Sunday, June 29, 2008

L.A. Fabulous

Friday morning, our taxi pulled up to the W hotel where we were staying in Westwood. I stepped out on to the curb and Adrian Grenier, the star of HBO’s hit series Entourage, walked by me. Welcome to Los Angeles! Before I could oh-so-subtly signal this star-spotting moment to my husband, we were inside the lobby and practically bumping into the whole cast of Entourage (Turtle, E and Drama). We were immediately whisked off to one side of the lobby by some young hipster working on the show. The director shouted “Cue models”, and several impossibly skinny, 6-plus foot tall creatures loped out from somewhere in very short dresses. They appeared to be from a different planet than the rest of us and definitely looked to be another species from the male stars of the show. You guessed it: the guys are predictably tiny.

Oddly, I’ve been to L.A. hundreds of times and never see anyone famous. This trip was the opposite extreme. We were there for the L.A. Film Festival, and it seemed we couldn’t turn around without seeing a recognizable actor. Sitting poolside at the W, we saw Philip Baker Hall, who starred in Magnolia and The Insider. Saturday night, while eating dinner at Craft (Tom Colicchio’s restaurant for all you Top Chef fans), we saw Patrick Fischler from Old School.

In between all our movie-star moments, we squeezed in a very fun and much-needed kidless weekend in L.A. We watched three movies, went to two parties, had many margaritas, worked out, ate out, swam in the pool and I got my toes and my hair done. It all added up to a great weekend of reconnecting with Reg, meeting a lot of his Netflix colleagues and occasionally bumping into extremely short actors.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The other Rush

The Other “Rush”
As a former sorority girl, the only “rush” that ever came to mind when I heard the word was the hectic week or two before Fall semester when we had to wear flowered dresses, meet hundreds of new people, and pass judgement upon them while smiling and singing modified lyrics to Queen songs to entertain them. Wait? Did I make that up? No, we really did that. In college. When we were sort of supposed to be adults.

But I digress. The point of this posting is that I’ve recently had a profound realization. No matter how much you say you hate all heavy metal and hard rock and consider your musical taste far superior to your husband’s because you like “good” music (like the Grateful Dead) you just might eventually change your tune. I even used to do a pretty mean ironic imitation of Geddy Lee singing “Tom Sawyer” to drive the point home about how much I did NOT like Rush. And now, it seems I do. Apparently, if you listen to it enough, and you go see them live as a huge favor to your hubby, and your 4-year old son sings them ALL THE TIME and says he wants to grow up to be Geddy Lee, you ever- so-slowly warm to this phenomenon that is Rush. Tonight I drove Reg’s car and I realized later that I had taken out a CD and purposely replaced it with a Rush one. This may have merely been a lesser-of-two-evils situation though. The CD that I took out was Iron Maiden. And here’s something you can take to the bank. I can say without a doubt, unequivocally, I will never, ever become an Iron Maiden fan. Probably.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Green Acres is the Place for Me

I am starting to feel a bit like Eva Gabor on that 1960’s TV show “Green Acres”. The show was about a former New York socialite who likes to drink martinis at cocktail parties but is whisked away to a farm where she stumbles around in high heels and sequined gowns while tripping over the pig, Wilbur.

On a small scale, I’m about to create my own little “green acre” by planting a vegetable garden in my yard. But I’m a little unsure of how this will go. I’ve lived in cities for the last 20 years and my gardening skills are nonexistent. Just ask the many plants I have killed – may they rest in peace. (Nickname from my husband: “The Orchid Killer”)

Since I insisted on laying out a garden in our backyard, doubts have started to creep in. Will I like growing food? Or will I feel like Eva Gabor, wishing I were back in my penthouse suite in New York and finding I’m not cut out for backyard farming?

Either way, I want to forge on with this project. For more inspiration, there was an article in today’s New York Times called “Banking on Gardening” that’s about the growing number of people like me who are planting vegetable gardens at home to support their organic dining habit and maybe even save the earth. A tall order for a 10 by 6 foot plot of land? Think again!  By growing food organically, we can reduce greenhouse gases since our traditionally-grown crops are essentially “bathed in petroleum” (to quote Bill McKibben) and the fertilizer used on most crops is all nitrogen-based and carbon-intensive. Only organic fertilizer in my little patch, and I’m even threatening to do worm composting. (Reg seemed slightly horrified when he caught me watching a video online about backyard composting.)

Maybe there will be a new Green Acres sitcom some day: one that features a city girl like me attempting organic gardening and worm composting while sipping a cocktail in her Manolo Blahniks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Old friends, amazing lives

In the past few weeks, I've gotten in touch with around 50 of my old friends from Berkeley through an email chain that my sorority sisters started to get back in touch. Except for about a dozen of the women, I had lost touch with the majority of the group over the past 20 years. I was amazed and impressed with the depth, breadth and passion of their lives. Since we went to Cal, it should not have been a surprise how many of us went into what I think of as "do-gooder" professions (i.e. social work, education, non-profits, public policy, politics, medicine, law). One woman even became a Member of Congress (How did I miss that?)! 

I love reading about what my old gal pals -- and we are getting old -- are up to, but it drives home this feeling that I'm sidelined right now while staying home with my baby and preschooler. On good days, I feel like I'm doing the best thing for me and my family right now, plus it's pretty fun. On bad days, I feel like the woman in those old Calgon commercials: "Calgon, take me away..." And I start imagining the career paths not chosen or the meaningful, exciting, well-paid jobs I think I could be doing. As my friend Shelley once pointed out to me though, "We have the rest of our lives to work." And I think she's right. After all, until I did this job (SAHM), I had been working since I was 15. A few years off to raise babies is a blip in the larger ocean of work, right?