Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wrong On So Many Levels

It was wrong a couple weeks ago when I used my 14-year old niece as a front to go see the movie 17 Again. Wrong that I muttered “oh my gawd” multiple times upon seeing Zac Efron. Wrong that I leaned over and asked her, “Is he legal?” (For the record, he is 21…which is a totally acceptable cougar-bait age).

I should probably be feeling remorse for my perverted, immature behavior and thinly veiled attempt to spend quality time with my niece. But I’m having a hard time because it felt so right to see his sculpted, young abs. And righter than right to stare at those pretty lips and swoon over those baby blue eyes. And as we shrilly whispered back-and-forth “he’s SO hot,” I think my niece and I were bonding on a new level. So maybe it’s not so wrong.

What might be wrong, however, is that this morning I IMed my sister and asked her if she and my other niece would like to go see the movie again tomorrow night…

I am a 33-year old woman and I want to spend my Friday night watching Zac Efron. Perhaps the cats, wine and scrapbooking weren’t so bad afterall…

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Inaugural Panic Attack

I come from a long line of high anxiety relatives, and it continually surprises me that I've yet to have a panic attack. I keep thinking one will strike while I'm driving down an unfamiliar street or getting ready to board a plane. But nope. Never anything beyond stomach butterflies.

Until Friday.

I was standing in the checkout line at Target. Like lots of other Fridays, I had stopped off there on my way home to pick up some necessities. But as I looked down into my shopping cart, it seemed my worst-nightmare future was staring back at me. There in the red plastic basket were a bottle of $5 wine, cat food, cat litter and scrapbooking supplies.

I began to feel faint.

I tried a little deep breathing. Plenty of people shop for those exact same things. Married people. People with children. People whose boyfriends live on the same continent.

Then I went home and drank half the bottle of wine.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kermit Was Wrong

It is easy being green. And even if it requires a little effort, I believe it’s critical we all start making that effort—or else we’re going to watch our planet go to pot.

Last night I watched Oprah’s Earth Day special and it got me even more fired up about this critically important topic. She aired footage of the floating landfill in the Pacific ocean that is twice the size of Texas. Twice the size of freaking Texas. She showed images of turtles tangled in plastic, sea birds eating trash and debris, dolphins swimming amongst old water bottles and floating gunk. As an animal lover, I find this absolutely atrocious and unacceptable. This is as much—if not more—the animals’ planet as it is ours. We have to solve the problem of excessive trash and waste in this world. And I believe we can if everyone would just make small efforts.

It really doesn’t take much. There are so many green things you can do that are free—and can even save you money! Here are some things I do that have not in any way cramped my style or made my life more difficult:

• Switch to cloth napkins. They’re great not just at mealtime, but at meal-prep time. If I wash berries or tomatoes or anything, I dry them on a cloth nappie instead of a paper towel. Saves money and trash space.

• Use a real coffee mug at the coffee bar. I actually worked at a coffeehouse throughout college and the great thing about reusable mugs is that you get more bang for your buck if they’re bigger than the standard paper cups.

• Keep a stainless steel water bottle on hand. Paired up with a Brita Water Pitcher, this prevents me from spending money on designer water and it reduces consumption of plastic bottles.

• Reuse tissue and wrapping paper. All you have to do is neatly fold up tissue, keep it in a box somewhere and it works good as new in a cute gift bag you pass on to someone else.

• Wash and reuse plastic utensils. I started taking home any plastic silverware I used at work and washing it so I could bring it back and use it again. I should probably just start bringing real utensils in my lunch bag…

• Use Tupperware instead of baggies. Plastic bags are so last decade. Packing food is even better in Tupperware because things don’t get smooshed in your lunch bag.

• Clean with earth-friendly products. Method makes a great line of stuff that’s comparable in price to other tried-and-true solvents. An easy switch.

• Shop with reusable bags. In addition to using big canvas shopping bags, I bought string bags that can be used for produce purchases. They’re awesome—they expand to fit all sorts of things in them—so when you go to check out, you can put other groceries in the same bags as your fruit and veggies.

• Save pasta or steamed veggie water. If you let it cool, it’s a great thing to water plants with.

• Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. They take a few seconds to get to their brightest point, but they last longer and require less energy.

• Recycle. This one seems like such a no-brainer. But I’m sure there are still people out there who don’t do it. I put every piece of paper, junk mail, cardboard packaging, Styrofoam, plastic, glass and aluminum I can in my recycling bin.

• Terracycle. These guys are taking recycling to a new level. They turn wrappers, drink pouches, wine corks and more into new products. Trés green chic.

