Please Pass the Salt

An open letter to restaurant owners who purposefully do not have salt and pepper on the table:

Just stop.

And by stop, I mean stop not putting salt and pepper on the table. Or to be more clear. Start putting salt and pepper on the table, right there next to the mood-light candle or trendy succulent as if it belonged there. Because it does. Belong there. (The salt and pepper, I mean. I couldn’t give a shit about the succulent.)

And look. I know. You take your food seriously. Your chef is a genius. An arteest. A culinary god. The food that comes out of his or her kitchen is a masterpiece. It is seasoned to perfection and does not require any enhancements. It’s meant to be enjoyed as is.

But here’s the thing. I like salt. Pepper too, but mostly salt. 

I even like salt on my chocolate.

And hey, maybe you’re right. Maybe I don’t need salt. I do try my food before salting it. But nine times out of ten (or more like ninety-nine times out of one hundred), I taste my food and think, Yum. That’s delicious. But you know what would make it even more delicious? A little salt.

And I don’t salt everything. I’m not a monster. I don’t salt my hamburger, but I do salt my fries. Even if they’re pre-salted. And if you serve fries at your restaurant and there is no salt on the table, why? WHY??? WTF is wrong with you? You’re the monster!

And if you don’t serve fries at your restaurant and there is no salt on your table, I still ask WTF is wrong with you?

Because here’s what’s going to happen: I get served my food. I take a bite. I realize it could use a little salt. Now I have to flag down my server. And that could take five minutes. So, I continue to eat my food, but just a little. I just pick at it really, because every bite I take I think about how much better it would taste with salt. And I start to become bitter. And by the time the server comes to the table to ask how everything is my mouth is not full because I am not eating. And when the server finally brings me my precious, my food has gone cold. Now my food is salty and delicious, but also a little bit congealed. And you don’t want that do you?

I’m willing to admit it’s not you, it’s me. I’m the one with the defect. But it’s not your job to fix me. Or my taste buds. Your job is to cook me dinner. My job is to eat it any way I damn well please. So let’s just agree to disagree on the whole “seasoned to perfection” thing. Except that I am the customer. Which makes me fucking right. So please, just go ahead and put the salt on the table already.

My Snarky 2019 Emmy Red Carpet Comments

Can I let you in on a secret? You might think that because I’ve been writing this red carpet (that was actually purple this year) post for the last 10ish years, that I not only wait for the Emmy’s (Oscar’s and Golden Globe’s) every year with baited breath, but actually know when they are going to occur.

No.

I’m not that organized. In fact I didn’t know the Emmy’s were happening tonight until my husband and I were reading the Sunday paper and noticed a story about the Emmy’s on the cover of Parade Magazine.

Shit. Are those tonight?

Yup.

Because I really don’t have time for this. I just got back from an eight night one-third vacation, two-thirds business trip. I landed at LAX on Saturday at 8:30 AM (after waking up at 4:45 AM for a 7:00 AM flight from Indianapolis), got home around 10:00 AM and went to bed until noon.

Then instead of getting up and cleaning (because you know I came home to a dirty house), shopping (because you also know I came home to a house with no fresh food), and doing laundry (spoiler alert – there was plenty of that, that wasn’t mine too), I dragged my jet lagged ass to a country festival at the beach.

Of course I did.

Which is my very long-winded way of saying. I’m tired. Marley got home from work around 8:30 PM after a late Saturday night and a long shift Sunday and she’s tired.

Plus, WordPress has changed its format and I hate it and this post looks all wonky and I have given up caring. You get what you get and you don’t get upset, people. I do this for you (the five people who look forward to this post every year), but I can only do so much.

A special shout out and thank you to my friend Laurel and her daughter Lexi who texted me their comments last night. They were on point. (Marley and I might have to pass the torch to them soon.)

Okay. Enough of the blah blah blah. I present to you, my 2019 Emmy Red (Purple) Carpet Review.

Carice Van Houten
I hated this dress when I first saw it, but the more I look at it, I kind of think it looks like a piece of art. It’s original and I say yes.
Marley: It looks like someone who tried to make a modern art piece by following all the popular modern artists, but instead of getting into the Broad, they just got into their high school art show.
Laurel & Lexi: Hard No.
Chloe Bridges
Me: It’s pretty, but the leather texture of the bandeau and little flaps are just weird.
Marley: Honestly, I think it’s really pretty, but the things below the belt are a little weird. The look like gun holsters, but considering the gun laws in our country it makes sense. Very high school chic.

Dascha Polanco
She looks gorgeous, but that dress? Hard No.

Marley: Who made that dress and for what reason? It reminds me of an ugly white and pink bear some high school dude gives you for Valentine’s Day.

Laurel & Lexi: a one-year old’s birthday cake will be worn by the othrwise gorgeous Dascha Polanco. Pink is the new cake!
Robin Weigert
Me: Gorgeous. I love this dress.
Marley: I appreciate the style, but I think the pattern looks like it belongs in the pages of an adult coloring book for stressed out millennials.

Now how about some love (or some well deserved shade) for the awesome Game of Thrones ladies.

