Friday, February 28, 2014

Happily Ever After

At the beginning of the year, I decided that for 2014 I was going to plan a little monthly LA adventure for the Blah Blah Family. We would go somewhere we'd never been, do something we'd never done, you get the idea. Well, as I have mentioned, one of our close friends got married in February, and it was such a HUUUUGE wedding that everything else took a back seat. First in early February there was the bridal shower, which had a Victorian theme, and which was held at a Victorian tea room, and for which we were told to wear period attire:

The hat isn't mine, but it's pretty great.

I am looking quite the demure and fancy lady here.
Sweet Dub was at the bridal shower because he was the photographer, but the kids did not attend, so we can't count that toward our monthly adventure. As I may have mentioned, the wedding itself had a Roaring 20s/Gatsby theme. Guests were asked to wear attire appropriate to the era. In the two weeks between the shower and the wedding I spent much of my spare time hunting down shoes for all three of us Blah Blah ladies, not to mention dresses, headpieces and jewelry, not to mention all the usual things like cleaning the house, braiding hair, doing laundry and oh, going to my job. So not a lot of time there for an adventure either. 

However: the wedding itself was the first time either of my kids had been to a wedding (okay, Viva did go to a justice of the peace ceremony at a courthouse for her cousin, but that was an on the fly wedding, not a huge event like this). The venue was magnificent, and none of us had ever been there:  the Park Plaza Hotel.  

The Park Plaza Hotel is one of those places from back in the heyday of old Los Angeles, and you can just imagine how incredible it was at the height of its glory. Today, it sits in the midst of a congested, run-down and crime-ridden area. It's an historic landmark and doesn't operate as a hotel any longer, but can be rented out for events like weddings or for TV/film production. Inside, you forget about the funky neighborhood it's in and kind of lose yourself in the glamour. 

Wedding New 27
Image credit:

I took a lot of pics at the beginning and then my phone died right after the ceremony. Awesome. But I can't include a lot of the pics here because I don't have permission to publish from the people who are in them. However, here is my lovely fam:

And here is a pic of me hanging out with Ceeya, Best Flower Girl in the Land, before she went down the aisle:

Sorry, no full-length shot of me. Waiting for Sweet Dub to finish editing all 900 million photos in order to send me at least one. The wedding got underway 45 minutes late, at 3:15 in the afternoon. GAH.  The wedding event, by the way, was segmented into:

(1) the ceremony and
(2) the post-ceremony cocktail hour, both for 100 people;
(3) the reception, which seated 300;
(4) a Cotton Club-themed "after party" (I know. What?), which was to have a capacity of 500 people. (I think you already know that I didn't stay for that part, since for one thing, it was a Sunday night and we had work and school in the morning; and for another, I had children with me.)

If you are wondering whether I actually got up and danced on stage at this event, as I mentioned here:  NO. No, I did not. That portion of the event did not take place until nearly 10:00 PM, and I was long gone by that point. My kids and I were in our jammies and watching How to Train Your Dragon by 7:57 PM.

But the important thing is: it was beautiful, and the newlyweds looked enormously, gorgeously happy. And it was sort of an adventure, and certainly only one that could happen in L.A. The End.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Window Shopping

(Putting on my Andy Rooney voice for a moment:)  Have you ever noticed that when you are running low on funds, the universe bombards you with all kinds of beautiful things that you lurrrve but can't afford to buy? Have you also noticed the converse, in which when you happen to have some play money and want to treat yourself, you can't find anything you like?

I am currently in the former camp, and it is not my favorite place to be. There is a sort of workaround, which is the spectacular online pinboard, Pinterest. Oooh, I love love love Pinterest. The cool thing about Pinterest is you can pin something and then a few days/weeks/months later as you are adding to that particular board, you might realize you don't lurrrve something as much as you once thought, and you can delete it. It's almost like buying the actual thing and then having buyer's remorse, except that no cash has changed hands, and that is infinitely better for one's wallet. 

I originally got onto Pinterest to find ideas for kids' birthday parties, and then I got sucked into creating boards for home decor and recipes and outfits and hairstyles and such. It is kind of addictive, so I try only to use it from my phone. If I have a full-size screen to scroll through, I am a goner. Gah, so embarrassing. But having said that, I realize that my creative outlets at this point in time are: decorating my apartment; combining things in my closet in various ways to create new outfits out of what I already have; doing hair; and cooking. And as I realize that, I feel a little relief, because so often I mourn my lack of creative expression and feel depressed about it. I am just using different mediums at this moment, and that is okay. 

