Thursday, May 31, 2018


"Can we get in the bed now, please? Not that I'm not enjoying this (hard) wood floor and (thin and not at all comfortable) rug. I could crawl up on the (softer than hard wood/thin rug) couch but then I'd just have to move again to the (so comfy, so delightful) bed when you're finally ready and can we just go now (like, right now) please? I'm imploring you with my (big, brown) eyes. Bed? Did you say bed? You don't have to ask me twice. I'm right behind you. And this time, I promise not to take over all of the covers (but I can't be held accountable really for what I do in my sleep) and will snore only in a sweet, dainty fashion (obviously). It will sound like purring (sort of) with just maybe the smallest snort-y nose sound now and again. Also, can you roll over a bit? Nevermind, I'll just gently move you (slam my body against you) to where I would rather you be. G'night. Sleep tight. (Whatever that means.)"

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Four More School Days 'Til Summer

These last weeks of the school year are packed. Every day is filled with volunteer stuff, baseball, PTA things, baseball, doctors appointments, homework, state testing, baseball, orthodontist visits, school functions, and also baseball. It's exhausting and exciting and I'm feeling very can-we-just-wrap-this-up-now-please but also equally oh-my-God-this-is-almost-over-please-make-this-slow-down.

Elementary school will be over for Bob on Tuesday.
(Elementary school will be over for me on Tuesday.)
We're going to be just fine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

One Year Levi-versary

This guy. This sweet, lovable lug. This empathic tank of goodness. This loyal fellow. He's been a part of our family for exactly one year today and we just adore him.

Here he is taking his patented running start to get on the bed.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day

Today we pause to honor and thank the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Smacksy Sunday Links

When you walk in to put clean sheets on the bed and this is happening. 

Small losses. 

Code-switching. I knew it, but never knew it was a thing with a name.

The curious tale of Bhutan's playable record postage stamps.

A tiny documentary about the Yiwu Markets in China. Fantastic.

And a baby goat on a trampoline.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, May 25, 2018


The tidiness of my kitchen table (or lack thereof) is a direct reflection of my inner world. Now that you know that, pretend you just asked me, "How's it going, Lisa?" The photo above is my answer.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Very Good Night

Let's say you are twelve-years-old and love baseball. Yes, you love the Dodgers but you really love the Rockies most of all. So on the one night this week that you don't have your own baseball practice or a baseball game, the Colorado Rockies just happen to be in town playing the LA Dodgers. Perhaps your dad gets tickets for you and your pal to go to the game. Maybe your mom takes you and your friend to the stadium so you can be there when the gates open two hours early and watch batting practice. Then Rockies outfielder David Dahl throws you a practice ball from the field and you catch it because you always bring your glove to games. You get some cool autographs. You eat weird stadium nachos out of a bowl that looks like a helmet. And maybe your team loses, but it's still a perfect night.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Pear Shape

Of course I see the resemblance but no, it's not a self-portrait. Thanks for asking.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

Bottlebrush plants grow wild in my hometown. Their red, spiky flowers always seemed to thrive near eucalyptus. I remember a distinct moment when I began working in a restaurant in Hollywood, there was an actual bottlebrush behind the bar, the round kind of brush used exclusively for washing bottles. I looked at it and thought, "Hey, that looks like a bottlebrush plant." Beat. Beat. Beat. "Oh."

It was just a few months ago when it occurred to me that Tony the Tiger (of Kellogg's Corn Flakes fame) says "Grreat!" Because he's a tiger and tigers say "Grrr." Oh.

Dear God. What else didn't I know?

Bob uses a piece of baseball training equipment called the Velo Pro. Yeah. "Velo" is not a family name but is short for "Velocity." Oh.

The big indoor stadium in downtown Los Angeles is the "Staples Center" because one of the original owners (with naming rights) was the Staples office supply company. Not a family named Staples. But a company that sold office supplies that was also named after an office supply. Oh.

Yes, there are more stories such as these, many of them involving misunderstood song lyrics.

There's Manfred Mann's 70s classic Blinded by the Light, anyone?  "Wrapped up like a douche when you're rollin' in the night." ("Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.") Oh.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Take a Load Off, Ted

Mondays are good for napping, if you can swing it. Teddy can always swing it. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Smacksy Sunday Links

In which I live behind the Target.

Tips to appear smart during meetings.