Gwendoline Christie
Me: Her hair and makeup look stunning, but is she confused? Did she think she was on set for the do-over last season of GOT?
Marley: She looks like a female pope.
Laurel and Lexi: Shame on you, Gucci!
Maisie Williams
Me: I love it.
Marley: Aw, she looks cute, but I hate that dress. Why is it uneven like that. Did her cat attack it?
Emilia Clarke
Me:Points for the pockets, but honestly the top of her dress looks like suspenders. Maybe she thought she was going to be on the cover of Playboy instead of going to an awards show.
Marley: It looks uncomfortable, like you can’t sit down or bend over because the top will just fall off.
Sophie Turner
Me: I think it’s pretty. I like the color and the details.
Marley: It’s pretty, but it looks like she can only waddle in it.
Laurel: It just looks ill-fitting to me.
Lena Heady
Me: I think it’s gorgeous. It’s the type of dress I would wear, actually.
Marley: Oh, why? It looks like wallpaper from the 40’s.

Julia Garner
Me: That is one ugly and unflattering dress. Hell to the no!
Marley: The sleeve is stupid and the cutout is weird. Who is this supposed to look good on?

And now, how about a shout out (or a shout at) to the ladies who wear pants.

Angela Bassett
Marley: I think it’s a terrible outfit. It’s prisoner orange and why does she have a lolipop purse? I don’t get it.
Me: Marley is wrong. This outfit is hot.
Laurel & Lexi: Outfit, yes! Clutch, not so much!
Kerry Washington
Marley: Is she a pirate or a waiter? That’s something you would wear to prom in the 80’s. Why?
Me: Once again, my darling daughter is wrong. Kerry looks fab.
Laurel & Lexi: Yes! Yes!

Clea DuVall
Me: Classic. I love it.
Marley: Simple. She looks nice. I don’t know what else to say about it.
Samantha Bee
Me: I’m neutral on this outfit, but those shoes? Oh how I wish I could wear shoes like that. I want them. If only to stare at them in my closet every day.
Marley: Every year someone wears a white tux and every year it’s still ugly.
Melanie Liburd
Charlene & Marley: Wedding dress on top. Tuxedo on bottom.
Marley: It’s 2019. If you can’t find a partner just marry yourself and wear that.

Pink and red – who wore it best?

Taraji P. Henson
Me: I’m 50-50 on this one. But I’ll tell you what, she looks gorgeous!
Marley: Why? It’s so ugly. She looks so pretty, but why would she want to be wearing that? It’s kind of a cape and the red is too orange to go with the pink.
Susan Kelechi Watson
Marley: My biggest problem with all these dresses are the sleeves. Calm down with the sleeves. It’s like designers don’t know how to make a dress different, so they just go crazy and make stupid sleeves.
Me: Marley is right. Take away those sleeves and that’s one gorgeous dress.
Zoe Kazan
Me: Did Gucci think they could do with a canopy bed cover what Scarlett O’Hara did with her drapes?
Marley: Deep sigh. Do I even need to say anything? Do I really need to? I think the terribleness of it just speaks for itself.
Laurel & Lexi: Hollywood royalty should not wear this. Again, shame on you, Gucci!
Me: No one should wear this, Laurel. No one should wear this.
Marisa Tomei
Marley: That’s so ugly. It looks like curtains.
Me: Wrong! This is how you red and pink!
Mandy Moore
The answer to the question above is Mandy. Marisa, you look gorgeous, but Mandy Moore wore it best.

And then there’s this…

Vera Farmiga
Marley: I think it’s really pretty. I don’t love the puffy sleeves, but I like the pattern.
Me: I am actually shocked Marley likes this. Even pink could not have saved this sad 1970’s wedding dress meets Little House on the Prairie in red.

And now the good…

Sandra Oh
Marley: Sandra looks gorgeous. She look amazing.
Me: Same
Laurel & Lexi: Sadra Oh looks gorgeous – it’s the right shade of pink for her.
Julia Louis Dreyfus
Me: Stunning
Marley: Classic. Beautiful. She always wears good dresses.
Jameela Jamil
Me: Beautiful. Love the color and the dress.
Marley: It’s not the worst. I don’t really like the color on her, but it’s simple and I like that.
Laurel & Lexi: Stunning. Surprised how much we love this color!
MJ Rodriguez
Me: Pretty in pink. I love it!
Marley: She looks great. The black bows make her waist look tiny.
Gwyneth Paltrow & Brad Falchuk
Me: Can I be honest? I am not a Gwyneth Paltrow fan. Goop is pretentious hipster poop. But I am big enough to admit that I love this dress and she looks absolutely gorgeous.
Marley: Other than the sleeves, which are dragging all over the floor and getting dirty, I like this dress. She looks really pretty.
Laurel & Lexi: The Paltrows look gorgeous. Black & white for the win!
Jodie Comer
Me: Beautiful
Marley. I love it. I like how the slits line up.
Laurel: She looks super sexy. I dream of her cleavage.

