Surviving the Death of My Father

Four weeks ago today I was awoken to the news of the death of my father.

Surviving the death of your parents is something we will all have to go through – or rather should go through, because it is the natural order of things, meaning no parent should ever have to survive the death of a child, though many do. Too many do.

But that doesn’t mean it makes it easy when your dad dies. It certainly doesn’t seem natural. Or as it “should” be. It feels like shit.

Some days I feel nothing, and by that I don’t mean that I feel numb. I feel normal, like any other day. Like a day with an alive father. And then I’ll remember that my dad has died and I still feel normal/nothing and it will occur to me that as much as I cry at sappy commercials and sad books and movies, and feel so heartbroken about the injustices others suffer, that perhaps in my own life I am an unfeeling monster who can’t even bother to take the time to be the least little bit sad that I will never see my dad again or hug him again or have him hold the door open for when when I get into his car or hear him complain about Donald Trump or how he can’t get good Mexican food in Texas and can only listen to his voice on the recordings that I have on my phone that I play over and over and over again, or that I don’t.

And then something will happen – a memory or a Fleetwood Mac song or an old man dying in a movie or waking up four weeks later not to the news that your father has died, but to the sounds of a typical Sunday – the birds chirping, the ceiling fan over your head, your husband getting up before you to walk the dog, and you will feel sadness and dread and a hole inside your heart so big that you wish that you could go back to being a monster and feel nothing again.

Now Everyone Has Masks

I have to go to Costco. Well, I don’t have to go, but I’m trying to do the shopping for my mom so she doesn’t have to go to the store and she needs some things that we typically get from there – butter, eggs, half and half. And there are some things I could use as well – also half and half, shredded cheese, more vodka.

Before I leave my house I spray a nasal saline solution into my nose. It’s supposed to help things I breathe in not stick to my nasal passage. Or so I’m told. I take Airborne to give my immune system an extra boost even though I already take Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc to boost my immune system daily. I also rinse my mouth with Listerine since it’s supposed to kill germs. Maybe it will kill the germs that enter my mouth at Costco. (At the very least I won’t offend myself with the breath that I am breathing into my mask.) Because, yes. For the first time I leave my house with a mask.

It’s weird on your psyche seeing everyone wearing masks. And everyone in line at Costco is wearing some sort of mask. It makes me feel sad. In the line to get into the store I give a “can you believe this shit?” smile to the lady taking her place in line behind me, but she can’t see it. Hopefully she recognized the crinkle in my eyes. I see you. I’m smiling at you. We are in this together. And also, seriously. Can you believe this shit?

My mask is ill-fitting. The elastic isn’t quite tight enough. Not loose, but also, not quite right. But maybe I’m just not used to wearing a mask. I never want to have to be used to wearing a mask. But like the Rolling Stones say, “You can’t always get what you want.”

I stand in line a full five minutes before the line moves. I don’t even know if they have what I want. There is a sign at the front of the line posting what they have. What they don’t have. But I’m at the end of the line, so I can’t see it yet.

I see someone leave with toilet paper. That’s a good sign. I don’t need any yet, but know that I’ll probably buy it anyway. Not to hoard, but to have later for down the line. (Which I guess is the  definition of hoarding.) Or maybe my mother or my brother or a neighbor will need it. I’d be happy to share.

Once the line does move, it moves fast. They let about 25 people in at a time. The line is wrapped around the building, but I don’t think I wait more than 10 minutes.

I walk past the clothing section and notice that it is completely empty. Not of clothes, but of people. The clothes are perfectly folded with not one person milling up and down the aisles. Impulse shopping for Jessica Simpson skinny jeans is not what anyone is here for. Spending more time than necessary inside, touching things you don’t need to touch, breathing things you don’t need to breath is a luxury nobody can afford. 

I head straight to the back of the store for the toilet paper. It’s so stupid. Why are people hoarding it? Am I part of the problem? I actually calculated how long it takes us to go through a package of toilet paper and we have enough for about 10 weeks. And in 10 weeks, I’m hopeful that we will be able to leave our homes more freely. But maybe not. Maybe it will be worse. I’m splitting the package with my mother anyway.

They have everything my mom needs. I’m happy that they also have shredded cheese. Last time they were out. I stock up on alcohol – wine, beer vodka, tequila. Virtual happy hour supplies. 

I split things up in the parking lot. Her half and half, my half and half, her butter, all my booze. I took some plastic bags at the rotisserie chicken station and split up the fruit – strawberries and cuties and limes.

