Sunday, February 23, 2014

Recovery Reading List

 
Hey, if you follow me on Twitter you may know (and if you don’t-- why the hell not?  Oh, you have a life, well, ok…) that I’ve been recovering from leg and foot surgery.  Hey, I wish it were a face lift, or something glamorous, or something that involved vacuuming out my middle section, but no, just trying to be able to walk. . .that pesky “one foot in front of the other” thing.
 
So I thought I’d give you my latest summary of books I’ve read.  This is not to be confused with a piece of literary criticism, more like the ravings of an overly isolated person who doesn’t have the mojo to reach for the remote.

 
 
Bridget Jones – Mad about The Boy by Helen Fielding
 
This was actually light and fun, yet not too light and fun.  Hey, Ms. Fielding makes me laugh out loud, what can I tell you?  I’m a sucker for that stuff about the calorie counts and the number of drinks.  What’s not to love about a tally of sex thoughts for the day.  Not that I identify.  You gotta love the English spelling of the word “Diarrhoea” used in conjunction with the word “erupted.”  Sorry, I’m a bit primal these days myself.
 
I give it an 8 out of 10 on the enjoyment and held-my-attention scale.  Just fun.  Beach or plane read.




 
The Circle by Dave Eggers. 
 
A 10.  I give this a 10.  Can I do an 11?
 
Hey, if you do follow me on Twitter or FB or use any kind of device, this book is riveting and harrowing at the same time.  It is the story of being “wired” going just a step too far. 
 
I’ve never read Dave Eggers before and now I think he is a mad genius.  And I’m slightly in love with him.  This book is big, bold, brave and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  The protagonist is this 20-something, Google-type chick who loses herself in the world of “connectedness.”
 
It’s big, meaty and important.  It is Contemporary Literary Fiction. . .and it is good anyway!  Hah!  Read it, then tweet me!  Or nod to me, or something.
 
 
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
 
Oh Dear God: This book received the Mann Booker Prize for Literary Fiction. This always meant to me, “Ah, an important book for our times.”  Let me tell you, that is NOT a good recommendation today.  This book has been written up EVERYWHERE and raved about.
 
Well, I’m raving, but it ain’t good. 
 
850 pages.  And by the time I was finished and the “mystery” had been solved?  I no longer gave a shit about who did it and why.
 
Really, has no one heard of an editor?  (I do realize perhaps I need one here!)
 
The gold rush in New Zealand, or wherever the hell it takes place doesn’t interest me anyway, but 850 pages on it?  There isn’t enough character development to make me want to do this again. 
 
But please, read the book and let me know your opinion.  Or save yourself a week of your life and watch “Justified” and “House of Cards.“  But comment anyway, cuz I’m needy like that.
 
I give it a 5.  Cuz I made the effort.  And it was herculean.
 
  
The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman
 
I do love an Elinor Lipman novel.  This was a lovely tale of two sisters, one married to a Bernie Madoff-type guy, the other a young widow, making it work in NY.  Add the lovely gay roommate and it is just a lovely, warm, engaging read.
 
I give it an 8.  You will enjoy or if not? Come over and step on my foot.  My bad foot.
 
 
 
  

 

The Virgins by Pamela Erens

This is a typical, angst-filled, coming-of-age in a boarding school tale of young love.  Hey, what’s not to love about THAT description???
 
Totally readable, if you like that kind of thing, which I do.  Not powerful, riveting or life changing-- just a read.
 
Can I tell you a secret?  When I looked at the cover of this book on my iPad, I couldn’t immediately remember the story, which could be a statement about me or the novel.  Take your pick.
 
I give it a 6.5.  (And a 2.7 for memorability.)
 
  
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.
 
Look, it’s the Eat, Love, Pray author, writing a long novel about botany.  And feminism. And a woman coming of age. . . and a woman who really can’t come of age. Because it’s set in the 1800s.   It is sad, long, readable, empowering.  Good to read in companion with Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  Cuz all you want to do is scream at this woman to leave the flipping moss alone and LIVE.  “LEAN IN, SISTER!”
 
But oddly enough despite the rather odd and unnatural obsession with moss? Quite readable.  So I give it an 8.
   
