My sister is taking her daughters to celebrate July 4th in our nation's capital,
which means a few days of dog-sitting at her lovely home deep in the OC.
Little did I know that during this visit I would finally have my long-awaited,
in-person, up close and personal Real Housewives of Orange County
encounter! But I'm getting ahead of myself...
This was the first sight that greeted us through the back slider.
OK, OK Riley, we'll play. But give us a few minutes to bond with
the humans here on this side of the glass!
Me and the nieces sat down for a quick game of Rummy with Nana.
Nana is a demon with those cards.
Look how she grabs them up with such competitive vigor.
Niece Courtney gets a bit miffed at Nana's latest calculated move.
Know this about Nana: just because you are her beloved grandchild,
she will never, EVER play easy on you. She's out for blood!
Racking up the points
Nana: "I win again. Who's in for another round?"
Me and the nieces: "No thanks.
We've had enough abuse for one day."
Chris smartly skipped the game and began bonding with Riley
My Nana (actually, she's my Mom) is quite the marvel. I won't betray her age here. I'll just say she was born somewhere between Roosevelt and Truman. Anyway, she's amazing. She still works at several jobs. She volunteers. She speaks three languages!
My Nana even knows how to tie a tie.
A MEN'S tie, as she adeptly displays in this photo.
She whipped this thing out in like 3 seconds. No problem!
Riley: "Are we going outside to play yet?"
Me: "OK, OK, Riley, but first I need to put my bag upstairs."
My niece tells me this message on her mirror is from the
movie Mean Girls. My nieces are not mean.
They are the sweetest girls on the planet. :-)
My nieces showed me this tiny hummingbird nest in their yard.
Only yesterday it had three tiny hummingbird eggs in it.
But then a hungry crow caught sight of it, and he ate them all.
That's sad. We went back inside where Paige had a reminder for me:
Paige: "Don't forget, you have to play with Chloe too while we're gone!"
Me: "Sheesh, yeah, I know. Dog-sitting can be alot of work!" :-)
As they would be participating in the largest July 4th celebration
in the country in DC, my sister and nieces did up their nails
in true patriotic fashion
They decided one more trip to the mall was indicated
before their final packing for DC. Naturally, I tagged along.
Going to the mall is big in the OC. In fact, we INVENTED the mall!
When South Coast Plaza was built in Orange County in the '60's,
it was the first true "mall" of it's kind, and the largest in the world.
Anyway, we asked Chris if he wanted to come along to the mall.
Chris: "No thanks. I'll stay here and monitor the dog situation
from this nice, comfortable MAN chair."
So, off to the mall we went.
The fire-hydrant is made of gold.
Only at the mall. Only in the OC.
Wind in the mall planters
We then went inside. I left my sister and niece inside a clothing store
and roamed around the mall on my own.
Ironic, I guess? Or not?
Somebody dropped their baby
For me, one of the highlights of a visit to the mall is always
a trip to the bookstore. Of course, there are no more bookstores
at the mall -- or anywhere. This is a drag.
I was happily surprised to find a book section at Restoration
Hardware, of all places. I rushed over.
Oh, boy. I know, I know. Irony and Sarcasm are "in." But still...
It's a fine line between irony and passive-aggression. Or just bad taste.
I left Restoration Hardware and headed towards Nordstrom. That's when I saw her.
I couldn't believe it. Here, where I'd least expected it (OK, OK, I guess it's where I'd MOST expect it) was an actual Real Housewife of Orange County! Heading right towards me!
Well, in truth it wasn't one of the ACTUAL housewives, it was Briana,
the daughter of the original and most notorious of all of the housewives: Vicki.
Briana, of the Real Housewives of Orange County
One sort of poignant thing about the Housewives franchise
is the way the children often suffer at the hands of the show and
the exploits of their moms. After all, the kids don't choose to be
on the show. And often, you can see the pain, suffering and
embarrassment in the faces of the kids.
Briana is one of the most down to earth and "normal"
people on the Housewives. She went to nursing school
and got a job as an RN at Hoag Hospital, where I was
hospitalized as a child. She then got married to a military
man, had a baby, and is now caring for her baby alone while
her husband serves in Afghanistan.
Briana, baby and husband
Anyway, back to the mall. I had my camera on me and I
prepared to snap a shot of Briana. But I just couldn't do it.
For many reasons. One, she's not a big publicity hound like
her Mom and the rest of the housewives. She's just trying to
live her life as normally as possible (or anyway, as normally
as possible when your Mom, and by extension, YOU,
are on the Real Housewives of Orange County.)
Also, I kinda felt sorry for her. She looked tired.
She's still pleasantly plump after having her baby,
and she looked like any other harried single mom
trying to push a stroller AND carry her several bags
from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Actually, the Bed, Bath and Beyond makes sense
because I read online that while she has been staying
with her crazy mom Vicki while her husband is in Afghanistan,
she's secured a place of her own and will be moving out soon.
Away from her mom, Vicki.
Vicki yelling at her daughter Briana in a Real Housewives episode.
Briana seems to be saying: "When does this nightmare end?"
So anyway, I didn't want to bug Briana. I did want to hug her and say "Hang in there with that crazy Mom of yours..." but I decided against that, too. I just let her walk on by in peace.
So, you see, even Real Housewives of Orange County have tough days. And I couldn't be more grateful for my real Mom and my real family.