Daydreamer

July 21st, 2015

collage of famous 60s people

 

I was in my head so much that I didn’t watch TV, never read. Playing with friends was distracting because I would rather be in my fantasy world. Who I pretended to be was a full time job.   Let me introduce you to all the roles I played. It was exhausting being me.

I was Haley Mills in The Parent Trap.

I played tambourine and sometimes drums in my famous all-girl band – The Pink Pussycats. We wore pink Helanka turtlenecks, pink stretch pants and pink Courreges boots. We wore Mary Quant and Yardley makeup. Because of our sudden rise to fame, we did many glamorous magazine covers like Vogue and Seventeen.

I was all the characters in Peter Pan, my favorite being Tinkerbell. I would spend days hunting butterflies to collect the sticky stuff off their wings which would enable me to fly. This required leaving my house and the fantasy bubble I lived in.

As Shirley Temple, I sang The Good Ship Lollipop and tap-danced on the top of pianos. Read the rest of this entry »

Sated

June 10th, 2015

Prune Cheeseburger

Food borders on obsession with me. No, it doesn’t border on anything – I’m being coy. Food is my obsession. I’m not alone. I share this passion with many. One friend of mine — I call her The Scout — tries out restaurants immediately after reading reviews. Sometimes we sample them together.

Her recent find was a bomb and I came home like a cranky three-year-old who hadn’t been fed. I took one bite of their well-reviewed, raved-about-on-Yelp cheeseburger, and pushed it away. I couldn’t bear to tell the waiter how much I loathed it. Everything the restaurant served was just so rich, I want to rename the place Truffles and Gruyere.   I have a few girlfriends who love overly rich food. They should go back to this new restaurant together, because I’m out.

Since I’m not the biggest meat-eater and ate only one bite of that particular cheeseburger, I am now out-of-control craving my favorite cheeseburger.  Let me tell you about it. It is served three thousand miles away. No, I take that back. It used to be served. It was on this restaurant’s lunch menu, but now they are only open for dinner. If you call Prune, in the East Village in Manhattan, to ask about their famous cheeseburger, they refer you to an online recipe. As if. I’m not that handy in the kitchen and I prefer ordering my burgers, not preparing them. Read the rest of this entry »

Crater Lake

April 25th, 2015

me and ginny linden

Due to some mother-daughter friction that I was never privy to, I didn’t get properly introduced to my Granny (that’s what we called her) until I was around ten years old. Our family would be taking a long European vacation and my mother needed cat care. So, we shipped our two Siamese and old alley cat Hangover off to Granny and Homer’s house.

My grandmother could not be without a man. At least that is the story. And sometimes she was shady, leaving a man behind for another. One that got left behind was the grandfather I would never meet. Frederick. I was named after him long after he had committed suicide over my grandmother’s betrayal. She was much older (and was, in fact, a bit of a cougar) when she found Homer — and this one would stick. Homer was a simple man; a handyman or contractor who wore tight T-shirts that barely covered his enormous beer belly. In other words, a real find. I never saw Homer without a beer in his hand and a six-pack close by, so he could spring another one loose quickly, as needed. When I was a passenger in his truck, the beers sat between us on the front seat. Read the rest of this entry »

Our House

March 18th, 2015

that's no lady, that's my mother

I was driving past my childhood home, my architectural symbol of security.

At the time, I didn’t own a house and had only purchased my first condo a year or so before. It was dark and depressing. Living in it was like living in Portland or Seattle – one of those places where it rains too much. I not only was sad, I had SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a condition that puts you in a bleak mood during the winter months when there isn’t enough sunlight. Only mine wasn’t seasonal. In this apartment, I had it all the time.

I’d just lost both my parents, a year apart. I shed so many tears while living in this condo I should have had flood insurance. But I really wanted to enjoy my first place with my first mortgage, even though the word mortgage was still so grown up and confusing. I hired the tile guy all my friends were using to hip the place up. Saltillo tiles. Trying to make it Spanish because this is the style I knew and loved, the style I grew up with. Read the rest of this entry »

Not my Birthday

March 4th, 2015

 

IMG_7684

My husband’s birthday was coming up.   As it approached, I kept coming up with ideas. “Surf and Sand in Laguna?” I asked, as he passed me in the hall. Nothing. A few days later, “Malibu Beach Inn?” Nada. A week later, I added what I thought was a fresh idea, “Ojai Valley Inn?” Still, no response.

These are MY ideas of what to do on a birthday. We usually end up at a beach somewhere because, well, we should do something, right? Then, with less than a week until the actual date, he reminds me that it’s HIS birthday. What?!! Incredulous. And now he’s thought about it and really wants to go to LA Photo, the annual photo show, which is no longer held in Santa Monica, but at the LA Mart, downtown.

