Thursday, December 21, 2006


I was pretty excited at first.

Since 99% of my shopping is done online, hearing the news of Piperlime -- the newest addition to the GAP family -- was a definite highlight.

Side note: not that anyone could compete with Zappos, but still, a little green-hued variety can never be bad -- or so I thought.

Today, I got the following enticement in my inbox:

"As one of our best customers, Banana Republic is pleased to let you know about a special sale from Piperlime, a fresh new online shoe shop from Gap Inc."

Cool, I thought. I'm totally in need of a new pair of Uggs. Pink or chocolate.

The actual email (the part above was just the intro) continued to promise things like free standard shipping, easy returns and brands galore. So I clicked. And realized that the "website is temporarily closed?"
Um. Isn't that the point of web shopping? 24/7, 365? Clearly, the pipers have some development work to do. Like building a fuctional online presence.

Monday, December 18, 2006


It seems that fans of list-mania must adore the month of December. Books, music, quotes -- everything has a top-10. I'll happily join the band-wagon-crowd, mainly because snippety blurbs are so much more appealing for the mind to digest.

And so, without further ado:
  1. A college whiz kid -- with an uncanny knack for the failures prevalent within the TSA -- created a Northwest Airlines boarding pass site. And although not possible to board simply by presenting his home-made concoction, it did get scores of people through security. Scary? A bit. But more insightful, really.
  2. British psychologists briliantly tested the "honesty" of their fellow co-workers. Above the "help yourself to a cup of joe, but please leave 50 cents in the jar" sign, they added a pic of a watchful eye one week, and a soothing flower bouquet the next. Evidently, even the idea of being fakely watched compels us toward truth. Caffeine-addicts were twice as likely to deposit the half buck when watched by paper eyes.

Nice to know that some people still wear their thinking caps.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Just Better

I'm secretly hoping that all the creepy news about Taco Bell and Olive Garden will finally lead people to healthy (or -ier) food. Sadly, the organic produce section at my favorite grocery isn't nearly as popular as the pro-pesticide aisle.

So perhaps baby steps is the best approach.

If I had to pick one, singular item for a desert isle scenario, it would definitely be organic milk. Preferably Horizon. (Completely realize that breakfast cereals and dairy-spiked coffee would not be available, but just go with it.)

It's hormone-free. Produced by farmers dedicated to making you better products. And aside from the adorable logo on the carton, my favorite brand has a great, informative website.

Go ahead. Toss that white stuff you got at 7-Eleven and splurge.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Critically Not

Eric Asimov, the wine critic for The New York Times, opened his Wednesday column like so:

"What's the best thing to happen to merlot in the last few years? Why, 'Sideways,' the movie that so roundly trashed merlot while genuflecting before the new god of red wine, pinot noir. The movie gave shape to and inchonate movement away from American merlot in the marketplace, and spoke the truth in caustic terms: namely that most merlot produced in the United States is not very good. As a result, the anti-merlot trend accelerated. Fewer people bought it, and producers bottled less of it."

Clearly, Mr. Asimov has not made a trip to Napa in recent months.

While it's decidely true that the movie bashed the m-grape, it actually had the opposite effect on some vino-buyers. A recent visit to Shafer -- whose claim to fame is of the hillside variety -- highlighted that the film, ironically, piqued the interest of would-be buyers and really didn't negatively impact their Merlot sales at all.

So there.

Still. He does get to write a wine blog for a fancy-pants newspaper. Guess that gets him one point.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Diss the Bird

For years, I've insisted on purchasing only organic, free-range chicken. I've avoided it in restaurants (in addition to usually being the bland "chick-dish" -- a double-entendre for sure -- the thought of somehow ingesting even a sliver of a made-for-groceries Tyson brand has been enough to gag.)

Imagine my horror/shock/when-was-the-last-time-I-sampled-a-wing-or-thigh-or-breast panic attack when I read the following:

"Tests by Consumer Reports show that supermarket chicken has an 8 in 10 chance of harboring campylobacter, salmonella, or both, bacteria that can cause illness and even death if the chicken isn't handled carefully and cooked thoroughly."


Aha, you might be thinking. Just more ammo for purchasing the more expensive, fancy variety. Think again:

"Overall, chickens labeled as organic or raised without antibiotics and costing $3 to $5 per pound were more likely to harbor salmonella than were conventionally produced broilers that cost more like $1 per pound."