"As long as we're creating, we're cultivating meaning."
 - Brene Brown


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gettin' Gatsbyfied

“I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

So I am going to this wedding in a couple of weeks, and the bride is a very dear friend of the family. She is loud, and foul-mouthed, and complicates things endlessly. She is also generous to a fault, loyal, hilariously funny and loving to the point where she would without question take a bullet for anyone in our family. You take the good, you take the bad, and we love her, so here we are. 
Our friend likes to live large. She is an event planner, so naturally, her wedding has become a huge event. It is a 1920s themed wedding, being held at an art deco landmark LA hotel, and she has asked that all her guests dress in 1920s themed attire. I have been looking online at 1920s beaded dresses and found one I LOVE (a reproduction) for $400. Well, that is not going to happen in this current scenario. So I have decided to do a modern interpretation of the theme, and today I bought this:
Image courtesy of Bloomingdales
In the 1920s, dresses had little to no definition at the waist:
Image from Vintage Dancers - go check out the site, it's cool.

I bought a kind of art deco looking belt to slap around that bad boy and we'll see how that looks. I am going to wear long strings of pearls or perhaps a tassel necklace, depending on what I can find, and probably some 1920s shoes from Modcloth. I may try to set my hair in finger curls - will let you know how that turns out (I've been watching tutorials on YouTube).
So okay, I am getting all that together, feeling pretty good. And then today I received an email from the friend, saying that she is putting together a performance AT the wedding, and she is asking selected couples who have what she describes as successful marriages to participate. She wants me, as one-half of one of those couples, to lip-sync a song to Sweet Dub in the middle of the reception at this HUUUUUGE wedding. Holy Jesus!
You know what? My first reaction was to say I said yes. Totally outside of my comfort zone, and I might embarrass the hell out of myself, but I'm going to do it. It will be a complete surprise to Sweet Dub and he will love that.
I get to pick the song. I am thinking I might do a Josephine Baker or Edith Piaf song. Or, in keeping with the theme, there's always Fergie:
I kid, I kid. But I do like her manicure here. And by the way:  song suggestions welcome!

Monday, February 10, 2014

One Moment in Time

Have you ever used a day book? Or read one? Day books are simple journals that are used to record daily events as they occur -- back in the day, one would write about little happenings such as "first snow," or "finished Little Women today," or "zombie apocalypse, ugh."
Apparently, people still keep them online, formats vary widely and sometimes, sometimes you might see them in the form of a blog post. (You see, I actually did have a point there.) Here is my daybook entry for today - Monday, February 10, 2014.
I am thankful...that I was able to reconnect with friends this weekend at a bridal shower.
I am wearing...a gray and silver polka-dotted sweater with an aqua scarf, cropped dark gray pants, knee-high black high-heeled boots, and silver circle earrings.
I am wondering...what the hell I am going to wear to my friend’s wedding in two weeks. It’s a 1920s/Gatsby theme and we are asked to wear attire appropriate to the era. Note that Ceeya is the flower girl and Viva is a guest. I have dresses for them but no shoes yet. I am trying not to stress over this, as I know I will get it together, but I have not yet found anything for myself that I would LOVE to wear and that I might wear again.
I am pondering...why toilet seat covers have become such a big thing on public toilets. Is it really that hard to squat?
A favorite quote for today...
Drop the negativity, yo.
Photo of me (not from today, from this weekend's vintage Victorian bridal shower):
P.S. Do you not love the old lady hat? I die.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Working a Long-Range Plan

Snake Game board
Image Credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chapter Two
In which we discuss how to get there from here.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a dear friend who is also a former co-worker – in fact, my former office-mate. We talked about our future plans. I told her that I am feeling this pull to go back to school. “For what?” she asked.  

“I’m not sure yet,” I said. “Communications, maybe?”

She made a face and snorted. “Don’t waste your money with that, you’re already a great communicator,” she said.

“But I want to learn more of the tech side of things,” I said. “So I don’t need to go back to school full-time, just take a class here and there.”

“Yeah, try looking at some extension courses,” she said. “And I can connect you with a couple of writers who are freelancing and doing really well. One in particular, L – she is really easy to talk to, and she can tell you how she segued from freelancing part-time into a career as a full-time writer.”

It all sounds so simple, in a way. But I know I have to take one step at a time as part of a long-term plan to transform what my work life looks like now.

