Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Darling Lemontime

You like lemons? I've got lemons.

You don't like lemons? I've still got lemons.

And pomegranates. Strange that my notoriously under-achieving trees are suddenly fecund. Strange that I actually have cause to use the word fecund. Always wanted to, but the occasion never arose. Fecund equals fertile plus something vaguely lascivious, I think.

Yes? No?

In any case, worth pondering, while I peel another bucket of guavas.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Altadena Hiking

Ok, Blogger threatened to remove the "hiker" from my name if I failed to post a recent hike. Something I shoulda woulda been doing, except I hate both my cameras and rarely carry them.

So I fired up the mini-cam this morning. Good, good. But forgot to clean the lens. Bad, bad. I realized the error of my ways half-way back down the trail and licked the lens and rubbed it on my shirt. Your lucky day.

This is a nice trail, though not my favorite, as it's exposed to the sun and the elements. Best tackled when covered in fog or clouds. Today there were no clouds. But I like the old Mt. Wilson toll road, as it's wide enough to accommodate both bikers and hikers, so we don't get into squabbles over who stops and who goes, which of us owns eight of the 12-inches of trail.

My hiking etiquette -- when the trail narrows, those going down yield to whoever is going up. Those of us going up faster than the other uppers, pass when it's comfortable for them, so no one has to stop.

And this is just a bite, a nibble, of all the things I've come up with, over time. Life would be ever so pleasant if everybody played by my rules.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cat nip

Oh yeah, you look nice now -- with your head reclined, whiskers relaxed, sporting your little raspberry nose. But come 3 am, we know, we know.

That's when you'll wander the house like Lady MacBeth. Or no, actually, you'll sound like an extra in Doctor Zhivago, after the Bolsheviks killed your baby and burned the village.

You will sing an A flat minor, holding the note for what seems to be forever. Ewowoooow. Sometimes ending with a question mark: Ewoooow? Or an exclamation point: Ewooow! But most often just ending in an ellipses: Ewowow....Ewowow...etc.

What do you want? To go outside?

--No, are you crazy? There are coyotes out there.

Then are you hungry?

--No, not particularly.

Well, do you want to chase a ball or something?

--No, I want you to understand: It's 3 am, and my heart is filled with music, mystery, opera. What I must do is sing, what you must do is listen.

Ok, so we're going to burrow under the pillows and listen to your aria that way. No offense.

--In that case, I might have to bite your toes.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Candyland: The inside scoop

No one decorated their yard with severed legs, dismembered children, and Day of the Dead tableaux when I was growing up. We were lucky if neighbors remembered to put out a pumpkin.

Half the time, they didn't even bother to stick around. There'd just be a basket of candy on the porch with "Boo! From the Hendersons" scribbled across a piece of graph paper. As the basket held nothing but Smarties, the Hendersons often found an unpleasant return on their investment. But not from my quarter, I assure you.

Me and my friends, we never tricked. That would have taken both too much time and too much imagination. We didn't even bother with regulation costumes after the age of five. A little grease paint, a torn shirt, and we were good to pillage. Sugar. We wanted sugar, and nothing but sugar. Specifically, chocolate sugar. "Open wide for Chunkies!" (Which must be the creepiest ad slogan ever.) No time to chat, just in and out, done and done.

Most parents in the subdivisions spent Halloween watching Gunsmoke, and would answer the door feigning only the barest vestige of interest. But there was always that one house. That house where the grown-ups were way too excited, way too invested in the evening's entertainment. For whatever reason, they had passed through adolescence and teenagery into dotage, somehow blissfully unaware of Halloween's true purpose.

So these -- we'll call them "enthusiasts" -- had a yard decorated with some sort of children of the corn configuration. The mom dressed up as Morticia and the dad as a vampire. While the Addams Family theme played in the background, they'd greet us with a cauldron of Hi-C fruit punch and dry ice and say, "Come into our chamber, my pretties."

We had no choice, we had to go inside, they played bridge with our parents. Thus, we'd waste precious chocolate-accumulating minutes dipping our hands in a bowl of cold spaghetti labeled INTESTINES, peeled grapes labeled "EYE BALLS." We'd smile politely. "Oh, that was real spooky, Mrs. Johnston." And she'd wag her finger and say, "Mrs. Johnston? Who is this Mrs. Johnston you speak of? Gomez, Do you know a Mrs. Johnston?" Then Mr. Johnston would jump out from behind a door and flap his cape, "Cara mia!"

We felt greatly embarrassed on their behalf, and finally understood why their kids had taken up pot at such a tender age.

When we eventually escaped the clutches of Morticia and Gomez Johnston, I'm sure I wasn't the only kid to appreciate my own parents, whose Halloween lassitude suddenly seemed quite sophisticated.

Many of us lived in sugar-restricted homes and any candy we hadn't eaten along the way was confiscated as soon as we opened the front door.

Next spring, we'd set up a stand outside our house and sell the candy back to the original owners. But at a discount. And I suppose they handed it back to us the following fall. Who knows for how many years that went on. Some Dutch scientists recently proved that subatomic particles travel both backward and forward in time. Apparently the same principle applies to candy corn.