The bad…

Indya Moore
Me: She is beautiful, but everything about this dress is a hard no for me.
Marley: Nope. She’s actually brave to wear that, I feel like she’s going to be giving a show.
Laurel & Lexi: More fabric, less Star Trek next time. Such a gorgeous girl.
Laverne Cox
Me: Is that a sombrero sewn onto the shoulder of that dress?
Marley: She looks like a feather duster.
Laurel: Laverne Cox looks gorgeous!
Lexi: That dress is horrible, but she looks incredible.
So, I think we are all in agreeance – Laverne, you are one hot, gorgeous creature, but that dress is a hard no!
Kristen Bell
Me: She looks like a pharaoh. But also, I don’t hate it.
Marley: I hate it. I hate it so much. I like the creativity and think it had good intentions, but it doesn’t work for me.
Amy Poehler
Me: Oh, Amy. I love you so much, but seriously, girl. Just, no. This looks like a bad 1970’s disco reject. (Even that weird scarf is 1970’s.) I’m going to say it again – NO!
Marley: It’s so ugly. It’s trashy gold. And what is with that weird black scarf/untied neck tie?
Kendall Jenner
Sadly Marley missed this number, because I bet she would have had a lot to say about it. A whole lot.
I will just say this: As Kendall was walking down that long red (purple) carpet I bet she was wishing her dress didn’t have the pleather bondage turtle neck attached. Me too, Kendall. Me too.
Laurel & Lexi:

And the best of the best…

Zendaya
Me: Beyond stunning.
Marley: I think she looks really great. The dress looks like it was made for her. It makes her body look amazing.
Laurel & Lexi: Love it or leave it, Zendaya looks stunning tonight.
Regina King
Regina King can do no wrong. Stunning. Fabulous. Drop Dead Gorgeous. I love it, Love it, LOVE it!
Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Me: Hands down, favorite dress of the night.
Marley: At first I didn’t like it, but the more I look at it, I think it’s pretty. I really like the rose gold.

And now for the men…

Lin Manuel Miranda
Me: So handsome. Yes, please.
Marley: He’s wearing a suit. What about it. He looks like every boy at prom.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Me: that jacket is ugly. But also Jamie Lanister is one of my hot fantasy boyfriends, so I don’t care.
Marley: Is he an Emmy?
Mahershala Ali
Me: He looks great.
Marley: I like the color. I think it looks good.
Ru Paul
Marley: You know, it’s terrible, but it’s Ru Paul, so he’s allowed.
Me: What Marley said.
Laurel & Lexi: Ru is pulling this off. How does he do it?
Justin Hartley
Me: Oh yeah!
Marley: He looks good. It’s nice to see a tux that isn’t black. That’s a great shade of blue.
Steven Canals
Me: Sigh…
Marley: Again, with the sleeves.
Billy Porter
Me: If you’re going to be fabulous, then I say be fabulous. Billy – you are fabulous!
Marley: Hey, instead of bad sleeves, they changed it for stupid long pants. It looks like a kid who went into his parents’ closet and tried on one of their pants. I’m not even going to comment on the hat.
Lexi & Laurel: Oh my!

And as always, unedited and likely with tons of mistakes (I mean in the way of grammar and typos – my opinions are spot on), that my friends, is a wrap.

Pictures lifted from here. (Thank you.)

Crossing Paths

When my son was in elementary school I became friendly with a mom and we realized that we had some mutual friends when we were in college. And by mutual friends I mean that she married her college boyfriend, who was a good friend of a guy that I dated. In fact, we realized that we were at the same New Year’s Eve party in nineteen-eighty-something. (Eighty-seven maybe. I think. Doesn’t matter.) It was just funny to realize that we were at the same party and had no idea. We didn’t meet. Or if we did we didn’t remember, but what are the odds that our paths would cross again fifteen years later?

There’s a truck in my neighborhood I see all the time. I know it’s the same truck because it’s neon yellow with a huge Ford label on the front doors. It’s hard to miss. The person who owns it goes to my gym and is usually pulling up at 6:30 AM just as I’m leaving. (Yes, I’m leaving the gym at 6:30 AM because I am a crazy person who hates herself and gets up before the sun.)

Now that wouldn’t be unusual to see this truck most days when I leave the gym. We each have a routine. Mine is a 5:30 workout and his is a 6:30 workout. But I’ve seen this truck drive down the main street in my town. I’ve seen it parked at the elementary school down the street from my house. I’ve seen it parked in the complex where my mechanic is. It’s like this dude is stalking me. (Or maybe I’m stalking him.)

I’m sure you’ve seen this before too. Maybe there’s a car with a specialized license plate, or an unusual classic car, or Angelyne’s pink Corvette that drives by you and you think to yourself, “I’ve seen that car before.”

But it makes me wonder. How many cars do I cross paths with on a daily basis that I’m actually crossing paths with on a daily basis?

It was my birthday earlier this month. (Thank you – I said thank you, because I’m assuming you all said, “Happy Birthday” in you head as you read that. Anyway…) I had the day off work and decided to bring the book I’m reading to a restaurant and treat myself to a solo lunch (and a margarita).

As I was standing at the hostess stand waiting to be seated I looked at the woman standing next to me and thanks to the “People You May Know” feature on Facebook (you know, those pictures that pop up in your feed of friends of friends that they suggest you friend?) recognized her as my son’s girlfriend’s mother. (In his last semester of college my son met a girl he went to high school with but did not know in high school and they started dating – talk about crossing paths!) I introduced myself to her and told her how I recognized her. We chatted for a few minutes while she was waiting for her friend and talked about our kids and funny coincidences. (To intensify the serendipitousness of our meeting – she and her friend were meeting to celebrate their birthdays too.)

