Thanksgiving Misc. and The Leader of the Ashleys!

So it was Black Friday the other day, but so what? Darlings, just like I don’t need Halloween as an excuse to dress like a tramp, I don’t need Black Friday to shop like a maniac. As devoted readers of this blog know, I shop like a maniac all the time!

Who in their right mind would want to sit out in the cold waiting for Best Buy to open? Yoiks. I suppose maybe I would wait out in the cold–maybe even wake up at four AM for a really good sample sale–but only if it was a private editor-only sale, and you could score $2000 handbags for $50 like the old Fendi sample sales of yore.

This Thanksgiving I totally pulled a Hillary Swank. We all had to go around the table and say what we were thankful for this year and I said I was thankful for everyone in my family, naming everyone, and completely forgot to say I was thankful for my husband. Oops! Don’t worry we’re not headed for Splitsville.

I think I forgot to be thankful for my husband because I think of Mike as merely an extension of myself–and why would I be thankful for myself? We’ve been together for eleven years now. And he’s just as cute as he was when we first met. It’s reallllly unfair how men age so much better than women. He’s only getting more good-looking while I have to *fight* to look as good as I did yesterday. LOL.

Did I mention that we are on a crazy diet? It’s this diet delivery service that all the celebs use. It’s crazy because we have not eaten that little since we cannot even remember. You mean we can’t eat hot fudge sundaes every day and lose weight? We must survive on lettuce??

It’s funny because when we met we were a pair of skinny hipsters, you know the type–vintage clothes, Mike used to wear thriftstore polyester shirts with falling-off-his-hips-jeans, Converse Jack Purcells, cool plastic glasses, and I used to rock the whole ugly-old-dress-cut-to-thigh-length with patterned tights and platforms. Only young skinny people can wear such ugly clothes.

When you get older, you NEED the expensive designer clothes to hide all the imperfections.

But when you’re young and skinny and cute you can wear the ugliest things and it just looks…tres charmant.

Which is a long way of saying I do NOT wear vintage anymore. I don’t have the body for it anymore!


Thanksgiving was fun, but somewhat of a blur with the baby to feed
and take care of and my nephews rolling around the hallways causing
havoc. The most fun for me was right when the table was completely set.
I put out our good china–white with a platinum rim, the crystal, the
napkins, the centerpiece (enormous sunflowers), the tea light candles,
the silver (Mom’s wedding silver) in the formal dinner pattern–small fork,
big fork, plate, soup spoon, knife, little dessert spoon on top of
plate, coffee cup and saucer to the left, water and wine glasses to the
right.  When I was growing up the table was set like this every night
for dinner by the maids. So I had a bit of nostalgia as I looked at my table. (With name cards to boot!)

But back to business. Introducing Ashley #1: from THE ASHLEYS: Ashley "Diana" Spencer.


“Ahem. Miss Ashley. Your mother wants to remind you to take your EpiPen.”

“I will. God, she’s such a nag!” Ashley Spencer thanked the elderly butler who had been in her mother’s family for years and dismissed him from the kitchen with a nod. She rolled her eyes and stuffed the slim, silver needle for injecting the shot of epinephrine–the only thing that would keep her alive in case she even breathed nut aroma–into her puffy Fendi Moncler Spy Bag’s secret compartment in the handle, next to her strawberry-scented lipgloss.

Her mom was so Nazi about her allergy ever since she almost killed Ashley on her fourth birthday when the exquisite French chocolate cake she served at the party turned out to have had trace amounts of hazelnuts in the batter.

Since then, Ashley refrained from eating anything that wasn’t cooked for her by the Spencers’ gourmet chef. Her nut-free lunch was already prepared in a cute Japanese lunchbox that she’d found in Tokyo that summer. It was made of cool white plastic and decorated with bug-eyed anime characters. Tokyo was so eye-opening—the style there was tres unconventional, and Ashley had bought the lunchbox in an attempt to emulate the famous Harajuku girls. But now, looking at it, she briefly wondered if the lunchbox was a little too goofy and “sixth-grade” somehow, and made a mental note to find out if there were such things as Chanel thermos containers. 

