Greetings from the City of Second Chances, Third Homes, and Fourth Wives

Dear Readers:

I am coming to you now (well, last night) from the bar at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel – a property that brings new meaning to the terms, “overrated,” “pompous,” and of course, “envy-inducing.”

(Side note: I hate blogging from my iPad.  Please accept my apologies for anything you see here that is not up to my usual standards of mediocrity)

I am not known far and wide for much, but especially not for being especially parsimonious.  Mr. Patience and Understanding may have called me “reckless” on a few occasions when I asked why we really needed groceries when those shoes were so fucking fabulous.

Much to his great surprise and delight, several months ago I embarked upon a regime of  penny-pinching to rival any good cheapskate.

I am, in point of fact, a changed woman.  I don’t spend money on anything unless I absolutely need it.  My grocery shopping habits have not only changed dramatically, they have given birth to a new book idea.

Since that book cannot be written until the first one is published, I guess I mean “afterbirth.”  No matter.  Here’s the general idea:

Robin’s New Book!

“The Parsimonious Guide to Piquant Pabulum: Meals to Impress Your Friends, Feed Your Family, and Fit Your Budget.”

Boy, that’s a mouthful. Ha ha.

Part memoire and part cookbook, this will be a delightful fish-out-of-water romp with valuable insights and delicious recipes. Readers will join me in my transmogrification from a pampered bitch who never considered the prices of groceries to a struggling writer determined to save money wherever she can.

I jotted this down on Facebook a while back and have made changes but don’t consider this the final product.

(Those of you who have read this and do not wish to read it again, scroll down for more on Beverly Hills)

Sneak Peek of Chapter 1:

Robin Discovers WinCo and WinCo discovers Robin!

“Tottering” and “doddering.”

I think those are the best two words to describe my first WinCo Foods experience.

I chose the wrong shoes, to be sure.

Elegant and stylish footwear has always been my Achilles’ Heel, so to speak.

Up until recently, my shoe “problem” (as Mr. Patience and Understanding refers to it, although I see no problem at all) resulted in my accumulation of dozens of sexy sandals, beautiful boots, pulchritudinous pumps, and fetching flats.

I say “up until recently” because as you should know if you bothered to read the blurb on the back of this book you’re holding, times have changed. I’ve dedicated myself to an austere lifestyle as I follow my new career path to fame, fortune, and the eventual ruin that befalls those who achieve everything they ever dreamed of.

I wonder who will play me in the Lifetime move? 

I may not buy those fancy shoes anymore, but I wear the ones I have. And I’ll be damned if I’ll sink so low as to shop at WinCo in cheap shoes. One can only fall so far, so fast.

Still, 4 inch-heeled sandals aren’t ideal for grocery shopping in a scrum. Hence the tottering.

The doddering was due to the overwhelming nature of it all.

I wobbled and careened around the place with my neatly-typed list in hand and a shopping cart large enough to house a small family or one-half of a Kardashian ass. As I zigged and I zagged from aisle to aisle, questions arose:

“How could so much food be in one place?” “How could it be so inexpensive?” “Why have I never been here before?” “What is ‘menudo?'” and “Why am I so much taller than everyone else?”

After almost 90 minutes of doggedly-purposeful price and quality analysis, I found my way to the checkout station. As I carefully balanced in my ridiculously beautiful but impractical shoes waiting to pay for my prizes, I organized the food and engaged with the lovely cashier: an owner-employee of Winco who likely has more money in her retirement accounts than most anyone I know.

“Hello!” I twinkled, shifting my weight from side to side as my left pinky toe went numb.

“Could you be a doll and separately bag the items that need to be refrigerated from the ones that do not?”

The cashier looked at me and blinked twice. Her mouth went slack with a strange sort of piteous look.

“Oh Sweetie,” she said, “I don’t bag your groceries. You’re at Winco. Haven’t you ever been here before? Are you lost or something? Hey, cute shoes!”

A lesser woman would have chided me derisively and mocked my unfamiliarity with it all, but she was so kind. She spoke to me with a gentle soothing voice remeniscent of how I speak to especially stupid children, really old people, and my brother John.

Preview Over; Back to Beverly Hills

Despite my new love of the budgetary considerations I’d heretofore eschewed, I’ve developed somewhat of a distaste for anything blatantly opulent or expensive, including jewelry.  

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but I don’t need them.  Come to think of it, I’ve never felt it necessary to have “best friends.”

More like “friendly acquaintances,” “people who hate me but pretend to like me,” and the most confusing group, “people who like me but pretend to hate me.”

Sorry for the tangent.

So tonight I am conflicted, as I sit at the bar at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and struggle over the cost of everything.  This really shitty glass of Chardonnay I’ve been working on for over an hour (an hour!) was $18 and I only just allowed myself to order another.

Those of you who know me well: please pick up your jaw from the floor and carry on reading.  It’s true.  I made it last 70 minutes.

This town is so expensive it may drive me to not drink.  It’s that serious.  So why, pray tell, am I staying at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Bevery Hills drinking 18 dollar glasses of shitty Chard and trying to figure out how to stretch these peanuts into dinner?

Visualiazation, baby.  If you can’t see it before it happens, it isn’t happening. If you don’t believe you are entitled to the success you keep telling everyone is coming, it isn’t coming.

And if you stay at the Courtyard Mariott in Sherman Oaks on the biggest business trip of your life, you may as well go home already and call it a life.

I am honored this evening to have a swarthy young pockmarked man to my right and the three most vapid women I’ve had the misfortune to sit next to in some time on my left.

They’ve been there for about an hour and have yet to talk about anything but men they have dated, are dating, want to date, or would never date. They are in their 40s.

Along comes what looks like a homeless person posing as a rapper and begins to ooze his special charm all over the Three Alimony Queens.

He’s ignoring me.  I absolutely must get his photo.

At this point I moved over to Facebook and took notes. You can read that here:

Live-blogging LA

I hope you enjoy it.  I may have been off my game for lack of food but there you have it.

It’s time to take a run through Beverly Hills and take some more “Crimes Against Architecture” photos.  This is a series I’ve been doing on Facebook so if you have yet to friend me, please do.  Or don’t – nearly everything I post on Facebook is public anyway.

Today’s meeting was moved to tomorrow, making tomorrow a complete shit-show of traveling around and performing like a circus monkey.  I couldn’t be more excited.

Follow your dreams, and if you cannot muster the energy to do so, follow mine!