Showing posts with label neighborhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label neighborhood. Show all posts

we'll call it Shady Lane

I need an app that maps the shadiest pedestrian route, for any given time of day. Nothing too complicated. Just, you know, an algorithm that calculates the position of the sun relative to building height, trees, sizable landmarks, etc., factored down to the minute so as to maximize the amount of shade one enjoys while walking.

I am convinced that between Google and NASA, the data have already been collected. All that remains is some number crunching.

So can someone please crunch those numbers? Walkability scores are everything nowadays. There's gotta be $$$$ in an app like that.


Our first Saturday together in seven months, the rain gets the better of us.

We drive to the forest, listening to music that satisfies both our tastes. Paul Kalkbrenner, CRO, Ben Howard. We joke nervously about all the defeated looking, soaked-to-the-bone hikers we see on the way up the mountain. Buy a day pass for the park. Layer on hoodies and jackets, gamely set out on the trail. But it's too wet and too cold, and the loop we have in mind is three hours long. We'd be asking for colds. We'd be stupid. So we pivot. Decide to hit one of the beach cities neither of us have ever really explored.

We stop back at my place first, to change into dry clothes. In a stroke of good luck, we snag a parking spot in front of my building. I slip my debit card into the meter, which automatically cues up two hours' worth of time. Timo punches the timer down to 45 minutes, then 30, and I laugh. "How quick are you going to be?" I tease. It's been a few days. Changing into dry clothes is only the cover story.

His dimple comes out at this--the one that deepens when he's trying to suppress a smile. The one that owns me, completely. "That's up to you," he shoots back, looking me square in the eye. He dials the meter back up to an hour, puts his hand on the back of my neck, and walks me this way inside to my apartment.


On the way to the coast, he calls home. An official, meet-the-parents Skype had been tentatively planned anyway, and doing it now there's less pressure. Two birds, or something. I listen to the conversation through the car's speakers, deducing enough from the occasional bit of English what they're talking about. There's a lot of laughter. Timo and his mother both laugh easily, and often. I can hear them in one another, even when I don't understand a word. She is energetic, full of plans and ideas and questions. His dad is quieter, chiming in when he wants something clarified. Something tells me he's the one I'll seek out someday, during some future visit, when the foreign, mirthful house full of siblings and cousins and babies overwhelms me.

Timo stops to explain or translate now and again, so I don't feel totally excluded. I catch some German words related to work that are identical to their English counterparts, and when I look at him pointedly he says, "Yeah that's right, I'm talking about you."

His mother asks whether we'll be coming to Germany soon, to celebrate some of the good news Timo has just shared, and I jump in. "We talked about maybe coming later this summer...?" I direct my words to them, but I'm looking at their son. He says in German then translates, smiling at me: "It's in the plan but not on the calendar."

And then we're in Long Beach.

Neither of us is crazy about the admission prices of the aquarium (which I've been to before) or the Queen Mary (which we've both been to), so we opt for aimless wandering. It's cool and windy, and downtown is more or less deserted. The streets are wide and empty, the fresh air and ample space invigorating. We walk and talk and look, admiring some of the older architecture and flat out hating on some of the new.

Massive cranes towering up from the loading docks remind Timo of the Port of Hamburg, and the nostalgia in his voice makes me jealous. Little gets closer to someone's heart than the landmarks of childhood. When we stroll past the hands-on tide pool outside the aquarium, I'm tempted to spring for the $30 ticket; I've always loved these sorts of mini aquatic petting zoos. Plunging my arms into the icy water. Carefully prying starfish from rocks. Pressing my flattened palms against the needle tips of sea urchins. 

The grassy area surrounding the lighthouse is closed off for a wedding; bridesmaids in navy blue chiffon form ranks around a bride in white satin. A photographer stations the party in front of gently bobbing boats, and it's picturesque enough, but in that casual, sunny way of California harbors. East coast harbors just feel more authentically naval to me. Saltier. Tougher.

I'm thinking about my dad today, finding excuses to bring him up. He was a sailor, having joined the Navy at sixteen. Somewhere I've got a handful of black and white snapshots of him in his crisp whites, some local doll on his arm. Cocky and grinning despite his age. April 30th marked five years ago that he died. I celebrated, in a gesture that only those who really know me would understand, by going to a Deadmau5 show. Getting high while listening to live music, and the feelings of love and gratitude that doing so always leads me to.

