May Gray

 

 

The forecast was for heat. Instead we got gray.

 

In Southern California, we refer to this month’s overcast days as May Gray. And for some of us, it’s lovely. We know the sun is there, because it peeks through the clouds every once in a while, reminding us to be grateful for the cool days. To appreciate wearing a t-shirt during the day and needing a light sweater at night. And perhaps warning us of what’s to come. And what is to come? June Gloom.

 

I knew of June Gloom long before becoming aware of May Gray. June Gloom has been a constant for my entire tenure in Los Angeles. Personally, I certainly don’t consider it gloomy. I like the cloudy days. I like not running my a/c. I like sleeping with a slight chill in the air at night. Yes – June Gloom comes with the calendar. And yet, every single year I hear people expressing shock at the lack of sunshine. Some years we get loads of overcast days. Other years, not so much. I don’t keep meteorological records or anything, but I can remember years when June Gloom was more of an idea than a reality, and those years sucked. Because when we miss out on our clouds in June, summer heat can be unbearable. During those past sunny June months, summer just about wilted us and everything around us. Talk about the vapors.

 

So I’ll take May Gray. And starting tomorrow, I’ll look for June Gloom. Sorry if you’re visiting and not getting the weather you wanted, but trust me when I tell you we need this. Our plants need it. Our drought needs it. Our psyches need it. Besides – tanning is bad for you anyway. And honestly – there’s so much more to do here than bask in the sun.

Memorializing

 

 

 

It’s Memorial Day. And in-between good food and drink, being outside and welcoming summer, I hope I take a few moments and remember loved ones. Sure, today is designed around military personnel, but I intend to be a bit broader in my memories. Lest anyone be offended by this, don’t be. One of the people on my list is Little Papa, a veteran of the Korean War.

 

As for the other loved ones I miss, well, they were good people. That seems like reason enough to think of them today. Pretty good reason to smile, too.

 

Happy holiday to you and yours.

The Hitchhiker

 

The other day I was out for a bike ride, getting some cardio in, when I felt something sort of hit my knee. I was in full-pedal mode and a fairly strong wind was in my face. I glanced down and this is what I saw…

 

 

I had picked up a hitchhiker. Because I’m me, I didn’t freak out or anything. (It was just a bug, for cry-eye.) In fact, I started smiling and said something along the lines of, “Hey, little guy! How’s it going?” And I kept pedaling.

 

 

Before the hitchhiker joined me, I was really fighting the ride. I’d been out for an hour already and was just wanting to get home. That strong wind was challenging the hell out of me, no matter which direction I rode. In short, I was done. Only I wasn’t able to be done, as I had about 5 miles to go at that point. Something about the little hitchhiker changed all that. Suddenly I was revitalized. Happy. I don’t know why, but that bug really picked things up. The strong wind didn’t bother me anymore. My tired muscles didn’t nag quite as much. I stopped slouching a bit and rode all the way home with admirable posture and a beaming smile. And to its credit, that bug hung on all the way.

 

 

When I reached the new pad, I brushed the hitchhiker off my leg and left him in a pile of leaves. We’d both made it and the ride was finished.

Treat Yo’ Self!

 

 

The other day I thought I might want a treat. And then a few moments later, I thought I might need a treat. About an hour after that, I decided I would get a treat and there was no way anyone was gonna stop me from making that happen. That’s when I put one foot in front of the other and headed out the door.

 

There’s a corner shop near us, that is, as it happens, just around the corner. I sometimes go there for a cuppa, but their treats tend to be more along the lines of vegan and gluten-free. As I am the self-proclaimed Patrick Henry of the gluten-free craze (“Give me gluten or give me death!”), their baked goods don’t really do it for me. So I opted to walk to a different treat shop, about a mile away.

 

When I arrived, there was a bit of a queue. I guess the treat yo’ self mantra was heavy in the air that day or something. Once I reached the counter, I made the poor shop gal go through every single item in the pastry case, as I really wanted to know what some of those yummies were. Since I rarely go for treats, I wanted to get something that would be totally Baby Bear – just right. After a few minutes of perusal, I made my choice, payed the nice gal and walked home. Once there, I unwrapped a beautiful, gi-normous Red Velvet Cupcake and beheld its glory.

