Captain of the Universe


To The Super-Cool Man Driving The Fabulous, Dark Blue, Convertible Porsche —



Thank you!  Words nearly fail, but I will try to come up with a few.  Thank you!    


As soon as I saw you, I could tell that you were super-cool and important, just by looking at you and your car.  I  could tell that you had someplace very important to go and very important things to do when you got there.  In fact, you might very well have already been conducting some sort of very important business (possibly in the financial markets?) on your phone (hands free, of course) as you sped along in your very impressive vehicle.


And there I was, at 8:30 in the morning, sitting in my car, stopped at a crosswalk , waiting for a pedestrian to cross.  There you were, driving down the street behind me, in your shiny, fine-tuned machine.  No, not driving.  Racing.  You were RACING down the street in my residential neighborhood, in a vehicle that exuded power and all kinds of masculine charisma.


At first, I didn’t notice you – I was focusing on the crossing pedestrian that, as it turns out, was a friend, and you were behind me.


But then, I sensed you there.  I looked in my rear view, and there you were, like some sort of jungle cat, speeding along behind me, growing larger every instant.


Thank you!  At that moment, thanks to you, I was able to experience something we so seldom encounter now, in our modern lives.  I was taken back to our primordial days on the savannah.   I felt the intense adrenaline rush of pure fear of the oncoming danger.  You were not stopping or even slowing down.  You were going to hit me.  This might be it!


And then, you swerved, demonstrating the impressive handling of your automotive miracle, as well as your masculine calm and control, in your mastery of the situation. You moved into the turn lane next to me while slamming on the brakes.  I watched as the pedestrian experienced the same rush as me, as she saw you coming and stepped back, her eyes round with awe (and fear).  



Thank you!  She and I, thanks to you, had the opportunity to experience the delicious throb of the adrenaline as we realized how close we came, and then realized we were still alive.  Too bad that you did not come along just a few minutes earlier, because then you might have been able to share this life-affirming experience with some school children, crossing on their way to school.  Oh, well, their loss.


You then, rolled down your window and apologized — apologized for putting us all in danger, apologized for being thoughtless and self-absorbed.  And asked if we were ok.  You asked if we were alright after this thrilling, exciting, terrifying experience.


Oh wait, that’s right! This last part didn’t happen.  You did not apologize.  In fact, when I pulled forward, even with you, you gave me a bored, irritated gesture to go ahead.  “For God’s sake, move along, lady!” you seemed to say.


In fact, maybe I should apologize to YOU.  As I said, it was perfectly apparent how important you are.  You CLEARLY are more important then the pedestrian and me, as well as everyone else on the road.  It was probably quite galling to you that people like us were holding you up in your progress through your very important day.  It must be incredibly irritating to have mere mortals like us doing annoying things like crossing at the cross walk and, God forbid, stopping for those crossing in the crosswalk.


So I apologize, and thank you for this life changing experience.


Trust me.  I will never forget you and your awesome blue Porsche.







P.S.  Please make sure that you always have collision insurance.  Thanks again.


You Can’t Have Everything…



Interesting word.

It SOUNDS all-inclusive, doesn’t it?

Someone should explain that to the people at Loft.


I think the actual meaning of the word “everything” is lost on those people at Loft.

Though I guess “50% Off ALMOST Everything” makes somewhat less compelling copy.  Don Draper would never approve of that.

This is just one example.  The frequent use of such imprecise language (or shall I say complete misuse of what used to be precise language) has caused others to resort to, what we call in our family, “over-precision”  — the use of too many words to say what one word could (used to?) say.  Actually, over-precision is when you correct someone who is not exactly wrong, but yet not precisely right, just for the pleasure of correcting them.  For example, if someone says “I LOVE  cake” and someone else (their brother or sister perhaps) says “You don’t LOVE cake.  You LIKE cake.  You don’t want to marry cake, do you?”  This sort of over-precision (usually proceeded by the words “Well, actually…”) is very irritating, and clearly a topic for a different post.

Well, actually, by their use of the word “Everything” to mean “NOT Everything” those Loft people and their kind have forced a very enthusiastic, emphatic kind of  advertising (I really, really mean it) like these e-mails:

J.Crew Factory <>

Subject: Bye, March! Extra 30% off absolutely everything


And this…

J.Crew Factory <>

Subject: Hello, April: extra 30% off every single thing


Thank you for your clear, over-precise language, J. Crew.


