Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Remember letters? Penmanship? Curly-queues and flower-ey stamps and Airmail-adorned shimmery envelopes?


Instead, this:
  1. Free dream angels heavenly .25 oz eau de parfum spray
  2. American Mortgage Corp payment reduction notice: "Get an additional $35K unrestricted cash at close!"
  3. Pope Mortgage offer: "A .5% payment program is now available!"
  4. Local Money Mailer: "Like getting money in your mailbox!"
  5. Ameriquest Mortgage offer: "Dear Princess Malin, I think we can really help. Give me a call at 800 ...."
  6. Umpteen, endless coupons & flyers. (Best highlight: 99-cent Gatorade at Pavillions)
  7. A "Have you seen me?" flyer for Robert Pillsen-Rahier. (Always study those photos. You never know.)
  8. Macy's catalog
  9. Charter communications ad
  10. 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

Apparent Edibles

  • 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

I'm clearly hooked on my pink iPod. Dog walks, early-morning-jogs, 4pm work-reprieves -- impossible not to salute the brilliance of the miniature device that holds thousands of favorites.

But, yeah.

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.

Details here.

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


Hello, you have 16 new messages.
  1. "Ja ma hon leva, ja ma hon leva" -- grandma singing birthday song.
  2. Aloha! This is Julie at toll free ...
  3. Hello, I am calling on behalf of World Savings Bank,
  4. Hi, this is Kim calling from Macy's, wanted to make sure you got your sales catalog ...
  5. "Hejsan gumman, ja du ar inte hemma" -- mom, cute & Swedish.
  6. Hang-up.
  7. Hello, this is an important message from Dish Network ...
  8. Hang-up.
  9. We've heard you're interested in buying a home, and ...
  10. Hang-up.
  11. Hello, this is an important message from Dish Network ...
  12. Hang-up.
  13. I wanted to let you know that you've been pre-qualified for a 1% mortgage rate!
  14. Hello, this is Art with Ocean Pacific Capital,
  15. Hang-up.
  16. Hang-up.

And I haven't even gone through the mail yet.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A Thousand Words

Well I can't remember
But it still makes me laugh
When I see us together
In a photograph

Charlie Robison. Texas alt icon. Twangy, touchable lyrics. Down-home truth strummed -- eloquently or not -- with a twist of addictive sarcasm.

I've got my own picture. It's above my dresser. In my bedroom. Adorned with a strand of pearl-ey JazzFest beads. Gold, gilded, antique, over-sized frame. Miniature photo. And it's one of my favorites.

I'm two, maybe three. Having what appears to be tea out of pink and white porcelain cups with my mother's grandmother. Malin. My name-sake. It's summer. I'm holding a hat over my head -- possibly the first iteration of the happy dance.

Makes me smile every morning.

Moral of the story: find your photograph.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dear Andy Manning:

I gave you quite a bit of leeway for the first year. Honestly, I kept thinking you'd just forgotten to forward your mail. So, as any upstanding fakey-American, I returned everything to sender. Letters from relatives. Junk mail. Credit card applications.

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.

Princess Malin

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


Newspapers around the world lauded him as a musical genius. A piano whiz, mute, clad in a tattered suit and decidedly brilliant.

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.

Stay at the York Hotel. The windows actually open and the stairs are appealingly windy and creaky enough just to be mysterious.

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

I'd sing songs like Shooter. Wearing jeans and dusty boots, playing tributes to George and Willie, and remembering that the only way to keep your Savannah is to dance for today and remind her -- daily -- what's hidden in your heart.

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

Midnight Lessons

It's no secret that moonlight makes you wise.

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

Yes. Doing your own thing, adding that little bit of personal-you-charm to your day-to-day clearly is preferred. It's like serving tomatoes and mozzarella au gratin instead of unadorned with basil -- differently addictive.

But honestly. A few things just .... are.
  1. Don't speed driving by a school.
  2. Pour wine for others before you refill your own glass.
  3. Scones should not be the size of footballs.
  4. It's OK to just eat the top part of the blueberry muffin.
  5. Try not to skip breakfast.
  6. Apologize.
  7. Dance.
  8. Buy organic produce.
  9. Be the first to say hello.
  10. When attending a group function, don't skip out on the bill.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Blissfully Quiet

Everyone needs an alone night.

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

I'm a creature of habit. But I have to break the one-post-a-day rule for this: an actual letter to the editor of an Arkansas daily.

"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.

But ...

