There was this time…(pt. 16)

He’s wondering if Town Car = Recreational Vehicle

As I opened the throttle of my scooter to the fullest, purple fluffy cup-holder flowers fluttering in the wind, I tried to catch the 1980’s brown and tan Town Car that came drifting through the entrance gate. The gate guard said the car had “Neil Diamond” stenciled on the window. That was enough for me and I jumped on my ride and took off. 

Actually, I fumbled with the massive combination lock, yanked it away from the bike rack, hit a couple bikes on the way out, picked my scooter up and angled it towards the handicap ramp, finally remembered to turn it on… 

Then I took off. 

You’re wondering, “why the 80-year-old American icon Neil Diamond would be driving himself around in a 1980s Town Car on a Monday in an RV resort with his name stenciled on the side?” It’s because there was no way he would be. I thought that, too. I was chasing the car because there is a very talented Neil Diamond impersonator who has performed at our resort and I was hoping to make the photo of him, myself and the car a potential gift to my sister. The Campland impersonator is no Super Diamond but judging from his extensive plastic surgery, he is definitely dedicated. Good enough for me. So off I chased.

It takes 5 Super Diamonds to make one Neil

I zipped along the rows of RV sites, the place was nearly empty, but I couldn’t find the obnoxious baby-shit-brown Town Car. I checked my phone and got word that he was gone as mysteriously as he had come. 

Seconds later, I was told that it wasn’t the impersonator’s car I was looking for. It was truly the original Neil Diamond’s car. Or rather, it was his 27-year veteran chauffeur all by himself in the real Neil Diamond’s car. How the ranger at the front gate got that information out of the dude in less than 30 seconds is beyond me. 

Because there’s no way any of it is true, logically. 

However, there is no logic where I work and stranger things have happened there. Things that I’m witness to and I’ve only worked there 5 1/2 years.

Imagine the stories I’d have if I weren’t a newbie. Answer: a much more popular blog. —

So I searched for someone else to legitimize this outrageously ridiculous Diamond story.

Lo and behold, the story was backed up by other long-timey employees that Mr. Diamond would have his driver drive him through the RV resort every once in a while when he lived in La Jolla. I don’t know why. Probably because no one cares at Campland who the hell you are. -Just ask Eric Clapton.-

Ever since my exciting lunch break, I’ve tried to find Internet-proof of the car, driver, Neil Diamond being anywhere near there, Neil Diamond being able to drive, or if he ever has had possession of a baby-shit-brown Town Car…and nothing. Yet, I can’t rule the story out. I would be less surprised to find out it were true than if it weren’t. It’s an odd place full of mystery and people confident with self-deluded detachment from their amazing stories.

And it’s not the story I came to tell. It’s about my trusty electric scooter. 

I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, what?”

Exactly. Stay with me. 

Riding my ridiculous, stick-straight, white with purple-flowered cup holder that flutters in the breeze, is the most fun you can have in public. It’s so silly and so stupidly, hilariously, innocently NOT badass that you just have to give up any pretense of cool and embrace that dork label that will now follow you around for the rest of your life. And you’ll do it with a smile. A huge, dopey, goofy smile. And it’s totally worth it.  

Okay, it’s not just my goofy scooter. It is all electric, sit-down scooters that are fun. And there are a lot of electric scooters that are actually badass. Mine just happens to not be one of them. 

I actually purchased the scooter because of a strange daily ritual the Winter residents of the RV park enjoy every evening. It’s also silly and ridiculously innocently fun. And I wanted in.

Every sunset, they gather their golf carts together and convoy with each other along the beach, through the park, at around 3mph, to drink cocktails and wave at people. That’s it.

It sounds really stupid because it totally is. It’s stupid and hugely fun. It’s refreshing to laugh that hard when doing absolutely nothing.

End of one of the more epic Christmas golf cart cruises

I was allowed to join on a few cruises but I wasn’t an official member. That really burned me up.

To join the gang, I was lacking the one thing that would enable me to be considered into this elite club; a golf cart. So, as someone who frequently disregards rules, it came to me… poof, scooter!

First, this:

There are people in this world that mere mortals such as ourselves can never compare. You know what I mean. They are tougher, braver, more pioneering, simply badder than we’ll ever be. We can only be blessed to know them. No offense to those who think they’re the most awesome in the room. Compared to people like these, you pale and you know it. Accept it. There are people who are better than you. 

Three of these more awesome people I have been blessed with knowing are firefighters. They aren’t just firefighters, they are smoke jumpers, hot shots, and whatever the hell we call the scary-ass thing Mikey did. 

The first is Diane Pryce, the sweet, very feminine sister of my ex in Santa Barbara who was the first female smoke jumper in California and the second in the country. She trained in Alaska as the only woman in a cluster of angry men resentful of her biological ability for attracting grizzlies to their camp. She spent the rest of her life pioneering how women were portrayed and respected in that hugely male-dominated role. She retired into a job doing air-traffic control from a plane over forest fires. Because, of course she did.

The second is a gentle, former-neighbor of mine, Tommy, who taught trainee smoke jumpers how to parachute into wild fires. Think about that. He TAUGHT people how to parachute…INTO…forest fires. One of the people he trained to do so was Diane Pryce, though I met them separately and in different parts of the state. 

