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…)


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.)

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.

This is Me: Expressing Motherhood

April was a crazy month. I think I’m still trying to recover from it. (Note last blog post was from April 13th.)

We went camping for spring break, Chandler had to decide which college to go to (so glad that’s over with), Marley had daily after-school lacrosse practices and two to three games a week, Chandler had every other-day after school runs and one to two track meets a week, I went to the Stagecoach Music Festival. I took seven days off work and left early at least four or five times. (I assured my bosses several times, that yes, I did still work there!) It took the skill and ingenuity of a $100K/year executive assistant to pull of the coordination needed to get everyone where they needed to be when they needed to be there. (Yet, I did it for free.)

Oh and I was in a little show called Expressing Motherhood.

What’s that you ask? It’s a show that has been showcasing people sharing their stories about motherhood onstage since 2008. And last month I got to share mine on a stage in a Downtown Los Angeles theater. I felt honored that over two dozen people came to see me. The other people in the show were amazing. I can’t believe I was chosen to stand among them and share my story.

Hanging backstage before my big stage debut.

And even though it will possibly mortify my children (like I’ve never done that before here), you can watch it below if you like. But only if you promise to focus on how great my hair looked and my awesome comedic timing rather than how the harsh stage lighting makes me look 1,000 years old and the dress I’m wearing makes me appear a little fat. (I swear when I looked in the mirror I looked awesome.)

But anyway, here I am, expressing motherhood.


Video shot by Stephen Burr •

Palm Desert Girlfriend’s Getaway

A few weeks ago I went to Palm Desert with some of my best girlfriends to celebrate a birthday-that-shall-not-be-named (hint: it rhymes with nifty). And NO, it wasn’t MY birthday. Shut your big fat mouth!

We stayed at the Miramonte Resort.


The Miramonte is true Palm Desert luxury.

A beautiful lobby

I could get used to this!

Since there were to be between three and five of us at different points of the weekend, we stayed in a 550 square foot Dolce Suite. There were two queen size beds, a desk and a sitting room area that you could curtain off with a second TV, mini fridge and pull-out couch. We also had a private balcony. Yeah, when you have a milestone birthday in our group my friend Trixie* always finds a way to set you up right.

Dolce Suite = Fabulous!

Part of our celebratory weekend was attending the Stagecoach Music Festival. We are not huge country music fans, but there were some amazing acts there that made us appreciate country music a lot more – Lady Antebellum, The Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Dwight Yoakam, Jeff Bridges, Darius Rucker, and Joe Nichols to name a few.

Stagecoach Music Festival 2013

We arrived late on a Thursday night, but Dagmar (the birthday girl) and I are both early risers (sigh, yes, even on vacation) so instead of sleeping in we headed to the hotel gym on Friday morning. (It might have had something to do with eating the world’s best donuts on the drive out.) The gym was a typical hotel gym with treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights. After about 40 sweaty minutes on the treadmills we declared ourselves done and ready for breakfast.

You had better believe that we filled our mini fridge with some staples for the weekend (and no, not just vodka) so we enjoyed some Greek yogurt with granola and strawberries on the balcony.

Ignore the donuts behind my yogurt – I don’t know how they got there!

Trixe actually had to work the festival (which is how non-country music fans ended up at Stagecoach for a niftieth birthday) so she left us at around 9AM.

Dagmar and I lounged around the balcony for a bit and then headed down to the pool. I wore a bikini. Well, a bikini top and board shorts. I probably have no business wearing a bikini top, but I don’t care. To be honest I was more concerned that I hadn’t had the chance to get a pedicure before we left.

You didn’t think I’d show you a picture of me in a bikini top did you?

Besides the pool was full of hot bodied 25 year olds. Trust me, no one was looking my way.

Speaking of hot bodied 25-year-olds…

Howdy Pardner!

Okay, he was probably closer to 32. (Even better!) Yes, the view at the pool was quite nice. Quite nice indeed. Trust me, my cell phone was not the only one pointed in this direction!

Would you like another look?

Me likey!

As the Dixie Chicks said, “Cowboy take me away!”

There was a big group of late twenty/early thirty-somethings at our hotel for the Stagecoach festival and they were partying it up at the pool. They were very amusing to watch. (And people watching is one of my favorite activities!)

The Mirmonte Resort has an excellent pool menu so we took advantage of it and ordered lunch poolside. We decided to split a club sandwich.


It was delicious and the fries were amazing. A-MA-ZING! (I really, really love fries.)

We may have also enjoyed a vodka pomegranate cocktail (or three) while lounging by the pool all day. I can neither confirm nor deny such a thing.

Yes, the pool at the Miramonte is pretty spectacular. The service was fantastic, the pool was very clean and the perfect temperature, and there were plenty of lounge chairs. My only suggestion would be more umbrellas. (You can only sit in the sun for so long in Palm Desert.)  It was the perfect place to spend the day. (And the next day and the next day!)

At 4:00 we headed up to our room to get ready for the concert. For a couple of “old ladies” I think we cleaned up okay.

50 is the new 30
Eva Mendes has nothing on my friend Dagmar!

We’d never been to Stagecoach before and didn’t quite know what to expect. But when we were pulling up to the parking lot and spotted this we knew we were in for a good time…

Um… okay…

We reconnected with Trixie and she set us up with a meet and greet with Joe Nichols. Admittedly, we didn’t really know who he was, but he was way cute and super sweet. We  saw Jeff Bridges perform right up close.

Jeff Bridges

After Jeff Bridges we walked around the vendor area, then had dinner with Trixie and then saw Toby Keith. All in all it was a great night.

On Saturday morning we decided to go for a walk instead of going to the gym and the concierge at the hotel hooked us up with a three mile walk around the neighborhood. It was already about 90 degrees at 9AM, but the walk was lovely. (I dig Palm Desert architecture.)

A lovely neighborhood stroll.

Trixie went off to work and Dagmar and I headed to the pool for more sun, vodka and cowboys. Trixie’s sister, Sherry, and our good friend Heidi joined us around lunchtime. Late in the afternoon the cowboys were pretty drunk and invited us to a naked midnight pool party. There was no chance in hell that was happening. But it was nice to be asked.

Around 5:00 we headed back out to Stagecoach for Dwight Yoakam and Lady Antebellum. Trixie hooked us up with a great viewing spot for both performances. Unfortunately my camera wasn’t able to properly focus on the awesomeness happening before me.

Side stage and loving life! (BTW – Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum is HOT!)

Sunday morning the five of us went to IHOP for fake eggs and pancakes. Then Trixie went back to work and the rest of us went to the pool for a happy repeat of days one and two. Heidi had to leave around 2:00 because unlike me she is a good mom and would never leave her family for four and a half days of cowboys and vodka and sun. Then it was back to the festival for barbecue, Darius Rucker and Zac Brown Band.

Monday morning we woke up knowing we’d have to head back to reality. But before we did we ate breakfast al fresco at the Grove Artisan Kitchen at the Miramonte. I had the Maine Lobster Omelet with mushrooms and asparagus. (I had it made as a scramble and yes, it was as good as it sounds.)

IHOP eat your heart out!

After breakfast we packed up, did a little outlet shopping, and then went home.

All in all the weekend was pretty amazing. I think next year we’ll definitely be back at Stagecoach. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I might left with a new-found appreciation of country music.)  Look for me poolside at the Miramonte getting my fix of vodka and cowboys and sun.

*Sometimes my girlfriends like to fly under the radar so for the sake of privacy I’ve changed their names for this post.