Maybe you were one of the people who appeared in one of my multiple Facebook photo albums over the weekend-- I'm in the process of creating a digital archive of all my old photos, some of which are literally so old, they are stuck together, still in those old packages from the drug store. I'm also working on transferring all the stuff that we currently have in storage from the beat-down cardboard boxes like the one above into plastic bins that will hopefully withstand the test of time. These boxes and photos are so old that when I went to Staples to get some Sharpies and labels to further organize them, the cashier said "big project?" and I was all "yeah, I'm archiving photos," and she said "Oh, yeah-- I always forget to ask for the CD too," and I was like "um....no. This is BEFORE the cd, when photos came with TwinPix from Thrifty, and had little strips of negatives in them that you had to hold up to the light to see which ones they were." Then she stared at me blankly for awhile, and I decided that she was probably born in 1990 and had no real concept of what I meant.
But, here's the sad (and not so funny) part-- I'm really just doing this archive / repacking project to distract myself, because every year I have to go to that storage unit and clean out a little more of my mom's old stuff, because if I try to do it all at once, the "emotional quicksand" effect takes over, and I dissolve into a puddle of tears and nostalgia, sitting in the storage unit going "Life's so unfair!", and I think we'll all agree, no one wants that. This is the result of being an only child and having your mother die suddenly when she's 59 -- all of the stuff in your childhood home (which you have to empty out and sell), all the teddy bears and baby blankets and adorable Curious George books that your mom saved-- all of them go into boxes, where they end up living in a lonely and dusty storage unit in West L.A. Sad, right? Too sad. So sad that I have to deal with it a little at a time, while combining it with a "let's archive photos" project, so that when I open up a box and it's full of sympathy cards from when my mom was sick, I don't burst into tears. I know I have to clean everything out eventually-- every year I just do as much as I can, hopefully with the combination of something else that actually makes me laugh. This year, that thing was photos on Facebook. This, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg of this issue, but since I'm supposed to be sticking to things that will make you laugh, let me just say that I think there should be a rule that you should have to throw some stuff away as you get older every year and leave it at that. Unfortunately (or fortunately), all of Stephan's old photos from childhood were innocently sitting in a box next to mine, and so we pulled them all out and had a scanning party. This essentially means that because I needed to distract myself, some people (ok, alot of people) who went to grade school, junior high, high school, college, and after college with Stephan ALSO got their photos on Facebook. I'm sure you can see how fun this was for us.
Bottom line-- if you're one of the 30 or so people who ended up getting tagged and are now bracing yourselves for what I might pull out of the box next, you can unclench, because it's going to probably be another year before I go back there, AND you can feel good because by being cool about the photos, you were actually giving me moral support! On the bright side, I did manage to throw away about three Hefty bags worth of old photos of people I don't even know anymore, and get rid of three or four of those beat-down looking boxes. By the way, I have a new rule-- it's probably ok to throw away photos of people who are no longer together (I'm talking about gay couples, straight couples, married couples who are now not) and of people's babies that they send you in Christmas cards, right? I mean, for the first category, even the people in the old relationships have thrown away all those photos, so why am I keeping them? And for the second, those people for sure have digital images of their babies that they can send me if I want to see them, right? I'm just checking to make sure that I'm not some heartless, throwing away photos person if there's some rule that says I should be keeping these.
If someone has an official "Rules of Storage" brochure or manual, I really would like to see it. Maybe it would make my annual storage unit trip that much easier.
So, I'm sure you heard the whole thing about Christian Bale and how he totally lost it on the set of the new Terminator movie, and how he dropped the F-bomb 36 times, and I'm sure you heard the tape and/ or saw one of the remixed versions (though if you didn't, who am I to keep you from that?
I like how the only reason he's sorry is because someone caught him on tape, and so he goes on Kevin and Bean and gives this totally classic quote:
Bale: "I ask everybody to sit down and ask themselves, 'Have they ever had a bad day and ever lost their temper and really regretted it immensely?'"