When I get to her house she opens her garage door and I go through to her laundry room and drop off her groceries. I don’t walk past into her house to grab some mixed nuts from the bar or chocolate from the pantry. I stand in the garage and she stands back, but hands me a bag with some masks she made for me to mail to Chandler. I tell her the mask she made for me is a little loose. She goes to get another – an improved design. I try it on and it is better. We stand and talk for a few minutes in her garage, six feet plus apart. Both of us in masks. I think to myself, Can you believe this shit? But this time I don’t smile.

Social Distancing in the Time of Coronavirus

Today is day what of sheltering in place? Eight? Ten? I can google when Gavin Newsom made the shelter in place order for our state and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the order for our county (same day), but that would surely take me down an internet rabbit hole and I’m trying to focus. Trying to write. 

I know that on March 11th I went to a restaurant with my friend Marisa. She said she was so glad we went to dinner because it helped ease her anxiety. Ironically, that’s the night the shit really hit the fan – The NBA was cancelled, The Hankses announced they had been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the president held a press conference where he read from a script and yet still incorrectly stated no flights would be coming in from Europe after Friday the 13th. (Also, I know that Hankses sounds weird, but trust me Hankses is the plural of Hanks – not Hanks’. It’s grammatically correct.)

On March 12 I went to a popular bar for a going away happy hour for a coworker. (Are people who are a few ticks higher up than you on the corporate ladder, but whom you do not report to coworkers? I don’t know. Anyway.) As I was driving there it was pouring rain. I didn’t feel great about going. But I went anyway. I’m healthy. I’m good about washing my hands. I try to use a tissue or a sleeve every time I touch my face. But still. I was on two planes just eight days before. (And two planes nine days before. And a plane eleven days before. And two planes fourteen days before.) This was before the term social distancing was part of our everyday language. Before we were advised mandated to stand six feet apart. But I was still surprised that the restaurant was so crowded. But like I said. I was there too.

How’s that for a send off cake?

On Friday the 13th I went to Trader Joe’s at 11AM. I knew the president was going to issue a state of emergency at noon and I wanted to get to the market before he did that. Before they really were out of everything. I saw two women from my office there and my friend’s husband. They were already out of so many things. Pasta. Rice. Meat. Vegetarian protein. Potatoes. (And of course all paper and cleaning products.) Dog food. My favorite $9.00 bottle of Sauvingon Blanc. I bought some good cheese. And dark chocolate covered almonds with sea salt. If we were going to be stuck in the house at least we could enjoy ourselves.

Where’s the beef? (And the chicken? And the pork?)

We don’t really eat fast food (In N’ Out doesn’t count!), but on Sunday, March 15th, Dave, Marley, and I walked to McDonalds for Shamrock Shake Oreo McFlurries. I wanted to bring the dog and walk and eat the McFlurries because I did not want to eat inside. Dave and Marley wanted to leave the dog home and eat inside. I brought Purell wipes and wiped down the table. Truth be told, it was too minty for me – I would have preferred my McFlurry un-shamrocked, but I ate the whole thing. The weather was cool – in the 60’s, but mostly sunny. It was a gorgeous day. There were a lot of people out walking. Families out taking a walk. I wondered aloud if there were more people than normal out for a walk at 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon. On Sunday night Newsom would shut it down – so there’s the answer to my question. It’s been a week as I write this. A week of shelter in place. I guess we were lucky – we went to a place we never go on the last day we could go there.

That’s pretty green!

Because we had McFlurries so late in the day we weren’t that hungry for dinner so we just had some cheese, a bit of salami, and wine. (And an apple. You know. To be healthy.) Sheltering in place might make me fat.

I went to work on Monday even though I could have worked from home because I knew it would be my last day going in until all of this is over. I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed. Dave works at the same company as I do, but he has a desktop and had to wait until Wednesday for a laptop so he could work at home as well. 

In Nashville there is a bar called Winners that hosts a concert every Monday and Thursday night with different country artists called Whiskey Jam. Because the bar has closed for the coronavirus they’ve turned Whiskey Jam into a nightly virtual event (9:00PM CDT) on Instagram Live called Risky Jam. On Tuesday night I watched Mitchell Tenpenny, Meghan Patrick, Ryan Beaver, and Ernest perform and I was happy and my anxiety melted away for an hour.

Let’s get risky!

