Thank You, Marilu Henner




I got the upper bar cabinets painted and it was time to put everything back together. So in went the glass shelves. There was a hiccup. The glass shelves weren’t fitting. So I tried again. Another hiccup. I knew I’d only added two coats of paint and that it wasn’t that thick, so what was going on, for cry-eye? I tried again. And again. And when I thought just break the damned shelves and then they’ll bloody well fit, I knew it was time to walk away. Which I did.


I went into our room and started folding laundry. I also began counting backwards from 100. 99, 98, 97… Fold, fold, fold. 56, 55, 54… Fold, fold, fold. I kept at it, and when I reached zero, I was still perturbed so I started again. 100, 99, 98… There was plenty of laundry to fold, so that kept my hands busy. Counting backwards was occupying my mind and helping me to calm down, but it wasn’t kicking in as I’d hoped. After counting backwards from 100 – twice – I was still miffed at those glass shelves. So I started again and counted backwards a third time.


By the time I was thinking 10, 9, 8Marilu Henner popped into my head. Do you know she’s got near-perfect memory? (Technically, it’s called hyperthymesia and you can read about it here.) If you ask her what was happening on August 12, 1999, she can not only tell you specific details about that day, she can also tell you what she was wearing and what she ate. It’s crazy. People with this blessing/curse are being studied by doctors and researchers and Mister and I saw a story about them on “60 Minutes” years ago. It was fascinating.


Anyhoo – once my mind had wandered far enough away from the janky shelves to visit the land of Marilu Henner, I knew I was ready to go back and tackle the shelves once more. I calmly maneuvered each tempered glass plank, one after another, until they were all in place and ready to house their contents. It took me a while to put everything back in the cabinet, but that job was made easier because I had taken photos of the full cabinets before I emptied them for painting. So I knew where each item went. Then I re-attached the doors and the upper cabinet project was mostly finished.


I still have touch-ups to do, and that will probably wait until the lower cabinets are finished and need their touch-ups. Which is fine. I anticipate the lower cabinets will be a bit less daunting, as painting projects go. Which is also fine.


For now, I think I made the right choice to go (boring) white on these cabinets. They tie in with the fireplace shelves and they don’t clash with the adjacent camel walls. And perhaps the very best thing about getting this far on the project is the fact that I did not break a single glass shelf. For that, I have to thank Marilu Henner. I don’t know why she showed up in my mental sphere, but she did. And she calmed my mind and soothed my frazzled nerves. Kudos, Ms. Henner. Kudos.

Katydid at The Door



This little guy was on the back door by the pool, and he was staying, I tell ya. Personally, I think he wanted to get in for the conditioned air. Either that, or he’s a political junkie and wanted to watch all things election.


He hung on to the door for a couple of days, moving around on the glass, and then he was gone. Honestly, I’d forgotten he’d ever been there, and then I saw him on the steps. He had died. And he never did make it inside.


I don’t think there’s anything deep to be found in this little katydid’s final days. And I don’t feel a need to make up anything, either. He just hung out on the glass for a while. The smooth, cool glass. The end.

And Then This Happened…



Anyone who’s visited us at the New Pad knows we have a laundry list of projects on our slate. Sure – a few have been ticked off. Mostly, the joint remains in a state of flux. I could lay blame and point fingers (at myself, mostly), but I won’t. Life just takes a while. Time and money, friends.


Anyhoo – a while back I painted a small cabinet in the Rumpus Room (shown above) and was glad to get it done. That left only the bar area, and I have been putting it off for ages. Mostly, I’ve felt the project would be daunting and take a while. Painting itself is fairly quick. Taping and cleaning and getting things ready to be painted is an entirely different matter. For the upper bar cabinets, I wasn’t looking forward to my painter muscles being challenged with the up-high project. And there was one more thing, too…



Everything that lives in the cabinets had to be removed before tackling the project. What you see here is only part of what I removed. (No joke.) There are glasses and bottles and all sorts of stuff covering 3 separate table tops, waiting to go back in the cabinet. Once I got it all out, I was shocked at just how much we’ve managed to store in those danged cabinets. I mean really!


My hope is for the newly-painted cabinets to have cured long enough to be stuffed refilled with their contents later today. And then, in all likelihood, we’ll forget the cabinets ever needed painting. They’ll just fit in and make sense. Some projects are like that. They don’t present change so much as they present what’s right and should have been all along. I’ll take it.

Thursday Memories



While recently going through some old film negatives, I found some shots of friends’ babies and had a few pics printed. Which I then passed on to said friends. They’d never seen the photos before.


