My Snarky 2018 Emmy Red Carpet Review

Every few years the Emmy’s are on a Monday. I’m sure it has something to do with football. I’m just going to go on record as saying I don’t like it.

Marley wins the trooper award because she worked until 11:00 last night and I woke up to an email (sent at 12:26 AM) with Marley’s Emmy comments.

So without any further adieu, here is Marley and Charlene’s 2018 Emmy Red Carpet Review:

Tracee Ellis Ross

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Marley: She looks like she raided some 8 year old girls bedroom and took her comforter and wore it as a dress. The material looks so cheap. Yikes.

Charlene: I really don’t even know what to say. Who looks at that dress and says, “Yeah, that’s the one!” Well, I guess the answer is Tracee Ellis Ross, buy whyyyy???

Heidi Klum

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Marley: Usually she dresses hella ugly but honestly this is a great color and a nice and classy dress.

Charlene: Heidi Klum is almost always on my worst-dressed list so I thought it was only fair to show her in a dress that’s not terrible. I don’t love it, but it’s pretty and she looks gorgeous.

Kit Harington

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Marley: I mean, he isn’t dressed special but is still a very cute man.

Charlene: I think he’s wearing a nice suit with a very nice cut and is indeed a very cute man.

Evan Rachel Wood

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Marley: She looks frickin stunning, best dressed by far. Honestly that dress is perfect.

Charlene: I do love the beautiful simplicity of this dress. Stunning.

Hilaria Baldwin

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Marley: I mean… wow. That for sure is a look. Kinda looks like a thanksgiving table runner turned couture.

Charlene: I actually think this dress is really pretty. It seems odd that I would like an orange evening gown, but I even like the color.

Jonathan Van Ness

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Marley: That sure is, uhhh something. The under shirt is really a look that I don’t think we need more of.

Charlene: Agree. I don’t even think I want to see someone I want to see without a shirt  in that gawd awful see-through shirt. No thank you very much.

Megan Mullally

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Marley: She kinda looks like a fancy school teacher

Charlene: Yeah, I want to like this dress, but it’s just too casual for me.

Sarah Paulson

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Marley: IDK why she thought that was a good idea. She looks so uncomfortable. Also, boob contour was NOT blended. Im offended.

Charlene: Yeah, not a fan of this dress. And even more so, what I’m really not a fan of was the trend last night of the women having their hair pulled back with that middle part and severe makeup. Do not like!

Sandra Oh

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Marley: She can do no wrong. She is perfect.

Charlene: 100% agree. This was one of my favorite dresses of the night. It is gorgeous.

Emilia Clarke 

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Marley: Yikes. It was like half cute but the top was just done so badly.

Charlene: Yeah, I have to agree with Marley. I can’t say exactly what I don’t love about this dress – it’s not ugly, it just doesn’t work for me. And there’s that hairstyle again. It’s like all they hair stylists in Hollywood got lazy.

Keri Russell

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Marley: How many birds did she have to murder to make this dress?

Charlene: I actually love this dress, which is odd as the whole asymetrical-part-of-your-dress-is-missing thing doesn’t usually work for me, but somehow this dress does work and I think Keri looks hot. Also, this shade of yellow is on the green side and not good.

Regina King

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Marley: This is what happens when highlighters come to life and attack.

Charlene: Damn, I love Regina King, but I do not love this dress. That circle thing in the front looks like a mini version of those sunshields you pop up and put in your car window to keep it from getting too hot. Like someone just unrolled one of those things and popped it in the front of her dress.

Gwendoline Christie

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Marley: She must be on the run from the cops because she had to of stolen that material from somebody’s curtain rod.

Charlene: I think she looks beautiful and I loved the dress when I saw it on TV, but that ride in the limo did make her a little wrinkley. Also, this shade of yellow is too mustardy for my taste.

Jenifer Lewis

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Marley: I approve of this highly.

Charlene: Me too.

Leslie Jones

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Marley: I mean, I love a good pantsuit but wow that isn’t a good pantsuit.