Wednesday night I told Marley that I didn’t feel comfortable for her to hang out with her friends. Even if it was just at someone’s house. She was angry with me (understandably), but stayed home. What she didn’t know is that I had diagnosed myself with COVID-19 (with no symptoms) that day and I didn’t want her spreading it to her friends. Dave had oral surgery on Wednesday so I made soup for dinner. Matt Nathanson did an Instagram live concert and for an hour I was happy and forgot that my daughter hated me and the soup I made wasn’t my best and that I had coronavirus. 

On Thursday morning I got up and took the dog for a run and knew that if I had coronavirus I could never do that. (I was cured!) Dave had a second oral surgery. It was our 26th wedding anniversary and instead of a nice steak and a good bottle of wine we had pasta and our favorite $11 everyday wine. Love in the time of coronavirus.

Happy anniversary to us.

On Friday at 2:00 a few people on my team had a 40 minute virtual happy hour. I made myself a vodka and juice drink that wasn’t quite a martini, but I put it in a martini glass. It was pretty and tasty and pink. There were five of us on the video call and it made me happy and again I felt lucky that I work with really great people that I like and love so much. I barbecued hamburgers for dinner and Marley started speaking to me again. I watched Hardy and Devon Dawson and Lauren Alaina on the Instagram Live Risky Jam and my heart felt full with happiness and love and togetherness. I love that these house concerts are popping up to lift people’s spirits. They truly lift mine.

On Saturday we wanted to go for a hike, but when we got to the trail it was closed, so we went to the beach. The weather was beautiful. Perfect, actually. I thought I took a lot of pictures, but I took almost none. We walked on the walking path because we had our dog. It wasn’t crowded, but also it wasn’t dead. Again, I wondered if there were more people than usual on a cool March day since kids can’t play sports or go to birthday parties or go to the mall. It was nice to be in the fresh air. To be in nature. (Later I saw pictures on the news of Malibu and Huntington Beach being packed. We were at Zuma and it wasn’t like that. Nothing like that.) 

Social distancing at Zuma Beach.

At 4:30 I had a virtual happy hour with some of my best girlfriends. We haven’t all been together in over a year. Funny how being apart is the thing that brought us together. A couple hours in, the husbands joined the party. Dave and I had cheese and wine again for dinner. We’re going to meet again virtually next weekend and attempt to play Cards Against Humanity. We’ll see how that goes.

Virtual Happy Hour

This morning I went for a run with my dog. He loves to run, but he’s not the best behaved dog and is a terrible running partner. We crossed paths with a woman with two dogs. I said hello as I was coming upon her and she ignored me. As we were running past her, my dog lunged at her dogs, crossing my path and causing me to trip over him. I yelled as I came tumbling down and she never looked back. Didn’t ask if I was okay. I’m going to assume it’s because she didn’t see me fall (and must have had earbuds in, so didn’t hear me yell) and not because she thought I was a coronavirus carrying zombie. I cleaned the house today. (My house is cleaner than it’s ever been and no one can come over to see it.) I baked banana bread. My writing group had a virtual creativity session at 2:00 where we all dedicated one hour to working on something – writing, editing, practicing yoga, etc. I’m being productive. I wrote this. It’s the first thing I’ve written in a long, long while. 

The coronavirus is worse than terrible. Possibly the worst thing ever. And the worst is truly yet to come. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more than a little bit scared. And yet – the humanity has been so wonderful. (Well, other than the blind-ear-bud-wearing-corona-virus-zombie-fearing dog walking woman.) The Instagram Live concerts truly fill my music loving heart with joy. Virtual happy hours make me feel connected even when we are forced apart. And I wrote! (And my house is clean!) This is really hard. And is really terrible. But we will get through it. Together. Even when we have to remain apart.

This morning there was a rainbow outside my front door. If that’s not a good sign, I don’t know what is. (Stay well, friends.)

Oscar’s Fashion Eye is 2020

It’s Laurel & Lexington here! Usually Charlene writes a funny, snarky, poignant blog post for the Oscar’s ever-anticipated Red Carpet, but this year, her working/traveling/jet-setting self is allowing her friends & daughter to guest-write her post. She may live to regret it, like Kristen Wiig is regretting her dress choice, but hey – life is all about taking risks! Just ask Maya Rudolph, if you can find her under that smock.

Let’s break this down into 4 categories.

