5/12 Done



Today marks the last day of the 5th month of the year. That means we’re mighty close to being halfway through 2014. Can you believe it?


When we were kids, grown-ups used to tell us how much faster time flies once you’re an adult. Did we believe them? No. Personally, I remember more than one eye-rolling incident, where I thought my eyeballs had rolled so hard back into my head that they’d get stuck. That odd physical feeling did nothing to convince me those grown-ups were correct about time.


But now I’m an adult. And I freely admit to understanding exactly what those folks of long ago were trying to tell us kids. It does go faster. Time flies even. And I’m totally okay with that, because I think that means I’m – dare I say it – happy. Unhappy slows a clock like nobody’s business. Happy seems to have the opposite effect.


Let’s make it count! It’s the last day of May! Here’s a toast to happy, flying time!

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 21



Remember when I shared the above photo? It was a D2T2 project and it’s outdoor art. This last week’s project is a companion piece, and that danged thang is taking a little longer to complete than I’d hoped.


Painting can be slow, I know. But painting with latex is super fast. However! I made a few mistakes that needed to be painted over, and with schedules and all, this one is stretching into a 2-week project.


So even though we didn’t complete a project this week, we are actively working on it! I’m feeling positive about it all and will surely be sharing a new piece of outdoor art next week. Fingers crossed…

Thank You, Dottore



I once saw an interview with Maya Angelou. For some reason, the part that stuck with me the most was her telling a story about being in an Italian kitchen, working with chefs and scholars, and how they all took a smoke break outside. While there, during various conversations, she was addressed as “Dottore.” Doctor. I’m quite certain her words during that interview were of interest and – most likely – import. But the thing I carried away was the vision of her, standing in the half-dark, with a lit cigarette. In my mind I see light from the open kitchen door. I hear Italian voices. There are muted shadows of men, as they lean against walls and trees of the courtyard. Only her face, Dottore’s, is lit, as if from within.


Maya Angelou passed away yesterday. She was 86 and lived more life in those years than I could if given twice as long. Because I’ve read a few of her autobiographical books, I know the lady suffered great tragedies along her path. I also know that suffering in no way defined her or her outlook. She shared her struggles and her triumphs in multiple books and stories. Personally, reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings changed me. And to this day, I mentally refer to that book when I’m faced with situations that call on me to dig deep, to decide how to deal with brick walls, real or imagined. I also still refer to Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes. That little book is dear and delicious.


We will always have Maya Angelou’s body of work. It will survive. But in her passing, a great light has been extinguished, friends. And that is why I cry as I write this. For we need all the light we can get.


And now I have a second vision of Maya Angelou: as a free, spirited soul – dancing and laughing. So much life. So much light. Thank you, Dottore. You will be missed.

Million Dollar View



The people who do my do have moved into a pop-up salon. Are you familiar with the pop-up? As I understand it, a pop-up is merely a temporary locale for some sort of brick-and-mortar business. Here in L.A., there are pop-up restaurants, pop-up boutiques, pop-up everything. And now, it seems, there are pop-up beauty parlors. Though I suppose by their very cool natures, pop-ups would not lend themselves to such antiquated establishments as beauty parlors. No, best keep calling it a “pop-up salon.”


Anyhoo, as I sat getting my do done yesterday afternoon, I looked into the mirror before me and dreamily gazed upon the above reflection. That’s the Pacific Design Center looming large and to the left. In the distance, to the right, are the Hollywood Hills.


In the air-conditioned splendor of the pop-up, I took in that million dollar view and relaxed while caring souls tended my tendrils. It was a splendid afternoon treat – view, do and all.




Have you ever experienced a moment when you thought your brain might explode? Say you’re reading a book, and something on the printed page is so profound, so awe-inspiring, that you feel your brain realigning in that very moment. You know you’ve just run head-first into a game-changer, and that some aspect of yourself (if not your entire world-view) will never be the same.


Lord knows I’ve been lucky enough to read books like that. Sometimes it’s a piece of music that alters my being. Movies, art, people – all are capable of moving us to a new level of existence. Perhaps as children we go through a constant stream of these revelatory moments, as we discover the world around us. I don’t remember enough of that developmental age to say for sure. I do know that as an adult, those little light-bulbs don’t go off as often as I’d like. So I tend to take special note when they do.


Anthony Bourdain is, well, I’m sure he’s a lot of things (ahem). I find him terribly entertaining and through his various shows, I’ve learned more than I can say. I’ve had an episode of his most recent CNN show – “Parts Unknown” – waiting on my DVR for a while now. Mister and I finally got around to watching this past weekend. With its focus on the food of Lyon, France, my expectation was mere entertainment. I did not expect to be gobsmacked.


Almost from the very beginning of the episode, my jaw dropped. Seriously, flies could have nested in there, as I didn’t close my mouth until we’d finished watching the whole show. Yes, the scenery was beautiful. Yes, the city looked inviting. Yes, the countryside was pastoral and serene. But the food… The food! I felt completely overwhelmed by what I saw. I was amazed at the artistry of the professionals creating the food. I was astounded by the lunch-time scene at the elementary school’s cafeteria. I was absolutely enchanted by the food itself.


