Birthdays, Bows, and Banana Leaf Jammies (Or Hedy’s Birthday)

Monday is my Aunt Hedy’s birthday. (It also happens to be Tom Cruise’s birthday too — in case you care.)

Hedy’s leaving tomorrow for her annual holiday in Hawaii, so it was imperative that I deliver her present today.

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OK, technically it was presents, plural, but whatever. 

I put shells on her plunder because she’s planning to bask on the beach for two weeks like a boss, and I like to be thematically appropriate when I can.

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I may have used a glue gun… and paint pens.

Also?

I made sure the ribbons matched the card because I’m me — and I care about things like that.

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Please ignore the dog toys on the floor. 

My attention to detail only goes so far; sometimes usually there’s an errant dog toy in my pics. (I’m all about gift wrap, but photography and I are NOT friends.)

So that’s the latest in my life.

Well, that and the super important thing that happened yesterday: my Katie Kime jammies arrived!!! They are a banana leaf print with a pink monogramed breast pocket and they are the absolute PINNACLE of bedtime fashion.

More on that later… I promise.

Now I need to kiss my beast on his gorgeous dog face 14,000 times before I go to work.

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Enjoy your nap while I slave to keep you in kibble, kid.

Just kidding!!!

He’s the best baby ‘roo who ever lived, and I’d do anything to make him happy.

Sad Sushi and Book Recs (Or Random Procrastination)

I have a confession: SugarFish has basically ruined all other raw fish for me. Today I thought I’d make a feeble attempt at frugality, so I walked to the Sushi Stop up the street for lunch instead. I saved myself a sad $18 and ended up with salmon I wanted to feed to the dog because it just wasn’t on a bed of warm, sticky rice.

Albus will now have albacore for dinner because I just couldn’t choke that down…

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And because I love the goofy bastard more than I love people.

He really is, like, literally a bastard. He doesn’t actually have a daddy — a truth that troubles my grandmother during the rare, lucid moments when she remembers who I am.

She recently asked me no less than four times in the span of a 15 minute conversation if I had a boyfriend. Each time I simply answered, “no,” while my aunt sniped at her in the background a) for repeating herself, and b) for caring more about my relationship status than my career. My grandma finally said, “Hedy said I asked you that question five times.”

“It was four. Tell her she can’t count.”

We are not nice people.

I don’t mean to mock dementia because it’s awful watching the woman who used to send you care packages full of homemade cookies forget how to turn on her stove, but if I’m being honest I must admit we ALL feel like we’re losing our minds with the situation. It’s hard on everyone — including her.

The whole thing has given me an idea for a novel, though, so I’m starting to outline the story beats.

I have procrastinated by reading other people’s books long enough. It’s time to try to write my own.

But before I do that, here’s one last ditch effort at procrastination:

A short list of the best books I’ve read recently while not writing my own stuff.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – This book is super disturbing and you may not want to be my friend any more after you read it, but I promise you won’t be able to put it down. I finished it in 24 hours.

The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall – This is one of most delightful books I’ve read in absolutely forever. I devoured it in four days and was devastated when it ended. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Polly. The woman shoots blanks at squirrels, doesn’t understand why her daughter’s Jesus doesn’t let her drink margaritas, and brings a falcon to a parent-teacher conference. I want to be Polly when I grow up.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty – This is not to be confused with Still Alice, which I can’t bring myself to read because of the whole-my-Grandma-doesn’t-know-who-I-am-thing. Coincidentally, it also deals with memory loss, but in a charming, Moriarty kind of way that leads to love and stuff.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – Yes, Liane again. This woman can write. Trust.

And now I really will work on my outline because I’m not trying to wait tables for the rest of my life.

Also?

I need to make more money so I don’t have to make any more sacrifices that involve cold sushi rice.

Not So Divine (Or I Become a Plumber)

You know how I promised these posts would be “Dedicated to All Things Canine and Divine”? Well, here’s what’s NOT divine.

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My sink situation.

My maintenance guy is out of town for a family emergency and this bog of eternal stench has been brewing since Thursday. This morning I decided to take matters into my own hands because I just CAN’T with the smell for another minute.

I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about sink clogs, which obviously makes me a plumber, and then I set off for Home Depot with my assistant for supplies.

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He was mesmerized by the place.

