Friday, March 30, 2007

Something for the Non-Johnnies

She looks kind of british in this get-up, doesn't she?

So, while you are off tripping the light fantastic in the UK with precocious four-year-olds and their charming mothers, I have been diligently staying home and resting up in anticipation of your return.

To entertain myself, I turn once more to the boob tube and its endless supply of nonsensical wonders. One of the most daffy, of late, has been Top Design.

Now, I do not love this show. No, I do not love it.

It is not nearly as satisfyingly bitchy as Project Runway or as succulently histrionic as Top Chef. And, quite frankly, the way the show is shot it seems almost impossible to judge for yourself whether one person’s design was more successful than another’s.

And poor Todd Oldham and his maxillofacially challenged self is a bit of a piss-poor host. Though he does seem to be getting better.

And oranger.

Do you think my skin looks orange? Cuz I could kick your ass right off this show! Right now!

I think the more he looks like an Oompa-Loompa, the better his hosting skills get.

However, there are two things that keep me coming back for more each week:

1) Hearing Jonathan Adler say “See ya later, Decorator!” That cracks me UP!

2) Kelly Wearstler and her increasingly insane hair and outfits.

She is one of these women who is so pretty that you imagine she dresses to spite her good looks rather than enhance them.

I am so hot, that you will know I am hot even if I dress like the love child of Bette Davis and a Klingon.

She started out normal enough at the beginning of the season. A little strange, but perfectly in keeping with her status as an expensive and tasteful but edgy interior decorator.

Spring-like striped dress over winter long-johns notwithstanding, at least her hair is under control.

And she has made certain quotes in the past that indicate that she has some sartorial standards:

"In my office, if something looks like shit I want somebody to tell me."

Personal style: "If you show up in a fashion disaster, people will think twice about hiring you."
I cannot tell you how much it cracks me up that she said these things.

I love this outfit! And my hair! Don't you love it? Isn't it GREAT!

She’s a kook and her addled guises are getting better by the week. Maybe next week she’ll rock some fingerless gloves! Or a ponytail on the side of her head! Or white cowboy boots! Or corn rows! Or a leotard over tights! Or a bustle!

Oh wait, she already did that.

These are conceptual ruffles, people!

In all truth, I think she is darling and she really is the reason I tune in each week. We all need a bit more Wearstler in our wardrobes. Let her get all krunky with her wardrobe, I will lap it up!

I also love the fact that she was a Playboy centerfold. Classy and trashy!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Something for the Johnnies

Hey there. Just a quick post, trying not to be on the computer too much since that somehow seems antithetical to the whole unplugged moment I am having here in the UK. I'm having a little withdrawal from my cell phone and computer at the moment. Every once in a while I'll think something is buzzing in my pocket (always check for the wallet after that) or feel like I have forgotten something. But it isn't and I haven't, and that's nice, especially since I have been finding it difficult, since I left my job, to return any phone messages. If you have called me recently and I have not called you back, don't take it personally, you aren't the only one.

We have a long list of things to do tomorrow - there's a promising yarn shop, the Writer's Museum, which I imagine is totally hokey but which I can't help but want to see, and it would be nice to wander over for the view at Arthur's Seat, maybe dinner at the Oyster House, a few other things I'm not remembering now. And most importantly, a trip to the gallery opened by Kristin's husband's father.

What we're hoping for tomorrow is slightly sunnier weather, and, in Ella, a sudden development of interest in boring grown-up things and walking. I love the photo above, the look I'm giving Ella, which I interpret as bemused curiousity tinged with concern, sums up our day together today. I think she's taken having a stranger along quite well, but we do approach each other with some caution and I know when we part ways the day after tomorrow, she will be very happy to have her mum back.

She has really been one of the great pleasures of the trip for me. She wakes up in the morning and before she says a word, she looks over at you and her eyes crinkle up and she gives you a big sleepy smile and wriggles around in bed like it's the most delicious place in the world. When we got in the taxi for the airport this morning, the driver was utterly charmed by her. They told jokes back and forth. Here are a few for your pleasure:

taxi driver: Two eggs were in a pot, boiling away. One of them said to the other "It's hot in here, in't?" and the other said "Just wait until you get your head smashed in!"

Hmmm.... I think I like Ella's better. Here it is:

Ella: Why didn't the skeleton go to the party?
taxi driver: I dunno, why?
Ella: Because he didn't have any body to go with!

