Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Overheard at the Grove

Lady 1: "My cats do yoga with me in the morning."

Lady 2: "I bet they are exceptional at the cat pose."

Lady 1: "They are. They also do an excellent downward dog."

Saturday, March 21, 2009

In Which I Eliminate Excess Baggage

Here's the thing. Years ago, I told you that I thought the TSA's ban of liquids and gels over three ounces amounted to a kind of racial profiling. Because everyone knows that Jewish girls with hair like mine need mousse—which comes in bottles hovering around eight ounces, and which cannot be compacted into a smaller-size vessel because of its aerosol nature. And that is why, ever since the TSA regulation took effect, I have always had to check a suitcase, even when flying somewhere for only an overnight trip.

My prefered mousse brand—John Frieda Frizz-Ease—used to make tiny 2-ounce bottles of mousse, and then stopped making them ages ago to my deep dismay. I have always said that if I ever see those little bottles of nectar again, I will buy out the stock.

So we flash forward to this morning's trip to Target, whereupon I discovered the travel-size mousse bottles are back, their recognizable silvery skins glinting under the fluorescents! This in itself would have been huge news. But there is so much bonus good news too:

1) Turns out the 2-ounce travel-size mousse bottles are $0.97, and the full-size, 7.2-ounce bottles are $5.39. So do the math! That's a savings of like half by volume (almost)! Of course it's also a lot of extra packaging, so I'll still buy the full-size bottles for home use. And:

2) John-Frieda Frizz-Ease has a new formulation! For curly hair! And it comes in the travel size! Could this get better?

So I bought eight. It should be enough to last a while, but I'll be completely bummed if they disappear from stock again. That said, as of last week, I am the proud owner of 50 shares of Target stock (as part of my new foray into investing, spurred by boyfriend DR—whose presence on the scene accounts in part for why I have neglected this blog for so long, but that's another story, which won't appear on the Internet), so I'm pretty sure that means I get to determine what products the store carries in the future. (Right?) That way, I will never run out of plane-OK mousse. Who's the sucka now, TSA?

In Which I Set Myself on Fire, Bleed Profusely (Unrelated), and Meet Huell Howser

It's been three months since my last confession, and I'm ripping off the Band-Aid with some tales from my wacky March.

Highlights included that time two weeks ago when I set myself on fire. Panicked about my impending wisdom tooth surgery the next morning, I tried to light a few candles in order that their wafting aroma might help me relax. Instead, the decorative tie dangling from the neckline of my shirt ignited, and then the rest of the front of my shirt caught fire, which I didn't notice until I was pretty well aflame. I dropped the phone (I'd been talking to my parents), screaming that blood-curdling scream that comes from the back of your throat that you mostly only hear in the movies and rarely in real life. I batted away at the front of my shirt before I remembered the stop, drop, and roll thing, so I did that, and eventually put the fire out on the Anthropologie rug without any significant injury (apart from a slightly singed bra and left boob). My parents heard the whole thing and assumed I was being attacked. I swear I could have died, y'all! Life is so precious and so ephemeral.

The next day, I was alive after all so I went to get my wisdom tooth removed in kind of an emergency situation, which is what you get when you've been told for years that you're going to have this half-erupted tooth out but you are too terrified so you ignore doctors orders and let it be. Then, when you go in for emergency surgery, and you've been squeezed in between other appointments, you have to wait like two hours while your anxiety builds. Then the dentist tells you that he'll only be using local anesthesia, which makes you regress into a wet-eyed, wobbly lipped child because you'd been comforted by so many friends who told you that you'd be out cold and wouldn't remember a dang thing. Matters are not improved when the zillion shots of Novacaine are not producing numbing results because apparently an existing infection hinders the efficacy of the shots. Finally the tooth comes out—and you watch the whole thing, the plier-ing, the popping, the sewing—through lucid, open eyes.

But the real drama comes when the surgeon doesn't realize how much you're bleeding (gauze in wound notwithstanding) and so sends you on your way out to the cashier, but when you try to open your mouth (to say, maybe, do you take Visa? Or, where is the sink?) you pour blood out of your mouth with a crime-scene looking result all over the counter. And then, with your bloody hands and jeans, you are escorted into a private room where you will be less likely to gross people out, until the dentist brings you back into the room where he can do some coagulating procedure that seems to work, until your mom whisks your bloody, drooly self home using the magic technique for solving difficult situations that moms know about.

