Ministry of Magic



I snapped the above photo at a friend’s home. If you’re not a “Harry Potter” fan, it won’t mean much to you. If you are a “Harry Potter” fan, you’ll be smiling about right now.


This decoration is a holdover from a kids’ theme party. And I’m so glad they’ve not removed it. It made me happy to see it. It made me remember to believe in magic, and in good people.


And for a moment – just a moment, mind you – it made me consider jumping in the toilet, in hopes of being transported to the Ministry of Magic.


But as I’m one mere itty-bitty step away from going all Howard Hughes about germs, I ditched that idea. I do not regret my choice.

A Lot to Learn



Lately, I’ve been dealing with a lot of folks who are less-than-admirable. I’ve not enjoyed it, not one bit. I never thought I’d say this, but they’ve left me feeling a connection to Pope Celestine V: I completely understand the desire to withdraw from this crazy life and retreat to a cave. That isn’t really an option for me, however, and it didn’t work out so well for Celestine, either. The Pope who replaced him – Boniface VIII – worried that followers would seek out Celestine and turn to him for guidance, ignoring the new Pope in town. So Boniface had Celestine removed from his simple life and placed under arrest in a castle, where Celestine died shortly thereafter. The guy couldn’t even retire in peace.


Anyhoo, two days ago, I actually broke down. Mister witnessed it and did everything he could to come to my rescue. I didn’t even know I was the type to need rescuing. I’ve got a lot to learn.


At the end of that trying day, Mister sat me down and said we need to tread carefully here. Ugly people (as in people who behave in an ugly manner) are thick. They attach themselves to one’s skin and they’re difficult to scrape off. Mister went on to say that just because ugly people are orbiting in our atmosphere right now, we needn’t succumb to their transmissions. We do not have to bend to their low levels of existence. He reminded me that giving in to the ugly people can turn a person’s soul into the very darkness we wish to rid from our lives. And he was right.


So yesterday I began to focus on the beautiful people who’ve brightened my life lately:


Home Inspector Jim – That guy is so awesome, I wish I could hire him for every task imaginable. I trust him that much, and if he were qualified (and willing), I’d ask him to redesign my kitchen, alter my clothes and do my grocery shopping. Alas, he’s a lot of skilled things, but certain talents are not listed on his resume. Yet.


Our landlord at the hotel – We’ve never actually met Joel, as he lives in Northern California. But it doesn’t matter. He’s been so kind to us and continues to exude a giving spirit, even from afar. Honestly, I keep asking Mister why Joel is so nice. I may never get an answer.


Mister – It’s hard for me to share my feelings about this guy. He’s been teaching me about life for such a long while now, and I see no signs of class ending any time soon. I’m tearing up, just thinking about him. Mister reminds me to try and touch base with myself. He reminds me that no matter how cloudy the world may be, I have an endless supply of sunshine inside. He does have to coax me to learn from time to time. And so far, he hasn’t given up on me. I suppose that’s the most amazing part of all. He still comes home – to me.


I know I’ve listed only three souls, but they are three notable souls. And for each of them, there are countless other wonderful people walking this earth, making a positive difference. They deserve my focus. They deserve my gratitude.


So I’m getting back on track, paying attention to the good, to the decent. I feel better already. And honestly, I don’t know how I got so off-track in the first place. But I did, so there you go.


I’ve got a lot to learn.

Follow Up to AT & T Debacle




I heard from quite a few people after posting about AT & T and the life they’ve stolen from me, never to be reclaimed. It seems I am a member of ASMOC: “At&t Screwed Me Over Club”. Unfortunately, I have an update…


It seems that this phone company is comprised of at least 23 of the biggest losers on the planet. (I’ve only dealt with 23 AT & T employees – in over 6 and a half hours –  so I can’t really say whether or not the entire roster is pathetic. I only know 23 employees are.) I’ve been lied to, hung up on, laughed at and just plain ignored. For people who work in a phone-oriented industry, they sure don’t seem to know much about phones. Like how to use them and not terminate calls. Or how to practice the basic etiquette of listening when someone speaks, or not talking over another person. You know – little things like that.


