Just Like That



It’s the last day of November and I can hardly believe it. Maybe the fact that Christmas decorations have been up for an entire month has helped speed it along. Maybe it’s the flurry of social and family engagements. Maybe it’s just that I’m old and time moves too quickly.


Whatever the reason, I’d like to make today count. I’d like to honor this last day of November with thoughts of falling leaves and soup. Hayrides and pumpkin pie. Holiday music and tinsel can wait until tomorrow. For today it is still November. And she is grand.




I can’t tell you how many times I am out in the world and something interesting catches my eye. I can tell you, however, that most of those times I simply go about my way, never once slowing down to have a good look at whatever eye-candy I’ve happened upon.


Why is this? Why do we rush about as if our very lives depend on it? Speaking for myself, there certainly have been a couple of instances where my life (or that of another) did depend on expediency. But those occurrences have been few and far between (thank the gods). The rest of the time? I’m just rushing. No explanation. No reason.


Last week while doing The Great L.A. Walk, my buddy Aniela pointed out to me that I walk fast. And she’s right. I do. If exercise is the point, that’s a good thing. But I swear – I struggle to mosey, y’all. Taking a leisurely stroll for no reason other than to stretch one’s legs and look around is downright difficult for me. And that’s a shame. Because there’s a lot to see in the world. There’s a lot to take in. And sometimes the smallest detail warrants slowing down, if only for a moment, to get a really good look at life.


Let’s face it. Life is so worth seeing.


Work That Body




I have complained about the rigors of the Social Season, but I’ve not gone into how awesome it can be.


I say can be because the social muscle, much like other muscles, can atrophy after continued misuse. Don’t believe me? I once knew a woman who had spent 2 months with a non-English speaking tribe in a remote area of Africa. She did not speak their language, so all communication was made through signs and gestures. Even her pre-arranged transportation – to and from the village – was provided by non-English speakers. After 8 whole weeks of speaking to no one and not hearing a known language, she just about flipped when she arrived at the airport and found one soul with a decent grasp of English. She told me she talked his ear off and only later did she realize how she must have seemed to him. Over the course of 2 months she had forgotten how to participate in polite conversation.


My paint-splattered life leaves me dressing like trash most of the time and, quite frankly, talking to myself. So putting on a nice frock and a little lipstick for an outing is refreshing. It’s also good for me, because I get to stretch those social muscles and give them a workout.


But the most important benefit of the Social Season is fun! It’s good to laugh and converse with friends and others. It’s good to hear new points of view. Hell – it’s good to disagree with people. We tend to design our lives to be quite insular. That may give us familiar comfort, but it doesn’t always stretch our minds.


So here’s to the fun of the Social Season! I hope yours has already started and that you’re appreciating it. And if you’re struggling with getting back in the swing of social activity, be kind to yourself. Those muscles are still there, still able to carry you through an evening. Just maybe remember to stretch first.

Sol Legare



This is the commission I’ve been yakking about. It’s called “Sol Legare,” per the buyer’s request. For the record, I had not one problem obliging the buyer on that front. She was free to name the painting and “Sol Legare” is lovely. Plus – I know it’s personal for her and her family.


When I was approached about taking on this project, the buyer told me only that she wanted a painting of the back yard of her husband’s childhood home in South Carolina. She sent me several photographs for reference and I set to work. Though I definitely took some artistic liberties, it turned out to be a decent representation of her hubby’s family homestead.


When I looked at this painting, all I could think about was what fun it would have been to grow up there. All that nature! While living with the work (before delivering it to the buyer), Mister and I took a liking to its colors and depth. And we were both a little sad to see it go.


But we know “Sol Legare” is in a good home. And we know art is meant to be seen. I’m so happy I got to be a part of this project.

Happy Turkey Day & Thursday Memories



This photo from the way back was taken in Boston. Mister and I were doing Thanksgiving on the quiet side, with a chicken instead of a turkey. And because of my wacky work schedule, we were probably celebrating on an alternate day. I don’t remember the details, but I’m guessing it was a dandy time.


Today will be whatever the heck it’s gonna be. For me, I’m focusing on gratitude. In spite of the world’s problems and heartbreak, I have much to be grateful for. (Including that bad grammar.) It’s okay that I don’t know how the hours will unfold. It’s okay that I don’t know how this dish or that will turn out. It’s okay – period.


I hope the gal in the photo above knew it was okay. Because it was. And it is. And that’s enough. Happy Thanksgiving.

Statue Project



So here’s what happened. The New Pad has this weird display tower in the Living Room. It juts out into the room and has 4 shelves, one is solid and just above the floor and the other 3 are glass. Personally, I’d prefer the entire thing be gone. But I’m not into hiring someone to remove it and repair the exposed flooring beneath it, so it’s staying. For now.


