Monday, October 29, 2007

Working Girl

I've taken a job outside the house, er office, okay, house.

I'm not comfortable telling you where because then I can't say whatever I want.

Years ago I worked in Visuals for Nordstrom. Then I left all that behind and went totally graphic with an occasional styling job. Today I dressed and stripped mannequins.

I don't need the job. I don't need the money per se. I make more doing the graphic stuff. But I do like being out in the real world talking to real people. It's just for 8 days. (they wanted a bit more, but my travel schedule conflicted with that)

I think my whole post and attitude comes off as a bit snooty. I'm not. I'm really excited to have a job out of the house. And I really excited that its only for 8 days. My feet are killing me.

I may be a bit brief in the next bit. I've got two jobs!

Are you ready?

Are you ready for Halloween?

I'm not.

Oh sure I've put out the minimal amount of decor. I own it, I may as well use it. But since I left that medical skeleton in the attic of the old house it just doesn't pack the same punch. Maybe it does for the people who live in the old house.

Last year in West Hollywood it was a bit of a zoo. I mean, come on, Kevin Federline on the main stage of Halloween in West Hollywood? Deborah Gibson maybe. Not K-Fed.

I don't have a costume for this year. Correction. I do have a costume. I have many costumes. They are all in the Halloween bin (orange and black from Target, thank you) and I can be a fallen angel (last year and three years ago), a sexy sailor (two years ago), Peter Pan (not enough years ago) or any number of things yet to be pulled from the bin. But so far, nothing new to gather.

We don't get any trick or treaters. Is it perhaps the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood we live in? But I've got 8 bags of dark chocolate peanut M&M's set aside just in case. Come on kids, save me from myself!

Friday, October 26, 2007

NYC for you and me

Since I can't go outside and play in the ashy smog filled air, I may as well sit down and tell what I did last weekend in Manhattan.

We left Los Angeles over an hour late (my bags were in the overhead compartment - wheels in for greater space usage - so there will be no tales of lost luggage this trip) due to weather issues surrounding New York City. Once we were in the air we circled over Ohio, Iowa and Detroit. We were supposed to land at 11:20, then 12:30, then we were told it would be closer to 2 am. Then the pilot came back on to say a spot for landing had opened and if we could make it, we could land in 20 minutes. We were over Detroit. They seriously told us all to buckle up and you could feel the plane begin it jump to hyperdrive.

Once we are the ground we phoned our friends who had offered to pick us up in Newark (it was cheap, shut up) and told them not to bother. It was raining, it was late. We'd get a cab. Turns out Stephen and Mike were already in Newark, napping, and were ready to pick us up.

Then we got slightly lost on some side streets in Newark. I locked my door. At last the right road, the right tunnel and Voilá! Manhattan.

Stephen and Mike have a small apartment and their friends David and Pat graciously offered to host us. We got there around 2:30 am and everyone said "hello," "good night," and we we're off to bed. No party party in Manhattan Friday night.
This is the view from David and Pat's living room. Empire State building on the left, Chrysler Building small to the right of that. I love that Chrysler building. As I lay in bed Friday night I figured out if I placed my head on the nightstand on top of two pillows I could see it as I fell asleep. Aside from being unable to breath it was perfect.
Saturday morning came and I dragged Lyle out to breakfast with Larry and RJ. Trust me, Lyle begged to sleep in. Breakfast was at 10 am. RJ and Larry had to head out of town at noon. No rest for the weary. We were staying near Chelsea at 7th ave and 14th st. We walked down to the village. Got lost. Phoned. Got lost. Got found.

After breakfast we decided to wander back to the apartment. It was a stunningly beautiful day in October in New York. I wished I 'd packed shorts!

On my way out the door to catch our plane on Friday I'd bought tickets to see "The Ritz" on Broadway. We'd talked about Xanadu or The Color Purple and all sorts of other shows. But tickets were around $120 for each of us and that's half a plane ticket to some exotic locale. We hesitated. When the offer for 30% off tickets to "The Ritz" came through it added up to $120 for both of us. So I grabbed them. Lyle kept saying he'd rather be sleeping as I dragged him to a matinee in the old Studio 54.

Funny stories about Lyle and his first visit to New York when he was 18 and his friend knew everybody. Somehow Lyle wound up at Studio 54 watching Mary Tyler Moore get her groove on. I think there was an Andy Warhol sighting in the VIP room as well. But he can get his own blog. Back to me.

Rosie Perez was fabulous as Googie Gomez and in spite of himself, Lyle had a good time. He said he had really low expectations so that helped. He kept looking at the the theater and saying it seemed so much bigger the last time he was there...