The third is Mikey. THE toughest man I’ve ever known who isn’t my father. Mikey earned his pension by –ahem, get this– extinguishing oil rig fires in the Saudi Arabian desert…in the ’80s.

What the holy fuck!?! There’s badass and then there’s that.

Well past retirement age, he can still drink us all under the table, throw a blanket over us, then go off to kill Sasquatch with his bare hands. I can barely eat rum cake without falling asleep and he’s complaining that Las Vegas goes to bed too early anymore. 

Even wearing a Santa hat and flashing made up signs, Mikey is still tougher than you.

It’s his golf cart with the Santa stuck to the dash in the other photo. And cracking me up as we circled the RV park.

So, as is fitting of someone that fucking tough, he has one of the more badass scooters ever made.

It looks mean, like a chopper of the Harley Davidson variety.

Mine does not.

Let’s just say that George Christie isn’t begging for my recruitment. Because my little stick of a scooter is as dorky as they get. Yet still as much fun and with more giggles. Because you can’t help it.

One instance that sticks so clearly in my mind is hearing my friend giggle with her husband like a couple of 6-year olds when riding my and Mikey’s scooters, trailing behind our golf cart convoy. These two have lived lives, they’ve seen things, he’s even a real life rock star, yet that happy, innocent laughter they shared when scooter-riding is still contagious when I think of them. 

One badass scooter and one badass drummer from P.O.D

Yes, Mikey’s chopper is as cool as the dude who owns it. As is the dude riding it in the photo. My little white dork scooter pictured in the upper right (being ridden by my friend) of the photo, however, does not make me, or anyone riding it, cool. It’s totally worth it, though.

And it did allow me entry into the golf cart club, too. That’s all I wanted.

So, as I sped through the empty lots of Campland searching for the babyshit-burrito-colored Town Car, determined to get a selfie with any “Neil Diamond”, I realized I had one of the biggest smiles on my face. Usually contemplative and grouchy, I was giggling and felt like I spent some time in the most valuable way. It’s curious what can make someone like me appreciate life.

Who knew it would be a white, stick straight scooter with a fluffy purple-flowered cup holder? I sure didn’t. Had I known, we’d all have a fleet by now.



There was this time…(pt. 15)

Salt n Pepa will always live here

There’s a phrase, when begins, can guarantee shivers down my parents’ spines. It sounds innocuous to start but will generally lead to them hearing something they would happily rather never know.  My sister and I do it anyway. Because we think it’s funny and we can be dicks. But it’s not just my sister and me, but our friends, friends of friends, exes, former employers, former teachers and professors, and occasionally local policeman (I’m exaggerating that last part but not by much) will repeat this dreaded phrase to my far-too-forgiving parents when they’re least prepared for it. 

Case in point: this is a comment made on social media from one of my actual college professors when I posted an article about my alma mater ranking #8 among the top party schools in the country…

All told, all compared, we were pretty good kids though. And despite our antics, we’ve both turned out somewhat functional. Well, one of us has but she doesn’t have her own blog. I’m kidding, of course. I function as well as she…just, um, differently. But I digress.

Anyway, the dreaded phrase is this:

“It was a long time ago so I can tell you about this now…”

Look, parents, teenagers are sneaky fuckers and there’s little you can do about that. You just have to hope you didn’t raise them to be idiots or hope you didn’t treat them like shit forcing them into catastrophically bad decisions.

If they did act out, just remember, they’re young, impulsive, and think they’re smarter than they are. They’re kids. Other than that, if your kid turns out to be a piece of shit, it’s your fault. It totally is so stop blaming your kids for your shitty parenting. If they’re functioning as adults, good for you; you did that, too.

Best show, best scene, ever.

Anyway, I’m trying to tell a story here. 

And it was so long ago that I can tell this story now.

There was this one time I went to go party in Tijuana.

I went to TJ with a friend we’ll call Katherine when we were both 16. I’ll call her Katherine because it’s totally her name. Katherine Hare. I went with Katherine Hare and it was her idea. We did the (sorry Mom and Dad), “we’re spending the night at each others’ houses” thing to have an excuse to drive the 40+ miles to party in Tijuana night clubs and return way past curfew; as in morning. That part wasn’t unusual and it was common for many in my high school class. 

What made this time unusual was that she left me there.

She and her boyfriend got into their expected fight and took off to either make-up or break-up as usual. As if anyone else cared. I cared, though, because they were my ride. 

I actually don’t remember how I got back to where my car was 40+ miles away. I think I chatted up some other group of wayward teens who lived somewhere near my intended location. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened but it doesn’t matter what I forgot because what I remember is what makes the story. 

Around 3 a.m., I got dropped off, somehow, at my truck. I couldn’t go home because that would screw up my alibi so I went to the house of the dude I was dating at the time. We weren’t serious but it was fun to hang out together. He used to pick me up on his dirt bike that had house stereo speakers duct-taped to the dirt bike from where he would blast Iron Maiden from a car tape deck also duct-taped to the handle bars. Fun, it was. Classy, it wasn’t. 

Around 3:30 a.m., I get to his house and wonder how I’m going to get in without waking his parents. His room had a door to the yard I could get into if only I could get there. 

The only thing in my way was a ten-foot fence that was armed with broken glass glued at the top to keep kids from scaling it. 

