These Boots are Made for Walkin’, or How I Plan to get my Own Category on NextDoor

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I don’t know what’s happened to me. I’ve become a walker. It’s ridiculous how much I have taken to it. I walk now. That’s a thing I do regularly. I had walked 5.32 miles yesterday before it was even 11 am. Out loud, that doesn’t sound like I’m living up to my original, diva-esque, Mariah Carey year plans, but in looking back over that resolutions list, I’m not actually that far off. My vision of the year probably involved a lot more champagne and foot rubs, however, as I am sorely lacking in champagne and foot rubs. I also noticed from that old post, we were just about to Supermoon.  And here we are, capping off the whole month with another Supermoon. This one yesterday was all eclipsy. I did not turn into a werewolf, sadly. I did not Thriller dance in the streets. My eyes, they did not yellow.

So fun news! I have a new, additional walking buddy, because, let’s be honest, if I’m not able to gossip and laugh while I walk, then what’s the point. I’ll look like a random hoodlum and will wind up on NextDoor under a “Suspicious Character” titled email. I mean, I might be on NextDoor anyway but I don’t need to prompt them.

Or maybe I do. Maybe I plan an elaborate prank that will last weeks that will get all the neighbors riled up and cause them to go all Hardy Boys. I’m going to tell Nurse Friend about this new plan. She’ll be thrilled.

So new walking buddy that hasn’t replaced Nurse Friend will hereby be known as Book Friend. Book Friend and I like to walk on the other side of Encino. The super rich people side. The house James Dean lived in when he died side, the Liberace Piano Pool house side, The Jackson Family Compound side. Two of those are actually in Sherman Oaks, but not the Jackson house. That’s Encino and speaking of the Jackson house, Tito has not come out and greeted me with a warm cup of tea yet, but it might happen if I wish hard enough.

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Liberace Piano Pool house

Yesterday Book Friend and I accidentally (on purpose) walked onto a live car commercial shoot. They yelled “HOT SET!” at us which I think meant, “shut up about your bad life choices and get out of the shot, pajama girl”. That was not exactly how I’d dreamed of being discovered, but we can’t all be Marilyn.

The rich people side is super nice though and we even saw one of those Little Free Library things that look like a bird mansion with books that people set up around the city. The one we came across had nice books in it like Hamlet and Jane Eyre. I’ve wanted to set one of these Little Free Libraries up around my side of the tracks but $10 says that someone would throw a Playboy and a used condom in it and then hit it with a baseball bat.

Look, my side of the Boulevard isn’t so bad. It’s real nice, actually. They have chairs out for you when you need a rest. Give me a glass of champagne and a foot rub, and it’s like, Tito and his tea, who?

That emerald toned, Lazy Boy is as, if not more lavish than any piano pool, don’t let the lure of Hollywood sway your perception.

The next time Book Friend and I walk, I’m going to pick up one of those Maps of the Stars so I can gawk and awe. Do they have a Valley edition? If they don’t, TMZ Tours better look out. They’ll have some Valley competition soon.

I’m going to get kicked out of Encino, aren’t I?

Neighborhood Watch: Urban Legend or Truth?

On our second day ON DUTY, Nurse Friend is already on thin ice.  I’m starting to think she’s not as into the Neighborhood Watch as I am. My tip-off was her saying, “Oh my god, you think this is real, don’t you,” when I bent down to take a picture of a discarded glove.

That kind of talk gets you demoted to the desk, Nurse Friend. Besides, this could be like, the OJ glove. Evidence? Planted evidence? Who knows, that’s not my job. My job is to document and take notes. Maybe it was Nurse Friend who dropped the glove. Maybe she’s involved in some kind of 2018 Bling Ring crowd. Maybe she’s trying to create a diversion. A nihilistic snide to the very idea of the Neighborhood Watch hoping that I overlook the key piece of evidence that could make or break her trial. How are the jury going to acquit if they never know if the glove fits?

Needless to say, Nurse Friend is no longer amused with this,  which like all things I do, it might have made my friends laugh the one time but now it’s uncomfortable and now they don’t know how to say, “enough”. She still goes walking with me though, so all of that is on her. She loves me.