However, I am still looking for an asterisk somewhere (*Excluding all regularly priced, sale priced or any other items currently for sale.)

Oh well.


In the words of Steven Wright….You can’t have everything.
Where would you put it.


The Mail Train To Wimbledon



Sometimes I feel like I am alone.

Like when I say I like lettuce and peanut butter sandwiches. Or macaroni and milk.

When I say these things, no one ever pipes in with “Me, too!” or, “Can you believe it? So do I!”

No. When I say these things, I feel alone.

Certainly I know that there are fans of Wimbledon all over the world.

I mean, it is a Grand Slam, after all.

See. I bet a few of you just thought I was talking about the area in outer London.

No, Wimbledon is perfectly lovely, but my love is reserved for the Grand Slam tennis tournament –the Championship at Wimbledon.

Rarely around here do you hear “Did you see the Murray-Ferrer match?” or “Boy, am I tired because I had to wake up early to watch Tsonga-Kolschrieber play.”


Ok, there have been a few exceptional circumstances when Wimbledon has bubbled up to the American consciousness.  Most of you know about events like the epic Nadal-Federer Wimbledon match in 2008, which many have called the best tennis match of all time. And, surely, most of you have some awareness of the record smashing, marathon Isner-Mahut match in 2010, which was a jaw dropping 11 hours, 5 minutes long, and ended with an unfathomable final set score of 70-68.

I sense this is not getting your blood up the way it does mine, even if you know what I am talking about.

See.  Alone.

Well, you don’t know what you have been missing.

Time for a list.  I shall call this list “Why I Love Wimbledon (The Grand Slam Tennis Tournament, Not Just The London Suburb”):

  • It Is In London.     I love London.  I have always been a bit of an Anglophile, feeling what is probably some deep, genetic pull to the British Isles.  I spent a Senior Year abroad, living in Canterbury, which is a reasonable train ride away from London.  I spent a month in London before I started school, and spent many a night/wee morning on the mail train back to Canterbury after a bit of, em, er, well, FUN, in London.  Let’s just say I have memories there.  My husband and I honeymooned there, too, actually during the championships.  We didn’t make it out to Wimbledon or the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.  We were em, er, well, BUSY.  Anyway, you get my drift.  But I love London and feel at home there, so, silly as it seems, I feel that Wimbledon is played in my familiar old backyard.

    photo from Zimbio

  • It Is On Grass.   Hence the All England LawnTennis and Croquet Club.  They play it ON GRASS!  Have you ever played tennis on grass?  Other than in your own backyard, with your brother, with a warped wooden racquet that you found in the basement?  NO!  It is a rare and wonderful thing.  I love it!  I know you picture Miss Honeychurch and George playing tennis in their just post Victorian whites, but this is serious tennis.  And on grass!  I love how the grass starts out pristine and perfect to a blade at the beginning of the two-week tournament.  I love how it is worn and patchy and non-existent at the baseline by the time the championship match is played, and the players can’t do a damn thing about it.  It is what it is, and they have to adjust.  You just don’t see that much adjusting anymore.

  • They Have To Wear White.  Maybe it is the Miss Bossy Pants in me, or maybe it is just that there is something comforting about a world that has rules that everyone has to follow, even if once in a while the rules don’t make any sense, but I LOVE that EVERYONE has to wear white.  Let me be clear.  I am glad that none of the other tournaments have this rule.  I am in favor of self expression and fashion and freedom in all ways, including on the tennis court (except for Andre Agassi in the acid-wash short, shorts and the mullet — that should have been banned EVERYWHERE).  But I absolutely love that, regardless of ranking or sponsor, all of the players have to wear white.  It is good for them.  The All England Club requires it of the players.  If they do not want to wear white, than they can take their play elsewhere, thank-you-very-much.  This year, they even made Victoria Azarenka, the number two seed in the women’s draw, change from a yellow t-shirt to a white shirt while she was on the practice court preparing to play Serena Williams.  So sorry, Ms. Azaranka, but rules is rules.  Love it.  The best part is that, not only do I picture these megarich professional tennis players having to follow these rules, but I imagine corporate giants Nike and Adiddas wringing their hands, saying “Drat! Nobody will rush out to by a duplicate of the PLAIN WHITE SHIRT that Roger Federer wore when he won the championship.”  Take that, corporate giants Nike and Addidas.  Rules is rules at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