Okay, maybe a little longer than intended, but you liked it, right? You're gonna miss me when Kristin leaves me in London with no computer, aren't you? Sorry, you know, it's just really hard to tell without technology. Hee.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Lots of Photos, Not As Many Words

London is fantastic, just as New York was. I'm sorry that I'm so behind on the NY posts, since I had a fantastic time seeing Stephanie, going to MoMA with Darren and all the things we got to do together, Allison. I'll try to catch up when I get back to Seattle.

The one thing that is not super fantastic here is the jet lag. Kristin tells me that I have to tell all you readers about how she woke up this morning to find one of the gajillion king size pillows in the tub, since in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep at all, I went in and read in the tub. It was a lot more comfy than you would expect. I almost fell asleep while I was kntting last night. While I was knitting! That's tired.

Tomorrow morning we fly to Edinburgh and will spend the rest of our time there. I'm excited to go somewhere I've never been before, especially because it's a city that Kristin knows some things about, and while I've been in London, she has been a great tour guide. There's nothing like having one of your best girlfriends, who knows all about you and what you love, act as your tour guide. Plus she understands this whole British thing about tipping/not tipping. And is willing to get on the tube for a trip to a totally random neighborhood that just happens to have a fancy yarn shop!

Hope all is well in the states.


Monday, March 26, 2007

A Little Malcolm Sister Correspondence

From Heather:
Hi there,

Just a quick note to let you know that I arrived
safely in London and have already had some lovely fish
and chips for lunch and a cappuccino and went to a
fabulous cheese shop with the most amazing cheese
room, a whole room that you walk into, refrigerated
with a sliding glass door and they only let 6
customers in at a time. We also went into a shop with
nothing but fancy umbrellas and walking sticks.

I don't know that I will be on email much but wanted
to let you know I got here safely and found the hotel
and Kristin all on my own! It's so nice when people
speak English and you can just ask every third person
for directions.

In case you were wondering, people ARE wearing flats
with skinny jeans, and jeans tucked into boots here
too, but they clearly aren't as militant about their
fashion as New Yorkers are. The contrast is evident


From Allison:

HI! I am glad to hear that you found your way safely and were not abducted by any limeys on your way to the hotel.

And that you have already managed to have fish and chips within such a brief period off time. Now it's time for bangers and mash, eh?

If you go to the Tower of London will you pick up a trinket for me? They have the best trinkets. Perhaps a tiara?

Ta Ta, as they say.

Xoxo, as I say

A note to our readers... despite the fact that you do not give us any love in the comments department... there will be a post about our time together in New York. We were just SO BUSY HAVING FUN that we couldn't sit down for more than two minutes to write anything.

Thankfully, the whole thing was photo-documented, so we have plenty of reference material.

Unfortunately, I need a good nights sleep to conjure the brain cells to write said post. If you comment, I will be motivated to write quicker. Or more quickly. Or whatever.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Well, I may be in New York all the time, so yesterday wasn’t my first day, but seeing Willie at Radio City Music Hall was certainly an experience to love.

First of all, Radio City is just magnificent! I’d never been there before, so seeing it in all its Deco-era glory was a treat. I love that they still have the signage intact – and the pedal-operated hand dryers – from the original design of the space.

The lounges still look like this!

But besides being a treat for your eyeballs and your typography-loving soul, the acoustics there are just phenomenal. The sound for the show was so well balanced and crisp, even though we were in the first mezzanine, you felt as though you were center orchestra.

We were not as close to the stage as some people, (Terri! Henry!) but, we had a pretty good vantage point.

Five Things I loved about seeing Willie at Radio City Music Hall

  1. The guys who ‘accidentally’ snuck down from the second mezzanine to sit next to us and then were too honest to actually stay. Despite obviously being smitten by the idea of sitting next to Heather and Kim. You only find people like that at a Willie Nelson show.

  2. All of the bearded, long-haired, cowboy-hat wearing crowd. Who almost made it possible to ignore the annoying hipster lads in their faux-hawks and tight jeans.

  3. Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain. I know that Kim wanted Georgia and Heather loved On the Road Again, but Blue Eyes is my favorite Willie song. I lurve him!

  4. Willie still wears the bandana! I love how he methodically ties it around the neck of his guitar before he puts it on. I bet he’s done that about 5 million times. And he walks like Yoda.

