Sunday Supper

 

 

It didn’t occur to me to write down the recipes for what I made for dinner last night. Nor did it occur to me to take photos of the cooking. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

 

Mister wanted a burger for Sunday Supper. I obliged. I mixed some sun-dried tomatoes into the beef. I battered some dill pickle chips and fried them up. I also made french fries. And coleslaw. Once the burger was grilled, we topped it with some sliced red onion, goat cheese, avocado, mayo, A1 and the fried pickled chips. When I saw it all on the plate, I remembered to take the danged picture.

 

I’m not gonna lie to you, it tasted as good as it looks. I do love Sunday Supper.

Balls

 

 

My quest for old bowling balls continues. I scored a lovely purple 9-pounder Friday, and have leads on a few others. I’ll take some pics once I’ve acquired and utilized said balls. (It’s killing you, isn’t it – wondering what I could possible be doing with all those balls?)

 

In the meantime, if you’re in the L.A. area and know where I can get some used bowling balls, drop me a line…

Olive Oil Bread Kind of Morning

 

 

I was up late last night. A friend came over and we celebrated her new job. And we celebrated life by simply dining together and talking. It was a beautiful Friday evening.

 

At 9:36 this morning, I realized I hadn’t readied today’s post. I grabbed the camera and snapped my breakfast on the patio: last night’s olive oil bread and coffee.

 

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning.

Old Friends, New Tricks

 

 

Yesterday I mentioned a dinner meeting in Santa Monica. When I arrived at my destination, I walked around the block and saw the building shown above – The Huntley Hotel. Talk about a blast from the past…

 

Back in my flight attendant days, our layovers were often at The Huntley (I was based in Boston at that time). Only we called it “The Hauntley,” as it had not yet been refurbished, the elevators were rickety and the interior was a little on the shabby (sans the chic) side. But it was clean and safe, and in a great location for flight attendants.

 

Anyhoo, looking up at that now-beautiful, old hotel really made me smile. You see, I was in Santa Monica to meet up with a dear friend. And I’ve known her for 20+ years. We met as flight attendants.

 

Carolyn is still in the travel industry. She is the founder and CEO of “In-Flight Insider,” a travel resource site based on her vast experience (“over ten million miles in the air”!) and expertise. She focuses not only on safety and preparation, but also on luxury and glamour. And believe me, she’s just the gal to do it! She doesn’t rest on her laurels and is constantly researching and learning about the wide world of travel. I trust, admire and respect her. And I am blessed to call her my friend.

 

So Carolyn was by the beach to review a luxury hotel, its amenities and restaurant (she is a travel writer/editor for “Fairfield County Look” and “Westchester Look”). As her food dork friend, I was invited along to experience dinner at “Fig.” And it did not disappoint.

 

Though we each ordered a starter and an entree, we were treated to course after course from the chef. Y’all, I’m not a girl to leave good food on the table, but I couldn’t finish anything placed before me. It was a feast! I’d love to show photos, but alas, they all turned out too dark…

 

 

At the end of our meal, Chef Ray Garcia stopped by and spoke with us a bit. He pointed out that a lot of what we’d eaten had been procured that very morning at the Farmer’s Market. (Carolyn had accompanied him on his market rounds.) He answered questions and his passion for food was obvious. As he and Carolyn spoke, I observed this new person my friend has become.

 

 

It had been a 3 1/2 hour meal. Carolyn, on East coast time, was surely as exhausted as I. We hugged one last time and I ventured out into the rain and made my way home.

 

Old friends are beautiful things. Not only do we get to look back at the people we were, at where we were, we also get to marvel at who we’ve become. To me, Carolyn looks exactly the same as when we were flying together. But she’s certainly grown, matured, evolved. She continues to open my eyes to facets of life I would never see without her guidance. And I absolutely love watching her as she blazes her trail through this all-too-short adventure.

 

My own face seems completely different from that flight attendant of all those years ago. I think my soul is different, too. And though I’ve parted ways with the travel industry, I still consider myself to be a traveler. A seeker. Those are the ties that bind me to my old friend, Carolyn. Those are the ties that bind me to myself and to this world. Once you grow wings, you never lose them.

