Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Disgruntled Office Post Employee [scrambled for obvious reasons]: What?
PM: I'm calling to check up on my forwarded mail.
PM: I'm still getting mail at my old address, but I received the change confirmation at my new address.
PM: Well, I'm just concerned that it's not working properly.
DOPE: Oh. Well, yeah. Your mail carrier was out "sick" and he forgot to tell his sub that your mail had to be stopped.
PM: Um, OK. So now it's fixed?
PM: OK, what about junk mail. Nobody is living at my old adress, so I don't want any junk mail delivered either.
PM: Because it will be obvious that nobody is home.
DOPE: The mail carrier will make that determination.
DOPE: The mail carrier will make that determination.
PM: I don't understand what that means.
DOPE: The mail carrier will decide if someone is living there or not.
PM: Um, but I'm telling you right now that it's my house and I'm not living there and I don't want junk mail delivered.
DOPE: The mail carrier will make that determination.
PM: So please let me know if this assumption is correct: my mail will be forwarded starting today. And my old address will no longer receive junk mail.
DOPE: Yeah. That's what I said.
PM: So what ... [insert dial tone.]
The DOPE hung up on me.
Think that means he's telling my mail carrier to start the determination-making-process?
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Once Upon a Time
Back then, everyone participated in school plays. It was a given. Probably because most of us were too young to be super-shy or -- in my case -- too happy-go-lucky to even consider that acting would never be my forte.
But thanks to Het Nederlands Lyceum, this abruptly changed the day I was cast as a policeman. Not a cop -- but a tall-hat wearing, good old fashioned British enforcer for the law.
In the first scene, I was told to "patrol" the stage. So I did. Not even seven steps into my exaggerated and decidedly over-the-top march, the "director" sighed, covered his face with his hands, and as gently as possible, instructed me to just stand still.
To this day, I'm terrible at feigning anything. I'm ridiculously easy to read, insanely chatter-box-like and definitely in the camp of putting it all out there. And although I'll never make it on the big screen, I'm deliciously thankful for what I learned in The Hague: be how you are.
Alluring magic, star-studded glitter and inspirational characters will naturally come your way.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
- Airport stores actually process returns. Seriously.
- Top three in the soup world: roast herb-and-olive-oil seasoned veggies; mash or puree; add 3 cups of water and a bouillon cube. Simply superb.
- Spanish frittatas taste better generously sprinkled with red pepper flakes.
- Bath-tub non-slip-mats should be hung up to dry after each use. Trust me.
- Chocolate labs have bad days, too.
- There is such a thing as too many Christmas songs.
- Salvation Army bell-ringers really, really love their instruments.
- Take the high road.
- Spa-pedicures are so worth the extra four bucks.
- Red wine and garlic salami pairs exceptionally with multi-grain bread.
- Trader Joe's honey mustard beats Gray Poupon.
- We're not the only species addicted to down comforters.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Evidently, I neglected to leave a key under the mat for my un-invited guest. He stood on the stoop -- in the dark -- for moments on end, before he realized he might be able to gently shove the front door. He tried it, carefully. And it popped right open. Then he probably got hungry, and thought that I possibly kept some crackers or chocolate-pecan Luna bars in my dresser drawers. He didn't mean to emtpy all the contents on the floor -- but a loud noise must have scared him. And guess what? In his rush to leave, he forgot to leave a good-bye note!
Without princess spin:
Someone busted into my house last week, rummaged through my clothes, and bolted with some fancy jewelry.
Moral of the story: Life is much more fabulous as a princess.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
"My dad driving me to soccer practice."
"My mom helping me with my homework."
So. Tomorrow. When you're stuck with 4.8 million California drivers on the 10, ponder that. And immediately start your own list.
Mine goes a little something like this:
Friday, November 18, 2005
God Is a DJ
Not sure my goddess spins records, but she most certainly bakes apple cobbler and considers a life without cheese and butter u-d-d-erly pointless.
Religion isn't the point. Actually, I rarely think it is. What's much more interesting is how and why and when you believe.
Maybe it's heaven-inspired or related to the silly-looking guy in the red suit with horns.
The crux -- or crucible -- is that it's completely and delightfully personal.
For me, tonight's Paradise will definitely include a very specific bottle of Whitehall Lane cabernet. Find yours. Immediately. It's Friday.
Monday, November 14, 2005
Granted, it's generally easier to spot it on pink-painted days peppered with delicious delights. But if you remember that clouds only temporarily shroud anything blue, you'll immediately find that it's possible to exude magic just by breathing.
Consider the following bite-sized tid-bits:
- The power of breakfast.
- Portable music.
- The very concept of the barbecue.
- Slobbering, exuberant dogs.
- Warm towels.
Life is good. And just think: it's only Monday.
Friday, November 11, 2005
If you add frozen corn, stewed tomatoes with green chilies, and finely diced green bell pepper to long-grain white rice -- you've created an excellent accompaniment for home-made chicken enchiladas.
Bigger, fancier and more elaborate doesn't always translate to better.
Who you are means staying true to that, no matter what.
Dote on those you love. But don't forget that you deserve constant love and admiration. Why? Because you glitter in the dark.
