Thursday, June 29, 2006

Please excuse...

...the delay in posting. I'm recovering from six days in Tennessee, followed by three days at a regional meeting in Newport Beach and then another three days in San Luis Obispo for wine-tasting and a bachelorette party. I don't even know what my bedroom looks like, and I'm afraid my credit card company thinks I'm a hooker with all of these hotel stays.

Oh, and I also found out that I have "atypical necrosis of the fibular sesamoid" in my right foot. In layman's terms, that means I broke a teeny-tiny bone in my foot, didn't take care of it, and now the bone is dead and will continue to cause me pain until I have it surgically removed.

This blonde's bitterness is making a rapid comeback. Actually, don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years.

Restaurant Review: Cracker Barrel




I had no idea a place such as this even existed. Part of me wants to applaud the brilliant restaurateur that masterminded this behemoth Southern chain and the other part wants to give him a good swift kick to the bowels – just like his food did to me.

After seeing a Cracker Barrel restaurant at every truck stop between Nashville and Manchester, Linds informed me that I could not leave Tennessee without experience the trashy country-themed delight that is Cracker Barrel. They sell rocking chairs on the front porch! They have an entire country store fronting every restaurant! I bought a John Deere thermal shirt in a children’s small – and it fit! The glory! The horror!

Our waitress was an absolute delight. She guided me through the menu like an old pro, laughing when I said I’d never had chicken and dumplings or deep-fried okra before. When I requested cornbread instead of biscuits, she giggled and asked, "Have ya evah had cornbread before?" I should have said no, because I've never had cornbread that tasted like bacon before. Nor have I ever had green beans, macaroni and cheese or fried okra that tasted like bacon before.

I used to say "everything is better with bacon." I'm a changed woman.

The highlight of the meal came soon after I received my "Country Sampler" (aka "Country Salt Lick") consisting of chicken n' dumplings, meatloaf, country ham, macaroni and cheese, fried okra and cooked carrots. Linds and I were dying of thirst, having consumed massive amounts of sodium, and were keeping an eye out for our waitress. She arrived a few minutes later, a little flustered, but just as bubbly as before. "I'm sorry," she said, "but one of the girls just had a seizure in the kitchen!"

I imagined a woman flopping about the kitchen, knocking out her remaining three teeth and flipping over a vat of grits. Why? Because I think stereotypes are funny. And, I'm really not that nice of a person. Luckily, Lindsay is. She said, "Is she alright?"

"Oh, she's fine. The paramedics are here. "

"Is she a diabetic?" Maybe Lindsay isn't that nice either. Not all seizuring fat people are diabetics, you know.

"No. She just has seizures."

Lindsay looked confused. Our waitress nodded knowingly. It was my turn. "You mean, she has epilepsy?"

The lightbulb went off above our waitress's head. "Yep! That's why she has seizures!"

It was a brilliant moment. Our sweet, flustered waitress was doing everything she could to give us top-notch customer service while in the kitchen her epileptic co-worker was being wheeled away by paramedics after a grand mal. So we did what any good Southern diner would do.

"Glad to hear she's OK. Can we get the strawberry shortcake too?"

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bonnaroo: Part I

Heard around the festival/campsite/dirty hippie playground...

"We have got to find out what kind of flat iron Tom Petty uses!" - cw

"Holy shit, Tom Petty looks just like Martina Navratilova!" - lg

"My stylist was running bad like a drunk gambler." - john of the disco biscuits

"You've got the prettiest smile I've ever seen!" (drunk man to Lindsay)
"Does she have all of her teeth?!" (drunk man's friend)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Weight Watchers

I’m on Weight Watchers. Honestly, I really don’t need to be. But the idea of teetering down an aisle in strappy silver sandals wearing a sage green bridesmaid dress (with an asymmetrical watermelon sash) and then giving a maid-of-honor speech in front of 150 people doesn’t seem like something I should do as a size 6. It will all go much smoother if I’m a size 4. I’m also the only “single” bridesmaid in the group, with an overactive imagination that is currently envisioning the following conversation taking place:

Old Biddy at the Wedding #1: “Look at this garden, isn’t it lovely?”
Old Biddy at the Wedding #2: “And the bridesmaids...just gorgeous.”

