Monday, December 29, 2008

2009

With so many things happening this year, good and bad, I'm happy to say good-bye to 2008. Not that I believe Thursday morning will be any different that any other Thursday morning, it's just a formality. Maybe this Thursday will be a bit different. We are planning to go camping to the beach and I'd love to wake up on a brand new year at the Rincon, our favorite spot. A twenty-five dollar spot with a million-dollar view.

Twenty O (insert number here). I've never liked the sound of that but somehow, Twenty ten slips easier off the tongue.; I'll have to wait one more year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cheers, it's Christmas time

Do you ever wonder how we get through the holidays? Vodka? Not so much these days but at the House of Moon though my darling and I did have a glass of wine last night. Wine is so versatile. Summer time, it's a cooler with ice and fruit while Winter evening it warms your body. So it seems a little glass of Old Vine Zin is helping me get through the season.

Not that I have a lot to do this year. I've cut way back. My baking consisted of decorated sugar cookies and one batch of peanut brittle. These items will be given to family and friends as my darling and I have absolutely no willpower. None.

So with a little extra time I'm sitting here thinking of my best Christmas ever and honestly, it's difficult to find one. I've been fortunate to have wonderful family and friends around me at the holidays and all year long. When I was six Santa brought me a red firetruck pedal car that I thought was the best. It had wooden ladders and a bell. I have no idea what happened to it as a few years later we moved to California and sold most everything before we left.

Much older, my darling bought me a little stuffed bear we'd seen in an antique store weeks before Christmas. It looked exactly like one of the only toys I still have from my childhood only bigger. He went back to the store the next week and wrapped it himself. Over the years he's given me more expensive gifts but that one stands out in my heart.

We no longer give gifts but that is by my choice. We usually take a trip, or buy something for the two of us and that's fine with me. You see, my darling husband, quite regularly, surprises me with flowers for no good reason other than to see me smile. I'll take those types of gifts any day.

Our tiny family will be celebrating together, all seven of us, and that will be the best present this year!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My downward facing dog is biting my ass



No, I did not get a new dog. Downward Facing Dog is a Yoga pose and I've added a photo of someone, other than me, doing it correctly. You see, this is one of those positions that is difficult for me to do correctly. Try as I might I'm still up on my tippy-toes.



Come to think of it I think the only one I can actually do semi-correctly is Child's Pose, though yet again, I can't seem to get my head to the ground. I'm thinking Yogi-masters have no boobs to get in the way. My instructor said to give it time, and I will since I'm way too much of a wimp to participate in the outdoor water aerobics class. Winter has finally come to Southern California and I don't care how much they heat the pool you still have to get out. Like I said, major in the wimp army, here.

Now my darling daughter has been Yoging around for a number of years and I never saw what she liked about it. Yes, now I'm a true believer. It is difficult but not impossible and quite a good stretching workout. Plus I feeling I'm strengthening some muscles and that's what us old broads need. Stronger "core" muscles keeps us from tipping over as we get older and I certainly don't want to do anymore falling. Let's not forget how much trouble my last tumble caused.

They do name their poses some odd but descriptive names: Tree, Cobra, Wind Relieving. Wind? Like the wind gently blowing your willowy tree like limbs around? No, it's the first thing you thought of. Get the wind out your body! Luckily we've never done this pose and thank you, the last thing I want to hear is the person next to me passing gas. Decorum, please.

There are two Yoga classes I attend and I love that each teacher has a different workout. Friday is what you'd think of as classic Yoga. The teacher dims the lights and we go through a number of poses and she gives the proper names. Then, at the end, she gives us my favorite, the Corpse and yes, you lay there like a dead body and relax. We even end the workout sitting cross-legged saying OOOOOOooooooommmmmmm.

Now Saturday morning, it's what I call Bootcamp Yoga. Just a little more strenuous stretching and faster. This wakes you up because it's at 6:45 am. and the teacher is relentless. I've noticed quite a bit more groaning in that class but I'm trying not to miss it because I come out feeling ready to get moving. I wish she taught this early every morning.

My generation, what ever you do as a workout regimen try a good set of Yoga stretches to start your day and maybe get rid of a little gas.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Only the lucky need apply

Monday started a week of calling a phone number each night to see if I needed to appear the next morning for jury duty. Yes, I remember I just finished four-plus month stint with the Grand Jury. It should have been six months but we got off for good behavior. I went as far as Monday night before getting the news, do come 37 miles and say, why don't you bring a good book with you. I should have packed a lunch the cafe was hideous.

Tuesday morning, before the orientation video was over, my name was called for a panel. "Go to the courtroom, and be quick about it. The judge doesn't like to be kept waiting." Unfortunately, he doesn't mind keeping jurors waiting and we sat for twenty minutes outside his court.

"This trial will be easy, two days and you're already here which leaves one more day for the trial. If I excuse you, you'll go back to the bullpen, likely get selected for a month long murder case. So, let's get started, said the judge." I was picked, interviewed, and accepted and he was correct; it only last two days.

To be honest, I wasn't troubled by this except for the fact I missed a day at the Getty. I'd never had the opportunity to decide guilt or innocence so it sounded interesting. This is your civic duty to serve and I'd like someone impartial if I ever have to go to trial.

The case was a young couple, with an ambulance chasing attorney and two sketchy doctors, suing for damages from an automobile accident three years ago. I'd like the Grand Jury to investigate these doctors, please. The big question for everyone deliberating: who only goes to the doctor once and the chiropractor six months? They never had a follow-up with the doctor, who was provided by the attorney, and had a number of MRIs that showed no damage. They even stated they both were fine.

Pain and suffering is a difficult to award. Some felt nothing while other felt they should get more. I was of the opinion the accident was not their fault. They did have the aggravation that comes with an soft tissue injuries and I'm sure the accident was scary. I never want to see my airbag deploy. The jury awarded them a much smaller amount than they asked for and I would have loved to be in the conversation with them and the attorney. The woman had quite a scowl when we walked out of the courtroom.

Cases such as these, and the woman who sued our insurance company, are opportunistic and down right dishonest and I was happy my fellow jurors felt the same was as I did. Now you may say, because we were sued, I had a grudge; far from that. As I heard about the accident I wanted this couple to get everything they needed to heal, which they did. But as the case progressed it was evident they went overboard on the extent of injuries they suffered and I can't help but think the attorney was behind this. On all the bills in evidence the attorney's name was under "responsible for bills".

I know there are accidents that do need an attorney because there are real and serious injuries but this wasn't one of them.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A rather Gay musical




This is so hysterical I had to watch it twice.

Get over yourselves, people.

I was told by a friend of the marriage of a gay co-worker of mine. I'd knew and worked with this young girl and she was sweet and smart and quite professional at her job. It wasn't until she introduced me to her partner did I realize she was gay. Guess what, she was still sweet and smart and professional. She and her partner had been together for a long time living as a couple. I was thrilled they had the chance to be married. Now with Prop 8 winning I'm not sure what will happen. What a shame!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crikey

Movie reviews should be left to the professionals. I do read them sometimes but what get's me to choke up eight bucks are the principals in the film or a recommendation from a trusted friend. Some I trust more than others. I do enjoy sitting in a large movie theater with other people watching the big screen. It's the communal story telling that brings me to the campfire.

For me to recommend a movie it doesn't have to be perfect, what is these days, but it needs to be entertaining. Australia, though way too long, did give me eight dollars worth of entertainment. If you can sit through this very long movie it does have some moments. It seems like a good old fashion western with good guys, and bad guys and Hugh Jackman.

It does touch on a horrible part of Australian history that, for the good of the child, removed Aboriginal children from their homes to "study" at a mission school. If you've seen Rabbit Proof Fence you'll know what their Stolen Generations went through. America was no better with removing our Native American children from the reservations to ship them off to boarding schools to learn the "American" ways. That meant death to their culture.