Always sample at least one special.
If you dislike onions, go ahead and skip the shallots.
Be funny. And laugh at other people's jokes. You can always find at least a sliver of hilarity.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Think About It
In the end, I opted for pigtails and my "You Can't Get This In The States" t-shirt -- which in hindsight seems worthy of some kind of John Stewart comment.
I voted. I cast my ballot. Punched the little holes with the intriguing machine. Lined up the ballot with the plastic propostion card. Debated for split seconds, even though I'd already memorized what my responses would be.
So here's the thing.
It worked. Nobody tried to kill me or steal my vote or picket my cute little booth, plastering the area with propaganda. Nobody was unfriendly. In fact, the whole experience was refreshingly reminiscent of tea-with-grandma. Minus the cookies and squares of milk chocolate.
So next time you're in the whining mood, remember that we have choices. And power. And reside in a country where opinions count. At least most of the time.
Monday, November 07, 2005
A for Effort
Moments after diced carrots, celery, red-and-blue-potatoes and organic beef finished simmering in a hearty Cabernet -- we reclined, eyes peeled, ready to be impressed. Shocked. Awed. Surprised.
Alas, what could have been an intriguingly inspirational moment in TV history -- the West Wing's "live" debate -- turned into an almost disastrous debacle.
They had 60 minutes to cast their spell. To forever change -- or at least slightly alter -- how the little boxy tube impacts our lives. In a world where everyone breathes for the iPod and entertainment-on-the-go is the next big thing, Sunday nights could have been NBC's moment to take back their audience.
At least they stayed close to party cliches. Republicans advocating tax cuts and the Dems lobbying for reform. Maybe that will compel at least one person to vote on Tuesday.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
- Eat half the muffin -- save the rest for later.
- Splurge on good coffee. It's always worth it.
- Keep a stash of dual-use sponges underneath the bathroom sink.
- Muesli rolls are great for left-over-chicken-salad sandwiches.
- Buy organic.
- Take time to go through the Sunday coupons.
- Buy nice clothes -- if you change your mind, return them.
- Layer. You never know how cold it's going to be.
- Make your bed before you leave the house. You'll love it 'round 10pm.
- Call those you love. Often.
Moms rule. Especially Swedish ones.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Thanks, I'll Wait
But pretty confident that security lines at airports are potentially on many least-exciting-past-times lists.
So at first glance, Big Brother's latest missive -- the "registered traveler" concept -- seems close to brilliant. Zipping through LAX, sprinting by those not in the know, or not deemed trustworthy enough.
At first glance, yes.
But come on. If Osama can ellude the sharpest minds and most genius intelligence groups for this long, chances are he and his cohorts can manipulate the TSA.
So I'm going on record. Bring on the crowds. I don't mind adding 2 hours of wait-time to my travels. Peace of mind is worth it.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Just Add Wine
- Give it everything you've got, always.
- Be patient.
- Remember why.
- Open your soul.
- Search for magic.
- When you find it -- hold on tight.
- Even if it seems impossible, it's not really.
- Relish every moment.
- Believe in what you have.
- Mostly, remember that sunlight lives in the little things, and moonbeams watch over you when you close your eyes.
Monday, October 31, 2005
In Spite Of Ourselves
The super-chatty guy on that cross-Atlantic flight, who insists on sneaking your salt packet before every meal.
The little-bitty old couple who amble through town, squinting through the windshield, braking at imaginary objects on the way to Ralph's.
They've all got it: a passion.
A zest for something real, imaginary or dreamed-up. A convinction, dedication, or un-wavering desire revolving around that which they know and love and believe.
Treasure it. Embrace it. And try to remember that when you're stuck on the 405, crawling through a parking garage, or questioning who people are.
They're just like you and me. Only with differently intriguing twists.
Friday, October 28, 2005
That's What You're Wearing?
If you're on the glitter bandwagon and want to sparkle day and night -- go for it.
Same with mis-matched hair-accessories, frayed jeans and funky belts, and generally, anything that shouts YOU.
This does not apply to the black trenchcoat.
In fact, of all the possible wardrobe options available universally, I think that symbol of everything-that's-wrong-with-America needs to be banned.
Or at least, if you really must wear it, dye it pink or blue or green or something.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Yes, They Used To
1988. A mere months until highschool graduation -- and though I probably should have been consuming keg beer en masse, I nerdily opted for Dr. Pepper and Saturday Night Live.
"Because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"
Sadly, that was then.
Al Franken evidently professes profound and 'insightful' knowledge, including (but not limited to) 1) George 2) Terry Schiavo and, shockingly, 3) Iraq.
I'm OK with that.
Not so into anyone capable of scrounging up a budget for a Costco bestseller, disdainfully mocking those in the political know-how, only to fall short on actual substance, all the while plugging their Senate run in 2008. A sampling:
"Health care should be universal."
"He gets impeached, convicted and starts drinking again that same afternoon."
"And Cheney has seven heart attacks."
Umm ... OK. Ignoring, momentarily, the completely inappropriate and almost embarassing mockery of the health of others -- thanks for the brilliant medical coverage thought.
