Travelin’ Thru

Some News

November 28, 2014

I’m typing this from sunny California as I spend my 6th Thanksgiving with Tom on the West Coast.

A quick recap because, memories!

LA, 2008. It rained the second I got off the plane. Tom lived in Korea Town and I think we saw a bunch of movies. Apparently the rain let up eventually and the weather got nice and warm and we taped this video:

Never Leaving from The Spectrum on Vimeo.

LA, 2009. We ate red velvet pancakes and took walks around Larchmont. My brother and his wife were in LA for a wedding and we drove up to Santa Barbara for the day and it was magical. We also ate at Thai Patio at least twice? Three times? Also, we saw a bunch of movies including “The Road” which terrified me for like 3 months afterwards.

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LA, 2010. This year, we cooked up our usual feast, saw the latest Harry Potter movie and then drove to San Francisco for the weekend. (This was pre-Instagram era but photo filtering apps were all the rage and clearly, I was addicted. SIGH.)

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LA, 2011. We ran the Santa Monica steps as usual, saw three movies and ate lots of Thai food.

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LA, 2012. This was a really short trip, Tom was sick and so was I, I think I actually came home early? I also wasn’t really blogging anymore so there is no evidence, photographic or otherwise, that this trip actually ever existed.

In 2013, I was newly married and it was the first time in 5 years I skipped LA and spent the holiday with my husband’s family. So this year, when it was ‘my’ turn for Thanksgiving, J asked what I wanted to do and I sheepishly suggested, “Um, go see Tom in LA?”

And lo, here some differences for 2014 that make this year a standout experience:

1 – We decided to rent a house in Palm Springs instead of stay in LA. 85 degrees and a saltwater pool! Yes, please!

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2 – My amazing husband J is with us for the first time!

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3 – I am 15 weeks pregnant.

WUT.

You heard me.

J and I decided our lives were a little too normal, we were getting a little too much sleep, things were going a little too well so we decided hey, let’s introduce a little bundle of chaos and see what happens.

The first trimester has been the roughest thing I may have ever gone through. (Is that dramatic? It sounds ridiculous. Whatever, IT STAYS.) Luckily, a few days before we left for California, my life turned around and food stopped being the most repulsive thing imaginable. I stopped throwing up and I stopped eating only bread so I feel really really lucky. I am feeling amazing and the warm weather in California is helping a lot, as is being around Tom who is just the best.

I am due towards the end of May and maybe this baby is just the thing I need to get me writing/blogging again. I would like to document this pregnancy though my personal journal up until this point basically says: ‘threw up, did not throw up, almost threw up, feel like death, tomatoes smell awful, boobs hurt like crazy, sleeping 14 hours a day, barfed, etc.” So that’s not very exciting. But hopefully things will pick up soon.

Anyway, time to go take a nap by the pool and count my blessings, of which there are several hundred. I am so grateful.

xoxo

Joblessness: On Seeing Things

January 13, 2012

When you lose your job, you have free time.

When you have a boyfriend in his early thirties, you can use this free time to go to all of his friends’ weddings.

You can also visit your cousin Tom in LA because your plane ticket roundtrip with tax was $256. (You will never find that fare again, though you will continue to search frantically for it the rest of the year.)

You can also take your first ever solo trip with your mom to Miami in the middle of March, alliteration WHAT’S UP.

I traveled a lot this year.

And this, oh this, I loved.

I feel so happy and so grateful every time I look at any of these pictures, not to mention how overwhelmed and lucky I feel to look at them all.

Miami, March:

Los Angeles, April:

Amelia Island, May:

Manchester, July:

Litchfield, July:

Nashville, July/August:

Chicago, September:

Los Angeles, November:

So much love and luck in my life, you know?

Back on the East Coast

November 28, 2011

In a weird instance of ‘global warming is probably definitely a sure thing, there is no way this is not happening’, for the first time ever, New York was as warm as Los Angeles this year. I stepped off the plane expecting my usual relief of warm air and…nope, the same. Except palm trees.

And TOM, of course.

Speaking of plane ride, the woman in front of me on the way to LA was traveling alone with four girls under the age of five. It was interesting to me because most people on the plane just shot her death looks the whole time and also interesting because I volunteered to hold her baby for a second while she helped her other daughters and the baby promptly sneezed all over me. It was rather endearing. (I wiped her nose. BROWNIE POINTS.) The rest of the trip was not at all endearing because every so often, as I was dozing off, I would bolt upright in my seat wide awake as one daughter screamed at the other daughter who would whine to her mother who was trying to nurse a baby to sleep who just said to please stop kicking the seat in front of you and share your crayons and I just thought how lucky I was that we never had the money to travel on an airplane because my mom would’ve arrived at the baggage claim with a head full of gray hair. Or perhaps she would’ve sold a few of us to the highest bidder. I am not quite sure.

ANYWAY.