So yeah. So long cacciatore, curry, stews and anything else remotely calling for chickadees.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Got Milk?

Admittedly, it's a pretty funny idea: thieving from the always-present eau-de-whatever ads in fashion magazines and adding an olfactory element to your standard bus-station advertisement.

The idea, clearly, being that pleasantly scented stimuli might in turn result in addictive consumerism. You smell rose petals and honey dew, you might purchase Lancome's latest essence. If your sniffer detects pina-colada, it might just propel you to a near-by travel agent for a tropical get-away.

That's pretty much what a milk-lobbying group was hoping for when they associated chocolate-chip-cookie smells with their billboards.

Understandably, it back-fired.

Instead of drawing in idle bystanders it evidently caused moral digust by those fighting for the rights of allergy sufferers and -- dead serious -- the obese.

I totally get it. Seems like a fine line we don't want to cross. Just thinking about what advertisements for laundry detergent and football jerseys would smell like is enough to hold your breath.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Competitive Combination

I'm totally a Blogger fan. Not sure how I feel about the big G, but this little application-schmation makes it super-easy to share my clearly fascinating dribble with my devout fans.

(Not an oxymoron.)

But. For my next project -- a much-needed guide to all things Tahoe -- I decided to cheat. I'm opting for WordPress at the moment. Debated using Dreamweaver, but giving this a shot at first. Support ingenuity, and WP definitely falls into that sphere.

Want a sneak peek?

And who said addictively refreshing this site doesn't pay off ...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shoulder-Perched Parrot, Anyone?

Most likely, one day I'll be a rare, glasses-wearing breed. Despite the fact that I could wear invisible eyewear on a daily basis, I'm rather fond of my diamond-studded Chanel frames.

But yeah. In order to fly down the slopes in my previously mentioned pink helmet, I need something slightly less breakable.

I decided to get my conctacts at Costco. They called the other day, letting me know that my 3-month supply was ready. Cool.

PrincessMalin: "Hi. I'm here to pick up my contacts."

CostcoDude: "Yep, here you go."

Mere moments later:

PM: "Umm ... I just opened these in the car and it looks like these are 6 lenses for my left eye."

CD: "Yes, that's what you ordered."

PM: "No, pretty sure I ordered lenses for both eyes -- so I can see."

A few more moments later later, I exited the super-security-enabled bulk-foods warehouse with refills for both eyeballs in hand. It seems a teensy clerical snafu almost landed me with a pirate patch.

In other news: They're opening a TJs down the hill. Next Friday. Super-exciting.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Current Adorations

In completely whimsical order:
  1. lobster macaroni-and-cheese
  2. otto's ice-cube fanaticism
  3. oskar's intuitive-ness
  4. remembering that we live minutes from the ski lift
  5. my new pink helmet
  6. and matching goggles
  7. the durability of uggs
  8. glittens: mittens & gloves made into one
  9. having high enough ceilings for an insanely tall christmas tree
  10. realm red and whitehall lane anything

I clearly have been under-using lists of late. Luckily, New Year's is around the corner ...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Edible Musings

I think it's crazy.

This morning, a psychiatry-something was seriously instructing Americans how not to "needlessly eat." Tips and tricks to end holiday grazing. Top of the list: "Try not to eat if you're not hungry."

Um. Yeah.

In other news, here's what's on the hoping-for-snow-any-minute menu:
  • brined, then roasted organic, free-range turkey
  • garlic mashed potatoes
  • green beans
  • roasted vegetables
  • cranberry sauce
  • chestnut, sausage and bread-crumb stuffing
  • sweet potato & anaheim chili gratin
  • rosemary baguette
  • pumpkin pie

And of course, a favorite Napa vintage. Possibly Realm, Chateau Boswell, Behrens & Hitchcock or the last bottle of Biale.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dear Otto & Oskar

I'm pretty certain that you guys can't tell time -- which completely explains why you get so excited when I return from the "trek" to the end of the driveway for the morning NY Times.

And while I know you adore your cedar-stuffed dog pillows and favorite spots on the couch, the yellow and black fleece blankets I plan on bringing for your kennel appear to be almost as cushy. Almost.

But I know you'll miss the early-morning lake-front walks. And sniffing your way through the forest opposite our house. And tooling around the backyard, trolling for squirrels, hoping that any one of the neighbors will show up with a bacon-flavord treat.