Swirled peas, anyone?
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
May I Health You?
In an Onion-esque internal memo, the super-fascinating VP for Benefits, encouraged the musically conservative conglomerate to hire more fit workers, in an attempt to cut health care costs.
Just wondering how many dysfunctional band-aids we're going to plaster across the nation before we admit that the real issue may be -- drumroll -- ourselves. Remember the old adage: we are what we eat? It's true.
Not sure if McDonald's addition of "nutrition" information to greasy wrappers is going to curb the intake of mono-saturated fats.
Luckily, if you're considering a career move as a blue-vest-clad-greeter, you may be forced to stop super-sizing your life.
Sadly, they might have a point, as ridiculous as it sounds.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Have A Little Faith
So. That's my disclaimer.
Should be no surprise that my radio dial is often tuned to FM 93.9. And while I'll always be partial to Willie and Merle, I'd be the first to profess my love for a new country artist lyric or two.
Because aside from singing tales of weeping widows and dogs howling at the moon -- they have an uncanny ability to focus on the miniscule. The little things. And even the whine-ey ballads have a way of leaving little bits of magic behind.
Seriously. When was the last time that you admitted that the secret of life is a "good cup of coffee," "mom's apple pies," or "tryin' not to hurry"?
Yeah. Thought so.
Friday, October 21, 2005
Clearly support stirring things up a bit, nominating a woman out of the non-literal left-field. Adding the curve ball of zero judicial experience definitely contributes intrigue -- and if nothing else, might draw the general public to C-SPAN on November 7.
Insufficiently answering a questionnaire is distractedly reminiscent of failing a take-home test. How does one do that?
And why-oh-why wouldn't whoever's in charge of this whole quagmire at the White House provide feedback, coach, or at the very least, proof-read Miers' responses before it hit the presses?
"What did he do in the middle of all this gloominess? He just blotted out the sun," said one Senior Aide.
Not really sure how this one is going to end.
But as an aside, who hasn't flattered their boss? This, to me, is the equivalent of CNN announcing that Jennifer and Vince smooched in public. Who cares?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
"Hi, I'm Andy Manning"
And there, Mr. Infamous himself.
I knew it was him before he even said hello. Secretly, I was super-thrilled that Oskar was growling and barking and behaving like the enormous guard dog that he so brilliantly is.
"I used to live here," he began.
"Yes, I know."
"So you should be getting a letter for me. When you do, could you call me at this number?"
At this point, he even pushed his driver's license in my face, as if I needed confirmation that the owner of the poorly dyed tresses really was Mr. Fakey Business himself.
"Um ... what kind of envelope do you think it will be in?"
I was stalling, thinking of the countless pieces of mail I had already trashed. I get at least 8 things per week addressed to the guy.
"Oh, like a good-sized legal envelope."
And so he left.
Did I even consider asking him WHY after two-and-a-half years he is still using my address?
Of course not. I don't think I've ever been that close to someone-I-perceive-to-be-a-felon.
Well. Unless you count that guy I moved in with during grad school ....
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
This time, I've found a gem.
It's "Soul Mountain" by Gao Xingjian:
"Reality exists only through experience, and it must be personal experience.... Reality can't be verified and and doesn't need to be, that can be left for the 'reality-of-life' experts to debate. What is important is life.... Reality is myself, reality is only the perception of this instant and it can't be related to another person. All that needs to be said is that outside, a mist is enclosing the green-blue mountain in a haze and your heart is reverberating with the rushing water of a swift-flowing stream."
Definitely ponder-worthy. Especially during those conference calls and meetings, clogging your calendar.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
But between trips and travel-planning, wedged alongside crazy commutes and late-night laughter, snuggled amidst the lovely luxuries of life -- there's you.
Tricky to remember, and decidedly easy to forget that we all need quiet. Space. Room to think. Moments to chill. And time to ponder, reflect and look forward to that which makes us tick.
Plan your week empty. Don't ignore your posse or stop thinking of your clan. Just allot a few slots here and there for y-o-u.
It's the secret key for a dancing soul.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I Knew It
How else do you explain the dramatic increase in low-and-highlights combined? Or the delightful abundance of T-shirt-over-T-shirt wearers cropping up at work?
It's me. Really. I started it all.
Just ask the New York Times.
Martin, my brilliant and oh-so-Americanized German hairstylist was just announced as the best in LA in the "transformative haircuts" category. Super appropriate, too, since I just got a new 'do.
Now I'm just waiting to see when the personalized, hand-painted clogs will catch on. Go ahead. Be the first cool kid in your 'hood.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
- Plenty of California Cabernet.
- Perfect snow.
- Sandy beaches at sunset.
- Poolside. And then more poolside.
- Peroni and herb butter.
- TiVo moments.
- Fabulous non-fiction.
- Super-short commutes.
- Impeccable lakes.
- Framed prints -- on the walls.
- Tangerine sorbet with raspberries.
- More chocolate chip cookies.
- A new bed.
- Black Chicken.
- Free tix on Southwest.
- Mini-vacations, as many as possible.
- More Lynchburg. Less LA.
