Friday, October 31, 2008

It was spooky, but then came the movie deal

One of the Altadena haunted houses. Just a few years ago the paint was chipping, roof caving in, statuary pushed over and broken. I talked to a neighbor (he thought I was a location scout. I am! Susan Carrier told me I can be anything I want to be!). After landing haunted house cameos on the Ghost Whisperer and a couple of horror movies, the old hussy ran out for inplants, veneers, and a chemical peel. I miss the pre-botox charm; at least the landscape is still left to its own devices.

The neighbor said, "Tha woman wot lives inside is rolling in brass."

...ok, maybe he didn't say it quite that way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adam and Eve on a raft and sink 'em

I am now the official truck stop diner for the parrots of Altadena. They descend en masse at 8 a.m., promptly. Hundreds of them. Which is ok, because I need the business. What can I get cha, hun. Morning special? Camphor berries and a side of Eugenia. Juniper? Sorry hun, no substitutions. Watch your mouth. Next. Restrooms are on the first car to your left. TO YOUR LEFT, HUN, the one on the right is my ... oh, skip it.

They blend so well with the camphor leaves, you'd have no idea there are hundreds perched here. But hearing is believing. It sounds like a Hitchcock horror movie. Or a 12-year old girls' slumber party -- if the girls had a two-pack-a-day habit. Now, if you'll excuse me Hun, I have a couple more orders to place:

Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it!
One Dough well done with cow to cover!
Drag one through Georgia!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Life can be delish with a sunny disposish

Two top of line dogs at Boxer Rescue LA. This is a personal testimonial as I walked both this Sunday for an hour each. Perfect on leash, commands, with all other animals, people, children.

Shorty (who is not at all short) was given up by her family when they lost their home. Bit of a couch potato, she liked it best when we walked a mile or so to a shady area and stopped for a chat. She's the girl you'd want along for morning coffee and paper at an outdoor cafe.

Dicken is about a year old, but gorgeous and perfectly mannered -- which is remarkable for such a young boxer. Excellent companion for walking, jogging, or sitting down in the grass. Oh, he loved it when I took him to my secret grassy knoll. (Yes, and that's an actual boxer tail.)

Sorry for the out of frame pictures. It's hard with one hand on the leash and the other on the clicker. Impossible if they weren't so well behaved. For more info, here's the link:
Boxer Rescue

Friday, October 24, 2008

Get in line

Did you notice a change in me? You thought it was the way I did my hair, didn't you. But that's not it. Yesterday, I officially became a Huntington Gardens Debutante. You know this Huntington:

I, however, can now travel where mere mortals can't. Or I can just stop and smell the flowers, but I can do it hours earlier than you. Now everyone wants to be my friend. CO calls me the most popular girl in school; Laurie calls me cool (well, actually she called PA cool, but I think she meant me as well). And I didn't even have to put out or share my stash.

What's that you say -- Am I getting paid for this gig? Uh, excuse me, I think I hear my mother calling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Altadena Hardware Late Breaking News

Dateline: Altadena
You heard it here first. Or second, or fifth. Has been sold but not lost. Owners of 50+ years are leaving for Olympia Washington,

but store will remain. Purchased by Steve's Bikes, I think. (What do you want? I'm a bad listener; I got distracted by the hammer display.) Some remodel, but sounds like we'll still be able to buy just the right nail right around the corner. The former owners were great -- never even blinked when I asked for a Jenny screw.

And I hope we never lose the old signage.

and love will prevail

Ancient artifacts point to eating premises on this site. Well, why not a bistro? Seriously, get an espresso AND a furnace filter. Pourquoi the hell pas? Pita and paint. Ham and hoses.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An excuse for a picture I do not have

Dreams are, at best, only vaguely exhilarating or terrifying to those who dream them. I'm not talking about the life plan Iwantotbeagrandslamwinner Iwantotbeanastronaut kind of dreams, I mean the ones after you fall asleep. Still, what the hell, I'll forge ahead.

When I first quit my job, I had so many dreams about being in a car and lost. Circles, backing up, taking the wrong road, not recognizing the map. Once the car went up a hill and ran out of gas halfway, and I had to coast back to a freeway on- ramp. Sometimes I'd wake up from a nightmare but realize, of yes, I know how this seed was planted.

Then, in month two, the dreams got kinder. Tooling around, good views, pastures and such.

Last night I had a dream that I quit work and was driving home, down a very steep hill. In the distance, I saw a beautiful huge old building with towers (in my dream I said "edifice" but I really don't know what an edifice is). And the thought occurred, I've been driving this same road for many years and never ever noticed this building and the beauty of this building before. So I slowed down, then slowed down some more, and more, and the sky and the clouds and the building were so lovely, increasingly lovely.

Well, that's kind of it. There was a bit more -- maybe I said something weird that seemed profound at the time. Dreams are like that.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I love you, I hate you, I love you

There's no deus ex machina messing with my portfolio. Would it were, I'd have a chance. Wall Street is a bunch of bi-polar promiscuous 15 year olds who forgot where they left their condoms but decide to play anyway. I'm just sorry I wasted all that time learning about financial statements and PE's.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh PA, I've got your amphibian

Now if I can just keep his toes from falling off while he dries. I did him freehand, but with your picture (I don't mean your picture, you're not the least bit frog-like -- I mean the picture you drew) in front of me the whole time. Unfortunately I went rather large and half of his fingers are cut off, so he's a special needs toad. And just for clarification because I know how cruel people can be, that's grass and stuff underneath, not toad droppings. Or upon reflection, from this angle it kind of looks like a giant frog that's about to swoop down from the sky and terrorize a teepee village. He's also starting to look half rabbit on the backside. Better stop, breathed in too much clay dust, I'd wager.