OK, I guess those were more lowlights than highlights. Bona fide highlights include: wrapping up award season coverage and thereby returning to something that resembles more normalcy in terms of work load; enjoying sister and nephew's visit to California; clearing out bags and carloads of unnecessary house-cluttering stuff like old clothes and miscellany, and consequently feeling really good about myself; AND:

MEETING HUELL HOWSER. I MET HUELL HOWSER AND HE GAVE ME A HUG. What happened was I went to a KCET event at Paramount Ranch on Thursday celebrating the launch of Ken Burns' new documentary, National Parks: America's Best Idea, and Huell was there to introduce Ken. Before the program, I mustered the courage to tell Huell that I'm sure he has a lot of number-one fans, but I'm dang sure I rank up there with the most devoted of them. And he said, well I have to give you a hug for that! And so [breathlessly], I got a hug from teen idol (not actually) Huell Howser. It was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

Or, you might say, it was very much a part of California's Gold.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008 Giveth and 2008 Taketh Away

Same-sex marriage rights in California
The blue-eyed boy (reinstalled in friendship capacity)
An assistant editor in L.A.
A significant chunk of my freelance budget
Many thousands of magazine jobs, and many more thousands of other jobs too
Five pounds
Some of the moisture in my hair (see below: blonder)
Hope for another consecutive Raiders football season

The same five pounds
One Huell Howser autographed print and one California's Gold tote bag
President-elect Barack Obama
The Palin rap on SNL
A new iPhone
A nicely blonder head of curls (see above: lost moisture)
An unforgettable trip to Mexico
Best Coachella weekend yet
A triumphant Grand Canyon hike
So, so much thrilling possibility

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Los Angeles Loves Civil Rights

For me the most affecting part of the Prop 8 protest downtown yesterday was when the marching group stopped on the freeway overpass, waving signs and hands in the direction of the traffic speeding along below. And to see all those car windows open, and those arms go out with the thumbs pointing emphatically up—that was the part that did it for me.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Here's What Looks Unspoiled to Me While Rome Burns

Trader Joe's
Intervention on A&E
This cotton dress I have on that looks dressed up despite the comfort it provides
Beautiful Booty followed by Cardio Kickboxing followed by Ab Lab at the gym
Whole-wheat pasta
Wednesday night girls' night at my house
Huell. Freakin. Howser. (How do I love thee?)
California's Gold on public television (see also: Huell Howser)
My best-ever nephew who talks now, I am told
The Onion
Regina Spektor
Spearhead, particularly Chocolate Supa Highway, which sounds so quaintly outdated now
Rosemary and basil
"My lovey" and "butzie girl," which my mom calls me sometimes
Club soda
White wine
Stilton cheese with bits of apricot in it (see also: Trader Joe's)
Making lists (such sweet therapy)
Em dashes
AE, LGP, AK, MIG, MAW, ADGL—in short, friends
Staying home on Friday night
Yogurt sundaes (fat-free vanilla, light choco syrup, granola, blueberries, fat-free whip)
The valiant protesters of Prop 8 (thank you)
Cream eyeliner
Wholehearted people
Honest people
Candid people
New people (but mostly not)
My fair reader(s)
Dinner. Bye!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Night: November 4, 2008

How to write about last night, the night America elected Barack Obama its next president? How to write about the feeling at all, and particularly how to do it on no sleep and adrenaline alone?

I woke up two hours before my alarm yesterday—Election Day-induced insomnia. The day did not feel normal on any front. Traffic was especially light on the way to work in the morning; was everyone in the voting booth? I made it to my polling place in the afternoon. There was no line, which was almost disappointing because I had wanted to feel the energy of thousands of other voters [ironic foreshadowing]. When I punched my ballot for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, I welled up. And I well up again as I write this. I collected my "I Voted" sticker and pressed it to my chest with my hand over my heart like how you stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in elementary school.