Clearly, they hadn’t met me yet. 

I climbed the adjacent tree, balanced myself with all the ballerina-grace I had at the time (I was a ballerina at the time, the grace part is suspect) over the broken glass deterrent, and leapt to the ground. I made it without broken bones but unaware of how cut up I was. I shook myself off and sauntered to his outside door…

Of course, it’s locked. 

I take a deep breath, turn and jump up grabbing the tree branch, swing my legs over the spiky fence, fall, land on my back over a trash can or beer keg—who knows—and lie there watching the world spin for a good ten minutes. 

Desperate and now covered in leaves, torn clothes, and blood, I do the unthinkable.

I try the front door. It’s unlocked. 

I braille my way along the dark hall towards his room and thank the goddamn lucky fucking stars that it’s not locked and open it. 

His door to the outside was a glass door so the moon that had silently mocked my fence-adventure shone through as bright as the police flashlight I assumed I’d be in sight of had this door not been open. Bright enough to notice the two figures in this guy’s bed. I know we weren’t serious but we weren’t openly dating other people either. At least that’s what I thought. 

Having already hitched a ride back from Tijuana, scaling a ten-foot, glass-laden fence and almost breaking my back, I was in no mood for this. Literally. I didn’t care. I was confused enough to actually put my outstretched hand onto her face in case I was making this up in my head. Then I put it on his head, then hers again. 

Now clear on what was actually going on but too exhausted to care and with nowhere to go, I curled up on the floor. Yes, I simply curled up on his floor and fell asleep. 

About 5 a.m., I notice that the other girl was gone. I didn’t mind. I was now freezing, covered in leaves, torn clothes and bloody but I jumped in bed anyway just to get warm. 

I found out years later that she was actually awake and watching as I touched her face. The only reason I thought she was asleep was because she was frozen in fear. He was snoring like a chainsaw and blissfully unaware of the drama she thought was happening. She must’ve been confused beyond comprehension when nothing more than a shrug came from me finding her in his bed. Years even later, still to this day, she and I are still friends. I can imagine she never would’ve thought we would be the moment my hand touched her face. 

About 2 hours later, the guy started to stretch and yawn. He turned into me, smiling happily from snuggling a warm body, his eyes closed. And like a scene from a movie, he opened his eyes to mine, recognition and realization actually shaping in his eyes, and said, “HOLY SHIT! DID I PARTY WITH YOU LAST NIGHT?” 

I said no. 

But before any other conversation took place, this guy’s mom comes bursting in the room demanding that he take all of his “shit and leave like the ungrateful bastard son” he was by bringing home all these girls to her house. 

—I am so not making any of this up.—

Seeing as I’m fully clothed, it didn’t take more than a second for me to flatten myself against the wall and creep out amidst the screaming accusations and denials of their particular dynamic. I make a break for freedom. 

It’s weird. Lately, I’ve been losing my keys. Like a lot. I never used to lose my keys ever. Until recently, I could count on one hand the times I’ve even misplaced them. But lately, it’s a daily occurrence.  Which makes me more grateful that I didn’t have that problem then. I had my purse and my keys and bolted to my truck to make the trek back home and salvation.

The hope, the dream, of every misbehaving kid is that if we’re going to get caught, we hope to at least clean up the mess enough before authority finds out to mitigate the actual severity of the misbehavior. 

That’s the dream. That’s the desperately-wished-for. 

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?!?!” I’m greeted with at the door. “Katherine has been calling looking for you!” 

Yes, Katherine. The unthinking, clueless, mind-boggling stupid idiot of a friend who abandoned me in a foreign country had called my mom to ask where I was. Despite our clearly defined and agreed upon alibis.

I had rehearsed in my head what I was going to say to Katherine during my ride back from Tijuana with whomever was gracious enough to take me back to my area. I rehearsed how I was going to apologize to my parents when I was lying half-broken over the empty keg after falling out of the tree. 

At this moment, I couldn’t have given a fuck.

At this moment, my mom, God bless her, took one look at me. She saw the leaves in my hair and torn clothes, barefoot with shoes in hand, and my look of “don’t even bother” on my face, and knew right then and there that she didn’t raise an idiot, just a teenager, who had just been punished more than any lecture was going to accomplish.

“Go to your room and go to bed.”

I squeaked out a ‘thank you’ and trailed twigs from my hair up the stairs. 

I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been more grateful to anyone than that moment. There are a lot of philosophical reasons why, and explanations as to how much it touched me that she respected my ability to learn from my own experiences, but those things are all mushy and deep with the feels. 

This was just a story to preface another one. One I can’t remember and seems kind of moot now. 

No matter. There’s someone I need to go thank right now anyway. 

There was this time…(pt. 14)

Anacapa is Chumash for “illusion”, or ironic for “sucker”

I met Phil one night at a bar called “Rocks” on State Street in Santa Barbara. It was a good bar/restaurant that lasted for quite a few years. As far as Santa Barbara restaurant life-spans, that’s a millennia. My friend, Jessica, and I were friends with the owner and we spent many happy hours there depleting the bar of their olive stock. —shut up, we were really poor.—

At Rocks one night, this handsome man chatted me up and we ended up making a date for the following week on his sailboat in Ventura. 