What I liked:
  • Hugh Jackman
  • the precious little Nullah
  • Hugh Jackman without a shirt
  • the cinematography
  • Hugh Jackman in a tux

What I didn't like:
  • Too much CGI for the broad cattle stampede (way too fake)
  • Too long
  • Not enough Hugh Jackman
  • Brian Brown's character was not developed, sadly. Hell, they had the time.
So if you are in need of seeing Hugh Jackman or maybe Nicole Kidman and you can sit for 165 minutes break loose with eight bucks and give it a try. I'd be interested in your review.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

File this under No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The day before Thanksgiving at the Getty last year was very busy. We could have used a few extra docents. I knew I'd be working from 1:30 - 5:30 so when the call for help came in I offered to come in at 10 and work all day. Rain dampened more than the streets resulting in a less than normal crowd. Not a problem, I gave two tours, saw an exhibit I'd been meaning to get to and had a nice lunch with friends; my glass is always half-full.

My generous friends covered my last half-hour so I could catch an earlier bus and I was at the northbound stop by 5:00. Great, it will take the bus 40 minutes to the Van Nuys Metrolink station and I'll get the train that gets into Simi by 7:00. That's when I normally get home on Wednesday evenings.

After I'd waited an hour for my bus--way too long--I noticed two of my buses go by on the freeway. Since the southbound bus goes to Westwood, turns around to become the northbound bus, I went back across the street to find out what was going on. The bus driver said the traffic was a nightmare because of an accident and I could ride with him until he turned around and came back. He'd then get on the freeway at Montana.

When I saw the traffic on Sunset I got off at Belagio and got back on the northbound bus only to inch along Sunset back to the Montana on-ramp. By this time I'd missed my last train home so I took the bus to Topanga Plaza rather than Van Nuys, much closer for my beloved to pick me up. I had an umbrella but it was too cold for my lightweight coat so by the time he came I was chilled to the bone. I finally got home at 9:30. I should have been home by 7:00.

Now the odd thing this morning, I couldn't find one word of the accident that caused all this mess. Silly me, I took the bus to avoid the traffic mess, ha!

With all of this, my glass is still half-full; though a bit water-logged. We had our family Thanksgiving last Saturday so I had no cooking to do today and could sleep in. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cats, go figure

I've never owned a cat so this is quite amazing to me. Dogs can be funny, too but cats seem to have some strange ideas and act on them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I love LA

For years my mom had a bridal shop in Thousand Oaks and most of her business was custom so that meant frequent trips to the Garment District in downtown Los Angeles. Since she didn't drive I would take her down during the week to buy fabric, sewing supplies, and whatever else she needed to send those brides, smiling, down the aisle. My daughter and sister were frequent flyers on these journeys and the prize for everyone one was a trip to Olivera Street for lunch.

Saturday the three of us, daughter lil bird, sister Doodles and I made the journey one more time. Lil bird heads down to that area quite often to either visit the flower market on Wall Street or Michael Levine's, a great fabric store. Walking in brought back so many memories it was hard not to see a portion of my life whiz by.

We also visited some bead stores so lil bird could find the goodies to build her aunt a necklace. She's gotten quite talented in making jewelry. The other mission was to find supplies for a crafty little project these two had been working on.

ML's is on Maple, as is a variey of small "jobbers" selling end lots of fabric, shoes, clothes, and just about anything else you'd want. By 10:oo am the street was packed with weekend shoppers with children in tow. Street vendors were cooking up their fare on makeshift stoves and though it smelled delicious we were saving our appetites for Phillipe's. Though that bowl of posole that passed us made us stop and inquire where it could be purchased.

The whole mood of the area was festive with music blaring from some stores and people chatting, in a variety of languages, and brightly colored merchandise pushed almost to the edge of the sidewalk. It was a feast for your senses.

We all decided we need some sitdown food so got the car and headed towards Chinatown. I do know this area and headed for Main St forgetting there was a planned march swirling around the protest of Prop 8 passing making it illegal for same sex to marry in California. Try as we did we could not get close to Phillipe's and after an hour of gridlocked traffic we headed home.

Why do we have a law to keep California taxpayers from getting married in this state? Why are we letting a church, any church, tell us what laws to have? Our founding fathers made sure there was a separation of church and state, what happened to that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keep bailing I think we're about to drown

Bail out the Big Three? Why? What have they done for the American consumer other than create gas guzzling cars no one needs. In 2002 we looked for an American made hybrid vehicle. We talked to Ford and Chevy and when do you suppose they would have one on the market and what were we told? Ah, we haven't got the bugs worked out, yet. Yet? Asian markets not only had the bugs worked out, they had them stomped into the ground. In 2003 we gave up and bought the Honda Hybrid.

We are now standing on the brink of a crisis in this country and the automakers are begging for their lives. Where were they when we wanted help with reducing our oil consumption or getting a handle on air pollution? I know where they were, those fat-cat bastards were spending their profits in huge salaries for their execs and not thinking about the future of this country. Their business model for making and selling cars isn't in step with the 21st century and keeping them afloat will only drag us down with them. Are we not still a free-market economy?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It is so true


There is really so much to say about last night but I do need to collect my thoughts. We invited sister and brother-outlaw over for dinner and to watch the returns. We also asked a friend to join us for dessert, her husband would be gone and I thought it would be fun to watch all the goings-on with other folks. Like minded folks such as us.

Now I'd planned this would not be settled until somewhere around midnight and I also was hesitant about the outcome. Boy was I wrong. The polls closed in California and immediately they announced Obama the winner. The mood was ebullient, cheerful and full of energy. When I called our daughter she was screaming, "Is it true?" Yes, lil bird, this is true, so very true.

When I talked of why I was voting for Obama it was never for the fact he was a black man. That never played into my decision. Just like I didn't vote for Hillary because she was a woman. I voted for the person that would give me the most change from what we have and deep in my heart I know it's him. When he spoke last night it gave me chills and made me feel prouder to be an American than I have in eight years. Made me feel like we can do anything. Economy in the toilet? Sure but we are moving on.

Does this mean the evil presidency of George Bush is over? Nope, not yet. Look what they have in store for us now. When will it end?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Whew!

Finally, a change!

Election 2008: my Voting Parlor

Thinking of long lines at the voting parlor my darling companion and I voted at 8:00 am. Our parlor is at the neighborhood grammar school a short walk away and we would have walked if the weather would have been better. There was rain on and off last night and the skies look threatening so we drove.

As we were walking from the car a woman came up to me to give me a No on 8 fliers. I told her to save it as both of us were voting no already. We chatted a bit about the outcome or whether this very Republican town we live in would vote it down. I asked her about people's tempers on this hot-button topic and said she told me about one man this morning who said "I voted against you!" And she replied, "On this issue yes, but we voted on a lot of things this morning and I bet we agreed on some of those issues." Love that answer.

There was a line for the second half of the alphabet but husband and I just walked up to our section with no wait. I believe after work hours will be more hectic but that shouldn't deter anyone, hopefully. Being in California we feel things are decided before we even get out to vote but I take voting seriously and want my counted. You never know how close it will be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Your vote counts!

The following is a quote from ABC news blog.

"Obama was not yet in the Senate when Congress voted to authorize the use of force in the fall of 2002. But he spoke out against it as a Senate candidate that year."

Obama came out against the war at the same time, and for the same reasons, I felt it was wrong. We needed strength in Afghanistan, that's where the terrorists were. The witch hunt to Iraq was Cheney, Wolfowitz and the other war criminals. Wolfowitz was the mastermind behind the first Gulf War and for some reason, couldn't wait to go back and finish Iraq off.

Before we went into Iraq someone told me the administration didn't care what or why just wanted to cause unrest in that part of the world. Could it have been that simple? I thought them crazy for that statement but now think they could not have been more right.

So if I only had one reason, I have many more but this one reason--the quote above--is enough for me to desire Obama to be our next president. I hope you will make your voting decision based on the facts; FactCheck.org is priceless in a time of indecision.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Princess Pooh?

Cleverly disguised as Winnie the Pooh, our princess paid us a visit Halloween night. She was not real sure about all this and had just woke up from a nap, to boot.

She did eventually get happier but I'd love to know what was going through that little brain when we took her to the neighbors house complete with scary music and flashing lights. She never lost sight of mom and dad but really scrutinized all the decorations and people in costumes.

We loved Mommy and Daddy for bringing her by to show off her costume.

