Saturday, June 25, 2005

La Familia

Two-and-a-half million people cannot live without their BlackBerry. These "crack-berry-heads" (blame the LA Times for that one), are functionally impaired without their plastic best friend. From grocery shopping to Saturday beach days and sushi nights -- the little device is toted, trusted and transported.

Fitting, then, that I'm about to fly far, far away. To a land of fresh fish, Campari & Tonic and pre-dinner cheese plates.

The only thing I plan on staring at are golf balls and books.

And possibly a 10pm-sunset or two.

So, be nice. Back just in time for the fireworks.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Home Invasion

Ants and I have an understanding. Roaming free in the backyard is perfectly fine, and on especially warm days, the DMZ extends onto the patio. Confusion abounds, and sometimes I find a straggler or two in the kitchen or behind the couch. But by the time I've gingerly placed the little guys outside in the grass, we're usually on the same page.

Same goes for spiders. Daddy long-legs. Roly-polies. Pretty much anything minus roaches and mosquitoes.

Apparently, word travels fast in Insect Kingdom, because this morning when Oskar and I innocently decided to stroll around the 'hood, we practically bumped into a wasp nest. On my front door.

So I'm thinking I should revisit my policy. I'm all for sharing my miniature house. But not so sure about welcoming things that sting.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


On a scale of 1-10, turbulence gets a zero. The only reason it's not relegated to the -3 category, is because it's related to clouds. And no matter how insane the flight, it's tricky -- if not outright impossible -- to be too harsh on something that's fundamentally so close to the sun.

Despite the ups and down and almost-coffee-spills, the keys to focused traveling are, clearly, words and songs. Books and music. Stories and tunes.

And if you're ever en route from DC to Seattle, the following will block out *almost* everything that's happening outside your teensy, tiny window.
  • "Under and Alone" by William Queen
  • "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson
  • "Rebels" -- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart" -- Whiskeytown
  • "Here Comes Your Man" -- Pixies
  • "Going Back to Louisiana" -- Kim Carson
  • "Built to Last" -- Grateful Dead

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Top 10 At the Fairmont

  1. The slippers are tied together with blue, silk ribbon
  2. Complimentary copy of Saveur
  3. In-room thermostat is brilliantly tuned
  4. Coffee pot brews one perfect cup (just add a little less water)
  5. Pillows: plump, plush, paramount
  6. There's actually an ottoman
  7. Shampoo and conditioner in non-fakey bottles -- it's a girlie thing
  8. Ultra-thin, super-warm, down duvet
  9. Walking distance to Dupont Circle
  10. Eggwhite frittata with goat cheese and roasted red peppers

ps. Clearly neglected to mention that they've gotten me delightfully confused with royalty: the suite is magical.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Dear Nanette & Norman

Thought about you this morning as I flipped through the Today Show. Nanette, you're so right: why wouldn't Katie go to the salon for her dos? It's what we expect of celebrities, right?

Hoping you had a lovely evening with Claudia and the kids. I noticed the nice man in the seat behind us offered to carry your medicine bag. And when I deboarded I spotted your wheelchair and walker -- looks like you were taken care of.

Norman, still chuckling about Henry, the cane. An appropriate name indeed. Oh, and don't even worry about the orange juice. That's the beauty of jeans: everything wipes right off.

ps. Nanette, the book you wanted to recommend for your daughter's reading club is "Devil in the White City." We both know there's few things better in life than a good story.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sure, I Know Where He Is!

When in France, kissing cheeks instead of shaking hands is casual and customary. The Dutch take it a step further, insisting on three pecks as opposed to the traditional two. And the lovely Swedes would never take a sip of wine before looking everyone in the eye.

I'll bet that most who travel to Mexico for margaritas and mole would slip an occasional "si, por favor" and "de nada" into their daily banter, as a teensy tiny homage to the land they're visiting.

But when the director of the CIA says that he has "an excellent idea" where one of the most notorious criminals of modern times is hiding -- but is trying to figure out how to capture him without stepping on the toes of foreign nations -- balking is the only polite reaction.

ps. Read this.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

At the Car Wash

My jasmine-scented Element never looked so good. Once I find a perfect spot for my latest moose sticker -- thanks, Pappa! -- Oskar and I will be back to cruisin' in style.

For $15, I get 35 minutes of sunlit-bench-book-time while someone else primps, pampers and polishes my blue-and-gray mode of transportation. In mere moments, all nooks and crannies are free from dust and gum-wrappers, and the backseat is once again useable.

So yes, I admit it, driving clean definitely has its perks.

But after spending 18 minutes (timed to the last second) watching a sour-looking man point and scratch and practically sniff every square inch of his Toyota Tercel -- constantly finding "spots" or "smudges" or "imperfections" I felt like using my magic miniature powers and flying away.

Why do we uselessly obsess when we could just as well be productively reveling?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Not So Much

If you think it, speak it. At least most of the time. We read for stories and opinions, we listen to be piqued and we watch to learn, marvel and -- sometimes -- to be shocked.

