Frustrated

 

 

I’m frustrated.

 

Mister and I live in a nice-enough house. We love it. It’s our home. But as nice-enough as it is, as lovely as our neighbors are, we’re still susceptible to suburban woes. Maybe incidents is the right word. For example, we’ve had some things go missing from our yard. That’s annoying and as much as I hated it, there was really nothing to be done about it. Our neighborhood watch is always telling us to report any and all crimes, no matter how small, in the hopes that our neighborhood will be patrolled on a more regular basis. But when I called the non-emergency number to report the aforementioned theft, the officer on the phone actually seemed bothered by my call. Frustrating.

 

Just a few days ago, I called to report a bit of vandalism. Someone had sprayed some paint in our yard, which I cleaned and tidied. This time the officer on the phone actually lectured me about reporting something so petty. Again, I had called the non-emergency line and told him I was advised by our neighborhood watch and senior lead police officer to make the report, but it didn’t matter.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m mighty grateful I don’t have anything major to report to police and I’m aware that the crap I deal with is minor. But my neighbor’s theft of a big check from his car in his driveway wasn’t minor. And the other car break-ins around the ‘hood haven’t necessarily been minor, either. Some of that stuff leads to insurance claims and higher premiums. Hell – when I called to report a strange dude in my yard with an ax, the cops showed up, talked to him for about a minute and a half then drove away. The dude was still standing there, with the ax! See something, say something, my ass.

 

After getting nowhere on the phone with the police officer the other day, I looked online at the Los Angeles 3-1-1 site. It advises residents to report any and all crimes to law enforcement. Of course, it doesn’t give any advice as to how to proceed when law enforcement simply refuse to listen.

 

My frustration continues…

And So I Begin. Again.

 

 

Yesterday I painted. Those who didn’t just meet me know this is kind of a thing. I’ve tried to pick up my brushes, but the hurt from losing my mentor’s guidance has been bigger than I anticipated. And that hurt is still there. Along with confusion, doubt and a host of other feelings and emotions that don’t do a damned thing to serve me.

 

So what changed? Well, I was talking with my love-bug of a cousin and she told me about some folk art made by another family member. And then she sent photos of the pieces and I just about flipped. Those little gewgaws are so cool. And I never even knew they existed. I guess I was inspired, not only by the folk art, but also by my dear cousin.

 

I won’t lie. When I placed myself before that canvas, I felt stuck. I didn’t know what to do and I drew a blank for a few minutes. And then I thought about something Mister told me the other night. He said that if I had gone through some sort of degree program in art, I would have graduated already and (probably) declared myself an artist. Then he told me that I don’t need to keep studying with someone, that I’m already an artist and I already know how to paint. Y’all – if my mentor called tomorrow and said he was back in business, I’d be his first customer. I will always value guidance and instruction. And I will always benefit from those things. But in the meantime, Mister may be right. I am an artist. I know how to paint. With that in mind, I put paint to canvas and did my best.

 

Today is the first day of Autumn. A new season. A new beginning. I hope I’m starting anew, again. I hope it sticks. I hope that I, like this new season, am reborn. I hope. And then I hope some more.

 

When this painting is finished, it will be my first without my mentor’s approval. That’s a big deal, for a lot of reasons. It’s bittersweet, to be sure. And it’s good. Like I told my painting buddy Nicole – we’re creators. It’s what we do. With or without a gentle, guiding voice over our shoulders.

Michael

 

 

When we lived in Boston, Mister regularly gave money to a sweetheart of a guy who “worked” The Common. His name was Michael. Mister made sure he always kept a roll of coins on hand, so that he could give a quarter to Michael each time their paths crossed. Whenever I saw Michael, I stopped to chat with him. If I was coming from work, I was wearing my flight attendant uniform. Michael always asked where I’d been and what that place was like. It was during one of those conversations that I learned Michael stayed at a local shelter. He also told me how it wasn’t consistent, and that it was all too easy to lose one’s spot. When winter rolled around, we found a blanket and warm clothing to give to Michael. And we weren’t the only ones. Many folks appreciated Michael’s presence in the park and gave him what they could. He was friendly, kind and like I said – he was a sweetheart.

 

After we moved away, we sort of forgot about Michael. Out of sight, out of mind I suppose. Five years later, we were visiting and walking through The Common. Before we knew it, Michael was standing before us and said, “Hey, Buddy! Where you been? It’s been a long time!” This was all directed at Mister and we spent a few minutes catching up. Mister told Michael we’d moved to L.A. and Michael immediately asked if we’d brought him a postcard. (We had not.) He told us to bring one the next time we were in town and we said we would.

 

Cut to this past summer. Mister and I made sure we brought a postcard with us when we visited Boston. But somehow, we never once found ourselves walking around The Common. And we never saw Michael. The postcard came home with us, back to L.A.

 

Yesterday I was tidying up and came across the postcard, in a pile on a table. I did a quick search online to see if I could find anything about Michael and I did! I found an old piece, from a few years after we moved from Boston. And I found a German piece, too (with a photo), from a mere couple of years ago. Both pieces made me happy. But there was nothing more recent.