Um....I'm going to have to go with no, Christian Bale. I have never had a bad day and lost my temper, which I'm going to admit can be very nasty, and lost it to the point where I screamed obscenities at someone for four straight minutes AND dropped the F-bomb 36 times. Nope. I'm assuming it's because I'm not CRAZY, and I am regular, rational adult, and I have control over myself. Or, at least, my temper would be worn out after maybe two minutes of screaming that loud.
By the way, what is up with his accent during the tirade? Is he Welsh, or from Australia, or is he, like, so crazy now with all his Method acting that he doesn't even know what he sounds like anymore? This is almost as crazy as the yelling.
More about my temper tomorrow.
Oh yes, summer has begun, and do you know how I know? It’s because now that I’m not wearing coats all the time, I have to be more aware of putting on sunscreen so that when I go outside, I don’t end up with a total farmer tan/ sunburn that looks like this:
Yiiikes! You know that when you start out the summer with one of these, then you actually have to put some thought into, like “I’m putting lower SPF sunscreen on the top, and higher-SPF on the bottom,” so that eventually you can wear a sleeveless shirt without looking like a big weirdo. I am not one of those fortunate people who can just go out and get a tan, so it takes a few months for me to even get myself to a “summer” like color. And my legs? Forget about it. So white they make children scream. On the bright side, when I’m 95 I’ll still have the skin of, say, an 85 year old because of my regular sunscreen use.
Here’s the other thing about summer—every year, for some reason, I get a new pair of “summer” type shoes that then end up scraping and scratching my feet into oblivion. And now I’m going to show a photo that, if you’re grossed out by this kind of thing, you definitely should not “enlarge.” Here are my feet after I bought new shoes, then proceeded to (unwisely) walk seven miles in – maybe to break them in? It’s really unclear. Is there a “summer foot care” guidebook that I missed?
Oh, and if you’re thinking of commenting on the fact that I have a freakishly long second toe that is not unlike the hand of a monkey, keep in mind that a toe of that length can also be used to pinch, sometimes quite painfully. I’m not saying I actually will pinch you with my toe, but just remember it’s a skill I have (along with hanging upside down from trees and playing the piano. Just kidding. But, I know—the toes are long, and the feet are pale. But I'll thank you to recognize that I've got my pedicure together in time for summer).
Again—yiiiikes! You know these blisters are now going to have to be taped up until they heal, then I’ll have to have another go with the offending shoes. If there is a better way to break in shoes, I would love to know it, because I recall spending more than one summer in New York walking around, then cleaning the blood from the inside of my shoes, all because I didn’t want to be one of those women who wears white sneakers to walk around, then changes when they get there. No no no!
Over the weekend I was in line in back of a guy in Starbucks, and I started eavesdropping on his conversation with the barista. Now, I say “guy” because I didn’t recognize him, or maybe I just wasn’t paying good enough attention. Did I mention I was in line buying coffee, and that without coffee, my brain can’t be held accountable?
My brain snapped to attention, though, when the guy said these words: “I need my latte to go…. I wrote a famous book, and now I can’t stand the attention.”
This is the part where I took my sunglasses off so I could see if he was serious. But, come on—the very statement “ I wrote a famous book” pretty much guarantees the fact that you did NOT write a famous book, right? And, besides, even if you wrote a famous book, are you really so recognizable that you can’t sit in Starbucks in Brentwood? Really? Because Usher can sit there, and so can Diane Keaton. Not that they wrote famous books, but you get my point.
Anyhow, Famous Book Guy wasn’t done, and now I’m starting to think he wrote a famous book—inside his own mind. You know what I mean?
“Usually my female fans are the most aggressive,” Famous Book Guy says. Barista Woman nods in a deadpan way. I’m sure she sees this kind of thing so much, SHE could write a famous book.
Ok, then Famous Book Guy got his decaf whatever latte, but instead of leaving like he said he said he’d need to because of the book-buying mob that was right around the corner, he SAT IN FRONT OF STARBUCKS, outside, where people could see him and such. Now I’m curious, only you know I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of approaching him and asking him what his deal is, thereby validating his “I wrote a famous book” fantasy.
Finally, the barista came out for a cigarette break while I was still sitting there, so I was like “hey, what book did that guy write?—the one who said he wrote a famous book?”