If she hadn’t popped up in my Facebook feed we would have been at that restaurant at the same time having no idea the other was there. It makes me think of a scene in a movie where you know two characters are in the same place at the same time, but they don’t know they’re in the same place at the same time.

And because I love a good cliché, it really is a small world. Especially when you live in a small town.

I suppose it’s not so unusual that two women who live in the suburbs of Los Angeles who both went to college in Los Angeles would discover that they were at the same party many years ago. Or that my routine would be similar to someone else’s in my neighborhood. Or that I would choose to celebrate my birthday at the same restaurant as my son’s girlfriend’s mother.

We all run into people we know all the time -at the market, at the movie theater, at happy hour- we stop and say hi and then go on with our day and think nothing about it except maybe, “That was nice, running into so-and-so.”

But think of the people we unknowingly, but repeatedly cross paths with – people we may know in the future or may never know. Maybe it’s someone who leaves your gym everyday just as you are pulling into the parking lot. Or someone at your office park who always parks one aisle over from you. Or the person who likes to go to Trader Joe’s on Sundays at 4:30 PM just like you, even though it’s the worst time to go to Trader Joe’s because they’re out of everything, and you’ll just have to make another trip on your way home from work on Monday.

When I think of all these people that I cross paths with, maybe only once, maybe countless times, and the people they cross paths with and the people they cross paths with – it makes me feel that we’re all connected. And that it really is a small world.

And I think that’s nice.

Some Things I Did Last Week

Last Monday I climbed these stairs.

Four times.

There are 377 of them. That’s 1508 steps. But I also climbed them four times the week before and every time we go we do a little bit more so I climbed 50 more. Plus if you really want a 100% accurate count (you do, don’t you?) there are two extra steps at the top before the fence cuts off the last flight that I climbed as well as sort of a bonus, so I climbed 1568 steps total.

And yet. My jeans are still tight.

Rude.

I talked to my son on the phone four different days (once twice in one day!) and texted with him every day. That is a new world record for us. When he went away to college he made it clear to us that he was an adult who was ready to lead his own life and certainly didn’t need his parents anymore. (Probably because we didn’t have any money.) He would call once a week (if we were lucky) for a perfunctory “check in” call that would last five to ten minutes.

But the last year of school, his calls sometimes came a little more often and were definitely more enjoyable. He actually seemed to like talking to us. He’d tell us funny stories or we’d discuss current events. Sometimes these calls would last for an hour.

This week he called to tell us about his new job, ask for advice, or just to tell us things that were happening. It made my sadness (mostly) go away.

I watched Dance Moms with my husband and daughter. God that show is a train wreck and I kind of hated myself for enjoying it so much because surely there are so many things I could have been doing that would have been more productive. But sometimes mindless fun is exactly what we need.

I spent Saturday with my best friend on Main Street in Ventura. We drank and ate and shopped and walked. The weather was beautiful and it was a perfect day.

I found this shirt in a thrift shop:

I texted my daughter: I think I have to buy it.

She texted back: I think the law is you have to buy it.

To which I responded: The Supreme Court has ruled yes.

I consciously practiced gratefulness every day. I kind of do this already, when I sit down to write about my happy moment for the day, but I took it to another level for a project I am participating in by focusing on a person that makes me happy (and stretching beyond my son, my daughter, my husband (hmmm… did I ever write my husband???) to a coworker I like to gossip with or the cashier at Trader Joe’s who is always so friendly), a place that makes me happy (you know, other than my bed) and something that gave me pleasure (a glass of wine, dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt, Dance Moms).

To throw a cliche (or perhaps a few) at you – the days are long, but the years are short. And it turns out that every day is not actually an adventure. But I’m trying to seek out the extraordinary in my ordinary days. Or at least the little bits that make me smile. Or the bits that are hard and terrible (because, I have to be honest, those stairs are pretty hard and terrible), but still so great because I did something hard and terrible and lived to tell about it.

I can’t stop even the most ordinary of days from slipping by so fast. But I can take the time to reflect on them.

What are some things that you did last week?

I’m a Little Bit Sad

“I’m a little bit sad,” my son used to say to me when he was three. “I miss my Tatie.”

And by Tatie he meant his best friend Katie who he’d just seen the day before. Or maybe an hour before.

“It’s okay, buddy,” I’d tell him, giving him a hug. “We’ll see Katie soon.”

My son would say this often about Katie when he wasn’t with her and my husband and I found this adorable. “I’m a little bit sad,” became vernacular for us.

“I’m a little bit sad Alias isn’t on anymore,” my husband would say as he was flipping channels after the show ended because of his crush on Jennifer Garner.

“I’m a lot a bit sad,” I’d tell him because it was Alias that introduced me to my forever #1 boyfriend Bradley Cooper.

Or, “I’m a little bit sad we’re not going to Italy this summer,” I’d say as we pulled the camping gear out of the shed for our yearly vacation.

