Archive for the ‘home’ Category


October 12, 2012

I live around the corner from an evangelical church. They have a sign out front where, every week or so, they post a new inspirational slogan. Maybe calling it a slogan isn’t correct, since God is involved. Spiritual maxim? Motivational chestnut?

Anyway, I used to walk by without paying much attention. But one day the sign said, “LET GO. LET GOD.” Something about that just makes me sigh with relief. It doesn’t seem a particularly Christian idea. An atheist like me could turn it into, “RELAX. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL OF THE UNIVERSE.”

Or as my meditation teacher put it, life is like a long airplane ride. You have some nice conversations, eat a little food, hold your lover’s hand, watch a few movies, and if you’re lucky see the Grand Canyon. But one way or the other, the airplane is going to crash in the end.



September 8, 2012

I’ve been having a fantasy lately of spending an entire afternoon, possibly stretching into the evening, lying on the sofa, reading a book.

As fantasies go, this one is so far on the “do-able” range of the spectrum that it strikes me as a little pathetic, and yet deeply human, that I imagined it — added all that mental embroidery: the fragrant drink I will have at my side, the plate of cookies, the degree to which any thoughts but the ones contained in the book will be absent from my mind — when I could just grab a damn paperback already and flop down on the couch.

So yesterday, that’s what I did. I got a pillow and read until it was time to take a nap.

When I woke up evening was coming, and the palm fronds were casting spiky shadows onto the trunks of their trees. The shadows swayed in the wind, just like the real thing, and I was so happy I was there, really there, to notice it.



August 9, 2012

I took a lot of pictures at my cousin Anne’s wedding. If you are curious (for instance, you are a relative) you can see them here:


By complete coincidence, Mei and Ruth, who are second cousins, wore the exact same dress to the party.


We thought they might be upset about it, the way you would be if you some girl showed up to prom in your dress.


But we were thinking of big girls. With little girls, of course what happened was that Ruth’s younger sister Millie wanted to match too. She cried and cried.


So when she showed up, the odd one out in her hot pink butterflies, everyone made an effort to tell her how pretty she looked. I think Millie ended up with more compliments than the bride.



July 3, 2012

My sister sent me an email the other day called “mei funny comments lately.”

This was my favorite. (Mei, if you don’t know, is about to turn 7.)


Mei:        Mom, wouldn’t it be funny if there was a “” [snickers gleefully]

Janna:     Oh, there probably is.

Mei:        No, we checked, and there isn’t.

Janna:     We did?

Mei:        But there is an


Lair + Den

July 2, 2012

I know I’m into a guy when I walk into his apartment and think, “Well, maybe I could deal with earth tones. For the rest of my life.”

Yup, I’m scary. I don’t just imagine marrying a man after the first date; I have actual inner monologues about whether I could live with his couch. In this case, I was prepared to overlook an entire apartment done in rusty orange and mossy green.

I liked him.

It can go the other way too. I once went on several dates that left me lukewarm — until I saw his place. I came home and gushed to my roommate: “I can’t describe it! The rooms are so well-proportioned, and there’s a fireplace, and this great mix of thrift store finds and amazing art and…”

Julie interrupted me to observe that I seemed to like the apartment more than the man.

“Well, but he’s really nice! And he’s got this collection of vintage glasses, you know, tourism souvenirs from the 50s…”

It took me another 8 months to realize Julie was right.

Which brings us to Friday. When I was invited to possibly the worst bachelor pad in Southern California.

The living room was so crowded with furniture I had to stand on tiptoe and do that little squeeze-shimmy you do between tight tables at New York restaurants — just to sit on the couch.

Which was horrible: leftover from who-knows-what decade, covered in brown velour, and 6 feet away from a 6-foot television. In addition to the inevitable black laminate coffee table, there were two auxiliary coffee tables in a corner, stacked directly on top of each other, like mating elephants.

As I sipped my flat, lime-less gin and tonic, he picked up a remote from the pile and turned on some 80s music, which came out of JBL speakers directly behind my head.

This man had seemed promising — smart and handsome — when we’d met the week before. So I told myself “Krista! Don’t be shallow! It’s just furniture!” And I tried kissing him. I really did.

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d regressed 15 years, was being groped by a college kid on a couch that’d had five owners and never been cleaned. I thought, between kisses, about how much I’d rather be home, on my own nice-smelling sofa, alone.

And so I fled.


June 9, 2012

This year I forgot to remember the day my dad died.

May 26, 2006.

