Friday, April 27, 2007

Did You Know That I...

1. Love Christmas music.
2. Had a crush on Cubs 3rd baseman Ron Santo way back when.
3. Hate the smell of lilies.
4. Once ate 4 Krispy Kremes on the way home from Krispy Kreme.
5. Rip the address labels off my magazines before I get rid of them.
6. Love the sound of rain.
7. Once threw one of my brothers against a wall.
8. Stuck a raisin up my nose as a child.
9. Can spell "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" very quickly.
10. Listen to talk radio.
11. Hate coffee and wish I didn't.
12. Have a triple-pierced ear.
13. Love to read in the tub.
14. Love to work lines from movies into conversation--i.e. "I'll have what she's having." Usually I'm the only one who's amused.
15. Won the First Baby of the Year contest from a neighborhood newspaper when I was born.
16. Have very thin fingers and earlobes.
17. Sometimes fall into my computer and can't get out.
18. Used to alphabetize my record albums.
19. Love the idea of being a minimalist but know it's not for me.
20. Have 20-something bottles of hair stuff in my shower.
21. Would rather someone pick up the phone and say thank you than send a note.
22. Have not printed out a digital photo in years.
23. Have a giant box of recipes I have pulled out of magazines and the internet. I know I'll never try them but I just can't get rid of them.
24. Love to sleep in flannel pants and a long-sleeved tee that is so soft and so old that it has holes in it. Mr. Minivan hates this outfit but it is so cozy.....
25. Have 9 or 10 pairs of flip-flops.
26. Love love love trashy novels. Especially the ones with one-word titles. Like--"Deceptions", "Irrational," "Suspicions." Stuff like that. Pretend to be into the book club books but love the beach reads.
27. Hate when people misuse "I" and "me"--it actually hurts my ears.
28. Don't mind folding laundry but hate putting it away.
29. Once tried out for "Wheel of Fortune."
30. Hate crowds.
31. Find it very difficult to do nothing.
32. Find it even harder to do only one thing at a time.
33. Have no hair on my arms and almost never have to shave my legs.
34. Love a free refill.
35. Love Swedish Fish and Raisinets. But not together.
36. Drink too much Diet Cherry Coke.
37. Love sharing food at restaurants.
38. Sadly, have watched every season of "The Bachelor."
39. Think my favorite part of exercising is when you stop.
40. Used to love "Bewitched," "Love, American Style," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", ""The Carol Burnett Show," "Petticoat Junction," The Brady Bunch", and "Rhoda."
41. Love pepperoni pizza but will not order it.
42. In college, wanted to leave a Bruce Springsteen concert during the last song to beat the traffic.
43. Asked my friends at the same concert, why the audience was booing him. They told me--"They're not saying "Booooooooo", they're saying "Bruuuuuuuuuuuce."
44. Am really into hamburgers right now.
45. Am usually prepared for everything. You need a tweezer, an aspirin, dental floss, a magazine, I'm your girl.
46. Think 50 doesn't seem so old anymore.
47. Am searching for the best cupcake in L.A. Thus, the exercise.
48. Hate roller coasters.
49. Love the previews at movies. Especially love when there are so many that I forget what movie I came to see.
50. Love making lists.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Doctor 90210

Just kidding. Went to the doctor today for a complete physical. EKG, the little hammer, bloodwork, "say ahhhh", the whole works. What a nice man. Completely normal. Didn't try to sell me a new nose or any strange devices to insert inside myself. He spent a lot of time with me, answered my questions, and has a lovely and very reassuring manner. He told me my heart is fine. My children will be happy to know I actually have one. I don't remember why, but he mentioned blogs and I told him I have one. I gave him the address and he said he would check it out. If you read this, Doc, it was great to meet you, but as I tell all the repairmen who come to my house, I hope I don't see you for quite a while! By the way, do you have a dentist you can refer me to?.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dentist 90210

I had a real L.A. moment today. A freaky, creepy moment. Maybe I'm too old. Maybe I'm too midwestern. Or maybe it's just..I dunno...that I'm normal? I was at the dentist's office. My new dentist. My new L.A. dentist. I had gotten a referral from my Chicago dentist for a dentist here. Unfortunately, between the time I got the referral and the time I called him, he had passed away. His wife was nice enough to call me back and refer me to the dentist she was going to be using. So I filled out all the forms, had x-rays taken, and was sitting in the chair when the dentist came in. We exchanged pleasantries and he said, "now I'm going to put my hands in your mouth." My first thought was "without even buying me dinner first?" but I was soon distracted by what he said next. "Have you heard about the "blah-blah lift" we offer here? A non-invasive face lift?" "Please!" I stopped him. "Don't depress me." "Maybe for a friend, or your mother," he backtracked. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall had he had my mother in the chair. "Look," he went on. "Here's my face with the lift." Then he covered his mouth and two clear plastic curved things emerged from his mouth. "Here's my face without. It takes off about 5 years." "I think you look great either way," I managed to say. Honestly, I didn't see much of a difference. I didn't say what I wanted to say. After all, he has a drill and he knows how to use it. What I wanted to say was, "Are you f-ing kidding me? Just clean my teeth and let me outta here." You walk around holding plastic in your mouth and who knows where else all day and only go back to 2002? You'd get my attention if you said 1997, but 2002? Come on. The rest of the exam concluded uneventfully, except for encouraging me to get Invisalign, a 3/4 reverse crown or some such mumbo-jumbo, and a sealant for my wisdom teeth. In the good old days a dentist would have lulled you into a false sense of security and postponed the hard-sell til the second visit. Everything moves faster now, I guess. Especially the cost of office space in 90210. I feel lucky to have gotten out of there with my wallet, my 2007 face, and my midwestern brain intact.

