Monday, April 30, 2012

My Avocado Plant (I Hope)

I've always wanted to grow a plant from an avocado pit; but whenever I have an avocado pit on hand, I feel lazy and say "next time." And we all know that "next time" is a lazy person's code for "never."

I had an avocado for lunch* last week and finally decided, by Jove**, that it was time for my avocado plant.

Following these directions, I rigged my avocado pit with three toothpicks and then set it in a glass of water.  (If you look closely, you can see the avocado carcass in the background, between the knives and the lemon).

Now we just have to play the waiting game and see what, if anything, grows from my avocado pit.  Theoretically, an avocado plant will sprout in the next two to six weeks.  But, if I'm lucky, I will get either (a) a beanstalk that grows to the sky, or (b) a talking plant.  If it's Option A, I will only steal one pot of gold from the giants in the sky (I'm not greedy).  If it's Option B, I will hack my plant into microscopic pieces and burn the remains.  (I saw the Little Shop of Horrors movie at an impressionable age and although we could make a fortune from a talking plant, I'm afraid it would eventually eat Nathan).

* For my lunch, I mashed up an avocado with a couple tablespoons of goat cheese and then spread it on a slice of toasted French bread.  Bliss.

** I don't use this phrase often enough - by Jove!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Some Attractive Self Portraits

My favorite photos of myself are ones in which I am being silly.  The uglier I look, the better.  For example, I love these photos I recently took while playing with my mom's iPad:

If I ever have access to a time machine, I want to travel back to 1997 and use the photo on the bottom for my senior portrait in my high school yearbook.  Look at my abnormally large forehead!  And my tiny nose!  And my gorgeous double (or is it a triple?) chin!

Until recently, I swore I did not want an iPad.  I thought the price was too high for the value I would get from the device.  My iPhone is enough of an indulgence.  But obviously, I need an iPad so I can take thousands of attractive self-portraits.  (Actually, it's probably best if I never get an iPad.  Otherwise, I'd spend my days gazing into the iPad and never again do anything that even resembles being productive).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Movies for Cranky Ladies

Sometimes, I just need to sit on the couch, be in a bad mood, and watch a movie.  Alone.  (Unless a glass of red wine counts as companionship).  I might parktake in some mindless knitting, or I might just huddle under a blanket and be cranky.  If I watch one of these movies, I am always in a better mood by the end of the film.

In no particular mood, these are my favorite movies to watch when I'm cranky:

1.  Bridget Jones Diary
2.  Pride & Prejudice (either the long BBC version with Colin Firth or the shorter version with Keira Knightley)
3.  Mama Mia!  The Movie
4.  Four Weddings and a Funeral (which is only available from alternate sellers on Amazon - WTF?  I mean, seriously, WTF??)
5.  500 Days of Summer (I had to make sure something with Zooey Deschanel made the list - sorry, minor girl crush)
6.  Chocolat (Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and lots of chocolate in Paris?  Yes, please!)
7.  Like Water for Chocolate 
8.  Eat, Pray, Love (This book and movie seem to have a lot of haters, but I just love them both).
9.  Easy A
10.  Julie & Julia
11.  My Big Fat Greek Wedding (one of the few Nathan-approved movies on the list)
12.  13 Going on 30 (I'm probably going to lose a lot of credibility putting this on the list, but I don't care.  I watched it the night before starting the California bar exam and it took me to a happy place.  Maybe it will help you).
13.  Bend It Like Beckham
14.  Amelie
15.  A Room With A View (Of all the movies on this list, I've probably watched this one the most).
16.  Breakfast at Tiffany's
17.  Coco Before Chanel (for the fashion)
18.  Strictly Ballroom
19.  A League of Their Own
20.  Paper Heart (I love Charylyne Yi, the writer and lead actress of this film.  I could listen to her talk about sandpaper for hours).
21.  Away We Go (Maya Rudolph, I love you!)
22.  Marie Antoinette (costume porn)
23.  Bridesmaids
24.  The Joy Luck Club
25.  Disney's Beauty and the Beast
26.  Disney's The Little Mermaid  (I could list more Disney movies, but I won't).
27.  Dirty Dancing
28.  Grease
29.  Clueless
30.  Under The Tuscan Sun (Warning: you might accidentally buy tickets to Italy after watching this).
31.  Ever After: A Cinderella Story
32.  The Help
33.  Hairspray (The movie starring John Travolta in drag).