Charlene: I kind of want to hate it because it sort of looks like a Care Bear vomited on a suit, but for Leslie it kind of works. (What do you think?)

And here are a few that Marley missed (plus she didn’t pick nearly enough men!):

Amy Sedaris

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Amy Sedaris is funny AF, but that doesn’t mean she has to dress funny. This dress is a nope.com for me. Also, I would have tripped on the laces of those shoes.

Connie Britton

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Connie Britton looks gorgeous and I want to like this dress, but honestly it looks like a longer version of a dress I could have gotten from White House Black Market when they were featuring a teal line.

Maya Rudolph

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This looks like a puffy sleeved prom dress from the 80’s. And not a pretty one. But, it was better than the horrific one she wore on TV.

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Please excuse the grainy-out-of-focus picture I snapped of Maya Rudolph on my TV.

Adina Porter

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Now this is how you wear yellow. Gorgeous shade and gorgeous dress.

Jessica Biel

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Last year I wasn’t sure about Jessica Biel’s dress. This year I am sure, and I love it! She looks fab.

Kristen Bell

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This dress is stunning. Simplicity at its finest. I don’t even mind her (almost) center-part pulled back hair. The dress is gorgeous and so is she.

And now for some men…

Karamo Brown

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He looks like a gay pirate who came across a Harry Potter cape and some horse riding boots. But he looks like a smokin’ hot gay pirate who came across a Harry Potter cape and some horse riding boots, so I’ll allow it.

Milo Ventimiglia

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Milo looks like a waiter. A hot waiter. And yet, I still cannot allow it.

Jimmy O. Yang

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Jimmy looks very dapper in his burgundy suit. I dig the cut and the color and give him a big thumbs up.

John Legend

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Speaking of dapper, could John Legend look any finer? (Hint: the answer is no.)

Justin Hartley

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I’m inclined to say that Justin Hartley’s sleeves are too short – but look at him. Who cares!

And that my friends, wraps up this year’s Emmy’s Red Carpet Review. (Or as Marley likes to call it – Emmy’s Red Carpet Roast.)

We’d love to hear your comments. Any looks we missed? Anything you disagree with? We’d love to know!

Photos were found here and here.

 

 

Writing Gold

I told Kim that I would try not to be bitter about having to work. And by work I mean write because Julie and Kim and I decided to get together for an impromptu Sunday afternoon work session.

“We could do happy hour at Lure or we could write. Whatever you want/need,” Julie texted. (What I need is to write, yes. But what I want is to happy hour.)

Text text text. Yadda yadda yadda and blah blah blah it was decided that we would meet at my house on Sunday afternoon. So it’s a writing session with pita chips, eggplant hummus, and a couple bottles of Sauv Blanc instead of a gossip session with crab cakes, oyster shooters and four dollar Chardonnay.

That’s okay. I need it. I need it. I haven’t been writing shit lately. Which means I haven’t been writing at all, not that I’ve been writing a shitty first draft (which would at least be writing). It can’t all be writing gold. (Not that anything I write is gold. Or even silver. Hell, I’d happy to write bronze. Or maybe even some mid-quality pewter.)

And really, I shouldn’t even be writing this (word vomit/stream of conscious/whatever this is) post. I should be working on (the shitty first draft of) my next novel, the sequel to Frosted Cowboy, which should have come out a year ago, not be half written two (and almost a half) years later. But I’m not.

Because I’m stuck.

Or scared.

Or maybe I’m stuck because I’m scared. (Ding ding ding ding ding)

Because what if this book isn’t as good as the first one. (And some would say the first one wasn’t even that good – or in the words of one of my oldest and dearest friends – “It wasn’t terrible.”) But what if this one is terrible?

What if this one is terrible?

Then I guess I pick myself up. And dust myself off. And start writing again. (And pray that I can turn some shitty mid-quality pewter into writing gold.)

To My Daughter on her 18th Birthday

Marley turns 18 today. My last born child. My daughter. My baby. My love.

Marley Graduation Party Invite.1

I’ve been thinking about this piece for a while. How do I express my overwhelming and undying love for this amazing, strong, independent, brilliant, beautiful, free-spirited, unique girl? No. Woman.

