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 So-Called Fabulous (Yet Unlived) Life

Throwback Thursday – This post was originally published on March 21, 2011 on skirt.com.

The other day as I looked at my pretty friend on the computer screen – tan and fit with her long blonde hair flowing down her back, I began to wonder about her life…and about mine.  Somewhere between high school and Facebook she moved from Los Angeles to Miami.  We were really only acquaintances in high school – I was better friends with her brother a year older than us – and now we are acquaintances through the world’s largest social network.  I see photos of her fabulous single life and she sees photos of my rather suburban one (if she even bothers to look).

In her photos she sits courtside at a Miami Heat game, drinks umbrella drinks on the beach, and wraps her arms around equally tan and fit singletons at bars and barbeques.  In my photos I’m trying my best to look cool mom funky rather than suburban mom frumpy.

At 45-years-old she still looks amazing in a bikini.  Of course that’s probably a lot easier to do when you are blessed with the combination of being born with good genes, never experiencing the wondrous body-changing magic of childbirth, and have nothing but time on your hands to go to the gym before heading out to the local pub to meet your latest conquest on Match.com face to face.

I wonder sometimes as I stare at her beautiful face smiling at me if she is as happy as she looks.  I consider myself happy in this life I’ve chosen for myself, but there are days when I trip over my husband’s shoes in the bedroom or get an aching back from doing eight loads of laundry on a Sunday that I wonder if I would be even happier if I had never married, if I had never had kids, if I had never given up my career to stay home with my children.  If I only had to be accountable to me…what would my life be like?

A few years ago, when my husband unwillingly went from the security of fulltime employment to get-it-when-you-can-find-it contract work, I took a job at an elementary school as an aide in special education so that I could give my family the extravagant gift of health insurance.  As an instructional assistant I have been bit, hit, kicked, pinched, spit at, peed on, and had my life threatened.  And sometimes I even get to clean up poop!  As an added bonus the pay is terrible.  Of course I do get summers off and every December and June parents shower me with Starbucks gift cards to thank me for my patience with their little darlings.

But if I didn’t have kids, where would 15 years in the career world have taken me?  I picture myself dressed in designer clothing checking my Blackberry as I tap my pedicured toes encased in $300 boots waiting for the valet to come with my Mercedes that only seats two so I can hurry from my business lunch to a very important meeting.  My “what if” wardrobe seems a bit more stylish than my usual attire of jeans and tone-up sneakers sadly worn for function rather than fashion so my heels don’t sink into the grass as I attend my kids’ soccer games or so I won’t trip as I race around town running errand after monotonous errand.

Speaking of monotonous, my husband and I have been married for seventeen years.  We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all we have a happy marriage.  He is a good partner and a good friend; we are very compatible and I feel like I’ve chosen well.  Even during our toughest times the thought of divorce has never crossed my mind.

But what if we had never met?  If I had never walked down the aisle, would the rush of experiencing first date jitters be greater than the joy experienced from the comfort of a long marriage? Would I choose to experience firsthand the phenomenon of online dating instead of only experiencing it vicariously through my friends?  I am rather curious to know how many text exchanges with a man you’ve never met face to face it takes to get a photo of his penis in your inbox.  And like many of my still-single or again single friends, would I also have a nice, incurable dose of HPV?

I look at my suburban tract home in a neighborhood known for its good schools.  In my “what if” life I envision myself in my two bedroom condo in a much more urban part of town decorated Pottery Barn chic – no roses to dead head, no lawn to water or mow.  There are no socks on the floor, no Lego’s to be stepped on, no princess toothpaste smeared on the bathroom counter.  If the song “I Still Want You” were to play on the 80’s station of my satellite radio as I was cleaning my condo on a Saturday afternoon I’d probably think to myself, “Whatever happened to The Del Fuegos?” having no idea that front man Dan Zanes went on to be a Grammy Award winning children’s artist.