I arrive at Ventura harbor and Phil’s boat. The sailboat’s cabin was already occupied by two stunningly beautiful women, Erin and Lynn. Both who, I find out later, were there to size me up. As is my go-to, though I couldn’t surpass them in beauty, I did make them laugh—I do a great impression of trying to back up a 43’ sailboat out of Ventura harbor—and from that point on, we were all friends. 

One day, Erin and Mikhail (her then boyfriend) set sail on their even larger sailboat with Phil and I as passengers for a 3-hour tour to the Channel Islands.

I hope you’re getting the reference. 

We sail out through the channel towards Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands carried on the strong Santa Ana winds blustering us towards the horizon at a furiously-hot pace. 

Once there, we find a shaded, calm cove for Erin to wake board–dive for pearls/hunt for pirate treasure/save every whale shark in existence–whatever adventure she does on a daily basis. Mikhail and Phil have drinks on the deck in the gloriousness of the shimmering daylight…

While I awkwardly fumble around for something to stop the cataract of blood that is now violently forcing its way out of my body like it, early or late but always inconveniently, does every month. Because I’m me and, if things went smoothly, I would cease to be me.

And, yeah, it’s a gross detail but a necessary one to contrast that while I’m trying to shove coasters in my shorts because it’s the only thing I can find to stem the horrible tide,

Ms. Pro-Windsurfer/photojournalist/USskiteam/whalesharkprotector is effortlessly wake boarding in a way one could only see on ESPN, and filmmaker Mikhail and entrepreneur Phil are casually discussing how they’re going to assuredly and quite literally save the world. 

The Gilligan reference starts making sense now, doesn’t it.

My only hope to maintain any dignity I may have is to go back home soon so I can attend to this typical over-the-top, slapstick, Molly-type moment of a normally (for other people) fair-weathered experience.

Because we are. This was only a 3-hour tour, after all.

It’s Sunday and I don’t have anything keeping me rooted to the shore (except for work on Monday), so I settle in to a great afternoon. Having effectively yet comically fashioned whatever-it-was I did to fix my womanly problem, I do what I feel is my honor and privilege to do and entertain; both intentionally and not.

Then it starts getting late. 

Really late. 

I’m pretty sure there are people back on shore who might be missing me if we don’t return me by at least late evening. It’s downright dark now and I politely inquire as to when we’re going back. 

“Can’t. Santa Anas,” is Mikhail’s response. 

“What? Really?”

“Yeah. Off-shore winds. We can’t sail against that. I mean, come on.” He smiles and makes another drink. 

“Well, um, I should really call someone then.”

“Can’t. Sun spots,” Phil says. He’s the only one with a cell phone in the early 2000s so he clearly knows what he’s talking about. 

“What about ship-to-shore radio?” I ask. I didn’t know shit about sailing but I’ve heard about radios.

“Can’t,” Erin says smirking though I bought it anyway, “Island is in the way.” 

None of their answers seem quite legit but I accept them as truth. I’m in no position to argue with these world travelers.

I kept up the worry for a fast minute as it didn’t take me long to give up on going home that night. Besides, we were having too much fun pretending we were pirates that I was okay with it. Okay, I was pretending we were pirates. We’ll be home tomorrow, work be damned. After all, no one can blame me for sun spots.

The next morning, I wake up to Bloody Marys, visits from random sailing-types also seeking out a shady cove, and a glorious sun. 

It’s suggested that we hike to the top of the hill on this protected, no-humans-allowed island. I, again, quietly suggest we try to get a hold of someone on shore in Santa Barbara. Hell, I’d settle for someone in Ventura knowing I was still alive at this point. 

They’re having none of it. On the island’s beach, Mikhail is putting rocks on his chest claiming he’s trapped under a landslide and can’t captain the sailboat back home. 

“How are we going to call anyone to save you if we can’t call shore?”

“Oh, never mind. I’m fine.” He giggled and jumped up, rocks flung aside, to start up the steep hill. I’m ignored and left to either follow or twiddle my thumbs.

I do take a second to begin to think this might be a setup. 

I do enjoy the illegal hike, follow Phil’s asthmatic wheezing (another tip off that we weren’t far from help considering his lack of worry) towards another glorious view. From that vantage I can see California’s Central Coast and have a quick, twingey thought of who might be worrying about me. I care as much as the thought is fleeting.

We return to the boat to engage in an extremely competitive and somewhat frightening game of Pictionary. In addition to being beautiful inside and out, Erin has competed her way to the top of everything she’s ever tried and her accolades are very well-deserved. The list is exhaustive and I won’t get into it here. You can here, though.

And apparently, Pictionary was something she wasn’t going to come in second at either. 

I say with pride that she can win everything else in the world but no one can beat me at Pictionary. I only wish I kept that drawing of Barry White that ended the ill-fated game amidst nefarious accusations. It was a draw. I won the game, she won at pouting.

Come Tuesday…

TUESDAY! I wake up suddenly to what felt like gentle waves rocking the boat and the hum of a well-maintained motor I didn’t know the boat had.

I know what you’re thinking, “How the fuck did you not know the boat had a motor?”

I didn’t. It was a sailboat. I knew about the sails! Stop judging me. I know other stuff. Jeez.