  1. Black & White
  2. In the Pink
  3. Just Lovely
  4. That’s a HARD NO

Charlene here: Laurel & Lexi – 1,000 thank yous for taking over my blog and writing this post. Sitting at the airport now (work is so inconvenient to my snarky hobbies!) and will add my commentary (if needed). From what I’ve seen so far, I might be out of a (non) job with Laurel & Lexi’s spot-on fashion eye.

Black & White

The classic black gown, the stunning white couture, a handsome tux. Who needs color when you can rock black & white like this?

Tamron Hall
Anthony Ramos – so fun & handsome!
Keanu Reeves & his mom – so right on so many levels. Well done!
Cynthia Erivo owns every piece of this look. Versace goodness!
Why ya gotta be so perfect, Charlize Theron? Hot damn!
Ms. Cruz, te amo – you are divine in black & white.
Kelly Marie Tran – love your style!
Renee Zellweger – that Armani dress is undeniably stunning.
Charlene: This may be the dress of the night. Bridget Jones – I like you just as you are. (Fabulous!)
Brad Pitt – winner, winner, won’t kick you out of bed for eating a chicken dinner.
You know what I mean.
Charlene: I do know what you mean, and you are right!

In The Pink

We don’t have to fear pink – it’s feminine and free and fabulous. From blush to bubblegum, pink is the new black. These goddesses look so beautiful – their accessories alone are enough to include them!

Julia Butters – this dress is so flowy and perfect for her young self, and that sparkly pink orb bag! Lexington says: she looks like cotton candy. Deelish.
Charlene: She does look adorable, but I have to admit, I am not a fan of the sleeves (but she is a child, so I will allow it). That purse, though? I want it!
Brie Larson is elegant in this sparkly, clingy, sexy look. Steamy!
Charlene: Brie Larson always looks amazing. Her stylist definitely knows what they’re doing!
Idina Menzel nails it here – the gown, the necklace, the hair & make-up.
We can’t let this one go!
Charlene: Hmmm… I’m not sure I’m as big a fan.
Angela Bassett looks incredible in this bold pink stunner – love every element of her look! Is she aging? Nope.
Charlene: Angela Bassett is 61! 61!!! She has obviously made a deal with the devil!
Gal Gadot called her friend Caitriona Balfa and said, “Let’s wear black & pink gowns and look hot.” And they did!
Caitriona Balfa – ditto!
Charlene: I actually can’t tell if I hate that pink thing or not. (I know if Marley chose to participate she would have!) I want to hate it – but not sure that I do.

Just Lovely

If I weren’t sitting on my couch waiting for my Persian food to be delivered while watching this fancy night out, I might not be wearing jammy pants and Isotoner slippers. But am I. However, these gorgeous people are just lovely.

Stella and Antonio Banderas, and his girlfriend, Nicole Kimpel, looking
Just Lovely for their family night out.
Charlene: Love. Really, really, really love. (Like Antonio Banderas actually beats out Bradley Cooper as my all-time boyfriend.) And LOVE! Stella’s dress is age-appropriate fabulous & Mrs. Not-Melanie-Griffith_Banderas’s dress is just lovely.
Billy Porter in Giles Deacon couture – I mean, is anyone more stylish? Just Lovely.
Charlene: Only Billy Porter could pull this off. And he does!
Janelle Monáe is…Just Lovely. There are no words.
Charlene: Laurel is wrong – there are words and the are: Wow! I love this dress so much. Stunning-Fabulous-Lovely
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is Just Lovely, in her blue elegance and heavenly jewels.
Charlene: Another starlet who has made a deal with the devil. Not only is she hilariously funny, gorgeous, and does not age, she is probably rich enough to actually afford that necklace!
Kaitlyn Dever, you shatter our Just Lovely category. Holy beauty!!
Charlene: Simply Fabulous.
Kelly Ripa could have stunned us in the Black & White category with this classic gown, but with Mark’s beautiful blue tux, they are…Just Lovely!
Mindy Kaling in Dolce & Gabana and her Chopard jewelry is so lovely, it almost hurts.
So good!
Charlene: 100% agree!
Olivia Colman in Stella McCartney and those earrings is Just Lovely!
Charlene: I love Olivia Colman, but often do not love what she wears. This I like.
Rebel Wilson, in gold goddessness, and perfect red lips. Just Lovely!
Charlene: Rebel looks FAB!
As always, Regina King looks like a queen. And is Just Lovely!
Charlene: Regina King never disappoints. She is Hollywood glamour at it’s finest. She is not only a King – she is a Fashion Queen!
Take your Just Lovely and get a room, Colin & Scarlet!
Charlene: Talk about a deal with the devil – how did Colin Jost ever land ScarJo? (I’ll tell you – he makes her laugh!) But seriously, her dress is just like her – beyond gorgeous, and they both look lovely.
Sandra Oh YES! You are Just frocking Lovely in this gown.
Charlene – This is where Laurel and I disagree. While Sandra does look lovely, I do not love the chenille bedspread portion of this dress. (I swear the bottom and sleeves of this dress look exactly like my grandmother’s old bedspread.) Take off that fuzzy business and you’ve got yourself a gorgeous dress.