And she goes—
“Nah, girl, he crazy! He ain’t write no book. He’s crazy or something, but clean crazy, you know? Takes a shower and keeps the crazy under control, but comes in every day with a different story.”
Still not ruling out the fact that he actually did write a famous book, but I just think it’s funny that the Starbucks woman was so totally over him, no matter who he was.
Oh, also? That new Pike Place roast Starbucks introduces as their daily brew? Delicious!
This is one of those experiences that you mostly only have in New York or L.A., so I thought I would share it. Maybe it will make you laugh, and then I can knock off early for the day, since that's my mission in life.
Wednesday night I was waiting for my car at a valet stand—the valet guy was asking me some question about my car, and then, out of the blue, Mel Gibson walked up beside us, because he needed his keys.
Here’s the thing—having grown up in Palm Springs and then spending the past eight years back and forth between NY and LA, I maintain a strict adherence to a policy I call "ignore celebrities." I’m not an autograph seeker, I would never take a picture with my cellphone in a million years, and God forbid I would give one of them the satisfaction of going “hey man….you were really good in X.” It’s not that I love celebrities so much—I just think hey, we’re all out here doing our thing, let’s live and let live, and let Mel Gibson pick up his car. When I’m an internationally famous, bestselling author, I will expect the same courtesy from the citzens of Santa Monica.
Anyway, Mel Gibson kind of smiled at me and gave me a head nod (maybe because I’m blonde, who knows?) , and we stood there for awhile in complete silence, me staring at my shoes. Then I started to get this weird vibe from him, though, like “How come you’re not reacting? I’m MEL GIBSON. From Braveheart? You know?” This made me start thinking about how weird his life must be, that he can’t go one place on earth without people totally knowing all about him, and how he got pulled over for DUI and then called one of the officers “Sugar Tits,” and how maybe he has a certain level of expectation now that people are going to talk to him, and if he doesn’t get that he thinks THAT’s weird. I actually was spending so much energy considering this and actively ignoring him that finally I said to the valet guy “You know what, just give him his keys, and then let’s finish this discussion.” And it wasn’t because I wanted Mel Gibson to get special treatment. No, it was more like I wanted Mel Gibson to go away, so I could stop pretending he wasn’t there, and he could stop pretending that he knew I was pretending I didn’t know who he was, or whatever. Now I’ve confused myself.
The bottom line is—I ignore celebrities, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness, probably because it’s part of some “cool kids” club for people who live in New York or LA, like we’re too cool to even talk to them. I LIKE it when Beyonce comes into my Starbucks, just so I can be like “So? You think you’re better than me? I get lattes here too, dude.”
I had a crappy day yesterday, which is to say I had one of those days where, at 8:00 in the morning you're like "Hey, can I just put myself on autopilot, and come back to consciousness around 7:00 pm, when it's time to hang out with my husband and drink wine?" The kind of day where if that day had a sound, it would be that of a toilet flushing, slowly carrying away that day, rather like poop.
I was briefly cheered by the news that Angelina Jolie can have a bad day too-- did you see this story, where she splits her pants on the red carpet, THEN steps in gum? Yeah, even though she has millions of dollars and Brad Pitt to cover up her pants, that's still pretty sucky. I love her face-- it's like (under her breath)-- "Ummm.....I think my pants just ripped."
I won't go into detail about the (numerous) factors that caused the bad mood, because then I will sound crazier than I already do sometimes on this blog. But, let's just say the mood involved a moving van outside my house at 7am, then some work things, then some practical things, like me spilling beer on my socks while I was emptying the recycling and one of my computers just REFUSING to go on the wireless network all day with no logical explanation as to why. By 3:45, I had so had it with everything and everyone that I had to take a break and play some Shooby Taylor, which is my "break glass in case of emergency" bad day antidote. Because, actual scientific studies have shown that it is impossible to stay in a bad mood while you're listening to this.