Mikhail is at the helm (see, that’s something I know), and Erin is filming a pod of a thousand dolphins surfing alongside us. Phil is smiling, sipping a mimosa with his leg up, as I creep out from the cabin. 


“We’re motoring back? We’re MOTORING BACK?? OH MY GOD.” Giggles then outright mocking me competed with the sound of the happy motor.

It was hard to be mad at the great time or the great people on the deck smiling and enjoying the day despite my kidnapping and collected plotting against my return. If I were ever to be Shanghai’d, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. 

There were a lot of concerned then angry messages when I finally got home. I deflected them by being an ass about it. I’m sure I’m over it.

20 years later, we are all still friends. Though they are a tough crowd to keep up with.

Phil can be found selling giganto-yachts in New Zealand or Monaco or Tahiti or… somewhere, I forget.

Erin is still doing everything more exciting than any of us can imagine, just ask Richard Branson.

Mikhail, though, had to one-up everyone by accidentally flying his helicopter into a glacier. It sucks that he left us but if there’s a way to go, that’s pretty much the most badass way to do it. 

RIP, our friend

Me? I’m writing stories and taking the frequent naps they refuse to in honor of all them.

Someone’s got to. 

There was this time…(pt.13)

Geoff, the Santa Barbara boyfriend of 10 years, the chick-wrangler or “Sport-fuck” as his friends used to call him in my presence, was not one to keep his pants on when he should. Seeing as it’s been more than 15 years later, he and I are good friends and I don’t begrudge him the, um, multitude of indiscretions in which he may or may not have indulged.

The indiscretions so plentiful that it was reported in the local newspaper. 

You could wonder why I would put up with something like that and I don’t blame anyone for wondering that. The answer is simple: I didn’t know at the time and how could he not? In a town with a population of only around 30,000 permanent residents, 90% of whom are female, it’d be almost rude of a man this beautiful to not indulge. 

And it has been over 15 years. I really couldn’t care less now. We’re past it, so should you be. I appreciate your righteous anger, though, dear reader. If anything, I’m impressed that anyone could have that much energy or time in their day.

I only report that previous detail because, goddamn, it was in the fucking newspaper!

But I digress. This is just a story about a time.


There was this time when we went to a movie.

One normal night, we went to go see Golden Eye, Pierce Brosnan’s debut as James Bond. 

As we’re walking through the doors of the Arlington Theatre, I excuse myself to make a bee-line to the ladies room. Geoff meanders towards the outside patio; doing the agreeable nod that we’d meet out there.

I find him holding a martini and grabbing stuffed mushrooms off a passed plate. It looked great, albeit odd for a random movie night, but I graciously accepted a martini off a tray held by a smartly-dressed waiter. 

We wordlessly enjoy our good luck for whatever conceivable reason this was happening; not wanting to say anything lest saying it makes it stop. I look up and notice that everyone mingling in this little quaint outside patio was far better dressed than we. We were no slouches but we weren’t dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. I also notice that Pierce Brosnan was about 5 feet away from us. 

“Oh shit.”


“Look!” I point with my pinky finger towards the doorman checking off names but otherwise turning away many people not on his coveted clipboard list. The doorman who let us through because our dismissive, belonging attitude–due to the fact we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to be there in the first place–gave us unquestioned credibility.

“We just walked into a movie premiere.”

Giggling at our stealth and trying to find ways to shove martinis and steaming hot mushrooms into my purse, we followed the elite crowd into the theater to watch the best James Bond ever portrayed.

–Oh knock it off. This is my story and my opinion. Get off your Connery.–

Two hours later, we stumbled out of the theater; stunned by our luck, and dazed by the many martinis…and also having hatched a plan. 

Lightbulb lit, for the next few months, there wasn’t an event we couldn’t get into. We arrogantly strutted our way into gallery openings, elite polo gatherings, exclusive Montecito galas, and one hilariously successful entrance into the world-famous Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel in Los Angeles to meet Geoff’s “agent, Jaime Bemis” whom he had conjured out of the air. 

We had a great time. We really did. And, to this day, we both look back at it as a triumph.

It couldn’t last though. The problem with faking your way through life is that, unless you’re a psychopath, you can’t keep it up. Microexpressions, fatigue, and anxiety show through the facade.  It makes pulling this kind of thing off harder and harder. You just don’t have the energy to do it anymore anywhere.

And when you’re trying to pull this kind of thing off in a town of only 30,000 people, most of whom know one of you really well by now, eventually someone is going to write up your story in their local newspaper. 

There was this time…(pt. 12)

Massive secluded spaces to pull over and enjoy

It was an old Reddit post I only recently came across that made me think of this story. The Reddit story is funny and a huge relief for all of us thinking we might be alone in doing stupid shit.

And stupid shit is what this blog is made of, god damnit.

After I was gifted by my wonderfully generous father, David E. Knop, a car, my former-boyfriend, Geoff, and I decided to take our new-used Toyota 4Runner, with our adorable dog, Chimi…


We decided to drive up the amazing El Camino Cielo road that rings the mountains around Santa Barbara.

Good idea, of course.

Except that our decision was made after spending an entire day at Butterfly Beach in Montecito under the hot, hot sun.