I am telling you this because I expect you to hold me to it, blogosphere. Don't let me shirk!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Lost in LA

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, Yo shi.

Today is Friday! I think I am supposed to be writing something about Los Angeles – my adopted hometown, the birthplace of my marriage and my babies, a pivotal place in the Lisa Journey – in honor of the upcoming 20th anniversary of my relocation here. 

When I first moved to Los Angeles in January of 1995, I was living with my then-boyfriend (now ex of many many years), in a half-way decent apartment on Hollywood Boulevard. If you are familiar with Los Angeles, you will be horrified to hear that I was actually living on Hollywood Boulevard, but if I tell you that it was the part west of La Brea, in fact almost as far west as Fairfax, you will realize that it was okay. Yes, even in those days before Hollywood was starting to reinvent itself a bit, that stretch of Hollywood Boulevard was fairly safe. Although I do believe that after I moved out and my ex was still living there, the apartment was burglarized one day while he was out. 

At any rate, it was a half-way decent apartment, and it was on a bus line, which was crucial, since I did not have a car. As a Bostonian, I was raised on transit lines, and I did not get a driver’s license until I was 20. I did not actually own a car and drive on the regular until I was 27. It is a vastly different lifestyle, being from a city where one walks, or rides the subway or the bus wherever one wants to go. I arrived in Los Angeles, one of the biggest cities in the world, and I expected to walk out of my apartment and that a bus would come by within five to ten minutes. A bus schedule? Who ever heard of something so ridiculous? 

Oh, silly, silly 26-year-old me. That was a pipe dream. 

But here is one thing I loved: the section of Hollywood Boulevard where I lived had sky-scraping palm trees lining the sides of the street, and you had to crane your neck way back to see the tops.

I loved that a few blocks down the street, when we would stroll along on one of the side streets between Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. (was it Curson? Was it Sierra Bonita? I can’t say), there were all these adorable bungalows, and that in the front yard of one of them, behind a four-foot high fence, there were two massive Great Danes – one black and white, one tan – and they would bark a couple of times as we came near and heave themselves up and lay their great paws and legs over the fence easily, still with their hind feet on the ground, and fawn all over us and let us rub their giant microwave-sized heads, and wag their tails with great dignity. 

I loved that I could walk to the Alpha Beta supermarket at the corner or Fairfax and Santa Monica (sadly, no more – it is a Whole Foods) and that I might run into Angelyne in the parking lot. 

I loved the unexpectedness of it all, the vastness of it, the random bits of delightful weirdness which seemed part and parcel of Hollywood life – all the more remarkable because I had resisted moving there in the first place. LA was such a sprawl, I thought. I feared it. I might be lost in it. And I was, lost in it. But not in a bad way.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Next Generation Artsy

Recently, the Blah Blah family undertook a little creative adventure. I am looking for new things for us to do these days--things to give my kids a different perspective, to broaden their horizons, Lord, maybe enrich them a little bit.

So with all the resources at my disposal, with minimal research I came across the Arts for NexGen program at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Well, what?! This is a free (FREE!) program for kids under 18. They have activities for kids every Sunday. Free! Metered parking around the museum is free (FREE!) on Sundays. Each kid who is a NexGen member can bring one adult guest with them every visit--free! Are you seeing a trend here?

Well, I signed the kids up online and received their membership cards in less than a week. And we went to LACMA, and I am embarrassed to say it's the first time my kids had been there. They loved it!

Tickets and maps and things, oh my!

We were helped along in the beginning by some nice folks who were helping direct people for Andell Family Sundays, a free (FREE! But I would imagine, underwritten by the Andells, so free thanks to them) day of kid-friendly activities on (coincidentally) Sundays at LACMA. They helped us map out our agenda and gave us some tips on what to see and where to go.

We stopped by Metropolis II, a cool miniature cityscape with tiny cars and trains that whiz about. We participated in a Photography and Light activity in which a NexGen docent talked to the kids about light and shadow and gave us all paper and pencils and encouraged us to find art that we liked and draw it. I chose this photograph:

Viva chose to draw me drawing the photograph, while Sweet Dub photographed us both:

And later on we ran around and under the Levitated Mass:

That's Ceeya, looking especially tiny.

And we tried creating little vignettes with shadow boxes and photographing them:

And then we had lunch from one of the skazillion food trucks parked across the street:

(That's Belly Bombz, by the way.)

And then it took me like three weeks to blog about it. But it was still fun. The End.

P.S. Totally recommend!