Monday, July 30, 2012

Looking for Justin Bieber

We're just back from a weekend in LA. Calabasas, actually.

Our first order of business was sugaring up at Crumbs. On our way home from Crumbs we drove by Justin Bieber's house, which is inside the gate within the gate. My niece is into Justin. She lives inside the gate but not inside the gate within the gate so it took some sweet talking to get past that second gate. Surprisingly, Justin was home. His car, which is the same as our neighbors, was in the driveway and his garage was open. One of his friends was in the garage. Pictures were taken. Not by me though.

My niece also drove us past Kourtney Kardashian's house, which is literally around the corner from my niece's house. No paparazzi. They must have been at Katherine Jackson's house, also in the neighborhood. If they could get inside the gate that is. Momma Jackson was in the news last week. Google if you're curious.

 We packed a lot into a quick weekend! Santa Monica Pier and the Third Street Promenade. The biggest Brandy Melville I've ever seen. Dave and our BIL played golf at the Calabasas Country Club. Dips in the pool both day and night. Chinese food. Steaks on BBQ with the usual suspects. A trip to Susie Cakes, which I prefer to Crumbs but which the kids do not. Walking Hayley, the cousins' new Maltipoo. Heading out of town we ran into Keyshawn Johnson at the gas station. Sterns Wharf in Santa Barbara. Riding Surries. Lunch on the pier. Driving home along the 101 and dinner at Dennis and Margo's in Pasadera.

Thing 1 and I fell in love with Santa Barbara Chicken art and we came home with two pieces. They are unusual and happy and silly, and made us both grin ear to ear. The piece I bought matches nothing in our house but I really do love it.

Eldest Daughter is at sleep-away camp for the next two weeks. She's asked me not to blog about her. I will anyway. Lots. Next time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rocky Treatment

Eldest Daughter got her braces off a few months ago. And now she smiles a lot more. Of course more is relative when you're a 14-year-old girl.

I'd promised her The Rocky Treatment when her orthodontic torture was finished. And that's how we ended up at the Neiman's counter in the city Saturday.

The Master of Lipstick Picking did not disappoint. Eldest Daughter enjoyed the experience and Rocky picked out a beautiful Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Shine for her, age-appropriate and in the classic Chanel packaging.

She smiled all afternoon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

St. Joseph's Church

A block from my office is a Catholic church. I notice it often.

The question: can you just go in and take a peek? I wanted to because the outside is very pretty. And in Europe we do this all the time.

Today I tried going in. And it was locked. There was a sign on the front door saying that, due to vandalism, the church is closed except during worship services.

That's sad.

Instead I walked around the corner and into a restaurant where no one except the cashier spoke English.

Mini vacation at noon.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Fisker

Our neighbors have a Fisker. And the four of us drove it to dinner one evening. While our friends are super fun and the evening was filled with laughter, the Fisker added a whole new element to the mix.

For those of you in need of a refresher: Fisker is a new American car, a hybrid sedan. Thus far there are very few of these visually stunning works of art on the road.

As it turned out, there was street parking in front of the restaurant. We parked there. And as it turned out we were seated on the patio, with a view of the street and the car.

That baby draws attention. Every few minutes someone would walk up to it and stare. Then they'd point. This was inevitably followed by the appearance of a mobile phone, used either to google the car or shoot a picture. About half the time the photo was accompanied by someone posing in front of it. We laughed the first dozen times this happened.

And then I couldn't stand it any more. A group people were gathered in front of it, gawking. I hopped down from the patio and walked up to them.

Me: What's going on?

Man in seersucker suit and bow tie: It's a new hybrid car. Looks nice, doesn't it?

Me: What's so special about it?

Man: See the solar panels on the roof? That charges the battery.

Me: Oh. It's so shiny!

I run my finger along the door, trying to smudge it. My tablemates are now giggling.

Crowd around car: collective gasp.

Me, pulling out my iPhone and hopping up on the hood: Will you shoot my picture on it?

Man: Um. No.

He backs away.