 

 

Rain

 

 

We were promised rain. Big rain. Maybe two days’ worth.

 

I count on rain for a number of reasons. It’s good for my tomatoes. I don’t have to water the lawn. Our water table is terribly low. It’s the closest thing we have to “weather.”

 

 

 

I don’t sit around expecting it, but when all forecasts are predicting it, I can’t help but get excited. Rain makes me happy.

 

When I woke yesterday morning, I looked outside to find – no rain. So I went about my bid-ness and gave up on sprinkles. I had an evening meeting by the beach, and I drove down beneath partially sunny skies.

 

By the time I finished dinner in Santa Monica and went to retrieve my car from the valet, there was a right proper downpour taking place. I drove home with extra safety in mind. And I drove slowly. I didn’t mind one little bit because, like I said, rain makes me happy.

Magic Wonder

 

 

I was at a thrift store yesterday, looking for old bowling balls (yes), when I caught sight of this. For some reason it made me happy. I even managed to overlook the spelling mistake. I don’t know if “Maya” came up with this idea or if it was presented to her. Either way, it made me want to have a little place where I can store my own Magic Wonder.

 

Do you have such a place for yourself? If so, what vessel do you use?

L.A. Subway Art

 

 

If left to habit, I will walk around looking 2 feet ahead of me, at the ground. I don’t know why, it’s just where my eyes naturally go. So I do my best to remember to look up. It’s something I have to work at, and it never fails to pay off.

 

Last Friday, I had a meeting in Hollywood and took the train in, to avoid traffic. Since I love public transportation, this is something I truly enjoy doing. And I even took my camera along, just in case. I fully expected to experience diversity during the ride. That’s how it always goes. There’s some awesome entertainment on the subway. But on that particular day, my train ride left me feeling depressed. Disappointed. You see, there were several passengers blatantly disobeying simple train rules – like eating on-board and playing music aloud. But I could’ve overlooked those folks. It was the two kids with a baby that really got to me.

 

I didn’t even notice them at first. They looked like they were high-school-aged. I never saw the baby, but when she cried, she had that newborn sound. Her crying made me think she couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 months old. And her cries were natural. I wasn’t bothered by any of it. What did bother me was the guy screaming at the baby, “Quit complaining! F#*%!”

 

 

I stopped breathing for a moment, trying to figure out what to do. I looked around to get a good look at him, then positioned myself so that he was in my periphery. Since I knew my phone wouldn’t work in the train tunnel, I scanned the area for the emergency call button. Once I found it and memorized its location, I went back to keeping that kid in my sight. I didn’t know if he’d do anything more than yell, and I prayed he wouldn’t. The way I figured it, that baby was already screwed. If that’s the guy responsible for her little life, she’s gonna have a rocky road. I kept them in my sight until I reached my stop. By the time I got off the train, there had been nothing but quiet coming from their seats. As I lumbered up the stairs to Hollywood Boulevard, I thought, “Babies raising babies.” I had forgotten to take a single picture.

 

After my meeting in Hollyweird, I dreaded getting on the train home. But I went down the steps to the subway and waited by the outbound tracks. Before the train arrived, I started looking up. That’s when I noticed it: Art.

 

 

And Beauty.

 

 

Once I started looking up, my perspective improved. By the time I leveled my gaze at the people around me, all I saw was beauty. Everyone on that platform was just plain gorgeous.

 

If you’re thinking I could have, should have done something when that kid yelled at that baby, I don’t disagree. That’s a lapse for which I have to forgive myself. I’m working on it. I’m also sending out prayers to that unseen child. I pray for those too-young parents as well. Lord knows, the 3 of them need all the help they can get.

 

When I reached the last station, climbed the monster stairs and emerged into sunlight, I was still gazing up – at trees. At rooftops. At infinite sky. It occurred to me that during their time riding the subway, and probably after, those babies with a baby never once bothered to look up. What a pity.

 

Rick Bragg – I Hardly Know Ye

 

I subscribe to “Southern Living” magazine. That subscription has followed me from address to address, and it’s the only home magazine I get. I love the gardening pieces, the decorating tips and the recipes. Lord! The recipes! When I’m following some of the recipes gleaned from “Southern Living,” I feel close to my Granny Vera - though she never once read a single issue herself.