  5. Willie’s sense of fair play and humor. He’s not the guy in the center of the photo when it’s him, Ray, and Merle. He doesn’t need to be. He’s not always in the spotlight during his own sets, he spreads that spotlight around. He’ll play the classics that you love, but he’s not afraid to branch out with his new stuff (You Don’t Think I’m Funny Anymore, in particular, made me want to call Dad – and I think that that is a compliment to any song)

All in all, it was a pretty special night. I could use a little more Willie in my life. I think we all could.

ps. Kim, I can never think of Pancho and Leftie the same way again. Thanks. No, really. Thanks.

Dirty Hair and Chuck T's: an East Village tradition since the 1970's

Hey, some people DO know how to make lattes in NYC!

So, I had this whole post in mind. It was about what to do your first day in New York. This is an excellent thing to write a blog post about, in my opinion. Everyone should go to NYC at some point, and everyone should know what to do in their first hours there, in order to make it a good visit.

Liquiteria is often my first stop after I come in on the red-eye

Basically, what I was going to say was, look... everyone loves something. So, what you need to do for your first hours here is figure out what you love, and find it. That's the thing about NY. Anything you love is here. You love Ferraris? Rent one for the weekend! Tia Maria? No problem! Adidas sweat jackets, Japanese cartoon characters, shirts with little alligators on them, the latest Chanel nail polish, a room full of dirt, paella, yarn, anything! Find that thing, and in your first day, pursue it.

Here's what I love, and maybe you don't care, but hey, it's my blog.

Yarn at Purl SoHo
I love:
- yarn (yes, you knew)
- the Grasshopper from Liquiteria
- beautiful people
- H & M
- Sigerson Morrison shoes
- seeing celebrities walking down the street talking on their cell phones (you know who you are, Liev Schreiber! Veronica Webb!)
- KidRobot
- a good latte
- walking around with my ipod
- my sister
- Willie Nelson

All of which I saw or experienced today. But, okay, here's where the blog post derails, because I start to get all distracted by that last item, by how much I love Willie Nelson.

Willie. Ah! We saw him tonight. With Merle Haggard and Ray Price. At Radio City Music Hall. Now, Merle and Ray are good, really good. But the man I love is Willie. Love him. Like some people love Jesus. I hear his voice and I just go all happy inside. Crazy happy, like, "there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be" happy.

Recently I watched "Sunken Treasure", the DVD of the little PNW tour that Jeff Tweedy did about a year ago. It's a great DVD. I was at the Seattle show, and it was a great show. Moving, you know? Jeff was funny, and raw, and touching. And the banter that they filmed at each of the shows, when strung together, makes this great little meditation on what it means to go to a show, what kind of experience we are having when we all turn up at the Moore, or Crystal Ballroom, or wherever, and stand there in the audience, listening to music together. Tweedy talks about how it's something communal, an experience we are all having, about how it's something like what church would be like, if church was... and then he hesitates, and says something like... "if church were what it should be." Anyway, that's how I have felt the four (yes, four) times I've seen Willie Nelson. That it's a little like church. For me, at least.

Willie was here!
There's an interview where John Cougar talks about how Willie plays "On The Road Again" at nearly every show, and how he just can't believe that he can do that, and have it still be fresh, and seem to LIKE playing that song, so many times. Willie played it tonight, and Whiskey River too, and the crowd jumped out of their seats, and everyone seemed happy, the crowd, Willie, everyone. Because the thing about a song so popular is that we all own it. We all know that song, recognize it, we are all there IN that song, together. Like church. Like a hymn we all know.

Like a hymn we all love.

And that's the kind of thing you should make sure to find your first day in NY. Something you love, because whatever it is, there are people in NY who are going to love it with you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Every Day Girl

So, Bobby and I had an interesting conversation tonight. We were talking about his life, and how, when you are one of the rock star barista boys at one of these hotshot organic coffee places, your whole life just sort of comes to you. True, you do have to get your fancy-jean-clad butt to work at 5:30 in the morning, but still. You go to the coffee shop, and there's your world, all your friends, plus new ones every day, if you care to add to your collection. People who will go pick up huevos rancheros for you, put you on the list for whatever club has the band you want to see, bring you chocolate covered macadamia nut carmels from Hawaii... the list goes on. You just go to work and see what the day brings you, running partners or lunch with the boss, or drinks later with pretty girls. Whatever. Most of what you get there is going to be good.