Who can blame him, though? The Home Depot is made of amazing.

It was a successful outing until…

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Someone stepped in a broken bag of cement.

(In his defense, I did too.)

Once I solve the sink problem I may need to investigate how to clean the leather without accidentally making concrete on my seats.

Anyway back to the sink…

I drained the stagnant bog water by removing part of the pipe, but the blockage that caused the problem in the first place is somewhere in the P trap, and I can’t get the slip nuts off to remove it. I probably need a wrench or someone with bigger hands to get it off.

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Slip nuts and I are NOT friends.

Phil’s* supposed to call me later to walk me through solutions for the sink because I may have reached a bit of an impasse, so for now I’m taking a break and drinking a beer because it seems like a good thing to do now that I’m a plumber. #sortakinda

*He’s back in Minnesota, but that’s why God made FaceTime and stuff.

I Dream of Running Away (Or Ambivalent About LA Again)

I frequently feel the urge to flee LA — at least once a year — to be specific. When I’m gripped with the strong desire to go somewhere else it’s usually because I’m fantasizing about a “normal” life.

(My definition of normal involves a garden, proximity to men who own more power tools than I do, and a standing tailgate every Saturday in the fall.)

I was having one of those days on Thursday. I wanted to be anywhere but here. Then I got a message from my friend, Murph. He had an extra ticket to the Snoop, Cypress Hill, and Wiz Khalifa show at the Greek for 4/20, complete with backstage passes.

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Normal life, what? Who needs THAT when you can go backstage?!?

Murph is developing a pilot with Bobo, the drummer from Cypress Hill, because this is LA, and everyone is working on a pilot. Bobo hooked us up for the show.

Obviously, our seats were sick.

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Not a bad shot of Wiz and Snoop right?

But maybe not as sick as the backstage situation.

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Like duh.

Sure, I now have to dry-clean my entire ensemble so I don’t smell like a walking bong, but it was worth it.

So worth it, in fact, that I got over my need to flee for 24 full hours.

That is until I was in an uber with Dan on the way to his friends’ Purple Rain screening party the following evening. It was an ordeal to get someone to walk the dog at the last minute, and we had a LONG ride to the party. Those old feelings were coming up again. I swear it would be easier to invade a small country than to plan how to go out on a Friday night with friends in LA where no one gets arrested.

Since we had what felt like 42 hours in the backseat of someone else’s Hyundai, I shared my fantasy about moving to Austin to eat proper barbecue and grow my own herbs in a large garden.

“And I’d have room to throw pots,” he observed wistfully.

Apparently, my wanderlust was contagious.

It was news to me that he made pottery, but I guess we all have sides of ourselves we can’t (or don’t) express in LA — interests we’ve put on hold. Sure, you can find anything here if you search for it, but the pace and the cost of everything can sometimes cause you to shelve some of your interests while you’re stuck in traffic or working to feed your enormous dog the venison he deserves.

I sometimes wonder if I’m putting too much of myself on hold to be here, however.

Would I have more to write about if I went somewhere new and immersed myself in a different place?

The thought will plague me until someone else invites me to do something cool and I’ll probably be fine again.

 

 

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Gin, the Lawn, and the Crashy-Bam-Bam (Or My New Ouchy-Boo-Boo)

Tuesday night I had an accident… but not that kind of accident.

I didn’t crash my car, I didn’t soil myself, and I didn’t make out with anyone inappropriate.

I did, however, step into an unseen hole in my lawn. (It was dark and there may have been a bit of gin involved.) I lost my balance and went flying onto the sidewalk, whereupon I skinned my knee and gruesomely shredded the palm of my hand. I fell with such force that I also hit my chin on the ground, jarring my head and neck. Mercifully, my chin landed on the grass on the other side of the sidewalk, and I didn’t shred my face. (Thank the good Lord for small miracles and stuff.)

My dog sat patiently next to me as I lay on the ground. I explained to him, “Mommy went crashy-bam-bam and needs a minute to get up. She has an ouchy-boo-boo.” Crashy-Bam-Bam is a term he’s familiar with, given that he was an enthusiastic and rather clumsy puppy. And now that he’s sporting three-inch scars from his recent cancer surgery, he has heard a lot about ouchy-boo-boos from me as well.

(I like to think he understands me, but it may all be science fiction. Also? I’m quite aware that I sound like a lunatic when I talk to him.)

