Archive | July, 2011

Kelly’s BDay.

29 Jul

Tomorrow is my sister Kelly’s birthday. July 30. She would have been 26. It almost feels like writing “she would have been 910!”  It’s an obscenely large number somehow, for someone who will always be 8 years old.

She had the only head of gleaming blonde (not brown) hair in the family. Blue eyes she shared with my Mom. An easy, gutsy laugh. (Here she is getting love-bites by the neighbor’s fluffy little dog.)

When she was 6, she had brain cancer. Two years of chemoradiasurgertorture we’ll call it and one tumor returned as four. She died shortly after her 8th birthday.

I was in high school. I think it was about a week, before most of my friends were back to soccer practice, crushing out on boys, complaining about the homework for English class. I remember my Health teacher releasing me to Study Hall during the “Death and Dying” portion of the curriculum. I was proud of myself for taking the leave because I could use the free time, not because I needed to be protected. After all, what new information was there to learn. I had been on a Death and Dying field trip. Want me to teach this s***?

But the thing with grieving is that it isn’t over. Ever. Even after you’ve passed through your allotted up-to-2-weeks of public sadness. After that point, even the most well-meaning people are ready to get back to not worrying about you so much. You’re ok, right? You’re so strong. You have your faith. She’s in a better…

But that’s the point when you realize what happened. It sinks into your marrow. Your heart takes on a different, permanent shape. Fast forward to 18 years later and things still catch you off guard. While the hurt isn’t as jagged, it can still be crushingly powerful.

I have talked with my Mom and a few friends about how a person should be allowed “THE YEAR OF NUTTINESS”. A full YEAR of unabashed grieving, following a death. Acting friggin looneytoons and being allowed the space to do it. Don’t wanna shower for a month? OK! Don’t feel like working? BLESSINGS! Wanna punch that stranger on the bus because her giant shopping tote is poking into your leg? SHE’LL UNDERSTAND!

While I still very much wish I had had that year (and that maybe Kelly would have died at a more convenient time… like, when she was 910), I can now find a few bits of humor in it. Here’s an example:

“How many siblings do you have?”

“…Two.” (I always waffle here. There are many factors that come into play (How well do I know you/Do you really care/Is this going to get weird), but I generally try to mention sisters, plural. Because there are two.)

“Cool. Where do they live?”

“Baltimore. And…Heaven.” (This entertains me because I know how ridiculous it sounds.)


“It’s ok. Baltimore’s actually really nice if you spend some time there…”

So, THIS YEAR, I wanna do something for Kelly’s birthday. I am still brainstorming about this. I want it to be meaningful to me. I also want to connect with her somehow. Non-Ouija-ish-y.

Here’s a picture of she and I, when she came with my parents to pick me up from camp. I cried my eyes out when I saw her. I missed her so much (I was only gone for a week. Ugh, sensitive, shy kid I was). I look at it now, remembering how it felt to hold her like that. And how it felt to have her small hands on my face. And it still makes me cry…

Happy BDay Kelly. I miss you every day.




Bankrupt Slut.

27 Jul

…Somehow seems sexier and rock star-ier on a sticker on top of a mountain.

Disclaimer: Readers, it’s smart to budget your cash monies. Also you don’t have to be slutty to be popular, but we all learned in high school that it helps quite a bit.




Tales From A Comic-Con-Virgin…

26 Jul

I went to Comic-Con 2011 in beautiful San Diego on Saturday! My roommate hooked me up with a pass for the day, so after I checked out his sweet Fleet Street Scandal booth, I took my badge for a spin on the Convention floor.

After some Asian kids asked me to take a picture with them (which I did because I had my sunglasses on anyway and when I was the only one who said “Comic-Connnnnn…” on the count of three, I jabbed both of them in the back and said “You didn’t say it, like your friend wanted you to” and they go “Wanna make out?”) — I knew it was going to be a great day.

