I was reading a piece over at the BBC News site and in its text there was an old English word that grabbed my attention: uhtceare.


Uhtceare (pronounced oot-key-are-a) describes the act of lying awake in the wee hours, overcome with worry. I find it very interesting that this word, from ages and ages ago, so aptly describes what many of us experience today, and – apparently – always have. I mean – I’ve succumbed to night after night of worry. I can’t stand it, but it’s true. I’ve lost sleep to worries over money, health, paint colors, whether or not I said something I shouldn’t have, wondering what I’ll wear to something or other, world peace, war, lack of confidence, professional crises and just about anything else you can come up with. Each time I’ve gone through this exhausting routine, it has run its course and then ended. Thank the lord. Still, I can’t claim I’m a stranger to the word’s meaning. Can you?


But here’s the thing. When I’m suffering through those long, hard nights (or early mornings), I am not alone. Nor am I the first. Uhtceare has been tiring out good souls for eons, and will no doubt continue long after I embrace the final Big Sleep.


Having a word to describe the energy-zapping, sleepless nights won’t do anything to revitalize my body or soul. But I do like knowing the word, just the same. And I hope against hope that I sleep so well I can forget having ever learned it.

Blood Moon




On Sunday night, like many in the world, Mister and I climbed up on the roof, trying to see the Blood Moon.



Okay, so maybe others weren’t up on their roofs, but that was our best vantage point and we took it.



I admit though, that I did not enjoy climbing up and down a ladder in the dark. Though I may behave like a donkey from time to time, I am most assuredly not the sure-footed-est of beings. Fortunately, I managed to survive the evening without breaking my neck. Or falling in the pool. Or both. True story.



And though the skies had been amazingly clear all week long, clouds started rolling in fairly quickly, and we knew we’d gotten our best glimpse of the last Blood Moon until 2033. What a beaut!


(As a treat, here’s a link to what Time Magazine calls the “single most amazing photo” of Sunday’s super moon. Enjoy!)

You Have Got to Be Kidding



This week promises more 90+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles, right through the end of the week. That would be the start of October, for those keeping track.


Yesterday I read a report about “Indian Summer” wrapping itself around parts of the UK, and how folks there are soaking it up. I saw photos of people in shorts, grabbing some sun, as well as pics of kids running along rocky beaches. When the article got around to telling the expected high temperatures, I about fell off my chair: 68 degrees F.


A lot of us around these here hills would give part of a pinky toe for 68-degree weather. We don’t have to do that, however, as it wouldn’t matter anyway. The heat is here for a while longer and that’s all there is to it.


Even though the azaleas by the back door have gotten so discombobulated that they’ve bloomed as if it’s spring, other parts of nature are right on track. Our tomato plants finally looked at us, threw up a few spindly branches and said, “No mas.” So yesterday Mister ripped them all out and cleaned the area. (I would have helped, but as I have a few days left of The Crud, it seemed prudent to avoid inhaling all that dust.) As I watched through the window and saw Mister remove all signs of our abundant garden, I felt a little sad. I know I go through this every year, but for some reason this year tugged at my heart a bit more. Maybe it’s age. I don’t know. But each passing season seems to chip away at this sweet life. And though I hope to live for a long, long time, I am all too aware that everything comes to an end.


But I digress. Yes – summer is officially over. And yes – it is still Satan’s-Butthole-Hot here. But there are also subtle indicators of the autumn that is yet to come. And it surely will. For now, I can’t believe I’m still getting in the pool. You have got to be kidding me.

Watertown III



Last night was the Secret Art Show I was asked to join. This little painting – “Watertown III” – was one of my donations.


It’s a mere 4 X 6 inches and it’s sweet. I am happy to report it was sold at the art show and is somewhere out there in the world. That was the whole idea.


If asked, I would again participate in this charity show. It was a nice change of pace for me. And painting on such a small scale was surely different. And hey – it’s good to give to the world. Truly.

Scratch That



I thought last weekend, being the true final weekend of summer, was the end of pool time. Well scratch that.


See – when I think I understand the weather, it goes and flips things around and stymies me to no end. Take this week, for example. Here we are, a few days into autumn, and Los Angeles has hit mid-90s temperatures all week. Not only that, but it isn’t cooling down much at night. That, friends, makes for a mighty inviting pool.


So Mister and I are indulging ourselves – getting in a last blast of float time. Even with The Crud, I’ve taken to the waters to help me feel a little less fever-y. That cool pool is doing the trick. And it’s almost October, for cry-eye. That weather is such a show-off.

10 Days



Mister says it takes 10 days to get through and over most ailments. He believes this firmly, and I suppose it could be true. When he said this to me earlier this week, I was on day 1 of The Crud, so 10 friggin’ days sounded awful. Now that I’m on day 5, I’m hoping he’s right and that 10 days is all it will take.


