Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tragic Pants

If you're interested, here's Gwyneth Paltrow's latest recommendation from Goop for fall denim.

Are she and her staff living in some kind of clown universe? What are those things?! She, in all seriousness, put these up as an actual possibility for denim in the workplace. At what office do you think these would fit in? Possibly the receptionist at the Home for the Tragic and Misguided has a pair. If you enlarge the picture you will see that the hem is frayed. Because when you have already committed to looking really out of your mind you had better go all the way. Also, it should be noted that they are $340. Or $10 if you head on over to the Goodwill and pick up the two most unflattering jeans you can find and make a pair for yourself. Knights of Columbus!

And what goes well with the Ugliest Jeans in the History of All Jeans? A $1700 blazer. You read that right. This whole look, in fact, is $2500. Is it time for me to stop hate-reading Goop? For some reason I can handle all of her stuff on herbal colonics and $10000 hotel rooms in Tokyo. But this has crossed a line.

Never has an article of clothing deserved this more:

Prince is the prince of questionable clothing and even he knows these are Crazy Town, USA.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Oregon Trail

You know how Virginia is for lovers? Well, Oregon is for weirdos, in the most charming way. I recall my old high school chemistry teacher always saying how weird people were in Oregon and maybe that has stuck with me. He did sport a handle-bar mustache, so take that for what it's worth. But I think he may have partially been on to something because they are proudly and aggressively weird there. But I'll give it to them because it's so pretty. Around every corner was something breathtaking. People kept apologizing for how brown and dry it was and then I'd laugh and mumble something about a drought and apply more lip balm out of habit. It was literally the greenest place I've ever been to. I had a really great time there and will definitely be back. Well, as long as Casey and Kylea and their amazingly adorable children live there.

On to the list:

1. Oregon seems to be filled with a high percentage of vagabonds. I stopped counting how many people I saw roaming the highways, some hitchhiking, all hairy and toting giant backpacks. In California if you see someone walking on the freeway that means that they are in some kind of trouble, like their car is on fire or something. But in Oregon the dozens of people I saw walking down the interstate all seemed to be carefree hobos casually walking from town to town. Their hub, obviously, is Portland. It seemed to be populated entirely by unwashed hippies waiting for the next drum circle. It was actually difficult to tell who was homeless because of mental illness or who just chose to live the wandering life.

2. In that vein, as I was driving back from my day-trip to the coast I passed a couple hitchhiking and my initial thought was, "I'd bet money that if I picked them up I'd be abducted into a cult."

3. That day-trip was a dream. It was gray and drizzly and there were pockets of mist hanging in the pine trees. I stopped at every viewpoint. I wandered into a used bookstore in Astoria to get out of the rain. I sat on some driftwood at Cannon Beach. I ate cheese and ice cream and fudge in Tillamook. This is all to say that it was a perfect day.

3. Gina came out for my birthday! Just for the day! Isn't that that best? I am always totally happy lone-wolfing it when out and about but I'm never going to turn down a sister to share in the adventure. Sisters always make things better. And we had a huge adventure. I wanted to do something fun and different so I booked a jet-boat tour up the Willamette River (did you know that it's pronounced Will-AM-ette? I did not until Kylea corrected me.) You guys, promise me that if you ever make it to Portland you will take this tour. Just do it, okay? It is the most fun! We went so fast, did donut after donut, and got so wet and I HATE getting wet when I'm not in appropriate clothing for it but who cares when you're having this kind of fun. It was so worth the time and money and tumbleweed hair.

4. On the other donut front, we did get Voodoo donuts. I'm going to be totally un-American right now and say that I don't exactly care for donuts. They taste like delicious regret. The first 5 minutes of a donut are wonderful but the rest of day I feel like I've eaten a sugary brick. Because I'm 80. But these were really tasty. And while I did have the sugary brick feeling all day I did not regret it because you've got to live, right?