“You’re going to be a little bit sad for a lot of summers,” he’d joke.

To us, “I’m a little bit sad,” was funny. A reminder of our sweet and sensitive toddler.

But Jennifer Garner doesn’t play college students anymore. Now she plays middle aged moms.

And we still don’t get to go to Italy this summer, but we also haven’t gone on a family camping trip in a really long time.

Because while still sweet and sensitive (a little), my son is not a toddler anymore. He graduated from college two weeks ago. Today he starts a five month engineering internship 375 miles away that will likely lead to a job. And even though he’s been away at school for four years it’s different this time. Permanent.

And I’m so happy for him and so proud of him. Happier and prouder than I’ve ever been.

But also, as he drove away a tear unexpectedly rolled down my face.

I’m a little bit sad.

The Book Biz is Hard, Yo

If you read this blog, you probably know I wrote this book. (And if you don’t, you must be blind – it’s plastered all over this blog. See clickable book photo on right. >>>)

It took ten years (or maybe it was fourteen – who’s counting?) from the day I wrote “I’ll have a Frosted Cowboy,” I said to the bartender after pulling the words frosted and cowboy out of a hat for a writing prompt to the day it was published.

And if you’ve read it (thank you, by the way), you know the one thing it isn’t is literature. That book shouldn’t have taken fourteen (or even ten) months to write. But there was a lot of starting and stopping. A lot of rewrites. A lot of rejection. (A lot of rejection.) A lot of self doubt.

A lot of life happening. (And if there’s one thing I’m good at it’s getting distracted by life.) (That, and writing every third sentence in parenthesis.)

But it’s a thing I did. I wrote a book. And got it published. That’s not a thing that a lot of people can say and for that I am very proud. Actually, I take that back. Take a look on Amazon. There are about a trillion books competing with mine for the world’s attention. (And probably most of them are selling way more copies.) I guess it is a thing a lot of people have done.

But still, I wrote a book and after all of those aforementioned rejections (I never counted how many like some authors do -why torture myself even more- but let me tell you it was a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot) someone finally said they wanted to publish my book.

In fact, I received the good news the day after my 50th birthday. (Talk about a made-for-Lifetime-TV-Movie-of-the-Week moment!) A small press publisher named Velvet Morning Press wanted to publish my book. It was a new publishing company owned by two women who wanted to publish books written by women that would appeal to a female audience. #girlpower (And can I be honest with you? Even though I didn’t have an agent and my book wasn’t being published by Simon & Schuster or Penguin Random House, I was a little bit smug that my book wasn’t self-published. It gave me some validity. In my mind anyway.)

My publishers were hardworking and smart and talented and lovely and there are not enough good things I can say about them. They rock!

They submitted it to Publishers Weekly, where not only did it get chosen, but I got a good review. A marketing plan was created to help my book sell. They came up with a strategy to help me get Amazon reviews (111 reviews – 4.3 stars!), got it into Book Bub, and even decided to change the name from Frosted Cowboy to something that might be more appealing to the masses (and not sound like a cowboy romance which it is not), Another Shot at Love. They marketed my book for years, not months like the big publishing houses do (if they market a new author at all).

But, it turns out start-ups that aren’t funded by deep pockets is a tough business to be in. And the book biz is a tough business to be in. You put the two together and well, the odds of making it are pretty slim (even when you have two kickass women who are working their asses off to make their business -and their author’s books- succeed).

And so, my wonderful publishers (and I mean that sincerely – they are wonderful) decided to close their doors on April 30th. They gave me back the rights to my book and even helped me self-publish it. (That’s what I get for being smug.)

In March my book became self-published and I changed it back to the original title. To me, Another Shot at Love, while much more descriptive about what the book is actually about and definitely more mainstream sounded a little generic. I like Frosted Cowboy. It’s quirky. And my book’s a little quirky.

I wrote a book. It is published. And maybe there are a lot of people who can say that. But I bet, there are more who can’t.

It’s a thing that I did. And of all the things I have ever done, it is the one of which I am most proud.

The Knowing and the Not Knowing

I saw Pete Yorn play an acoustic set at the Troubadour recently and it was sublime. I told a couple of people at work that I was going to see him to which they responded, “I don’t know who that is.” It was all I could do not to cry for them. I mean, anyone who didn’t spend the early 2000’s wallowing in musicforthemorningafter and Day I Forgot on repeat truly missed out.

“If you heard Strange Condition you’d know who he is,” I told them.


Judy Greer was there and  I saw her buying merch and she was so excited to get her Pete York t-shirt. She was seriously adorable. My friend Lisa who I went to the show with didn’t know who she was. If you don’t know who Judy Greer is, she’s one of those working actresses that you recognize when you see them on TV or in a movie and think to yourself, “Where do I know her from?” and it drives you so crazy you have to pull up IMDB on your phone immediately because you cannot wait one second more to figure out where you know her from.


So maybe that was the theme of the night – knowing, but not knowing.

My friend Lisa may not know who Judy Greer is but she loves Pete Yorn (almost) as much as I do and spent the early part of her 2000’s not missing out by listening to his albums on repeat. It’s better to see a show with someone who loves the music as much as you do if possible.