Please note: I intentionally omitted the Sex and the City movies from this list.  I believe that show turns women into crazy psychotic emotional vampire bitches.  Yes, the clothes and girls are fun.  But if you are already in a cranky mood, just say NO to Sex and the City.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Favorite Sci-Fi Novels

About ten years ago, when I was in law school, I went on a huge sci-fi reading bender.  I spent hours upon hours in the Borders sci-fi aisles and inhaled dozens of books that took place in outer space.

A decade later, these are the books I still think about (and will reread when I get bit by the sci-fi bug again):

1.  Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card (I read and enjoyed many of the follow-up books; but of the sequels, I loved Ender's Shadow the most.  I wish I could force all of my loved ones to read this book.  It is one of my favorites of all time).

2.  The Hyperion Canto, by Dan Simmons (This is a four book series that start with Hyperion.  Entertaining and thought-provoking.  The term "sweeping epic" was invented for series like these.  Plus, it's called a "canto" which will make you feel extra smart).

3.  The Foundation Novels, by Isaac Asimov  (I loved this entire series and wanted to cry when I finished the last).

4.  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams (Why yes, science fiction can be funny).

5.  Dune, by Frank Herbert (Just the first book; the second one got weird in a boring sort of way).

6.  The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (The only bad thing about this book is I can never remember the name of the title or the authors.  It should just be called The Mote, by Jerry Niven.  So much easier).

Just writing this list makes me want to read some sci-fi in the pool this summer.  But where to start? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Norton Simon Museum

I became a member of the Norton Simon Museum last week.  The art collection at the Norton Simon is just ridiculous.  I usually get sucked into the twentieth century gallery, with its Van Goghs, Picassos and Degas sculptures, but the other galleries are equally impressive. 

I joined the museum so I can stop by for a brief visit whenever I'm in the neighborhood and not feel guilty.  When I pay for my admission, I feel like I'm supposed to look at as much art as possible.  But I prefer my art in short doses.  After about forty-five minutes, my eyes start to glaze over and my brain screams, "No more!  No more!  Let's play the Wii!"  

With my membership, I can dip into a gallery or two, look at a handful of paintings and then sit on a bench and people watch.  Museums are one of the best place for people watching.  If the weather's nice, I can amble around the lily pad garden before I go home.

Okay, okay.  Technically, it's a sculpture garden, but we all know lily pads are way cooler than any sculpture.  I thought I saw some tadpoles swimming in the water, so maybe there will be frogs at a future visit.

Figure, Jacques Lipchitz, 1926-1930

p.s. Isn't this sculpture amazing?  The creature looks painfully shy and nervous, like he's trying to hide from the museum patrons.  I want to be his friend.  Maybe if I bring him some chocolate covered raisins, he'll calm down a little.   

Monday, April 23, 2012

Downtown Los Angeles

I worked in Downtown Los Angeles for several years.  Do you see the two black towers in the photo below?

I worked in both of those buildings.  First, at a big law firm in the building to the left; and then, at a small law firm in the other one. 

Downtown Los Angeles has some beautiful architecture, but I never had the time to appreciate it when I worked there.  I was always stressed and rushing.  From the street level, Downtown Los Angeles is pretty ugly.  But if you look up...

... there are lovely old buildings just dying for some attention. 

I know almost nothing about architecture, aside from being able to identify things like "roof" and "door."  But beautiful buildings still make me smile.  You don't need to know fancy architectural terms in order to appreciate architecture.  (Same goes for classical music, wine, gardens and crap, just about everything else).

I've been downtown several times recently to meet friends for lunch.  I met one friend for lunch at Bottega Louis, which feels like a set for a Sex and the City episode.  It has a pastry counter that will make you swoon:

And don't get me started about the macarons:

During another trip, I rode Angels Flight, the shortest railway in the world.

For 50 cents, you can ride the Angels Flight railway car up or down a steep hill between Hill and Olive Streets.  And, if you've ever seen the movie 500 Days of Summer (which I highly recommend), then you'll recognize the park next to the tracks.

Look at that orange railway car! And the black trim! I could admire it all day.  It kind of makes me want to repaint our house orange with black trim (but not really).

Friday, April 20, 2012

My New Rocking Chair

I bought a rocking chair on Monday.  We are madly in love.

