Live from the red carpet, it’s ME.

Usually, I’m wearing my pajamas, the flannel ones, might be the polka dot blue and white, or the elephant print, or maybe the ones with the intricate pink flower design while I write my red carpet best and worst blogs. but this year, this year was a little different. A little fucking shut-the-front-door, this-is-bananas and you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me different.

I’ve been in California for the month of February and was heading to meet my son and his friends at brunch in Santa Monica yesterday, when I told my husband the SAGS were on that night. He asked me where they were being held. I looked it up and it was, as usual, at the Shriner’s Auditorium, “You gotta go,” he said. “WHAT?” I answered. “YOU GOTTA GO!” he repeated. I hadn’t even thought of this, and I’m not at all sure why. He was on his way to a work thing in San Diego after the brunch, so he couldn’t go with me and I’m a little shy about driving around LA solo, plus I figured the crowds were already lining up, and I wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway. We dropped the subject. I mean, how ridiculous…

We ate brunch, including a share order of Squash Pancakes, which were green, and like all sorts of major delish. Note to self: throw some squash in the cakes next time.

When I was inside ordering, Peter had looked up directions to the show and found it was not at the Shrine, it was a short 10 minutes away at the Fairmont Hotel. So, knowing I’m obsessed with movies and tv, an award show junkie, and a celeb fashion slave, he convinced (FORCED) my son to take me. TO. THE. SAG. AWARDS. Yuh huh, I was one of the screaming fans, of which there were only a total of 12 and hardly any of them were screaming, except for three 13-year-old girls who were decked out in crop tops and sweats and had signs for Bobby Milly Brown.

And here I am, not exactly red carpet ready, since my foray to the Fairmont was totally unplanned, but I do have on Chloe flats, a Chanel bag, an All Saints jacket, a Vince shirt, and my Hudson wide-leg jeans that my husband says he doesn’t know why anybody would wear because they are totally shapeless. This from a guy who thinks Lululemon is formal wear.

Anyway, yeah, so I went to the SAG Awards! Ok, I went to the outside of where the celebs get dropped off at the SAG Awards, but still, RIGHT? Not in my pajamas, not on my couch in Boston, right there on the scene in Century City. All I needed was a mic, a better vantage point, a good dress and you’d have thought I was reporting for E!

Me, the thirteen-year-olds and the other few fans stood across the street from drop-off. While it was close to the action, we could only see the people who got out of the cars on the left-hand side. But was I complaining, was I bitter? Are you kidding, I was just a little bit out of my mind to be there at all, clicking something off my bucket list I thought I’d kick the bucket before doing. I mean, I was so wildly excited that I barely felt the cold. LA can get chilly in the winter, and while it wasn’t East Coast February weather, which you know how much I LOVE, it was in the shade and it was, well, let’s just say I thought my hands might be frostbitten at some point.

I did get pictures of the back of a bunch of celebs. And every time I predicted to my son, “That’s somebody,” he’d reply “Mom, everybody is somebody,” which really made me wonder if he’d truly come out of my womb. After all, I did have a c-section and they might have switched the babies…..BECAUSE C’MON, PLAY ALONG, YOU’RE AT THE SAG AWARDS.

I was clicking away at people I didn’t even recognize and will admit to thinking that the head Hotel guy was someone famous, when my son informed me he was just a Fairmont employee.

The high point? Up pulled one in a long line of black Escalades and out popped Jason Bateman and before i even knew what I was doing, I screamed, “Jason” at Jason Bateman like I was one of the 13 year old girls, and he turned around, looked right at me, and waved. TO ME, Toni of the pajamas-on-the-couch-blog and the frostbitten fingers. JASON BATEMAN, of Arrested Development, Juno and O-fucking-Zark fame, waved at me. He did. why the crowd of 12 did not call one of my favorite actor’s names defies logic. But no worries, I properly and embarrassingly fan-girled Jason and honestly, I had the distinct impression he was grateful was there.

And then he won, my Jason Bateman, who is now my close, personal friend, right after he saw me! Coincidence, I don’t think so. (This photo is from People Mag, not my iPhone.)
Here’s Gidget, The Flying Nun, Norma Rae’s back! Sally Fields, why you have to get out of the wrong side of the car?
And here’s Julia Garner’s back. I love her, but not her dress.
Hey, it’s Jim from the office, John Krasinkski, I mean. Emily Blunt
got out on the other side, dammit.
Laura Linney, another fave. That woman has the best hair.
Richie from The Bear’s Ebon-Moss Bachrach.
And here’s James Marsden, one of the cutest men on the planet wearing my prom date’s tux.

My phone’s battery finally died, and my son’s patience for the cold wore thin, so we hightailed it outta there, but lemme just say that going to the SAG Awards in my ugly jeans was one of those things I’ll never forget. I love stories, so of course, I love celebrities who make them into movies and shows and who’s personal stories are even much of the time as entertaining as their fictional character’s lives. No red carpet take downs today, no best and worst lists, just a happy camper who got to (almost) touch the stars yesterday. Grateful to my son for putting up with his mom. I know you did it for me, Jakey, and I know you’re unmistakably my boy, even if you didn’t want to shout at Jason Bateman with me.

gratitude-a-thon day 2094: who’s that girl

From the minute I heard Holiday, I was smitten. When Desperately Seeking Susan came out, I was all in–perming my straight hair and tying a scarf thing around it that stuck out of the top of my head like bunny ears. I boasted big earrings, leggings, and piles of bracelets. I fell for her big black sunglasses that were way too big and black for my face.