Finally, after a few moments passed, I managed to pull myself to my feet and we finished our walk with me feeling rather sorry for myself.

A large bruise has since formed on my kneecap, and my hand is mummified in gauze. It’s all terribly sad. (Or at least I think so.)

I’ve always been clumsy. It’s just not something you outgrow, especially if you’re fond of sapphire and tonic.

So anyway, I’m wounded.

Wanna send me flowers?

I like peonies, and they’re in season.

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This many would fix my situation. Source

And now I’ll stop wallowing in self pity and get some work done.

XOXO

Old Friends Know What You Need (Or Emergency Encouragement)

Last night I was glum. I was watching Grey’s Anatomy when my phone vibrated next to me. Delighted to see it was my dear friend, Chris, I responded immediately.

He texts me when he’s working the night shift in the ER. He’s in Michigan, so I’m one of the few people still awake during the long, odd hours he is on his feet pulling bullets out of people.

We caught up on life: his twins, my dog, the state of my love life.

I admitted that my writing wasn’t going well. Forever an optimist, and forever my biggest fan, he encouraged me.

My life may not have been hanging in the balance, but my motivation certainly was. His belief in me was just what the doctor ordered.  (Forgive the cliche.)

As we texted, it occurred to me that the men already in my life — my friends — have set the bar exceptionally high and I told him as much.

“I pity the poor man who has to live up to the standard you’ve all set,” I told him.

“You’re too kind,” he replied.

“Well, it’s true,” I countered.

And it is.

Chris and I have been friends since we were 12 years old, and he is a tremendous human being. He has forgiven me for paying more attention to his soccer teammates when I was tutoring them in calculus… and other transgressions.

He has also come through for me with words of encouragement, a listening ear, and loyal friendship for 26 years. We first bonded over a mutual love of Twin Peaks at 7th grade camp, and we’ve never looked back.

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That’s why it was easy to give a toast at his wedding.

After last night’s pep talk from the doc, I’m ready to do a little writing today.

(Writing other than this, that is.)

 

Marriage, Madeleine Ferguson, and the State of the Mirror (Or Things Delayed)

Today I could, or rather, should do seven loads of laundry and seek intervention in the form of a pedicure. I’ve opted to read my new book and watch my dog sleep instead.

I’m ambitious like that.

Honestly, I worked six days last week, today is my one day off before it starts all over again, and I just don’t want to be productive.

Besides, I hung my own mirror this weekend.

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What more do you want from me?

The man who was supposed to do it for me is in Minnesota… perhaps permanently and I’m mad at him for as many reasons as that state has lakes.

In truth, I never really needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me, and if I’m being REALLY honest that was sort of a crappy move on my part, but I needed to know if he would do what he said he would, and he didn’t.

I wanted to give him a chance to show me who he was. And he did. In more ways than one. (It wasn’t just the mirror.)

As I recounted the story to my friend Mike on a recent phone call, I told him it was imperative that I could count on someone.”Yes,” he agreed, “because they can count on you.” #aww

That’s the beautiful thing about friends.

They know you. They see you.

They know who you are. They’ve walked with you through so many seasons of your life that you show yourselves to one another again and again, sometimes without even meaning to do so.

I find it hard to replicate this while dating, everyone on their best behavior at dinner, struggling to be mysterious or romantic or whatever. It just doesn’t feel like real life.

Real life, to me, involves situations like: Can we hang my faux deer head without killing each other even though we’re both covered in the gum we accidentally melted with the hairdryer? (Obviously that example is too specific to be fictional.)

My parents practically filed for divorce every time they put up wallpaper or got in a car to go anywhere that involved a map, so I’m not trying to subject any future hypothetical children to that noise.

I’m not saying I have anything against dinner (I’m actually quite fond of it), but I guess what I’m saying is: the other stuff matters more to me.

I started this post for another purpose, and now it has become this.

Oh well.

Like the laundry that should be thrown into the machine and the nails that should be filed and polished, those words and that purpose will be delayed another day.

Now I’m going to straighten the art my dog decided to rearrange last night and go back to my book.

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Apparently he has a problem with Laura Palmer, Madeleine Ferguson, and all things Twin Peaks.

I, have a problem with my couch.

I almost can’t even look at that wretched thing.

Send help.