They look on in silent content. Christianne comes barreling down the aisle.

Old Biddy #1: “Sweet Jesus, who is that?”
Old Biddy #2: “She must be the single one. I heard about her.”
Old Biddy #1: “Isn’t she the reason they had to have dresses to the knee?”
Old Biddy #2: “I heard that the bride wanted shorter dresses...
Old Biddy #1: "Didn't want to to embarrass her friend?”
Old Biddy #2: “Cellulite thighs! At her age! She’ll never find a husband.”
Old Biddy #1: “Let alone have children…Isn’t she near the bride’s age?"
Old Biddies (in unison): "Tick tock, Tick tock!”
Old Biddy #2: “It’s probably better that way. Not everyone should procreate.”
Old Biddy #1: “The good Lord works in mysterious ways.”

I’m not the better BITTER blonde, for nothing.

So as the saying goes, the best revenge is looking good. And I have exactly one month and eleven days to lose 5 pounds. For those of you familiar with the Weight Watchers plan, I’m allowed 20 points a day, with 35 Flex points to use as I wish throughout the week. Below, please find an “example” 20 point day:

Breakfast: 6 oz. nonfat skim milk (1 pt), 6 oz. vanilla flavor soy yogurt (3 pts), ½ cup raspberries (0 pts)

Lunch: 6-inch Subway turkey sub on wheat bread with mustard, spinach, tomatoes, pickles, olives, bell peppers, cucumber, salt and pepper (5 pts)

Snack: carrots & celery slices (0 pts)

Dinner: ½ cup edamame in pods (0.5 pts), 1 cup miso soup (2 pts), 6 large pieces California roll sushi (4.5 pts), 4 oz glass white wine (2 pts), ¼ cup lemon sorbet with ¼ cup mixed berries (2 pts)

TOTAL: 20 pts

Now, here’s what I ate on June 1st, 2006:

Breakfast: ¾ cup papaya (0.5 pts), ¾ cup strawberries (0 pts)

Lunch: 1 serving Tofu and Roasted Vegetable Napoleon (Weight Watchers recipe – 5 pts), 1 Tb store-bought pesto (1.5 pts – it WAS a WW recipe, after all), 1 serving Fat Free Jell-O Chocolate Vanilla Swirl Pudding (2 pts)

Dinner: 1 fillet cooked salmon (7 pts), 3 cups Caesar salad (7 pts), 2 bottles light beer (4 pts), ½ cup fried calamari (11 pts), 4 bottles regular beer (11 pts)

TOTAL: 49 pts

I can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong. Can you?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Patron of the Arts

My sister and I frequently joke that I’m her “patron of the arts.” We both dream up what we feel are exciting and worthwhile home décor projects, and then I pay for her to execute them. She has a lot more spare time, and I have a lot (well, some) more spare money. As an added bonus, I get to wield my financial power like a 17th century Pope and can deliver my opinion to the artist whether its wanted or not. It works out, (when she’s not telling me to suck it) for the most part.

In the process of becoming a better bitter blonde, I’ve landed some great dates, filled a Rolodex with new restaurants and remembered why I love books so much that as a child I’d stay up till the wee hours reading in a closet with a flashlight. And somehow along the way I’ve managed to acquire my own Patrons of the Arts: Lindsay and Bri. And to be honest, I don’t know what I did to deserve friends like these. But I sincerely hope they know what talented, amazing women they are, how fortunate I feel to have them as friends, and how much I truly appreciate what they do for me.

Lindsay is the ecologically aware one, and next week she’s taking me to Manchester, Tennessee for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival to help encourage attendees to join the virtual march on Washington currently underway on (There will be more on that later.) Bri, on the other hand, has taken it upon herself to act as my fairy godmother of all things art-related.

On Wednesday night, my darling Bri took me to the KCRW Angel Party at MoCA in downtown LA. I, a native Angeleno who has spent all but my four years of college in this city, had never been there before. I have no excuse, other than my own ignorance and laziness. That’s where my fairy godmother steps in. After taking me to a Patina-catered shindig downtown with plenty of free vodka (who knew that grapefruit Absolut was actually drinkable?), I received a private guided tour of MoCA’s Robert Rauschenberg Combines exhibit.