I think my rocking chair needs a name, and I'm leaning towards either "Gretchen" or "Hilda." 

Note One: I rarely name my possessions.  Yes, I have nicknames for our waffle iron and the navigation system in my car; but I have not named the fridge, washing machine, or any of the house plants.  I am quirky but in control of my quirkiness.   

Note Two:  A rocking chair obviously has feelings, dreams and a sense of humor.  But I recognize that the rest of our furniture are inanimate objects.  Except the living room couch.  Our living room couch is neurotic and needs a good therapist.  (Ever since my parents gave me the couch, it has suffered from severe abandonment issues).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Summer Resolutions

I realize it's only April, but we've been having summer weather in Pasadena this week, so now I have summer on the brain.  Here are a few things I'm hoping to do this summer:

1) Learn how to grill!  Nathan showed me how to operate the grill last summer, but it still intimidates me.  I look at the grill, and I think "massive fire ball."  I assume that if I try to operate it, I'll lose my eyebrows and end up in the ER.  But it's too hot to use the oven in our kitchen during the summer and grilled food is delicious. It's time to conquer this fear. 

2)  I'm probably going to regret putting this in writing, but I'd like to have my extended family over for a BBQ.  Most of my L.A. relatives have never seen our house, and we do have a pool.  A big family BBQ is a good excuse to audition new potato salad recipes.

3) Play croquet!  I love croquet, and I bought a croquet set two years ago ... and never used it.  It's languishing in our basement. 

4)  Play with sparklers!  I bought a box of sparklers last summer for the Fourth of July and forgot to use them.  They are in the basement, next to the croquet set. (I wonder what I am going to buy and forget to use this summer... a bocce ball set?  or maybe a slip and slide?  do they make slip and slides for adults?  They should).

5)  Go to the beach.  I rarely go to the beach because from Pasadena, it is such a production.  There's beach traffic, crowded parking lots, and once you get to the beach, a lot of annoying people.  And why is there so much sand at the beach?  I know that's kind of the purpose, but sand makes me feel itchy and gross.  Can't we just banish sand to the desert and lay down some astro turf at the beach?  But I'd like to make the pilgrimage to the beach at least once this year since the ocean is beautiful, tranquil, inspiring, etc. etc.

6)  Start a vegetable/herb garden.  I've already bought a few basil plants - but that's the easy part.  Keeping the basil alive?  That's the interesting part.

Now that I've written this list, I'm sure it'll start snowing tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lunch at Santa Anita

We had lunch at Santa Anita, a.k.a. The Great Race Place, on Sunday.  This is the view we had from our table:

Look at those mountains!  And clouds!  And the horses!  The Santa Anita race track was built on one of the most beautiful spots on Earth, and after a few rainy days, the mountains were showing off how pretty they are.  

Do you see the horse at the back of the pack?  The one that looks like it's out for a morning jog and doesn't realize it's supposed to be running as fast as possible?  Yeah, I bet on that pig.  (Le sigh).

As we left the restaurant, we rode in the elevator with the Santa Anita bugler.  He serenaded us, bringing new meaning to the phrase "elevator music."  We had already had a great day at the track, but this was the perfect finish. 

I wonder what the bugler's hourly rate is.  If I ever have an entourage, I clearly need this bugler for some extra flair.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Damn Good Novels For Women

I finished Gone With the Wind on Sunday morning, and it is now one of my favorite books.  I was not emotionally prepared to start reading another novel, so instead, I started listing all my favorite books.  Men might enjoy a lot of the novels on this list, but I created this list with the female reader in mind.  (The world would probably be a better place if all men loved Austen as much as I do).

I have read all of the books on this list (and I've read some of them already four or five times).  These are books that I could not put down.  And, once I finished the last page, I kept thinking about them.  I'll keep updating this list as I read new books or remember books that should be here.  