Ending on a high note (To be read in operatic singing style)
 
 
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 
This is the book of the year.  The. Book. Of. The. Year.
 
Delicious, amazing, riveting, accessible – everything a truly great book should be.  You will look at the world (acts of terrorism, art, stolen art, relationships) differently.  And you should.  And you will love the ride, cuz this is some amazing writing.  And if you haven’t read her other book, Secret History, then I am giving you a double present-- cuz I’m awesome like that.
 
This is the incredible story of a boy’s journey and love and relationships and the love for a Mama.  It is so much more mind-bending than a typical “coming-of-age” story; it is a story for our times.  I love this protagonist.  You won’t forget this one, no matter what kind of memory issue you have on a daily basis.  Now, why am I standing in this room again?
  
I give it a flipping 12! Hah-- take that scale of 1 to 10.  Ms. Tartt – I love you.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 







 

 

Sunday, February 2, 2014




Chemical Peel 

So last year, I go to the waxing lady, whom I love.  Which is odd, cuz she does pour hot wax on my special girl parts then RIPSSS.  And once you aren't a firm 20-something anymore (OK, so you aren't a firm 40-something anymore either, dammit.  And by "you" I do mean ME!), anyhow when it RIPPSS all your business comes along for the ride.
 
So she keeps saying to me: “We need to give you a chemical peel”, which sounds okay when she is pulling wax off your special places, but sounds less appealing when she is actually finished.
 
She keeps bringing it up and I keep saying: “Sure! Maybe someday.”
 
Then I go to the dermatologist, where they have the gall to tell me I have a lot of sun damage to my skin.  I've never been more insulted. (The truth is irrelevant here.)
 
 You know Dr. Dermatologist, if you want my business you might start out by COMPLIMENTING me! And then tell me how much prettier I could be if I spent more money with you! Ha!
 
So to punish the dermatologist, I set an appointment for a chemical peel with the waxing lady instead.
 
I try to cancel the appointment three times.  She won't let me.
 
I come in and say: “You know what?  I’m really busy today – (even though it’s Saturday).  I've changed my mind.  But I'll still pay for the appointment.”
 
She forces me up on the table.  
 
I giggle nervously.
 
I lie down and she starts to put the "solution" on my face.  
 
I sit back up.  I say “I've given it a great deal of thought, but I'm thinking only one coat of that stuff is enough.”
 
She puts her hand on my forehead and yanks me back down. 
 
As she is wiping, and I am fanning (and kicking my legs, and taking hyperventilation-type deep breaths and humming in a high-pitched way that is making dogs three miles away start to howl) I am pretty sure I've made some type of grave error.
 
Finally she lets me get up and run around the room.
 
She proudly holds up a mirror to my face to show me the "great" results and then I really start to scream!
 
I am all white, and crispy and frosty.  Like I've been out in a snow drift and have actually lost several toes.
 
Uh...can I pay you double to undo this? Can we make it go away?  Wailing louder: Do you have a time machine cuz I really wish I hadn't done this!!!
 
So really?  I paid someone to pour acid on my face, like that poor man who was the director of the Bolshoi Ballet.  Except he was a victim of a horrible crime.  I, on the other hand, made an appointment and wrote a check for this.
 
Switching gears…and not to let a shopping opportunity pass me by no matter what else is happening, I stop by the hat store and pick up three hats. Because I’m like the guy in Phantom of the Opera, except without the flipping mask thingie.   Let’s just say, I’m hideous.
 
But little do I know, but the hats are really NOT going to be helping me much that week.
 
So I go home to my family.
 
And we wait.
 
And as we wait, I get browner and browner. 
 
And more swollen and more swollen.
 
I am so tight, and stiff and swollen that I can't eat.  (OK, this is a total lie.  I manage to eat, but it does crack all the skin around my mouth to do so. )
 
I am however, just barely able to get my lips around a glass.  Whether or not there is a martini in “said glass” hardly seems to be relevant.  (Or does it?)
 
We get up to go to church.  (Don't think me too pious.  It is Easter morning.)  I put on a cute frock, a scarf, a hat and mirrored sunglasses.  
 
My family sits in a separate pew.
 