We sit and gaze across the water at the Queen Mary: massive, immobile, timeless. Timo reads aloud from the ship's Wikipedia page - our own DIY historical tour. We take a pic that I'll later delete, because it is awful. I do this guiltily, because more frequent documentation of our time together is a mission we have vowed to undertake. It's something I have to admit I miss about my last relationship, as annoying as it occasionally was.

Hungry, we Yelp, choosing a seafood restaurant nearby. Picking a new place for date nights, or on day trips, or even while traveling always stresses me out. It feels like such a gamble, and such a shame when it's not good. But the place we find is perfect for our mood and our appetites. On barstools at a table facing the street, we share clam chowder, ceviche, grilled yellowtail. I get buzzed and chatty on pineapple cider, flirting with my boyfriend of ten months.

Serious-faced little dogs trot past the window, leading their humans, and I laugh. "Is there any kind of dog you don't like?" Timo asks, amused, I guess, at the ease by which I am delighted.

"Sure. I can't stand Chow Chows and Shar Peis. And Cocker Spaniels. And Dalmations." This last surprises him.

"They're mean," I explain. "Inbred and blind, mostly, so they're very aggressive." Timo nods, and I go on, watching his face. "And though I really like their faces and coloring and personalities, I don't love how German Shepherds look." Surprise again. "The hunched-over legs," I say. "That skulking way they walk. And did you know that their actual name is 'German Shepherd Dog'? So dumb. Like 'PIN number.'"

"That's because in German, their name means 'the shepherd's dog'". My jaw drops, genuinely gobsmacked. I'd never realized. I make a gesture that mimes my head exploding.

Tipsy, I announce that were I to live in another century, I'd be a shepherdess. "What a gig. Just take the sheep out, chill all day reading under a tree, take them back home." Knowing pointless thought exercises like this aren't his thing, I ask anyway: "What would you want to be, if you were born in another century?"

"A rockstar in the sixties." I object, having of course meant pre-1900, but he just laughs. "That was another century."

I'm curious though. It's about the last answer I'd expect of him, and I ask: "Would you really want to be a rockstar?" I've dated a few wanna-be rockstars in my day. Timo is nothing like a wanna-be rockstar.

"No. Not really at all, actually." And I believe him.

"I read a quote from Alain de Botton the other day. 'Proof of good parenting is that your child doesn't want to be famous.'"

"What, because they'll have gotten enough attention growing up?"

"Exactly." Without saying it explicitly, I know we both agree with the theory, and that feels important for some reason.

The whole evening still open to us, we decide to catch a movie. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (we both loved the first). On the walk over to the theatre, on the pedestrian overpass bridging an outdoor mall, Timo playfully races a toddler pushing his little sister's stroller. When the boy suddenly leaves off and stumbles in another direction, Timo sets off immediately after him, until the kid's dad calls him back. It takes me a second to understand: the little boy was headed towards some stairs. I stare hard at my boyfriend's profile as we continue on, but he just keeps his eyes straight ahead, refusing to take in my wordless praise.

On the front steps of the Performing Arts Center, we come across a man walking his Golden Retriever puppy. I gasp; the dog is utterly gorgeous. The man sees my face and before I can even get out the words May I pet your... he's whirled himself and the pup around so I can kneel down and say hello. The puppy gives me a quick kiss on the face, then seats himself calmly without even having to be asked. I stroke his neck and back, stunned nearly speechless by his sweet brown eyes.

"How old?" My heart is pounding.

"Ten months." I nod, then shake my head. "He's amazing." It's all I can say. Even Timo is impressed, chiming in, "Beautiful."

Then they're gone. Ten seconds' worth of interaction at most, but I'm destroyed. Timo sees me turn away, tears forming, and pulls me into a hug. "That was stupid," I say to his chest. "I don't know why I do that to myself."

"Why wouldn't you?" he says sharply. "The dog was beautiful." I know the impatience in his voice, and what it means. It means, No, Ellie, you're not giving up on anything you love in this world, just because it sometimes hurts. It's a sentiment I've needed to hear before. It's one he's willing to offer up again and again, until I get it.

Before the movie we get ice cream. Cold Stone Creamery. He's never been. I excitedly point out the frozen slab of marble, explain the process. "You can get as many different things as you want. They'll smash it all up and mix it in." Our eyes are already bigger than our stomachs, but the portions are enormous regardless. We sit and scoop our indulgence on a bench outside the creamery, the setting sun streaking the plaza in ribbons of cold white light.