I wonder of course how it got here so quickly. How the long early days of motherhood I never thought would end could so suddenly turn into years that were over in the blink of an eye. And even more importantly I wonder, “Did I do enough? Was I the best mother I could be for her?” I tried (I really did), but I’m not sure the answer is yes.

The story I tell most often about her is about a time I was putting her to bed after an especially difficult day when she was three-and-a-half. “We had a really hard day today. What happened?” I asked her.

“Well,” she said to me, “that’s because you wanted me to do what you wanted me to do. And what Dad wanted me to do. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”

And that is when I knew it was over for me. How could I possibly be a good enough mother to this strong-willed contrarian, who is by far the smartest person in the house at the age of three-and-a-half? I mean, sure. A lot of three-and-a-half year olds probably feel this way, but how many can actually express it at that age?

Yes, she is my challenge. But oh how I love her for this – her spirit. Her strength. Her I’m-right-you’re-wrong-take-no-prisoners attitude (okay, maybe I don’t always love that). Many of the things about her that make her hard to parent are the very things about her that will make her an awesome adult. I’ve said (many times) more than once, “She’s going to be an amazing adult if we make it through her teenage years.” And look, we did! (At least the hard part.) She is officially an awesome, amazing adult.

She’d make a great writer if she wanted to be a writer. (Please don’t be a writer, Marley. It’s so torturous.) I’ve been looking through an old journal to find some of the things she’s said and found these: One night when she was eight and I was putting her in the bath she said to me, “I feel as tired as a baseball that’s been thrown a thousand times.” Another time she had just brushed her hair and said, “I brushed out that rat’s nest, but the rat fought.” (Okay, maybe she should be a writer.)

Marley sassay

She fights for the underdog. Her heart bleeds for the under-represented. She stands up for what she believes in. She will not back down. When she was 16 she organized a protest march making me more proud than I’ve ever been. She cannot wait until November so she can finally vote.

She is direct. Intense. She’ll tell you exactly what she thinks. And yet, she has a sweetness that doesn’t just touch my heart, it grabs onto it hard, making it feel like it just might explode. She tells me to come look at the sunset when it’s especially beautiful. She sends me funny texts. She always thanks me for dinner, for giving her a ride (before she could drive herself), for buying her something unexpected.

She is smart. Oh, so smart. And I know that’s something everyone says about their kids, but truly. She is smarter than me (by far). Smarter than her father (who, ask anyone who knows him, is a really smart guy). And smarter than her brother (who is currently attending Berkeley). When something interests her, she knows everything about it. When she applies herself there is no limit to what she can do.

She is tenacious. (And yes, stubborn.) When she wants something she digs her heels in and will not back down. (See above in difficult-to-parent child becomes awesome adult.)

She is quick-witted and funny and sarcastic. (Unlike me who is slow-witted and funny and sarcastic.) When she was a toddler instead of saying the word ‘hilarious’ she would say ‘the larriest’. (That’s the larriest!). The larriest is forever in our family vernacular. (A friend of mine says I should trademark it.)  I hope that I have taught her the importance of laughter, because I truly do believe it is the best medicine.

She loves music and appreciates the heart-piercing beauty of a perfect lyric. She told me that her goal for the year is to go to one concert a month. That melted my music-loving heart. (Maybe I have been a good enough mother.)

They say be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. I wished for a daughter and I got Marley. And I thank the universe for letting me be her mother. How wonderful to be challenged, to look at the world from a different perspective, to know someone so special, so unique.

Happy 18th Birthday, Marley. I love you to the moon and back times infinity.

Marley 1st grade

Sing, Sing a Song

Every month my writing group has a 10 minute writing prompt. The following is my unedited response from our May meeting prompt. (I would have posted it sooner, but I accidentally left it at Kim’s house and just got it back. Sorry to make you wait.)

The prompt: Write a story about someone who can’t get a song out of their head.

“Sing, sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.”

Yes.

That is the song that has been stuck in my head. For years.

What the fuck?

