Eating the Landscaping

ppfruit

 

It is the end of January, and I have been exercising like crazy and watching my diet. My calves always hurt, and I’m starving from eating nothing but greens and nuts. So, I got on the scale yesterday to find that I’ve GAINED four pounds. This is some bullshit. We are going on an Australian vacation next month where it will be summer and I will be in a swimsuit, so it’s imperative that I lose my Christmas weight, but instead I gained the weight of an entire other holiday that I don’t recall.

Albert and I finally tried Connie and Ted’s seafood restaurant in Weho last Friday night in the old Silver Spoon location. The place is bigger than I expected, very cool, and delicious. We also went to our friends Ken and Cary’s house for a game night, which was drunken good fun. There’s nothing like hot tubs and night swimming in January! We played something called Cards Against Humanity, which is the most inappropriate and hysterical game I’ve played in a long time. I highly recommend it, so here’s a link if you want to check it out:

http://cardsagainsthumanity.com/

The (above) picture is fruit from our prickly pear cactus. The plant is dropping them like crazy, so I looked them up online to find that they are edible and packed with fiber and vitamin C. Once you carefully remove the spiked and prickled fruit from the cactus and skin it, you find it’s also packed with seeds. The taste of the red-orange meat is actually pretty darn good, a bit like melon/papaya, but unless I’m starving to death it’s not worth the work. It’s like a pomegranate but with weapons, pretty to look at and great in a drink, but I’m not picking one apart.

I also recently went to a house blessing for my friend John Price’s new home in North Hollywood. I re-wrote some of the lyrics to “Bring Him Home” from Les Miz, to celebrate the housewarming and John’s 50th. John’s brother and nephew are really great musicians, so it turned into a sing-a-long jam session, which is always a fun night. If you want to see a bit of the evening, click the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnTl5NYQXpk&feature=em-upload_owner

Advertisements

Kitty Hawk

1508062_10151924790205945_1655459691_n

 

I was awoken earlier than normal by Ratty, cramming his body under my left arm and meowing until I pet him. I obliged and hoped he would just fall asleep, which he did not. Instead, he started batting at the nook of my other arm, a game we have not played. Then, much to my horror, I heard a peep come out from that other arm nook. We only have one cat.

“Oh my God, there is something other than the cat alive in this bed!” I screamed as I pushed the quilt off. Albert jumped up, flipped on the lights, and screamed, “hummingbird!” Oh thank god, I was sleeping with a hyper mini-bird and not vermin.  Albert seems to be good with catch and release, because he somehow managed to get the bird out the window, alive and with most of its feathers.

Later that morning, I look out the back window and see a giant cooper’s hawk sitting on our fountain. It’s the second day he’s been here this week, and he’s gorgeous. I think it is so ridiculously dry and hot here (sorry, the rest of freezing America…if it makes you feel better, we’re on fire) that the bird doesn’t have many water options. If I had a normal sized cat I would be seriously worried about it going out in the yard with this gigantic bird around, but I don’t think our twenty-pound Ratty could be taken airborne. And of course I would be devastated if that happened, but it would be perfect karma for all the birds he’s murdered.

I walk to the bathroom to brush my teeth and look at my reflection in the mirror. There are tiny bird feathers stuck to my cheeks. I look like some sort of Wild Kingdom crime scene, which is really not how I wanted to start my day.

Happy New Year

RoseBowl

 

I just read in the paper today that an “extinct” shark was found at a fish market in Kuwait. While not completely gone from the earth, it is still delicious with butter and lemon.

We’re two weeks into 2014, and I’m just now wishing you a happy one. It appears I’ll be running late again this year. I’m having trouble moving forward. I mean, my last blog post was a laundry list of expired events from the past, if that gives you any idea where I stand. I suppose I’m always telling you things that already happened anyway. I’m no psychic. Moving forward however, I plan the stories to be more timely, and most of the events still running, so you could actually choose to attend them yourself if you’re so inclined.

On the 2nd, we went and saw the Rose Bowl New Years floats in Pasadena. They were gorgeous, but you can’t do that now, as the flowers are all dead. That is exactly the kind of thing I was not going to tell you about, although you could mark your calendar for next year.

Albert and I have been busy doing our New Year’s decluttering. We have a house and garage full of stuff we don’t need, but so far we have only agreed to get rid of one extra blender, a fog machine, and a broken Christmas decoration. Let the hoarding continue!