At the gym afterward, I watched on multiple TVs as the clocks counted down the moments until the first polls closed. I was agape with the thrill of it all, mouth open. The woman on the elliptical next to me instigated a conversation with: "It's magic, isn't it? He was born for this."

At home (after AAA rescued my keys from my locked car), I showered and climbed into my themey red and blue outfit, put on my "I Voted Democrat" party hat, and watched as the results came in. They called Pennsylvania for Obama. It seemed like it was over before it started, but I don't have the stomach for fourth-quarter nail-biters anymore; I'd much prefer a blowout, and it was really happening. I ate Indian food and cried while Anderson Cooper tried to wrangle his infinite throng of commentators.

AE, LP, and DL (the photographer of that shot up there) came to the house with champagne. We piled into the car for the short drive to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza where the official California Democratic Party party was happening. There was space for 7,000 and nearly three times that number of RSVPs. We arrived at 7:15, 45 minutes before the local polls closed, and stood patiently at the front of the line and waited. ABY came late from work and joined us. The girl behind us in line wore an old Betsy Ross-style flag she'd stitched into a Project Runway-style dress. Her date wore an "Obamarama" shirt. AK and DF were in line, but saw an intractable access problem shaping up and left. ABY would eventually bail too.

It was the first blustery night of the year and we were in coats (and we are never in coats). It felt like Times Square on New Year's Eve, only better because everyone was in a good mood, and New Year's Eve always seems kind of hellish.

I checked email on my phone. In sequence I got emails with these three subject lines from The Los Angeles Times:
"Breaking: Ohio Goes for Obama"
"Breaking: Virginia Goes to Obama"
"Breaking: AP Calls Election for Obama"

The cheers ran through the crowd, along down the line like the wave at a ballgame, or a pocket of water in a crimped hose. It felt like the energy went through my physical body in much the same way. People hung out of their hotel windows above us, waving flags and cheering. News choppers shone their beams in a clatter overhead.

We waited and waited in line, and eventually the fire department showed up en masse. No one else is getting in. We are at capacity. We are sorry, but we are at capacity. I need you all to move back 25 feet.

I tried every angle I could think of—which is really a lot of angles—and we did not get in. We waited, tried to be patient, sometimes failed at that, got frustrated, I wondered how exactly I would file a story about the event without seeing its innards, we tried to stay positive, we cheered sometimes. Then we got cold and went back to my house.

We opened the champagne and a few bottles of wine. I broke a glass, cleaned it up. I heated up some edamame and samosas. We watched Obama's victory speech on YouTube, and savored some CNN, plus the Stewart and Colbert special on Comedy Central. It looked grim that Proposition 8 would be defeated, and we were regretful about that, but we were elated and proud of Americans overall. We toasted to president Obama, and someone said: "We have the coolest president ever." I filed my story: "Democrats Swarm Hyatt for Massive Public Obama Party."

This is about as chronological and structurally dry as a story can get, but I had to put it down before I forget it. I don't ever want to forget it. The night America elected Barack Obama.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Now and Later

I couldn't eat the perfectly heart-shaped tomato from the farmer's market. It was too pretty, and anyway it was a gift. So I lovingly arranged it among the cluster of pumpkins and fresh flowers currently serving as my dining table centerpiece. I knew it was going to rot, so eventually I moved it to the granite countertop in the kitchen where it would not destroy the tablecloth. Now it has officially rotted—but I haven't yet tossed it.

If there is a message here, it might be similar to the one contained in those email forwards, in which so and so was killed in a car accident, and when her daughter was going through her belongings afterward, the daughter discovered some of her mom's most beloved possessions—some kind of unburned candles or unused fancy soaps or something—that the mother never got to enjoy in her lifetime because she was too precious and was saving them for a special time, but never determined a time to be special or perfect enough as a consequence of always planning for the future and not living in the present, and so the daughter uses them in tribute or something.

The blue-eyed boy told me recently: "I have watched you sometimes waiting for a fabulous time to pass to that you can tenderly memorialize it, and then safely enjoy the memories." That was pretty astute; I do do that. I adore my memories, but I like to think that I am also wont to exclaim how wonderful a wonderful thing is while it is happening. Like college, for instance, and Coachella, and my Caribbean travels.

Really though, I don't like tomatoes except in other things.