Well, it is going to be a week of quiet time.  You know, quiet reflection, time out of the spotlight, time to really knock the work out, here at home.  
 
But what it really is?  
 
It is a time to be narcissistically self-obsessed.  I take 100 photos of myself (I can’t bear to use the term “selfie” here) and text them to my friends saying:  I'm so HIDEOUS!  Then I run to the mirror 50 times a day to find out what on earth is happening NOW.
 
What IS happening now you might ask?
 
After four days of regret and fear and loathing…
 
I have a skin like a baby’s bottom.  Hopefully minus the mess you usually find on said bottom.
 
Signed, Greta Garbo – For a week!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Holiday 2013…

We came. We saw. We conquered. We yelled. We napped.  We had martinis.  That’s the story of 2013 in a nutshell.  Merry Christmas.

Details? You can’t possibly want more details?   Well, I’ll give them even if you don’t want them.  (Warning – you may want to stop reading here and just enjoy the pictures!)

This year we were grateful for our mini-van cuz it turns out you can fit SEVEN band kids and six LARGE instruments in it.  And hey! Only one of the kids had to ride on the roof!

Our brand new high school daughter got a scholarship for two weeks to a Youth Symphonic Band Camp.  It was so exciting; except for the part where there was a giant forest fire and they had to evacuate the entire camp for four days…other than that? She had a solo and a time at first chair during the final performance. All those sax lessons and Tylenol-for-Mama started paying off.  #kleenexneeded

Turns out our little Blondie? She's a musical hoarder...This year, she is playing Alto Sax. soprano sax (seems good by me), piano (this is required in our house – you know, I model myself on the Tiger Mom) and violin. We made her quit the clarinet…there’s only so much one family can handle.  Add in guitar and the worst sounding trombone ever and you've got the picture. 
And her special gift to us? A love of percussion instruments. #boomboomboom

The Taxman is now an official band dad.  Me? I hide a lot during band performances. #notdoingit

Glowie is over the moon, cuz she now has a little doggie of her own.  The dog has had 22 names, but it appears we have settled on Coco Chanel.  I see pearls and little black dresses in her future.  By “her” I am referring to Glowie AND Coco’s future!

Our little Glowie had such a great time as Alice in Alice in Wonderland.  That shit lights you up! So she went to sleepway camp (cuz I’m no fool!) and did Stunt Camp.  Stunt camp? You may ask what kind of mother sends a 48 pound child to stunt camp?  Well, it would be the mother that ended up meeting the ambulance at the Emergency Room when Glowie was ambulanced down the mountain after “landing wrong” from an 18 foot jump off a scaffold. All’s well that ends well, but we are still waiting for the final ambulance bill. #expensivetriptocamp


Glowie is in 5th grade and I love walking her to school every day…just us and the doggies.  It’s our Norman Rockwell Family moment.  Well…at least if you catch us on a morning when I’m not yelling about dog poop, picking up shoes and “how can you not know that there are 52 weeks in a year!?”

This has been a golden year in our family: both our daughters are maturing and becoming more responsible.  What this really means is: we can now leave them alone on Saturday nights so we can have our Date Night with dinner and a cocktail.  (Or two.)  Now THAT makes all the parenting-angst seem worth it!  Well, at least on Saturday nights!

We love the mountains. This year we added a boat.  The taxman and the girls loved it.  There was a lot of water skiing and fun lake trips.  By “fun” I do mean trips where I stayed home.  I found that bouncing and flying over the wake in the lake, gave me post-traumatic stress syndrome from having had my second spinal fusion surgery only one year ago.  Somehow I couldn’t get behind the “YIPPEE” thing as everyone’s bottoms flew out of the boat seats.  Me?  I prefer swimming.  Or napping on the couch while everyone else goes boating!  Yeah, THAT worked!



New York BABY!  We are not very adventuresome…but this year, we went to New York so I could be on the Today Show with our beloved friend Dorothy.  Al Roker and Natalie Morales were quite lovely, but dammit…I didn’t get to plug my book.  WICKED on Broadway, horse drawn carriage rides, the Subway, fine dining, street hot dogs, pedi-cab rides (the thrill there is surviving to actually tell about it later), MOMA and just a lot of stuff where you throw $20 dollar bills at people without stopping, all day long.  We had so much fun and it was worth every penny, or should I say “dollar”? #dollarS

I read Lean In and started saying: “Yes” to leadership opportunities.  Now? I have less time for napping, but dammit, I’m a good example of a harried, over-stressed mother/business owner and now – public servant.

