More Crack, Please!



They’re addicted, I tell you. And Mister and I just keep pushing the goods. We can’t help ourselves.


Hummingbirds have found the feeder in our Magnolia tree. They’re going through the sugar water faster than I expected, and I’m now trying to make a double batch each time so that we can have some of the sweet nectar standing by in the fridge.


Yesterday morning Mister removed the empty feeder from the tree. We looked out at the vacant space by the tree’s branch and noticed a confused hummingbird, desperately searching for the good stuff. He kept flying around and around, looking in the place he expected to find his drug of choice. But there was only unsatisfying air. That little guy must’ve circled the area for a good 30 seconds or more. Finally, reluctantly, he flew away. But not before looking at us both with such a bewildered expression on his tiny face. It was as if he wanted to ask, “What the frick, guys? Who moved my cheese?”


I cooked up some more hooch for the birds, filled the feeder and placed it back in the tree. We’ll see how fast they manage to drain the bottle this time.


They’re addicted, I tell you.

Good People



Yesterday I crossed paths with 3 folks who – upon first glance – seemed like a lovely family, out for some chili and sight-seeing. Looks can be deceiving, however, and my assumptions couldn’t have been more wrong.


The older lady wasn’t feeling well. She had been riding in the back seat, all the way from San Bernardino to Burbank and had gotten carsick. The middle-aged couple, who’d been sitting in the car’s front seats, were tending to her while waiting for the joint to open. I met them in the parking lot and tried to help. I offered my arm to the older lady and we slowly made our way inside. I got some ice and put it in a plastic bag, wrapped that in napkins and gave it to her for the back of her neck. She said it was helping her to cool down, and she sat quietly, sipping lemonade for her rumbly tumbly.


While she recovered from her carsickness, I talked with the middle-aged couple. They were all on a day-trip, on a quest for Chili John’s chili and then off to see the Space Shuttle. I thought they were a nice family. Only they weren’t. Family, I mean. I learned that the middle-aged lady was the older lady’s mail carrier (and has been for years). The older lady – with the exception of short bus trips to the bank and to the market – hasn’t left her home for nearly 30 years. Having no family or relatives nearby, she spends most of her time alone. Her mail carrier thought the older lady could use a nice outing, so she arranged the day’s activities and her husband agreed to go along.


When the middle-aged lady shared this with me, my eyes filled with tears. I looked at her and said their lunch was on me, because I so appreciated what she was doing. I told her she was the epitome of what we’re supposed to be in this world: good human beings. Here she was, taking care of someone (her customer, basically), for no other reason than it being the right thing to do. I don’t mind telling you – she welled up a bit herself. And all 3 of them thanked me for the gesture.


There was more conversation and laughter, and after a while the older lady seemed to be feeling much better. The 3 of them said their good-byes and went back out into the bright, warm day, ready to travel on to their next destination. I watched them go with appreciation and a full heart.


Sometimes I get wrapped up in trying to figure out how to be a better me, a better person. Yesterday I was privileged to simply witness someone else being a better person. I was truly inspired, and tremendously grateful. Those good people made my day.


If I get a chance to pay it forward today, I hope I’m present enough to take it. And if I am blessed enough to merely witness someone else paying it forward, well, I will be one lucky girl. One lucky girl, indeed.

To Travel or Not To Travel



I’ve been hearing from various friends about their upcoming vacations. Africa, Vietnam, San Diego. People are really going places!


I’m staying put for a while, so I’ll just live vicariously through my buddies. Their blessings are pretty danged cool. And I’m happy for them.


That’s one of the beauties of friendship. We get to cheer on our friends when their dreams come true. Our own dreams? They may not be materializing yet, but they’re not disappearing either.


There’s time. There’s still time.




Imagine you’re sitting in your living room, in the dark, watching a little tellie. And even though you’re listening to the television’s sounds, you suddenly hear some sort of odd clicking, and it’s coming from the back yard – through your open back door. You look out, into the night, and you see 2 sets of glowing eyes, moving deliberately atop your fence, claws clicking with each step. And those eyes and clicking claws are coming right at your open back door.


That’s what happened to Mister and me the other night. These two opossums were making their way toward our house and y’all, that just wasn’t gonna work. I started making a little noise to scare them, while telling Mister to close the danged doors. That man did not start closing doors, but instead grabbed a camera. Luckily, the opossums played possum. They froze for a moment, then the front one turned to the fella in the back and said, “Cheese it! They’re on to us! Back! Back!” Okay, so I don’t actually speak possum, but that’s what it sounded like as the first opossum started making sounds directed at the second one.


Whatever he said, it worked. The two opossums headed back from whence they came. Crisis averted.


Afterward, Mister reminded me of an opossum run-in from early last year. It requires one heck of a visual, so you’ll just have to wait for that one the next time our paths cross. Don’t forget! Ask me the next time you see me and I’ll share. It’s a doozie.


In the meantime, I’m keeping my ears open for late-night, back-yard clicking. Those little beady-eyed dudes know where I live.

Happy Memorial Day!



No matter where you are today, or what you choose to remember, have a wonderful day. For reals.

For My Next Business…



The other day there was a knock at my front door. When I opened it, I found a young boy with a box in his hands. He immediately began his memorized spiel, and I dreaded having to tell him no.


You see, here in Los Angeles, there is a large contingency of organized, well, scammers. They send kids (and adults) out with the sole purpose of soliciting money for whatever their illicit schemes might be. That’s not what we’re told, mind you. We’re told they’re raising money for some charity or another, and don’t we want to help? For years, I thought that at least the kids were legit. Then I learned otherwise, and have since even witnessed the mass transportation devoted to stationing these “workers” throughout the city. It bothers me that this is allowed to go on, but that’s a bit of life for you.