So how about this: You both agree to spend 10 days at the vet (while we sip pina-coladas on Kona), and I promise a home-coming filled with rawhides, a table-scrap or two and new "indestructible" toys.

Oh and I almost forgot. Yes, you'll get to go swimming the very day we pick you up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Leading Ladies

I have two new feminine favorites. Girlie girls with spunk, pizzazz, and a general knack for sass.

1. Veronica Mars: she's perfectly mismatched and totally able to pull off striped knee-highs with a plaid jacket. She's super funny and always well-equipped to impress, stall, break-and-enter, and solve any and all crimes that come her way. I'm totally hooked, and we haven't even made it through the season one DVDs.

2. Penelope from "Criminal Minds": addictively fast on a computer, always scribbling with a pink, sparkling pen and an obvious key player in every psychopath's capture.

I'm considering purchasing a fancy secret-eye surveillance camera just to show my support.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Power Of

"The City of Angels" reminds me of the "Time Traveler's Wife." Unusually poignant love stories. True. Real. Based on something so incredible -- which most likely is what makes it so believable.

Sort of like encountering solid earnestness and remembering that, most of the time, what you see is what you get.

Which is exactly the point.

Eyesight, and the miracle of seeing, is completely within our subjective control.

So. Believe. It's just much more magical.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Le Free Ride: C'est Fini

Twelve years is a long time.

But at this point, not sure Goran Persson thinks so.

Mr. P was officially given the boot by 80% of the Swedish voting population. Well, he actually leaves his fancy-pants seat in March, but still, not sure he'll be able to rest on his laurels any longer.

Good-bye life-long unemployment. Hello, hopefully, some form of social responsibility. Adios leaving things be. Hola, embracing -- or perhaps just slowly acknowledging -- change.

Hejda Social Democrats. Hejsan Moderates.

Not sure I ever would have thought I would lean slightly more right than left. Keep in mind this is Sweden: the most non-stance-ical place on earth after Switzerland. This kind of "upheaval" can only be good.

Especially if it means the middle shrinks, if even by a smidgeon.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bake It

We finally decided on veggie soup. Simple, delicious, and ideal for a chilly, 45-degree-evening. A few minced garlic cloves later, we realized the inevitable: no bread. Love bread. Adore bread. But honestly, the store-bought version -- while usually fresh -- is clearly not the same as a loaf pulled straight from the Viking oven.

A quick inspirational call to my sis, a few notes jotted on a sticky -- and the venerable Kitchen Aid had everything it needed to spin, knead and mold to its heart's content.

Here's how:

Mix the following: 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 1 cup flour, 1 cup luke-warm water. Leave alone for 15-30 minutes.

Next, add: 1 teaspoon yeast, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 to 4 cups flour. Knead.

Cover with kitchen towl & allow to rise for 2-3 hours.

Divide dough into three equal parts. Form into baguette shapes. Place on cookie sheet. Use serrated knife to score. Cover with same towel for an additional 30 minutes, or so, depending how hungry you are. Dab loaves with water, place in 500-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve -- with plenty of butter, obviously.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Breaking News

"Fast-food eaters underestimate calories," reports CNN.

"....over-weight people ... tended to buy larger meals," continues this fascinatingly 80-s-eque reminder of how *clueless* people are when it comes to food, fats and the fabulousness of friendly greens.

You can read the rest here.

Instead of waxing and waning on the benefits of cooking at home, shunning the unappealing burritos and "100% beef" patties purported to be "burgers" along highways across this *huge* land, I'll let you leap to your own conclusions.

But honestly, is it all our fault?

My brand spankin' new night-armour Nissan Xterra comes with super-size cupholders. Luckily, I'm Swedish. So instead of feeling forced down to Circle-K for a mega-slurpie, I'll use it to stash my spare clogs.

Kidding. Kinda.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


It's going to sound decidedly obnoxious. Unappealing. But definitely not un-appetizing: I'm a culinary rockstar. No, really. Clearly inherited from my Cordon-Bleu-trained Mamma and fine-tuned, refined and unceremoniously polished by cooking dinners. Nightly.

If you're remotely connected to the addictive world of eats, you might remember that girl Julia from NY. She spent one year cooking everything from one of Julia Child's tomes. And while the latter J was certainly a whisk-bearing figure to be reckoned with, I was never that impressed with the former's resolve to cook recipes that were already developed. Imitate, if you will.