I hang with a group of Really Cool Broads in a Women’s Leadership group I started.  Best idea ever, after getting another Brazilian Blowout.  (You can start one too, just ask a few women you admire and voila – you’ve got a group.  And you can rotate dinner – even better.)



While you are conjuring up images of sleek hair and other Norman Rockwell moments (local football games anyone?) Did I mention that my daughters both suffer from an impairment that prevents them from picking up their own shoes?  Oh, and Blondie is moody? Did I mention that I am short tempered?  Glowie can be, shall we say, “persistent”.  Did I mention that we do a lot of family therapy? 



And that stuff works for us.  So on that note, we toast you and we say…”we’ll drink to THAT!”

Happy New Year!!



Sunday, November 24, 2013


Dee Dee’s Guide to Palm Springs


Restaurants
·         Tropicale Dining and Lounge – Best Bar Food in PS.  Great restaurant too, but if I can get all my needs met at the bar?  All the better.  I love the wedge, the sliders and the Vietnamese spring rolls.  (760) 866-1952. Amado Rd, Palm Springs
·         Jakes – Tell them Dee Dee sent you.  Easy and always delicious – lunch and dinner.  Great, casual, really sweet, outdoor setting, intimate but still has a great vibe! (760) 327-4400
·         Jaio/Birba/Cheekys – all three owned by the same awesome woman.  This is some great food!  Birba – have the Tri-color salad with the braised greens pizza, then see if you don’t love me even more!!  Oh, and get a Hello Nancy – some grapefruit cocktail that is so yummy going down. 
·         Farm to table fresh Vienemese Food – holy crap, this stuff is great!!!  I promise.
·         Cheekys – always a wait, but worth it for the best breakfast ever.  That bacon? Dear God…the best thing EVER!!!  (760) 327-5678
·         Miro’s – off the beaten path – over by Steinmart.  The best stroganoff you will ever eat.  Goulash, this bell pepper with feta cheese dish…As always, we eat ours in the bar.  (760) 323-5199
·         Johannes – a two-top in the bar….heaven! Get the seafood ménage…yum…Escargot too!  (760) 778-0017
·         The Falls is my favorite dining spot – Upstairs on Palm Canyon – you see all the action go by.  Get a steak and even better?  The Martini’s bubble.  Ask for Desiree and tell her Dee Dee sent you.  She’ll whip you up a Cesar Salad at the table like nobodies business.  We LOVE that stuff.
·         Purple Palm – prettiest outdoor view in all of PS!  Dinner out by the pool…Ask for Brian to be your server.  We love him!  (760) 969-1818

Services
·         DryCleaner – CleanDry, picks up and delivers  - (760) 666-9880.  Dennis is the owner and so nice.
·         Nail Salon – Five Star up by Vista Chino (760) 322-7888 or, for convenience sake? Sunshine nails by Shermans (760) 320-1227.
·         Dog Groomer – Gypsy Groomers , Mobile Groomers - (760) 883-0275.  They come to the house.  They love the dogs and you will love the dogs more when they leave!!!
·         Hair Salon – Brien O’Brien Salon, N. Palm Canyon - (760) 778-0333.  Brien is the owner and the place if fab! Professional, helpful, you will be so pleased – I guarantee it.  Tell him Dee Dee sent you. 

·         Waxing/facials - Salon 119, Nikki - (760) 218-7590.  She takes care of business, if you know what I mean!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Back to School G Forces

What the hell is it about Back to School?

Why is this so demanding of our family?

I’M not going back to school.

I don’t need to find cute clothes that fit-in with my peer group.

Though I do think I should add a pair (or two) of Back to School shoes to my wardrobe, dammit.  (Hello Michael Kors. I love you.)

I thought I deserved some sort of medal for the Back to School shopping.  For those of you who enjoy Target and the Mall right before school starts? Well, I envy resent you.

And all the calendar requests dinging through. 