That’s a HARD NO

It’s a challenge to put our beloved into this category, but fear not – it’s necessary. They need to think about what they’ve done!

Charlene’s friend Jillian said it best: Kristen Wiig looks like a red octopus.
It’s a shame, because with that cute hair & make-up, she could have been just lovely.
Charlene: Yes, this dress definitely falls into the “less is more” category. As in this dress would be (more) beautiful if it had less (as in none) of whatever that ruffle business is attached to it. Without the octopus arm lasagna noodles stuck on the side of this dress it would be stunning.
Maya Rudolph, we love you so, but what the frock is going on here?
Charlene: (I see what you did there, Laurel!) Also, Maya, I love you. But you seriously need to fire your stylist. Stat!
Ryan Michelle Bathe, you are shockingly beautiful – the opposite of this tent.
Charlene: Laurel – really?! I like it!
Saoirse Ronan, what the frock happened here???
Charlene: Saoirse is usually in my best dressed category, but I am not a fan of this one. Just too much going on. Take away the peplum and you’ve got a beautiful dress (or keep the peplum and make the skirt black). And those bangs? Not a fan. (And this is coming from a girl who has always and will forever always have bangs!)
Coco would say NO NO! Billie Eilish, this is a HARD NO!
Charlene: While I am not a fan of this look, I know that this is Billie’s signature style (which I am also not a huge fan of), so I respect it. But, what I DO give a hard no on are those nails. Seriously, Billie. WTF with those nails?!

And that’s it, folks. This year’s Oscars prove that fashion isn’t for everyone, but those who get it, really get it right! Oh…wait…one more for Charlene! xoxo

Charlene’s bff
Charlene: Swoon!

Laurel and Lexi – once again, thank you so much! You did a fabulous job. Next year I will try my best to not be working. But if I am, I know my red carpet post will be in good hands.

My Snarky 2020 Golden Globe Review

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. The Golden Globe Awards! And this time I was actually ready! For whatever reason the last few years the awards have caught me off-guard or I’ve been out of town while they were, but last night I was ready.

Also it seems that the last few years people have been dressing really well and there wasn’t much to snark about. Well, the terrible stylists (and terrible dresses) are back, making yesterday’s red carpet watching a true delight! Thank you, my dearly beloved Hollywood elite for making my job so very easy this year.

I even got input from my writing group as the texts were flying in (ping, ping, ping!) during the ceremony. So, without further adieu, here is my 2020 Golden Globe snarky red carpet review…

Dakota Fanning

Marley: The only good thing about this dress is the color. Otherwise it’s absolutely horrible.

Me: I disagree. The whole thing is horrible. While the color is pretty, it washes her out completely. It looks like she found it at a thrift store in the 1978 prom section.

My friend Lexi: She took a wrong turn for her job at Disneyland.

Cate Blanchett

Marley: With those wack shoulder things she looks like she’s trying to fly away from this ugly dress.

Me: Marley is spot-on (and also hilarious!). The bodice looks like some sort of sparkly bondage top and that pleated yellow crepe is again looking very late-seventies. This dress is a hella-no!

Charlize Theron

Marley: This looks like they ran out of time when trying to dress her so they threw some fabric on her and let her go.

My friend Lexi: Charlize can pull off anything, but the color looks like she crashed into a highlighter.

Me: First, let’s all agree that Charlize looks stunning. Her hair and make-up is gorgeous. But this dress confuses me. I actually like the color, but it’s just. Weird.

Giuliana Rancic

Marley: Her dress looks like it doesn’t even fit her body and the clutch looks like she stole it from somebody whose dress actually matches it.

Me: I actually think the dress is very pretty, but her hair is horrific. The color does not match her skin tone at all. On the red carpet it looked like straw. And I am not into body shaming (because trust me, my body is about as far from perfect as they come), but that girl really needs to eat a sandwich.

Jennifer Lopez

Marley: Her dress looks like it was made out of left over tissue paper from Christmas.