I just blinked three times and wished on the setting sun for you. That means it will all come true. Happy 30. It's a magical decade.
Friday, October 14, 2005
I Heart Rumsfeld
That, and a lovely ability to insert slivers of zany into otherwise mundane topics.
Oh, everything quoted is from "Pieces of Intelligence" compiled and edited by Hart Seely.
"It takes far too long for
Anything to happen, as
Far as I'm concerned."
-- Nov. 12, 2002, Pentagon town hall meeting
"Nothing we have,
Nothing in the defense establishment,
Nothing you own in your homes
Your cars aren't perfect.
Your bikes aren't perfect.
Our eyeglasses aren't perfect.
We live with that all the time.
Does that --
If you cannot do everything,
Does that mean that you should not do anything?"
-- Dec. 13, 2001, Department of Defense news briefing
"Anyone who knows nothing isn't talking
And anyone with any sense isn't talking.
The people that are talking to the media,
By definition, people who don't know anything,
And people who don't have a hell of a lot of sense."
-- Sept. 22, 2002, media availability en route to Poland
"Anything that I say
That I shouldn't have
Is off the record.
I want you to
Right now, up front."
-- Jan. 12, 2002, interview with the Washington Post
I can't help it."
-- Dec. 18, 2002, interview with Larry King, CNN
"Needless to say,
The president is correct.
Whatever it was he said."
-- Feb. 28, 2003, Department of Defense briefing
"Opinion polls go up and down,
They spin like weather vanes.
They're interesting, I suppose.
I don't happen to look."
-- Sept. 8, 2002, media stakeout following CBS's Face the Nation
"If you're walking towards a wall,
And you decide you want to go to the opposite wall,
The sooner you make the correction,
The easier it is.
If you wait until you're right face up against the wall,
Then you've got to make a sharp turn."
-- June 24, 2002, interview with Bloomberg News
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Slivers of Time
1030pm: Dogs pass out after running around like maniacs for an hour.
1134pm: Oskar wakes me up. Despite my feeble, sleep-induced attempts to ignore him, I fumble my way to the kitchen assuming someone needs a potty break. Um, yeah. Ten seconds later my left foot steps into a pool of pee.
601am: Dogs are hungry.
805am: Dogs eat one of the bright yellow couch pillows.
Think they just didn't like the color?
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
"Stop by anytime for a $1.24 cheeseburger!"
(exit radio jangle-ey tune. insert uber-serious sounding, speed-talking voice-over)
"For a limited time only. While supplies last. Prices subject to change."
This, apparantley, is why we need lawyers.
Nothing -- not even slimey corner-store pre-packaged burgers -- is what it seems.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Welcome to Los Angeles. Sadly, not unusual. But for whatever reason, the appealing scale never rises above a one point three. And that's only thanks to Shooter song number two.
As my Element's over-due-for-service little engine hob-knobbed with Hummers and sedans larger than my living room, I spotted it. A brand-spanking-new, shiny, silver Porche. Oddly crumpled in the car pool lane, it's bumper somehow cradling the divider.
The barely-old-enough-to-drive starlet was on her cellphone, still strapped in, calling either Daddy or Triple-A. Possibly both.
Thing is, nobody even batted an eye.
So where is that place? That simply divine spot where people wave and smile and amble down the road, instead of cursing when the light turns red. Where green means mosey and sunlit mornings translate to a luxuriously slow pace.
We have to find it. Immediately.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
Some people wear only black. Others romanticize the color pink. And then there's the mysterious crew who always seems to find the odd, the strange and the hypnotically appealing -- and wear it just so.
But that's neither here, nor there.
Herb butter. Secret ingredients, addictive results. Perfect for grilled filets, roasted chicken, sultry baked potatoes and red-pepper-flaked broccoli florets. A mere dab will transform your meal.
The little black dress, if you will, of the kitchen.
I'd share the recipe but that would be like divulging where to buy light-blue-seam 7s. Besides, it's more appealing to make up your own, anyway.
Friday, October 07, 2005
Every now and then there's some foolish peep who scribbles jokes about bombs and knives on the miniature cocktail napkins. Not funny.
But, this? Really?
Super disappointing. Makes me wonder if I should stop traveling in my 'You Can't Get This in the States' t-shirt. Or if blatantly flaunting 'Pippi Rules' is going to get me kicked off an airbus.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Who We Are
In any case.
Sometimes brilliant moments arrive, that illuminate that which might seem odd or crazy or out-of-the-blue. And while many may opt to question your actions, the very core of your innermost being senses that you've been poised for this since the notions of a beginning.
Take Jacquelyn Sherman, for example.
Displaced by Katrina, she scrounged up all the spare change she could find and played the lottery. One point six million buckaroos later, she's happy as a clam. Think she's relocating to hurricane-free lands? Putting a massive downpayment on a mansion on the opposite end of the country?
Nope. She's going back to New Orleans. Because that's what's in her soul.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
- They've mastered the art of detecting a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, slurping most of it without a single spill.
- Every now and then, the paper is mysteriously missing from the driveway. Coincidentally -- or not -- those are the very mornings that Oskar chooses to sleep practically cradling the front door.