After they left we had a stream of little, and not so little, trick or treaters come to our door. One tyke, so adorable I had to comment on his costume, left the door yelling, "Hey, her liked my dinosaur and look what she gave me!" I'm always so pleased when the kids say thanks and most this year said, Happy Halloween.

Her had a good time, too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

His later years

Just in case you haven't gotten a costume for your pooch, yet. This made me do a "spit-take" with my morning tea.

Clever folks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reasons to vote for Obama

This country has got to get as far from George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz and Tim Griffen as we possibly can. If you have the time just check out some of the dirty politics these folks have rained down on this country. Proud to be an American? Not until we get rid of this gang. I truly believe they could be tried as war criminals. And is we don't boot them out we are responsible.

Listen, I'm not stupid enough to think every thing either candidate promises will ever happen. So why vote for either one? Mc Cain changed his core values to become the nominee and will stop at nothing to get elected. Check this new smear ad from Mc Cain: A License to Kill.

Mc Cain was:
  • Big supporter of the War in Iraq
  • Broke with administration about war strategy
  • Lead charge against Abu Grabe Prision scandal and Rumsfeld (another war criminal)
  • Lead legislation to change policy on torture
  • Was against Bush's tax cuts
Because Mc Cain was determined to be president nominee he then:
  • Became supporter of Bush's tax cuts
  • Agreed with administration plan to let CIA use tougher interrogation techniques than the military
  • Hired Karl Rove's henchmen to run his final campaign. The very people who ran the smear campaign in the south when he was running against Bush for the Rep. nomination; the very same people
After all of the above, if you don't think John Mc Cain is tied to the current administration and their henchmen, I give up. I've tried and you might just deserve the horrible state this country will be in with another four years of the past coming up to bite us on the ass. Just wait, it will only get worse.

One of Obama's shinning qualities for me? He had many but he taught Constituinal Law, he knows the importance of the Consitution and possible won't use it as a desk blotter.

Fact Check, a great resource for correct information. Also a wonderful presentation on Frontline, The Choice.

Get out there and VOTE!

Monday, October 27, 2008

We're ready for our close-up, Mr DeMille

The Princess and her entourage and lil' Ethan and his fellow Bruins finally met. The arranged meeting took place on Saturday and the Pumpkin Patch never had so many photographers. There were pumpkins of all sizes, hay, and a few snacks. All in all everyone had a fine time. Thanks to the managers of the Patch, my sister and brother-outlaw, Mr and Mrs Doodles. Check their site for more snaps of the kiddies.

Next year there will be at least one additional tot. Princess' Auntie is with child and should add to the family in April. Seeing how big she is at five months we figure, boy or girl, the baby will be 24 inches at birth.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Not all milk and cookies with grandma anymore


Let's hope the economy doesn't get this bad.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Not feeling unwanted here

As you know, I've just finished four and a half lovely months of Grand Jury duty, just finished. Yesterday I received a jury summons for my county court. I'm must be on a list somewhere. Lucky me I don't have to go until Dec 1 and I've never sat on a trial so let's see if my luck holds out. I was looking for something to do with my Fridays.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pilates: the Huns strike back

If you are a sedentary desk potato, such as myself, you most likely have not heard of Pilate's. Just to clarify the pronunciation; replace the "s" with a "z". It's an exercises regimen designed by a German in the early 20th century. Done correctly it uses slow deliberate body movements and controlled breathing to strenghten the bodies core muscles.

Slow exercising? Sounds like something I could do. I like slow. I have a body that could use core muscle tone. Why not? Boy, was I wrong. After one session at my local gym my muscles were reduced to a large quivering mass. Sliding behind the wheel to drive home was a challenge and I prayed I wouldn't have to use my arms for any quick defensive driving movements. Holy cat!

About half the class could keep up with each exercises with meant this stuff really works or they already were fit and just like to show off. Before the class a woman did a headstand while waiting. It must be some sort of stretch, and she could have just been showing off, but it was impressive. The other half was struggling like me so I felt right at home.

When I kissed my husband good night I warned him I might not be the same woman in the morning and I was right. This morning each step reminded me of how out of shape I'd gotten. This is after walking all summer, giving tours at the Getty Center, and two months of water aerobics. I have to hand it to this instructor, she's good. There were no muscles groups untouched by pain.

Will I go back? Sure, if one session can work the muscles that much there must be some benefit and who knows, I may be able to do a headstand next month. Yeah, right.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lights, camera; ACTION

Editor's note: This procedure has been postponed until next Tuesday, the 28th. I wonder if they know how disturbing this is to patients; getting all psyched up for nothing.

Dang, just when you thought it was safe and I'd gotten away from the doctors, mine reminded me I promised to have an Endoscopy this year. When I called to schedule they had an opening on Tuesday. Tuesday? Holy Cats, if I'd really needed something I wouldn't have gotten an appointment until next January.

Now the word, Endoscopy, sounds like it's going in, well, your end but thankfully it isn't. All I need do is don't eat after midnight and they'll poke a camera down my throat and into my stomach. Yuck, I don't even like going to the dentist for that reason; all that stuff in your mouth. I'll post the picture, maybe make them my holiday card if they aren't too gruesome.

For those concerned, I'm having this test so hopefully I can get off some medicine I've been taking. I think I'm healed but the doctor wants to actually have a "look-see"; his words, not mine.

Am I scared? Shoot, I've got money in the stock market what else could be so frightening.



Surgery on my elbow?

Not for now. I have been working on alternatives for my tennis elbow and though getting a cortisone shot does work, it really does nothing to correct the problem. If you'll remember, I said I was far from a believer in Acupuncture. I mean, really, part of the word is "puncture" for god's sake. The only other time I use "puncture" is to talk about something making my tire flat.

Pain makes us do odd things so I found a Acupuncturist and though I had doubts, gave him a try. My insurance, using some strange insurance wisdom, doesn't cover anything such as this. No, they'd rather spend thousands for surgery and then more on six weeks or so of therapy to help me get over the surgery. Where is the sense? After one visit to Dr. Needles and Pins I felt better and after three, I couldn't say I was cured, but I felt enough relief to cancel any plans for conventional surgery.

Why or how does it work? Hell if I know nor do I care if he'd held a dead chicken over me and set fire to something; I just know the morning after the first treatment I awoke with no swelling. No swelling. It had been swollen for months. Months of physical therapy, which was doing no good at all, and the insurance company will gladly pay for. Months of taking medicine for the pain. Months of ice.

Does it still hurt? Yes, it is stiff when I don't use it. I probably could have taken a few more treatments but felt the cost was prohibitive. Like I said, a little stiffness that can be rubbed out is not too much for me to handle. At some time will I go back? Yes. An emphatic, YES! If it gets bad again. For now, I'll wait. But I might have convinced my darling companion to have Dr Needles and Pins look at his back. Now that, would be amazing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Help a sister

My banner is pink this month to remind everyone the need for early detection for breast cancer. Check out the Susan B. Koman site for the facts. Our darling friend is fighting this horrible disease right now and our thoughts are always with her. Donations help but help yourself, too. Schedule your mammogram today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tolerance trumps torture

This is a great ad; watch it.

Someone, please explain how the gay couple next door getting married will threaten my marriage. Don't we have bigger things to worry about? Maybe like getting this damn current administration out of office and possibly saving this country of ours?

When I think about what I want to leave future generations it would be tolerance over torture any day.

Editor's note: The couple next door are not gay. This was used as an example for a normal neighborhood. Actually, both neighbors are happily married with children something we want all our human friends to have a shot at, so vote No on Prop 8.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What to do on Fridays

Once a week for the past fifteen weeks I've been getting on the Metrolink and heading for downtown Los Angeles. Friday this was officially over. Oh, I can still get on the Metrolink and head downtown but the government wont subsidize the trip. I met some interesting people, learned some scary facts about the criminals in California, and had a near-life changing experience. All in all it was worth it. I paid attention to each case because I felt I was there to protect the citizen they were trying to take to trial. I hope I'm never on the other side.