 

So I’m hoping someone out there has some news. I’m not sure when I’ll make it back to Boston, so I must rely on others for an update on Michael. If you’re in that area, even for a visit, please head over to The Boston Common and take a gander. I don’t know why this is so important to me right now, but it is. I thank you in advance.

 

For now, I’m gonna just send the postcard we got during the summer. No – I don’t have an address. But sometimes you’ve got to follow an impulse. I think this is one of those times.

 

 

My Pagan Status

 

 

This past weekend, I was doing some light yard work when a neighbor stopped by with his toddler. I know these folks in the way I know most neighbors – not well at all. But I do know they’re hard-core Christians. And as I’m not, there’s an unspoken understanding between us that we will never be close. That’s just life and believe me – it’s okay.

 

Anyhoo – I was being my ordinary nice self and carrying on light conversation with the neighbor. He was reciprocating and all was well. I had work to finish, so I wrapped up as quickly as I could and got on with it. He went into his house and that was that.

 

Only after I’d gone inside myself and stood washing my hands in the bathroom did I notice the t-shirt I was wearing…

 

 

No wonder the neighbor seemed more quiet than usual while talking to me. I think my pagan status is secure. Thank god.

Butthole. For Reals.

 

 

When it’s 95 degrees at 7pm, a gal is justified in being less-than-herself. That’s where I find myself as I write this.

 

I had wanted to tell you about some of my summer experiences. I’m hoping heat prostration doesn’t keep me from my task. First up, I visited Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa…

 

 

It was pretty fabulous. That hour wait to get in wasn’t anything to write home about, but I guess that’s what happens when you’re the shit, and they surely are.

 

 

I also saw Miss Angie Dickinson at an event. To say I never knew how fabulous she was/is, well, that’s an understatement. The woman rules, y’all. Seriously.

 

 

And then there was The. French. Laundry. I can’t even begin to write about this meal, as it was the most mind-blowing dinner I’ve ever had. I know I’m speaking in absolutes here, but it’s true. I’ve had amazing food in my life, and I expect to have more. This was incomparable. Truly. I’m not sure it will be matched.  I haven’t fully processed that, either. For the record, Mister and I have tried for a few years to get a rezzie to this joint. It finally worked out.

 

 

Did it cost us? Oh, yeah. Big time. Was it worth it? Yes. Bigger time. (Were we our usual dorky selves? Do I really need to answer that? ) Let me tell you this – I would not hesitate to do it again. It was that magnificent.

 

 

There was also the yard project, which needs some T-L-C, as the goddamn sun is baking the hell out of it. Mister and I will work on that this weekend, though, and we’ll hope for the best. Well, I’ll hope for the best. I think Mister just believes. My inner cynic doesn’t always allow that.

 

Oh! And I had surgery. I’m still under doctor’s orders, but feeling pretty much like myself. So I’m grateful for that. The no-getting-in-the-pool part sucks, as, you know, a hundred and eleven-ty and all. But I know that this, too, shall pass. And I’ll be healthier for it. (See – Mister’s belief is catching.)

 

 

And while I was recovering from my surgery (and dealing with the heat), I watched some telly. What I finished was the third season of “Grace and Frankie.” (Loved the last episode so much. And – you have to be really good to take a photo of the screen and get both characters with their eyes closed. I’m just sayin’.) Then I started “Luther.” I had wanted to watch this for some time, so it was overdue. The first episode hooked me, so now I’m in it. Good living, don’t you know.

 

 

My summer has also taken me to Napa for the first time (not the last, I hope), Park City, Utah, where I was eaten alive by bugs – no lie, Boston, my old stomping ground, and home. I’ve been lucky to get around a bit. And even luckier to have a place to return. Not everyone has that, you know – a home. Mine is filled with love. And a ghost. I embrace it all.

 

Speaking of Miss Harmon, she asserted herself a couple of months ago. Mister said something or other about how her ghost had not been around for a while. I told him she’d popped up a few weeks prior and relayed the following tale. I was entering the front parlor, and the glass door that closes off that room was open, but not fully (it was away from the wall). I found that odd, and proceeded to close it. Or at least I tried. The door stopped about a foot and a half from the wall. As it’s clear glass, I could see there was nothing blocking the path. I leaned into it, putting my full weight behind it, and still nothing happened. That’s when I said, “Damn it, Miss Harmon! If you want to hide some place, pick a better spot than behind a glass door!” Immediately, the door opened fully and that was that. I think she just needed some acknowledgement. She got it and we all moved on.

 

There’s a few weeks of summer left, folks. Sure – school for the kids has resumed (mostly), and vacations have primarily come and gone. Personally, I’ve got some projects coming up, as well as ongoing commitments and responsibilities. That’s life. For most of us. We’re doing alright, really. Remembering that kind of helps to trigger a smile here and there. Compassion is activated, too. For me, I know that I got to live another summer. Not even one is guaranteed, so I’ll take it. Even if the next few weeks are as hot as Satan’s Butthole, I’ll take it. I may not like it, but I’ll take it.