I sang Lucky Star, Borderline, Like a Virgin, Material Girl and Into the Groove in the shower, mouthing the words like she would. I danced through my house to her music, gyrating and shimmying, and yup, I could Vogue. I was enamored with her swag, her confidence, her carefree middle finger flipped up at the world, as she crooned her way to becoming the “Queen of Pop.” As people threw ugly comments about her voice my way, I’d disagree. When critics said she wasn’t really talented, just hype, I defended her. When her looks continually changed from hip to Marilyn, to pretty, to retro, to demure, to a badass BDSM chic, to Zen vibes, I followed, I sang, I fan girled. I had tickets in the 90s, but she canceled because she was sick. I had tickets seven years ago, and this time I was sick and had to give them away. Our paths never crossed, except in my head. She sang so much of the soundtrack of my life. Yeah, Madonna, I was Crazy for You.

BUT THEN, this. At the Grammy’s she showed up in a face that looked so much like a mask, I wondered if she might take it off and show us that she wasn’t done reinventing herself. No close-ups, but plenty of pictures and chatter, press and memes afterward to discuss what the actual fuck she’d done to herself.

I felt sad.

I get not wanting to look old. I am watching my face change, but honest to God, you can bet your Lucky Star that I would rather look wrinkled than like a marionette, like I had a face that was made of Silly Putty modeled by a three year old with zero artistic skills.

Aging isn’t that easy. It takes acceptance, continual reinvention, and more acceptance. Madonna has always pushed back, but this push back feels in the wrong direction. I mean Express Yourself, sure, but has Madonna given into the insecurity of aging? Instead of letting herself be, has her ego and self-assurance disappeared, manhandling her into a plastic surgeon’s office who takes Groupon discounts? Part of what I’ve loved about her all these decades has been her fearlessness and aplomb at being so comfortable with who she is. Isn’t bowing to the alter of youth culture the most un-Maddonna-ish thing ever?

On the one hand, I am pro doing whatever makes you feel good in the plastic surgery department. On the other hand, I think, why can’t we just accept the way our face changes as we age, and just try and look beautiful in it? Ha! If I had the answer to that, I’d be more famous than The Material Girl.

I guess I’m here to say I’d rather have the creases and crinkly skin, the bags and sags, than look like Frankenstein’s little sister. Don’t Cry for me Argentina, except for a little Botox in my 11s, I’m all natural for now. And if I should decide to go plastic, I won’t be using Madonna’s doctor. It’s not really the awful way she looks that bothers me the most, it’s the fact that she fell to the patriarchy, to the youth-obsessed panel of judges and societal norms that every woman faces once she’s past the age of 16. I thought Madonna was cooler than trying to hang on to what was and was going to determine her own future, like she always has. And somehow I don’t think looking like she looks now was part of that plan. Gratitude for all Madonna gave me in the past–the fun, the moves, the unadulterated joy of pretending I was her while I drove (so nobody could here me, because, well, my voice is about as bad as the way she looks right now), and of course for this reminder to me not to age in a way that makes people ask, Who’s That Girl.

gratitude-a-thon day 2093: you should be grateful

I love winter people (not really). They’re always boasting those rosy read cheeks, sporting a few layers of Polartec clothing, ready for some jaunty frigid action at any moment. They would ski jump off a roof, or ice skate the Charles. If you asked them if they’d like to snowshoe to the Berkshires, they’d be all like, “Let’s fucking go.” They are the bodies that thrive on BRRRRRR and never fear a broken limb, ski, or skull. They don’t know from chilly. They don’t cry when the thermometer drops. A meteorologist warning about a cold snap we’ve never experienced before excites them. The one thing they are not? ME.

I used to like winter. I used to love the intricate lovely flakes that canceled school and called for a full day of sledding. I was an avid ice skater, barely missing a weekend. I layered up and wasn’t bothered by my frostbitten hands or toes. I even learned to ski in high school and in my cute color-coordinated down overalls and matching jacket, the winter did not seem like The Worst Thing That Could Happen to Someone that it does now.

Now. Now and in the last decade, I have developed a deep hatred for Old Man Winter. I would like to hire a lawyer and sue whoever created temperatures below 55. Keep your fur boots and your trendy puffers. I’m just not into you.

Which is why, I am in LA for the month of February, enjoying a view of the ocean, a sky of sunshine, and temps in the 60’s and 70’s. I literally feel like I hit the Powerball of Luck. As both my neighbors watched their pipes freezing over the weekend. I was watching surfers kill half pipes. I wake up every morning to the view of waves and an upturned grin on my face.

Yeah, I’m still doing my work, but hell, my desk has a much better view.
When life gives you lemons, buy some forsythia to go with them.

You want to talk gratitude? I am grateful I wasn’t home for the outrageous, “generational” cold we had this past weekend. And everybody who knows me should be grateful too, because let’s face it nobody can whine about cold better, more consistently, or cloyingly than I can.

Even Daisy is appreciating the weather.