Now, I have Fridays free to do what I want. Of course with the crappy economy I might want to go back to work. If I did I would find something on the train line because I still think it's the best way to go. We need to increase our ridership on public transportation where we can and it would be a second tragedy if people stopped riding because of the accident.

It's been a month since the wreck and I can't say I didn't think about it each time I boarded the train but people go on. Because our last court sessions were shorter I didn't have the opportunity to ride the 111 home and that worried me. Was I afraid? Friday I stayed with a friend from court and had a farewell lunch then walked to Union Station and caught the 111 home. It's good to know things about yourself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Growing up

My chica was 18 when she left for college and pretty much never came back for any length at all. Oh, there was those few months when she started law school but found the commute too long and got an apartment close to campus. When this happens they transform into the greatest adults. It's like I have two daughters, one always in my memory and one as an adult friend I'm glad to know.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Pull your head out, sir

Hindsight is looking back out through your keister.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wake up, folks it's time to decide

Tom Friedman, an author and journalist, has a new book out, Hot, Flat, and Crowded. This is about two problems, American's and the world's. I've read some of his articles in the NY Times and hear him interviewed, he's a regular on Imus. He said something that resonated with me about taxes.

If someone tells you they don't want any new taxes just remind them how many billions of dollars they pay now to foreign governments and that he'd rather pay taxes in the U.S. to go to schools, and technology and roads. We already pay through the nose in the form of gas prices to the Saudis and loans to China. While they get rich our country gets poorer.

We need an administration that actually wants change and we need it now more than any time in the past. Listen to Obama, hear what he has to say. If you agree we need to reduce health care costs, and help working middle-class families, and end this idiotic war in Iraq responsibly then vote for Obama.

Register and vote, there are 26 days left.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Is it over; yet?

When you get a string of bad luck how do you know when it's over? Last week my darling companion was tripping over his string. First, his truck started backfiring and running real bad. Hmmm, no time right now, so he pulls out the '65 Mustang. Then, the Mustang has a problem. Isolating the problem, he finds a bad alternator. Fixes that. Next day, fixes truck. All cars; now running.

That evening we decide to go out to dinner. "Hey, I'm tired why don't you drive," he says. While driving to the restaurant, no more than two miles, all four of us in the car felt something "pop". I pulled to the curb, all got out for the inspection. Hmmm, no flat, on to dinner. When we got to our stop we noticed I'd run over a huge bolt and it was now firmly stuck in my rear tire. Next day off to Costco; two new tires.

Sunday evening, as I was cleaning up after a quite successful reception at our house, I flipped on the garbage disposal. Grind, grind, grind, nothing; smoke. Next day trip to Sears; new unit.

Monday my beloved had his second three month checkup for bladder cancer. With his current string of bad luck I was more nervous than normal. String broken; no cancer.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sending sweet notes

In 2006 we lost a wonderful lady and a good friend, Sue Christensen. For her birthday it is her family's request to honor her in some way. In the past, we've launched pink balloons skyward with birthday wishes but this October 3 was Friday and I knew I'd be in court down town LA. I racked my brain for someway to celebrate her special day and when walking through Olvera Street, on my way to the train, I found the perfect tribute.

Olvera Street has a few street musicians, wondering minstrels playing guitars. Actually they are old guys that have been there since I was a kid. They will take requests and I knew they always congregated at the corner restaurant by the plaza. On my way, I found a charming old guy with what looked like a home-made harp. He assured me he knew the song and started. Well, birthdays always draw a crowd and by the time he finished people were smiling and clapping.

Nothing better; happy birthday sung in English and Spanish played on a harp for an angel.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wake up and smell your money burning


Since I seem to have a tenuous grip on reality right now, let's talk politics. First, this is a nasty-assed campaign. We all knew that but throw in a financial catastrophe, such as bailing out AIG, and you have more mud being slapped around than Hurricane Ike. All I gotta say is anything but four more years of the Bush/Cheney regime and that includes McCain.

This is how bad John McCain wants to be president. He hired the same monkeys responsible for smearing his family in the 2000 election. Then, in 2004, there was this moment when McCain must have gotten the "kiss". It's ok, pardner, we'll take care of you in four years, your time is coming.

Now look at the big mess with big businesses. These fat cats have been on easy street for the last eight years and now we're going to bail them out? What about the money they raped from their respective companies in obscene bonuses? What about McCain's financial advisers? Carly Fiorina, when she was booted from Hewlet Packard, after a brutal five year stint, she left with 21 million and stock options. Twenty one million? Does this seem right?

Wake up, folks. McCain is a particularly suspect Republican. He opposed the Bush tax cuts. He has admitted that the economy isn't his strong suit. He's doesn't have an instinctive grasp of how to talk about many of the biggest economic issues. So he's chosen Fiornina to answer for him.

Project Vote Smart is a great website even if you only use it to find who your elected official is in Congress and contact them. Don't know who represents you? Click this link, find your lying fat-bastard in Washington, and send them a note.

When Clinton left office we had money. Read FactCheck.org. I'm sure it wasn't as much as they said but the answer to both these questions:
  • During the Clinton administration was the federal budget balanced?
  • Was the federal deficit erased?
That would be a resounding, YES.

In the almost eight years since is your financial position as secure as it was?

What about a draining, unnecessary war that will continue until your children are paying for it, is that working for ya?

If not, get your monkey-ass out there and vote.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Train one eleven: one week later

This is a continuation of my thoughts about the Metrolink train crash on September 12, 2008. I'm using this blog to sort out my feelings because I really don't like talking about that day.

When you are called on to deal with things beyond your control it's important to have a few things:
  • Supporting family
  • Good friends
  • A sense of humor
I've spent the last week dealing with a lot of different emotions and today, as I boarded the Metrolink for LA, I felt I wasn't doing it alone. All week people told me how lucky I was to have not been on train 111. What I've decided is fate kept me off that train and my real luck is to have all three of the necessities above.

My husband was beyond patient with me even after I forgot and burned the kettle dry on the stove. Plastic may be a miracle product but that handle produced some wicked smoke.

The mood at the Simi Metrolink Station was quiet this morning. The remnants of the impromptu memorials, still there, caused a few tears and the ride did not have it's usual Friday joviality. When we passed the accident spot it seemed as if we were going slower than normal and well we should, that's now hallowed ground and there was no talking as we drove into the Chatsworth Station just beyond.

My court date was the lightest we'd ever had and we were released by 11:00 am. This meant I'd be waiting two hours to get the 109 train. I chose to go shopping for my husbands birthday and used my time wisely. Since I've not taken that early of a train before I couldn't say if it were the normal amount of travelers with only a handful getting off in Simi. Not like the 111, the next train, where maybe forty or so disembark there.

The conductor, someone I recognized, was understandably not her cheerful self. She always jokes with people she knows and says hi to everyone else as she makes her way through the cars. Friday she seemed to be as somber as expected for only a week after the accident. The day of the wreck she was on the 113 with me but not working, just heading home and was put off the train in Northridge with the rest of us. Today, as she walked passed me, she nodded and wished me a good weekend. I asked her how she was doing. "Better, she said, but it's been a long week." You could hear the sadness in her voice; see the anguish in her eyes. Then, with a half smile she said, "See you later."

With time, you get better about talking of such things but I still won't talk about it in public. This is a small, big town and I'd hate to have someone, having lost a loved one, over hear how lucky I was to have missed the 111 train.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Train one eleven: day seven

This is a continuation of my thoughts about the Metrolink train crash on September 12, 2008. I'm using this blog to sort out my feelings because I really don't like talking about that day.

Would you want to know in advance the day you die? I don't think so, that's too creepy for me but in retrospect do you want to know the day you don't?

Many questions haunt me but the biggest is why do I feel guilty? By some quirk of fate I wasn't on train. That alone should make me the happiest person right now but how can you be happy when someone else died or was injured in your place. If I were looking at it from another persons' prospective I'd be elated my loved one wasn't on that train. More than once I've started to go to the Simi station. I'd like to put a candle, or flowers, or a note at the spontaneous memorials that have appeared but I couldn't tell someone grieving: I was one of the lucky ones.