LA was really super chill. Tom and I had some good quality time! We ran the Santa Monica stairs, went hiking in Griffith Park, ate Thai food every day for dinner and saw three movies.

Come on over here for a second! Let me show you some of my vacation slides! Pull up a chair! It’ll only take a few hours…

See Tom! See Tom run up and down the stairs! The craziest thing I saw this time around was a man who would run up the stairs on his legs and then go back down the stairs ON HIS HANDS. IN A HANDSTAND. ALL THE WAY DOWN THE STAIRS. ON A STEEP MOUNTAIN. WHAT THE ?? I am sad I did not get a picture of him. But there’s a redhead in front of me! WHO COULD IT BE? (Also please note how far behind Tom I am. He ran up and down the stairs eight times this year. Me? Six. And I couldn’t walk the next day so, I’m in great shape is what I’m saying. Tom and I took turns rolling our muscles out on his foam roller in the days that followed and just screaming in sheer agony. So, this is always a good way to spend time, yeah?)

We did not take the dynamite spicy challenge at this Thai place because we didn’t feel like dying and yet…I regret this?

And now it’s time for: LAURA REVIEWS MOVIES:

The Descendants starring George Clooney – A+! Indie and artsy and moving without being too depressing! I cried!

The Muppets – A+! Hilarious and joyful and so nostalgic! I cried a few times!

The Artist – A+! A completely silent film! Incredible plus tap dancing! I am not telling you whether or not I cried!

The End.

The sucky thing about Tom is that he lives so far away. The awesome thing is that I get to go visit him and hang out under the palm trees and such.

Not a bad deal, right?

Tom…why so serious?

Plus for Thanksgiving we made about 27 dishes including a twice-baked butternut squash which I am still dreaming about but sadly did not take a picture of.

And that concludes my trip to Los Angeles 2011. I am sad it is over. I miss Tom. And running various places until my calf muscles are on fire and eating so many Thai noodles that I think NEVER AGAIN WITH THE THAI NOODLES and then eat them again the next evening.

But that’s life, guys. THAT IS JUST LIFE.

I leave you with this awkward picture taken while wondering if my phone was working:

Fake smiles for all! Happy Late Thanksgiving!

4th Annual

November 21, 2011

Tomorrow at 7 am, my flight takes off from JFK and hours and hours later after I have read 5 magazines, slept for two hours, watched a marathon of really bad reality television, the plane will land safely in LAX and I will be greeted by my nearest dearest Tom!!! and we shall skip around the palm trees for lo, it is Thanksgiving Day once again and I am in Los Angeles!

I am not staying nearly as long as I’d like this time, as flights this year were so expensive that I pondered selling myself on eBay to pay for it but decided against it because who would buy me? And also, who uses eBay anymore? No one, that’s who.

But book that flight I did! Because Tom is precious to me and has promised to freeze me to death once again in a brand new apartment because he has apparently moved out of Freezer of Death and into a brand new one I shall likely name Igloo of Doom.

(For those just catching up, Tom is my cousin/best friend who lives in Los Angeles and likes to keep his apartment as cold as possible so that I come home missing some toes and I hate him for that so much that my teeth are chattering at the mere thought.)

He sent me a text today that said “I asked if/how we could turn the heat on in our new apartment and they said no HA HA SORRY!”

Which I thought was a joke because with Tom it is always a joke and I was like VERY FUNNY, PACKED MY SNOWSUIT DON’T WORRY!

But then he called me.

And said he actually DID call to find out how to turn the heat on.

And they told him there was so much dust in the vents that the heat should not be turned on until they could clean them out.

This would happen at sometime in the future, probably next March.

“Woah,” I said. “I’ll pack sweaters as per usual. But, seriously dude? Thanks for asking.”

“YOU ARE WELCOME!” said Tom.

And then continued:

“You know, I wasn’t actually going to turn the heat on, even if they told me I could. I just thought I would ask.”

“To be nice?”

“Yeah! To be nice! But I’m not turning it on because I like it cold and there’s dust in the vents anyway and I’LL SEE YOU TOMORROW!”

Oh, Tom.

You are so, so lucky I like you.

And I’m off to pack some long underwear.

For my trip to…Los Angeles.

Right.

That Toddling Town

September 12, 2011

Guys!

What’s up!?

I spent this past weekend in Chicago because…wait for it…I had another wedding to go to!

I am super into everyone getting hitched right now. I’m just wondering if everyone can, like, take a break. For a bit. Thank you in advance.

I just need a little while to recharge and then I will gladly glide back onto the dance floor because I THROW MY HANDS UP IN THE AIR SOMETIMES, etc. But man. Right now, my hands are tired.

Chicago was the greatest city! I had never been! I have so many exclamation points for that town!!! COME ON NOW.

I didn’t get nearly enough time there so I’m eager to go back. Probably not in the winter. I hear it’s…windy and cold.