5. Thanks to that mutant sinus/bronchial infection I left (and came home) with my ears clogged up on the descent into Portland. A baby started to cry on that descent and I wanted to hold her and say, "I know, right? Let's cry together." They stayed clogged for FIVE WHOLE DAYS and I wanted to die. But now I'm good as new. And it didn't ruin my trip. Every morning I would tell my clogged ears and nose and lungs to go eat a worm sandwich, I was going to have fun anyway.

6. I mentioned this on Instagram but it bears repeating: I went to this pizza place that a friend recommended and I was literally the only person in there who was not eating it with a fork and knife. I refused to feel like the weirdo in this situation and ate my pizza like a human being, with my hands so the grease can drip down my arm.

7. Oh, Sweet Land of Liberty! Just let me pump my own gas!

8. Best thing I overheard in Portland, "No, she's already gone. She helping set up for Burning Man this year."

9. Best sign I saw, "Squirrel Fest 2015!"

Picture time!

C&K have a shortcake place that is everything you want in a non-chocolate dessert.  My parents were up there a few weeks before me and my dad literally cannot stop talking about this. I ate really well on this trip but this was maybe my favorite thing.

I had completely forgotten that logging is a thing. But you can't forget up in the Pacific Northwest. I drove through a logging town with actual stores for logging supplies. I live in the desert, okay. That's it in the distance, across the Columbia River in Washington. 

If you've seen Goonies you know what this is. If you haven't seen Goonies, you need to crawl out of your cave. But also, isn't this so lovely? The tide was way, way out but it left these pretty ripples behind.

Powell's takes up an entire city block. And it's 4 stories. Which means that I spent a lot of time there. And it was everything I wanted it to be. Yay books!

Every morning as I was getting ready Addie would come up and hang out with me. Every time I was out doing something fun I was kind of wishing I was back with the kids. 
The Graham Poo-Bah. This kid is the sweetest. He doesn't cry. He hardly fusses. He just snuggles with you. He did not fit in my carry-on.

Nearly everyone I know who has been to Oregon comes back and shows me this picture. I've been looking for a Wealthy Benefactor but I would just as happily take a rich uncle.

This is exactly how I wanted to look on my 40th birthday. Happy and surrounded by beauty. In this case, the International Rose Test Garden, which I am putting on your must-see list for Portland. I'M HALF WAY TO 80!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Old Wet Lung

This illness has very nearly knocked me out but I think I may have turned the corner. I am still coughing like an 80 year old coal miner. Also, I have coughed so hard that I think I injured my ribs and definitely have sprained a muscle in my neck. But I definitely feel better and have more energy and I can breathe through my nose some of the time. Progress! I even did some laundry today. Although taking my laundry down to the laundry room wiped me out. And in about 15 minutes I'm going to have to go down and get it and schlep it up the stairs and then fold it. Ugh, the folding. On a good day this is drudgery.

Tomorrow I fly out to Oregon. And I'm afraid that I'm going to be That Person on the plane. The one who is sniffing and coughing and generally making you paranoid that you're going to be struck down with bird flu. Should I hand out little bags of Airborne to all of my fellow passengers with a note explaining that I've been on antibiotics for nearly a week and even though I sound like I've got the old Wet Lung I should not be contagious at this point, it's just holding on to me like clammy, snotty, hacking death. Pray for me and my poor little lungs. And the people on the plane that they will be understanding. And that I'm well enough to kiss Addie and Baby Graham Piano's chubby cheeks and also drive out to the Goonies beach and also spend hours wandering through Powell's bookstore. I have goals on this trip that I need to achieve.

Do you know what the real tragedy of being sick is? I can't read. My mind can't focus long enough to make it through a page. So it's been a lot of Netflix and Hulu for me. I watched many episodes Running Wild with Bear Grylls. You know, where he takes celebrities out into the wilderness and tries to kill them by feeding them worms and throwing them off cliffs. For the record, I literally would die if I ever attempted anything like that. I am an enormous chicken when it comes to doing dangerous things. And if I didn't die I would be whining the entire time. Much like Kate Hudson did. But you should all watch the episode with Kate Winslet. If you did not already love her you will after watching her insist on washing her bra out after her first day.