Time has a way of creating a foggy distance from things horrible and this will be the case here. I am sleeping better, less nightmares, and I'm not reliving each moment of last Friday in my mind. I have the support of loving and caring friends and family and writing about my feelings is somewhat helpful.

Friday I plan to board the train in Simi, if it's running, head downtown and when I'm done for the day, take whatever train is available. If that means the 111 I hope I'm able to make that step through the doors.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One eleven: day five

This is a continuation of my thoughts about the Metrolink train crash on September 12, 2008

The 113 train is usually in the station early but I took a slow leisurely walk to the platform stopping to use the lady's room and buy a snack. The train was waiting, I punched my ticket and got on board. The first week I started taking the train a young engineering student told me never to sit in the first car. Go to the back of the train because if there were a wreck those are where the worst injuries are. Counting back three cars I climbed on board and went upstairs where it's less crowded. I usually set in the middle of the train, it seems quieter there, and settled in for the hour-long trip home.

As I remember, we'd only left our second stop, Glendale when people behind me started to chatter about something wrong past the Chatsworth station, one stop before I get off. There were groans and speculation of a car or person or something else to slow us down; we never thought it was so serious. Five minutes later passengers started getting text and phone calls about the accident. Since there aren't timed tickets it isn't uncommon to catch a later or earlier train and friends and family were calling. Seems there was an accident before the first tunnel.

Since I do take that train I quickly called and left a message for my husband; "I'm not on that train, repeat, NOT ON THAT TRAIN." The last thing I wanted was for him to worry. He called me to say he'd heard there were a few fatalities and asked where to pick me up. By this time we were stopped in Van Nuys station and Metrolink was trying to figure out what to do with us. I told him I'd call but not to worry, I'd make it home or at least get closer. They did leave us all off at Northridge, the next stop, and then the train headed back to Union Station.

When we disembarked the conductor announced there would be buses to take us to our final stop. This was a full train as, unlike the 111 that only goes to Moorpark, it goes as far as Montalvo in Ventura. I knew if I could just get the the Chatsworth station there was a Simi Valley city bus that had a regular route back to my Metrolink station, and my car. After an hour of waiting for a bus I jumped on a city bus and headed out to Chatsworth.

The Chatsworth station is only about three miles from the accident and all of the streets and off ramps near it were closed to traffic leaving our poor bus driver at a loss. He had no instruction at all so when we got close me and another man got off the bus and walked the other mile to the station. I have never in my life seen so many emergency vehicles, including helicopters. At one time I counted seven over the crash site though I'm sure some might belong to news stations.

Finally at the station there were a few Metrolink employees and harried though they were could give me info on the Simi Valley bus. They assured me it would be here and if not, they'd have a cab take me home. I would not need a cab. If the bus couldn't make it in I'd just wait until my husband could pick me up. I was already feeling quite lucky to be alive at that point. My bus made it in and out and took me safely to my car at the Simi station. It was a long and trying day for me but nothing like the rescuers or the people left injured on the train or the families left waiting and wondering about their loved ones; not to mention the ones never returning.

to be continued …

Monday, September 15, 2008

One eleven: day four

My first concern is with all the families involved in this mess and that includes the family of the Metrolink train 111 since the spotlight is now shinning on him. Metrolink was premature to make the statement he was to blame. It's so easy to blame someone when they're gone. The official that made the statement resigned this morning and we all know, emotions can make us say things we shouldn't.

Also, forgive me if I go on for a while about this. I'm trying so desperately to organize my thoughts and figure out why I'm alive and unhurt today.

Downtown Los Angeles, for the past eleven weeks, has been my destination on Fridays and until four days ago I could not have loved it more. I would board the 6:53 am 104 train in Simi Valley and ride fifty minutes or so to the last stop, Union Station. A short ten minute walk to the court house then repeat those steps to come home. The coming home time and train could be different but for six out of the last ten weeks it was train 111.

Friday at court was an odd day to start with. Everyone seems to be less than attentive and would drift in and out, so much so that the secretary had a stern message about not leaving the courtroom until we had an official break and if anyone was not here, we would wait until the whole jury was back in the room before going on. He wanted to go home as much as the next person but we had to abide by the rules, even if it kept us there until 4:00 pm! When we were finally released I looked at the clock; 3:35 that meant the 111 was just pulling out of the station. I'd grab the next train at 4:26 and be home by 5:30; looks like we'll be going out to dinner tonight.

to be continued …

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One eleven

Commuting should not be dangerous. Sky-diving is dangerous. Wrestling alligators is dangerous. Coming home from work should not be life-threatening.

Yesterday is still a blur in my mind. I travel to downtown LA on Fridays and always take the train, always. This Friday morning my train seemed light; must be summer vacations are just a distant memory.

I was hoping for an early day so I could be home to cook dinner. My darling companion always insists we eat out but I wanted something a bit healthier for tonight. If I could get the 111 train back to Simi Valley life would be great. I missed the 111 and caught the 113, a short fifty minutes later, and for me life is still, well, life. Not so for a number of my fellow commuters that did make the 111. At 4:23 it hit, head on, a fast moving freight less than ten minutes from my stop.

Every news site has photos and I've searched the photos for people I recognized. Not knowing their names doesn't mean I don't know them. Was the lady who rides her bike to the station then takes the bike with her to Chatsworth and rides to work OK? I just spoke with her before we boarded the train in the morning. We laughed about the dangers of riding with crazy drivers. What about the young girl training to be a makeup artist or the many others I've seen and talked with?

I won't even go into why I wasn't on that train. I may never understand that.

Update: Though it deeply saddens me, here is a list of the fatalities from Friday's accident, especially when the latest news is the engineer might have been texting right before the crash.

Passenger fatalities on train 111

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's dat clinkin' noise?

As mentioned in a previous post, my beloved is in a fence building frenzy. So, along with the neighbors in back of us, he is plotting a new fence. We really need a new one there, as well.

The previous seven neighbors were all too cheap to go together for the building cost so Dan just put up wood attached to an existing chain link fence. Not the best solution but it did last quite a long time. Through the years and a variety of owners, with children, the chain link has started to lean. The neighbors to the rear are at the top of our more than 45 degree slope.

Because he had already rented a dumpster to dispose of the first old fence Dan, at the same time, tore down the rear fence as well. Funny thing, now we can see our neighbors since neither they or us have any bushes between and this did cause another problem. They have pets. The dog, though a large bulky Chow,it only stare menacingly at Buddy our little terrier. They've yet to exchange any "words. Oh, Buddy does pee in his general direction but we've not had any breakthrough moments with the dogs.

Now the tortoise, plural, on the other hand have been the most problem. They have two desert tortoise and these odd little creatures somewhere have gotten the idea our slope is nirvana and try to escape as often as they can. One would think it would be easy to keep something so slow moving corralled. Think again. In the six days we've had the fence down Mr and Mrs Houdini been down here four times.

Yesterday, when I went in the back yard, I heard this odd clicking noise accompanied with some strange groan. Desert tortoises are hard to find but when I zeroed in on the noise there they were, on my slope, making baby tortoises; or trying their darnedest. I scurried around the block to fetch the owner and when we got back they seemed quite done. I think he was smoking a cigarette but could be wrong. Honest, they move much quicker than I'd ever imagined.

So the owner, disgusted with their, yet again another, escape. Swooped them up and headed for the car. This in its self is driving our dog Buddy absolutely nuts. I'm sure he can't figure out why people come and are taking all our tortoises from the back yard. So far, they've taken four and never brought any back. Poor Buddy, I believe he things we are growing them because he keeps nosing around in the bushes for more.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I gotta ask

What goes through a man's brain when he's so intent in watching a woman he walks into the back of a truck?

First off, I'm not even going to chastise anyone in this little scene. Not the busty young thing in tight jeans and tighter sweater. Sweater? The temperature has been in the high eighties kicking at that ninety door. Anyway, nor will I belittle the guy for staring. The sister puts it out there she shouldn't be surprised when someone stares. There is nothing wrong with staring; there is something wrong with forgetting where you are walking.