Instead, I'm a devout follower of the opposite. Read recipes for inspiration. But add your own whimsical pinches and dollops and at-will drizzles. It's definitely more fun. And delicious.

Need a starting point? Grab a salmon fillet. Marinate it. Garlic, ginger, OJ -- all good fish-flavor enhancers. Perhaps a dousing of balsamic. Spicy herbs. Sea salt. Pan-sear. Ideally in a grill-pan. Serve with blue-cheese-speckled risotto and steamed broccoli.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Santa Monica: Preparing for the Worst

Life will most likely never be the same.

This morning's Grape-Nuts-and-coffee ritual came to a stand-still as I sat, riveted, trying to digest the already-smudged newsprint:

"Residents in the 310 zone will soon have to dial four extra digits."

Add to this the evident trauma of Crack-Berry-Heads having to reprogram cellphones all over the Westside, and you soon realize that this will clearly result in all kinds of psychoses, disorders and phobias among the shrink-happy beach clan.

"I just never really thought of how much of an inconvenience this is going to be," said one unhappy resident.

"It's a nightmare," echoed another.

Luckily, the Redondo Beach Chamber of commerce is prepared. Their president pretty much sums it up:

"We're telling people, 'It's coming, it's coming. Are you ready?'"

It's obvious, people -- we're mere moments away from a complete melt-down. Quick! Grab your bottled Evian, Louis-Vuitton doggie carriers and run for the hills in your patent Manolos!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Find It

Six years of journalism-themed week-days have clearly paid off. If only Dr. McCorkle could see me now -- employing the five w's and one h without referencing anything but memory-based file cabinets.

WHO: Us & the Otters.
WHAT: Residing in proverbial paradise.
WHEN: 20-something commuter days from now -- but who's counting?
WHERE: 10 minutes from the cleanest, clearest, pristine-est lake.
WHY: Because we can.
HOW: Dreaming. Believing. Doing.

So ... what's your master plan? But more importantly, what are you waiting for?

Friday, June 02, 2006

June Must-Haves

  1. Lewelling cabernet.
  2. Beaded flip-flops.
  3. TJ's peach juice.
  4. Snap peas.
  5. Smoked almonds.
  6. Casa Bianca pizza.
  7. Floral-print skirts.
  8. Open-window-mornings.
  9. Breakfast outdoors.
  10. Luxuriously knowing that your dreams are always within reach.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Poop Watch 2006

Admittedly, it's not quite stock-ticker-worthy, but almost.

Puppy poop. For the last month, its quanity, quality and over-all appearance has completely usurped our lives.

We discuss frequency. Consistency. We coax and encourage. Chastise and reward. I've even tried engaging the little guy in "strenuous" activity -- including chasing the rubber tire, running after the orange, fuzzy worm and doing laps around the back-yard quadrant -- to see if it would lead to ... something.

Sometimes we spot pieces of bathroom drywall. Mostly it's just salmon-and-rice flavored dry food -- but the other day I realized he's not that good at digesting sliced carrots. Or slippery mushrooms.

Stay tuned. Giraldo is next.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Daly Beer

He's politically incorrect, prefers tank-tops to collars and most likely would rank brewskies and smokes on his top-10-list of must-haves.

He's decidedly un-fit. Wouldn't dream of bending for a crunch, much less a squat, jump or stretch.

He's massively present. Speaks his mind. And is -- unarguably -- one of the PGA's most talented golfers. Unless he's tossing his 7-iron, bogey-ing the 18th or choking in a play-off.

John Daly is to golf what flip-flops are to me. Necessary. No-frills. Not always appropriate. And available no matter what the mood.

Sure. He's battled Jack Daniel's and our dear friend Nic O. Tine. But he lives, and plays, and laughs. And no matter what -- he'll give it his all. Flavored with a touch of sass, a shake of contempt and a healthy dose of "love me or leave me."

In a world of corporate same-ness, he's a breath of smoke-filled air.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I Heart HD

  • new front door
  • new back door
  • hinges
  • locks
  • mushroom-shaped knobs for bathroom cabinets
  • bathroom faucet

That was the initial list. Sixty-five minutes -- and many aisle perusals later -- we self-scanned our items. And realized. We lost the card. The no-interest-for-six-months Home Depot bit of orange-colored plastic.