Though, when you spend 3.5 years of your life in Buffalo, New York, when you hear something like that, you’re kind of like “And…???”

LAKE EFFECT SNOW, WHERE YOU AT!? I MISS YOU! (I DON’T.)

Chicago in September is lovely and we had a great time walking up and down Michigan Avenue, going to see a play at Steppenwolf (it won the Pulitzer Prize for drama this year and it floored me) and checking out Marilyn Monroe’s underpants.

For the first time in awhile, getting on a plane was rather uneventful. I feel like every time I’ve taken a trip (which admittedly, has been pretty frequently) there are about 4 hours of delays or people acting insane or the flight attendant making a casual announcement like “Something in the cabin broke. We need to, uh, replace it. And then we can go.”

THAT IS VAGUE.

THAT IS TERRIFYING.

And that actually happened a few months ago.

This time, it was rather smooth sailing except for this really ridiculous girl who rushed past me and my boyfriend in the airport in New York and knocked over a CAUTION: WET FLOOR sign. It made a loud smacking sound on the ground and she looked back at it and then:

She giggled.

And kept walking.

??? I…what?

We picked it up and shrugged like, maybe she’s in a rush?

But no. She was on our flight. We took notice of her because she was sprawled across three seats taking a nap for the majority of the flight. I bet you if my mom was on the plane with me, she would’ve woken that girl up and been all EXCUSE ME? I NOTICED YOU KNOCKED OVER A SIGN. AND YOU DID NOT PICK IT UP. THAT’S NOT EXACTLY WHAT I CALL CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR YOUNG LADY!!!

Mom, where were you when I needed you!?

Other than that, I’m a little sad to be back in New York (which is not a familiar sentiment) but feel kind of excited about the weather cooling off. I have plans to really get my ass in gear this fall in terms of writing. My first step is to try and blog more regularly. A strict schedule has never really worked for me as then I find I’m just blogging to blog and everyone is all SNOOOOOZEFEST!

But summer is over.

And it’s time to write some stuff.

And buy an obnoxiously smelly candle called something like “SPICED CARAMEL APPLE CIDER PUMPKIN”.

What are your plans for the fall, you guys!?

I miss Chicago!

Holiday Weekend Fun

May 31, 2011

I was all set to type the following Friday morning around 9 AM:

“GREETINGS AND A HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND TO ALL OF YOU PATRIOTIC AMERICANS OUT THERE! I am writing from sunny Amelia Island, Florida where it is super sunny plus more sunny and I am having the time of my life!”

Good, right?

I could use some work with my descriptive adjectives. But still. You get the drift.

Well. I am indeed having the time of my life so that much is true.

Except…except…except…my flight which was supposed to land at 11:20 Thursday night ended up landing at 3:54 Friday morning instead.

YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT.

That’s 4 am practically, for those of you who have trouble with time.

For those of you also keeping track of my itinerary and are following along at home, this means that by the time we rented a car and drove to my boyfriend’s parents’ beach house (because, let’s add to the fun the fact that I am FLYING DOWN HERE TO MEET MY BOYFRIEND’S PARENTS FOR THE FIRST TIME, PLEASE DEAR GOD DO NOT LET ME SPILL ANYTHING ON THEM AT A RESTAURANT OR ON THEIR SOFA AND PLEASE DO NOT LET ME FALL DOWN TOO MANY TIMES), it was about 5:30 in the morning and I had been awake for close to 24 hours.

Oh, travel! You wicked, wicked beast.

It started out so well, too.

I arrived at the JetBlue terminal in JFK full of vim and vigor! I had never been to the brand new terminal before and LET ME TELL YOU I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! They play 80’s music, for one thing. (As I was getting my boarding pass: “Almost Paradise” from Footloose, “Drive” by The Cars. As I was going through security: “Everything She Wants” by Wham. I called Rita to sing this to her over the phone because she used to own that cassette tape (WHAM! Make It Big!) and I think quite a few people around me in the airport really enjoyed my serenade. Hey, Guy Waiting Outside The Men’s Bathroom! YOU ARE WELCOME FOR THAT! I also do a mean “Careless Whisper!” GUILTY FEET HAVE GOT NO RHYTHM!)

Everything in the JetBlue terminal is of course funky and blue. The restaurants there do not include a CHILI’S 2 GO! or a Dave’s Famous BBQ! and in the little specialty grocery shop, I found vegetarian sandwiches, edamame hummus and Newman’s Organic Milk Chocolate Caramel Cups.

(What? I’m from New York. I’m supposed to be pretentious.)

The other reason I was so excited about the JetBlue terminal was because I used to fly JetBlue ALL! THE! TIME! Back in college, JetBlue was BRAND NEW and one of their few destinations was to Buffalo, NY. (Why God? Why?) So I could take that 49 minute flight from campus to home relatively cheaply and watch TV next to my cousin Tom who used to laugh out loud at his television and I would be all WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING? IT BETTER BE SOMETHING HILARIOUS. And it was actually Pepe La Pew cartoons.