 

And know this: that magazine ain’t cheap. It’s the heftiest subscription I’ve known. But it’s also my favorite periodical, so that price is happily (and sometimes reluctantly) paid.

 

Sometime last year or so, “Southern Living” added Rick Bragg to its roster of writers. He closes each issue, on the last page, with something called “Southern Journal by Rick Bragg.” As a derelict southerner, I had not read Mr. Bragg before. I am now making amends.

 

His post is the first thing I read each month. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cry. Even when my response falls somewhere in between laughter and tears, I am still left thinking about his writing. His “voice” is accessible and kind. His tone is that of some stray uncle, one you love but don’t see nearly enough. He doesn’t apologize for being southern. He owns his past, his family, his drawl. In short, he comes across as a wonderfully decent, southern human being. And that’s not too shabby.

 

Until now, I’ve only read Mr. Bragg’s monthly journal entries. But that is about to change. I’ve just gotten my very own copy of All Over But The Shoutin’, Rick Bragg’s memoir and most famous work to date. I’m super excited to start it.

 

 

And I’ll keep looking for each month’s issue of “Southern Living” as well, which I will open to the last page, first thing.

Bucket List Items

 

 

When I was 16, I got it in my head that I wanted to go skydiving. I’ve no idea from whence this idea came, but once it climbed into my noggin, it put down roots. Go figure.

 

Years later, in Southern California, my friend Charlie said he was driving to Perris, CA to skydive. I just had to go along. Don the Juan wanted to jump as well, so we all loaded into the car one Saturday, with Mister in tow (he did not jump), and drove to the airfield.

 

I won’t bore you with describing the multitude of papers we had to sign, or the rather short training we experienced. I do remember that, after signing away all my legal rights to sue, I told Mister that since he hadn’t signed anything, he should take them for all they had if anything happened to me. (Y’all do know nothing happened, right?)

 

When the appointed time came, I knelt in the plane’s open door. My jump-buddy said “Go!” and I didn’t hesitate. I fell forward, as I’d been instructed, and positioned my body in the falling pose. It took only seconds for my eyes to adjust and to realize I was free-falling. I couldn’t help but smile, as it was truly exhilarating.

 

And loud. I couldn’t hear anything but screaming wind. There was so much adrenaline pumping through my veins, I couldn’t feel anything either. That’s why I missed my jump-buddy tapping my leg, signaling me to pull the parachute cord. She did it a couple of times, and I never felt it. So she pulled the cord and the parachute opened.

 

After the initial jolt, it was, well, lovely. The slow-down in falling ended the wind’s howl and it was actually quite quiet. I just kept marveling at how beautiful everything was. The view was better than anything I’ve ever seen from an airplane window. Truly, the earth is the most magnificent patchwork-quilt imaginable. I am blessed to have seen it so openly.

 

I think Charlie went back and jumped a couple more times. I’m not sure about Don the Juan. For me, that one time was enough. I had checked something off my bucket list and the checking took. I can honestly say that since that day, I’ve never once wanted to jump out of a plane.

 

The thing about Bucket List items is they change. Just like us. And that’s okay. If I look over some of the things I wanted to do as a teenager, I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn’t want to do them all now. A few things? Sure. Heck, I may not want to do something I wrote down last year. Again, that’s okay.

 

Even if I choose to change it, I like my Bucket List. It’s just for me, no one else. And it’s fantastic to have things I dream about. Things to shoot for. Goals are good. Even crazy ones.

 

These photos are more than a record of my one and only skydiving experience. They serve as a reminder that I can dream. That I can achieve. That I can fly.

 

 

Watertown 1 and 2

 

 

 

 

 

As much as I love gi-normous canvases, I often find myself being drawn to petite paintings. They can be so inviting and intriguing. My fascination with small paintings led me to buy myself some 8 x 10 canvases. Of course, I had no idea what I might do with them.

 

I decided to paint two at once, side-by-side, so that I’d have companion pieces. And even though I wasn’t sure where I was going, I liked the final destination. These were the beginning of a “Watertown” series. And I have to admit, I do love these little paintings.