Enter Jackie.

Tiny in a rotund, spunky kind of way. Pleasantly chatty, with a glimmer of brilliance. "Credit Captain," her crayola-ified apron proclaimed. Little did we know that included magical powers and other-wordly customer service.

After mere moments of phone calls and smartly-punched keyboard shortcuts, we had a new card, a $25 discount and a shot at the freebie table. Really. Laden with goodies galore, Jackie insisted we choose something. Anything. A gift, if you will, for losing our card.

And voila: removing the backyard deck now sounds dreamsical.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mini-Naps: We Adore You

You arrived home smelling like Pantene Pro-V mixed with Moose-the-puppy and water-bowl drool. Tumbling across too-shiny hardwoods, we carried you to the backyard and your first sniffing session with Oskar.

You cried a bit. Then realized that your new big brother was just a gentle giant, super-excited to have an itsy-bitsy-but-soon-to-be-ginormous playpal.

You eat. And poop. And snooze -- but only in passionate fits. You disliked your crate, until we figured out you just wanted a perview of the bed. And ocassional reassurance throughout the night.

You're so-so about eating. Honestly, not sure we blame you. Watered-down puppy kibble can only be that appealing.

You love to chew. Luckily, you're a huge fan of focused energy: seemingly fine with chewtoys, UGG boots or flip-flops -- allowing us a few super-quick switch-er-oos.

Above all, you're insanely cute. Even Oskar admits that. Except when you're dragging Scooby across the floor. And peeing on his bed. Or biting his tail.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Fatty and Tubby

Our lives are about to change, completely. Tomorrow, at 2pm PST, at the end of a windy, dirt-covered, AWD-road, we pick up Otto. Or Tubby. Soon-to-be-brother of Oskar. Or Fatty.

Thinking ahead, we contacted the breeder for directions. Quite possibly, in the world of right-hand-turns and stop lights, this one takes the glittery cake:

"....please dont go by the google ones as you will end up about 50 miles off. same with mapquest... it really is easy from the ___ north to san luis obispo, take the highway ___ north to ___ exit. go through the town of ___, aprox 12 miles from san luis , before you come to ___ there will be a stop light on the freeway called ___ road/ it only turns right head west ___ miles up a hill there will be a lake on the left, then down the hill you will come to a right turn, ___ rd turns only to the right it is a very windy, narrow diert road, go 3 miles to a fork in the road stay left on ___ the other way is a dead end. one mile you will pass a white barn with a green roof and 3 horses in the field right past this are 7 mailboxes. this is our driveway, it only goes to the left, over the creek and straight up,, you will see avocados on the left keep going and stay t! o the right at another fork our home is at the very top... it is a 4 wheel drive only in the rain so let me know if the weather is bad and ill meet you at the mailboxes and drive you up.. dogs are out so drive slow... please.. katrina the adress is ___ rd.. cell phones do not work once you leave highway ___ at the stop light"

I'm predicting many future posts a la chocolate-lab-newfoundland escapades. Assuming, of course, that we don't miss the avocado trees.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Yearning for Punctuation

Dear [last name] [first name] [middle initial]

My experience in selling expired listings ,has shown me that 99.99% of all real estate agents out there market their listings passively. Do you know the difference between passive marketing and active marketing. If you still want to sell and you haven't relisted yet, I appreciate the opportunity to explain my plan.

Sincerely yours

[first name, uppercase] [last name, lowercase]

Dear Malin:

I noticed your home came up on on the computer as an expired listing! Naturally, this time you will hire a powerful agent like myself to use a different approach to sell your home for the most money possible, right?

I would like to apply for the job of selling your home. All you need to do now is simply call me immediately to set an appointment so I can show you the techniques I used to sell many homes.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely yours,
[first name] [last name] [period]

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sometimes You're the Windshield ...