After the matinee, we decided to walk back. From 54th to 14th. It was windy, but just nice to be outside. Finally I let him go home and have a nap. Not me. I went to Loeman's, Filene's Basement and TJ Maxx. They were nearby and I was saving Century 21 for Monday. I bought one lousy T-shirt. Sucks to be so picky.

At last it was Saturday night and we could go to Stephen's birthday party. He held it in the private dining room downstairs at Jane on Houston. Great nibbles before dinner, terrifics cocktails! The meal was delicious, but most importantly the company was phenomenal. I ate a lot. I drank a lot. I promised everyone there a guest room in LA whenever they want to come out. Seriously, Pat, David, Lewis, Jenny, Marci, Michael, Frank, John, Chris... uh, now the names are starting to blur together... come on out!
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!
The birthday boy puts on a show.

Sponge Bob showed up to give Stephen some birthday love.

So we killed him and ate his remains.

After dinner a group of 6 of us decided to go out for continued drinking. At last my party evening in the city that never sleeps!
But you know the group is getting a little older when the other half of the group just meets in front of the bar with their dogs and that seems more entertaining than all the people inside.

Mike, me and Stephen
(we'd changed into our "go out" clothes from our dinner togs)

After a round or two of drinks, we called it a night at 1:30 am. How can that be? I begged other people to stay out, and though they weren't interested in going on, they had many suggestions on where I could continue by myself. But let's be honest, by myself I am boring. I am a total wallflower. To the shock of both Lyle and our host David, Pat and I were home by 2.

Sunday we were up at the crack of 9 am. (that's 6 am in LA) and no one else was. Lyle and I headed out and took a walk from the apartment down to SoHo. Found a place to have breakfast and by noon (at last!) Stephen and Mike were awake. Since they live in SoHo we just popped over and tormented them in person.

Stephen and Mike are in the process of buying a three bedroom condo above Harlem on 145th near Amsterdam. Our plan was to take a tape measure, go visit, see it for ourselves and help Stephen get every wall measured and written down so he can make great plans with his furniture.

It's a newly developing area and we found it a quiet neighborhood in all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.
The view from their window facing North.
(Just for Billy, those cranes in the middle are building the new Yankee Stadium.)

After the tour, we decided to walk down to 125th where it's really Harlem (the Apollo Theater is on 125th) and it was once again a lovely day to be out walking. Heading south on Convent, we stumbled through New York City College and it's amazing campus. Stephen didn't even know it was there.
New York City College.

Sunday night we just hung out with Stephen and Mike. It's nice to have nothing to do and just get caught up.

On Monday we had a full morning. I got up at 7 am, got showered and made my way out into the morning commute with all the other New Yorkers. I was headed down to the World Trade Center subway stop and the mecca knows as Century 21. They open at 8 am! For the uninitiated, Century 21 is like Marshall's or TJ Maxx on crack. I always have an exhaustingly good time.

But not last Monday. Having recently gutted my closet of stuff I don't wear, I came to realize that I have loads of "special" items and not as many "basics". Well basics never seem to go out of style and therefore don't really migrate to off-price bargain stores. Once again, it sucked to be so picky. But I didn't want to buy just to carry a bag home. And I did ultimately go home bag less. (sigh)

I picked up Lyle and we went off on his quest for Monday, Balthazar. Balthazar is one of Lyle's favorite restaurants in New York and located in SoHo. We saved it for Monday because on the weekend its far too crowded. We went in about 11:30 to get a jump on the lunch rush.

"2 for lunch?"
Yes please.
"I'm sorry, we're not serving lunch yet."
Oh. Um, okay, then I guess we'll have breakfast.
"I'm sorry, we're done serving breakfast."
Well then. I guess we're screwed.

We were able to sit at the bar and have a coffee while we waited out the half hour break the restaurant takes between meals. Our friend RJ popped in and we squeezed in another quick visit with him before lunch. While we were having lunch, Frank from Saturday's birthday party stopped by to say hello. Suddenly I felt like a native!

After lunch we went to Dean & Deluca to purchase our evening meal for the flight home. It pays to plan ahead. My prime rib and Lyle's salmon were infinitely better than the wrap sandwiches the airline was selling for $5. Not to mention the dozen homemade Oreo's we bought.

Then it was that strange lag time before a daytime flight. No where to go. Can't go too far. Always watching the clock. But don't want to sit at home. Si I took us up to the ABC Carpet and Home store. Got us lost. Got us found. Got us tired. Took us in to an H&M (I know they have that here in LA, but they are much cleaner and more open in Manhattan).