By now you've probably been fortunate enough to see Bishop Michael Curry's sermon at the royal wedding, but just in case you haven't, it's right here for you. The redemptive power of love. 

A secret New York paradise.

The gorgeous work of Studio Drift.

And a woman and her bee friend.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Smacksy Saturday Photo: Gardening

Zucchini, oranges, peppers, tomatoes and their precarious cages. Oh, and dogs. Always dogs. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Take a Gander (Sorry)

But seriously, these sweet, little goslings are almost cuter than Ryan. (Again, sorry.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It Was a Thursday Morning

Your day starts out like this.
Your husband announces we are out of coffee so he made a large pot using the espresso instead. You actually do have coffee - a whole new bag - but because you are so behind on your life, the new coffee is still sitting in one of the bags of groceries you bought on Monday (and now it's Thursday) and you still haven't unpacked.

You have a busy morning and as you go about your busy business, you drink your usual three plus cups of coffee. But it's really espresso. And then everything goes sideways. You aren't thinking clearly and time seems speeded up.

You make a couple of quick, bad decisions about using the juicer and end up juicing everything in the house. You are completely out of control and talking to yourself and getting juicer sludge all over the counters and cabinets. There's an unpleasant incident involving an overripe grapefruit. And what is happening why is it happening why can't you stop juicing things?

Then you remember that you've consumed a gallon of espresso. What you have going on doesn't feel like caffeine jitters, but rather some next level caffeine thing where you're losing your entire mind maybe.

Next, you do the best thing you know how, you flee the house and go with a friend to somewhere impossibly beautiful and wait for your head to land back on your shoulders. And it totally does.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Smacksy is Nine

Today, Smacksy turns nine. If you enjoy numbers and counting (and I do, sort of) that's 3,287 days in a row of posting on the blog. If I roll back in time to the nervous moment I first hit publish, I see myself sitting on the bed in our old house, quietly freaking out. I couldn't know then, that pushing the button would pull me space-portal-like into a whole new dimension of friends and writing and commitment and adventure.

Mr. Rosenberg and I did our 6:30am coffee check-in before he left for work this morning. I asked what he had today. Meetings and a presentation and a dinner with some folks from the NY office. He asked what I had today. Nine years of writing no matter what. He replied, "Mazel blog."

Mazel blog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Miracles Do Happen

In the almost year since Levi joined the family, we've been dealing with his anxiety issues and some aggression and his sincere daily threats to dismantle our mail carrier. Any gardener with a leaf blower, street repair crew, garbage truck, people parking in front of the house, people parking across the street, people walking their dogs, people not walking their dogs, and squirrels would send him into a raging panic.

We knew we would find an answer, we jut had to keep trying. We enlisted the help of a number of terrific trainers, a dog behaviorist, and a dog psychic. We tried four different supplements and two different anti-anxiety meds and CBD oil. We tried a pheromone collar and a collar that buzzed when he barked. I was open to trying anything and had faith we would figure it out.

A couple of weeks ago a package arrived in the mail from China. It was an dog anti-barking device cleverly named, "Dog Anti-Barking Device." I vaguely remember ordering this eight dollar item about six weeks ago from a Facebook banner ad. It's a plastic remote control looking thing with one button on it. The directions were in Chinese but I understood that it took a nine volt battery. It makes a high pitched noise that humans can't hear, but apparently dogs can. My job was to push the button when the dogs barked.

I put in the nine volt and waited for my opportunity. The UPS guy parked his truck in front of the house and Teddy and Levi ran to the window and lost their minds, barking like mad. I pushed the button. They stopped barking immediately. Teddy quietly walked out of the room. Levi walked to the chair I was sitting in and put his head in my lap.


I used it three more times over the next two days when they barked with the same result each time. And then, AND THEN, I haven't had to use it since. At all. They no longer bark. Levi doesn't have panic attacks. This cheap plastic behavior modification system has changed our lives. I am forever grateful to the makers of 狗反吠器.

Witness the transformation here:

*This is not a paid promotion.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Smacksy Saturday Photo: On the Mound

After recovering from all of his injuries, today he pitched for the first time this season.

Friday, May 11, 2018


I walked into the trendy, over-priced athletic shoe store on Farifax. I raised my voice above the pounding hip hop.

"Hi. I love your sign. May I take a picture of it?"

"Yeah," the bored young woman behind the counter said. She took a drag off her vape pen and elbowed the guy standing next to her. "Dino?'

