Archive | April, 2015

I’ve Found My Dream Home (And It Happens To Be Owned By Miranda Kerr)

21 Apr






Photos via Zillow

I am house hungry.

So, so house hungry.

I feel it somewhere deep inside of me, I think it’s the same place my heart once broke.  It’s buried and twisted in that hole, that me space, unable to be separated from my being.  It throbs.




I’ve heard of people being baby hungry–Googling images of diaper bags and going sappy over tiny shoes.  I’ve heard of people being dog hungry–trekking to the pet store and cuddling up to furry creatures.

I am house hungry.

I will sacrifice babies and dogs and my life’s blood just get me a house.




This feeling has been building, of course.  One does not simply wake up and decide, “Today I’ll spend six hours on Zillow scrolling through every listing in Malibu.  Today I’ll talk to my mother about the ins and outs of loans I’m nowhere near getting.”

It creeps up on you.

You don’t realize you’re in this deep.  You tell yourself it’s not so bad, it’s just a hobby, you can stop any time you want.




My current dream home happens to belong to Miranda Kerr.

Or Orlando Bloom.

I’m not really sure.

I do know that Miranda purchased the home, and that Orlando and Miranda are no longer together.  However, I also know that Orlando still lives in Malibu so I’m doing all sorts of guessing here.

I saw Orlando the other day.  I was on Malibu Pier waiting for a friend for brunch.  He walked towards me and it was the first time my life has ever gone in slow motion.  He tousled his long, curly hair in the sea breeze.  He casually held his neon yellow motorcycle helmet.  His leather pants crinkled with each step.


He got to me, looked me in the eye and half smiled.

I’ve spent every moment since recovering from/reliving the experience.




Orlando’s home is a white cottage overlooking the water.  It’s in my favorite Malibu area, one with a great neighborhood feel, but close enough to shops/yoga/burritos to feel like a small town.  There’s a porch for outdoor dinner parties.  A pool because I’ve realized all I really need life is my own patch of water.  There’s a fabulous living room with fabulous beams and all the fabulous white.  There’s a pool house for my one day Ryan Atwood.

There’s even a little detached gym.

That will be my library.  I will fill it with wall-to-wall bookshelves and find myself a rolling ladder.  I’ll store my fuzzy Dodger blanket and unattractive but highly comfortable pillows there.  I’ll write there.  I’ll read there.

There will be my favorite space.










The Where Would You Live Game

19 Apr


The Where Would You Live game goes like this.

You get to own three homes.  Where do you choose?

There aren’t any other rules.  You’re not limited to to specific countries or budgets or types of houses.

Three homes.  Yours.


I played this game with my friends recently, and it was quite fun to hear everyone’s answers.

Telling, too.

One of my friends confidently said she wanted a Mediterranean villa on a Greek island for travel purposes, a nice cabin in Park City for when she’s visiting family, and a fabulous apartment in some great city for wherever her fabulous job is.

“In my current state I don’t know or care where I want my main home to be.  I’m completely without direction,” she said.

One friend declared she wants “nothing to do with small towns.”

Another friend chose the three cities she fell in love with at first sight.

I came up with my homes without thought, really.  It wasn’t difficult.  I know where I want to be.

That’s a nice feeling.

A sense of place.

Lena Dunham says that about Eloise in her documentary It’s Me, Hilary.

Eloise has a sense of place.

It appears I do, too.  Or at least I’m gaining one.

My first home and my main residence is in Malibu, of course.

A white cottage overlooking the ocean with huge windows and a huge patio and a pool to soak in as the sun scatters into bits of color across the sky. A cozy sort of place always bursting with visitors and dinner parties, laughter and sunshine, westuits and paddleboards.

Malibu will be my community, my roots.  I’ll invest in the yearlong yoga pass.  I’ll have a breakfast burrito every day of the week.  I’ll do any and all author events at Bank of Books and I’ll be on a first-name basis with the tamale maker at the farmers market.

I’ll hike and surf and visit Pepperdine an abnormal amount for an adult long separated from her college days.

I’ll always be a bit sad when Memorial Day comes around and I pack my bags for my second home on Cape Cod.

Of course, once I’m on the Cape I’ll forget I was ever hesitant about coming.

My home on the Cape is another cottage, this one with shingles and history, this one in a walkable town. (Maybe Martha’s Vineyard?)  The town is key here, letting me enact all of my Dawson’s Creek/Gilmore Girl fantasies.  I want good oysters and good art galleries.  Clam bakes with the neighbors.  Sailboats and day trips around New England.