The shot above shows two sweet sisters, the oldest not quite three. She’ll be off to college soon, which only goes to show how this wondrous ride can slip by in the blink of an eye.


Anyhoo – when I gave copies of the old photos to our friends, the big sister (of the two shown above) and I were talking about the path before her. At some point I told her the only things she has to do right now are live her life and be fabulous. I then turned to the little sister and said the same. That’s when the little sister smiled with utter and complete confidence, looked me in the eye and said, “I always live my life and I’m always fabulous.”


And y’all – she meant it.

New Painting



I’ve started a new painting (a couple, actually) and it’s challenging my very spirit.


You may recall my sharing a previous painting and the processes involved. It was new to me and I had a great time with it. I had so much fun that I decided to work on another piece in the same vein. So I used my stickers and painted over them, to get the background finished first (just as I’d done before). Only this time, the painting wasn’t cooperating. The stickers were sliding around while I painted over them. Some simply fell off. But I felt like it was too late, as I’d already gotten ankle-deep in the process. So I kept going, thinking I’d figure out what to do about that problem when the time came.


The next step – once the overlay paint had dried – was to remove the stickers, leaving a dotted background. Okay. Only now the stickers weren’t coming off. They were so stuck to the canvas that I had to use a razor blade to get the danged thangs off, and I won’t even go into how banged up my fingers became during that step. Ugh!


But now the stickers have all been removed, leaving a less-than-desired effect. Not sure how I’ll tackle this part, but I can already see myself with a tiny brush, squinting and trying to “fix” most of those danged dots. Never let it be said that I’ve not suffered for my art. My fingers and eyes certainly have, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Summer Food



As we are smack-dab in the middle of summer, and especially as we’re riding out the “Heat Dome” here in the States, using one’s stove is not a good idea. Searing some ahi tuna, on the other hand, is quick and yummy. Throw it on top of a Nicoise salad and, well, a girl might need some alone time with it. I’m just sayin’.


I don’t have a recipe for this, as it’s something I make year-round without much thought. But this time I kicked it up a notch by including capers in the salad. Why I’ve not done this in the past is a mystery, as it’s so danged good. Honestly – the reason I’m sharing it here is mostly to remind myself to make it more often. I love salad. And yet I forget about it some times, and that’s a shame. Because salad doesn’t have to be boring or complicated.


Even as I type this, I’m making a mental note to eat more salad. Let’s hope my memory stores hold and that I actually honor this intention. Word.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Parrish!



Today is the birthday of one of my favorite artists: Maxfield Parrish.


I don’t remember when I first became enamored of Mr. Parrish’s work, but I still have to catch my breath when I come across one of his paintings. His use of color stirs the soul. His subject matter tickles the spirit. His work, for me, is sublime.


The photo above was taken in the King Cole Bar of the St. Regis Hotel in New York, about a jillion years ago. If you’ve not been to this bar, and are in the area, stop by. Not only does this joint house the namesake magnificent, gi-normous mural by Maxfield Parrish, but it is also said to be where the Bloody Mary was invented. Looking back, I may have had one or two of those drinks before snapping the grainy photo shown above. That would definitely explain a few things.


I’ve often thought I’d like to try to imitate one of Parrish’s paintings, but have feared I’d only disappoint myself in the end, so I’ve never even tried. I may have to revisit this yen.


Anyhoo – today is the 146th anniversary of Maxfield Parrish’s birth. I am so grateful he lived and created. The world is more beautiful because of his work. Yes!

Walk Tall



Have you ever felt taller than you are?


The other day I was on the train and, I don’t know what was going on, but everyone was beautiful. The riders that day were a diverse group, and as I looked around at them all, they were just gorgeous. Really. And for some reason I chose to stand during that portion of my journey, which I seldom do. After a few minutes of admiring my fellow riders, I felt it. I was tall.


I’m not the shortest gal in a crowd, but at five-five, I’m not the tallest, either. But I’m okay with my height and tend to carry it fairly well. Some friends have told me they thought I was taller than I am, and I can only guess that’s due to my generally confident posture. Don’t get me wrong. I have those days when I slump. Days when I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. It happens. For all I know, on those days I appear shorter than I am. Go figure.


But back to the other day. Once I figured out that I was feeling tall, I decided to own it. When the time came to exit the train and make my way around the city, I chose to walk tall. And I did. It felt fantastic. And natural. Who knows – maybe I gained a half-inch during that afternoon. I like to think so anyway.


Note: Before I even got on the train, I saw the shortest woman I’ve ever seen in my life! I think she may have barely scratched four feet. She wasn’t a little person, either. She was just short. And she was short with swagger. I suppose she was the first beautiful person I noticed that fateful day. And she was fabulous.

