back and getting used to it.
but i focus on tsafi… half in confusion and half in sympathy. i do know what it’s like to be in a foreign country and doubt yourself and your communication skills, to not have confidence and to want to be around others from your home country. i also know that tsafi is a smart man, goal-oriented and focused. i want him to feel happy and accomplished, to do something with his education. jen reminded me that he has to do this himself, to ignite himself with this. i will just be seen as an annoyance if i keep bringing up something that he feels he’s not ready for. i guess it’s just that i believe so much in him…that i know he can do anything he sets himself to… and it feels frustrating to have him forget and not be open to being reminded… but as with all these kinds of feelings with tsafi, they’re all temporary. life, for us, has a way of coming together… with a little effort and belief…

newlywed dreamin’

Yesterday was a perfect day. It was the kind of day I just have to laugh to myself thinking about when I used to live in nyc and would try to have that kind of day at central park..how lonely…and dirty. Lying on a tapestry under a tree thinking of other places, doing damage to myself with desolate rantings or a bottle of wine with someone who should better have been left a stranger. Yesterday we woke early and drove to the building where I work, four blocks from the sea to park our car for free. We walked from santa monica to Venice beach…and back. Nag champa was in the air; someone was playing a harp. Tsafi pushed me high on a swing overlooking the ocean. I rubbed his back as we walked, soft and muscular. Sage, incense, colorful people, a dread-locked hippy and his pony-tailed punk pre-teen daughter on roller blades with red star-shaped glasses. No one was rushing or complaining. Crystals and Buddha icons, kites and a temporary swarm of bees. We took photos of purple flowers. Tsafi and I don’t bicker as much as we did in Israel. we are truly newlyweds, lovers in love, such a struggle to get to this point and totally absolutely worth it. We sometimes walk room to room in our apartment telling each other how much we love where we are in life, where we live. All that justification in a foreign country, and the worn interference… it was all worth it. In one month we’ve acquired the stuff of dreams. From the spiritual of finally coming together as newlyweds should, in privacy and limitless…to the material of having nothing to having everything… an apartment in Beverly hills, a new car, a high-definition television set with a home theater, a living room set, jobs, some friends and family. Our luck and paths are overwhelming. There’s a great sense of understanding that I wouldn’t have discovered in life just in theory. I walked through fire to get here…

working for strauss again!

the advertising job ebbed and flowed hourly. People quit because of mismanagement or got fired due to tempers. I asserted myself when necessary but not enough to have that disorganized power heat turned on me.

Then I got the call…

Tsafi says “strauss’ company called looking for you.” “WHAT?!” what a cruel joke… my dream job resurrected? Nah… I couldn’t have that luck… as tsafi tells me about how the conversation went with scott Siegler, (strauss’ partner in his new company since strauss left his president/ceo position at bmg entertainment), my email inbox puffs out one beautiful email from KT with confirmation. Strauss’ west coast office needs me. I nearly fell off my chair into a fit of giggles. I get in touch with scott, we set up an interview that day, 5pm. Instant disconnect from the job I’d been hired to do. Advertising? Not my bag of bones anyway. And bosses fretting about, in a doomed start-up company I could do without.

When I was in Israel, I wished really hard to make this happen “we’ll move to l.a., live in a nice area. I’ll work for strauss!” that was what my inner compass was set to, knowing full well that there’s only 2 people there at Zelnick media west and no budget for assistants. So when I arrived, I thought BMG… then, when they had nothing for me, I started compromising…

The compromise ends now…

So I got off work yesterday at 4pm and got into the car with tsafi. Excitement turned to worry. “this is my only shot to work with strauss again.” That fair environment, that visionary surge of accomplished people around me, ideas coming to fruition, the team that surrounds this man and how everything he touches turns gold. I want to be part of that again. To be appreciated and be part of that team of familiar characters, to have a chance to be fully aware this time around how lucky I am to earn a good salary and be challenged for the better. And oh, to work with KT again! my inspirational mentor-sister and confidante! I will never take a job for granted again, not after what I went thru in Israel, not after losing almost everything. I will be wholly present in this new familiar job, and appreciate all this as I should have done more when I worked from strauss at BMG in NYC.