Picture from

  • The Tennis.  I really, really love watching tennis.  It truly is a man to man or woman to woman battle.  There really aren’t that many other one on one sports (other than boxing etc.) that involve an individual duking it out with another individual.  It can be unbelievably dramatic to watch two of the best in the world battle it out over a period of hours, one point at a time.  In a close match, it can be absolutely riveting.  One player can be running away with a match and then, one or two pivotal points can shift the momentum, and suddenly  you have a whole new match. And, as in all Grand Slams, the men play the best of five sets.  Oh, the potential for drama.  And on grass, the ball moves fast but bounces less high.  This results in some of the most incredible shot making.  It is just the best.
  • The Weather.  There is nothing like the unpredictability of the weather in the English early summer. Will it rain, or be windy, or cold or hot or humid?  Who knows?  Will they play or won’t they?  Will they start?  Will the tournament director stop play?  Will there be a 20 minute rain delay or an 8 hour one?  Will it be in the middle of a game or a tie break? Who knows?  The drama of Mother Nature’s role has only been intensified by the fairly recent addition of a retractable roof over center court.  Will they close it or won’t they?  Will they close it all of the way?  Will they close it to shade the Royal Box?  Which leads me to …

    Getty Images

  • The Royal Box.  First of all, there is a Royal Box.  Seriously, how cool is that?  Secondly, sometimes there are actually royals in there!  Ok, sometimes it is Princess Michael of Kent (yawn).  But sometimes it is Prince Charles, and once in a great while, for  a small portion of a match, THE QUEEN.  And now, of course …KATE MIDDLETON.  Love!

    photo from madhattery

  • The British.  I saved this for last.  I love the British.  Sure, every home country cheers for their own, and hopes for a native son or daughter champion.  But none, for so long, in vain.  Oh, how these British players tease and tempt the British fan, only to ultimately disappoint.  The fans come and patiently sit outside on Henman Hill, named after a recent great disappointment, and hope against hope that THIS TIME, Murray will be the one.  It will happen.  They will finally have a British champion at Wimbledon, the first since Fred Perry in 1936.  Oh, some are nitpickers — Murray is from Scotland, he is not English… but British he is.  And, oh! What fun to watch as the native fans cheer and hope and pray that this will be the year.  As I type this, Murray is playing Jo Wilfred Tsonga for a spot in the finals — Murray is up two sets to love and has an early break in the third.  Will it happen?  Will it be a Murray win in straight sets, or will  Frenchman Tsonga find a way to come back?  Will Murray choke?  Will Tsonga rally?  Only one way to find out…

    Guardian Uk

    Daily mail UK

Gotta go.


P.S.  Don’t get me started on the London Olympics.

Baby, The Rain Must Fall



As it turns out, for me, the rain has to fall on the first Monday of summer vacation.

Thanks, Mother Nature.

Have I mentioned that I live in California? We don’t cotton much to the idea of rain in June in these parts. We find it highly disruptive of our blue sky, sunny and warm-every-day summer plans.

I mean, really! How are we supposed to go to the pool?

This morning, the title of this post popped into my head about the time I actually realized that it was raining.

As an aside, this is another thing we do in California. We completely ignore the weather report that suggests it will rain, instead focusing on the picture of the sunny tomorrow we have in our head. This makes California a very interesting place to live, as we spend much of our time in shock and disbelief of the reality that is hitting us in the face. As in “It is raining! Can you believe it is raining? I just cannot believe that it is raining in June! On the first Monday of summer vacation! Can you BELIEVE it? Wow. Rain. In June. Unbelievable!”

Anyway, back to the title. This comes from a poem, right? One of those things from my English Major-y past bubbles up from the recesses of my brain. Longfellow?

No, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was just not the “baby” type.

Steve McQueen movie? Ah, that’s it. He was much more the “baby” type.




But don’t call him no damn good –not in front of her!

And why is Lee Remick hanging on to that post? Is it because someone is calling Steve McQueen no damn good behind her? Who knows?