If you weren’t able to get to the show this year, you can reenact it for yourself. I’ll guide you through a dramatization:

Take some laundry out of the dirty pile, crunch some Sour Cream Doritos into it, then warm it up with a hair dryer for 10 minutes. Stand near that pile for 120 minutes. While you’re doing that, slap yourself in the face occasionally with a rolled up poster. Or a bag. Or elbow your own neck if possible. Step on your toes. Sneeze on yourself at least once. Envision fat versions of skinny superheros and skinny versions of fat ones, walking by, stopping for photos, stuffing their faces with pizza. Just like in the movies. The most beautiful people will be wearing the most clothing. The others…well… There will be brilliant art right next door to the crappy kind. Kids toys next to, um, adult toys (yeah, that kind). But you’re in the flow of people traffic anyway, so. It’s easiest just to go with it.

You will have your pick of boyfriends, ladies.

Ok, anyone but him. 

Just as I was thinking — WELL, I guess the only thing to do here is to develop a sudden love of Dungeons & Dragons, act like I understand all the geek-isms written on T-shirts/posters/stuffed animals, grab some nachos and make out with the first guy I can find *not* wearing a Utilikilt, I saw it: STUFF I LIKE. My exclusive picks from my afternoon at Comic-Con:

Crafting With Cat Hair A delightful book about how to make use of your pet’s hairballs! If you were on the fence about cat ownership, I think I just pushed you over into Cat Fancy. (There’s no turning back).
The Frantic Meerkat  Magnets, cards, calendars, prints… all vintage and snarky and perfect! Get your own. (I did!)
Counselor Troi From Star Trek! She was there! I KNOW! I never watched that show either! It always came on after Little House And The Prairie and it was always a disappointment. I DO remember her though, from the back of cereal boxes, which I know realize were my only way in to pop culture. (She was the pretty one.)
Kids Dressed As Batman and The Joker, punching each other.
Battle Bears
Have you guys played this?? I walked by the booth and realized I know Ben Vu who invented it! He was just an intern back in the day at LAIKA, when I knew him. Oh, how the tables have turned. Now he’s ruling the world with bears that have rainbows coming out of their necks…
Yuki 7  And the new book put out by my roomie and his buddy Kevin Dart (Fleet Street Scandal). Check out the sexy spy-y trailer!

This looks like a scene from a not scary musical:

Finally, the day was over, the floor was closing, everyone was being asked to leave, and I was tagging along to dinner plans. And what plans they were.

We jumped in my sturdy dirty car and zipped over to Coronado Island where we found Hotel del Coronado. If you are  E V E R  in San Diego for  A N Y  reason, this hotel must be at the top of your list. And just above that, the 1800 Ocean restaurant there. After you find your way through the hotel, dripping with crystal chandeliers and dark, old wooden banisters, you’ll walk out onto a sprawling patio full of cafes and shoppes on the hotel beach. Live jazz will tickle your ears, saltwater air will cleanse your soul, and you’ll think “Whyyyyyy did I not wear something cuter in order to land me a Sugar Daddy.” The conversation was delightful, the food f****** amazing, the rosé smooth and crisp and perfect, the evening sultry. The kind of night where someone else picks up your tab, so you’re allowed to flaunt your fabulous. Chat up the leopard-print-ladies in the powder room, flirt with any and all servers.


It was perfect. It had all the elements: adventure, hotel that feels like combination southern plantation / Titanic (Thomas Edison actually wired the place for electricity), yummy food and lovely company.

As I drove back to LA at midnight on I-5, I thought to myself “I feel like I’m in a dream, not really driving my c” — wait, no (at that point I stopped and got some Red Bull and Pop Chips). I got back on the highway and thought to myself, with the windows down, wind whipping my hair, chips on my shirt, Red Bull cutting a tiny hole in my esophagus… “I love this.”

Comic-Con, you’re one crazy b**** and I like your style.



Everything You Need.

25 Jul

Sometimes, Los Angeles reaches out and reads my mind. How did it know I like ice cream so much. But mostly, how did this electrical box (or whatever it is) on the corner of Ambrose/Hillhurst know to tell me exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, while waiting for the light to turn green…





Sister Baby Bump.

21 Jul

I am not a baby person. I don’t currently have the desire to possess my own helpless likeness. Nor do I feel the urge to dig my hands into every passing stroller for a quick oochi-goochie-goo.


She sent me this picture, cropped at the cankles (which she doesn’t have…). I hope she’s not mad about me posting it (- Are you, Butter?? You’re friggin adorable!)