Anyhoo, just as I was bracing to turn this kid away, he surprised me. He told me that this was his first business, and that by selling his home-baked goods he plans to start another business: he wants to buy a pastry food truck. He spoke of how he only sells his favorite cookies (chocolate chip) and they’re very, very good. Even though his speech was clearly memorized, he spoke professionally and excitedly. The kid couldn’t have been more than 9 years old. And he was so serious and lively. What could I do? I bought his danged cookies.


Eventually, his mom moseyed up to the front stoop and told me how her son had insisted on sitting in on a business proposal meeting, held and attended by his father (a chef). The lad was so inspired by all the ideas being bandied about, he started to formulate his own. He came up with the door-to-door cookie idea, and she supported him. The kid and his sister now bake the cookies (while mom oversees the operation), then mom takes them out to various neighborhoods around the city. She said she tries to expose them to diverse areas, so that they can interact with a variety of people and cultures. They’ve been at this for about 4 months now, and she proudly told me how her kids are saving most of the money they make.


I told the young man I was impressed by his initiative and his enthusiasm. I told his mother how lovely it was to see her support in action. I shook their hands and they moved down the block, with the energy of folks just starting their work day at their dream job.


I’ll tell ya – a lot of kids leave me weeping for the future. But that young boy gave me hope. I’m keeping my eye out for that pastry food truck.


And whatever his next business may be after that.

The Doughnut Table



Yesterday found me at the auto shop for a little routine maintenance. (For the record, “routine” does not equal “cheap.”) The joint was jumping with customers, and waiting area seats were scarce. After walking into the room and scanning the room, I took the only available chair. It was at the doughnut table.


At this particular auto shop, there’s usually an area set aside for a large tray of doughnuts. The owners are in the process of renovating the building, so the regular waiting area isn’t accessible. Until construction is finished, customers are pointed in the direction of a temporary trailer. They call it a “bungalow,” but trust me, it’s a trailer. Anyhoo, all the tables and chairs from the old waiting area are crammed into the tiny, temporary trailer, out in the parking lot. The coffee machine has been brought over as well, so of course the doughnuts made the trip, too.


The doughnut tray is probably around 28 inches wide by 15 inches high. The table on which the tray is kept is a wee bit smaller. Why chairs are placed at that table is beyond me, unless of course someone just bellies up to the tray and digs in. But I digress…


I walked in, saw the open seat, and took it. I held my book in my lap and hooked my bag over the corner of my chair. Fortunately, the doughnut table was against a trailer window, so I placed my coffee on the sill. I was set.


But I kept smelling those damned doughnuts. You know the smell: sugar mixed with pink. It’s the sort of aroma that makes you want to get your fingers sticky, just so you can lick them clean. And people kept coming over to the doughnut table for – what else – doughnuts. I wasn’t in their way or anything, and no conversation was exchanged. I just kept getting the full dose of that doughnut perfume, each and every time a waiting customer lifted the tray’s cover.


And yet I resisted. I was proud of myself. But I can tell you this: I’m not sitting at the doughnut table again. I’d rather be proud of myself for something else. Word.

Sour Grass



When I was a kid, I used to forage in the wild. Okay, it was usually my backyard, but it was still an adventure.


Generally, I ate known food. You know – plums, chestnuts, pears. Those things were familiar. And they never tasted so good as they did back in the day.


But sometimes, when I was feeling particularly daring, I would try other things. I had a lovely spell where I dined on my next door neighbor’s roses. And they were darling. I would have continued eating those roses, but the neighbor caught me and had a bona fide hissy fit. She told my parents and made sure I got in beau-coup trouble. Bummer.


That wasn’t as odd as another forage find: sour grass. I don’t know what possessed me (or my sisters), but I decided to try it. It was sour, in the very best way. And it was fresh, and even tasted green. Because our yard was basically a big weed field, it was also plentiful.


Now, if you’re thinking “Sour grass? What the?”, I understand. As kids, we didn’t know how to identify anything horticulturally. I never knew that what we were munching on was probably some form of clover or shamrock. To us, it was just a weed. A sour weed. That didn’t make us sick. We liked it, so we kept eating it.


I don’t remember when the foraging stopped, but it did. I guess it was some time around the 3rd grade, when my family moved away from Spencer Street. No more plum trees, no more chestnut or pear trees, either. Sour grass may have been in our new weed field, but the thrill was gone. Or maybe I was just growing up. Either way, that part of my adventurous self was gone.


My adult culinary adventures tend toward restaurant experiences now. I don’t remember the last time I ate something out in the wild. But when I passed by a front yard the other day, a front yard that wasn’t much more than a weed field, I spotted a patch of sour grass. And I slowed down to look at it. And to remember. I’m not gonna lie: I was mighty tempted to reach down and pull up a handful, for old time’s sake. But I didn’t. I took a photo, then I moved on down the sidewalk.


Remembering will have to do.

Bye Bye, Quirklet



My Quirklet died.


Actually, it just wore out and broke. I tried re-knotting it, but it wouldn’t take. In the end, I laid the old gal to rest.


It’s funny how something as simple as a friendship bracelet can become a part of you. Something you expect to feel against your skin. Something you never had before, but expect to now have forever.


I loved that Quirklet. I loved it because my friend Kyli made it for me. I loved it because it reminded me of her – each and every day. And I liked thinking of her.


I’m gonna miss it. All the way around.

In The Garden



It took a while to get back to having a garden (after our tenure in The Hotel), but now we’re fortunate enough to have some greenery around. And this little guy was right outside the front door one recent morning.


I loved the way he balanced on leaves.



But don’t let his light weight fool you. That dude was about 10 inches long.


His name is Rufus.