Happy New Year’s Eve!



No matter what you’re doing this evening, I send you super-duper wishes for a grand New Year’s Eve. Pants optional.

The Final Countdown



If you’re like me, you’re dealing with a lot of regular life, while also getting ready to celebrate a New Year. Even if that means settling in at home and keeping it low-key.


If you’re like me, you’re probably going over the past year and thinking about the good stuff (and maybe avoiding the bad moments), while looking ahead at some of what you’d like to accomplish as you move forward into 2016.


If you’re like me, reading the number “2016″ is awkward with an almost sci-fi feel in the craziness that is the passage of time.


If you’re like me, you realize that the passage of time is such a gift, and you know you could start crying if you let yourself think about it too much.


If you’re like me, you acknowledge you’re somewhat of an emotional nugget, and you don’t hold it against yourself.


If you’re like me…


You know what? Be like you. The world has enough of me. The world needs you. For reals.

When It Rains…



Mister and I have been battling Marvin. Marvin is the name of our pool sweeper, and we love that little motorized rover because he generally does a great job of keeping the bottom of the pool clean.


But not lately. Something’s causing the little guy to be sluggish, when he moves at all. The recent devil winds only complicated the situation by throwing copious amounts of debris into the water. And then there’s the cold.


We are spoiled here in Los Angeles and we know it. My friend Nicole put it best when she said she’d recently talked to family in Chicago who’d told her it was 55 degrees there – a heatwave! And then Nicole told her family it was 55 degrees here – and we were freezing! That is rather typical of our winter weather and our response. But know this: It was 32 degrees here when Mister woke yesterday morning. That is friggin’ cold, friends. Now ordinarily, the cold would just be something to comment about and use as an excuse to build a fire for visual warmth (while the good people at So-Cal Gas provide fuel for the house heater – the one that does the real work of keeping us cozy). But when it’s freezing outside and you have to reach into the pool to try and figure out what the hell is going on with Marvin, well, you start trying to remember your childhood training of how to deal with frostbite. You also find yourself thinking thoughts of gratitude for your pool man, and wondering just when that dude will be back from his holiday break.


So though that’s been on our minds, we’ve been enjoying home and each other’s company. No real drama, no real issues. But you know how it goes. When it rains, it pours. So yesterday morning when I walked into the kitchen and spotted a small puddle beneath a cabinet, my first worry was that it might be a plumbing leak from the wall (a bathroom shower is behind that wall). But I checked the puddle and it was isolated and not near the wall at all. It seemed to be coming from the cabinet itself, so I had a gander and found the culprit: a leaky container of peanut oil.


Y’all – peanut oil had gotten into roasting pans and serving platters, and just about everywhere else it could run inside that cabinet. And though it took me way too long to clean up the mess, I was grateful the majority of the oil had been contained by the platters. Otherwise, that mess could have been much worse. (You’ll notice I’m not talking about the loss of perfectly good peanut oil. It hurts too much to even think about it.)


And then… I blame myself. Why? Because I had the thought: 2 things have gone awry, will there be a 3rd? The answer was yes. After I’d cleaned up the peanut oil, I rounded the corner to check on some laundry and I stepped in water. The washer had leaked. It’s happened before, due to a too-large load of towels. I guess I’d pushed the upper limits again with the same dirty laundry. So that was the 3rd home craziness. I didn’t lose it or anything, I’d like you to know. Why would I? At some point, you just clean up the next danged mess and move on. I mean – that’s life sometimes, isn’t it? Sure, I could get in a funk about everything, but that blue mood would linger longer than the messes themselves. And I’ve been down that road. It doesn’t lead anywhere I want to go.


For now, Marvin’s problems will have to wait for the pool man, as Mister and I have done all we know to address that problem. And the peanut oil incident of 20-15 is merely a memory. I’m testing the washing machine to see if we had a one-time leak or are facing a bigger problem. I’m also looking for clear skies. At least where our house is concerned. 3 may be a magic number and all, but it is also plenty when it comes to challenges, thank-you-very-much.

Living With Ghosts



Mister and I live with a ghost. Miss Harmon is basically harmless, though she does sometimes catch us by surprise. Generally, it’s a peaceful co-existence and we’re okay with it. (Never mind that we have to be okay with it. I mean, how the heck would we get rid of her anyway?)


As this is the first year we’ve had a Christmas tree at the new pad, it’s our first time experiencing Miss Harmon’s Christmas-tree-behavior. Apparently, she’s quite taken with the thing, as she keeps wiggling things around and shaking it up. For instance, more than once Mister and I have been sitting in the room with the tree and seen a branch start jingling and jangling whatever is hanging on said branch. As we don’t have any indoor critters, we’re chalking up each instance to Miss Harmon.


But yesterday morning she took it a step further: She broke an ornament. It happened to have been an ornament we acquired in Santa Fe, New Mexico nearly 20 years ago. I don’t know if Miss Harmon took issue with the ornament itself or if she’s got some beef with Santa Fe. Either way, that ornament is a goner.


Living with a ghost isn’t the worst thing. And I’m gonna let this ornament incident slide. But I can guarantee I’m gonna be having a talk with Miss Harmon. She has just got to chill the hell out.