I mean, literally. What. The. Fuck. With all the concerts I go to and all the music I listen to, some stupid AC hit from the 70’s is the song i sing to myself in the shower every day. When I’m waiting in line at the market. Doing the dishes. Walking my dog.

Is that song from the 70’s? Was it even a hit? Did they play it on the radio? You remember it, don’t you? La-la-la-la-la. La-la-la-la-la. La-la-la-la-la-la. Just sing. Sing a song.

Why? That song is so stupid. I don’t even know who sang it.

Maybe it was just a stupid Coke commercial or something. Great. I’m so basic I don’t even have a real song stuck in my head.

But.

Maybe.

Maybe it isn’t stupid.

That line. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.

Like writing a shitty first draft. Sort of. Just sing. Just write. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear.

Just sing. Or just write.

Sing a song. Or, you know. Write another fucking book already. Or at least a blog post.

*I was informed by Laurel in my writing group that Sing A Song was indeed a hit in the 70’s, by the Carpenters. (Oh and also, they covered it as it was originally written for Sesame Street.) I really have to find a new song to get stuck in my head.

 

Sipping in the Suburbs at Sipurbia

Last weekend was reserved for two things: unpacking my living room and going to Sipurbia. My living room has been in boxes since we had our floors redone last year and I needed to get it unpacked and put back together once and for all. (Yes, I said last year, but it was December. And I’m a busy person. So shut up.)

sunday funday at wine and beer tasting event sipurbia
Sunday Funday at #Sipurbia

 

But we were hit with an unexpected flood (I guess all floods are unexpected) due to a home plumbing repair gone wrong. So instead of returning my living room to its former glory, I spent most of the weekend mitigating the damage of the flood. Which included (but was definitely not limited to) emptying all of the books off five floor to ceiling book shelves. And then re-shelving them. (Thank you, Mom and Aunt Debbie – I couldn’t have done it without you.)

But this is not a story about the flood, or the brand new floorboards that need to be replaced (not all of them – just a few), or my disaster living room that keeps me from having company over to my house.

It’s a story about an unlimited wine and beer tasting event called Sipurbia.

Because who says no to that? (Not me!)

So, on Sunday afternoon when we finished our damage control (with the help of my mom and step-dad – again, THANK YOU!), instead of tackling the living room or (you know,) resting, we decided to go to Sipurbia as we had originally planned.

Because as my mom said to me Sunday morning, “You like to do everything.” And she is not wrong. (I like to have fun.)

Sipurbia was held just a few miles away from my house at Paramount Ranch, a national park where they have filmed literally hundreds of movies and TV shows including American Sniper (which must be why my friend Karin saw Bradley Cooper in Westlake Village a few years ago, because why the hell else would he be in Westlake Village?) and HBO’s Westworld. Plus the event benefited an awesome charity called the BumbleBee Foundation, so the beer and wine weren’t the only things there to make you feel good!

Westworld Church Paramount Ranch
Selfie time in front of the Westworld church.

Because I am a nice wife I acquiesced volunteered to drive, so my wine drinking was limited, but my lucky husband’s beer drinking was unlimited. (Very unlimited – everyone was extremely generous with their pours.) My favorite wine was Cielo (so good) and Dave’s favorite beer was Santa Monica Brew Works (he thinks – remember his beer tasting was unlimited).

In addition to taking selfies, we stopped by the cutest photo booth in the world, Shutter Bus Co. and posed for some fun photo booth photos.

VW Bus Shutter Bus Co Photo Booth
Seriously, how cute is this photo booth?

 

I drank a little more wine. Dave drank a lot more beer. We shopped at the stalls and danced to the Spazmatics, which everyone knows is the best 80’s cover band on the planet.

Spazmatics best 80's cover band in the world
Day drinking meets day dancing – what could be better?

 

And we ran into a bunch of our friends. Including my friend Kim (AKA Agoura Hills Mom) and her husband Stewart.

suburban friends at sipurbia
One of these days we’ll learn to take selfies without cutting half of someone’s face off. (Sorry, Kim!)