We watched the Golden Globes with a group of friends on Sunday, and they seem to have given the awards to the right people. Last night Albert and I went to see Wolf of Wall Street, and Leo and the cast are great. American Hustle and Philomena were my favorite movies of the year, however.

For entertainment in Los Angeles you just have to get outside. Friday, Albert and I went for a hike in Runyon Canyon, which is always a parade of eye candy in itself. Then, as we were driving down La Brea from Hollywood Blvd, we notice a black man taking off his clothes. My first thought was ‘crazy homeless person’, and Albert’s first thought was, “Let’s turn around!” So we do a U-turn to see the man, now totally naked, fully erect, looking at his reflection in the window, while dancing and waving his business. He seems happy and largely endowed, so I can’t be that upset for the crazy man. Instead I focus on the family of tourists walking down the sidewalk with strollers and seniors in tow, about to get a huge Hollywood welcome!

HomeStripper

Review of Fun

Shasta

 

That last post made 2013 sound like Billy was all work and no play, but you know better. So, before I toss my calendar, and because I will likely lose my mind, here is a list of shows I went to and trips I took. You will probably want to stop reading now, unless you’re a fan of musical theater and gaycations. Really.

In March we saw the tour of Catch Me if You Can at the Pantages Theater. I thought this movie would make a great musical, but I was wrong. This show was dull as hell and was lacking both a leading lady and a hero. We also saw End of the Rainbow downtown at the Ahmanson. This is a show I will never forget because of an unbelievable performance by Tracie Bennett as Judy Garland. The actress really didn’t look or sound exactly like her, but through sheer talent she absolutely became Judy for what was a thrilling and exhausting tragicomedy with songs.

We spent Easter in Palm Springs. I dressed as a giant pink bunny and Albert as Prudence the duck. We rocked out at Coachella with Steve and Corey. We saw a Takashi Murakami art show. We went to a Renaissance Fair and had pleasure. We went to Puerto Vallarta for Memorial Day Weekend with a big gaggle of friends and had mucho pleasuro.

We saw Scottsboro Boys at the Ahmanson, which was a good, not great minstrel musical by Kander and Ebb. Again, not enough females in the show. We also saw the fantastic tour of Priscilla The Musical at the Pantages. If you live under and rock and have never seen the Academy Award winning desert drag queen road trip movie, rent it. For the stage version, they hang women diva singers from the ceiling and have the men lip-syncing below them. Genius. The story is sweet, hysterical, and very dirty, and the costumes and music are terrific. We also caught the tour of Sister Act The Musical, which was surprisingly great. I would say the nuns were even better than the drag queens. Alan Menken’s original music for this show is so good that my Jewish friend Gabi, who doesn’t like religion at all…or much of anything I should add, declared this to be his favorite musical.

We went to Coldwater Lake, Michigan in July and visited with the family, which was really fun. Albert and I also took a side trip to the town of Saugatuck, Michigan, which is always described to me as Chicago’s Palm Springs. Cute.

In August we saw Chica’s Angels at Casito del Campo and Miss Diana Ross at the Hollywood Bowl. The first was, as always, hysterically funny, the second was an amazing night led by a superstar. We went to Provincetown for an amazing vacation with the boys on Cape Cod. It is one of my favorite places and I was with some of my favorite people for a Las Vegas themed mardi gras week. We returned to LA in time for a John Williams night at the Hollywood Bowl. There is nothing quite like seeing 17,000 people outside at night waving Star Wars light sabers to the Philharmonic orchestra.

September brought us to the Hollywood Forever cemetery for a screening of Aliens, We saw the rock opera Bare and returned to the Hollywood Bowl for M83.

Halloweenie2

In October we saw Moby at the Fonda for an amazing concert backed by a choir and with some of the best lights I’ve ever seen. We were zombie Wizard of Oz characters for the Halloweenie event downtown at the gorgeous, historic Los Angeles theatre. I was a brain-eating scarecrow and Albert was a very bloody tin man. We also caught the tour of Evita at the Pantages, which I loved.

In November we rented out our properties, then threw a kick ass Day of the Dead party. We went to San Diego with Gabi for a production of the musical Sideshow. We also spent a weekend in Santa Barbara to witness our good friends Trevor and Joey’s beautiful wedding. The ceremony was at the stunning historic city hall and the reception in a glass greenhouse room of a charming little restaurant. Perfect. Then we decided to see the rest of California and drove to visit Albert’s aunt and uncle up by Sacramento and continued on past Mount Shasta to Medford, Oregon where I met his dad for the first time. I caught a fish and shot a gun, both of which were really fun and more butch than I will probably be for some time to come, and less butch when you know I was thinking of Charlie’s Angels as I shot the gun. More butch when I tell you I was Kate Jackson? There is, of course, a much longer story about the trip, which is for the book. We also spent a couple nights in San Francisco which is always fun. We spent Thanksgiving at John Price’s new house in North Hollywood. We also hiked in Runyon Canyon in wigs with friends for our annual Thankswigging! It was a day late because of rain but we made the Huffington Post.