• Compost kitchen scraps. Despite the fact that I accidentally killed one batch of composting worms, I’m going to modify my receptacle and take this up again. It removes a lot of bulk from my trash each week. And the worms aren’t gross...after awhile, you develop an affection for them!

• Donate old clothes, knick knacks, books, etc. etc. to the Goodwill. Landfills are overflowing with stuff that other people could be using right now. Just because you don’t want something anymore doesn’t mean it’s trash.

Other great ideas I’ve seen people around me doing: Using biodegradable bags to pick up pet waste, using disposable bamboo plates and cutlery in place of paper, buying Preserve products, skipping meat once a week to cut down production costs associated with the industry, buying clothing made of recycled materials, making new candles out of the wax left from old ones, actually going to the library instead of filling their homes with newly purchased books, and the most noble of all: biking to work.

Any little steps we can take will make an impact. And when you add them all up, the impact could be huge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

35 and Still Has the Legs of a Teenager

Those gorgeous stems up there in the biking tights? They belong to Mr. Wonderful. The man seriously has the shapeliest, most sculpted legs I’ve ever seen. I’m convinced it’s the Greek god blood.

He turned 35 last Thursday and was feeling a little out of sorts about the whole thing, despite my insisting that if 40’s the new 20, he’s a mere 15. He rattled off something about accomplishments and yadda yadda and because I was too jetlagged to properly acknowledge his birthday last week, I’d like to dedicate this post to celebrating all of the things he’s done since his last birthday.

Let me back up a bit further and clarify that Mr. W has accomplished more than a lot of us ever will. He owns a house in the Hollywood Hills and two rental properties, is working on a freaking movie in England with a huge-name director, has his pilot’s license and his motorcycle license, and knows how to cook like nobody’s business. I mean, seriously…he has nothing to complain about.

That said, here’s a list of even more exciting things he’s gotten done in the last year:
• He fed an ostrich outside of Solvang, CA.
• He sang Footloose at my karaoke party.
• He bought a schmancy new car.
• He bought a wine fridge that wouldn’t fit in the new car and had to leave me sitting on a flatbed trolley with it in the Lowe’s parking lot while he went to get my car so we could transport it home.
• He grew, picked, peeled and froze a buttload of delicious tomatoes last summer.
• He kept his Dr. McDreamy hair.
• He bought a new mountain bike and those smokin’ hot tights.
• He built a booby helmet for his Halloween costume.
• He built a worm composter for my Christmas present.
• He went to Yellowstone, Napa, Oklahoma, St. Louis, Maui, Italy (for the 3rd time!), Greece, England and France.
• He got laid off from a job he didn’t like but is still receiving a paycheck.
• He got a job he does like and is receiving a paycheck from that one, too.
• He got to fly first class to London.
• He got bumped into the penthouse because the apartment he wanted in the UK wasn’t available.
• He fought 6 squirrels at once with only a garden hose.
• He told me he loved me.
• He got, crashed, and repaired several remote controlled helicopters.
• He mastered the guitar on Rock Band.
• He painted the entire exterior of his house (with the help of a few friends and me).
• He won over many readers of this blog.
• He survived the horror of my cousin’s baby vomiting pumpkin pie at Christmas and the mayhem of my mother wetting her pants laughing.
• He survived having me meet his family.
• He made the best short ribs I’ve ever had and probably ever will have in my entire life.
• He rocked my world.

Happy Birthday Sugarplum! You amaze me and I love you. I can’t wait to see what you do with the next 35 years!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I was tempted to title this My Thirty-Turd Birthday, but how could I really lament the fact that I’m a year older when I spent my day celebrating in Paris?

The day began with just about the best thing ever: cheese. Oh and a chocolate croissant. All before 10 a.m. Lovely. Once sufficiently stuffed, Mr. Wonderful and I donned our Easter Sunday best and wound our way south across the river to the Eiffel Tower. Mr. W suggested that maybe we go big and make dinner reservations there—I told him we could figure it out later.

From the Tower gardens, we walked east along the river to the Musée d’Orsay where we shared a lovely ham and Swiss sandwich with a bag of beet, turnip and carrot chips. The impressionist art was beautiful and the building was exquisite.

Despite aching backs and feet, we soldiered on and hopped the Metro to Sacré Coeur basilica. It was packed full of Easter visitors, but fortunately the claustrophobic 300-step staircase up to the church’s dome was free from crowds. Mr. W and I had to stop several times due to spinning heads and burning quads. But as you can see, the view was incredible.