- Ghosts. They sense them. Why else would they make mad rushes for the back of the yard, barking at absolutely nothing?
- Just when I think I couldn't possibly time my departure any later, they sneak off with the pillows from the couches.
In related fabulous news: they're expert fly catchers and insects-in-the-house-detectors. Brilliantly luxurious. Especially in soon-to-be-cricket season.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Last week, bustling toward LAX, I remembered what I'd filed away and forgotten:
You are your own CEO.
So, definitely ask. Inquire. Consider recommendations. Listen to analogies. Contemplate curious tidbits. And ponder perceived brilliance.
But ultimately, it's up to you.
As the inhabitants of the Magical Forest so eloquently put it: stop drowning your decisions in syrup -- if you remember what you love (a dab of butter and a hint of raspberry jam), you'll find what you're looking for.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Toast and hard-boiled-eggs aside, his bachelor-hood days weren't necessarily filled with trips to the produce department at Ralph's or casual contemplation in front of the fresh seafood counter.
But a couple of weeks ago, Filippa was running late and he -- with the aid of the telephone and a couple, I'm sure, improvisational moments -- prepared pizza dough from scratch. Measured the yeast, added the water and flour, let it proof. Added the remaining goodies, covered with saran wrap and let it rise.
Honestly, I thought that would be it.
And then I got the phone call.
"Matt made stir-fried chicken with sugar-snap peas and pineapple salsa," Filippa practically chirped.
He found a cookbook. Pounced on a recipe. And followed it, step-by-magical-step.
So ... what is it you're saying you can't do?
Monday, September 26, 2005
Pumpernickel touched by sesame seeds, sourdough speckled with green and black olives, poppy-seed everythings, and loaves upon loaves of every possible heavenly combination.
It's almost my turn.
Everything is clearly and neatly labeled, block-letter-cards adorning each miniature shelf, heralding every item released from the oven's inferno.
Then it hits me.
The labels are all wrong. I don't know what anything is called. And though my German was once perfectly gut, that was 12 years ago.
So I panic. Stall. Try to eavesdrop as other natives place their orders.
The smells are intoxicating. My head begins to spin. I don't know what to do.
And then I woke up. Here's how I see it: I'm either a) overly-obsessed with really great bread; b) insanely excited about the prospect of an amazing sandwich; or c) have an inexplicably secret and hidden fear involving ordering in a bakery.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Sunday Night Luxuries
- An addictively fabulous novel.
- Two sleepy, snoozing dogs.
- Back-yard sprinklers.
- Orangina from the bottle.
- Salted almonds, peanuts and cashews.
- Italian parmesan, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, and yummie olive oil.
- Rose-scented candles.
- Open windows.
- Brand-new, super-cute, slightly funky black boots.
- Light-blue glitter-pocket jeans.
- Waiting for Altville.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
"There are only two ways to live your life -- one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."
Rocket-science knowledge isn't required to figure out which path is more appealing. Still, little-bitty reminders never hurt, even if your soul is magically drawn to things glamorously other-world-ly.
- Mozzarella never fails to perfectly melt on pizza.
- Sunshine usually finds a way to sneak itself in.
- You made it.
- Time has a way of stre-e-e-e-tching when you need it most.
- Wishing upon a star evidently works.
Friday, September 23, 2005
So if you'd like to add just a sliver of allure and mystique to your brilliant modes of expression, try a sprinkle of Euro-Thought. You know, bizarr-o expressions that appeal precisely because they're not possible to literally translate.
"She slipped in on a banana peel."
"I was working against the windmills."
"We were stuck in the yogurt."
Translations? Oh, use your imagination. It's time you added some rhetorical spice to your already-poignant persona.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
She's 30 and blonde and brilliant. She's patient and kind and perfectly coordinated. She glitters and sparkles and never leaves a soul untouched.
Clara. My middle sister. Here's but a sliver of her wisdom, which hopefully will osmosis-ti-cally stick with me.
- Persist. Never relent. Finish what you set out to do.
- If you're thinking it, speak it. At least most of the time.
- Always include.
- Stay true.
- Inquire. Figure out. And understand.
- Only do that which makes you feel like a princess.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
And while an early-morning run certainly does wonders for the soul, donning worn-in sneaks and pink-striped sweats isn't always an option.
But that's not really important.
Knowing how to bring sunlight to cloudy days, is.
"If you have your makeup, your cleanser, a razor and a gallon of water, everything will be OK," said Bonnie Irby, who despite Katrina, is trying to focus on life's little luxuries.
Think about that, next time you're pining for gold. Clearly, it's at your fingertips.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Instead: vacation here. Now. Immediately. If you're confusingly impaired, select one of these pre-made itineraries. Magical moments guaranteed.
- Lazy, lovely pool-side weekend. Comfy lounges and pina coladas are definite pluses. But anything garnished with orange slices or cherries will do just fine.
- Cab it. Transform a regular middle-of-the-week-night into an immediate mini-get-away. Dine, drink and devour.
- Pour your favorite red. Make easy-as-pie lasagna. If you add enough oregano & garlic you might trick yourself into thinking you're in Italy.