If I’d never had kids I would probably still think that Lindsey Lohan’s drug addiction and downward spiral is a terrible tragedy, but the true tragedy would be missing both her and Jamie Lee Curtis’ fantastic comedic performances in “Freaky Friday” because what kind of designer-boot-wearing, two-seat-Mercedes-driving, online-dating-still-hot-in-a-bikini-after-the-age-of-forty single girl sees a movie like that?

If I were single I wouldn’t have to share the covers in my bed, give up half my closet space, or watch NASCAR.  If I were childless I wouldn’t have to make sure there was always milk in the fridge, referee ridiculous arguments, or worry about how the hell I’m going to pay for college. (Shit. How the hell are we going to pay for college?)

I look at my friend’s pretty face one last time before clicking off my computer and joining my family for popcorn –crumbs of which I will inevitably have to vacuum off the floor tomorrow- and the latest episode of The Simpsons.  I snuggle with my daughter under the Snuggie she and her brother gave me for Mother’s Day last year and laugh a deep belly laugh as Bart tortures Homer.

If only my two lives were a Gwyneth Paltrow movie and I could watch them in parallel to see which path was better.  But the truth is I really don’t have to wonder.  I already know.

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Weekend Update

My weekend started with a trip to Costco on Friday night after work. I met my mom there because we like to split things. We hadn’t been in a while so we did quite a lot of damage. A take-and-bake pizza and nice bottle of wine was one of the many things inside the jumbo-sized shopping cart filled to the brim with food. As we unloaded the cart into our cars one of Marley’s friends met us in the parking lot and I took the girls to the high school for a comedy show. Chandler was already there watching a hypnosis show in another building. Dave and I enjoyed our pizza and wine kid-free and caught up with each other, then hung out with our favorite anti-hero Walter White. We only have a few episodes left and the shit is really hitting the fan. (In case you didn’t know drugs are bad people, very very bad.) When we’re done it’s on to House of Cards, then Downton Abbey. Who needs dinner and a movie when we’ve got take-and-bake pizza and binge TV?

On Saturday Marley had a lacrosse tournament at the Rose Bowl. Dave had to work in the morning so it was just Marley and me. We had a great mother-daughter talk on the way out. I’ve always found that kids will tell you things in the car they won’t tell you anywhere else. Probably because they don’t have to look at you. Marley played goalie all three games and did a great job even though she got pretty beat up the second game (and has the bruises to prove it). Dave was able to meet us there after the first game. The weather was perfect. It was a good day. As we were driving home I got a text alert. I asked Marley to read me the text. It was from my friend Rita.

Marley read me the text and asked me if I wanted her to answer.

“No, I’ll do it when we get home,” I told her.

Sometimes my texts with Rita are a bit blue. We act a little silly. (Or a lot silly.) I wondered if Marley had scanned up and seen our previous texts. I think she would have been pretty mortified. Of course I see her Instagrams and am pretty mortified. (She doesn’t post inappropriate pictures, but she says the F word a lot.) I wonder what’s more mortifying – a daughter reading her mother’s inappropriate texts or a mother reading her daughter’s inappropriate Instagrams? We’ll call it a draw.

I made a good dinner and afterwards, as Chandler was putting condiments away in the fridge he came up behind me and gave me a giant hug. He knows exactly how to make my heart go pitter-pat. I don’t know how I’ll bear it when he goes away to college next year.

After dinner I received a text from my friend Juliana. She and Carol decided to meet at Stonehaus and run around the lake instead of meeting our run club for our Sunday morning run. That would have been fine (the coffee at Stonehaus is FAB), but run club was only supposed run two miles and the run around the lake is four. Any runner will tell you (or someone who pretends to be a runner like me), that running is 90% mental. Well, I had only mentally prepared for 2 miles! And in case you’re bad at math four is twice as many as two. I’d take four dollars over two dollars. I’d take four (dozen) French fries over two (dozen) French fries. But what kind of idiot runs four miles when their run coach says they only have to run two?!

Apparently me.

Stupid run club friends.

