I’m relieved to say I survived last night’s New Year’s Eve karaoke party. Actually, I not only survived but ended up having a really great time. Our hosts were gracious, everyone was in the holiday spirit and, once the machine started shooting out song after song, we all got into it. (Alcohol helped.) I’m hoarse today, so I must have been belting them out without realizing it. Anyhow, as promised, here are a couple of guests covering the Beatles. (Notice the guy in the background with the beard and glasses? That’s Michael, who claimed he didn’t sing, but as it’s plain to see he was moving his lips!)
Next up were our hosts (I promised I wouldn’t reveal their names so they wouldn’t be mortified). I hardly remembered the song “King of the Road” by Roger Miller but now I can’t get the damn thing out of my head.
The party was moving right along toward midnight when suddenly the karaoke machine started playing Neil Diamond’s….you guessed it….”Sweet Caroline.” I immediately held my ears and yelled, “God, no! Not that awful Red Sox song! I’m a Yankee fan!”
“You are?” asked Steve, one of the other guests.
“Absolutely,” I said, a little wary of admitting my allegiance in a town where most people root for the Dodgers or Angels.
“So am I,” said Steve, who explained that he grew up in Connecticut and has been a Yankee fan his whole life. “I’m really worried about the team going forward. The Red Sox made so many moves and we didn’t. I still can’t believe we didn’t get Cliff Lee.”
Well, that led to a discussion of the Bombers and our concern about the pitching, etc. Before we knew it, the TV came on and Ryan Seacrest was in Times Square counting down to midnight – and Frank Sinatra was in the background singing “New York, New York.”
“Now that song makes me feel a lot better,” I said. “We could be at Yankee Stadium right now.”
Which was not a bad way to end the evening.
OK, this weather thing is starting to annoy me. (For those in other parts of the world, California is getting hammered by what forecasters are calling “the rain of the decade.”) We have a creak running through the base of our road and after only two days of this stuff it’s risen so high I can’t drive my car through it. And we’re supposed to get more rain for another seven days straight. Luckily, our hillside has a back way out that’s supposed to be used in emergencies (like wildfires) but it’s a very narrow, steep, windy road that scares the you-know-what out of me. If my electricity doesn’t go out, it’ll be a miracle. In the meantime, Michael and I are auguring in and planning to watch a couple of movies on demand. If they’re boring, we’ll pop in the DVD of the Yankees winning the World Series last year. That’s always a cheerer-upper.
Michael and I were on our way to dinner with friends when I said in the car, “The winter meetings have been a big tease this year.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. “Aside from the Werth deal before they started the meetings, things have been pretty quiet.”
“Apparently, Cashman can’t even get Cliff Lee’s agent to respond to an offer,” I said. “And now the agent has left Orlando and gone to Arkansas to talk to Lee. Which means more waiting and wondering.”
“This agent seems to have everybody waiting and wondering,” said Michael. “Who is he anyway?”
“His name is Darek Braunecker,” I said. “Sounds like a German coffee machine.”
We got to the restaurant, a cute Italian place here in Santa Barbara called Trattoria Victoria, and sat down with our friends. During dinner we all talked about the updates in the murder investigation of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, about the recent ruling in the McCourts’ divorce case and what it might mean for the Dodgers, about the bones I found in my otherwise delicious piece of sea bass. And then we went home. I went straight to the computer to see if there was Cliff Lee news. Nope. Only the fact that Carl Crawford will be a Red Sock for the next 7 years. My condolences to the Angels, whose offer wasn’t enough to hold off those busy shoppers in Boston. But what about Lee? Is he planning to make a decision about his future soon or not? I’m tired of this guy Braunecker acting like his client is an undercover agent with the CIA. I’m tired of all the secrecy. I’m tired of waiting. Just tell us straight up: Does Lee want to pitch for the Yankees or doesn’t he? Even Andy Pettitte is waiting for an answer.
Tonight’s Operation Cliff Lee Countdown video is actually audio. Even if you listen closely, you still can’t figure out what Braunecker is really saying. He’s a master of double talk, which explains all this waiting and wondering. I’m glad he’s not my agent, that’s for sure.
I know it’s only Monday night, but I’m thinking ahead to all the shopping people will be doing and wondering if the Yankees will be among the busy customers. With news that Mo’s camp has finally emerged to state their intentions, maybe he and the Yanks will make a deal. And maybe the Jeter thing will be resolved. And maybe Cliff Lee will have eaten so much turkey that he’ll be in a triptophan fog and will sign with us without realizing it.
Aside from those three, here’s what I’d like to pick up on Black Friday: a treadmill. I’ve been thinking about getting one for a long time and maybe Friday’s the day to score a sale. Someone on Twitter told me that ProForm is the brand to look for, but if anyone else knows about the machines please shout. I don’t have much room, so I need one that folds up.
Tonight I was the guest on a local TV show called “Literary Gumbo.”
It’s a half-hour of chat about writing and publishing, and the host is Fred Klein, who spent many years at Bantam Books as head of marketing. The producer played the intro music and Fred did his welcome thing to the camera, and then the two of us started talking….and talking. He was supposed to be watching this digital timer next to his chair so he’d know when to wrap up, but somebody forgot to set it before the taping started and we kept going. I can’t wait to see the interview because it’s got to have the most abrupt ending in the history of television. Some authors aren’t fond of having to answer questions on camera, but I’m the opposite. When you’ve been sitting home alone in front of the computer all day writing, it feels like recess to go out and talk about your work to someone who’s actually interested. What a concept! Besides, Fred spent the last 10 minutes asking me about “Confessions of a She-Fan.” What could be more fun?