 

Who knew life in the suburbs could be so fun. (Actually, I totally knew that.)

When we were talking about our weekends at the office on Monday a twenty-two year old said to me, “You have the most fun life.” (I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m trying.)

A co-worker (much) closer to my age said, “You are always doing something. You have really embraced this age.” (I don’t know if that’s true either. But I’m trying.)

And while my house (and quite possibly my life) might be a total disaster, one thing is for sure: I’m definitely having fun.

 

 

My 2018 Academy Awards Red Carpet Review

So. My timing hasn’t been great this year.

You may remember the night of the Golden Globes was on my son’s 21st birthday.

And the Oscars? They are rudely happening on the night of a business trip to Las Vegas.

mandalay-bay-hotel-room
My red carpet view.

 

What the mother-loving what?! Can’t these freaking awards be the earth to my sun and revolve around my schedule? Sigh…

So I’ve decided to hand the reins over to my daughter. I have to admit, I don’t even know who all of these people are, but I uploaded photos of dresses I hated and dresses I loved and I’m letting Marley do all the commentary. (Which, I have to be honest, is more than just a little bit hard for a control freak like me. But I trust her. Mostly. Besides, I’ve got a work dinner I’ve got to get to.)

And so, may I present to you, Marley Ross’s snarky Academy Awards Red Carpet Commentary…

andra-day-oscars
Andra Day

Marley: She looks like she ran out of time whilst getting dressed and decided to steal the fancy hotel duvet cover. I just don’t know who looked at this and really thought, “this is it, this is the perfect dress.”

 

emily-blunt-oscars
Emily Blunt

Marley: I guess she also decided to steal and thought to take the canopy from her daughter’s room and give it to a stylist to fix a little. The color is very pretty, but it’s such an ugly dress.

 

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Gina Rodriguez

Her dressed are always beautiful, and this one is no exception. The color, the style, and the design is just all perfect for her.

 

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Nicole Kidman

Marley: She looks like an old Barbie doll, but not in a good way. The dress is hideous, but the color makes her look great. The style is just such a miss, though.

 

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Selma Hayek

Marley: The only good thing about this dress is the color. And how it makes her waist look great. Everything else is just ugly. The sequins. The diamonds. Just… all of it.

 

st-vincent-oscars
St Vincent

Marley: Okay but why? This is just the worst. Even her face seems like she’s thinking “God help me.” The shoes look like hooves.

 

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Taraji P. Henson

Marley: This is my favorite dress of the night. It’s so perfect for her, its just beautiful. The slit it stunning, and the top part of the dress is so well designed.

 

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Whoopi Goldberg

Marley: Oh Whoopi… who hurt you like this? The color and style is good, but that’s about it. The design looks like something from another century.

 

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Haley Bennett

Marley: Okay but seriously, this is the ugliest thing I’ve seen, and I’ve seen our President playing tennis. I don’t know if that’s the fur of one hundred raccoons, or the hay from one hundred barns. I genuinely cannot tell.

 

Allison Janney
Allison Janney

This is a really simple but gorgeous dress. It’s perfect for her.

 

ashley-judd-oscars
Ashely Judd

Marley: Another simple but beautiful dress. The color is very complimenting for her.

 

betty-gabriel-oscars
Betty Gabriel

Marley: This is my second favorite dress. The top is stunning and the color is so unique.

 

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Elza Gonzalez

Marley: I think this is the perfect dress for her. I really love it.

 

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Gal Gadot

Marley: That dress costs more than mine and Chandler’s college tuition. And honestly, I think it’s ugly. It’s reminds me of the 20’s but not in a good way.

 

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Helen Mirren

Marley: I love the blue and how everything matches so well.

 

jennifer-garner-oscrs
Jennifer Garner

Marley: The length is perfect, the color is perfect, and the style is perfect.

 

jennifer-lawrence-oscars
Jennifer Lawrence

Marley: This dress looks like somebody robbed a Coinstar and took only the nickles to glue together for this dress.

 

laura-dern-oscars
Laura Dern

Marley: This is so flattering and beautiful. A great choice for her.