Me: J-Lo, this is a J-No! Jennifer, be 50 & Fabulous, not 50 & I-don’t-even-know-what-this-is. But that necklace? OMG – I MUST have it!

Olivia Colman

Marley: What’s wrong with normal sleeves? Why did we decide to stop putting them in dresses?

Me: When it comes to acting Olivia Colman can do no wrong. She is the new (British) Meryl Streep. But when it comes to dressing she can seemingly do no right. (It’s okay, Olivia, Meryl is also a disaster most of the time when it comes to fashion.) Also, Marley is right, what’s was with the horrible sleeve trend last night?

Jodie Comer

Marley: Whose tablecloth did she steal?

Me: Again with the sleeves. Also, why??? It looks like a sad, satin sack.

Joey King

Marley: I want to like this dress, but everything in me is telling me I need to hate it. Who would choose that pattern, and why?

Me: I agree with Marley. I want to like this dress. It looks like a cool piece of modern art. But also, if I were one of the people that got seizures from strobe lights, I think this dress would put me in a similar state. I want to (want to) say yes, but for me, it’s a no.

Kaitlyn Dever

Marley: Didn’t we learn to leave couch patterns behind after Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala look?

Me: First I want to say that I think Kaitlyn looks adorable. (Also, if you have not seen Booksmart, you must. It is spectacular.) And again, I want to like this dress, but it looks like an adult coloring book with not enough colored pencil choices. And also. Again. Those sleeves.

Kerry Washington

Marley: It has potential, but it’s horrible. The idea is there but the execution looks like something from episode one of Project Runway where the designers still have no clue what they’re doing.

Me: It looks like she got confused and thought her belt was her shirt. I was feeling sort of old for hating this, because I know this is supposed to be edgy and provocative, but since Marley and my writing group hated the look as well (my friend Lexi: Where is Kerry Washington’s shirt?), I feel vindicated. I am not old, I am right. This look is not good.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Marley: This looks like she took inspiration from slave Leia but decided she needed to cover up more so she threw some tulle over it to make it more palatable. I bet we’ll see this on Goop in a few months for ten thousand dollars.

Me: To me this looks like she threw a sheer lingerie robe over a bathing suit. If sheer lingerie robes came with too many frills in puke brown.

Lucy Boynton

Marley: Was her inspiration Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz? I don’t understand that wack lace thing on her chest? I am so confused.

Me: Last year Lucy wore ugly gold lame to the Golden Globes. It was also horrible, but this tinfoil-space-meets-Little-House-on-the-Prairie creation is worse. And that makeup! Was is with all the black and silver shit all over her eyes?

Taylor Swift

Marley: I think the dress shape and overall construction is good, but that pattern is horrible.

Me: I agree. If this dress was black or red or any solid color, it would be gorgeous. But that pattern, while it would be cute on a sundress, makes it a big no.

My friend Lexi: OMG – who shot the sofa?

Alright, enough already. My eyes are starting to bleed. Believe it or not, there were some gorgeous, gorgeous looks last night. (Though they are not nearly as fun!) Here are some of them.

Nicole Kidman

Marley: It’s pretty, but nothing special

Me: Marley is wrong! I think this dress is stunning. Nicole is often on my worst dressed list, but she’s been upping her style game lately. An enthusiastic thumbs up.

Zoey Deutch

Marley: I mean… I guess? I feel like they can do better next time. I just hate these sleeves. Bring back normal sleeves.

Me: I love it! Even the yellow (which is a tricky color and this one is a tad on the mustard side, but I’ll let it pass). I love the plunge, which is deep, but still not too revealing, the shape and even the sleeves. And that necklace? Perfection.

Tiffany Haddish

Marley: This is a really simple dress, which is seemingly rare on this red carpet. I almost wish it had a little more but that would probably ruin it.

Me: Simply beautiful. I love the pink.

Saoirse Ronan

Marley: It’s simple, beautiful, and looks amazing on her and her body.

Me: Agree. Stunning. She wore a perfect dress last year and has done it again.

Kate McKinnon

Marley: Kate is perfect, therefore this is perfect. That’s all.

Me: What Marley said.

Helen Mirren

Marley: Not only is that a beautiful color, but it looks amazing on her and fits her great.

Me: I say it every year. I want to look (and dress) like Helen Mirren when I grow up. She is the epitome of beauty, class, and style.

Rachel Brosnahan

Me: One of my favorite looks of the night. Love the color and the cut and everything about it. Stunning.