At some point, I realized how much I really, really, really want karma to exist. I want karma to exist because I want the assholes who’ve bullied, abused and tortured me to suffer.


Actually, that’s not fair to say, y’all. Calling this group of 23 AT & T employees “assholes” is insulting to assholes everywhere. For that, I apologize.




This past weekend, Mister and I attended a party. It was a grand party. There was a photo booth. There was phenomenal food. There was fire.


Mighty Mike” was working the music at this particular shindig, and it was thumping. At some point in the evening, Mighty Mike announced it was time for fire! He juggled it. He breathed it. He swallowed it. That guy seemed to be real friends with those fire batons he twirled about so freely.


And I was nervous. There was a definite breeze about that night. It was super-cold (for L.A.), but that didn’t alleviate my fears. As Mighty Mike waved fire this close to his face, I winced and hoped for the best. In the end, I was mighty grateful no one had to push Mighty Mike into the pool.


I know that parties around the globe can hold wonderful and unexpected entertainment for guests at any time. I also know that here in Los Angeles, we just never know what’s in store when we head to a shindig. On this particular night, our big surprise came in the small package that is Mighty Mike. And you know what? He’s a super-nice guy to boot.


And I am still so glad that guy didn’t go up in flames.

Wall of Boxes



Transitions are interesting. Depending on one’s attitude, a transition can be a beautiful gift or an unwanted pain in the neck. I’m not proud, but I’ve known both.


Last summer, Mister and I had an unwanted move forced upon us. It was rough. It was probably made tougher due to the dark cloud hanging over the entire scene. I can see that now, with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, however, I was wearing blinders, dark glasses and a ski mask.


Now, Mister and I are on the verge of a chosen move. It’s still rough in spots, but it’s made smoother by the glow of sun and excitement. I don’t need hindsight for that, as I feel it in my cells. And that’s to the core, yo.


Until the move actually takes place, we’re living with a wall of boxes, in a state of disarray. It’s wacky, but it’s okay. It really is.


And I’ll tell you something else – I don’t have a clue about how this will all go down, or what it will be like. But that’s okay, too.


One day at a time…

Serenity Now!



Have you ever attempted to take care of a simple task, only to have it turn into an inexplicable, monumental snow-storm of a battle? No? Me, neither. Until now.


The largest part of moving is made of up small details. Like utilities and service installations. As Mister and I are old-school, we like having land-line phone service. We regularly use a land-line, and we like the security of knowing it’s there, in case of satellite outage.


Anyhoo, in our area of SoCal, the only land-line game in town is AT & T. (They’re one of the only land-line providers left in the US, period.) We knew what we wanted. It shouldn’t have been complicated. No bells. No whistles. Just an ordinary phone line.


What ensued was the most ridiculous experience imaginable. If I said I couldn’t tell you how many times I had to go through the details of the simple service I was requesting, I’d be lying. Because friends, I know exactly how many times I had to go through it: 11. That’s right. I had to talk to 11 different people over the course of 2 hours and 41 minutes. That is not a misprint.


I was told one thing only to have that information negated by a different rep. I was promised something by one employee, only to be told otherwise by another. The lack of consistency caused me to roll my eyes so much it hurt. The bait-and-switch tactics were another matter entirely. Yes, AT & T is a monopoly. But does that give them the right to illegal business practices? I think we all know the answer to that one.


As of right now, I do have a service appointment scheduled. Whether or not it takes place on the date I requested remains to be seen. Whether or not we end up with a land-line at all remains to be seen. For if I’ve learned anything during my waste of 2 hours and 41 minutes, it is that I cannot trust AT & T personnel to tell the God’s honest truth. Frankly, they probably wouldn’t know what to do with the truth if it bit them in the badonkas.