Mr. W suggested we stop for some more cheese (one serving a day is just not sufficient) so we wandered through Montmartre looking for a restaurant that wasn’t dualing as a sardine can. We strolled so far trying to escape the crowds that we suddenly found ourselves looking into windows at penis salt and pepper shakers and edible underwear. “We must be near the Moulin Rouge!” After passing the Sexodrome, we did stumble upon the theater—which was exciting because Mr. W had never seen it.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were spent. So instead of trying for dinner at the Eiffel Tower or making reservations at one of the schmancy restaurants we found online, we freshened up and took the elevator right downstairs to the bar. A bottle of Chablis (who knew that was actually a good variety?!), a caesar salad, and a plate of cheese and bread later, I was a tipsy and extremely happy birthday girl.

The icing on my cake was when a pretty blonde in a trenchcoat came in and joined a 60-something Japanese man. Not only did I have my sweetheart, delicious French food, and good wine, I now had fabulous entertainment. “I’m sure she’s just his niece,” Mr. W and I chuckled as the waiter brought us our chocolate soufflé. Oh what a Happy 33rd Birthday to me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Paris in the Springtime

I don't know all the words to the song, but I Love Paris in the Springtime was whistling through my head almost everywhere I went this past weekend. I'm too jetlagged to do more than just show off some pictures. More posts will follow...

Garden along the Champs Elysees

Baby ducks in a pond under the Eiffel Tower

The gardens by Notre Dame were the most incredible of all

I've never seen trees that bloom with this much enthusiasm

More bulbs blooming in Luxembourg Garden

I'm quite certain that if I got a better grasp on the language, I could go live in Paris for the next 1-59 springs...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Overheard at the Office

Let me preface this story by reminding you that I work at a tech company. A big one. Like a staple of the Internet. It just seemed wrong to hear this conversation within the walls of my company...

Person 1: "I don't understand blogging."

Person 2: "Seriously, blogging is for people who want to be stalked. They're just trying to get stalkers."

Person 1: "I know—I mean, no one cares that you went for a walk and then to the grocery store."

Person 2: "Unless they're stalking you."

I don't know about you, fellow bloggers, but I don't write on here in hopes of being stalked. And it seems that if anyone should grasp the value of The Blog, it should be people who work for a tech company. They must've been morons from finance or something...

On a happier note, I'm leaving tomorrow to go see Mr. Wonderful. Just a red eye away from rehabilitating my lips and revoking my asexual status... Damn it, I forgot that my mom is coming back from vacation and will be reading this. Mom, he has 3 bedrooms in the penthouse, so the only thing I'll be sleeping on top of is the mattress in the guest bedroom. Not him. Don't worry. Think of white dresses and kitten whiskers. I'm sorry you and dad ripped the air conditioner unit off the roof of the motorhome when you tried to go through that car wash. A story for another day, perhaps...

Au revoir!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Magnificence of Mammaries

I'm training for another half marathon. After the Nike Women's Run last fall, I said I'd never do another race...but here I am again. There's a twist to this one, though, that makes it sort of irresistible. It's through Santa Ynez, CA and it ends with a wine tasting. You literally run across the finish line into a little wine tasting convention. If that isn't a great reward for 13.1 miles, I don't know what is.

The other great twist is that one of my oldest and dearest friends, we'll call her Jugs, is joining me for the race. She's never done one herself, so it's been great fun getting her pumped up for it and doing training runs together.

One of the best parts of the training runs is watching the way people react to Jugs when we jog by. Not having a rockin' rack myself, I've never experienced the joy-spreading phenomenon of big bouncing boobies. But man-oh-man, is it entertaining and astonishing how men suddenly become giddy when graced with Jugs' presence. Whether they're staring blankly into a store window, squinting at the bright sun or scowling at their wives, when Jugs comes into their line of sight, they slip into an elated state and suddenly contort into a huge grin.

Our runs are often filled with my commentary, "Did you see that one? Smiling from ear to ear." "Oh he just about did a tap dance." "Whoa two at once!" I have never seen so many men become so unabashedly happy over something so simple. It is hilarious.

This weekend, I was doling out my normal comments when Jugs told me that her assets entice even when she's fake running. Apparenly two elderly gentlemen came into the cafe where she works and asked for a dessert recommendation. She told them how last weekend we were running and, the last half mile or so, all we could talk about was how we were going to go home and eat chocolate bread pudding from her cafe. As she recounted the story to them, she mime-ran in place.

Despite her enthusiastic suggestion, the men ended up skipping dessert altogether. I believe they got enough sugar from Jugs' story, though, because they left her an $8 tip on a $20 bill...