Cynthia Erivo

Marley: It’s classy and it looks great on her.

Me: Agree. I love the style. It’s like a blingy tuxedo dress. and I love her hair. Win!

Laura Dern

Me: I love this flowy style. This pattern works for me and I think Laura looks gorgeous.

Kit Harrington and Rose Leslie

Marley: I know it’s the style, but it just looks like she’s wearing the shorts I used to have to wear under my skirt in lacrosse.

Me: While I agree that I don’t love the see-through with the short black skirt aspect of the dress, I think overall the dress is so pretty. I love the color and the style and the beading, so I’ll let it slide. Also, Leslie and Kit definitely win the cute couple award.

Okay, look. There are so many more that I don’t have time to get to. As always I should have done most of this last night. But I was tired and left the bulk of the work for the morning. And I have a job that I am already late to, so I don’t have time to talk about Reece Witherspoon’s okay dress and horrible hair or the awful color of Sandra Bullocks dress. But I will be nice and give you one piece of eye candy, as I know y’all look forward to at the end of this post.

Andrew Scott

Me: I dig the color of the gold color of the tie and jacket. Makes it look much less waiter-ish. Plus, if you have not seen Fleabag, drop everything immediately and binge it now. It is full of sad, messy, crazy people. The writing is brilliant and it is funny AF.

That is my review for the year. I hope it made you laugh. And remember, I am making fun of the clothing and style choices, not the people themselves (mostly).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we posted and what we missed.

Photos borrowed from here, here, here and here.

Looking Back on 2019

My husband would like you to know that the new decade does not start until next year – 2021, so everybody needs to calm down. (Because, you know, year one started at one, not at zero, so decades start with ones and end with zeros, not start with zeros and end with nines.)

Of course I pointed out to him that whether it is a new decade or not, it is now the 2020’s and no longer the 2010’s, so maybe focus on that. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

One thing I do know is that I don’t have the energy (or the attention span) to focus on the past decade whether it’s come to an end or not. But if I were to give some brief highlights of the past 10 years (I know, I know – brevity is not my strength) these few things come to mind:

I started the decade with a child in middle school and a child in elementary school and now I have a college graduate and a college student.

I had a book published.

I ran two 10Ks. (I never in my life thought I’d ever run a 5K.)

10K runner
There I am, getting ready to run my first 10K.

I became a country music fan (which, believe me, 10 years ago I would have found even more unlikely than becoming a runner).

Old Dominion Meet And Greet
Hot country rockstars & happy me!

I turned 50. (Which is both awesome and terrible. But mostly awesome. Mostly.)

50-and-Fabulous
I’m 50 and I’m Fabulous!

But more than anything I learned that when I set my mind on something and work hard and focus, I can accomplish it. It may not turn out as planned, but I can do it. I have the power to make things happen. (We all do.) I just have to remind myself to set goals and focus rather than get bogged down by my inner-laziness and the general minutiae of daily life.

But again… I’m not reflecting on the 2010’s. I’m reflecting on 2019. And the minutiae of my life last year.

On the first day of this year I ran away and hid from my family and read over my happiness journal – my calendar where I write down the happiest moment of my day. And I have to tell you – some days are shit and it’s hard to find a happy moment. And some days are so great, that all of it is my happy moment. But most days are in between. I wouldn’t call them boring. Just… ordinary. And so my happy moments are often the same – dinner with Dave and Marley, sleeping in my own bed after a trip, a wonderful meal during a trip, the inspiration and love I feel from my writers’ group (even though I haven’t really been writing this year), happy hour with friends, walking my dog.

Here are some of the moments that stuck out for me as I read my calendar. Some of them big. Most of them quite small. All of them the sum of the parts that make up a happy life.

January 17 – First Writers’ Group of the year. What a happy heart that gives me. Especially at the end when we lit a candle and set our intention for the year. How lucky and grateful I am to be part of this tribe of women.

January 29 – I went to Trader Joe’s after work and the sunset was beautiful. I heard a girl working there say to one of her co-workers, “Go look at the sunset. Trust me.” He went to look and afterwards told her, “Thank you. That was beautiful.”

February 7 – Happy hour with Debbie, Jeannie. and Linda. When we were leaving Jeanne hugged me so tightly and said, “I was really looking forward to seeing your face. I told Jimmy I was seeing a playgroup mom tonight.” Playgroup days were the best days and old friends are the best friends.