I think it's because I walk fast. And am incapable of whispering.

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

Twangy Truth

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
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


  1. Understand the magic inherent in a great pair of black heels.
  2. Let you know when you're being ridiculous and over-analytical.
  3. Tell you how fabulous you look, always.
  4. Immediately grasp why you're laughing, uncontrollably.
  5. Share.
  6. Inspire.
  7. Remind you that boys are silly -- sometimes adorable-- but still, silly.
  8. Know that John Frieda's Ocean Waves is a must-buy.
  9. Give perfect cards.
  10. Encourage, believe and mostly: love you unconditionally.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

You're Already Running Late ...

... So why rush?

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

Poignantly So

My dad tells the story fabulously.

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

Je Voudrais

It's petite. Tote-able. Perfectly purse-sized. Translated from French into Swedish, the short stories as told by author Anna Gavalda are -- without sounding trite -- immaculate capsules of what is.

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

Find your person. And make them smile.

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 ....

Friday, August 05, 2005

Suburbia, 8.30am

Neighbor Down the Street: Did you get a new dog?
Princess Malin: Yeah, she's a stray.
NDS: Wow. She looks really young.
PM: She's three.
NDS: Well, I am sure they're having fun.
PM: Yes. Especially since I'm at work all day.
NDS: You work?!?
PM: Um, yeah.
NDS: OH! I THOUGHT YOU WERE A HOUSEWIFE! When do you go to work?
PM: Oh, depends. Try to be in by 9.

It's abundantly clear. I need an immediate, dramatic appearance change. Rockstar? Clearly. Hipster, cool, girl? Definitely. Super-fabulous and insanely interesting? For sure!

But housewife? Ohmygosh not yet.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Heavenly 'Cue

Friends. There's never really a time to not invite them over for dinner. All it takes is a super-speedy grocery venture, a few minutes of marinating prep and a good corkscrew.
  1. Place the pork tenderloin in a deep dish. Add reckless amounts of olive oil and vinegar, as much minced garlic as you dare, red pepper flakes, salt and dash upon dash of thyme, oregano, paprika and Herbes de Provence.
  2. Bake the potatoes. Halve lengthwise, scoop out the good stuff-ever-so-daintly (leaving the outside intact) and place in mixing bowl. Add a couple spoonfuls of sourcream, splashes of milk, more minced garlic, all appealing herbs from your spice rack, sharp cheddar, gobs of butter, and -- super-key -- Chipotle Tabasco sauce. Tons of it.

Grill the pork. Sprinkle the spuds with more cheese & place in oven until nice and bubbly.

Pour wine. Light candles. Play tunes. Devour.

Happy August.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Before I left for Madrid as a 20-year-old going on 16, I paused, if only for a moment. Slightly worried how I'd get around without really speaking the language, I had a slivery slice of second thoughts. Then my parents said, of course you can do it. It's no big deal. Go.

When my sister's dreams of dentistry led her to Witten-Herdecke -- deep in the unknown heart of Germany -- she clearly realized she didn't know anything about placing verbs at the end of sentences, much less the weight of the formal Sie. But of course she went. Why? Our parents always believed we could and should. And we all did.

So, wish. Believe. And always go.

Because those secrets that you've whispered only to falling stars really do translate to magic. But only if you stay true.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pretty Much

  • Pompeii Purple is your best bet for toe-nail-polish.
  • When in doubt, play a Willie song.
  • Try everything once before you make up your mind.
  • Sometimes, try it again. And again. And again.
  • Cereal really isn't a good breakfast on the run.
  • Coffee is.
  • A fabulous belt translates to fancier jeans.
  • Smile.
  • Remember.
  • Drink good red wine.
  • Act before you think.
  • It's way more fun.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Bottle the Good

It would undoubtedly be one of the best inventions of all time. Shelves upon shelves of pink-or-blue-or-yellow-hued glass, each one containing a slivery slice of personalized magic.

The perfect run. Cheesy, oregano-kissed lasagna. Twenty-five seconds of dance-able bliss. The last chapter of your favorite book. Beach-flavored sunsets. Three soaring stars. Fields of tulips. Lemon butterflies. Clogs. Your favorite jeans.

As madness seems to circulate the globe, the super-smart and brilliantly savvy know that the best way to live is to do just that: live.

It's never too late to begin, by the way. If you're slightly hesitant, find that deliciously comfy T-shirt and worn-in pair of sneaks and take on the day.

Besides. It's August. Clearly the best month ever.