Happy Halloween!

 

 

Don’t know what you’ll be doing today, but I’ll be eating something with pumpkin in it. And maybe enjoying the costumes worn by the kiddos. And maybe laughing with friends.

 

Sounds like a pretty nice Halloween.

The Day Before

 

 

Today is the day before Halloween. That may mean a bunch of nothing to most folks, unless they’re desperately trying to scrounge together a costume for a kid, or hoping to score some last-minute candy for tomorrow night’s trick-or-treat-ers. I fall into the category of “bunch of nothing” on this one. No prep work for tomorrow, no candy to buy. For me, it’s just Sunday. Honestly – I’m fairly thrilled about that.

 

As Mister and I were at a party last night, today is chill and recovery time. We’ll have some chicken-pesto chili simmering in the crock-pot most of the day (tonight’s dinner). And we may work in the garage a bit. Maybe catch up on some telly later. Maybe not. That’s kind of the beauty of today.

 

At least I hope so. There is always work to be done. Always chores and tasks to be tackled. I hope our day is lovely and paced. I hope we enjoy the day as well as accomplish a few things. I hope the aroma of dinner tempts us and makes us smile for hours. I’d say all that will add up to a lovely Sunday. Fingers crossed.

 

Here’s hoping your Sunday is lovely, too.

My New Lover

 

 

I am currently having a love affair with Trader Joe’s Hot & Sweet Jalapeño Peppers. Like some other affairs, this one caught me off-guard and certainly wasn’t planned. My painting buddy Nicole told me about these fabulous peppers, just when I ran out of regular, old pickled jalapeños, and so I picked up a jar and gave them a whirl. Then they gave me a whirl.

 

At first, the sweetness threw me. I wasn’t sure I liked it. The sugary taste was odd on my weekly nachos. (May savory nachos.) But after getting through that first jar, I realized I liked it very much indeed, and swiftly moved on to a second jar.

 

I’ve now lost count of trysts jars and don’t give a rat’s ass who knows it. I’m even trying to figure out how to use the spicy, sweet liquid in a cocktail. If I figure that one out, I’ll let you know.

 

In the meantime, if you have access to a Trader Joe’s, I highly recommend these peppers. And if you don’t have access, well, too bad for you.

Miles To Go

 

 

The other day I was on the road and I looked down and saw my car’s odometer was about to hit a string of twos. I was in traffic, so not only was I dodging people who think the zombie apocalypse is upon us, but also old lady drivers, kids on skateboards and pedestrians. Basically, driving took my full attention. But I persisted, kept glancing down, and when the last two rolled into place, I pulled over and snapped a pic.

 

For those not playing along at home, the mileage on my old Volvo is not 22,222. It’s 122,222. I feel pretty good about the old gal, if you must know. I mean – she’s 50 years old! Of course, being a Volvo, her miles could very well be in the 200,000 range, which would be terribly impressive. But that’s not the way she rolls. She is what she is and her miles are her miles.

 

I know nothing lasts forever. My old Volvo won’t be mine for all time. At some point, she’ll belong to another and that person will (hopefully) marvel at her milestones. At their milestones. And that’s as it should be.

 

For now, the old gal and I have miles to go. Together. And we’re doing just fine.

 

Thursday Memories

 

 

 

The other day I was out walking and crossed the L.A. River. Now I’ve crossed that section of drainage time and time again, and never noticed the giant pipe spanning the area. When I did see it, it immediately took me back to being a small child in Barnesville, GA. And once my mind started down that path, I began digging on the interwebs. Y’all – I learned plenty.

 

When I was in the first grade in Barnesville, my best friend lived two houses down and her name was Lisa Haire. Lisa was a year or two older than me and worldly. She was the youngest of four kids and that meant she was exposed to much more life than I. Not only that, but her mother was C-O-O-L. Miss Haire was this happening lady. She looked cool. She was laid-back cool. Even her food was cool. She introduced me to anchovies on pizza, for cry-eye. That was, for this small-town Georgia girl, revolutionary! It also caused quite a stir at my house when I spoke of the matter. I was told, “We do not eat anchovies on pizza in this house.”