I want drive-in movies and quirky flea markets, protest corners and town hall meetings.

I want it all I want it all I want it all eesh I want it all so much I could almost live there full time.

And then I remember the winters and my white cottage by the sea in the land of perfect weather and I’ll think…

It’s better this way.

It’s better in smaller doses.

My final home is a thatched roof cottage in the English countryside where I disappear for three month stretches and write novels and go crazy and garden and wear Wellingtons and semi-flirt with the local pub owner over Sunday roasts. I’ll have a big fireplace and daydreams, walks through the fields and hefty novels that I read all at once and not at all and every time in between.

I’ll have simple living there, an existence without too much excitement, and  yet with all the excitement I’ve ever wanted.  I’ll drink endless amounts of tea and try my hand at endless amounts of baking.  I’ll journal and breathe in the country air and tell my younger self she did it.

She finally lived in her thatched roof English countryside house.

She finally fulfilled her destiny.

And then I’ll go back to Malibu, back to another cottage in another small town.

And then I’ll go back home.

And now it’s your turn.

Where are your three homes? Which is your main residence? Was it hard to come up with your answers?  Give me the juicy details, people!

What Are Rory Gilmore’s Exes Up To in 2015?

16 Apr



Rory Gilmore’s love life is a hotly debated topic, at least in the circles I’m a part of.  The boy you think is best for Rory, the boy you think is best for you, how much time you spend pondering these questions—well, it says a lot about a person.

At the end of Gilmore Girls, Rory walked off into the sunset single and ready to take on the world of journalism.  I like to picture her life now, sometimes.  I imagine she’s still working her way up the career ladder, the real world harder than she thought.  I imagine she and Lorelai are closer than ever and that she has a new half sibling or two she dotes on (maybe with sock puppets).

Occasionally I imagine the lives of the boys she once loved.

What are Dean, Jess and Logan up to in 2015?

Have any of them moved on?  How hung up are they on Rory’s bright mind and blue eyes?

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Dean Forester:



Oh dear Dean.  Dean still sports a bowl cut, I’m sorry to say.  He never realized his haircut was dated in high school, and he still doesn’t.  Dean still lives in Stars Hollow, too.  After Rory unceremoniously broke up with him at her birthday party, Dean drove to Lindsay’s, begged her to take him back, and in her bland, Lindsay way she said yes basically immediately.  Lindsay still makes him a pot roast every Sunday.  He still works at Doose’s, though he’s made his way up to the coveted assistant manager position. On Saturdays you can find him at Gypsy’s tinkering with cars, or hanging out with Kyle, his best bud from Stars Hollow High.  He and Lindsay have four children named Sophia, Emma, Jackson and Aiden, incidentally all in the top 10 current most popular names.

He calls out Rory’s name during sex only twice a year at this point.

Jess Mariano:



Jess, to the surprise of some who didn’t know him, none who knew him, found his calling in the literary world.  After writing three independent novels only a handful of people even knew about, Jess published his work of staggering genius, a coming-of-age tale we haven’t seen since Salinger himself.  Jess has been compared to the literary greats ever since, and while he says he dislikes it, he really relishes the praise.  Jess has become the poster child for a new generation of beatniks, but falls the way of Jack Kerouac before him.  He’s single, often finding himself using women for the stories they provide him, never quite able to attain inner peace.  He dedicated his Great Novel to Luke Daynes.

He and Rory catch up over lunch in the city once a year.

Logan Huntzberger:



Logan was made the head of Huntzberger Enterprises after Mitchum had a sudden and fatal heart attack during a board meeting gone wrong.  Logan was forced to move to New York and start his future prematurely, and he went kicking and screaming.  After nearly driving the company to the ground, Logan did what he always should have done—ceded control of the business to his sister, Honor.  He remains on the board of directors of Huntzberger Enterprises, but can’t be bothered to show up to any actual meetings.  Logan currently lives in London where his best friends are Prince Harry and Night Clubs.  Many fear he will never grow up.

He still drunk texts Rory every once in a while.  She’s always classy about it.

Urine Mints Man:

Rory’s only other date in the seven years we followed her life, a guy so bland we don’t remember his name, Urine Mints Man never quite recovered from his poor Rory date.  He’s become a dating and life coach and often tells the story of his fateful Rory interaction.

