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Showing posts from September, 2015

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That time I wanted to pass myself off as Joyce Carol Oates #TBT

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I submitted my first piece of writing when I was seventeen, a story about my first job, working at the employee cafeteria at General Telephone where my mother was a dispatcher. Rolling the 20# white bond backed by a sheet of thin blue carbon paper into my Smith Corona, I typed it out slowly, carefully, on a piece of erasable paper—and mailed it off to Cosmopolitan along with a cover letter. Not just to any editor at Cosmo, by the way, I sent it directly to Helen Gurley Brown. 

The piece itself, meant to be comical, was full of clumsy attempts at self-effacing humor.  I strived for a similar tone in the cover letter I addressed to Brown, completely clueless that the high powered editor in chief wasn’t the one reading unsolicited manuscripts. After I signed off I added the following PS. I could have said I was Joyce Carol Oates. What I thought that would accomplish I can’t imagine. That an unsatisfactory submission would get published because of a lame joke? 

No surprise, in the SASE I’d …

Walk like an Englishman

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Have you jumped on the fitbit bandwagon yet? Make that ‘walked’ onto the fitbit bandwagon? The fitbit device is all about walking the walk, counting the steps, each one that you take, whether it’s a daily power walk or the steps you take from couch to kitchen, or the car to the corner store, adding up, little by little, until you reach the desired daily goal of 10,000 steps. 10,000 steps?! That’s a lot of walking. Just under four and a quarter miles a day. Who walks that much as part of your daily routine? Because I don’t.   When I got my fitbit back in July I had no intention of meeting that goal. I was already taking a morning walk that I roughly figured at two and a half miles. Two and half miles a day, I thought smugly. That’s plenty. What do you think I am? Athletic? But when I saw both my husband’s sisters sporting fitbits, and when one of them told me she routinely clocks 10,000 steps a day—and she has a desk job—I decided to get on board.  You can get all social with it like she…

Meanwhile at Universal Studios #Throwback Thursday [memoir]

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As a tour guide at Universal Studios in the mid-1980’s I loved visiting the backlot with my fellow guides. Except for that time that guy screamed on the set .... 




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Art+Architecture: The Frank Gehry Design for Louis Vuitton

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I don’t suppose most people go to Paris looking for architecture by Canadian-born, LA-based Frank Gehry but the designer of eye-popping buildings like Los Angeles’ Disney Concert Hall and Spain’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao has certainly made a mark on the city’s urban landscape. Gehry’s designs are always controversial but after seeing the model for the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris at the new Gehry exhibit at LACMA today, I can’t help wondering what the French make of the creation popping up out of the Bois de Bologne like a futuristic sailing ship, ready to take off into the sky?
Model for the Louis Vuitton Foundation; credit: mois
For the time being, the closest I’ll come to seeing the building is here in L.A. where the Gehry exhibit at LACMA has just opened and features a dizzying 200+sketches and over 65 models. Some built, some yet to be built and some that never will. And yes, one of those models is, as pictured above, the model for the Luis Vuitton Foundation. I don’t know abo…

From Victoria Sponges to Schichttorte: The Great British Baking Show is BACK!

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“Those look absolutely scrummy” 
Chopped. Hell’s Kitchen. Iron Chef. Top Chef. Master Chef. Name a cooking competition show and I’ve probably watched it. Not because I love to cook—I can bake it or leave it—but I do love watching other people do it. Last year, quite by accident, we discovered The Great British Baking Show on PBS and promptly fell in love.  The BBC show—they call it the Great British Bake-Off—takes a dozen or so home bakers, puts them together in a pastel confection of a kitchen, under a tent, out in the middle of an emerald green field—last season we watched big fat raindrops plop down into a nearby pond— and presents them with a variety of baking challenges, from ‘simple’ Victorian sponges to Schichttorte (even harder to make than pronounce) until, ta-da, a dozen delightful episodes later, we have a winner. I don’t even think the winner wins anything; not a million pounds, not their own show, nothing except perhaps the honor of wearing the Best British Baker crown. And…

Long Live the Queen

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If I’d been born a few days later, on June 2 instead of May 28th, you’d be calling me Liz instead of Sim. As it is, Elizabeth is my middle name, in honor of the Queen who today becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history! The young princess took over the reigns when her father, King George VI passed away during the night in February of 1952. She was officially crowned the following year on June 2, 1953. So I’m not quite as old as Queen Elizabeth’s historic reign, but I’m getting there. [Insert un-smiley face here] In honor of the day, I’d like to re-share a short piece: I haven't lived in England for years and years. And years. Basically a very long time. The kind of time you cough into your hand over, trying to hide the exact humungous number of years. Long enough ago that any reasonable person could be forgiven for calling me an American. But beware, should you say anything negative about the UK or Queen Elizabeth, my British roots will start showing and my British blo…