I feel like I’m in a rocket ship and my jowls are flapping up around my ears.

Every day.

Morning, noon and night.

I don’t know if it is because my advocacy work is all education focused and that all fires up at the same time?

Sept 15 and October 15th are major deadlines in our Accounting Firm?

Cuz in Palm Springs everyone hides until summer is over and now summer is over?

(Just in case you are wondering, summer did almost kill me.  Oh, you weren’t wondering?)

Back to School nights, getting to know you meetings, playground issues, Marching Band, tutoring sessions, first projects, first assignments and my little Glowie?  She’s in the fifth grade and HAS FORGOTTEN EVERY SINGLE MULITIPLICATION TABLE.  Okay, not every one.  She knows the zeros, ones and twos.  #shit

So that’s it? 

People who scoff, and say:  you can’t be THAT busy.  Come to our event.  Why,  I want to shoot them.  (Which is why I believe in gun control.)

People who say… it’s just a couple of hours…I feel so misunderstood.

And please.  PLEASE don’t comment about my lack of grooming these days.  That shit? Out the window.

Now the first appointment I AM going to make when I catch my breath?

Mama needs some filler.  A few syringes of restalyne to fill those jowls in and keep them where they belong.

Under my chin.

In my martini glass.

My ears?  I’ll save them for some nice dangly earrings, thank you very much.







Sunday, September 1, 2013


Hawaiian Bread is a Gateway Drug



OMG!  That Hawaiian Bread stuff!!!

We had lunch with some friends in the mountains this summer and the mom made these DELICIOUS little sandwiches on Hawaiian Bread.

Let me just say, I don’t want to be known as the piggy guest, but SHE DIDN’T MAKE ENOUGH OF THEM!!!

My daughters and I grab these seemingly innocuous sandwiches off the plate, put them in our mouths thoughtlessly, (hey, we were at the lake – we had other things to do!) and KABOOM!

Blondie and I? Our eyes met.  Our eyes lit up.  And we both said:  MMMmmmm, yummy.

Glowie? Hey – she actually ATE a sandwich, which is always an amazing thing.

And then? It was like driving over a cliff.

That melt in your mouth, soft, soft, soft bread! Why the sweet, light taste of it.

Why it is like the Cotton Candy of Bread!!! Light, airy, sweet and it melts in your mouth!

This stuff is a GateWay Drug. 

Why? You may ask?  Because once you’ve had that scrumptious, tender, Hawaiin bread you, well, you start to … experiment.

You know – Tuna sand with a bit of mayo.  (FYI – Tastes yummy!)

How about with a bit MORE of mayo? (FYI – Tastes so much better!)

I asked myself: “Why do we buy Orowheat Whole Wheat bread?  What was I thinking?”

In case you don’t try to eat healthy, Orowheat Whole Wheat bread?  You could use it as a club to knock home invaders unconscious.

Eat that stuff and you will never have a problem with “regularity” again.

And by healthy – I mean dry and cardboard tasting.  But hey – I’m commited to good health.  (Or am I?)

We got home and I said: “Hey, why don’t WE buy some of that Hawaiian Bread.”

My girls were giddy with the wildness of the idea.

“Mommy, WE could actually BUY that special bread?”

Yep.  Get in the car.

Since then?

Basketfuls of the stuff.

And I’m not talking about that modest hand basket you can pick up at the entrance of the grocery store.

No, I mean the actual shopping cart.  Filled.  With Hawaiian Bread.

Who knew?

It comes in little rolls, big giant honkin’ slabs, dinner roll size…you name it – you can get it.

And then you find out they have Hot Dog Buns!

And can we just digress a little bit about the hot dog bun ones?

Since we had these little hot dog bun sized rolls (Hey – they were on special that day.  OK, they weren’t but that was the lie I told to justify coming home with 5 packages of Hawaiian bread for a family of 4.  Really a family of 3.5 cuz Glowie doesn’t eat much.) it seemed like a good idea to have hot dogs.

Yum. Yum.

Hot dogs in those buttery, soft, melt in your mouth rolls!

“Why, no.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have two.  As a matter of fact Mommy would like another one also.”

Every day? Well, we need something for lunch, right? Or after school snack, right? Or lunch AND after school snack, right?