That life is not like my life. My life is clearly a good one, but even now, while I'm in my early dilettante phase, my life does not come to me. My life is still about the 17 emails and 6 weeks it takes just to line up one dinner with the 3 girlfriends I used to work with. It's about driving across bridges and state lines and through rush hour traffic in order to see people who are still wondering what happened to the guy in New Mexico anyway, and is this Bobby character more than just your barista (yeah, not really) or what? My life is about planning and distance and trying to get closer, about evite reminders and, now, a little calendar I carry with me all the time, and try to write everything down in.

So, about now, are you starting to wonder what all this has to do with the photo above? That's Susan, of road trip fame. You recognized her, didn't you? Anyway, I'll get to all that in a sec.

Where was I? Ah, the whole coffee shop lifestyle thing. Recently Pam and I were talking about what the coffee shop experience is like from the customer side of things. She was saying that sometimes she feels like her coffee shop saves her life a little bit. I had to agree with that. Anyone who's ever had a dark time in this or her life, one of those times when really you just don't give a damn about getting out of bed at all, and not in that good "it's so delicious in here" kind of way, knows that whatever gets you out of bed and walking through the world that day is a valuable thing indeed. Sometimes the thing that gets you out of bed is the thought of the fine fine drug that is caffeine, or or maybe what gets you up is the feeling you know you will get when you look around a coffee shop full of people and see that you have managed one more day to join them as one of the living. Sometimes your foot hits the floor because you know that if you go to the coffee shop, the first person you talk to that day will be the barista who always gives you a good natured hard time about the hockey team you love. Not all the things that save our lives are big things.

Now, I know that very few of the people who love their baristas are looking to them even glancingly as some kind of salvation, and I know that the coffee shop customers deliver the macadamia nuts and the concert tickets and the handknit socks (ahem) for a lot of different reasons, but I think those reasons are nearly all variations on the same thing. To me, all the reasons boil down to the fact that it is just a basic human good to have a place to go where you are pretty confident that you are going to see a friendly face, get a smile, and where someone is going to carefully and with a certain amount of pride, make you something delicious and comforting. I think we love the reliable every day kindness of the coffee shop, and god bless those baristas and their smiles and shenanigans.

Now that I don't have a job, I appreciate it even more (did you think that was possible?). I appreciate the routine, the way it's always part of my day, even if I am just dashing in for a cup to go on my way to lunch with a friend I haven't seen in well over a year. It anchors my days the way feeding the wolfhounds in Creede anchored days there.

And that's what the coffee shop has in common with Susan. Susan is an every day thing with me. She's the one person in my life who knows, every day, where I am and what I'm up to. She always knows the temperature in my soul, and she is always close. I'm on 6th, she's on 9th. Simple as that.

Three girls I love like crazy

Over the years we've known each other, I have come to love her like a sister. I love her in that way that, to be honest, I hate to talk about because, being the kind of person who leads a life that is, to say the least, "intensely felt", that kind of love actually scares the shit out of me. About three sentences into any description of it, I'm probably going to be crying. Some people are so important to you that you just truly can't imagine what the hell you would do without them. Those are the people you call Family.

So, you know how much I talk about baristas and fine lattes and sitting at that great bar near the front windows and what a life-saving thing your neighborhood coffee shop can be? Take all that and multiply it by more than 20 years, and then you'll start to get an inkling of what Susan is to me. You may have thought this was all about the coffee shop AGAIN! but it wasn't. Really, in my roundabout way, I was writing about Susan, and how much I appreciate having her around every single day.

Because no matter how much I love the coffee shop, it still doesn't save my life the way she does.

Happy birthday, girl. Here's to many more. Sorry your post was late, but you knew it was coming, didn't you? :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Mija! Mire!

My husband, he looks like Skeletor and now I, I am dressed up as a ghost!!


Soy una fantasma hermosa!

Monday, March 19, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering What I Was Thinking About, Listening To and Wearing On My Feet At One AM On Sunday Night

Albina Press Still Life, a photo almost entirely unrelated to this post

I like 1AM. I like the day seeming to be over, those hours when I'm in no hurry for the next day to come. I like the darkness outside, emphasizing this in-between days time when it's too late to do anything productive, like dishes. I like writing on the blog with the thought that no one is looking at the blog, that most of the people who look at the blog aren't even conscious now. The one exception is Kristin, and I love that her occasional appearance on one AM email only highlights the fact that she is the only person in my world who is likely to show up at this hour.