Actually, the Shooby track that cheers me up the most is "Stout Hearted Men," which you can find on the "Songs in the Key of Z" compliation, which also contains the positively hilarious song "Rock and Rock McDonald's. But, this one is pretty good too:
As if to stoke the fire of “I really don’t want to
have kids of my own” in my mind, people have started saying things to me that seem like
they’re trying to warn me not to have them. Over the weekend, I was walking my dog on
But, just like this was the kind of thing that happens every
day, she took the kid by the hand and said “Jonah! Don’t ever do that! You scared mommy!”, then totally went about her
business. I was still standing right
next to her, so I said “Wow….that was surprising and scary.”
I’m not joking, she laughed and replied “Oh, that pretty much describes parenthood.”
Other people I know who have little kids are always offering
to leave their kids with me, as if to solidify the fact that I don’t want to
have any. “Oh my GOD!” they’ll say. “One afternoon with my little guys, and you’ll be 110% sure you don’t
want them!” Get this: I like sleeping and reading,
and I like to clean my house once and then have it stay clean. I hate throwing up, I don’t like people who
ask the same question over and over again, and I think people in general need
to keep their voices down and act more civilized. This pretty much means I'd either be the meanest, strictest mom in the history of time, or that I'm better off just being a great Auntie who can leave when I get frustrated. Right? Right?
On another note, you must know how much I love Maddie G, who is pictured above making a silly face-- today we decided she needed some big girl diaper pants, because she's an 18 month old genius who has already gone poop in the potty once (albeit with ALOT of prompting), so I made the trek over to Costco to get some of those. I like to wait to hit up Costco for diapers until we're also out of booze, so that my shopping cart looks like this:
1 giant bottle of Johnnie Walker Black
2 cases of Amstel Light
Some cheap wine
2 boxes of Size 3 diapers (200 pack)
1 box of big-girl pull up type diapers with Cinderella AND Ariel the mermaid on them (see-- I know about pull up diapers and Disney characters, even though my heart is made of stone).
I do this because I like to let the cashier guy look at all my stuff, look back at me, and say inquisitively "Um....is this all yours?" Because that just makes me look like a big ol' wino alkie mom, and that makes me laugh. I have never gone so far as to actually say something like "Them kids is DRIVIN me to drink!", but I'm sure I'll get there. I find these types of things extremely amusing. Maddie G. and I have the perfect "Nice Auntie and Me" relationship-- we play and she acts all adorable, and then I give her back when she starts to smell.
Since I was in the actual city when the s*@t went down, I’m still sort of thinking of September 11 in my mind as “The day I went off to work on the bus, and then stuff starting blowing up” day. I will say, though, that several awesome things happened in and around the time of 9/11, once we came out from under the bed and stopped screaming at the top of our lungs. Actually, one of the things I remember the most vividly is that I was running across town to try to get away from the downtown area and get home, and for some reason I stopped to buy and eat a donut. I guess I figured that if the whole city was going to blow up and we were all going to die in the riot that follows, um, I wanted a donut. So I got one. I just think it’s funny that this is what I remember. I also remember a lot of great camaraderie among New Yorkers, and how everybody was essentially helping each other cope, and we were all talking about the same thing for days and days after, like one big “Naked Lunch” moment. Oh, and FEMA bought us all air filters and vacuums, and everybody seemed a little nicer and more fragile, and less people honked their horns. So, in a way, it was an interesting thing to experience first hand, and it changed your perspective forever, I guess.
Which leads me to my next topic: our darling dog Max Baxter, who we got right after 9/11. This dog is actually a good reminder of 9/11, because as it turned out, that event was the reason we were like “who CARES if our building doesn’t allow dogs? Downtown is on FIRE, life is too short, we’ve always wanted a dog, and now we’re getting one.”
So, really, 9/11 is the reason our dog is alive right now. Because right after that, we went to the pound and rescued him and he’s been a great addition to our lives ever since. I wonder where he came to live with us, but then I don’t, really—because I can’t imagine our lives without him.
So, happy 9/11, or as we like to call it, happy “screw it….we’re getting a dog” day. Here are some more pictures of Baxter to cheer you up in case you're in a 9/11 funk.
Finally, a very happy birthday to Gibson Frazier.