Little Fonzies



The other day I was out and about and trying to stay alive. There was a heat on, and it was stifling. That wasn’t a problem, however, as I was mentally prepared for it. The challenge was dealing with other people who were clearly not prepared for the heat. Those folks were downright dangerous. They aimed their cars at me in parking lots. They swerved all over the danged place on city streets. I didn’t endure any verbal altercations, but I kept my wits about me, just in case. And for the record, I truly believe the hazardous situations I faced were indeed caused by the heat. I didn’t get the feeling that people were out there, being vindictive or confrontational. It seemed like folks were just unable to keep their heads in the game. That the heat took away their basic abilities to function. At least that’s how I saw it.


Later, while talking with a friend about the circus that is American politics, we spoke of how hate-filled some folks are these days. And I realized that when I’ve witnessed people getting riled up about the upcoming elections, I’ve watched their faces contort while their voices grow louder and angrier. And I don’t believe any of those people have a clue about how their physical transformations make them appear. I’ll just say this: it ain’t good. Hate ages you, from the inside. And all the face cream in the world can’t fix that.


And then I started thinking about how, no matter what the cause of our ugly behavior (be it heat or hate), I sure do wish we could get a clue and take a cue from Jules, Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” –


Jules: Nobody’s gonna hurt anybody. We’re all gonna be like three little Fonzies here. And what’s Fonzie like?… Come on, Yolanda, what’s Fonzie like?!
Yolanda: Cool?
Jules: What?
Yolanda: Cool.
Jules: Correctamundo. And that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool.


Of course, Jules isn’t exactly a prime role model, so maybe I’m wrong on this one. But I stand by my hope that calmer heads will prevail. Cooler heads, too. Hate won’t get us anywhere, friends. And heat will just wear us out. Let’s do our best to rise above. There are already too many people clogged up in the muck and mire of ugliness. And there aren’t nearly enough Little Fonzies.


I vote for Little Fonzie. Word.

Outdoor Art Project



We have some outdoor lanterns, and they’ve seen better days. Not only that, but lighting them at night is a pain in the butt because any candles kept inside the lanterns melt in the heat of the day and are useless. I suppose I could place candles in the lanterns only when I plan to light them, but then I’d have to store those candles the rest of the danged time and that would mean moving something around to make space and… No. I could also use fake, battery-operated candles, but that’s not really my jam. After having all these thoughts, I decided to make a different plan. And so I did.


First, let me tell you the white lanterns used to be orange, but they faded in the unrelenting SoCal sun. So I painted them white. Other than getting dirty (real dirty), they’re holding up pretty well.



So back to the project at hand. I decided I wanted outdoor lights wrapped around white wood, and all of that inserted into the lanterns. I found the lights online and placed my order. That was the easy part. Then I took measurements for each lantern’s base and the maximum height of the branches. The finished pieces would need to fill the space, but they would also need to fit through the lanterns’ danged doors. With all that in mind, I cut wood for bases and branches for, well, branches. I sanded the wood bases and the branch bottoms. Once those bits were accomplished, I gathered all the necessary items and really set to work.



I placed screws into the bottom of each branch base, according to where the corresponding branch would be attached. Some branches fit perfectly in the middle of the base. Others needed to be attached more to the side. I paid attention to that for each figure and I’m glad I did, because it would have been a bummer if the finished pieces hadn’t fit in the lanterns.



Once each branch was screwed to its base…



I spread a little outdoor-grade caulk around the joints.



I know these things will live outside and will therefore decompose over time. But I’d like them to last a while. It was with that thought in mind that I chose to apply the caulk.



Anyhoo – once the branches were attached to the bases, I spray-painted all the inserts. Already, they looked sweet. And then I waited for my lights to arrive. Which they did.



And after I’d wrapped the strands around each branch, I placed the inserts in the lanterns – which I had roughly cleaned with a damp rag – and here’s the result…



Pretty fab-o, right? Other than the cost of the spray paint and the battery-operated lights, I didn’t have to spend anything because I was able to use materials I had on hand (spare wood, batteries, branches from the yard). That’s kind of my favorite type of project, if you must know.


One last thing… When I told a friend I was about to start this outdoor art project, she said something about having a party after, to show them off. Honestly – it never occurred to me to do this because of having people over. I mean, that’s great and all, but that thought didn’t play a role in my thinking. No – I wanted to make the outside pretty for us. I wanted us to enjoy looking at the lanterns at night. So I take back what I said earlier about my favorite type of project. My true fave projects are the ones done just for us. This is definitely a winner.