And I was hungry. I wanted to try all the beautiful food, yes, but I felt something more. I hungered for a world where such exquisite sustenance is the norm (and where its history is revered). Where souls gather to break bread and sing songs while doing so. Where feeding our bodies is important enough to warrant time and care in preparation.


I’m not doing a very good job of explaining how I felt while watching this magnificent show. Honestly, I’m not sure I understand how or why I was so affected by it in the first place. I only know that watching “Parts Unknown – Lyon” was a game-changer for me. That while watching it I felt the fiber of my universe growing and evolving. No, I cannot explain what it means. But precious seeds have been sown. Only time will tell what’s been planted.




In America, today is Memorial Day. This last Monday in May is set aside for us to remember soldiers who’ve lost their lives while defending our country. It started some time during the Civil War and has been going on ever since.


I don’t know how much actual remembering goes on, as it sometimes seems that most of us see the day as a barbecue-ing opportunity. A ton of hard-working Americans get the day off, so I totally understand the appeal of a backyard cookout. And hey – day-drinking on a Monday? Why the heck not!


For Mister and me, this day begins with us putting Flaggy out. (That’s what we call our big old flag.) Flaggy’s holder – by the front door – waits patiently for holidays, for we keep Flaggy inside the rest of the time.


I remember when I got Flaggy. It was shortly after the tragedies of September 11, 2001. My friend Gillian and I were talking about how we both wanted to get flags for our homes. The two of us tried shop after shop, to no avail. At that time, a whole lot of folks had decided they wanted to own flags and most shops had sold out. I was not deterred, however, so I tried one last shop (without Gillian) and waited in line for about an hour. By the time I reached the inside counter and chose my flag, I was totally smitten with the thing. The first time Mister and I put it out to wave in the wind, we were both goners. Yes, we had become flag people.


I have friends who’ve seen the flag outside our house and have questioned my sanity. I certainly don’t feel I have to explain myself or anything. Not to friends, and not even here. But I will say this: Flaggy looks so grand beside our front door. Graceful, bold, strong. I love the colors. I love the fabric. I even love the fact that we only put it out on certain days. I’m still smitten.


Here’s to remembering.

Ducks! Part Deux



Well – I should have known. As soon as I declared that I did not want ducks making themselves at home in my pool, I should have known I was putting it out there and that those ducks would make me regret having ever uttered a word about them.



Almost as soon as I posted about the little quackers, they dive-bombed the pool right in front of me. And they weren’t intimidated by my presence at all. They took turns hopping out of the pool and walking to within about 2 feet of me, then jumping back in and doing a little flirting with each other.



This continued for several minutes, then I heard a quacking sound in the distance. They heard it too, from the cocking of their heads, and they flew up and away, as if on command.



Before they left, I talked to them a bit. You know, asking what was up, telling them how funny they were. And then I asked, “Is it wrong that when I look at you I’m thinking of cherry sauce?” Like The Cat, those ducks were cool and they never said a mumbling word.


I Prefer “Fastidious”



I am open and honest about the fact that Mister and I are still living in a state of flux here at the new pad. Yes, it’s been more than a year since the big move. Yes, boxes abound. Deal with it.



I’m doing a pretty good job of dealing with all the chaos. This surprises me, as I have some utterly anal tendencies. Actually, I prefer to call myself fastidious, thank-you-very-much. To wit, these photos are of my utensil drawers. And just so you know, I didn’t do a darned thing to prepare for the pics. All I did was open the drawers, y’all. Yes, I keep my utensil drawers ridiculously organized. Deal with that.



It’s slow-going, but each time we get something organized and put away, my heart sighs. And I can’t help but remember how just after the big move, I got a call from a high school buddy, Carrie. It was out-of-the-blue, and she told me I should relax about moving and not even worry about unpacking. That it takes time. That it’s all okay. I appreciated that phone call more than Carrie will ever know. Still do. Carrie’s advice continues to help the anal fastidious part of me deal with it. Word.




The other night Mister was out in the garden when he suddenly rushed inside to grab the camera. There were ducks hanging out by our tomato patch!


I wasn’t here, but he told me all about how the male duck wasn’t even a little bit afraid of him. How the little dude let Mister get right up close for a photo. How our neighbors came outside to gab about the little quackers.


I’m glad the ducks stopped by, but I’m actually hoping they don’t make themselves too comfortable – in our pool. For one, there’s no way our old pump could handle the poop. And perhaps most importantly, I’d have to build some sort of bridge so the little quackers could climb out of the pool. Otherwise, they’d be stuck. Crazy, huh?


Anyhoo, Mister sure did enjoy his brush with the feathered visitors. They’d be more than welcomed should they ever decide to stop by again. For a visit. No overnighters, please.


The End of Your Comfort Zone



I spotted this on my way to a hike and just had to stop for a pic. I think there may be something to this, and I’m trying to work that out. The fact that it presented itself in such an ordinary place… Well… I don’t know. I guess I still have some thinking to do.