Okay, it's not really one yet, it's really only 33 minutes after midnight as I write this, sitting on the couch in my pajamas with one sock on, drinking cranberry juice, ginger ale and sparkling water and listening to Sly and the Family Stone. I'm only wearing one sock because the other is still on the needles, but the one finished sock is so good that I can't resist wearing it. This is one of the rare pairs I'm actually making for myself. I think about every seventh pair turns out to be my own. I should really be keeping a photographic record of all these socks I've been sending out in the world. Enh, whatever. Next lifetime I'll do things like that.

I watched Stranger Than Fiction tonight. Who's seen it? Speak up, people! Ah, I loved it. Of course. Emma Thompson's twitchy, splotchy performance, Will Ferrell, so hapless and blinky, and Maggie, pronouncing the word "cookie" in the most loving way a human being could ever say a word! Dustin Hoffman and all that coffee, what the hell? Loved it. Sigh. I won't write more in case you haven't seen it, Ali. It was a movie that loved people. As much as I love people.

And today was a good day for me to be reminded of the fact that I do love people, since yesterday I wasn't feeling as generous. On Friday I drove home from Portland and listened to Modest Mouse with the volume on 35, and felt generally like swearing a lot. I talked on the phone for a few minutes and noticed that I was indeed swearing a lot. Then yesterday I did a lot less of the productive stuff than I meant to, though I did finish that sock, and as we know, I'm pleased about that.

Today I woke up not really meaning to do anything, so I can't say that I failed at it. I meant to go to brunch at Cafe Campagne (with four fantastic former coworkers) and I managed to do that. I even wore a skirt and pretended I could pronounce a little french. The food and the company were both divine.

Before brunch, I walked through the market and smiled at the fish guy who was smiling at me, then went to the little magazine stand where I bought the New Yorker and New York magazine. After Ouefs en Cocotte I went and bought a little case for my camera, the Tokidoki kind with the zippers that are all different colors, and a silver Kate Spade case for my ipod, so I guess I'm getting ready to travel, right?

After all of that I went to the coffee shop, where I stayed for a very verrrry verrrrrrrry long time. Longer than I care to tell you, actually. Long enough for the man who struck up a conversation with me to tell me that he knew how my mind worked, and long enough for me to actually consider the idea that he might be right after he asked me 1. if I had a hard time doing just one thing at a time (yes, please see "constant knitting"), and 2. if I was a "Paris person", when I had been thinking all day about how I want to go to Paris, but feel guilty that I want to go to Paris again when there are so many other places I haven't been. But really, I do want to go to Paris, even if I do find the idea that I might be a "Paris person" (so different from being a Parisian), more than just a little embarassing. Anyway, it was extremely pleasant to read the entire New Yorker in one sitting without really doing much more than occasionally look around, occasionally sip a little latte.

But even more importantly, Bobby was so thoroughly uncharming that last night in Portland that it was nice to spend a whole afternoon thinking he was charming again. Sometimes it's more important to retain a person in the "charming" category than it is to hold them completely responsible for their actions. I'm sorry, but for me, it's true, and in the coffee shop, as one of my favorite baristas, Bobby's charm is remarkably resilient. People can decide for themselves how much of that is the actual charm and how much of it is due to the fact that I prefer that the charm be resilient. Since it was slow, he taught me a little more about coffee, and oh how I love to be taught things like that. That's an unequivocal good, I think.

Well, except for the teeny little bad part, namely the fact that learning more about coffee is that you might drink some of that coffee in order to learn about it it, and that doing it on the afternoon shift means that when it finally does get to be 1AM, well, you're a lot less likely to feel tired.

Hee! Off to go stare at the ceiling now.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Latest Field Trip

On Wednesday, I took a quick dash down to Portland to see Modest Mouse at the Crystal Ballroom. We stayed at the new Ace Hotel, which has only been open about a month. The coffee shop boys were a little negative on the high hipster factor, but after living in NYC, it's pretty tough for me to be put off by the hipster thing. Especially since everyone in Portland is still so damn friendly. Our room was this big loft-like space, with a view of Powells, and a lot of army green items that looked like someone's weekend project from Ready Made magazine. Well, okay, maybe that puts a negative spin on the hipster thing, but I really liked it. Definitely a change from the Heathman and those sorts of places, and stumbling distance from Crystal Ballroom. Not that I was stumbling, thankyouverymuch! I left that to the boys and they, uh, took that role pretty seriously.