In December we went to a gorgeous production of The Magic Flute downtown. It was an amazing show but it confirmed that I definitely do not like opera. We also saw a touring production of Peter and the Starcatcher, which I liked, didn’t love. I think it would have worked better in a smaller house, the Mark Taper as opposed to The Ahmanson. We threw a holiday cocktail party for friends and headed to Cincinnati for a jam-packed week of friends and family. It was really one of the best holidays. We rang in the New Year at our friends Jon and Jason’s house party. By the luck of the Gods our sober friend Mark asked to join us, so we also had a designated driver. They say to spend the evening how you want the year ahead to be. My 2014 will be drunk with friends and snacks but safely home, and you really can’t beat that.

No, 2013 was definitely not all work.

WIgs

Return of the Lamb

1240205_469173279846879_1251080164_n

 

According to my WordPress year in review, I stopped chatting at you last February. That would make this blog a great big FAIL, but I’m really just trying to remain mysterious and aloof to you. Is it working? Do you want to know what I’ve been up to?

The reason for my lack of blogging was just plain, hard work. Albert and I spent most of last year fixing up a 1930’s bungalow and guesthouse in North Hollywood as an income property. We were working six long days a week, and afterward just complaining about our sore hands and constructions difficulties, which I decided not to pass onto you. You have your own work problems that I don’t want to hear about either. I will say that the houses turned out beautifully and we have found great tenants.

If you would like to see a before and after video of the property, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPLalH_VAyQ

While most of the project was standard remodeling headaches, there is one story worth telling. When we purchased the houses they were in very bad condition and had a foul odor. I’m not sure if it was from the general hoarding tendencies of the former owner or the rotting food left on the stove burners, but it smelled bad. Apparently they fried bacon every morning since 1930 and never once cleaned up, because I scraped about a quarter inch of grease off the top of every kitchen cupboard. We cleaned for months and then systematically repaired and painted every square inch of the property. We had all of the hardwood floors beautifully refinished and immediately covered every inch of them with construction paper as we continued the remodel. We were nearing completion and the house finally had a clean smell, as opposed to a garbage-wet-dog-dirty-crotch-rotten-meat odor.

We get to work one morning in September and find a praying mantis on the garage door. He stays for days, we name him Pedro, and he is clearly watching us. Every evening when we clean up to leave, we set up utility work lights on a timer, so the house looks occupied, and we say goodnight to Pedro. One morning we arrive and Albert goes into the house before I do. He comes out and is wide-eyed as if something very bad has happened and calmly say’s “Don’t freak out, but there’s been a fire.”

I immediately freak out. There’s been a fire! I walk into the house and am overwhelmed by the smell of smoke. Everything looks fine, but it smells like a giant bonfire has been lit inside the home. We walk into the living room and see a large, grapefruit sized burn hole in the hardwood floors. The utility light had fallen off the chair, with the metal cone side down and smoldered all night until the bulb shattered. I walk closer and look down through the singed circle and can see dirt. The light has burned through the construction paper, though the wood, through the subfloor and beams, all the way to the ground. We have a hole in our new bungalow and it smells like a smokehouse!

I am in shock. I am wrecked that all of our work seems completely undone, but I also can’t believe the house is still standing. The old wooden house that is covered with construction paper did not burn down. Worse, we had just removed all of the smoke alarms, which we were upgrading, so it would have completely looked like insurance fraud, had the place gone up in flames. I walk around the house stuttering obscenities like a madman. I am torn between yelling at God for letting this happen, and thanking him for not letting any more happen. I decide to leave God out of it.Somebody was watching out for us though, I know it. My first thought is Albert’s deceased mother Lora, who I believe is always keeping an eye on us. I walk to the garage door and see Pedro, who has been watching us work all week. I look in his little alien eyes and say, “Thank you, Pedro” as he literally sits praying over my house. We get back to cleaning everything again and call our floor guy to repair the floors. The next day, I go to look for Pedro and our mantis has gone. Lora can rest another day.