Then it was car service to the airport and a delayed flight (again!) home. Any wonder I had a sore throat by the time I got home? I think I try to fit too much in.
Did anyone seriously think he'd get away without a building on his head?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ash Wednesday

Alternate title was going to be "Ashhole".

As we got on our flight home from NYC people kept talking about "the fires". I make it a habit to not follow the news when I am away from home, so I was all, "huh?"

As we got close to landing we could see the fires out by Big Bear from the window of the plane. All I could say was it made me feel so sad.

So for the last few days we've been covered in ash from the fires. Though it's been around 90°+ outside, we've kept the house closed up tight to keep the ash outside. Lyle hosed down the house, yard, driveway and the cars to get the latest layers off.

Still, very sad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bullet dodged

We're back. Got in late (as always) Monday night.

Haven't had a chance to upload photos yet.

But to answer Carolyn's question, "Did anything happen to your luggage?"

No. We packed extremely light and took only carry on luggage so we could avoid any incident on this trip.

At first I felt like I was getting even with the airline by carrying on my own luggage, then I realized they are probably thrilled to not have to handle it and allow me to drag it all over kingdom come. I will now start plotting some other revenge.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Island Manhattan

I like the Island Manhattan, Smoke on your pipe and put that in!

Gone to NYC for a quick weekend trip (out Friday, back Monday). We are going for Stephen's birthday. Since I'm not him, I won't tell you what number. But it's a milestone enough to convince us to travel across the country for it.

My apologies in advance to Billy for not coordinating a visit with him. I now understand your trip to Long Beach.

Oh, and so as not to offend anyone from Puerto Rico, I love Puerto Rico as well. I've been there three times.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

California Jade(d)

There was an Earthquake last night. Well technically early this morning. At about 2 am. I was on my way to bed and was in the bathroom.

First thought: Why is that dog scratching so hard that it shakes the house?
Second thought: Uh-oh, earthquake?
Third thought: UH-OH. EARTHQUAKE!
Fourth thought: I don't want to die in the bathroom. That would suck.
Fifth thought: Huh. That's all? No biggie.

Turns out it was a 4.2 which is really just a "truck passing" on the Jim scale.

The Jim Scale of Earthquakes:
Someone heavy walks by in an old building.
Large truck drives by outside.
Bottles rattle in kitchen.
Train drives by a few blocks away.
Train drives by on nonexistent track in front of house.
Train hits house.

So then I wondered if it was perhaps bigger somewhere else, say, further away. And I went and looked for it online. Even the news media are nonplussed by it. Here's the top stories.

It's last. After two celebrity stories and a beauty queen.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

18 years...



Happy Anniversary!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thank you Christine!

When I was up in the Northwest last week, my good friends Christine & Richard had me over for dinner. As I left I got a host of goodies to take home with me. One packet was designated for the puppies.

For Lola & Cooper, Christmas came early!
Lola loves her new pink handbag.

Cooper is protective of his spotted squeaky bone.
Moments later he guts it.

Who wants a present?!

My handbag has a squeak!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rock Star!

It's easy to be a rock star when you are on tour. You blow into town and everyone is excited to see you then you leave before you can do anything to disappoint people. You make your good impression, you've got loads of energy and no one is the wiser on what it takes to create the spectacle of your performance or how much down time you may need before your next performance.

That's how I am when I go home to visit. I'm not implying that my visit is a performance. I am genuinely excited to be there and see everyone. But as I mentioned to my mother, I can paint and decorate a room and have lunch and dinner with different people every day and night because I know that my time is limited. My parents have seen me in my day to day life and know that a person (me in particular) has boring bits, sad bits, quiet bits, angry bits and all sorts of other bits that make a whole person. But that's not how I am when I go to see them. At their home I am a rock star.

At times during my last my visit with both my family and Lyle's family I felt a little guilty that we lived so far away and didn't get to spend more time with them. On the flight home I wondered if we should live closer.

Should I give up living in the sunshine and move to the cold wet North? I did it before and it wounded me. Seriously, those people you hear about with S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) are absolutely me. So what use would I be if I did live closer?

Than I remembered something my friend Rachel had told me.

It's better to have 100% of me for 10% of the time, than 10% of me 100% of the time.

For now, that's what I'll be giving. ROCK ON!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't be our guest

My parents live in a four bedroom house. Or rather they used to. Now they live in a one bedroom house with three storage rooms. All without moving.

But on my last visit, I subverted their plans. I changed back one storage room to a guest room.

