Saturday, February 21, 2015

A tale of two cities

...and one unincorporated town.

Sierra Madre

La Canada-Flintridge


A couple of years ago, I remember the County fined Altadena-indie-shop owners for putting out sandwich signs advertising craft stores and cafe menus. And charged other small businesses through the nose for CUP's and such.

You'd think the County would promote something quaint, charming, inviting. Support the indie-owners who in turn support others in the community for what they grow, sew, create, and sell.

But now I get it. Lice Matters.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Update on Big Bro

He's still alive and well. Shows up for food and water; he purrs, I stroke. We meet daily, on the front porch. And he brings me presents. I think he fancies himself a lizard-whisperer.

I don't want to hurt his feelings by saying the gifts are both totally inappropriate, and no longer listening.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shades of grey area

I never read Fifty Shades of Grey because it didn't sound like my cup of whatever. But here's what I won't do: Berate or shame anyone who enjoys this particular fantasy.

Because what we find erotic is so beyond our control; to change a sexual fantasy would be about as successful as trying to guide a night time dream. You'd never fall asleep. The whole thing is so singular, and only occasionally couples, successfully.

When someone doesn't wade in your pool of primordial ooze, well, it seems funny at best, and at worst...I had this boyfriend once, and thought I was falling in love. And he said, "Let's tell each other our sexual fantasies." And I said, giggle-giggle, "You go first."

When he finished his wish-list, I grabbed the car keys and said something to the effect of, "Don't you ever touch me again, you fucking pervert."

I suspect that sex is tied to the way we shot out of the womb, got the bum wiped, and blinked our way into the reality.

And then, later, lessons learned, taught by questionable teachers.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cleansing the palate

I stopped by the drugstore to pick up a bottle of Listerine, original recipe.

When I was a little girl, Listerine only came in one flavor, and in a glass bottle wrapped in brown paper. The manufacturer indicating, either as a warning or promise, one layer of glass alone might not contain the toxic fumes.

Today there are dozens of variations on the Draino/Pinesol-flavor theme. Minty? Really?

I'm rather with my parents on this one. I don't believe germs die unless they, and I-- by unwilling association, are having an unpleasant, painful experience.

Growing up, me and my friends were skinned knees and elbows just waiting to happen. Walking scabs, really. And while their parents treated the boo-boos with Bactine and other supposedly painless preparations, in our house we got Mercurochrome, which is basically iodine mixed with glass shards.

We didn't get the Ouch-less band aids either, but these weird kind of industrial type cloth things with superglue on the back end. Only now, in retrospect, I realize these were patches made to re-attach severed digits. Dad must have pilfered the contents of one of his factories to supply our personal First Aid Kit.

Because Dad was not above helping himself to freebies. He took business trips every month. We drank juice from Hilton tumblers, and could always grab a United Airlines pillow for a road trip. A businessman who traveled extensively, I'm sure he considered these as perks, akin to frequent flyer miles.

I had a friend who would take his grandmother out for a monthly dinner, and she'd clear anything not nailed down on the table. Put it in her purse. Salt and pepper shakers, condiment jars. "They expect you to take it, honey," she told us. Well, she was 80, and I've always respected my elders.

I had a brief life in crime. Shoplifting. Nothing big -- make-up, mainly; perfume, sunglasses. My biggest score was a Danish commemorative plate. $35 dollars. I gave it to my parents for their anniversary, and inherited the plate when my father died. It hangs at the entryway to my kitchen, today. And brings back more than a single memory.

Then, as abruptly as my life in crime started, it ended. When I turned 16. Not a conscious choice.

Remember? When all you ever craved at breakfast was Cap'n Crunch? The caramel goodness soaked in milk and snap. And then one day you woke up and realized you'd never crave it again.

Like that. Not a choice, at all.

A mystery. As most of life's enthusiasms. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Iris Murdoch

I thought I should read some Murdoch, so picked up The Sea, The Sea.(I'm a Lit Major, but a lazy one. For example, Re: War and Peace, I skipped the war bits, entirely.)

And like so many books, after a few pages, I tossed The Sea to the dungeon under the bed. Well, almost. Because in the tossing process, the book broke somewhere on the spine. Someone had pressed that spine so hard, it cracked open at page 85. Like a command.

I obeyed.

I have no idea what this passage alludes to, or how it moves the plot along, how it features in the machinations of the story. But if I believed in god, this would be my prayer.

(And what cheek, what gumption, I must have to edit Iris Murdoch. But cheek I have, and edit I did. Still, all the words are hers.)

I have feared the possibility of an overwhelmingly powerful pain-source in my life, and I have nursed myself so as not to suffer too much ... What a queer gamble our existence is. We decide to do A instead of B and then the two roads diverge utterly ... Only later one sees how much the fates differ. Yet what were the reasons for the choice. They may have been forgotten. Did one know what one was choosing? Certainly not. There are such chasms of might-have-beens in any human life.