DOWNTOWN? But there’s no beach. I needed a few moments to come to terms with this.   “Okay,” I peeped. He said let’s get a room for the night and check out all the hipness we keep hearing about downtown. He mentioned the Standard Hotel. But I remembered everyone, meaning my son, talking about the Ace Hotel. My husband took charge and booked it. I think he feared I would switch it behind his back to a beach hotel.   He said restaurant reservations were up to me. He thinks of that as my territory. And, well, it usually is. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul “Scooter” Silverman, September 17, 1951 – January 30, 2015

February 4th, 2015

scooter swimming

I met him when I was 14 about to turn 15 at a place we all hung out in Roxbury Park called the teen center.  Scooter soon became my personal chauffeur, my best friend and my biggest crush. Scooter was 16, about to turn 17 so on September 17th of that year, I organized a surprise party for him at his house. I don’t remember a thing about it but I imagine I made my signature onion dip, brought a bag of chips and a case of cokes and called it a party.  I put the contents of the Lipton Onion soup mix into the sour cream container and stirred. I didn’t even put it in a bowl to serve. That’s how ghetto this party was. I do however remember the surprise party thrown for me just weeks later on October 12th. I thought I was organizing a surprise party – this one would be for Sol, another friend we shared from the teen center. My friend Diane and I planned a big bash at a rich chicks house on the other side of the tracks and all was going smoothly. All, except Scooter said he couldn’t be there that night. I was crushed. I lived for nights that included Scooter. He was adamant that he couldn’t change his plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Traditions

January 5th, 2015

GreenbergsLatkaFactory
I’ve had two mothers-in-law. Neither were big fans of mine. One was the “I will not reveal my recipes to you” kind, and the other, many years ago, gave me the few recipes I still use. I think I’m kind of likeable, but maybe not if I’m married to your son? Moving on.

Cooking scares me. I’m just not that talented in the kitchen. I can dance. But I can’t follow steps. Cooking is all burners and timing and chopping and it’s something that has always overwhelmed me. So, here is what I am: a great guest. I’ll eat your food. I’ll tell you how great it tastes. I actually clap, applauding you when I’m sated.

I’m in awe of traditions that people have created. I dropped that ball. I’ve been divorced, and with blended families found it’s just not my thing. But I appreciate this quality in other people, and this Chanukah my husband and I were invited to our friends Chuck and Karen’s party.
You walked through the front door into the tantalizing aroma of potato pancakes. Like a bloodhound, I followed the scent till I was at the stove where two of my friends, now married 37 years, were hard at work. A tag team of latke makers, Richard was using a ladle to drop the round balls into burning oil. At his side, JoAnn, with a spatula, turned and removed them from the heat at just the right moment. I watched, mesmerized. I hugged them as they told me they have been dressed in aprons performing this act at Chuck and Karen’s holiday party for over thirty years. Impressive, the closeness of these longtime friends and the traditions they have built with their families. I flashed on JoAnn telling me how they all, with kids in tow, vacation together every year at the Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna. I have great friends but we don’t do group vacations. Read the rest of this entry »

The Coffee Maker

November 25th, 2014

me, michael, hiline

I was sitting with my husband in our sorry little kitchen. It’s small. Totally old school with a swinging hinged door that closes you in. No modern open floor plan where the kitchen blends into the family room. I love our little 1700-square foot Spanish Bungalow, but I’m never sure it’s where he feels most at home — but that’s a whole other story that I may, or may not, get back to.

This night, I had thrown together a meal. I hate cooking. It’s not something I’m that great at. It’s always a struggle. And lately, I have gotten even lazier than the naturally lazy person I was when we had kids at home. So, I might make a “salad” of pre-washed lettuce that I throw in a bowl, and my husband will make fun of the little effort that went into it. I’ll serve it with a large potato that we share — and he will inform me that for now we can still afford two potatoes – though with retirement looming, we may soon have to cut back to one. Read the rest of this entry »

Every Picture Tells a Story – Don’t it

October 15th, 2014

my mother with a former lover

A few months ago I unearthed an incredible photograph. I was searching through my mother’s one small album of photos and mementos, hunting for a letter I wrote as a kid that I thought she might have saved. I never found it, but hidden under a newspaper clipping was a picture I had never seen.

In it, my mother appears so happy, looking adoringly into the eyes of an unknown man. It was clear she had hidden the photo. A mystery. And I would never know the answer to it, had it not been for a chance encounter I had with a man 22 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

The Boy with the Prettiest Eyes and the Biggest Heart

October 2nd, 2014

me and bob levine

I was supposed to see my friend Bob that weekend. He didn’t know it though. He would never know it because, as it turns out, the plane he was on flying from Los Angeles to San Diego, crashed. It was September 25, 1978 and Pacific Southwest Airlines first accident involving fatalities. Bob Levine would never know how deep the connection was that I felt with him. We were only casual friends.

I was in my twenties and had been visiting my mother at her house in Palm Springs. Anything for a quick weekend trip, I was always up for a vacation.   I was with my lifelong friend, Diane. My mother nurtured us in the form of guacamole. No one made it better. Then we lay around in the sun, catching rays and vitamin D, even if I didn’t know it then.   After our quick two-day getaway, we headed home. On the way back from the desert, I noticed something on the freeway I never had before, and that was a connecting freeway and a sign that read South to San Diego. I asked my know-everything-about driving-and-freeways friend Diane about it. I wondered if it might be a great, spontaneous idea if we switched our route and headed south to visit our old pals, Matt Browar and Bob Levine. They had moved to San Diego, a place that was chill, where they could find good waves. Read the rest of this entry »