I look back at our table where my tablemates are teary-eyed, gasping for air, and close to peeing their pants. The restaurant patrons on the patio have BIG eyes. I slide down the hood and return to our table.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Tahoe Game

Every time we come to Tahoe we make a game of seeing what has changed since our last visit. This time we noted that the ugly fountain outside of the Olympic House was removed, replaced by grass and stepping stone paths. Parts of the Olympic House are no longer a purplish gray paint. There is additional directional signage in The Village and the entrance to the valley is marked with a new Olympic sign.

We had a jam-packed trip up. Highlights included:

  • Boating with the Owles. 
  • Lunch at Sunnyside, the place to see and be seen. The best thing we saw was the smiles on our niecelets faces when we they were offered the chance to join our family tradition of eating Hula Pie before the main meal. appetizer.
  • The first-ever Morris Family Hike. We did enough of the Shirley Lake Trail to eat lunch by and play in the river. The youngest Pinks loved this, especially navigating the rocky trail.
  • Perfect weather. 
  • Listening to a Billy Joel cover band at the bottom of the Granite Chief chairlift.
  • Golf and tennis.
I can't wait to go back in August.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4 July

I didn't get to sleep in on this particular holiday but in the fun factor of our nonstop day made it worthwhile. Dandiville's annual parade began at 9a this year, an hour earlier than in years past. Some years it's miserably hot and, while this wasn't one of them, it was nice to be out of the sun by noon and before the strongest sun of the day was upon us. I was teary-eyed much of the time watching the floats honoring our troops. I also like seeing old friends and neighbors both march in the parade and be spectators. Not much is cuter than little kids dressed in red, white and blue waving the American Flag. 


While I was doing a rare two-hour commute home from The Silly Valley on Independence Day Eve, Dave and our friends scoped out a good spot the parade route and we were able to watch from the comfort of our shaded chairs 12 hours later. Eldest Daughter especially enjoyed the parade social scene this year.

After the parade we headed up to a party in St. Helena. Our friends have decided to take a year out of the rat race and spend the next year living in Rome. They leave in August, in time for their three children to begin the new school year. Meanwhile, they are readying their ranch-style house among the vineyards with gorgeous gardens and pool for a year-long rental. If you know someone who wants to live the wine country dream for a year, I'll put you in touch. I'd move there in a second.

The husband told me about this New York Times article on being busy, which only served to validate their decision. Their kids will take a bus to school and the husband and wife will have time to read the paper and drink coffee out, explore the city and plan weekend trips. I am jealous. Yes, I am happy for them but I am jealous, too, of them going to Rome and stepping off the treadmill.

I do not like being busy. I need a lot of time to myself and I hate it when people brag about how busy they are. Do they enjoy the pace? Are they Tiger Moms and Dads? Are they afraid of being unscheduled to the point they don't know what they will do with downtime? I chatted with a couple, parents of two, at the parade and they told me that they go for a five-mile hike together every Saturday morning and it forces them to have an extended conversation. Brilliant.

Our friends have a big extended family and the gathering was perhaps 40 kids and adults swimming, BBQing, throwing around balls, drinking and playing in the hammock and treehouse. I took the picture below at their house. The husband challenged the kids to create a place to hang the flag. Success! I like these kinds of events -- a few people I know, most I don't, activities to keep the kids happily occupied and a diversity of backgrounds and opinions. It was great to catch up with the friend who links us to the St. Helena couple. Much of him remains the same as when we met, 30 years ago.

We were going to spend the night in Napa and come up to Tahoe Thursday but instead decided to head out that night. Our risk was rewarded with arriving at Donner Lake just as their fireworks show started. We lucked into a prime vantage point on Hwy 80.


Today I woke up in my own bed at Squaw. We've not been here since ski season so there is zero to eat in the house. I headed to Starbucks for caffeine and breakfast while everyone else slept in, and am now banging away at my laptop with a pine-infused set of lungs and big smile. It's pure magic in the early mornings at Squaw. People walking their dogs. Ambituous hikers and bikers. Nerds like me on laptops. Later Dave will take the kids golfing and give me a whopping on the tennis court. Paradise!