Monday, December 21, 2009


I don't know how it is we never get any pictures of our party except of Jeff and me just before the first guest arrives. But here is the one pic we have!

On Saturday we held our annual Christmas party for our neighbors and friends in the area. This was our 12th annual event and they have evolved over the years from a casual open house to a big bash with kids invited to the current more intimate but elegant cocktail party (no kids) that we now have for about 40 guests.

We've done this long enough that the party follows a somewhat familiar pattern: 7:00 we stand waiting breathlessly for the guests to arrive, slightly panicked that maybe no one is coming. By 7:15 the first guests arrive and then a steady stream until the house is packed around 9:30. We usually cap out at about 45 people and then they start to drift off, some going home early, others to competing Christmas parties (darn that Khaki Voss who always throws her party the same night as mine! She is one of those incredibly nice people who also happens to do everything just a little better than everyone else and I'm sure she has a lot better food at her party than we do....) but anyhoo the party always finishes off with ten or so lingerers and Jeff and our good buddy Dan get the guitars out and sing and play and things wrap up around 1:00 or 1:30.

This year things went as expected. The only change we made was that I added a new convenient feature out front. I shoveled a spot at the curb and leading up the front walk for the ladies in heels and then, thinking it would be nice to make sure no one blocked the cleared spot I set up two sawhorses in the street with signs that said "Bag Drop" on them. The golfers in the group got it, pulled up and let their "bags" out then went to park. I'm thinking of patenting the idea.

The next morning we always have fun doing post-party debrief, sharing conversations and deciding things like who said stuff they shouldn't have and who wore the most revealing dress. This year (as usual) that would be me and me. The kids chime in and tell us funny things they saw and heard too as they are the official coat-takers and hostess-gift keepers. As Lilly said, "By the end of the night when the grownups came to get their coats they were all standing really close and talking loud."

Over burgers yesterday I even got to hear a story of a past party that I had never heard before. We were talking about party number five in 2003, the last time we invited children. We did that for several years until it got rather "Lord of the Flies"-like and when I went up to bed after that party I found Atticus (who was ten at the time) asleep in the hallway lying with his face in a pile of crushed Goldfish crackers not unlike Al Pacino in Scarface. I just checked my notes--we had 54 adults and 62 kids that year.

We were laughing about all that when Grace said, "Lilly, that's the year you hid in the bathroom and we couldn't find you."

"What?" I asked. This was news to me. We had had babysitters that year to help wrangle the kids so I guess I had missed the parallel kids' party.
"Yeah," she explained, "it was late and the grownups don't usually come upstairs so I ran from my bedroom to the bathroom to go potty in just my underpants but when I opened the door there was a grownup waiting for the bathroom so I slammed the door in his face and locked it."

"We couldn't figure out why that door was locked for so long," Atticus recalled.

"But why did you hide in the cupboard?" Grace asked.

"I was afraid mom might find the key and open the door and grownups would see me in my underwear. So I crawled in the cabinet."
That is not a big vanity --30 inches tops and it would be a tight squeeze even for a small five-year-old.
Ahh, good times.

I like to believe that these big parties with their mishaps and their funny stories that live on for years are as much fun for my kids as they are for us. I can think of no better way to usher in the Christmas week than with a house full of the parents of your friends who make up your world--adults you've known your whole life--all laughing and telling stories and just enjoying each other.

I hope your Christmas and holiday season is also full of love, and laughter, and noise and may you too have your own share of stories of locked bathrooms and crushed Goldfish crackers.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009


--> Just me in the Jeggings.

(below) Lilly and me in the same Jeggings.

My old high school friend Andy who lives in LA asked me to try a pair of pants she sells on her cool website, Repeat Possessions. She assured me that these awesome "Jeggings" (combo jeans/leggings) fit ANYONE so to prove that point Lilly and I got into a single pair and I think you can see that we do indeed both fit.
Then, a bit more skeptically I tried them on myself. I wasn't sure a nearly --cough cough--50 year old should be wearing leggings but I was kind of impressed with how flattering they are. As you can see they do fit nicely, look like jeans and I can assure you they are incredibly comfortable.

So if you're still looking for a great Christmas present for a daughter or girlfriend you should go to Andy's website and check out the Jeggings. Check out the other stuff too. I know she has cool clothes because she lives in Orange County and that makes her automatically hip and well-dressed (which she is because I saw her at the class reunion but unlike other Orange County housewives she still has all her original parts).

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Grace tried out for the talent show at her high school this week. They were required to sing a passage from Don't Stop Believin that old chestnut by Journey which seems to be resurrected every few years by politicians, sports teams, and this year our new favorite show, Glee. They gave her a copy of the sheet music to practice and Lilly was looking it over when she said, "Hey, they cut out the line that says 'smell of wine and cheap perfume'. It just says 'smell of cheap perfume'." We all puzzled over this odd bit of editing. It was clear the word "wine" had been whited-out (is that the past-tense of white-out?). Grace worked on the music a while trying to figure out how you even sing the song without enough syllables.

