Sunday, January 30, 2011

Movie Madness - Barney's Version

Hilarious (and sad) film about life, love, friendship. You only get one chance.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dueling Pianos

"Two beers and he's a philosopher." Hilarious evening at the new Talking Stick Resort for a fight. A little duel of the ivories. Lots of singing and dancing and clapping to some great songs.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Who's the fairest of them all? Well, it's not Narcisse. At first reflection, the new Champagne and Tea Lounge at Scottsdale Quarter looked fab. Swanky. Quite the initial wow factor with all of the bottles of bubbly lining the entry hall, the chic furniture, the high ceiling with big bubbles falling down from the chandeliers.
But at closer inspection, the wrinkles started to show. Nobody knew what they were doing. It's like we were at a BYOB beer pong party run by a bunch of teenagers with fake IDs. The dressed-like-a-ho hostess showed us our table and plopped down tons of menus without explaining that one was for drinks, one was for Champagne, one was for other drinks, one was for food, but not appetizers, here's a big white book, here's a smaller one, here's a piece of paper with some other kind of instructions on it. There's tea. There's Champagne. There's tea-infused Champagne. As we tried not to appear too overwhelmed, every few minutes a whoosh of air hurricane-d down on those of us in the middle. Those on the ends escaped the storm, but couldn't see anything due to the glaring sun hitting their eyes. Buy some window shades, people. Things weren't going well for my gang, and this was all before the waiter even showed up. When he did, after superficial glance, I thought, perfect. A little late, but seemed fun. Then he opened his mouth. He started in with all of his woes. The hiring, training and opening of the restaurant problems. How his status as a bartender changed in just six days to Floor Manager and VIP Lounge guy and, oh great, Server, too (by the way, here, fill out these papers so you can save ten cents on Thursdays and we can inundate you with emails). He threw some waters on the table - no napkins, spotty glasses and one with the last customer's lipstick still on it. Let me take a moment here to say that I'm not a whiner. My bar is low. I'm a glass is half full, usually just ecstatic to be out and about with my friends kind of girl. But as this guy kept going, bragging about his training, but butchering everything on the menu(s), I realized that there are just some people in your life that should know what they're doing. People like your surgeon. Or your pilot. The lady that gives you a bikini wax. And your waiter. Again, I don't ask a lot. I don't expect miracles. Back in college I worked at TGI Fridays. I memorized the menu and it was huge. There was an entire page of just potato skins (hey, it paid the rent). I knew what kind of glass every kind of drink went in so I could hand it to the bartender without getting yelled at. I figured if I could handle that, some yahoo who has been working in bars for years should be able to walk away from the ESPN playing widescreen above the bar on a not even busy day and put a napkin under a Champagne glass without us having to beg, bring some silverware before the food came out, shut up about his personal problems, even if the place was falling down around him, which it was, as he showed us his bloody arm from the latest crashing glass in the back. My friends and I hung in there. We're professionals, after all.
We can have a good time wherever, whenever, but there was a tiny relief when it was finally time to go. I kept thinking about my time with Alan Arkin last night. He talked about how important Directors are. He described how you can have an amazing script, an incredible cast, everything else in place, but if you get a Director that doesn't pay attention, the movie will suck. People will walk away annoyed by that one character's accent. Or a weird haircut. Narcisse is pretty. The drinks were good. The food was great, but all I can remember were the bad parts. Get a better Director, guys. Pay attention. And oh, one more thing, check the bathroom, you're out of toilet paper.


Keeping up with Shana at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It's supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. According to Shana, it truly is. And remember, it takes a lot to impress that kid. We're unattached lately, off of Skype and email and Facebook as she travels the country, bussing it down to Granada, staying in youth hostels with her friends, throwing me a quick text once a day or so during what sounds like an amazing weekend.

Next up, Weekend with The Padres. Can't stand it anymore. I'm all packed and we're heading over.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Alan Arkin

I just crack up everytime I look at the guy, so for two hours tonight it was a happy time. He wowed the crowd with stories about his long career, all of the nasty directors he's worked with and how he has changed over the years through meditating and just plain getting off his high horse and taking some advice from others every now and then. I'm way behind on his wide range of films and after hanging out with Al my pal and all the cool Phoenix Film Society folks, I'm going to Netflix them all.