Yeah. That story is true.

Anyway. Back then, JetBlue had a few gates attached to some other crappy airline terminal and it really was not fun.

But 80’s music and internet everywhere and really good shopping and food? It’s like I am in an actual Mall of Awesomeness! I’m thinking of going back there to hang out, just for fun. Who’s with me?

I’m getting away from the story, as per usual.

The point is, I am so excited for life on this beautiful Thursday night at the JetBlue terminal and my dashing boyfriend showed up to meet me and was all ISN’T THIS SO GREAT? and we had a glass of wine and toasted to our health and good fortune and life was just as it should be. (I know I have not discussed my relationship on this blog but just SHUT UP ABOUT IT. He is quite dashing and uses the green scent of Speed Stick men’s deodorant which is my favorite kind. That’s all you need to know.)

(Sidebar: I just Googled Speed Stick to find out what scent the green canister is and it’s actually called ‘Regular’. Why are men’s deodorants labeled as such? And why, as a female, am I stuck with ‘Baby Powder Velvet Pomegranate Sparkly Dreams’? The mind. It boggles.)

BUT THEN THERE WAS A PLOT TWIST:

Someone got on the PA and said (this is not an exaggeration) that there was some LOST aircraft? From the West Coast? And they needed to have our plane towed to our gate? From somewhere else?

(Where? The West Coast? And what do you mean LOST an aircraft? And am I going to die? They never actually clarified the ‘we lost your plane’ comment. In fact, JetBlue, disappointingly, did not clarify much from that moment on. Which I think is rather uncharacteristic of them, right?)

They summed it up by saying we’d be delayed about an hour and that I can deal with because, whatever.

BUT OH HO HO!

What actually happened was that JetBlue seemed unable to say anything except weather on the West Coast was bad and it was backing things up which was pretty frustrating THANKS A LOT WEST COAST because the East Coast was sunny and gawgeous.

We switched gates.

We boarded (along with a group of hipster dudes who kept hitting on ladies) at 11 pm.

We then proceeded to sit on the tarmac until 2 am.

OH YOU READ THAT RIGHT.

No one made an announcement until about 12:30 in the morning when the pilot said he’d put on a movie or two because OOPS we were stuck in a line up of 30 planes waiting to take off.

WEST COAST! I AM SO MAD AT YOU RIGHT NOW!!!

I finally ended up dozing off while we were in the air until the plane (which felt to me like it was going even faster than usual, though I don’t know if that’s actually possible or because of where I was sitting, etc.) started getting bumped around.

Now, I am not the most courageous flier.

But I fly pretty frequently.

I do not need to take drugs, I do not have panic attacks.

But. I do not do turbulence well.

I usually grip the armrest until my knuckles turn white and breathe heavily. Sometimes I accidentally grab someone next to me but HEY it happens.

Our turbulence was not…mild.

So, I was jolted out of sleep by some crazy bumping and rocking and free falling and I’m exhausted and startled and sure of imminent death. I am sort of ashamed to admit that I grabbed my boyfriend and actually started crying while silently reciting some psalms.

Oh, Me at 3 Am. There’s a reason I’m usually sleeping at this hour.

I finally removed my claws from my boyfriend’s arms, leaving only minor gashes, sipped some water and surrendered to the fact that if the plane was indeed going to free fall out of the sky, I was sort of out of luck at that point.

But of course, we made it. Or else, how would I be typing this? (I KNOW. HAD YOU GUYS ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEATS!)

We landed in Jacksonville a little before 4 am and then walked to the car rental counter which was deserted because everyone went home.

So we moved into the airport and are living quite comfortably there. THE END!

No.

The only one working was a man named Al from Turkey who actually worked for Avis but decided to help everyone at the Budget counter because he had access to their computers or who even knows why.

Now, I just want to give the biggest shout out to Al from Avis who was pretty much THE BEST PERSON IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. It was 4 am. He had been working since noon. He was not only kind but DOWNRIGHT HILARIOUS AND EXCITED FOR LIFE.

Mind you, Al is dealing with a WHOLE LOAD OF UNHAPPY FOLKS. Tired, gross, annoyed, frustrated, YOU NAME IT. An angry mob of people who just want to get their flippin’ rental cars and drive them somewhere. Preferably off a dangerous cliff.

AL: What can I do for you folks?

Us: We have a reservation.

AL: (takes my boyfriend’s license) Nashville, Tennessee, huh? What are you folks doing down here?

Us: Going to the beach for the weekend.

AL: THAT SOUNDS SO GREAT! I love the beach. The beach is awesome. Lemme see if I can upgrade your car to a super awesome beach vehicle.

Us: Um. Sure.

AL: What kind of car do you usually drive at home?