Okay, but listen, listen, listen. I think we may have found evidence disproving the debunking of urban legend, “Dead Scuba Diver Found in Tree” !

This is what we found at an off-ramp in The Valley, nowhere NEAR a body of water. You tell me this isn’t all that’s left of that poor scuba diver that got sucked up into the bucket of one of those fire helicopters. RIP Jr Collins. RIP.

The Purge

It sounds like a horror movie and to be honest, it feels like one. Does throwing things away expunge the soul of everything holding us down? Does it release the heavy? The “sin” of sloth?

I know two types of people, those that throw everything out, including yearbooks and old math tests from 1994 senior year without ever looking back, and then there are the hoarders. Not one of them seems particularly happy and as much as we all lie to ourselves about it, everyone is either a tosser or a keeper.

I’m a keeper. Probably not in like the relationship sense if we’re basing anything on my poor, unfortunate husband’s defeated eye rolls and sighs, but a keeper in like the “keeping the napkin I was holding the time that Prince (yeah, that Prince) sat next to me at a cafe at Universal City Walk that they’ll find under a rat carcass in the hallway when I’ve been forcibly removed from my home by Human Services or a reality show” sense. My husband is the thrower-out type. I’m surprised he hasn’t tossed me. It’s because he’s a saint.

I do not want to be a hoarder. I don’t. I see Pinterest, I am aware of the “freedom from clutter”, the Scandinavian Chic, the lie that is the Shipping Crate home. It doesn’t work for me because Pinterest hasn’t told me where to put my Prince napkin and my homework from that Italian class I took in college 20 years ago. Because what if I remember how to read in Italian, Pinterest? What good would that be if I’ve thrown away all those verb conjugations? I’d be sitting on my faux fur, white rug, backdropped by my exposed brick living room wall with nothing to read.  I also have children which means that carpet wouldn’t stay white for long. In my living room, there are currently three bins overflowing with Rock Em Sock Em Robots, torn comic books, every Lego magazine that has ever been mailed to us, a broken, plastic dreidel, trains, cars, baby toys (no babies here), broken army men, a blue and white Dodgers’ wig (it’s cursed, that’s a different post), A Tim Salmon bobblehead, and a karate belt (we’re not in karate). There’s art projects and homework papers and little notes that say “i LOvE YOU mOM”. I can’t throw that away. And yet somehow I was able to condense a huge bin of every piece of schoolwork my 4th grader ever brought home into an easy to manage folder yesterday. And if I think about all his handprints and backwards letters and spelling tests that are in the trash can now, I’ll cry. So I have to pretend that they don’t exist anymore and that’s a lot of stress. How do the Pinterest people relax and just live??

Tossers?? How do you live?? Have you no souls?

On the opposite end, I’m tired of moving no less than seven shopping bags of old fabric scraps and half-finished sewing projects every time I need to use my desk and I’m pretty sure that less stuff would give the cat hair less area to cling to. Who knows though, it tumbles down the hallway regardless.

I promised the husband that I would clean out these toy bins before the kids get home from school. I have done nothing but toggle back and forth from tumblr and this post while yelling at the cat to stop scratching the couch since 8 am.

But I’m on a quest. To de-stuff my life. It won’t be Pinterest pretty (unless someone knows of a Pinterest board that can help). Just note that I have been attempting The Purge since at LEAST 2013 blogspot days which doesn’t bode too well for me.   I think what I really need is a Roomba.

How powerful is a Roomba? Like if it found a dead rat, hypothetically, could it remove it before the reality show people bring my mom into this?

Neighborhood Watch: Shift 1

Nurse friend and I went out on our weekly walk on Friday as the “Neighborhood Watch Patrol” as a joke and I swear to god, not only was it the best walk we’ve ever been on,  there was some shady things afoot that I was not expecting to see.