Alan Arkin is a founding member of the famed Second City improvisational troupe, where a performing arts method now used by acting programs nationwide was initially developed. Alan has appeared in over 60 films and numerous plays both on Broadway and off. Alan's illustrious 40-year career includes the distinction of being one of only five actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for his first screen appearance. Oscar nominated three times for The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming and winning for Little Miss Sunshine. Alan has also been nominated for every major theatrical award in this country and Canada, and has won almost all of them. He has directed in every media, and is the author of ten books, most of them aimed at young people.


Old fave The Herb Box is all scrubbed up and open for business down on the waterfront. Met the itchin' to get out ladies on a perfect Arizona afternoon on the patio for some $5 yummy wines, some Bruges color, some tankful of Maddie friends for the week, some who should I pick tonight and an X-rated bartender - menage a moi, Got Milf? and more just kept rolling as we reminisced about the old Lunt Ave. Marble Club, Willie & Guillermo's, Planet Hollywood and all the other places he's worked and we've been as we realized just how much we've all been around and how far we still have to go. Cheers!


Whoa. First Big Surf and now this. Odysea in the Desert is coming to town. An Aquarium in Scottsdale. A new IMAX theater. And, believe it or not, a Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Moving right next to the new and improved Pavilions mall and the new D-Backs spring training stadium. Inching closer and closer to my own backyard. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Salt River Pima tribe rakin' it in. Move over, Las Vegas, it's the new Scottsdale Strip.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Movin' on up

Scroll down. Only Leslie...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mondo Megan

Talk about getting out there! Megan, adorable Megan, I've know her since she was yay-high, is heading off to Nepal. Kathmandu, baby, here she comes. Mom, Carla, gave her a Launch Lunch at cool new place Nourish for a last meal of sorts, full of anti-oxidants and quinoa and all kinds of other fresh and fabulous goodies to prepare her for her long ride, especially all the ladies surrounding the table, full of hope, can't wait to  watch her save the world, or at least get paid to travel. My kind of girl.

Bon Voyage!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tour Guide

Other than hitting the bars, Shana seems to be learning something. She wants to get out there and see the world. She's got the bug. So far she's thinking about Venice and Milan for her March birthday, April in Paris, Prague in May, Dublin in there somewhere. She researched The Alhambra in Granada in southern Spain and has organized a four day bus - hostel - friends trek on the cheap, leaving Thursday right after class. Sounds like she's having a blast.

I can't think of anything that makes me happier.

Maddie Madness

Good friend, Maddie, is back in town. Left us for Berkeley and for baby (omg, so cute) and has been busy gardening and grandma-ing and composting and whatever else it is they do up there in Northern Cal, but there are not a lot of friends and hardly any movies, so we've got a lot of catching up to do in a week. Started with The Fighter - wow, mind is still swirling, the whole Cain and Abel dilemma, the physicality and drama and violence of boxing, family secrets and all those shoulder pads! Incredible film.  The book club surrounded baby, Escher, and proud parents at Pita Jungle and just couldn't stop the festivities, so headed to AZ88 to hang on the patio and to see artist friend's new piece up on the wall. Stunning. Once a month, he will add one more sculpture, so check it out.
We're also throwing in an extra Maddie Movie Madness to see Another Year (Wednesday, 1/26 at 10:20am at Camelview),
plus one CAbi party and a ladies only TGIF low lights, no lycra dance party. Welcome home, M.

Movie Madness - The Fighter

The Fighter Monday, January 24th at 11:10 at Shea 14.

Sunday a'fair

To your health! Right before I left to head down to Sunday A'Fair with the Blues-y Sugar Thieves and Big Daddy D and The Dynamites I got an email. I thought it was one of those cutesy, cutesy, cutesy things, maybe I should just delete it, but then I got to "Stanford" - all about pure research, medicine, it's the girlfriends that keep us going, husbands, not so much. So today we hung out on the grass on a picture-perfect Arizona day listening to some Blues with some wine, some crepes, some "homemade" Southern-style cookies, a new doggie friend with an animal print cowboy hat. Five friends, all mothers of girls, not a boy in the bunch, including one Megan (off to Nepal next week for a semester) who joined us as we passed on the secrets to her - have a good life, travel, no husband right away, no babies right away, see it all, do it all, write it all down, keep your friends close. Doctor's orders. 
They Teach It at Stanford
"I just finished taking an evening class at Stanford. The last lecture was on the mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.

