Monday, February 28, 2011

Riding on the Metro

Last Thursday night Rigel and I had tickets to see Rock Of Ages (which was fantastic by the way) at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Our plans included pre-theater drinks and revelry with his boss and co-workers, which means a REAL night out, not the kind where I throw on a parka over my sweats and go to the grocery store to buy cat food at 11pm just so I can say I left the house. Although, that one time it did turn into kind of a party when that toothless started singing "Ring My Bell" to me over in the bread aisle.

Because Kira had an after-school rehearsal in Hollywood that day and because there were nightmare pre-Oscar traffic conditions in the entire area, we had to come up with a crazy plan to get her back home and get me back to Hollywood in time for the show. You'll be relieved to hear we didn't go with my idea that involved some large sums of money and me disguising myself as an extra-large pizza getting delivered to the Pantages. Although I definitely think I'll find another use for this pepperoni costume that I made out of felt.

Because Rigel is a true visionary, he came up with the idea for me to take the Metro back into Hollywood, since it stops right across the street from the theater. And thus the bizarre, insane, never-before-thought-of plan for me to ride the subway came into being. I KNOW! It's like asking me to take a rocket to Mars! Or walk the grueling three blocks to the mailbox.

I'd only taken the Metro once before as part of an event marking the opening of a new station, so this would be my first ride that didn't end with free balloons and a buffet of chicken wings and cocktail wieners.

And I have to say it was a revelation.

Who knew there was this fast, shiny thing that could get you to Hollywood in less than fifteen minutes and only cost $1.50? That stopped in clean, well-lit stations that had big signs so you couldn't get lost? And that was not scary at all unless you count the guy with the hoodie pulled way over his face talking to himself and holding what looked like a gun case but was probably really just a flute.

I'm Metro all the way now, baby.

All night I couldn't stop talking about how great the Metro was! How quick I got to Hollywood! How much money I was going to save on gas! (I should apologize to Rigel's co-workers - that conversation about Libya was fascinating, but holy crap did you know we had an underground train thing right here in LA?)

And I thought riding on the Metro were just lyrics to a song by Berlin.

Pin It

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I was at a wedding shower luncheon recently and as usual when a bunch of women are gathered, the talk turned to underarm hair. How to get rid of it, how much we hate it, who invented it - like clockwork, right after salad and right before the main course we discussed these pressing issues. Then, one of the women commented that she had once seen a picture of Julia Roberts with a bushy armpit and remarked that, "It kind of made me gag." She said this with such drama, pausing and then closing her eyes and appearing to concentrate, like people do when they're either praying or passing gas.

A few of us came to Julia's defense, using the usual "It's European" argument or "Maybe her assistant forgot to shave her" theory. (Although, I noticed that everyone was careful not to raise their arms too high from that point on.) I though this was funny, mainly because this woman had such an intense reaction to Julia's hirsute pit, like the actress had gone out of her way to cause great agony and discomfort in her viewing audience. I imagined Julia waking up the morning that the photo was taken and saying to herself, 'Let me just put this right out there so that some poor soccer mom can choke on her caramel latte."

I sympathize with Julia - keeping hair under control is a bitch, and who can blame her if she didn't feel like getting out the razor that morning? I started thinking about how, with two teenage daughters, so much of our expense and energy is being poured into the styling, bleaching, removing, waxing and plucking of hair. A trip to the drug store usually results in a basket filled with no fewer than four kinds of shampoos and conditioner, an unreasonably large assortment of pins, ponytail holders and headbands and at least three different types of hair removal creams and/or devices. Just a tip: the one that resembles a lathe that you fill with napalm? Definitely not worth your $9.95, even with the added Bonus Ginsu Razor.

Absolutely true story: Recently Rigel and I went to an event, and were eagerly anticipating our night ahead of child-free revelry. Just as we were getting ready to take our first sips of our ginseng martinis his phone buzzed (mine was turned off) and it was a text from Kira that started with 'URGENT.' We were alarmed of course, until we saw the rest of it:

"PLEASE stop at Rite Aid on your way home and get CONDITIONER!!!! Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions Dry to Moisturized 12.8 oz. THANK YOU!!!!!!"