My mom: "No one stays here."
Me: "Because no one can."
My mom: "Your brother just slept in his sleeping bag on the living room floor last time."
Me: "That's his problem. I'm not sleeping on the floor."
My mom: "What's wrong with the twin bed in your old room?"
Me: "I'm over (redacted) years old. I no longer sleep in twin beds. Why can't you just let me do this?"
My mom: "But then people will want to stay here."
Me: "And that would be a problem because...?"
My mom: "I don't want people to stay here."
Me: "Do you want me to leave?"
My mom: "Of course not. I want you to stay here."
Me: "Am I not people?"
My mom: "Your father doesn't like his space invaded"
Me: "Am I invading?"
My mom: "A little. But it's okay. Your father can put up with you."
Me: "Put up with? Do you want me to leave?"
My mom: "Of course not."

And it went round and round...

So I built a guest room for myself.

Since my old room has boxes in it, I took my sister's old room. It's upstairs and the most important feature of her room is it has a heat vent in it. My old room has a heat vent in front of the door, not inside the room.

Up until a year or so ago, her room was filled to the gills with junk. But when my parents decided to get new windows and insulate the upstairs (that's right, it wasn't insulated the whole time we lived in that upstairs as children. Go ahead call Child Protective Services.) we all pitched in and cleaned the upstairs out.

Here is how the room looked halfway into the clean out. It had started with boxes stacked to the ceiling.
What can I say, my sister had excellent taste when she 14. She later made a quilt and pillow cover to match the rainbow pattern. She lived with this paint and color combo until she moved out after college.

After we threw out everything that had been stored in the room, we also tore up the grey shag carpet. No seriously, go back up a bit and look at it. Two shades of grey with white. In a room for over 30 years. You'd throw it out too.

That left the hardwood floor that was (coincidence?) painted grey. A long time ago. There was no way I was going to sand it and refinish it.

But first, the walls. Wallpaper over what I lovingly refer to as cardboard walls. Some sort of pressboard. About 1 inch thick. My brother could punch his fist through it without harming himself. Can't imagine how I might know that.

I wasn't even going to try and get wallpaper off that. There was also a fair bit of mold on the walls from where the boxes had been pressed up against them for so long. My mom had sprayed the walls down with bleach and other cleaners when we had finally revealed them during the clean out. My mom and I went out and bought a primer/sealer that would cover all mold.
Walls taped off, floor covered ( I was still trying to figure out if I could leave them grey and spare myself having to paint a floor). On the side wall you can see the wallpaper covering nicely. On the back wall, you can see the dark mold spots that took two coats of primer to cover.

I chose a color that would be bright because there is only one window facing north to get any light into the room. And I chose a color I could live with because I was doing the painting. In the end I did wind up painting the floor a dark brown. Then after a day and half I had to go into the room to close the window and left shoe prints in the paint.

The day I left, I touched up the floor paint. I figured no one would be going in there for a couple of months.

All together, I think my mom spent about $100 on paint and supplies. I spent $100 on supplies. And down the road we'll need to get some nice 100% cotton sheets for the new futon that hasn't been purchased yet. Perhaps I've watched too many make over programs, but I think a new guest room for under $500 done in three days by a team of one, is fairly good deal.
I did put the twin bed in the guest room. My brother Scott offered up his futon frame from his basement. I thought that it was probably not the right color wood finish and maybe not the perfect fit for the room. Then I thought about how hard it was to get anything up the stairs that was of any large size and how the futon frame probably came apart. That and the price of "free" was right. So I told him it was perfect!

My brother that had to sleep on the floor sounds delighted that he won't have to do that next time. Which gave me a chance to give my mother a big "I told you so."

My mom: "But he said that was fine when he was here."
Me: "That's because he was too polite and didn't want to hurt your feelings."
My mom: "Then why are you telling me now?"
Me: "Because I'm not too polite. I guess you should have done a better job of raising me."

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The warmth of the sun

Flew home yesterday. Left Kamloops at 11:30 am. Walked in our door at 11:30 pm. Is Kamloops on another continent?

Drove from Kamloops to Kelowna, flew from Kelowna to Seattle, then Seattle to LA. The big hiccup was "mechanical problems" in Seattle that had our flight at 5:55 not departing. At 6:20 they still were waiting to tell us when (or if) our flight would depart. We saw a flight leaving at 7:50 (which meant it had already begun boarding) in a different terminal. Got ourselves onto that flight which was actually going to fly into the sky and watched as the 37 seats that were open, filled to capacity with other people who had been standing around waiting for our previous flight. (our original flight was later canceled and all the people who didn't get on the flight we were on had to catch even later flights.) 2nd to last row of the plane, we didn't care anymore. We just wanted to get home.