 

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Adam Rippon

Marley: He looks like he just left some bondage event and forgot the Oscar’s were happening.

 

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Daniel Kaluuya

Marley: God I love him. He looks amazing in this suit. And very attractive 11/10.

 

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Lin Manuel Miranda

Marley: The blue is a great color and he’s just adorable.

 

jordan-peele
Jordan Peele

Marley: This suit is great. The off white, the black tie, and the antlers pin that if you’ve seen the movie you’ll understand. It’s a great ode to his debut movie and just a really great outfit.

Well, there you have it, friends. I do disagree with some of her picks, but for the most part, for a kid who spends most of her time in leggings and hoodies, she’s got a pretty keen eye for fashion. (She takes after her mother that way!)

Photos credits: fashionista.com and

What’s Your Aha Moment?

Unedited ten minute writing prompt from my last writers’ group meeting. The prompt: Describe “that moment”. 

Oprah says you’ll have an “Aha moment.”

“What was your Aha Moment?” she asks. As if I’m supposed to know. But the truth is, I haven’t had one yet. It seems Oprah’s had a ton of Aha Moments, so who knows – maybe she stole mine.

“I made cauliflower mashed potatoes,” she says on TV. “Get them at your local supermarket.”

Oprah-Oh-that's-good-garlic-mashed-potatoes

But I searched my Vons high and low and I could not find those fucking cauliflower mashed potatoes anywhere. Maybe it’s because I’m a Trader Joe’s shopper.

So it seems not only can I not find my Aha Moment, I can’t even find Oprah’s Aha Moment even though it’s advertised on national television. During prime time.

There have been times I thought I’ve had an Aha Moment. AHA! That’s what I’m going to do. This or that or fill in the blank, but I’ve never done any of those things. I don’t even remember what any of them were because I didn’t do them. Aha meet blazy.* Blazy is the winner.

So that moment? I’m still waiting for it. Maybe I’ll find it one day in Vons next to Oprah’s cauliflower mashed potatoes.

 

*Blazy is a term my writing group came up with that means being blasé about your laziness.

Get Ready for Some Grown-up Fun in the Suburbs at Sipurbia

So, there’s this young woman in my office named Angela who is super chill. (My seventeen-year-old daughter will never read this, but if she did, she’d roll her eyes all the way to the back of her head and say, “Mom! Don’t talk like that.” Anyway.) Angela said to me, “I saw this thing that looks really fun and made me think of you, but I don’t know if you’ll be offended by it.”

“Uh oh,” I said. “What is it?”

“It’s this wine and beer tasting event called Sipurbia,” she said.

sipburbia-wine-and-beer-tasting

“I know what that is!” I told her. “What would offend me about it? The fact that is sounds awesome?”

She giggled and shrugged.

“Or that it sounds like something a suburban mom would do?”

“Yeah, maybe that,” she said coyly.

“Well, that’s what I am,” I told her. “At this point, I sort of have to own it. Plus, it sounds like a lot of fun.”

“It does,” she agreed.

And you know when a fifty-year-old suburban mom (I know, I turned fifty two-and-a-half years ago, be quiet!) and a super chill twenty-five-year-old think something sounds fun, you know it’s going to be fun!

So, you’re asking, what in the heck is Sipurbia? It’s a wine and beer festival happening right here in Agoura Hills at Paramount Ranch. And when I say wine and beer festival I mean there will be unlimited (yes, unlimited) wine and beer tastings from local wineries and breweries. So please. Leave your car at home and make sure that Lyft app is downloaded on your phone.

Sipurbia wineries

Sipurbia breweries

There will also be food trucks, lawn games, cool vendors, and music. And when I say music, I mean the The Spazmatics (which everyone knows is the best 80’s cover band in the world!), 3 Strange Dayz (for those of you who prefer 90’s music), and a DJ to keep things going when the bands are taking a break.

Plus, if that weren’t enough the event benefits The Bumblebee Foundation, which gives financial and emotional support to families affected by pediatric cancer. So by going, you will not only be doing something good for yourself. You will be doing something good for others.