Us: The subway?

AL: HA HA THAT’S AWESOME. New York’s a great town, right?

Us: Totally.

Al: I’m gonna give you guys a much better deal than I gave the couple in front of you.

(Al upgraded the couple in front of us to a Jeep Wrangler)

Us: Thanks!

Al: Here’s what I’m gonna do for you. I’m gonna give you a car that’s usually $100/day except I’m only gonna charge you $24/day. It’s a totally awesome beach car: a Chrysler 300. It looks just like a Bentley.

Us: Thank you!?

Al: Are you married? Live at the same address?

Us: Nope.

Al: (to me) BUT YOU’RE WORKIN’ TOWARDS IT, RIGHT?

Me: I…?

Al: DON’T WORRY. IT’S JUST A PIECE OF PAPER.

Me: I…?

Al: (winks) It’s just that if you’re married or have the same address, I can just charge you for one person instead of two.

Me: Oh, no problem.

Al: Okay! Just initial this piece of paper 17 times and you’ll be on your way to the beach!

Us: Thanks!

Al: Is there anything else I can do for you folks today?

My Boyfriend: I’m pretty sure you’ve done it all.

Al: THANKS! HAVE A GREAT TIME AT THE BEACH!

Us: THANK YOU, AL!

And with that, my boyfriend and I died laughing and made our way out to the lot to find our beach car.

Now, I understand Al was trying to be helpful, right? A Bentley is a super fancy car. But…when I saw our Chrysler 300, I was super confused. It looked like something a grandpa would drive. I mean, the thing is a BEAST. It’s enormous. And more importantly, what about it (or a Bentley, for that matter) screams BEACH CAR?

Observe:

I mean, I guess maybe I could see it, if I tried hard enough.

Yeah. So. Yes.

ANYWAY.

The saga of our very very long travel experience culminated in us finally arriving at his parents’ beach house (IN A CRAZY AWESOME BEACH CAR WHAT WHAT YEAH) around 5:30 in the morning.

The upside to that entire story is that I then spent the next three days doing all of my favorite things: sleeping, eating, going to the beach, drinking wine and eating some more. I also got to do all these things with my boyfriend’s family who are Southern and therefore make everything sound really polite and inviting. This whole weekend, I realized how Yankee I am.

For one, at restaurants, when the servers kept coming by the table to chat or say hi or ask how I was doing, my initial reaction was: WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU WANT FROM ME?

I’m used to the servers in New York City throwing a plate down in front of me and walking away, never to be seen again.

MY GOSH YOU GUYS!!! Everyone down South is so polite! Which I had totally forgotten about because the last time I spent anytime down there was about 2006. (I did squeal with delight when we drove past a Waffle House but my boyfriend is cruel and wouldn’t let me go there.

I also found myself stammering “Yes ma’ams” and “No, sirs” the entire time because when everyone around you is doing it and you’re not? You sound like SUCH an asshole.

My North vs. South experience was picture perfect complete when someone at the dinner table one night brought up the Civil War and I was treated to a story about when the “South fought The Union” which was the funniest thing ever to me because I did not grow up hearing it quite like that. (We learned in school that the Civil War was when the “North fought the South” or when the “North fought the Confederacy” and is ANYONE ELSE FINDING THIS DISTINCTION VERY FUNNY AFTER ALL THIS TIME?

But I am so in love with the accents and the generosity and talk of deep fried turkey at Thanksgiving. My God, y’all. I’m about to start saying y’all.

In summation: my Memorial Day weekend got off to a crazy start but ended well and now I am back up North in the Big City, bein’ a regular Yankee, getting ignored by the waitress at this coffeeshop as I try to flag her down for more cawfee.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go mourn the fact that we had to return our Bentley Chrysler 300 back to Al at the Jacksonville Airport.

I miss you, beach car.

I miss you so daggone much.

Condiments On Ice

April 11, 2011

Yesterday, at Bed Bath & Beyond, I came across this winner:

Me: Tom, come here please.

Tom: What on earth…

Both of Us: Condiments…On Ice.

There was a short silence between us as we both envisioned the same thing: condiments performing on an ice skating rink.

Bottles of ketchup and mustard, maybe some relish, skates slicing through the ice, twirling and spinning and triple axeling around and around while the crowd goes wild and the Russian (dressing?) judge gives them a 4 out of 10.

It only took about 20 seconds before Tom decided to whip out some moves in a nearby aisle.

I Photoshopped the best one for your enjoyment.

Condiments On Ice, by Tom and Laura.

You’re welcome.

West Coast Time

April 10, 2011

So. Reason #3098123 that unemployment is A-okay is that you can pack up and go see your cousin in Los Angeles whenever you feel like it.

Or when you find a roundtrip flight for $280 with tax. WHAT? THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

This is my way of telling you I’m in LA right now.

I forgot to tell you, internet!

