LAX-mas.

8 Jan

lancaster-county-pennsylvaniaHey you’uns! (I dunno — trying a colloquial Pennsylvania-ism, not from my town…)

How are you guys? Knee deep in a juice cleanse? Day 8 of not smoking? Did anyone time travel when 2014 struck? The other day I was driving around LA and saw more than one vintage car and thought “Omg, what if I time traveled and didn’t know it!” The radio assured me that I was safe and sound in the 70s. It was on a classic rock station.

I gotta be honest. 2014 is off to a discombobulated start for me. But enough about you, let’s talk about what I did for Xmas!

I went to Pennsylvania to see my family, who I still LIKE-like, so that was affirming. Ervin and I got like the only Southwest direct flight I’ve ever heard of, from LAX-BWI. And arrived totally burned out and tired, late Christmas Eve. The airport was empty and “A Christmas Story” was playing on every TV. Santa lugged an empty sack through the baggage claim. A couple kids were scarred for life…

Ervin and I got to my sister’s house in Baltimore, ravaged her cupboards, then went to sleep to dream about sugar plums or whatever it is.

The next morning, we awoke to my nephew Hudson’s tiny 100-lb feet pattering on the floor. Twas Christmas morn!

Hud passed my Auntie test. I asked him if Santa would mind if we ate the leftover crumbs. He nodded yes. Then when I offered him the plate first, he said “NO.” The cinnamon bun didn’t get off so easy.hudson-cinnamon-bunI then enjoyed some quality time with my new niece Hadley, and Hudson. (It’s lucky when a baby voms on you, right? Like when a bird poops on you.)

auntie-hudson-hadleyHudson was particularly awesome, this visit. He even let me hug him when I promised him a Hershey’s Kiss and kiss him on the day he developed a 101 degree fever.

My sister and brother in law are awesome parents. I don’t know how they do it. For real. I tried to figure it out and I have no idea.les-heath-hudson-hadleyI think Hadley might be flashing a gang sign at her brother, in that last picture, but… y’know. Fly girls develop faster than boys.

Then it was off to Lancaster, PA, to stay with my parents at their place downtown. Some people play golf all day or go on cruises — my Dad, however, works full time in his retirement. At a landscaping company responsible for much of the foliage you see around there, even in winter.

I was walking to the post office with him, and we passed some of the planters his company installed. “Dad! Stand next to the planter so I can take your picture with your ART!”

Dad: “No.”berries-lancaster-pennsylvaniaThanks to a freshly fallen snow, the berries looked all Christmassy n s***. I’m kidding. They were quite idyllic.

We had lunch at Rachel’s Creperie. It’s like, in my parents’ backyard, practically. And it’s delicious. Of course we were going.

mom-dad-rachelsAnd then just a tiny stop by Lancaster Central Market for a sweet treat. *This is why I should only drink lemon water the rest of the year.

My Dad got a mini whoopie pie. I have concerns that he’s starting to eat like an elderly person. What’s next, broth and crackers for dinner? Hamburgers with just the bun and a leaf of lettuce?

lancaster-market-whoopie-pies

We also visited with my Grandma (Grandma! I hope you ate your leftover spaghetti and meatballs from Fiorentino’s!) and later my other grandmother Ma-Ma, who is in assisted living. So assisted, that if she leans forward in her wheelchair, a super loud rendition of “Fur Elise” blasts a warning that she’s escaping.

I’m not sure she knew who I was, but she liked me. She tucked my hair behind my ears and said so. I told her I loved her, and she said “I know you do.”

Ervin was also visiting with us. Ma-Ma sat back in her chair, looked at him, and said, “Now. Do you have any little children?” I told Ervin “BE HONEST…” (No secret children were revealed.)ma-ma-and-meThen, we skipped town and went to NYC for the day. Ervin had never been. I lived there for 2 years. And as soon as we stepped off the bus, the smell of hot sewer, street food, trash, and bitter winter, totally brought me back. My heart swelled up. I will always love that city.

We stopped by legendary Rudy’s Music, so Ervin could look at pedals. Look at him. It’s as if he’s shopping for Louboutins — what the…rudys-music-nycAfter unsuccessfully hunting for a Dunkin Donuts (thanks for nothing, tour guide who was me…), we walked uptown a little bit to Central Park. Where we discovered half of all humanity, ice skating.