and sometimes you're the bug, and other observations from driving to South Lake Tahoe -- and back.
  • Ninety-five percent of drivers would most likely benefit from a re-edification around basic rules of the road.
  • Cows out to pasture appear to have a care-free existance, albeit short-lived.
  • I'm in favor of a national policy mandating cleanliness in public restrooms -- or at least the option of functional soap dispensers.
  • Highway 16, Nashville and X Country are the most compelling satellite radio options.
  • If the car ahead of you is speeding, it's OK for you to do the same.
  • Mud slides are unpredictable.
  • However, the DOT frequently over-estimates road-clearing-times.
  • Which is good news.
  • Snow-capped mountains and year-round Christmas trees are addictively appealing.
  • RV drivers are pretty gutsy.
  • Eddie Rabbit rules.
  • Relaxing weekend road trip essentials: glasses, cork screw, luxurious wine, iPod.
  • Relaxing weekend road trip non-essential: 118 steps to the front door.
  • Silver lining: super-quiet snooze time & breath-taking mornings.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Turns out that LA's City Council is considering incenting a few lucky peeps to live in the city. As many with little kids and kaboodles are opting for greener pastures -- and more reasonable debts -- those running the official show are evidently concerned that our badge-carrying friends might get stuck in traffc during an emergency.

I'm cool with that.

But can those of the non-gun-toting sort apply, too?

I promise to:
  1. Spend less time in the car
  2. Reduce my Element's pollution contribution
  3. Make fancier meals -- possibly even a souffle or two

A compeltely viable proposal, if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hot Off The Press(es)

People are amazingly fascinating.

Additionally, everyone -- no matter how foreign or funky -- appears to have quirky je-ne-sais-quois that are especially elevated at garage sales.

Recent learnings:
  1. Irons are in hot demand. So much so, that you might consider a black market resale business.
  2. Pink-seam Seven jeans are worth about a buck.
  3. Cedar-lined dog houses are lucrative for ChiHuaHuas.
  4. Spoons are more popular than knives or forks.
  5. Not everyone has read "The DaVinci Code."
  6. "Seabiscuit" is too advanced for Elementary School book enthusiasts.
  7. Garlic presses deserve intense scrutiny -- even when priced at 50 cents.
  8. Marketing. It's all about marketing.
  9. Candle holders aren't all they're stacked up to be.
  10. When in doubt throw in a freebie or two.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Coffee, Tea or Avian Flu?

Life's little spurts of progressive luxuries certainly add sunlight -- and ease -- to the everyday.

Things like perfectly ground coffee beans, toasted rye and rice cookers. TJ's 21 seasoning salute, red pepper flakes and delectable saffron. Creamy cambozolas, gruyere-topped-gratins and the always-available gourmet olive bars in most markets.

Culinary creations have jumped amazing hurdles -- long before Emeril convinced middle America to drive by McDonald's and opt for healthier fats.

Which is why I'm continuously perplexed -- whether seated in 36B or 12A -- by this simple, yet unappealing question: "Chicken or beef?"

If the rest of the globe has caught on to the magic of simple-yet-delicious foods, why does American Airlines insist on residing in the 1970s?

ps. for obvious reasons, I'm a fakey vegetarian within the realm of the friendly skies. At least until they begin catering Wolfgang Puck.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

If You're ___

... hungry: there's mushroom-and-pepper pizza in the freezer. It's right next to the frozen chili and the left-over barbecued ribs.

... thirsty: we may still have some secret Pacificos stashed behind the plastic bowl in the cabinet below the fancy toaster.

... antsy: Oskar's your buddy. If you time it just so you won't even need to bring a plastic bag -- just coax him right by the dumpster next to the barber shop.

... sleepy: try my pillow. It's tried-and-true and completely conducive to magical rest.

Back in a flash. Just in time for a deliciously lazy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Found: Chapter Excerpt

Junior-year high-school English pays off in Crescenta Valley Park, and I'm able to identify Chapter IX from the Cliff's Notes version of The Great Gatsby.

Underlined snippets, courtesy of anonymous studier:

"....Nick is the only person besides 'Owl-Eyes' who has enough real feeling for the man to take an interest in giving him a decent burial."

"...Tom and Daisy who had fled to New York even before Gatsby was murdered, carelessly leaving the chaos they created to be straigthened out by others."

"In contrast, Nick expresses a desire to 'leave things in order' rather than just hoping they will take care of themselves."

"...but the essential element of the man, his intense spirituality, is missing."

"Mr. Gatz's copy of Gatsby's 'schedule' is especially important in that it places his son squarely in the American tradition."

And my very favorite:

"The word 'pandered' connotes the corruption of this 'last and greatest of human dreams,' the final moral that the ideal can never be realized in the gross materialism that has made a moral valley of ashes of the green freshness of America."