"This is obscene," he criticizes happily. "In Germany this would be a third as big."

"That's so there's room to put the sauerkraut on top." I am leveled by my own joke, and howl with laughter.

"Think you're clever much, do you?" The dimple reappears.


On the way home, I lean across the console, turning my face into his arm. He's wearing one of my favorite sweaters. Lightweight, loose knit, wheat-colored. I breathe in the smell of him and sigh. When I pull away so he can more easily change lanes, he objects. "No no, come back." Lays his arm over my shoulders. Strokes my elbow softly. It's gotten late and we're both tired, but the drive home goes quickly.

It's just Long Beach. Just a walk around the waterfront, some lunch, a movie, and ice cream. But holy fuck is it more than enough for me.


In the throes of some serious Saturday laziness but here's a quick phone dump...

A rainstorm (ok some wind and a mild sprinkling) devested one of Chaucer's favorite trees at the library, and he quite sweetly gathered up some blossoms for me. So thoughtful.

We hit Sleepless again last night, which is a free late-night dance/chillout party held in the opera house literally up the street. The event could definitely stand some improvements, but did I mention the free part?

I'm systematically working my way through a couple of Cooks Illustrated recipe books - All-Time Best Pasta and All-Time Best French, and amazingly I've neither poisoned anyone nor burned down the building yet. Below are my (fairly successful) attempts at cappelini al limone, cappelini with tomato-basil-onion-cream sauce, steak au poivre, and asparagus with brown butter and balsamic-soy reduction (not from a recipe book).

And with that my brain has reached its maximum creative output for the day. Happy weekend, lovelies.

sunday dispatch

The fact that I've become close with my best friend's aunt's husband is strange and wonderful enough on its own, I think. One of those unexpected connections in life that keep it interesting. But there's an extra bit of coincidence that kicks things up another notch on the Well isn't that something scale, and it's this: both Bill and Hannah worked where I live, in downtown Los Angeles, decades before I was even born. They frequented places I do now, in 2015.

Hannah worked for the telephone company, both in Los Angeles and further north. You can hear the pride in her voice when she talks about it. From the multiple transfers she was granted to follow Bill as he career took off, it sounds like she was a well-appreciated employee. They tease one another about it now. Oh give me a break, says Bill, grinning at me when she pretends to be overcome by household duties. You haven't worked in ages. Hannah fires back: Well that's because we kept moving around. I transferred as many darn times as I could! Bill, more softly, reflecting: Yeah, but you raised my boys. That's the best thing you did.

As a kid, Bill shined shoes in Pershing Square - one of Chaucer's daily destinations. He lived in Boyle Heights, and a trip to Clifton's Cafeteria - a place I've been many times - was considered a fancy meal on the town. My mother used to dress me up like little Lord Fauntleroy, oh boy. I told him Clifton's recently underwent a massive, multimillion dollar renovation and reopened as a night club; two of its five floors have bars now. The ground floor cafeteria is restored to its former glory, too; I ate there with Kerry and Ross not a month ago. One of these days he's going to have to come visit me so we can go for some meatloaf and jello. And cocktails upstairs afterward, naturally.

Tonight Bill asked if I knew the old Sears building in Boyle Heights. I do; it's a famous landmark seen easily from the freeway. Terence and I would always comment on it, on our way to Whittier Narrows. It's nine stories tall, comprises over one million square feet, and has an interesting history involving Oscar de la Hoya's childhood (facts I Googled on the drive to Whittier Narrows). The full name of the building is the Sears, Roebuck & Company Mail Order Building, a mouthful that calls to mind flipping through catalogs as child, laying on the floor in my dad's den. There was no greater thrill than a package from Sears, circa 1980, in my home in St. Joseph.

Well, Bill used to work there. Back from the service, a fresh-faced twenty something, he got a job filling the exact sort of orders our parents used to place, pre-internet. Clothing, toys, appliances. He told me about the chute that ran down from the top floor to the basement. About how workers would scurry around, wrapping up dolls and bicycles on one floor, toasters and tools on another, and send them down the chute for packaging and shipping. Some of them - including Bill - even wore roller skates to get around quicker. We'd go whizzing around, every once in a while you'd plow into someone, though... He laughs, remembering.