Never let a day go by without fun. Even better: sprinkle your days with fakey-vacations. It's deliciously addictive.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
- Everyone wants to tackle the quarterback.
- Eleven players per side.
- New England is looking for a three-peat.
- The Raiders are a bunch of gangsters.
- Something about 10 yards and 4 downs.
That's pretty much all I know about football. Ever since college, I've tried to understand the cultural fascination with this weird-o game. Ask any Swedish ex-pat, and you'll quickly realize that I'm not the only one who has trouble keeping their eye on the ball.
But this year, things will change.
I'm delightfully determined to master -- or at least gain a perfunctory understanding of -- this Fall obsession. I want to know who to root for. What plays are tricksters and which ones are foul. Which teams are the underdogs and what the sports-punsters will predict and postulate in the morning's paper.
I am ready for pig-skin-related maven-hood.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
What Do You Recommend?
"So yes, I have a question. Is the 'spice rubbed whole chicken' really an entire chicken?"
"Um, OK. So it's insanely large, then?"
"Oh, well no. See it's actually a cornish hen. But when we described it that way on the menu, nobody ordered it. So we changed it to chicken."
Perception, in all it's glory, seemingly runs the world. Labels -- for all their fabulous pro-categorization appeal -- don't really mean a whole lot.
So go ahead. Sprinkle your days with 'magic' and 'dreamsicles' and 'sunlit-thoughts'. Make up words. Add alluringly appealing adjectives to your every-day prose.
But please. If it's miniature and marvelous, don't change it into something extra-large and mundane. Be pro-flair. If not clear, it's at least intriguing.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
So live it. Be it. Think it. Breathe it.
But most of all: whisper, shout, share and dream that which makes you -- so deliciously and fabulously -- you.
I promise, someone out there wants to hear.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
As they sat in the spot we've all sat: window-esque office behind an-almost-sterile desk at a local dealership, the floor-guy "chatted" with his manager.
"OK," he finally, undoubtedly beamed. "Here's what we can do for you: $4,000 down and $601 a month."
Laughable? For sure. Ever-so-frequent of an occurrence? Pretty much.
Know what you want. And once you've deliberated, debated and decidedly made up your mind: waiver not.
Besides. Things -- even dreams of that new-car-smell -- have a delightful way of working themselves out.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Third grade translated to even more universally applicable lessons: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I think I was the only girlie girl not invited to Amy's birthday-party. Evidently she figured fakey-Americans wouldn't understand the games.
That first bell is about to ring, again.
Those miniature nuggets of elementary wisdom are still fittingly appropriate today.
Are you living by yours?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Not sure what that was like.
But I'm hoping his notes somehow reached the shooters and looters and insanity-inspired actions taking place outside the arena.
Calling it a silver-lining seems much too sunlit. So instead let's pay tribute to the amazing resilience of the human spirit. To those that find the good amidst a down-pour. And especially the lucky few who experience -- if only for an instant -- a sliver of happy.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
- Free dream angels heavenly .25 oz eau de parfum spray
- American Mortgage Corp payment reduction notice: "Get an additional $35K unrestricted cash at close!"
- Pope Mortgage offer: "A .5% payment program is now available!"
- Local Money Mailer: "Like getting money in your mailbox!"
- Ameriquest Mortgage offer: "Dear Princess Malin, I think we can really help. Give me a call at 800 ...."
- Umpteen, endless coupons & flyers. (Best highlight: 99-cent Gatorade at Pavillions)
- A "Have you seen me?" flyer for Robert Pillsen-Rahier. (Always study those photos. You never know.)
- Macy's catalog
- Charter communications ad
- Capital One personal loan application: "Lock in this rate and it will never change. We guarantee it!"
At least Andy Manning got actual correspondence.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
- Light blue and yellow spaghetti strap top
- Various editions of The New Yorker
- A lovely placemat
- Antique tulip table-cloth
- Mis-matched socks
- A plastic tray
- Almost the entire Sunday paper
- An extra large, plaid dog bed
- Orange flip-flops
Iris DeMent and John Prine sang it best:
In spite of ourselves
We'll end up a' sittin' on a rainbow
Against all odds
Honey, we're the big door prize
We're gonna spite our noses
Right off of our faces
There won't be nothin' but big old hearts
Dancin' in our eyes.
Oskar and the Pippster, what would I do without you?
Monday, August 29, 2005
Let It Play
When I flew to Sweden I judiciously paused and played for mere minutes in a row. I made up rules to save the battery life.
- No listening until after the first meal is served
- Pause it while reading
- And if sweet sleep seems seductively simple, use the airplane's radio channels instead
In happy news, it seems tunes they are-a-changing.
Apple Computer Inc. has fessed up. A judge recently approved a class-action settlement, related to the disappointing battery-life of the pods. If you own one of the first three models, you're entitled to $25 in cash, a $50-credit or a free replacement battery.
Granted, it won't last the duration of a cross-Atlantic flight. But that would be too much to ask for, wouldn't it?
Saturday, August 27, 2005
- "Ja ma hon leva, ja ma hon leva" -- grandma singing birthday song.
- Aloha! This is Julie at toll free ...