  • Guy in yellow LADWP shirt with beeping device that we were saying was probably fake and that his yellow shirt was fake and it was a conspiracy to commit crimes. This could be true, actually.
  • We saw 3 guys in black suits, but the jackets were shiny and possibly made out of leather. The Mob. Clearly. And we kept seeing them. They were walking up one street and then 5 minutes later, you’d see two more looking at a house 3 blocks down. We never were completely sure if it was the same guys or a whole sting operation. But they have been noted in the Neighborhood Watch logbook.
  • Some guy (do not believe he was part of the black jacket gang, he was in a khaki polo) started following us so we, smartly, began group texting some friends our selfies hoping to get him in the background of them in case we died. The friends did not find it as dire a situation as Nurse Friend and I did. We could’ve been killed. Our first day on patrol was almost our last.
  • One of the friends that we were texting selfies to, drove by us without slowing down, not waving, probably wishing she had chosen a different route. I called her immediately, she told me she was in the car with someone and that I was on speakerphone and do NOT be weird. I responded “Neighborhood Watch”, she hung up on me.
  • It got really hot outside. Like in the 80s. Too hot to walk around anymore plus it’s January and I would like at least a little semblance of winter. Also, we both had to pee. No one would come down a half a block and pick us up. Noted in the logbook.
  • We thought about stealing a golf cart from a security guard we had passed earlier. Decided that’s probably against “official” Neighborhood Watch Rules but not completely off the table of ideas.
  • We noticed a lady pushing around an empty baby stroller. No baby. Strange. Noted in the logbook.

5 Miles, 17,000 sit-ups worth of laughing, several potential criminal activities sighted and noted INCLUDING the friend who is trying to hide me from her other friends AND also the other friend who wouldn’t come pick us up when we got tired and sweaty.

Overall, the “Neighborhood Watch” was a success and we probably thwarted crimes from being committed during our shift. Also, we laughed the entire time, past a middle of the day dance party, or rave, or really loud music and we got to dance in the street like David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

I think we are patrolling again tomorrow. They’re going to give us the key to the city.

Neighborhood Watch

Well, craps. Last night I fell asleep again at 9pm. I’ve become so uncool. I have a reputation to uphold. Although, falling asleep so early means that I am also up so early and I can’t say I hate that part. I do enjoy all the quiet and calm before everyone wakes up in the morning.

So, let me tell you about my newest obsession. The other night there was a PTO meeting at school. (PTO is like the PTA but like, the underground version. Like a badly drawn version of Tony the Tiger but his name is Cody and he’s in board shorts which is actually an improvement because, why doesn’t Tony wear pants??) Anyway, at the PTO board meeting, an officer from the LAPD came to talk to us about neighborhood safety which in turn, made everyone at the board meeting passionately consider forming a neighborhood watch to catch the criminals in the act and let them and all their thief friends know that we are not having this here in the 91436, thank you very much, sirs!

This is my favorite thing that has happened in recent memory. Frantic, vigilante moms taking back the streets of Encino.

My nurse friend and I try to walk the neighborhood for a couple of miles at least once a week. Something ridiculous happens everytime we go out, but add “catching crooks” to the list and I cannot wait to document all of it. The NextDoor posts are about to level up.

This topic is all I can think about and I’ve been laughing about for 3 days. This is getting its own category on my blog. Stay tuned. I am not done with this nonsense.

I need to go get ready ’cause we’re walking today. My first, unofficial Neighborhood Watch patrol. I’ll report back if anything goes down. Today could be a two post kind of a day.

Home

I missed two blog days because my schedule is all off. When I was in Oregon, I was writing about my day at the end of the day when everything was quiet and I had pictures to add to posts and the only worry I had was if I was wearing enough socks.  Now that I’m back in California, I have dinner to make, dishes to do, children to bathe, bedtime stories to tell, and a cat that’s been waking me up at 5:00 in the morning. So when it’s time to put my 6 year old to bed, I end up falling asleep right next to him and waking up at 3 in the morning with my glasses still on my face, a full bladder, and teeth that haven’t been brushed and a full glass of wine next to me on the nightstand. I’m a disaster. And when you fall asleep at 8:30 pm, 5:00 am is EIGHT AND A HALF HOURS LATER.  I have to force myself to go back to sleep when I wake up at 3am because my body only really wants 6 hours of sleep. I’m turning into night people, but like the opposite way from when I was a cool 23 year old.

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I have no idea where this picture was stolen from originally but I stole it from a dude on tumblr who stole it first.