Can I just say there's no greater buzzkill than a text from your teenager with an unnecessarily detailed hair product order.

I recently took a hairy matter into my own hands and decided to pluck Kiyomi's eyebrows myself. I thought I did a pretty good job, although with all the screaming you would have thought I was shaping them with a blowtorch. So what if they didn't totally match and one of them gave her a permanent, slightly inquisitive look - that was twenty bucks saved that could be spent on an eyelash curler. I couldn't help wanting to show off my handiwork to my friends one day at a party, although perhaps dragging Kiyomi over and announcing, "I plucked these suckers myself!" may have not been the most sensitive thing I've ever done in my life, a fact that she let me know by giving me one of the fiercest glares I've ever seen (from under a perfectly shaped arch, I might add.)

Getting back to the woman at the party, I did jokingly ask her if she had ever been caught with her hair down, so to speak, and she said it was the reason she had taken to wearing long sleeves lately. As she said this she laughed and threw her head back, and I caught a glimpse of a nose hair protruding from her nostril. It kind of made me gag.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Pin It

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Gang Of New York, Part IV: We Ate Stuff

Here's another post on New York! Try not to throw things at the screen - it's my last one. And cheer up - it's about food. Who doesn't want to hear about food? I'm only going to tell you about two of my favorite food experiences while I was there, not every hot dog and pizza slice I ate. That would be totally indulgent, like having a website where you talked about yourself and posted your vacation photos. This is nothing like that.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Mommy Needs Her Crack

I have to confess that one of the real reasons I was eager to get to New York was this:

It must have been that first line, "She thought she didn't even like sweets..." that got my attention. That was me! The writer went on to say that she had fallen in love with something called Crack Pie, and by the end of the article I was ready to shell out $44 + shipping to have one flown across the country to me. Who pays almost fifty bucks for a pie and then has it mailed to them? This was crazy talking. I decided to wait and put my money towards something sensible, like those cute rainboots for my cat.

I was obsessed, though, so I emailed my hip, young, urbanite niece Allie and asked her to try it out for me. She did, and said it was everything it was cracked up to be. (No pun intended.) After that, that crazy pie was never far from my mind and when I found out I'd be going to New York, getting my hands on some Crack was all I could think about.

Which is why on our last night of our trip we found ourselves at Momofuku Milk Bar, having our first taste of Crack Pie, thanks to Allie.

It didn't disappoint. More like a cookie because of its denseness, it was a slice of buttery, carmelized sugar heaven. Check out those ingredients – when the first four are butter, sugar, brown sugar and cream, you know you're headed straight to hell. I think it was Allie who said, "If I feel completely sick afterward it will have done its job."

In fact, it was so worth every crumb of its $5.25-per-slice price tag that I'm still considering spending the cash to have an entire pie shipped to me, just so I can share it with my friends. Besides, I'm tired of the cat telling me how to spend my money.

Epilogue: When we were leaving our hotel the next day with our Momofuku bag stuffed with take-home cookies and pie, Kiyomi was pulling my suitcase and yelled out across the crowded lobby, "Don't worry mom - I've got your crack pipe." (Of course, she was saying pie, but no one knew but us.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sphere Factor!

This might be old news to you foodies, but it was the first time for me. Spheres of food - really big caviar comes to mine - that sort of explode in your mouth when you bite into it. I had it my first night in NYC, at Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It sort of feels like a really soft grape when you first put it in your mouth, and then once you bite into it you get an explosion of cranberry. Having an exploding ball of food in your mouth might not sound exciting to you, but I was intrigued. Then again, I get all tingly when the McRib is back in town, so maybe I'm easily pleased.

We had the same thing the next night at the Nintendo event, except these spheres were made with mozzarella. I have to say this one wasn't quite as tasty – I would rather have had a really good piece of actual cheese – but this time I got to see how it was done. Also, just to get extra indulgent, these were served with tiny syringes filled with basil extract. I was almost expecting to be laid down on a feather bed and fed by a naked chef. (That didn't happen, but gave me an idea for my next birthday party.)