Anyhoo – I got it in my brain-hole that I wanted to display all silver pieces in that space. Once I arranged things, I had one empty shelf. For some reason, I decided I wanted a silver statue for that shelf. But as I’m super-frugal, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. Enter my crafty skills.



I found a cheap bust. And by cheap, I mean it was $11. Free would have been better, but that didn’t happen. So I purchased the cheap piece and set to work.



First – I thought it best to apply an undercoating. In case anything showed through, I wanted the base coat to be black. For this, I used old latex paint I found in the garage. Seriously.



After that was on and dry, it was time to use the magic Krylon Looking Glass Spray Paint. Now I’m gonna apologize for not taking a single photo of this part of the process. But hey – I had a fever and wasn’t quite with it. But basically, I gave a light spray to the entire piece. Then I spritzed it all over with white vinegar diluted with water (about 4 to 1, water to vinegar). I then sprayed more Krylon over the piece. I repeated this last part – vinegar solution followed by Krylon – one more time. Then I took a paper towel and gently blotted the piece dry. That was it!



It definitely could use more of a mottled look, but I got what I got and I’m cool with that. The finished piece looks great on its shelf. If I saw it in someone else’s home, I’d never guess it was such a cheap project. Crafty skills am be good, y’all.

The Great L.A. Walk – 2015



My intentions were true. So when I got a scratchy throat last Thursday night, I was surprised. Was I coming down with something? Really? And then on Friday morning, I woke with a fever. Not good, y’all. So I emailed my buddies to let them know I might not make it. And I waited…


A few months ago, I decided I would once again participate in The Great L.A. Walk (or GLAW). Each year GLAW goes down on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. The route changes from year to year, so I was looking forward to seeing what was in store. When I did the walk 3 years ago, we traveled across the city on Melrose and that made for some good eye-candy. Hearing this year’s walk would be along Olympic Boulevard was exciting. I barely ever drive that road. I certainly haven’t walked it. So I reached out to some friends and enlisted a few to join me. I started preparing by walking more and hoping I’d survive. Getting a fever the day before the walk threw me for a loop. But I decided that if I did indeed have a fever the morning of the walk, I’d bail and take care of myself. I knew I’d be sad, but I’m a big fan of health and I don’t want to knowingly disrupt mine. When Saturday morning rolled around, I checked myself and I was fine. No fever!



So I dressed and loaded my backpack with way too many supplies, then got Mister to drop me off at the train station. I made my way downtown to meet my friends and to get it going on.



GLAW began at Clifton’s Cafeteria, in downtown Los Angeles. This historic joint recently re-opened, after a massive renovation. It’s very cool and kitschy and it’s been on my list of places to see. Bonus!



I walked around and checked it out, then I headed to the service line for some protein and coffee. I won’t lie – Clifton’s ain’t cheap. And it’s a cafeteria, for cry-eye. But the greatest disappointment was the lack of anything resembling an actual dairy product for one’s coffee. That’s a travesty in my book. But I’m a goer, so I made do. By the time I’d finished breakfast, the emails and texts started coming in. Most of my buddies were on their way and would indeed be walking the route. That made me happy and I chugged my fake-creamed-coffee.



As this is the 10th anniversary of GLAW, the organizers chose Olympic Boulevard as the route. Turns out, Olympic used to be known as 10th Avenue, but its name was changed in honor of the 1932 Summer Olympics Games that were held in Los Angeles. I never knew that, so already this walk had taught me something.




I began the route with my friend Aniela and her buddy Josh. We weren’t racing about or anything, as the walk is supposed to be leisurely. It’s a chance to get to know our city, up close and personal. So we walked and talked and looked around. We also stopped for coffee. I mean really. That first cup of the day didn’t count, what with fake cream and all. Besides – this one came with Love.



As we continued to walk along Olympic Boulevard, Josh pointed out the Hollywood sign in the distance.



The GLAW organizers had made it known to a few restaurants that some of us would be stopping in for lunch. But I had my own visions of meal time: Top Round Roast Beef.



I’ve written about this joint before and it’s super awesome. Neither Aniela nor Josh had been, so it was a great new stop for them.



For some reason, I had to make myself eat lunch. I thought I should have been hungry, what with walking and all, but I wasn’t. So I ate my delicious roast beef sandwich out of duty. By the time we’d finished lunch, other friends had caught up and decided to nosh there, too. I wanted to wait for them to finish, so that we could all walk together, but my body was ready to go. And I feared that if I sat for too long, I wouldn’t want to get moving again. So I told my friends I’d see them down the line, then Aniela, Josh and I started walking.



We didn’t stop again until we were in Beverly Hills. That’s when I decided an iced tea was in order. Did I mention it was hot here on Saturday? Well it was. High 80s. So iced tea was definitely called for. We got our refresher on, then kept walking west.