It looks so romantic in movies, but I can never find the desire to wait in that line. Also, I have this fear of falling on the ice and having my fingers sliced off my hands by someone skating by. I can picture it vividly.

Finger-murderers…
central-park-ice-skating-nycAll that ice-skating watching made us hungry, so we walked over to Bouchon Bakery for a bite.

Then we hopped on the subway and headed down to The Village. {Sigh…}. I’m doing you a favor right now and telling you: DO NOT GO TO GREENWICH VILLAGE. It’s the worst. Disgusting boutique shops and local restaurants, on these barfy cobblestone streets with these wretched fire escapes and stoops like in the movies, and – God – these hideous people who look like they’re models from magazines, carrying fresh flowers and baguettes. I mean — it’s unbearable...

Oh. And the *CRONUT* bakery is there.

But too bad. We didn’t arrive 2 minutes after the shop opened, so no Cronuts for us. But no big, WE FOUND DUNKIN DONUTS!

ervin-dunkin-donuts-jelly-filled-nycAll Ervin wanted was a jelly donut. That’s his half-eaten trophy.

We hopped on the train downtown — ok, it was like 2 stops from Spring St to City Hall on the 6, but we were saving our walking feet. We were going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge!

“It’s a religious experience,” said my Mom, who had walked the bridge when she was getting her masters at NYU.

We approached the Manhattan side of the bridge, and discovered people. For. Miles. EVERYWHERE. Taking photos and leaning against my back.

“THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE!” My Mom yelled from behind me somewhere, as we were becoming separated in the crowd. I debated buying a spiky foam Lady Liberty hat, for self-defense.brooklyn-bridge-walk

We pressed on. Our foursome was going to make it to our Mecca, Grimaldi’s coal-fired, brick oven PIZZA, on the Brooklyn side. SI SE PUEDE!

No matter WHAT types of shoes I wear in NYC, they always turn on me. I had these worn-in heels that I used to wear to go out in NYC, and they would only allow me to walk at a snail’s pace. Anything faster and they’d bite my toes into bloody pieces. On this day, my boots were fighting me like two faux-leather bitches. I ignored them.

This was important. PIZZA. Come on.famous-original-rays-pizza-nyc
OK, yeah. That’s not Grimaldi’s pizza. Because the line outside of Grimaldi’s was a block long, and unmoving. As was the line at the pizza place next door to it, Juliana’s. Because why? Oh yeah. It’s owned by Patsy Grimaldi.

We had temporarily abandoned the pizza idea, and instead stopped by a cute Brooklyn bar for a glass of wine. I was hungry and buzzy and feeling nostalgic. “Let’s move here.” “We don’t have any money.” “I know.”

We took the train back into Manhattan and finally found Famous Original Ray’s. Ervin and I ordered a few slices and cuddled up at the last table for two, which was really the dirty tray area over the trash bin. But that pizza was delicious. And the line was only half as long as Grimaldi’s.

In the sultry voice of Frank Sinatra, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere…New York…” I think he was talking about just walking through Times Square over the holidays.

times-square-new-years-eve-2013MY NUTS!

I almost forgot!

MMMMM DELICIOUS STREET NUTS (– that someone told me they found a pube in, but really it’s probably an arm or beard hair, but who cares, just pick it out – it’s worth it…….) Roasted coconut and cashews. My nostrils mean I’m serious.nuts-for-nuts-nycI earned these extra calories from my “religious experience” earlier.

We took the bus back to Lancaster, where we met up with one of Ervin’s childhood friends from Puerto Rico! They say Lancaster is “The Spanish Rose”. Ervin’s friend Luis, his gal Jenny, and my Aunt Lin met us at The Belvedere in Lancaster, two blocks from my parents’ house. At the house where I grew up, the coolest shop nearby was Turkey Hill. AND for all of you who don’t know what that is, it’s Lancaster County’s 7Eleven. Except they make their own ice cream and iced tea and both those things will change your life.

The next day, we returned to Baltimore for one last dinner with my sister and her husband. If you live in Baltimore, why are you not going to Woodberry Kitchen every nite? It’s soooo good. My cocktail had a sprig of rosemary in it, and my belly had a bunch of oysters, seared tuna, and fried pickles in it. I was happy.