Lucky for you I made a video of the whole process! The technique is called Spherification and was apparently made famous by a chef at the legendary restaurant El Bulli in Spain. First the liquid 'essence' is scooped up and then put into a bath of what was described as a seaweed extract, and then put into another bath of cold calcium chloride solution that sets it. The result: a sphere with a slightly crisp exterior and a liquid interior.

Try not to get distracted by my awesome video and music editing skills.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today On The Other Blog:

Disneyland Hotel: I Remember It Well. Not.

Here's my review of the Disneyland Hotel, where I talk about The Monkees and Leave It To Beaver. What?

Read the whole darn thing here.

Pin It

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! Here's some awful-tasting candy for you

Remember those conversation hearts you used to pass out to your friends when you were a kid? Why did they taste so bad? Why did they taste like chalk? Why do I know what chalk tastes like?

Here's a better idea: Make your own virtual conversation heart here:

You can use up to four characters per line, on one or two lines. Now's your chance to use all those romantic cuss words on your sweetie. Have fun!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Pin It

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That's the ticket!

I wrote this post over two years ago for the LA Moms Blog, back when Kira was in the throes of her Ting-Tings mania. Now she says she can barely listen to any of their songs without cringing because it reminds her of what an "obsessed fan-girl" she was. I know how she feels - 'Muskrat Love' just makes my skin crawl now.

A few weeks ago my daughter let out a scream while sitting in front of her computer.  It wasn’t exactly a scream, more of that thing twelve-year olds do to convey excitement:  a yelp followed by a couple of ‘omigods’ and punctuated by frenetic hand clapping. I figured she had just seen a cute boy on YouTube  so I ignored the commotion until she came running into my office, breathless, to announce that The Ting Tings were going to be in concert! She had a crazy look in her eyes,  kind of how my husband says I look whenever chicken breasts go on sale  for half-price at Costco.

The Ting Tings are the latest band she discovered through the amazing marketing machine known as the iPod Commercial.  I know this makes me sound old, but I remember the days when we used to discover new music by listening to the radio, or watching Soul Train or stealing our brother’s 45’s.  I’d kick back, relax and listen to my new tunes after I had finished washing my clothes down by the river and churning my own butter.

She immediately sent me a link to the website, and sure enough  there they were, IN CONCERT LIVE OMIGOD. And best of all the tickets  were a mere $16, which we all know is dirt cheap for a live show these  days since that pittance can barely buy you a movie ticket, or a cd, or  even a small coffee at Starbucks.

But as usual I procrastinated about buying those tickets, even though  she diligently asked me about them every single day.  Something always  seemed to come up that made me put it off, important things like that  extra nap I was trying to fit in, or rearranging my blogroll.  So when  the big moment came around and my husband pulled out his credit card to  place our order everyone was pretty excited, almost as much as the time I  finally broke down and ordered that tub of OxyClean I’d promised  myself.

And then we saw that the concert was sold out.

You’ve heard of "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? How about  "hell hath no sorrow like a tween whose parents waited to long to buy  Ting Tings tickets"?  She burst into tears almost immediately after  seeing the ‘SOLD OUT’ banner appear, and continued crying as my husband  furiously searched various websites trying to score some tickets.  He  did find some on Craigslist for $95 each, and another pair on Ebay for  almost $200, but there was no way we were going to pay those prices.  It wasn’t a total bust, though, since I did find a nice set of wine  glasses and some ‘Like New!’ ski pants.

We felt awful and I could have kicked myself for not snatching up  those tickets earlier.  I tried to make her feel better by promising she  could play the CD extra loud on the night of the show and we’d all wave  our cell phones in the air, but surprisingly this didn’t cheer her up  one bit and she went to bed sniffling and sadder than ever.

After she had gone to sleep I talked my husband into making one last  effort.  It was a long shot, but how about emailing the club directly  and asking if they had any plans to add another show, or maybe even some extra tickets lying around?  Surely there was an undeserving stagehand whose tickets they’d revoke after hearing our sad story about our tween  daughter's ruined life. I even contemplated embedding an mp3 of her  muffled sobs coming from the other room but my husband said it would be  overkill, and besides it would clash with the picture of the sad-eyed  kittens he was attaching.

And we waited.  And when an email finally came in from the club the  next day, I was wary and decided to read it before calling my daughter  in. There was no need for her to see an automated response that said,  “thank you for your interest in our venue try bud light it tastes great  and is less filling.”