But that's a topic for another time, Like, next week, at Angel's Share? If I can make it through the blizzard!

Friday, March 16, 2007


See ya in Vermont!

I don't know what to tell you about packing for next week.

It was 60 degrees two days ago, and now there are a couple of inches of snow on the ground! Anything could happen in this crazy weather. You will need loads of layers. And something really trashy to wear to see Willie. I don't care if he is playing at Radio City Music Hall, I plan to break out the Mean Eyed Cat Tube Top.


Tonight we are driving up to Vermont, to take advantage of the eighteen inches of snow that we are supposed to get there. Yay!

Eugene may even get to take his snowmobile out again - though I will not be a passenger this time. I went with him last weekend and the only thing I can liken the experience to is mechanical bull riding.

Not that I've ever done that, but I feel well trained for it now. Maybe we could find one in the city to visit while you are here. Wouldn't that be awesome?

Needless to say, I spent Tuesday and Wednesday feeling like I needed some chiropractic attention.

Our friends Kim and Eric - see photo above - are coming up to ski with us this weekend, which should be super-fun. We haven't had them up for skiing in a looooong time. It's always fun having a group at the house. Partay!

Also, Eric made Eugene a huge potato gun, which is remarkable in that is uses a tazer as an igniter. So I imagine we'll be littering the woods around the house with potatoes. Next spring I hope to go out and harvest some of them if they sprout baby taters.

I'll be sure to bring home some photos of the spud gun. It shoots out sparks when it ignites and gives a very satisfying 'whoomp' as it shoots out the potater. Happily, a potato is too large to shoot anyone's eye out.

Any hoo, I hope you have a lovely weekend!
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New York, it’s a Small Town

So, Wednesday Dakota and I were discussing the remarkable likeness between Ed Norton in The Illusionist and Clay, in real life.

See the uncanny resemblance?

Anyhoo, this led to a discussion of Ed Norton in The Painted Veil, which – in a roundabout way – led to a discussion of A Walk on the Moon.

Which led to a discussion of Liev Schreiber.

And whom did we see last night, on our way home at one AM?

Liev Schreiber and his pregnant girlfriend Naomi Watts. And their dogs.

He looked irritable but handsome – despite the day-old-salt-and-pepper beard. She looked teeny tiny and tired. (Kind of like those photos of JFK Jr and Carolyn Bisset that you used to see - where he looked pissed and she looked freaked out)

Which led me to wonder why the heck Liev had her out walking the dogs at one am.

For shame!

Anyway, I just wanted to mention it because it seemed like a funny coincidence.

And apparently we are not the only ones spotting them walking their dogs.

Those dogs must get an awful lot of walking.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Coming Home

The last day of our writing group's week in California, the weather turned dark. It had been sunny all week, often warm enough to sit outside in a t-shirt, and my rain gear stayed in my bag. When we played with the animal medicine cards that night, I drew frog and part of what Tami read for that card was "Frog teaches us to honor our tears, for they cleanse the soul."

Whatever you think about animal medicine cards, that was the right one for me as I headed home, just as the lizard, with all its references to dreams, was the right one earlier in the week. I always have the most vivid dreams when I'm with my writing group, and I knew that at some point after I got home, a good cry would have to happen.

Don't get me wrong, it's good to be home. There were fresh sheets on my bed, and as much as I hate to leave the great women in my writing group, I am back with some of my favorite people in the world. This morning I sat in a coffee shop with Mark Doty's poems, an unbelievably good latte, the arts section of the New York Times and a gorgeous good friend. I looked up from my reading to see that a toddler had left the tail of an Alamosaurus in the jaws of a T. Rex and felt happy and grateful in a way that you only can if there's a little sadness underneath it all.

I keep thinking about Pam and the question of why it's so hard to write a story about the beautiful day at the beach when nothing goes wrong, and about Katherine writing that story, and about kites and sharks and loss and mourning and what happens after. I guess you could say I've rejoined my characters (for whom all of these things, and the things a kite and a shark might stand for, are at stake) in a way that I hadn't been able to since returning from the ranch. That is a good thing.

I also keep thinking about living a life where when someone says to you "You are supported," you know for sure it's true.

I do, and I'm glad you've said the same, Allison.

You can check out the photos from our gorgeous week on the California coast by clicking here.

Thank you

So, It's been a crap couple of weeks around here.