No, that’s not true. I told you on Twitter.

SIDEBAR:I didn’t think I would actually like Twitter being that I seem to be a little anti social media sometimes and am not even on Facebook. I KNOW. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

But I actually really, really enjoy Twitter and I’m actually surprised Rita hasn’t joined so she can follow me and read my hilarious 140 character snippets of life.

(My mom, to herself: TRUST ME I GET PLENTY OF THAT. DON’T NEED MORE. KTHX.)

Twitter is not the point of this post.

OR MAYBE IT IS?

</TWITTER RANT>

I arrived in LA yesterday after a lovely flight on Virgin America. It was my first time flying Virgin (INSERT JOKE OF YOUR CHOICE HERE) and I was impressed with their helpfulness, cool lighting inside the plane and am still trying not to hold it against them that they charge $8 for movies and so I got stuck watching free cable TV and on a Saturday morning, the only thing on was the “Bewitched” movie on TNT.

You guys, nothing can save that movie. Not Will Ferrell. Not anything.

Naturally, I watched the whole thing.

Then I watched Kim and Kourtney Take New York! Which is a reality show starring those crazy Kardashian girls. The show was about privileged, irritating people running around the city. Also there were too many commercials.

Naturally, I watched three back-to-back episodes.

THEN I WAS IN LA!!!

Things are great so far. It actually feels like spring here and Tom’s apartment is warmer than it is in November which means even though I packed my snowsuit, I won’t need it!

Tom took me to dinner last night at a super fancy restaurant called The Bazaar. HAVE YOU BEEN? It’s one of those really crazy places that use that modern foodie gastro whatever technology and make shit like ZUCCHINI AIR and LIQUID MOZZARELLA.

No lie. Those are things I ate.

Also, I drank a mojito with cotton candy in it.

It should be no surprise that the only pictures I’ve taken so far are of food.

You can see the rest here.

And now, I am going to watch an episode of The Babysitter’s Club on YouTube with Tom.

(What? Like you aren’t doing the same thing.)

Then perhaps we will go on a hike.

And take a picture of something not food-related.

But probably not.

Okay! CARRY ON! West Coast! Ahoy!

Miami Update

March 22, 2011

Just as an FYI, you guys, balmy windy days at the beach can be deceiving.

You might not feel the sun. But it is still out. Wreaking havoc on your skin.

Voila, my sunburn, which actually doesn’t look as bad in this photo as it is.

Or was.

It’s better today.

You’d think, having grown up at the beach, that I would’ve been more careful but alas, I was not. I got too excited by the fact that the water here is CRYSTAL CLEAR and SO WARM and I LOVE TO SWIM and I BROUGHT SUNSCREEN WITH ME BUT IT’S WINDY AND I DON’T EVEN FEEL HOT SO…

Um. Yeah.

Don’t be so dumb.

I must add, before I get a lecture, that I wear sunscreen every day so GRANT ME THIS ONE MISTAKE.

Mom and I slathered ourselves in SPF 30 today and took a lovely bike ride to get some aloe. I’m feeling much better, not quite as hot and not quite as red. Luckily for me, my skin tans rather easily so this should fade in a few days. For now, IT IS I. LOBSTER LAURA.

Other than that, life is pretty much perfect. Swimming in the clear blue ocean, happy hour on the porch of our hotel, jogs along the beach and a bike ride to get some aloe vera gel.

EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER WANT A VACATION TO BE.

I hear snow is headed to NYC tomorrow when I return.

I actually do not care in the slightest because right now, uh, this stuff:

So, yeah.

OKAY.

On An Airplane. With My Mom.

March 21, 2011

I knew traveling with my mother was going to be…an experience.

But I felt pretty well equipped.

You know?

I’ve worked out most of my mom issues in therapy. I meditate regularly! My mom is fun times! YEAH MOTHER DAUGHTER BONDING!

But one thing I should’ve known when it comes to Rita is that you can never really be ‘pretty well equipped’ because…

Rita is predictably unpredictable.

And I mean that in the best possible way, (MOST OF THE TIME.)

(For those just joining us, my siblings and I tend to call my mom by her first name which might seem disrespectful but is actually a term of endearment because…my mom is just such a Rita. If you knew her, you’d understand. READ ON.)

The flight to Miami was packed and my mom and I found ourselves sitting behind each other in separate rows, each of us in an emergency exit row. I was fine with this but also jealous because Rita got a window seat while I was stuck in the middle, sandwiched between a man who was on his way home after an 11 hour flight from Israel and so, kept dozing off on my shoulder and a girl who was reading all about Charlie Sheen’s mental breakdown which was fine except she kept falling asleep into her magazine and I couldn’t read along. Ugh.

So, before we boarded the plane, the ticketing agent wanted to make sure we were okay with our seating arrangements.

Ticketing Agent (to me): Ma’am, you are sitting in an emergency exit row. Are you willing and able to help in the event of an emergency?