February 28 – Landed at LAX. Home! When I came down the escalator to the exit I saw a family waiting anxiously for a loved one at the bottom and a guy waiting for someone as well. The girl in front of me dove into his arms and they gave each other the biggest embrace. I felt like I was in the middle of Love Actually.

March 24 – Playgroup mom mini-reunion. Chandler and his first best friend Katie were reunited. Seeing them catch up and catching up with some of my first mom friends filled my heart with love and happiness.

March 26 – I finally saw Matt Nathanson last night and it was everything I thought it would be and more. It was AMAZING. (He’s also very funny.)

If you ever have the chance to see Matt Nathanson live, do it. He is amazing.

April 15 – I put a picture of Marley when she was five on my phone as the screensaver. She is on the pumpkin patch field trip and she is just done. She looks so cute and it makes me so happy every time I look at it.

This girl is done!

May 5 – I met Dave Grohl and got my picture taken with him. The end!

Look how happy Dave Grohl is to meet me!

May 12 – Marley gave me a thoughtful present and lovely Mother’s Day card. She does appreciate me and I love her so much.

May 20 – Seeing Chandler walk across the stage at his graduation ceremony and hearing his name called. He had the hugest smile on his face. His happiness shined through.

I realize he is not walking across the stage in this photo, but those photos were blurry AF.

June 8 – I spent the day with Rita in Ventura. All of it. I’m so blessed to have this friendship.

June 16 – At the end of Concerts in the Park I was watching the families with small kids running around, playing – knowing they didn’t realize how quickly this season of their lives would pass. I was filled with such a feeling of calmness and happiness and nostalgia. It was almost overwhelming. I wanted to hug the feeling and hold it tightly forever.

June 26 – I walked Geordie through the park tonight. There was a father and son playing baseball, a mother doing a word search puzzle while her son played on the jungle gym, a family having a picnic on a blanket, and a woman laying on the grass playing with her little dog. And not one of them was on their phone.

July 5 – I drove up to Cheryl’s house in Sacramento and I finally met my longtime blogging friend, Kim Sisto Robinson in person and she is as down to earth and lovely as I knew she’d be.

Look at these beauties – my longtime skirt! blogging friends Kim & Cheryl.

August 3 – Beach with Rita. My first time this summer just hanging out at the beach. Stepping onto the sand and smelling the ocean and the sunscreen just filled my heart with joy.

August 23 – Driving from Knoxville to the Cumberland Gap. What a gorgeous drive. I played music from my phone through the car stereo and took in the beauty. I kept thinking how Chandler would have loved that drive.

September 1 – Just me and Marley for dinner. We played 3 games of Rummy Tile afterwards. She beat me twice! GRRRR! This competitive mama does not like that! But it was so nice to spend the night with her.

September 23 – Chandler snuck home at 3AM. I had no idea. Seeing him walk into the den and say, “What’s for breakfast, Mom?” was the best surprise ever.

October 8 – Marley got an A on her Women’s History test and she was so happy and so proud of herself. (And so was I.)

November 12 – Listening to Bean’s last show on the Kevin & Bean podcast. So many memories. I’ve been listening to that show for over half my life.

December 9 – The fall colors have been making me so happy. I thought fall had passed us by, but it’s here and it’s glorious.

December 31 – We ate too much and drank too much and binge-watched The Politician (Ryan Murphy at his best). The kids were in and out – mostly out – and it was nothing fancy or exciting, but it was nice to know that this is my life. I have enough. I am content.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. This was a long one. (I know. I know. They’re all long ones.) I hope your 2019 (and your 2010’s) was full of more happy moments then sad ones and you’ve been able to take the time to reflect on them. I’d love to hear what some of them are.

Here’s to love and laughter in 2020 and beyond.

Please Pass the Salt

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

Just stop.

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

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

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

I even like salt on my chocolate.

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

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

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

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

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

My Snarky 2019 Emmy Red Carpet Comments

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

No.

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

Shit. Are those tonight?

Yup.

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

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

Of course I did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pink and red – who wore it best?

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

And then there’s this…

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

And now the good…

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

The bad…

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

And the best of the best…

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

And now for the men…

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

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

Pictures lifted from here. (Thank you.)

Crossing Paths

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I think that’s nice.

Some Things I Did Last Week

Last Monday I climbed these stairs.

Four times.

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

And yet. My jeans are still tight.

Rude.

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

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

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

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

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

I found this shirt in a thrift shop:

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are some things that you did last week?