 

Anyhoo – behind our houses was a beautiful, wild creek. Lisa and I used to hang out there and play. We’d swim in the deepest part (waist-high) and search for critters. The crawfish were fascinating and fun. We had to put our heads underwater to watch them beneath an overhang. The old albino catfish, the one we named “Gepetto,” was beautiful and in time he allowed us to rub his belly. The occasional snake was none-too-welcome by me, but they never seemed to bother Lisa. And when we’d sit on tree roots that extended out from the bank, high above the creek below, we’d look for fairies in the grass and weeds. Remember – I was all of six years old.

 

A ways down from both our houses, a giant pipe extended across the creek to the other side. Now – unlike the pipe I saw the other day in L.A., the old Georgia pipe did not have a flat part running across its top. It was just round, and it was about fifteen feet above the creek below. Lisa and I would cross that thing whenever we wandered down that far. We were careful, and I don’t remember either of us ever falling. I do remember some mean boys from the other side of the creek coming after us one day. Lisa and I had crossed the pipe and were wandering around the other side. That area was mostly backyards and woods, and I guess those boys claimed that territory as their own. When Lisa and I were spotted on the wrong side of the creek, the boys decided to run us off. As we huffed and puffed toward that pipe, I remember one of the boys saying something about how they had us. But they didn’t know we were brave. They didn’t know we trusted that pipe and ourselves. With Lisa leading and me a few steps behind, we got across as quickly as we could and left the mean boys on the other side of the creek. They were too afraid to cross over.

 

After remembering and thinking about all this and be-bopping on my laptop, I happened upon an obituary for Miss Haire. She passed away earlier this year. Reading through that obituary, I was reminded of having known Miss Haire and her family. I also learned a few things about Miss Haire herself, things I never knew. Like how she had been active in the US Air Force and had been stationed in occupied Japan. And how she had worked at the Warner Robins Air Force base until she retired at the age of 80. I certainly never knew she’d graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tift College, with a degree in English and Journalism. As it turns out, I really knew nothing about Miss Haire. To me, she was my friend’s mama. And she was nice. I suppose for a six-year-old child, that was enough.

 

Now that I’ve taken notice of the big pipe spanning the L.A. River, I’ll be sure to look at it every time I pass. I’m guessing I’ll also remember – each and every time – my friend Lisa, and her sweet mother, Miss Haire.

Dead or Alive’s Pete Burns – RIP

 

 

A couple of days ago, on Sunday, Pete Burns – lead singer of “Dead or Alive” – passed away of a massive heart attack. He was 57.

 

For anyone who wasn’t an 80s music freak, Burns’ name or band name may not be ringing any bells. Still, I’m guessing most folks have heard “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” as it was their biggest hit. For me, “Cake and Eat It” was the best. I still love that one. A close second was “Brand New Lover.”

 

I know Pete Burns ended up being known for other things (plastic surgery, “Celebrity Big Brother”), but for me, I’ll always picture him as he was in the 80s: beautiful. And I’ll always love hearing him sing “Cake and Eat It.” Always.

Heads or Tails

 

 

Today is World Pasta Day and I’d like to celebrate that, as I really love me some pasta.

 

Today is also my Patty’s birthday and I’d like to celebrate that, as I really love me some Patty. And some cake.

 

Tonight is the first game of the World Series. I’d like to root, root, root for the Cleveland Indians, as they’ve been my team for over 20 years. Then again, I’d like to root, root, root for the Chicago Cubs, because come on! Who doesn’t love the Cubbies?

 

If I were a better me, I’d make a damned decision and stick with it. I could at least flip a coin or something. But I’m not a better me. I’m a me me. That probably means I’ll end up eating nachos, forgetting to call Patty, and go to painting class and miss the first game of the World Series altogether.

 

Note to self: get your shit together, girl! Dag!

So Proud

 

 

Over the weekend, Mister undertook a project that’s needed tackling for ages. And y’all – I was so proud of him.

 

For those who don’t know, Mister has a bit of a hoarder problem. I can’t explain it, so I won’t even try. But I will tell you that it sometimes makes life challenging, trying to live with stuff that we don’t need.

 

Anyhoo – Mister went through the dresser drawers and really pared down his clothes. I was so proud of him! I know it took time and energy, but it also took something more. He had to fight against his ordinary impulses and tendencies. He had to let go, for cry-eye. (That ain’t easy for everyone, folks.) And yet, he did it. He focused on one job and he completed the task.