- Hello, I am calling on behalf of World Savings Bank,
- Hi, this is Kim calling from Macy's, wanted to make sure you got your sales catalog ...
- "Hejsan gumman, ja du ar inte hemma" -- mom, cute & Swedish.
- Hello, this is an important message from Dish Network ...
- We've heard you're interested in buying a home, and ...
- Hello, this is an important message from Dish Network ...
- I wanted to let you know that you've been pre-qualified for a 1% mortgage rate!
- Hello, this is Art with Ocean Pacific Capital,
And I haven't even gone through the mail yet.
Friday, August 26, 2005
A Thousand Words
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Dear Andy Manning:
But seriously. Three years later and I'm still getting all kinds of envelopes: over-sized and miniature, from attorneys and collection agencies and every Better Business Bureau known to man. I'm OK with that.
Not cool with the grandma penmanship. The cutesey flower-adorned envelopes addressed to you in antique cursive, barely legible to the untrained eye. The ones with an angel sticker instead of a return address. The ones begging for a response.
A few months ago, I broke down and tracked down the owner of the gorgeous script. She was 83. You fixed her roof last year, but the early storms we had resulted in a leak. Which has caused extensive damage. She doesn't want money. She doesn't even want an apology. She just wants you to fix her home.
ps. That one day you and your Brad-Pitt-blond-hair showed up in my driveway definitely freaked me out. I know you used to live here. Still. I'd prefer to keep my property creepy-karma-free.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
That was in April.
To the dismay of many, it appears none of that is true -- except the wardrobe description. German authorities have claimed the 20-year-old as one of their own: an apparent lost soul in search of something mysteriously ellusive, yet worth enough to jump ship.
The general global media consensus is captured snippet-like in today's LA Times:
"The e-mails, the radio banter, the perplexed news anchors, they all prattled through the day with subdued regret that sometimes magic just doesn't happen."
Sad isn't it?
Why does every-one always forget to remember that magic lives, breathes and sings -- daily? Granted, a Spielberg-like mystery-man would have made a lovely flick.
But seriously. Let's not lose hope. Instead, relish in that which resides before your very eyes.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Next Time You're In S.F.
Drink as many Bloody Mary's as possible at Balboa. Preferably during brunch.
Sit at a corner-window table at Mario's. Order the open-faced tuna focaccia and don't be afraid to eat copiously.
Take a picture in the throne chair at Vesuvios.
Make sure your cab driver knows where he's going. If not, immediately get out of the car.
Wait the necessary 50 minutes for the roasted chicken at Zuni Cafe. Try not to get Scott as your waiter. He frowns too much.
Try the apricot scone, orange juice and smoked, grilled chicken sausage at Dottie's True Blue Cafe. Don't worry about the line out the door. It's worth it.
Always remember that water is your friend.
Friday, August 19, 2005
If I Were A Jennings
So, it comes to the end of the day
And I’m checking out of my hotel room today
It’s been two years since I’ve seen your face
The girl beside me reminds me how you taste;
Since I’ve seen you, I’ve been beaten down and bruised
And every day I’m feeling more and more misused
I never thought that I would be without your love
Years gone by, you’re still the one I’m thinking of;
Sweet Savannah, you shine so bright
May the evening bring your favorite night
Sweet Savannah, you been gone so long
But I’ve got to move on;
It’s getting cold, I put my jacket on your back
And we smoke a cigarette, the last one in the pack
I still remember exactly what you said
That you had demons that you couldn’t put to bed;
Now I’m leaving, yeah, I’m moing out west
And it’s time for us to lay our history to rest
I still remember a tear drop in your eye
But you know I couldn’t stand to see you cry;
Sweet Savannah, you shine so bright
May the evening bring your favorite night
Sweet Savannah, you been gone so long
But I’ve got to move on;
So I close on this Hollywood night
Where this counter-culture cultivates an emptiness inside
Would it be different if you were still here in my life
Would I be sober, and would you be my wife?
Sweet Savannah, you shine so bright
May the evening be your favorite night
Sweet Savannah, you been gone so long
But I’ve got to be movin’ on ....
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Add a comfy couch, lovely tunes and an open-minded soul and you've got ample opportunities for magic.
- Assumptions don't make the world go round.
- Loyalty does.
- Affectionate reminders of what is are never inappropriate.
- Herb butter perfects any meal.
- Learn enough about someone to trust them completely.
- But remember that everyone mis-steps, every now and then.
- Forgive if you can.
- Speak your mind.
- And always, always, put yourself out there.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Rule 11: Smile At Strangers
But honestly. A few things just .... are.
- Don't speed driving by a school.
- Pour wine for others before you refill your own glass.
- Scones should not be the size of footballs.
- It's OK to just eat the top part of the blueberry muffin.
- Try not to skip breakfast.
- Buy organic produce.
- Be the first to say hello.
- When attending a group function, don't skip out on the bill.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
It's not that you don't love to socialize. Or that your favorite peeps aren't addictively fabulous. But in addition to fancy, lotion-scented sleep and a dimly-lit, wine-kissed meal for one, it's important to remember what makes you tick when the day is done.