Monday, April 16, 2007

We're walking....we're walking....

My friend emailed me to ask me if I wanted to go walking in one of the canyons here this morning. No matter that my last walk with her included tripping three times and falling face first on the sidewalk . I'm an optimist. I'll keep trying. Her next email included instructions for me. "Wear sweat pants or comfortable pants. Don't wear jeans. Bring water and kleenex in case you have to pee in the bushes. It IS rattlesnake season." OK, now I'm a little worried. I KNOW to wear sweats, not jeans--I have exercised before, believe it or not. And bring kleenex for WHAT?????!! How long are we going to be walking for? And rattlesnakes? This is sounding less and less like a fun hike with a girlfriend and more and more like some bizarre urban game of Survivor. But I followed instructions. Except for the kleenex.

It all kind of reminded of me of a time about 20 or so years ago when a friend of mine was in town and we wanted to go out for fondue (calm down--it was the 80's!!) on a Saturday night. I called my brother and invited him and his wife to join us. "Don't wear jeans", I told him, "dress a little nicer." A few minutes later I called him back. "They don't take reservations and there will probably be a long wait so you might want to eat a little something before you go." "Let me get this straight," he said. "We're going out to dinner, I can't wear jeans, I have to cook my own food, and I have to eat before I go." "Pretty much", I said. But --back to the hike.
So we headed out toward the canyon, me with my long, rattlesnake repelling sweats and a t-shirt, and she with her scarf tied over her layers of shirts. We both carried water bottles. I didn't ask if she had kleenex hidden somewhere. I sort of didn't want to know.

The hike up the canyon was one of those experiences where you think you are going to die during it and once you get to the top you are glad you survived. The whole hike took about 45 minutes and included beautiful views of L.A. On a clear day, my friend told me, you can see the ocean and Catalina Island. As usual, though, it wasn't clear. We saw mansions perched on hills, the Hollywood sign, and many other walkers, most with dogs. I survived the hike and felt great after a shower at home. I can't wait to do it again. I embarrassed my friend a little by saying a friendly "good morning" to many fellow hikers. "It's L.A.," she said, "they'll think you want something from them." I can't think of anything anyone would think I needed from them in the canyon. Except possibly some kleenex.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Crazy Here Crazy There

There's craziness everywhere. I leave Chicago and one year later the principal at our former elementary school gets demoted, a gorgeous blond mom switches teams and now her ex-husband is trying to get the gym teacher she is dating (not that there's anything wrong with that) fired, and a janitor at our former synagogue is arrested for videotaping children in the restroom (clearly there is something VERY wrong with that). Oh, yes, and it snowed yesterday. Several inches. In April. It would seem to me that the problem is obvious. I left and the whole town fell apart. I know it sounds crazy but how can you argue with such evidence. None of these things happened when I was there. I rest my case.

And then I came to L.A. A place where people bring dogs into stores. Yes, they do. I know, I know, they do that is Europe. But last time I checked we used dollars, not Euros. People here also wear Uggs in 75 degree weather. Well, of course they do. It goes with their scarves. And here is another weird thing specific to the entertainment industry. When you call someone--or should I say someone's assistant--and they can't take the call they say, "Can he return?" Or, even more pretentious, "Can we return?" Not, "Can he return the call?" No. That would take too much time, I guess. "Can he return?" What a great time-saver. And everybody does it. I am planning to start doing it myself. Of course I have no assistant so I have to figure out how to handle that problem. I may pretend to be my own assistant. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Craziness is not limited to one time zone. We can all participate. That's the beauty and the promise of America.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The End of an Era

Tonight I tried to reach the bag of rice from the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet. It was just far enough back that I couldn't reach it. I stood on my tippy-toes. No good. I jumped and grabbed at the same time. No good. I grabbed some kitchen tongs and tried to grab it with that, but each attempt pushed the bag just far enough away so that I couldn't. I thought about dragging a chair over and then came up with another idea. "Boy #1," I called. "Come here for a minute." I explained the problem and started to hand him the tongs. He ignored them. He simply stood on his toes and reached for the bag. He got it. No problem. He is almost 2 inches taller than I am. Once small enough to fit in my arms, I now have to reach up to ruffle his hair. It's the end of an era.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Chance Meeting

Fate. Destiny. Karma. Kismet. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time or in the right place at the right time. It's sometimes just a matter of chance.