 

I know there’s more to do and that Mister alone is responsible for his stuff. But if this weekend’s chore is any indication, I know he can get through the rest of his stuff and feel great about the lack of clutter, and the ease in finding things. Win-win!

 

Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps.

Snark

 

 

 

Sometimes I have such an unappealing experience at a store, that I vow to never return. Take my three strikes at a local grocery store chain. First – I bought some frozen chicken and once it thawed for cooking, I could see a dead, giant worm in the bag. Second – I looked at the expiration date on some fancy cheese there and noticed the label had been placed over an older, previously expired label. When I told the store manager about it, she said I was clearly wrong and that they would never do that sort of thing in the store and she somehow implied I was flat-out lying. So I took her to the fancy cheese case and let her have a look for herself. She saw the many, many re-labeled cheeses and began pulling them from the case. No apology, no acknowledgement. And third – I recently stood at a cashier stand after making a purchase, waiting for my receipt. The clerk had walked away from the register to have a loud, bro-tas-tic convo with a dude. As I asked for my receipt, nicely I might add, I was ignored. After asking three times, I screamed, “CAN I PLEASE HAVE MY RECEIPT???” I scared the shit out of that clerk and he deserved it. I took my receipt, left the store and knew then that I wouldn’t be going back to Ralphs. Three strikes.

 

I re-hash this history because while I remember to avoid that particular chain, I sometimes forget why I never shop at other stores. Earlier this week, I stopped by a grocery store for a single item and as I waited in line, I wondered to myself why I never go there. And then the customer in front of me turned, looked me in the eye and sighed loudly. That’s when I realized we weren’t moving and that the cashier was – shall we say – multi-tasking. She was on the phone. She was talking with another manager (!) about scheduling issues. She was yelling at someone to take their break. And then she turned back to her in-the-moment job and futzed up the receipt for the poor lady who appeared to be doing her best to get the hell out of there. That’s when the lady said she didn’t need the receipt and started to leave. And then it got better. The cashier said, “I know I look confused, but trust me – I brought it today. I’m ready!” And then she promptly forgot to give change to the chick in front of me. That’s when I thought, “Oh, Darlin’. You don’t look confused. You look incompetent.” And I glanced up to see everyone quietly staring at me. For I hadn’t merely thought it. I had said it. Right out loud.

 

Only I didn’t. I did think it, but the words were never uttered. I mean, that cashier was failing at her job that day, in that moment, but for all I know, she could have been dealing with a recent ill-health diagnosis. She may have been working through the dissolution of a marriage. Or processing the death of a family member or friend. I don’t know what was going on with her. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not excusing her unprofessional behavior. Nor am I trying to justify it. What I am doing is giving myself an out for not being rude. In that moment, I chose to keep my yapper shut and not take down the lady at the local Vons. For me, I chose well.

 

When I deal with other human beings, I sometimes become flustered. Angry. Disappointed. Furious beyond belief, even. And I can’t do a damned thing about how other people behave. But I can control my reactions, my behavior. That’s the only power I have. When I remember to use it. As much sick satisfaction as I sometimes get from imagining myself tossing out snappy comebacks and insults in the world, I receive far more real content moments from maintaining my composure. I’d like to nurture that habit and do my best to be the kind of person I can admire and respect. After all, I am my own best friend. I alone know what’s in my heart and soul. Even with all my shortcomings and flaws, I love me.

 

But I don’t love the local Vons. Maybe I’ll remember that going forward. I want to be a better person and all, but I’m still susceptible to my internal snark. Heaven help me.

Farmer Tan

 

 

The last few days brought a heat-wave to Los Angeles. Not only have we been dealing with high temperatures, we’re also seeing fires here and there. I’ve mostly avoided it all by staying inside with the conditioned air – thank the gods. I was out and about a few times, though, and have I mentioned there’s no conditioned air in my old car? Well there isn’t.

 

So here I am, in October, and my farmer tan is on full display. It’s only from this week, y’all! Dag!

 

We’re supposed to get back to pseudo-normal temperatures in a few days or so and I for one can hardly wait. I want my left arm tan to fade, for cry-eye. I appreciate the “D” and all, but come on, weather! Don’t be a fool – be cool!

 

That’s about all I have to say about that.