(org. picture here

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soft landing

What can I say? It's that kind of a night. I like the tune.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rich man, poor man, beggerman, thief

"Today is Blog Action Day. .. bloggers were asked to write about poverty from the perspective of their individual blogs..." Blue Kitchen

Please visit his site, you won't regret it. His story is great.

Mine not so much. I left home at 16, but it was to go to university. I stayed for a year, then dropped out (or flunked, or almost flunked). And then life was kind of hand to mouth so to speak for a few years. But it was the ultimate lark. I felt so unencumbered and free, and most of my friends were unencumbered and free, except for a couple of those go-to friends. It's not without nostalgia I think about those times, especially recently, as we're all trying to hang on to what we've accumulated.

I remember five finger discounts on ground beef and liverwurst (not at the same time), and eating granola and washing it down with Pabst Blue Ribbon. We'd put a gallon of gas in the car and hope for the best. There may not have been money for a phone, but somehow we always found money for music. And then it was time to grow up, get a job, and go back to school.

Perhaps the thought I'm trying to write myself into is that we had no money, but we had it all -- or believed we did. And we also knew this particular kind of life was, for us, temporary. True poverty is seeing no options, no choices, no exit. Poverty in spirit is the most crushing of all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Theory of gross(ery) relativity

Ok, bear with me on this -- it will only take a minute. I bought a few items at Ralphs, including a bunch of asparagus. The checker must have stowed the asparagus in a separate bag -- separate from all the other vegetables for god knows what reason -- and I didn't notice. So I picked up one bag and not the elusive second. I get home and start looking for the asparagus.

Did it fall out in the car? no. Did a dog pluck it out? no. Did I, like, put it in the closet with my coat or something? I search everywhere, getting more and more furious. Finally I have to face the painful fact I'm financially and gastronomically out one bunch of asparagus.

And here is where Einstein comes in. Maybe we all lost 1/4 of our net worth last week in the stock market. One quarter of our life's blood is gone, but I can't quite comprehend the magnitude, the implication of such a loss.

Sadly, however, $3 in vegetables, that I understand.

(I could illustrate this post with a stunningly well lit plate of roasted asparagus sparkling with drops of butter and salt, but well, you know...yes we have no asparagus, we have no asparagus today.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the world is full of a number of things

I'm sure we should always be happy as kings. (RLS, I think.) Views from Lotusland today. You know, those two old parties a couple of snaps up are 400 years old. They think this market scare is oh so temporary and boring.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making do (do)

So, I'm reading lots of articles on how best to cut expenses during these tough economic times. And god knows, with only the occasional freelance bone thrown my way, cutting back is a necessity. It's a time for give and take, and here's my give:

1. Tighten your belt. No, I mean it, really tighten that belt on your waist, hard. Your stomach will stick out above and below, and you'll be so appalled you won't feel like eating.

2. Sell stuff. Old books, clothes, identities, blood.

3. Stop paying bills. I'm not an economics major, but do you know how much I saved by implementing this simple little step? Don't kick yourself; it's never too late.

4. Cut off the auto sprinklers and fire your gardener. Stick up a sign in the weeds that says "California Native Wildlife Sanctuary." Put an insignia on the sign so it looks like you won some kind of award.

5. Sleep with your dentist.

6. Only visit friends at dinnertime. Lest they turn the tables, always have your lights off and curtains drawn at dinnertime.

7. Threaten untold humiliations if anyone eats other than dry Quaker Oats for breakfast. Visual aids help. A sparkletts bottle full of change with the note: Take to Ralph's," for example.

8. Sleep with your veterinarian

9. Use the horse shit from the local stable as fertiziler and mulch. When neighbors hint at flies, tell them you've gone green.

10. Start a small business. Think supply and demand. A fly extermination service is one idea.

11. Sleep with your accountant

Monday, October 6, 2008

Exercising good judgement

I think the current crop of exercise blogs needs some solid marketing advice. First of all, everyone looks uncomfortable. Pinched smiles, teeth clenched. Those ropes of muscles running up the arms and thighs -- that's gotta hurt.

And speaking of ouch -- the clothes. As I take another spoon of my cookie dough ice cream, I narrow my eyes at the display of leotards and spandex -- it's retro, no? If I had an exercise blog, it would promote loose-fitting, well-ventilated clothing. Togas are one idea; and muumuu jogging. LYP would be our acronym: Liberate your pores.

100 reps of this, 100 reps of that -- who likes repetition? One push up, then move on to the one sit up. Now shake it loose. Maybe pause for a glass of Pinot. You can't underestimate the role relaxation plays in strenuous undertakings. Read your Dalai Lama.

I think the final thing I'd change would be the language. All that patronizing: "one more, you can do it. You've got the strength, looking good." I'd favor something a little more realistic, par example, "Give us a squat, lard ass." At least I'd know who they were talking to.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Let it rain

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wall Street Compost

At times like this, I do find my WSJ to be of great comfort. For those of you who pointedly avoid my lasagna garden posts, this is the backbone of my soil. Nothing, nothing, brings up the worms like my daily Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

color me something nice today

Life could be a dream, sweetheart