Sunday, November 16, 2008

Anaheim Hills fires

Golden Orb. Ringed by fire. Evacuations. Grim scenes as fire marches forward.

There are some phrases you never expect to hear. Some are poetic. Some are simply devastating. The above phrases have appeared in newspapers and online to describe a wildfire is destroying my Anaheim Hills neighbourhood. More than 200 homes have been destroyed and some 22,000 people evacuated. Many of my friends can't go home as the freeways are closed. They're sitting in hotels or in friends' homes from Rancho Santa Marguerita to San Clemente to Santa Monica hoping that when they get back that the smoke damage will be minimal. That the wicked embers that are raining down on the hills won't ignite their house. That the hills and lushly landscaped gardens surrounding their community are watered enough by the community association and won't explode into flames. It's dry - less than 5% humidity.

For people living on the East Coast it's hard to imagine 5% humidity. The only way I can explain it is this - imagine your throat feels like sandpaper all the time. It wakes you up at night doing the umm hmms, clearing your throat. Drinking several gallons of water a day doesn't help. You have to moisturize your skin like crazy or it cracks at your fingernails and on your legs. Your hair is stick straight even if you're born with curly hair like me. And when the hot Santa Ana winds hit it's game over. Then the fires start. And the smoke insists on creeping its way through screens and into your home and settling into everything you own. Long after the fire is put out the smell of smoke terrorizes you.

I'm in Toronto and the rain turned to snow last night so watching CNN is terrifying. I've already survived one house fire. I most certainly don't want to experience another. Even from my perch across the continent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Oprah, Brangelina

I’m stirring a pot of custard on the stove and desperately trying to avoid lumps so I’m using a whisk but because the heat is high some yellow liquid splatters my black Joe Fresh top. I curse because I like to curse. I curse because I don’t feel like changing. I wear black because it requires the least amount of time and imagination particularly when you have a toddler. It’s not as if I don’t often incorporate splashes of colour into my wardrobe but, of late, they’re usually a result of finger paint or mashed fruit or a pattern resembling my son’s sticky hands. And at this moment, with a stained blouse and bubbling custard, at this moment, as I’ve entered my late-30s, been married for five years, and been freelancing forever, it’s at this moment I realize that stressing about creating creamy pudding is one of a zillion things that belong in my rearview mirror.

1. I realize I will never ever, ever look good in skinny jeans. In tight trousers, my legs look like tubes of toothpaste that are pinched unevenly in the centre.

2. It’s unlikely I’ll have another baby. And I’m cool with that.

3. It takes longer than six weeks to lose the baby weight. Unless Harley Pasternak is your personal trainer and Bob Greene (Oprah’s pal) is cooking for you. Or if your name is Angelina Jolie.

4. I’ll never weigh 115 lbs again – passed that milestone in Grade 11 – and now I should be happy with 130 lbs. But I’m not there yet.

5. The friends I’ve made in university are the ones who will be with me to the end, barring any disasters, such as affairs, theft, or murder. So I better tell them I love them more often. Ditto family.

6. If you’re in an awful job or have an ulcer for a boss whose modus operandi is torture, leave. When the economy is in a black hole, first come up with an exit strategy and leave for something better. Don’t linger for more than six months or you’ll start to believe you’re incompetent. And life is too short for that.

7. Every girl over 35 should have a luxury item (or two. Or three). Buy the designer handbag of your dreams, a Gucci, a Louis Vuitton. It’s true, you can’t take your money with you. Money is just a backdrop.

8. Forgo the kitchen scissors and your sister’s best friend’s first cousin’s salon and, for God’s sake, get a good haircut that costs at least $75.

9. Invest in Jimmy Choo. It will be the sexiest and most comfortable footwear you slide your toes into. Alternate them with your sneakers.

10. In my universe there are three kinds of people – those who dole out help; those who aren’t afraid to take help; and those who are helpless (but never ask for help). Divide your time between the first two categories and may you never find yourself in the third.

11. Volunteer. Donate. You need to balance your capitalist karma with your philanthropic karma.

12. Remove your makeup properly at night and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize, at least twice a day.

13. If you’re thinking of getting another tattoo, take your sister or best friend or your mom to the salon, before you sink money into something resembling a Duran Duran logo.

14. Ah, celebrity gossip. So vapid. So wacky. Sooo interesting. Britney. Paris. Lindsay. Brangelina. Tolstoy it ain’t but read it often and ready it proudly just don’t take it to heart. Then recycle it.

15. You’re standing at the gates of your own history. Don’t look in the rearview mirror. Don’t mix metaphors.

Be brave. Be strong. And above all, be fashionable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CNN unveils holograms on election night

Minutes ago I slopped my Coke Zero all over the carpet when CNN unveiled a hologram during coverage of the U.S. election. Reporter Jessica Yellin was 'beamed in' from Chicago an excited Wolf Blitzer exclaimed... there she was with a sharp blue line around her standing on a red dot talking to Wolf as if this was an ordinary occurrence.
She did mention Princess Leia (although maybe reference to Star Trek would have been more appropriate)? She twinkled in and then was gone.
Weird, futuristic and kinda thrilling too.
All in all CNN is kicking butt tonight.
CNN is promising more 3-D holographic interviewees. Say so long to old-fashioned split screens.
Oh Gawd oh Gawd oh Gawd. The results for Kentucky and Indiana are in and it's sick because McCain is leading.
Obama for President!!
Oh hunkety hunk Anderson Cooper is on! Will be right back...