Me: (freaking tired) Yeah. No problem.

My Mom: (piping up behind me in line) I’m her mother! I’ll smack her in the head if she doesn’t cooperate!

Ticketing Agent: I HEAR THAT.

Me: ??????

Ticketing Agent (to my mom): Ma’am, you are seated in an emergency exit row. Are you willing and able to help in the event of an emergency?

My Mom: I’m actually going to make my daughter help out instead.

Ticketing Agent: Um. That’s not the correct answer.

We made it onto the flight and into our respective emergency exit rows with lots of leg room and oh so sexy Delta economy class luxury! As previously discussed, I was seated between Fall Asleep On You and Fall Asleep On My Magazine while Rita was chattering happily away in her window seat behind me to the couple next to her, two young lovely people from Brooklyn who not only wanted to talk to her but kept asking her advice about raising children and how to keep their sanity with a four year old and should they have a third child ???

What?

(For the record, from what I overheard sitting in front of them, Rita thinks 4 is a fantastic age but can be sort of like the Terrible Twos except now they have way more verbal skills at 4 so it can be HARD and OMG totally have a third child, I HAVE FOUR! It was a totally crazy experience but adding the third kid is the easiest because you just stop caring really!)

I fell asleep for most of the flight and later, when I asked Rita if she kept that couple talking the whole time she was all OH NOT A BIT! I DOZED OFF FOR AWHILE TOO! AND WHEN I WOKE UP? WE ALL SHARED A SNACK TOGETHER!

What?

So, I’m stuck in a middle seat trying to sleep and my mother is behind me with her two new best friends eating cheese and crackers.

???

ANYWAY. That’s not the point. That’s just an example of what my mom is all about. (i.e./socializing with random people, eating their food, etc.)

So! Before takeoff, before they secured the cabin door, before Rita merrily ate some strangers’ crackers, there was…a situation.

Because, this is my life. And situations like these tend to follow me around or something.

Or else people just get really cranky on planes in general.

EITHER ONE.

From what I can piece together, two women were flying to Miami together except it was sort of a last minute thing and they didn’t have assigned seats. So, before boarding, the ticketing agent alerted them that there were two available seats, both in emergency exit rows. The women assumed this meant they were sitting next to each other except…that was not the case. Like Rita and myself, they were sitting in two separate rows, one in front of the other.

ON THE AISLE, I MIGHT ADD.

SO WHAT WERE THEY COMPLAINING ABOUT? GOD ONLY KNOWS.

So! One of the women pulls aside the flight attendant as he’s scrambling around trying to find space for everyone’s carry-on and she immediately attacks and is all EXCUSE ME? I AM NOT SITTING NEXT TO MY FRIEND AND I NEED TO BE.

And this amazing Delta flight attendant gave her this crazy look and was all WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

And she just went crazy on him and was all SOMEONE TOLD US WE WERE SITTING TOGETHER AND WE ARE NOT AND YOU NEED TO RECTIFY THIS IMMEDIATELY.

The best Delta flight attendant ever calmly said, Ma’am, please don’t argue with me. I don’t exactly know what’s going on but these are your seats…

I AM NOT ARGUING WITH YOU. I NEED YOU TO SWITCH MY SEAT.

At this point, the man just threw up his hands, gave up and was all LET ME GO GET A TICKETING AGENT FOR YOU…and walked off the plane.

A few seconds later, he returned with one of my mom’s new best friends, the ticketing agent of YOU ARE SEATED IN AN EMERGENCY EXIT ROW, ARE YOU WILLING AND ABLE, etc. fame.

Ma’am, what seems to be the problem?

YOU TOLD US THAT WE WERE SITTING TOGETHER AND NOW WE ARE NOT AND I NEED YOU TO FIX THAT.

Um, ma’am? I told you that you were sitting in emergency exit rows. I did not say they were two seats together. The flight is simply too full and we did not have two seats near each other.

THERE IS ONLY ONE EMERGENCY EXIT ROW, screamed the woman. SO THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

I might add that at this point, I laughed out loud because right above her head, there was a sign that said EMERGENCY EXIT ROWS (plural!!) with two arrows pointing to the TWO emergency exit rows. (Which, of course, Rita and I were both in, on opposite sides of the aisle from this woman, DEAR LORD.)

No, ma’am, asserted the ticketing agent. There are actually TWO emergency exit rows.

I HAVE NEVER IN ALL MY LIFE BEEN TREATED LIKE THIS, screeched the woman.

I should pause this fascinating encounter to tell you, if it wasn’t obvious, that by now, almost the ENTIRE plane is watching this shit go down. I mean, people are just gaping at this woman because…she is totally crazy?

I, for one, am trying to make sense of the situation and am failing miserably.

I mean, the flight from JFK to Miami is about two and a half hours.