But just as convinced oratory is completely appealing, ideas that are blown wayward by the winds are less than compelling. Nothing wrong with wavering, slightly. Or smartly blinking before you commit. As long as it doesn't turn to silly, smothering, indecisiveness.

Which is why I don't get the lust for this.

It's almost as if to please everyone, you have to resort to saying nothing.

Sadly, it seems the maddening appetite for reality has usurped the very core of what print should be: punditious. Yes, that's a new word. Fabulously fitting, though.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Prada's Cousin

Everyone's peeked inside a bathroom cabinet or two. Just to see if Aspirin and cotton balls are shelf-sharing with anything peculiarly odd. Or super-interesting.

But honestly, if you're trying to gain snap-shot insight into the inner workings -- or bizzarro-traits -- of that certain someone, give the ol' nightstand a gander. You'd be surprised at how telling it really is.

I'll start:
  • hello kitty radio alarm clock
  • wishing stones box with emil's old dog tags
  • journal with deliciously smooth ink pen
  • cucumber-melon hand cream
  • old lamp with weird-but-lovely-when-lit lampshade
  • two candles, used matches and a sushi roku match book
  • a teetering pile of books
  • yellow, pocket-sized photo album with favorite sweden pics
  • sandal-scandal footsie lotion

Explains everything, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Toast with Butter and Jam

Relishing the paper requires certain sensibilities. For example, California comes before Business and the Front Page rules, at least through the first cup of coffee. Poor Sports, it usually lands straight in the recycle bin -- unless Filippa and Matt are playing somewhere near-by.

But everything changes on Wednesdays.

It's Food Day. Capital F, capital D.

While you needn't be a culinary cohort to exude edible passions, it does help to dream in asparagus and olive-oil-kissed farfalle. But before you skip over those delightfully addictive pages, remember that even the kitchen-challenged need sustenance. And in addition to your superb wit and tantalizing charm -- not to mention glorious looks -- consider adding the mastery of at least one "dish" to your personality lexicon.

You'll be that much more appealing. Promise.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fascinating Tales

Cinderella had the pumpkin. Snow White, the sensational seven. And where would Pippi be without Mr. Nilsson?

Stories spin the world. Morals, madness and magic. Impossible to imagine days without "have you heard," "listen to this" -- or everyone's favorite: "once upon a time."

So, what's yours?

Miguel, the gardener, has a nephew with a blue-and-green-and-yellow bedroom ceiling fan. The retired lady who cruises around the block in faded overalls whispers to dogs. And the old man in the tiny house moseys with his walker at least three times a day.

Share your daily slices. They're what everyone else wakes up for.

Monday, June 13, 2005

What Is ...

Changes. You see sky. They blue. You remember. They forget. Temperate to one, scalds the other. And marvelous monologues might easily translate to lackluster lullabys.

But despite the unavoidable incoherence this might create, consider the good:
  • what better way to encourage collaborative communication, than to begin on opposing ends?

Seriously. Can't think of anything more dull than same-ness. And if everyone got it right the first time, all opportunities for reconciliation -- and the luxuries tied to it -- would go by the wayside.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Thirty-three MPH

She plays the organ every Sunday morning. Wednesdays are devoted to line-dancing. Thursdays she brings the girls over for coffee and cakes. Saturday afternoons belong to the adorably audacious 4-year-old and her older brother. And evenings are peppered with a plethora of choices: knitting, quilting or crocheting.

She's 80 years old. And she's got more energy than many 30-somethings.

The first time we chatted she told me I had a bird's nest in the vent above my bedroom window. A couple of weeks later, we bonded over ants and the best way to repel them from our driveways. (She prefers soapy water; it's not as toxic.)

She jokes. She laughs. She inquires about Oskar's stick-filled dog walks. And she definitely doesn't complain. And why would she? Pies are in the oven and the she's running out the door to help her younger, 75-year-old gal-pal get comfy in the front seat.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


"I think when I first get my license, I'll get something like a '98 Explorer," said the casually-clad 15-year-old. "Then, when I go to college, I'll get a real car."

That would be a Mercedes or BMW.

Worlds collide at the most randomly disjointed times. So it should really come as no surprise that in the midst of my rock-star afternoon, I'd encounter a slice of life a la soon-to-be-a-Brentwood-junior.

But instead of leaving me appalled at the wanton luxury at the hands of someone half my age, I practically beamed in my salon chair. It's so completely refreshing to stumble across someone -- anyone -- who doesn't hesitate to *be*.

Friday, June 10, 2005


There's something to be said for plans. Lunches and dinners and evenings of sip-ey drinks and delectable tidbits. Luxurious sprees for the latest green hues and must-have Manolos. Even Saturday forays into the depths of abundant greenery and rebelliously ripe tomatoes at Pico's Farmer's Market.

But, oh my, it's tantalizingly trickster to beat days of defiant freedom.

Entire expanses of time sans telephones and car-treks. Not a being in sight to intrude on what you've so clearly coveted for the past few days:
  • solitude
  • quiet-ness
  • sanctuary

Yum. And as an added bonus: if you're able to prioritize *magical you* for even just a few, your rating on the scale of fabulous jumps at least three points.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Break Them

After an evening of garlic-infused spaghetti and dressed greens, the Germans and one blonde-brunette super-Swede began their bicycle trek home. In a city where beer flows like water and fancy appears to mix with the every-day, it seems even der polizei looks for busy-work.