The Troubadour is tiny, but it was packed. (Of course it was packed. Pete Fucking Yorn was playing the Troubadour!) We stood to the side of the stage so we could be close and feel the breeze from the door (because a packed Troubadour equals a hot Troubadour) and we lucked out because we were standing right behind his parents. He was a good son and acknowledged them and made sure they were comfortable and talked about them and thanked them for being there which made me love him even more than I already do (and trust me the way that I love him has nothing to do with him being a good son if you know what I’m saying).

I mean it would be easy to love Pete Yorn because he’s beautiful.


Obviously.

But that’s not why I love him. (Okay, maybe it is a little.)

And the reason I love him is also not because of his songwriting. Though his songwriting is amazing. Truly.

I don’t miss you, still I will take a car to be with you
I don’t know you, of course you think you know me
I don’t want you
So why should I compete with other guys?
I don’t love you, no
I think I’ll take a long way down from here

(Guess what – he loves her.)

The reason I love him is because of the yearning. In his voice. In the way he strums his guitar. This dude is yearning for more. Even in his song about a burrito (which is not really about a burrito at all even though the song title is Burrito) the yearning is there.

In the knowing there’s more to come.

Or not knowing if there’s more to come.

Or knowing everything is perfect and not knowing how long it will last.

My Friends’ 2019 Snarky Oscar Red Carpet Comments (Because I Am on the Road for Work)

Guest posters Kim Tracy Prince and Laurel Janssen Byrne reported in on The Charlene Ross blog for this special occasion: the 91st Academy Awards.

Kim says, “I don’t usually watch the red carpet, but since Charlene is traveling, I am pulling it out for a friend. As you know, there’s really only one reason to pay attention to awards shows; in fact, you really don’t even have to watch them, you just need to read Charlene’s fashion coverage.”

Laurel says, “Charlene’s red carpet blog posts are always my favorite, and the fact that she’s letting me guest write this one with Kim is nothing shy of an honor. And believe me, I wouldn’t be caught dead in an ugly pink dress for this one.”

The “Pink No” Category

Gemma Chan from Crazy Rich Asians

Gemma’s hair & make up were lovely, but we lost her in the oozing pepto.

Country singer Kacey Musgraves

Yikes – must put that pink layered nightmare in a grave.

Actress Linda Cardellini

There is an angry flamingo looking for Linda. She should be careful.

Sarah Paulson

Macaron gone wrong. Very wrong. Don’t get us started on that hair “style.”

Maya Rudolph

Floral a-go-go. A no-no! Being pregnant does not give you the right to wear a hideous curtain.

Meagan Good

This is what happens when your cat attacks your curtains… and wins.

Laura Marano

Honorable mention in the “Pink NO” category, showing the butt of a bad dress that looks like Easter egg shrink wrap.

Switching now to the “Pink Yes” category…

Angela Bassett

This is how you do pink! Angela should help the ladies in our “Pink No” category.

Helen Mirren

Jewelry + dress = WOW! She’s always a yes. Love the simple hair with her powerful ice.

Kiki Layne

Versace should thank Kiki for looking so elegant in this gown. Yowza!

Marie Kondo

Laurel’s daughter, Lexi, got SO EXCITED when she learned that Marie Kondo was at the Oscars. Spark joy, indeed! Simple and feminine.

Julia freakin’ Roberts

Just when we thought the pink dresses were finished, this goddess graced the stage.
And the award for Best Pink Dress goes to this pretty woman.

Let’s consider Allison Janney, shall we?

So stylish. So deco. Great neckline and necklace. Yes please on her look!

Lady Gaga

Laurel: We liked both of Gaga’s black dresses tonight. This one is so glamorous and funky with its structured hips/waist thingy. And clearly, diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
And that friend’s name is Tiffany.
Kim: But the weird hips thing is under protest by me. It makes her look like a cartoon character. Which kind of fits because Gaga.

Serena Williams

Serena takes a lot of heat about her on-court get ups, but here, she is nothing but classic and elegant. LOVE.

Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk

We liked Bradley’s classic Tom Ford tux tonight, and while Laurel likes him best clean-shaven, none of us would kick him out of bed for eating crackers. Or anything else.

Tina Fey

We’re totally feeling you in blue.

Michael B. Jordan and Mother Donna

And speaking of blue, that blue velvet tux is dashing! And your mom looks lovely.

Marina de Tavira

Wow! Red done right. And those earrings! Hollywood glam for the win.

Producer Lynette Howell Taylor

Producer and bold red dress-wearing goddess. More lipstick next time please, but we love this power color as she rules the world. Get it, girl.

Jennifer Hudson

JHud makes red holiday gifts look so right.
This dress is WOW!

Hannah Beachler

Hannah may have just won an Oscar for production design on Black Panther,
but she won the night for this outfit.

Regina King

Perfection in white simplicity. And omg she won! Her mom looked gorgeous, too!

Emma Stone

Emma Stone, who is Kim’s hair muse, in a bronze mermaid dress. Charlene didn’t like it, but she didn’t get a vote because she was watching ESPN poker at the airport. Buh-bye.

Lucy Boynton and Rami Malek

Hollywood glam is no greater than with these two – they looked stunning, and with Rami’s big win, what could be better?