I don’t know anything about Rauschenberg. When it comes to fine art – oil paintings, sculpture, watercolor – I’m positively ignorant. I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, I’m fairly aware of most art movements over the past few decades (courtesy of two artsy college roommates), but overall I’m uninformed. That’s why I have a Patron. As we toured the collection, Bri gave me a brief history of the artist, and related his work to things I do know a little something about: Beat poets, Dadaism and performance art.

I highly recommend getting a Patron. Unlike a Sugar Daddy/Momma, you don’t have to put out for your Patron. Instead, you hear things like, “Hey, want to check out Lorna Simpson since we’re here?” And you follow dumbly along. And then, in addition to free food and booze, you get to see fascinating photographs printed on felt.

Robert Rauschenberg Combines
5/21/06 – 9/4/06

Lorna Simpson
4/16/06 – 7/10/06

250 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Thursday, June 08, 2006

May re-cap

Already 5 months in and the better bitter blonde project continues to thrive! I'm pretty proud of myself, to be honest.


Hennessey’s in Manhattan Beach (Irish Bar on Cinco de Mayo?)

La Sostra in Hermosa Beach (gnocchi heaven)

Harvest Café in Brentwood (#1 reason to eat all the old people)

Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City (blech)

Culturally-Enriching Event(s):

Ashes & Snow (who knew orangutans had game?)

KROQ Weenie Roast (scamming for underage ass has never been so much fun!)


An Inconvenient Truth (A must-must-must see!)


I made an extremely tasty vegetarian pesto lasagna with marinated artichoke hearts and fresh tomatoes.


Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Angles & Demons by Dan Brown

so maybe Angels & Demons shouldn't really count as a work of literary merit, but...I had to get caught up somehow! Now I'm now at 5 books in 5 months, and I'm feeling much better about myself as a person.

As usual, now accepting suggestions and dates(!!!) for the summer....

Friday, June 02, 2006

Touched by Tipper

On Tuesday, May 16 my darling, eco-conscious friend Linds took me to yet another phenomenal event. We attended the premiere of An Inconvenient Truth, the Al Gore documentary on our world’s current climate crisis.

Like the Shakespeare fundraiser, it was another dazzling, celebrity-studded event. There were several food stations serving up all kinds of healthy eats, an open bar (always a joy!) and the dessert stations had not one, not two, but three chocolate fountains for dipping!

But, as they say, “the real star of the show” was truly the show itself. An Inconvenient Truth follows Gore around the globe as he gives presentation after presentation about the effects of greenhouse gases on Earth. In doing so, you also see the presentation itself, which is chock-full of information about global warming and what individuals can do to increase their energy efficiency. This is not a someday problem, but a today problem. Key points of interest:

  • The United States, with only four percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 22% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years.
  • Deaths from global warming (heat waves, hurricanes, etc.) will double in just 25 years -- to 300,000 people a year.
  • More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050.

The information presented in this documentary is astounding, shocking, horrifying. Everyone should see it.

I was impressed with this film. I found it to be informative, entertaining and all-together inspirational. It is the second Laurie David-produced film I’ve seen this year, and to be honest, I really wanted to meet the woman herself. I was probably bordering on pesky the way I was harassing Linds, but this premiere was my opportunity and I was excited.

Lindsay approached Laurie, waited for an opening and introduced me. I told LD how much I enjoyed both films and she asked that I get others to see An Inconvenient Truth. And then she was pulled away into another conversation. Lindsay and I stood there for a moment, marveling over how dynamic a woman Laurie is, when I got a good thump to the back. So much so, that I was actually forced forward and had to take a step to catch myself from falling. Now, this was a bustling premiere, and I was standing next to an executive producer, so of course it was crowded. I looked behind me, and the woman who had bumped into me took a few steps before turning around. She raised her arm towards me and said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” And because I’m really pretty mellow, I replied in kind. The woman turned back around and went on her way. I looked to Lindsay.

“Was that --?”
“Tipper Gore?”
“I think so!”
“Ohmigod! You just got body-checked by Tipper Gore!”

And then I did what any normal, well-adjusted mature individual would do. I called every single person I know to tell them that I've been touched by Tipper Gore. Good thing I didn't curse her out, huh?

An Inconvenient Truth