Friday, March 02, 2012

evidence that Dawn & L.A. make for an odd, odd combination

First off, let's take a moment to wish a happy birthday to one of the most beloved children's authors of all times, Dr. Seuss. Today, 108 years ago, Theodor Geisel was born, and after a successful career in other fields, he became known for his distinctive illustrations and rhyming schemes that involved wacky, made-up words instantly loved by children. Thank you, Dr. Seuss!

So, on this day, as we Read Across America, watch PBS KIDS' newest programming based on a Dr. Seuss iconic character, read my favorite Seuss book The Lorax, or head to the theater for the movie release of The Lorax, we'll be keeping Dr. Seuss in mind.

You know, because I've done nothing but blab all about it, that I recently went out to Los Angeles to preview the movie, hang with some super cool parenting bloggers, and participate in roundtable interviews with some of the film's stars. Yeah, it was incredible.

But there were some highlights of the trip that I have yet to bring to bloggy light. I can't say that they're highbrow thoughts in the least, but they are some things that will stick in my memory. Sadly, some of these memories cannot be illustrated with a photograph either because I didn't have the balls to take a picture in the moment or because of the stupid mistake I made of deleting some pics from my memory card.

Here, in no particular order, are some memories/ experiences of note/ oddities observed by an average East Coast mama dropped into a foreign culture, a sort of Connecticut Yankee in an odd updated King Arthur's court.

  • Before I even left Baltimore, I experienced my first L.A. moment when I spied two of my flight-mates. They prompted this airport-wifi-enabled Facebook status: "My people-watching session begins with a bang when a 40-something woman, clearly a CA kind of gal, sits nearby with her ~8 year old daughter. Both have on the same amount of eyeliner."  I didn't even mention the animal print pants, the loose/messy bun atop her head, and the adult-like mannerisms that totally freaked me out. I had to move my seat in the airport so that I would stop staring at them. This was one of those inopportune moments for photography.
  • Though I may feel odd about folks waiting on me, I could seriously get used to room service. Here would be a great spot to show you the fabulous lunch I ordered upon settling in to my freaking beautiful room at the Four Seasons, all laid out on a white tableclothed tray, with The Help cued up on the gigantic flat screen across from the bed. In related news, I ate heaven in pork form, as apple-smoked bacon that was in-CRED-ible.
  • I now have the constant urge to wear my fluffy Lorax mustache everywhere, and it began in L.A. I wanted to simply don it while waiting in the airport heading home, just to see what would happen. Truth be told, I was wearing it while writing the first few paragraphs of this post. 
  • The Four Seasons Los Angeles must employ some super secret, top notch mattress engineers because that bed is the most comfortable thing I've ever slept on. No aching back in the morning is an almost unheard of experience in my regular IKEA-bed-life, and that cloud of a Four Seasons bed was the reason. After leaving that Brad Pitt of beds, I was forced to return to my Brad Garrett version. It's just not the same.

  • My experiences with airplanes can be counted on fewer fingers than I'm in total possession of, so I'm easily amused with the view from the sky. Not sure if this is the closest I'll ever get to The Rockies, but it was cool enough that I shed my anxiety about being viewed as a dork and sat with my camera poised at my little window.
  •  I'm also just as easily amused with silent actors in costume, for I cheesed it up in the photo ops with The Lorax himself. I believe I may have pet him, as if he were the actual fictional character. I also made a point of stroking the Truffula Trees you see in the background. I was apparently without shame.
  • And, I also decided that when presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity, I can shove my nerves down far enough to go for broke. That is how I'm now 2 for 2 on having a "moment" with one of the actors at the junkets I've been honored to attend. Last year, it was the kiss (on the cheek, don't you worry!) from Russell Brand that turned my face tomato-red, and this year it was the hug I'll always treasure from Betty White. I start the story here, but I didn't go into too much detail about the minutes after the hug, when our group was finished with interviews and I turned into a weepy mess. Yup, I couldn't stop crying, and whenever someone said in surprise, "Are you crying?!" it only made matters worse. It was Betty White. BETTY WHITE, people! The laughs I've experienced throughout my life because of a line she's delivered are impossible to tally. She's a genius when it comes to comic timing and delivery. I'd love to have just an ounce of her comedic talent, and I went for broke when I asked her if I could have a hug. My tears were very much called for.
Betty White and me. And me. And me. (You see what happens when Picnik and silliness collide?)
  • And finally, there is apparently a magic in the tap waters of Los Angeles. For when I awoke on the morning of the junket-- forever to be known as The Day Betty White Hugged Little Ol' Me-- I was greeted in the mirror by this strange, faux-hawked, spectacled animal.
Since I have no shame, as I mentioned before, this picture was immediately put on Facebook.
Thinking that this appearance would never be allowed on the Universal Studios lot, I tried my best to gussy up. The best that I could muster was this.

My feeble attempt at striking a pose.

After three days of living it up, I was back on a plane, in Boarding Group A, no less. (They must have heard that I was hugged by Betty White and saw to it that I board with the Important People.) It only took a day or so for me to realize I should stop looking for an iPad on a desk somewhere in my house on which I could order food that would be delivered to my door. Coming back to reality can be fairly harsh in cases such as these. Instead of sitting two chairs away from Ed Helms or Danny DeVito or Betty White (did I mention she was there?), I was once again seated in front of eighteen preschoolers looking up to me at story time. Strangely enough, they didn't look that much younger than Zac Efron had a couple days earlier.

So there you have it, the very last bit that I'll talk about L.A. I've been insufferable, I know, but really, this is one of those things that I'm going to want to remember someday, and now I have the documentation to show that I was talking about hugging a Golden Girl way back in 2012.

I don't know if another opportunity like this will present itself again, so I'm content to bask in the glory of this year's trip for a little while more. But I do promise to quit blogging about it, rest assured! Well, there may be photos of the kids in their bright orange shirts after we go see The Lorax in the theater together this weekend, but other than that, I do believe my work here is done.

Starstruck and in love with Betty White,