In no particular order:
  1. Pride & Prejudice, and anything else written by Jane Austen (including her grocery lists, if you can get your hands on them).
  2. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now With Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! Seth Grahame-Smith (If you've read the original, this is hilarious).
  3. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough (I read this on my honeymoon, which in retrospect, was a weird choice but it was great to read by the pool).
  5. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
  6. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
  7. The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
  8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith (I've been reading this at least every five years since I was ten).
  9. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
  10. Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zola Neale Hurston
  11. Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner
  12. Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
  13. The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
  14. The Midwife's Tale, Gretchen Moran Laskas
  15. Midwives, Chris Bohjalian (apparently I like books about midwives)
  16. The Blood of Flowers, Anita Amirrezvani
  17. The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery (This might be heresy, but I like this book even better than Anne of Green Gables).
  18. Valley of the Dolls, Jacqueline Susann (Warning: this book will make you feel stupid, but it's entertaining as hell).
  19. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
  20. The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger (I refuse to watch the movie because the book is perfect and I don't want it ruined).
  21. Dogs of Babel, Carolyn Parkhurst (have a box of Kleenex handy).
  22. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley (the King Arthur tale, for women).
  23. Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
  24. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  25. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  26. The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
  27. Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  28. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Marisha Pessl (Full disclosure: some of the members of my book club hated this book and thought it was overly contrived/pretentious.  But I loved it).
  29. Prep, Curtis Sittenfeld
  30. Frangipani, Clestine Vaite
  31. American Dervish, Ayad Akhtar
  32. The Help, Kathryn Stockett (The movie was great, but the book was even better).
  33. Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  34. The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
  35. The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber (The adventures of a prostitute named Sugar in 1870s London - sooooooooo gooooooooooood.  It only gets a 3 star rating on Amazon, which is just stupid).
  36. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins
  37. The Princess Bride, William Goldman (While I was reading this book, my cousin Julie was standing ten feet away and dancing like a chicken.  The book was so engaging, I didn't notice).
  38. East of Eden, John Steinbeck
  39. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  40. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein
  41. The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
  42. The Clan of the Cave Bear, Jean Auel (This was actually assigned reading for my ninth grade history class.  As a fifteen year old, I loved it.  But I haven't reread it as an adult).
  43. Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  44. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Lisa See
  45. Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  46. Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
  47. Wifey, Judy Blume (Judy Blume has been my guilty pleasure since I first read Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret in the second grade).
  48. The Eight, Katherine Neville
  49. Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
  50. Twilight Saga, Stephenia Meyer (Shameful, but entertaining, so shut up).
  51. Sookie Stackhouse Series, Charlaine Harris (The HBO True Blood series is based on these books, but the books are less gritty and more about clothes and romance).
  52. The Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving
  53. The Cairo Trilogy, Naguib Mahfouz (Mahfouz won the Nobel Prize and rightfully so).
  54. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (A book about teenagers with cancer that will make you cry, laugh and remember how precious life is.  I cannot say enough good things about it).
  55. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
  56. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (I like reading Hornby's novels because I feel like it gives me a glimpse of the male brain). 
  57. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith (The journal of a 17 year old woman living in the English countryside during the 1930s.  If you like Austen and L.M. Montgomery, you'll love this).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Unsolicited Advice for Brides-to-Be: Have A Miniature Fan On Hand In Case You Get Sweaty

Before our July wedding ceremony, I hid in a small room.  It was a hot July day, and the room had no ventilation and no air conditioning. I started to sweat immediately. 

Lucky for me, my Aunt Pam saved the day with a portable, battery-operated fan.  Otherwise, when it was time to say our vows, I would have looked (and smelled) like a sweaty beast. Thank you, Aunt Pam! 

I don't care if you are getting married in Iceland or Antartica: you must make sure you have a miniature fan to keep you cool and composed.  The air conditioning might break.  It might be unseasonably warm.  Or, maybe you will just start to sweat rivers when you realize you have to walk down the aisle in a few minutes without tripping.  Do you really want to be worrying about sweaty armpits as your groom slips the ring on your finger?  

You should probably have portable fans and spare batteries for all of your bridesmaids.  That way, they can surround you and cool you off from every direction, like an emperor encircled by concubines with palm branches.  (If you are trying to channel the feeling of a Biblical brothel for your wedding day, I suppose you could just get palm fronds instead of fans for the bridesmaids... but even I admit that would be really, really strange).

I got married in July 2011, and now I have lots of opinions about weddings. My baby sister Katherine (aka Spucky) is ten years younger than me. Someday, she will get engaged and I will want to go into crazy big sister mode and inundate her with advice. Instead, I'm writing blog posts so when she gets engaged, she can read (or not read) my advice at her leisure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bertrand the Cotton Candy Man

I went to the Dodgers game on Wednesday night.   I love going to baseball games, but I am not a very good fan.  I could care less if the Dodgers win.  I'm just there for the atmosphere (and the Dodger dogs). 