Butterfly Beach was about 100 yards from our apartment. Once, I went swimming there to “exercise” at 9 am. I say, “exercise” because I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. With no one on the beach to point and scream instead of saving me, I came way too close to being Great White fish food. I only saw how close when I made it to shore to find that what I was swimming alongside of was a huge, dead sea lion with a man-sized hole chomped out of his middle. But that’s a story for another time.

Usually, it was me and Geoff and Chimi and a foot-long sub sandwich from the Greek-Italian Market and a 12-pack of Coronas.

It clearly sucked.

This particular day was a long day in June. Around 5 pm, perfect weather and my perfectly-tanned ONLY front-side of my body (yes, just perfectly-tanned front, totally white ass,) was fried. My half-tan was due to the awesome chairs I’d found that were too comfortable to get up and flip over. They were so comfortable. I miss those chairs.

By then, Geoff’s perfectly-tanned tennis-perfected body had had enough of fending off the coeds flirting with him. That’s “hims”– plural. Both Chimi and Geoff.

Because how could you not flirt with that?

No one apparently.

On a rare day off work I had once, I took my dog to the beach. He ran off because he owned that beach and it was normal. I expected him to come back to settle into his palapa we had to make him every time out of sticks and usually my beach sarape. Fluffy black fur wasn’t the best at keeping a tiny dog cool.

I hadn’t even noticed how far he’d run off, as it was so quick, until I spotted some 20-year-old in a microscopic bikini holding my dog in her hands.

I stood up, walked over, “Um, excuse me, can I have my dog back?”

She says, “Oh, you know Chimi?”

I didn’t punch her. I swear.

I just took my dog and went home to wait for Geoff. And maybe carefully rearranged his things. All of his things.



The day in question, we hosed off a happy, sandy Chimi and jumped in the new-used 4Runner.

We drove up the picturesque, windy roads, full of excitement. And way too many Coronas for which I’m ashamed of admitting. We found our perfect spot in the wilderness to camp with the glorious views of this magnificent place.

Santa Barbara; a quaint drinking village with a fishing problem

We pass out peacefully. And except for one sudden terrifying moment when the coyotes tried to lure Chimi out of the open back of the 4Runner, we slept like 3 logs. Lulled by quaint animal noises and crickets and the musky-sweet scent of ocean and night-blooming jasmine.

Until morning.

Morning, we woke up to find that we’re not in a secluded spot in the country.

No, the sound of slamming car doors woke us up to the fact we were “camping” in someone’s front yard.

Not the woods

Morning came with us hauling our half-tanned asses out of a trespassing charge.

Good times.

There was this time…(pt. 11)

That stage to the right has Clapton all over it.

I know what you’re thinking.

Come on, you can’t possibly have another story from your past as ridiculous as the rest.


Yes, I can. AND it’s not even from a long ago past.

How, for the love of all things holy, could I not be the paragon of dignity at this advanced age?

Stupid question. If I learned things, I wouldn’t need a blog to write it all down to entertain you, otherwise. Dur.

I began this with a particular story in mind. I can’t tell that one without telling this first. You’ve been warned.

At this place where I’m still working and, if I play my cards right, I hope to for the rest of my life. Like one day a week, tops. Because I have to. I can’t let this continue without being a part of it. How is it possible that I didn’t know it has existed for my entire life without hearing about it is beyond me. Had I known, I probably would have started working there at 15 instead of the crappy Korean deli/liquor store/deliquency-contributorship that I did work in.

Actually, I take that back. Songs, or Del Mar Fine Wines as I’m sure most of us didn’t know it was actually named, was probably safer for me since it eventually closed.

Campland-on-the-Bay, however, is still running, 60 years later, and where I, with almost 4 years under my belt, am still considered the newbie. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened to me had I found its fountain of perpetual fantasyland at 15. Well, all I have to do to find out is ask the many employees of 15/20/30+ years what year they think it is now.

Hint: 19something.

The bizarre thing about Campland…hahahaha. Sorry. I’ll start over.

One of the many bizarre things about Campland is how many celebrities visit there.


Almost more than the world-famously-poorly-run-yet-hilarious Miramar Hotel in Santa Barbara. Campland is the spiritual twin of the Miramar and, someday, if I have more time or the energy you’ll hear about that, too.

But regarding Campland’s especially rich celebrity influence, one day in 2017, as I’m checking-in mostly grumpy Karens and Chad-like individuals, I start talking to a nice man who was a bandmate of Tom Petty. I can’t remember which bandmate, which makes my story sound suspicious, but it’s legit, I promise. We talked because we had people in common when I worked for Kenny Loggins. I just don’t remember if he was the bassist, drummer, Cheshire Cat-wrangler or whatever. We chatted. It was nice. He was nice.

The guy who isn’t Tom Petty

He invited me to come to his campsite to continue our conversation about the people we knew in common later that evening. Before he left the office, though, he told us how he brought Eric Clapton to Campland and the two of them played guitar on the stage, impromptu, just because. -see first photo-

And how no one listened. Well, no one paid attention anyway. In total Campland fashion.

Sadly, Tom Petty died that night and this bandmate left without giving me that drink. The nerve, right?

That story is only prefacing this one.

No, not the adorable story behind the picture of me and Jason Day minutes after he won the Torrey Pines Open in sudden death.

Still sweaty and full of adorbs. Jason. I wasn’t sweaty.