By the way, this is how my brain works. There is all kinds of stuff floating around in there, some of it pretty cool, a lot of it kind of useless. And there is no organization in there whatsoever. Well, actually, there is organization, but it is so cattywampus that it makes sense only to me.

For example, Steve McQueen and Longfellow are in the same file.

It is labeled “Rain.”

Go figure.

Anyway, I know there is still a Longfellow connection (just minus the baby).

Here it is:



The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,

But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

That Longfellow was a pretty perceptive fellow.

I have several friends and family members who are going through days that are dark and dreary, with those rain clouds pouring down right on their heads. It is without rhyme or reason, with no regard for whether it is the first day of their summer vacation or not. And just to be clear, I am not talking about rain. It sucks.

Puts my rainy Monday summer day into perspective.

Thanks for making me grateful for a little rain, Longfellow and Steve McQueen!

And, really, can you believe that it rained today?


What Have You Been Up To?


You might think, based upon the title, that this blog entry is going to be an explanation of what I have been doing in the period of my 6-month plus radio silence.

You are wrong.

Instead, I am going to talk about two of my least favorite words in the English language.

Up to.

These two innocent words can be so sneaky when used together.

Up to.

You see, I like to shop.

No…I LOVE to shop.

My husband does not understand this at all.

To him shopping is not a pastime.  It is a necessary evil.  Like pumping gas or standing in line at the post office.

He just does not understand.

He does not understand the thrill of the hunt.  He does not understand the heart-pumping excitement of finding an item that one has been stalking for months on the (be still my heart!) CLEARANCE RACK!  Marked down!  And with a big sign that really gets one’s blood up – 50% OFF!   Fifty percent!  50%!   5-0! OFF!   One of the BEST  phrases in the English language!  Why, they will have to practically pay us to take the object of our hunt!  WE CANNOT LET THIS GET AWAY!

My husband just does not understand how this experience feeds some primitive need — serves some primal instinct.

Like the lioness on the African savannah, we circle our prey, slowly, stealthily, careful to not alert any of the surrounding predators of our target.

And then …. we pounce. We have it!

We have captured our elusive prey!  We have winnowed out the weak member of the herd!  The one that is 50% off!

We proudly carry our catch up to the cashier (well, not in our mouths like a lioness, but still with the same air of satisfaction in having achieved our ultimate, inborn, carnal purpose).

And then … up to.

Not 50% off.

UP TO 50% off.

We have been outflanked.

Our prey is not the weak, 50% off link we had thought.  Our prey is a decoy.   It is only 25% off.  The prey gets away (because there is no way we will make a purchase at less than 50% off), like a gazelle bounding away across the plain, free to be stalked again on another day.   And the lioness prowls home to her den, empty-handed,  muttering “Up to! Grrrrrr.”

This is why I hate the phrase “Up to.”

And still, due to my long absence you might be compelled to ask, “What have you been up to?”

Isn’t it obvious?

I have been at the mall.


My Weekend In Paris



I’ve done it again.


Dropped entirely off the radar, that is.


Not that it has made much of a difference to any of you.


But I would like to think that someone has noticed.


If you didn’t notice, please don’t say anything.


I like to live in a dream world.


Which reminds me, did I mention that I spent a weekend in Paris?



Really.  I actually spent a weekend in Paris.


I need to repeat myself because this is not the norm for me.


Normally I say things like “I spent the weekend in Manteca.”


For those who are not from the Bay Area, Manteca is a perfectly nice central valley town that is a bit of a destination for baseball players as they have a very nice baseball complex with very many fields.


It isn’t much like Paris, though.


Anyway, I actually did spend a weekend in Paris.  I went there because my husband, the world traveler, was on an extended multi-city business trip in Europe, and, quite simply, he did not want to come home and find that I had literally died of envy.  So he arranged for me to join him in the middle, over a weekend during which he actually did not have to do too much work.


In Paris.  He arranged for me to join him in Paris.


I love my husband.


This was a sentimental trip for us.  He also arranged for the same thing on our honeymoon.  We went to London, and he arranged for a surprise few days in Paris.


I love Paris.


I plan to go on and on about how much I love Paris on another day.


But for now, let’s just say that I have not been too interested in blogging because I have been:  A) Getting Ready For Paris; B) Going to Paris; and C) Recovering From Going To Paris.


I know.  I kind of hate me, too.



Live Long And Prosper