I like the leisurely pace of baseball games.  The baseball stadium is the American equivalent of a Parisian cafe, where you can sit outside and talk and just relax for as long as you fancy.

And people watch.  Oh, how I love to people watch!  I would like to introduce the MVP from Wednesday night's People Watching Extravaganza.  This is Bertrand the Cotton Candy Man:

Okay, fine, I don't know what his name actually is, but it should be Bertrand.  Bertrand obviously is a member of a barbershop quartet, but did you know he collects vintage postcards, runs marathons and owns a pet turtle? 

I wish I could have bought some cotton candy from Bertrand.  Look how fluffy and pink it is!  But the last time I had stadium cotton candy, I was at a UCLA Bruins football game with my Dad, and I still have bad flashbacks to that sugar rush. 

Important rule of thumb: you can photograph the cotton candy, but never ever eat more than a wisp.  It's probably best to just smell the cotton candy for a moment and then eat a big bowl of kale.  Just looking at these photos makes me feel a little ill.  Excuse me, I need to go find some green veggies.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How To Spell My Name

My name is Courtney.  That's C-o-u-r-t-n-e-y.  I thought it was a pretty common name these days, but apparently not.  Whenever I order food or make a dinner reservation, people are confounded by the proper way to spell my name.

I can't fully decipher what is happening with this burrito, but that name is certainly not "Courtney." 

Okay, did the pizza parlour really think I said my name was "Coutery"???  What the eff is a Coutery?  That sounds like something you buy at the hardware store when you are refinishing the basement.  

This spelling - "Cartney" - is very popular with the Starbucks baristas. 

I'm always excited to see the latest way that someone will butcher my name.  When a barista knows how to spell my name correctly, I'm a little disappointed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

World's Largest Ticket

Nathan spotted this sign in the parking lot near our favorite Mexican restaurant:

Check out the image in the upper left hand corner.  It depicts a person carrying their parking ticket to the Express Pay Station.  But holy crap!  The ticket is the size of a large briefcase! 

I realize if the image was drawn to scale, the ticket would be minuscule.  But that doesn't justify drawing a ticket the size of a large toddler.  The image is presumably included for non-English speakers, but does anyone think a non-English speaker is going to understand what the hell that stick figure is carrying?  I can only guess the stick figure is carrying a ticket because I can read the words on the sign. 

I've seen cave paintings that communicate better than this sign.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gone With The Wind

I've been reading Gone With the Wind for the past couple of weeks, and I'm only about 60% done.  THANK GOD.  I always avoided the book because of its length, and now I just wish it was longer. 

I can't decide if I like Scarlett O'Hara.  She's an interesting and captivating heroine, and at times, she is even admirable - but likeable?  If Scarlett and I had gone to high school together, I'm fairly certain that (a) I would have thought she was a superficial bitch and (b) she would not have known I existed.

I could ramble on forever about this book, except I want to read a chapter before I start dinner.  Here are a few quotes that I particularly love (so far!):

- Large numbers of books always depressed [Scarlett], as did people who liked to read large numbers of books.  (I would have depressed the hell out of Miss O'Hara.)

- The only time crying ever did any good was when there was a man around from whom you wished favors.  (And this is why I cannot completely like Scarlett).

- He was thunderstruck to discover that she could swiftly add a long column of figures in her head when he needed a pencil and paper for more than three figures.  And fractions presented no difficulties to her at all.  He felt there was something unbecoming about a woman understanding fractions and business matters and he believed that, should a woman be so unfortunate as to have such unladylike comprehension, she should pretend not to.  (Speechless). 

- Of course, there were unfortunate women who drank, to the eternal disgrace of their families, just as there were women who were insane or divorced or who believed, with Miss Susan B. Anthony, that women should have the vote.  (Seriously?  Insanity and women's suffrage are one and the same?  I need to write Susan B. Anthony a thank you note, never mind that she's dead).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Unsolicited Advice for Brides-to-Be: Write A Honeymoon Packing List Immediately (If Not Sooner)

If you are engaged and planning to take a honeymoon that involves a suitcase, I want you to stop whatever you are doing right now.  Unless you are presently dealing with a matter of life or death, in which case, (a) carry on with whatever it is you are doing and (b) why are you reading my blog?  Shouldn't you be dealing with this urgent matter of life or death?  I assure you, the answers to your life/death dilemma cannot be found on The Cranky Pumpkin.