Amazingly, I ran my best time ever. I ran 4.23 miles in 40:07. Chandler smirked at my time (I like him better when he’s hugging me), but I don’t care. I still say I kicked ass!

After the run (and more importantly coffee) I went to a memorial service for my aunt’s brother. It was at the beach and it was lovely, but I am heartbroken for my aunt and her sisters. They’ve lost their two brothers in less than two years. It’s so cliché to say life’s too short and often too cruel, but the thing about clichés is they’re usually true. 

This is why still get a warm fuzzy feeling from enjoying simple pleasures with my husband. Why I delight in my talks with Marley. Why I I savor my hugs from Chandler. Why I celebrate a 9:29 minute mile.

Because it’s the little things in life. Small moments from a relatively uneventful suburban weekend that make this short cruel life so beautiful.

What did you do this weekend?

Expressing Motherhood

My typical Sunday goes a little something like this:

My alarm goes off at 5:00 (yes even on Sunday), but I probably stayed up late on Saturday night – you know, until 10:00 or 10:30 and most likely had a good bit of wine, so I decide to be nice to myself and sleep in until 6:00. I get up, have some coffee, attempt to write my Monday blog post, hit a mental block and end up cruising Facebook or Pinterest instead. At 7:15 I realize I still have to walk the dog and get ready to run at 8:00 and curse myself for wasting so much time and not getting up at 5:00 (though if I had I probably would have just wasted even more time on Facebook and Pinterest.)

At 8:00 I meet my run club and suffer through 25-50 minutes of torture train for my 10K. Then my running friends and I go have coffee. After coffee it’s home to laundry, house cleaning, pulling my wardrobe for the week, grocery shopping (I usually hit at least two stores), and meal prep for the week (when you work 9-6 you’ve got to have a meal plan and at least a few things pre-made) . Sunday is always my busiest and most hectic day. I always aspire to take a nap. It never happens.

Busy-day-collage
Sunday Funday

But yesterday was different. Instead of wardrobe and meal planning and laundry and shopping I ditched suburbia and headed out to Hollywood for a field trip with some of my friends from my writers’ group to see our friend Kim Tracy Prince perform in a show called Expressing Motherhood at the Lillian Theater. Sure, we have no vegetables in the house, we’ll be dining on grilled cheese all week, and I’ll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off in the mornings, having no idea what I’m going to wear. I’m pretty sure we’ll survive. Besides, I deserve a day out with my girlfriends, dammit!

Expressing Motherhood is a show where 12 women get up and perform monologues they have written about motherhood. Some of them (like Kim’s) are hysterically funny, some are incredibly poignant, and a few of them are just gut wrenching. All of them are fabulous. I do wish Kim had advised me to bring Kleenex and wear waterproof mascara (that would have been helpful)! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this show.

writer's-group
Suburban moms going rogue

The good news for you is there are 4 more Expressing Motherhood shows next weekend. (2/14 at 7:00, 2/15 at 7:00, and 2/16 at 2:00 & 7:00) If you live in the Los Angeles area, I strongly suggest you ditch your usual weekend routine and head out to the show. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but listening to a 64-year-old woman talking about the rebirth of her vagina is truly one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And listening to another woman talk about her son’s cleft palate – one of the most heartbreaking.

Tickets are $25 online (buy them here) and $30 at the door. They sell wine and AWESOME lard-free chicken tamales that you can actually bring with you into the theater instead scarfing down quickly in the lobby like at most theaters.

Expressing-Motherhood
Be good to yourself – go see this show!

I highly encourage you to grab some girlfriends, get out of your suburban rut, and go see the show. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll drink some wine, maybe eat a tamale. You might not have any vegetables in the house or your work wardrobe planned, but you’ll have a great time. And you deserve that don’t you? (The answer is yes, you do!)

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post. I paid to see this show and would do it again. It really is so fantastic!

*Expressing Motherhood photo “borrowed” from Expressing Motherhood Facebook page  – thank you, ladies!