Huh. If Cliff's Notes is hiring, evidently all it takes is a fondness of hyperbole and extraordinary run-on-sentence skill.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Board Education

Recently garnered from a snow-inspired Trivial Pursuit session:
  • Evidently, there is an FDA-acceptable threshold for rodent hair within packages of boxed pasta.
  • Southerners like to call their greasy biscuit-lathering concoction redeye-gravy.
  • "The Mezzanine" is a popular work of non-fiction focusing on ... shoelaces.
  • The Seychelles might one day be engulfed by water.
  • Sixty-eight percent of purchased novels reside in the Romance category.
  • Manicurists sometimes have amychophobia.
  • The Pathfinder was sent to Mars for a probe.

Soon there-after, gleaned from a bout with Scattergories:

  • "Ambling" is deliciously under-used.
  • Beer and butts are both cold.
  • Fish that begin with the letter "i": ink-squid?
  • Ligers are official animals.
  • D-inspired terms of endearment are clearly not limited to "dear" and "darling."

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Farmor Maja

Secret-seasoned ground beef patties with oodles of onions, thin-as-can-be pancakes with lingonberries and sugar, miniature shots of whiskey, home-made rolls with raspberry jam and the inspirational rhyming guest book.

Tulips and roses and lilies galore, old-fashioned table-cloths laden with silver, coffee cups and matching saucers and plain white envelopes with blue ball-point cursive script.

Radio as entertainment, newspapers devoured in their entirety, sunrooms filled with greens and perfectly sized cushions, and photos, photos, always photos.

Nine decades plus two-and-a-half years of infinite wisdom, savvy and grandmotherly brilliance.

Dangling earrings, heart-shaped jewelry and fingernails painted red.

Laughter. Smiles. And always knowing that you're there -- no matter where we are -- only a phone call away.

Nothing's changed, really.

We'll just whisper through the moonlight and dancing blooms instead.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Groucho Says

Even the most picture-perfect sunlit days can turn gray-ish and super-seriously-somber. Mostly, I think, to help us revel in the other 364.

Next time you're feeling a touch of old-man-Marx, smile -- if only briefly -- at his most fabulous -isms. You never know ... it might make you reconsider your brief spell -- if only involuntarily.

"Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms."
"Marriage is the chief cause of divorce."
"Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."
"A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five."
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
"I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty."
"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying all the wrong remedies."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday Madness

... And then there's the non-serendipitous little things that add sunlight to mayhem.


Today's list of music I-already-love-and-only-just-discovered:

  • Talk to me then -- The Mysteries of Life
  • Cold roses -- Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
  • Four eyed girl -- Rhett Miller
  • Drama queen -- The Jason Sinay Band
  • Lee Anna -- Johnny Lee
  • One for the road -- Portastatic
  • Careful what you say -- Rodney Crowell
  • It's too late to say goodbye -- The Cash Brothers
  • Aphorism -- Collin Herring
  • All the best -- John Prine
  • You win again -- Hank Williams
  • US steel -- Tom Russell
  • You -- Nils Lofgren

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Non-Fat Chai Latte

The good news is that even without a kitchen countertop and accompanying percolating coffee pot -- there's a Starbucks around the corner.

Little did I know that my morning beverage would also attempt to make me ponder. Printed on the side of my venti cup-a-joe, was this:

"True story. Recently, I eavesdropped on a conversation between two twenty-something employees at a local Starbucks. I listened as the barista mused about his taste in music. Then the cashier asked him if he had ever heard the song "Strawberry Fields Forever." After a pause, the barista answered, "No, can't say I ever heard that one before." That's when I knew there really was such a thing as a generation gap." -- Mary Chapin Carpenter

I'm putting all age-related thoughts on hold. For now, I just want to listen to "Down at the Twist and Shout".

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mommy Knows Best

It's a toss-up.

Not sure what is less appealing: the logic resulting in driving with a baby in your lap, or the silly fact that this is evidently news-worthy enough to be jammed among budget talks and nuclear qualms.

Naturally, the obvious solution would be real-life-TiVo.

Imagine breezing through days, fast-forwarding the gray bits and zooming and pausing and replaying everything sparkly and pink.

Brings a whole new meaning to personalized content.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Just Say No

I confess: I wish I was preaching to the choir.

But sadly, it seems that mis-information spread by gargantuan "food" empires may sway those few teens who have successfully avoided the predatory call of fried-chicken-on-a-bun and burgers laden with trans-fats.