Now, open a new document in your word processor.  Type the words "Honeymoon Packing List."  This is the title of your document.  If you are feeling all fancy pants, you can pick a fun font for your list, like Broadway or Stencil.  I like to use fonts that look like vintage typewriters, but that's just me.  The success of your list does not depend on what font you use.  Times New Roman will work just fine.  Now, save your document as "Honeymoon Packing List."

Still with me?  Okay, good.  Now start listing things you will need to pack for your honeymoon: jeans; sunblock; shit, I'm not writing this list for you.  You know the sorts of thing you have to pack.  If I have to tell you what to pack, I'm sorry, but you have forfeited your right to (a) go on a honeymoon, (b) have a wedding, and (c) be treated as a fully functional human being. 

Just list everything you think you might want to pack.  You might also want to list the things you want your future husband to pack.  (Important marriage tip: if you want your husband to wear his green polo shirt during your honeymoon sunset cruise, tell him.  The wedding band does not impart psychic powers.  Sorry). 

In the months leading up to your wedding, you might think of additional things that you want to bring on your honeymoon.  For example, you might be waiting in line at the grocery store when you have an epiphany: Holy crap!  I need to pack spare batteries for my digital camera when we go on our honeymoon!

Do not panic.  Just write yourself a note or send yourself an email about the spare batteries.  When you have time, add "spare batteries for digital camera" to your honeymoon packing list.

By the time your honeymoon rolls around, you will have a comprehensive list of all the things you have to pack.  You will be exhausted from your wedding, but that's okay.  Armed with your list, you can go on autopilot and your suitcase will practically pack itself. 

Do this now.  Trust me.  Otherwise, you'll forget to pack something crucial.  Like clean underwear.  And do you really want to spend the first day of your honeymoon shopping for undies with your new husband?  I think not.

I got married in July 2011, and now I have lots of opinions about weddings. My baby sister Katherine (aka Spucky) is ten years younger than me. Someday, she will get engaged and I will want to go into crazy big sister mode and inundate her with advice. Instead, I'm writing blog posts so when she gets engaged, she can read (or not read) my advice at her leisure.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter!

I wanted to give you a decorated pumpkin for Easter.  I was going to paint my gorgeous pumpkins to look like Easter eggs.  They were going to be the most exquisite Easter pumpkins in the entire universe.  The Easter bunny was going to do back flips from sheer ecstasy when he saw my pumpkin eggs.  Martha Stewart was going to cry from joy...

Oh, who am I kidding?  It's April.  I can get behind a Valentine pumpkin and even a St. Patrick's Day pumpkin, but an Easter pumpkin?  That's just absurd.  I tossed my pumpkins weeks ago.  (Bitches were starting to smell like death).

I got you tulips instead:

I adore tulips.  They make me want to run and sing and generally embarrass myself. 

I hope your weekend is full of love, sunshine and tulips.  Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Do Baseball Players Wear White Pants?

I don't understand why the baseball uniform includes white pants.  I'm sure there's a good reason for the "white pants norm", but they still seem pretty stupid to me. 

How much bleach is used every year to keep the white baseball pants looking white?  It's probably enough bleach to fill a small ocean. 

Wouldn't it make more sense for baseball players to wear brown pants?  That way, they could slide in the dirt all day, stains be damned.  And the mothers of Little League players across the world could rejoice and cancel their memberships with the Bleach-of-the-Month Club.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Drunk Bear Sighting

While walking in Westwood last week with my sister, I encountered this bear:

I realize this is a stuffed bear, and stuffed animals are inanimate objects... but this is the drunkest bear I've ever seen. 

Or maybe he's just in a sugar coma?  The bear is stationed outside a chocolate shop and could have gone on a truffles bender.  The manager probably thinks this stuffed animal will lure customers inside, but I think the bear serves as a cautionary tale.  I'm pretty sure Aesop wrote a fable about this bear called "The Bear and the Chair."  If memory serves, the bear passes out in a chair from eating too much chocolate and then a tortoise named Goldilocks wins the race... wait, crap, that can't be right. 