Today was not a shopping day. It was a return day. I parked at the Farmers Market and started walking through to return something at Nordstrom. I wove my way through the aisles of this open-air market at random. I had just passed a man and a woman in a big floppy hat when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw her turn and look at me. I turned back to look at her. "Are you from Chicago?' she asked. "Yes," I answered, wondering who she was. "Are you Donna's niece?" she asked. Stunned, I answered "Yes." How did this stranger know my aunt who lived overseas? And, even stranger, how did she know who I was? Turns out she had been desperately trying to get ahold of my mother to get ahold of my aunt, who was in Chicago. The mystery woman was a dear friend of my aunt's and was visiting L.A. She was supposed to get together with my aunt in Chicago, but was unable to travel as scheduled due to an ear infection. She had been trying in vain to get my mother's phone number to tell my aunt of her change in travel plans, when all of a sudden I appeared in front of her. Very strange. She had somehow recognized me--she told me I hadn't changed a bit. I thought I had a good memory but she beats me hands down. I must have met her in the past but for the life of me I couldn't remember when. She and her husband were so nice--"Come join us for lunch," they urged.

After I did my return and bought 2 pairs of shoes (it is Nordstrom--that's what they're known for!!! And I have to have a reason to come back and do my next return!) I popped into the restaurant they were at and chatted with them and their daughter and her mother-in-law for a few minutes. Truly truly nice people. Now we all have all our numbers and no one has an excuse for being unable to get in touch.

Chance meetings are a strange thing. What if I had stayed at my car a few more minutes before going into the Farmers Market? What if I had turned down a different aisle? Or if I had been looking down or she had been looking to the left instead of straight ahead as we passed each other? If you think about this stuff too much it will for sure drive you crazy. I guess some things are meant to be, some things just happen, and some things are unexplainable. Figuring out which is which is sometimes the challenge.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Life is Short

I just heard about the death of a dad from our former elementary school. It was a freak accident--he was on a sunset whale-watching tour with his family while vacationing in Hawaii. The boat's 65-foot mast broke off and hit him in the head, causing his death. He was the only fatality that day. I had met him maybe a few times, but I know his wife from volunteering at school. She is a lovely woman. One of his 3 kids has been in classes with Boy #2. I guess a vacation will always be bittersweet for them. It's all so sad. We read about stuff like this in the papers every day. We bring dinner if we can, we write condolence notes. Then we go back to our busy lives. And our lives go on. For the survivors it eventually goes on but it is never the same. We get so caught up in the little things in life. So we say no to dessert, we worry about losing that extra 7 pounds, we get annoyed with our husbands who don't do things the way we want them to and leave socks on the floor. We spend too much time cleaning and folding laundry and not enough time doing simply nothing with our kids. And we worry and obsess about things that are out of our control. Life is just too short, and sometimes it is too too short and it just isn't fair. I bet his wife would gladly pick his socks up every day without complaining if she just had her husband back. When you hear stories like this, especially if you know the people involved, maybe it should be a reminder to embrace the moment and try to find joy where you can. Let that laundry pile up a little. Go to a movie with a friend instead of paying your bills tonight. Eat dessert first. Life is too short.

Will This Day Never End?

Last night I went to a movie with a friend. I drove to her house and parked there and then we walked a short way to the theater. I carefully changed OUT of my flip-flops and INTO my gym shoes for the walk. Not that it helped. On the way to the theater, I tripped on my own feet or on the sidewalk or on something or other not one but two times. I didn't fall though. Not on the side streets. No, I saved that for the busy busy intersection right by the theater. I tripped yet again--the third time in half an hour and totally wiped out. Landed on my hands and knees. I felt the thud all through my body and my head. My glasses went flying. My friend picked them, and me, up. Passers-by stared, I started laughing. If I hadn't I would have started crying. "I'm fine," I said as my friend worried. We made it to the movies--up six flights of stairs--the escalator was being repaired. I changed back to flip-flops for the walk back. Didn't trip once.

Once I got safely home, I took a hot bath and got into bed. Mr. Minivan was letting the boys stay up too late so I let him deal with them. Boy #2 came into our room to brush his teeth. "Come kiss me good-night," I said. So he raced to the bed and hurled himself toward me. His head met my mouth. Did my teeth survive? I got up and ran to the bathroom to view the damage. Blood in my mouth--where's it coming from? A cut and swollen lip. Please let this day end with no more injuries. I applied ice and thankfully went to sleep. My teeth survived and, barely, so did I.