Now, back to my original question. You can't just look and turn away? I'm trying to think of anything that has taken my attention so. Sure, I've seen nice looking men, there was that time I almost ran into Tom Selleck in Starbucks, but you take a mental picture and move on. This guy was taking the mental picture, having it developed and printed into 8 by 10s. I think he was actually hanging them on the wall when he was brought back to reality by the bumper of a Ford 150.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A new defence

This is our old decrepit wood fence. How old? I'm guessing near twenty years but I'm so bad remembering this stuff. I do remember the guys that were renting the house next door said they'd do the work if we bought the wood. We thought this a good idea and it did last quite a few years and these two guys worked in construction and were in pretty good shape. Why do I remember these two? I had a teen aged daughter at the time and well, let's just say all the kids in the neighborhood called one of them, Bob, the Babe.

This fence has withstood many a windstorm and a number of children, neighbors not mine, until this year when our current neighbor could stand this no more and took some vacation, asked my beloved to go in half, and build a new fence. So after pricing a few options off they went to Lowes for cedar but came back with plastic.

Plastic. I had to think about this one for a moment but after some deliberation and explanation from the fence builders, I did accept the idea. I really had no say so in this as I was not lifting a finger to help build it though I did feed them a couple of times. The bright white, I'll have to get used to it or maybe soften it's effect with some plantings nearby.

The other neighbors? You don't even want to know what's going on there because once my beloved gets going, stand back. The neighbors in the back are willing for a change, too. I see more white in my future.



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Are you an omnivore?

Tim at very good taste is doing a little meme called the omnivore's hundred. here's how it works:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

So, here is my list; what I've eaten is in RED. 48 out of 100. Boy, I've got some eatin' to do. Some of these items I'd eaten before I become allergic to seafood and I would still eat them if it didn't kill me.

French Benefit's Omnivore Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari - didn't actually like that but might have been the preparation
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O I've even made them
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake- in a restaurant in Arizona, we ordered as an appetizer and it wasn't appetizing

Here are links to my sister and daughter's lists:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Go directly to the Big House, don't pass go

New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin said they'd be tough on looters as Gustav heads for a hit on the city. Right to general population at Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, with no stop in the city. Do not pass go; do not collect $200.

Seriously, this could be devastating for Louisiana, it's an election year and they could be flooded with politicians. And, y'all thought the water cause problems.

Let's all keep these folks in our thoughts, they've been through so much and are not finished rebuilding.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Flashing knives

We are looking to squeeze a trip to the beach this week. It takes a fair amount of planning on our part, the 5th wheel is not stored on our property and with two RVs I'm always robbing one. Oh, I have two sets of the basics but I'm always forgetting some of the odd things, like the cribbage board and a deck of cards. We like to play cards when we're camping but I find it odd we never do at home. I guess there are too many distractions.

We only have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning then I'm off to the Getty Center. I don't dare be missing as it is the tail-end of tourist season and we've been packed the last few weeks. All the docents love doing what we do, geeze, we do volunteer, but by September we are longing for one of those days without 100 people in an hour in the sketching gallery.

Some quiet time at the beach will give me time to contemplate my need for surgery for my lateral epicondylitis, I love saying that, makes me feel smart but it's really just "tennis elbow." My orthopedic wants me to have it as well as my therapist but I'm looking for an alternative and acupuncture seems to be successful for some. I'll be seeing a doctor next week when we get back from camping. After the six weeks with my broken wrist I'm wary to have surgery but when the pain gets unbearable, I'll be forced to go under the knife.

Anyone had an experience with acupuncture? I'm usually a skeptic when it comes to stuff like this but very interested in a first-hand report.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon: and the band played on

This past Tuesday was quite the trial for my No Gas Tuesday. I took a bus to a train, to a bus, to another bus, and it all took about three hours. Yes, I could have driven in a third of that time but I'm staying true to my self challenge. I did not drive my car but in the end did carpool with daughter, lil bird to the Dave Matthews concert. The end was well worth my effort.

Once there we we not sure the concert would take place. LeRoi Moore, the horn player and original band member died that morning of complications from a recent accident. This was a shock. You see, my daughter has been taking me to their concerts since 1998; it's become a tradition. Though I can't say I'm as big a fan as her, I love their music and have so much fun with her at the shows.

That night the emotions ran the gamut from shock and sadness to joy and remembrance. What really happened was a huge wake at the Staple Center with fans and band members giving their friend quite the send off. I think any musician would be thrilled with that memorial. Dave summed it up by saying, "It's always easier to leave, than to be left."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Do your kids pay attention?

Though back to school time is far behind us it was most important when our daughter was growing up. Going to college was NOT an option, it was expected and I’d drive that point home every chance I got. We didn't care what she did after college but a degree was expected.

When our daughter was about five I needed to make regular trips to the downtown area and usually took her with me when she wasn’t in school. This was an area that had, sorry to say, a number of people living on the street and to explain this to her I told them they lived that way because they never went to college.

This must have made quite an impression on her because about eight years later when a friend ask if she wanted to go to college she quickly said, “Oh yes, I don’t want to be a bum and live on the street.” For a while I felt bad I’d scared the kid but she went on to graduate college with honors, put herself through law school, and is now a practicing attorney. She must not hold that against me because she also takes me with her to a yearly ritual, a Dave Matthews Band concert. This year's was fantastic. Sometimes they do listen.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Engrish not spoken here

New site from the folks who bring you I can has cheezeburger? Engrish is funny.

Now why wouldn't the Walmart want this product?

Engrish picture of a pack of toilet paper labeled glory hole wipers
more the engrish!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon: Body Works and a voyeur

What ever happened to "No Gas Tuesdays"? Still going strong. I've not driven my car on Tuesday since mid-June. There were a few Tuesdays I carpooled with another person but those were times when, because of schedule, couldn't take public transportation or walk. Just this past Tuesday was one of those times.

A good friend ask me to go to the exhibit, Body Worlds at a museum in Los Angeles. I planned the entire trip for public transportation but she came and fetched me to the starting point. She knows about No Gas Tuesdays and had no problem taking the train, metro, bus to our final destination.

Because of the train schedule we got to Los Angeles with time to spare so I plotted out breakfast. She, a native Californio, had not been to the Pantry Cafe in ages, so I planned that as our first stop. Though downtown has been my Friday destination for the last few months I'd not gotten to the Pantry so this was perfect. We had a light breakfast, hard to believe that's possible at the Pantry, and were off to Exposition Park to see the exhibit. This friend is good to travel with, likes to walk, and isn't afraid to try new things. My kind of travel buddy. She had so much fun we need to plan another day downtown. Using public transportation gives you an opportunity to see so much more. If we'd been driving we'd have gone to the museum, and maybe lunch, then home. We had quite a fun packed day and were gone ten hours.

If you get to downtown Los Angeles you've got to plan a trip to the Pantry. What a place, they've been in business since 1924 and I don't think have changed the menu much. I do believe there is a bit of the original grease and some of the wait-staff. They never close and it was always a good place to head after a night on the town.

The ride home was interesting. The seats are two-facing-two on the train and because we stayed so long we got into commuter-time and the train was crowded. We had no problem finding a seat but my our second stop a nicely dressed office working type of gentleman sat down facing us. No problem. He had his book to read and never lifted his head. End by the end of our trip he never read a word but did stare at his book the entire trip. Kathleen and I chatted the entire time and the subjects were varied. Gas prices, books we'd read, vacations we're planning, nothing I'd ever eavesdrop on.

When we were walking to the car I asked Kathleen if she though that guy enjoyed our conversations and she laughed. "He never turned the page! He was on page 361 when he got on and the same page when we got off. He could have at least joined our conversation."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obey the Princess!


Our little princess is now six months old. Where does the time go? This is my favorite snap of her right now. Oh, there are others that show her darling smile but this one, I believe, will foreshadow her personality. She's inquisitive and serious at times and I can't wait until she starts giving us orders.

In this snap she's wearing some new shoes she wants us all to adore. We will, princes, we will obey.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Soul Man is gone

Well, that's a bummer. Isaac Hayes died Sunday. Many will remember him for his song writing and lot's for his voice of Chef on South Park but I'll never forget his cameo appearances on the Rockford Files, the late 70s television drama/comedy with James Garner. His character Gandolph Fitch, Gandy appeared in three episodes but was memorable.