I’m mostly okay with forgetting, because after May comes June, when every business that’s ever gotten my email address sends me something about “Gifts for Dads and Grads,” and the coffee shops and bookstores bring out the Father’s Day cards, and there he is again, plain as day.

Caffe Luxxe has some really nice letter-pressed cards next to the register, and while I’m standing in line I pick out the one I would send, which makes me a little wistful. Then I take my latte over to the table — along with breakfast: a nice whole wheat roll, almost a brötchen, that he would very much enjoy — and I read the New York Times.

I’d like to know what he thinks about this mess in Europe. Just when you thought the whole continent was irrelevant — about time, too — it’s back on the front page. I’m sure he’d have an opinion. I’m sure it’d be pragmatic, well-informed, and not especially optimistic. But it’s a bummer: For the life of me, I’m not exactly sure what his opinion would be.



May 13, 2012

Doing nothing is harder than it looks.

Like a lot of people, I’ll travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars in hopes of doing nothing somewhere else; this hints at the difficulties of doing nothing at home.

Home is a minefield of To Do Lists. Right now I could/should be:

doing laundry

checking work email

paying bills

washing my car

researching Santa Barbara hotels

bleaching the red mold-like growth on my bathroom ceiling

I could go on; indeed, I could go on endlessly. The thing about life is, you never actually get everything done.*

Hence Hawaii.

But even there, even lying on a beach blanket — most of us are still doing a lot: running around Sweden in search of a serial killer (if paperbacks are your thing), wondering if it’s time to reapply sunblock, deciding where to have dinner tonight. And, yes, checking work email.

Here’s my question, and it’s not about the beach. What is so scary about doing nothing? —  I mean nothing. No TV or book to escape to, no conversation to distract you. Just you, on the edge of a volcano, surrounded by ocean, gravity keeping everything more or less in place.



* This helps explain why you so rarely see us “I’ll-relax-after-I-get-it-all-done” types swinging in a hammock, smoking a j.


April 29, 2012

My stuff!

I like to color coordinate my books. Besides being a fun way to spend Saturday afternoon, you end up with perplexing juxtapositions, like the Twilight trilogy next to an Eisenhower biography.


In London I loved to sit by the window. I had a view of the canal and towpath: I’d watch the boats, the people, the occasional fox. I miss it, but now I have a chair in the sun.

My friend Meghann laughs at my turtle collection. It reminds her of this:

Every year Kyo’s mother sends me a Japanese calendar for Christmas. I save them. One day I plan to wallpaper an entire room in Japanese calendars.


I grew up in a house with crammed cupboards. I rebelled.

In fact, one of my favorite things about being a Virgo is seeing all the handles of my teacups facing the same direction. Order is relaxing!

The bedroom is dark. This is helped by my Phillips Wake Up Light HF3470 (on the little table next to the mirror). If you sleep with it right in front of your face, it wakes you with a simulated sunrise. Lovely!


April 28, 2012

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures of my new apartment for awhile now.


This is how it looked back in November. And December.

It took almost 5 months for my furniture to get from London to Los Angeles. Lord knows why. Maybe instead of a normal ship, they used the Santa Maria. Or a Conestoga wagon. Maybe they went by way of Australia.


The thing is, you can’t get on the phone with your moving company and say, “Hey Jerkface, what the ever-living dung balls did you do with my stuff?” You can’t do this because they have your stuff.

They can dump it in the ocean. They can set fire to it. They can keep it. They can do whatever they want.

So instead of complaining, once a week or so I would come home to my empty living room and burst into tears.


I really missed my stuff.



April 12, 2012

I like to think birds are smart, like Alex the talking parrot, but apparently there’s a whole range of avian intelligence, from “birds who can count” to “birds who can hunt” to “birds who can’t.”

I bring this up because on Saturday, a hummingbird with the IQ of a thermos got stuck in my house.

He came in through the front door but kept trying to leave through the window. He would tap it with his beak — the outside world was right there — and when he discovered he couldn’t fly through glass, he’d hover, wings buzzing, and try again. And again. Tap, tap. Buzz, buzz. Cheep, cheep. Tap, tap. Buzz, buzz. Cheep, cheep.

There was no back up strategy. It was heartbreaking. I was worried he was going to die of exhaustion, like the pony in True Grit.

I thought I had never seen such a stupid creature. I mean, what kind of brain failure makes you try the same thing over and over, thinking this time it’ll all work out, this time the glass will become air, this time will be different.

This time, at long last, I’ll get a nose full of nectar.