Awkwafina

We love Awkwafina for so many  reasons, but rocking this lavender glitter suit? Yes. Totally her very own style. Oh – and her purse is a tequila flask. Savvy!

JLo and ARod

Hall of Jennifer Lopezes. We can’t look away! Hot! That chandelier is working for Jenny – she can wear anything!
And now ARod will bring us our entrees.

Brie Larson

The mirroring continues with this stunner. That slit!! Incredible.

Michelle Yeoh

The shimmer mirrors dazzle with this glowing masterpiece. She’s lovely.

Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet

Okay. We love Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet together. But we are curious about the color on his original Karl Lagerfeld suit. Taupe, perhaps?? Also, THE SCRUNCHIE! Look at his wrist! Nope! We didn’t even get to Lisa’s super hero doily. Ugh!
Still fiercely hot.
We decided the world has had enough Ryan Seacrest. And that heinous smoking jacket.

Henry Golding

So dapper! Is it warm in here?? Oh, my!

Heidi “yikes” Klum

Look, Charlene – it’s your favorite fashion disaster!
Heidi Klum says, “I am Groot.”

Charlize Theron

For the universe to balance out Heidi’s hideous gown, we’ve been given Charlize in this bare-backed stunner and serpent necklace.
Well done, universe.

Trevor Noah

Hot.
Handsome.
Sexy.

Spike Lee

Thankfully, Spike won his first Oscar, but you can bet it wasn’t for this get up. It’s…I mean….just so…my eye doesn’t know wear to…ugh, it’s just awful. Lexi said “He looks like a police figurine in LEGO City.”

Well, Charlene, thanks for letting us take over your blog. We feel for the poor souls who run social media and blogs for the Academy and the entertainment channels, because this work was hard enough. Those suckers had to post their opinions in real time. We had the luxury of sipping wine, eating delicious Persian food, and kicking back in our sweats. Maybe you’ll get to watch the show again in style next year!
-Laurel and Kim

Random Thoughts from 20,000 Feet (or However High Planes Fly)

It is 10:42 Mountain Time on Tuesday and I am on a plane from Burbank to Denver. Soon I will land and I will get an hour of my life back. Funny how time works like that.

The woman sitting next to me has been typing away at her laptop for most of the flight. Maybe she’s a writer. A real writer who actually writes. I don’t know because she’s at the window and I’m on the aisle, an empty seat between us. We smiled politely at each other, said some pleasantries, but it seems nobody talks on planes anymore.

Except for my trip out to Denver. There were two women across from me talking excitedly the whole time, as if they were lifelong friends, and yet somehow I knew they had just met. They talked and laughed and I heard one of them say the F word when she told a story. They were comfortable with each other. After we deplaned I used the bathroom (as I always do) and saw one of them alone – my intuition confirmed. Fast friends for two and a half hours, likely never to speak again. How nice for them to have passed the time of the flight in such a lovely way.

I finally finished East of Eden on this flight. My friend Laurel calls it The Great American Novel. It took me two months to read because it’s six hundred and two dense pages and I’m a slow reader who never takes the time to read. She loves Samuel Hamilton so much. Adores him. The greatest character every written, she said. She might not have said that. My memory is shit these days. I loved Lee. I found him the most wonderful. I liked the book, but I didn’t love it like she did. It’s too soon to say if it will stay with me or not, but I think maybe not. I wasn’t sad that it was over like I was with Pride or Prejudice (if we’re talking about books that are dense) and it was lovely but I didn’t find it heartbreakingly beautiful (like The Goldfinch if we’re talking long-ass books that take two months to read). Maybe my original assessment of John Steinbeck was right – he’s fine, but I don’t love him.

And so that brings me back to this flight. I should have paid for the internet and worked. That would have been the best use of my time. And since it’s a work day and I’m on a work trip, probably appreciated by my company and my boss. But I worked all day Saturday and was away from home on Sunday (though I did not work and had an awesome day that was both relaxing and fun-filled), so we’ll call it comp time.

I’m writing because I made a writing goal at my last writing group – to write two blog posts. The meeting is Saturday and I’ve not written one yet. I don’t know what to write about anymore. I said at my writing group recently that I no longer have anything to say that anyone wants to hear. Kim says that she doesn’t think that’s true, but I think she might be wrong. Because I’m just writing down my random thoughts on a plane and not one of them was funny and who would ever want to read that?

Reflections of 2018

Is it too late to write a blog post where I reflect upon 2018? (Is it reflect upon or reflect on? I don’t know. I’m too lazy to look it up. Anyway…)

Probably.

In fact, I think it’s one of the reasons I was never successful as a blogger. Well, there are many reasons. But I won’t bore you with all of them today. (And yes, boring you is probably one of them. Whatever. Moving on.)

It’s because I was never very topical. Whatever the topic of the day (hour, minute) other bloggers were writing about, I was always late to the party. I tend to let things like life and family (and general blaziness) get in the way of getting my butt in the chair to write.

I did sit down the first day of the year to relax and read my 2018 Happiness Journal to reflect on (upon?) the year that had just passed us and to set an intention for the year ahead.

