Sad Sushi and Book Recs (Or Random Procrastination)

I have a confession: Nozawa and his SugarFish have basically ruined raw fish for me. Today I thought I’d be frugal-ish, so I walked to Sushi Stop instead of SugarFish. 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. My Boxer really is going to get the albacore for dinner because I just can’t choke it 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 really doesn’t have a daddy — a truth that troubles my grandmother whenever she remembers who I am.

On the bright side that whole situation has given me an idea for a novel. I’m starting to outline it today. I have procrastinated by reading other people’s books for long enough.

And as one last ditch effort at procrastination, here are recs from my recent reading endeavors:

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter – This book is hella 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 read 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 – From the author of Big Little Lies (a great novel and a solid HBO miniseries), this is also being adapted. I’m sure Hollywood will destroy it because it’s just perfect now. 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. This book 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 eat better sushi on the reg.

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. I decided to take matters into my own hands today because I just CAN’T with the smell for another minute.

I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about sink clogs this morning, 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 I’m not mad at him anymore. LONG story. 

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, men who own power tools, 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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Get it, Wiz.

But maybe not as sick as the backstage situation.

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Like duh.

Sure, I 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. (4/21 is the one year anniversary of Prince’s death — for the four of you who weren’t aware.)

We had a long ride to the party, and 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.

It was news to me that he made pottery, but I guess we all have sides of ourselves we can’t express in LA — interests we’ve put on hold. It’s that kind of city. 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 keep your lights on.

It’s not all bad, though.

We do have excellent sushi options.

In fact, I walked to Sugarfish with my book this afternoon and posted up at the sushi bar while reading and devouring all kinds of raw tuna. The man sitting next to me seemed uncomfortable eating alone. He could NOT put his phone down even to enjoy the taste of the fish. He shoveled it into his mouth without looking up from the small screen.

Sure, I had brought a book myself, but I have a rule that I don’t read and eat simultaneously. I generally prefer to enjoy one pleasure at a time.

This awkward man also blew his nose on his napkin after eating his toro hand roll. I hoped he’d get up to wash before eating the baked crab hand roll. (I mean, it’s a HAND roll! It’s not like he had chopsticks between his seaweed and his snot fingers!) I silently willed him to get up and wash, but to no avail.

As he mindlessly munched on his crab, pecking at his phone with the other hand, I wondered where he had put his snot-filled napkin, but I dared not look.

I’m not easily grossed out, and it’s not like I lost my appetite, but I was sort of mesmerized, in a horrified way, by his cavalier disregard for his hands. My Nana wouldn’t let me out of the bathroom unless she heard the tap, and she absolutely wouldn’t let me near food if I didn’t scrub up. These things leave an impression.

So, yes, I was judging him, but he may have been secretly judging me for having Sapporo with my lunch, so maybe we were even.

Anyway, LA has great sushi even if you sometimes have to eat it sitting next to a snot monster with questionable hygiene, and there are spontaneous invitations to the Cypress Hill green room at the Greek, outdoor Purple Rain parties, and all kinds of other adventures, so it’s not all awful.

I do 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 haunts me.

I guess it’s just the time of year when I wonder.

 

 

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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 wet my pants, and I didn’t make out with an uggo.

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. #whatever)

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.

In truth, I never needed his help.

I was merely trying to make him feel useful when I asked him to do it for me. 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.

He failed my simple test spectacularly.

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. He agreed. “Yes — because they can count on you.”

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 isn’t natural… and I utterly despise it.

For a time, I felt inexorably pulled toward a traditional life — one with a husband and children.

Now I’m not so sure that’s where I’m heading.

I’m not sure I can handle what it takes to get there.

I like space.

I like silence.

Children don’t allow that. Husbands do, I suppose… if they like golf.

I wonder if that’s why I’m so attracted to golfers — because I know they’ll be gone for hours and days on end?

Or is it simply because J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Vineyard Vines make me ovulate? I don’t know.

One doesn’t know — can’t know.

I suppose that is because one’s head and one’s heart are very far apart at times.

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.

 

 

Derby Hats, Dark Books, and Easter Desserts (Or Things that Make Me Smile)

Here are some things that make me smile:

#1 I got my dog’s biopsy results back, and his cancer didn’t spread to his lymph nodes. Sure, the tumors were level 2, which means they COULD return, but they didn’t spread, so there’s that. We are consulting with a veterinary oncologist, but it’s mostly good news for now.

#2 I’m going to Vegas for the Kentucky Derby with two of my besties from college. We’ve been scheming about hats in a group text all morning.

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This little nugget from Nordstrom is my front runner.

Part of me is tempted to have a flower crown made for the Derby, but I’m afraid it won’t survive the trip.

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I don’t actually know who this guy is.

He just liked my cakeandpunch crown, so we posed for a pic at Malibu Wines. (I think ranunculus are everything. Apparently he agreed.)

#3 In addition to conspiring about hats, we’ve been discussing poolside reading. Kelley and I shared book suggestions all morning and have basically started our own long distance, two-person book club. Most of my friends would recommend me for a padded room if I told them to read these books, so I’m grateful for a kindred spirit in the land of the macabre. (Pretty Girls, The Missing, The Murder Room, and I’m Thinking of Ending Things are our first orders of business for discussion.)

#4 It’s almost time for Easter at 816, an annual tradition that brings the best people on the planet together for food, wine, and fun at our favorite Santa Monica beach house.

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Here are a few of my beautiful bunny besties from last year’s festivities.

I’m trying to decide if I want to make the same fennel scalloped potatoes I made last year or if I want to branch out.

This gorgeous geode cake from Buttercream Bakeshop in DC gives me ideas.

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Couldn’t you just DIE from the pretty?

I think I’d put ice cream in the inside instead of cake if I made it. I’ve been scouring this link for ice cream inspiration.

Cake bores me as much as a bad book.

True story.