I am a terrible patient. In a lot of ways, I’m more like a dude than a chick when I’m unwell. (That’s right – I said it.) I don’t ask for every little thing. In fact, I barely ask for anything. I usually find some task I’ve been avoiding and tackle that when I’m under the weather. Guess where that leads? Yep. I tire easily and it takes twice as long to finish the job. I guess the worst part of being sick is me – in my own head. I am terrible company for myself and I’m hyper-critical of myself. It’s silly and makes no sense, I know. But that’s how I do when I’m illin.


Anyhoo – 5 days to go. And then I’ll be top-notch. Rather, I’d better be. If Mister’s timeline is off, he’s in for a germ lashing.

Thursday Memories



This is one of those old photos that leads me to wonder, “Who was that smiling girl?” I guess I sort of recognize her. Maybe. But for the most part, she was another person. In another life.


That end-of-summer sunset occurred in Dallas, and Mister and I were on the verge of moving to Boston. A new season began, and so did a new life.


There have been multiple new seasons since the taking of this photo. I sort of feel like many lives have been lived, too. And you know what? I’m still ready for more…




It’s been hot here. H-A-W-T hot. And that, friends, does not make for a proper segue into autumn.


But I can’t really do a danged thang about that, so I’m going to make like an ostrich and put my head in the sand, and pretend it isn’t hot outside. (And yes – I know that whole ostrich-head-in-the-sand thing is a myth, so please don’t try to school me. Thank you.)


The temperatures may be suggesting otherwise, but autumn is here, nonetheless. The morning light is changing, and the evening sunset is bowing sooner and sooner each day. My internal shift has occurred as well, and that is controlled by nature and not by the weather. And if all that isn’t enough, I now have a change-of-season sore throat. Right on schedule.


Still – I’m excited for autumn! I’m excited for change! I’m excited for life! Hallelujah!

Mandatory Fun




Once upon a time, there lived a dude named Mister. And that dude got it in his head that seeing Weird Al Yankovic in concert would be a treat. Well – Mister was the kind of guy who, once he set his mind to something, he was a-gonna see it through. And that’s how we ended up at L.A.’s Greek Theatre over the weekend, at the last domestic date of Weird Al’s “Mandatory Fun Tour.” (The tour is now headed to Europe.)



We were there with our friend, Would-Be Sue, and y’all – I was not prepared for how awesome that show would be. Sure – Weird Al took us down memory lane, to revisit the parody songs of our childhood, like “Fat”…



But then there were new-to-me parodies, as well as amazing medleys.



And serious costume changes.



At one point Weird Al began singing “Wanna B Ur Lovr.” And it was hilarious.



And then he climbed down from the stage…



And he started making his way up the aisle…



And then he was across the aisle, singing to a chick and rubbing his butt in the face of the dude beside her…



And then Weird Al went all the way up the aisle, as far as he could go, thrilling the people in the back.



He then started making his way back down the aisle, and I thought he’d just be all business and get to the stage. But I was wrong. Because when he reached our row, Weird Al leaned in and – I swear to beans – looked me in the eye and sang, “You must have fallen from heaven. That would explain how you messed up your face!” Now before any hyper-sensitive person find offence in this, let me assure you I did not. I nearly fell off my seat from laughter, and I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle from contorting my body in joyous hilarity, but offence was nowhere to be found. A short time later, Weird Al was back on the stage and launching into the next song.



By the time the encore rolled around, my face was about to crack. After he closed the show with “Yoda,” I was downright elated.



As we made our way out of the theatre and then home, Mister, Would-Be Sue and I talked about the experience. We were overcome with the astounding creativity involved in the night’s performance. And the band – which I understand has been with Weird Al since the 1980s – was incredibly tight. The professionalism displayed that night blew my mind. And honestly, I was ridiculously inspired by the whole experience. I think the show ran about 2 hours, and I can honestly say there was no lull. 18 songs and various video interstitials kept the energy levels high and revving.



Once upon a time, there lived a dude named Mister. And that dude got it in his head that seeing Weird Al Yankovic in concert would be a treat. And he was right. It truly was.


Summer’s Last Weekend



Wednesday will mark the first day of autumn, which means yesterday was the last Sunday of summer.


As yesterday hit 103 degrees in my neck of L.A. (I kid you not), it was prime pool weather. Mister and I jumped in together and hung out a while, getting our core temps down. The good ol’ pool did the trick, and we felt nice and cool the rest of the day.


This week we’re slated for temps around 90, but the nights should be cooler. That means the pool temperature will continue to drop. Because I’m too much of a wuss to get in a cold pool, yesterday was probably my last swim of the season.


I’m not gonna lie – I nearly shed a tear when I thought about that. I’ve ruminated on “lasts” before, so doing now isn’t new for me. Being aware of it, however, is rare. Usually our “last” experiences carry no fanfare, no announcement. Knowing yesterday’s pool fun was the last of the season made it special. And I loved it.


The pool will still be pretty to look at, and I will surely appreciate having a view of water outside the rumpus room. But my next swim will probably be next summer. Which is crazy, but true.


Stay cool, pool shark. Stay cool.