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.

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

elza-gonzalas-oscars
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.

 

helen-mirren-oscars
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.

 

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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.