The ticket was for transporting a friend on the back of the bike. Next time you're vehicle-less, remember that unless you're still in the first grade, this apparently "reckless" activity is verboten.

The fine? Five Euros.

The lesson? Clearly throw caution to the wind and ride, ride, ride. In a seemingly black-and-white world, only those who challenge what is will experience the luxury of life as it's meant to be lived.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Seven Twenty-Five

If you leave apple cobbler in the oven for too long, the top turns black and burned, instead of seductively sizzling and crispy. Driving the speed limit on Santa Anita usually means that you'll hit all the red lights -- which is why Second Avenue is a better option. And wondering about the coffee pot's status might result in a missed flight.

Timing runs the world. Not clocks and second-hands. But minute-related coincidences that sometimes translate to windy paths and pebble-strewn roads.

So what to do?

Nothing, really. Except try to understand it. And, blindly, put all our faith in the magic of the time-piece.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


They always highlight the good. Silly moods are immediately transformed. And evenings usually involve miniature bites and some form of Sauvignon Blanc.


No matter what, they'll stand by you. And if anyone dare criticize that which makes you adorably cute, they're the first to remind you of exactly what you deserve.

But mostly: it's the glitter, the smiles, the twinkling conversations and kisses on the cheek. The way they scan a room and immediately spot the trendy and totally glam.

Are boys afforded this same luxury? Not sure. But just to be safe, treasure the girlies. They're ellusive and delightful -- pretty much exactly what you need ensure flutter-by scented days.

Monday, June 06, 2005


To your friends and family. The little old lady across the street. The few-and-far-between letters that arrive via snail-mail. Song lyrics. Books. Articles penned by pundits. Radio DJs opining on the everyday. Pets. Dusk and dawn. The hum of airplanes. Buzzing bees. Whispering trees. Run-of-the-mill telephone conversations. Bar babble. Crunchy gravel. Sizzling skillets. Whimsical poetry. Silence.

But most of all, listen to yourself.

Take a deep breath. Listen again. And then, decidedly act.

You know what to do.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Find Your Groove

Don't over-think it. Just know it. Love it. Be it.

Whether you're swinging and swaying to music that only you can hear, or sharing your genius wit with complete strangers -- deviate not. Remember who you are and why you got there. Revel in your glitter, magic, addictive-ly happy spirit.

Yes, you'll encounter detractors.

But guaranteed they've yet to realize the power of self.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Free Dirt

Oskar was intently sniffing around a tree and I was staring in disbelief. Not at my adorably crazy choco-lab, but at the sign. As if to instantly prove the incredulous incorrect, a massive pile of earth lay alongside the cardboard proclamation.

When did soil, the kind you trample everyday in your backyard, become such a commodity? I bet if you left the house with a paper bag and beach shovel, you'd return with a bounty within moments. (And yes, as I slowly meandered down the sidewalk, two trucks idly sidled by, intently contemplating the outrageous proposition.)

And then, clarity.

In a world of $3 water and $5 gallons of milk, the very concept of "free" takes on new meaning. It's like instant addiction: if it's free, it must be worth having.

Wondering if I've just stumbled across a means of getting rid of my broken mop and quasi-functioning umbrella ....

Friday, June 03, 2005

Spill It

Yes. On particularly cloudy evenings or super-windy afternoons, you might encounter a moment -- a brilliantly, perfectly crystalline point in time -- that you don't want to share with any other soul. Aside from those nuggets of serendipitous glory, it's really best to tell. To reveal. Explain. Share. Illustrate. Educate. Convince. Concede. Communicate.

Sadly, it appears easier said than done.

But since we already know one voice can inspire multitudes, why not try supporting anything and everything that dares to speak. Or whisper. Cry. Sing. I think we might find ourselves in a land of lovely-ness, instead of baren-ness.

But only if you promise to play.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

"Reasons" for Not

So you didn't take that compelling trip, buy the car you've been coveting, try the intriguing-yet-bizarre dish, call your oldest and first-est friend, or tell a room-ful of people what you really thought about that "great" idea.

  • Risk-repelled
  • Scaredy-cat
  • Too comfy with what is
  • Worried about looking silly
  • Convinced it would never work
  • Ignored your gut
  • Forgot the invincible power of dreams

Hmm. Not so sure any of those are really all that valid .... Besides, what would have happened if the brilliant mind behind the toaster had listened to his friends who told him there wasn't really a market for addictively crispy bread?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Power Of

Persuasion. Thought about it? Consider the choices you made yesterday, and compare that to what you set out to do. From miniscule tidbits surrounding lunch options to the more ponder-worthy involving routes to work or fashion concepts.

Can you count the instances of wishy-washy -- or rather, being convinced to re-route your path -- on one hand? Or do you need another plus two feet?

What would happen if you lived your day exactly as you set out to do?

Try it.

(And no, that doesn't count as a strike against you. The test starts ... now.)