You can't hear these stories and not feel an instinctive longing for simpler, sweeter times. Then you remember that no time is ever really simple, or all that sweet. Still.

Anyway, that was my favorite story from today. There was another fantastic one, told over wine and cookies after dinner, involving a broken ankle and a cake pan...but I probably wouldn't get any more wine and cookies if I told it.

I can hear the rain starting up. We knew it was coming this week, and it'll probably be going strong until I leave Wednesday. It'll probably cancel the boat trip with Woody, and maybe also the full moon night hike he and his wife invited me to join them on. But I can't help loving it. I've taken more leaf-peeping photos and videos than I could ever want, and seen every inch of the lake I can get to on foot. Some quiet time in the house reading will be nice.

I almost forgot: tonight we're having Thanksgiving dinner. Yesterday morning when I heard Bill ask Kim to bring up a turkey from the downstairs freezer so he could brine it, my jaw hit the floor. I knew exactly what he was up to. Bill, I scolded. You didn't. Please say you didn't get a turkey for my sake. I stopped there, just thinking the rest to myself. Because you know I'm not going to have much of a Thanksgiving this year. You know Terence will be with his family and my usual Thanksgiving crew will be gone. That's when he and everyone started claiming they cook a turkeys all the time. Except this evening there'll also be stuffing and cranberries, and Woody's bringing a pumpkin pie. So I'm not buying a bit of it. Not one bit. These people can pretend their hearts aren't as big as they are, but I'm no fool.


Whatnots this week:

wow no bra strap for once

Hollywood Boulevard between Vine and Highland is jam-packed with sightseers, chintzy souvenirs stalls, vape/hookah/head/stripper shops, and hawkers trying to hustle tourists into celebrity bus tours. Kind of awful, in other words. The side streets in that area, however, hold many treasures. This week we found STOUT, an airy and unpretentious little gastropub on Cahuenga. I'm not a beer drinker so I'm pleased as pickles that cider is The New Thing and STOUT serves a great one: Pitchfork Sonoma Cider. Great, that is, if you like sweet. (I like sweet.)

There's a whole 'nother floor below, too!

Everything I just said about the strip is true. However. There is a place. It is called Iguana Clothing. It is right smack on Hollywood, near Vine. It's one of those vintage-and-costume shops I'd sort of written off, because I don't need a poodle skirt or an Elvira wig (yet). But oh my, was I ever hasty in my judgment. I finally took the time to check it out thoroughly and it is fantastic. $25 cashmere sweaters in every color of the rainbow. Turtlenecks, v-necks, cardigans, you name it. Ponchos and fair isles at a fraction of what you'd pay for them at Free People. Thermals and graphic tees, cords, flannels. Please don't tell anyone about it.

Doesn't take his eyes off of Terence the whole time.

On Thursdays, Grand Central Market stays open late ('til 9), which means two things: 1) Chaucer gets to lick the McConnell's Black Coffee Chip ice cream from my fingertips after I've finished my double scoop, and 2) I get to poke Terence in the ribs and say "There he is!" whenever we see Mark Peel working late at Bombo. (Top Chef Masters fans, lemme hear you say PEA PUREE.)

I call them "Oxygen-Deprived Swallows" and "Fleur d'Infected Nipple", respectively

Colorfy is a ridiculously addictive coloring app, and my new favorite way to unplug. Pop in the headphones, crank some Tycho, snuggle into the ol' armchair, and play with a virtual box of crayons.  It's marketed as "the coloring book for adults" but since when do age guidelines mean anything?

You will thank me. (It's ok if you don't thank me.)

I'll keep this simple: What We Do In The Shadows is the funniest movie I have seen in years. Don't look up who's in it, don't watch the trailer to see what it's about. Just go rent it on iTunes. Immediately. We were DEAD. Dead on the floor I tell you. (We really do watch movies on the floor. Chaucer's idea.)

When we close the doors our pants totally make out in the dark. 

Did a closet purge and reorganize. Feelin' pretty good about it. Feelin' pretty adult. What's that? Do I really need to hang up my cutoffs? WHATEVER LEAVE ME ALONE GO ASK TERENCE IF HE HAS ENOUGH WHITE BUTTON DOWNS

The first chapter of Sam Harris's Waking Up is on SoundCloud, and if the video I shared a couple weeks ago resonated with you, I think you'd enjoy it. It's about the endless whatnextwhatnextwhatnext game of life and how to stop it, if only for a few moments at a time.