As it turned out, Olympic Boulevard wasn’t as interesting as I’d imagined. Sure – we saw some cool stuff along the way, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped.



That didn’t ruin the walk or anything, it just meant there was less to see. Oh well. We get what we get.



Along the way, I found myself getting excited when we’d reach a known street. Honestly – I was downright giddy! Once the 405 was in the rearview, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was then, at mile 12, that Josh decided he’d had enough. He and Aniela made arrangements for a ride and I bid them farewell.



Let me be clear about something here. The idea behind this walk is fun. Not competition. Not completion. If a person isn’t feeling it, she should stop. And as we are all grown-ass people, responsible for our own well-being, it is up to us to monitor when we’ve had enough. With these thoughts in mind, I encouraged my walking buddies to care for themselves and to choose wisely. Heck – they’d gone 12 miles! I’d say that was pretty cool.



After Aniela and Josh rode away, I considered waiting for my friends who were just over a mile behind. And I really wanted to. But I could feel my legs thinking that if I stopped walking, they could tense up and not go any farther. So I got back on Olympic and started hustling toward the coast.



The last 4 miles were rather quiet. The walk was lovely, but again, not particularly interesting. I did spend a couple of miles walking with a woman and her grown son, and they were cool. But the son was having a little trouble keeping up, so I eventually took my leave and booked on.



By the time I was in Santa Monica, the giddy was out of control. I met up with other GLAW walkers at the designated finish and we took in the ocean view. After a short wait, the organizers arrived and took group photos. Then I headed to a local restaurant to meet up with my friends and Mister, who had driven down to give us all a lift home.



Much the same as at lunch, I struggled to eat dinner. I just wasn’t hungry. But I did mack on a beer and then there were some amazing house-made potato chips. I guess my body knew it wanted salt. And beer. What can I say? I yam what I yam.


Once home, I hobbled in and took a shower. I put on some jampers and kicked back with another beer. When taking an assessment, I realized I had a single blister on my left foot, but that was about it. I had fared pretty danged well and I had done it.


I’m so glad I didn’t have a fever and was able to participate this year. I’m glad I packed my CamelBak full of water, so that I could hydrate all day long without stopping to buy water. I’m glad I put some granola bars in my pack. Though I didn’t eat any, I was able to give one to a homeless gentleman and another to the kid I walked with near the end. (I say “kid” even though he was 26.) I’m glad I sort of trained for the walk. I had intended to do one 8 to 10-mile walk each week, as well as several shorter walks in preparation for GLAW. I think the longest walk I accomplished was 7 miles, and all the rest were much shorter. But my body was ready and not at all surprised. That really helped.



And finally – I’m glad I’m a goer. It’s fun! And I think some part of me really needed to know I could complete this walk. As I watched seemingly healthy people dropping out all around me, I felt pretty bad-ass. I felt strong. I felt capable. I felt that I’m a pretty grand version of myself.


Because I am.

The Morning After



I’m still working on photos from The Great L.A. Walk, so that post will have to wait. But I did want to let you know what yesterday morning looked like for me.


Mister and I drove to breakfast and I feasted on the above Hangover Hoe-cake. I wasn’t hungover, but I was hungry. The hoe-cake with chili, cheese and egg was so baby-bear it was ridiculous. Just right!


I think I’m back on schedule now and ready for regular meals. Hallelujah.

Mercy, Mercy Me



Yesterday I did the Great L.A. Walk and I’m paying for it today.


Actually, I’m okay. It was only 16 miles and the pace was quite leisurely. I’ll try to get a wrap-up post ready for you, so that you can see the sights of L.A. as I did.


Meanwhile, forgive me for being still. It’s about all I can muster. True story.




Recently someone asked if I was available for a get-together in early December. After hearing the date she had in mind, I told her I was already booked for that night. And then, after going over a few more dates, it became quite clear that I couldn’t make any of her suggested days. She then asked, “Wow! Are you and your husband popular or something?”


At this time of year, everyone I know is crazy-busy. There simply aren’t enough days for all the soirees, parties, lunches, get-togethers and happenstances. I know I say it every year, but it bears saying again: Why is the Social Season compacted into a few short weeks at the end of each year?


I can’t remember it always being this way, but maybe it has been. Maybe I’ve just not noticed. Whether long-term or a recent habit doesn’t really matter though. The truth is we are all too busy right now. Speaking for myself, all these commitments only serve to fuel my inner desire to hunker down and stay home. That isn’t really an option, but it is a strong-ass yearning. And when I am home, I am happier than a denuded lark in a thistle patch.


Anyhoo – after my friend asked about our being popular, I looked her square in the eye and said, “Yes! We are popular. You might not know it to look at us, but we are a lot of fun.” And I sincerely meant it.