But before that you should watch this video that Camille sent to cheer me up from my death bed:

Friday, August 7, 2015


The good staff at Kaiser in Upland need a little training in timing. Remember that time a doctor asked me if I wanted a pap smear while he was examining me for what turned out to be acute bronchitis and shingles? I had expended all of my energy that day just putting on my bra so there was none left to hit him. Well this morning I went in because I have a sinus infection that has turned into a whole body infection. I was in my stretchy pants, no make-up, and my hair was back in a wet ponytail. You know how much I oppose going out into society wearing stretchy pants and yet this is the state I am currently in. So there I am, and the nurse has just flipped the switch on the blood pressure torture machine and it is at this very moment that she chooses to say, "We don't have a picture of you on our database. Let me take it." And then before I can even say a word she points a camera in my face and takes a picture. At best I looked like Marty Feldman dressed as a hobo. I asked her if she could at least wait until the sphygmomanometer was done squeezing my arm off and my body was in less distress. She seemed put out but agreed.

This made me wonder what all the pictures look like at Kaiser. Because no one looks their best when they're sick. It must be a database filled with bloodshot, pallid, consumptive, droopy-eyed zombies with runny noses. I know for sure this is what my picture looked like because after that I walked into the exam room and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Egads! Also, I saw everyone else sitting in the waiting room. There wasn't a single person in there who didn't have bedhead.

Speaking of bad timing, I HAD ALL SUMMER TO GET SICK AND IT HITS RIGHT NOW WHEN CASEY, KYLEA, ADDIE, AND BABY GRAHAM CRACKER ARE IN TOWN!!!! For crying in the mud! Nine whole weeks when I could have very easily lounged about all day recuperating and watching Jane Austen adaptations. And on the very day that they arrive in town I'm sidelined. The doctor assures me that once I have the antibiotics in my system for 24 hours I should be fine to be around humans so there's still time this weekend. And I'm going up to Oregon to visit next week. But the timing is just too ridiculous.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

We Are The World

1. Somewhere in the middle of Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the 7th inning stretch at the Dodger game the other night, up on the Jumbotron popped none other than Johnny from the Karate Kid! He who swept the leg! There he was, just singing along with the rest of us. Fact: you cannot go to a sporting event in LA without a major or minor celebrity showing up on the big screen. At a Dodger game you can always count on seeing Alyssa Milano and Larry King's skeleton. Sometimes Will Ferrell or Tom Hanks or Matthew Perry. But "Put Him In A Body Bag" Johnny of Cobra Kai Dojo has got to be the best one yet.

2. Twenty years ago the Russians abandoned their space shuttle program, leaving two partially completed shuttles locked up in a warehouse in the Kazakhstan desert. So it looks like I'm going to need a few million dollars to buy one of those shuttles. Also, some science types to help me get the old girl running and up into space. Who's with me? We're halfway there!

3. Katie and I finally made it out to the Special Olympics World Games. They were held here in LA and we were dying to go but didn't get out until the last day. We trekked out to UCLA to watch volleyball. It took an hour and 45 minutes to get there. (Someday I'm going to write up what I think about LA traffic. In brief: it is almost always worth it. Just suck it up, leave early, and get on the road.) Here's what we found when we got there: total excitement. There were athletes everywhere just beaming and jumping around and showing off their medals. And the volleyball was great. We watched teams from Peru, Costa Rica, Russia, Botswana, Uruguay, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia, and all of them seemed just totally thrilled to be playing. There were 6 matches going on at a time and the first one to end was the women's match between Botswana and Peru. Peru won but after they took about a minute to celebrate they crossed over to Botswana's side and started a dance party. For like 20 minutes. All the players from both teams just hugged and danced and I'm telling you, I was singing We Are the World. Sportsmanship at its finest. Go Special Olympians!