And then there were all the amazing ideas of things you could do with these delicious buns. 

Make sandwiches with LOTS of mayonnaise.  Cuz, hmmm.  How good would THAT taste? (Turns out – pretty damned good!)

Sadly, as with any addiction, you do hit rock bottom.  (Heavy emphasis on “bottom” for this part of the story…)

I did my Back to School Weigh-In.

“Kids! Mommy has some bad news.”

“No.”

“No one died. But you may take this pretty hard.”

There will be no more Hawaiian Bread in this house.

No, no.

It is back to school.

Back to eating healthy.

Back to Oro Wheat Whole Wheat Bread.

(Yes, we can get a little handcart to roll that Whole Wheat bread from the car to the kitchen.)

So there I am…Throwing out my temptation.  The tiny dinner rolls, the big giant slab of deliciousness, the – gulp- hot dog buns…

Then the withdrawals hit… The crying, shaking, flashes of hot and cold.  Well really just hot. Oh wait, that may not be the Hawaiian Bread.  Shoot, I digress.

Again, the crying, the calling out –No, Please, NOOO!

Oh and the kids took it really hard too.

Cuz there is no reason that Back to School shouldn’t represent the end of everything good in the world.

#Bread12StepNeeded


Friday, August 23, 2013

Summer Reading 2013


Here's my take on my summer reads.  Hey, I didn't lay on the white couch making pretend I was napping all the time (especially when I heard: "MOM!) without getting some reading done.  In the pool, while the kids were at the lake, in an easy chair which sits outside on the deck (please reference the Clampetts here) or mostly? On the couch......

BEST OF THE BEST...

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
My fave book of the summer.  Twins - the good, the bad, the power of sisters.  It flies.

If you haven't read Prep or American Wife? You have so much to look forward to in the Fall!

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Massoud
I love this author.  This woman in this story is PISSED OFF.  Oddly, I like an edgy voice. Swept away and uncomfortable.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
I do love camp stories while my children are at camp.  It's the Big Chill from Summer Arts Camp.  Loved it.

My Education by Susan Choi
This is a sexy book, with a rich story about a college girl coming of age caught in a relationship with her professor and his wife. Really...need I say more? Read it!


OTHER RICH AND WONDERFUL:

The Dinner by Herman Koch
Austrian, tight, tense, riveting mystery story with dramatic twist. Powerfully grasps our relationships to our growing kids.  Two families take sides...Do we really know our kids? YIKES! Memorable.

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
A gripping, literate story of a spinster who is befriended by a young family, where the husband is an artist.  Riveting and compelling and powerful...narrative twists and compelling points of view.  I'm afraid to say more...I'll give good stuff away.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver
Poison-wood Bible was her best book ever, but this is a magical, powerful story...almost as good, but worth the read.  You know, the whole: when a butterfly flaps its wings the world will change.  Loved the evolution of this story.

Beginners Goodbye by Anne Tyler
God I love Anne Tyler and her quirky tales.  This one just touched my heart...about a man who loses his wife...but has he? It spoke to me about the power of love, marriage and connection.  And scared me about how I would live without my husband. 

Big Brother by Lionel Shriver
She pisses me off.  This is her story about a woman with a morbidly obese brother and the struggle to have a relationship around the fat and the issues that got him fat.  I don't think she likes fat people.  Being a fat person myself I was prickly.  However...this is powerful and memorable.  Side note:  The author's brother passed away in his 50's from being overweight.


SHIT YOU SHOULD READ CUZ IT IS IMPORTANT:

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
A bickering couple... I would say not memorable enough but my memory is fading as my children age.  (I don't age.)  But it is a negative read on marriage.  Not in that voyeuristic, let-er-rip kinda way.

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
She is revered as one of the greatest voices of our generation.  It was a hard read and I don't know that my life is any richer at the end.  Hilter, Bombing in WWII (Okay - I was richer for understanding THAT!). Sad, tortured.

The Bright River by Patrick Somerville
An okay story about a guy finding himself against some intense family secrets.