Not that story. That story is just full of me always having food shoved into my mouth when sexy Jason came into my hemisphere. Like a lot of food. The first time was an entire half of a Snickers bar. The second time was me shooting cookie pieces out of my mouth trying to apologize for the Snickers incident.

No, it’s another story. Hmmm. Now, I can’t remember. It’ll come to me.

It may need another post.

-insert infuriating wink-

More to come…

There was this time…(pt. 10)

You may remember a while ago there was a meme circulating around about punk/hard core/metal musicians loving their cats. More specifically, Glenn Danzig.

All of that is cute. Because, of course it is. We already know that cat pictures power the Internet. Without them, the Internet would cease to be. And we would all die. So, in turn, thank Glenn Danzig for allowing you to read my blog right now and saving your lives. You’re welcome.

For those who don’t know, Glenny, as I would never call him to his face, is the founder of the Misfits and then his own namesake band later on. Fans of the movie The Hangover will recognize the sound of this lover of furry kitten friends.

However, I did not know of this feline proclivity of his when I met him around 2013. I just happened to be the main minion to the greatest cat of all time. If you were ever lucky enough to have met Mobi, you would know why it came up in conversation.

There’s nothing cuter than the sound of a this pioneer of punk’s “Awwww” upon him seeing a picture of my Mobi.

How could anyone not melt from that face?

Granted, Mobi was the greatest cat of all time, way more punk than punk, a far more dignified badass than any 5’10”, 200lb of solid-muscle, fireplug-of-angry could ever dream of being.

Listen, though. This is important. I did not offer Mobi’s picture to Danzig when I met him. He asked ME to see Mobi.

We were simply discussing how awesome kitties are and specifically, the Mobes. As I regaled him of stories of my 6 lb cat slaughtering 4 lb rats in front of me, Danzig could not help but ask to see pictures of, well, the King, may he Rest In Peace.

Bow to the Master

And then the Awwww. It was adorable.

We giggled.

Yes, I giggled with Danzig.

About cats.

Boom! Internet saved.

The shiny one on the right is just glowing from the love of cats. The grumpy one on the left wasn’t actually grumpy, just blinking. I’m pretty sure.

Another story I’m just going to stick to. Which actually leads me to this other time…

There was this time…(pt. 9)

Loggins and Messina, 1974

This story is a little…circuitous. But seeing as my rapidly increasing fan base has reached almost 9, I’m feeling a bit cocky.

One of the jobs I had while living in Santa Barbara was working as personal assistant to Kenny Loggins and his family, thanks to my friend, Melinda. In fact, if you’re an ardent reader of this fabulous blog, you’ll know as the friend who also got into the wrong green Saab after a long lunch one day.

That green Saab was formerly Kenny Loggins’ from back in the Footloose days. He eventually sold it to his business manager, who was, you guessed it, Melinda.

As things got tough for Kenny’s life at the time, during my tenure with him they got tough for me. I quit in a huff, quite unprofessionally, but it is what is what I did was it. Or whatever the kids say.

Fast forward 6 months and I’m happily entrenched in my new job with the greatest family ever, the Beaches, and working as office manager for Patrick Beach’s business, La Playa Properties. We were housed in a stunningly beautiful building owned by the one and only, Chris Edgecomb. (There are stories to come about that guy, may he rest in peace.)

Chris was a huge fan of music. That meant when Chris got wind that Kenny Loggins was to reunite with Jimmy Messina for a tour for the first time in 30 years, Chris jumped at the opportunity to host their rehearsals.

Which meant immediately next door to my new work home.

This was fine with my boss, Pat Beach, because he also loved music and was usually traveling anyway.

I did not know any of this was happening.

One day, I look up from my desk to see Kenny and Melinda walking down our walk, take a sharp turn right, and disappear into the cavernous office next door.

I watch as semis pull up and 30 people carry guitar cases, black wheeled boxes, mic stands, scaffolding into the same door.

I’m confused but it’s a small town so it’s not that weird that I would see my former employers walk by. It’s a small, wealthy, celebrity-ridden town, so it’s not that weird that I’d see famous people walk by.

It’s a small town but big enough that I’d never seen the elusive Jimmy Messina, who I’d heard lived there and who was notoriously…self-contained in his private retirement, but was now trailing the parade down the walk of my office building.

I’m assuming they’d set up enough to start tinkering and playing music loud enough to make our teeth rattle came blasting through our artificial adobe. The Mexican tile vibrated. But we got used to it.

A couple days later, I see Kenny standing at the door to my office.

He nods hello at me and sits down on my guest chair…then immediately falls asleep.

My boss comes in about an hour later.

He looks right then left, then back at Kenny, and asks, “Is that Kenny Loggins and why is he sleeping in my chair?”

I had no answers. I let him sleep. Kenny awakens, stands up, says nothing to me and walks out. I expected nothing less.

As far as Melinda and I could figure was that seeing me, his former assistant at a desk where he was rehearsing, Kenny had assumed that I was paid to sit there for him. Doing what, I have no idea. It’s actually pretty logical but kind of hilarious when the opposite is true.

We eventually had to cut Loggins and Messina off from “using” our office for their whims when they used our back patio for a meeting they chased me out of for being “private.” It makes me wonder if Kenny thought his assistant was getting uppity.