But not as happy as Ervin.woodberry-kitchen-me-les-heath-ervinThat’s us, and my totally generous sis and bro-in-law, finishing up our visit together. I wish we could do that every nite.

We got back to their house, and said goodbye to my parents who were babysitting everybody under 3. Then it was a quick sleep, and time to head back to LA. We all hugged and tried to pretend it won’t be long before we see each other again…gum-airplane-napkinSorry — I had to put my gum somewhere, Kansas. — Or South Dakota. Iowa? Colorado?

Wait — Wyoming?

XX,

L

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13 Responses to “LAX-mas.”

  1. casfreedom January 8, 2014 at 2:46 PM #

    I loved this. You know I paste everyone of your blogs on FB. I’m all, “this is my friend Lauren’s blog, y’all. She’s funny and fabulous and since you’re too lazy to follow her, I’ll just keep pasting. But really, you should follow her yourselves” Or something like that.

    We had a lovely Christmas here in Portland. Low key, well as lowkey as it can be when you still have kids who believe in Santa. But, hey they let us stay in bed until 7:03am so that was a gift in and of itself.

    I’m still plugging away at ART and it’s good. Loving our new Artist Director, Damaso Rodriquez (formerly of Furious Theatre) Hey – you know Amanda Soden, right? She’s in Pasadena now at the Playhouse doing a show that ART produced in conjuntction with Furious. Go see it if you can. “Foxfinder” I say this assuming you have the time and the desire to see theater. I could probably get you a comp or two.

    I was going to write you a really long email, but I just got buzzed and now must go problem solve something in the rehearsal hall – for a show I’m not even SMing. How does that work?!?

    Love ya! C A

    • Lauren Bair January 8, 2014 at 5:09 PM #

      OMG, CA — thank you for these sweet words. And for passing on a link to my blog! That’s very cool.

      I would love to see Amanda’s show in Pasadena! Would it be possible to get 2 comps? I am very broke, but still appreciative of the arts. HAHAHA.

      Thanks so much for writing on here and for your stories and adventures on your OWN blog. I enjoy every one. Happy New Year!! XO

  2. Jackaldog January 8, 2014 at 3:14 PM #

    I’m going to be in LA next week and I want to see you!! I don’t care when or how but I wanna see your face and hug you with my man-biceps while you pat my back with your man-hands! Do you have my number?

  3. tinykitchenstories January 8, 2014 at 3:45 PM #

    Can I join your family? They all sound so awesome! Much more exciting than my boring Christmas trying to avoid Christmas altogether and being worse than the Grinch. Didn’t work. Christmas happened anyway, and at least I got a cashmere sweater! And it won’t be Christmas for another 12 months…

    • Lauren Bair January 8, 2014 at 5:03 PM #

      Well, Cashmere Christmas sounds pretty fabulous! You can keep warm on these cold 70 degree nights. I’m kidding. It’s like in the high 50s. And yes, you can totally join my family!

      • tinykitchenstories January 10, 2014 at 2:33 PM #

        Wore my sweater today–air conditioning counts as “cold weather”, right? And thanks for the warm welcome–my family is so crazy it’s always nice to go visit someone else’s!

  4. jwynnyk January 8, 2014 at 3:54 PM #

    I can always count on you for a good laugh…”but really it’s probably an arm or beard hair” totally cracked me up. Happy new year, chica!

    • Lauren Bair January 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM #

      Happy New Year!!! (Please let it be an arm or beard hair….) XO

  5. graceandivy January 8, 2014 at 4:38 PM #

    LOVED reading about your holidays! Was laughing out loud several times!! Missing you big time! So glad you had fun. Love you! Xo.

    • Lauren Bair January 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM #

      Miss you too Ivette!! Cannot wait to reconnect very soon ;) XOXO!

  6. your madre adorablemente lindo January 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM #

    LOLing as well, and glad to hear this blog is funny even if you aren’t a character in it. The gum on Kansas did me in!

    • Lauren Bair January 8, 2014 at 7:18 PM #

      Glad you like it even when you ARE a character in it. Hahaha. XO

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