Here is all the info you need:
Website:  www.sipurbia.com
When:  Sunday, May 6th 2018 from 3-7 p.m (last call at 6:30)
Why: Benefiting Bumblebee Foundation (www.bumblebeefoundation.org)
Where:  Paramount Ranch 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (just off Kanan)
What:  Beer. Wine. Music. Food. Charity. Memories.

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Look, Dave and I are actually going to be in Napa that weekend for a wedding on May 5th, but we’re hauling ourselves back home early Sunday morning so we can go to this thing. It sounds that fun.

Tickets: $40 (GA) & $100 (VIP) per person until 2/28. (And then they go up, so get them NOW!)
But because I’m so nice (and I want to hang out with you) if you click here to purchase tickets you will get 25% off if you use coupon code ROSS25

Hope to see you there.

 

 

This Suburban Life

yogi-tea-fortune-happinessI sit at my writers’ group on Saturday night with my third (or maybe it’s my fourth) glass of wine in my hand and feel so lucky to be int this group of smart, funny, kind women who happen to be great writers. They encourage me and hold me accountable and don’t judge me. We laugh and cry and commiserate and tell each other our triumphs and heartaches and fears. I look forward to our meeting every month. I know that the next morning I will write “Writers’s group” in my happiness journal for Saturday, February 10th.

A little after midnight I receive a text from Dave asking if I’ve heard from Marley yet. She’s at a concert downtown at the Shrine and she said she’d text us on the way home. We knew it would run late, but it seems too late. I tell him I’ll come home and wait up for her.

Rina lives down the street and Dave dropped us off so we could take a Lyft home, but Kim only had one glass of wine and even though she lives in the opposite direction she says she’ll give us a ride. Julie’s husband dropped her off too, installing Uber in her phone so she can get home that way. Kim offers to drive her home too, but she declines, saying she lives too far (all the way in Thousand Oaks). We tell her Lyft is better and she promises to download Lyft next time. We tell her to text us when she gets home.

Marley’s phone goes straight to voicemail and she does not answer texts or Facetime. I’m not quite worried. Yet. But I’m tired and want to go to bed. Marley calls at 12:44. She’s sorry! No service! She can’t believe how late the show went. They are on their way home, but might stop for a quick bite to eat once they get in the Valley. I tell her fine, as long as they go through the drive through.

I sit on the couch with the dog snuggled next to me and try to read my book , but it makes me too sleepy, so I scroll through Instagram the blue light from my cell phone keeping me semi-alert. Julie group texts to thank Laurel for a lovely evening and to let us know that she is home safe and her Uber cherry has been popped. I let them know that Marley is on her way home. Drunk “I love you” texts circle around. I try to doze off but don’t really and Marley walks through the door at 1:45. She had fun and I’m happy that live music gives her the same thrill it gives me. Since it’s technically Sunday, maybe I’ll hold onto that feeling for my Sunday happiness journal entry.

Sunday morning I wake up late, but not nearly late enough. I’m lucky that too much wine and cheese and not nearly enough sleep did not net me a hangover. I have a cup of coffee and make toast out of the Trader Joe’s beer bread I made for dinner Friday night and chat with Dave. I’m meeting my mom at Costco at 10:00, but have to run errands first so I need to get moving. I go to Bed Bath & Beyond for hairspray, mascara, and a nail file, using my $5 off $15 coupon. I text my mom and ask if we can meet at 10:15. I didn’t get going quite as early as I’d meant to and I’m running late as usual. Then I head to Target with a return and pick up cedar balls and store brand peanut butter for the dog’s Kong. Small, but necessary suburban errands.

We take our time and Costco and buy too much and chat in the parking lot after loading up our cars as our frozen items grow warm.  I don’t get home until almost noon. I put the groceries away, make myself some tuna, and start some laundry. At 1:00 I insist Marley wake up. I spend the rest of the day on the laundry, organizing papers and filing, getting my tax documents together for my appointment with our accountant on Thursday. Sunday busy work.