The next day in glee club Grace's teacher mentioned it. "I cut out the w-i-n-e word," she said spelling it out as if it were a curse word.

Is wine a bad word now? This is the same school that just put on To Kill a Mockingbird and wisely kept the "n" word. What the fuh? The "n" word stays but the "w" word goes? I didn't even know it was the "w" word. What would this teacher think if she knew I sometimes have a glass of "w" right in front of my children!

The puzzling thing is that this appears to be the decision of a single teacher. It's not like the school has a "no singing songs with alcohol in them" policy (well, I don't think they do). Though if they did you might wonder how they would sing a lot of songs like Days of "w" and Roses or Bob Marley's Red Red "w". (A side note, The Days of Wine and Roses was the prom theme when my sister was a high school senior, which was only slightly more inappropriate than my prom theme which was Nights in White Satin which kind of makes you wonder where the adult supervision was in our school but then again that's what we get for electing a burnout as our class president that year.)

Anyhoo back to the censorship at hand: for some reason this teacher took it upon herself to edit the song. I don't know why. There are no banned books at my kids' school and this spring they are going to put on the play Rent. I hope this teacher doesn't get her hands on that script because instead of the play being about a bunch of gay people battling AIDS she might change it to a bunch of heterosexuals who all contract really bad cases of mono from kissing.

I'm kind of perplexed by this "w" thing. Would it be appropriate for me to protest to the school about censoring music? On the one hand it is a song by Journey and I'm not sure they've exactly earned the right to artistic freedom. On the other hand, if we let this go what's to stop it from escalating? I can only imagine the Holiday Concert in which Holly Jolly Christmas would have a line that says "and have a cup of cocoa" or the line from Baby It's Cold Outside (which my kids call the creepiest date rape song of all time--and it really is if you listen to the words) could be "hey what's in this milk?"

I was mulling over the right to free speech and my duty as a bleeding heart liberal in all of this when Grace told me a story that made me realize I did not need to intervene. It seems that during the audition process one of the seniors sang the song his own way in protest. He got a big laugh when he sang, "Smell of fermented grape juice and cheap perfume," and I have to hand it to him because really, one of the most effective tools against censorship has to be a good dose of teen-aged ridicule.

Don't stop believin.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Okay, you know the self-righteous housewife doesn't often wade into the world of pop culture, as I leave that to the experts at People and Perez Hilton but this Tiger Woods story is too good for me to pass on. So here it goes:

There are so many weird pieces of the story we know (the story we don't know is probably sadly familiar) that I just have to comment on a few of them.

Point One: Rich and famous people don't know their neighbors: As pointed out by my son, how is it that Tiger Woods' neighbor did not know that was him lying outside his car? I mean, in my neighborhood, if Tiger Woods lived across the street and came barelling out of his driveway at 2 am hitting the fire hydrant I would at least KNOW it was him when I called 911. I would probably even run out to help him too. Yet this neighbor, (who was good enough to call for help,) did not know who was lying out there in his street.

You know that reminds me of the time this really drunk Asian lady I don't know fell through my front door, cocktail in hand, and looking up from the floor (she had not spilled a drop of her half cocktail) asked if she were in the Robinson house (name changed to protect my neighbor). They were having their annual Christmas party and she had missed it by a few doors. No, I explained, that was four doors down, but could I freshen her drink? See, now that's what neighbors do. They don't go calling the police and acting like they don't even know each other.

Point Two: Rich famous women smash out car windows to save their husbands: On Tiger's website you can read his statement that his wife "acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble." Let's review: he backed into a fire hydrant and a tree and she had to smash out the BACK window to pull him out of the car? Just how pinned in do you get when you back into a fire hydrant?How strong is this woman that she could drag an inert full grown man from the front seat and out the back window? Maybe she panicked and it was the butler's night off so she had to do it herself. And she just grabbed the first thing she saw which was a golf club which they probably have laying all over their house and yard since Tiger is a golfer.

Now if I were "acting courageously" and wanted to "help my husband out of the car" I would not grab a golf club. Why? Because my husband doesn't care about golf. I would grab one of his guitars and then I would "courageously" smash out his back window and "help" him out of the vehicle by beating him with the guitar. I'm just saying.

Point Three: Rich and famous people get to tell the police "We need some privacy" and that works: If you or I were to knock over a fire hydrant, and run into a tree, and CLEARLY were involved in the middle of a domestic disturbance, we would not get to tell the Police the following morning they should respect our privacy. Well, I guess we could say those words but I doubt they would tip their hats and say, "Sorry to bother you ma'am." In fact, since there are children in the home we would probaly get a little visit from DCFS too and I don' t think you get to tell them to "respect your privacy" either.

In conclusion, I guess things are different when you live in a gated community in Florida where the neighbors don't even know you.

Those people probably don't even have a block party there.

I'm glad I'm not rich and famous.