Listening to it was something of, well, a wakeup call for me. I realized I spend nearly every waking minute worried about what I need to do in the next minute, or the next. Forever obsessing about the future, even if it's some small thing like trying to remember what I need from the store. Harris's solution to this low-level misery is meditation, which for all of my life has seemed like something foreign and borderline religious. Weird and new-agey. Not for me.

Then I started doing drugs, and came to see the advantages in altering my consciousness, even briefly. But of course I can't do drugs every day. Though I sure would love to feel really good every day. So I'm finally opening up to the idea of meditation.

I have a hard time with it, though. Staying perfectly still, concentrating on my breathing and doing. absolutely. nothing. else. I can, however, practice being more present - connecting to my senses. Slowing down to notice my surroundings, find enjoyment in them. That's easy. Where am I in this moment? What makes this place special? How does the breeze feel on my shoulders, or Chaucer's fur against my cheek? What can I see and smell and hear that is interesting or just quietly beautiful? From there, a sort of detached gratitude floats up to fill the space where anxiety was. How amazing and fortunate is it to be here, alive and healthy, safe and loved? Of all the planets in all the galaxies, I get to experience this one. Oxygen. Oceans. Love and pain and growth.

I know, I know. Super goofy. But it's a wonderfully relaxing and happifying exercise. And along these lines, I've got a post percolating about the ways in which I'm 100% convinced using LSD has improved my mental health. Yeah.

queen of the buns


Rounding the corner on our street, shuttling Chaucer between shady spots in the afternoon heat, we were stopped by a woman from our generation but probably not our tax bracket. "Do either of you happen to speak French?" She wore a white lace minidress, heels, and matte red lipstick. One hand rested on her hip; the other held a cell phone angled away from her body as if annoyed with it.

"Yeah, actually," I replied, surprised.

"Like, fluently?" She seemed skeptical.

"Yep." Terence sounded more cautious than enthusiastic, but he took a step forward to offer his help.

The woman was hosting a foreign exchange student due to arrive any minute. She wanted to let the girl know there'd be an Uber waiting for her at the terminal, which would take her to the agreed-upon meeting place, a busy and popular restaurant downtown. She didn't speak any French, though, and needed someone who did to call the student and convey this information.

While Terence left a detailed voicemail, Chaucer sniffed the hem of the woman's dress and I inwardly wondered what kind of host wouldn't greet her internationally traveling guest at the airport herself. "What are the chances?" I mused politely, referring to the good luck of happening upon a Francophone and his Francophony girlfriend.

The woman fidgeted with an ankle strap, preoccupied. "Yeah." She bit off her words, upspeaking slightly. "I really appreciate it."

Terence ended the message wishing the student good luck and handed the woman back her cell phone. I guided Chaucer back around her legs and the four of us parted ways.


Terence and I swung by a party supply store on our way to get groceries. We wanted to grab some glow sticks and cheap bead necklaces for an upcoming festival. Once inside, however, we lost focus. We walked the aisles slowly, goofing around, distracted by all the silly toys and costumes. I bounced a pink rubber ball over to Terence. "Heads up!"

"Ooh. Should we get this for Chauc?"

"Nah, he'll eat it."

A bin filled with party favors marked .35 cents caught my eye. I picked up a tiny silver plastic tiara attached to a hair comb and set it on my head. "What if I wore this during sex?" I moved my hips exaggeratedly.

"Oh my god. Yes. That's amazing." He took the toy from me. "You have to get it."

"So ridiculous," I laughed. But he didn't put it back.

Back in the car we ate foil-wrapped Rolos and cherry Jolly Ranchers from the fifteen-for-a-buck bin. I flipped down the car visor mirror and carefully pushed the comb into my hair. "Ta-da!"

"Yes! I love it so much. You look like a Disney princess, you have no idea."

"Oh god." I cringed, shaking the comb back out.

After grocery shopping we stopped at the PetCo down the street from Whole Foods, to see the bunnies up for adoption. We're not looking to get any; it's just something we do occasionally just for the cute of it.

We knelt by the glass cage at the front of the store and peered in. Two massive adult rabbits - one white, one orange - were inside nibbling greens. There was a placard on the glass describing the bunnies' background and relationship to one another. I started reading the card aloud, enunciating in my best elevated-pitch storytelling voice. The rabbits - named Mary Jane and Leap - were apparently a bonded pair, and had a history of being moved from foster home to foster home - though never separated.