Sometimes life is just like that, and you spend your days walking around with your head down hoping to avoid any additional calamity. Waiting for the current trouble to pass so that you can start fresh.

But sometimes, when life is really god-awful, you are given little gifts. And big gifts. And they can act as signposts to your way out of the terribleness. I may have had an awful time of it over the last two weeks, but I can see the path out as clear as day and the reasons why are just as vivid to me.

We spend a lot of time taking for granted that the people in our lives care about us. The people we've chosen as well as the people that the universe chose for us. We forget that we walk around every day with a million little strings of love attached to us, connecting us to our Moms, Dads, Sisters, Husbands and Friends. But at these times, admittedly dark times, those strings can be enough to hold us up.

Being able to see that love, freely expressed, is not just a gift - it is almost an embarrassment of riches. And it's a reminder of why I want so badly to bring a new life into our family. Because we all have so much love to give. Because I want to tie all those little strings of affection to a person who is a little bit of all of us.

In the meantime, I am happy to be reminded of how very lucky I am to have a sister like you, a dad like Dad, a mom like Mamala and a husband like Eugene.

The road may be bumpy ahead, but I can feel all those strings cushioning the ride.
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And The Food Has Been Amazing!

Blue Cheese Niman Ranch burger and chocolate malt for lunch at the Station House, then Thai shrimp for dinner. Mmmm...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Back To The Beach

It's Tuesday, and we have only one full day left here at Pt Reyes Station. Two more mornings of getting up and walking into town for lattes from Toby's, one more morning of sitting on the patio in the sun, manuscripts and pen in hand, trying to help make a good piece of writing even more effective than it already is. We've read some great stuff this week. Stories that delighted me, that I can't wait to see in second draft, that will come back to me as I'm sitting in the airport or driving to Portland or staring out the window at Fiore. This is my third time meeting with these women for a week long writing workshop, and the conversation that has developed is now so rich and funny and smart. It's like having the best small class you ever participated in, every day for a week, focused on the subject you love most in the world.

I am sort-of a melancholy person, so already I am starting to miss this. I think one of the great pleasures in life is caring about something enough to miss it, so don't think I feel bad. What I really feel more than anything is grateful.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

R.I.P. Seagull Kite

I'm sorry to report that there was a casualty on kite day. Seagull Kite went to an early, watery grave. He lived fast, died young, and left a good-looking corpse.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

All I Need Now Is The Kite

Gorgeous day here in California. See all the sand being blown by the wind? I love the shapes it makes. I'll love everything even more when I am holding the end of a kite string. Why do I love flying a kite so much?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Better Late Than Never, Yo

I know that I have been quite absent from this place for the last week, which is especially egregious behavior after I promised to blog the Oscars… But I am here now to opine on the subject, belated as my opining may be!

Overall, I thought this was one of the best Academy Awards Shows in my recent memory. I love Jon Stewart, but Ellen comes across as such an enthusiastic, genuine fan of the movies and movie stars that her excitement is infectious. With JS, the political commentary sort of distracted from what is supposed to be a fun, frivolous evening.

Anyhoo, I also thought that the pacing was really tight, which was nice, and I was glad that they didn’t do that weird thing where they had all of the nominees (except for the famous actor/director categories natch) standing together, for one winner to be singled out. That was downright awkward.

The little film of the nominees that they did at the beginning was brilliant, and gave the nominees much more of a voice than if they’d been standing around looking like audience members on the Jerry Springer Show waiting in line to ask the transsexual lesbian grandmother why she decided, at 86, to become a he.

I wasn’t as crazy about the shadow dance troupe with their interpretation of movie titles… mostly because they seemed so random. And it was a little creepy.

And I thought that the staging for the Best Costume Displays, the little vignette-like scenes they set up, were pretty cheesy and didn’t really show off the costumes to their best effect.

Which, of course, brings me to the most important aspect of the evening. The fashion.

Now, I know that there has been a lot of discourse about Jennifer Hudson’s outfit and how her little bolero looked like something from Star Trek, or the Coneheads… but In My Humble Opinion, her outfit was not the most annoying of the evening – though her hair bothered me even more than the shiny gold tanning reflector gracing her shoulders.

The most annoying outfit, I believe, goes to Kirsten Dunst.

In the immortal words of Charlie Brown “Arrrggghhhhh!!!!”

She committed the same fashion sins she always commits. And I don’t understand why someone hasn’t strapped her down and forced her to watch a slide show of her bad fashion choices until she has an epiphany, or her eyes bleed.