Hello Anna Quindlen

12 Apr


At the end of Anna Quindlen’s brilliant Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, there’s a conversation with Meryl Streep.

It’s thrown casually in the back, as though, oh yes, Anna is friends with Meryl and they discuss life and what it means to be a woman.  No big deal.

If I ever had a conversation with Meryl you best believe it’s my opener, in both my book and my life.

Hello.  My name is Jillian.  I once had a conversation with Meryl Streep how much can I tell you about it before you become uncomfortable on every level?

In this conversation, Meryl gives Anna the ultimate compliment:

You’re one of the few who is willing to stand up. You’re willing to stand up and say stuff about living, and what it costs, and what you pay down, and what you don’t ever get back. You know, all that stuff. You’re willing to talk about it. And that’s just a really brave thing. It is.

Writing can be, should be, brave.  Life can be and should be brave.  Talking about it in a real way is hard and vulnerable and people who do it well should be celebrated.

Celebrated with lots of candles and plenty of cake!

(Too far.)

Anna Quindlen makes me want to grow old.

She makes me want to get good at the job of life, something she says happens when you’ve been working at it for 50 years or so.  She makes me look forward to a future where frivolous concerns slip away, where what really matters is what really matters.

She makes want to write better, damn it.


It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.

There was a time I behaved as though I was the center of that universe. It was a good time, when I was young, and arrogant, and foolish, and eager, and terribly insecure and horribly insensible to others and not beholden to anyone else, without responsibility for houses or children or dogs or the cleanup after a disaster. I just like this time better.

Oh those little stories we tell ourselves.  They make us what we are, and, too often, what we’re not.  They are the ten commandment of incapability, cut to order.  I can’t cook.  I’m not smart.  I’m a bad driver. I’m no jock.  Maybe they’re even true.  It’s hard to tell at a certain point.  The little stories we tell ourselves become mythic, difficult if not impossible to discount or overcome.

It often seems, looking back, that the unexpected comes to define us, the paths we didn’t see coming and may have wandered down by mistake. The older we get the more willing we are to follow those, to surprise ourselves. After all, all we can do is fail, and failure loses so much of its sting over time.

The older we get, the more we understand that the women who know and love us–and love us despite what they know about us–are the joists that hold up the house of our existence. Everything depends on them.

Because we are so invested in youthful behavior, we have youthful illusions abetted by a culture that insists that the conversation, libido, interaction, attraction and relationship of two people who have been together for forty years should be more or less like that of two people who have been together for only a few months. This makes no sense, nor should it. What if I said that I still wrote in much the same way, about most of the same things, as I did when I was eighteen? What if my husband had developed no new techniques or strategies for trying a case after decades as a trial lawyer? That wouldn’t be seen as reassuring normative but as terrible.

You dream yourself a life of bits and fantasy and imaginings, like cotton candy, pink and mostly air. And then you have an actual life that has almost nothing to do with the cotton candy one.

That’s what makes life so hard for women, that instead of thinking that this is the way things are, we always think it’s the way we are.

Maybe that’s why we give advice, when we’re older, mostly to people who don’t want to hear it.  They can’t hear it because it’s in a different language, a language we learn over time, the language of experience cut with failure, triumph, and tedium…

There comes that moment when we finally know what matters and, perhaps more important, what doesn’t, when we see that all the life lessons came not from what we had but from who we loved, and from failures perhaps more than the successes.

I would tell my twenty-two-year-old self that what lasts are things so ordinary she may not even see them: family dinners, fair fights, phone calls, friends.  But of course the young woman I once was cannot hear me, not just because of time and space but because of the language, and the lessons, she has yet to learn.  It’s a miracle: somehow over time she learned them all just the same, by trial and error.

What comes next? Who knows? It’s a long story, the story of our lives–the friends, the families, the men, the jobs, the mistakes we made and the ones we avoided, the tedium, the drama. Some things I took a long time to figure out, and others I’ll never understand. All I can say for sure is that I want more.

Home Is

8 Apr


Home is purple mountain majesties.  Snowcapped mountains, usually, stealing my breath away, following me wherever I go.  Teaching me how to take something for granted.

Home is dry, cracked skin.  Hair that will listen to me.  That long, flattering mirror in the basement bathroom.  It’s malls and Targets and suburbia galore.

It’s I’ll be there in 15 minutes and meaning it.