Good night, Shaft.

Nom til it hurts

dog

This is Multi, one of Lil' bird's pups. We've both been trying to get something on I can has a hotdog and she's succeeded. He is a funny dog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Trailer life

This is from Fox news but, oh hell, it's too funny not to share.

The 43-year-old woman pulled out her .44-caliber Magnum revolver after she saw the mice scurrying across the floor of her trailer on Highway 20 in Potter Valley, sheriff's officials said.

But she accidentally dropped the gun, which went off as it struck the floor. The bullet went through the woman's kneecap, bounced off the keys sitting on the belt loop of a 42-year-old man in the trailer and grazed the man's groin before ending up in his coin pocket.

The mice escaped.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cool ocean breeze makes life worth living


We've been away camping, again so blogging takes a far back seat. Someday I might get a laptop and post from where ever but until them the blog takes a bit of a hiatus from time to time. We have a few campgrounds to choose from but we knew it might be difficult to find a spot. It's been hot here in town and that usually drives the peasants to the shore and this peasant was feeling the heat and wanted to get to the beach.

We decided Monday morning would be our best bet and though our first choice, Faria, was full we found more open spaces at a camp ground called Hobson. It's tucked into the end of the Rincon and the beginning of some private residences with a few dry camp spot and about a dozen ones with full hook-ups. We took a dry camp by the water, well rocks actually because there is a berm built of big rocks between most of the spots and the surf. The view is only visible if you climb up on a rock or two bit you can find a few flat ones to put a beach chair.

The photo is looking south about five in the afternoon with a bit of fog drifting in. Other than that we experienced wonderful weather. The nights were great. Clear skies that were dark enough to see the Milky Way if you were up late. I get such a kick out of that each time we are there and am lucky to have a bladder that wake me around two in the morning for my own private show.

We did have some interesting neighbors this time. A family with three teen aged boys and three younger girls and a truck full of surf boards arrived after we'd set up. While they unloaded, we are so close we could have helped, I couldn't help but notice the mother unloaded what I thought was a little puppy. No, it was a little piggy. Lilly, a 10 month-old pot-bellied pig, was quite a surprise at the beach. Buddy the dog wasn't aggressive but very interested in the noises she made. When I asked why a pig for a pet the father said, "Well, we had one before." I didn't go any further with that line of questioning.

The little porker was kept in a dog carrier and evidently didn't get out much because by the morning it was covered with flies. Nice neighbors to have. Lucky for us they found a better space the next morning and left. Pig, kids, and surfboards were thrown into the trailer and truck and off they went. They forget to take the flies.


Going home we were driving into the sun and that makes it tough on Buddy. He usually gets on the floor of the truck but it was pretty hot and couldn't find the right place. After he'd gone back and forth enough to make me scream I plopped my cap on his head to shade his eyes. Bingo! That is what he was looking for and wore my cap the rest of the way home. When you're pulling a teardrop trailer with a dog wearing a baseball hat you get looks.

It was back to the real-hot world on Wednesday morning. Sad that it has to end but knowing school will be back in session soon and we then can take the 5th wheel up to the Rincon, again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I believe

You might wonder why I'm not more vocal about the upcoming presidential campaign, to be honest, I'm quite tired of everything and we have not even got to the convention. Way too much press for everything they do and we have to listen to more until November. Oh when it gets closer I will start talking about registering to vote and hope all my friends encourage anyone they know to do the same and I do have an Obama placard in my front window, thanks to my daughter but you could drive yourself plum crazy if you followed every breath and fart the media thinks is news.

Now who I'd like to see more of in the coming months is Michelle Obama. This is one tough cookie and I say that with the utmost respect. She seems very real to me. Time will tell with anyone, I just hope she doesn't disappoint, we so need someone to look up to these days.

Now, has he made mistakes? You bet he has but compared to the current administration of untrained monkeys he looks pretty damn good. As soon as they are out of office I'll quit comparing them to monkeys; it's so insults the monkay.

And while were at it, Screw Fox News and the New Yorker. I know, NY's cover was satire but I know people who think this is true. I'm very sad to say they know Obama is Muslim and a terrorist. You are kidding, right?

Listen, I'm gonna vote for Obama, period. Does he answer all my needs? Probably not but he's the best thing out there and we need a change. Will it actually make a change in the way we live? Probably not. If I were a dreamer I'd say by next January we'd be out of Iraq, have health care program for everyone, and could thumb our collective noses at foreign oil. If I just get one of those, Santa, I promise to be a very good girl.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Steve, eat a sandwich

It would be safe to say I am an Apple fan. I like them baked or raw and I'm especially fond of them in pies. The computer company? Yeah, I like them too. I've always held Apple close to my heart and don't own a iPhone because I can't justify the cost but damn, I'd love one.

What I can't understand is how Steve Jobs health can rock the stock. There is so much talk about him being ill; he does look painfully thin. People are afraid the company would go to hell in a hand basket if he died tomorrow? Are you kidding? My son-outlaw did remind me yesterday of what happened when Steve left Apple before but I still have faith in this company. Apple is much more than Steve Jobs and though they haven't talked about a successor publicly, how could a huge company like that NOT have something planned. This isn't their first rodeo, folks.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Update from the battle front

A very nice repair man came and got the buzz back but said we needed the cable from the box to our house replaced. His quick fix was just that, quick and would not hold us for very long. There will be some static on the line but at least I'll be able to make calls. I listened and it's less than the usual static. I'm hoping to hear from someone today or Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And the war rages on

For about twenty years I've had an on and off battle with our phone service. First it was Pacific Bell, then SBC and now AT&T. Like most wars, no one wins; it just becomes a stalemate. Our neighborhood was built in the 60s and when the phone lines were put underground, something novel at the the time, I think they used something cheap as we've had many years of problems.

It usually starts with static on the line that I can hear then it progresses to static that keeps both from hearing the conversation. Sort of negates the whole purpose of a telephone, I know but since it takes an act of congress to get it fixed I tend to overlook most of the static. It's rather become my signature I believe. With the popularity of cell phones I've not even used the "land line" all that much lately and last night it rolled over and died. Completely. No buzz. Maybe it felt lonely. Unloved.

The phone company now wants you to test all your equipment yourself before you holler for help, which we did, and nope it just won't buzz. And it seems like it won't even think of buzzing until Saturday morning between eight a.m. and noon. Geeze, I'm almost missing the static.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon: Café du Rat Mort

While walking through a parking lot by a local Mexican restaurant I noticed a dead rat. He was a fat, ugly, brown rat and didn't look as if he were hit by a car but dead none the less. Let me add, I don't like this restaurant and if I were to create a scenario it would be: the rat ate there, was ignored by the wait-staff, and dragged his body outside where he expired. Since I saw none of this we'll just have to suppose.

On to the next death. On the same day, while walking in my neighborhood, at the foot of a small retaining wall I saw a dead mouse. I did examine this closer, because Disney has done such a good job; mice are much easier to look at, and he looked as if he'd fallen and died of a broken neck because his head was at such an unnatural angle with a little pool of blood coming out his ear. Other than his death he looked rather healthy.

These were two observations. I can't say the last time I've seen a dead rodent in town but to find two on the same day was creepy, to say the least.

Editor's note: Café du Rat Mort was a real café in Montmarte frequented by artists in the mid-to-late-18oos.

Monday, July 21, 2008

No more calls, we have a winner!

Great new! My sister, one third of the Peanut Butter Etouffee food blog, won the recipe contest this month in Cook's Country magazine. You can read all about it on PBE.

We are all very proud of her.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Multi, the on-top dog

Lil bird's dog, Multi doesn't care where he sits as long as it's on top of you. This is fine in the winter but the summer can be a challenge. If you crave some sort of contact then he's the dog for you. I've thought he should be one of those dogs you take into hospitals and nursing homes: Dog for Rent.

Editor's note: I thought I'd done a good job on the eyes but evidently didn't. It was such a cute snap I hated not to use it. I apologize to no one other than Multi.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thinking of an addition?

