Sweet Lorraine



Sometimes a friend sends you something and you have to share it. Baker Jen sent this little video to me, and I was touched beyond belief.


Please watch it. And do yourself a favor – grab a tissue before it begins. Unlike me, who had to scrounge and find one pronto, as my vision was blurring…

Waiter, There’s a Fly in My Beer



My friend, Baker Jen, came over the other night and that girl was bearing gifts, y’all. Beer!


Baker Jen had been in San Diego a few days before and she’d stopped by Stone Brewing Co. for some – what else – beer. Having procured 2 liters of special tap (Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Barley Wine and Punk Style Scottish Ale), she headed back to L.A. and realized she needed to drink that high-alcohol-content brew in 7 to 10 days, for the sake of freshness. After she contacted me for imbibing help, I offered up some ribs and the rest, as they say, is history.


Or so I think. I mean, I did have my fair share of that dee-lish beer. I do seem to remember having a grand time. And I do remember having a full belly. Sadly, I also remember when a fly headed straight into my beautiful beer. That drunk fly didn’t stand a chance…


Another Chance



Remember when I posted the above photo and shared how I’d missed my opportunity to take an awesome pic of the cactus flower at the new pad? Well, that cactus done gone and went and give me a second chance…



Actually, she’s got 9 (!) buds on her, so I’m blessed with multiple chances.


I love how gorgeous the flowers are. How something so soft and lovely springs forth from something so hard and prickly. The juxtaposition of those two forms gives me the smilies, I tell ya!


Mister and I are enjoying these cactus flowers as much as possible. We know they won’t last and we want to appreciate them while we may. Apparently, the bees know these flowers won’t last, as well. It would seem we’re all getting our fill…


Framing Ceremony



I don’t know if I’ve ever told you about one of the coolest rituals at the studio where I paint: the Framing Ceremony.


When one of us finishes a painting, our teacher takes it into his office for a moment, then returns with the painting placed in a frame. He props it up on an easel or on the floor (depending on size), and we all ooo and aahhh over the finished product.


The above photo was taken last night, and it was a grand framing ceremony. But then something happened: another student finished a painting, and so we had a second awesome framing ceremony…



Near the end of the night, yet another student’s masterpiece was completed and we all experienced the third framing ceremony of the evening…



Honestly, I was ooo-ing and aahhh-ing so much – I didn’t want it to end. But it did.


As you can see, we all paint completely different subjects and styles. That makes for a gallery feel at the studio and insures there’s always plenty of eye-candy in the joint. I usually take a moment or two just to look around and see what everyone’s up to. It is always interesting.


I love a good framing ceremony. And 3 in 1 night was a first for me. Our teacher said the record is 5 in 1 night. I’d be down with that. Fortunately, I’m well-versed in ooos and aahhhs.

So Cool



Yesterday I watched a youtube video that made me cry tears of joy.


Apparently, Ms. Kristin Chenowith performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night (I wasn’t there). At some point, she brought a random audience member up on stage to sing a duet with her. The woman brought up on stage? A voice teacher. And Lordy, did she bring it! (In spite of thinking this woman must have been a “plant,” she was not. For reals!)


I don’t know why this video made me so happy. Maybe it’s because that voice teacher had a moment to shine, and she took it. Maybe it’s because Ms. Chenowith was so surprised by the woman’s abilities. Maybe it’s because a regular gal got to perform at the Hollywood Bowl.


When the world offers us a chance to step into the spotlight – be it metaphorical or literal – I pray we take it. I pray we grab that chance by the horns and wrestle it into brilliant submission. Last Friday night in Los Angeles, a very brave lady did just that. And oh my, didn’t she shine!

It Makes Me a Jolly Good Fellow…



Not only did Mister and I have Beer Clug last night, but I also heard from my buddy, Baker Jen, who wants to know if I’m available to help her finish off a growler of a local brew. Yes, please!


Beer Clug was awesome, with most of our members in attendance. (A couple missed out, as they’re in Holland. But you know what? They’re probably not hurting for beer, so there!) The first beer I tried was just too danged spicy. As in – yow-za! That beer is burning my mouth! I wanted to love it, as I generally dig on spicy brews. Alas, I wasn’t man enough to take it. Then the bar-keep told me he had some bloody mary mix and could mix the spicy beer with that. The joint where we held our meeting doesn’t serve liquor, so the mixer was a total surprise. And after I said yes, and the keep had made my drink, I couldn’t have been happier. That spicy beer was perfect with the bloody mary mix. From there I moved on to a few other heavy beers, and I had a mighty nice time.