This year has already gone off the rails. I’ve spent the majority of 2018 not home and in someone else’s space, living someone else’s schedule. And not showering because it was too cold to be wet.

But I’m home now, I’m warm, and I’m buckling back down.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness or contentment or whatever that is. That place. The Calm. And I think I’ve discovered it. All of it comes down to living your own life and allowing other people to live theirs. Live and let live. Like when you were young and your heart was an open book.

It’s not healthy or peaceful to comb through everyone else’s business looking for things to be mad about. Negativity breeds negativity. It just does. New rule! Ignore it. In this great year that is The Year of Me™️**, I think this is my official tagline: Ignore and move on.  No more unsolicited advice. I’m a notorious advice giver. I wish I could shut up, but the pull of the demons in me that wants to advise others is too strong. But facts are, advice is annoying. No one wants advice, advice is the worst and it makes you want to punch the know-it-all in the mouth. I officially ignore everyone from here on out. Except in the case of NextDoor. Those people are asking for judgement.

New year, new me equals butting out of people’s business. I’ll still probably have something to say, but I will keep it to myself from here on out to the best of my abilities. I mean, still give me the gossip, I love the gossip, you know this, but I need to be done with the acting like I know everything part. I’ll still know everything, obviously, but I’ll keep my mouth shut about it.

I’m still going to blog everyday.

I’m still not going to exercise.

**is the trademark meme out? Is it too 2017? Let me know, I can’t look out of touch with the youth

The Last Day

We leave Oregon tomorrow. It’s been a good trip but I’m pretty sure I’ve worn out my welcome. That happens to me a lot. Thankfully, I wasn’t thrown off a cliff when we went hiking today.

I’m writing this distracted. I’m rewatching the Golden Globes because I missed Oprah and I’m also really focused on finding out who the lady in the purple dress was and how out of place she must’ve felt. Her stylist has been probably fired and and someone should’ve given that woman a dinner jacket. How embarrassing. How do you make that kind of mistake?

Anyway, today we hiked somewhere where you could see Washington State, a bunch of volcanoes, and some really amazing trees with moss all over them that look like they belong in an arty film about loss and rediscovery that may involve ghosts.

And then we came back to the house where my brother-in-law brought out some wine he made with grapes from the garden that were smashed up by someone’s feet ( I don’t want to know ANY more details) and fermented with wood chips in tubs in the garage for 6 months. It was pretty sour but super impressive.  Fingers crossed we don’t all get diarrhea from it tomorrow on the plane ride home.

This is short because I need to go pack. After I see Oprah.

Where the heck is Oprah??

Until next time, Oregon. If we’re invited back.

The City

I have heard people here joke that no one shaves or showers in Oregon. I can get behind that motto as it’s become my own personal motto as well. I haven’t smelled any stinks yet so, I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the showering part, however the shaving thing seems legit. As for the showering thing, the humidity was at 92% before we drove into the city of Portland and my hair would never dry at that rate had I washed it before we left. Add to that it’s chilly (have I mentioned that it’s chilly here?) and to be outside in 39 degree weather with wet hair sounds like the pits! Therefore, ergo, concluded, etcetera, showering here loses some points for me, not that taking a shower ever had a whole lot of them to begin with.

The city of Portland was really cute. It sort of reminded me of San Francisco a little bit, maybe a little bit of San Diego thrown in there. But with a WHOLE lot less people. And I still didn’t see anything weird. Where is the weird I keep hearing about? Maybe all the weird took a shower day and their hair was all collectively too wet to go outside.

Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Maybe “weird” isn’t something to see? Is it a vibe? From what I saw of Portland, it’s cool and trendy but I’m not getting “weird”. Is “Keep Portland Weird” just some propaganda branding by the tourism board? Like when Valencia, California tried to call itself “Awesometown” and put it all over buses and stuff? Where/what is the weird?? I want to see the weird!

It was a good day! The weather was very nice and the sun was out for a little bit. We went to Powell’s which is a bookstore that takes up an entire city block.

I know that this picture is super blurry but I got rushed across the street as I started taking it and well, this is what you get for rushing me. Pretend it’s capturing a ghost that is interfering with transmissions or something.