All of it was funny for entertainment’s sake but that paled in comparison the phenomenal treat that it turned into.

For days, I got to listen to one of my favorite songs, one I actually didn’t even know was a Loggins and Messina song before, get tighter and stronger and better as one of the best musicians in the industry continued his mentorship of one of the most iconic. Every day the music got better. Each evening, I would hang out with the roadies, sharing stories and beers.

Santa Barbara Bowl, 2012 (The first and better concert I went to was 2006: same venue, though.)

All of the effort turned into one of the best concerts I’d ever seen.

And with all those roadies around…

Gross! this isn’t porn. I’m taking that to my grave.

There was this time…(pt. 8)

Yet to appear at Longs Drugs, John Cleese, Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

About 15-20 years ago, I was in my local Longs Drugs store in the fancy town of Montecito. It was Halloween or very close to it. It was a beautiful day but they always are.

I looked up to someone asking me a question. 

I mean I really looked up at this handsome, thin man looming down at me from a great height. I’m no slouch at 5’8” but I wasn’t close to matching his height. 

“Pardon me, do you know where the glittery nail polish is? It’s for my daughter’s Halloween costume,” he asked in a stately English accent. 

“Um, sure.” I mumbled back to him. Nervous now because I was face-to-mid-chest with John Cleese.

I have always had a huge celebrity crush on John Cleese. Living in Santa Barbara for the past 10 years at the time, I was used to celebrity sightings. But John Cleese, though, —sigh— was close to my heart after seeing Monty Python for the first time when I was 10. Having practically memorized every Monty Python movie since then, I felt like he and I were tight. 

(Thankfully I didn’t actually tell him that. I’ve done dumber things. Including literally body-slamming a certain super model in the Starbucks next door to my apartment on Coast Village Road. Keep reading this series. You’ll see.)

I showed the tall man where the glittery nail polish was and walked away, casual, unimpressed, and totally cool. Like a dork. I’m sure I kicked something on accident or knocked something over. It’s what I do.

Fast forward about 4 months and I’m at Longs again and here comes John Cleese heading straight towards me. His face lights up then politely asks me to help him locate something in the store. Whatever it was, it was casual and not-at-all-embarrassing, while I pretended to not be stalled in front of some sort of hygiene product. We located his item and he thanked me with effusive British gratitude and went on his way. 

Dismissing the idea I possessed some deep, cross-ocean connection with my hero, it occurred to me that he must’ve recognized me as the nice employee who helped him the last time.

I like to imagine that he looked around for me the next time he came to Longs, maybe even asked if the nice blonde girl was working that day. Longs employees confused but excitedly trying to find me, whispering gossip. Maybe even the encounter rising my status to Employee of the Year.

Of course, the plaque in my honor would have to be a photo of a question mark because I never once worked at Longs Drugs store.

There was this time…(pt. 7)

Because of awful circumstances I’d rather erase from my mind entirely, I fell into a job that proved to be yet another source of incredible stories that no one seems to believe are real. If it weren’t me doing it, I’d doubt it, too.

I don’t make stuff up easily. Because there never seems to be a reason to.

At this job one day, I was telling one of my co-workers that when I first started working there, there was a full-blown riot right out front of the registration office.

Anywhere else in the world, this would be news. Not there. There, it’s just an incident. It’s just a to-do and to be extinguished immediately and moved on from. From hearing other stories from people who have worked there over 10, 20, 30 years, this one didn’t even make the scale. But it was my experience and hilarious in a “Holy Shit” kind of way.

Staring at me skeptically, my co-worker listens as I tell him about the chaos of this particular day. That as the angry crowd filled the gaps around the initial fighting pair, then irrationally deciding to choose sides, that all of my then co-workers…just…vanished. A jumbling, chaotic cluster-fuck grew, brewing bigger and angrier outside the plate-glass windows. Suddenly and immediately, I was alone and trying to check in a guest who’d come to our lovely resort for the first time ever. It left to me to remain calm while pretending that nothing that was going on outside was actually going on outside.

And call 911 at the same time.

“Hi! Welcome! Please, just look at me, don’t turn around. No! Keep looking at me. —911? Yes, Hi. We need EMTs, Police, Fire and Rescue. There are 75 people rioting outside. Send help.—Here is where the store is and this here….don’t look around, look at the map…is where the restaurant is…” I hand the guest, who is now wondering whether I’m hitting on her or trying to kidnap her, her parking passes and usher her out through a side door.

The explosive pile of roiling humans cools down a bit with only minor scratches and multiple Banned-for-Life decrees from whoever was in charge that day. I’d like to assume it was the quickness of the security employees that settled it down. They did a great job. There is also something to be said about the calming effect 10 cop cars have when they come screaming down the wrong way on a one-way street towards a mob of vacationers. Stories were conjured, statements were taken, peace restored.

As I’m telling this new co-worker about the short-lived and kind-of-hilarious riot, I’m thinking out loud, “Was it Memorial Day? Or was it earlier like Easter?”

My co-worker is standing slack-jawed, shaking his head in disbelief because I HAD to have made this up, the current guest, the one who had been standing in line far too long listening to two people having a conversation instead of doing their jobs said,

“It was Fathers’ Day, 2017. Can I check in, please?”