Rina and Kim and I have been texting throughout the day. Rina has clothes she had put aside for a clothing swap that Kim and I went to a couple of weeks ago that Rina was unable to attend and wants us to come over and look at them before she donates them. We were supposed to go over at 4:30 but she is stuck at a birthday party and it’s looking like 5:00. Too late, I say. I need to start dinner. Maybe another night? Kim calls me at 4:59. “I’m coming over to get you. I’m already on my way. I need to cross this off my list. It will only take a few minutes.” I inform my family I’m being kidnapped and dinner will be a bit later and head out the door.

We go through Rina’s clothes quickly. Rina’s family is going to a friend’s for dinner at 5:30. Kim has been hiking all day and still needs to make her Sunday trip to the market. And I have to make dinner. But it doesn’t feel rushed. It feels nice to be with my friends, even briefly. A quick reprieve from the busyness of a Sunday evening. Again I feel lucky. To live in a Shangri-La at the northern most end of Los Angeles. To spend a Sunday doing mundane and ordinary, yet useful things.

I go home and Dave and Marley are watching TV and I smell popcorn, their hunger unable to wait for my late dinner. After a dinner of roasted chicken, roasted cauliflower, green beans and rice, we all clean up and then I walk the dog. I choose “new country” on Pandora and decide to do a two and a half mile loop. Dave and Marley want to watch something that doesn’t interest me, so I retreat to the bedroom to read my book. It’s only 8:00, but I put on my pajamas and snuggle into bed early at the end my my ordinary Sunday in the suburbs. I am content.

What will I write in my happiness journal for Sunday? All of it.

My Daughter is an Unorganized Mess and it’s All My Fault

This is my typical morning routine:

Get up at 5AM.

Do my 7 minute workout app.

Go to the gym for a 5:30 class or write. (Translation: go to the gym or fuck around on the internet while doing everything in my power to avoid writing.)

Take Marley to school. (She has zero period and her first class starts at 7AM.)

Take the dog on a two and a half mile walk.

Get ready for work and be at work by 9AM (ish). (I’m really supposed to be there at 8ish.)

But on Monday I wanted to be at work early, so I walked at 6:00 during my workout/fuck around on the internet writing time instead of after dropping Marley off at school. And then I remembered that is was finals week. Finals week has a different schedule and the kids go to school later. What time did Marley have to be at school?

We did talk about finals the night before and whether or not Marley was prepared (she swore she was, but I never saw her crack a book over the weekend), but we never talked about what time school started. Or we started to, but never finished the conversation. We must have gotten distracted by a squirrel or something.

I stopped mid-walk and tried to find the schedule on my phone, but either the school’s mobile app doesn’t have that information, or I’m not mobile app savvy enough to figure out how to find it in the middle of a dog walk when it’s freezing outside (45 degrees – BRRR!), so I texted Marley, whose morning routine is to get up at 6:00, grab her cellphone off the kitchen table (because we make her turn it in at 10:00 at night so she can go on her iPad or laptop or whatever and roll her eyes at how stupid we are to think that we are helping her go to sleep at a decent hour by taking away her phone), go back to bed until 6:40, where she takes all of ten minutes to get ready for school so I can drive her, to see if she knew what time finals started. But since she goes back to sleep she didn’t answer.

So I texted my friend Kim because even though her kids aren’t in high school, she’s the Communication Coordinator for the school district, plus she gets up early to actually write, so I figured she’d have access to that information.

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Yep, that’s me. Crazy

 

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So I was right that is was finals week. But finals didn’t start until Wednesday. And on Wednesday morning when I banged on her door at 6:50AM because she hadn’t come out and was going to be late, she yelled from the other side that her final didn’t start until 7:40 so she was still sleeping.

Even though I swear on Tuesday night (keeping the Monday morning debacle in mind) I asked her what time her first final was. She told me that she thought it was at the regular time, but she would check. She must have checked, but she never told me. And I should have remembered and confirmed, but I must have been distracted by a squirrel. Or something.

So I guess it’s me that’s the unorganized mess. And in five months she’ll be eighteen. I’m not sure she stands a chance.