Bear with me while I brag about how much I love my sister. I love her. A LOT. One of the things that straight up sucks about living on the opposite coast from my entire family, is that I miss out on things. This being one of them. (This is the first time I’m seeing her belly and she’s due in under 8 weeks!). I wish I could be there for all the moments in “Future Niecephew’s” life. But I already know I won’t be. This will be a baby that grows up fast and on the internet, for me. There are fingers crossed for lots of Skype, plane trips when we can make them, iPhone photos, a miraculous fortune that I can spend on onesies. It’s hard.

My sister and I are very close. We share the same Bday week (Which we always celebrate – now, by choice. When we were kids and got “sharing presents”, we secretly resented the crap out of each other for being born.) I was 3 and she was 0 and it was a bit of a rocky start, being replaced by something cute and full of eyelashes. But we got to know each other as people. Through years and years of shopping, sharing secrets and fisticuffs. She went to college, met a great guy, got married, bought a house, got a career, bought another house, and is now having a baby. Somewhere in there, we kind of switched roles: She took on “wiser, stable, life-experience sister” and I took on “bumbling-thru-trying-stuff sister”.

She has developed a protective thing, for me. I think she could truly throw down should she run into any of my ex’s on the street. (Be warned, readers I’ve dated.) And she always has something thoughtful and loving to say about any given circumstance. “He’s an asshole” and such. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of being replaced again, by this little baby. Somehow I have nestled into the comfortable crux of my sister’s arm and a little part of me worries that she won’t always be there for me, like she is now.

But then I really think about it. If we’ve gone through all this life stuff together, why would this be different? So what if Niecephew’s face is like the cutest button with the biggest batting lashes, rosy chubbster cheeks and flirty smile. I hope s/he sweeps us all off our feet. And becomes a truly amazing human being.

Also, I’m pretty sure Niecephew will be keeping my sister up at ALL kinds of hours, so this Pacific v Eastern time zone thing might not be such a bad deal! She’ll be drunk on sleeplessness and I’ll just be drunk. Bingo.

Honestly, I just want a kid that will fly to see “The Crazy Aunt in LA” on occasion. And bring Mom of course. (Alright – and Dad, and also Grandma and Grandpa…). Maybe Niecephew will actually bring us all just a little bit closer. Hmm. Niecephew, I am in love with you already.


Doing LaLa Land with: Kitty Cattaraugus

20 Jul

I spent a hot, sunny afternoon (in a very dark bar) with the Kitty Cattaraugus. If she’s not kindly letting me pick her brain (and snap her pics) over boooozy cocktails at Drawing Room in Los Feliz, she’s concocting witty, brilliant bloggery here.

I first caught up with her at Rudy’s Barbershop on Sunset, where she was cuttin’ some fresh bangs. She gave me a gluten-free cookie to eat while I waited for her. I ate it slowly like a concentrating hamster. We walked (- and in the hot sun, even!) down the street for lunch at Forage (…mmm delicious…) She ordered their savory roasted chicken while I had a feast of broccoli, bean and green salads. For a millisecond, we considered coffee, but daytime cocktails quickly won over. There’s something irresistibly thrilling about drinking at high noon. We had a lovely time.

Our conversation tripped and weaved around our thoughts about livin’ the single high life in LA. Online dating. Men. Man-babies (the worst!). Our sweet rock-n-roll bartender (this is her) set us up with a couple “gummy bear” shots. And a few regulars got up the liquid courage to approach us. After a while, we were getting their unsolicited advice on our love lives. A favorite of most single gals: When a stranger asks “Why are YOU still single?” Sigh. The real question should be me asking “How’d you trick someone into marrying YOU, Creepster.” 

I begged Kitty to tell me everything she knows about LA. A Minnesota girl, she’s lived here 5 years, is currently running around car-less (!) and has an aesthetic that I quite adore. Thank you Kitty!

Kitty’s Best of LA:

1. The Hall at Palihouse. A bit of an “urban long-stay lodge” nestled in West Hollywood, combining luxury boutique with neighborhood haunt. Kitty recommends stopping in for a cocktail. “It feels like you’re hanging out in someone’s basement.” Palihouse

2. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Movie Screenings. Wildly popular sultry summertime cinema. Bring your picnic basket, a blanket and some friends (not the canine kind). Tickets and schedule: Cinespia

3. Machine Project. A gallery space used for a myriad of different purposes (It was once turned into a mossy forest!). In the least, consider it “bad performance art, a.k.a charades for adults”. At best, you just bought yourself a cheap beer at a one-of-a-kind show! You’re welcome. Machine Project 

4. Sarah Jessica Parker’s blotting tip. For the misty-faced gal on a budget: Next time you’re on the john, snag an extra one of those seat covers to dab your T-zone. Stars – they’re just like us!