Home is my mother in the kitchen, using her mixer loud enough to make everyone comment.  It’s my dad’s pull-up bar that he looks at as a reward.  It’s a cupboard full of casserole dishes, a rusty swing set, a strip of land we’re calling a garden next to the shack we called a tool shed.

Once, when my parents moved out of state, I asked if I could rent out the tool shed and live there.

Home is a wall of awkward family photos.  It’s a grand piano in a grand piano room, where we gather to sing songs.  It’s that corner behind the couches with homemade afghans we fight over.

Home is a half acre of land.  Its snowy drives and Sunday walks.  It’s scripture study mornings and prayers over every meal.  It’s ping pong tournaments and card games and laughing until the neighbors comment.

Home is a puzzle piece.

An art exhibit dedicated to my great grandfather.

A glass cake stand always filled with dessert.

Home is a house.

A feeling.

A place.


It’s the girl I was at 14 when I asked for bars in my window after Elizabeth Smart was taken.

Home is white shutters.

Home is curly hair.

Home is curved second toes and Christmas salsa.

Home is Handel’s Messiah all times of the year.

Home is love.

How have I not mentioned that?

Home is love

is love

is love.


Inspired by this writing prompt from Man Repeller.

We Write To Taste Life Twice

7 Apr


“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect,” Anaïs Nin said.

“Hold on to the things that make you enjoy being alive,” Kat, my yoga instructor said.

It was a foggy morning, my favorite in Malibu.  I love Malibu so much even the weather I don’t love is becoming my favorite.  I want my skies foggy and gloomy, deep and dramatic.

I forget that Malibu gives me that about half the day, half the times.

I don’t know why I’m talking about weather.  When I think of the hot yoga class and the sweat dripping off my toes and Kat imparting her wisdom, that’s what I think.  Outside it was overcast and gray.

Last night was one of the nights worth repeating,.

I write to taste life twice.

Last night was one of the nights that make me enjoy living.

I write because it makes me enjoy being alive.

My night took place in the corner classroom of an innocuous building at Pepperdine. I was on campus for a reading of a classmate’s script–me and my friends and a classroom full of undergraduate creative writing students.

I looked at the undergrads jealously, sad I didn’t pursue writing at their age.  I looked at the undergrads contentedly, glad I did what I did at their age.

Life is like that, I suppose.

We sat in a circle and read the script.  I played two parts, the two characters I liked best.  Hilary performed at the top of her game, bringing energy and life to everything she did.  The room lost time for a bit, gained a story.

Afterwards we gave notes and feedback on what we just read.  We debated a character’s arc. We argued feminism.  We discussed what type of actor could play what type of role.

Jake Gyllenhaal.

Josh Duhamel.

Young Hugh Jackman.

The class was dismissed.

My friends stayed after to talk some more.

On the way up the stairs we talked some more and then in the courtyard we talked some more and in the car we talked some more.

On our way to get Indian food we talked more, over garlic naan and mango lassis we talked more.  After dinner more, more, more.

I was so happy to be alive yesterday.  I was so happy to be telling stories and talking about stories.  To be reading scripts and playing pretend.  My voice was loud, my energy high, my people with me.

Gosh, I love what I do.

Gosh, I love my life.

I live in the most beautiful place in the world.  I get to do the most fun thing in the world.

Gosh I love it.  I want to taste it again.

I want to taste the gasp as the story took a turn.  The laugh as the script was funny.  The pride I had at my friends doing such good work.

I want to taste the Hyderabadi  lamb mixed with the saag.

I want to taste it all again and again.  I want this to be my life.

This is my life.

My youngest sister is a senior in high school and as she nears graduation I see this growing urgency.  “THESE ARE THE DAYS!” her friends post on social media.  “SOAK IT UP!” they say in their various ways.

I remember that feeling.  I remember that high school bubble where you see everyone you love every day of the week, where possibilities are endless, when hearts were whole and hopeful.

Indeed those were the days.

These are the days, too.

The days of Dodger games and day trips to Catalina.  The days of beach picnics and script readings and buying my own snorkeling set.

My transition to adulthood was tumultuous and hard.  I limped into my early 20s and barely crawled out.  I often felt trapped or in the wrong place, with the wrong person.

Someone recently asked me the best decision I ever made.

Choosing to write, I said.

Moving here, I said.

These are the days.

I want to taste them again and again.