Some wonderful things happened in 2018. Chandler turned 21. Marley turned 18, graduated high school and went on a trip to London and Edinburgh. I went to Stagecoach for the 6th year in a row and was back up in the VIP section. (Whoo Hoo!) I took on new responsibilities at work and got to travel to Las Vegas, Vancouver, Denver, Illinois, Texas (twice), Washington (twice), and Nashville. (Nashville! Squee!) Dave joined me on the Denver trip to mix pleasure with business and my friend Rita joined me when the work part of my Nashville trip ended and I extended the trip into an awesome girls’ weekend.

And some unspeakably terrible things happened. The Borderline shooting. The sad and sick truth is that everyone in this country knows what it feels like to wake up to the news of a mass shooting. But I have to tell you something. When it happens in your town it feels different. Because you were just at that nightclub having the time of your life two weeks beforehand. Because it was College Night and at least three of your friends had kids who were invited to go to the club but didn’t (thank God).  Because your daughter knew one of the twelve people who were murdered. It’s different. And for those of you who don’t live here I hope it’s a difference you never have to feel.

And then less than 24 hours later the Woolsey Fire raged through our town. Before we had a chance to get over the shock of the shooting (let alone even begin the process of grieving) we had to evacuate our homes. My family was lucky. The fire came to our back hill, but not to our house. Just down the street, starting four doors down there are three houses that suffered damage. Some of my friends are still displaced due to damaged homes. Some of my friends lost their homes completely.

backyard burn marks after woolsey fire
My hill after the fire – if you look closely at the Eucalyptus tree, you can see where it was on fire.

When I reflect on (I actually think I can use on or upon) 2018 I think a lot about luck. I’m lucky that I was not in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m lucky that the wind did not shift towards my house when the fire was on my back hill. I’m lucky to live in a community that has grown stronger in the wake of two terrible tragedies.

Every morning I try to sit down a think about the day before and focus on the one small (or sometimes big) moment that made me happiest. It teaches me to be grateful when life is stressful or busy or boring or wonderful or even terrible. To find light even when the tunnel is so long and so, so dark. And to not take for granted the light that shines brightly when it does so many days (weeks, months) in a row.

Here are some of my 2018 happy moments:

January 5 I took the day off work and spent it with Chandler. We went shopping and had a sushi lunch and visited Tom and Lisa. At the end of the day he hugged me and said thank you and that he liked spending the day with me.

February 8 I wore bright Kelly green pants and a pink shirt to work today and it made me feel cheery.

February 17 Dinner at Larson’s with Dale. It was so great to see her. She’s such an awesome person and I need to be a better friend and see her more often.

March 9 Writers’ Group at Julie’s. And Lexi was there – yay! Julie gave us HER BOOK! Holding Lily in my own hands filled me with so much joy!

March 14 Watching Marley’s speech on National Student Walkout Day. My daughter is a rockstar.

national student walkout day speech
A rockstar in the making.

April 6 I was walking Geordie and a saw a man coming home from work. When he opened his door I heard a little boy yell, “Daddy!” Oh how I remember that. Such joy! How wonderful!

April 21 Writers’ Group was brought to a whole other level – karaoke! I sang Lady Antebelum’s A Kiss Goodnight and it was magic!

April 27 Stagecoach. Those first steps walking into the pit and the excitement of the beat of the music pounding in my chest.

midland stagecoach
My view of Midland in the pit at Stagecoach. You’re welcome.

May 20 My mom had a 100 year party for my grandparents and I had a happy/sad moment when I realized how much my grandmother would have loved that party – to be honored like that. I miss them.

June 8 Hugging Chandler. Breakfast with Chandler. The four of us in one room. Chandler is home.

June 15 Marley graduated high school. Hearing her name called was sublime. She was so happy and proud of herself. And I’m so happy for her.

graduation cap and gown
Look out world, here she comes.

July 5 Dinner alone at the hotel bar in Vancouver. A cute bartender/server. Delicious food. An eight ounce glass of wine. Heaven.

July 14 Hanging with Dave in Denver. Reconnecting. So nice to have a mini-vacay.

August 2 Talking to Marley after dinner about music and watching her eyes light up. Priceless.

August 19 Concerts in the Park with Mary. Drinking Sangria. Talking to friends. Loving my town.

September 23 Breakfast tacos with Rhiannon. A long solo walk on the San Antonio Riverwalk. Wine at an airport bar. I had a lovely, lovely day.

October 19 Borderline with Rita, Keri, and Linda for Jerrod Niemann. Country music – even when you don’t know the songs it makes you feel so good. (This one really breaks my heart.)

borderline
Our last night at Borderline.

November 5 My dad and I had to run an errand and he opened the car door for me and I remembered that is something that he does. Such a small gesture, but so nice and it made me happy to have stirred up that memory.

November 18 When I got home from writing group (after midnight) Marley and Hunter had made a very elaborate fort and were laying in it watching TV. Oh how I love that!

December 23 There was a time in the afternoon when we were all together in the house. Marley and I were baking cakes and I just had such a warm, happy feeling that we were all together. Home.

I’d love to hear from you. What do you think of when you reflect on (or upon) 2018?

backyard after the woolsey fire
My backyard last week – new growth (and hope) after the fire.