But I couldn’t help but let out a scream of my own when I read that,  as a matter of fact, they had a front row balcony table that they hadn’t  released to the public. That seated four people and would end up  costing us a little more than the original price but nowhere near what  they were asking on Craigslist and EBay.  I don’t think I’ve seen my  daughter so happy – it reminded me of the time I promised her I would  never wear my bathrobe again when picking her up at school.

So that’s where we’ll be going in a couple of weeks, and she’s  counting down the days.  She’s already made a sign to wave at the  concert, and her and my 10-year-old have already picked out their  outfits for that night.  And of course there’s a moral to this story:

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, and if you do  you’d better pray there’s a kind person working in the box office who’s  got a soft spot for sobbing twelve-year olds and kittens.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

My Gang Of New York, Part III: Meeting Jimmy Fallon & MetroDad On The Same Day!

One of the great things about traveling to far-flung, exotic locales is you might come face-to-face with mythical lifeforms. Here of course I'm talking about New York, and getting to meet the infamous MetroDad. Oh, and Jimmy Fallon, too.

I've been reading MetroDad for years so I was looking forward to meeting him in person. And talk about mythical lifeforms - an Asian blogger! Although it did cross my mind that maybe Pierre (aka MetroDad) didn't actually exist. Let's face it, this is the internet and he could actually be some really prolific, French 14-year-old.

But as you can see, he wasn't! Here's a picture I took of Pierre and his friend Jim, who is a producer on the show. Kiyomi is eating a red velvet cupcake she stole from a table in the hallway. That cupcake probably cost the show $45.

Pierre took time out of his busy schedule to meet us at Rockefeller Center, where his friend Jim most generously took us on a tour of Jimmy Fallon's studio. This was the moment Kiyomi put "Be an intern for Jimmy Fallon" at the top of her bucket list. Which, if you've ever seen a 12-year-old's bucket list, is pretty impressive since it beat out things like, 'Get txt mssg from Daniel Radcliffe' and 'Buy pony.'

Ashton Kutcher was a guest on the show that night, and here are the girls outside of his dressing room plotting to rush in and steal his underwear. Next door was where The Roots were rehearsing and Rigel was plotting to rush in and join the band.

We not only met Jimmy, but he invited us onto the set to take some pictures. Kira and Kiyomi have had a huge crush on Jimmy for awhile, so this was pretty mind-blowing for them. Kiyomi was a little bitter that she didn't get to sit in the seat closest to him, but she made up for it when, as we were leaving and Jimmy went to shake her hand she said, "Hey, no HUG?" and went in for a big embrace. Sure, they called for security but it was a moment to remember.

Here's where Jimmy told us to, "Look serious" and "Now laugh like crazy" which is what we're doing in these photos in case you couldn't tell. Hey, no one said we were actors.

A big THANK YOU to Pierre, Jim and Jimmy Fallon for putting up this family of tourists from L.A. and making our day. Sorry if we said 'like' way too much and kept complaining about the weather.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Next Up: My Gang Of New York, Part IV: We Ate Stuff

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It

Monday, February 07, 2011

Day 14 of the sickness and boy is my sjövik tired

For the past fourteen days neither of my girls have been at school on the same day because of this cursed, hideous cold that's been going around. As a result, I'm pretty exhausted and bleary-eyed and only have the energy for the most vital of tasks, like looking at videos on the internet.

Here's one called Can't Get It Up, about the horrors of trying to assemble a piece of furniture from Ikea. If you've ever wanted to throw yourself off a building because you spent five days putting together an Anjůk toothbrush holder, I think you'll relate. Although you have to admit all is forgiven once you've had their meatballs.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Pin It

Friday, February 04, 2011

Like A (50-Year-Old) Virgin

As a few of you know, last month I turned fifty. Notice how I spelled that out, because it's a little less painful than seeing the numbers. I hate the look of that five and especially that zero, like a mouth gaping at how old and ancient I am. Stupid fifty.

But I'm taking it really well!