All these thoughts came to me as we were driving and I found myself quietly confessing to tsafi as he drove… “I’m scared…” “of what?” he asked. “…of having everything I always wished for…right here….right now…” this life, an amazing husband, success back in america so soon after our transglobal migration. I’m scared to have all this… to have even this opportunity. (my, my, Israel has created quite the humble pixie…)

Tsafi held my hand and brought it to his lips and, shaking his head smiling, told me that he can’t understand how these jobs find me, how all this falls my way. We had a beautiful moment. And then, 10 minutes before the interview was to happen, we realized that the numbers on santa monica blvd were ascending when they should’ve been descending. I ran into a dry cleaners and used their phone. Scott didn’t answer… I thought that the numbers might be lying and so decided to follow instincts and head toward the ocean. We arrived to the building, 4 blocks from the sea, with a few minutes to spare. I bounced out of the car while it was still moving and galloped right up to the front door of Zelnick media. On the 3rd floor, there were offices under new construction and a new-car smell to the place. When I saw ‘zelnick media’ on the name plate of the door, I got way excited but managed to gulp it down and put on my poker face.

There were empty cubicles and silence when I walked in. “allo? Allo?” I called out. “ya! Cheryl?” and I walked in to shake scott’s hand, former president of Columbia tri-star pictures. Instantly I was home…we gabbed away for nearly 2 hours; a wonderful man, easy-going, creative, happy, balanced.

KT had told me that he’s the kind of boss that you could be buddies with and no doubt, that’s exactly what I came away feeling like. He told me how he came to l.a. in the 70s and how he was involved with the beginnings of netscape. I’d done my research and was impressed with everything he’d done. He produced and directed films, ran companies. I was most impressed with his energy. He studied philosophy among other things. We talked about how travel makes one appreciate home. He told me how his wife likes to decorate furniture and sell their homes when she’s bored. He buys other property to keep her busy or else she’ll sell the house they live in. he said I’m a lot like his wife. I guess being dangerous when we’re bored is a common female trait.

We talked a bit more about health insurance and about common people we know. I told him how much I love KT and Strauss and how I’d do anything for them. He started to try to wind things up by saying that he’s interviewing people this week and that he’ll…. But I giggled, knowing there was no one more qualified for the job than me. I almost said out loud “nuh uh, no you’re not.” But I was quick to put back on the poker face. We wound up gabbing for a half hour more. We actually did get around to talking about the job. I’d be his assistant and also be helping to find new companies to buy or for zm west to do consulting for. And after looking around, I guess I’d be helping strauss when he’s in l.a. too. I was totally into it… and I told him so… he suggested that I go home and talk to my husband…but I knew I wasn’t walking out of there without the job, so I was direct with him. “I want this job…but with no health insurance and the commute it’ll have to be more than I’m making now… which is $XX. So $XX and I’m here on Monday.” “wow!” was his reaction. I wondered if it was a bad “wow” or a good “wow” and worried all night if I shouldn’t have played the game more.

We ended in that he’d talk to strauss and email me today. A hand-shake and a half-hug and I finally exhaled running down the stairs, out into the street, smiling from ear to ear, and into the passenger seat, into tsafi’s equally smiling eyes. “that job is SO mine!”

We both awoke at 3am after restless sleep…we started talking as if we’d just left off in conversation. That’s how consumed in thought we both were at this new opportunity. We both couldn’t sleep. Dawn crept up and I gave up and took a long bath, heading to work early, still entirely disconnected but going thru the motions of getting ads placed in newspapers and consulting with moody graphic designers and magazine publishers.