Like: carrots, green tomatoes and a miniature basket filled with figs from the Farmer's Market. Cheap-o red wine in a blue and green glass. Toasted home-baked bread with a touch of salted butter. Parmesan cheese, courtesy of a-dad-who-travels-to-Milan. Short stories. Candles. Ceiling fans.
And then. Right before your slumbery eyes call it a night: a date with heavenly cranberry sugar rub and bamboo lemongrass foaming body scrub. Favorite PJs. Night-lights.
You're out. And when the phone rings at 1030, you're already dreaming about whispering well-trained pooches and diamond-studded dog-leashes.
Monday, August 15, 2005
This Just In
"Observation on why George Bush was re-elected.
The Democrat Party's mistake was in supposing that a disastrous war, national bankruptcy, the loss of our liberties, a corporate takeover of the government, a conspiracy to sabotage Social Security and Medicare, the destruction of the environment, a systematic lying by the Administration on all levels, and the forfeiting of our economic and moral leadership in the world might be of some concern to the electorate.
The Republicans rightly perceived that the chief concern of the American people was how to keep gay couples from having an abortion."
Thank you, Anonymous.
Technically, it's not really interrupting. It's more enhancing an already intriguing conversation. You know, adding teensy nuances of girlie-girl commentary, that clearly can only elevate the understanding of everyone else.
Might also be because the story is so good, so compelling, fabulously fascinating, and I just can't wait for the punch-line.
OK, so there's that.
About the loud talking: Once there was a princess. She lived high up in the cloud-covered mountains, next to purple daisies and rain-drop-filled sunflowers. The rest of the village lived far, far below. Deep in the heart of a green-and-orange valley. The princess was very wise. And super-cute. Every morning, the valley peeps would gather at the base of the sunlit mountain, awaiting their sparkling & magical morning greeting.
Moments of silence.
Then, in the far, far remotest distance, way up high, they heard their glorious princess:
"Happy fabulous Monday!" she'd glitter.
The jubilant crowd would cheer. And everyone lived happily ever after.
Moral of the story: princesses are obligated to speak loudly. For how else can they make sure everyone gets to share in a slice of star-lit magic?
Sunday, August 14, 2005
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance.
You don't have to be in love with country charisma to appreciate that. Thank you, Lee Ann Womack.
Friday, August 12, 2005
- Understand the magic inherent in a great pair of black heels.
- Let you know when you're being ridiculous and over-analytical.
- Tell you how fabulous you look, always.
- Immediately grasp why you're laughing, uncontrollably.
- Remind you that boys are silly -- sometimes adorable-- but still, silly.
- Know that John Frieda's Ocean Waves is a must-buy.
- Give perfect cards.
- Encourage, believe and mostly: love you unconditionally.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
You're Already Running Late ...
Slow down. Breathe. Sip coffee. Wave for the sunlight. Primp. Glamorize. Accessorize.
Funny how madness propels everything forward, but it's the less-than-speedy nuances of time that bring out the luxuries.
Like a good shower. Lavender. A blooming sunflower. A brilliant photograph. A favorite sparkly hair-clip. Long-forgotten winks. The hum-hum-humming of the dryer. Great, memorable, addictively-true song lyrics.
See? You would have missed all that if you didn't take the time to mosey.
Bye. Gotta run.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I was three, maybe four -- possibly even two. Wearing something super-cute-and-girlie, no doubt. On vacation with my parents deep in the Swedish heartland. Somehow, somewhere we entered a building. A theater? A museum? Or maybe it was less grandiose, just a room with an elevated part in the back.
They lost me.
Momentary panic. Frantic searching. Calling. Scrambling.
"Here I am!" I practically beamed, appearing -- of course -- in the middle of the stage.
Funny how circular that really is. Three decades later and I still crave the limelight. And yes -- definitely still plan on donning something insanely adorable.
When your day entails gulping wine and devouring fine foods, it's best to look the fancy part.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Slices of life, be they luxuriously Parisian or farm-fresh and jewel-free.
She crosses a street, glances over her shoulder and meets instant attraction. Hours later, she gazes into his eyes ensconced within a candle-lit corner bistro, sipping an '86 vintage, contemplating her luck.
When his cellphone rings, he mutes it quickly, apologetically. She shrugs it off. But then, what could have been a night of perfect beauty, makes a U-turn, as the would-be-suitor glances at his missed-calls-display, not realizing that she's watching his every move.
She leaves. Disappointed. But proud.
That's the entire opening novella. I'm hooked. Not sure I would have left attraction and appeal over a ringtone ... but still. Love that she did.
Monday, August 08, 2005
According to BB
Impossible not to immediately see the wisdom in that, especially when declared by an 80-year-old legend, who clearly has no doubts about the love of his life. Lucille may not be able to sip wine or chatter about current events, but she's always there, no matter what the blues extol.
As we sat in row GG, seat 106 & 107, nodding and swaying and feeling the tunes, it hit me.
It's not about giving so that you can receive. It's really just about finding your groove, being that which you always wish to be, and most importantly, singing for your one and only.
Oh yes. And realizing that there's never not a time to sit poolside sipping parrot-bedecked pina coladas ....