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.

My 2019 Snarky Golden Globe Red Carpet Review

Can I start by saying that I was hijacked this weekend. Or kidnapped. Or somethinged. What I’m trying to say is this: I had planned on taking down Christmas on Saturday (Yes, I’m one of those who waits until after New Year’s to take down Christmas. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be.) and then spend Sunday morning finishing that up, getting the boxes up into the attic, grocery shopping for the week, and getting all my chores done so I could plop my ass down on the couch at 3:00 to watch the Golden Globe Red Carpet with Marley and I could actually get this blog post (mostly) written Sunday night.

Here’s what actually happened. Saturday Chandler bamboozled me into cleaning out the garage with him (a project he started while home for winter break to alleviate his boredom and advance his procrastination in applying for jobs, that I am grateful for, but really didn’t want to be a part of) with the promise he would help me on Sunday taking down Christmas. Of course we didn’t finish Saturday, and had to finish Sunday. At noon. And guess what? It takes more than three hours to take down Christmas. Also, surprise, he was not nearly as helpful to me with Christmas as I was to him with the garage. So Christmas is only 3/4 taken down and my living room is a disaster.

Plus I forgot Marley had to work yesterday until five o’clock. And wanted to go out with her boyfriend. (We never see her anymore. Our house has become a hotel for her, where she showers, sleeps, and occasionally has breakfast.) We watched the Red Carpet on the DVR, Marley gave her commentary (though I’m not sure her heart was really in it), and then took off to go play Pokemon Go or whatever it is she and her boyfriend do every night. (And don’t roll your eyes and tell me you know what they’re doing. La la la la – I’m not listening. Also, I know.)

The good news is, my friend Laurel came through by emailing me many pictures from with her comments written right on top of them. (Laurel and I have decided that next year we must watch the awards together, because her snark is spot-on.) I texted Marley Laurel’s pics and she stopped playing Pokemon Go (or whatever it is they were doing) and gave me her commentary on those pictures. Also, if some of these photos look like they came from someone texting/emailing from a cellphone that’s because they did.

So, that’s my long-winded way of saying, I’m not sure this is our best. But we’ll give it a go.

Janelle Monae
janelle monae golden globes red carpet

Me: Yikes is right!
Marley: That outfit is wack but I don’t know if anybody is more gorgeous than her.
Me: I agree. In a room full of the most beautiful people in the room, she may be the most beautiful, wack outfit or not.

 

Heidi Klum

heidi klum golden globe red carpet heidi-klum-attends-the-76th-annual-golden-globe-awards-at-news-photo-1078345974-1546823720

 

Me: I have to disagree with Laurel on this one. While Heidi usually does make my worst dressed list, I actually think this dress is very pretty. I give it a two-thumbs up.
Marley: I actually like Heidi’s dress this time.
Sorry, Laurel!

 

Regina King

regina king golden globes

Marley: Her dress is really pretty, but it looks so stiff and uncomfortable, like it has rods in it and she can’t sit down.
Me: I think it’s gorgeous. Love the color and love the bling. And everyone knows when it comes to haute couture it is better to look good than to feel good.

 

Lucy Liu

lucy-liu-2019-golden-globes

Marley: The under dress – terrible. The whatever that cape is – terrible. The dress looks like it was painted by kindergartners.
Me: Agree. Love Lucy Liu. Hate this dress.

 

Kaley Cuoco

kaley cuoco golden globes red carpet

 

Marley: That’s a really pretty dress. And it has pockets! Every time a woman has a dress with pockets she’ll tell you it has pockets.
Me: I agree. Love the dress, love her hair and simple make-up. And yes, she’s right about the pockets (because pockets are the best).

 

Penelope Cruz

penelope cruz golden globes red carpet

Marley: Her dress is really pretty, but I don’t like that weird strap. What is that? A backpack. Why?!
Me: Gorgeous! I like the iridescent sequins, love the straps and the back. Classic Hollywood glamour.

 

Jameela Jamil

jameela-jamil-golden-globes-gown-2019

Marley: That’s really pretty. Her bangs look like they were cut with safety scissors and separated like curtains
Me: GORGEOUS. My favorite dress so far. LOVE the color and everything about it. And her bangs are awesome. Bangs are the BEST!

 

Melissa McCarthy

melissa mccarthy golden globes red carpet

Marley: It’s nice, but I don’t really like the stars. It looks a little like a Snuggie.
Me: Hair and makeup is a yes. The dress? I think Laurel nailed it with the Harry Potter comment.

 

Lucy Boynton

lucy boynton golden globes red carpet

Marley: Yikes! The sleeves are terrible. The dress isn’t bad (it’s a lot, but it could be way worse), but the sleeves are so ugly.
Me: Nope.com
And Laurel’s nine-year-old daughter (and future Red Carpet commentator) say, “Poop.”