This is the only other picture I took today. It’s a Doc Marten’s store. This has become a running theme.

One more full day of Oregon trip left. We’re going hiking!

Oregon Day 3. Don’t Read This.

Today we drove through places that looked like they could be in a movie or a book or an episode of Dateline. I have a lot of thoughts about this place that I want to fully formulate because I want to do this place justice. I have a LOT of thoughts.

We went to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry today. The kids loved it and honestly they could’ve stayed there all day.

I think we’re going back into the city tomorrow and I can’t wait to finally get a feel on the “magic and weirdness” that Portland has to offer.

I wish I had more to say right now. I DO but it’s not necessarily my thoughts yet? Basically there are a lot of white people and a lot of churches and I need to see more of Oregon to make a final call on this but… sunrise at 7:51 am. Sunset at 4:45 or something? That is seriously messing with my sleep cycle.

I’m tired. I have thoughts that I’ll put together eventually but I made a point of blogging everyday and I have FULFILLED this thus far, as bad as it has been. Oregon people, reading this, don’t get on me yet, I admit I have biases being from both Colorado and Los Angeles, and I haven’t seen Portland yet officially. However, I still have yet to see a person of color. I have seen 27 churches and several guns. That’s a bad combo, statistically.

Every place we’ve been has had a play area for kids, and while cool theoretically, I have thoughts on that as well. Because, of course I do.

Tomorrow we’ll talk. Possibly. Depends on how riled up I feel. Oregon folk, please don’t take this as a challenge. I’m from Colorado, it’s real hard to impress me on outdoors and for 2, I’m from L.A., show me weird. I have some biases. I admit them. Please don’t take this as Anti- Portland. I haven’t been there yet. I’m from Colorado. My children LOVE Oregon. I’m trying really hard to not be from Colorado or Los Angeles. I’m trying to feel the draw.

Guide me. Show me the way. I love you.

Horses, Hops, and Mt. Hood

Portland. Day 2.

Before I begin, I’m just gonna panic attack for a minute and say OH MY GOD as I sit here in silence, in a dimly lit room, at night, and suddenly realize that there is a huge glass door behind me leading to the back yard and now I can’t stop imagining I’m about to have my Scream debut (and death).

Is this because I said that I was going to go all 90’s chokers and mini skirts and Doc Martens the other day?? Listen up, Mask Guy who is reading this over my shoulder, I have seen this movie, I know your game, I don’t care if you’ve set-up some elaborate scene to make me open the door, I will not look out that window. This is what Dua Lipa was warning me about, and I do not like scary movies so go bug someone else.

Was I tough enough on him?

See, this is precisely why I’m a city person. The Great Outdoors really isn’t that great, we’ve discussed this previously, AND  there’s murderers. Yes, I know murders happen in the city but every scary movie, other than like Child’s Play, takes places in rural areas. You know this is true. I am now going to think about this every night that we’re here. Fabulous.

Anyway, Portland, day 2! I don’t know how that’s even possible, because we’ve done SO much and it’s been very nice, and VERY cold (that part hasn’t been my favorite part).

This is going to be picture heavy and word light because it’s late and now I’m scared of demons and serial killers.

So our day started off meeting a horse named Angel, who I’m told might’ve been not as much of an angel as her name would suggest. She tried to eat my older son’s hood off of his jacket but she was also super cute and fluffy so, jury is still out.

Then we drove up to Mt. Hood and the boys went sledding and saw snow for the second time of their lives ever which makes me, as a Coloradan feel like I may be failing my children.

In theory.

Snow is friggin cold and if you notice by the MASSIVE amounts of broken sleds, dangerous.

It was fun, the kids had a blast I was cold and complained a lot. And then we went to dinner at a place called Hopworks or something which is a cool restaurant on top of a brewery.

I am wrapping this up in a really choppy way because

  1. Don’t pick up the phone
  2. Cold
  3. Tired
  4. Not even looking at that door behind me again as long as I’m on vacation.

Maybe Angel will eat the masked guy’s hood off and he will be exposed like this is some kind of Scooby Doo episode.

Until tomorrow.