To be honest, it is going better than I'd expected. My teeth haven't all fallen out and neither of my hips seem like they'll need replacing soon. Although I did find my first gray hair on the morning of my birthday (I'm not kidding - that sucker just bounced out of my head like one of those pop-up turkey timers. Like it was saying, "Hello! You're ready! FOR OLDNESS.)

For the longest time I was reluctant to put my age out into the blogosphere. Let's face it – the blogging world is a young one. I mean, when you read people's posts and they're saying things like, "My mom said phones used to have dials on them" and "OMG Miley Cyrus takes me back to my youth" - well, you know you're one of the more vintage bottles in the cellar.

It was especially annoying when people would talk about the sixties like it was ancient history, wondering if there was electricity back then and what did people use to hunt their food. I mean, they really deserved to have comments left by 'Anonymous' on their blog that said, "Go change your diaper" and "I oughta tan your hide you whippersnapper." Not that I know who was responsible for that.

I admit I don't look fifty. At least, that's what people say. (When they've had a few. And been paid.) And I certainly don't feel fifty. As my most hip, stylish friend Natalie says, who is going to be hitting the five-oh soon herself, "Who knew fifty would feel this good?" And I have to agree - I have no desire to put on a pair of mom jeans or a polyester blazer. I haven't put my hair up in a bun with a hairnet, and I'm not going to bed at 8pm with my teeth in a glass next to me. Although I did catch my self saying, "What I wouldn't give for an afghan and a glass of fiber" the other day.

But here's my secret weapon, the one thing that I constantly say to make myself feel better. No, it's not, "Age is just a number" or "You're only as old as you feel" or any of that other touchy-feely mumbo jumbo. It's this:


That's right - the Material Girl is going to be fifty-three this year, and she's making music, directing movies and dressing like a hooker. I'm not saying she's my role model, or that I'm going to be putting on a bullet bra and parading around in ass-less chaps anytime soon (at least not in public) but it's good to see that life doesn't end when you hit the half-century mark, that you can still be a productive, vital, creative force who gets to put on a leather bustier and prance around with Justin Timberlake.

So I've decided that I'm going to embrace fifty, and the fact that I'm still standing, have a great marriage and raising two bright, beautiful girls. That I'm on my second career and my last minivan. That I can still wear stilettos even if I complain bitterly about them the entire time. That I'm older than most of you out there but still younger than Madonna. I'm even going to get used to writing those gawd-awful numbers.

GO 50!

That last cheer totally threw my back out.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

My Gang Of New York, Part II: Really Touristy Photos With Clever Captions

As threatened, more on my trip to New York! Here are some random photos, accompanied by my banal commentary. I have lots of time on my hands, as the girls have taken turns being sick since we got back. It's like NYC is punishing us for visiting. Perhaps I shouldn't have asked that man on the subway if there were any drive-thrus where I could get a half-caf, organic chai latte with a sprout infusion.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is one of my favorite photos, taken at Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon memorial in Central Park. Kiyomi's a rabid Beatles fan, so for her this was one of the highlights of our visit. Also one of the only times during our freezing, snowy trip that she put on her coat.

 Ever wonder who shells out $80 for those carriage rides? 

On the High Line, one of those places that we wish we had in L.A. Although if I might add, could be made that much better with the addition of a coffee cart. (See? It's saying things like that that's going to get my ass kicked the next time I visit.)

Rigel and I walking through a snowy Central Park. Hardly romantic, as this was taken by the girls who were walking behind and heckling us with things like, "Awww, aren't they CUTE?" and "LOOKIT THE LITTLE SCHMOOPIES." You can't tell by the picture, but we were thinking of all sorts of ways to torture them when they start dating.

At Bouchon Bakery at Time Warner Center, and in our room at the Empire Hotel in their beloved hats. Kira looks extra happy because on that day we "had lunch at a normal time like normal people." And for the record Rigel and I hardly think that waiting until 10pm to eat dinner is "so weird and unhealthy and, like, child abuse." Kids these days.

The famed cultural and historical New York landmark that Kira and Kiyomi couldn't wait to visit: the 4-story, Forever 21 store in Times Square.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Next Up: My Gang Of New York, Part III: We Met Jimmy Fallon & MetroDad, All On The Same Day!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It

Related Posts with Thumbnails