 

Saoirse Ronan

saoirse-ronan-2019-golden_globes-red-carpet-fashions.ct.010619

Marley: She’s adorable and looks perfect
My husband: Schwing! Dress of the night.
Me: Agree. This dress is phenom!

 

Sandra Oh

sandra oh golden globes red carpet

Marley: She’s never looked more beautiful. She looks powerful and just so happy. I love her.
Me: I agree. Gorgeous. And I also loved both of the dresses she wore on the show. Oh, yes, indeed!

 

Timothee Chalamet

timothee chalamet golden globes

 

Marley: Is that a bondage top? A harness? I don’t get it.
Me: I think he got confused and thought he was participating in an ice skating competition.

 

Jamie Lee Curtis

jamie lee curtis golden globe red carpet

Me: Of all the fabulous people, I think Jamie Lee Curtis just might be the most fabulous. I love her so much!

 

Julia Roberts

julia roberts golden globes red carpet

Me: Yes, yes, yes!
Marley: She looks like she’s 32 and I’m pretty sure that she’s not.
Me: You are right, Marley. She’s not. Hotness all around.

 

Taraji P. Henson

taraji-p-henson-attends-the-76th-annual-golden-globe-awards-news-photo-1078336240-1546826054

Marley: She looks really pretty.
Me: I wish I had the nerve (and the bod) to wear a dress like that. And that necklace? Yes, please.

 

Kristen Bell

kristen-bell-attends-the-76th-annual-golden-globe-awards-at-news-photo-1078337290-1546822707

Marley: She is perfect
Me: She looks fierce. I love it!

 

Anne Hathaway

anne hathaway golden globes red carpet

Marley: Why would you hurt yourself like that? That’s so terrible.
Me: I feel like I should really hate this, but I don’t. It kind of works. I’m with Laurel. Why not?

I could keep going. But you’re probably getting tired. And my word count has already passed the 1,000-word-count mark. Plus, I’ve got a job. I’ve got to get to work and they prefer that I shower before I go in (especially since I didn’t yesterday!). But you know I like to leave you with some man candy. So here you go…

Justin Hartley

justin-hartley-2019-golden-globes

Me: Looks like a waiter, but a hot waiter (and if there’s one thing I love, it’s hot waiters), so it’s a yes for me.

 

Rami Malek

rami malek golden globes

Marley: I love him. He looks amazing. He looks great. He always looks great. He’s adorable. He looks perfect.
Me: He looks very handsome. Great tux.

 

Bradley Cooper (AKA My Boyfriend)

bradley cooper golden globes

I could not find a picture of my boyfriend without his smoking hot baby mama on his arm. Although who could blame her? I wouldn’t let go of him either.
Laurel: Bradley looks like he’s going to teach tango on a cruise ship. Why all white??? BTW, I’d tango with him.
Me: Hot waiter. And yes, not loving the white pants. But then again, who’s looking at his pants.

 

Darren Criss

darren criss golden globe red carpet

Marley: His jacket looks like wallpaper.
Me: I think it looks more like wrapping paper. The kind you’d use for a woman of certain age’s milestone birthday. But did you hear the wonderful things he said about his mother during his acceptance speech? So lovely. His terrible jacket has been forgiven.

 

Michael B. Jordan

michael-b-jordan-attends-the-76th-annual-golden-globe-news-photo-1078345146-1546824108

Me: Perfection

 

Idris Elba

idris elba with daughter and fiance at golden globes red carpet

 

Speaking of perfection, I will leave you with this. Idris Elba with his fiancee and daughter. Love his suit (his shoes match his jacket & vest!) and in a room full of beautiful people, he might just be the most beautiful man (after my boyfriend, Bradley Cooper of course!).

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Who did I miss. (There were so many more I wanted to put in. Really!) I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

Photos borrowed from here and here and here.

 

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

traee-ellis-ross-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion


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

heidi-klum-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

kit-harrington-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

evan-rachel-wood-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

hilaria-baldwin-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

jonathan-van-ness-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

megan-mullally-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-arrivals-fashion

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

sarah-paulson-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

sandra-oh-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion
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 

emilia-clarke-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

keri-russell-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

regina-king-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

gwendolyn-christie-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

jenifer-lewis-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion-nike

Marley: I approve of this highly.

Charlene: Me too.

Leslie Jones

leslie-jones-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

Amy-Sedaris-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

connie-britton-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

maya-rudolph-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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.

maya-rudolph-white-emmy-dress
Please excuse the grainy-out-of-focus picture I snapped of Maya Rudolph on my TV.

Adina Porter

adina-porter-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

Jessica Biel

jessica-biel-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

kristen-bell-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

karamo-brown-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

milo-ventimiglia-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

Jimmy O. Yang

jimmy-o-yang-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-arrivals-fashion

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

John Legend

john-legend-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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

Justin Hartley

justin-hartley-2018-emmy-awards-red-carpet-fashion

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.