DELICIOUS STUFF TO READ WHILE YOU ARE DRINKING A BEER IN A FLOATIE:

Outtakes from a Marriage by Ann Leary (anything from Ann Leary)
She is Dennis Leary's wife - so this is good stuff - amazing and delicious.  Of course you read her indepth stories of flawed marriage and relationships and are pretty sure it is all about them.  Making it more delish.  Riveting, can't put it down, perfect for summer.  God, she can't write these fast enough for me.

Chanel Bonfire by Wendy Lawless
This author tweets with me AND her book is fabulous.  I thought I was reading a novel but it is her memoir growing up with a crazy, mentally ill, over-the-top, Hollywood type mother.  Fast read, can't get enough, riveting.  And did I mention that she tweets me?


READING RIGHT NOW:

Yonahlasse Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafini

I'm hoping this is something my daughters can read.  We love Summer Camp stories, but this ends up being an old time story about a girls' boarding school.  The protagonist is being sent away for something "bad".  I will let my kids read this (I will insist actually - this will make my threats about Boarding School carry more weight) if there isn't some graphic sex or too tragic ending.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fuck you Fire.  What about MY Summer Vacation? 

This is a play by play of our experience with the Mountain Fire

My kid got a scholarship to Band Camp for TWO weeks.  (Allelujah. Allelujah.)
I was going to have a GREAT time!!!  (Allelujah. Allelujah.)
Martini’s, napping, spa days, did I mention martini’s?
And not hearing: “MOM!!!”
So we drop our kid at band camp in the mountains.
There is a lot of weeping. 
She wept a lot too.  Then she decided that this scholarship, for which she had to audition, was maybe not such a good idea.
She offered to do all the chores in the world without ever complaining again if we would just take her home.
She begged, pleaded and wept.
She was very clear that she had CHANGED HER MIND about Band Camp.
Sorry Charlie.  We are outa here!
“I love you.  You will be fine!”
However, we drove off with a pit in our stomachs.
But once we got home we figured: She’ll work it out.  She’ll be playing music.  She will be fine.
And then? I started to relax.
Got my younger daughter in a day camp program.  (Allelujah. Allelujah.)
Thought about getting a pedicure in between work and appointments.  Ahhh…(Allelujah. Allelujah.)
Monday afternoon Palm Springs becomes oddly dark, smokey and ashy. 
Hmmm.
There must a fire somewhere…you know, somewhere up over the mountain there.
Uh, the Mountain there?
My kid is on the other side of the mountain.
Nah…It must be coming from somewhere else.
My husband calls.
I blow him off.  Chill Dad – she’s fine.  The fire is over by Hemet.  Why Hemet must be zillions of miles away from Idyllwild? Right? RIGHT?
Someone else calls me and asks what I think about the fire over by Idyllwild.
Uh…over by IDYLLWILD? WTF???

And so it begins.
Instead of putting my aching feet up and having a cocktail while toasting my kid for getting a scholarship to a TWO WEEK music camp…I become ONLINE SUPER VIGILANTE FIRE MONITOR MOM.
And I no longer sleep.  I do get in bed.  With all my devices.  They are all on chargers.  I’m wearing my yoga clothes with my tennis shoes by the bed.  I am ready to go!!!
Cuz that fire went for a few acres Monday afternoon to thousands of acres the next morning.
I keep checking with the camp.
Cuz …in Palm Springs? It is dark like night in the middle of the day.  Ashes are raining down everywhere (or do I have very severe dandruff?).  People are wearing masks on the streets of Palm Canyon. Sort of Avian Flu like.
My dogs vomit when they go outside cuz of the dense smoke. (But really? Better they vomit outside than in. I’m a glass half-full person after all.)
However, at the camp, the staff are VERY calm. (Too calm? I ask myself.  Remember – I have stopped sleeping. I’m old, I’m tired, I’m menopausal. I NEED my sleep! I can tend to overreact.)
I keep logging into the Idyllwild Town Crier, which btw, has a motto of “Almost All of the News – Part of the Time”.  I personally apologize to them for logging in 97 times every hour for 72 hours.  You Go Idyllwild Town Crier!!!

So I try sending my daughter comforting texts which of course she doesn’t respond to.  Phone dead? Highly likely.  Bad cell service?  Of course.  Cell Towers on fire? Shit.
Is any of that information calming? NO.
I send incoherent, late night emails to friends with better technical skills than I have (virtually all my friends, I believe) asking them how to help me get more info.

