Monday, September 25, 2006

Zsa Zsa

the fall didn’t creep in this year as it usually does in los angeles. it seemed to just land in the center of the city and chill everything nearby. its reach (finally) extended to my abode, where i had been summoning it with an autumn jig while looking lovingly at my jackets. in a snap, the temperature turned, and the heavy blanket for the bed emerged. the top sheet alone would no longer do.

this is the best season, methinks. winter is also a good one, and with fall as its precursor, the upcoming half-year is tops. granted, “seasonal weather” in los angeles is pretty wannabe. the leaves don’t change colors too dramatically, rain is minimal, snow is impossible, and dips into the 40s are infrequent. still, it’s a nice reminder of time’s passage.

my passage of time has lately been centered around home improvements, with my living room undergoing the greatest facelift. newer, better, more beautiful furniture is on its way -- once i buy some -- and the walls will enjoy a little blush on their cheeks, which are currently painted a blinding shade of Hospital White (plus scuff marks). beyond that, i’m reorganizing my closet and compiling a wish list of other repairs to be made, items to be bought. it’s getting lengthy.

there’s also been an outbreak of Relationship Weight Gain in my household. the indiscriminate eating has got to stop, as mexican dinners at midnight do not a svelte figure make. even the dog has gotten tubby. it’s nice to nest, but even the coldest L.A. winter cannot justify this amount of padding. Mo is developing a case of Ethiopian Belly (skinny guy with a protruding belly), Juice looks like a hairy pork chop, and i’m outgrowing my clothes. to repair ourselves, we’ve increased the activity as the calorie intake has decreased (kinda). we walk now, all three of us, wherever we can walk to. oh, the excitement.

odd news: Zsa Zsa Gabor called me -- and bitch didn’t leave a message. the blinking light on my answering machine only recorded a hangup after the tone. when i scrolled the caller ID on my phone, it was her name and a 310 number, i shit you not.

otherwise, i managed to check out the Banksy show the other weekend -- phenomenal. i also managed to almost murder my new Betta fish, Butch, by leaving him in L.A.’s finest tap water for about five minutes while i cleaned his bowl. it was a procedural snafu, entirely my fault, and i thought nothing of it until he started acting sick and sluggish a few weeks later. i hauled ass to Petco and consulted a fish specialist who told me my error was tantamount to leaving a newborn baby in a room saturated with secondhand smoke for five minutes. she looked about ready to call the authorities to place Butch in foster care, maybe at her house, but instead she handed me a liquid blend of antibiotics with tea tree oil, complete with disapproving glare.

five days later Butch seems better. but i still feel a touch guilty, with this sick fish and overweight dog. i’ve vowed to improve my pet parenting skills and will definitely name my next fish Zsa Zsa.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Laborious Apple

twas quite glorious. i loved my long Labor Day weekend this year, which i protracted into four full days in new york city, where i caught up with my west coasters turned east coasters, staying mainly with my best friend and his boyfriend in Manhattan, in the heart of Soho, Little Italy to be exact, in the smallest apartment i’ve ever seen, with just four feet of kitchen space and the fridge in the living room. but since they’re gay, the apartment was well decorated, with a perfect balance of style and whimsy, as evidenced by the gaggle of rubber duckies perched in the bathroom, which i found too cute.

new york was still splendidly itself – whatever that means. to me, it means that life in new york is still twice as hard and three times as expensive as it should be. to me, it means the entire city still smells like ass, particularly the subway. each time i exited the labyrinth that is the new york city subway system, now in existence for 100-plus years, i wanted to loofah the muck off of my hands and face immediately. that cavernous underground reminded me of an ant farm-cum-germ factory, with us passengers as the ants and the germs.

no misunderstanding: i am not a new york hater (nor am i a lover). i think the secret to living in new york is loving new york. i understand the romanticism and intrigue of the city and immensely enjoy my visits there. but as a nearly native west coaster who will defend los angeles until her last breath, i will confess that i don’t fully get it.

i don’t get the big deal with the five boroughs, or what it means to be from long island, or the appeal of the hamptons, or why new jersey is the armpit of america, or why bostonians hate new yorkers. the idea of blue blood and JAPpiness is anathema to me. visiting the east coast, with its oppressive summertime humidity and strangely small states, only strengthens my love for california. and i don’t even surf.

not that i didn’t have a brilliant time during this visit, catching up with many of the fantastic friends i saw during the last go-round: jon-david, allison, nick, cesar, zahra and als. (no john john this time, but hopefully next time.) the food was also worth beholding – oysters on the half shell, sardines wrapped in grape leaves, Portuguese bacalhau, a Tunisian omelet -- with plenty of wine to wash it down. it rained only on saturday, prompting an afternoon viewing of “Little Miss Sunshine” that did much to chase the clouds away.

i did a bit of shopping as well, though most of my time was spent socializing with my peeps, sharing and hearing stories, and marveling at how negligible time and distance are in the face of solid friendship. they played the most congenial hosts and i relished every second of their company. i hope to make my visits annual from this point forward.