I know.

Fast is easy. Fast is quick. And fast is decidedly simple.

But fast is also fat.

So, time it: tossing mixed greens from a bag with miniature tomatoes and vinaigrette vs. idling at the drive-thru.

Me: 1; fast food of your choice: big fat zero.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Bits and Bites

So though I can't say I'm a fan of deconstructed Caesar salads with their miniature piles of Romaine lettuce leaves and minced anchovies -- music is a completely different story.

Recommendations are easy to come by. Especially the uncreative kind.

But taking apart the notes, peering between the accoustics and analyzing the countrified beats, now that's close to brilliance.

At least theoretically.

I'm thinking an Ebert-esque like approval should arrive only after thorough testing.

For now, I'm salivating at the thought of applying it to edibles. If a formula can divine what other crunchables I'd enjoy as much as Grapenuts, I'd purchase stock. Immediately.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Spring Cleaning

"Important Information For Shopping Cart Users

For cleaner, healthier neighborhoods free from abandoned shopping cart blight:

Glendale stores are now required to keep their shopping carts on store property. Customers are NO longer able to take store-owned carts home with them. This means, some customers may need to purchase their own personal carts, which can be found at many local stores.

For more information, call Neighborhood Services at (818) 548-3700."

I sense a pending revolution.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ummm ...

So Oprah interrogates James Frey.

He sips water, slowly. Or so the Times reports.

He let her down. She apologizes to her loyal Book Club fans.

He sips water, slowly.

Fancy, national book critics say truth is important.

Of course it is.

But honestly, why all the hoopla? Leave the guy be. It's not his fault that he can write.

Just like Emeril turned couch-potatoes into masters of au gratin, perhaps Mr. Frey has encouraged a few to actually read.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


If the old adage is true, then I'm brilliantly fortunate to be tied to my slobbering chocolate lab.

Usually mellow, sometimes deliriously happy and always exuberantly inquisitive -- his days are filled with a magical slow-ness that, I suspect, must lead to hourly epiphanies.

A few slivers:

  1. Anything can be a toy -- including aluminum foil and athletic socks.
  2. If all else fails, bark loudly.
  3. Adding little, black bows to your attire works miracles with the ladies.
  4. When in doubt, help out. A little white paint only adds sparkle to your appearance.
  5. Hog the couch -- it's generally worth it.
  6. Make sure you have a comfy bed.
  7. If not -- it's OK to share with others.
  8. Act super-excited for everyone that walks through the door.
  9. Even if they've only been gone one minute.
  10. Little luxuries are worth it -- especially if they're smoked.

On the menu: Casa Bianca.

Monday, January 23, 2006


  • If you've never worked with primer before, consider applying two coats.
  • Allowing kitchen doors to dry alongside billowing grasses and dog hair is less than ideal -- especially if the dog-as-culprit takes gingerly steps *not* to avoid the fresh coats.
  • Life without a kitchen provides refreshing perspective.
  • For example: it's possible to make a smoked turkey toasted bagel sandwich without using an actual utensil.
  • Pacifico is by far the most drinkable beer.
  • But red wine goes down easier.
  • Grizzly bears were not meant to befriend man.
  • Evidently, foxes were.

On the menu: Whole Foods miniature delights en masse.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I think brands run the world. Or at least remind us -- far from gently -- that if Susie Q is wearing Sevens then Daisy O should reconsider her affinity for the Gap.


But ponder this: desert islands and music selections aside, what if you had to choose one item, one thing, one subjectively miniature delight -- and toss the rest?

Think it through.

Tricky, isn't it?

I'll go first: fancy hair salons. Can't live without them. And yes, I'd trade a Saturday morning pampering session for my Prada bag any day.

Treo, anyone?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


  • An over-abundance of flashlights is an oxymoron.
  • Rx for perfect sleep: turn the heater off and wear chenille socks.
  • Adding fresh oregano and thyme to rising pizza dough is brilliant.
  • Best time to shop at Costco: 930am.
  • Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
  • Taking home-improvement measurements is tricky.
  • If a geographic location could talk, Lake Tahoe would gently whisper: "Live. Breathe. Love. Be. Here."
  • The universe sometimes sends you literal ducks in a row.
  • Sunday morning scrambled eggs and buttery toast are impossible to beat.

On the menu: broccoli pasta with basil-infused olive oil and red pepper flakes.