As I was dramatizing their romantic tale of bunny love, a man entered the store, walked directly to the rabbit cage, and crouched down beside us. As he seemed to be another rabbit lover, I kept on reading out loud.

A moment later I noticed Terence had stopped looking at the rabbits and was smiling hard at me. "Baby," he said in a quiet tone. Assuming he was trying to let me know that another customer had joined us, I ignored him. "What?" I said loudly, before continuing. "It's a Tale of Two Bunnies." After I'd finished reading the information I sighed. "They're so gorgeous." Glancing at the other shopper I added pointedly, "They live as long as dogs. Most people don't realize what a commitment they are."

The man nodded seriously, addressing us with his reply. "Really smart, too. Great pets."

Terence and I stood up and started towards the dog toy section. "Baby," he repeated softly, touching my elbow. I turned and saw his face flushed with suppressed laughter. "Your head." I frowned, reaching up to touch my hair, suddenly realizing.

I was wearing the tiara. I'd put it back on in the car after leaving Whole Foods. I'd been wearing it for my entire performance by the rabbit cage. The stranger we'd shared a moment of bunny love with must have thought me crazy. The loopy lady who wears a child's toy crown to go around to pet stores and advocate for the animals like some kind of daft, self-appointed Queen of The Buns.

I somehow managed to lose the crown between PetCo and home, which is a bummer. But the good news is, I know where to find a replacement. And now I know where to wear it, too.

of paparazzi and pool parties

If I were interesting enough to merit a paparazzi following, those bushes behind Terence would be the best ones through which to stick a telephoto lens and take unflattering pictures of me (tossing back frozen peach margaritas, sniping at Terence for hogging the guac, debating the merits of Bernie Sanders with Kerry and Ross...). This is as far as we fearsome foursome tend to go out of downtown. But the company and conversation are top-notch, the enchiladas adequately smothered, and as I don't need much more on the weekend than some laughs and some melted cheese, I don't much care what zip code I get them from.

At a certain point one cares less about one's appearance in photos than the fact that one has good friends to take them with. Note I didn't say "one doesn't care at all". Only that one cares less. Oof.

After dinner last Saturday we checked out Echo Park Rising, which is a free weekend festival comprised of local (rock) bands staggered around Echo Park's bars, parks, and restaurants. The music we heard wasn't really our jam, but Kerry (who has a zero tolerance policy for crowds) was a sport and let us drag her around to no less than four different venues before we left - and I count that a smashing success.

Kind of a magical moment: right about the time when we'd all given up on finding a show we'd be into, Terence grabbed my hand and pulled me hopefully into one last bar. Kerry and Ross at my heels, we ducked through a narrow front room that branched into two smaller rooms at the back. One of these had a dance floor, and suddenly, without stopping, without even conferring about whether we wanted to stay, we all started dancing. Pools of colored light moving across the floor, kitschy swing music, and four totally unselfconscious drunk friends. That's the stuff for me, baby.

The place was The Short Stop. I'd never been, but I quite like the vibe and will definitely be back.

Good god, but those flippers of mine are terrifying. When I die they should use my hands for one of those claw machine arcade games. You can all come play and I'll ghost-cheat and make sure you get a toy every time. And no, I have no idea what's going on with my forehead bleeding over the top of the image borders. But if it means I'm actually dead already then someone call Netflix because Ghost Blogger would be a cool-ass show.

Is that not the prettiest alley you've seen so far today? I like to think some romantically-minded rats put those lights up, and that all the other rats downtown come here for their date nights.

This guy, with the dimple and sleepy face. Took me for breakfast to Egg Slut at Grand Central Market (yep, it's worth the wait). Hoping if I play my cards right he'll take me back for lunch soon, too.

My friends Atouzo and Yvonne had a pool party! Like, with sangria and teriyaki meatballs and cabanas and everything! And after I finished taking a selfie in Terence's face mirrors I even socialized with other guests! I wore a "statement necklace" for the first time, which was a stupid thing to do on a 100+ degree day. But as I am not well-versed in the ways of statement necklaces, I did not anticipate how badly my neck would sweat under the weight of a spiky metal collar. So I guess the statement my necklace made that day was: I am a dumbass. 