She turned off the mirrored flat-screen TV that hung in the breakfast nook and left her cereal bowl and juice glass on the island counter for the maid to clean. The clock on the smooth, stainless-steel face on the Thermador oven told her it was five minutes to the first bell, but instead of dashing out the door she took her time, removing a breathstrip from her pocket and letting the gooey green film melt on her tongue while she gathered her things. She was supposed to be at the Fillmore Starbucks by now, and the other Ashleys were probably waiting, but she didn’t care. They could wait. As if they would walk to school without her, hello.

“How about a kiss?” her mother asked, coming out of her study and finding Ashley brushing her hair in front of the grand Louis Quinze mirror hanging in the main hall. “Did Darby remind you to pack your allergy kit?”

“For the hundredth time, yes mom. And careful with the hair,” Ashley ordered, putting her hairbrush away and allowing herself to be kissed on both cheeks and wrinkling her nose at her mother’s heavy patchouli perfume. Couldn’t Mom switch to something like Chanel No. 5? She gave her mother’s outfit a cool once-over. “I hope you’re not wearing that for this afternoon’s tea,” she said, letting the inflection in her voice tell her mother that wasn’t a good idea.

Matilda Spencer crossed her arms and gave her daughter a bemused look. “I’m not, but why, is there something wrong with it?”

“Mom, 1998 called, they want their jeans back. Could you please put on the new skinny jeans we bought at Saks on Saturday?”

Ashley shook her head. Her mother was the most beautiful woman she knew, and not just because they looked so eerily alike they could be sisters. The two of them had long, lustrous golden hair, clear cornflower-blue eyes and pale ivory skin without a hint of a freckle. If Mom was Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley was a younger, smoother version, both of them delicate blondes with enviably thin arms and speedy metabolisms.

But whereas Ashley was always red-carpet ready even when she was just going to school, finding numerous ways to accessorize her uniform—wearing thick black tights instead of the chunky socks she’d made so popular with the plaid skirt last year, finding high-heeled patent leather Mary Janes that fit the saddle-shoe requirement, and wearing James Perse t-shirts underneath the v-neck sweaters instead of the tidy Peter Pan-collared blouses, her mother stuck to a casual wardrobe of Peruvian hand-made knits, plastic Crocs, and jeans she’d owned since college at UC Berkley. Matilda never really cared too much about clothes. It was such a waste.

While she chastised her mom for her fashion sense, she heard her father come jogging down the stairs in a holey t-shirt and yoga pants, his guru following behind.

“Off to school precious?” he asked, doing sun salutations in the foyer while Bodhi helped balance him. “Ready for the new year? You know you’ll kick ass! Won’t she my love?” he asked, turning to his wife and giving her a kiss on the nose.

Her mother giggled and loped her arm around her husband’s, and for a frightening moment it looked like the two of them would actually start to make out in front of their daughter, but thankfully her father got distracted by his trainer and the cringe-worthy display of affection was averted. Ashley breathed a sigh of relief.

Seriously, parents could be so embarrassing. The Nob Hill Gazette once crowned her parents San Francisco’s ‘It Couple’ but that was a long time ago, before she was even born. They were such goofballs now, it was hard to imagine them as ever being so super-glamorous.

Ashley allowed herself to be hugged by the two of them and walked out the door, checking once again to make sure she had that anti-allergy shot in her purse. It made her feel better to know it was there, especially since almost no one knew about her condition and she liked to keep it that way.

No way in hell was she going to be dumped in with Cass Franklin, that freak who had to eat in her own screened-off quarantined section of the cafeteria, alienated from all the other kids. Ashley had pretended for so long that she liked living on nothing but yogurt and spelt bread and raw vegetables that she almost believed it.

She was Ashley Spencer, the undisputed, unshakable leader of the Ashleys. No one told her what she could and couldn’t eat.

Owning up to her allergy was admitting weakness. Seventh grade was a blackboard jungle. And Ashley Spencer made sure everyone marched to the beat of her own iPod.

NEXT UP… ASHLEY LI: The Over-Achieving Ashley!

THE ASHLEYS: In bookstores and online JANUARY 8, 2008!!!!!