Our luggage (as seems to be the case more and more) did not make the same journey. It arrived sometime far later than us and I am now waiting at home for its delivery. I'd much rather wait for my luggage to come to my house that to my hotel room. I have more clothes here.I am in no hurry to wear my down filled puffy parka. I'm wearing shorts.

I don't care how soon my Gucci boots get here. I have on flip flops.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Monday is Thanksgiving here in Canada. But we are flying home today. So Sunday was Gobble Gobble Fat Turkey Day for us.

If I am forced to say what I am thankful for I am going to say, "I am Thankful I am not the turkey."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Onward and Upward!

Today I will fly from Bellingham to Seattle, meet the husband who is flying in from LA, and we will continue to Kamloops to see his family for the weekend.

It could be worse. His family used to live in Alberta just above the "A" in Alberta on the map.

Forecast for Kamloops:
Friday - 20% chance of rain. High of 56. Low of 43.
Saturday - 60% chance of rain. High of 58. Low of 48. And we're supposed to take photos of the family outside that day.
Sunday - 60% chance of rain. High of 55. Low of 44.
Monday - 60% chance of rain. High of 56. Low of 44.

In Grande Prairie it will just hover at freezing with a chance of snow. Whew, dodged a bullet on that one!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

And finally...

Another moist successful trip to the land that birthed me...

It only rained this morning! I found where I got that hunch in my shoulders. It's from raising my shoulders to hoist my jacket higher while I run from the car to the mall. In L.A. I can never do that. The rain is much more tropical and gets through your clothes in a hurry. In L.A. I need an umbrella (ella, ella, ella).

I got up early, made a return from my room renovation expedition previously, then to the mall for a tour of stuff I don' t need. Found a lamp with shade for $15 at Target. Ah Target, my friend in any town.

Had lunch with birthday friends. Unbelievable crab and bacon panini. Really. Incredible. At the wine bar in the Chrysalis hotel in Fairhaven. I will be back.

My mom had a "Honey do" list for me while I was here. I have accomplished everything on it except for half a task left for tomorrow. Cardboard recycling is loaded in the mini-van and will be taken in tomorrow!

Gotta go pack and find out if those four new throw pillows are gonna make it home with me.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bellingham is a great place!

Bellingham IS a great place... when it looks like this. That's in the summer.

Last night I primed the spare bedroom. I didn't bring any paint clothes, so I just painted in my underwear. Try and get that picture out of your mind for a while.

My mom keeps telling me she doesn't need a nice guest room. It will only encourage guests trying to stay at her house. I told her she wants me here, and I want a nice place to sleep.

I finished about 2 am. When I cam downstairs to wash off the paint on my arms, my parents were both still awake and doing stuff. I come by my night owl habits honestly.

Today I painted the wall, the trim and the floor. If the paint is dry enough by tomorrow I can do the final painting of the baseboards and I'm all done. I also picked up curtains. I'm a one man changing rooms tornado. Next visit I'm installing a bigger bed, a lamp and a table. Mark my words, It'll be all gayed up in no time!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gross, gross rain.

Like, super duh, it was pouring when I got to Seattle. I was feeling so smug that I decided to fly the last leg to my parents town of Bellingham. Normally it takes about 90 minutes to drive but just 24 minutes to fly...

Unless something really sinister like, um, rain happens to the airport. Seriously, rain? It's like the Denver airport going, "oh my god! Snow! Shut down now!" So I was delayed for over 2 hours due to weather complications (in which time I really could have driven here) and just sat there in the Seattle airport. So fun.

But I have arrived and about half of my clothes somehow magically got drenched from the rain while INSIDE my luggage and INSIDE a plane.

The rental car company offered me a complimentary upgrade to a Hyundai Sonota and my reply was of course, "That's not a mini-van is it?"

Tonight I sleep back in my old room, on my old twin bed, surrounded by boxes that complete the "I don't really live here in this storage room" vibe the upstairs of my parents house is decorated in.

Oh, and I am raiding all the photos in the house to put together a little slide show movie for my parents 50th wedding anniversary in a year. Gotta get a jump on these things.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Headed North

I am going to visit my parents in Bellingham, Washington (North of Seattle, but not quite yet Canada) for a few days. If you know one thing about me it's that I hate bananas.

Oh, and I hate the rain as well.

Forecast for my time in Boringham:
Tuesday - 100% chance of rain. High of 60. Low of 46.
Wednesday - 70% chance of rain. High of 55. Low of 42.
Thursday - 70% chance of rain. High of 54. Low of 39. Uh, 39? May as well just place me inside the freezer.
Friday - 20% chance of rain. High of 53. Low of 43. Right, on the day I leave it most likely won't rain. But even then, no guarantee.