Monday, May 25, 2009


A family barbecue at my in-laws’ yesterday was crashed by a movie star – sort of like that great scene from “Notting Hill”, but not as dramatic. She is a friend of my sister-in-law, someone I had met briefly once before at a party. Yesterday, I got to talk to her at length, and I was charmed. Although she is much-celebrated, having been nominated for Tonys and an Oscar, and winning a Golden Globe, I was not familiar with her work. Her husband is lovely too. It was a welcome, random, “only in Southern California” thing. She dropped names like “Lily Tomlin” and “Jamie Lee Curtis”, made a reference to the time Arnold Schwarzenegger asked her out on a date (pre-Maria; this woman had the sense to decline the invitation). At the radio station, I met plenty of famous people, but that was a different dynamic. In that case, it was you: important guest, me: employee. This playing field was more enjoyable, and we got to know each other a little, just as two women with different life experiences.

Monday, May 18, 2009


The magnitude 4.7 seismic event last night made me think back to an enrichment segment offered in middle school about earthquakes. It provided detailed information about everything from plate tectonics to interpreting the Richter Scale and different kinds of waves. My study of earthquakes until that point was limited to hiking the Earthquake Trail in Point Reyes, and having a second grade teacher say that in some very large number of years, Disneyland would be in San Francisco, because of movement along the fault. It sounded not so bad at the time. But the “expert” leading the mini-course felt inclined to pepper his lectures with comments like “the question isn’t ‘if’ the Big One will hit, but ‘when’.” He went into great detail about all the damage that would occur, the number of people that would be killed, and said that the side of the Golden Gate Bridge that was not on bedrock (I don’t remember which one) would collapse into the Bay. I stopped listening at that point. I was already a moderate hypochondriac; he made me an earthquake-phobe too. I was a nervous wreck driving across the Bridge, in underground parking garages, and I didn’t enjoy roller coasters anymore, because I spent the whole time worrying, what if we have an earthquake and the car gets derailed mid-corkscrew? Maybe it’s my over-sensitivity, but tempering this information with a discussion of risk analysis, or even foregoing the most sensational details to simply talk about disaster preparedness, to actually empower us, might have been a better way to go.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Room with a (new) view

Our babysitter asked, "What color are your neighbors painting their house?" as the painters and ladders and tarps, buckets, and trucks assembled. Their house physically abuts ours, half of a duplex/condo. "Green," I told her. "Uh-oh," she said. I looked at her. What could be wrong with green? I pictured a muted sea foam green, assuming it would be like the several other such shades on our street. I was not sad to say good-bye to the tired, blond-stained shingles that were not aging well, with a large discolored swath right where their wall met ours.

However, once the primer was up and the color was quickly spreading across the house, I realized the prescience of her comment. It was not a delicate green that they had gone with; rather, it was an "ick" green, a camouflage green. I don't care for it, but I am able to overlook it (even as I look at it, alas, multiple times a day...)