I worked from 6:30am til 5pm with no break… and then I quit…. When Julia came in at 8am, I attacked her with my news. “do you want my job!?” Julia is a smart, sweet girl who was hired to be a copywriter but got stuck as the receptionist. The bosses even hired a temp to do copywriting sitting next to her which got her boiling. She wasn’t sure if she wanted the job but I convinced her that it’s easy. 5pm rolls around and my boss comes in. I asked him to close the door and then just blurted it out. “I’m quitting. The job isn’t what I thought it would be and after seeing you firing people, I’m questioning my stability here.” He was quick to accept it and I didn’t get interrogated. In an instant, I was free to savor the reality of what had just transpired.

All day long I was waiting for an email from scott. Kt and I were talking on instant message back and forth all day. She told me that scott told sz that I’m a ‘firecracker’. Does sz remember I’m born on the 4th of july? I checked my email literally every 2 minutes for 10 hours straight. Kt assured me that I got the gig…but I wanted the abso-definito word. Even though sz gave scott the green light and talked me up, I still doubted that this could really happen. I finally emailed him asking if he had any good news for me…

“I do have good news for you. I want to hire you and we can pay $XXk and you can start Monday and your first assignment will be to get us – you and me- a health plan in California for ZM West. Strauss, Katie, and I all adore you. Isn’t it nice to join a fan club, not a company? Scott”

in a nutshell

it’s like a dream come true… truly… we’re on top of the world in love in luck and disbelief! I’m waiting for a ‘con’ to the ‘pros’ I’ve been listing in my head. I had 3 freak out days of ‘oh-my-god-no-one-will-hire-me-and-we’ll-never-get-off-his-cousins-couch-and-we’ll-never-be-able-to-afford-all-this’ …and then… one job offer came… and another… and then one day I took a walk around Beverly hills and saw all the DOZENS of ‘for rent’ signs, no broker needed. Some didn’t even check my credit. ‘You jewish? *yes* eh, just give me an extra month’s security and we’re ok.’ Love it… so that’s how we landed a one-bedroom one block outside Beverly hills with a pool. I started one job in Sherman oaks only to have a flood of more job offers come in and I chose one for a kazillion bucks a year within walking distance of our apartment. There’s an Israeli food market at the corner where tsafi and I buy hummus and Arabian pita bread and all the comforts of his home country. We’re technically in an area of town called the ‘pico/robertson’ area… major Israeli jewish/Persian folk there…but civilized, ya know. My neighbors are nice….some old people, some Persians (jews from iran), the pool is sparkling. Our landlord is a bit of a snake in the grass but we’re co-existing. Tsafi dented our brand new car so that’s $800 to fix. I saw shaunte a few times…
The streets are clean, perfectly manicured. I walk to work listening to mixes friends have sent me, suckin on a ‘jamba juice’ (fruit and ginko biloba franchise type place)
We still don’t have our stuff from Israel yet. We have one air mattress that we need to put more air into each night as we are flattening it every night with our new-found privacy…hee hee… we sit on the floor to eat. We borrow pots pans, one knife, one spoon, one fork from a neighbor. Our voices echo in the empty vastness that is our humble abode. The boat is supposed to arrive today in fact and then it’ll take up to a week to clear customs and then we will pick it up.
I’m working as an ‘advertising administrator’. It’s nice to be challenged. Some days I don’t think I can do the work but I think I’m getting it. The money and location are just perfect… tsafi’s workin with an Israeli moving company. I drive him to the meeting place at 5am most mornings. Then I go to work at 6:30am-5pm. And then we snuggle for a bit and then back to work. We had a few play days…we drove to Malibu one day… all along the beach. I spent 2 days at shaunte’s. we’re workworkworkin but tryin to enjoy our days off when we have it. The name of the game is earnin money to buy a house in 2 years… and we’re rearin to go. Once he builds some more confidence and English accounting terminology he’ll work as an entry level accountant… I hope it hits him soon but for now he’s content to work with other Israelis just starting out in America just like him…
Well , that… in a nutshell is what has been going on…