It may seem I’m in a bit of a tizzy over all this, but I’m not. It’s been a chore, and I sincerely hope it all goes down as it’s supposed to, but I’m actually pretty calm about it. And do you know why? Television. You see, while I was dealing with all those AT & T reps, I kept thinking of “Frank Costanza” from Seinfeld. In my mind, I heard “Frank” screaming “Serenity Now!” And I was mentally screaming, right along with him. Even as I was receiving some of the worst customer service on the planet, I was smiling.


When I move, I can live without a phone. I cannot live without TV.

Best Laid Plans



I’ve heard that if you want to make God laugh, make plans. Well, friends, God must be chuckling away.


Mister and I are in the move groove and we’ve tried to schedule, finagle, cajole and mold all the details into a pretty, pertinent package. And we’ve done so well, y’all. Multiple service appointments on one day, during the same service window. Cleaners and movers in the proper order. Atoms swirling and stars aligning. Real beauty. Truly.


And then came the laughing from on high.


The move has hit a hiccup. But it will eventually happen. It will. If I keep telling myself that – often enough – it will come to pass. Right?


You don’t have to answer. Because I believe. I do.


And as it happens, I love the sound of laughter. Especially from on high.

Younger Men



I don’t get hit on by men. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact. Guys don’t flirt with me when I’m out in the world, and that’s okay. I’ve never tried to decipher it or anything, as I’m not bothered by it. (I am happily Mister-ed up and all.) There is one exception, however…


Old dudes. Old dudes love me. I mean they loooooove me. I have had to physically fight off an old dude or two – I kid you not – and you’d be surprised by how strong old dudes can be. But I digress.


Yesterday I was walking down the street and I saw a thirty-something dad with his young son, up ahead on the sidewalk. The kid couldn’t have been older than three, and he was about the cutest thing ever. When I neared the two of them, I said to the dad, “Your little guy is stylin’ and profilin’!” He laughed and we passed by one another.


All of a sudden, I heard this loud, high-pitched squeal coming from the kid. I looked over my shoulder and he was barreling toward me, arms outstretched, with a grin as big as a pancake. His dad came running after him, saying, “Stop chasing girls!” That dad struggled to pull his kid away from me, and that kid put up a fight, y’all. After a moment, the dad picked up his son and they continued on their way, in the opposite direction.


Maybe my polarity has flipped and I’m now the apple of younger men’s eyes. If that’s true, I hope their dads will always be around to rein them in. You’d be surprised by how strong young dudes can be.

House of Booze



I packed most of the liquor yesterday. It won’t all fit, and for some reason that makes me very happy. And I’m not even drinking right now!


Actually, seeing so much alcohol made me wonder about a few things. Like, where did all this booze come from? And, am I not acknowledging a problem here?


Then Mister and I realized something very important: we keep our booze right out in the open. Many people with alcohol problems go through a lot of effort to hide their drug of choice. We, on the other hand, put our drink on display for the whole wide world to see.


I think the thing that strikes me as the oddest is the fact that I often forget alcohol is even a beverage option. I just don’t drink that much. Maybe seeing it in my living space has turned it into decor. If that’s the case, it’s a pity. Because there’s some mighty fine drank up in dem boxes, yo!

Meanwhile, Back at the Hotel…



So as I’m getting closer and closer to leaving the hotel, I’m trying to look at this place with appreciation. I mean, the hotel provided Mister and me with shelter at a trying time. It’s been safe. It’s been small, too, but it’s also been home for a short while.


One of the things I noticed the last couple of days is the Rabbit Art in the above photo. This is near the hotel, so I get to enjoy it on a regular basis. Now you may be thinking this is more than a little off (as one friend commented), but the truth is, I like things that are a little off. And I’ve enjoyed the many carnations of this particular yard display. The red Santa pants and headless Santa shirt? Loved that weird thing. The autumnal floral sculpture before that? You betcha.


I probably won’t see whatever comes after the rabbit. And that’s okay. But for now, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed this person’s expressions. The creations have been odd and grand. I mean, a Hotel Hare. Who’d've thunk it?