At first everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps us to create more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain things or how their personal lives are going. Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes. Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings? Rarely.

Women do it all of the time. We share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spalding Gray - Stories Left To Tell

What an amazing storyteller, Spalding Gray. He's no longer with us, but his words continued tonight - growing up in New England, swimming with his mom, his first kiss, the love for his child - some pretty general stuff told in an astonishing way by an incredible bunch of actors, until the end, the suicide, going out of here on his own terms, dancing to Chumbawumba, singing "I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down."

I Get Knocked Down (Tubthumping)

Shana and the Spain Peeps

Little Shana update. Here she is staying warm with all of her Spain friends. Hitting the town, learning new things. What a life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick, quick, slow

I woke up last Wednesday with every intention of finishing my taxes, downloading data, assigning categories, wondering where all the money went, cursing health care, dreaming of retirement, making all my numbers for last year somehow look pretty enough to dump on my accountant's desk so she can do her thing. I got a new Quicken version this year, but instead of it making my life easier, it slowed me down. Learning while doing while under a deadline never works very well, so last Wednesday came and went. So did this Wednesday. But I finally figured out the software, injuring my wrist along the way, probably adding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Medical Expense category) to my list of ailments, made a nice pile for my Tuesday appointment and am pretty sure that next year's process will be Quicker.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eight Days and Eight Nights

I heard that is takes one day per every hour of time difference to get over jet lag. Spain's eight hours ahead of Scottsdale, so I kept telling Shana to hang on. It'll get better. Take naps if you're tired. Don't take naps, stay awake as long as you can. Take drugs. Don't take drugs. Pretty soon, baby. Give it eight days. But she was miserable. I could just see/Skype it in her eyes, the exhaustion, the desperation, the glassiness (maybe it was doing the can can until 4am), the cranky, the weepy. I wanted to pick her up and rock her. Put her in a car seat and drive around town. Stick her up on a spinning dryer like all the old baby remedies. I felt so helpless. But last night, after day eight, she finally slept. Shawn and I got up to her smiling face on the computer. She was talking to her host mom and dad, going a mile a minute in Spanish, showing them the new necklace she got at H & M (aach-a y emm-e, in espanol) looked back to normal, planning some big adventures, rearranging her schedule, wide awake. Wide awake in a good way.


Bono was in Oprah this month. Yeah, I read Oprah sometimes. We get it free at the office and I'm in her middle-aged, chubby, whine-y woman demographic, I can't help it. So other than some good advice about clearing out the clutter in your life by throwing away one thing a day (come on, ladies YOU can do it!), I got to read all about Bono. Superhero Bono who, along with his bff, The Edge, is writing the music for Spider-Man, Turn Off The Dark. Julie Taymor (Lion King, Across The Universe)
is doing everything else. She described Bono like a Superhero - wowing crowds, saving the world and then turning into just a guy, a dad, a husband, kind of like Peter Parker or Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, making it all look so easy. Got to thinking about our own inner Superheros (sorry to sound so Oprah). How we go back and forth all day long, between roles, spinning webs, taking care of business, hopefully not falling down. Singing some U2 songs along the way.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have A Dream

I Have A Dream...that one day Republicans and Democrats will sit together at the State of The Union speech. Intermingle. It's always seemed so high school, so Jocks vs. Nerds, so Marcia and Jan Brady, to put a big line down the middle of the chamber and not cross it. Talk about bullying. Arms crossed, scowling and "You Lie!"ing on one side, high fiving, cheering and smiling on the other, and vice versa, depending on the year. But after the Tucson tragedy, some politicians are coming together, improving the tone, ripping the tape off the floor and saying we can be civil, come on over, do it for Gabby, be on my team. Team America. I'll save you a seat.

I hope I'm not dreaming.