 

And then I ate the entire thing, all by myself. And it was good.

Grilling Season

 

 

It. Is. Here. Grilling Season. That time of year when we do our darnedest to cook our food outside, so as to not heat up the inside.

 

Mister and I took the cover off the old grill last weekend. I felt a bit rusty, but soon regained my grilling footing and all was well. Almost. You see, our grill’s starter hasn’t worked for a few years. And it has fallen to me to repair the danged thang. My efforts on that front have been limited to writing “gas grill starter” on the grocery list that hangs on the side of the refrigerator. After a list page has been filled, each item checked and the page thrown in the recycle bin, I have transferred “gas grill starter” to the next page. And so it has gone, for years. Years, people!

 

This week I decided enough was enough. I started digging around on the interwebz, looking for the specific part for the repair, when I happened upon a vid-ja on the YouTuber. Short and sweet, the dude in the video suggested most folks with faulty grill starters merely needed new batteries and not new starters. Da-fuh? Batteries? So I went outside, twisted the starter knob until it loosened and popped off, pulled out an old tiny battery, replaced it with a new tiny battery and pushed the starter. The old gal fired up in less than a second.

 

I feel like a dork, having not figured this out sooner, but I’m also grateful the quick fix worked. I can hardly wait to make pizza on the grill! Yippee!

Deep Breaths

 

 

 

Okay. I had a service appointment scheduled here at the New Pad last week and the company never showed and never called. So I telephoned them and left a message, asking what had happened. Afterward, I got on with my life. After a few days of not hearing back from the company, I called again and asked a real person what had happened. And let me be clear about this – I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t tip-toeing through the tulips either, but I was polite. Got it? After a few moments, the dude on the phone told me the appointment had needed to be canceled (that day) and that his manager had called me morning of to let me know. This was news to me, as I had been home and awake that morning and had received no calls. Not one. In fact, scrolling through my caller ID, I can honestly say I received zero-point-zero calls on the day of my appointment. I shared this with the phone dude, and he continued – repeatedly – to tell me there was a call, because his notes list it as having happened.

 

Deep breaths. How do you deal with situations like this? Really – I’d like to know. Because we can’t go around yelling “fuck-stick” into the phone when we have business to tend. We have to work with people in the world. We have to somehow communicate, come to terms and get shit done. It’s necessary, I tell you. Unless you live in a cave. And if you happen to live in a cave, please tell me who provides your wi-fi, because dude, you’ve got some awesome reception.

 

Anyhoo – I didn’t swear at the phone dude. Not once. But I did ask him to stop referencing a mythical phone call as fact, as it was incredibly offensive to me and insinuated that I was lying. And as there was no manager available (da fuh?), I asked to be contacted by someone the next business day. Today. We’ll see if that phone call takes place, or if it will live in fairy land.

 

In the meantime, if you have some tried and true techniques for dealing with lack of professionalism, please share. Aside from taking my business elsewhere, which may very well come to pass, I am at a loss.

Towel Day

 

 

If you’re out and about today and you spot someone carrying a towel around with them, please don’t fret. It’s Towel Day! In honor of Mr. Douglas Adams, fans around the world carry towels on this day. (If you’d like to know more about Towel Day, click here.)

 

When Mister and I saw Douglas Adams’ grave a few years ago, it was a powerful moment. When I’ve carried a towel around with me on previous Towel Days, it’s been lovely. I think all that adds up to my definitely being a fan, then and now.

 

So yes – today I’ll be carrying a towel around as I go about my bidness. And I will probably be smiling – a lot. Out of joy. Out of appreciation. Out of preparedness. And if you’ve never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, don’t panic! And – what are you waiting for? It’s a brilliant piece of creative writing. I’m so glad Douglas Adams gave it to the world.

Heavy Telly

 

 

My telly watching has seen an emotional couple of days – Sunday night’s “Game of Thrones” and the season finale of “Call the Midwife,” which I watched last night.