She booked a flight last minute.

She wants to sit near her friend but she can’t so instead, she’s sitting IN FRONT of her friend.

Apparently, this is a huge problem.

But…why?

I’m still so freaking curious about this.

The girl next to me with the Charlie Sheen magazine whispered to me WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS?

I had no idea. I still don’t. Perhaps I am missing something but…why was it that necessary for the two of them to be next to each other for a two and a half hour flight? WHY ARE PEOPLE THIS CRAZY? THEY CAN’T BE. CAN THEY?

But I am missing out on telling you the best part of this story.

So, while this lady is screaming at Delta employees, Rita is behind me, trying desperately hard to bite her tongue.

You see, Rita suffers from an illness called I LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT I THINK.

Which in and of itself is not a bad thing.

This one time? When I was small? Rita overheard a mom call her kid a jerk in the supermarket.

“You know,” said Rita gently. “You shouldn’t talk that way to your child.”

“BACK OFF,” snapped the woman.

And then she promptly burst into tears and wailed YOU’RE RIGHT! I’M SO STRESSED OUT! PARENTING IS SO HARD! And literally wept on my mother’s shoulder in the frozen food aisle while Rita gave her a pep talk and told her everything was going to be okay.

True story.

So, um. You could say that maybe my mom should mind her own business but I’m telling you that she has a REALLY REALLY hard time doing that. Like, really.

This used to embarrass the crap out of me.

“Um, mom? PLEASE STOP TELLING ASHLEY THAT THE CHEMICALS IN THE DIET COKE SHE’S DRINKING ARE GOING TO GIVE HER CANCER. MORTIFYING.”

But now, I just understand this is the way my mother operates and that it occasionally can be a good thing. Like that time she told some guy to pick up the trash he threw out of his car window and he stepped out of his vehicle all guilty, picked up the litter and apologized to my mom as if she were a cop.

BUT I AM GETTING OFF TOPIC.

So anyway, my mom is just staring in disbelief as this lady goes nuts in Aisle 10 and finally after this woman screams that she’s never been treated like this before DOESN’T ANYONE KNOW ABOUT GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE?!, Rita pipes up from a few feet away:

UM. EXCUSE ME? PEOPLE ARE DYING IN JAPAN.

Silence.

The entire plane was silently all OH SNAP, SOME BRAVE LADY JUST PLAYED THE JAPAN CARD.

The woman turned on my mother in a rage and was all SORRY, DIDN’T THINK I ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION.

Rita calmly shrugged and said, “I’m just saying, I think a little perspective would help.”

IF JAPAN IS IN SO MUCH TROUBLE, snapped the woman, WHY DON’T YOU GO OVER THERE AND HELP INSTEAD OF SITTING ON THIS PLANE???

I’m just suggesting you calm down, said Rita.

I’M JUST SAYING MIND YOUR OWN FREAKING BUSINESS, shrieked the woman.

And that was the end of that.

Rita’s two best friends next to her just about died laughing while some other people around her just started nodding and murmuring “Yes, she’s right, Japan, mmhmmm” which was like, the most bizarre thing of all time.

I felt a little weird not standing up for Rita to this lady because…this woman was just screaming at my mother and I felt myself starting to get very protective and upset.

On the other hand, I’m not sure my mother was right.

I mean, you can’t just go around butting into people’s business, being all PICK UP YOUR LITTER, DON’T CALL YOUR KID A JERK, PEEPS IN JAPAN!

But, Rita does.

After the whole exchange, I actually felt kind of proud so I turned around and slapped my mom a high five.

PREACH IT RITA, I said.

Then I offered my fist because I wanted to do that fist bump thing? Except I like when you fist bump someone and then open your hand and kind of make a swoosh sound? I call this ‘blowing it up’, you know what I’m saying?

So this is how and why I found myself turning around in my airplane seat, offering my fist to my mom to bump saying rather loudly BLOW IT UP, RITA.

Rita stared back at me blankly.

LET’S BLOW IT UP, I said again.

Finally, one of Rita’s new friends next to her remarked, Um. Don’t think you should be saying that on a plane.

Right.

Dear Lord.

I am my mother’s daughter, right?

Just being all around inappropriate?

I SWEAR I ONLY WANTED TO FIST BUMP. NOT BLOW UP THIS PLANE.

I decided to turn around and face the front of the aircraft for the rest of the flight.

And everything ended alright.

Rita and I arrived safely in Miami, me with a neck cramp from trying to sleep in the middle seat, Rita perfectly well-rested and well-fed thanks to her new best friends who GAVE HER SNACKS.

THAT WAS A FUN FLIGHT, RIGHT? said Rita.

And before I could smack her, we walked out into the 80 degree weather and both audibly sighed.

Ohmygosh, I said. I think I forgot that this kind of weather exists.

Me too, breathed Rita.

And then we bumped fists.

And we blew that shit up.