The night this was taken:

we took the train to Hollywood
we ate dinner at Katsuya
seated at the table behind us were three thuggish guys and a beautiful blonde woman
something happened between these four people and there was drama
the drama involved the woman TRYING TO PHYSICALLY ESCAPE ONE OF THE MEN
that man grabbed her purse out of her hands, so she couldn't leave
two waitresses and a manager got involved
the party was asked to leave
when no one was looking the blonde DUCKED OUT A SIDE DOOR
she then reappeared a few minutes later seeming calm and chill and cool with the situation
Terence had his back to the table and didn't see anything
(I narrated)
we went to a terribly cheesy but terribly fun bar nearby, with books lining the walls
(so this pic was not taken in a library)

recently, 'round here

After-dinner drinks at Casey's with Kross, where I had a White Russian AND a slice of chocolate cream pie, like a boss. Does that look like the face of regret? No, I didn't think so.

When he lays soaking up the sun like this, Terence hums wub-wub-wub like a power grid and calls him a "wub wub worm" and it is basically wonderful, is what I'm trying to say. 

We went to a great warehouse party last weekend, which isn't as exclusive as it sounds since it was listed on Songkick BUT STILL we felt pretty cool about it. The DJs were fantastic and though it was pricey at $30 a head, they didn't oversell it so there was actually room to dance. Chill crowd, neat space (Lot 613), would definitely go again.

This is the spot around the corner from our building where Chaucer plants his ass, completely and utterly refusing to move, and waits for Terence to get off work. For real. Will not budge, no matter how I beg or yell. There are worse creatures to be held hostage by, I suppose, and for worse reasons. 

Ilan Bluestone is an EDM guy I like who's come to Santa Ana a couple times but not LA - until this past Friday! I am not a fan of Exchange, the club where he played, but we found a decent spot to wedge ourselves into and ended up having a not-horrible time at all.

Oh, hai Mom. Yeah, vacuuming would probably be a good idea, since you asked.

Every so often we give in to our MSG cravings and hit up our favorite Chinatown spot, Full House Seafood. (We don't get seafood. We get fried rice.) Afterward we wander around looking for trouble, because it's Chinatown. (We never find any. Everything is always closed.)

We finally checked out Mrs. Fish, the unfortunately named underground bar that opened up near us recently. (Literally underground, not secret underground.) I dig it! Three levels, spacious, tables that don't require bottle service, friendly bartenders, and live music. The kind of place I'd take out-of-town friends, to impress. Hear that, out-of-town friends?? Come let me impress you!

may leftovers

Come hell or high water, I'm going to write my LSD post later today. I'd put it off for a few extra days to see if when the dust settled I'd have a different perspective. (I don't.) Also because it feels impossible and enormous, as if all the colors of the rainbow escaped and it's my job to wrangle them back into order.

First some leftovers, before they get lost in the shuffle of Bonnaroo and Beyond.

"And you get a hair cut, and you get a hair cut, and you get a hair cut...everyone gets a hair cut!"

No fairy tale ever boasted so handsome a prince! ...and the human is okay, too.

All the best Memorial Day barbecues include faith-healing sessions and height-offs.

This is my neighborhood showing off for you, being all clear and bright and jazzy on a Saturday night.

This is my dog showing off for you, being all smart and considerate to his fellow city dwellers. Believe it or not I didn't teach him to do this. He must have read one of those "please curb your dog" signs and interpreted it as literally, because I had nothing to do with it. Pretty fancy footwork, no?

the calm before

The next few weeks are going to be chaos. Birthday trip to the desert this weekend, friends in town the next, then it's out to Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina. Chaucer, however, is none too pleased about any of it. Disruptions to his routine, being left behind while Mama and BroDog go on vacation, getting less attention when guests are around? No thanks, says he.

The least we could do was squeeze in a day devoted entirely to him, before things get crazy. So this past Sunday was Chaucday. We took him to a new-to-all-of-us destination, Highland Park, for some off-leash exploring, then to K9 Loft in Pasadena for three (!) new toys, then to Pitfire Pizza where he got to chill with us on the patio (a rare treat; few restaurants are roomy enough to easily accommodate him). We even took him to Little Tokyo for froyo later that night.

Not much in the way of story to go with these, just the three of us enjoying one another's company, on a weekend in May. Sliding into summer, soaking up the sun.