Dino shifted slowly out of the way of the sign without looking up from his phone.

Their irony game is strong at the trendy, over-priced athletic shoe store on Fairfax.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

One of Us Has a Cold

One of us has a cold and took a short nap and one of us climbed in the bed and took this nap selfie. I think we all know who "one of us" is.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I Bought a Tiny Painting

I recently bought this tiny painting. I didn't need a painting (or maybe I did). I was not in the market for a tiny painting (or a painting of any size) but when I saw it, it held my eye. I browsed the antiques shop, circling back to the tiny painting a number of times. I finally realized that I needed (Wanted? Needed.) that blue sky, those puffy clouds, that mountain scape.

In my mind, I will look up to the clouds and walk down that road and into the hills.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

That Was Sunday

I returned Saturday from a few days away. Saturday was busy so it felt more like I returned on Sunday. I slept in on Sunday and this is what it felt like.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Smacksy Sunday Links

How to know it's May.

Imagine life without this.

Twenty-two ambassadors recommend the one book to read before visiting their country.

Cool "facts" about the library.

A photographer's love letter to city libraries in pictures.

And what people really call their pets. (Levi > Pevi > Pevis > Peevy < Peevman)

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Smacksy Saturday Photo: 12

It was a busy day of baseball and a shopping trip and Bob celebrated a friend's birthday. We squeezed in a little late night cake because wishes are important.


It was cloudy this week and a bit rainy and sprinkle-y. Then it started clearing yesterday. And then today, today spring just suddenly happened again. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Q & A (so many terrific A) With My Friend Molly Campbell

My friend Molly is funny and talented and warm and has the most magnificent laugh. She is a beautiful writer and named the main character in her novel Crossing the Street after my son, so obviously she also has great taste in names. Molly's only distressing feature is that her home in Dayton Ohio is too far away from my home in Southern California. Thank goodness her gorgeous grandchildren live in my time zone so I do get to hang out with her on occasion. I end most of our conversations with the question, When are you moving next door to me? Here are some other questions I asked Molly.

You started a new career with your writing at a time in life that many people are
looking to work less. What was the process that brought you to writing?
There was a multitude of events that brought me to writing. My husband suffered
a massive stroke, and we both had to give up our jobs on the same day. I started
blogging as a way to de-stress. And I entered the Erma Bombeck Writing
Competition and won honorable mentions twice. At the same time, I began a
Twitter stream of funny names and one line descriptions (Loretta Squirrels: she
beats her husband and makes moonshine) that eventually led to my first book of
flash fiction. From there, I met my publisher, Lou Aronica of The Story Plant,
which eventually led to my first two novels. Novel three is in the works.

If you had to pick another era to live in - which would you pick?
This is a tough one, as any other era would not have air conditioning,
dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. And tampons. I don’t think I would switch.

Desert island, only five books. What are they?
Anne of Green Gables, A Death in the Family, The Ginger Tree, The Man in the
Window, and The Poisonwood Bible.

What music do you listen to while you write or do you prefer silence?
I must have silence. I have trained my husband not to speak to me if I am on the
couch with my laptop. This usually works, but not always. He loves to comment
on the weather just as I am amping up a very intriguing dialog…

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballerina, but I had no talent. Then I switched to acting. I still am overly

Do you work with an outline when writing a book, or do you prefer to free-write
and see where the story goes?
My publisher has given up trying to get me to storyboard. However, I am getting
much better at preplanning than I have been in the past. However, my stories do
tend to just go off in their own direction. I always know the ending before I begin,
however. And I always have my last line written before I start a book.

In your process of building characters, where do you start?
A name and one salient characteristic. For instance, (winging it here): Esme
Freedman would have cat glasses, white with silver sparkles.

Who is your biggest cheerleader?
My husband, when he is not commenting about the weather.

What's your favorite word?

Here is an added fun fact: When I was seven, I wanted to change my name to
ANNABRICKS. You are welcome.

You can find Molly at
You can find Molly's novels at  Crossing the Street and Keep the Ends Loose

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I'll Share

I got an adorable new juicer, but weirdly, no one wants to try my chard juice.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Another Post About How They Don't Listen to Me and They're Still Cute as Hell

"Guys. Come in. Come in the house. Guys. Just because you're acting like statues doesn't mean I actually think you ARE statues. And Teddy, not making eye contact doesn't make you invisible. Seriously? Come in the house. What is going on? Nothing? Someone blink."