Whichever comes first, I guess.

What is my problem, you may ask? Her boobs.

She is a young, luscious, beautiful girl. But she does not seem to understand the proper use of undergarments and so her boobs appear to be the pendulous, metronomical appendages of a 50-year-old mother of five who breast-fed her kids until high school.

Though, one would assume that such a person would understand about the proper application of underwire.

Also, one would assume that Karl Lagerfeld – the man responsible for her gown would also understand the benefits of a little lifting power. Though he did also design the unflattering boat neck, so who knows what he was thinking/smoking when they were doing her dress fittings.

Also, her flat hair. Why always the flat hair?

I cracked up a bit a Cameron Diaz’s wrinkly white dress. It was like a cry for help.

“Look Justin, this is what a bee-yoo-tee-ful bride I could have been!”

Ladies, never where white to a major event just after you’ve been dumped. Especially if it’s all wrinkly. It makes it look like you were already planning the wedding and had the dress in cold storage just waiting for the right guy.

The trends I noticed?

Asymmetry. Necklines, hairstyles, hems, and, sadly, boobs. There seemed to be lots of ladies with one boob hiked waaaay up to their nostrils and one in a more natural position. Once again, poor undergarments to blame, I am sure. Of coure, Gwynnie does the hair just fine, and her boobs are perfect.

Nipples. Good Jiminy Baby Buddah! Have these women never been to a public event before, where the temperature was lower than eighty degrees? Celine Dion! Jessica Biel! You should know better! This is not your first time at the rodeo, ladies!

I refuse to illustrate the point.

Age-appropriate dressing. Thank you Helen Mirren! Thank you Cate Blanchett! Thank you Abigail Breslin!

Though, actually, young Abigail looked almost too age-appropriate in her dress, which resembled an Easter Basket to a degree that is only acceptable in fifth grade school plays. Where you are actually playing an Easter Basket.

I won't say anything about Meryl Streep because The Devil Wears Prada was brilliant and, well, she's Meryl frickin' Streep!

And, for the men, a certain lack of hygiene. The greasy hair (Leo!), uncombed hair (Phillip Seymour Hoffman!) and lack of shaving (virtually everyone!) were shameful. Really, all you guys need to do is look in the mirror and think:

“What would George Clooney do?”

We should have t-shirts made.

Sadly, I have no commentary on the recipients of the awards themselves. Because I never go to see movies.

Photobooth Friday

Hi! Here I am! Sneaky aren't I? One of my 35 things to do before I turn 36 (inspired by the excellent Hula Seventy blog) was take some photo booth photos with some of my favorite ladies. I haven't gotten around to it with Susan or Amber yet, but I did wrangle two other lovely ladies, Stacy and Caitlin, into the booth at the Showbox. We were at the Josh Ritter show, and Ali, you know we're going to have to glam it up at Lakeside Lounge.

You'll be really proud to know that in an attempt to recreate my lawless youth, I had too many PBRs and got ornery. No, really, I did. Did I do that when we lived together in NY and were young? Darren, if you're reading this, don't answer that! Caitlin was laughing at me while we were at the show, but it wasn't as funny later. In my opinion, one of the more dangerous aspects of the technological development that has taken place since we were in our early twenties is text messaging. With drunk dialing in the old days, there was a very good chance that the person wouldn't be home and would never hear whatever horrible thing you had to say. Tipsy texting? Bad. No recall function, and no chance that the intended recipient will somehow magically NOT get the message. So, Ali, when I'm in NY, do you promise to take my phone away after the third plum martini at Decibel? Or maybe we'll just delete certain numbers out of my phone, for everyone's safety, you know. Being unemployed seems to be causing me to regress.

Anyway, I still love the photo booth strips. Like my PBR? Classy. And can you see my Scorpio ring in the third photo? I love that thing. But come to think of it, the attitude that goes along with it might be just what got me in to so much trouble... Have you ever worn a big fat horoscope ring on your index finger? It just does something to a girl.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Picture This

Tomorrow morning I'm off to meet up with my writing group. Last time I was there, there was no cell service, and I have to confess I'm sort-of looking forward to checking out. I've been a mess this week. I think the cure is a long beach, a good dog and a kite. I don't even care if we get the sunshine. Just as long as the skies are clear enough for kite-flying.

Whatever your equivalent of a kite at the beach is Ali, I hope you get to it this week. I love you lots.