By Wednesday I have figured out how to watch the Fire on a Google Earth app. Now THAT does not reassure me at all. 
I’m ready for the Evac Order.
We cancel our dinner plans. I put on fresh yoga clothes and pack a couple of bottles of water.  I double check the charge on all my devices.
I do NOT have the martini I so long for.
The Evacuation Order is issued to the camp.  They are given a route and an Evacuation Center to head to. 
We get in the car.  My Brazilian blowout has somehow become a complete afro.
Finally my daughter calls me.  She is so upset.  She had to leave her beloved teddy bear, her beautiful-amazing new guitar (8th grade graduation present) and all of her clothes, etc behind.  She has her saxophone and her iPhone.

Now, there is this:  When I dropped her at camp I had threatened her: Don’t you lose that guitar.  If you don’t take care of it and it gets stolen, no one is buying you a new guitar!  Do you understand me???
So she thinks I am going to be mad as they descend the mountain, 56 kids per bus, 10 buses, traversing smokey, dark, winding roads.

Oh Baby (I say through shitty cell service – hence I use a very loud, borderline hysterical voice) I’ll get you a new guitar.  Don’t worry about it.  You are safe.  You are a good girl.  I love you.
We will meet you at the evacuation center. Keep your phone on so I can track you. Don’t worry about anything.  I love you!!!
And I log into Find Friends and I watch that purple dot come down the mountain. 
Technology is now my best friend.
And texting.  I now fully embrace texting:

Mom - Hi Baby.  I love you !  Thank you for telling me you are evacuating.  We will be there at the High School Evacuation Center in a couple of hours!  I love you.
Mom - You guys are not at the high school.  I can see your purple dot.  You are parked at an elementary school.  Are you still on bus?  I love you.
Blondie – Yeah I’m on the bus still.  We are waiting for an entirely different camp to unload.
MOM – Unload at the elementary school?  Do you know where you are?
Blondie – Not any idea.  I’m on a bus.
MOM – I see buses.  We are following a bus!
Blondie – Ok. It looks like we are going into a big parking lot
MOM – We are behind the row of buses.  Maybe this is you. I love you.  Good girl!
Blondie - Kisses
MOM – I’m here. Outside the buses on sidewalk!! Where are you?
Blondie – Ok, I have to go to the gym.  If there are other kids with music cases, follow them.
MOM – Are you still on the bus?  Look for me!!

At this point I am waving my arms constantly like I have some sort of Windmill Arm Disorder.

Blondie – I’m not OFF the bus.  I’m near the exit of the parking lot.
MOM- Is there a Cute super blonde girl at front of YOUR bus?
Blondie – With sunglasses on her head?
MOM – No big black glasses.
MOM - Look for me on sidewalk! 
MOM – Are there buses in front of you? 
MOM – Are there buses in back of you? 
MOM – Look around!
MOM – I’m looking for you Honey.
MOM – Are you on the right or left side of bus?
Blondie – No response.
Blondie - I see you.  Ok. 
Blondie – Oh. There you went.  You passed me!
Blondie -  Go back to where you were. By the front.
MOM – Now?  Can you see me now? (Windmill Arm Syndrome really flares up here.)
Blondie – You are on the correct side.
MOM – Which bus? There are 10 buses! (More Arm Whipping.  And Jumping.  I do NOT jump.  I’ve had many spinal surgeries.  Jumping is NO GOOD.  But I’m jumping.)

How do I end up finding my Blondie?
I knock on the window of each and every bus describing her: Tall, blonde, short hair, sax player?
And then I see her little head.

MOM –  I see you. Come down to me now.  NOOOOWWWW!!!

And what happens in the car on the way home from the evacuation center? First she asks for McDonalds. Then she asks how soon she can go back.  Cuz she is just LOVING this amazing band camp!
Honey, we will wait and see.  30,000 acres and counting.
But the second they get the all clear order? We will be the first people up the hill. Hey, getting a two week break? Not happening.
But I’ll take whatever I can get…even two days!
Out Damned Fire! Out!