Movie Madness - Blue Valentine

Whoa - ain't love a bitch. Blue Valentine - desperate, intense love story from beginning to end and back again. It really is a marathon, this love thing, it's not all hearts and chocolate. Go squeeze somebody,
say, hey, this is what I expect from you, this is what I need, for starters tonight, put on some shoes, grab the dog, turn off Law & Order and go out for a walk, look up at the blue moon, Valentine.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday A-Fair

How about a little Peace and Community in Arizona? Lounged on the grass for some Walt Richardson, some friends, some sunshine, some sax, some muffin-top tattoo ideas, some post-24-hour shift, some pre-2 1/2 hour yoga, some pre-trip to Nepal, too many waffle fries, Bruges - we're goin' back - beer and just so thankful to live in this beautiful state where most of us, dredlocked or not, are pretty peaceful.

Scottsdale Center for the Arts mall.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A week later...

Read this piece by Amy Silverman in The Washington Post. Oh, she has a way with words...

Friday, January 14, 2011


Shana and some peeps in Madrid. She doesn't seem to be blogging, something about jet lag, internet speed, maybe a bizarre need to keep the sparkly, shined-up part of her life private, so I'll pass on some tidbits. I've heard about school - Monday - Thursday from 9 to noon. Field trips the rest of the time, like today, a tour of Madrid with two of her teachers and the rest of her U of A group. There are other students in the program from around America, too - some from Utah, Connecticut, Alabama (they were all pretty happy after the Sunday football game in Phoenix) and some other places. There have been late nights doing flamenco and can can dancing, churros, tapas, scrambled eggs on fries, cool architecture, sangria (drinking age is like 13 over there) and lots more. Good thing for Skype. There are plans to meet up with some of her other friends studying abroad in France, Prague and Milan. If you want to read about another excellent study abroad adventure to see all that's missing in your life, check out her friend Becca's travels to India, whaddupindia. She's a Journalism major, went to Arcadia (Go Titans) and is a true gem. On the Shana front tomorrow - shopping with amigas, finding a phone charger, wandering around Alcala and, hopefully, more updates for back home.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I feel better now. Felt like I was there getting a little hug that Michelle and so many others got. The memorial service "Together We Thrive: Tucson and America" was incredibly moving. Everybody who spoke was eloquent, reminding us that Tucson and Arizona and America is really one family. And all those Wildcats! At first I wanted to shush the kids, say, hey, guys, this is a quiet time, but then realized I was clapping right along with them, and crying, desperate for unity, desperate for peace, desperate to show the world that we Arizonans are not maniacs. We love each other. We want to make the world a better place for our children, starting with the ones in that auditorium, some I've known for years. They're worth it.

 “I want us to live up to her expectations,” he said, his voice rising. “I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”

Obama Tucson Speech

Stomp in some rain puddles.

Sheila's 29 again

A little happy, happy birthday happy hour for Sheila (click on card to enlarge). It's always great to get together and talk about all the wild and crazy things we've done, but even better to plan for the next one!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Club - Elizabeth Street

Elizabeth Street - incredible Italian family saga about coming to America at the turn of the century. Full of life and character and sadness and perseverance and what it means to be a family. Sort of like the book club - so full of life and character and sadness and perseverance and traveling sisters and old friends and the softest butt I've ever felt (after granny panties vetoed), the first kisses and first dates (oh, how much better life is when there's a BOY around), the incredible veggie lasagna and anti-oxidant chocolate covered pomegranate, the vows to get off the couch and get together more often, make 2011 the best yet. Ciao!

World Spins Madly On

Come to Arizona, Mr. President, madly spinning Arizona. Make us feel better. Tell us what to do.

6pm tonight at U of A. No school today, kids.

Here's a little song that made me smile (thanks Amy).

La Escuela

Maybe it's all my fault.  I remember how hard it was when I dropped Shana off at pre-school and she cried. It was so sad. Maybe I was too nurture-nurture-y, too many mommy wuvs yous, too many she's an only child, no back-ups, I can't screw this one up moments. I tried to explain back then how everything would be alright, she would make friends, she would like her teachers, she would love recess and lunch and nap time and coloring. But she kept crying. For days. Sometimes I would go out to the car and cry, too. I wondered if I should home school her. Quit my job. Drop out of college. Dedicate my entire life to her. But one day she went in and she didn't cry. Just waved at me and ran in, smiling.