5. Prado. Next door to Machine Project, it rounds out a cheap date with a cheaper post-show beer. Prado

6. Sayonara, stressin’ out. Kitty’s tips for staying mostly sane in this town are as follows: A. Take a breath, B. Hum “Casta Diva” to yourself, C. Listen to some Mitch Hedberg, D. Clip your iPod to your skivvies and have yourself an underwear dance party. *With or without additional dancers.

7. The outdoor garden at The Getty. Kids rolling down hills, picnics, wine, green space that’s actually green, pomegranate and passion fruit trees, chives, bougainvillea, views. Robert Irwin designed the grounds to constantly change. You’re gonna wanna pack a picnic for every season. The Getty

8. Los Angeles, itself. People watching, movies filming on your doorstep, neighborhoods mere steps away. The excitement that comes with “craziness knowing no time or place”.

9. Mockingbirds that imitate car alarms. (I’m pretty sure she mentioned this. I had maybe sipped a few vodka crans by this point. But, like the gnomes from my 2nd grade field trip, I know in my heart they exist…)




Hollywood Farmers’ Market.

18 Jul

Hey you guys! I accidentally took a week off from you. Lame. I just needed to…do…stuff. Take some care of myself.

I knew I needed a little break when the neti pot poured out of my mouth and not my other nostril. And I could still breathe. And gargle to myself: Sigh…why is my head doing this…?

So much has happened since last time: CARMAGEDDON (the uneventful closing of LA’s 405 this weekend. I think it’s more fun to say “Carpocalypse”), I taught my first Turbo Kickbox warm-up to a real live class and didn’t completely suck(!), my roommate’s art show opened (check it thru August 6!), my good girlfriend visited for the weekend, I discovered Alibi Room in Venice (mmmini tacos), I got to pet a puppy Husky while buzzy on margaritas (sensory overload!), I got some freelance work at BLT, I saw Carlos Calvo rock the axe at Genghis Cohen, I cried myself to sleep a few times, laughed hysterically, shopped at Albertson’s with January Jones, signed up for UCB Improv 301 with Eugene Cordero, saw Beginners (thumbs up!), learned a hard lesson in scheduling and proving myself in this town, AND:

I discovered the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. What fresh hell heaven is this!

I have always wanted to visit this market. Mainly because I go to a kickboxing class at 24Hr Fitness right across the street on Sundays. This past weekend, I had $10 in my pocket and thought — no, I shouldn’t. I should save my m—— no, f-it. I wanna see something new.

If you have never been. Or if you haven’t been yet this season, please know that it is PRIME PLUOT PICKIN’Z, PEOPLE. I am not kidding. They are ridiculously sweet and juicy and yes you will have to fight me for them.

This ice cream comes in flavors like salted caramel, Intelligentsia espresso and strawberry buttermilk. They give out samples. And they don’t make a fuss if you return with a mustache and ask for another one. Also, if you are making these caramels, you can totally find big ole vanilla beans at this stand for $8 (way better than the dried scabs they sell at the grocery store for $12). 

Fresh flowers, carrots like rabbits eat, honey with the honeycomb in it… And figs. My newest obsession. I need to find a good recipe for them. Slicing them in half has been plenty preparation for me…

A bit of obscene fruit photography. You’ve become a woman. Yicky.Some of what’s so brilliant about the market is the sampling. They know what they’re doing, those growers. You think “Ah, just one slice – what, an eighth? – of a plum and I’ll be on my way.” And 2 seconds later, you have both hands submerged in a dish of sliced fruit, your cheeks ruddy with sticky red juice, and you’re shamelessly bartering for the maximum load for the limited cash you have in your wallet. I say this from experience.

I walked away with my $10 gone, but my bag full of figs, pluots and okra.

Farmers, I officially declare my crushy, local love for you. XX, L

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