 

I’m okay with emotional television. I’ll take that over flat-line shows any day. But I guess I’ve gotten used to being able to sense when the old heartstrings are about to be tugged. That gives a gal a chance to prepare, if only a little. But the two shows I watched the last few days, well, I didn’t see it coming.

 

I am a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve, I know and freely admit. Still, these fine shows (and two of my faves, opposite ends of the spectrum, though they may be) really brought it and wrenched me apart this week.

 

And I am heartbroken.

Leaves

 

 

A couple of months ago, Mister and I let go of our gardener. If you ask Mister, he’ll tell you the primary reason for this is our intention to get rid of our lawn (drought). And though we’ve had this idea for years, our hope is to actually follow through and xeriscape the front lawn this year. If you ask me, I’ll tell you that our gardener (who came with the house) was quite disagreeable. The dude would argue with me when I asked him to do something. For example – one day I told him the grass didn’t really need cutting, as it hadn’t grown since the previous week and that I would prefer he weed the beds instead. He responded by telling me how bad it was for the grass to skip a week of mowing. I said that it was actually good for the root system to skip a week and that the beds really needed weeding. He proceeded to tell me I didn’t know what I was talking about and that grass roots weren’t affected by not mowing and blah, blah, blah.

 

So anyway, we let him go. And as we haven’t yet gotten around to taking out the grass, it needs tending every few weeks. To that end, I got myself a beautiful reel mower, powered by human force. It does a great job and I get exercise. Bonus!

 

That problem solved, I still had to contend with another issue: leaves. We have three magnolia trees and as much as I love and romanticize them, the little bastards drop a butt-load of leaves this time of year. So I went out and got myself a good, old-fashioned rake. And yesterday I put it to use.

 

Here’s the thing – working in the yard or garden is terribly therapeutic. It stills one’s mind and works one’s body. I can see why folks used to look forward to their weekend yard time, long before we all hired kids or gardeners to take care of the outsides of our homes. And I think maybe we gave up something beneficial when we handed off those tasks. I think we all lost a meditative part of life. And that’s too bad.

 

Now some of you may be thinking that your weekends (or other days off) are far too precious to spend doing yard work. And that may be true – for you. But for me, I find the work to be calming. And I get a sense of self-satisfaction out of finishing some routine maintenance. Though I admit my satisfaction on this go-round will have to wait, as I loaded our green (garden waste) bin to the rim and I didn’t even get half of the leaves in. Oh well.

 

Best of all, when I’m working in the garden, I don’t have to take three deep breaths and count to ten before I convince me to do what I want done, the way I had to with the gardener. I am much more pliable than he ever was. Thank the gods.

“End Game”

 

 

This past week found me at the theater with friends. We saw Samuel Beckett’s “End Game” and it was a doozy.

 

Alan Mandell directed this production and played Hamm. Barry McGovern played Clov; James Greene played Nagg; Charlotte Rae played Nell. As Mr. Mandell had worked with and knew Beckett, he presented a play that, I’m guessing, would have pleased its author. The set was fabulous and true to what Beckett had described and the actors were some of the finest assembled. It was a top-notch production and the audience knew it. After the play’s finish, the cast gathered on-stage for a Q & A session with the audience. That was quite a bonus, I tell you. I was entertained by the actors and I learned a lot. And there’s one thing more – even though I had just watched those 4 actors portray their characters, not one of them remotely resembled what I had seen during the play. That, friends, is extraordinary, as none of them wore crazy prosthetics or over-the-top make-up. No – those four fine actors had simply become their respective characters, abandoning their own identities.

 

This was my first exposure to Samuel Beckett, and part of me thinks I dove off the deep end. There was just so much to process! The play itself, which is still tip-toeing around my brain. The energies given by the actors. The energy of the audience. It was a lot to take in, to try and grasp. I’m still swirling with it, searching for my footing. Not sure how long this will last, if I’m being honest. But isn’t that one of the gifts of good theater?

 

As much as I enjoy going to the theater, I don’t do it very often. And that’s a shame. Because my experience with “End Game” just goes to show how enriching – and yes, challenging – theater can be. I’m glad I said yes when the opportunity knocked.

 

Note: This play’s run ended last night.