Friday, May 27, 2011

Royal observations

This week pictures hit the Internets of the Royal couple's first meeting with the President and First Lady in London.  I find these pictures oddly fascinating. Not because of the fashion (me likey) or the fact that half the room is official royalty, but because the photos are so deliciously staged. Who just stands around chatting in a room like that? Obviously, I run in the wrong social circles.

The pictures remind me of visiting those natural history museums on school field trips, when my fifth grade class would scamper between exhibits and stare in awe at all those stuffed animals from the Serengeti, posed behind their respective glass walls. I remember every scene having painted horizons, foam rocks and cardboard trees that authenticated the viewer's experience as to "what it was like" to have been there.

Not that those books behind William and Kate are made of painted styrofoam, or that Kate's hair is made of yarn...but still. I can almost hear the tour guide now (in a British accent, of course): "...And in this corner, we have the first meeting of the POTUS, First Lady and the newly married Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, still tan from their recent honeymoon in Seychelles. Notice William's gaze at President Obama's hairline in the last picture, no doubt silently lamenting the demise of his own."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

She blogs, finally

My buddy Neil in his salad days (1971).
I think this is the longest I've gone not blogging -- and that includes those three weeks in South America two years ago. I have become a bad blogger (insert self-deprecation here). As a friend of mine would say, "My badsies." How did this happen? I really have no excuse since it takes, what, maybe an hour to write a decent post? And it's not like I'm traveling through a third world country on the hunt for inconvenient pockets of spotty wi-fi; RATHER, I am sitting in a tony suburb having the occasional glass of Veuve in the afternoon (there's always a right time for champagne) and...writing.

What have I been up to lately? Listening to a lot of Neil Young and doing a lot of writing. Yesterday I freelanced all day, not because I had to but because I wanted to (that house down payment is ohsoclose). By the end I was nearly cross-eyed from staring at my computer screen all day, but I was satisfied. So I put on some Neil Young and danced to unwind. Right now I feel like I should be freelancing as much as possible since these summer months are crucial for us to save the last of our down payment. Our apartment lease is up in July, after all, and we don't want to have to rent month-to-month for longer than a few months. Hopefully we'll have at least put a bid on a place by the fall. Real estate is definitely my porn, so it's very exciting scoping out Redfin every day, obsessively taking notes from HGTV's My First Place and balancing our budget to make this happen.

When I'm not freelancing, I'm editing the manuscript (can I just say writing it was a lot more fun than editing it? I've already gone through all the ink in my first red pen and the pages look like they were used to clean up a murder scene -- they are bleeding red). When I'm not writing and editing, I've been reading Mario Vargas Llosa's Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (hilarious book -- read it), and working on my fitness. I do power yoga on Mondays, pilates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and two hours of tango on Thursday night, which is a workout in 3-inch heels. Last week my tango instructor invited me to his salsa class, so I'll be adding that to the mix as well.

The children are doing well. Gidget (aka Cacahuete) has adapted to her surroundings swimmingly, as Lola did when I first adopted her. The other day it dawned on me that I've created a makeshift animal sanctuary of sorts, where homeless pups (and a cat) are spoiled rotten, given warm, fuzzy beds and blankets, and are hugged and petted incessantly. This has done wonders not only for their well-being, but also for my stress level. Ten bucks says a highpoint of Lola's life was when I picked her up yesterday and we danced to Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" while Gidget danced around at my feet.

Neil aside, the only complaint I have is that J's been MIA the past few days with a mad rush of billable hours. But then I step back and survey the situation, and honestly I can't complain. It might not always be like this, since nothing is permanent, but every morning I wake up so thankful that this is my life. I love what I am doing; J loves what he is doing. We are happy together and excited about our plans for the future. I can't help but be appreciative. Every single day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The big news

We have a new addition to our family!!:

This past weekend J and I went to the pet store to pick up a new collar for Lola. The county animal shelter was holding an adoption fair near the front of the store, and this adorable chihuahua was sitting quietly in her pen with about five barking dogs. Of course, I had to walk by the pen two or three times and fawn over her and the other pups. Then J held her and, well, it was all over from there.

She is 6 years old, 3.5 pounds (tiny!!) and was found as a stray by the pound. She's very calm and shy, and seems to have been abused and over-bred. (How could anyone abuse such a little peanut? Beyond me.) She does have semi-severe hip issues that will most likely require surgery in a few years, but we didn't care. She had three days to get adopted or be euthanized, and the latter was definitely not an option. I'm a sucker when it comes to an animal that needs a home. 

I wanted to name her Cacahuete (Spanish for "peanut") but we decided to go with something a little shorter: Gidget.

Monday, May 9, 2011

You know it's almost summer when... start figuring out your summer concert schedule. I used to be an avid concert-goer (think upwards of 10 concerts per summer), but these days I'm supposed to be saving for adult things like a home (I swear, watching paint dry is faster and less tedious than saving for a down payment. Siiiiigh). 

On a side note, we've had a change of summer travel plans. We're renting a pied-à-terre for a month in Buenos Aires this summer, which I am happy about since August is official tango month in Argentina, and well, Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities on the map, but that means -- after buying my plane ticket last week -- that summer concerts are somewhat low on the priority totem pole. BUT, it turns out a friend has three tickets for U2's 360 tour that he can't use since he'll be in Manhattan all month recording with his record label. He offered to sell them to us over dinner on Friday night, and how could I say no? I would never let three perfectly good U2 tickets go to waste.

J. Me. My sister. U2 on June 7th. Inner Chihuahua doing back flips. (And because these tickets were not cheap, they BETTER play one of my favorite U2 songs of all time that I first became obsessed with as a wee 6th grader who loved her Mtv):

I'm sure they'll play my second favorite U2 song, With or Without You (so cliche, I know). 

Oh yes, and I've got some big news I'm planning to blog about on Wednesday. May is turning out to be an excellent month. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The evolution of beauty

“The ideal of beauty then was the opposite of what it is now. It stood for an extension of the aristocratic view of women as ideals, of women as dreams, of women as almost surreal objects.” -- fashion photographer Richard Avedon on supermodel Dovima.

Totally having a Dovima moment. They don't make 'em like they used to.

Monday, May 2, 2011

April in numbers

My first plate of Royal Wedding mini gherkins, 2:30 a.m. PST, April 29th, 2011.

25 - The total number of mini gherkins I ate while watching the Royal Wedding live. 

21 plus change - How old I'm telling people I am.

$1,000 - The amount I contributed to our house down payment in April using a portion of my freelance earnings.

4 - The number of birthday cakes I received at various parties with friends and family. I feel truly lucky to have such great people who care about me, and let me know through processed sugar! The cake flavors were: mint-n-chip ice cream cake, coconut cake, carrot cake and red velvet. By May 1st I felt like Marie Antoinette (minus that whole guillotine thing)
Countless - The number of times I balked at something Tamra Barney said or did on Real Housewives of Orange County. She's so marvelously trashy and tragically hypocritical that I just can't look away. Its hard to believe people like her actually exist.

5 - The number of books I scored for well below market value at my neighborhood Borders that's closing. I know I should feel bad about making out like a bandit from someone else's misfortune, but it's hard not to feel like a satisfied little vulture picking at the last bits of flesh when all fiction is marked 50% off and more. My booty: The Stranger, The Feast of the Goat, The Wapshot Chronicle, My Antonia and Absalom, Absalom.

168 - The number of pictures I took. Great memories.

3 - The pairs of shoes I bought.