Here’s the thing, y’all – I am usually the designated driver. Therefore, I don’t get my drank on very often. But Mister was feeling generous, and he refrained from getting his drank on so that I could have my turn. I’m not a gal who turns down her turn, yo.


So by the end of the meeting, I was pretty smiley and pretty happy. I’d say that’s what Beer Clug is all about.

“Top Round” in Los Angeles



Recently, Mister and I made a bee-line for Top Round, a new L.A. restaurant. The reason I was in such a danged tizzy about getting there was the promise of St. Louis style frozen custard.


For those unfamiliar with the stuff, it is one-of-a-kind and beyond good. There are a couple of rival stands in St. Screwy, Fritz’s and Ted Drewes. People tend to be loyal to either one or the other, and when I say loyal, I mean loyal. As in some folks simply will not abide anything except their fave, even if that means being deprived in the meantime. I’ve had both, and I am a loyal Fritz’s gal, through and through. For example, I’ve been to Ted Drewes and simply not ordered anything at all. Why? It’s not Fritz’s, is why.


Anyhoo, when I read we were getting an honest-to-goodness frozen custard joint here in L.A., I couldn’t think of anything else. The fact that Top Round is a roast beef stand to boot was enough to put me over the edge into obsession.


Here’s the deal, y’all: I didn’t take a single photo of the food. And that’s a shame, as that roast beef sammich was as good as any I’ve ever had. Maybe even better. And the “Dirty Fries” were amazing. Yes, they sound crazy, but trust me – you will like crazy!



So after Mister and I had scarfed down our roast beefs, we ordered a Turtle. When my number was called, I approached the counter to find something unrecognizable in the cup before me. My order had been completely screwed up. (I won’t go into how the dude behind the counter told me that was exactly what I had ordered, then looked at the order receipt and saw he had made something completely different from that printed chit. Apologies were made and I accepted.) Once the order was corrected, Mister and I dug in.


I don’t know what to tell you. I guess it’s frozen custard, but it didn’t do a danged thang for me. It sure ain’t no Fritz’s. It’s not even Ted Drewes. But I suppose I shouldn’t have expected it to be either of those things in the first place. And that’s on me.


Will I go back to Top Round? Dear Lord, yes. The roast beef is so good, I can hardly stand it. But – while I can’t speak for Mister – I’ll probably skip dessert next time. I mean, I can’t help it. I’m a Fritz’s girl…


The Vapors



Yesterday I was driving around town and passed a high school. Out there on the football field, scores of kids were running laps.


The thing about yutes is they’re young. Forgive me for stating the obvious (and for my Brooklyn-ese). But I was just astounded at how bleepin’ hot it was, and how not one of those kids was wearing a camel-bak, constantly slurping down water in hopes of survival.


I, on the other hand, watched them for about 15 seconds and needed to pull over for an emergency iced tea, before I fainted from the vapors.


Not that I’m complaining, mind you. That heat is mighty good to a gal who has no pool heater. Word.

The New American Dream



I spotted this rig the other day and was led down the road of wondering. Just what is the new American dream?


I think it used to be owning a plot of land and raising a family. Being able to pay the bills, with enough food to eat and a little spending money in one’s pocket. Friends over for a barbeque once in a while. Maybe take the fam out for some bowling now and then. A color TV. You know – the basics.


Is that still the American dream? Or has it changed so much as to be something else entirely?


As I haven’t gone out and polled anyone, I have only my own thoughts to consider on this one. And I’ll be honest with you – navigating middle-life finds me sorting through way more questions than answers. So I don’t know if I’m able to define the American dream for myself, least of all for anyone else.


Maybe the rig has it right. Maybe the new American dream is shaping up. Maybe it is gutsy, disciplined. And maybe if I can somehow figure out what it means for me, that will be more than enough.



This Week’s Painting Class



The above photo shows my and my art teacher’s beverages. Guess which is mine.


I do loves me some Dixie beer, y’all.