I Dorked Out, So You Don’t Have To



After seeing the new “Star Wars” film a few days ago, Mister snapped the above pic of me and R2-D2 at the historic Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. I was not at all embarrassed to pose for the photo. I was a little uncomfortable with how long I had to hold the pose, however, as Mister is not the fastest draw when it comes to phone cameras. But we gets what we gets, and I got him.


Anyhoo – this is exactly the sort of dorky thing Mister and I do from time to time. It makes us giggle, so it counts. And though I don’t know diddly-squat about life, friends, I do know that laughter goes a long way. I highly recommend it.

‘Twas The Day After Christmas…



It’s Boxing Day. A few gifts have been opened and I’ve now seen the new Star Wars movie (fab-o). I’ve eaten Christmas steak, participated in Christmas debauchery and am ready for a post-Christmas rest. But only briefly, as life marches on and I love a good parade! Wouldn’t want to miss anything.


Actually, as the year’s end approaches, I am experiencing my usual feelings. There’s a bit of processing going on and the occasional tear falls. I am an emotional cuss, I know. But I happen to like me, so I think I’ll keep me around for a while.


When you think about it, coming out of such a charged holiday with one’s self-worth intact is fairly remarkable. I know it doesn’t always turn out this way – not for me, nor for many others. So this year feels danged good. So far…


Let’s all try to love ourselves for the next week, shall we? Honestly – doesn’t that sound more appealing than using our own souls for punching bags? I’ve been on the receiving end of my psychological left hook and it ain’t pretty. For the short remainder of the year, I think I’ll hang up my boxing gloves and give me a break. I really mean this when I say it: I deserve it.


And so do you.

Tradition! Tradition!



It’s Christmas morning. That means steak and eggs. And champers. And keeping our pajamas on for way too long. And Christmas music. And laughter. And memories. And naps. And maybe some more champers. And phone calls. And drunk phone calls. And more laughter. And love. And love. And love…


Happy Christmas.

Thursday Memories – The White Trash Ghost of Christmas Past



It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s Thursday. So I’m sharing a photo of a White Trash Christmas tree, decorated by Mister and me a long, long time ago. Crushed beer cans and toilet paper garland did the trick. Only they did it too well. That tree was gorgeous! (And I say that even with Mr. Seymore Butts attached at the top of the tree.)


Have a beautiful Thursday, friends. And may your Christmas Eve be filled with crushed beer cans and toilet paper garland galore. Or not. Your call…

Joy Personified



While out in the world this week, I witnessed more than a few folks who seemed to be quite frazzled by the holidays. A couple of them were certainly over-stressed, and on the verge of blowing a gasket. A few others were keeping it together, but the effort to achieve that looked something like “Frank Costanza” screaming “Serenity now!” Not good, folks.


In the face of all that, I decided I wanted to maintain my own sense of calm and to that end, I actively chose to embody Joy. I couldn’t have made a better decision for myself. People wearing stressful grimaces saw me and smiled, most of them saying something nice and friendly. Hell – the parking attendant at Whole Paycheck had the driver in front of me circle around the lot so that I could have the primo spot by the door. (This is L.A., so yes – we have parking attendants at our overpriced grocers.) And for me – all of that was great!


But maybe the best feeling was reserved for the few moments when I didn’t have a conniption fit over someone else’s bad driving. Instead, I smiled at the person and made nice. Never mind the smile being fake. It kept me calm, and it kept me centered.


By the time I was pulling into the driveway of the new pad, I was beaming and saying, “I AM Joy!” And I meant it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying my little experiment will work for you, but it sure was nice for me.




I don’t know what I was thinking. Yesterday I headed out to do my grocery shopping for the week, and so did everyone else in Los Angeles. It never occurred to me that the Monday before Christmas would lead to a run on goat cheese, but clearly I did not think that through. And for the record, I’ve never wanted goat cheese so much as when it’s unavailable. (For the record, part deux – I don’t have a goat cheese deficiency or anything. I just wanted it for a roasted beet salad.)


Anyhoo – after battling traffic and actually giving up on a couple of stores where parking trauma was probably going to lead to fist-fights, I found myself standing at a meat counter, trying to acquire Christmas morning’s steak. And I was quite specific in my order for the butcher, as that’s how I do. After a moment, he came back to let me know he was all out of the bone-in ribeye I had requested, and that he could cut me some nice thick boneless steaks instead. Before I was able to delve into a discussion about that, the guy next to me said, “You want that bone.” That dude’s name was Eustace (I get to know people faster than you can possibly imagine), and the rest of our conversation went something like this:


Me: I do want that bone. And I just heard myself say that – out loud.

Eustace: Gotta have a good bone.

Me: I love a good bone.


At about that point, the rest of Eustace’s family arrived, including his aged mother, his mostly-grown daughter and her boyfriend, and his sister. They joined the conversation.


Eustace’s Sister: I could use a good bone myself. Right now.

Me: Who couldn’t?

Eustace: Ever’body love a good bone.

Me: I cannot believe I am standing here talking about bonin’ with an entire family. This has got to be the oddest conversation I’ve ever had at the grocery store,            and believe me – there have been a few.


After a good giggle, we all said goodbye to one another and went about our business. But I’ll tell you something – that Eustace was alright.


And he was dead-on with his wisdom: Ever’body love a good bone.