Also, this bear is located just a few blocks from UCLA's frat row.  I'm surprised it hasn't been stolen yet as part of some hazing ritual.

p.s. The bear's apron disturbs me, but I'm not sure why.   

p.p.s.  The Center for Disease Control should have this bear on its watch list. Seriously, how many infected toddlers do you think have snotted all over it?  The next time there's a mytery outbreak in Los Angeles, blame the bear.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Do you have a Bucket List of things you would like to do before you die?  You know, exciting and admirable things, like "climb Mt. Everest" and "bring peace to the world."

I have never written down a formal Bucket List, but I have a few things on my mental life list: write a novel (in progress); see all fifty states (also in progress); and learn how to ride a unicycle (not in progress because I am clumsy and will find a way to ride off a cliff). 

I also really want to take one great photo of a squirrel.  I know, I know.  It's not exactly on par with scaling Mt. Everest or swimming with sharks, but damnit, squirrels are the jesters of suburbia, and they hate to pose for the camera.

I recently started working from the leather chair in our "man room".  I like working in the living room because from its window, I can survey the neighborhood; but the leather chair in the back room is much more comfortable.  From the leather chair, I have a view of the tree in our backyard.  And every afternoon, a fat squirrel frolics in the tree. 

I now lie in wait with my camera, like the paparazzi lurking on Rodeo Drive, waiting for my muse to appear.  I already have captured a few winning shots, and I think, by the end of the summer, I will be able to cross "take a photo of a squirrel" off my mental bucket list.

Even When It's Hot, I Must Sleep With A Blanket

Does anyone else have this problem?  Our bedroom might be 80 degrees or more, and still, I want to sleep under a blanket.  The flat sheet is not good enough.  I must feel the weight of a blanket in order to fall asleep.  Sometimes, I compromise and just cover my feet with the blanket - but this compromise makes me very cranky.

Where did this "needs a blanket to sleep" quirk come from?  From a survival perspective, it doesn't seem like a good trait.  (Also, yes, I'm not a good candidate for long camping expeditions. And I would make a lousy nomad).

Growing up, my parents owned two awesome lightweight blankets.  They were sky blue and very loosely knit, with a lot of holes in the fabric that functioned as a built-in ventilation system.  I have not seen those blankets in years.  [Insert howl of frustration here].  If I had possessed any foresight, I would have claimed those blankets for myself when I had the chance.  Instead, I just saved some stuffed animals and my worthless collection of baseball cards.  Why couldn't I have saved a useful childhood memento?   

I guess it's time to go shopping for an airy, lightweight blanket.  Shit.  The thought of finding the perfect summer-weight blanket is already making me cranky.  How is it that I'm 33 and I only have winter appropriate blankets?  I'm a failure of a human being.  (Don't look at me.  I'm hideous).

Monday, April 2, 2012

If You Make Me Look Like An Ugly Drag Queen On Your Wedding Day, I'll Kill You

Spucky, as you may recall, this is what we looked like on my wedding day (reminder: you're the lady in green):

You were my maid of honor, and as the bride, I could have been a bitch and made you wear The Most Unflattering Dress In The World.  

But I didn't.  Look at you.  I mean seriously, look at how amazing you look in that green dress.  I hope that dress gets a lot of use this summer because damn, it was designed for you. 

When you are a bride, you may choose unflattering dresses for your bridesmaids, like a shiny orange dress that makes everyone, including Miss America, look like a fat deranged pumpkin.  Maybe it will make you feel extra beautiful if you are surrounded by a crowd of ugly women.  And hey, it's your wedding, so if you want bridesmaids in fluorescent dresses with unflattering bows, go for it.

But if you choose to be a bride who makes her bridesmaids wear butt ugly dresses, everyone will know.  All of you wedding guests will think: "That Katherine sure is a bitchy insecure bride.  Look at those awful dresses she made her bridesmaids wear."  And your bridesmaids might smile and pretend they like the dress, but they are lying and secretly plotting your death or at least a way to mortify you in public

Take the high road.  Let your bridesmaids feel beautiful, even if it is your special day.  If you choose a tacky awful bridesmaid dress, that's the only thing anyone will remember about your wedding.

Also, if you make me look like a fat ugly prostitute, I will kill you. 

I got married in July 2011, and now I have lots of opinions about weddings. My baby sister Katherine (aka Spucky) is ten years younger than me. Someday, she will get engaged and I will want to go into crazy big sister mode and inundate her with advice. Instead, I'm writing blog posts so when she gets engaged, she can read (or not read) my advice at her leisure.