Train tracks slice through industrial areas most of the time but on occasion there will be a house or two visible from my window as I head downtown Los Angeles. I have to wonder which was there first and it's hard to determine in some areas. Did the land owner hold out hoping to get more money from the railroad or did they purchase the land for a song?

In any case there are some challenging neighborhoods in Los Angeles. None so creative as a property I saw somewhere between Glendale and Burbank. In a fairly tidy lot was an old California Mission style bungalow probably built somewhere around the early '30s. A typical stucco structure, vaguely Moorish, with red tile roof. Its current color was more of a Curry meets Mustard than the original pale yellow or warm cream but I'm sure in ten or twenty years it will fade to something less blinding. That in its self was remarkable enough but what was parked on the same lot really made be sit up and take notice.

Steel shipping containers, the kind you see loaded on rail cars and ships, are now sold to the public though I can't say I've ever had the need, nor the space, for a huge steel box with a lock. And evidently you can add windows and door and paint them any color you wish because parked next to this house was a 20 footer painted the same bilious yellow complete with its own window and a door. Now the nice touch is they painted the top of the box to match the red tile on the bungalow. I seem to find a surprise every time I travel to LA.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon

This was an official No Gas Tuesday but last Monday could almost qualify. That day I walked about three miles the got on the bus to come home. It's way too hot to be hoofin' to far around here. I did eventually drive my car but only a short distance to the market. Tuesday, I was true to my challenge and ran a few errands sans the automobile. I must be diligent as I was reminded by one of my neighbors she reads my blog and I'd hate to get caught. Plus, I try to be true to myself, if nothing else.

Anyone who's been to a Panera Bread Cafe knows why I want to walk there. Man, there's a bunch of calories just lurking inside and since it's only about three miles it is within my range. The morning was still cool so I decided instead of getting the bus at the corner I'd walk. It was a very pleasant morning and, though I thought it was nice, I never saw another person walking until I got to the shopping area. Shame. They, the general lazy-ass public, don't know what they're missing. It's so easy to be snide when you are actually doing something physical--for a change.

Only about a block away from the house and I realized neglecting my hat was a big mistake. I get tired of the baseball cap but if I don't wear something I usually burn my scalp. My hair is short to begin with and of late is getting a little thin on top. What I need is a little brimless cap to wear but don't think it's proper for a woman to wear a yamaka. Mervyn's and Target had nothing so I headed on to Panera's for a yummy Asiago cheese bagel, ice tea and the morning paper. Life is great when you have time.

The rest of the trip was quite uneventful, did some shopping, only one bag to carry back, and then caught the bus home. I relish the last leg of my trip as the bus is air-conditioned and never crowded and usually someone to chat with. This day I met a young woman with halting English but a desire to communicate. She had a need to practice her English. With my very limited Spanish we accomplished a conversation. She cleans houses, has two boys and is from Guatemala and before her stop neatly wrote her name and phone number on a little slip of paper in case I'd need her services. I love this country.

Our ancestors came from other countries, Scot/Irish and Spanish/Maltese, and I'm sure there was a time in their lives when they thought it better to leave their native country and make a better life for their families knowing how difficult that would be. I always wonder if I'd have the guts to do just that. Would you?

Getting help from a billionaire



This is interesting. A Texas Oil Billionaire, not running for office, wants to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. All the current administration wants to do is lift the ban of offshore oil drilling. Yeah, like we need more of that. We need to get off oil, foreign or domestic and find an alternative. This is a creative country why can't we spend some money on technologies that would do that?

In the coming weeks I'll be watching what ol' T.Boone has in store for a solution. You might want to take a look, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Water off a duck's back

The Metrolink trains have a fun little arrangement for seating; two facing two. So you are forced to sit and look at two other people or bring a book, computer, or newspaper to keep you otherwise occupied. I was deep into reading my new book this week when Mr D-troit City literally dropped into the seat next to me. I have this magnet.

We picked up this obnoxious soul at the last stop. He just flew in and as luck would have it, his not mine, he was going to all the way to my stop. I tried to be ever so nice, I really did. We'd only gone two stops when he'd already insulted women, and the Japanese and was almost finished with his third joke when I told him, with a glare that could freeze water, it was his last.

Changing the subject I asked if he were on vacation. God, I prayed he was. Who wants this moron in the state permanently. He was going to visit "his girl" and called her to let her know he was closely approaching their rendezvous. I then started praying this woman was blind and deaf. Us sisters need to stick together. Should I meet her at the platform and bitch slap some sense into her? Or, maybe she was getting her Karma straightened our for a past sin.

When he told me he needed to ask me something that might make him look stupid I told him how on earth could I think less of him than I already do. Never phased him though the woman behind us laughed out loud. I was sure she'd been entertained by this baboon since he plopped down. He noticed some empty seats and asked should he move and I told him yes because this was my stop and since the train only stops for a few moments the thought of riding with him any further made me want to find a sharp object with which to take my life.

Mr D-troit City was insufferable but I only had to spend a half hour with him think of his lady friend. Now I know why animals, caught in a trap, chew off their own leg.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Camera captures the past

dog
We didn't take any photos when we adopted Buddy, our wire-haired terrorist but this snap really tells his story. Lil Bird found him at a local pet store adoption day and I believe this was what he was doing. Little did we know.

Honestly, Buddy has turned out to be a great friend and we wouldn't know what to do without him.



see more dog pictures

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hey, wipe your footprint

Some people wonder why I complain about oil prices since I drive a hybrid and get a solid 40 MPG in the summer; better when I don't need the air-conditioning. Yes, when you only fill up every two weeks it does insulate you from the near $5 a gallon but driving the Cushman (our little nickname for the Honda and you'd have to have driven one to understand why) doesn't help the delivery costs for everything we consume.

The Cafe of the Getty Center has started something quite interesting. It's called a Low Carbon Diet. This is a committed program by Bon Appétit, a nationwide food management group to lower their carbon footprint. Basically they are will be buying local and reducing the amount of waste. This Palo Alto, CA company has over 400 cafes in 28 states, usually large companies and Universities.

Here are their kitchen principles:
The following food standards have been created for the well being of our guests:
  • Menus are written based on seasonality and availability of regional fresh product. Whenever possible, these are produced locally using sustainable and organic practices
  • Turkey breast and chicken are produced without the routine use of antibiotics as a feed additive
  • Hamburgers are made with fresh ground chuck from beef raised on vegetarian feed without antibiotics or hormones
  • Other meats are raised without antibiotics as a first preference
  • Milk is free of antibiotics and artificial Bovine Growth Hormone as available
  • Shell eggs are produced cage-free and Certified Humane
  • Vegetarian options are plentiful at every meal
  • Healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout our cafés
  • Salsas, pizza, marinara and other sauces are made from scratch
  • Stocks are made from scratch, the day before use to ensure the removal of fats
  • Turkey and beef are roasted in-house daily for deli meat
  • Tuna is dolphin-safe, packed in water
  • Seafood should be purchased fresh when available locally. Salmon is wild caught. We support the Seafood Watch guidelines as recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Olive and canola oils are used for everyday salad dressings, specialty oils for other purposes (i.e. walnut oil or chili oil)
  • Trans fats are not used in our kitchens
  • All salad dressings are made from scratch. Nonfat and low-calorie dressings may be purchased as necessary
  • Vegetables are prepared in batches at the last possible minute and served in the smallest possible batches
  • MSG and peanut oil are never used in the preparation of our food
  • Mashed potatoes are made from fresh potatoes
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice is used for cooking and sauces
  • Cookies, muffins and breads (where possible) are baked fresh daily
Tired of feeling like you can't do anything? Here's a great way to get started in your own kitchen, What you can do. I also love their Top Five Low Carbon Diet Tips and a cool little search page for local, sustainable food in your area. Eat Well Guide. And finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a pocket seafood guide so you know what fish is ocean-friendly and safe to eat. Don't forget to ask restaurants where their seafood was caught or raised and don't buy seafood that has to be flown in buy frozen when caught. Shipping fish uses less energy than flying it into your market, fresh-caught. If you can't see the ocean don't buy fresh-caught.