Here are five things.

1.  Everyone knows that it takes me a long time to advance with technology.  it’s a flow I appreciate, but don’t necessarily go with.  So when my answering machine died suddenly, I went to Best Buy to get a new one.  But wait.  Oh, I’m sorry…did you want a new answering machine?  Gee, that’s too bad, because they don’t make those anymore.  I mean, they do, but there’s only like one and it seems like a  pathetic purchase when everything else is cordless or digital attached to an answering machine.  As I didn’t even have a cordless phone (but I did get the special extra-long cord for my vintage phone!), this was a big step.  I went with the digital phone.  And it really does sound clearer than my vintage phone.  I’d just like to know how it holds up in the long-term scheme of things, so if anyone out there has a digital phone, please share your experience.

2.  My current rank in the Facebook Dawson’s Creek Trivia Challenge is 6.  Out of 23,595 players.  Must.  Stop.  Playing.  But my thought is this:  As long as I’m getting my work done, I’m allowed to play.  Yeah.  I’ll just keep telling myself that.

3.  In response to my recent rant about never running into my people on the streets of NYC, the universe gave me Keri Russell.  I never saw Felicity, but I loved her in Neil LaBute’s play Fat Pig with my boy Jeremy Piven.  I was leaving my coffeehouse and she was coming in, being introduced to someone.  She was all, “Hi, I’m Keri,” totally sweet and approachable.  Sadly, she’s just not one of my people.  Trust me, if it was John Mayer or John Krasinski or Tobey Maguire, this isn’t the only place you’d be hearing about how I almost touched his coat or whatever in way too much detail.  I’d totally be renting a billboard about it.  Although I was just in LA, right where John was filming his new DVD.

4. I just finished reading Story of a Girl and an advance copy of Sweethearts, both by Sara Zarr. They’re awesome.

5. Being crazy efficient with the holiday shopping this year, I whipped into the Container Store, organization mecca, for a small travel container.  Nothing else.  Here’s how weird I am:  I actually felt sad that I didn’t have to get any more gift wrapping/bags/bows/tags, since I had the whole place to myself and it would have been some sweet shopping.  But I learned the hard way last year:  Get that silver mylar paper early, because they sell out!

cali vacay top five

So I’m back from a week in southern California (LA, San Diego, Malibu, La Jolla) and man. Was it butt fricking cold in New York while I was gone or what? I mean, snow? That’s harsh.

But! I am holding onto palm tree memories and warm sand memories and surfer memories and would like to share my Cali Vacay Top Five with all of you friendly neighbors. Since I am kickin’ it old-school with the disposable camera / convert to CD thing, I don’t have photos yet. Look forward to those, though. I even have a palm tree montage all planned out for your viewing enjoyment. Big, fluffy ones and small, sprigly ones.

Until then, here’s the best of what happened on the West Coast (and, yes, I saw the Hollywood sign. Icon viewed, check.).

1. Skee-Ball on the Santa Monica Pier! And vintage Pac-Man! It’s hard to find one of those nowadays with a working joystick (sadly, down was nonexistent. And Skee-Ball! I haven’t played that in years and it’s definitely on my Top Five Games list. It took a while for me to get into the groove and by then SP was over it, so I didn’t accumulate the 73 meters of tickets I usually do, but hey. I traded them in for foil heart stickers, a Super Ball, and one of those things where you blow into it and it makes a siren sound. Oh! And we went on the Pacific Wheel! Which I get is a lot like going on the ferris wheel on Coney Island, but it is much more exciting to ride the ferris wheel after you’ve traveled 3,000 miles to do so.

2. Huge waves on December 5! Swells forecasted up to 25 feet! It was crazy. Usually La Jolla is quiet this time of year, but everyone came out to see the surfers. This is the best video of Big Wednesday.

3. Crumbs of Beverly Hills! I am not even making this up. As we all know by now, the best cupcakes in New York come from Crumbs, my newly discovered cupcake obsession. So imagine how thrilled I was when I just happened to see a Crumbs among the palm trees of Santa Monica Boulevard. They had a lot of the same flavors as here, but with added treats like key lime, cotton candy, and fluffernutter. It’s the first ever Crumbs outside of New York. Breaking news, people.

4. The W Hotel in San Diego! Not only was the Cool Corner Room a place where I could easily live for a month while I finish the second draft of book three, but they have a rooftop beach with heated sand. I know. In other hotel news, the decadence of the Beverly Hilton was dazzling. They have an amazing aquarium and the Christmas tree was unreal. Photos of both forthcoming.  The Cool Corner Room was this:

W Hotel San Diego Cool Corner Room

5. Discovering this quote at the Morrison Hotel Gallery (not another hotel, but an actual gallery), a cool place with rad Jackson Browne and James Taylor photos: “I still believe in love and peace and positive thinking.” Who said that? John Lennon. When? December 8, 1980. The day he died.