Talk about sad.

Today, a decade and a half later, it happened again. Since getting to Spain she's been calling (well, Skyping, actually - maybe all of this technology makes it harder on us rather than easier) and she's been sad. Sad, lonely, homesick, sleep-deprived, jet-lagged, a bit uncomfortable living in a stranger's home. I explained that this will all pass. Her Spanish family seems great. Her fellow students will arrive shortly. She will eventually get a good night's rest. She told me that she understood all that, but it was still hard. I tried to help and it broke my heart when I saw some tears. But today she ran off to school with her friends all day, came back to her house, had some zucchini soup, took a nap and was headed back out tonight, happy as can be. Gotta go, Mom. Adios!

Adios la nina, te quiero.

Just keep swimming...

Fill up the calendar, get out there, get back to the dash, Shana's fine, life is good - birthday parties and book clubs and Walt Richardson and Concrete Blond and Carefree art and mah jongg and work, work, work and lunches with high school friends and muffins with yoga gurus and movies and Shawn, Shawn, Shawn. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


1 of a kind
1 in a million
The 1 and only
Number 1

Happy Birthday, Dad, have a good 1!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Movie Madness - Somewhere

I'm hoping that someday Somewhere will sink in. Maybe someday Somewhere will point me to the meaning of life. Maybe someday Somewhere will show me that the long, lingering scenes, full of art, imagery, interesting moments and good acting were all worth it.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Broad Abroad

(Kickin' it with Don Quixote)

A broad abroad...and she's blogging. Chocolate-dipped churros for breakfast - yum!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

And she's off..

There's been something very first day of Kindergarteny about the past few days as Shana got ready to go. I tried to cram all the life lessons in, make sure she had everything in her backpack, 
reminding her to say please and thank you, don't burp at the table, be quiet on her mat during siesta time, play nice with the others. 

We spent a lot of time snuggling on the couch in front of the fire, 
keeping the Christmas tree up until every drop of moisture in the needles was gone. There was a constant stream of friends and family coming through, propping up their feet, playing rousing, hilarious games of Monopoly and Scrabble (who needs beer pong!), 
going to the zoo,
 hitting every favorite restaurant, playing tourists in Old Town
making sure the bags weren't over packed - 49.0, just made it, 
that the flight was going even after a delay due to a snowstorm in New York, heckling the Tigers and the Ducks as they poured into Sky Harbor, then watching as the she hit the Elite Passenger line (thanks to Nana and Papa's extra miles, the poor kid got to go First Class) and headed off. Lots of texts on the way: my seat totally reclines! I'm never going back to coach (yes, you are), I'm in Newark and finally, at 1:38am my time, I'm in Madrid. Two hours later and a few back and forth middle of the night texts (for ten bucks you get 50 international texts, which usually lasts about fifteen minutes in Shanaland), she got her bag, made it to a cab, paid a fair rate, was safely delivered to her family in Alcala, reported that they were nice and I finally realized that everything would be OK. Working through some time difference issues over the day, jet lag and siestas, we've been able to Skype some, so we know about her room and the town. Technology is amazing. What did all those kids do when I was in high school and they had to wait for a real live letter? Those poor mommies. Having to actually wait until the Kindergarten school bell rings at the end of the day to find out everything, or until July when this adventure ends. Torture. So thanks for sharing today with me, Shana. Have fun at school on Monday. Study hard. Use your napkin. Brush your teeth. Call your mama.

Viva Espana! 

Cheaper by the dozen

New year, new shade of lipstick call. I wasn't the only one tonight desperate for some girl time. Twelve lovely ladies showed up, I think setting a record, for a new year review, we made it through the holidays, the back to schools, the current dramas, the new goals, the toasts, the squishing in tight, redecorating the place as we saw fit, until we counted the pile of cash in the middle and it was exactly right, another first. Must be a sign. Good color. Cheers. MMmmwwaaa, kiss, kiss the girls.

Gabrielle Giffords

Life isn't fair. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Concrete Blond

80's fave band, Concrete Blond, must be out of money since they're coming to town.

Saturday night at the super fun Compound Grill.