1) iPhones are the greatest invention known to mankind.
I’ve had mine for awhile now, but tonight it allowed me to do three things at once: eat dinner with a friend, “watch” the Yankees beat the tar out of the Indians and enjoy the beautiful view of the Santa Barbara harbor at the Endless Summer cafe.
2) Dustin Moseley knows how to pitch.
He was great tonight after some first inning jitters. Threw strikes. Kept his cool. Deserves another start for sure.
3) Cervelli has the ability to make me mad.
Memo to him: When you come up with the bases loaded and the opposing pitcher has done nothing but walk batters, do not swing at the first pitch and ground into a rally killing DP.
4) A-Rod is allowed to have fun during his chase for #600.
The guy has been an RBI machine, so people need to stop worrying about the homers. He’s helping us win – big time.
5) Scoring seven runs in one inning is what I’d like the Yankees to do over the weekend in Tampa.
Not that I didn’t appreciate the runs tonight, but I’d really like a lot of offense against the Rays. Please.
6) Chan Ho Park cannot – I repeat – CANNOT – pitch two innings.
I know. It was a laugher. But thanks to him things got a little hairy in the ninth. All those walks. Seriously. He’s okay for one inning (if nobody else is available), but not for two. That is all.
7) Marcus Thames reminded me of these in his attempt to play third.
Yeah, he’d never played there before and he was giving A-Rod a rest. But I had flashbacks of Angel Berroa. Not good.
8) The grilled mahi mahi at Endless Summer is worth checking out if you’re ever in the neighborhood.
Life was sweet on Sunday afternoon. My husband took me for a sail on the Pacific Ocean on a gorgeous California afternoon. He even let me steer the boat, which was a little crazy on his part; I have almost no sailing sense and there were seals, pelicans and other boats on either side of us.
It was really fun. The best part? While he was tacking or coming about or whatever sailors call it when they change direction, I whipped out my iPhone just in time to hear John Sterling say the Yankees were up 12-0. I stood up in the boat and yelled, “Woohoo!” No, it didn’t tip over and nobody got hurt. And yes, Melancon gave up the three-run homer about two seconds later, but who cared; I got the birthday present I asked for.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one celebrating. What a day for Gardner and Swisher. Cano too. And Tex – wow. Even Nick Johnson woke up, and Thames made a web gem-worthy catch. I watched a replay of the game after I got home and saw it all – including, of course, the spectacular performance by Hughes. Number five pitcher? No way. So confident. Such command. And he kept the pressure on the White Sox, even though his offense gave him one of these.
(The cushion, not the kid.)
I’m concerned that Granderson will be out for awhile, that A-Rod may or may not have a sore knee and that the bullpen needs some tweaking, never mind Vazquez. But the good news is that the 2010 version of the Yankees is reminding me of the 2009 version — i.e. when somebody goes down, somebody else steps up. The only thing we’re missing so far is this.
No walk-off hero yet. But it’s still early. And speaking of food, my birthday involved a really good dinner at one of Santa Barbara’s most scenic restaurants, the Boathouse.
This place isn’t just near the beach. It’s on it. Take a look at the view from our table, about a half hour before sunset.
Thanks to all for the lovely birthday wishes — here and on Twitter and Facebook. They were much appreciated. Back to business on Monday. The O’s have to be feeling pretty good about themselves after their sweep of the Red Sox. It’ll be up to CC to squash their hopes and dreams — and to the hitters to stay out of Jeremy Guthrie’s way. If I were facing Guthrie, I’d step up to the plate wearing this.
The item on LoHud today about MLB’s initiative in fighting breast cancer (and CC’s participation in it) was excellent timing for a blog post of my own. Why? Because tonight I took part in an author panel to raise money for our local chapter of Planned Parenthood. The panel was called “Love, Laughs & Life As We See It,” and it was held at a gorgeous private house in the hills of Santa Barbara. Not a tough gig at all. Here I am with my fellow authors and our moderator sipping Cosmos. (Yeah, I’m the one who stupidly forgot to take off her shades.)
At the far left is Starshine Roshell. (That’s really her first name; her dad was an actor in the show “Hair” and named her after the song “Good Morning Starshine.”) She writes an extremely popular column for the Santa Barbara Independent and has collected the best of the columns in a new book. She’s also writing a TV pilot for CBS based on her life as a wife, mother and columnist.
Next to her in the pic is Jenna McCarthy. A former “shock jock” on the radio here in town, Jenna writes for tons of national magazines and is the author of hilarious books on marriage and parenting.
At the far right is Kate Schwab, who used to be head of marketing for Borders in SoCal but now has her own literary PR business. She was a terrific moderator, firing all sorts of interesting questions at us about the craft of writing.
We also took questions from the guests, who had paid actual money to come and hear us speak. One of them approached me as the evening was winding down and said, “It’s such a pleasure to meet another female baseball fan.”
I smiled. “So you love baseball too?”
“Since I was a little girl,” she said. “My friends think I’m really strange to love baseball – it’s slow and boring to them – but I’d rather watch the Dodgers than do almost anything else.”
So…even at a fundraiser…on an off day for the Yankees…when I least expected to be talking about baseball…there was another she-fan. Perfect.
P.S. Here’s the nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookie Contest. Last chance to enter is April 11th at the stroke of midnight!